Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Fire Prevention Tips During the Halloween Season

Fire Prevention Tips During the Halloween Season

One I learned in kindergarten: Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat, if you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear! My gosh, now-a-days if a kid said that harmless old phrase, it would probably make national news. Well, maybe not national news, but a walk to the principal’s office.
Halloween was always my favorite holiday. I loved the fact that one day a year, I was able to dress/pretend that I was Ariel or during my ‘I want to do what my older brother is doing,’ a Power Ranger.  The excessive candy wasn’t bad either, until it was ruined by the media scaring parents with news that people were putting razor blades in the candy.  What is wrong with this world? 
Unfortunately, the tragedies do not end there; Halloween is also known for increasing number of house fires.
Halloween fire facts - According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • ·     From 2013-2017, an average of 780 home structure fires began with decorations per year. More than two of every five (44%) of these fires occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source, such as a candle or hot equipment.
  • ·    More than one-third (37%) of these fires were started by candles.
  • ·     One-fifth (21%) of the decoration fires started in the kitchen; 16% began in the living room.

To help you enjoy a safer holiday, follow these important Halloween safety tips from the experts at Savage Restoration.


One tradition I loved as a child was creating the perfect jack-o-lantern. I don’t know if it was more the creation or squishing the gooey pumpkin seeds with my hands that I loved best. Once my ‘work-of-art’, which was sloppy at best was complete, we would illuminate the front porch with a burning candle. Not Okay!   Placing candles inside a cleaned-out pumpkin is a fire hazard. In fact, any lit candle left unattended is a Halloween fire hazard. If they’re inside pumpkins, they can tip over, ignite surrounding materials and cause a fire. To stay safe, use a battery-operated candle or LED light to illuminate your festive pumpkins.


Some of you fortunate people can have hay bales and corn stalks in or around your home.  I leave that story for another blog.  These items can be very dangerous if left near any heat source.  Hay bales and corns stalks are very dry materials and will ignite faster than most other materials.  To protect your home from a fire, keep these decorations away from any kind of heat source, including fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, candles and outdoor fire pits.
By following these tips, you can help keep everyone safe. We hope you have a happy and fun Halloween this year!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Fall Cleaning 101: The Spic-and-Span Basics 

I love setting smart, bite-sized goals.  What does a bite-sized goal entail, you ask?  Well its simple, it’s my monthly checklist broken down.   Is there anything more satisfying than completing a long checklist of to-do tasks? The simple act of crossing off items on your to-do list is a delightful feeling.

With the first Monday of Fall, I have officially compiled my fall cleaning checklist. This list is going to be more in depth than my Spring-cleaning list. 

The first item on my list is the seasonal rotation. All upholstered items get laundered and exchanged for the upcoming colder weather.  For my house this includes; heavier blankets on the beds with clean matching drapes.  I will also take the time to flip my mattresses for longevity reasons. 

Next I focus heavily on my bathroom(s) and kitchen.  Both rooms have cabinetry that gets neglected during the usual cleaning of the home. Based on the type of cabinets you have (mine are oak), I like to clean them with a mild degreaser, such as, Method, followed by a Murphy’s Oil Soap to give it a nice glossy finish.  Of course, I must use this disclaimer, the cleaning process will be different based on the material you are cleaning.

I will also take the time to change out all of cabinet liners that might have become dusty throughout the year.

The tile grout in the bathroom and kitchen will need a good scrubbing. Simply dusting and mopping with not clean the grout as good as you would think. However, make sure that you’re not using a very abrasive brush. As lame as it sounds, I use a soft toothbrush with some oxy-clean.  This makes the grout look brand new. 

Pertaining to the bathroom, another neglected item is cleaning out the exhaust fan. May I suggest that you do with a garbage can below.  You wouldn’t believe how much lint I removed from my fan the other day.  Best part was I just finished cleaning my bathroom.  Womp, womp, womp!!!!

So, this item can be a little tricky. No matter how much you clean your bathtub and surround, you will always get the nasty black caulk around the tub.  Don’t feel bad, it happens to everyone.  I used to hire a professional to re-caulk my tub every year but found that I did it better myself.  This can be costly if you have it done by a professional, but it makes a world of difference aesthetically. 

Once those items are complete an all-around cleaning of the bathroom; including toilet, toilet seat, bathroom accessories, faucets, sinks, etc.

Moving on to the kitchen----

Your refrigerator is arguably one of the most important appliances in your home - after all, it keeps your food from spoiling, saving you from many trips to the grocery store. However, refrigerators are not indestructible.

Condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom, depending on the type of refrigerator you own. When the coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can’t efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge.

Clean the coils with yet again a toothbrush and vacuum.  Also, don’t forget about the dust bunnies under the refrigerator. 

All other appliances should be cleaned inside and out.  And for the lucky ones, this might be a good time to push that little button on your oven that says, ‘Self Clean’. Just make sure you take any items out before you do.

General cleaning of all other surfaces will make your kitchen look spic and span. 
All other items that should be addressed in your home is as follows: 

Clean and dust light fixtures, Wipe down all handles, doorknobs, etc. Dust and/or wash mini blinds and other blinds and shades Dust blades of ceiling fans and other hard to reach areas, such as tops of doors, etc. Wash windows and window screens wash mirrors and most important, declutter and organize.

Now let’s make Danny Tanner proud and get to it!

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.