Is Your Home Feeling the Heat, Too?
You and your house can beat surprise heatwaves!
Excessive heat doesn’t only take a toll on you, but on your house too! When the temperatures rise, there are still ways to keep the costs low. Here’s what to watch for on hot days:
Plumbing- Most homeowners use 2-4 times more water in the summer than they do the rest of the year, that extreme increase can be hard for your plumbing system to handle! Extra water usage from sprinklers, swimming pools, garden houses, and even everyday water use can put high amounts of pressure on pipes so it’s best to confirm pipes are sealed properly before a heat wave comes through
Attics- Crawl into that crawlspace! Elevated temperatures and humidity in a poorly ventilated attic can create a breeding ground for mold.The best way to get hot air out of an attic is to add ventilation and insulation. Regularly inspect your attic to catch any signs of microbial growth or damage in its early stages.
Wooden fixtures/ material- Wood in your home is particularly susceptible to damage during hot, humid seasons. Even slight condensation on your windows can harm wooden window frames and internal walls. To protect any wood in your space you may want to consider installing energy-efficient windows, venting all appliances to the outside, and running exhaust fans while cooking or bathing. Did you know storing firewood indoors actually adds humidity to your house as the moisture dries out?
HVAC Systems: If you have the privilege of having one, your air conditioning system becomes your lifeline during a heatwave. However, when the outside temperature climbs to 95 degrees or higher, your AC may struggle to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Paradoxically, lowering your thermostat can make the air conditioner worker harder and less effective. To prepare, replace your air filters at least once a month. If your AC unit is 12 years or older, consider replacing it with a new model to keep you and your home happy!
How to Clean Your House to Set Your Family Up for a Successful School Year
Welcome a new school year and say goodbye to dirty house-induced stress!
You know the drill: hop in the car, go to your local Staples or Target and go through those back to school shopping lists! Grab that new lunchbox and backpack from the shelf and boom, you’re ready for the new academic year! What many people don’t realize is that school prep can and should begin a little closer to home-actually inside of the home!
They say a clean house is a happy house! Now, a clean house doesn’t guarantee happiness, but it sure can help boost your chances of feeling that way! As millions of families prepare for the 2023-24 school year, the basic step of organizing and cleaning your home is often overlooked. We have a few simple suggestions that will take minimum effort but will maximize your family’s school year success!
Laundry Room- Did you know SERVPRO offers washer and dryer maintenance? We can clean your vents and ducts to ensure safe washing and drying without risk of a fire. Dryers should be cleaned at least once a year, and every six months for heavier usage.
Clothing- For convenience sake, try to store your children’s clothing in a space that’s easily accessible to them which will hopefully increase the chances of them putting it away! Designate a spot or bin for dirty laundry to steer clear of the infamous dirty clothes mountains!
High Touch Zones- Knobs, handles, switches, remotes are all surfaces that get touched, but probably not cleaned, enough! Cleaning and disinfecting these bacteria heavy areas regularly will help keep the germs picked up from school out of the house.
Kitchen- Being an emergency disaster relief company, we want to first and foremost warn you of the danger of kitchen fires. Cleaning your kitchen and the appliances in it regularly are easy ways to keep your kitchen fire free.
Organization- Consider appointing certain areas in your kitchen as lunch and snack stations. You can store things like water bottles, containers, baggies, etc. all in proximity for easy school lunch prep.
Of course, the most vital part of making this school year count is not the tidiness of a house but the people who make it a home!
Fire Up the Grill, Not Your House: 7 Grill safety Tips Everyone Should Know
Stay safe this summer with these 7 grill safety tips
Gas grills are involved in an average of a little under 10,000 house fires each year, don’t let your house be one of them! Follow these steps to keep the fire on the grill and not in your house.
- Choose a safe location for your grill
Location is key! Right off of the house on the deck is a common spot to put a grill, but it isn’t a safe one! Grilling in close proximity to the house is a fire hazard. It’s a good rule of thumb to place your grill at least ten ft away from all structures. When choosing a spot make sure the surface is level and away from any overhanging branches and anything flammable.
- Keep a spray bottle on hand
When fat from whatever you’re cooking begins to drip, it’s common for the grill to flare up and cause a section of the grill to catch fire. Keep a spray bottle filled with water near your grill so you can quickly extinguish flames and prevent further spread.
- Never leave an in-use grill unattended
As goes for anything with flames, a lit grill requires constant supervision. It’s wise to stay close to the grill so you can easily see or smell signs of danger such as excessive smoke, flames shooting up higher than usual, or the scent of gas.
Strategically place your grill in a spot that is out of the way and not tempting for small children to go to. Enforcing the 3 foot “kid-free” is a great way to ensure safety and that no accidents occur.
- Clean your grill regularly
When not cleaned regularly, grease buildup on your grill can become a serious fire hazard. It’s a good idea to clean your grill with a grill brush after each time you use it and empty the grease tray as soon as you notice it filling up.
- Store propane tanks away from your house
Keep propane tanks outdoors in a well-ventilated area. To ensure safety, always keep the tank upright and check the valves are turned off fully.
Closed-toed shoes, oven mitts, and an apron are good protective measures to wear. Avoid loose-fitting clothing, dangling jewelry, and tie your hair back if it is long.
Our integration of DocuSketch: a state-of-the-art 3D documentation technology
We use the best technology so we can provide you with the best services!
SERVPRO® uses AI? Yes, we do! SERVPRO Team McCabe is always looking for ways to enhance our services, so integrating cutting-edge technology is a natural choice for us. We use DocuSketch, a 3D documentation tool to get precise digital floor plans to create estimates for scopes of work.
DocuSketch helps us capture 360-degree panoramic photos of every room. These sketches serve multiple purposes, being valuable for our team’s reference and frequently utilized by insurance companies, sub-contractors, and even customers!
So how exactly does it work? DocuSketch uses AI software to perform an automated review process that analyzes the compliance and completeness of a scope. This process ensures the information we use to create estimates is as accurate as humanly (or not humanly in this case!) possible.
The primary role of our on-site estimator is to gain a clear understanding of the specific tasks and volume of work necessary to restore an area to its preloss conditions. While AI helps with that process, our real-life estimator picks up on issues/concerns AI can’t. Our estimator prioritizes the safety and comfort of customers and promptly addresses any general, safety, or financial concerns.
With the help of DocuSketch, our estimator creates an estimate for the job, taking into account the severity of the damage, area dimensions, and many other factors to produce with the final price.
If you're dealing with a loss, give us a call today and we'll get you an estimate as soon as possible!
24/7, 365, We’re here for you!
Calling all Landlords- Three Hacks to Make Life Easier for You and Your Tenants
You hold the key to good tenant-landlord relationships!
Whether you manage one property or one hundred, follow these simple steps to ensure smooth sailing in the roaring sea of real estate!
- Communicate with tenants- The most obvious and perhaps most overlooked step of them all: clear communication between landlord and tenant helps everyone stay on the same page, ergo eliminating room for gray areas and misunderstandings. While communicating directly with each individual tenant is necessary for some instances, don’t shy away from mass communication. Chances are if one tenant has a question, others are likely thinking the same thing! Facebook groups are a great place to share helpful tips and updates with current and potential tenants.
- Give emergency contact info- In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial for tenants to know who they should contact. Get specific, and provide the names of the preferred vendors for any emergency. It will help put you both at ease knowing there’s a game plan in place.
- Have a written rental agreement- A written document signed by both parties ensures accountability and protection. Written agreements may include anything from who to pay when something breaks, to timeline stipulations, snow removal requirements, and anything in between. Expectations should be made clear in this agreement to prevent confusion down the road.
To simplify these steps further, use SERVPRO Team McCabe’s ERP! Our emergency-ready program enables you to keep all of your vital property information in one place. Our ERPs clearly map out what to do in an emergency. To learn more about SERVPRO’s ERP program please contact marketingstaff@SERVPROupperbucks.com
Think Before you Toss: The Do’s and Don’ts of Disaster Cleanup
The easy way isn't always the best way!
While it’s understandable to want to cleanse your space of debris/ damage after a disaster you might want to think twice before tossing that soggy document or dumping that couch! You would think it’s in your best interest to quickly purge all things damaged but SERVPRO Team McCabe is here to say: resist the urge! Our team of highly trained professionals can help you restore the right and safe way.
DON'T Frantically toss important documents
DO Check to see if you have digital copies, take photos, and then if you do want to dispose of the documents shred them so no one can access any personal information
DON'T Try to restore severely damaged items on your own
DO Leave it to the professionals, as direct contact with certain types of damage such as mold and sewage can cause severe health issues
DO Remain calm, take it one step at a time
DON'T Stay if the condition of the house is negatively affecting you and or making you unwell
DO Prioritize your health and, if necessary, seek medical attention from your healthcare provider
DON'T Wait to call your insurance company and or SERVPRO because “it might get better on its own”
DO Make your calls ASAP, the sooner you make the call the sooner you can get help
DON'T Start clean up and repairs before notifying insurance
DO Allow insurer to inspect the property before any repairs take place
DON'T Have the “what I can’t see can’t hurt me” mentality
DO Bring in professionals whose expertise allows them (us!) to notice areas of damage you may not have been aware of, especially when it comes to water and mold damage.
Real Talk: What Determines the Cost of a Restoration Job?
You're in good hands with SERVPRO Team McCabe!
Time is money when it comes to restoration services. The sooner you call SERVPRO the sooner we can assess the situation and prevent the occurrence of further damage. Whether you’re dealing with fire, mold, water, or any damage in between, we can help!
Along with a variety of factors, severity of damage determines the pricing. If you are an insured homeowner, talk with your insurance about your specific coverage to be sure that in an emergency they will cover most if not all of your restoration costs.
Insurance coverage, in times of disaster, is a real concern for homeowners. The last thing you need after a disaster is more uncertainty. Insurance agencies need evidence, depreciation of items, and estimates; all of which SERVPRO Team McCabe can assist with! We can advocate for you during the claims process to help you recover your property with as much of your insurance money as possible.
Conditioned upon what insurance plan you have, certain kinds of damage may or may not be covered. For instance, it’s common for damage from pipe bursts and sink overflows to be covered but less common for damage from groundwater to successfully receive a claim.
SERVPRO Team McCabe can help you decide if you should move forward with submitting an insurance claim on the damaged property. While many claims are resolved within two to six weeks, It can sometimes take longer. To ensure a smooth and quick restoration process it’s a good idea to call SERVPRO right away so we can start helping you as soon as possible.
After customers decide upon a payment method, it’s time to repair and rebuild. Depending on the type of damage to items and the property, SERVPRO Team McCabe can either repair on-site or take items back to our shop. Our team will keep records of each item for the insurance company and for your sake, in case you need them in the future.
SERVPRO Team McCabe is here to support you throughout the entire restoration process.
How businesses can ensure a quick recovery after disaster strikes
We all hope that disaster never strikes, but if it does, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place so that life can get back to normal as quickly as possible.
Time is money. SERVPRO Team McCabe can help you and your business not only recover but recover quickly. Our services can be the key to getting your business back on track in a timely manner. Staying afloat after an emergency isn’t easy, but here are a few simple steps you can take to prepare for a smooth recovery after a loss:
- Carefully review insurance policies; see what your business’s damage coverage is, find out if you have flood insurance, and decide if it’s necessary to invest in additional coverage
- Secure important records and priority documents in a waterproof container and/or store copies at a safe off-site location.
- Create a communication plan to easily stay in touch with customers, suppliers, and employees
- If it is safe to do so, document any visible damage to the facility for future reference
By planning ahead, businesses can protect against and minimize the effects of an emergency. SERVPRO Team McCabe provides fire, water, storm, and mold damage relief services. In the event of an emergency, SERVPRO Team McCabe is just a phone call away. Our team is ready to make any disaster look "Like it never even happened." No matter the day or time, we have the trained professionals, materials, and equipment to respond to any size restoration emergency.
Still not sure where to begin? Consider downloading our SERVPRO Ready Plan app https://ready.SERVPRO.com/ to keep all your emergency information and plans in one spot, and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns!
Preparing Your Home for Winter
In the event of any winter damage to your home this winter, do not hesitate to give us a call, we are here to help.
Whether this is your first winter in your new home or your fifteenth, there are some measures you should take to prepare your house for the next few months. While your personal plan may be to turn on the heat and hibernate through the winter, the snow, ice, and rain can still cause your home some serious issues inside and out.
The outside of the house is the number one hassle we think of in the winter, there is shoveling, plowing, and clearing off the cars. Unfortunately, snow can accumulate and cause a lot of direct damage to the house. Snow buildup can cause strain on the roof and should be removed as soon as it is safe. Ice can also accumulate on your gutters causing ice dams that are not only dangerous to your home but can also cause injury if it falls or is removed unsafely. Your gutters should be cleaned by removing leaves and other debris before the first storm of the season and if you do see ice building up you can clear them using a de-icing agent or a heated gutter cable to remove them without causing injury. Frequent temperature changes can also put cracks in your chimney which should be monitored throughout the winter so that repairs can be made as soon as the weather improves. Another outdoor situation to monitor is the surrounding trees; as snow and ice gather no tree limbs they can become weighed down and snap causing damage to the home or other surrounding structures. Trees should be pruned in the fall and cleared as needed during the winter to prevent any potential damage.
The cold can cause cracks in the caulk within the house causing drafts and affecting your heating bill. The wet conditions can also cause rotting along your door frames. This can lead to termites in the spring and even extensive damage that might result in you needing a new door frame. Be sure to check for any wood rot along the bottom of the door frame and fill in any damage with epoxy wood filler as needed. Frozen pipes are arguably the most prevalent issue with a few things that can be done to help prevent them. More specific prevention ideas for frozen pipes are written about in a recent blog.
The basement can also be a problem area and not just with your sump pump, though that is definitely a common element in basement focused water losses. When the heavy snow begins to melt it can seep into the basement or even cause the foundation to crack. With any signs of water in the basement be sure to check if your sump pump is working properly, and that the extension hose is draining. If the temps are below freezing remove the extension hose before a freeze causes a backup into your home. Ensure you have the proper yard drainage and repair any foundation cracks as needed throughout the winter.
These are just a few areas to keep an eye on as the temperatures drop and we close out the year. Hopefully, these tips will help prevent some water losses however they may not be completely foolproof. If you do notice any damage to your property this winter do not hesitate to give us a call, we are here to help.
Frozen Pipe Prevention
Frozen pipes are something that every homeowner worries about as the winter season approaches. Each year SERVPRO Team McCabe provides water damage restoration services to many homeowners who experience this issue. There are several steps that can be taken to help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting in your home.
Many people try to lower their heating bill while on vacation by turning the heat off while they are away. If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, and set it to a temperature no lower than 55° F. Your heating bill will still be lower than average, but it will also save you major cleanup costs after a pipe bursts in your home.
With the heat above 55 you can also keep the open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. The heat from your home will make it nearly impossible for them to freeze. This doesn't mean you have to keep your cabinets open all winter, you can do so if you're on vacation, or even a few hours a day while home can help.
You may also want to Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a pipe sleeve or installing UL-listed heat tape on exposed water pipes you can get from a local hardware store. Even a small amount of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that drop below freezing for a short period of time. It is also important to make sure that hose bibbs are turned off from the inside and opened on the outside to prevent damage to pipes.
When the weather is very cold outside, you can let the cold water drip from the faucet connected to the exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe even at a trickle helps prevent pipes from freezing. The constant movement of water prevents the pipes from freezing. This is something that should be done especially if you are out of your home for a few days and expect the weather to drop below freezing.
Keeping some of these tricks in mind can help prevent a major mess in your home during the winter season. Unfortunately, following these tactics does not guarantee you will not have an issue with your pipes. When disaster strikes, call SERVPRO Team McCabe.