Digging Deep

You had a loss on your home, whether it be from water or fire.  You filed a claim, and the adjuster gave you an option of one or two companies that they deem are, “approved vendors.”  The restoration company comes out to the property and begins the mitigation work which takes anywhere from a day to several weeks.  The job is finally finished and you notice some discrepancies.  What now?

What you may not have known, is first and foremost the approved vendor is nothing more than a franchise who’s sole base of business comes exclusively from the insurance company.  Without this agreement, the franchise would cease to exist.  Secondly, it is your full right to request a copy of the estimates put together from the restoration company to see exactly what they billed for against the services provided.  So many cases we see restoration contractors billing for several items that they never completed or a list of equipment that never saw the inside of your property.

These cases of fraud can exhaust your monies and leave you with little to nothing when it comes to the reconstruction needed to return your home to pre-loss conditions.  If this should happen, you absolutely must report this to your insurance company.  And remember, it is your full right to hire whichever restoration company you want because the only reason insurance companies use these franchises is for convenience rather than quality.

For more information, visit our website at BIOWASHING.com

2014 Best of Philadelphia – Again!!!

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Here’s a photo showing our latest awards.  On the left is the 2014 Best Of Philadelphia Award for Mold Remediation which we’ve now won two straight years in a row.  We also were inducted into Philadelphia Business Hall of Fame for 2014 which is on the right.  Hard work and dedication from every member of our entire company makes us the highest rated Restoration contractor in our area.

Insulation Tips

There’s a lot more to insulation then simply deciding which type may be the best for you.  Here’s some tips you should consider along your way:

  • Consider factors such as your climate, home design, and budget when selecting insulation for your home.
  • Use higher R-value insulation, such as spray foam, on exterior walls and in cathedral ceilings to get more insulation with less thickness.
  • Install attic air barriers such as wind baffles along the entire attic eave to help ensure proper airflow from the soffit to the attic. Ventilation helps with moisture control and reducing summer cooling bills, but don’t ventilate your attic if you have insulation on the underside of the roof. Ask a qualified contractor for recommendations.
  • Be careful how close you place insulation next to a recessed light fixture—unless it is insulation contact (IC) rated—to avoid a fire hazard. See the Lighting section for more information about recessed lights.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, and wear the proper protective gear when installing insulatio

Long Term Savings Tips

One of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable year-round is to add insulation to your attic, including the attic trap or access door, which is relatively easy.

To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure the thickness of the insulation. If it is less than R-30 (11 inches of fiberglass or rock wool or 8 inches of cellulose), you could probably benefit by adding more.

If your attic has enough insulation and proper air sealing, and your home still feels drafty and cold in the winter or too warm in the summer, chances are you need to add insulation to the exterior walls. This is more expensive and usually requires a contractor, but it may be worth the cost—especially if you live in a very cold climate. If you replace the exterior siding on your home, consider adding insulation at the same time.

You may also need to add insulation to your crawlspace or basement. Check with a professional contractor for recommendations.

More information is available on our website:  Biowashing.com

Types of Insulation

Insulation is made from a variety of materials, and it usually comes in four types: rolls and batts, loose-fill, rigid foam, and foam-in-place.

Rolls & Batts

Rolls and batts — or blankets — are flexible products made from mineral fibers, such as fiberglass and rock wool. They are available in widths suited to standard spacing of wall studs and attic or floor joists: 2 inch x 4 inch walls can hold R-13 or R-15 batts; 2 inch x 6 inch walls can use R-19 or R-21 products.

Loose Fill-In

Loose-fill insulation is usually made of fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose in the form of loose fibers or fiber pellets. It should be blown into spaces using special pneumatic equipment. The blown-in material conforms readily to odd-sized building cavities and attics with wires, ducts, and pipes, making it well suited for places where it is difficult to effectively install other types of insulation.

Rigid Foam

Rigid foam insulation is typically more expensive than rolls and batts or loose-fill insulation, but it is very effective in exterior wall sheathing, interior sheathing for basement walls, and special applications such as attic hatches. Foam insulation R-values range from R-4 to R-6.5 per inch of thickness, which is up to 2 times greater than most other insulating materials of the same thickness.

Foam in Place

Foam-in-place insulation can be blown into walls, on attic surfaces, or under floors to insulate and reduce air leakage. You can use the small pressurized cans of foam-in-place insulation to reduce air leakage in holes and cracks, such as window and door frames, and electrical and plumbing penetrations.

There are two types of foam-in-place insulation: closed-cell and open-cell. Both are typically made with polyurethane. With closed-cell foam, the high-density cells are closed and filled with a gas that helps the foam expand to fill the spaces around it. Closed-cell foam is the most effective, with an insulation value of around R-6.2 per inch of thickness.

Open-cell foam cells are not as dense and are filled with air, which gives the insulation a spongy texture. Open-cell foam insulation value is around R-3.7 per inch of thickness.

The type of insulation you should choose depends on how you will use it and on your budget. While closed-cell foam has a greater R-value and provides stronger resistance against moisture and air leakage, the material is also much denser and is more expensive to install. Open-cell foam is lighter and less expensive but should not be used below ground level where it could absorb water. Consult a professional insulation installer to decide what type of insulation is best for you.

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Fall Fire Safety Tips

As the summer is behind us and fall is approaching, take a few moments to review some fall fire safety tips that can prevent disasters in your home.

Home heating

As we prepare to fire up the furnace for another season of hard work, it is important to have your system professionally inspected, cleaned and serviced. Filters need to be changed or cleaned, and make sure combustibles are stored at least 3 feet from the furnace. Have any alternative heating sources checked out as well, such as wood-burning stoves.

Space heaters

Before plugging in your space heaters for the first time, inspect them for damage, check the cords and know how to operate the units safely. Make sure that an adult is keeping an eye on the heaters when they are in use, and keep them away from combustibles and out of the path of children and pets. Everyone likes to get close enough to feel the heat, but too close can be dangerous.

Holiday fire safety

November, December and January account for a larger percentage of residential structure fires than any other three months in the year. Keep decorations away from exit paths, and check cords for fraying before plugging them in for the holiday.

Smoke alarms

Having working smoke alarms in your home give you the best chance of escaping a home fire alive. While some people remove the batteries from smoke alarms because they activate during cooking, you should try to move the alarm farther from the kitchen and make sure you have plenty near and in the sleeping areas of your home. In addition, you should:

Replace the batteries at least once a year.

Clean dust from smoke alarms with a vacuum attachment.

Replace units that are over 10 years old.

Push the test button monthly to ensure proper operation.

Have an outside meeting place where your family will meet in case of an unwanted fire. Run through some practice drills to make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go.

Carbon monoxide alarms

Carbon monoxide, or CO, alarms are an important part of your home safety plan. They detect unburned gases that may leak from gas burning appliances. They must also be tested monthly and have batteries replaced annually.

Candles

Many people use candles in their holiday decorating to create a festive and warm atmosphere. In many cases, candles can lead to home fires when they are left unattended and ignite nearby combustibles. Use sturdy candle holders that are large enough to collect candle wax and are resistant to tipping over. Keep candles up and out of the reach of children, and do not allow candles in the bedrooms.

Visit our website by clicking here:  Biowashing.com

How Flu Spreads

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Person to Person

To avoid this, people should stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. It also is important to wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately. Further, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.

The Flu is Contagious

Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Mold Solutions & Inspections

Did you know that we are the 2011, 2012 & 2013 Angie’s List PA Award Winner for Mold Testing, Mold Remediation, Water Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Restoration and Bio-Hazard Cleaning.  We are also the 2013 & 2014 Best of Philadelphia Award Winner.  We recently won the 2014 Best Philadelphia Contractors Award from Philadelphia Life Magazine, and we’ve been inducted in the Philadelphia Business Hall of Fame for 2014.
There’s a lot of companies who claim to be the best, but there’s only one that can prove it.

Ragweed Allergy – Part 1

Come late summer, some 10 to 20 percent of Americans begin to suffer from ragweed allergy, or hay fever. Sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes, nose and throat and trouble sleeping make life miserable for these people. Some of them also must deal with asthma attacks.

 All this misery can begin when ragweeds release pollen into the air, and continue almost until frost kills the plant.

What Is Ragweed?

Ragweeds are weeds that grow throughout the United States. They are most common in the Eastern states and the Midwest. A plant lives only one season, but that plant produces up to 1 billion pollen grains. Pollen-producing and seed-producing flowers grow on the same plant but are separate organs. After midsummer, as nights grow longer, ragweed flowers mature and release pollen. Warmth, humidity and breezes after sunrise help the release. The pollen must then travel by air to another plant to fertilize the seed for growth the coming year.

Ragweed plants usually grow in rural areas. Near the plants, the pollen counts are highest shortly after dawn. The amount of pollen peaks in many urban areas between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., depending on the weather. Rain and low morning temperatures (below 50 degrees Fahrenheit) slow pollen release. Ragweed pollen can travel far. It has been measured in the air 400 miles out to sea and 2 miles up in the atmosphere, but most falls out close to its source.

These annual plants are easily overgrown by turf grasses and other perennial plants that come up from established stems every year. But where the soil is disturbed by streams of water, cultivation or chemical effects such as winter salting of roads, ragweed will grow. It is often found along roadsides and river banks, in vacant lots and fields. Seeds in the soil even after many decades will grow when conditions are right.

What Is Ragweed Allergy?

The job of immune system cells is to find foreign substances such as viruses and bacteria and get rid of them. Normally, this response protects us from dangerous diseases. People with allergies have specially-sensitive immune systems that react when they contact certain harmless substances called allergens. When people who are allergic to ragweed pollen inhale its allergens from air, the common hay fever symptoms develop.

Seventeen species or types of ragweed grow in North America. Ragweed also belongs to a larger family called Compositae. Other members of the family that spread pollen by wind can cause symptoms. They include sage, burweed marsh elder and rabbit brush, mugworts, groundsel bush and eupatorium. Some family members spread their pollen by insects rather than wind, and cause few allergic reactions. But sniffing these plants can cause symptoms.

Who Gets Ragweed Allergy?

Of Americans who are allergic to pollen-producing plants, 75 percent are allergic to ragweed. People with allergies to one type of pollen tend to develop allergies to other pollens as well.

People with ragweed allergy may also get symptoms when they eat cantaloupe and banana. Chamomile tea, sunflower seeds and honey containing pollen from Compositae family members occasionally cause severe reactions, including shock.

What Are Its Symptoms?

The allergic reaction to all plants that produce pollen is commonly known as hay fever. Symptoms include eye irritation, runny nose, stuffy nose, puffy eyes, sneezing, and inflamed, itchy nose and throat. For those with severe allergies, asthma attacks, chronic sinusitis, headaches and impaired sleep are symptoms.