RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Flood Cleanup: What to Do After a Storm

September 12, 2014 1:45 am

With forecasters predicting a more severe and dramatic storm season in 2014, home and business owners should be prepared for any type of weather. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration and Certification (IICRC) offers a quick-reference guide for flood cleanup.

“When it comes to storms, education is essential,” said IICRC Chairman Tony Wheelwright. “We want to make sure homeowners and business owners have access to these materials so they are able to act quickly and correctly when the time comes.”

The IICRC recommends taking these steps:

1. Prepare before.
If a storm in your area is imminent and you are at a high risk for flooding, make sure you are prepared. Before the storm hits, gather valuable items or documents and store them in a secure, dry place. Clear all debris from gutters and downspouts and check your sump pump to ensure it is working properly. You will also want to remove items from lower floors or raise them up off of the floor to help minimize damage to property.

2. Stay cautious.
Prior to entering any storm or flood-damaged building, be wary of structural integrity and other safety hazards, such as falling debris or shock hazards. Make sure to shut off all electricity in the affected areas, even if the electricity is down, as it is oftentimes restored without notice.

Also, make sure that you have the proper personal protective equipment and try to stay out of floodwaters as much as possible to further reduce the risk of injury. Items such as protective clothing, sturdy shoes, gloves, eye protection and an organic vapor respirator (paint respirator) can protect you from exposure to dangerous microorganisms that can grow quickly.

3. Work quickly. Even though it can take mold a few days to appear, anything that can be done to control or minimize its speed of growth is vital. Mold thrives in moist environments with stale air, organic food sources (paper, wood) and temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. To reduce these risks, keep air moving by opening windows and doors. Fresh air discourages the growth of mold and other microorganisms and can also help reduce inhalation risks.

4. Clean and disinfect everything. The first step in the cleanup process is to remove and dispose of all, wet porous components such as mattresses, pillows, molding, insulation and portions of damaged walls. This also includes floor coverings such as carpet, pads, laminate, tile and sheet vinyl. Wood flooring should also be removed to expose wet saturation pockets underneath and allow for proper drying, cleaning and sanitizing.

Other items such as wet clothing, furniture and household fabrics can usually be salvageable after a hot machine wash, a lengthy detergent soak and the liberal use of a disinfectant solution. Structural areas such as wall cavities, studs and other fixtures will also need to be properly disinfected. This can be done by pressure washing with detergent solutions working from top to bottom.

5. Dry it out. The next step is to allow the space to dry thoroughly before reconstruction. This is possibly the most difficult step for home and business owners because even if a surface feels dry to the touch, that doesn’t mean it is. Dryness is very difficult to measure and often requires a professional moisture assessment.

Beginning your reconstruction before your space is thoroughly dry can cause dry rot, ongoing structural damage and negative health effects. In most cases, the above procedures may require the assistance of a professional. Water damage restoration companies employ trained technicians who specialize in cleaning, biocides, extraction, drying and moisture measuring. Make sure, however, that the company you choose has proper licensing, liability insurance and employs trained technicians in water restoration services.

Source: IICRC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Five Ways to Help Your Plants Survive Winter

September 12, 2014 1:45 am

During the fall cool-down, it’s important to take time to prepare your plants for impending winter weather. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Polar Vortex is on track to return in 2014, with temperatures plummeting during winter months. Homeowners with gardens must protect their plantings early this fall to avoid the harsh effects of cold weather to come.

Below are five of the most common garden varieties, and ways to prepare them for the first frost:

1. Hydrangeas: To keep them safe this winter, start by tracking the weather. When temperatures will be consistently below freezing, cover the crown of your hydrangea with mulch, leaves or straw before snow arrives. Snow insulates the crown and keeps it alive.

If you don’t have snow, be sure the crown is fully protected by covering the plant with a garbage bag full of leaves. Alternatively, you can plant a re-blooming hydrangea that blooms on previous year's growth and new growth. That means that even if a cold winter kills buds on last season's growth, you will still see blooms on new growth in late spring and summer.

2. Roses:
Roses can mean apprehension for many gardeners, especially when it comes to cold winter hardiness in the northern part of the United States. Cover new plantings with mulch, oak leaves or marsh hay in an 8-inch mound from the crown once temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the plant has gone completely dormant. An added tip: keep the plants disease-free throughout winter and spring by raking away fallen leaves and petals before mulching or snowfall.

3. Evergreens: To prevent winter burn, plant varieties of evergreen that are extremely cold-tolerant and will survive even the worst of winters. If you have a collector plant or two that tends to struggle in the winter, cover it with burlap or other material for the coldest and windiest days. If you have heavy snow and notice branches breaking under the weight, brush snow off the weakest limbs.

4. Trees: If your trees are starting to change color earlier than normal, especially in these first weeks of September, it may be a sign of stress. This can be caused by poor soil conditions, too much or too little water, or if the tree is planted too deeply. You can either transplant the tree, switch to weekly watering of your lawn, or grade the soil so that the root flare (where the trunk flares out to the root system) is even with the soil level.

5. Container Plantings: As you prepare for winter, there are a few options for homeowners to protect container plants: treat them like annuals, tossing the plants away and start fresh the next spring; plant in the ground to over-winter the shrubs; or keep the containers and protect them from the winter cold.

Looking ahead to another colder-than-average winter may seem discouraging, but with a few extra preparations, homeowners and gardeners can set the stage for a beautiful and blooming spring.

Source: Bailey Nurseries

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags: