Recent General Posts
How Maintaining your Home can effect your Insurance Coverage
In general, an insurance company is not going to cover claims involving normal wear and tear.
For some folks, insurance is a double-edged sword. They know they need insurance in case there’s a disaster, but they certainly don’t want to be faced with a disaster despite the “investment” in insurance. But, the fact of the matter is it’s a necessity and every homeowner should have it. It is a good thing.
Generally speaking, a covered insurance claim is designed to “make you whole”. In other words, it gets your home to the pre-damage condition. In insurance-speak, this is called indemnity. The problem that arises here is claims can result in higher premiums or possible policy cancellations. There are some situations in which an insurance company may question the validity of a claim:The costs of repairs or replacement do not exceed the policy deductible.The damage and claim fall underneath the exclusions section of the policy.The damage and claim could’ve been prevented.
It’s possible the last point gave you pause. Surely, a natural disaster isn’t preventable. However, let’s say a natural disaster causes damage to a roof that’s in obvious disrepair. This may end up a denied claim. For this reason, we’ve decided to share some preventative measures and fixes that are more cost-effective to handle yourself versus using home insurance.
Take Care of Your Roof
Remember when we mentioned the hypothetical roof problem?
If maintained properly, roofs should last about 25 to 30 years. The first inspection should occur 10 years after installation with additional inspections happening every 3 to 5 years.
As far as what you can do on your end, try to look over your roof at least twice a year. Check for damaged or missing shingles. Also, make sure to clean any gutter guards and downspouts so water can flow easily from the roof.
When it comes to a roof, you typically have a good idea of when to use homeowners insurance. For example, if your roof is in great condition and damage is caused by a what your insurance policy considers a covered peril (i.e. fire, wind, hail, etc.), there’s a decent chance a claim is in order. On the other hand, if the damage is due to wear and tear or poor maintenance, a claim denial may be on the way.
Prevent Water Leaks
At SERVPRO of West Riverside City, we have extensive experience in dealing with water damage. It’s one of the most common house problems out there. Luckily, there are several relatively easy tasks you can take on yourself to prevent a water and insurance mess:Properly caulk and seal showers and tubs.Inspect pipes for leaks and cracks (have pipes repaired or replaced if needed).In colder temperatures, insulate your pipes.If you use a sump pump, test it every year.Install sewer backwater valves in your drainpipes.
It’s worth noting that sewage backup, as well as the replacement and repair of sewer lines, tend to be excluded by insurance companies. But, some companies give the option to add specific endorsements that extend coverage to certain sewer issues.
Maintain Your Water Heater
Here’s the deal, water heater repairs and replacements are not usually covered by insurance. It’s also safe to say that if damage results from an old or malfunctioning water heater, your policy is not going to cover it. You have to stay on top of maintenance and replace equipment when necessary.
Depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, test your pressure-relief valve and flush the tank on a regular basis. If you hear the unit making loud or strange noises or you see rust-colored water leaking out, there’s probably an issue. Also, if the water heater is around 10 years old, it may be time for a new unit.
Protect Your Foundation
Many insurance policies exclude problems caused by cracks in the foundation which means proper care is key. Ensure the soil around your house slopes away from the foundation (6 inches over a distance of 10 feet). Additionally, safeguard your foundation from excess water by pointing sprinkler systems away from the home.
If you start to notice signs of water in your basement (musty smell or water stains), apply water sealant to the walls and floors. Also, be on the lookout for evidence of mold. If it exists, it may be in your best interest to hire a mold remediation specialist. Mold is a pathogen that can be harmful to your health, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Care For Your Appliances and HVAC
In general, an insurance company is not going to cover claims involving the malfunction or the normal wear and tear of HVAC units and appliances. If there are issues, you usually have to either troubleshoot it on your own or hire a technician to make repairs. If your appliances shock you, it may be indicative of an electrical issue. Unless you are an electrician, it’s a smart idea to hire a professional to inspect.
While it’s true there’s not a one-size-fits-all care manual for all appliances and HVAC units, there is one task that’s consistently recommended by all manufacturers: On a regular basis, check for damaged hoses and replace them immediately. With an HVAC unit, don’t forget to replace all the hoses every five years.
Connect With A Professional To Handle Repairs And Inspections
As you’re probably well aware of, insurance companies vary in what they do and don’t cover. It is good to seek advice from an insurance agent or consultant to get a definite answer as to when to use homeowners insurance.
That being said, there is a chance your policy may cover various services offered by fire and water damage restoration companies. While wholly contingent upon the provisions of your policy, there could be coverage for services like biohazard cleanup, mold remediation, and fire and water damage inspection, cleanup, and restoration. It might also provide cover for reconstruction services as well.
How do we know all this? At SERVPRO of West Riverside City, we’ve helped tons of customers navigate insurance claims related to our services. We accept all insurance and work with companies to ensure the claims process and paperwork go as smoothly as possible.
If you’re in the Dallas area and looking for certified professionals who handle fire and water cleanup, look no further! Connect with SERVPRO of West Riverside City today!
JMW Insurance Solutions Provides this Quick Tip
Home Insurance Vs Home Maintenance
Hey Marty Johnson here with JMW Insurance Solutions with a quick tip here for home insurance. Home insurance is designed for catastrophic losses, it's not a home warranty program so you must do your due diligence for normal wear and tear. You need to inspect your house. Check your roof and make sure that the normal wear and tear is being taken care of so when you file a home insurance claim they can't say it's normal wear and tear. I know, we pay our home insurance premium and then we get denied. I get it. keep a repair log for your home. Note the date, time and what you checked. A home insurance repair log of preventive maintenance goes a long way. Have a great day, be kind.
JMW Insurance Solutions Blog
Understanding Homeowners Insurance for your Riverside Home
Make an appointment with with your agent yearly to ensure you have the proper coverage.
First-time homeowners are faced with many realities of being “an adult,” and one of the things that comes with owning a new home is making sure you have proper insurance. But not all insurances are the same.
Just because you have insurance on your home doesn’t mean you’re protected from everything that could happen. In fact, often with homeowner policies, there are some very common occurrences that might not be covered.
Homeowners insurance differs from state to state, so to avoid making costly assumptions, it’s important to understand what’s included with your policy.
Here in Riverside we see so many of our customers who do not understand their homeowner's policy. Here is a quick guide to how your policy may be explained.
As a homeowner, one of the most important aspects of your home isn’t something you use daily. And it isn’t something flashy you show off to friends. It’s your homeowner's insurance policy, and it protects you in more ways than you may think, helping you rebuild your home or repair damage that results from a covered loss.
But, that’s not all. It can also help cover the costs of a lawsuit, help you pay for somewhere else to live when your home is uninhabitable and much more.
Home insurance is typically very comprehensive, but all policies have exclusions and coverage limits. It’s vital to know what those are so you know what’s covered and what’s not. Fire damage? Typically covered. Flood damage? Typically not.
With this guide, you can begin to understand what a typical home insurance policy covers. Just keep in mind that coverage varies from carrier to carrier, region to region and even policy to policy. Only your individual home policy can tell you the coverage you have and that which you don’t. For an even better understanding of your home policy coverage, review it with your local independent agent.
What Home Insurance Covers The typical homeowner's insurance policy has six types of coverage. They are commonly known as:
- Coverage A: Dwelling, for damage to your house that occurs due to covered losses, such as a fire. Following a covered loss, dwelling coverage helps you repair or rebuild your home, including the structures, such as a garage or a deck, attached to it.
- Coverage B: Other Structures, for damage to other buildings or structures on your property that result from a covered loss, such as a tornado. This may include a detached garage, a barn or a fence.
- Coverage C: Personal Property, for damage to or loss, including theft, of your personal belongings and possessions, such as jewelry, furniture, guns, and other valuables. If you experience a covered loss, this coverage will help you replace items up to the defined dollar limit in your policy. In certain instances, your belongings may be worth more than the typical home insurance policy covers. In this case, you may be able to purchase additional coverage through a process known as “scheduling valuables.” To help expedite a personal property claim, it helps to keep an updated home inventory of your belongings.
- Coverage D: Additional Living Expenses, for costs incurred, up to your set policy limit, due to “loss of use” of your home, meaning your home has been damaged to the extent that you cannot live in it and you need to live elsewhere. This coverage helps you handle the costs of your temporary housing and related expenses.
- Coverage E: Personal Liability, for damage to other people’s property for which you are responsible. This coverage may also help you handle legal costs and liability judgments resulting from a lawsuit, up to the defined dollar amounts outlined in your policy.
- Coverage F: Medical Payments to Others, for bodily injuries to other people, such as a houseguest, that occur in your home or on your property. Like personal liability coverage, this coverage helps with the costs of a lawsuit or legal decision, up to your defined policy limits.
Remember that, despite having all of these different types of coverage, you’re only covered up to the dollar amounts that you select and only for covered losses, as outlined in your policy. Typically, you can change these policy limits at any time if you’d like to purchase more coverage. This is a good idea if, for example, you’ve recently added on to your home, acquired some pricey personal belongings or made other updates to your property. If needed, you can also reduce your coverage, though always ensure you are adequately protected.
What Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover
It’s just as important to know what your homeowner's insurance doesn’t cover as it is to know what your home policy does cover. For starters, your policy does not cover any damage or repairs costing less than your deductible. It also does not cover any costs that exceed the coverage limits outlined in your policy. You are solely responsible for excess costs unless you have an umbrella policy to provide additional liability coverage for a covered loss.
More than likely, your policy also does not cover routine maintenance and repairs, as well as damage due to animals, termites, floods, earthquakes, sinkholes, sewer backups, and other incidents. These are often considered non-covered losses. If you experience a non-covered loss, as outlined by your policy, you will be responsible for the costs.
What Home Insurance May Cover
Outside of the typical home insurance coverage, optional or separate coverage may be available from your carrier or from a different carrier. For example, you may be able to purchase earthquake or flood coverage separate from your homeowner's policy.
Other coverage options are add-ons to your existing homeowner's insurance. These can include identity protection and equipment breakdown coverage, which covers the cost to repair or replace a range of appliances and other equipment, such as pool equipment, in your home. If this sounds similar to an extended appliance warranty, it is. The difference is that you can insure an array of appliances at once through this optional coverage rather than purchasing a separate warranty for each one.
This guide is a starting point for understanding your home insurance policy. Your own policy may vary greatly from the descriptions above depending on the state where you live, your carrier, and the coverage you have selected. So take a close look at your policy by reviewing your documents or viewing your coverage online. Or, even better, sit down with a local insurance agent who can explain your coverage in detail, as well as discuss whether your policy provides adequate protection for your home, property, and belongings.
From our friends at Safeco Insurance
According to Insurance Information Institute
“Many renters are under the misconception that their landlord’s insurance policy will reimburse them if their personal property is damaged or destroyed, but that’s just not the case,” says Salvatore. “Fortunately, renters have a range of insurance options to choose from.”
Renters insurance provides financial protection against damage to or loss of personal possessions due to hurricanes, fire, lightning, theft, explosion and other disasters listed in the policy. There is even coverage for water damage caused by burst pipes or a neighbor who forgets to shut off the water in the tub. Coverage is available on either an actual cash value basis (depreciated value) or for its replacement cost (no deduction for depreciation). Renters insurance does NOT cover flooding and earthquake, but separate policies can be purchased for these event
Summer Heat- How to protect Ourselves, our Workers, and Home
The human body is programmed to cool itself down when it gets too hot, usually by sweating.
However, severe heat conditions can cause body temperatures to rise to dangerous levels. Without drinking enough water or resting in the shade, heat exhaustion or heat stroke may occur.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion include:DizzinessHeadacheSweaty skinWeaknessCrampsNausea, vomitingIncreased heart rate
Signs of Heat Stroke include:Red, hot, dry skinHigh temperatureConfusionConvulsionsFainting
Prepare Yourself Before Going OutsideWear loose-fitting, light-colored clothingBe sure to apply sunscreenWear sunglassesStay hydrated and limit alcohol and caffeine intake on those days.Be aware and pay attention to signs of Heat exhaustion
If possible, limit your time outside on extremely hot days and stay indoors in the air conditioning. Be sure to check on your pets who may be outdoors or bring them inside. Staying hydrated will help you from experiencing heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is life- threatening. Signs of heat stroke are high body temperature (103+), rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness.
Car Safety is also important for your family and pets:NEVER leave children or pets alone in hot vehicles! Heat can rise in a car, up to 20 degrees in just 10 minutes! Even with the windows rolled down, only minutes in a hot car can be deadly for your pet! NEVER leave your pets in the car!If you see a kid in a hot car- act fast! You could save a life!Heat related deaths ARE preventable! Look before you lock!
Source from Ready.Gov
Preparing our Workers
OSHA requires that employers provide workplaces free of any known safety hazards, and this includes protecting them from extreme heat. Here are some tips for establishing a heat illness prevention program:Make sure workers are provided with enough water, rest and shade.Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize, or build a tolerance for working in the heat.Train workers on signs and prevention of heat illness, and to keep an eye on fellow workers.Consistently drink water every 15 minutes.In order to cool down, find time to rest in shady areas.Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
If a worker becomes ill, a supervisor should be called immediately, followed by 911 if applicable. Make sure that someone is with the ill worker at all times until help arrives.
This issue hits home for us, since SERVPRO of West Riverside City, technicians are constantly outdoors in the Inland Empire heat. Their safety and well-being is a priority at SERVPRO.
For more information, please visit: OSHA
Prepare Your HomeInstall windows air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapers), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cold air in. This can also help keep your electrical bill down in the summer months.Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awning or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
SERVPRO of West Riverside City specializes in fire, water, and mold remediation. Our highly trained technicians are restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your home quickly and safely. We service the residents of Riverside county and surrounding counties. Contact our office staff if you have any questions about water or mold damage in your home or business area. Schedule a FREE Assessment at 951-351-8033
Travel Safety Tips for your Pet
Our Mascot Ellie enjoys vacationing by the beach!
For some pet parents, a trip is no fun if the four-legged members of the family can’t come along.
But traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your pets. If you’re planning to take a trip with pets in tow, we have some tips to help ensure a safe and comfortable journey for everyone.
Remember, no matter where you’re headed or how you plan to get there, make sure your pet is microchipped for identification and wears a collar and tag imprinted with your name, phone number and any relevant contact information. It’s a good idea for your pet’s collar to also include a temporary travel tag with your cell phone and destination phone number for the duration of your trip.
Traveling by plane?
Unless your furry friend is small enough to ride under your seat, it’s best to avoid air travel with your pets. If you must bring your pet along on the flight, here are a few suggestions to keep your pet safe while flying the friendly skies.
- Book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
- Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a checkup. Prior to your trip, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of your departure. Tranquilizing your pet is generally not recommended as it could hamper his or her breathing, so use this time to check with your veterinarian for ways to relax your pet if you suspect he or she may become afraid, anxious or uncomfortable mid-flight. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information.
- Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably, and lined with some type of bedding—shredded paper or towels—to absorb accidents. Prior to your trip, tape a small pouch of dried food outside the crate so airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case he or she gets hungry during a layover. The night before you leave, freeze a small dish or tray of water for your pet. This way, it can’t spill during loading and will melt by the time he or she is thirsty. Make sure the crate door is securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it in case of an emergency.
- Make sure your pet’s crate has proper identification. Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” as well as with your name, cell phone and destination phone number, and a photo of your pet. Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a photograph of your pet.
- Tell every airline employee you encounter—on the ground and in the air—that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they'll be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed. If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check the animal whenever feasible. In certain situations, removing the animal from the cargo hold and deplaning may be warranted.
Taking a Road Trip?
Traveling with a pet by car involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off, especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. Here are a few car travel safety tips to help you prepare for a smooth and safe trip.
- Prep your pet for a long trip. Get your pet geared up by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet's rabies vaccination record. While this generally isn't a problem, some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings.
- Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop. If you decide to forgo the crate, don't allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window, and always keep him in the back seat in a harness attached to a seat buckle.
- Prep a pet-friendly travel kit. Bring food, a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, and any travel documents. Pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet's travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure, and always opt for bottled water. Drinking water from an area he or she isn’t used to could result in stomach discomfort.
- Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
7 (totally doable) New Year's resolutions that will change your life
Taking 10 minutes a day to do something you enjoy (like cuddling with your pet) is an easy goal with big return.
Goals that take just 10 extra minutes a day (or less), and can lead to big improvements in your health and happiness.
Does the New Year mean a new you — or another failed New Year’s resolution? Probably the latter for most of us, psychologists say, because thinking the flip of a calendar is enough to motivate us to ax all of our bad habits and behaviors is actually really unrealistic.
First of all, we’re not always as committed to those resolutions as we need to be to actually be motivated to stick with them. Instead of setting discrete, measurable goals for ourselves, we often set broad intentions, like exercise more. We don’t think clearly enough about how we will implement this change.
Plus, there’s the fact that we only have so much willpower we can turn to help us stick to the new habits. When people try to make multiple changes, they put multiple demands on that limited willpower and end up failing.
That means the more willpower it takes to skip the afternoon cookie break, the less you’ll have left to help you stick to your resolution to hit the gym that evening. Willpower — a type of mental energy — is actually fueled by glucose and can be strengthened and fatigued, just like our muscles.
What does work when it comes to resolutions is setting goals that are specific and attainable, so you know exactly what you need to do to accomplish it — and you do it.
Here a few such resolutions you can try in 2019 that each take 10 extra minutes a day (or less), and can lead to BIG, impactful improvements for your health, happiness and well-being.
- SET A DAILY INTENTION
It can be as simple as deciding not to overreact if your kids or another family member gets on your nerves — or take a walk over your lunch hour instead of not leaving your desk. If you feel like you’re living on auto-pilot, starting your day by setting a daily intention can help you feel more in control of your life and your actions. And over time, those intentions can each serve as a small step toward big changes, she says.
- CROSS OFF THE TOUGHEST TASK ON YOU TO-DO LIST FIRST
Figure out the toughest, most important or most intimidating task you want to get done by the end of the day and tackle it first. That way it’s done, so it’s not hanging over your head or stressing you out the rest of the day.
- START A BELLY BREATHING HABIT
Shallow breathing keeps our bodies in that high-stress, fight-or-flight mode. But deep belly breathing sends a message to our brains to relax. Slowing down your breath can slow down the chatter in your head, and reduce stress and anxiety. (You may also find yourself thinking more clearly and sleeping better)
How to do it: You can literally do this anytime and anywhere. Just, stop. Focus your attention on your breath. Let all your air out and take a deep inhale, then exhale, then repeat.
- TAKE THE STAIRS INSTEAD OF THE ELEVATOR
Stairs are a great way to quickly get the body moving, the heart rate up, and increase your metabolic rate – no gym required. It’s not the only change you’ll need to make if you have big weight-loss goals or want to get from the couch to a marathon finish line — but it can be the first step to just get in the habit of moving more, which can encourage you to be more active in other areas of your life, too.
5. APOLOGIZE AUTHENTICALLY
Whether you got in a tiff with a friend, family member or colleague, get better at apologizing by doing what you can to reconcile the conflict, rather than hold a grudge. It takes little risk and little time, but it can be intrinsically rewarding in a big way. Being able to say you’re sorry and mean it, makes it easier to get back to a positive mood after going through something difficult.
- TELL A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND ONE THING THAT WENT WELL EVERY WEEK
Too often we get hung up on the little things that go wrong from day to day, rather than focusing on everything that’s going right and what we have accomplished. Talking (out loud) about something that we’ve achieved helps us remember our true potential and the impact we’re having on the world around us.
- TAKE 10 MINUTES EVERY DAY TO DO SOMETHING FOR YOU
It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of work emails, after-school carpool schedules and life’s countless obligations. Spending 10 minutes of quality you-time could mean reading a magazine, meditating or playing with your pet. Focus on activities that not only make you feel good, but also relieve stress and improve your well-being (diving into a bag of potato chips or mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed are NOT the goal).
And whichever resolution you choose, remember to be committed, celebrate the small successes as you do big ones and go easy on yourself. Be ready for setbacks and forgive yourself when you fail (which you WILL do).
Are You Allergic to Your Pet? Breathe Easy—You Can Still Keep Your Animal Companion!
Although many people have discovered the beneficial effects of caring for a furry friend, the fact remains that roughly 15 to 20% of the population is allergic to animals.
The result? Countless pet parents in unhappy, unhealthy situations—and their beloved pets are the cause! Allergen is the medical term for the actual substance that causes an allergic reaction. Touching or inhaling allergens leads to reactions in allergic individuals. Symptoms can include red, itchy, watery eyes and nose; sneezing; coughing; scratchy or sore throat; itchy skin, and most serious of all, difficulty breathing.
The most common pet allergens are proteins found in their dander (scales of old skin that are constantly shed by an animal), saliva, urine and sebaceous cells. Any animal can trigger an allergic response, but cats are the most common culprits. People can also become allergic to exotic pets such as ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits and rodents. There is no species or breed to which humans cannot develop allergies. Fur length and type will not affect or prevent allergies. Certain pets can be less irritating than others to those who suffer from allergies, but that is strictly on an individual basis and cannot be predicted.
Once the diagnosis of a pet allergy is made, a physician will often recommend eliminating the companion animal from the surroundings. Heartbreaking? Yes. Absolutely necessary? Not always. Keep in mind that most people are allergic to several things besides pets, such as dust mites, molds and pollens, all of which can be found in the home. Allergic symptoms result from the total cumulative allergen load. That means that if you eliminate some of the other allergens, you may not have to get rid of your pet. (Conversely, should you decide to remove your pet from your home, this may not immediately solve your problems.) You must also be prepared to invest the time and effort needed to decontaminate your home environment, limit future exposure to allergens and find a physician who will work with you. Read on for helpful tips:
Improving the Immediate EnvironmentCreate an allergen-free room. A bedroom is often the best and most practical choice. By preventing your pet from entering this room, you can ensure at least eight hours of freedom from allergens every night. It's a good idea to use hypoallergenic bedding and pillow materials.Limit fabrics. Allergens collect in rugs, drapes and upholstery, so do your best to limit or eliminate them from your home. If you choose to keep some fabrics, steam-clean them regularly. Cotton-covered furniture is the smartest choice, and washable blinds or shades make good window treatments. You can also cover your furniture with sheets or blankets which you can remove and wash regularly.Vacuum frequently using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filter or a disposable electrostatic bag. Other kinds of bags will permit allergens to blow back out of the vacuum.Install an air purifier fitted with a HEPA filter. Our modern, energy-efficient homes lock in air that is loaded with allergens, so it’s smart to let in some fresh air daily.Use anti-allergen room sprays. These sprays deactivate allergens, rendering them harmless. Ask your allergist for a product recommendation.Clean the litter box frequently. Use low-dust, perfume-free filler. Clumping litter is a good choice.Dust regularly. Wiping down the walls will also cut down on allergens.Invest in washable pet bedding and cages that can be cleaned often and easily.
Decontaminating Your PetBathe your pet at least once a week. Your veterinarian can recommend a shampoo that won't dry out his skin. Bathing works to wash off the allergens that accumulate in an animal’s fur.Wipe your pet with a product formulated to prevent dander from building up and flaking off into the environment. Ask your veterinarian to suggest one that is safe to use on animals who groom themselves.Note any symptoms of dermatitis exhibited by your companion animal. Dermatitis often leads to accelerated skin and fur shedding, which will up your allergen exposure.Brush or comb your pet frequently. It’s best to do this outdoors, if possible. (The ASPCA does not recommend keeping cats outdoors, so make sure your feline is leashed if you take him outside.)
Taking Care of YourselfIf possible, have someone other than yourself do the housecleaning, litter box work and pet washing, wiping and brushing. If you must clean the house or change the litter, be sure to wear a dust mask.Wash your hands after handling your companion animal and before touching your face. The areas around your nose and eyes are particularly sensitive to allergens.Designate a “pet outfit” from among your most easily washed clothes. Wear it when playing or cuddling with your companion, and you’ll leave other clothing uncontaminated.Find a physician, preferably an allergy specialist, who will make sure that your pet is the cause of your allergies and will help alleviate your symptoms. Medications and immunotherapy (desensitizing shots) can often allow you and your companion animal to remain together happily ever after.
Should You Be Concerned About Cracks in Your Foundation?
This photo shows one kind of slab leak, a slow leak from a pin hole.
The foundation underneath your home serves a very important purpose. It’s what keeps your house aboveground, deters moisture, and insulates your home against the cold weather. When that foundation starts to form cracks, it should make any homeowner concerned. This is because properly developed foundations are created to withhold natural settling that occurs when a house ages. This means that if you see cracks in your home’s foundation, something is not right. Because of its seriousness, SERVPRO of West Riverside City wants to help educate others on how serious cracks in a home’s foundation can be.
What’s the big deal with having cracks in a home’s foundation?
It doesn’t matter where the cracks are located or how big or small they become, finding a crack in the foundation is never a good sign, as it means that the foundation itself is moving. Because the foundation acts as the platform for a house to be built on, having the foundation move around only leads to structural problems and damages to your home. When cracks start to form, it can lead to many unwanted scenarios or events. Here are just a few:
1. Water damage.
If there are cracks in your foundation, that means that the cracks can act as an entranceway for water to enter your home and ruin the basement and other parts of your house. Along with that, the water can help make the cracks larger and spread at a faster rate, which only means more damage to your home.
2. Degrading foundation.
When a foundation starts to degrade, the water entering can cause the foundation to erode at a faster pace, which can also cause serious damage to a home.
Nobody wants to deal with termites. Unfortunately, cracks in a house’s foundation can help invite them into your home. The cracks make it very easy for them to gain access to your home. Once the termites are there, the repercussions are costly and no fun.
How do cracks form?
All three items mentioned above are clearly things that no homeowner ever wants to deal with. Oftentimes the damage is not as bad if the cracks in the foundation are found earlier on. So what should a homeowner do? It helps to know the background as to how these cracks are formed in the first place. Here are a few ways cracks can form on your house’s foundation:
Living in Southern California, earthquakes are a common occurrence. Along with the damage they can do to your personal items inside your house, earthquakes can also affect the foundation of your home. The stronger the earthquake, the weaker your foundation can become. Along with that, smaller earthquakes can also make current cracks worse, so beware of the possible damages caused by earthquakes.
2. Improper mix solution.
The actual creation of a house’s foundation is very important as to whether or not cracks will form. If the foundation mixture has too much sand or water, it will not set properly, which overtime, can cause the foundation to erode.
3. Exposure to extreme heat.
An intense amount of sunlight exposure can cause concrete to expand during the day. When the sun goes down, the concrete can go back to its normal position. Having this constant expansion and shrinkage occur can cause your foundation to crack.
4. Leaks in the plumbing.
Having to deal with water leaks in your house is a pain and often very time consuming. But when a leak happens, don’t forget to check your home’s foundation. If there is an excess amount of water leaking into your basement, this can cause pressure against the foundation, making it more vulnerable to cracks.
5. Droughts or floods.
Southern California’s recent weather has caused quite a bit of chaos. First, there was the statewide drought. Then El Nino brought possible flooding issues to some homeowners. Both cases are no good for a house’s foundation. Droughts and floods can change the typical soil pressure around the foundation, which can then cause it to move and eventually crack.
How Water Can Damage a Home’s Foundation
Water can have a huge impact on a home. Whether it’s a pipe leak or a flood, the damage it can bring to the home is overwhelming. But on top of that, water can create major problems with a home’s foundation. Here is how water plays a major role in a home’s foundation damage.
1. Soils make a difference.
We can’t always escape water. At some point, rain or snow will hit your home. But there are certain soils that drain better than others. Those made out of loam or sand typically have good drainage, which means these soils don’t provide an issue with foundation damage. However, soils made out of clay are expansive and tend to absorb water around them. When the soil expands, it surrounds the foundation of a home and creates a pressure against the foundation. As this pressure starts to build against the foundation wall, cracks start to form.
2. The absence of water hurts, too.
The absence of water can actually damage your foundation as well. In times of drought, the previously saturated soil under the foundation shrinks. This leaves a void in the soil that supports it, which can make the foundation drop or sink, causing damage to the foundation as well as the structure it supports.
So, what can I do to prevent it?
After reading about all of the terrible effects and damages a cracked foundation can have on a home, you may be wondering to yourself, “what can I do to prevent all of this from happening to my home?” Fortunately, SERVPRO of West Riverside City has compiled a list of tips to help you prevent water damage and a cracked foundation to your property.
1. Clean your gutters.
Cleaning your gutters on a regular basis can help ensure good drainage. This in turn can help prevent cracks to your foundation.
2. Test your sump pump.
In order to avoid cracks forming within your foundation, be sure to test your sump pump at least once a year. If it’s storm season in your area, be sure to check it more frequently.
3. Fix the water leaks.
Any visible leaks should be repaired as soon as possible, in order to prevent any future water damage. Be sure to check for dark spots on ceilings or pipes, as it can also be an indicator of water damage. Evidence of water damage has the ability to create cracks in the foundation. If your home shows any signs of water damage, be sure to contact SERVPRO of West Riverside City, as we are leaders in the water damage removal process.
How Cracks in a Home’s Foundation Can Create Slab Leaks
Oftentimes, a crack in a house’s foundation can lead to a slab leak in your home, which is another thing no homeowner wants to deal with. Fortunately, SERVPRO of West Riverside City has lots of experience in dealing with slab leaks.
Recently, SERVPRO of West Riverside City received a call from a homeowner who realized that the carpet in their bedroom was very wet in a specific area, which had no connection to plumbing. Unsure of what to do, the homeowner reached out to their insurance agent who referred him to SERVPRO of West Riverside City.
When we received their call, we immediately sent out our Project Manager to inspect the damage. After looking around the area, he realized that the homeowner had a slab leak that ended up affecting the bedroom, bathroom and laundry room. He reached out to Crew Chief and his team of technicians started to get the project underway immediately.
The SERVPRO of West Riverside City team had to remove the wet baseboards in all the rooms and the padding in the bedroom, but they were able to save the carpet by floating it. They then set up dehumidifiers and fans to help the rooms dry out.
The homeowner was very happy and appreciated all of SERVPRO of West Riverside City’s help. They were thrilled that we were able to save their carpet and grateful for our quick service. They let us know that if they’d call us for their future water damage needs.
If your home has been affected by a cracked foundation or has any other signs of water damage, give SERVPRO of West Riverside City a call! We are happy to help with any water damage problems.
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Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation, and can help minimize how water and fire damage affect your business.