Recent Cleaning Posts
What your crawlspace should not look like.
I co-host a weekly Chamber radio talk show and we had a guest on yesterday who performs home inspections. He seemed to be a very educated nice man, whose name is John and is a Veteran of the United States Army (Thank You). John was describing some of the crawlspaces and attics that he has inspected in the recent weeks for homeowners wanting to sell their homes. He went on to tell us how there were a few where the homeowner, due to their age, had not be in the crawlspace and/or attic in years. This is a common theme across the United States. Homeowners who are getting older may not be in condition to crawl on the ground and inspect and this is why his business is thriving. It is of massive importance that we as homeowners do a walk around, attic and crawlspace included, at least two times a year. If we can’t, then we need to hire someone to do it or ask a friend or delegate it to a family member. Whatever we need to do, it needs to get done. Homeowner “maintenance’ is a term insurance agents and adjustors look at, at times, when a claim is filed.
Now that we are heading into the harsh winter months in the Pacific, we can all expect heavy rains and freezing temperatures. Here is what to look for when conducting an inspection:
- Displaced or damaged insulation.
- Torn or missing crawlspace vapor barrier (plastic)
- Musty odors, unpleasant smells.
- Mold spots on insulation or wood beams.
- Cracks and leaks in the pipes.
- Rusting of medal beams and water pipes.
- Presence of rodents/pests.
- Signs or previous flooding and/or water damage.
Regularly inspecting and maintaining your attic and crawl space can be incredibly beneficial. It can improve the air quality of your home because about 40% of your homes air comes from the crawl space. It also can extend the life of your homes structure and save you money on your energy bill!
Like I stated above if we as homeowners can’t perform the inspection then we need to hire out. SERVPRO of Longview/Kelso is professionally trained and ready to help! They offer a variety of cleaning and restoration services to help with maintaining your crawlspace and attic.
Yah, gutter cleaning
The colder temperatures are coming to a region near you and gutter cleaning time is here. Spending time outside during the winter can be fun and exciting but to some it is not ideal, especially if it's to perform yard work and maintenance.
Harsh weather is often accompanied by strong winds and drastic rain fall, which is why, during the dry days of late fall or early winter, it’s a great time to clean and check your roof and gutters. Performing these tasks is very important, to ensure your home is safe from flood and water damage.
To help keep water away from your roof and foundation, gutters need to be cleared of any clogs or blockage made by leaves and debris. It's recommended to clean your gutters at least 1-4 times a year, basically once a quarter, and more frequently if you have overhanging trees. Also, clean clogged gutters after big storms. Do not neglect this!
How to clean your gutters:
- Wear a shirt with long sleeves, and rubber gloves.
- Have a good extendable ladder available. Standoff stabilizers are ideal to keep the ladder from damaging the gutter.
- Use a small plastic scoop to remove gunk (a kid’s sand shovel works great).
- Lay down a plastic tarp, to catch the debris.
- After you’ve cleared the muck, flush the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose (Also, a great way to spot any leaks).
Benefits of gutter cleaning:
- To prevent water damage to your home.
- Avoid nesting areas for termites, birds, and insects.
- Avert mold and bacteria.
- Prevent destruction of expensive landscaping.
- Stop ice buildup and damage.
- Maintain the value and beauty of your home.
However, we can't always prevent the inevitable, which is why SERVPRO is always prepared for all of your restoration emergencies. SERVPRO of Longview/Kelso Specializing in Water Damage cleanup and restoration (360)703-3884!
Fireplace &Wood/pellet stove safety
November 1st is not just the day after Halloween. It is the day that signifies Fall, and with Fall, comes the chilled air and the crackling sound from the wood in our fireplaces and wood/pellet stoves.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there has been a significant reduction of houses sold in recent years that has a fireplace. However, during the winter months, fireplaces and wood/pellet stoves are used greatly to heat many homes in our neighborhoods and across America which is why we want to remind everyone how important it is to maintain and properly operate your stoves and fireplaces.
In the United States, behind kitchen fires, the 2nd leading cause of home fires are from heating systems. Fireplaces and Wood/pellet stoves are a part of those statistics. Preventative maintenance and annually inspections are very important. A yearly chimney sweep by a professional is a must! An inspection of the exterior stone, mortar and piping is also of extream importance. Also, check your windows and door seals for drafts. It is amazing the amount of heat that can be lost due to cracks or gaps. Proper maintenance will help keep your heating system operating safely and you will get the best return of warmth.
Before enjoying your fireplace, correctly dispose of ashes. One inch of ash will cause a fire to make more smoke. It's important to never place ash in a garbage bin indoors/or out. To properly clean and dispose of ash, you have to make sure it is cooled before shoveling it into a metal container with a lid. Also, remember to never store it near your home or firewood.
Consider the type of wood you are burning and where it is being stored. Green or young wood have higher moister content and cause a lot of smoke and more build up of creosote. https://www.doctorflue.com/blog/what-is-creosote/ It's best to use seasoned or dried wood that has been split for a safer fire. Storing your firewood in a dry place is also something to remember either a wood shed or garage to avoid moister.
A few safety tips to remember:
- Always have a fire extinguisher near your fireplace/stove.
- Start fire properly.
- Install a chimney cap.
- Never store matches, lighters, or other fire starters within 3ft of the wood-stove or fireplace.
- Keep area clear of flammable items; Drapes, carpet, furniture and newspaper ext.
- Never overload a fire or burn other debris.
- Supervise small children and pets.
- Extinguish fire before bed.
A small flame can get out of control within 30 seconds. So it's very important to be sure all smoke/ carbon monoxide detectors are working and everyone knows your homes fire escape plan.
We know how damaging chimney fires can be to your home. SERVPRO specializes in smoke and odor remediation and indoor air quality. If you ever experience a home fire give us a call (360)703-3884 as soon as the fire is put out, to prevent any further damage from occurring.
Specializing in fire & water-cleanup & restoration. SERVPRO of Longview/kelso locally owned and operated.
We're always ready to help!
WHOOPS! Will YOUR Carpet Shrink?
SERVPRO also specializes in Professional Carpet Cleaning. 360-703-3884
It's an interesting question. The last thing you need is an expensive carpet shrinking after it has been cleaned - thus rendering it, well possibly useless! You may want a carpet cleaned for health reasons, the visual aspect or even after decorating a room?, and why not - it's a sensible thing to do, but disasters can happen! On a professional level we have seen many shrunken carpets, and we usually hear that they cannot contact the cleaning company who carried out the cleaning, which isn't good. So to avoid the stress, anger and worry of this, we need to know why this is happens.
What, carpets can shrink? There are general 2 types of carpet that can shrink: Axminsters & Wiltons. A genuine axminster carpet will have a wool face fibre (the bit that you walk on) and a jute backing yarn (the woven bit on the back) that interweaves with the wool fibre. It's pretty hard to shrink an Axminster but when the jute becomes wet through poor cleaning, then the backing could shrink. The wiltons that can shrink are what we call Belgian Wiltons, because traditionally a lot of these are made of a polypropylene face fibre - with a jute backing, just like the axminster (this is opposed to a good quality wilton which is made of wool). But because the polypropylene cannot hold on to hardly any moisture, it goes straight to the bottom of the pile into the backing, and shrinks the carpet. To check if you have a belgian wilton, peel back your carpet, and see if the pattern is duplicated and visible on the back - the same as the face pile. It's not a 100% check because you may not have a polypropylene pile fibre - but if you do have this, get the cleaning company to double check prior to cleaning.
Why Do They Shrink? The main reason why they shrink is poor cleaning. What I mean is, it's either underpowered equipment or just bad technique. If the cleaning machine is cheap (and thus small) it cannot extract enough water out of the carpet, which means the carpet may then shrink. Bad technique could just be down to cleaners applying too much pre-spray cleaning agents, and too much water in the rinsing action. The physical action of why the carpet shrinks is the jute backing, when wet, essentially swell up and expand, thus needing more space and causing stress on the structure. It's this action that causes the shrinkage.
How Can You Avoid Them Shrinking? Well if you have a belgian wilton then it could still be cleaned - but it needs to be done properly and safely. But there lies the problem, how do you know how to get it done without it shrinking? By choosing a cleaning company that has extensive training on these issues is a good indicator of reliability, but one who also uses the most powerful machinery possible will usually ensure your carpet is safe.