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What Every Homeowner Should Know About Creating a Fire Escape Plan

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

A notebook that says emergency escape plan Creating a fire escape plan is one of the most valuable things a homeowner can do

How to Create A Fire Escape Plan

No one thinks that their home in Colwich, KS, will be affected by a fire, but as a homeowner, it's often important to be prepared for any kind of disaster. Learning about making a fire escape plan can be useful for homeowners, as an escape plan can be life-saving during a home fire.

1. Don't Avoid Creating a Plan

The idea of your home catching fire may make you feel upset or uncomfortable, and you may be tempted to put off making an escape plan in order to avoid thinking about the subject. Parents may also avoid making and discussing an escape plan so as to avoid upsetting their children. However, making a plan will not increase the risk of your home catching fire, and you can discuss your plan with your children in an age-appropriate, calm manner.

2. Practice Your Plan

The more frequently you practice your fire escape plan, the more prepared you will be if a fire does occur. As you practice your plan, it's often helpful to make the goal of the practice to get out of the house in a safe, quick manner. It's frequently best to avoid gathering your belongings. Fire restoration services can assist in restoring your home and your belongings in the event of a fire, and it's generally wise to focus on your own safety.

3. Invest in the Proper Equipment and Tools

There are certain pieces of equipment and tools that could be useful to have if a fire occurs. Depending on the configuration of your home, it might be useful to purchase a ladder if there are rooms above ground level. A ladder can make it easier and safer for someone to escape from a room that is above the first floor of your home. A fire blanket may also be useful to stifle small fires.

When it comes to fire preparation, creating a fire escape plan is one of the most valuable things a homeowner can do. It's often wise to create a plan, practice your plan often and to invest in tools or equipment that could be useful in the event of a fire.

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Try to Remove Mold On Your Own

9/25/2019 (Permalink)

The hand of someone with a yellow glove spraying at a wall that is covered with black mold DIY mold removal can result in accidental spreading of mold

Here Are Some Reasons Why You Shouldn't Remove on Your Own

If you have a mold problem in your home in South hutchinson, KS, then you might be tempted to try to remove it on your own. How difficult can it be, right? However, this is not a good idea. Attempting to perform mold testing or cleanup on your own can actually make it worse. The following are a few reasons why you should leave this work to the professionals.

1. You May Not Be Able to Find the Mold

The first reason that you should resist the temptation to do your own mold testing and cleanup is that it’s not as simple as it seems. Mold is a sneaky fungus and it doesn’t always grow in places that are easy to see. In some cases, it might be hiding inside of your walls or flooring. Even if you think you’ve gotten it all, chances are you haven’t.

2. Mold Tests Are Not Accurate

Since you might not be able to see all of the mold that is growing in your house, you might think that you can use a mold kit to find it. The problem is that these kits won’t be very helpful. Because you likely have some harmless spores in your home, a kit can give you a positive result even in areas without excessive mold. There are many varieties of home tests that you can purchase, but none will be as accurate as a professional test.

3. You Could Accidentally Spread the Mold

Even if you are able to find the location of the mold growth, DIY mold removal can result in accidental spreading of mold. If you don’t block off the area properly, then mold can travel through the air into other areas of the home. The same can happen when mold spores get on your clothing.
While it might seem more convenient to take care of a mold problem by yourself, you will most likely not get the best results. Instead, you should hire a mold remediation company to perform mold testing and cleanup for you. They have the necessary training and professional equipment to do the job right.

How To Deal With an Upper Story Toilet Overflow

9/25/2019 (Permalink)

Water stain on a ceiling Water stain on ceiling

Sometimes a flooded toilet is not a disaster, but when it happens upstairs, the problem is usually substantially more serious. If you can react immediately in Colwich, KS, and the water doesn’t get past the flooring, you probably don’t have to worry, but once it gets into the subflooring or below, you need to begin serious remedies. When that happens to your business, regardless of whether you lease or own the building, you should hire a professional water damage remediation company.

A Second-Story Flood Is a Compound Problem

Once the water gets past the flooring and baseboards, the problems mount quickly. Items that can’t tolerate significant water include

  • Ceilings
  • Walls
  • Electrical
  • Framing

Plus, sewer damage isn’t just water, it’s blackwater that’s filled with contaminates, and when it gets into the ceiling and behind walls, those areas need to be cleaned and disinfected.
If the water wasn’t filled with significant sewage, and if the drywall dehydrates in about a day or so, you may get lucky, and no further efforts beyond using a disinfectant on all surfaces the water touched will be necessary. However, sometimes employees may not disclose when it happens, or may not do a quick-enough cleanup job. If the wet drywall has not completely evaporated within two days, you will have to remove flooring, ceiling and wallboard to allow the inner components to fully dry.

Insurance May – or May Not – Cover Damages

Policies will differ in wording, and what seems like minor variations can make a world of difference. Some policies may cover both backup and overflow from sewer damage, while others differentiate between them. Discharged water is also sometimes covered. Consider asking your sewage company for specific information if penetration has occurred.
Talk with an organization that has plenty of experience in working with sewer damage in commercial enterprises. It can give information about insurance claims, identify your best and most cost-efficient remedies, and take immediate steps to prevent further damage in Colwich, KS. Anything that can be done to air out wet areas should happen as soon as possible, including using large-capacity air movers and negative pressure devices.

5 Tips for Sump Pump Maintenance

9/9/2019 (Permalink)

A sump pump A sump pump is one of the most important parts of your Valley Center home

5 Tips For Prolonging The Life of Your Pump

Your sump pump is crucial to your home's well-being. It executes two important jobs:

Preventing groundwater from entering your home
Expelling water during a storm or other weather event in Valley Center, KS.

Performing regular pump maintenance — at least once a year, if not more often — can mean the difference between a dry home and a soggy one. Here are five tips for prolonging the life of your pump.

  1. Check the electrical connection. In order to run, all sump pumps rely on a GFCI electrical connection. Ensure that it's on and providing power to the pump.
  2. Clean the pump and the pit. Removing dirt and debris from both parts of the unit will boost the pump's productivity.
  3. Make sure the pump is vertical. When the sump pump runs, it vibrates. That shaking can cause the pump to tilt to one side. While you're making sure the pump isn't leaning like a certain tower in Pisa, check that the float gauge has freedom of movement, too.
  4. Confirm that the pump is cycling water. Pour water into the pit — enough to engage the pump. The pump should promptly empty the pit and turn off.
    While you're sticking around to confirm that the water empties and the unit shuts off, you should also listen for the sound of running water. If you hear any, that may indicate that the pump's check valve is malfunctioning, since the check valve's job is to prevent water from flowing back into the unit.
  5. Consider a tank level alarm. If your pump stops working, the alarm will sound, letting you know that there's a problem. Some tank level alarms can also send you an alert via text message or email using Wi-Fi.

It may not be glamorous, but your sump pump is one of the most important parts of your home. By performing regular maintenance and inspections, you can give yourself peace of mind and avoid having to keep your local water mitigation professionals on speed dial.

Cleaning Electronics After a Fire

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

A camera with someone cleaning it after it has suffered smoke damage Cleaning electronics after a fire

Undergoing an electrical fire at your business in Winfield, KS, can cause untold damages and revenue losses. If you have electronics that were damaged directly by a fire, they may not be salvageable. Electronics can also be damaged by smoke, but with the proper restoration techniques, they may be salvageable.

Smoke Damaged Electronics

It might sound unlikely, but smoke can cause serious problems for electronics to function correctly.

  • Smoke Film: Smoke can easily get into the cracks and ventilation holes of electronics and leave behind a black film which insulates the components. This can cause these items to overheat more frequently and decrease their life span.
  • Soot Acidity: Soot left behind by smoke is acidic, and this will slowly eat away at your electrical items, also causing a shorter life span.
  • Magnetic Smoke: Smoke carries a magnetic charge, which has the potential to short out circuits in TVs, computers, and appliances.

Safely Clean Your Damaged Electronics

When it comes to restoring your business’ property after an electrical fire, the information stored on damaged electronics can be very valuable, especially any information that was not backed-up. To handle computer cleanup, it is often recommended to hire a professional fire restoration company. The components in computers are sensitive to begin with, so adding smoke damage can put them into a very fragile state. When priceless business information is at stake, the professionals can use their expertise to safely restore your computers.
If you want to collect the information you can before any restoration is done, you can remove the memory or storage devices, such as USB drives or the hard drive inside the computer, and move the information onto another device while a professional cleans the rest of the machine.
As for other devices, it is best to turn them off and unplug them until they can be fully cleaned out. This will help avoid any permanent or further damage.
If you have current warranties on any of your equipment, check to see if they cover fire damage.

Professional Cleanup

Let a professional restoration company handle the cleanup after an electrical fire to recover important assets such as computers and other electronics. This can give you peace of mind and a higher likelihood that many of the items will be restored nearly to their pre-fire condition.

Checklist for Landlords After a Storm

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

Ceiling damaged after a storm Ceiling damaged after a storm in Haysville, KS

A multifamily unit can be a profitable commercial property. When a storm hits in Haysville, KS, however, you have a responsibility to your tenants to act quickly. Their renter's insurance covers their property but your insurance is responsible for yours. Here are four things you need to do as soon as possible when an emergency occurs.

Establish Communication With Tenants

This may be your business, but it's also your tenants' homes. It is important to keep them informed of every facet of the storm cleanup process that affects them:

  • Extent of damage
  • Timeline for restoration
  • Whether or not they need temporary housing
  • When they can expect to return

Keeping the lines of communication direct and open can help ensure your tenants' willing cooperation.

Call Repair Professionals

You want to get the restoration process started as soon as you can. The best way to do that is to call local flood cleanup specialists as soon as the storm is over. They can help distinguish between the items that are covered by renter's insurance and the ones covered by your property policy. They can also give you an estimate of the expected cost of the restoration.

Contact Insurance Company

Another important call to make is to your insurance company. An adjuster can come out to assess the damage and validate your claim. Assuming you have the proper insurance coverage to pay for the repairs, this can help ease some of the financial burden.

Keep Up With Finances

Your flood insurance may not cover all the costs of the repairs necessary to make the property habitable again. Keeping meticulous financial records of the costs, your insurance coverage and the excess that you have to pay out of pocket is useful. You may be able to deduct the amount that isn't covered from your taxes as long as you've documented it properly.
Renter's insurance and your property policy may cover a lot of the costs of repairs. The key is to act fast and stay in contact with your tenants.

Does Your Water Heater Need Flushing?

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

Somebody flushing a water heater Water heater flushing in a Fort Scott, KS home

Like any major appliance in Fort Scott, KS, your water heater needs regular maintenance. Following are step-by-step instructions to help you flush the tank and refill it with clean water ready to be heated.

The Annual Flush

A water heater flush is a pretty basic exercise in home maintenance. To quickly accomplish this task, follow these simple steps:

  1. Turn the tank thermostat to off: Located near the bottom of the container, turn it to off or to “pilot” if your heater is gas-fueled instead.
  2. Turn off the gas flow: Gas-run heaters have a pipe with a red handle to feed fuel. If you turned the thermostat to “pilot,” skip this step.
  3. Turn the cold water flow off: This is found toward the top of the water tank.
  4. Run the hot water from a sink or tub: This will help drain the tank and prevent a vacuum from forming.
  5. Open the pressure relief valve: While not necessary, it can help water to flow more easily.
  6. Connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot: Make sure the other end leads to another container to collect the water.
  7. Turn the spigot on and drain: The water will probably look brown or dirty, this just means you’re cleaning the tank.
  8. Reactivate the cold water to flush out the sediment: Let it run for a couple of minutes or until the collected water becomes clear.

Once finished, simply reverse these steps, remembering to light the pilot on gas-run heaters and to close the pressure valve when done.

It Isn’t That Hard

Even Fort Scott, KS, can’t escape ”hard water,” a term used to signify the presence of increased minerals. If left unchecked, this will eventually produce leaks and the possibility of severe water damage. By flushing your tank at least once a year, you can remove mineral deposits that have accumulated within the tank, keeping the water fresh and avoiding a buildup of sediment.

Depending on the size of your hot water heater tank and the last time it was flushed, this process could take some time. If you continue with regular maintenance, this yearly chore shouldn’t take very long at all!

The Three Ps of Fire Safety

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

Run drills regularly

Protect Your Kids Safety From a Home Fire

One of the best ways to protect your kids safety from a McPherson, KS, home fire is to teach them about fire prevention. As part of your efforts, cover basics such as these three Ps of safety from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Fire Administration, and several other children's safety organizations:

Prepare – This step focuses on reducing the risk of fire damage situations
Practice – This step covers conducting fire drills and overall fire safety habits
Prevent – This final step includes teaching your children about getting out safely

You should also include a fire escape plan in these efforts.

Prepare Your Home

There are several situations that are common to just about any home, and many of these could easily lead to fire damage, such as overloading electrical outlets, leaving lit candles unattended, setting clutter near a hot stove, neglecting old and damaged wiring, and using old appliances. When you involve your children in this first step of fire prevention, the whole family is safer.

Practice Fire Escape Plans

Establish a fire escape plan and for your kids safety, run drills regularly. These drills should include what to do if the primary escape route is blocked. During these drills, watch out for things such as clutter in the hall. Take time to practice how children should escape if their doorknob is hot, signaling that it isn't safe to open their bedroom door. Discuss the importance of remaining low to the ground, so children don't inhale smoke while exiting.

Prevent Injuries During Fire

This part of the plan should include discussions about not playing with matches or lighters but telling an adult about them. Teach your children the Stop, Drop, Roll technique in the event their clothing is on fire. Talk about never going back into a building that's on fire. Teach children that fire damage cleanup is not their responsibility.
There are many resources available for kids safety practices and fire prevention habits. If you talk with fire and smoke damage remediation professionals about fire cleanup, ask them for further advice. Consistently review the three Ps of fire safety to protect your family from harm.

Worried About Mold Growth in Your Business? Here Are 3 Tips for Addressing It

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

Mold spores thrive on moisture

Three Tips For Detecting and Preventing Mold

Mold prevention is crucial in ensuring the success and stability of your business in Winfield, KS. The presence of mold does not only make the surrounding environment musty and unpleasant for your customers and employees, but it can also have long-term damaging effects on the structure of your building. Here are three tips for detecting and preventing mold:

1. Learn How To Identify Mold

Mold spores thrive in damp environments. If there is an area in your business that is constantly exposed to moisture or high humidity levels, keep your senses heightened for signs of mold growth. The presence of mold is usually signaled by a musty or unpleasant odor. Keep an eye out for visible indications of mold, which can vary from clusters of black spots to even orange, pink, or purple markings. An unusual spike in allergic reactions from your employees and customers can also suggest mold in your building.

2. Banish Signs of Existing Mold

Excess moisture guarantees the presence of mold. If you’ve been able to identify the beginnings of growth in a certain area, the mold may be eliminated with a wipe-down using a cleaning solution. If the resulting mold is extensive, you may want to look into acquiring the services of a professional mold prevention and remediation company to ensure a higher level of expertise and access to specialized equipment to tackle mold completely.

3. Take Preventative Measures

Moisture control is crucial for preventing mold. Humidity must be controlled in your work environment, ideally within the range of 30–60% according to the EPA. The building must be well-ventilated to allow proper air flow, which prohibits the occurrence of mold. Any leaks and water damage must be fixed immediately, and special attention must be given to work areas that are consistently exposed to dampness.

Something as simple as mold can turn into an expensive and complex problem to fix if addressed incorrectly. Mold prevention will go a long way toward creating a healthy environment in which your business can thrive.

Property Management Tips for Hurricane Season

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

Gather survival supplies in your building

Hurricane season can hit hard in Newton, KS. It is in your best interest to be as prepared as you can be in order to avoid unnecessary hurricane damage. There are several things you can do in advance to endure the high winds with ease.

Gather Survival Supplies

A big part of hurricane preparedness is stocking your building with what you may need to survive if you get stuck there. These items should be kept in a cool, dark and dry place so that they remain functional and don't go bad. Some common supplies to include are:

  • flashlights and batteries
  • plenty of water
  • first aid kit
  • hand crank radio
  • non-perishable food

Form an Emergency Plan

What should everyone in the building be doing in the event of a hurricane? Where will people be the most safe? Create a plan based on the layout of your building and the surrounding landscape. Be sure to account for communication, you should consider using radios or backup WiFi. You can include an evacuation route, in case it becomes necessary. Try to train or practice with your employees or residents. Don't forget about the aftermath, especially in the case of hurricane damage, and research qualified storm remediation services.

Batten Down the Hatches

You should include what you may need to secure your building during a storm in your protocol for property management. Store plywood on the premises to cover as many windows as you can. Keep your yard and landscape trimmed to avoid flying limbs and extra debris. Bring in everything that could possibly get blown about outside: outdoor furniture, garbage cans and decorations. Be sure to clear your gutters and downspouts so they are ready for the downpour.

In order to minimize the hurricane damage that could occur to your property during a storm, take certain precautions beforehand. Keeping people safe should be the priority, but if you plan properly you'll have time to protect your assets, as well. Feel free to share this information with your neighbors to promote a safer community!