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Salvaging Belongings After a Hurricane Has Destroyed Your Home

Posted on March 14, 2018 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

A hurricane can be a very devastating experience for those involved. The moments after the hurricane can be very confusing and hectic. When one is faced with water intrusion in your home for any reason, and especially from hurricane, most people do not know if their belongings can be saved and fear that they may have lost their lifelong treasures.

The first call you should make should be to your insurance company, they will be able to guide you through your personal options based on coverage and circustance.

Fortunately, there are restoration companies that cater to salvaging belongings after a hurricane. Whether you acquire this service through your insurance ocmpany or hire them directly, these companies can help walk you through the process,  but it is best that you understand some basic instructions for yourself to make the process much smoother. 

Examine the Condition of Your Belongings

Firstly, you should find out what kind of water touched your belongings. The kind of water that touched your belongings will determine if they are worth salvaging. There are instances where your items may have been submerged in contaminated water, which will mean that you should not salvage those items. Although these types of items may appear to be salvageable, they may have become home to a variety of harmful organisms and toxins.  If you have any doubt, it is highly recomened your err on the side of caution and/or consult a professional.

Next, you should examine your belongings for damage and discoloration. Items that are badly damaged may not be worth salvaging and may even sustain more damage during the restoration process. For example, a torn pillow may completely shred during chemical treatment.

Saving Items

Chances are, you may not be able to clean your belongings right away. After losing your home, you may be staying with a relative or in rented housing, but it’s unlikely that you’ll want a pile of wet, dirty things (even if they’re yours) in your living space. Storing them temporarily in a storage unit can help keep them safe until you’re ready to start cleaning, and then until you have a place of your own again. Depending on how much you have been able to salvage, you are likely to need a unit between 100 and 200 sq ft, an investment about about $100-$200/month (Aurora Self Storage). 

You should make every attempt to dry out your belongings before moving them to a storage unit.  Keep in mind that it is crucial to be delicate with wet items, as they can disintegrate very easily. Hang, or lay out, all of the items that need to be dried; it will be best to dry them using air rather than heat or other traumatic methods.

If you are not able to dry out your belogins prior to storage be sure to use a climate controlled unit so that you can avoid adding a moldy situation.

Once dry, it’s time to start cleaning. You will need a small toothbrush, mildly hot water, laundry detergent, and a damp cloth; again, be delicate when cleaning your items. You may also wish to use a disinfectant such as bleach solution.

Finally, leave your items to dry again. If there are items that you personally cannot, or couldn't, clean, contact a restoration company to take care of the job for you. These companies specialize in fixing badly damaged items, and they have the proper tools for the job.

At the end of the day...

It is best to take a calm approach to restoring your items. After going through such a devastating experience, it is easy to want to rush everything to get back on your feet and return to normal. But a little bit of patience and care will take you a long way on your road back to recovery.

Proper Air Conditioner Settings & Mold Prevention

Posted on August 11, 2015 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Proper Air Conditioner Settings Mold Prevention while you are away

Earlier this week I was performing a bi-weekly Homewatch check for one of my clients when I immediately noticed that the house was extremely warm. Upon checking the thermostat I saw the display was out which can be a big problem. When the temperature is not being read by the thermostat, it does not triggering the air conditioner to kick on automatically. The fix was to simply replace the batteries, but had they not had someone checking on their home this could have easily turned into a much bigger problem.

Especially in Florida, a broken air conditioner means it cannot do its job of pulling the humidity from the air, which can quickly lead to mold in the home. If left unchecked this problem can grow and require professional abatement. This is a good reminder of why it is so important to have someone check on your house when you are gone.

Avoid Air Conditioner and Mold nightmares by following these tips:

1) Have your AC serviced before you leave.

Annual Maintenance ensures the system is running correctly and can catch any minor issues before they become a larger problem. Be sure that the tech cleans the coils, checks that the condensate drain line is working properly and that the drain pan has no mold.

2) Change your filter

A clean filter allows your AC unit to work more efficiently, saving you money and reducing the risk of breakdowns. If you plan to be gone for more than 3 months be sure to leave a spare filter for someone so they can change it out if the filter gets too dirty.

3) Set your thermostat between 77 - 82

This temperature is warm enough that it will keep your electric bill down, but still cool enough that the AC will kick on and pull the humidity from the air.

*FPL recommends setting your thermostat 72 degrees on a timer which kicks on during the early morning for a couple of hours and then at 88 degrees for the rest of the day. This will reduce your power bill and will effectively pull the humidity out of the air that causes mold. 

In my opinion this also increases the risk of failure because you have now added a timer to the mix that could potentially fail or not turn on if incorrectly set. This also means that the person checking on your house will experience warm temperatures and it may take longer for them to realize there is a problem if the air conditioner has failed.

4) Confirm your insurance policy still covers you while you are away

Be sure to check with your insurance carrier regarding vacant or unoccupied homeowner policies before you leave for an extended period of time. You may find that repairs for water intrusion/mold are not be covered by your insurance if you do not report them in a timely manner. Some policies also offer discount if you can prove you had regular home checks while you were away.

5) Enlist someone to check on your home regularly

This is important not just for air conditioner concerns, but also to make sure there are no leaks, pests, or home invasions. The last thing you want after an extended stay away from your home is to have to spend your first days or even weeks back fixing a problem. This can also get very expensive.

If you would like further information on any of the above or would like to enlist our home watch services, please contact us at 727-368-6589.

FPL Website: ;

Florida Home Care Resources

Posted on July 5, 2015 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Thanks for visiting the J&M Home Management Website.  We hope you will find these resources helpful in caring for your home and planning for your time away.

National Home Watch Association

Tampa Bay Hurricane Preparedness Guide - Tampa Bay Times - Your comprehensive guide to the Snowbird Lifestyle

Guide to Mold, Moistuer & your Home - EPA