Recent Water Damage Posts

5 Sewage Backup Tips

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

sewage in tub Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter your South Arlington homes or buildings.

Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter your South Arlington homes or buildings.

Sewage can contain fungi, bacteria, and viruses; many of which are disease-causing. Unfortunately, many people fail to appreciate the hazards that sewage presents, particularly for the very young, the elderly, for those with compromised immune systems, or those with respiratory problems.

The IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification) has compiled guidelines for professional sewage clean-up called the Standard for Water Damage Restoration (S500). Our SERVPRO® Technicians are certified in multiple specializations through the IICRC.

Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups:

  • Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic – disease causing – fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
  • Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
  • It is not safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
  • Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly.  This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too.  There’s simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
  • Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy.
  • Safe Flood Clean-up Tips

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    flooded flooring Before entering a building where flood damage may have occurred, make sure it’s safe.

    Before entering a building where flood damage may have occurred, make sure it’s safe.

    Check for electrical hazards and structural damage, and use proper protective gear like boots, gloves, and respirators. Before you start any construction or repairs, check for common hazardous materials like lead paint and asbestos, which may require help from professional and State-licensed contractors.

    Then, follow these tips:

  • Act quickly
    The severity of damage escalates the longer water dwells and building components and contents stay wet, so time is of the essence in the aftermath of a flood. In fact, mold will grow within 48-72 hours, so aim to start removing water and drying the environment within 48 hours. Have a list of professionals on hand to call, and understand your insurance policy, as some only cover mold damage up to a certain amount, while others don’t provide any reimbursement for mold.
  • Ventilate affected areas to prevent mold growth
    Mold loves moisture and organic materials such as paper or particleboard. In order to mitigate or slow damage, open windows if weather permits and place fans inside of them to keep air moving and maintain moderate temperatures. Work toward the fan as you clean to minimize cross contamination.
  • Assess damage to items and materials
    Assess the type of water absorbed by items, such as rainwater, water from broken pipes, contaminated river water or bacteria-filled sewage. There are ways to salvage specialty items but the decision on whether to save or dispose of an item will vary depending on the dollar and sentimental value to the owner. It may not be worthwhile to salvage drywall, carpets and pads, mattresses, pillows, box springs and particleboard. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to restore costly Persian rugs, leather couches, and antiques or heirlooms. Wet clothing and many household fabrics may be salvageable through machine washing, and a 10-minute soak in detergent and hot water, to remove contamination and stains. The IICRC strongly recommends that in water damages where there are contaminants present (e.g., bacteria, sewage, mold) or where small children or immune-compromised individuals are present that an inspection be conducted by an appropriately trained restorer and remediator.
  • Expose pockets of saturation
    Hidden and concealed pockets of saturation need to be opened for cleaning and drying. Layers between building materials hold water that must be discovered and removed or dried. On walls, find the water line and inspect at least a foot beyond it to make sure all damage, wet materials and mold are discovered. Remove and discard the damaged drywall and wet wall insulation. Wet carpets can usually be dried by professionals with the right equipment, but carpet padding, which is like a big sponge, should be discarded. Wood base trim and hardwood can also be saved with the right equipment if they can be accessed and completely dried on both sides. Remember to investigate concealed cavities such as behind walls, in mechanical spaces, under cabinets and furniture, and in crawl spaces.
  • Conduct a thorough cleaning
    Durable, non-porous or semi-porous materials, such as studs and joists, hardwood flooring and vinyl products, can be cleaned with common cleaning products or specialized products with detergents. During cleaning, take care to protect areas that are unaffected by the water or mold. After a thorough cleaning of salvageable materials, a disinfectant solution may need to be applied in case of harmful bacteria from sewage, river water debris or even standing water that has gone bad. Professionals like SERVPRO® professionals and indoor environmental professionals can help you decide what is best for your situation. Once you’ve cleaned the wet materials, conduct another round of cleaning. If you choose to vacuum, use a HEPA-filter vacuum to remove allergens, fine dust and spores.
  • Confirm drying before reconstruction
    In order to prevent dry rot and structural damage, it’s important not to reconstruct or cover wood and other wet materials until the moisture content has been adequately reduced. SERVPRO® professionals can confirm proper drying before reconstruction.
  • 5 Money Saving Tips for Your Water Bill

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    flooded flooring Check with your local utility company to see how they handle your wastewater charges.

    What is wastewater averaging?

    Wastewater averaging is the practice of estimating the amount of wastewater discharged from your home into the city’s sanitary sewer system. It is essentially a cap on the volume of wastewater you will be billed for each month for the next year. This practice goes by a variety of names including average winter consumption, wastewater winter averaging, winter averaging, winter quarterly average, or winter period average.

    Check with your local utility company to see how they handle your wastewater charges. Some utilities don’t want to mess with all these calculations, so they charge a flat, monthly wastewater fee.

    Your water utility uses a wastewater average because they can’t measure the actual amount of wastewater discharged from your home. The best way to measure the wastewater discharge is to use your water meter to measure your monthly water use and then estimate the amount of wastewater that could be returning to the city sewers.

    Shouldn’t water flow IN be equal to water flow OUT?

    Well, in the winter time, it generally does, but during the rest of the year, it doesn’t since you could be using water outdoors. The water you sprinkle on your lawn doesn’t go to the city sewers. Therefore, the wastewater averaging period typically happens during the winter months when there should be little to no outdoor water use.

    Typically, a multiple month average during the late fall and winter months is used rather than picking one month during the year. This averaging is more fair just in case you have a higher water use during a single month. If you use more water than your wastewater average, then it is assumed that this additional water has been used outdoors and will not be returned back to the city’s sewers for processing and treatment. Therefore, you are not charged for this water usage on your wastewater bill. Conversely, if you use less water during a month than your wastewater average, then your wastewater charge should equal only the actual amount of water used that month.

    Why is this so important?

    Generally, the cost of wastewater is higher than the cost of potable water. Due to the nature of wastewater, you can imagine it would be more expensive to treat before being released back into environment. In order to achieve these savings throughout the year though, you have to reduce your water use during your wastewater averaging period.

    Conserving water in the winter = Saving money all year long

    Using less water during the wastewater averaging period will result in a corresponding lower wastewater bill throughout the entire year.  Here are ways to reduce your winter time water use and consequently your monthly wastewater bill:

  • Fix all leaky fixtures – This one is a mundane tip but leaks are a major culprit of unintentional water use in our homes.
  • Shower at your gym – Not only will this conserve water at your home but it could also get your New Year’s resolution to lose weight started early.
  • Don’t wash your car at home – This one is easy.
  • Turn off your irrigation system – Your landscaping probably won’t need water during the winter months since the plants will be dormant.
  • Insulate hot water pipes – Since the cold weather is coming, this is a perfect time to insulate any exposed hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the faucet. You’ll save some energy as well.
  • Pre-Vacation Checklist

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    water shutoff  valve Know where your home’s main water supply shut-off is located, and how to use it.

    Know where your home’s main water supply shut-off is located, and how to use it.

    SHUT OFF THE WATER TO YOUR HOUSE AND DRAIN THE PIPES

    This may sound drastic, but it will keep your house from flooding. Take away the water and there’s no pressure on weak points in your system. And even if something does break there’s no water to flood through. Removing the water from your pipes also keeps them from freezing, another big cause of flood damage.

    Just before you lock the door for your vacation, turn off the water at your home’s main water supply shut-off. Then flush the toilets and turn on a faucet in the lowest part of the house. Let the water run dry before you leave.

     IF YOU NEED WATER RUNNING IN THE HOUSE, FOR PETS OR PLANTS, TURN OFF THE VALVES TO THE TOILETS, FAUCETS, WASHING MACHINE, AND REFRIGERATOR.

    Maybe you never noticed, but all of these things have their own little shut-off valves. And while you’ll still have water in the big pipes in your house, these are much less likely to fail than a faucet or refrigerator line. Only leave the water on for the one faucet that will be used for your plants or pets. Click here to find out how to locate and turn off these valves.

    CHECK FOR LEAKS

    A few weeks before your trip scrutinize areas under sinks and around the water heater to make sure you don’t already have a leak somewhere. According to the American Water Works Association, a leak of 30 drips per minute totals up to nearly five gallons in a day. Imagine if you took five milk jugs right now and poured them out on your hardwood floor, then left that liquid for a week. Then someone came along tomorrow and added five more jugs to the pool. Trust me, this could be your reality. If you find a leak, get it fixed right away.

    HAVE SOMEONE CHECK ON YOUR HOUSE

    The monstrous damage our house sustained suggests the leak went unchecked for days. If someone had discovered the deluge sooner, we would’ve saved thousands of dollars in damage and blunted the heartbreak of blindly returning home to a disaster.

    Whether you turn the water off or not, have a friend or neighbor go into your house every couple of days. Make sure they know where your main water shut off is located. And give them a local emergency contact in case something does go wrong.

    HIRE A HOUSESITTER

    If you want true piece of mind, find someone to stay in your house while you’re away. Not only will this defend against pressure build-up in your pipes, but if something breaks or leaks you will have a helpful person right there to respond. Ask friends and family for a recommendation or see if someone you know would be willing to housesit.

    INVEST IN A WATER SENSOR SYSTEM

    Increasingly, there are technological solutions to help prevent devastating water damage to your home. From water sensors that send an alarm when they get wet, to automatic shut-off systems that stop water flow; many options exist. In the next few months we will be investigating this topic – look for a future post with more in-depth analysis and advice.

    KEEP YOUR STUFF IN PLASTIC STORAGE BINS

    Even if everything goes wrong and your house fills up with water, you can still protect your possessions with plastic storage bins. We lost a lot of belongings in our flood, but my grandmother’s photos survived untouched. Even though they were directly under the breach, effectively at the bottom of a waterfall, inside their plastic storage bin was perfectly dry.

    What was not in a plastic bin was my laptop and several other valuable electronics, and only my laptop survived (thanks to a heroic rescue from our local computer shop). If it’s small and can easily be stashed when you leave, put your laptop, tablets, and other sensitive gear in a safe or at least in plastic. This makes it harder for burglars to find too.

    GET A SAFE

    A safe is good policy even if you don’t have a flood. It can protect sensitive documents and electronics from water, fire, and theft. If you invest in a safe, get one big enough to hold your laptops and tablets. And don’t forget to stash everything in there before you go on vacation.

    DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE

    If it’s been awhile since you’ve reviewed your homeowner’s coverage limits, be sure you aren’t underinsured. With reconstruction costs often topping those from fire, water can damage everything from your furnace to wood floors to walls to the actual structure of your house. Make sure your policy will cover the full cost if you have a disaster.

    Water Damage Remediation Explained

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    Here’s What To Expect During a Water Damage Remediation & Restoration Project

     If you’ve had a burst pipe or flooding in your home or business location, a water damage remediation & restoration project may be necessary. Here’s what to expect from the process.

    From the moment you discover water damage, speed is key to resolving the issue without lasting damage to your property. Your first step should be to prevent further leakage by shutting down your main water supply. Next, call your trusted water damage restoration experts. The sooner you hand over the situation to the pros, the sooner the cleanup process can begin.

    Who to Call After Water Damage Is Found In Your Home or Business

    SERVPRO® will work directly with all homeowner’s insurance companies to resolve your issues. We ask that you call us first because oftentimes we can help resolve issues faster that could potentially prolong the process by calling your insurance company first.

    Water Damage Inspection

    Our water damage restoration expert will inspect the property to determine the work required. Not all water damage restoration projects were created equal. The work required will depend on factors such as how long the water has been leaking, how much water has escaped, and the extent and severity of the damage. Specialized moisture detection instruments are used to assess the damage and determine the next steps. Your water damage mitigation expert will outline the process in detail and keep you in the loop at every stage.

    The Water Damage Remediation Work Begins

    Getting the process completed quickly could require a team moving in immediately, so you may need to make accommodation arrangements. While the work takes place, SERVPRO®; your water damage restoration experts will stay in touch with you every step of the way until the work is complete.

    Water Damage Extraction, Evaporation & Dehumidification

    Getting rid of any stagnant water is a crucial stage in a water damage restoration project. This job is performed using high-powered vacuums, dehumidifiers and evaporation techniques. Your damage restoration company will make sure that while the property is drying out, the water is contained in the affected area and does not cause damage to the rest of your house.

    The Water Damage Drying

    Once all stagnant water has been removed, the area will be dried out using a variety of methods and equipment designed to circulate air through your home. Among the equipment used are dehumidifiers, heaters, high-velocity air movers and air filters. Not surprisingly, the drying process can be quite noisy, and can also make the environment uncomfortably hot. If power is lost at any point, don’t hesitate to call your damage restoration company and notify them immediately.

    During the drying phase of the project, your restoration crew will periodically assess how the drying process is progressing and adjust the equipment if necessary.

    Keeping You In The Loop

    The water remediation & restoration drying process could take three to five days to complete. However, it drastically depends on the depth and severity of the water damage. Some drying times can last longer. During this time, you will hear from our team who are handling different aspects of the project. You can expect to be kept well informed at every step via communication channels that suit you, whether it’s via email, in-person visits or phone calls.

    After The Water Damage Drying Process

    When all the water has been removed and the affected area is dry, the water damage remediation project can then move into fixing any areas of your home or business that were destroyed due to the water damage. This is the process we call water damage restoration.

    Water Damage Restoration

    Any damage that was caused due to water and now needs to be fixed is called Water Damage Restoration. This is where our team will get your home or business looking back to normal. This includes but isn’t limited to fixing:

      • Flooring
      • Subflooring
      • Drywall Ceilings
      • Ceilings
      • Foundation
      • Kitchen Islands
      • Bathroom Vanities
      • Bathroom Showers & Bathtubs
      • Interior and Exterior Doors & Doorframes
      • Personal Content
      • Broken Plumbing
      • Destroyed Electrical

    Our mitigation expert will talk you through the work step-by-step and walk you through the whole process. Our quality control experts will verify & check that you are completely satisfied with your water damage restoration result.

    Once you and our team have finalized all the details and your home or business looks better than it did before, our equipment will be removed, and your life can go on as normal.

    Water Back Up: Prevention and Protection

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    There are a number of preventative measures you can take to avoid water back up damage and minimize the amount of damage should it occur. But a significant amount of water back up incidents may not be preventable. For example, Colorado Springs Utilities estimates that water back up damages amount to $1,000,000 annually and that 80% of these losses are unpreventable. Worse, 80% of homeowners do not have insurance protection against water back up.

    Water back up most often occurs in the basement and can damage heating systems, water tanks. Basements that are used as laundry areas, for seasonal storage or are finished and used as additional living space put even more property at risk from this cause of loss.

    Most homeowner policies do not provide coverage for water back up loss, but the protection can be added usually for as little as $25 to $50 a year.

    Sump pumps and back flow valves installed in the sanitary sewer and drain lines are good measures against water backing up from those sources. Maintaining the sewer and drain lines is also an important loss mitigation measure. Homeowners are generally responsible for the sewer and drain lines running from the house to the street, so it is a good idea to have these checked periodically for blockage due to tree root intrusion or an accumulation of dirt, hair, grease or paper products.

    Seepage through a building foundation is another common entry point for water back up. This can be avoided by making sure your basement is sealed and rainwater drains away from your home or office. Extremely heavy rains will saturate the ground and result in basement seepage even in homes that have had no problems in the past.

    According to the Insurance Information Institute the results of water back up can range from minor financial set back to a potentially devastating consequence. A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, damage to your house or business, and can even result in electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup of the affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and prevent mold and further damage. In the event of sewer backup, immediately arrange for the cleanup of your property. This should include:

    • Wet-vacuuming or removing spillage
    • Mopping floors and wiping walls with soap and disinfectant
    • Flushing out and disinfecting plumbing fixtures
    • Steam cleaning or removing wet carpets or drapes
    • Repairing or removing damaged wallboard or wall covering
    • Cleanup of ductwork

    Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

    Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

    Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.
  • How to Protect Pipes From Freezing

    Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
  • How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
  • How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
  • Indoor Flooding Focus

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    Indoor Flooding Focus

    Flooding can be associated with water intrusion from and ocean, reservoir, river or canal. However,  in Northern Virginia flooding is frequently caused by intense rainstorms or melting snow with which drainage systems cannot cope. The risk of the premises being affected by floodwater needs to be assessed and appropriate precautions taken. Some buildings constructed using modern methods of construction can be particularly susceptible to damage from flooding. In some cases additional flood protection measures over and above country specific Building Regulations’ requirements may be necessary to adequately protect the premises against permanent floodwater damage.

    The following general points should be considered in relation to flooding:

    1. Check whether there has been a history of flooding in the area.
    1. Check the current local flood risk with the responsible Government agency.
    1. Have recent developments in the area made flooding more likely?
    1. Local Government agencies and local water companies/authorities should be able to advise on specific areas which are liable to flood, and on recent modifications to drainage routes.
    1. Have the authorities installed new flood prevention measure?
    1. Where applicable, check you understand how the local flood warning system operates and have an emergency plan prepared for such an event.
    1. If flooding is known to be a possibility, preventive measures to stop floodwater include: – installation of intervening walls or banks, provision of flood boards and sills to doorways or gateways in walls, – blocking up unnecessary openings in the building, – provision of sandbags for emergency use.
    1. Check for any signs of site drains overflowing. If this has occurred, was it due to a blockage or were the drains inadequately sized? – Next time the flood could be more serious.
    1. Check that basement areas are provided with adequate drainage. Where necessary, sump pumps should be provided.

    Preventing Unseen Water Damage

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    Preventing Unseen Water Damage

    Unseen water causes the most damage to a property, especially when the water contains bacteria and causes mold, rot, and other damage. You should understand where to look and what to look for - what causes this type of damage?

    For example, the pipes and fittings in your home or businesses walls and floors can develop leaks due to failures in materials, joints, and seals. Leaky pipes inside a structure are hard to find and can cause major damage, since they go unnoticed until the water leaks through to visible areas from your ceilings , walls, and floors. 

    Four places to look for water damage:

    Pipes: Blocked bathroom drains, failure of waste disposals, and roots in sewer lines.

    Air Conditions: Ignoring air-conditioners results in costly repairs, poor performance, and moisture issues.

    Appliances: Water heaters, washers, and dryers often crack, permitting water to trickle inside. These kinds of  leaks may expand and create a flood over time, even though the leaking begins gradually. Hoses have a tendency to deteriorate  from the inside out, also resulting in leaks.

    Basements: A wet basement is brought on by moisture accumulations that drip through the foundation. Humidity is increased even though there are no leaks or standing water. High humidity can cause condensation on the cold concrete walls and floors.

    Flood Safety

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    Flood Safety

    If you live in a floodplain, elevate and reinforce your home to make damage less likely during a flood.

    Check with a professional to:

  • Raise your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to floors that are less likely to be flooded. An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.
  • Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home. (As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.)
  • Construct barriers such as levees, berms, and flood walls to stop floodwater from entering the building (if permitted by local building codes).
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
  • Use sand bags when flooding is expected:

  • It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, creating a wall one foot high and 20 feet long.
  • Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
  • If a flood is expected, some communities will offer free sandbags to residents. Be sure to watch or listen to the news so you can access these resources.
  • Remember: Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding but flood insurance does. Get information at www.FloodSmart.gov.

    5 Water conserving Tips for Summer Gardening

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    5 Water conserving Tips for Summer Gardening

    To keep your grass or your garden alive during the summer heat wave without driving your water bill to new heights, follow these tips.

    1. A standard garden hose and nozzle is the least efficient means of applying water to plants because so much water is lost as mist, runoff and evaporation. Use a soaker hose or a sprinkler wand.

    2. For most Americans, a good rule of thumb is that a lawn needs 1 inch of water a week and perennial plants and shrubs will need from 1 inch to 2 inches a week. There's no neat rule for watering annuals, so your best guide is always the plant tag (the small spear-shaped plastic tag that came with the plant when you bought it). It will tell you the sun, soil, pH and water requirements.

    3. When in doubt, keep the plant's soil lightly moist and see how it responds. If conditions are especially hot and windy where you are, keep a careful eye out for wilting. If you see the signs, add water to the soil, but don't overcompensate by drowning the plant. Over-watering is just as bad as under-watering; it leads to root rot and soil compaction that robs the roots of air.

    4. Don't soak the plant's foliage; it does little good. And don't apply water outside a shrub's or a perennial's root zone. A shrub's root zone is roughly 1 to 3 times the diameter of its canopy, and keeping the water inside this radius will allow it to soak down to where the plant's roots can reach it. If you see water puddling or running off, stop; let the water soak in before resuming. Likewise, water that runs off your lawn or off the top of a flower bed onto paved surfaces does no good. The same applies to running lawn sprinklers: Water your lawn, not the side of your house or the driveway.

    5. Mulch is great for holding in moisture and keeping the base of plants cool. However, a thick layer of mulch can also form a crust that prevents water from soaking in. Break up crusted mulch with a rake to allow water in.

    You can buy a tool to gauge your soil's moisture level at a nursery or through a horticultural supply catalog. But if you don't have one, a large straight blade screwdriver is a good standby. Poke it into the soil; the drier the soil, the more resistance you'll meet.

    What to do After Flooding

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    What to do After Flooding

    After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
  • What To Do After Flooding:

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.
  • What NOT To Do After Flooding:

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.