Tag | Tips
Home appliances are generally thought of as a godsend. They can save time, money, and make one’s life a lot easier! But, the flip side to that is that if they are not maintained properly, they can cause serious damage to the home! Here we discuss 6 ways to prevent common appliance disasters:
1) Washing Machine: Housed within a laundry room or the basement, families use their washing machines daily to clean clothing.
- Problem: Hose failure is one of the most common types of malfunctions and problems that may result from a broken hose include extensive flooding, property damage and the permanent incapacitation of the machine itself.
- Prevention: Regular inspections of the hose area are recommended and experts suggest that a distance of no less than four inches should exist between the hose and the water connection at the back of the machine. Owners should be mindful of replacing the connections between the hose and the washing machine before any failure might occur. The cost of replacing a worn out hose or its components is usually less than $20 while repairing the damage from a burst hose can jump into the thousands of dollars.
2) Drying Machine: Usually located next to the family’s washing machine, the drying machine ensures proper drying of clean clothes.
- Problem: The National Fire Protection Association suggests that there are almost 17,000 house fires a year that come from laundry machines and virtually all of those fires begin in clothes dryers.
- Prevention: Experts recommend routine removal of lint from the machine, but cleaning and inspection should go beyond the lint tray. Because dryer lint is so highly flammable, peering into the dryer for additional trapped lint beneath or around the machinery is crucial. Keeping an eye on lint issues within a drying machine costs nothing but time, while fighting a fire can cause immeasurable loss.
3) Water Heater: Ensuring that the temperature of the water that comes out of a home’s faucets is the proper temperature is the responsibility of the water heater.
- Problem: Old and poorly maintained water heaters can fail and flood a home and over time, all water heaters will experience sedimentary buildup and general corrosion due to common minerals within the water. A failed water heater can be a nuisance while it is out of service, but it can also cause significant monetary hassle should failure result in flooding.
- Prevention: The average water heater benefits from regular inspection by home owners and trained inspectors and should be examined on a yearly basis. Water heaters do not usually last much more than 10 to 15 years and do often require replacement parts during their lifespan. The occasional replacement of water heater parts varies, but the few hundred dollars one might spend can far outweigh the costs of emergency service should the device fail or cause flooding and require a $4000 repair job.
4) Air Conditioning / Swamp Cooler: These units may be part of a house-wide central air conditioning system or they may be individual window machines used to cool single rooms.
- Problem: Common problems include failure of the compressor or the pump system and with consistent use these parts will eventually fail. Blocked condensing coils often cause failure and can break the machinery if not fixed in a timely manner. A defective float valve in a swamp cooler can prevent water from filling the reservoir or even cause the water to overflow.
- Prevention: Air conditioning units are under considerable pressure to perform during the hotter months of the year and annual inspections are advisable. Very few units above the age of ten can operate without small replacements every few years. These replacements may cost a few hundred dollars every few years while total failure of a central air conditioning system could cost upwards of $3000. For your swamp cooler, it is wise to replace the absorbent pads and lubricate bearings at the beginning of every cooling season and at the end of the cooling season to shut off and drain the water.
5) Dish Washer: Families who do not like sinks full of dishes will employ a standard dish washer to do the work.
- Problem: Lack of proper drainage and flooding are the two most common problems experienced with external plumbing failures with a malfunction of the dish washer’s internal pump as one of the most common causes. Objects trapped around the drain and pump can prevent draining and proper operation.
- Prevention: Removing items that are blocking drainage or repairing the pump are two projects often best handled by professionals. The cost of replacement for the pump will usually be under $100 dollars if the problem is caught early while failure to service the machine can result in much more damage and require total replacement of the entire appliance, which can cost over $500 for inexpensive models.
6) Refrigerator: As one of the most used devices within the home, the refrigerator keeps the family’s food fresh and is always in operation.
- Problem: Overheating is the most common type of failure to impact a refrigerator and over time the buildup of dust can cause this issue, as can a lack of proper ventilation at the back of the unit. Chronic overheating can lead to breakage of the refrigerator’s motor, which will mean the appliance cannot maintain proper cooling temperature.
- Prevention: Proper placement of the refrigerator is the best way to ensure successful motor operation. Removing accumulated dust from the rear of the appliance should be done a few times a year. Keeping an eye on dust and ventilation costs nothing while repairing or replacing parts of a refrigerator may range anywhere from $100 for the motor to several hundred for the appliance’s compressor.
Appliances are amazing technologies that keep getting better and making life simpler. Maintenance and preventative care of your appliances will ensure lasting benefits.
If your property undergoes water flooding or property damages from an appliance malfunction, contact NuBilt for assistance and a speedy recovery.
There is an average of 40 tornados a year in Colorado. Most Colorado tornadoes head from a southwest to northeast direction.
Although, tornadoes can take place at any time of day, approximately 75 percent of Colorado tornadoes happen between noon and 7:00 p.m. Around 40 confirmed tornadoes happen yearly.
Colorado residents are most prone to tornadoes between May and August. As a matter of fact, over 90% of all Colorado tornadoes occur during these months.
There have only been a couple of deaths reported from Colorado tornadoes since the 1950s.
What Should You Do if a Tornado Is Imminent?
There are two types of notifications for tornadoes.
- Tornado Watch – A tornado watch signifies that the weather conditions are dire enough that they could turn into an eventual tornado. This is when you want to keep an eye out on the weather, and listen for possible weather updates.
- Tornado Warning – A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted by the human eye, or it has been spotted by weather radar. This is when you need to take quick cover.
If you are out in the open, and the sky gets dark, followed by gusting winds, you probably want to move to a safe place, like in a ditch, or reach a building if you can. If you can make it inside, you should take cover in a basement shelter, or other safe area of your house. If you don’t have a basement or storm shelter, take cover underneath a table. Put your hands behind your head and crouch down.
Tornadoes are unpredictable and can be very dangerous. Just because there have only been a couple of fatalities in Colorado tornadoes over the past couple of decades, doesn’t mean that a strong tornado cannot strike without warning. Always be cautious during any kind of bad weather.
When the summer heat hits, people have a myriad of cooling options for their home or business: fans for simple air circulation, air conditioners which produce electric powered refrigerated air, or swamp coolers. In case you didn’t know, a swamp cooler, also known as an evaporative cooler, is a unique apparatus which employs a natural cooling process, combining water evaporation with a reliable air moving system. This is often a popular choice in arid climates like Colorado.
One of the biggest differences between swamp coolers and air conditioners is that swamp coolers use a lot less energy; running a swamp cooler often costs a third of the price of an air conditioner which translates into huge energy savings.
On the flip side, swamp coolers use much more water than air conditioners and are primarily installed on the roof. This means they need to be well maintained an installed properly, or they can cause significant damage to your property.
Common Problems That Can Cause Property Damage
- Broken Pumps – Broken pumps can cause the water to stop circulating, and could cause a fire in rare circumstances. Make sure you are using parts and pieces that have passed safety inspection, and don’t use spare parts without warranties. If you have experienced a deep freeze in your area, you should inspect your swamp cooler that the pipes did not freeze, expand and burst.
- Corrosive Cases – The cases of your swamp coolers are always in contact with water. If you don’t inspect them often, the metal casing might rust, and the result is water leakage. Any extensive water leakage on your roof is going to make it deteriorate over time, and the water will make its way into your home.
- Float Valves – A float valve that does not work properly can allow water to overflow from the cooler case. This is the most prevalent reason for roof damage from a swamp cooler. There is often an overflow standpipe that should work to discharge extra water safely away; however this can quickly become overwhelmed if a valve gets stuck. The result is water overflowing for an extended period of time and potentially entering into a properties ducting system.
Regular, preventative maintenance on your evaporative cooling system is the cost effective way to avoid potential property damage. It is highly recommended to have your system checked out annually and cleaned to prevent mold build-up. This is often a good time to check for parts which may need to be replaced. Parts are relatively inexpensive and easy to fix/replace when compared to the service charges of an air conditioning specialist.
Swamp cooler property damage is serious, and it could eventually make your home structurally unsafe. In the event that you have water damage or fire damage to your property, you should contact NuBilt Restoration & Construction for immediate and proper repair of any damages.
Turns out, defective construction is easy to prevent, however claims are not and the claims costs surpass the cost of doing it right. Edward Fronapfel, P.E., forensics claim specialist and owner of SBSA Inc., is deep in the trenches regarding construction defect claims for owners, builders, developers and insurance companies. Through his consulting, he’s narrowed down the five most current construction defect claims, and discussed how you can avoid them.
Post-Tensioned Floors Defects
Post-tensioning is a way to strengthen concrete in your flooring slab or patio. Post-tensioning has the characteristic of moving on the soil it sits on. Such movements can result in cosmetic defects to the home, such as the drywall, doors and/or windows. If the post-tensioning movement occurs outside on the patio slab, the result may end in drainage being funneled into the house.
A method for avoiding with post-tensioning construction defects claims would be to increase the slope the slab sits on, to reduce the effect of the movement. By creating a dap, or small step, between the house and adjacent patio you will help reduce the path for water to drain into the home from patio slab movement and provide a lap for the building skin. (more…)
With winter, we think snow and cold temperatures, which would be a fire deterrent, right? Well, unfortunately because of the colder temperatures and conditions, people use methods to heat up their homes which increase home fire occurrences. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 49% of all home heat related fires happen December, January and February! As such, we have assembled a helpful guide so that we can prevent you and us to not be apart of that statistic.
So here are 5 ways to protect your property from winter fires:
- Keep Distance – Make sure that all heaters have a safe distance of at least 3 feet away from any combustible materials (clothes, paper, furniture, curtains, etc.).
A leaky basement or foundation can cause more than a headache. Depending on the duration of the problem, water can erode the structure and enable mold to grow. Here are five ways that you can waterproof your basement and foundation:
- Krystol – Kryton is a Canadian company that produces and develops Krystol Crystalline Waterproofing. It penetrates and seals cracks in concrete, and provides a protective membrane around your concrete. (more…)
There may be snow outside now, but if your home was flooded recently it could be harboring mold. If your home was flood-damaged during colder months, it’s very important for your property to be thoroughly cleaned now to avoid possible health problems from mold and mildew in the warmer months ahead.
“Mold is a significant problem after flooding and proper cleanup is critical to ensure it doesn’t affect your or your family’s health,” Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director J. Nick Baird, M.D. said.
Care must be taken to clean and completely dry any areas of the home that have gotten wet from floodwaters to prevent structural damage and adverse health effects from mold.
“People are anxious to get on with their lives after a flood, but if you had flood waters in your home take the time to clean thoroughly so problems don’t arise later that affect your home or your health,” Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Coordinating Officer Ron Sherman said.
Mold growth is a common occurrence in flood-damaged homes. Mold is made up of simple microscopic organisms that are found virtually everywhere. Mold could become a problem in your home if there is enough moisture available to allow mold to thrive and multiply. Dampness in basements, walls, carpets, and wood caused by flooding provides an environment for mold to flourish.
Exposure to high levels of mold can cause adverse health problems. Mold can also cause structural damage to your home. Mold can often be seen in the form of discoloration, ranging from white to orange and from green to brown and black, and it gives off a musty or earthy smell.
For some people, a relatively small number of mold spores can cause health problems. The basic rule is, if you can see or smell mold, take steps to eliminate the excess moisture, and to cleanup and remove the mold. It is important to quickly identify and correct any moisture sources before health problems develop.
Infants, children, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions, (allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity, and asthma) and the elderly appear to be at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold.
Allergic reactions may be the most common health problem of mold exposure. Typical symptoms reported (alone or in combination) include:
- Respiratory problems, such as wheezing, and difficulty in breathing
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Eyes – burning, watery, reddened, blurry vision, light sensitivity
- Dry, hacking cough
- Sore throat
- Nose and throat irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Skin irritation
- Central nervous system problems (constant headaches, memory problems, and mood changes)
- Aches and pains
- Possible fever
For proper cleanup after a flood, disaster recovery officials recommend following these steps:
- Before beginning extensive cleanup work on a flooded home, make sure the electricity is turned off. Unplug appliances and lamps. Remove light bulbs and cover plates of wall switches and outlets that got wet. If local building inspection code allows you to disconnect wiring from switches and outlets, do so and throw them away. If your building inspector says that you cannot disconnect the wiring, pull them forward, away from the wall, and leave them connected.
- Remove as much mud as possible. Once you have checked the water system for leaks, hose down the inside of the house and its contents. It is best to use an attachment that sprays soap to wash and rinse the walls, floors, furniture, sockets, electrical boxes, and other major items that got muddy. Use a non-ammonia soap or detergent, or a commercial cleaner, in hot water, and scrub the entire area affected by the mold. A stiff brush or cleaning pad works well on block walls or uneven surfaces. Rinse clean with water. A wet/dry vacuum is handy for this process.
- Use of a dehumidifier can help dry out the area; open cupboard and closet doors to keep air circulating.
- Remove heating and cooling registers and ducts, then hose them to prevent contamination when blowing through the ducts at a later date. Next, wash with a disinfectant that is Ammonia-derivative, phenolic or pine-oil based. If ducts are in a slab or otherwise inaccessible, have them cleaned professionally.
- Disinfect and dry the moldy area. It is critical to remove the source of moisture, before beginning to cleanup, as mold growth will return, if the area becomes wet again.
- Bag and dispose any material that has moldy residue, such as rags, paper, leaves, or debris. Harder materials such as glass, plastic, or metal can be kept after they are cleaned and disinfected.
- Wear gloves when handling moldy materials.
- Moldy materials should be removed as follows:
- Remove porous materials (examples: ceiling tiles, drywall, carpeting, wood products)
- Carpeting can be a difficult problem – drying does not remove the dead mold spores. If there is heavy mold, consider replacing.
- Allow the area to dry 2 or 3 days.
- If flooded, remove all drywall to at least 12 inches above the high water mark.
- Visually inspect the wall interior and remove any other intrusive molds. (This step may have to be carried out by a licensed contractor).
- Use caution, as mold spores are easily released when moldy material is dried out. When cleaning these damaged materials, consider wearing a mask or using a respirator. Respirators can be purchased from hardware stores; select one for particle removal (sometimes referred to as a N95 or TC-21C particulate respirator). Respirators are not as effective removing bleach fumes, so minimize your exposure when using bleach or other disinfectants.
- After thorough cleaning and rinsing, disinfect the area with a solution of 10% household bleach (1 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water). Using bleach straight from the bottle will not be more effective. Never mix bleach with Ammonia – the fumes are toxic. Avoid excessive amounts of runoff or standing bleach. Make sure the working area is well ventilated.
- Try cleaning a small test patch of mold first. If you feel that this adversely affected your health, you should consider paying a licensed contractor or professional to carry out the work.
- General cautions:
- Ask others to leave the areas when being cleaned.
- Work over short time spans and rest in a fresh air location.
- Air your house out well during and after the work.
If mold odors persist, continue to dry out the area and search for any hidden areas of mold. If the area continues to smell musty, you may have to re-clean the area. Continue to dry and ventilate the area. Don’t replace flooring or begin rebuilding until the area has dried completely.
NuBilt is always ready 24/7 to respond to water damage related mitigation
(mold remediation, frozen pipe bursts, flooded basements, etc).
When taking vacations for an extended period of time, we still need to be mindful of our properties back home. In fact, due to the season, extra precautions need to be placed to ensure our properties will endure the weather. Often, a homeowner has returned home too late, only to find that an aged washing machine hose or dishwasher part has broken, flooding their home and causing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in damage. So before embarking on that fabulous vacation to the sunny, warm beaches of Florida or Mexico, prepare your property so you do not get any surprise disasters when you return from your travels.
- Ensure all windows and entry doors are closed tightly including crawl space doors if applicable.
- You must NOT turn the heat off, but turn it down to 55 degrees.
- Do not turn the hot water heater off but rather, setting your hot water heater on the lowest heat setting possible will keep it functioning at a minimum level, while saving you money on your energy bills. Some water heaters have a “vacation” setting which should be utilized.
- Open all kitchen/bathroom cabinet doors under the sink and the door to the water heater closet to ensure circulation of warm air.
- If you are going to be gone for a short period of time and a deep freeze is expected, turn on all hot and cold faucets including bath and kitchen to a slow drip. Tape a note on all dripping faucets reminding others to leave dripping.
- If you are going to be gone for a week or more, shutting the water off to the whole house would be a great precaution. Others have recommended to turn off the water to your sinks, toilets, dishwasher and washing machine.
- Undo all garden hoses from exterior faucets.
Tips on preventing fires while on vacation:
- Unplug electrical equipment, except for the refrigerator, freezer, and the lights and radios you have set on timers.
- Be sure to check the oven and stove, as well as small heat-generating appliances such as hair dryers and curling irons, are turned off.
Depending on where you live, such as an apartment, a flooded kitchen could affect your neighbors’ property. Vice versa, if you know your neighbors are going on vacation during cold weather, you want to make sure their property will endure. When you plan to be away from home during the winter months, it is wise to advise a trustworthy neighbor, your management office and/or even the local police department as some offer a “vacation watch”. If they can monitor your property, it’s an extra way to discover disasters before escalating. By taking the necessary precautions on your property before your travels, you can have peace of mind that your property is cared for and will be kept up just like you left it.
NuBilt is always ready 24/7 to respond to water damage related mitigation
(ice damming, frozen pipe bursts, flooded basements, etc).
The high cost of home heating fuels and utilities have caused many Americans to search for alternate sources of home heating. The use of woodburning stoves is growing and space heaters are selling rapidly, or coming out of storage. Fireplaces are burning wood and manmade logs.
All these methods of heating may be acceptable. They are, however, a major contributing factor in residential fires. Many of these fires can be prevented. The following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire safe home this winter.
- Be sure that kerosene heaters are legal in your area.
- Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.
- Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
- Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.
- Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.
- NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling.
- Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors). Keep young children away from space heaters—especially when they are wearing night gowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
- When using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces
Wood stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize their fire hazard.
To use Them safely:
- Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36”) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
- Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be laboratory tested.
- Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
- Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
- The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 1530 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
- Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
- Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite theses materials.
- Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
- If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.
- It is important that you have your furnace inspected to ensure that it is in good working condition.
- Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
- Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified. Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
- Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.
- Is the chimney solid, with cracks or loose bricks? All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
- Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.
Other Fire Safety Tips
Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
- Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
- If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load.
TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
- Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
- Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Use hot water or a laboratory tested device such as a hand held dryer for thawing.
- If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily. Home escape ladders are recommended.
- If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.
- Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.
- Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.
- Contact your local fire department for advice if you have a question on home fire safety
NuBilt is always ready 24/7 to respond to fire damage related mitigation (structural collapse, board-ups, shoring, etc.) and restoration requests. Call 303.368.4688.
To read more about how to prevent disasters
in your home, please visit www.NuBilt.com