Before the weather grows colder it’s important to prepare for the winter months to prevent costly damage. Below are the fall preventative home maintenance steps that every homeowner should follow.
Gutters and Downspouts
Clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent build up of leaves and other debris. Neglected gutters can lead to wood rot problems and pest infestations, not to mention ruined gutters. Be sure water is not coming down behind gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place. Ensure that water drains properly and doesn’t pool. Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways.
Windows and Doors
Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows and doors. Inspect and repair any loose or damaged window or door frames. Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and to lower heating bills.
Replace the filter in your furnace. Consider having a heating professional check your heating system to ensure optimal performance and discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs. Clean your ducts to better your heating system’s efficiency as well as to reduce household dust and to provide relief to those with respiratory problems.
To prevent pipes freezing and bursting, ensure that the pipes are well insulated. Know how to locate and turn off the water shut-off valve in case pipes do freeze.
Chimney and Fireplace
Call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires. Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.
Be sure attic insulation doesn’t cover vents in the eaves to prevent winter ice dams on the roof.Be sure ridge vents and vents at eaves are free of plants and debris. Check bird and rodent screens for attic vents to prevent any unwanted guests.
Landscape and Yard Work
Although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are actually growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn. Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth. Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house. Heavy snow and ice can cause damage in the winter.
After the movie Sunshine Cleaning there was a burst of new and old companies alike starting to offer Crime & Trauma Scene Cleanup. But as they took the 3 to 5 day course, they soon learned of the vast amount of equipment needed to complete these projects properly, while also learning how difficult it is to get into this type of work. Surely they wouldn’t tell you this as a class description, otherwise no one would show. There are so many varieties of companies that offer this service now, from general contractors to maid services and even fire fighters and paramedics who start the businesses through a family member or friend and casually leave a card. But what is the truth you need to know to about this service if your unfortunate enough to ever need it?
First things first, 90% or more of companies that offer Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup or CTS Decontamination, have actually never performed one job. Not a one. Because a vast majority of this work comes directly from insurance companies, most of the franchises or approved vendors that have direct dealings with adjusters are the ones to get the jobs. The other very few Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup jobs that are out there either get done by the home owner because they’re unaware that this business exists, or by companies that heavily advertise. Over 90% of our Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup jobs do come directly from the insurance companies because they have little trust in franchises and have dealt with us before, since all complicated mold remediation and/or water damage restoration jobs that the franchises pass on or again are not trusted to do are given to us by the likes of Chubb, Hartford, Pure, Amica, etc. I’ve also spoke to workers from other companies or interviewed them for positions who admit they’ve never completed one job, or ever heard of one getting done. So what would be some questions you can ask a company prior to hiring them?
- Are you certified in Crime and Trauma Scene Decontamination?
- What other certifications do you have for this type of work? (Let them answer this question since there is 7 other courses to pass prior to earning complete certification)
- Do they carry the appropriate insurance for this type of work? (There is a certain addendum on a policy for this type of work and you should call their carrier to be certain)
- Ask to see the their OSHA Compliancy, DOT & EPA paperwork which should be in every work vehicle at all times.
- Ask them where do they drop off the medical waste which is always a question that stumps everyone who claims to be in this business because they are so very few facilities that will take waste from contractors.
- Ask for references, since you can’t ask for pictures, or check reviews online detailing their experience in this field.
You never want to be in a position to need Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup services, but if you do, what you wouldn’t want is to have someone not perform the service correctly only to find left over materials, or worse, medical waste/matter left behind. And remember, if they’re not properly trained or certified, you’re also at risk of being liable if they should make a mistake and contaminate themselves by contracting Hepatitis, HIV or any other bloodborne pathogen from potentially infectious materials. We at Mold Solutions & Inspections are fully certified in Crime and Trauma Scene Decontamination, have all the necessary insurance and paperwork and have performed many suicide cleanings, crime scenes cleanups, belatedly discovered body or decomposition cleanings, vehicle decontamination, hoarding, animal infestations, jail cell decontamination, fingerprint cleaning, etc.
As a natural material, hardwood can be affected by changes in humidity in your home. In bathrooms or rooms below ground level, humidity and the potential for pooling water can create problems. Solid hardwood flooring is not recommended for these areas. It’s natural for hardwood flooring to yellow, darken or lighten over time, depending on the wood species. Exposure to direct sunlight greatly accelerates this process. Discoloration doesn’t always equate to water/mold damage on your flooring.
While wood floors are made from “dead” trees, the flooring reacts to temperature and humidity changes inside your home as if it were alive. Your skin reacts to low humidity, so does wood flooring. High humidity and high temperatures affect your skin. These conditions also affect your wood floors. What is comfortable for you is also ideal for your wood floors. It doesn’t matter if your wood floors are solid wood, engineered wood, or laminate. It doesn’t matter if the wood is oak, mahogany, or bamboo. It doesn’t matter if the wood is nailed down, glued down, or floating. Regardless of the installation method, all wood flooring absorbs or loses moisture as conditions change slowly or rapidly inside your home.
Every wood flooring manufacturer only allows their products to be installed indoors, with a stable, maintained environment. This means that, in order for the wood flooring to perform as designed, the temperature and humidity conditions inside of your home must be kept continuously within a certain range. This range varies slightly depending on the manufacturer and type of wood flooring. Generally, the required range is between 60-80 degrees with a relative humidity range of 35 percent to 55 percent.