Ready or not, cooler weather is on the way, if it hasn’t arrived already. You may be ready for the change, but is your home prepared? The arrival of Fall can bring with it wind, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures. Take these steps now to prepare your home and prevent any weather-related damage.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters exist to divert rain water away from your home. It’s crucial to be sure that they are clear and that water is flowing smoothly. Clogged gutters can not only lead to roof damage, but also water that seeps into your exterior walls and even the basement. Once you’ve removed any debris, consider adding a mesh covering to prevent leaves from coming back and forming new clogs.
Inspect and Clean Your Chimney
For most homeowners, this one is best left to the professionals. Hire a chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney system before you decide to burn the first fire of the year. Burning wood produces a flammable by-product called Creosote that can build up in your chimney. If left uncleaned, it can cause a disastrous fire. It’s also important to check for any obstructions, such as bird’s nests, and to be sure the damper is in working order.
Give Your Furnace a Check-Up
If it has been more than a year since your last professional service, consider scheduling one before you need to turn on the heat. Be sure that your pilot light is functioning and clean off any dirt or grime that you notice. It’s also a good time to change your filters. Once you turn on the heat, pay special attention to any unusual noises, odd behavior, or odors as these can be signs that there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed.
Insulate Exterior Pipes and Faucets
When temperatures drop below freezing, exposed pipes can start to freeze. This can lead to burst pipes and major water damage in your home. For any outdoor faucets, you’ll want to turn off any shut-off valves and then open the faucet to drain the line. If you don’t have shut-off valves, you should cover the faucet with an insulated cover. If you have unprotected pipes, cover them with foam sleeves.
Weatherproof Windows and Doors
Air leaks around windows and doors can cost you serious money in increased heating bills. Do a visual check around windows and door– frames for gaps in caulk, which can be easily remedied. Weather-stripping is another simple way to reduce drafts, but it can deteriorate over time. It’s important to check it yearly and replace as needed.
Perform a Safety Check
Unfortunately, cooler weather often brings an increased risk of home fires. While we all hope that it will never happen to us, it’s important to be prepared by doing a safety check as the seasons change. Replace the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and test each one to be sure it is working properly. Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher, but having more in various locations is even better. Do a quick check to be sure that the extinguishers are in good working order by looking at the pressure gauge and ensuring that the lock pin is in place. Experts recommend that fire extinguishers be replaced every 6 years.
A little preparation at the beginning of the season can save you a lot work, stress and money down the road. If you do experience a loss, Delta is ready and available 24/7 to help. Give us a call at (402)318-3737.
As many homeowners know, mold is one of the most unwelcome visitors and can bring health problems with it. Mold can show up in unlikely places and is easy to miss unless you know the tell-tale signs to look out for.
One of the most obvious warning signs for mold growth is water damage, whether it’s recent or from a past incident. If you have a leaky roof or dripping toilet that you’re putting off fixing, they can create the perfect environment for mold growth. But people often overlook the possibility of mold in areas of past water damage. Don’t assume that just because visible water from a burst pipe or stormwater flood has been cleaned up that there is no longer a risk of mold growth. Water from these types of events can seep under flooring or behind walls and lead to mold growth that isn’t visible without further investigation.
Ask anyone who owns an older home and they’ll tell you that odd odors come with the territory, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Often times a musty odor is the only sign of mold that is growing in places you can’t see. If the musty odor in your home is persistent and stronger in one specific area, it may be time to call in a professional to take a closer look.
It can be difficult to distinguish between health problems caused by mold and seasonal allergies because the symptoms are so similar. Common symptoms of mold exposure include sneezing, itchy eyes, and nasal congestion. When trying to determine the cause of your symptoms, consider when and where your health issues are at their worst. If sneezing and itchy eyes are only happening when you’re inside your home, there’s a good chance that mold could be the culprit.
Condensation is moisture and moisture is fuel for mold growth. If you’re seeing condensation more often than simply in the bathroom after a hot shower, it may be a sign of a high humidity level in your home. Purchasing a dehumidifier is a simple way to correct the issue before it leads to mold growth. You may also notice condensation on metal pipes, which can be rectified by wrapping them with added insulation.
Hidden Home Warnings
Water damage and mold don’t always show up with clear warning signs. Instead, some of the quirky things that you’ve noticed in your home could be telling you about a bigger problem. Is there a section of your floor that feels squishy? It could be more than just your home settling – there’s a chance that the subfloor has water damage and/or mold growth. Have you noticed bubbles in the paint on your walls, particularly in the bathroom or near a window? One of the most common causes of paint bubbles is moisture, and as you know, moisture often leads to mold growth. It’s important not to overlook or put off these seemingly small issues and bring in an expert to take a closer look before it turns into a much bigger problem.
Do you know where your home’s water shut off valves are located? In the event of a water emergency, being able to locate these valves quickly can make a huge difference in the amount of damage your property sustains. There are typically two different types of valves located in different areas throughout your home.
Main Water Shut Off Valve
The first valve you want to locate is the main water shut off. As the name implies, this will stop all water from flowing through any pipes in your home. These valves are usually located near where the water enters your home, so you’ll want to look on the perimeter of your home closest to where the water line enters from the street. It may be in your basement or even on an outside wall of your home.
Once you locate the main shut off, you’ll see that it can be either a gate valve, which looks similar to an outdoor faucet, or a ball valve, which some people refer to as a knife valve. Now is the time to give it a try and be sure that you’re able to turn it off. If the valve is stuck, it’s worth a call to a plumber to replace it before you find yourself in a situation where you need to use it.
In addition to the main water shut off valve, most homes are equipped with supply valves to turn off the water locally in bathrooms or kitchens. These are commonly located near toilets, under sinks, near water heaters, and washing machines. They look like a small round or oval knob and you turn it clockwise to stop the flow of water. Supply valves are incredibly helpful in allowing you to work on one isolated problem area without turning off the water for your entire household.
Familiarizing yourself with the location of your home’s water shut off valves before an emergency happens is key to being an informed homeowner and avoiding excessive damage if a crisis occurs. If you notice water in your home, Delta Restoration Services can help. We’re just a phone call away, available 24/7 and offer a 2-hour or less guaranteed emergency response time to be on-site and begin helping you get your life back to normal as soon as possible.