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How to Safely Use an Electric Blanket

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

bed with blanket

Few things are cozier than curling up under an electric blanket, but did you know that this wonderful comfort item can also turn into a fire hazard? Modern electric blankets are very safe when used correctly, but there are still a few dos and don’ts that you should follow to avoid becoming one of the 500 or so house fires caused by electric blankets and heating pads every year:

DO Check Your Blanket’s Lifespan

Every electric blanket has a projected lifespan that is noted in the user manual or tag. Always check that when you pull the blanket out for the season, and replace the blanket if it’s aged out of safe use.

DO Check for Signs of Damage

Dark or charred spots, a damaged or frayed cord, or a control unit that doesn’t work properly are all signs it’s time for a new blanket. Also, if your electric blanket isn’t endorsed by Underwriter’s Laboratory, you might suddenly find yourself making use of Parker Young’s services.

DON’T Run the Cord Through Any Pinch Points

A pinched electrical cord is a fire hazard, so don’t use your electric blanket on adjustable beds, recliners or pull-out sofas. Here’s another pinch preventor: Don’t run the cord between the mattress and the box spring.

DON’T Leave the Blanket Alone

Feel free to get up for a glass of water or a quick trip to the bathroom, but if you’ll be away for longer than that, turn off and unplug your electric blanket before you go.

Follow these rules and you’ll enjoy years of safe warmth from your electric blankets. But if the worst does happen, give disaster repair services in Ellijay a call and we can help you put things back in order following any home fire, flood or other disaster.

How to Keep Mold Out During the Winter Seasons

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

CouchWinter often means wet, and wet means mold–especially if the winter is humid. Mold spores love moisture, so it’s important to take the proper steps to keep mold – which is always in the air anyway – to keep from growing in your home. The microscopic mold spores that are normally in the air will grow and will compromise your health if not contained. While you could kill mold, unless you remove it, the dry spores will just spread and continue to grow.

During the winter months, take additional steps to reduce mold. If it has already gotten out of hand, or if you had a flood, you may need to enlist the help of an Atlanta disaster repair services company, such as Parker Young.

Flooding and Heavy Rains

If heavy rains flood your basement or you have a plumbing leak, you need to work fast, or else mold will build up. Call in Parker Young, an Atlanta disaster repair service, to help clean and disinfect your home from the spores and toxins that the growing mold releases.

Mold hates low humidity and low temperatures, so turn the air conditioning on. You should also run a dehumidifier. If you don’t have air conditioning and the humidity outside is lower than it is inside, open the windows.

If you are throwing away moldy items, put them in a plastic bag. If you are saving some items that got moldy, store them in the freezer until Parker Young is able to restore them. This might include books, pictures and documents.

Mold Maintenance

Keep the air circulating in your home. When you shower, wash dishes or cook, be sure to use an exhaust fan. Keep all areas clean, especially those in kitchens and bathrooms. If something is leaking water, shut the water off to that sink, toilet or appliance. You should also use moisture barriers in crawl spaces. Make sure windows and doors are properly sealed and gutters are clean of leaves. When you need help removing mold, call Parker Young to schedule an appointment.

Winter Storm Damage to Expect in Atlanta, Georgia

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Winter Road

Atlanta, Georgia is known to have rough winters, but this year’s predictions have put the city at an especially tough season. Reports say it will be colder than usual. With the holidays coming up in a week or so, here are a few tips that you can use to keep you and your family protected from the damage that snow, rain, and the general winter weather patterns can bring about.

Fire Damage Protection

Fire is a real threat in the cold months. The main reason for this is the presence of a number of heating equipment appliances and active fireplaces inside homes. Do not think that just because it is snowing outside, there is no chance of a fire. Never leave a fireplace unattended, and always keep your furnace isolated from anything that may burn.

Snow Damage

Snow is a form of precipitation, and when it collects over roofs and other structures, it can grow up to 30 times heavier. In fact, roofs and support structures regularly collapse or at least cave in every winter. If the option is available to you, invest in a heating system on the roof that prevents the build up of snow by creating a warmer surface causing snow to melt and slide away.

Ice Storms

Ice is caused by rain that freezes before it hits the ground, and unlike snow, ice is not gradual or slow. It gets heavy and bombards the ground and everything that is on it. Cars, windows, and other such things can get ruined by falling ice formations or hail. Ice also effects trees and branches which can then snap off or fall over. Be aware of the quality of your home, the placement of your vehicles, and the nearby trees during freezing ice storms.

Protection from the damages of winter months is vital as many homes are built with wood. Employ the services of a technician who is qualified to check for damages and winter proof your home. It is better to be prepared than to spend money on repairing the damage should it happen.

Protecting Your Home from Winter Storms While You’re Out Out Town

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

If you’re planning to head to warmer lands to escape the extreme winter, you need to invest time in getting your home ready to face a winter storm that might hit the town in your absence. After all, you don’t want to come back to a damaged home that needs repair and restoration. There are some simple steps that you can take for the protection of your home and get your home winter-ready before going away.

Water Pipe Insulation

Bursting pipes can result in expensive damage during winter. Even if the other parts of your home stay warm, it is possible for the water in attic or basement pipes to freeze. Before you vacate your home, remember to wrap up the pipes in such cold areas of your home in insulation. Keep the bathroom and kitchen cabinets open for allowing air circulation. In addition to this, allow water to slowly drip from faucets. This way, the water will keep flowing. Your water bill will be affected, but it will be much more affordable than damage repair.

Exterior protection

Before leaving the house for a vacation, take some time to clean the gutters so that water does not get collected and freeze. It is vital to check downspouts to ensure that water gets directed away from the house. Also, trim all tree branches that hang too low and could freeze. They might become brittle and snap, damaging the structure or the power lines.

You could make use of weather stripping for sealing doors and windows. This will ensure that water does not get into the interiors of your home and the structure remains intact. In coastal or high wind-exposed areas, get storm shutters installed for securing windows. Anchor all personal property on the outside of your home to prevent uprooting and other severe damage.

Hire a professional

You could hire a credible professional contractor for regularly inspecting the roof of your home and shoveling snow off it after a winter storm.

Georgia’s Winter Weather Resource Guide

Monday, October 26th, 2015

With the Winter season just around the corner, it’s important that everyone is informed of where to turn when inclement weather strikes in Atlanta, Georgia. Sometimes weather can be unpredictable, and with surprise weather comes surprise emergencies. Provided by the City of Atlanta, here are some key resources to have during severe winter weather conditions.

  1. 311: If you’ve come across some extremely icy roads or fallen trees/telephone poles, 311 is the number to call and report unaddressed and dangerous winter situations. If you’re making this call after hours, simply call 911.
  2. Channel 26: In Atlanta, turn to channel 26 for city news. Here, you’ll find the latest updates on weather, what to expect, and if there are any next steps to take.
  3. Temporary or Emergency Shelter: In extreme cases, the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services have collected and assigned certain recreation centers as temporary, emergency shelters that will open when community members are expected to be without power and/or heat for an extended period of time.
  4. Media Outlets: You can receive video footage of Atlanta’s road crews by contacting the Department of Public Works’ Public Information Officer Antionette Govan at 404.330.6088 or 404.821.7480.
  5. Priority Routes: It’s nice to know which routes will be tackled first when inclement weather strikes. First priority routes include major arterial streets (e.g. Peachtree Street, M L King, Jr. Drive, Northside Drive, and Mitchell Street); second priority routes include minor arterials and collectors (e.g. Howell Mill Road, Campbellton Road, and Monroe Drive); and third priority routes include minor collectors and major local streets (e.g. West Wesley, Avon Avenue, and Beecher Road).
  6. Weather Forecast: These days, many of our smart devices have weather applications programmed into them. Another great one to look into is “The Weather Channel” app. Further, a couple of websites you can visit are http://www.weather.gov/ and www.weather.com.
  7. For the counties outside of the city of Atlanta, Georgia or for any other inclement weather inquiries not mentioned above, visit http://www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=890.Ural Snow Removal Vehicle

Tips for Winter Decorating

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Still life details, stack of winter sweaters on rustic bench onWinter Decorating doesn’t have to be filled with poinsettias, pine trees, and holly in order to be appropriate for the season. There are many ways to incorporate a wintery atmosphere into your home and still maintain a stylish and cozy decor. Here are some great ways to Winter decorate without going overboard.

  1. Get Cozy: The perfect way to give a room a cozy feel is with knitted and fluffy textures. Throw blankets hung over your couches, chairs, and mantles will make you want to curl up and stay awhile. Fluffy pillows have the same effect when combined with furniture or in a decorative floor space.
  2. Flannel Patterns: Flannel is one of the warmest fabrics around as it is woven from wool. Implementing flannel into your blankets, quilts, and pillow cases will surely keep you and your guests warm this Winter.
  3. Candles: You can’t go wrong with candles, ever. Whether you’re using them as decoration, for their scent, or to give the room a subtle glow, candles are one of the most wintery accessories out there.
  4. Snug as a Rug: Time to cover up those bare floors and warm up your walkways. Putting some fluffy or patterned rugs in your home, especially on tile and wooden floors, will provide a new sense of warmth to your barefoot endeavors.
  5. Twigs: Who says barren twigs can’t be beautiful? When all of the leaves have left the trees, we find new ways to create art with wooden twigs. Spray paint a bundle with glittery or metallic paint, and throw them into a vase or make them into a wreath for some interior and exterior ornaments.
  6. Bulbs: Branch out from the patented Christmas lights, and find a string of white, bulbed lights instead. Hanging these in your kitchen, on your mantle, or even outside in a walkway will create a pretty, winter wonderland ambience for your home.

Map It Out: Creating a Winter Storm Family Plan

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Feet Warming Near The Fireplace

Creating family plans for any kind of natural disaster is a great way to keep your children informed, teach them life lessons, and stay prepared. Setting aside time to have a family discussion creates an element of teamwork, and it allows your children to feel like you’re trusting them with a big responsibility. With chilly and snowy weather approaching, now is a great time to create a winter storm family plan. Winter storms are a little different than other natural disasters. Where many storm plans require a route of evacuation, winter storm plans implement a goal of staying warm and staying safe. Therefore, there’s more of a need to keep your supplies stocked inside the home. Here are some key things to touch on when creating a winter storm family plan.

  1. Explanation: Without making Winter sound scary and unpleasant, it’s important to provide your kids with WHY you’re making a plan. Explaining that nature is powerful and unpredictable is a great way to inform children that storms happen all the time, but it’s good to be prepared for when the powerful ones come along.
  2. Staying Warm: It’s important to have methods to heat your home that do not require electricity. Whether it’s a fireplace or a battery-operated heater, you never know when your power might go out and how long you’ll be without it. Allowing your children to watch you operate these resources is okay, as long as you trust them not to attempt to ignite them while you’re not in the room.
  3. Assigned Positions: Take a walk through your home and point out where certain tools are that you’ll need during a winter storm. Flashlights, candles, batteries, matches, dry food, extra water, books and games can be gathered into a bin and placed somewhere accessible in the home. You can call this your “Winter Storm Bin.” Throwing in some extra hats, gloves, socks and warm blankets would also be helpful in staying warm and maintaining body heat.
  4. Emergency Contacts: Create a list of emergency contacts and show your children where to find it. This can include nearby relatives, neighbors, friends, and officials that they can call if you aren’t available for any reason. Ensure they know how to use the phone, and give them examples of scenarios when this might be helpful.

Depending on your location, some Winters are more severe than others. However, the weather is unpredictable and you can never be too prepared. Having a winter storm family plan could prevent further disasters down the line.

Preparing For Winter Power Outages

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Fall is in the air, and even though Winter hasn’t arrived just yet, it’s never too early to be prepared. Some Winters mean cooler temperatures and light rain while others bring ice and snow. One thing that can happen no matter what time of the year is a power outage. Keeping some supplies in your home at all times will ensure that you’re equipped to deal with a power outage during freezing temperatures.

  1. Batteries: It’s becoming more and more rare to find electronics that are operated by a battery that isn’t charged in an outlet. However, don’t count them out. There are some crucial, battery-operated things that can really come in handy in a power outage. Flashlights, radios, and other power sources will back you up in a time of need.
  2. Gas Tanks: Keeping your gas tank half full will avoid freezing and getting stranded should the power go out. In desperate times, you may need to use your car as a source of heat or, if weather permits, as a means to get out of your house and into a safe place with power.
  3. Extra Layers: For those who live in cities where the temperatures drop in the Winter time, it’s important to keep extra layers in an accessible place of your home at all times. The weather can be unpredictable and sink drastically when least expected. Coats, scarves and gloves should definitely be a part of your Winter wardrobe, but keeping warm hats and socks is essential. Your head and your feet are among the parts of your body that release the most heat, and keeping them covered will maintain a safe body heat.
  4. Fireplace: Installing a fireplace in your home can be really beneficial during both Winter and power outages. Aside from producing natural heat, utilizing your fireplace during a power outage will provide a source of light and doesn’t require any power. Whether your fireplace is powered by gas or wood, stocking an extra supply of either material in your home will ensure you’re taken care of.
  5. Generator: At some point, you will thank yourself for investing in a generator. Especially during power outages, generators will provide you with essential power capabilities. They only work for a certain amount of time, but most of the time they will keep you functioning until you reach a Plan B

Fireplace

Winter Is Coming: How to Prepare for Atlanta Winters

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Young homeowner installs siding to his home. He is holding a hammer and wearing a tool belt. Another Summer has passed, and Winter is approaching once again. For some, this may mean freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and dangerous driving conditions. For others, it may mean sun and temps that never drop below 60 degrees. For Atlanta, Georgia, this means cooler temperatures and rainfall. There are always precautions to take when a new season in approaching. For those of you in Atlanta, here’s some smart steps to take to be proactive in potential winter damage to your home.

  • Keep your roof up to date: Depending on the type of roof your home has, they can last anywhere from 12-75 years. They should still be checked twice a year just as general upkeep. The lifespan of a roof may provide enough reassurance that people don’t think a biannual check up is necessary, but doing so will catch damage early on and save you a lot of headaches (and money) in days to come.
  • Hire an arborist: While advising people to cut down trees may seem counterintuitive, they are still something to consider when determining the safety of your home. Storms, especially ones with lightning or ice can cause trees to fall, and you want to make sure it’s not on top of your home. An arborist can determine how a tree would fall and if it’s necessary to remove it.
  • Check for cracks in the foundation: If you have a basement, ensuring that all cracks are filled is essential to avoid flooding. The good thing about this is it can be a DIY project if you’re wary about calling a professional. All cracks that are ⅛ of an inch should be filled using caulk; if they exceed the ⅛ inch marker, try using epoxy filler. The best time to move on to professional service is when cracks are complete and deep. Checking your home’s foundation regularly will prevent flooding, mold and damage to your personal belongings and interior.

Following these 3 steps will save you money and improve the overall quality and value of your home.

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