Has Your Electric Bill Been High This Summer in Brookfield?
Choosing LED lightbulbs for your home can help lower your electric bill.
Lately, we've heard many Brookfield area residents lament that they are experiencing an increase in their electricity bills.
There are ways to help your bank account and reduce that bill by making your home more energy efficient. As an added bonus, these steps protect the environment as well!
Based on national averages from the U.S. Department of Energy, utility bills are result of the following usages.
44% from heating and cooling a home
33% from lighting, cooking and other appliances
14% from water heating
9% from the refrigerator alone
Many utility companies conduct energy audits for free or for a nominal charge, so you can see where your heating or cooling systems may be costing you money. An audit might come with a recommendation for a new heating system or upgrade with energy efficient appliances, which will pay off in the long run.
There are some inexpensive actions that can be taken as well to reduce energy consumption.
- Have your ducts inspected. Many duct systems are not simulated properly and are not energy efficient. This is especially true within the attic or vented crawl spaces of the home, so sealing these ducts and insulating them is an easy repair. Also, closing vents and radiators in rooms that are not occupied can save up to 20% in heating and cooling costs. Keep in mind that you don’t want to keep the vents closed during extreme temperatures or you can risk your pipes freezing.
- Take advantage of the heat from the sun. In the winter, open window shades on the southern and eastern windows during the day and close them when the sun goes down to keep the heat from escaping. Doing the opposite during warm months will keep your home cool.
- Install a programmable thermostat to lower the heat when you are sleeping or the house is unoccupied. This can save up to 10% on your energy costs.
- Carefully choose the settings on your appliances. Switching the temperature setting on your washing machine from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half. Also, consider your appliance placement. Having your refrigerator adjacent to your stove will increase energy consumption.
- Change out your lightbulbs with energy efficient bulbs. The Newer LED lightbulbs are dimmable and have a soft glow that is similar to incandescent bulbs. Ultra efficient LED technology can save up to $140 over bulb life.
- Check your electronics. Turn off computer monitors overnight- they use 50% of the system's energy. Unplug battery chargers when not in use- they consume energy even when they aren't charging a device.
- Turn off the lights! Yes we've all heard this our whole lives but it truly does save energy and you money!
- Plant a tree. Not only does this make your yard look beautiful and give us oxygen, the shade is a fantastic way to cool your home in the summer months. Trees to the east and west of the house provide summer shading, while the area to the south of the house should be left relatively clear in order to allow solar heating in winter
The Dog Days of Summer
Vinegar and lemons frozen into ice cube trays are a fantastic way to clean your kitchen sink disposal.
Dog days; the sultry part of the summer, supposed to occur during the period that Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun: now often reckoned from July 3 to August 11. a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.(dictionary.com)
We are certainly in the midst of the "dog days of summer" here in Litchfield County, Connecticut. The thermometer has risen to the 90's and it seems that everybody's energy levels have taken a bit of a dip. Our crew members have been working hard through the heat, with several challenging attic mold jobs this past month.
Yard work is assigned to the early mornings and evenings in weather like this. We prefer to use the "dog days" to stay indoors and accomplish some often neglected housekeeping tasks.
Check your washing machine hoses.
We advise that you replace them if you find any cracks or bulges. Ideally, rubber hoses can be replaced with a steel-jacketed hose that can't split open Also check your filter screens to confirm that they are not clogged. If not discovered quickly, hundreds of gallons of water can flood out of a burst hose an hour.
Sort and organize the pantry
How does the pantry always become so unorganized? Pull over your garbage can and a box for food to donate. Pull everything off of your pantry shelves and determine it's future. Those opened and half empty boxes of food that were lost in the back are probably destined for the garbage. Food that has been in your pantry for over a year might be better appreciated at a food pantry. Secure open items you plan to re-shelve in glass jars or ziploc bags to keep them fresh and bug free. Wipe down your shelves and reload.
Clean kitchen sink disposal.
We recommend using vinegar and lemon ice cubes to clean your disposal. Put some vinegar and cut up lemons into an ice tray and let it freeze, then run the ice cubes through the disposal. Not only does the vinegar clean and freshen the disposal unit, but the ice also sharpens the blades!
Don't forget to take a cue from the dogs and take time to relax and cool down!
Meet the Team: Theny Hovey and Alexis Phouadara
This month, we’ve decided to spotlight two of our employees, our admins Theny Hovey and Alexis Phouadara, who have really kept our office running smoothly over the past few months.
The work of an admin at SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County requires the ability to multitask while still paying attention to each detail. Between calls from customers, contacting insurance agents, scheduling appointments as well as conveying information to the crew, our admins have their hands full. Theny and Alexis go through each day their cheerful, enthusiastic selves who are always eager to lend a hand. Whatever situation arises in the day to day business here, both of these ladies use their problem solving skills to help our customers and the team.
Theny was born and educated in the Philippines. She loves to travel and read. When asked about her work here at SERVPRO, she wrote “I’m glad to have the opportunity to work at SERVPRO on a team that is of a caring environment. What I love most about working at SERVPRO is being able to value work-life balance.”
Alexis Phouadara has been in this industry for 4 years and is certified in Water Damage Restoration. She grew up and still currently resides in New Haven, CT. She loves collecting, doing make-up and the Golden State Warriors. Her favorite food is almost everything from her culture, Laos and Thai. Last, but not least, her favorite person in the entire world? Her 6 year old daughter, Sophia!
Thank you to Alexis and Theny for your hard work and commitment to our team. You are the glue that keeps us all together and we appreciate all that you bring to our organization.
The Mold Remediation Process Shouldn't be a Nightmare!
Because of the horror stories that you might see on the news regarding mold infestations, you may feel a bit overwhelmed at the discovery of mold in your home.
The reality is that in most cases, mold remediation is a relatively straightforward process.
The first step in the mold remediation process is to locate the source of the mold. Whether it’s a leaking toilet or insufficient attic vent, the cause of the mold must be corrected first. Any damaged materials such as flooring, drywall or baseboards will be removed and disposed of as well.
An important aspect of our mold remediation work is containing the mold spores. To do this, we create a quarantined area in the mold affected space using plastic containment barriers. The contained area can vary in size depending on the level of infestation. When setting up containment in a building with mold, we first turn off the heating and cooling systems to stop the flow of air throughout the structure.
In addition to the plastic containment we install between rooms and in doorways, our technicians also might create a negative air chamber to contain the mold spores within the barriers.
Specialized air filtration equipment such as HEPA vacuums and air scrubbers are utilized to capture and filter the mold spores from the air.
Anti-fungal and antimicrobial treatments are applied to ensure that the problem does not recur.
Repairs to the damaged areas of your home is done by our Building Services team.
To complete the work, all of the surfaces are sanitized and mold spore counts are taken to ensure that the air is now at a safe level.
We know that for you, mold can be a terrifying discovery. Having a professional, local team take care of the problem will take the worry out of the mold remediation process.
Common Questions That Newtown Homeowners Have When They Experience Water Damage
When we receive a call from a homeowner who has had flooding in their home, these are the most common questions that we are asked.
How much does will my water damage restoration cost?
Unfortunately, we cannot give an estimate on water damage restoration over the phone. However, we do provide you with a professional estimate after inspecting your home. Some of the factors that affect the restoration estimate are the length of time that the restoration will take, the equipment needed, the man hours required, any barriers or containment that might be needed and whether any demolition or removal of wet materials is required.
Will my claim be covered under my insurance policy?
Although we see hundreds of claims and might have a good idea of whether your water damage will be covered, only your insurance agent can answer that question. Our office staff is very experienced in interacting with insurance adjusters and will work directly with your provider including submitting documentation.
What products might you be spraying in my home?
When necessary, we may use SERVPRO's proprietary decontamination products on affected areas. This reduces that likelihood of microbial growth and sanitizes your home. The most common product that we use is SERVPRO Oxide, an EPA registered chlorine dioxide based disinfectant and stabilizer. Our homeowner's appreciate that this product is safe for use on all surfaces and is not harmful to people or their pets.
Can I remain at home during the drying process?
The majority of our customers are able to stay in the home during restoration. There are cases in which the home is deemed hazardous due to toxic conditions, a lack of heat or structural damage. In these cases, your insurance company might pay for you to be temporarily relocated.
How quickly can you get here?
On average, we can have a team equipped and ready to begin the recovery process on your home within 2 hours of your call.
How quickly does mold begin to grow after a flood?
Mold can start to grow within 24 hours, which is why it is important to get the water damage restoration process started asap.
Do you have any other questions about the water damage restoration process? Give our office a call at (203) 743-5362.
Dispelling the Myths About Your HVAC system
Summer is almost here and all of us at SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County have been enjoying these warm days.
Along with enjoying the beaches of Candlewood Lake and the many festivals that Connecticut has to offer, the warm weather means most of us will be turning on our air conditioning.
In this blog post, we bust some of the myths associated with air conditioning in your home.
MYTH: Turning the AC off during the day or when you are not home will lower your electric bill.
FACT: Re-cooling a hot home uses more energy than running the AC consistently.
MYTH: Ceiling Fans help cool the air and you should leave them running when you are not in the room.
FACT: Fans don't cool air - they move the air and cool people. Use ceiling fans when you're in the room, but turn them off to save electricity when you leave.
MYTH: You should turn the temperature down to a very low temperature to speed up cooling.
FACT: It takes the same amount of time to reach a desired temperature regardless of how low you set it.
MYTH: It's a waste of time and money to have your air conditioner serviced.
FACT: Regular service can keep your unit running smoothly and efficiently. When technicians come out to service your A/C unit, they’re doing a full checkup of the system – making sure coils and filters are clean, looking for leaks, and double checking that parts aren’t on the verge of wearing out.It also provides an opportunity to catch problems that might have developed over the winter, such as leaks or wear that can cause water or mold damage to your system.
Get ready for the warm weather and call SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County at (203) 743-5362 to have your ducts cleaned this spring.
Post-Construction Cleaning Services Offered By SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County
The summer is the perfect time for home construction.
Whether you are adding on an addition or replacing your wood floors, your home will be filled with sawdust and construction debris when the work is completed. Drywall dust and sawdust are very fine and get everywhere!
Cleaning up the debris can also be time consuming and the last thing you want to do at the end of a long household project. At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we are happy to take that job off of your hands and clean your home after the construction work is done.
Post-Construction Services that we provide include:
- Removal of construction and drywall dust
- Cleaning of glass windows
- Cleaning in hard to reach places such as light fixtures, ceiling fans and rooms with high ceilings
- Air purifiers to remove construction particles from the air if needed
- Dusting and mopping of hardwoods, tile and linoleum floors
- Deep carpet cleaning
- Removal of dust, dirt, smudges and scuffs from walls
- Removal of manufacturer’s stickers and clean windows (including the glass, tracks and frames)
- Disposal of all trash
We are a full service restoration company and are available to discuss any other services that are unique to your situation.
Please call us at (203) 743-5362 to discuss your post construction cleaning and restoration needs.
New Milford Business Owners: How is Your Commercial Property at Risk?
When your business has experienced a fire or water damage, call us for reliable and professional service.
The relationship with a restoration company for commercial property owners is an important one.
When water damage strikes a business, it’s vital for the owner to have a restoration company that they know is locally owned, reliable and trustworthy come mitigate the damage. Whether you manage an apartment complex or own a local store, you need a quick and professional clean up so that your business is minimally impacted.
You never know when water damage will occur. Yes, flooding after a storm or during the spring snow melt is common source of water damage however you would be surprised at some other causes of water damage in Connecticut businesses.
Malfunctioning sprinkler systems.
We frequently receive calls from owners of commercial properties- from warehouses to nursing homes- in which the sprinkler system has gone off and flooded the building. This can be caused by a faulty sensor, broken thermal element or sprinkler head and allow thousands of gallons of water to flood the structure and cause substantial damage.
Damaged appliances and equipment.
In particular, restaurants, hotels and catering facilities are susceptible to water damage due to a broken appliance however this can pertain to any commercial property that has appliance. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency.
Backed up sewer lines.
This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, the potential dangers of the contaminated, or "black", water. Black water can have negative health consequences to residents and employees as well as and damage the structure and contents of your building.
Whether it’s a simple crack from the aging process or a frozen pipe that freezes, commercial properties are just as at risk of widespread damage from a broken pipe as residential properties are.
If you own a commercial property in Litchfield County and have water damage, call us as soon as possible at (203) 743-5362 for immediate service.
Why Choose SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County as Your Restoration Specialists?
Greg Geaski, owner of SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County
What makes SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County different from the other guys?
We are locally owned by Greg Geaski, who also owns SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford and SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington. Greg is a Connecticut native who has lived here his entire life and is part of our community. Greg acquired SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County over a year ago and has made his commitment to the community and customer satisfaction the cornerstone value of this franchise.
When a leader has a clear focus and commitment, the people he hires will also. Our property managers, office staff and technicians are all held to a high standard of accountability and reliability and are expected to give 100% on every job.
Our team meets (and often exceeds!) that expectation. Our customers often let us know how impressed they are with the level of service and attention to detail that they have received.
“I wanted to tell you that we are impressed with how our belongings were cleaned, packed, labeled and returned to us. Everything is so carefully packed. The men who delivered our things to us were very helpful and conscientious as well"
“Eric did an excellent job and we were very pleased. Wanted to thank him again!”
“I want to thank you and your team for coming to our rescue after our sewer pipe broke in the basement. You and your team have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Tim cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, never complaining using his sense of humor to help me through. The care he used cleaning and saving my Mom's ceramic Christmas decorations that are irreplaceable to me were as if they were his own Mom's treasures. Everyone on your staff has been helpful and caring right down to your secretaries.”
Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction and we stand by that.
We know that Brookfield area home and business owners have a choice when they have a mold, fire or water disaster. A Google search will reveal a dozen companies trying to sell their restoration services. Our reputation as a local company who will not consider the job complete until our customers are satisfied is what makes us stand out among the rest. What you will find sets us apart is that if a customer has a concern, we will work with them to make sure any problems are resolved.
The SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield team has specialized training and over 30 years of experience in storm damage restoration, water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, commercial services and duct cleaning services.
Call us at (203)743-5362 if you need restoration or cleaning work done in your Bethel area home.
Can Mold Grow Inside Your Home's Ventilation System?
Mold can grow in your home's HVAC system, causing it to be spread throughout the air in your home.
Did you know that mold can grow in the air vents of your home?
When your air conditioning is running and cool air flows through your duct work on hot days, the moisture in the air can condense inside the vent. Because there is moisture present, mold can begin to grow inside the vent.
Mold spores are naturally present and are found everywhere, both indoors and outdoors, most often in an airborne state. Mold becomes a health issue when there are unnaturally high levels of spores in a building.
Spores can enter your duct work by simply blowing in from another area of the home or from the outside. Because warm, moist environments are ideal for growth, the conditions inside of the duct work are ideal for mold to spread. The dust and animal hair typically present in air ducts act as a food source for the mold.
How do I know if there is mold in my HVAC system?
When mold is present, it can cause illness to those living in the home. If your family members are having unexplained health symptoms and you haven’t found any physical signs of mold, it’s possible that it’s living hidden in your ductwork and the spores are being forcibly blasted throughout your home.
The SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield Team has over 30 years of mold remediation training and experience.
If you are concerned that you have mold in your HVAC system, call our office at (203) 743-5362 to schedule an inspection and a cleaning.