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!

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

Remove Furniture Impressions in Your Carpet

As you try to make room in your home to accommodate your holiday decorations, you may find yourself moving and rearranging heavy pieces of furniture. The imprints that furniture can leave behind on carpet are unsightly and will not completely disappear unless you take action.

Our technical experts at ServiceMaster Clean recommend using a clothes steamer to remove the furniture dents. If you do not have a clothes steamer handy, you can use a kitchen towel and an iron. Place a damp towel over the carpet dent. Heat the iron to a medium heat setting then set the iron on the damp towel. You can use the steam button on the iron periodically. Remove the iron and towel to check the carpet. If it is to your liking, use your fingers to fluff the carpet. If the dent still needs work, place the warm iron on the damp towel and repeat.*

Another helpful tip to remove an impression is to place an ice cube in the dent and allow it to melt. The melted ice will revive the carpet fibers. Then use a toothbrush to remove the impression by brushing it in a backward-and-forward motion. Allow the carpet to dry naturally.**

*This process is not suitable for carpets made of olefin fiber.

**Source: http://www.ehow.com/how_7726253_rid-impressions-carpet.html

Cleaning Soot after a Fire….

…. is not an easy task. While it seems like it would be an easy job to get rid of the leftover residue, many times, improper cleaning can make an even bigger mess and sometimes destroy belongings. Before you try doing this on your own, it’s important to know a few facts about soot.

Soot appears dusty but is actually oily and very easy to smear. The best practice for removing soot usually involves a high powered vacuum and NOT touching the surface with it or any attachments. Even the slightest touch can grind the oily soot into the surface, which could cause staining.

How you clean your walls and ceiling depends on what type of walls and ceiling you have. With most finishes, using liquid will set in the stain of soot.  There are products out there that you can buy; one of which is a specially designed sponge for soot cleanup called a ChemSponge. You can also use paint thinner or rubbing alcohol.

If you are cleaning a wall or ceiling painted with satin or semi-gloss paint, use the mixture of one (1) gallon of water with one (1) tablespoon of a corrosive cleaning agent called trisodium phosphate, your local home improvement supply store would carry it. This is also good to clean soot from any kitchen surfaces. Make sure to wear rubber gloves and goggles.

After the initial soot cleanup, prevent additional soot from spreading through your house by changing your filters in heating and air-conditioning systems. For the first year after a fire, change your air filters at least once a month.

Things you should not do:

  • Do not touch anything because the oil from your hands may cause additional      damage by infiltrating walls, woodwork and upholstery.
  • Do not try to wash walls as incorrect cleaning can add to any soot residue.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
  • Do not use any appliances until you have them checked first.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.
  • Do not wash clothing with heavy soot damage, send your belongings to a      qualified restoration dry cleaner for thorough cleaning.

Remember to call ServiceMaster Restore within the first 24 hours of a fire.  The corrosive fumes and soot from smoke/fire can cause permanent damage in less than 72 hours.

Happy Anniversary….. to one of our own ~~ Trucks !!

Warehouse on Wheels

Added to our fleet in 2012, our Warehouse on Wheels celebrates its first year of serving our Disaster Restoration customers.  The truck is a Chevy Express 4500 Cutaway, with a fully equipped interior to better handle all water/fire/mold remediation projects.  This truck hosts a butler truck mount extraction system, and plenty of shelving to hold dehumidifiers, air movers, and other miscellaneous equipment and supplies needed for our technicians to provide you with any emergency service at any time of the day or night.

On the exterior of the truck we had flood lights installed, so if you find yourself in the dark – no worries.  When we arrive on site extra lighting will be provided, if needed.

Our technicians keep the truck fully stocked at all times, which eliminates any down time for loading equipment prior to heading out for an emergency call.

Take a look……

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Not sure what to do when you have Water, Smoke or Fire Damage??

Here is a checklist of what you should do……..

  • Immediately report water, fire, trauma, mold, soot damage to your insurance agent.
  • Call a certified restoration company to secure your property and to mitigate damages.  Your insurance company may provide names and phone numbers of referrals. You are not obligated to use a specific company. ServiceMaster Restore is a full service restoration company; from the initial clean-up to the re-construction process.
  • Document damage with photographs and a list of affected items.
  • Be cautious of the possible contaminants in the affected environment and contents.
  • Turn off any electrical items that may be in or near the affected area.
  • Do not allow children, pets or elderly in the affected areas.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed.
  • Do not attempt to clean soot, smoke, and sewer damaged areas with any liquid. Your cleaning could set the soot or contaminant and cause additional damage.
  • Do not touch items without gloves. Oils in your hands can permanently set soot causing irreversible damage.
  • Do not enter the affected areas. Make sure children and pets do not enter the affected areas.
  • Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment when on the scene and during repair process. The air can be contaminated, debris may be throughout the premises and overhead dangers may be present.
  • Once we come out and start the mitigation process, we will work with you on assessing damages to your structure as well as your contents.
  • Notify your ServiceMaster Restore® representative immediately of any concerns with items of high sentimental or real value.  The rate of survival of items that receive immediate restoration attention can be much higher.
  • ServiceMaster Restore® will, if needed, install equipment to dry-out the water affected structure.
  • Do not turn off or move equipment without contacting ServiceMaster Restore® as well as any power failure issues.

ServiceMaster Restore is committed to Restoring Your Peace of Mind !

 

Prevent Sewage Drain Back-Ups

Just as your body requires attention to prevent illness and maintain health, so does your home – especially when it comes to ensuring your home’s main drain system keeps on doing its job.  What comes in must go out, and half of plumbing is about getting rid of waste.  Drains, waste, and vents – commonly called the DWV system – are the last visible and least glamorous elements of your home’s plumbing. The trunk of the DWV tree is the soil stack; all drains and vents feed into it.

Here is some preventive maintenance steps that will help you guard against future problems with your home’s main drain.

Kitchen Sink

 Reduce the amount of cooking grease and fats going down the drain.

 Wipe greasy pans with a paper towel before washing.

 Use a degreaser regularly to prevent grease and sludge build-ups.

Garbage Disposer

 Follow manufacturer recommendations for proper usage.

 Run ample water before, during and after disposer use.

 If the garbage disposer is not functioning properly, depress the unit reset button, typically located at the bottom of the unit.

Bathroom Sink

 Run ample water washing soap, shaving cream and toothpaste down the drain.

 Use degreasers or enzymes to prevent build-up of body oils and soap residue.

Tub or Shower

 Install strainer to catch hair and foreign objects.

 Use degreasers or enzymes to prevent build-up of body oils and soap residue

Toilet

 Avoiding storing or placing small objects on the toilet tank or around the toilet.

 Keep the seat cover closed.

Laundry

 Keep your washer’s lint trap clean.

 Install a lint catcher on the laundry drain hose and clean it regularly.

 Use degreasers or enzymes to prevent build-up of body oils and soap residue.

Water Heater

 Follow manufacturer recommendations for proper use.

 Drain regularly according to manufacturer recommendations.

 Inspect for signs of leakage and rust.

 Listen for unusual noises.

Because it’s really never seen, your home’s drain can easily be forgotten. That is, until it’s not working properly!   If it did get clogged and found you now have an overflow… Contact ServiceMasterac.com to clean and sanitize. 610-374-1881

Driveways and sidewalks need periodic maintenance, too.

• Remove any grass or weeds that are encroaching or growing in cracks on the driveway or sidewalk.

• Continue this by giving a thorough cleaning with a pressure washer or the high stream setting on your garden hose to remove dirt and grime.

• Once your driveway or sidewalk has dried, patch any cracks or holes in concrete surfaces with a concrete resurfacer.

• If needed, asphalt drives can be restored by applying a coat of latex asphalt sealer to make them look good as new.

CHECK OUT THIS HOME DEPOT DO IT YOURSELF VIDEO!!!

http://youtu.be/nIEll-lmsQE