Utility Bill Savings: Weatherproof, Restore & Remodel

 

Saving Money by Keeping Your Home Up-to-Date

If it seems like your utility bills keep rising, odds are that it’s not just because the utility companies have raised their rates. It’s far more likely that much of the conditioned air that your heating and cooling system generates is escaping through tiny cracks and crevices–and that outside air is likewise seeping in. Weatherproofing doors and windows makes a massive difference to your home energy efficiency; just one of many small projects you can use to save on utility bills in the future.
Top Tips for Saving on Utilities

  • Weatherproof All Entry Doors – When you stand near an entry door in your home on a cold day, do you feel cold air? If so, it’s time to update the weatherproofing. Use caulk to seal gaps around the frame; for large gaps, cut a backer rod to size to fill the space, and then add caulk to hold it in place. Remove and replace any old weather-stripping.
  • Buy a Programmable Thermostat – If you aren’t already using a programmable thermostat, it’s time to get moving. A programmable thermostat will let you regulate the temperature in your home, and some will even allow you to regulate each room. Being in control of how and when your system turns on can save you a bundle by not heating rooms that are not in use.
  • Switch to LEDs – Like most homeowners, you probably swapped out your incandescent light-bulbs for CFLs years ago. LED bulbs provide even more savings than CFLs, and they last considerably longer too. Best of all, they have become very affordable. A standard incandescent bulb lasts around 1,200 hours. Over the course of 23 years, it costs about $201 to operate. Meanwhile, an LED offers more than 25,000 hours of operation time, and it costs around $30 over the course of 23 years.
  • Adjust Your Water Heater – In most homes, the water heater is the third most expensive component to operate. You can slash your costs considerably by setting the temperature to 120 degrees, which is more than warm enough for a nice shower. If possible, you might even switch to a tank-less water heater, which offers exceptional efficiency by only heating water as-needed.
  • Upgrade Insulation – Finally, even the best insulation degrades over time. What was top of the line a few years ago is probably middle of the road now. With these points in mind, consider swapping out the insulation in your home to improve its energy efficiency. This is especially important in the attic, but it should be done throughout the home for optimal results.

Most of these tips can easily be handled by an everyday homeowner. However, if you really want to slash utility costs while making your home as energy efficient as possible, major improvements may be in order. In northeast Indiana, Paul David Restoration can help. Contact us today for a consultation.

Extreme Weather Damage

 

Dealing With Extreme Weather Damage to Your Home

When winter weather gets more extreme, so do the consequences of not preparing for the worst. Small issues like an overhanging tree can turn into a tree in the living room after a cold-snap and strong winds. Foundation cracks can turn into foundation failures when exposed to freezing ground-water. Pipes can burst in winter, leaving you without hot water, or causing damaging flooding, which can be incredibly dangerous in cold weather. Regardless what kinds of catastrophes you face, a disaster restoration plan are something that no homeowner should be without. Here are some of the risks that you could encounter and ways to cope effectively.

Flooding
Don’t believe that Indiana homeowners are at risk of high-water events in the midst of cold weather? Just look back to 2005, when severe winter storms and flooding in the state prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to declare a major disaster that lasted for the entirety of January and much of February. Or consider the fact that the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program says that floods are the number one natural disaster in the country.

With dangers like ice jams that cause rivers to spill over and snow-melt that can overwhelm normal drainage channels, flooding hazards are real. Even if you follow FEMA’s advice by purchasing flood insurance, you’ll need to consult with restoration experts right after your disaster to get the most out of your policy.

Fires
Indiana winters can make you think of moving somewhere much warmer, but the frigid cold doesn’t protect your property from blazes. For a variety of reasons, such as increased cooking and heating activities, house fires are more common in winter than at any other time of year.

Fires can be worse in inclement weather because they eradicate your property’s barriers against the outside world. For instance, flames that burn through roofing or exterior walls subsequently allow moisture to get inside and cause additional damage by freezing. Without expert disaster management assistance, repairs may also take longer.

Ice and Snow
Ice storms don’t just cause water to freeze uncomfortably close to your home. While these events can indeed result in the formation of ice dams that tear roof shingles apart or make gutters fall, they can also impact the trees and power lines around your property. When these features collapse, the aftermath may be even more catastrophic.

In some cases, snow buildup itself damages homes. This is especially concerning with older properties that may not be quite as structurally sound as they once were. Heavy snow that causes your roof plane to bend or warp can create weaknesses that worsen with every passing season. No matter how minor the problem seems now, failing to take immediate action is almost certain to cost you down the line.

In winter, rapid emergency restoration needs to be one of your primary concerns. The risks of waiting around after an incident are undeniable, and your real estate’s equity will suffer for every second you delay. To learn more about extreme weather disaster restoration, contact a Paul Davis expert now.

Renovate, Remodel or Restore?

When you’re recovering from property damage, it might be the perfect time for a little home improvement.

Dealing with the damage left behind by a flood, storm or home fire is never easy, but you have some important decisions to make if you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation. For example, should you renovate, remodel or restore the damaged area?

Many contractors are guilty of using these words interchangeably, but they actually describe three different processes. Sometimes recovering from property damage presents an opportunity to increase your home’s value by renovating or remodeling instead of just restoring. Keep reading to learn about your options, and find out how to make the best of your circumstances.

Restoration

Restoration means returning a structure to its original state. Filling holes in the walls, replacing old carpet with new carpet and refinishing hardwood floors may all be categorized as restoration projects. When recovering from property damage, restoration usually requires less resources than a renovation or remodeling, and therefore it is often the simplest option. If your living room floods, and you want to make it look exactly like it did before the incident, then restoration is what you need.

Renovation

Renovating a home involves making changes by adding new features or upgrading existing ones. Homeowners often increase their property value by making renovations. In some cases, it may actually be more cost-effective to renovate a room rather than restore it after a disaster, depending on the cost of the original materials. If you’ve been thinking about making your previously flooded basement cozier by adding a bar and a refrigerator, you should ask your contractor professionals about a renovation.

Remodeling

Remodeling a room entails changing its entire structure. If you have a fire in your attic, and you decide to turn it into a separate living area by removing a wall to make more space, raising the ceiling and installing a new bathroom, then you want to remodel your attic. Many homeowners choose to use a disaster as an opportunity for home improvement. Remodeling obviously requires more materials and money than restoring or renovating, but the value it can add to your property, and your quality of life, may be worth it.

Paul Davis Turns Property Damage Into Home Improvement Projects

The aftermath of a fire, flood or storm can be a tense time, so let the professionals at Paul Davis help you find a silver lining. Our company has responded to the disaster recovery needs of homeowners in Indiana for over four decades. All of our technicians are thoroughly trained in property loss management and certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration. Paul Davis can do more than make your home as good as new; we can make it even better. Contact us now to get started.

Should I Attempt DIY Restoration on My Home?

Even the Handiest Homeowners Need to Know Their Limits

Repairing things with your own two hands is one of the greatest pleasures of home ownership. You get to let your creativity run free while you make modifications that modernize and personalize your living space, and there’s nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done. There’s also no better way to impress your spouse, in-laws or neighbors.

Of course, some repairs are forbidden territory no matter how capable of a DIY expert you are. This is especially true after fires, flooding and other disasters. Here are a few restoration jobs that should be left to the pros instead of your own to-do list.

Electrical Work

Under normal circumstances, there’s usually nothing wrong with installing a new electrical outlet or dimmer – as long as you know what you’re doing. If you’ve experienced a disaster, however, even the act of flipping a switch could be seriously hazardous.

Consider a flooded or fire-damaged home. Material deficiencies inside structural components like walls and beams commonly impact wiring, appliances and even breaker panels.

Burnt-out connections might leave electrical components floating at dangerously high voltages instead of being properly grounded. Moisture left behind in the wake of high-water events could increase the risk that you’ll get shocked by touching something you didn’t expect to be powered on. It takes an experienced restoration professional to anticipate and deal with these unusual situational hazards.

Fixing Material Damage

After a fire or flood, it may be tempting to try to replace paneling, drywall and other obviously damaged components yourself. It’s far better to ask for expert help.

What makes material damage so complex? The burnt, moldy or soaked building materials you can see may be just the tip of the iceberg. If you perform a mere cosmetic fix, you could be overlooking serious structural deficiencies that eventually lead to significant dangers, such as partial or complete building collapse. These repairs should be completed by experts who have the tools and experience to determine the true extent of problems.

Water and Smoke Smell Removal

Cleanup isn’t a simple task either. Sure, you can run fans for a few days after a flood, but without industrial blowers and accurate humidity detectors, you’re just inviting unhealthy mold infestations to take root. Smoke smells may persist until you replace all of your furniture, which is a huge undertaking.

Rapid response is the best way to fight home disasters effectively and minimize losses. You need to be able to manage highly involved restoration tasks, deal with insurers to claim reimbursements and perform repairs in a manner that keeps your building compliant with local codes and regulations.

If there’s one major idea to take away from all this, it’s that while DIY has many uses, disaster restoration is not one of them. To learn more about getting your life back on track, contact Paul Davis today.

 

Top Tech and Tools For Restoration

Home disasters are more common than you may think. In fact, more than 501,000 structure fires were reported in 2015, resulting in nearly $10.5 billion in property damage. A house fire causes more than physical damage; it also causes emotional damage as homeowners sometimes lose everything that they’ve built over the years. With our cutting-edge restoration technologies, we can help you pick up the pieces and restore your home to good health.

Paul Davis Restoration Technologies

Because modern construction materials burn hotter and faster, you may only have three minutes to get out of your home before the flames spread and engulf the interior. Even if firefighters arrive in time, a fire will create widespread damage in just a few minutes. Smoke, an acidic byproduct, corrodes and stains surfaces throughout the home. In addition, the steps that are used to stop the fire can cause more damage than both the fire and the smoke combined.

Paul Davis takes all these factors into account and has created effective fire restoration technologies to recover, reconstruct and restore your home no matter how much damage has occurred.

Advanced Washing Systems

Our affordable yet successful washing systems consists of environmentally friendly detergents for cleaning and restoring clothing, bedding, shoes and other soft contents and textiles. This system also salvages items that could not have been restored using other methods such as dry cleaning.

Water Damage Assessment and Monitoring

We helped pave the way for MICA, a web-based application that’s used in monitoring, repairing and settling water damage claims. It accurately collects data during the drying phase, giving insurance clients a way to access the information at any time. This useful application not only reduces the cycle time but also decreases the costs when settling water damage claims.

Thermal Imaging Technology

What you can’t may cause the most damage. Our thermal imaging technology allows us to check for water intrusion without the need to cut through drywall or to tear up the carpeting. It’s a cost-effective and time-saving tool, which also gives us a way to show evidence of the problem and to ensure validation after we’ve completed the repairs.

Paul Davis: Professional Restoration Services

When Paul Davis technicians arrive on the scene, you can rest assured that everything will be taken care of from the beginning to the end. We not only take care of fire, smoke and water damage but also help with claims while providing the very best service possible. Contact us now to learn more.

 

Chimney Cleaning for Fire Safety

Water Damage, Fire Damage and Smoke Damage Erode Your Chimney Over Time, Leaving Your Home Vulnerable to Disaster

It’s not fireplace season yet, but soon enough you’ll be ready to fire up the chimney and enjoy the beautiful glow and smell of fresh burning firewood with your family. Before you light up the first log, you need a thorough chimney cleaning to prevent possible home fire hazards, especially if you have prior damage from water, fire or smoke. Chimney cleaning can be complicated business, so don’t take any chances by trying to do it yourself. Do yourself a favor and schedule an inspection by a professional before the temperature drops so that you can start using your fireplace as soon as winter sets in.

How Often Should You Have Your Chimney Checked?

Fireplaces and chimneys become hot commodities during the winter, but they need special attention during the rest of the year to keep them working safely. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimneys should be inspected once a year at minimum to ensure structural soundness and to remove any deposits or obstructions. Any necessary chimney cleaning, repairs and restoration should be performed before using your fireplace for the first time during the cold season. Even if you don’t regularly use your chimney, you should still have it inspected for animal nesting or deterioration.

Why Should You Schedule An Annual Chimney Cleaning?

In addition to routine maintenance by a professional, you should regularly sweep your fireplace as soon as you notice sooty buildup. Acidic soot deposits can drastically shorten the lifespan of your chimney and serve as fuel in the event of a home fire. Chimneys in areas that are prone to a lot of snow and ice such as Indiana need special attention because cracks can form in the mortar as water freezes and expands. Wear and tear from water and smoke can add up over the course of a year, and it can affect the durability and efficiency of your unit. Structural repairs can take time, so you should have your chimney inspected and cleaned during the warm months before you’re tempted to light up your fireplace.

Paul Davis Provides Restoration Services in Indiana

Don’t wait for disaster to ignite. However, you can’t always prepare for unexpected disasters. If your home has suffered fire damage, contact Paul Davis today for restoration and reconstruction services.

Is Mold Hiding In Plain Sight?

What You Don’t Know Could Harm Your Home and Health

If you’re suffering from inexplicable sneezing, congestion or other common allergy symptoms, the cause may be unseen mold inside your home. Mold thrives in damp, dark places, so it should be no surprise that most mold problems go undetected. If you’ve ever had significant water damage, fire damage or smoke damage, the chances of mold living in your walls or carpet are very high. If you suspect that a fungal colony is growing in your home, you need a professional inspection right away before it inflicts lasting harm on your property and your health.

The Health Hazards of Hidden Mold

According to the CDC, allergic reactions to mold spores can trigger headaches, asthma attacks and chronic sinus complications. In worst case scenarios, mycotoxins from specific molds like stachybotrys chartarum can cause problems including depression, difficulty concentrating and even memory loss. If your symptoms are more noticeable while you’re at home but improve when you go out, it’s very possible that household mold is keeping you sick.

Signs of Hidden Mold

Mold often has a distinctive pungent, musty smell, but mold may still be present even if you can’t smell or see it. People sometimes mistake small mold growths for dirt or rust. Mold may appear black, brown, white, orange and even pink or purple when it grows behind wallpaper. Large amounts of condensation on your windows or pipes means that there is a lot of moisture in the air, which makes ideal conditions for mold growth.

The Causes of Mold

Mold needs moisture to grow, so water damage (including residual damage) provides a fertile ground for fungi. A common sign of moisture problems is discoloration of your walls, floors or ceilings. If you notice your paint or wallpaper peeling, cracking or warping, that could also be indicative of water issues. Anytime you have flooding, you should have your home inspected for mold damage as soon as possible. If you suspect mold in your home, contact Paul Davis for a consultation today.

How to Be Calm before the Storm

Preparation is Essential

When a hard storm is on the way, you need to be ready to keep your home, your family, and yourself safe. You may even need to plan ahead in case of evacuation. If you have everything you need packed in a backpack, you won’t be scrambling at the last minute to find the following necessary items.

• One or two flashlights with extra batteries
• Portable battery-powered radio
• Drinking water for each person in the family
• Nonperishable food
• Medications and prescriptions
• First aid kit
• Emergency phone numbers list
• Cash
• Personal documentation such as passport, social security cards and other important papers.

You should also have access to pictures of your home before any flooding or water damage. Most importantly, make sure everyone knows where the emergency supply kit is stored for a quick evacuation.

Protect your Home

Not only should you have a storm safety plan for your family, you should also write out a storm preparedness checklist for your home. If a severe storm is expected in your area and you are waiting for an evacuation order, you can prepare your house by:

• Shutting off gas and water mains
• Filling bathtubs with clean water
• Securing storm shutters on your windows
• Bringing in outdoor furniture and loose items from your yard.

Restoration after the Storm

If your home has been damaged by a flood or severe storm, there is help available. One important resource is the National Storm Damage Center, where you can learn how to protect yourself and your home before and after a storm. If your home has suffered damage, contact Paul Davis to begin the restoration and reconstruction process for any water damage within your home.

Flood Preparedness

Is Your Home As Ready For Summer As You Are?

Most people look forward to hot weather with great enthusiasm, but as a homeowner, summer also means you have a seasonal routine to maintain. In addition to keeping the lawn well-manicured and fighting pest incursions, you need to fortify your property against potential high water.

Even if you’re not anticipating a deluge of mythical proportions, it’s critical that you adopt a proactive stance. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of flooding to cause serious material damage. For instance, the National Flood Insurance Program estimates that a single inch of flooding in a 1,000 square foot home could result in more than $10,000 of financial loss. Getting ready in advance is definitely worth it, so keep the following steps in mind.

Assess Your Water-Management Fixtures

Gutters and roof systems are designed to divert excess rainwater in a constructive fashion. While extensive flooding can overcome such protections, they’ll resist the flow of water longer when they’re maintained properly.

A well-cleaned system of gutters and downspouts can redirect more moisture away from your building and its foundations. Check around welded pipe joints, mounting brackets and other fixtures for leaks, rust or signs of pooled water. This could help you catch a small problem before it leads to a disaster in the middle of a serious downpour.

Poke Around Your Foundation

Flood waters don’t always enter buildings via the most obvious paths. For instance, a longstanding crack in your concrete basement wall might weaken gradually for years. Water accumulation during your next storm could exert enough pressure to weaken the existing fault in a single catastrophic burst. If you weren’t aware of the problem in advance, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.

It’s vital to inspect your basement on a regular basis. Check features like sealed joints and high-stress points, such as corners, for signs of stress. One good sign of excessive moisture in the earth surrounding basements is efflorescence, or built-up powdery substances and tiny crystal deposits that occur when water evaporates through your walls and leaves behind salt and minerals.

Repair Current Damage

Finally, don’t neglect problems you already know exist. If you already experienced flooding or excessive moisture that caused damage, letting the material deficiency sit uncorrected is a prime way to leave your property vulnerable to future floods.

Take immediate action by contacting a restoration expert so that they can assess and fix the issue. This is also a good way to spot related faults that might indicate the existence of structural weak points, such as bowed basement concrete walls or warped timbers. To become better prepared for flooding or just fix existing problems, get in touch with Paul Davis right away.

Summer Fire Safety For Your Home

Five Simple Tips to Keep You Safe This Summer

Summer is finally here. It’s time to play outside, barbecue in the backyard and chill under warm evening skies. The season comes with its share of routine chores around the house too. As you gear up for lawn mowing and tree trimming, put these home fire safety tips on your must-do list, too.

1. Baby Your Grill – Without regular maintenance, your outdoor cooking station can cause serious fire damage. Keep drip pans and grates free of grease build-up that can turn open flames into dangerous flares. If your setup uses a gas tank, check lines for wear, and make sure connections are tight. Always keep kids and pets a safe distance away from the grilling action.

2. Keep Things Wet – Shrubs that shrivel under the hot summer sun are potential fire hazards. A stray spark from the grill or a carelessly tossed match can ignite flames in a dry backyard. Keep the lawn watered, replant dead areas, and cut back dry brush. Keep an eye on tree branches over your grill too. A flare-up that scorches burgers can also ignite that shady canopy overhead.

3. Keep Extinguishers Handy – When you’re cooking outdoors, always have an extinguisher within reach, and keep another one handy in the kitchen. Check the pressure gauge every month. Replace any extinguisher that shows wear on its hose or nozzle. If your extinguisher is older than 10 years, invest in a new model. It costs far less than addressing water damage and smoke damage to your home after a fire.

4. Play Safely With Fireworks – Fireworks are fun, but they can also be dangerous. Always light them a safe distance from the house, and keep them away from the kids. Don’t try to light up the sky all at once. Proceed with caution, and keep a bucket of water nearby for duds and spent fireworks.

5. Develop a Plan Now – Every home needs a solid fire evacuation plan. Get the family together, and determine multiple escape routes out of the house. Go over evacuation basics that include staying low to the floor to avoid smoke, testing door knobs for heat and using windows for exits if necessary. Identify safe routes out of the backyard too.

We want you to stay safe this summer and enjoy the season. If you’d like more ideas for home fire safety tips, contact Paul Davis today. We offer more than 20 years of professional reconstruction and restoration experience, and we’re here for you 24/7.