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Old Property, New Tricks: Plumbing Maintenance

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

Hands trying to stop a leaking pipe. Most of the quirks are manageable, however, if you stay on top of your maintenance routine.

Consistent, timely maintenance is important in any rental property to keep tenants happy and keep your building structurally sound. Older buildings tend to have more plumbing problems than new buildings, particularly if they were outfitted with polybutylene pipes. Therefore, you must be even more vigilant if you own a building in Easton, PA, that was not just constructed. Here are some helpful maintenance tips.

Unit Maintenance

Most clogs are caused by an individual blockage in a particular unit. Maintenance is generally not difficult on these clogs. You should keep a few things on hand to help you fix the problem:

• Drain auger (also known as a snake)
• Plunger
• Enzyme treatment

Most clogs can be loosened with an auger or plunger. The auger grabs the material clogging the drain and pulls it out while the plunger uses air pressure to force the clog through the pipe. If you notice recurring problems in the same unit, a monthly enzyme treatment may be helpful. If the clog causes the unit to flood, you may also need professional remediation services.

Property Maintenance

Old pipes made of polybutylene tend to flake and deteriorate the more they are exposed to the chemicals used to make water clean. This is partially why builders stopped using them in the late 1990s. If your rental property has these kinds of pipes, you may need to replace them at some point so that you don't keep having leaks that could cause severe water damage to your building. Other problems to look for are the roots of established trees. They tend to break pipes as they grow. A root killer flushed down a toilet twice a year can kill the roots that are encroaching upon your pipes without harming the tree itself.

Whether you are dealing with issues resulting from faulty polybutylene pipes or the third instance of a clogged sink from the same unit, it's important to acknowledge that older properties come with their quirks. Most of the quirks are manageable, however, if you stay on top of your maintenance routine.

3 Reasons You Might Smell Mold in Your Home

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Close up of mold. Black mold and other fungi can create foul odors, but when you know where they might be hiding, you can find and destroy them quickly.

Catching a whiff of foul odors in your Bethlehem, PA, home can be distressing. Certain odors can be caused by wet weather, old carpeting, and pet accidents that were not cleaned up properly. However, one common cause is mold growing somewhere in your home, out of sight. Black mold can give off a particularly strong odor because it can spread quickly where moisture is present. There might be several reasons that mold is growing inside your home and understanding why can help you target and destroy it.

1. A Leaky Roof

Small leaks in your roof may be difficult to detect. However, when it rains and water gets into your attic, the humidity there makes for a fine mold breeding ground. If you continuously find mold in the attic, you may want to have your roof inspected by a contractor who can find the source of the leak. The moisture problem may be something as simple as a missing shingle or damaged flashing.

2. Cracks in the Basement Walls

If you have an older home, your basement walls may be suffering from minute cracks that are letting in moisture each time it rains. This problem may be compounded by poor drainage around the perimeter of your home. The basement may be breeding black mold because instead of draining away from your home, rainwater seeps in, finds its way into the cracks, then puddles in corners where you do not notice it. You may want to call in a mold cleanup and remediation service to dry out your basement and remove the existing mold before you address the drainage issue.

3. A Dirty Washing Machine

Wet, musty smells can emanate from your washing machine over time as moisture allows mold to grow inside the drum. Run a mixture of baking soda and vinegar through a cycle to break up hidden mold.

A fresh-smelling home is probably a priority for you as a Bethlehem homeowner. Black mold and other fungi can create foul odors, but when you know where they might be hiding, you can find and destroy them quickly.

How To Clean Mold Odor in a Washing Machine

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Black mold growth. Keeping your washing machine free of mold and musty odors may extend its life and leave your laundry smelling fresh and clean.

Having a washing machine in your Easton, PA, home can be a major convenience, especially if you have a large family. However, after all those loads of laundry, you might notice that your washed clothes and your utility or washroom have a strange, musty odor. This smell is usually due to mold that has built up on the drum of your washer and if it has become quite noticeable, there are a few ways to eliminate it.

Use Natural Products

While you might want to reach for your gallon of household bleach to get rid of the mold smell in your washer, this may not be the best solution. Not only is bleach water-based, which might feed the mold instead of killing it, but bleach may also be too harsh on the inside of your washer. Instead, you can use a variety of natural products that fight mold without damaging the inside of the machine, such as:

• Baking soda
• Vinegar
• Distilled water

Foregoing bleach-based products can also help prevent their harsh odors from transferring onto your clothing after you clean the washer.

Prepare the Solution

Use an empty detergent container or other clean bottles to create a solution with baking soda and distilled water. Use equal parts of each ingredient, up to half a cup of each, then swirl gently to mix. Then, add a few cups of white vinegar before you run a cycle of hot water through the washing machine. This should help kill any mold left behind by dirty laundry and moisture.

Follow Up With a Professional

Calling a mold damage and removal service to check your washer and laundry room is a wise choice once you know fungi is present. Cleanup techs can check the area for additional mold growth and offer you tips on how to prevent future problems.

The washing machine in your Easton home can be a major asset to your family. Keeping it free of mold and musty odors may extend its life and leave your laundry smelling fresh and clean.

The Importance of Wind Mitigation Services for Your Commercial Property

8/10/2021 (Permalink)

Missing shingles on a roof High winds can cause roofing issues.

Wind Mitigation Services: How Important Are They for Your Commercial Property?

When the wind starts to howl in Easton, PA, it can cause serious damage to your commercial property. Your building’s roof might be the most vulnerable to strong winds, as it can tear away shingles, weaken building materials and even result in a roof leak that can cause further damage to the interior of your business. However, understanding the importance of storm mitigation can prevent a loss of inventory or a prolonged closure when high winds impact your building.

Wind Can Cause Sudden Damage

A professional storm and mitigation and restoration company can be an asset when high winds cause unexpected damage to your commercial building. Missing shingles, torn tar paper and loose gutters can all occur during a windstorm, and having a company on hand that can temporarily fix these issues until permanent repairs can be made might prevent the damage from spreading or causing a chain reaction of other serious issues.

Professional Intervention Saves Time and Reduces Stress

Whether a windstorm causes a sudden roof leak or tears away a section of shingles, having a mitigation team on standby can give you peace of mind that you will be able to call for help right away. These professionals will likely arrive with materials like heavy tarps and plywood to cover the damaged sections of the roof until further repairs can be made. Even temporary repairs can lower the risk of further damage that can both costly and stressful.

Mitigation Can Help You Plan for Future Emergencies

A damaged roof needs immediate attention and retaining a restoration company that offers storm mitigation services can be part of your emergency weather plan. Mitigation can protect your employees and customers from being struck by flying roof debris and secure the damage until it can be repaired. Being well prepared for weather emergencies can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries that may result in costly litigation.

Whether high winds in Easton, PA, cause a roof leak or other roofing issues, mitigation can resolve them quickly. This can protect your investment and give you peace of mind as a business owner.

Best Ways to Prepare for Flood Damage

7/26/2021 (Permalink)

Hand with a glove cleaning a clogged gutter Clean gutters regularly.

The Best Flood Damage Preparation Methods

Depending on where you live in Bethlehem, PA, your home may stand in a flood zone. If flooding is a strong possibility in your area, it’s critical that you take the proper precautions so you can mitigate damage to your home and personal property. You may not be able to completely stop water from getting into your house, but you can minimize its harmful effects.

Assemble an Emergency Kit

If you wait to start preparing for a flood once the rain starts falling or once the water begins creeping into your house, it’s too late. You need to get ready today with the proper materials to help ensure your safety and well-being from flood damage. Include these items:

  • Non-perishable food
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Toiletries and hygiene items

Clean Your Rain Gutters

If a major rainstorm hits your area, the storm damage can be severe, especially if your rain gutters aren’t diverting water from your home. Make sure you remove leaves, dirt and other debris from your rain gutters. If you fail to do this, water could pool up near your foundation which could then find its way into your home.

Clean Your Storm Drains

Other problem areas when it comes to flooding are the storm drains in front of your home. If these are cluttered with garbage and other materials, you could be in trouble if a large storm rolls through your area. It’s vital that you clean out these gutters, so they don’t overflow and put your home in danger. If you don’t have the equipment and expertise to handle this task on your own, you can contact an experienced company that specializes in this type of maintenance.

You can’t always predict when flooding will affect you and your home, but you can prepare yourself. Follow these tips, and you can have peace of mind that you’re doing all you can to ensure your safety.

6 Leading Causes of Home Fires

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Burnt room It is estimated that a home fire ignites every 86 seconds in the United States alone.

Here Are Six Of The Most Common Causes Of House Fires

The National Fire Protection Association complies data on home fires in the United States. The NFPA then publishes the study on home fire, injury, and loss of life. Although the statistics are alarming, there are several areas that many of the fires have in common. You can help increase the odds your home in Easton, PA will never experience a blazing disaster by noting these six leading causes of home fires and proactively checking to make sure your home is safe.

1. Lit candles are a leading cause of fires. Although most candles come with a warning about not leaving the wax creation alone when burning, most people ignore the notice. Once lit, the flames can catch curtains, carpets, and papers quiet easily and then spread through the whole house.

2. Electrical devices are a major cause of house fires. Faulty electrical connections and over-heated equipment top the list of hidden fire causes.

3. Smoking is still a major source of home fire problems. People still fall asleep with a burning cigarette in their hand. The bed, chair, or carpet can then easily catch fire and cause serious injury. This type of fire is ranked by fire repair and restoration professionals as one of the worst type of fire cleaning scenarios.

4. Small children are a major cause of residential fires. Interestingly, playing with fire by children has been ranked in the top five of dangerous fire scenarios for more than a decade.

5. Holiday decorations cause many fire tragedies during winter months. Dry trees and overheating lights are noted as the major cause of holiday fires.

6. During summer months, lightning can often cause home fires. Homes in wooded areas are especially vulnerable to lighting strikes and major fire damage.

It is estimated that a home fire ignites every 86 seconds in the United States alone. That means the odds of a fire occurring in your neighborhood during your lifetime is rather large. By noting the six-leading causes of residential fires, you can take the extra step and proactively protect yourself and your family.

Protect Your Commercial Property From Mold Damage

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Hand pointing on ceiling black mold growth. Mold growth in a Stockertown, PA property.

Protect Your Property From Further Damage

Mold is known as the king of fungus because it can grow almost anywhere on earth. With over 100,000 different types of mold worldwide, it can thrive on organic surfaces of all types. The fungus is a frenzied eating machine created by nature to break down and recycle anything that was once alive. Yet surprisingly, mold sends out beautiful spores in dozens of colors including yellow, green, and black mold varieties. There is only one thing other than food that mold needs to complete a lifecycle, and that is water.

Playing Hide and Seek

If your commercial property in Stockertown, PA, has a moisture problem, you probably have mold. To eliminate the cause of the mold and stop the spread of spores, you need to stop the water source feeding the mold colonies. If your building experienced a flood of some type recently, invisible water damage could still be lurking. Water can easily seep under

  • Cabinets
  • Flooring
  • Wallboards

The hidden water can easily provide spreading fungus with ample liquid for colony development. Additionally, wet insulation can feed mold colonies for months after a pipe leak occurs. In fact, weeks or months after the flooding, red, green or black mold can begin to make an appearance in areas you thought were dry.

Killing Water and Mold

To kill the mold, you need to remove the source of the water. Most water removal and mold remediation groups are trained in how to locate and identify hidden molds. Once the fungus is found, the cause of the water can be identified, and mold cleanup can begin. If floorings, cabinets, or lumber sections have been badly destroyed by the fungus colony, the building supplies may have to be replaced because the actual structure of an object can be ruined by mold.

Protecting Building and Property

Rather than attempting to remove yellow, purple, or black mold on your own, call in a team of specialists and have them identify the source of the water. Not only can you protect your property from further mold damage, but you may also be protecting the structure of your building.

How To Stop Sewer Smells From Getting in Your Building

6/27/2021 (Permalink)

Man start using sewer inspection camera. Inspect your drain lines.

Steps To Keep Sewer Smell Out Of Your Building

If a sewer smell permeates your commercial building in Churchville, PA, it can be bad for business morale. Not only will your workers hate coming in, but your customers might start to avoid the store too. Thankfully, you can turn to a commercial cleaning team to help you get rid of the bad smell.

However, you don't have to let it get that far. You can take some preventative steps to keep the bad smell of the sewer out of your building from the start.

1. Check on the toilet trap. You might not be that familiar with the function of your toilet trap. This u-shaped pipe connects your toilet's drain to the rest of the sewer line. The bend of the plumbing traps a small amount of wastewater. The wastewater actually works to block sewer gas from coming into your building. Have a plumber or another professional inspect the trap regularly to make sure it does not dry out.

2. Clean plumbing vents. Your building is probably equipped with plumbing vents designed to release sewer odors to the outside rather than back into your space. If these vents were to get blocked up, you may start to notice a sewer smell inside. Regularly cleaning the vents helps reduce the chances of a blockage.

3. Inspect drain lines. The drain lines of your sinks and toilets are supposed to carry sewage away from your building. However, cracks and holes can form in this piping. When this happens, the sewage may release underneath your building or even inside of it. This backup can leave you with a smelly mess.

Proper maintenance and vigilance can help you keep your business from acquiring the feared sewer smell. If a sewage disaster does happen, you need to address the problem as quickly as possible to avoid a lingering smell on your property.

3 Facts About Mold Coverage for Homeowners

6/22/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on a wall Mold damage in Fork Township, PA.

3 Facts About Mold Coverage for Homeowners

Numerous mold lawsuits during the 1980s and 1990s led a number of homeowners insurance companies to exclude fungus growth from policies. If you are concerned about the presence of mold at a home in Forks Township, PA, you should be aware of the possibility that coverage for this form of secondary damage resulting from water damage may be limited or unavailable. Here are three facts that can help you decide whether to obtain residential mold insurance.

1. Mold Coverage Is Often Capped or Cut Out of Policies
Many insurance companies exclude mold damage from homeowners' policies. Policies that do cover this type of secondary damage may have a maximum limit of $10,000 or less. Homeowners should check to see whether coverage is available.

2. Mold Caused By Covered Water Damage May Be Included
Even if a policy has limited or no coverage for mold, fungus growth resulting from water damage that was a covered peril may also be covered. In most cases, it is necessary to demonstrate that a homeowner took every measure possible to quickly and thoroughly restore primary water damage.

3. Documenting Mitigation and Remediation Can Be Helpful
Whether you have a homeowners policy with a mold cap or additional mold insurance, it is always important to keep complete documentation of the mitigation and remediation of water damage and any measures taken to remediate mold damage. This information may make it possible to get coverage for mold claims that might otherwise be rejected.
If you do not have mold coverage, it may be possible to get a fungus growth endorsement or rider on a homeowners policy or take out a separate mold policy. It can be worthwhile to get a mold policy for a home with an elevated risk of developing fungus in Forks Township, PA. Successful water damage cleanup and restoration go a long way toward preventing mold growth.

4 Things To Do When Your Basement Floods

6/22/2021 (Permalink)

wet carpet, hallway, end of hallway black couch Flooded basement in Palmer Township, PA.

How Should You Deal With Standing Water In Your Basement?

The last thing you want to find in your Palmer Township, PA, home is a flooded basement. However, after a big storm, pipe burst or sewage backup, you may have to deal with this catastrophe. 

1. Call in the Professionals: As a homeowner, you may try to take care of some projects on your own. Dealing with standing water in any part of your home requires expertise. A professional residential flood remediation team can help you figure out the best repair plan that falls under your insurance coverage.

2. Remove Standing Water: The professionals will work hard to remove standing water from your home. A basement flood should be drained before anyone enters the lower levels of your home. Make sure the electricity to the basement is turned off before anyone goes into the water for added safety. In fact, it's best if the water is removed with a shop vac and other equipment that does not require someone to stand in the waters.

3. Salvage Content: Some of your belongings may be salvageable. Any nonporous materials can be cleaned and dried out. Other items, such as electronics and appliances, may need to be thrown away rather than saved. Let the experts help you clean your belongings so you can make sure everything is done right.

4. Prevent More Flooding: You do not want to have to deal with a basement flood regularly. To save yourself some hassle in the future, you should think about installing a sump pump. This equipment can help keep water from building up.

A basement flood can surprise you. You go to bed one night and wake up the next morning to find standing water in the lower levels of your house. Acting quickly can help you avoid mold growth and other secondary damage caused by standing water.