Christmas is a wonderful time of the year…for most us. We love the decorations and lights but how much though do we put adorning our houses without causing a fire hazard? Firefighters and law enforcement will tell you – not enough.
Already this year, in Eatontown NJ, a family was left homeless by faulty Christmas lights that burned down their house at night, while they were sleeping. Luckily for the residents, everyone was able to get out safe. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
What can you do to ensure that your holiday decorations don’t cause the “Nightmare before Christmas”? Here are a few tips from the fire damage restoration experts at Maven:
- Always use Power Strips – power strips almost always contain a circuit breaker that will automatically shut the power strip off. This helps prevent a particular circuit from being overloaded.
- 3-in-1 Rule of Thumb – a great rule of thumb provided by an electrician friend of ours is the “3-in-1” rule. Never bring more than 3 strands of lights into one circuit. Plus, the newer LED lighting uses even less electricity which will help ensure the circuit’s integrity.
- Install Weatherproof Outlets for Outdoor Lighting – picture your outdoor socket all loaded up with plugs from various Christmas lighting displays. What would happen to that socket if your sprinkler systems can on at 5am (like mine does) and sprayed a stream of water all over those connections? How would that outlet fair if a cold front pushed a steady drizzle of rain in? Weatherproof outlets are simple to install and eliminate one of our main lighting related fire hazards here in Florida.
- Inspect Repeatedly – make it a habit to check your plugs, cords and bulbs frequently. Feel bulbs, especially bulbs around flammable materials like curtains and wreaths. Are the bulbs hot to the touch? Are cords frayed or worn in any way? Are they hot to the touch?
Christmas time should be about fun and family…not about fires, damaged property and most of all injuries. Following these 4 tips will help ensure that you and your family stay safe and happy for many holiday seasons to come!
Water damage can lead to mold contamination if ignored or not dried within 24-48 hours. Some water damages in Gainesville Florida happen quickly and are obvious, causing significant amounts of water. Others may happen slowly for longer periods of time going unnoticed. The presence of such uncontrolled water damage can allow mold to grow. Often times homes have hidden, slow plumbing leaks and the homeowner or building occupants are unaware of this damage for months. Slab leaks are example of hidden plumbing leaks which can lead to serious structural problems and mold growth.
Moisture from Construction: Moisture contained in the materials used to construct a building needs to be removed, by using drying materials, once construction has been completed. During the construction process building materials are often water damaged by rain and then installed and covered up before dried properly. Contractors are generally behind schedule due to rain delays which often times results in the use of wet building materials as they try to complete their project on time. This increases the chances of mold contamination within the home or building. Most building contractors have little to no understanding of psychrometrics which is the science of understanding how moisture behaves when it is a vapor contained in the air. The following defined terms must be understood for one to have a better understanding of psychrometrics.
Dry-bulb temperature: The temperature of air read on a standard thermometer.
Relative humidity: (RH) The ratio of moisture content in the air.
Specific humidity: The weight of water in each pound of dry air. Generally discussed in GPP (Grains Per Pound) of Dry Air.
Wet bulb temperature: The temperature of air read on a standard thermometer that is covered by wet wick and exposed to air moving across it at 1000 feet per minute.
Mold Growth Inside Buildings: Mold will begin to grow in and on building materials when humidity levels within the building reach 70 % or higher. This can result from water damaged building materials not being dried properly or HVAC system failure. When a building’s HVAC system is failing it can result in surface mold growth which can be remediated easily early on. Serious mold problems are usually the result of some form of water damage such as plumbing leaks or roof leaks which go ignored or are mishandled. Property management companies and condo associations in Gainesville Florida are known to ignore and mishandle water damage and mold damage. Property management companies are paid by property owners to minimize damages and cost and maximize profits, leaving building occupants at risk. Property management companies definition of mold remediation is covering mold contaminated drywall with paint or primer. Maintenance staff often perform these tasks with little to no knowledge about mold contamination and proper structural drying. Water damage is a very serious issue and many residents are living inside mold contaminated apartment buildings with little to no knowledge.
If you suspect you have mold in your residence, contact professionals who can help you identify and eliminate the problem. MAVEN Construction Group is a licensed General Contractor AND licensed Mold Remediator with over a decade of experience in handling water and mold related issues in residential and commercial buildings.
When removing water from commercial and residential buildings you must understand the science of drying. The science of drying requires understanding of thermodynamic properties of air and water vapor mixtures. Measuring and evaluating these properties enables restorers to better analyze and manage conditions during drying. Rapid drying requires the proper equipment and understanding of the elements listed below.
Although equilibrium is not the primary goal in structural drying, the forces that continually seek this state are the same forces used to achieve drying goals. Managing psychrometric conditions influences the rate at which moisture moves from wet building materials to the air, when seeking equilibrium. The objective of drying is to minimize the amount of time materials spend in an abnormally wet state. This time can be reduced by better understanding the forces that move moisture through materials.
Evaporation is the transfer of moisture from water damaged building materials to the air. This can be achieved by rapid air-movement by using high velocity air-movers. When a building suffers from water damage the humidity inside the building goes up. Because of the the wet building materials inside, the moisture has no place to go once the materials are saturated. Elevated humidity levels means excess moisture in the air which leads to secondary water damaged building materials. For example, water may flood a building as a result of a plumbing malfunction but only go 6 to 12 inches up the drywall. The elevated moisture within the air-space of the building will rise causing wet air to damage upper cabinets and other building materials that were not actually touched by water. Elevated moisture levels or elevated Relative Humidity or (RH) can lead to mold contamination in areas of the dwelling that were not actually touched by water. The best way to reduce elevated (RH) is the installation of dehumidifiers. Dehumidification is the process of removing moisture from the air. In closed drying systems dehumidifcation is essential for removing evaporated moisture from the air to minimize or prevent secondary water damage.
Once structural drying is completed and the drying goal is achieved, inspection of damages is performed. Building materials such as drywall can lose structural integrity once damaged by water. Often times insurance companies think that drywall can be saved once dried however, if the structural integrity of the drywall has been compromised it should be replaced. Drywall is considered to be a porous and should always be removed if the category of water is 2 or 3 (which means it is an unclean source). Drywall that is contaminated with mold should always be removed no matter the situation.
North Central Florida has chronic issues with hidden plumbing leaks, known as slab leaks,which are a failure of copper plumbing lines located within the foundation in residential and commercial buildings. Often times slab leaks can take 15-20 years to develop. Slab leaks will start off with a hole in the copper line so small it can’t be seen by the naked eye. Although small, slab leaks can cause serious water and mold damage to your property. They can go undetected for weeks, causing mold damage inside wall cavities and behind cabinets or under wood flooring. Mold typically thrives in damp, dark places like water damaged wall cavities. Slab leaks will often lead to mold damage.
Slab leaks are usually detected by homeowners when water bills are increased with out explanation. Often times homeowners will notice a wet spot in the middle of a room or a warm spot under a tile floor. Plumbing companies often lack the proper leak detection equipment needed to locate slab leaks. Leak detection for slab leaks is performed using specialty equipment such as thermal imaging devices, moisture detection devices and sonar guided listening devices. Using this specialty equipment to locate the leak, reduces demolition and damage to the property. Once the slab leak is located, a plumbing company can be contracted to repair the leak. Slab leak repair is often times covered by homeowners insurance policies and resulting water and mold damage from slab leaks are usually covered as well. Gainesville Leak Detection is owned and operated by the licensed General Contractors at MAVEN Construction Group. They locate hundreds of slab leaks every year in North Central Florida. If you have a hidden water leak call Gainesville Leak Detection at 352-246-8667.
Gainesville Leak Detection, Inc is owned and operated by state licensed General Contracting company MAVEN Construction Group. We have the latest in thermal imaging cameras, acoustic and line tracing equipment and have specialized in locating leaks in North Central Florida for over 20 years. Slab leaks are difficult to locate and specialty equipment is needed to detect them the right way. If you have received a large water bill or hear water running in the walls or foundation of your home these may be signs you have a potential slab leak. When locating a slab leak, accuracy is vital in mitigating further damage to your home or commercial building. Often times plumbing companies lack the proper equipment to locate slab leaks so they rely on specialists.
Non-invasive leak detection
Gainesville Leak Detection specializes in locating the slab leak with limited damage to the residential or commercial structure. Most slab leaks are located within 12 inches of the actual repair. Once the slab leak is located and repaired the water damage repairs can commence. Gainesville Leak Detection specializes in insurance claims documentation and insurance claims estimation for repairs. They will locate your slab leak arrange the repair of the slab leak document, the repair and location of slab leak and invoice your insurance company for direct payment. If the slab leak has resulted in mold damage or water damage to your home or office building, Gainesville Leak Detection has the ability to restore your property and work with your insurance company directly for payment. For slab leak detection in Gainesville, Florida call Gainesville Leak Detection Inc.
With summer here, it is prime grilling time. Most of the time, cookouts go off without a hitch, but accidents can happen. June and July are peak months for grilling fires. Every year grilling related accidents cause a reported $75 million in property damage and send an estimated 20,000 people to the emergency room. Gas grills constitute a higher risk and have been involved in an annual average of 7,200 home fires (from 2007 – 2011).
Refreshing your memory of basic grill safety may save you from a costly or dangerous accident this summer. Here are some reminders and safety tips for a safe grilling season.
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- When using a charcoal grill, dispose of hot charcoal bricks and ashes properly to avoid trash can fires that could spread to the surrounding area. Douse hot coals with plenty of water to ensure the fire is out.
Grilling accidents can happen to anyone so remember to play it safe this summer!
The above tips were found on the NFA website. For more information on fire safety visit NFPA.org.
The key to mold prevention and control is controlling the moisture in your home. If there is a water leak, spill or flood that affects your residence, and goes unattended, mold will most likely form after 48 hours. It’s important to take the proper ongoing steps to control moisture in your home to help prevent mold growth.
The following are some tips to help control moisture and mold:
- Be sure to clean and repair roof gutters on a regular basis
- Keep your air conditioning drip pans clean
- Keep your indoor relative humidity below 60 percent (preferably between 30 to 50 percent). This can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter which can be found at your local hardware store.
- If you see moisture or condensation collecting on walls, windows or pipes, act swiftly to dry the wet surface and reduce the water source.
- Vent appliances that are prone to produce moisture such as stoves, clothes dryers and kerosene heaters. These can increase the humidity in your home unless vented to the outside.
- When showering run the bathroom fan or open the window
- When running the dishwasher or cooking on the stove or oven, use exhaust fans or open windows
- Use de-humidifiers and air conditioners as needed
Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in windows, roofs or pipes, or where there has been flooding. If mold is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mold and FIX the moisture problem. At MAVEN Construction Group we have licensed Mold Remediators (MRSR2344) who can help you eliminate mold in your home and fix the moisture problems that are causing it. If you have an unexpected water leak, spill or flood take action quickly so that it doesn’t result in a mold problem. Learn more about mold prevention and removal and how a licensed professional can assist you with your mold and moisture problem.
The word “Mold” can invoke fear in buyers, sellers and real estate agents. Potential buyers are becoming aware of it and have a concern, sellers don’t want to deal with it and real estate agents are stuck in the middle. Mold can be the cause of delayed or lost sales in real estate transactions – especially if it’s discovered during an inspection. However, mold doesn’t have to end in a lost sale of property.
To avoid lost real estate sales, arm yourself with facts about mold. Explain to your clients that not all molds are toxic, contrary to what they may have heard. It’s important to always explain that mold only grows where it has access to moisture. If just one spot in a home has mold, that doesn’t mean your client needs to tear apart the entire house. If you are selling a house with mold, you can avoid pitfalls by consulting a licensed mold remediation specialist, like Maven Construction Group.
The trained mold remediation specialists at Maven Construction Group understand mold problems and use their vast experience, the latest equipment and highly trained professionals to find the source, remediate the mold and return the home to pre-loss conditions. We work with a sense of urgency and have helped many real estate agents in Alachua County save sales with our fast, but thorough, water damage restoration and mold remediation services.
We provide comprehensive photo documentation to all parties involved so that they can be rest-assured the home was restored to pre-loss conditions. By addressing mold problems quickly and completely, you will lessen the chance of legal action against yourself or anyone else in the transaction. And, you can turn a potential liability into a selling point — the seller has taken the necessary steps to rid the house of mold.
What would you do if your property were flooded? Are you prepared? Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. On average, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other weather related event. Being prepared for a flood can keep your family safe, help minimize potential flood damage and quicken recovery efforts.
- Make a family communications plan and build an emergency supply kit
- Keep tabs on the local forecast
- Alert others via social media and texts when a flood threat or other hazardous weather exists
- Do NOT drive in flooded areas. Turn around. Just two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood, so you or your evacuation routes are not cut off.
- Get covered. There is a 30 day waiting period from the date of purchase before your flood insurance policy goes into effect. Protect yourself from a devastating financial loss by purchasing flood insurance.
- Flood-hazard maps are available to show the flood risk for your community. These also help to determine the type of flood insurance coverage you will need since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding.
Resources to help you prepare for a flood:
Local Resources for Alachua County
The spring Parade of Homes in Alachua County is something you definitely don’t want to miss. Since 1958, the Parade has featured over 1800 homes in 260 neighborhoods throughout Alachua County. The Parade of Homes showcases the latest in home décor, design and energy saving construction techniques. The parade is well attended in Alachua County and a perfect way for prospective homebuyers to compare locations, builders and home features.
Put on by the Builder’s Association of North Central Florida (BANCF), this year’s Parade features 31 new homes in 18 communities in Alachua County. Be sure to check out Oakmont and Finley Woods – two of the newest developments in Gainesville that are featuring Parade homes.
The Parade of Homes will take place two weekends – Saturday and Sunday, April 11 – 12 and April 18-19 from 12 noon to 6pm. To plan your tour and view a map, you can access the digital edition of the Spring Parade of Homes Guide here. Admission is FREE so just plan your route and enjoy the beautiful homes being featured in Alachua County this year.
For questions or more information on the Parade of Homes, contact the BANCF.
2015 Parade of Homes – Details at a Glance:
April 11 & 12 and April 18 & 19
12:00pm – 6:00pm
The Builder’s Association of North Central Florida
2217 NW 66th Court, Gainesville, FL 32653
CHW & Capital City Bank