5 Tips for Drying Out After Water Damage

You return from a hard day’s work to see your home turned into a mini water park—probably due to a burst water main or backed up drain. Panic sets in. Your first action is to locate the main water stop valve and turn it off. It is often placed in your basement near the front foundation wall, the water heater or crawl space if there is one.

What’s next? Here are five essential tips for drying out after major water damage:

  • Extract – obviously, you should first try to get out as much water as possible. You could get a cleaning company or do it yourself (you can rent the equipment). The objective is to remove water from floors, carpets, and furniture with the aid of vacuum pumps and extraction units.
  • Remove – wet carpet and furniture. You can restore the carpets after drying except when the flooding was due to a sewer backup. Then it has to be discarded. This is no easy task and is best handled by professionals.
  • Evaporate – the structural components of your home will be thoroughly soaked with water. It’s critical you dry them out quickly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. You can make use of fans, but the industrial air movers used by professionals are more powerful and will get the job done faster
  • Dehumidify – the process of evaporating excess water will raise the humidity levels in your home. You should remove the excess moisture in the air with the aid of industrial dehumidifiers. If you live in a dry climate, opening the doors and windows will speed up the process.
  • Heat – you can increase the temperature of your homes to speed up drying since warmer air helps dry things out faster. However, once the temperature gets up to about 80 degrees, turn on the A/C as warm air will hold more water. Repeat this process till your home is completely dry.

After drying out your home, it is crucial you disinfect the area to stop mold and prevent bacterial growth. Ideally, this should be handled by professionals with industrial strength disinfectants and tools to help restore your home to its original state.

Protect Your Home: Prevent Dryer Vent Fires

According to the United States Fire Administration, on average, about 2,900 fires every year are caused by clothes dryers. Dryer fires are responsible for deaths, injuries, and millions in property damage. The main cause of dryer fires is clogged dryer vents, so it’s easy to see the importance of keeping yours clean.

What causes a dryer fire?

You probably know about the lint trap in your dryer. This lint also collects in the dryer vent when it makes it through the dryer’s filter. When the lint builds up in the dryer or exhaust duct, it can block airflow, causing heat to build up. As lint is highly flammable, with enough heat build-up, it can easily catch fire.

How can you prevent a dryer fire?

Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct regularly. You can check to see that the air is escaping the exhaust properly. If it’s not, you will have to disconnect the dryer from the vent to clean it and reconnect it before using it again. In addition, clean the lint screen/filter after drying each load of clothes. A sign that the screen or exhaust duct is blocked is if drying takes longer than usual for a normal load of clothes.

How do you stop a dryer fire?

Dryer fires can be put out using a fire extinguisher or fire blanket. It’s a good rule to have a fire extinguisher in the house for emergencies, and most people keep one in the kitchen. To be even better prepared, you can keep an additional one in or near the laundry room. Fire blankets are made of wool and are designed to smother a fire to put it out. It can be mounted on a wall to keep it within easy reach.

Should I Call My Insurer or a Damage Repair Company First?

If your home has suffered a fire or a flood, the process of restoration can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Many people don’t know exactly what to do in the event of severe home damage and resort to calling their insurance company right away. As it turns out, there might be a better way to go about things. Contacting a disaster relief company first can actually save you a good chunk of money.

Below we will explain the steps that you should take immediately following home damage:

Step One: Safety First

The very first thing you should attend to is any emergency that might be present. Make sure that everyone in the home is completely safe and that there is nothing inside the home that can cause danger. If it seems that the home is dangerous, you should vacate the area and call the local authorities.

Step Two: Assess The Damage

If the home is safe to enter, then assess the damage. Get a feel for what is broken and damaged, but don’t start cleaning anything yet. If you start to clean or salvage personal belongings, this can complicate things with your insurer.

If you begin to clean, you’re not helping; what you are doing is destroying important evidence that shows your insurer exactly what was damaged and how it was found.

Once you thoroughly assess the damage and take photographs, you should be able to answer these questions easily:

  • What type of disaster occurred? (flood, fire, etc.)
  • Where did the majority of the damage occur?
  • Is the home secure? (Are there holes in the windows or is the door damaged?)

Step 3: Contact a Local Restoration Company

Since many insurers charge very high deductibles for the cleanup work, paying out of pocket to a disaster relief company may end up being even cheaper. Depending on the type of and extent of the damage, paying out of pocket may end up being cheaper.

Once you evaluate how much it would cost to employ the help of a restoration company like Lone Star Pro Services, you can then more easily decide whether or not you want to make a claim with your insurance company.

The Effects of Dust on Your Health

Did you know that your average American spends about 80% of their time indoors? This means that you will be in a lot of constant contact with dust, especially while you sleep. Do you know what your air quality is like? Dust can be microscopic, meaning that you don’t necessarily need to see it in the air for it to affect your health. Being inside of a sealed home for the great majority of your time means that any pollutants are sealed inside with you, just waiting for you to inhale them.

What is Dust?

Seems like such an unnecessary question, but dust is a lot more complicated than you might think. It’s made up of a lot more than just dead skin cells. The term “dust” covers a slew of organic as well as inorganic particles. Although most dust is made up of dead skin cells, it can be made up of many other things such as this:

  • Paint particles
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Mold
  • Soil
  • Fabric fibers
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Viruses
  • Rodent waste
  • Sawdust
  • Pollen
  • Bacteria
  • Asbestos

These things all can become part of the air quality when you walk through your home or vacuum. Dust is very easily stirred up.

Dangers of Dust

Dust can cause a lot of problems for you and your general health. Dust can very easily make your allergies act up. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live by feeding off of the dead skin cells in the dust. They cause allergies in most people.

Asthma and dermatitis can easily be agitated by dust as well. Dust mites, as well as bacteria present in dust, can cause asthma attacks as well as negatively affect your skin.

What You Can Do

If you understand that dust can be a lot more than an eyesore, and you don’t want it to negatively affect your family, then the solution is as simple as enlisting an air duct cleaning company like Lone Star Pro Services to take care of your home and family.

Save Money While Spring Cleaning!

Spring cleaning is right around the corner! As spring comes, it is an ideal time to dig in and deep clean all those spots that may have been neglected for a while. Cleaning areas like your air ducts can actually help you save money on your energy bills by helping your equipment run smoother, but there are actually many ways to save some money as you prepare to deep clean.

  1. Coupon Clip – Since you are being proactive and thinking in advance about spring cleaning, start checking your circulars and emails for coupons related to cleaning products. The winter is a time of year when less cleaning products are being purchased, so there is a chance that you will likely find some good deals.
  2. Make Your Own – There are many additional ingredients in household cleaners…and most people have no idea what they are doing there. A huge trend lately has been to make your own household cleaning products. By mixing Castile Soap, Super Washing Soda, Baking Soda and White Vinegar in different proportions, you can create almost any home cleaning product. If the smell of vinegar is harsh to you, which it is to many people, a few drops of essential oils is a brilliant way to make your products smell amazing and make it match your smell preference.
  3. Make Cleaning Products Last Longer – Foaming Soap Dispensers are an amazing way to make a product last longer. Other things to consider is to use smaller containers in case of spills, spraying on a rag instead of spraying on surfaces and making sure to get every single drop by adding a little water and storing upside down.
  4. Subscribe and Save – There are now many companies that offer discounts on their products when you subscribe to them on Amazon. The company’s goal is to keep you locked into the product, but if it is something that you use often, why not subscribe and save money? It helps to set a calendar reminder for yourself when it will ship next to confirm if you actually need it when the time arises.
  5. Book a Professional Cleaning with Lone Star Pro Services – Need to clean your carpets, tile, or upholstery? Book an in-home consultation with Lone Star Pro Services for a thorough, affordable, professional clean!

How to Repair Water Damaged Ceilings

What starts out as just a small issue can soon balloon into a much larger issue. A small stain becomes a bubble which then gets larger and causes water damage. A water damaged ceiling can be a health threat due to mold and could even weaken the house’s foundation. Repairing the damaged part early-on is the smartest way to go, and here is how to do it:

Find the Source of the Water Damage

To start, you have to look for the source. You may need to gather clues. Is it weather-related and only occurs when there is inclement weather? Trace the water to find where it is seeping in. Sometimes a clogged gutter or cracked shingle could be the culprit. If the leak is located near a bathroom, there could be a burst pipe or other issue.

Remove the Damaged Sections

Next, to repair the water damaged ceiling, you’ll need to remove the damaged sections of the ceiling. Protect the area below by placing a plastic tarp to prevent damaging the floor. Be sure to thoroughly investigate and find any wet spots. Dry the area completely to prevent mold development in the future. Removing the wet material can sometimes be dangerous, so also be sure to wear safety gear such as eye protection and a mask to protect the lungs.

Repairing the Water Damaged Ceiling

Once the source of the water leak has been dealt with, the next step is to fix it up. Depending on the size of the water-damaged area, this may be simple or complicated. You may need to just patch a small hole, or you may need to replace an entire wall.

Don’t forget that if the problem is larger than you can handle, call a professional. For bigger damages, you are not going to be able to handle the problem on your own. Reoccurring leaks, contaminated water and evidence of mold are indicators that a professional is needed.

Keep a Clean Workplace For Healthier And Happier Employees

If you run an office building, chances are you’ve encountered some dust and dirt from time to time. It’s hard to know just how thoroughly your offices are being cleaned, especially if the cleaning service only comes once a week or less. Keeping a clean workplace isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, however – it can be great for your business. Here are a few facts about how a clean workplace can affect your employees.

Cleaning is Good for Morale

Studies have shown that people are more productive in a clean, uncluttered environment, and it makes sense – can you imagine working all day in a dingy, dirty office? A clean space makes for improved moods across the board.

Regular cleanings, including the carpet, furniture, and HVAC units, help improve the air quality in your office by removing dust particles from the air. This results in happier employees who are more willing to work.

Cleaning is Good for Your Business

It goes beyond your employees’ moods: routine cleanings can save your business money in the long run. Improving the air quality in your office through regular cleanings can drastically cut down on the amount of sick days your employees take.

Not only that, but cleaning your HVAC system, carpet, and furniture keeps them in good shape for longer, which means you won’t have to replace or repair them quite as often.

If you’re in the market for a good cleaning service, let the professionals at Lone Star do the heavy lifting. Our trained specialists are experienced in cleaning carpets, upholstery, HVAC systems, and repairing damage due to water, mold, or fire. Give us a call at 832-410-8622 for a free estimate today!

How to Remove Red Wine Stains from Carpet

Red wine is the enemy of carpet owners everywhere, but a wine stain doesn’t have to mean the end for your carpet—even if it’s white. People successfully remove wine stains from carpet every day, and no one is ever the wiser. If you’ve had a spill, here are a few important tips to remove red wine from the carpet.

Removing Red Wine from Carpet

  • Blot the stain as soon as you can to absorb as much wine as possible. Use an absorbent towel to soak up the wine without spreading the stain.
  • Once you’ve blotted up as much wine as possible, pour a small amount of cold water on the stained area. This dilutes the stain and makes it easier to soak up more of the wine. Be sure you’re using cold water and not warm or hot, as those can set the stain. Add more cold water little by little until you’ve gotten up as much of the stain as you can on your own.
  • Mix baking soda with water at a 3 to 1 ratio until you have a paste. Apply this to the wine stain and wait for it to dry. Once completely dry, you can vacuum it up and take most of the stain with it.
  • There might be a hint of a stain left over after these DIY methods. In that case, use commercial red wine stain removers or other carpet cleaners to clean the area thoroughly.

While it’s easy to remove wine stains from the carpet at home, some severe cases might require the work of a professional. At Lone Star Pro Services, we use state-of-the-art cleaning techniques and powerful cleaning solvents to lift even the toughest stains from your carpet. For a free estimate, give us a call at 832-410-8622 today.

How To Prepare Your Home & Garden For Winter

With the colder weather rolling in, it’s time to start thinking about cleaning out the garden for winter. If you’re new to gardening, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you prepare your garden for the colder months.

Cleaning Garden Schedule

Your timing will depend on what plants you have in your garden. If you have vegetables, pull them as soon as they’re finished producing fruit – except for late-harvest vegetables, which can tolerate the cold weather. Dig up any plants that can’t survive the frost and cut any perennials that have stopped blooming.

Pruning Practices when Cleaning Up the Garden

Although you might be tempted to tidy up your plants for winter, pruning encourages fresh growth and should be avoided until the weather warms up. Most plants can be pruned in the early spring, but be sure you don’t cut your flowering plants until after they’ve already bloomed.

What to Do with Infected Plants

Don’t compost infected plants, as this will just re-introduce the disease back into the soil. Instead, burn them or bag them up and throw them out with the yard waste. Be sure to clear out infected plants as soon as possible to prevent the spread of disease or the introduction of pests.

Don’t Forget the Home!

While you’re in that winter mindset, don’t forget to make sure your home is prepared to handle the cold. Consider having your HVAC system cleaned to make sure it keeps working smoothly all winter long, and make sure your pipes and exterior walls are properly insulated to prevent freezing or cold temperatures in the house.

At Lone Star Pro Services, we’re happy to help you get your home winter-ready. If you need your HVAC system serviced or any other home maintenance tasks, just give us a call at 832-410-8622 for a free estimate.

Keep Your Dryer Efficient & Lower Your Energy Costs

The cost to run a dryer can be substantial, but there are a few things to remember that can help lower these costs. To start: when is the last time you cleaned your dryer vents? If you had to pause to think about it, it has been too long. Having a clean dryer vent is important to prevent fires, but is also crucial for lowering your energy costs.

Why Maintain Your Dryer Vents?

Dryer vents are used to funnel the heat from the dryer to the outside of your home. When an excess of lint builds up and blocks the vent, it prevents the air from flowing properly. It makes the dryer work extra hard and can increase the temperature. Lint is extremely flammable, so this can easily cause a house fire. It is estimated that around 29,000 dryer fires are reported each year.

Besides the fear of fire, a blocked dryer vent will cause your dryer to work harder. Since a dryer is one of the most expensive appliances in your home, it will certainly increase your energy bill. Dryer vent cleaning is guaranteed to increase your energy savings.

There are some warning signs to look out for that can let you know if your dryer needs maintenance. Pay attention to the following:

  • Top of dryer is hot to the touch
  • Drying times are increased
  • Lint stuck to the inside of the dryer door
  • Lastly, check the outside dryer vent to make sure a steady flow of air is escaping

To keep your dryer working in tip-top shape, air duct maintenance must be practiced. To maintain the clean duct, be sure to always clean the lint filter in your dryer after each load and occasionally wash it with soap and water to eliminate detergent residue. Make sure to have your dryer vents cleaned on a yearly basis, but also consider every six months if you have a large family or wash clothes often.