All Posts By

Ashley J. Palmer

5 Projects PERFECT for Winter!

By | Home Improvement | No Comments

You’re not going to be building a deck outside during the winter so here are some great projects to do while stuck indoors.

 

1.  Flooring

Replace your floors by switching out the old with hardwoods, laminate flooring, tile and more, or install carpeting.

 

2.  The Kitchen

  • Add a backsplash
  • Re-tile the floor
  • Upgrade the appliances

 

3.  The Bathrooms

  • Install a new sink, medicine cabinet, faucets, tub and/or shower
  • Upgrade to a water saver toilet

 

4.  The Basement and Attic

If sitting on the couch next to the fireplace all winter is getting a little boring, a great idea is to finish that basement or attic. This includes everything. Framing, the electrical work and plumbing, choosing where to put the TVs, speakers, internet cables etc., installing the drywall, flooring, the door and painting.

A smaller project may be finishing the garage.

 

5.  Retrofit Fireplace Doors

Remember that fireplace? It’s possible it’s horribly inefficient. An open firebox sucks warm air right up the flue. Adding glass doors makes the fireplace much more effective at radiating heat. Doors also keep kids and pets from getting too close.

Tips for Keeping Your Business Safe on Halloween

By | Safety | No Comments

Security

According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCIAA), Halloween has the highest number of claims for any day by 81%.

To prevent damages, bring in any product you may have displayed on the exterior of your business before dark. Take photos of your business a week or two before Halloween. If you must file a claim for vandalism, you will have photos available for your insurance company.

Vehicles are more likely to be vandalized on Halloween.

Park your vehicles inside a locked garage or in a well-lit area and have the windows up and doors locked.

 

Lighting

If you’re having the public come into your business during Halloween, think twice before you string up dramatic lighting and flashing lights. They can create a fun atmosphere for trick-or-treaters, but it can also cause accidents. Dim lighting can encourage theft by making it difficult to distinguish colors of clothing or recognize facial features. Dim lights also hinder surveillance equipment.

 

Property Risks

Make sure to check the exterior of your building. Extension cords can be a tripping hazard if not secured properly. Confirm that the surrounding walking surfaces (sidewalks, paths etc.) are clear of debris and well lit.

Above all, make sure your insurance policy protects you in the event of candle fires, falls, tainted candy claims, and any other types of Halloween-induced accidents.

 

Signs of Water Leakage

By | Home Improvement, Wet Basements | No Comments

Dampness.

A musty odor.

Cracks on the walls or floors.

Discoloration or white powder on the walls.

 

Does this describe your basement?

 

These are signs of water leakage and excessive humidity.

One of the most common areas where water seeps into basements is where the basement wall meets the floor. The main cause of this water seepage is called Hydrostatic water pressure. This pressure can force water into a seam or weak point in the foundation, primarily the cold joint, where different pours of concrete meet. Because wet concrete will not bond to dry concrete, this creates spaces.

There’s a way to control that Hydrostatic water pressure. It is a simple vinyl baseboard which is bonded to the floor and sits next to the wall. In a finished home, it takes the place of baseboard trim.

This system:

1.  Affordable

2.  Non-invasive

3.  Can be installed in finished and non-finished homes.

4.  Can be painted.

5.  Only deals with seepage that enters the structure so humidity levels are not increased.

6.  Can easily be sealed if radon gas is a concern or problem.

 

The epoxy used is stronger than concrete.

It will:

1.  NOT break down over time.

2.  Set up in wet environments. Already have a wet basement? Doesn’t matter! You don’t have to wait until your basement is dry to fix it.

Why Hire a Contractor for Asbestos Removal?

By | Asbestos | No Comments

Why hire a contractor for asbestos removal?

Asbestos removal is complicated.

 

Hiring an asbestos abatement company is not only the easiest way to remove asbestos, but is also the SAFEST.

Contractors, facilities managers and others cannot safely remove asbestos without proper training and licensing.

Complications of Doing-It-Yourself:

  • Only Residential properties: Asbestos removal by homeowner is limited to residential property. A certified abatement professional must do the work on a commercial property.
  • Single-family only: Self-removal can only be performed in single-family residences. This does not include multiple-family units or mixed-use buildings that contain a residential unit.
  • Permits are required and vary by location. In one area, several agencies could be regulating asbestos removal.
  • Proper disposal: Asbestos cannot be put with the regular garage. It must be disposed of at an approved facility.

While it’s legal for homeowners to remove asbestos themselves, asbestos can cause life-threatening diseases if not properly removed. Disease symptoms may take many years to develop following exposure and can be difficult to identify.

The three primary health concerns associated with asbestos exposure are:

  • Lung cancer.
  • Mesothelioma, a cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest, abdomen and heart.
  • Asbestosis, a serious progressive, long-term disease of the lungs.

Smokers are at greater risk.

Don’t Let Melting Snow Seep into Your Basement

By | Indoor Environmental Quality | No Comments

Rain is a well-known enemy of a basement. Downpours can lead to floods in minutes, causing a wet basement, and in turn, can create an ideal environment for mold to grow.

But as we head into the colder months, much of that rain won’t be rain anymore and instead will be pure white fluffy snow!

Melting snow is just as much of a menace as rain.

The rule of thumb is that each 10 inches of snow, melted, would produce one inch of water. That’s 2,715 gallons of water per acre. But the actual amount can vary significantly depending on the consistency of the snow. Heavy, wet snow has a very high water content. 4 or 5 inches of that snow can contain about one inch of water, while it may take 20 inches of dry, powdery snow to equal one inch of water.

So even a minor snow melt can deposit thousands of gallons of water around the foundation of your house.

Don’t get caught off-guard by melting snow and wet basement!

Hazard Communication

By | Safety | No Comments

In the construction industry, one of the top 10 OSHA violations is Hazard Communication.

Failure to recognize hazards, and demonstrate safe practices associated with chemicals can cause serious injuries for yourself, co-workers, and any individual around that area.

Improper practices can lead to chemical burns, respiratory problems, fires and explosions.

To Prevent Incidents:

  • Store chemicals safely and securely.
  • Maintain a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each chemical in the facility and train employees on how to read and use them.
    • Global Harmonization Systems (GHS) internationally categorize chemicals. The GHS includes classification of health, physical and environmental hazards, specifies what information should be on the labels of hazardous chemicals, and safety data sheets. This information is required to readily accessible to employees in languages and/or formats that are clearly understood by all personnel.
  • Follow manufacturer’s SDS instructions for handling hazardous chemicals, and keep them updated as new procedures are published.
  • Provide spill clean-up kits where chemicals are stored and have written spill control plans.
    • Train employees on how to clean up spills, protect themselves and properly dispose of the used materials.
  • Provide proper personal protective equipment and enforce its use.

 

The Hazard Communication program was designed to keep our employee safe and healthy.

Chemical Management for Schools

By | Indoor Environmental Quality, Safety | No Comments

Improper chemical management poses health and safety risks to everyone in schools. While anyone can be effected, health, learning, and behavior risks to students are of primary concern. Children are more vulnerable than adults to chemical hazards because their bodies are still developing.

Health risks aren’t the only risks involved with improper chemical management in schools.

The expenses of improper chemical management can be hundreds of thousands of dollars or more for just a single school. Spills and other incidents are not only costly, but pose potential liabilities and lawsuits. Improper chemical waste management can result in fines, increased insurance premiums, and inflict damage upon the environment. If chemicals contaminate sanitary sewer lines or on-site waste treatment systems, rivers, streams, and groundwater can be poisoned. Spills to the ground can result in considerable remediation costs. While water is first and foremost thought of after a chemical spill, spills can also pollute the air.

Improper chemical management doesn’t only effect people physically.

It only takes one chemical incident to break the trust with the community. School incidents can lead to increased parental and community concern, and embarrassment to the school and school district. This in turn can create negative publicity both locally and nationally.

Lastly, improper chemical management can result in school closures, and that results in a loss of valuable education.

 

Hazardous chemicals aren’t always just laboratory chemicals for science.

Other examples are:

  • Art supplies – paints, stains, inks, glazes, photo processing chemicals
  • Cleaning products, pesticides, fertilizers, and de-icers
  • Solvents, fuels, degreasers, lubricants, oils, antifreeze, adhesives
  • Water treatment chemicals for drinking water and swimming

 

One of the best ways to avoid workplace confusion and prevent chemical incidents is to establish a Global Harmonization System (GHS). These include identifications of all chemicals present in the school, information on proper labeling and storage, potential hazards, and safety procedures for the use, transport, and disposal of chemicals. This chemical inventory also lists the quantities and locations that can be used to reduce the costs when purchasing so no excess chemicals are ordered. Perhaps most importantly, a GHS serves as a reference for school and emergency personnel in the event of an emergency caused by a chemical.