Friday, April 12, 2019

Surviving Spring Cleaning
Spring’s arrival is the perfect time to tackle ambitious spring-cleaning projects like purging closets and cleaning windows.  As some of you already know, I have a need to keep everything orderly in my home all year round.  However, when it comes to spring cleaning, I typically realize that “surface cleaning” doesn’t really cut it. 

Here is a list of my items that will help you survive interior spring cleaning:

It Starts at The Top
While the plot of the hit Hollywood film "Gravity" is fictional, gravity with cleaning is very real.  Start with decluttering your attic down.  Most Attic space in homes are dusty/dirty. Once the decluttering process starts in the attic, it will most likely cause your living space to get dirty. Gravity at its best! In my attic space, its mostly holiday d├ęcor and bins full of clothing that I haven’t worn in 10 years.  I guess I am hoping my 20-something skinny jeans will one day fit again.  It’s obviously time for these bins to go. 

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.  Let’s use my parents for example. Items that are stored in their attic have sentimental value; babies first Christmas outfit, soccer trophies, old 45’s, etc.  However, the bin of my TY Beanie Babies collection (worth millions), and the 1980 something Greco playpen might need to find the dumpser.

Once the attic space has been decluttered, the next step is the ceilings, registers, walls, lights and fans.  A common mistake people make is neglecting the corners.  A microfiber mop works great for this, but if you don’t have one, tying an old towel or t-shirt over a broom is also surprisingly effective.

Window Cleaning. It’s Harder Than It Looks
Unfortunately, there is no humor in cleaning windows.  It’s an arduous task. 
Using a lint-free and/or microfiber rag and cleaning solution (best non-commercial solution is Zep glass cleaner) wash the edges and sills of the window and rinse to remove dirt that may have snuck into the cracks and corners. Once you clean the border and sills, apply your cleaning solution to the rest of the window, using a squeegee or a fresh microfiber rag to clean off the solution.

Grease Splatter, You Mean Bacon Kisses?
Cleaning your wood cabinets can be as simple as wiping the surface with a clean, damp cloth, then drying immediately. If you feel like you need something more than just water to cut through every-day soil and grease, a product such as Murphy’s Oil Soap (containing no wax or silicones) is a perfectly acceptable option. However, you may find that a mild dishwashing detergent is just as effective. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly. Using a dish cloth is not recommended for cleaning your cabinets as it could contain grease or detergent remnants.
If your cabinets are laminate or painted, most non-abrasive cleaners are okay, but avoid any cleaner with harsh solvents or abrasives as they can be damaging.

Invest in Furniture Sliders
Without fail, I always find that missing sock when I move my bed. I also find that I can write my name with the dust on my base-trim behind all my furniture.  How embarrassing!
Put in the effort to move around your furniture to tackle the dirt and dust that may be hiding underneath. Things like lamp shades and electronic equipment act as a dust magnet. You can use a microfiber extension duster to get those hard to reach spots, like behind your TV.

Once The Heavy Lifting Is Done
A general cleaning/dusting of all remaining vertical surfaces must be done. 

Do You Feel Like Cinderella?
Poor Cinderella. Sweeping ash out of fireplaces, cleaning floors on her knees, etc. Who wishes they had a fairy godmother to “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” all of the spring-cleaning chores?

While cleaning my home, I sometimes will get overwhelmed with my to-do-list. Just because it’s called spring cleaning, it doesn’t mean you have to get everything done before the flowers fully bloom. Divide and conquer your to-do list, while being mindful that some of these jobs can be physically taxing. Do what you can. Pace yourself.

When you’re done, you can come to my house.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Brace Yourself Frozen Pipe-Pocalypse Is Coming

Preparing your home for winter is an important annual ritual for homeowners. For instance, did you know that adding insulation in your attic before winter arrives could help prevent ice dams this winter? And do not forget that tuning up your heating system now can help prevent more costly emergency repairs at the height of a storm, when it can be difficult to find supplies and licensed contractors. The following winter maintenance tips can help you prepare your home to withstand another cold season.

Which Pipes Are Most at Risk?

Pipes that are most exposed to the elements, including those outdoors and along the exterior walls of your home, may need extra protection during winter months. These include the following:

• Outdoor hose hookups and faucets.
• Swimming pool supply lines.
• Lawn sprinkler lines.
• Water pipes in unheated, interior locations such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages and kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
• Pipes running against exterior walls with little or no insulation.

How to Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

Before the winter:
• Check your home for areas where water pipes are located in unheated or poorly insulated areas. Be sure to check your basement, attic, crawl space, garage and within cabinets containing plumbing. Hot and cold water pipes should both be insulated.

During the winter:
• Close inside valves supplying water to outdoor faucets and hookups.
• Open outdoor faucets to allow residual water to drain; be sure to keep them open during the cold weather months, while the water supply is turned off.
• Keep garage doors closed to help protect water pipes located in the garage.
• Open the doors on cabinets where plumbing is located. This can help allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
• For pipes that are at risk of freezing (both hot and cold water pipes), let water drip from faucets.
• Keep the heat in your home set at a minimum of 60 degrees.

Why is a Frozen Pipe a Concern?

When water begins to freeze, it expands. This can cause both plastic and metal pipes to burst, possibly leading to significant water damage to your home.

• Since water expands when it freezes, it puts unwanted pressure on pipes.
• As water freezes, the force exerted from the expansion can cause a pipe to burst, regardless of the strength of the material.
• You may not know you have a burst pipe as the water has turned to ice. Once the temperature starts to warm and thawing begins, leaking and flooding can occur.

What Do You Do if You Have a Frozen Pipe?

• If you have a leak, turn the water off immediately to prevent water damage and call a licensed plumber to make repairs.

• If your home is heated by an older steam heating system, consult with your heating professional to determine if it is safe to continue to run the heating system with the water supply turned off for your particular heating system.

Need help cleaning up the water damage?
Call Savage Restoration at 732-671-0990 for emergency services.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

'Tis The Season to Avoid Holiday Disasters

Recently, perusing Facebook, an acquaintance of mine posted that he had purchased a live Christmas tree from a local distributor.  His two young daughters were excited to get home to display, ‘what they attributed as the perfect tree.’ I for one never owned a live tree, and always wondered what the allure was all about.  That said, my acquaintance drove home and proceeded to setup the tree to be decorated the following day.  Ten minutes home, this family started to hear the branches rustling and out came a plethora of spiders.  Yes… the story gets worse!  They found out that one of the daughters suffers from arachnophobia and wont sleep in the house.  Talk about a holiday blooper! 

So, let’s talk about a serious issue that pertains more to the mitigation industry.   In recent years, live Christmas trees have come under scrutiny because of their perceived potential fire hazard. Are live Christmas trees the fire hazard they have been made out to be? For many, the immediate answer is an emphatic, yes! But, do they have to be?  Making smart choices during the holiday season will prevent disasters.

 Here is a list Must-Do’s to prevent Misfortunes:

Purchase the freshest looking tree available, or cut one yourself, and immediately place the tree in water.  Keep the tree's water container full always, checking the water level daily.

Be extra careful with electricity, all open flames and other heat sources during the holidays.

Check all Christmas tree lights, other electric decorations and electrical appliances with worn electrical cords.

Place the Christmas tree well away from heat registers, space heaters, fire places and wood stoves.

Unplug the tree lights whenever there is no presence in the room.

Following these steps will help prevent tree fires in your home.   Who doesn’t want to enjoy the fragrance and tradition that real trees bring to a holiday celebration. A traditional Christmas begins with a live tree.

I will continue to use my bug free, scent free, less flammable artificial tree.  Happy Holidays!  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Is It Raining Inside? 

The key to effective water remediation is to determine the source of the loss.  Sounds easy, right?  Not so much in some cases.  The past (2) months have been a challenge for many mitigation contractors who have been dealing with…. Hydrostatic Pressure AKA SEEPAGE!     

So why the past (2) months?  Hydrostatic Pressure can be an issue all year-round undetected, however, when it rains excessively – the water must go somewhere.  What a nightmare! 

Professional water proofing company’s aim to seal your foundation so tightly that it will hold off water like a boat. The problem is that your house is not a boat and it’s not going to float. (Unless you live on a house boat, but then I’m guessing you don’t have a basement.)

So, what are the signs you should look for to prevent a serious water/mold issue?

Interior Damage
·         Trust your sense of smell. If you smell mustiness or mildew, it’s likely there was water damage and now there may be a potential mold issue.
·         In unfinished basements, concrete block or masonry walls start to bow or bulge in the middle
·         Cracks in the foundation walls or floors
·         In finished basements, signs of drywall peeling/bubbling and flooring damage. 
·         Excessive humidity 

Exterior Damage
·         Cracks running in a stair-step pattern in exterior brick or stonework
·         Building elements like chimneys or additions separating from the rest of the structure
·         Gaps around doors or windows
·         Facia board or other trim pulling away

If you notice these signs in your home, it may be time to pick up the phone and call the professionals! Savage Restoration will guide you through the process.  Pick up the phone and call 732-671-0990.

Disclaimer: Savage Restoration is not responsible for any information that is listed or ommitted on this marketing material.  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Happy Birthday, America! Now…#MakeWiseChoices

Most of you who know me -- know that I have a Bachelor’s degree in history.  So, when the 4th of July approaches every year, my nerdy self likes to talk about the significance of Independence Day…. and considering my present career, talk about how this holiday is known for igniting house fires. 

July 4, 1776, was a big day in American history: The Continental Congress solidified the Declaration of Independence, setting our fight for sovereignty into motion.

Fun Fact:  John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

It is a day set aside to acknowledge those who blazed a path before us — it only seems fitting to celebrate with exhilarating fireworks and classic American BBQ fare!

The sale, use, distribution or possession of fireworks or pyrotechnics in the state of New Jersey, except as hereinafter provided, is hereby declared by the legislature to be against the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the state of New Jersey”. That being said -- people purchase and set off fireworks every year. 

Like clockwork, July 5, Savage Restoration always receives emergency fire claims due to roofs catching fire, sometimes igniting the entire house.  Ladies and Gentlemen, is it really worth it?  I can’t talk about firework safety, because that would be condoning the use of them.  However, due keep in mind that if you use them, there are serious fines that are given out every year.

Most towns have scheduled showings of fireworks that have been planned to protect the homes and residents from danger.  #MakeWiseChoices Go see one of them.     

Let’s talk about BBQ’s!

Ring, Ring….Savage Restoration, How can I help you?  “My gas grill was too close to my house and my vinyl siding caught fire.” Yikes, common sense would tell most that grills need to be far away from the actual home, but every year we receive a call with a similar fire scenario.    

Other scenarios are preventable with proper maintenance, so clean your grill regularly and inspect it for damage or leaks before you turn it on.

If you do have a grill fire…

Once the flames are going, keep a safe distance between your grill and anything flammable (like your house, for example), and always keep children away from the direct area. Most importantly, be prepared to react quickly if flames get out of hand. Have a fire extinguisher within reach, and make sure you know how to use it before you light the grill. Everyone will enjoy their food more if your house is still standing.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

'I Think It's Going To Rain Today'

Who could use a nice beach day?  I know I sure could!  Unfortunately, this week’s forecast calls for heavy rain –EEEK.  I see emergency calls in my future. 

The most common EMS call we get during heavy rains is for sump pump failures.  Here is a list of common reasons for a sump pump failure and precautionary measures. 

  1.  Power Failure
Your primary sump pump is no different than any other electric appliance in your house -- without power, it is completely worthless.  As a safeguard, invest in a high-quality back-up sump pump. 
2.  Switch was Stuck
There are several different types of sump float switches.  Vertical and tethered floats are the most common.  We strongly prefer vertical floats because tethered floats are notorious for getting stuck on the side walls of the sump pit, which can result in a flooded basement.  Some sump pumps also have mechanical pressure switches that are prone to failure.

3.  Pump was Overwhelmed
A common misconception is all pumps are created equal.  They’re not!  In sump pumps, as in life, you always get what you pay for.  Minimally, you need a 1/3 horsepower sump pump capable of pumping 35 gallons of water per minute.  Much less than that and your sump pump might not be able to keep up with the flow of water.  If your house sits in a higher water table and / or if you hear your sump pump running frequently, I’d advise upgrading to a ½ horsepower pump (which can typically pump about 60 gallons per minute).  And to be completely safe, buy a battery back-up pump!

4.  Sump Discharge Pipe Froze
This is a very common occurrence with our brutal Midwest winters (although I must say this past winter was a treat!).  If the pipe isn’t pitched properly, water will collect and eventually freeze, causing a blockage.  Because what goes up must come down, the water falls right back into your sump pit.  When the pit continues to fill up, the water has no place to go but all over your basement floor.  By the way, we have an answer to this problem.

5.  Old Age

“If it ain't broke, don't fix it” is bad practice when it comes to sump pumps as you could wind up with a basement full of water.  Sump pumps should be replaced every five to seven years to be reasonably safe. 
By Michelle Davis

Friday, April 21, 2017

5 Things My Kids Have Done to Flood My Home

Summer is Fast Approaching! and with summer, comes. “Mom, I’m bored” or “Oops, I was only trying to help.”

As a mischievous adolescent, I have had my share of “Oopsies.”  Let’s go back to 1990.  I for one never understood the saying, less is more. One day my mom had a few cycles of laundry to get done by days’ end.  I remember vividly how this was a daily task that seemed to never end with 5 people living in the house.  Somehow in my head I decided to help mom expedite the process by adding a ½ bottle of detergent to a load of laundry.  As a 5-year-old, seeing the water and suds overflow onto the floor was like playing at a water-park in the laundry room. 

Okay, so that’s the only time I messed with my parents’ house that I can remember.  I am sure my mom has other stories. So now, let’s talk about jobs that I have seen since working in the restoration world. 

Last July, we received a referral to a split-level home.  For argument's sake let’s call the insureds’ son, Billy.  Billy, a 4-year-old who is fascinated with aquatic life decided he wanted to take a bath with his rubber fishy.  Billy’s mom was busy making dinner and did not hear the water running in the bathroom upstairs.  I bet you can guess what happened next….

This next one is not mischievous, but an unlucky break.  Sissy, a 12-year-old girl who was helping mom and dad clean the kitchen had an “Oops.”  Sissy pulled the refrigerator out and did not realize she clipped the waterline.  The following day, Sissy’s mom went down to the basement to find an inch of water on the floor. 

So, this next story made me chuckle inadvertently.   Ronny, a 3-year-old Paw Patrol fan loved to see his friends swirl in the toilet, so much so, that his “friends” flooded the first floor of the home.  I wonder how many times plumbers find toys in toilets?

Last one!  This one was a whopper to say the least.   Kevin, a 16-year-old, yes, I said 16, woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. He washed his hands and left the faucet running.  Mom and dad woke up first to find that their entire 2nd floor was wet into the 1st floor.  Yikes!  Accidents aren’t just for the young kiddos. 

What stories have you experienced or heard? 

By Michelle Davis