Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An Overview of Water Damage Classifications and Categories

Water damage comes in a variety of forms that can be merely annoying or potentially dangerous, depending on the source of the flow. Today, we will go over the general categories of water leaks, the type of damage they can cause and the recommended steps to treat them. Water damage is split up into various categories and classifications according to standards set by the IICRC.
Category 1 (Clear Water)
This type of water damage occurs when a pipe or appliance springs a leak or overflows when left on unattended. Fortunately, in these types of situations, the water is usually clean and does not pose any real risk to you immediately. Clean water damage typically is an issue for the surrounding environment, such as carpets, books and other belongings which are not waterproof and may need restoration work done if the flooding happens over a long period of time. Additionally, water damage can potentially lead to more severe issues such as mold growth that will need the attention of a professional mold inspector and remediator.
Category 2 (Grey Water)
Gray water damage involves some degree of contamination, whether it's physical, biological or chemical. In layman's terms, gray water is dangerous but not hazardous and needs some form of remediation in order to ensure that the environment is properly restored for human inhabitation. The most common household gray water situations come from toilets, dishwashers and washing machine leaks, where detergents or food particles are mingled in with the water supply. Gray water, like clean water, may also cause mold damage in unattended situations and can also potentially lead to other structural issues depending on the type of contaminant in the water.
Category 3 (Black Water)
This is the most uncommon form of water damage as well as the most dangerous. Black water contains extremely unsanitary agents including bacteria and fungus, and contaminate all surfaces it touches. Black water damage is usually caused by natural disasters such as storms and floods, where debris is washed into the water, or from ruptured sewage lines or septic tanks. This type of water damage must be handled by a professional restoration firm and potentially the state environmental protection agency, as the consequences of leaving the situation untreated or improper treatment can be devastating to many others besides the property owner.
In addition to the types of water damage, there are also various classifications to specify the rate of evaporation for a water damage scenario. This information is subsequently utilized by the technicians to determine the proper method of dryout and an approximate timeline.
Class 1 (Slow Evaporation Rate)
This is the most benign level of water damage in which only a part of a room or area is affected, or the materials involved are relatively low permanence or porosity such as particle board, structural wood or plywood. In these situations, there is usually a minimal amount of moisture absorbed by materials and restoration time is typically fast.
Class 2 (Fast Evaporation Rate)
This class generally involves an entire room, or flood damage where water has wicked up to 24 inches on the wall. Moisture can be present in the structure as well. These scenarios are middle of the road as far as the work and time involved.
Class 3 (Fastest Evaporation Rate)
Class 3 situations commonly involves water that comes from above, either from an upstairs room or outside during heavy rain. In these scenarios, water has saturated more than 24 inches above the wall, posing severe structural risk and potential damage if not immediately addressed.
Class 4 (Specialty Drying Situations)
In this class, the surrounding structure and materials have very low permance/porosity, causing water to remain in saturated pockets throughout. Examples include hardwood, brick, concrete or other materials that do not have a high amount of absorption rate for moisture. These scenarios require very specific low humidity and ventilation solutions in order for water to be effectively removed.
While the class and categorization of a water emergency can usually be quickly inferred, be sure to double check with your water technician when they arrive on site to get the full scope of the situation after a professional inspection has been conducted. Your technician should be able to provide you with an approximate estimate of the timeframe, as well as details on the exact work that needs to be done to bring everything back up to speed. We will cover the various methods of water damage restoration in our next article so be sure to stay tuned!

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Expert Professionals for the Best Smoke Damage Cleanup

The smell of smoke can really irritate your nose and overwhelm your body's respiration, especially if your home suffered from fire. If your home is foul-smelling, it is easy to eliminate the odor using a room deodorizer. Going natural, dried eucalyptus branches placed inside a pot or vase could also keep off the bad smell away.

What if something is burned inside your house or a part of your house was razed by fire? Surely, it will leave a lot of residues and odors. Could a spray of deodorizer or a pot of eucalyptus bring the magic? Probably not. What is even worse is that the bad smell from smoke will make the repair and restoration more difficult. And since using even the most potent odor-removing techniques and sprays will not take away the smoke from your home, the most practical thing that you-and other homeowners-should do is hire experts who could conduct smoke damage cleanup. Knowing that eliminating the smell of unwanted smoke is often beyond your skill or even that of your most reliable handyman, follow what most insurance companies suggest: hire experts.

But if fire only affected a small part of your home, probably your kitchen or bedroom, and if there is no structural damage at all-just a few soot and an awful smell of smoke-your insurance claim, being limited only to the smoke and soot, might discourage you to hire a cleanup team.

With this, you have only two options: it's either you hire someone and pay for his service at your own expense or do the work yourself.

If you decide to do the work on your home, here are the things that you might need for a do-it-yourself smoke damage cleanup:

• Vacuum cleaner. Choose a unit that can handle wet and dry surfaces.

• Dry, cleaning sponges. Choose sponges that are specially made for cleaning soot. They are available in cleaning and paint supply stores and you could also find one at art suppliers since they are also great for cleaning paintings and other artworks.

• Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP). This is chemical, though caustic, works as an all-purpose cleaning agent that easily wipes grease and soot. Pine cleaners are also effective and they are less caustic than TSP but using them requires longer time before effects come out.

• Bucket. Your bucket should be at least gallon-size so you could mix TSP and other cleaners properly.

• Sponges, rags, and mop. You will use these for cleaning and wiping out hard and stained surfaces.

• Rubber gloves. Use rubber gloves while mixing cleaners and cleaning the surfaces to avoid skin irritation. Oils from your fingers can cause further damage on the surfaces that you have contact with especially when mixed with soot. Thus, using rubber gloves will make your work easier and more effective.

• Vacuum cleaner with edge attachment. This equipment is great for stains and soot on hard-to-reach corners and cracks.

Since most smoke damage are widespread and affects a huge area in your house, you could enlist the help of professional smoke damage cleanup experts. They have better equipment, skills, and expertise than you do that could save you time and money in the long run. If a greater part of your home is razed by fire and it is only redeemable when an expert team of professionals steps in to do the job, then don't think twice. Contact your most trusted restoration professional now and let their expertise save your home from further dereliction.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing You And Your Family A Very Safe And Happy Thanksgiving, From All Of Us At Easton Construction Group!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Making Your Home Fire-Safe

The following article can be used as a fire safety checklist for your home. By employing all of these great tips you will actually be potentially saving your own life, as well as your families. Here are the best tips to stay fire safe this season.

If you have smokers in your household, make sure that they have a designating smoking area. This doesn't need to be an obvious looking smoking enclosure, it just needs to be somewhere outside that is free from flammable objects and contains clean ashtrays for cigarette butts.

You must eliminate clutter and allow plenty of room for flammable goods. If you have kids around, these places should be out of reach and possible locked. These storage areas must not be exposed to any electricity or heat sources. If flammable goods are kept in a shed outside make sure that there is plenty of ventilation and heat is not trapped.

Make sure that everyone in your household is up to date with the evacuation procedures should there be a need. An evacuation drill should be practiced at least every 6-12 months.

The evacuation process should be aimed at getting everybody out of the house is the fastest possible manner and leaving personal items behind. Following on from this, you should also have all emergency phone numbers clearly displayed next to every phone. The evacuation path must be kept clear and easy to navigate at all times. You must consider any locks, deadlocks, or other obstructions in the path of evacuation and these must be made as easy as possible to navigate.

Ensure that rubbish bins are emptied daily, all clutter is thrown away, and electrical items are put away safely after use. Identifying fire hazards is a skill and you should work on identifying and eliminating all hazards around the home. This is especially easy by removing all clutter in your home that could be considered a threat.

At least two fire extinguishers per average household is usually enough, but these should be clearly marked so that everyone knows exactly here to look. Fire alarms should be carefully placed in fire 'hotspots' around your home. Any fire sprinklers and other fire equipment is advised but not necessary.

You must ensure everything is done to prevent a fire from occurring in your home. A common cause of household fires is due to an electrical issue. Ensure that you have an adequate number of power points available and that you are not overloading them with adapters and multiple appliances if not needed.

Another point to make is that you should check that you have circuit breaker points installed and that they are all working correctly. These will shut off power to a certain section of your home if power is overloaded. They are a great fire prevention tool.

In conclusion, you must build up awareness to fire hazards and act accordingly to eliminate these hazards. If you can get a two in one fire alarm that also detects carbon monoxide in the air you will successfully eliminate two hazards in one. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas which can be emitted from faulty household appliances. It is a clear, odorless gas that can be fatal.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

State Farm® - Turkey Fryer Fire Danger

When deep frying a turkey, make sure you do it as safely as possible. The Illinois Fire Service Institute and State Farm teamed up to illustrate the fiery dangers associated with common deep frying mistakes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Different Home Renovations

Most of the time, when you read articles about home renovations, you see the same ol' advice in every one of them.

Instead of stressing the importance of light paint colors or the importance of the perfect kitchen, we've come up with 5 home renovations that are totally nontraditional -- but will still give you awesome results:

1. Forget the kitchen cabinets

They can make your kitchen look a whole lot more dramatic, but let's face it, new cabinets are expensive! You can save money and get even more storage space by building a pantry instead. As an added benefit, pantries are a whole lot easier to use. Instead of organizing everything in small cabinets, you can simply walk in and get whatever you need!

2. Split up your spare bathroom

Whether it's where your kids get ready for school or where guests get dressed while they're staying over at your house, you can do everyone a favor by splitting up the room -- specifically, by putting the toilet and shower in one part and the sinks in another. By separating the room up with a door, you won't have to worry about your son's steamy shower interfering while your daughter dries or hair, or worrying about how guests are going to balance using the toilet with brushing their teeth.

3. Get rid of the bathtub

Be honest -- how many times do you actually take a bath? You may want to let Calgon take you away on a regular basis, but everyday life always seems to get in the way! In the end, your bathtub becomes a huge chunk of wasted space.

By eliminating the bathtub and replacing it with a stand-alone shower, you can make your bathroom look huge. Even a giant shower will take up less space than the tub. And, as an added benefit, it uses less hot water.

4. Hang bathroom lights on the wall, instead of from the ceiling

Those fluorescent lights in your bathroom ceiling aren't just outdated; they're also unflattering. The last thing you want when you're getting ready for that big business meeting is to look in the mirror and see hair that looks green and skin that looks pasty.

Instead, you can create a much more relaxing vibe by installing several lights on the wall, around the mirror. By having several of them, you can get all of the light you need, without installing super-bright bulbs.

As an added benefit, setting up your lights like this doesn't cost any more than it would to get rid of those awful fluorescent lights and replace them with a more modern ceiling fixture.

5. Think about what you really want

Lots of people take on home renovation projects because they think they "have to" -- like they're "supposed" to have a spare bedroom for guests, or that they "need" a home entertainment room.

Instead, give some thought to what you want to do with your space. If you want to turn your spare bedroom into a library, a gym, or a workshop, do it! Your guests can make do with a sofa bed in the library, or crashing on the couch because your old guest room is full of exercise equipment.

After all, how often do you really have guests over to spend the night anyways? By having an entire room set aside solely for guests, you're ignoring a big part of your home! Instead, make the most out of it by turning into a place that you can enjoy day in and day out.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Water and Fire Damage Restoration Calls for Professional Service

According to statistics from 2009 published by the National Fire Protection Association, in the U.S. a total of $12.5 billion in property damage was due to 1.3 million fires throughout the nation. In 2003, every 20 seconds a fire department was called to respond to a structural fire. When faced with the unfortunate and frightening experience of a fire in your home or business, water and fire damage restoration needs are immediate and demand professional services.

Water and fire damage restoration is best left to the professionals with years of experience. Fire and water damage is progressive and affects more than just the items on the surface of your home or business. Smoke residues are acidic and will cause surfaces to corrode and stain permanently. Smoke residues pressurized during a fire will permeate every crack and crevice of your home or building and deposit odor causing residues as well.

Water - whether through natural disaster, home accidents and even from fire departments putting out a fire to save your home can also cause a great deal of damage. Mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours and can cause severe health issues. Respiratory illnesses, asthma and severe allergic reactions are all known risks from exposure to mold. After a fire, try to stay calm and call in a professional water and fire damage restoration service.

Do NOT enter the damaged building until cleared to do so by fire authorities in your area. Once allowed back in the building, take an inventory of your home's contents and open all the windows. Empty the refrigerator and freezer - especially if the electricity is turned off and be sure to remove all pets to a clean environment. Do NOT begin to wipe down or wash walls and other surfaces and try not to use any upholstered furniture if possible. Also, do not use foods or canned goods which have been exposed to extreme heat or excessive smoke. You will also need to avoid use of the TV or any other electrical device until they have been cleaned and the electrical system has been checked. When taking your garments to be cleaned, you will want to ensure they are taken to a dry cleaner that specializes in cleaning smoke damaged garments as improper cleaning will only set in the smoke. Be sure you do not turn on any heating or air conditioning units until those have been checked, cleaned and cleared as well.

A professional water and fire damage restoration service will provide cleaning for all upholstery in the home as well as drapes, carpets, walls, ceilings and all contents. They will clean and protect the trim and hardware in your kitchen and bathroom as well as cleaning and protecting all fixtures from smoke damage. They will also deodorize the entire home to permanently remove all smoke odor as well as musty water damage odor caused by mold and mildew.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fire Damage Restoration - Get Your House Back To Good Condition

When there has been a fire in your home, the most important thing you need to do is to get your home back to good condition. The best way to achieve that goal in a short amount of time and with the least amount of stress for you is to hire a company to do fire damage restoration for you.

There are many ways that a good company can help you get your home back in good condition in a short space of time. So that you can decide if hiring the experts is the smart choice to make or if you should do it yourself, you need to understand how they can do this for you.

The following are the most important ways that a fire restoration company can help you.

One: Equipment - Getting fire damage cleaned up right requires professional equipment. The fire restoration companies are going to have the right equipment needed to do the job right.

You will have to buy or rent the right equipment if you try and do it yourself. This can get to be even more expensive than hiring professionals to handle it for you.

Without the right equipment, damage that is caused by the fire can go unfixed and this can cause problems in the future with your house. Prevent this by letting the people that have the right equipment do the job for you.

Two: Experience - Do you have experience cleaning up after a fire? Many people don't, but the companies that provide restoration do. You want to be sure that you ask each company about their experience before deciding to hire them because each one will be different in how much experience they have.

Three: Knowledge - Did you know that entering your home after a fire can still prove to be dangerous? Most people don't ever realize that there is still danger in their home.

The restoration companies have the knowledge needed about fires and the aftermath that they know there are still dangers. They also know what those dangers may be, while this is not something that most people are even aware of, but which is important to know.

Four: Time to do it right - Can you find the time needed to ensure that the cleanup is done correctly and fast so that you will end up with the least amount of damage from it? Most people don't because they have a job they need to work in order to support themselves and their family.

The company that you hire will have the time needed to do it right since this is what they do for their living. You don't want a rushed cleanup because important things may be missed.

By hiring professionals, you can be sure that the time is taken to ensure that everything is cleaned up from the beginning.

These are the most essential ways that a professional company really can help you with fire damage restoration. Now you just need to decide if you want to attempt the cleanup yourself or if you are going to hire the experts that know how to do it right from the start.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Water Damage Restoration Process

Water damage restoration is a complicated task that requires a variety of techniques and equipment in order to ensure that the job is properly done. Depending on the size and scale of the emergency, different steps are taken in order to remove the water and remediate any contaminated areas. Today, we will continue from our previous article and go over the various things that are typically done on a water damage job as well as the scope of the equipment used.
The essential steps to any water damage restoration job can be broken down as follows:
* Flood Water Removal
* Moisture Mapping
* Mold Inspection and Removal
* Water Drying Techniques
Flood Water Removal
Removing the source of the water is the first important step on any water damage restoration. Professional technicians should have a variety of equipment available at their disposal when they arrive on the scene. Usually, portable submergible water pumps are used to pump out water accumulation in structures. These pumps have a high threshold for extracting water and can usually dry out an entire submerged area in a short time, which is essential to stop the damage from spreading.
Moisture Mapping
Moisture mapping involves using detection equipment in order to obtain an approximate map for the moisture values on your property. Infrared is one of the more common methods used to obtain accurate readings, and properly trained technicians typically take high-quality digital photos as well to assess the extent of the damage. This step is crucial in order to get an idea of how bad the water damage may be and to take preliminary steps to prevent mold growth.
Mold Inspection and Removal
Residual water can lead to mold damage if unaddressed. Water damage professionals will use special detergents that sterilize the area and make conditions unfavorable for mold growth. Additionally, some restoration firms can use deodorization and ventilation as part of the process to get rid of any lingering odors and airborne contaminants.
Water Drying Techniques
These are some of the most common water drying techniques utilized by IICRC-certified professionals. Each technique is used according to the severity of the situation.
Air Movers
Also known as evaporators, air movers help the drying process by controlling humidity in a region and promote circulation of air. This helps on a broad level by removing liquids from porous materials - carpet, wood, drywall, plaster and more - leaving the more difficult trying to specialized equipment.
Dehumidifiers / Desiccant Dehumidification
Dehumidifiers remove the moisture from the air so lingering water in the area can be extracted from the area. These can be categorized broadly under refrigerant dehumidifiers and desiccant dehumidifiers.
Refrigerant dehumidifiers work under the principle of cooling the surrounding air. When this happens, the air loses its ability to retain water, causing condensation upon the cooling coils of the equipment. High-grade dehumidifiers work like a powerful version of consumer dehumidifiers, rapidly pulling the excess moisture from the air.
Desiccant dehumidifiers do not need cooling to remove water; instead, they use materials that naturally absorb moisture. When applied on a large scale, these machines can quickly extract humidity from the air in as effective a manner as refrigerants. The type of equipment uses depends on the company you hire and the conditions of the restoration job.
Additional equipment specific to the homeowner's region may be utilized, depending on the size of the restoration firm. Each water damage job is completely unique and requires proper analysis of the situation at hand to apply the proper equipment and techniques for removing water as quickly as possible.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Considerations for Your Home Remodel

Whether you have owned your home for a few months or many years, all homeowners can benefit from a home remodel. Remodeling projects greatly vary - are you looking to spruce up a fireplace surround, or is your home in need of a complete home makeover? If you feel its time for a home overhaul, a remodel can make your dreams come true and help you turn your house into the home you've always imagined. Before you get started however, know that the remodeling process itself can give you nightmares. You should proceed with caution if you are thinking about a home remodel. Read on for more guidance on this endeavor.
Before you even start the process, you must first set aside a budget for this project. How do you know you have enough? Put together a list of your desired remodel projects and get an estimate from several contractors; this will give you a good idea of what your home remodel will cost. How do you look for good contractors? Begin by checking the phone book and websites for contractors in your area. Ask friends, family and coworkers if they have any personal experience working with a contractor they would recommend.
When searching for the right contractor, remember to check their experience and expertise. Have they been in business for a long time? Do they specialize in particular remodel projects? It is also a good idea to ask for references. A good contractor will have many references to share with you. Be wary of those who don't as this could be a sign of inexperience or a contractor who doesn't have a good working relationship with clients. If they have one, ask to view their portfolio of past home remodels to see what the contractor has accomplished. Work with someone you trust. You want to get quality results within your budget.
Next step is knowing what you want to be accomplished. If you aren't sure exactly what you want, work closely with your contractor; they will be able to give you technical insight and experience-based knowledge that will help you decide where to spend your remodeling budget. Get a blueprint of your house and determine which parts will need the renovation. Are there things that need immediate structural repair? Perhaps there are cracked walls, or weakened beams, or damaged sidings. These things should get the foremost attention.
Be certain of the new look that you want to have for your home. You may want to get suggestions from a professional so they can help you realize your home remodel ideas. Planning and design always come first before any work is begun. Keep in mind that kitchen and bathroom remodeling add a lot of value to your home, but they are also more difficult and more expensive due to added plumbing and electrical requirements.
Here are some questions to ask yourself in a home remodel project:
• Do you want a good landscape for your lawn?
• A nice fa├žade for your home?
• How big is your living room and what type of furniture do you want for it?
• Do you wish to have a separate entertainment room for your latest home theater system and other electronic gadgets?
• What theme do you want for your kitchen and how big should it be?
• What appliances will you get for your cooking needs?
• How spacious should the dining room be?
• What kind of lighting do you want for it?
• How many bedrooms are in the house?
• What specifications do you want for each?
• How many bathrooms are in the house?
• Do you want a consistent look for them?
• Would you consider getting a bathroom suite for this?
Remember that besides the aesthetic features that you may want to improve, note also the soundness of the functional features of the house like the electrical, plumbing, and air conditioning systems.
Know the timeline for the home remodel to be finished. Work closely with the contractors. You should be updated with the progress as frequently as possible. Ask questions about the remodel should you have any. Remember, once the work is finished you should come home to the house of your dreams!

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