Archives for July 2013

Plugged Gutters Can Lead to Water Damage

leaves and debris in guttersWhen is the last time you climbed up and cleaned out your gutters and downspouts? Some people are diligent about this task, making it part of their spring and fall cleaning list. Other people wouldn’t dream of climbing up on a ladder and digging in organic, wet sludge in the name of a “clean gutter”. Most of us fall somewhere in between with the best intentions and lack of time. However, plugged gutters can lead to water build up on roofs and into ceilings. Debris that traps water next to the roof right before it freezes is essentially an invited ice dam. Who needs these headaches?

Make a point to clean out your gutters and down spouts on a regular basis. Have a partner with you (or make a “honey-do” list) to help hold the ladder and keep you safe. Use rubber gloves to get a hold of debris. Use a garden hose to flush any remaining matter out of your drain spouts. Make plans to do this every fall after leaves have fallen and after each subsequent wind/rain storm.

If cleaning your gutters and downspouts is something you don’t want to do, you may be interested in a Gutter Glove. It’s a solution that guards your gutters against clogs.

It’s good to be home

Ruby SlippersIn 1939, the classic American fantasy movie, The Wizard of Oz, made its debut.  In the movie, Dorothy, was mystically transported from her home in Kansas to the magical world of Oz.  As the movie progresses, Dorothy, continues to meet new allies that attempt to help her accomplish her goal of returning to her home; while all the time facing difficult trials and tribulations. The young Kansas girl and her faithful little dog, Toto, dreamed of returning home, and did not let little set backs slow the journey down.

As many of you are aware, we vacated our Adams Street location for an extensive remodel.  The office staff assumed a temporary home in a small building located near downtown Hutchinson, while others used warehouses as their offices.  Although we were not whisked away in a tornado like Dorothy, the challenges of temporarily moving a 45 year old company presented some interesting logistical hurdles for all.  (Things that were normally just taken for granted, suddenly were gone or missing…or in some cases just misplaced!)

The experience was good for our team.  The tests that we faced exposed us to struggles that we had not anticipated, and forced us to look for alternative ways to solve the issue at hand.  The adventure made all of us think outside of our comfort zone, and as Dorothy experienced, empowered us to realize who we really were, and what we wanted to accomplish.

We are home.  We have moved back into the Adams Street location.  Sure, we still have things to do, finishing touches to apply, but we also have customers that need assistance solving their problems, and, as we did throughout our remodel, have placed the needs of our committed customers in front of our own desires.

Yes, we are home.  It definitely feels good.


Sump Pump Overdrive

With a very wet spring, sump pumps everywhere are working overtime. When installed and working properly, the sump pump can save homeowners thousands of dollars in water damage.

sump pump battery back upA sump pump automatically kicks on when it is needed, pumps water out and away from the house, and then shuts itself off again until it’s needed again. However, the storms that often cause extreme rainfalls also cause power outages. Without power, your sump pump can’t work. Water builds up and then floods into the lowest level of your home.

There’s a solution that all homeowners should consider; a battery back-up for the sump pump. This investment gives your sump pump a back-up power supply if the electricity goes out, and extends your ability to stay ahead of water damage. A battery back-up also gives you the peace of mind when you leave for vacation or aren’t able to run home during a storm to check on things.

There is a wide variety of battery back up choices for sump pumps that range in price from a couple hundred dollars to several hundred dollars. You will need to shop for the kind that best meets your needs. However, this is an investment. The money and headaches a back up power supply can provide often outweigh the initial cost.


Mold in Your Home is Not a Welcome Guest

Mold is something that nobody wants, yet almost all of us have to deal with on a frequent basis. Anyone of us could open the refrigerator door and likely spot mold on some forgotten leftover. While mold on food is a nuisance, mold in your home is a health hazard.

mold in homeMold can be found anywhere that water or moisture is trapped, such as tubs, showers and bathrooms. Laundry rooms, storage rooms, attics and basements are also typical humid spaces that invite mold and mildew to form over extended periods of time. Damp carpet, rugs, and other fabric based items can fall prey to mold as well.

There are many different species of mold that grow on a variety of organic materials found in the home such as fabric, wood, and paper. This means that carpet, wood trim and sheet rock are all susceptible to mold growth if the conditions are right. Mold needs moisture to grow and reproduce. As it does, it releases millions of tiny spores into the air that get trapped on material, cling to clothes, and can get into eyes and airways. This is how mold can quickly and overwhelmingly affect inhabitants of homes with mold issues.

It doesn’t take mold long to grow, but the good news is that it two things will stop mold in its tracks; removal of affected materials (food) and reduction/elimination of moisture. Steps are critical to both prevention and treatment of mold in your home.

Mold Treatment and Tips

  • Pay attention to “musty smell”. While it doesn’t always indicate mold growth, it can be a first step.
  • Eliminate moist conditions; no standing water, proper air ventilation, and use of dehumidifier.
  • Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms, kitchens and other confined spaces where moisture is likely to build up.
  • Use ceiling and floor fans when appropriate to circulate air.
  • Leave doors open to allow better air flow, especially after using the shower. Leave the shower door or curtain open, towel off wet surfaces, and leave the bathroom door open.
  • Remove any wet items. Send clothes and scatter runs through a hot laundry cycle, use hot soapy bleach water on washable items that have been in contact with mold.
  • Contact your insurance provider to see what may or may not be covered.

In extensive cases of mold, items such as sheet rock, wood trim, and flooring may need to be removed. Remember that mold is a health and safety issue and will not go away on its own. You can contact us to discuss what may need to be done to eliminate mold issues; we believe experience in such issues really is important.


Oh No, It’s Raining Again

wet basement water damageRain can be a miracle when it’s needed and a curse when there has been too much. Each spring and summer we seem to have periods of rain that come in excess, flooding lawns and roads. When the rain continues to fall, it’s the foundation of your home and the sump pump that have to step up to the plate to keep your home dry. Sometime, all the best precautions and intentions aren’t enough to keep the water out and it’s the lowest level of your home that takes the brunt of the problem.

There are a few things you can do to help the situation while it’s occurring, as well as what to do once you’re squishing through water in the basement.

Be Ready

  • During heavy downpours, check your basement frequently. Simply walk through each room, keeping an eye out for any issues.
  • Store items on shelves and in plastic totes that are easy to move and water resistant. Stacks of heavy cardboard boxes can be a mess to move quickly and do a poor job of preserving contents from moisture.
  • Check your sump pump; make sure it’s working properly. Many people who live in areas that then to have flooding issues prefer to keep a new, back-up sump pump on hand.
  • Have a battery powered supply source (inverter) to run your sump pump should a storm knock out power.
  • Check that your sump pump hose is carrying water away from your home, doesn’t slope toward your house and isn’t damaged or crimped.
  • Watch lower level windows to make sure water isn’t seeping in through old, worn seals.

What to Do When Your Basement Gets Wet

  • Move furniture and rugs that are not wet to a dry area of your home.
  • Run a dehumidifier in a safe area of the basement to assist with moisture and smell.
  • For minor water seepage, use a wet shop vac to remove water and add fans.
  • Make sure good ventilation to allow drying.
  • Contact professional carpet cleaners to help clean and sanitize carpets.
  • You should always notify your insurance company. Coverage can vary depending on the type of water intrusion, but notification is key!

In the case of more extreme water damage and/or frequent water issues, you can give us a call to assist with assessing damage and restoration tasks that may include things like removing carpeting and pad, replacing saturated insulation in exterior walls, and replacing damaged sheet-rock and wood trim. All situations are different, and clean-up and repair efforts will vary greatly.

Just don’t wait or leave water. Act immediately. It’s important to prevent mold and mildew from growing, as well as addressing any issues that can prevent future water seepage.


Larson Builders