The HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system acts almost like the lungs of your home. It circulates air in and out, to create optimal breathing conditions. And since it can be more difficult to breathe in extreme heat or cold, the HVAC keeps you comfortable at ideal temperatures to match the seasons, so you can breathe easily and in contentment. A poorly functioning HVAC system means the air you breathe is less clean, and can be harsher on your respiration. While certain types of HVAC maintenance are best left to professionals, there are some steps you can take in your weekly, monthly, and yearly upkeep that will benefit your health, and the functionality of your system.
Replace the Filter – This is one of the simplest aspects of maintenance, yet it is often neglected. The filter should be replaced every 90 days, but it is best to check it every month. If it appears to be heavily clogged or dark and saturated with filtered particles, then it should be replaced. This is especially common in households with pets. Pet owners are advised to change their filters every month. When selecting which filter to use, look for one that is pleated, as these are more efficient; they use electrostatic energy to catch even the smallest bacteria-carrying particles.
Keep Outdoor Components Clean – Outside, there should be a minimum clearance of 2 feet around air conditioning units or heat pumps. Be proactive about the upkeep of these areas. Check every week for debris, such as fallen twigs or leaves, and clear them away from the area. Clean pollen off of the components. When mowing the lawn in the vicinity of the unit, don’t allow the cut grass to be expelled in that direction.
Check Refrigerant Lines Monthly – These are the pipes or tubes that move refrigerant through an air conditioner or heat pump system. Each set will consist of two pipes or tubes. One, the suction line which carries refrigerant in a gaseous state, will be insulated, whereas the other, the liquid line, is not commonly insulated. Check these lines, and the insulation in particular, every month. It’s best for any damages to be repaired as soon as possible.
Seasonal Considerations – During the summer months, turn off the water supply to the furnace humidifier. Later on, when the weather turns chilly and you want to turn on the heat, replace the humidifier filter, and turn the water supply back on. Programmable digital thermostats help regulate your energy consumption, allowing you to shut the system off automatically or lower the temperature when no one is at home. Consider updating your system if it is older, as newer models can be much more energy efficient. To save energy and retain the desired temperature in your home once it is established (cool in summer, warm in winter), be sure that your doors and windows stay shut and are properly sealed. If air escapes your home through poorly insulated or broken windows, you are wasting energy, so find problem spots and fill them with caulk or other insulation. Also check to make sure air isn’t escaping through heating or cooling ducts and, when necessary, seal these as well.
Winter and summer are the busiest times of year for HVAC professionals, so it is best to make appointments for annual maintenance in the spring and fall. This will also give you peace of mind, going into winter or summer with the foreknowledge that your system has been checked and is running smoothly.
Even if you’ve been vigilant in maintaining your HVAC system, breakdowns can happen that result in water damage, or even the growth of mold, where water leaks occur inside your home. If you find a breakdown in your system and resulting water damage, call Warren Cleaning and Restoration. We will take care of the water damage, properly drying the area and checking to make sure there is no possibility of mold. We serve an approximate 2-hour radius from our two family-owned and operated offices in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC.
As the old saying goes, all we need to survive is a roof over our heads and food on the table. There is true wisdom in this, since your home’s roof and gutter system make a huge difference in keeping your home dry, protected, energy efficient, and structurally stable. Proper maintenance of the roof and gutters can prevent costly repairs in the future, so make sure yours are properly maintained. If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your gutters or inspected your roof, then it’s best to take steps to do it now. Below, we’ve compiled several helpful tips for roof and gutter maintenance.
Inspect Your Roof Once a Year – If you can comfortably and safely climb to your roof on a ladder, do so. If not, you can inspect it from the ground using binoculars. If you are on the roof, however, for your own safety and for the sake of the roof itself, minimize the amount of actual walking you do on the roof. During your roof inspection, look for the following: shingles that are missing, broken, curled or buckled; the growth of moss or lichen, which may indicate roof decay beneath the shingles; and rust, cracked caulk, or cracked rubber on flashing and vent pipes.
Maintain Your Roof – Loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced as soon as possible. If flashing has separated from the roof, reseal it with caulk. If flashing or vent pipes show signs of rust or deterioration, replace them. Keep leaves off the roof, if the slope of the roof doesn’t work to keep them off already. Allowing too many leaves to accumulate on the roof will encourage them to decompose, which creates conditions favorable for trapping moisture and weed growth, both of which are undesirable. If you found moss on your roof, use a moss killer designed specifically for roof use. Do not use a pressure washer to remove moss, as this will also remove the granules on the shingles, and thus drastically reduce the lifespan of your roof. A roof which was installed poorly or not properly maintained may last as few as 7 to 10 years. But, by using modern products, and with diligent maintenance, professionals believe a roof can last 15 to 25 years.
Clean Your Gutters Twice A Year – Clogged or non-functional gutters can cause water damage to your home, and the resulting runoff can weaken your foundation. The simple way to prevent this is to keep your gutters clean. It is recommended that you clean your gutters in the spring and fall, but if you live in a wooded area, you may need to perform additional gutter checks, especially after big storms. If you are comfortable working on a ladder, you can do the job yourself. Clear out all the debris and sludge, and then run water from a hose through the gutter system, to be sure it flows and drains properly.
Maintain Your Gutters – After cleaning the gutters, check for holes or leaks in the gutter system. Use gutter sealant to fix leaky joints or small holes. For larger holes, use a gutter patch kit. If the gutters sag, check the hardware they hang from and repair or replace as needed. Water should not be able to stand in the gutter; if it does, the gutter may be pitched incorrectly. For every 10 feet of gutter, the slope should go down ¼”, with the downspout being the lowest point. You may be able to fix the pitch of the gutter by bending the hangers, but if this doesn’t work, you may need to rehang the troublesome section. Finally, make sure the downspout extends at least 4 to 5 feet away from the house at ground level, to direct the runoff as far away from the foundation as possible.
If your home has received water damage from a clogged gutter or loose shingles, or you have water damage in your basement due to poor drainage at the foundation, call Warren Cleaning and Restoration. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each. We can handle any water damage or water leak issue, and thoroughly dry and clean the damage area to restore your home to its pre-water-damage condition.
Basement flooding occurs without warning and can result in a small pool of water in one corner of the basement or water that is inches deep covering the entire floor. And the damage sustained from water in your basement can range from minor dampness to full destruction of carpeting, carpet pads, furniture, boxes and belongings, electronics, etc. The causes of basement flooding are many: overflowing streams and rivers during heavy storms, a burst frozen pipe, a storm drain blockage forcing water along a path of least resistance, a faulty appliance, a broken sump pump, or even water left over from putting out a fire.
If you find yourself with a flooded basement, regardless of how the flooding occurred, proper cleanout and drying is essential. If you don’t fully dry, decontaminate, and sanitize the water-damaged area, you may risk further damage to the structure itself—from a weakened foundation to damaged dry wall, and the possibility of an infestation from mold becomes very real. By following the below steps, you will be on your way to safely and effectively cleaning up the mess.
Above all, the first step homeowners should take is to care for their health and safety and that of their family and pets. Always protect yourself by putting on protective clothing and gear: gloves, boots, a face mask, even goggles. Whatever is floating around in the water is not always readily apparent or visible.
Before going down into a flooded basement, ensure all sources of electricity to the basement are disconnected. Never risk electrocution or fire. If you are uncertain how to do this, get help.
The reason for the flooding may not be immediately apparent. Locate the source and take steps to stop any more water from entering or flooding the area. For example, unblock drains or shut off water valves.
Let Mother Nature help. If the weather is clear and dry, open doors and windows to promote full air circulation and ventilation, and allow the sun to work its drying and sanitizing powers.
Remove the water. Take whatever steps you can (see #3) to get water moving out of the basement and away from your house to an area of open and proper drainage. You may need to rent a wet vac or buy a water pump to get this job done. But, if the water is deep or contains potentially toxic substances or contaminants, contact a water-removal professional to come and safely extract the water. Professionals have the proper training and certification to handle all types of water cleanup problems.
Once the water is extracted, place fans and let breezes flow through the area to promote drying. Use a dehumidifier to remove as much of the excess moisture from the air as possible.
Remove wet or damaged items, including carpeting, rugs, and furniture. Toss whatever cannot be salvaged, including drywall that has soaked up water, and set aside belongings that can be saved with cleaning and disinfecting. If you know the water contains biohazards and contaminants, the bulk of your belongings may have to be thrown out.
Continue the drying out process of the entire area. Pay close attention to flooring materials, walls, ceilings, cracks, and crevices, as these are all subject to mold growth. Clean these areas thoroughly and treat appropriately to avoid mold and mildew and to also sanitize.
If your basement floods, you should consider that an emergency that requires immediate action. Standing water in your basement jeopardizes the health and safety of you and your family, as the structural integrity of your home is at risk. Most homeowners who experience basement flooding rely on a professional water damage company. These pros have the training and equipment to get the job done right, and they do it in as little time as possible so that the homeowner can get their life back to normal.
Warren Cleaning and Restoration provides professional water damage and restoration services. The Warren team can even provide structural renovations if you need to replace floors, walls, etc. Each of their two family-owned and operated businesses (Hendersonville, NC, and Big Stone Gap, VA) serve an approximate 2-hour radius, and are available 24/7 to handle all your basement flooding cleanup and restoration needs. Call Warren Cleaning and Restoration at the first sign of basement flooding.
Water and flood damage often causes mold growth. Feeling desperate? Don’t be because we also offer professional mold removal service, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Most people don’t like mold. We all know enough to throw out food that has been in the refrigerator a bit too long and developed the fuzzy greenish-gray covering. But what about mold that is less apparent? Mold can hide and lurk in places you never see—always areas of dampness, such as behind walls and in dark attic spaces. Mold produces allergens, irritants, and potentially toxic substances that put people’s health at risk. For example, when inhaled or touched, mold can cause an allergic reaction or provoke an asthma attack or other respiratory symptoms.
Outdoors, we know that mold plays a useful and important role. But indoors, it is always best to avoid mold infestations, or, when you realize you have one, take immediate steps to clean and remediate it. Mold spores are invisible to the naked eye, but are always floating through the air. When mold spores land on wet or damp surfaces, within 24-48 hours, mold begins to grow. In addition to causing a potentially serious health threat, mold can damage whatever surface it grows on, whether it is cloth, leather, cardboard, or some other porous surface.
Even though mold spores are present just about everywhere, unless moisture is present, they will not grow. Therefore, the best way to control the growth of mold in your home is to control the amount of moisture and humidity in your home. Once mold takes hold in one area of your home, you should consider that a warning sign of a larger moisture problem elsewhere. Flooding, plumbing leaks, and other water problems can result in the growth of mold in the immediate area where the water damage occurred. This mold is likely visible to the eye. But, other hidden areas of the home where dampness and humidity occur, such as behind walls, in ceilings, insulation and ductwork, can also promote the growth of mold. Look outside your home, too, as mold can grow in vents, on siding and decks, under roof flashing, and in window wells.
While simply wiping the mold from the surface may appear to stop the problem, that one step is not enough. And, if untreated or treated incorrectly, the mold infestation can grow even larger. But, by proactively taking the following 7 steps, you will be well on your way to getting mold under control:
To identify if a spot on the wall is mold or dirt, dab the spot with a cotton swab that has been dipped in diluted bleach. If the spot lightens quickly, it is probably mold. You will need to take further action to locate the source, clean it, and remove it.
To prevent mold from recurring, spray an antimicrobial treatment on the area that was previously infested, but is now clean and dry. This step is most effective in small areas. An area where a larger infestation previously occurred will probably require further treatment.
When building or renovating an area where water or humidity has been a problem, use mold-resistant building materials to minimize the chance of a mold infestation starting or returning.
When painting, use an antimicrobial treatment on surfaces where mold might grow (or from which mold has been cleaned) to prevent the mold from growing or coming back. Use a primer that is mildew-resistant or add a mildewcide to existing paint.
In bathtubs and showers, clean caulk and grout that is stained, spray surfaces with an antimicrobial treatment, regrout, and caulk. Coating the entire surface with a grout sealant to fully finish the area.
Keep water from entering your basement or crawlspace by making sure the mulch beds and yard around the house are graded and sloping away from the house to where they drain properly.
Inspect your roof annually. Check for moisture in attics, insulation, and eaves. If you find water or dampness, immediately fix leaky flashings and shingles, dry the wet area, and treat it for mold.
If you know your home has a mold infestation, or suspect you might have a mold problem, call the professionals at Warren Cleaning and Restoration. Our team is certified by the mold specialists, MICRO, and by the cleaning and restoration specialists, IICRC, so you know we will treat your mold problem safely and effectively. We work within an approximate 2-hour radius of our two family-owned and operated offices in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we’re available to take your emergency call 24/7.
Your home is your sanctuary. At home, you should feel that your family and possessions are safe and secure. Yet, many homeowner fear losing it all to fire, and rightfully so. Fire is the greatest threat homeowners face in terms of damage to their property. Roughly seven people die in house fires every day, and over five times as many are injured in house fires daily. Over $7B in damage is done to property every year as a result of house fires. While these numbers are staggering, there is good news, too—many of these disasters are preventable.
By following the guidelines presented by our home maintenance company in the following four tips to prepare for and prevent house fires, you may drastically reduce the risk of a fire occurring in your home.
Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms – This one action could cut your risk of death by fire in half. Roughly 3 out of every 5 deaths in a house fire occur in a home without smoke alarms, or with non-functioning smoke alarms. Two types of smoke detectors are available: ionization and photoelectric. Ionization alarms are more responsive to flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms react better to smoldering fires. Since no one can predict what type of fire will occur, the safest choice is to use dual smoke detectors. Additionally, it is a good idea to interconnect them, so that if one is triggered, they all will be set off in response. This way, regardless of where people are in the house, they should hear the alarm. Place smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement, and both in- and outside bedrooms. Test your smoke alarms monthly, and replace batteries every six months, ideally when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
Have an Escape Plan – If your home catches fire, you may have as little as two minutes to escape. Many people falsely believe they have more time, but this misconception could cost you your life. Make an escape plan in advance, so that if a fire ever does start in your home, you already know the fastest way to get out. This is especially important if you have children. Astonishingly, up to 80% of families have not practiced fire escape drills with their children. Talk to your family about the importance of a fire escape plan, and practice it with them occasionally. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but if the situation arises, at least you will be prepared.
Use Caution with Common Fire-Causing Activities – Cooking is the top cause of house fires. Keep alert while cooking and do not leave your stovetop unattended. Stay in the kitchen, or, if baking or simmering, check in regularly and use a timer as a reminder. Keep flammable objects away from your stovetop, such as towels, curtains, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, etc. Another leading cause of house fires is candles. If you choose to burn candles in your home, keep them at least one foot away from anything that can burn, and be attentive at all times. And always be sure to extinguish them if you are leaving the room. Use sturdy candle holders and never allow a candle to burn all the way down to the end.
Be Mindful When Using Electricity – Minimize your use of extension cords, and never use them for major appliances. When using heat-producing appliances, plug only one into an outlet at a time. A few warning signs of electrical problems include: an outlet that produces sparks, wall outlets that are warm, flickering lights, appliances that emit a burning smell, and appliances that generate a tingling feeling when touched. If any of these situations occurs, take all safety precautions and unplug the offending appliance immediately.
If you have been a victim of a house fire and require fire and smoke damage restoration services, call Warren Cleaning and Restoration. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each. We can safely and effectively handle all your fire cleaning and restoration needs.
Statistics show that up to 95% of all basements will, at one time or another, experience some form of water penetration, flooding, or recurring leak. If your home is located on a flood plain, or the water table is above the foundation of your home, you might already be in that statistic. And, if you do not already have a sump pump installed, consider doing so. For your own peace of mind, and to minimize the water damage to your basement—including to the structure and whatever furnishings and belongings are located there—one of the smartest investments you can make as a homeowner is to install a sump pump.
What does a sump pump do?
A sump pump is a mechanical device that pumps water that could potentially flood your basement and remove it away from the property where it will drain away properly. Sump pumps are usually located in the basement of a home (or lowest point of a building), either beneath or above the floor. When water in the area where the pump is located reaches a pre-determined level, the sump pump turns on via a float switch. Once the pump has begun to function, it pumps out the water that accumulated in a specially created pit and transfers it to the outside. In addition to helping avoid flooding in your basement, the pump removes the water and moisture that can lead to other concerns such as rust, rot, and mold. A dependable sump pump will reduce the potential for water damage to the floor and subfloor, carpeting, walls, furniture, and other belongings stored in the basement. And, with the water pumped out, the chance for an infestation from mold is also minimized. A sump pump is not expensive, yet having one increases your property value considerably.
What do I look for in a sump pump?
Once you’ve decided to buy a sump pump, look for one that comes with an alarm. This type will alert you when the water reaches a certain level. Add additional insurance by using one with a battery backup—that way you know the sump pump will continue to work even during a power outage. Common in urban homes are water-driven pumps. These pumps are connected to the main water supply, and the water that flows through the main provides power to the sump pump.
Once your sump pump is installed, regular maintenance checkups are key to ensuring proper functioning at all times and to avoid risk of flooding. A good time to test your pump would be at the same time you check the batteries in your smoke detectors. Make sure the check valve is functioning properly, and look for jammed switches or clogged or frozen discharge lines.
Whether you own a sump pump or not, should you find yourself with a wet basement, it’s critical to take care of the water damage as quickly as possible to minimize the need for costly repairs. You can rely on professional water damage and restoration services to expertly and efficiently handle your water damage problem. They will thoroughly dry, clean, and treat the area to avoid the potential for further damage or health concerns from a mold infestation, and repair any structural ruin to floors, subfloors, walls, etc.
If your home has received basement water damage, call the IICRC-certified professionals at Warren Cleaning and Restoration. We are available to handle any type of basement water damage or water leak issue from a faulty sump pump. We will thoroughly dry and clean the water-damaged area and restore it to its clean, safe condition. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each.
If you need tree service removal, feel free to get in touch because our experts are ready to help you instantly.
Did you know that leaking air conditioner (AC) units are a common problem in the home and that they account for more than 90% of repair calls? When an air conditioner leaks, it is usually due to one of three main reasons:
the condensate line is blocked,
the air filter is clogged, usually with dirt, or
the overflow drain pan contains a crack or hole.
A dripping air conditioner may not seem like too big of a problem, but over time, the water that leaks can lead to a much larger problem. When a basement gets flooded due to heavy rains or an appliance breaks down and leaks water, that type of water damage is very obvious to homeowners. But a slow leak in your air conditioning unit is a different matter. AC dripping can occur for weeks or months, causing costly destruction in your home before you even notice the leak. And the resulting damage from a constant drip can end up being worse than more obvious flood damage, and result in hundreds to thousands of dollars in property damage. The added threat of a serious and unhealthy mold infestation resulting from the dampness is also very real.
It is recommended to have an HVAC professional clean your air conditioning unit annually. With this type of regular maintenance, you might prevent what could first be considered an annoying drip from becoming a huge inconvenience from a much larger water problem. Most repairs required to resolve a water leak in your air conditioner are simple and inexpensive compared to the potential property loss if the problem goes unresolved. You might also consider installing water-sensing safety switches that will shut down your air conditioner before it develops into a larger water issue, and also clean the filter at least twice each year to prevent it from getting clogged with dirt and dust.
While it is normal for water to drip from the air conditioning unit into a pan or drain, when water leaks onto the floor, or through the wall or ceiling, you need to address this problem as soon as possible. Call a professional water damage restoration and repair company, and they will track the source of the leak and take steps to address the problem, including drying and cleaning from the water damage. An expert team will fully assess the situation to determine what needs to be done to get your home back to its pre-water-damage state. Professionals are trained to deal with severe water damage, and they have the tools and equipment to properly clean up the water damage from a leaky AC unit as well as search out and handle potential mold infestations.
Cleaning and repairing the areas in your home that were ruined or destroyed by a leak can be time-consuming and expensive. Rely, instead, on a reputable company experienced in taking care of water-damaged property to ensure the damage from your leaky system will be repaired correctly and thoroughly. A professional water damage restoration and repair company will determine the cause of the leak. They will thoroughly dry and treat the area to avoid the potential for further damage and health concerns from a mold infestation. If necessary, some companies also repair structural damage to floors and subfloor, walls and ceilings.
When choosing a water damage restoration specialist, make sure you hire qualified, IICRC-certified professionals. Warren Cleaning and Restoration’s team bring the skills, training, and expertise to any water damage situation. If you’ve discovered water damage from a leaky air conditioning unit, call Warren Cleaning and Restoration right away. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each. We can handle any water damage or water leak issue, and thoroughly dry and clean the damage area to restore your home to its pre-water-damage condition.
Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The leaves turn vibrant colors, pumpkins and decorative corn husks adorn buildings, and the heat of the summer mellows into a comfortably moderate temperature. Fall is also a very important time for annual home maintenance. By taking care of your home’s critical features in the fall, you can assure yourself of energy efficiency, reliability of the systems you need, and of course, less stress in the coming winter.
Below, we’ll highlight which areas of the home need the most attention in the fall, and what you can do to keep everything running smoothly on into the winter.
Clean the Gutters – After the leaves have fallen, clear out all muck and debris from your gutters. Run water through them to flush anything else out and to test for leaks and holes. If you live in a wooded area and your gutters are more prone to clogs, consider installing mesh covers on them, to prevent buildup of leaves. Clogged gutters are a primary factor in causing ice dams, which are deposits of ice on a roof in winter which can cause water to pool and eventually leak through the roof and insulation into your home. While you are up in the vicinity of the roof, it is also a good idea to inspect for missing or damaged shingles. Repair any such problems, as these could also result in leaks or water damage during the winter.
Prepare the Driveway – Fall is a good time to check the condition of asphalt driveways. If there are cracks or surface damage, clean these out and fix them with driveway filler. When this is done, apply a coat of asphalt sealer. The harshness of the cold winter months and the frequent uses of salt tend to wreak havoc on asphalt. Ideally, your driveway should be in top condition before the snowy season, so that winter doesn’t exacerbate any pre-existing damage.
Clear the Lawn and Foliage – Rake up the dense accumulation of leaves on your lawn. If you allow leaves to sit too long, moisture will compact them together, which can suffocate your lawn and invite insect problems. Don’t, however, let those leaves go to waste. Your leaf pile can be used for composting or mulch, or piled over your garden to create a protective blanket through the winter. Use the opportunity granted by a clear lawn to aerate and fertilize the area, and plant cool-season grasses. It is also a good time to fertilize turf grasses, so that when spring comes, your lawn will already be in good shape. Fall is also a good time to trim the branches of trees around your home, to prevent weak and dead limbs from falling under the weight of snow and ice during the winter months and causing damage to your property.
Properly Store Cooling Devices – At the end of summer, remove window-mounted air conditioning units, thoroughly clean them, and store them in a dry place. For central air systems, vacuum the internal parts and be sure to cover the outdoor components with a tarp or specially designed cover. This will prevent rust damage through the winter.
Check the Heat System – Don’t wait until winter to discover problems with your heat. Have your heating system checked by a professional in the fall. Regular maintenance will increase fuel efficiency and longevity. If your home has a woodstove or fireplace, check this too. It is a good idea, when applicable, to have your chimney swept before the winter wood-burning season. This will decrease your risk of a chimney fire, which is typically caused when an accumulated residue called creosote ignites in the chimney. Additionally, to help with energy efficiency, you must be sure that the heat you generate stays in your home. Check for drafts around windows and doorframes, and use caulk to fix problem spots.
Reverse the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans – Remember to do this in the fall, so your fans will create an upward draft which distributes warm air throughout the area.
In spite of taking precautions to properly care for your property in advance of the winter months, damage can occur at any time from fire, water, and storms. Warren Cleaning and Restoration can help solve problems you encounter as a result of such damage. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each.