SPRING HAS FINALLY SPRUNG

April showers bring May flowers, and its already begun. Frequent, heavy showers can lead to flooding, which can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home.

To help minimize damage, use and share the following tips:

  • Fix leaky roofs and foundation cracks immediately.
  • Keep gutters and drains clear so they can do their job by carrying water away from the home.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working properly.  If you don’t have one installed, Invest in a battery-powered sump pump and a garden hose to pump water out of the home.
  • Move valuable items to a higher level of the home.
  • Prevent sewer backup by installing sewer or septic line check valves, which allow waste to only flow one way.

If you experience water damage due to flooding, ServiceMaster Restore® is available 24/7/365 to help you with:

  • Water damage restoration
  • Drying, dehumidification and water extraction
  • Mold remediation
  • Carpet, clothing, rug, and electronic cleaning

We also can help with Fire, Bio-Hazard, Re-Construction and Trauma.

BRRRRRR Honey, Its COLD outside…..

Do you know how to prevent a water damage? ServiceMaster is certified and specializes in water damage cleanup in Berks County and Surrounding Areas. Here are a few tips for you on how you can prevent water damage as well as what you need to do if you find yourself affected by one.

  • Tips for preventing water damage:
    * Ensure good drainage.
    * Inspect the roof for missing or lose shingles.
    * Repair any dripping or leaky pipes.
    * Repair any cracked caulking.
    * Insulate Pipes
    * Keep the Thermostat at a temperature that will ensure free flowing water wont freeze.
    * If you go away, make sure someone runs the water every day to avoid frozen lines.

 

  • Tips on what to do if you discover a water damage in your Pensacola home!
    * Turn off the water supply
    * Turn off the utilities
    *  Call ServiceMaster 610-374-1881

STAY SAFE AND WARM !!!!!!!!!!

Water and Drywall… Create Damage

What is Drywall?

Drywall is a specialized panel board made of gypsum plaster that is pressed between two thick sheets of paper, and it is very popular in most homes. Drywall can also be called plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board, or sheetrock. When drywall is made, the plaster is mixed with materials such as starch, fiber, plasticizer, foaming agent, and can include mold or fire resistant materials.

Drywall and Rain = Water Damage

Drywall is especially vulnerable to water exposure and  it can become distressing when damaged. Unfortunately, drywall is similar to paper when it becomes wet; when affected by water, it stains, swells, and disintegrates. It can be strengthened against water with covalent waterproofing, but if the waterproofing is damaged, then the wall will eventually be damaged as well. Situations can include entire ceilings falling down from the weight of accumulated water. This can also cause other damage such as Mold.  Mold is not much of a worry when it comes to the gypsum material, however mold can have supported growth in the paper backing. Specific boards, called greenboards or cement boards, can be used in specific rooms, that usually have high moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry rooms.

Prevent Leaks Before They Begin

Take precautions before the rain comes; free your gutter of all debris so the rain can flow off of your roof instead of backing up on it. Inspect for leaks before they get the chance to create extensive damage. After water damages have been repaired, a professional can stabilize drywall for future protection.

Restoring Drywall After Water Damage

Here at ServiceMaster, we can professionally remove water and restore your walls to their original condition. The basic idea of drywall restoration is to locate the water damaged area, cut out the wet drywall, and point a fan directly at the affected area to remove any excess moisture. This will be done until all structure is 100% dry. Then the new replacement drywall can be put back in place. We can do these steps for you to save you time and a possible excess amount of money on extensive repairs.

Contact Us Today

Fall IS Coming….

August, it can be argued, is the most beautiful, warm, “reminding us what’s coming” type of month…… with no holidays.

You wake up and think to yourself “its almost the end of the summer, SCHOOL will be back in session soon.” Yet, you still have so much more to do before winter.

Well, now is as good a time as any… get started on checking off that to do list!

Have a picnic. Go on that weekend get-a-way. Start that jogging regimen you’ve been promising yourself yet putting off since January.  OR

Start your preventative maintenance today!

WHAT???!!!!  There’s plenty of time!

Fall is approaching fast, soon the kids will be back in school and then the running around really begins!

So why not……

Clean your gutters, while your up there, see if there are any loose screws or hanging downspouts.  This is important all year ’round, but especially in fall and winter when leaves and snow can accumulate causing damage or ice damming.  Who wants to be out in 20 degree weather fixing that!!??!!  ServiceMaster does!

Check your exposed pipes, make sure they are well insulated against the below freezing temps.  No one wants to deal with a broken water pipe that floods your home!  ServiceMaster does!

How about re-sealing your exposed foundation in the basement.  Ground water can come through the blocks when there is heavy rain or when we have lots of snow that melts fast.  You don’t want to run down to the basement to get your heavy winter blanket granny made and find everything floating around seeing how you lost those precious valuable stored in the basement. And I’m sure you don’t want to be wading through cold water trying to clean everything up!  ServiceMaster does!

These are just a few of the things you should think about before the fast approaching winter comes.

If you have any of these issues… and more, Call Us…   ServiceMaster will take care of it for you.. leaving you a little more stress free.  We will put your house or business back together, good as new, Restoring your Peace of Mind!

 

 

 

Spring Check List……….

Spring is finally here….   Below find a checklist of things you should look for to prepare for the upcoming rainy days.

Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run water from a hose through the roof gutters and downspout; checking for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.  Gutter and downspout leaks can let water in through the roof, which leads to larger problems if undetected.

Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.

Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and recaulk needed area.

Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace when necessary.

Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a dime patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year or in other screens around the house. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace rusty, broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind and freezing temps can ruin screens and frames so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

Drain waste and vent system: Flush out the system.

Hot water heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor.

Evaporative air conditioner: Clean unit, check belt tension and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.  Outside units tend to collect debris over the winter months if not covered.

Heat pump: Lubricate blower motor; this keeps it from causing damage when you fire it up next fall.

Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, fill them in. If you can slide a quarter into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation you are in need of repair. Foundation damage can lead to water leaks into your home… which could lead to additional issues.

Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls for looseness or damage.

Carbon Monoxide and Your Furnace

Staying warm is especially important during this cold winter weather, but there’s a chance your furnace could make you sick.

Homeowners need to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter when furnaces are working overtime and cars are warming up in the garage.  CO (carbon monoxide) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly less dense than air.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 170 people die every year from carbon monoxide that comes from household appliances. A poorly running furnace can not only fail but it can quickly fill a home with carbon monoxide.  Gas pressure can end up being too high which means its burning hot and whenever you burn hot in an appliance, there is a possibility the heat exchange could crack, which would produce carbon monoxide.

Fire officials also echo heating experts and say the best way to prevent carbon monoxide from seeping into your home is to have your furnace checked every year; to make sure it’s not emitting carbon monoxide into your home. A yearly examination usually costs less than $100.

Anything that’s a combustible material, that can burn, has the potential to put out carbon monoxide.

Homeowners should also regularly replace the air filter and make sure snow and ice aren’t building up on the vents outside, because if you don’t pay attention to the largest appliance in your home, it could create a dangerous and even deadly situation.

Another main source of carbon monoxide in your home is your car, and with this winter’s cold weather, you likely warm it up almost daily. If you are going to warm up your car before leaving, DO NOT leave it in the garage, especially without the outside door open. A garage fills up quickly with carbon monoxide which can lead to fatality.

Be on the SAFE side and Check with your furnace company to see the last time you had maintenance, and get that scheduled; winter is still sticking around for awhile!

Freezing Temps and Frozen Pipes :(

Preventing frozen pipes

Risky locations Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when located:    • In an outside wall.    • Under a sink on an outside wall.    • In an unheated crawlspace.

There are a few things you can do to prevent the problem of freezing pipes:

  • Leave the water running at a slight trickle (the size of the lead in a pencil). The dripping water will keep the water in the pipe from freezing.  Be sure to have both hot and cold valves open.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom base cabinets and let room air circulate.
  • Open base cabinets and place a small portable heater near or in it to heat the pipes.
  • Wrap the problem pipe with electrical heat tape.
  • Insulate problem pipes with foam insulation wrap, especially those that run through unheated spaces.
  • Temper the currently unheated crawlspace by placing a heater in the crawlspace. You just need to elevate the crawlspace temperature to modestly above freezing, about 40°F.
  • Remove the hoses from your outdoor faucets, and then turn off the outside water supply at the shut off valve inside the house. 

Tips on thawing frozen pipes

If a pipe bursts before it is thawed, immediately shut off the water at the water main to prevent further damage!

  • Frozen but not ruptured? If you turn on the faucet and the water doesn’t come out or comes out in a trickle, your pipes are probably frozen. You need to act quickly to thaw the frozen pipe before it bursts.
  • Identify the frozen water supply pipe.
  • Open a faucet supplied by the frozen line, even if you have not found the frozen spot.
  • To find the blockage, follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas such as an exterior wall, unheated crawl space or in some cases an unheated basement if the pipe is near an outside wall.
  • Often the frozen area of the pipe will be frosted or have ice on it. If the situation is getting critical the pipe may be slightly bulged or look slightly fissured.

Frozen pipe behind a wall

Leave the main water valve near your water meter open when thawing the pipe.

  • If the frozen pipe is behind a wall or ceiling, you’ve got a challenge on your hands. You have three choices:
  • Turn up the heat in the house and wait.
  • Use an infrared lamp or lamps to heat the wall where you think the frozen area is located. Infrared lamps are better than regular heat lamps because the heat passes through the air without heating it, directing more energy to warming the wall and frozen pipe.
  • Tear out part of the wall or ceiling to get at the frozen section of pipe. Then thaw the pipe as an exposed pipe.

Exposed frozen pipe

Never use a flame torch because of the fire hazard it creates. Open flame torches are the most common cause of pipe thawing related home fires.

  • Heat the pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area. This way, the water can flow out as the ice melts and the water pressure in the pipe will force the ice out once it melts sufficiently.
  • If the frozen pipe is exposed, you have several options.
  • Hair Dryer One of the best and safest ways to thaw the pipe is to heat the area with a high power hair dryer. Again, make sure to open the faucet and then heat the pipe working back from the faucet toward the frozen blockage.
  • Heat Lamp or Space Heater Heat lamps and space heaters works well to heat an exposed pipe. You can use an infrared or incandescent heat lamp. Space heaters should be on a low setting.

If the pipe is close to the wall, put a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help radiate heat onto the back side of the pipe.

Burst Pipe Emergency

As soon as you discover a burst pipe:

Turn off the water supply

  • Turn off the main water shut-off valve. You should find this in the basement or where the service pipe enters your home.
  • Drain the system by turning on all your cold water valves.

Call us to repair the damage: ServiceMaster @ 610-374-1881 or 866-679-1919

  • We have staff on call 24/7/365.  We will professionally clean and dry your home.
  • Note: Electrical wiring damaged by water can be very dangerous. We can help with that as well as any repairs created from the water damage.
  • Note: You might need a reputable plumber to repair the burst or frozen pipe.  We can help with that also.

Do what you can to collect and manage the leak. If water has been leaking through for some time and the ceilings are bulging be careful. The room may not be safe to enter.

  • If you notice the leak quickly you can catch dripping water in buckets.
  • Make a hole in the ceiling to let water out.

Turn off electronics/appliances

  • If water leaks near your electronics or electrical appliances, switch off the breakers for each one of them immediately. If it is wet, don’t touch them!

Driving in Snow and Ice

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared (TIPS), and that you know how to handle road conditions.

It’s helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you’re familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to your vehicle.

Driving safely on icy roads

  1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  3. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  4. Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  6. Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  7. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  8. Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  9. Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

If your rear wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the accelerator.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they’re sliding right, steer right.
  3. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
  4. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  5. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.

If your front wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
  2. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in “drive” or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.

If you get stuck…

  1. Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
  2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
  3. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
  4. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
  5. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
  6. Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner’s manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going

Save a Little Money This Holiday Season

When your budget is already stretched from holiday activities, decorations, gifts and cards, try saving money with these energy-saving tips provided by the California Energy Commission:

  • Cook several of your holiday foods at the same time. Just make sure you leave enough room for the heat to circulate around each dish.
  • Microwaving foods rather than using a conventional oven uses around 50 percent less energy. Try using them to bake sweet potatoes, steam fresh vegetables or heat up leftovers.
  • Remove all needed items from your refrigerator or freezer at one time. Leaving the door open for a longer period of time while you take out the items you need is more efficient than opening and closing it several times.
  • Use your dishwasher. A load of dishes cleaning in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand.
  • Evaluate your holiday lights. While most C7 or C9 energy-efficient bulbs use 5-7 watts per bulb, some of the older strings use up to 10 watts per bulb.

 

Source: http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/tips/holiday.html