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What to Do During and After a Commercial Fire

8/13/2020 (Permalink)

What to Do During and After a Commercial Fire:

Preparing for a home fire is a wise investment, however how many of us prepare for a fire at work?

Below, the fire damage experts from SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County explain what to do during and after a commercial fire.

Safety Steps for Employers & Employees

Contrary to popular belief, fire alarm and a fire sprinkler system are not directly connected. This means that when the fire alarm goes off, the sprinkler system will not necessarily activate at the same time. Moreover, some buildings simply don’t have a fire sprinkler system.

The fire alarm is your primary warning to evacuate the building.

Don’t assume that because the sprinklers aren’t activated that no fire exists. Because commercial buildings lack the compartmented features of a house, the fire has the potential to grow much larger, much faster.

Once the alarm sounds, help inform others that may not hear the alarm. If you’re not working on the ground floor, do not attempt to use an elevator.

Look for the closest stairwell exit. Hold your hand to the door knob (don’t touch it), to check for heat.

If the doorknob feels warm, there may be fire on the other side. If possible, find another exit.

Once outside, do not attempt to go back inside the building. If someone is missing, wait for emergency responders to arrive.

Some commercial fire alarm systems will contact emergency services automatically. Once it’s safe to do so, call 9-1-1 to ensure that help is on the way. Inform first responders of anyone who might still be inside.

How to Handle Fire Cleanup

Burned or damaged buildings are vulnerable to break-ins and other offenses. Once the building has been cleared for re-entry, it’s critical that anything valuable is removed. This includes the personal belongings of employees as well as expensive business property.

Once the valuables have been removed, damaged and destroyed property must be carefully documented. You’ll also need to contact your insurance company.

Business owners who want to be sure they’re getting the most out of their insurance policy trust SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County to document and negotiate with the insurance companies.

In addition, SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County can repair damage, clean, and sanitize a fire-damaged work space as well as restore it to like-new condition—this includes expensive property contents like furniture, electronics, paper documents and more.

Avoid the impulse to clean up the property before a thorough investigation has been completed. Insurance companies will want documentation of everything in your claim. If you clean up evidence, you could lose money in the claims process.

Stay Informed; Be Prepared

Every minute counts when it comes to your business. One of the best ways to avoid further damage after a commercial fire is to stay informed and be prepared.

In addition to coordinating a fire safety plan with employees, knowing who to call and when can save you time and money on commercial cleaning and restoration.

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County is available 24 hours day, 7 days a week . We’ll be there when you need us, so you can get back to work faster after an unexpected disaster.

Call us today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.232.5213

Things to look for in an Emergency Restoration Company

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

When your commercial property suffers damage due to disaster, it’s vital to initiate comprehensive disaster management services to get your business back in working order as fast as possible.

Fires, floods, and severe storms can seriously damage your commercial property. Following a disaster, prompt professional restoration services can reduce the compounding problems that are sure to arise when moisture isn’t dealt with fast.

  • Fire incidents—produce soot and damage due to smoke as well as moisture from firefighting
  • Storms and floods—leave behind moisture and can create mold infestation

Here are some things to look for in a commercial emergency restoration management program:

1. 24-Hour Emergency Response Team

Time is a factor when prompt emergency response is needed. The sooner your commercial property’s restoration begins, the better. Look for a company accessible to you seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Rapid response and mobilization of restoration services help you get back to business even after disaster strikes. Faster restoration services lead to decreased impact on your property.

2. Comprehensive Services

Disaster remediation has several types of services necessary to restore commercial properties. Here are some vital ingredients to look for when it comes to disaster remediation:

  • Remediation of the disaster incident
  • Debris and residue clean up
  • Decontamination and deodorization
  • If necessary, relocation of property contents to a facility where they can be professionally restored

3. Coordinate with Your Insurance

Look for an emergency restoration company that communicates efficiently and effectively with your insurance adjuster and/or agent. Insurance claims can be a hassle, yet they are vital to disaster insurance coverage. Find a company that will coordinate with your efforts so you can file your claim accurately and promptly. This includes providing you with detailed documentation of the problems and solutions required to get your property back to normal.

4. Digital File Storage and Project Updates

Look for a company that can save photos digitally and record the progress of you job online. This keeps you informed through the cleanup and reconstruction process so you stay in control of the restoration of your business’ property.

5. Equipment

Look for a reputable company with the up-to-date equipment needed to provide you with disaster remediation and reconstruction with excellence.

6. Safe and reliable

Hire a company who follows safety regulations during emergency restoration, and swiftly performs the services you need to get back to work.

7. Experience & Expertise

Find a company with multiple years of experience in restoring businesses after disaster strikes. They should have certifications such as from the IICRC to assure you they can scale up and know how to handle even the worst disaster scenarios.

8. Priority service

Look for a company that will give your commercial property priority service.

9. Costs

Look for a company who can keep costs of restoration fair, with a quick response and an established plan for restoration.

Water Damage in your Commercial Space? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. 502.241.6861

How to choose a Restoration Company for Biohazard clean up

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

A crime or traumatic event is one of the hardest things to imagine ever happening to you or someone you know. So, when something tragic does happen, it’s an emotionally and mentally draining experience. And if the event has occurred in your commercial property, that’s even more challenging because of the cleanup involved in restoring your property back to normal and ensuring it is safe and sanitary for use again.

Whether you’re facing such an event now that has you stressed, or just considering ways to prepare yourself ahead of time for the challenges of being a property owner, there is no time like the present to learn what’s involved in the cleanup of your business should a crime or trauma occur there. These facts can help you be prepared for the worst and be knowledgeable about how to choose a reputable, compassionate crime scene and trauma cleanup-company so you can make the right decisions for your property and get back to normal life as soon as possible.

Is the company certified for crime scene and trauma cleanup?

Unlike the more common cleanup problems that a property can face, cleaning up after a crime or other trauma has occurred involves a very specific, regulated approach. For example, blood and other biohazard contaminants can pose a serious health risk if not removed and discarded of properly. And there may be other hazards in need of removal, all of which may be regulated by local, state, and federal laws to ensure public safety.

Because this type of property restoration is so specialized and demanding, it’s important to select a crime scene and trauma cleanup company that is appropriately certified by the appropriate municipal authorities. A reputable company will be able to provide you with evidence of current certification and assurances of how they remove and discard materials that may be a health hazard.

Is the company well trained, experienced, and properly equipped?

Restoring property after damage due to a crime or trauma often requires the use of specialized equipment and cleaning materials that aren’t necessarily available at your nearest store. A professional crime scene and trauma cleanup company will have everything they need to do the job right. This includes special cleaning agents to handle hard-to-remove stains, as well as ridding the residue that may be left behind from products such as fingerprint powder, evidence-gathering chemicals, pepper spray, and tear gas.

At SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County, our professional technicians have years of combined experience and training in the use of state-of-the-art equipment to help ensure that your property is properly, thoroughly cleaned so you can rest assured in a job well done.

Does the company assist you with documentation for financial assistance and file insurance claims?

You might not realize it, but property insurance policies often offer coverage for a variety of emergency cleanup scenarios, including crime and trauma-related events. And many municipalities and government agencies offer financial assistance and victim relief funds for disaster cleanup because it’s a public health issue. This can include not just floods and other natural disasters, but crime, suicide, and violence related issues as well.

A good crime scene and trauma cleanup company can help point you in the right direction as you locate the various types of financial assistance that may be available to you in your situation. And they should be willing and able to promptly provide you with any documentation you need to file financial assistance, insurance claims, and related paperwork.

Need Help Fast?

When you’re facing an emergency such as a crime or trauma on your property, you need swift assistance in getting things cleaned up and back to normal quickly, so you can go about your life and business again with peace of mind. The professional, experienced, caring team at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County is here to assist you in doing just that.

Contact us today. 502.241.6861

Preventing Basement Flooding with Landscaping

6/26/2020 (Permalink)

Landscaping can add some serious curb appeal to your home, whether you enjoy shrubs and flowers or a more zero scape look, each home is unique. Landscaping gives each homeowner a chance to create the look they desire and show off their creativity. The downside to some landscaping choices is that they can contribute to water entering your home, usually into the basement. In fact, some flooding problems may be directly related to the landscaping around your house. Here are a few things you can do to your landscaping to prevent flooding.

Grade Your Lawn the Right Direction

Landscaping that grades towards your house instead of away from it may lead to flooding in your basement. You want to make sure that you are directing the water away from your home when it rains. One way you, as a homeowner, can prevent this is to install a dry creek bed in your yard that can provide a path for water to flow away from your house.

Determine How Water is Entering the House

If you notice that you have water in your basement after a rainstorm, investigate where that water is coming in. A possible culprit could be your sump pump. If the sump pump is not dispelling water far enough away from your home, you could be experiencing water intrusion. Also, foundation cracks can be the cause of water entering your basement.

Direct Downspouts Away from the Home

Downspouts should properly direct water away from your house. If your downspout is too short, it can cause water to pool near your foundation which can lead to water intrusion. During a rainstorm, you can go outside to ensure that the water coming from the downspout is flowing away from your home. If needed, you can extend the downspout, given you have the space.

Leave a Gap Between Mulch and Siding

Mulch can be a great option for landscaping however, if you choose this material, you may want to consider leaving a gap between the mulch and your siding. Mulch soaks up moisture so when that rests on the siding of your home, it can cause that siding to rot over time. Leaving as little as a 6-inch gap can help prevent this.

Next time it rains, step outside and do a walk around the perimeter of your home. Check the landscaping you have around your house and see if you notice any areas of pooling water or perhaps a downspout that you can tell is not leading the water where it should be.

Checking the surroundings of your home as a preventative measure, before you have a flood, can save you and your home in the long run. If your home has already experienced basement flooding, contact the Mitigation experts here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today.

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

Hail Damage: Steps to Follow After A Storm

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Depending on your roof material, it isn't always easy to determine whether it has sustained hail damage after a storm. For example, if your building has asphalt shingles or a metal roof, you may be able to see obvious dents. However, on a built-up (tar and gravel) roof, you may be no visible signs of damage. 

Why is Determining the Extent of Roof Hail Damage Important?
Whether or not hail damage is visible, roof repair costs add up fast, as do the costs from water damage that could impact your building if the roof is not repaired properly. Bear in mind that it can take several years for hail damage to lead to water incursion issues, and most hail damage insurance policies only give you one year from the date of a loss to file a claim.

This is why it’s so important to know what to consider after a hail storm—even when you don’t see obvious signs of damage. Before we discuss a few of the items to survey and consider after a hail storm, let’s quickly look at the interplay between hail and a few common roofing types.

Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles include a fiberglass membrane that needs to stay structurally sound for the shingles to protect the roof from the elements. The issue is not simply cosmetic when hail damages the membrane; over the course of several years the shingles will begin to disintegrate, which can actually lead to significant water damage. Given the slow-to-appear nature of the damage, and the high costs of replacing a roof on your own dime, it’s important take a close look at asphalt shingles after a storm (you can very rarely determine the extent of the damage from the ground).

Flat Roofs
Flat roofs are constructed using a variety of materials that often look perfectly fine after a hail storm, but may be damaged. For example, TPO or PVC roofs may not show any visible damage, but large hail could break the fiberglass mesh underneath the shell, which will cause the roof to wear out faster than normal. Often times, there is a recovery board or insulation layer under TPO or PVC roofs that can be compromised, impacting the fire rating of the substrate to these types of roofs.

Built-up roofing systems (tar and gravel) can also be difficult to assess because there are often no clear visual indicators of hail damage. Built-up roofing is put together using several crisscrossing layers of black tar paper or felt, each of which gets saturated with tar. While the top layer (which is often covered in a thin layer of gravel) may look completely unchanged after a big hail storm, the felt membranes may in fact be dented and damaged. Over time, the expansion and contracting of the tar can lead to water incursion in the damaged areas. Fortunately there is a method to assess damage to built-up roofing, which involves shipping a small cutout portion of the roof to a lab that can dissolve the tar to assess the felt membranes.

Metal Roofing
Metal roofing systems are often pieced together using two to three-foot-wide strips. In some cases, hail may only cause visual damage to the metal in the form of dents. But in many cases, hail could also damage the seams and joints of the metal strips across the roof, which could lead to water leaks and associated damage.

When Do You Need Professional Help? Three Helpful Indicators:
Hail comes in many sizes and densities, so it can be difficult to know when you actually need to be concerned about damage. Whether you’re staring at piles of pea-sized hail on the ground after a 20-minute storm or there were only a couple of minutes of golf-ball size hail, here are some signs that indicate it would be a good idea to at least talk to a professional:

  • Damaged vehicles—If the roofs of nearby cars were dented, then there’s a good chance your building also sustained hail damage (especially if you have a roof type that won’t show visible damage). 
  • Damaged siding, downspouts or windows—If you are unable to safely inspect your roof, hail damage to other parts of your building, such as dented downspouts or siding, can be a good indicator you may need to take action.
  • Work on neighboring properties—If a neighboring building sustained hail damage and is being repaired, it’s a sign you should more closely inspect your roof and building. This can be especially helpful if you have a difficult-to-evaluate roof type and your initial survey of the area doesn’t indicate any trouble. 

With any storm that creates roof damage it is always a wise decision to seek the help of a roof contractor. 

Leaky Windows and Water Damage

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

If you suspect or witness a window leak, there are a few things you can do to assist your home repair professional with diagnosing and solving the problem. During the next rain event or storm, ask yourself the following questions and note your observations:

  1. Does the window always leak when it rains? Or only in a heavy downpour
  2. Does the window leak when the rain is being driven by wind from a particular direction?
  3. Approximately long has the window been leaking? Can you identify any particular event associated with the first time you noticed the window leak? (i.e. significant storm, icing out, high winds, etc.)
  4. Has the window leak worsened? Or remained consistent over time?
  5. Have you attempted to stop the leak? If so, what has been done to prevent it? Has that helped?
  6. If you can obtain this information, find out who built your home and when it was constructed.

Providing this key information can make the handyman’s job easier and his repair more effective. It can also help determine correct parts and materials needed, more importantly, if your leak is still covered by a warranty.

Spotting Window Leaks

A window leak may look different from how you might imagine. The most obvious, of course, is water and visible moisture on the window or around it. 

 

The good news is you don’t have to panic. A talented home repair expert can decipher what is going on to isolate, and solve the problem.

The bad news is that the longer something like wood rot and mold growth goes unattended, the worse things will get, not just for your home but for your budget too.

What many homeowners don’t realize is that window leaks during rain are often the result of improper home construction or poorly installed windows. Solutions such as caulk may keep some water out but they leave the real problem unaddressed, possibly leading to expensive structural repairs down the road.

Bigger Problems Than Just Window Leaks

A window leak can be the cause of a lot of things, and one cause many homeowners overlook is the box gutter. If you’ve ever had box gutter issues in the past and suffer from unexplained window leaks, your box gutter may be to blame.

Water Damage as a result of a window leak. Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

Repairing Your Basement Water Damage

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage in the basement is a common issue for many homeowners, and it is imperative that you know how to repair basement water damage. There are many potential ways for water to come into the home, including seepage through cracks in the foundation, broken pipes in the plumbing system, sump pump failures or malfunctions, leaks around windows, and improper grading that allows water to pool up around the foundation. It’s possible to recognize and address some of those problems before the basement is harmed, but situations such as clogs in the municipal sewer system or heavy rainstorms and flooding cannot always be avoided.

During the First 48 Hours:

What steps should you take to avoid serious damages while you wait for professionals to arrive? There are several steps you should take immediately. Putting off the work for an hour or two could have long-lasting consequences. The first 48 hours is a crucial point. Take action within this time frame to prevent lasting damage to your basement materials as well as your homes contents. This is also your chance to avoid a potential mold problem.

1: Turn Off Gas and Electricity

Before you go near the water, be sure to turn off the electricity and natural gas. Never enter a flooded area until the electricity and gas have been turned off and/or disconnected. The combination of electricity and water presents electrocution hazards. Floodwaters often damage appliances, increasing the risk of harm from the gas or electricity.

2: Contact Your Insurance Company and Restoration Professionals

Find out whether your insurance policy covers any of the damages. There’s a wide variety of differences in policies, but most companies require you to purchase a special insurance to cover flooding. Sometimes, however, damages from the plumbing system or a leaking water heater may be covered. Call your insurance company to get accurate information and tell them you plan on contacting United Water Restoration Group for your water remediation professionals. Sometimes your insurance company will offer you other companies but ultimately, it is up to the homeowner to decide which company they would like to use.

3: Remove Water Quickly

Begin by removing as much water as you can, as quickly as possible. You could use buckets, mops, towels, sponges, and a wet-dry vacuum. It’s a good idea to open windows and doors, so water moves through the basement, carrying out moisture-filled air.

4: Move Your Belongings to a Dry Area

With drying underway, your next step is to remove your belongings to a dry area. Be aware that as furnishings absorb water, they become very heavy. If you’re not prepared to safely lift and handle the additional weight, you could injure your back or legs. Slips and falls create other hazards when there’s standing water because surfaces become slick and it’s hard to see submerged items. Take precautions to safely transport couches, carpeting, appliances, and other belongings from the basement. Move them to a dry, well-ventilated area.

5: Discard Damaged Possessions

Unfortunately, some of your belongings may not be salvageable. If you’ve acted within 48 hours of the flooding, there’s a chance to save porous or organic items. However, you must have these items completely dry before the 48 hours have passed. However, take extra care with the following materials:

  • Carpeting
  • Drywall
  • Fabrics
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Paper
  • Upholstered furnishings
  • Wood

If these items aren’t thoroughly dried, mold could develop inside the belongings and cause more damage in the future.

Beware of the Risk of Mold

If the water in your basement has been there for more than a day, there may be mold present. Professionals can address this problem as part of their work. However, it is too easy to transfer mold from the basement to other areas of the home. Spores travel on moving air and through ventilation systems. Spores may also travel on shoes and clothing. Take steps to prevent the transfer of mold from the flooded area to the clean part of the home.

Although you may know how to repair basement water damage, it can be dangerous to address mold without the assistance of a professional. If the flooding resulted in gray or black water, don’t attempt to do any cleanup work on your own. These contaminated waters can harbor pollutants, chemicals, and waste that cause serious health problems.

Protect Your Home From Future Flooding

Focus part of your recovery efforts on flood-proofing your home against future trouble. Take this opportunity to upgrade pipes and appliances. Replace the sump pump or learn how to properly maintain your water heater. Replace basement materials with products that won’t suffer if flooding happens again.

As always if you have Water Damage in your basement contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

Causes of Standing Water In Your Yard

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Standing water is caused by many things: soil that doesn't absorb water, grading issues, etc. Try these drainage steps to keep your yard above water.

Keeping your lawn green is a matter of pride. So it can be upsetting to find large puddles of standing water in your yard. Not only is stagnant water unsightly, it can also kill your grass, damage ornamental plants, compromise your home’s foundation, become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and be symptom of larger problems.

What causes water to accumulate on your lawn? What are the best methods of eliminating standing water? Here’s what homeowners need to know.

Causes of Standing Water

When stagnant water forms on your property, it can be a sign of easily correctable habits or more fundamental design flaws.

Be cautious of over watering your lawn. If your home is equipped with an automatic sprinkler or irrigation system, you may need to make certain adjustments to address a problem with standing water. Try watering your lawn less frequently and/or for shorter periods of time.

If altering your gardening and maintenance habits doesn’t correct the issue, further investigation may be necessary. The following are common culprits in cases of standing water.

Grading. Lawns should be graded  or leveled to ensure proper drainage. The slope should trend away from the house and direct run-off down towards the street, alleyway or storm sewer. If your landscaping doesn’t take the proper angle, water may collect on your lawn faster that it can drain. Improper drainage can also cause natural low spots in your yard to accumulate more and more water with each rainfall.

ThatchProper drainage also depends on your lawn’s permeability. A permeable lawn allows water to seep into the earth instead of collecting on the surface. If grass clippings or leaf litter clog on your lawn, they can prevent the soil from absorbing water as it would under normal conditions. 

SoilsHard, compact soils and heavy, sticky clay soils are also less absorbent and prevent surface water from seeping into the ground.

Hard subsoil. Hardpan is a thick layer of impervious subsoil. Hardpan can be naturally occurring, or it can be the result of construction equipment densely compacting yards and lawns which are then topped with a layer of topsoil, disguising the issue. Once water percolates down to the hardpan, it has nowhere else to go and begins pooling.

High water table. As rain seeps into the earth, it becomes groundwater. This groundwater forms a water table, a completely saturated level of subsurface soil and rock. In some instances, however, the water table can rise very close to the surface, creating waterlogged conditions. 

Ways To Get Rid of Standing Water

Fortunately, you don’t have to live with standing water. Depending on the ultimate cause of your standing water problem, you can take immediate action to boost your lawn’s ability to shed water.

Re-grade. Consult with a professional landscaper on re-grading the terrain around your home. Be sure to request that the landscaper provide a survey of your lawn’s low-lying points, natural channels and drainage outlets.

De-thatch. You can remove heavy thatch using a dethatcher, vertical mower, or even a simple lawn rake. Once you’ve removed the plant debris, pierce the turf with a garden fork or a lawn aerator. The small holes you make should be at least 4 inches deep and spaced 2 inches apart. Aerated soil is not only soil that drains properly — it’s also healthier soil.

Break it up. In order to make your lawn more amenable to water absorption, work organic matter into your soil. Garden compost, leaf mold and manure will all open the soil up and create more minute channels through which water can escape.

DigFor hardpan problems, a shovel may be the best solution. If the hardpan is less than 2 feet thick, wait for a dry spell and then dig up as much as you can. If you can’t break up the hardpan yourself, consult with a professional contractor who specializes in drilling through densely packed subsoil.

Make accommodations. A high water table is a much more difficult issue to address. Instead, it’s a fact of life that you will likely have to work around. However, you can still improve drainage by increasing the depth of your lawn borders. You can also add layers of soil to create raised beds. Finally, you can landscape using more shallow-rooted plants capable of surviving wet conditions.

Install a French drain. A french drain (also known as a curtain drain) is actually a comprehensive drainage system made from rather simple materials. A graded trench directs the flow of water away from the home. The trench is then filled in with gravel, which lets gravity do the work of channeling the water into a perforated pipe that sits at the trench’s base.

Don’t let standing water keep you and your family from enjoying the outdoor areas around your home. By identifying the cause of your drainage problem and relying on good common sense, you can ensure that gray clouds don’t linger even after the storms have passed.

Water Damage to your home as a result of standing water? Call the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

Humidity and Your Home

5/27/2020 (Permalink)

Humidity can be beneficial for many things, from keeping your skin moisturized to minimizing the spread of airborne viruses. However, coming home to a humid space can be a real damper. If you’ve ever come home to muggy air, you may have at some point, simply wondered…why?

CAUSES OF HOME HUMIDITY

High home humidity ultimately boils down to an accumulation of excess moisture. This moisture can accumulate when you:

  1. Have a leak in your home
  2. Improper ventilation
  3. Shower, cook, and/or clean in a room without windows or fans

But how do you know for sure that your home is too humid?

INDICATIONS OF A HUMID HOME

There’s a great chance that the humidity level in your home has gotten relatively high if:

  • Your windows have moisture on them
  • The air feels still or stale
  • There are water stains on your walls and ceilings
  • You can smell a musty odor

If you not sure that your home is too moist, you can measure your home’s humidity levels with a relatively inexpensive humidity monitor. The ideal home humidity levels will fall somewhere between 40% and 60%. That being said, the indoor humidity may change based on seasonality—it’ll likely trend more towards the higher end of the range during summer and towards the lower end of range during the winter months.

HOW TO REDUCE YOUR HOMES HUMIDITY LEVELS

There a number of ways to clear the air in your home when it starts to weigh you down. Here are a few of the most effective ones.

  • Ventilate

    Use the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom to get rid of excess moisture. If you don’t have access to exhaust fans, be sure to crack a window open to get rid of the stale air. Covering pots and pans while cooking can also suppress additional moisture levels in your home. Turn on any ceiling or box fans to increase air circulation. Be sure that your clothes dryer vents outside.

  • Turn on your Air Conditioner.

    While you may be saving on your electric bill by not running your air conditioner, you are actually contributing to that muggy feeling in your home. Instead of turning your your A/C completely off, set your thermostat to a higher than normal temperature. Or open the windows and turn on fans to keep cool.

  • Use a Dehumidifier.

    Dehumidifiers do exactly what you need them to: pull excess moisture out of the air. They also get rid of musty odors, protect furniture, reduce pests, and prevent mold in the process. 

EFFECTS OF HAVING A HUMID HOME.

  • Mold grows and thrives in humid spaces. Constant exposure to mold can lead to  health problems for those allergic to it.
  • Heat exhaustion can be a result of living in a too-humid home. Once you’ve started sweating, the excess moisture trapped in a humid home keeps the sweat on your skin instead of letting it naturally evaporate. You may become dehydrated as you lose moisture through your skin. If you experience this issue, be sure to drink lots of water and avoid physical exertion until your body adjusts to the higher temperature or you dehumidify your home.
  • Indoor air pollutants are exacerbated by high humidity levels. Dust mites, in particular, thrive in humid environments. Using an air purifier and changing your A/C filter once per month will help mitigate these effects. However, it’s best to just reduce your home humidity levels to squash the issue.
  • Higher cooling costs go hand-in-hand with humid homes. The high humidity levels make the home feel hotter, so you’ll probably run the air conditioner more to feel cooler and potentially end up with heat exhaustion as we discussed earlier.

Keep in mind, you won’t have to deal with these effects the sooner you get your home humidity levels back in that ideal range of 40% to 60%. Dehumidifying your home is definitely worth your effort. 

How to Prepare for Summer Storms

5/20/2020 (Permalink)

With tornado season approaching it's time to start thinking about your summer storm preparedness plans as well as supplies needed. Even if you don't live in Tornado Alley or on the Gulf or Atlantic coasts, a severe thunderstorm can happen anywhere and have devastating effects.

In this the kind of weather you hunker down and ride it out, however, you'll need some supplies on hand to make you more comfortable. Here are some of the goodies you'll want to have on hand before the next batch of bad weather hits and knocks your electricity out.

Communications

You won’t exactly know what’s going on in your area unless you have some means of listening to the news and or weather reports. A small battery-operated radio can become one of your most valuable possessions. Be sure to purchase one that broadcasts the NOAA weather bands (which are very informative in bad weather) and is rechargeable as well. There are models that are solar powered,  which can be charged with a hand crank, or take a charge via USB, and some that feature all three options. If a weather radio is not an option, use any radio you’ve got in order to stay informed, even the one in your car will work providing it's safe to be in your vehicle.

 Water

If you live in an urban or suburban area and a storm knocks out your power, the water may soon follow. If you draw water from your own well, then your supply will be gone as soon as the power is out. Store ample amounts of drinking water for you and your family in a place that is cool and dark. Gallon jugs are easy to carry and their size can help with water rationing. Set aside 3 gallons per family member to last through the average storm emergency. Should you run out, it's wise to have disinfection options to resupply from other water sources.

Food and Cooking

Stock up on foods that you know your family will like, and pay special attention to foods that are ready to eat. MRE's (meals ready to eat) are good, but they are expensive and would possibly be rejected by picky eaters. Easy-to-cook foods can be manageable, if you are prepared and have a cooking source. Sterno cans, alcohol stoves, and MRE heaters will warm up some foods for you, without any home ventilation issues. Other types of camping stoves can serve your needs given you have proper ventilation. Cooking outside after the weather has cleared is another option. You can grill those rapidly defrosting steaks you had in the suddenly useless freezer. If none of these are an option for you, eat cold foods. Peanut butter and crackers, canned meats and crackers, cold sandwiches, and all kinds of snacks can be eaten without the bother or dangers of cooking. Don't forget to have extra food for your family pets as well.


 

First Aid Supplies

Emergencies and injuries seem to coincide. This makes first aid gear an important part of your self-reliance strategies. If you currently don't have a first aid kit, buy a pre-stocked one from the store and beef it up by adding your most commonly used medications and additional supplies for wound management, such as extra gauze, dressings, and antibiotic ointments. Their are plenty of examples of what your kit should contain on the internet.

Lighting
While a room full of candles might sound like a cozy place, it can be a  serious fire hazard. The last thing you need during a severe storm is your for your house to catch fire and the firefighters unable to reach you through the blinding wind and rain. Buy several different items that provide battery-powered light for your home, and keep the candles to a minimum. Choose LED lights, as they're typically very bright and a very long battery life. Keep extra batteries on hand, in case you get caught in the dark longer than expected.

Following these simple steps will better prepare your family for approaching summer storms.