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Crime Scene cleaning, Victim Benefits and Compensation

11/20/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard Crime Scene cleaning, Victim Benefits and Compensation Crime Scene cleaning, Victim Benefits and Compensation

Crime scene cleanup is a term applied to cleanup of bloodbodily fluids, and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). It is also referred to as biohazardremediation, because crime scenes are only a portion of the situations in which biohazard cleaning is needed. Such incidents may include accidents, suicideshomicides, and decomposition after unattended death. It could also include mass trauma, industrial accidents, infectious disease contamination, animal biohazards (e.g. feces or blood) or regulated waste transport, treatment, and disposal.

Attached are Compensation and Benefits for Victims in NJ:

Benefits in a Nutshell   Crimes Covered

Assault

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Burglary
  • Sexually Related Crimes
  • Kidnapping
  • Acts Constituting Domestic Violence
  • Drug and Food Tampering
  • DWI
  • Carjacking
  • Hit and Run
  • Eluding a Police Officer
  • Human Trafficking
  • Bias Crimes

What You Need to File

  • Completed VCCO Application
  • Police Report
  • Copies of Bills and Receipts of all Related Losses
  • Documentation

Time Requirements

  • Report Crime to Police within 9 Months
  • File Claim Application with VCCO within 3 Years

Benefits Provided

  • $25,000 Maximum

Mental Health Counseling

  • Homicide Survivor- $12,500
  • Injured Victim- $12,500
  • Secondary Victim(s)- $7,000
  • Group Counseling- $50 a Session Per Victim

Medical Bills

  • Medical Bills not Covered by Other Sources
  • Chiropractic/Physical Therapy
  • Medical Supplies and/or Other Prescription Drugs
  • Medical Related Transportation

Loss of Earnings or Financial Support

  • Maximum Amount-$600/Week
  • Loss of Support- 48 Months
  • Loss of Earnings- Direct Victim-104 Weeks
  • Permanent Disability- Direct Victim-60 Months
  • Loss of Earnings- Secondary Victim-$7,000 to Care for
  • Primary Victim

Others

  • Funeral Cost-$5000
  • Transportation to Funeral-200/Person or $1,000 Total
  • Crime Scene Cleanup- $4,000
  • Relocation Expenses- $2,500
  • Domestic Help- $6,500 Total
  • Child Care/Day Care Services- $6,500
  • Victims’ Rights Attorney Fees (Criminal Matter)- $125/Hr with a $3,000 Maximum
  • Attorney Fees for Representing Victims in VCCO Claim
  • (Up to 15% of the Award)

Catastrophic Injuries

  • Supplemental $35,000 for Rehabilitative Services Only

Here is the web link:

http://www.nj.gov/oag/njvictims/home.html

Here are the 8 most common fire hazards in the home

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Here are the 8 most common fire hazards in the home Here are the 8 most common fire hazards in the home

A recent fire at a 16,000 square foot mansion on the waterfront in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, took the lives of six people including two grandparents and their four grandchildren. The cause of the fire, according to investigators, was a 16-foot tall Christmas tree that the owners left lit most of the time in the great room of the house. An electrical failure ignited the two-month-old tree, which swiftly fueled the fire in the rest of the house.

The lack of a sprinkler system inside the house or fire hydrants and other water sources near the home made it extremely challenging for fire fighters who responded to the call.

1. Candles

Who doesn’t love the romantic glow of candlelight? But, even if you enjoy their fragrance and ambiance, you might want to think twice before lighting a candle and leaving the room. From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.

About one-third of these fires started in bedrooms, causing 39% of the associated deaths and 45% of the associated injuries. More than half of all candle fires start because of candles that were left too close to flammable items. They should always be kept at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

2. Smoking

While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.

3. Electrical & Lighting

Electrical fires can have a number of different origins. They can be caused by an equipment malfunction, from an overloaded circuit or extension cord, or from an overheated light bulb, space heater, washer, dryer or other appliance.

According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. 

4. Dryers and washing machines

Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage. The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%) or the drive belt (15%).

5. Lightning

Unlike other types of house fires, which occur more frequently in the winter months, those caused by lightning are more likely to happen in June, July and August in the late afternoon or early evening. From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.

6. Children playing with fire

The NFPA says that children start an average of 7,100 home fires per year, causing approximately $172 million in property damage. July is the most active month for these fires, and males start the majority (83%) of them. Younger children under the age of six are more likely to start fires inside, using matches or a lighter as the ignition source. The most frequent sites for fires are the bedroom (39%), kitchen (8%) and living room/family room/den (6%). Older children are more likely to start fires outside.

7. Christmas trees

Like candle fires, Christmas tree fires are more common during the holidays, with 43% occurring in December and 39% in January. The NFPA says an average of 230 fires are attributed to Christmas trees each year and they are more likely to be serious because of the factors that can contribute to the fire: a dry tree, electrical lights and a fuel supply (gifts) under the tree. Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year.

8. Cooking

The number one source of house fires is cooking – usually leaving pots or pans unattended on the stove while you run away to do something for “just a minute.” The NFPA says that 40% of all house fires, or an average of 156,600 per year, start this way, causing approximately $853 million in property damage. Two-thirds of the fires started because the food or other materials caught fire.

Fires are more likely to start on a range (57%) as compared to the oven (16%), mainly due to frying. Most injuries occur when the cook tried to put out the fire.

Several years ago in Florida, investigators saw a pattern of fraudulent house fires that started in the kitchen when the owners left food cooking on the stove while they ran to the store for a missing ingredient. Grease would catch on fire and the flames spread from there. 

Contact a Fire and Smoke damage Restoration contractor, for any Fire Damage and Smoke damage to your property

Basement Water issues, Sump Pump, Water Damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Detect and Prevent, Water damage in Moorestown NJ,

10/6/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Basement Water issues, Sump Pump, Water Damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Detect and Prevent, Water damage in Moorestown NJ, Basement Water issues, Sump Pump, Water Damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Detect and Prevent, Water damage in Moorestown NJ,

Standing water on the floor is easy to see. Less obvious signs of problems include:

Unexpected increases in your water bill

  • Stains on walls, floors or ceilings
  • Damaged or warped flooring
  • Warped bottom panels in under-sink cabinets
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Corrosion on plumbing valves and fittings

Deal with problems as you find them. Clean up any water or moisture, locate the source and make repairs. Tracking down a leak isn't always straightforward — water can travel along components in the building structure, so the indications of the leak may be in a different part of the home than the leak itself. If necessary, contact a professional roofing contractor, plumber or water damage restoration specialist to help with identification and repair.

In addition to the damage that water causes, it can encourage the growth of mold on walls and floors — where it's readily visible — and in ductwork, attics and crawl spaces — where you might not notice it. A musty odor is a sign that mold may be present.

Mold can cause damage and lead to health problems — deal with it quickly. If the affected area is larger than 3 feet by 3 feet, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends you find a professional mold remediation contractor. For smaller areas, you can clean nonporous surfaces with commercial cleaning products, soap and water or a solution of a cup of bleach to each gallon of water. Follow the instructions and safety precautions for the cleaning product you use and wear appropriate safety gear. Porous surfaces such as drywall need to be replaced. For more information on mold in the home and how to clean it up, see A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home on the EPA's web site.

Inspecting common sources of water leaks and taking some simple preventative measures can be an effective way to reduce the risk of water damage and mold.

Plumbing

  • Every 6 to 12 months, inspect water lines, shut-off valves and fittings for fixtures such as sinks, toilets and tubs and for appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and ice makers. Check for cracks, loose connections, kinks and corrosion. If you find a leak, turn off the water to the fixture or appliance until you can make repairs.
  • Check around toilets to make sure water is not leaking at the base — an indication that the wax ring between the toilet and floor might need replacing or that there might be a crack in the base.
  • If the temperature drops near the 20°F mark, allow faucets connected to vulnerable pipes — those not protected in insulated spaces — to drip. This helps minimize the risk of burst pipes by relieving pressure if the pipes freeze.

Appliances

  • Replace washing machine supply hoses at least every five years. Consider using stainless-steel mesh hoses. Keep the machine properly balanced — over time, an unbalanced machine can move, pulling free the hose connections. Read Maintain Your Washer and Dryer for instructions on replacing hoses and balancing the washing machine.
  • Consider turning off the water to the washing machine when it's not in use.
  • Don't operate a dishwasher or washing machine while your house is unoccupied.
  • Follow the manufacturer-specified maintenance for your appliances, including your water heater. Have the water heater inspected every couple of years.

Roof and Gutters

  • Have your roof inspected every three years by a professional, but also check routinely for damage you can see from the ground — such as broken and missing shingles or damaged flashing. A poorly maintained roof can lead to leaks in the home and additional damage to the roof itself.
  • If your roof doesn't have a drip edge or drip cap, consider having one added. This component helps keep water away from the roof deck and directs runoff into gutters.
  • Keep gutters clear and well-maintained. Gutters that overflow, leak or don't drain properly allow water to seep into your roof and into your foundation, crawlspace or basement. See Gutter Cleaning and Repair for steps to keep your gutters working correctly.
  • Make sure gutter downspouts direct rainwater away from the home's foundation. Use extensions to carry water at least 6 feet from the house.

Exterior Walls and Foundation

 
  • Inspect the exterior of your home. Caulk around gaps at plumbing and ventilation entry and exit points. See How to Caulk for instructions. Repair cracked mortar joints.
  • Check to see if roots from shrubs near your home have caused damage that can allow water to enter the foundation. You may need to remove shrubs that are close to the house to prevent problems. Roots can also damage and block in-ground pipes, causing leaks near the foundation and sewer backups in the home.
  • Keep shrubbery beds and other landscape features sloped to direct water away from the home.
  • Look for evidence of erosion or settling at the foundation that can indicate water problems.

Additional Tips to Avoid Water Damage

  • Have your attic ventilation and insulation inspected annually and seal gaps that allow warm air into the attic — such as those around access doors and light fixtures. When warm air collects in the attic, it can lead to the formation of an ice dam — ice around the eaves that causes water from melting snow and ice to back up under the shingles and leak into your home.
  • If you have a sump pump, test it several times during the year. Follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions.
  • Check your water pressure with a pressure gauge; typically these screw onto a hose bib. The pressure in an average home is around 50 to 70 pounds per square inch (psi). Higher pressure causes extra stress on pipes and fittings and can lead to leaks.
  • Inspect tile and grout around showers and tubs. Make any necessary repairs. Read Replace a Broken Ceramic Tile and Repair Tile Grout for step-by-step instructions. 
  • Check for leaks around windows during rains and seal any you find.
  • Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to move excess moisture out of the house. Moisture in the air can condense on cool surfaces and cause problems. Read Controlling Moisture and Humidity in the Home for more ways to reduce indoor moisture.
  • Locate your water shut-off valve so you can quickly turn off water to the home in an emergency. See Shut Off Your Home Water Supply for instructions on locating the valve.

Protect Your Commercial Buildings from Water Damage, Due to Plumbing Leaks, Water damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Water Damage in Moorestown NJ,

10/5/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Protect Your Commercial Buildings from Water Damage, Due to Plumbing Leaks, Water damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Water Damage in Moorestown NJ, Protect Your Commercial Buildings from Water Damage, Due to Plumbing Leaks, Water damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Water Damage in Moorestown NJ,

When plumbing leaks occur in a multi-story building such as office buildings or hotels, turning off the water supply at the main valve is vital to avoid additional damage. Identify where the broken pipe is located to determine if a water valve is near the source rather than on a lower floor or utility closet. Turning off water valves as quickly as possible prevents primary damage to surfaces in addition to secondary damage from mold and mildew. Business owners can prevent slow leaks in buildings by tracking water bills each month and maintaining safety protocols in boiler and water heater rooms.

Avoid Business Interruption to Prevent Financial Losses

Preventing extensive property damage also helps to avoid business interruption loss along with the possibility of creating liability claims from nearby property owners, tenants or guests. Maintenance personnel in businesses are responsible for turning off the main water valve during normal hours of operation before beginning Mitigation services. However, when leaks happen at unusual times such as during the night or on weekends, tenants, employees and managers do not know what to do.

Important Emergency Water Damage Guidelines

Having Emergency Water Damage guidelines in place at businesses can help to reduce losses. Begin by taking the following steps to assess a property to have procedures in place when water leaks occur.

Step One: Inspect Properties

At least once a month, assess various areas of a building to look for signs of moisture from leaking pipes and fixtures. Check water distribution systems, including bathroom fixtures, kitchen plumbing and drinking fountains, especially devices that are old and degraded. Keep a record of plumbing fixtures that are prone to having frequent failures such as galvanized or steel pipes and connectors. Inspect decorative water fountains, swimming pools and hot tubs at the same time. Understand the particular areas of a property that do not have drainage systems such as parking garages. In a water leak emergency, lower levels of a building without drains require portable or fixed sump pumps.

Step Two: Mitigation Plans

Create and implement a loss mitigation plan for employees to follow when finding a leak in a multi-story building. A basic emergency plan should contain written guidelines that include conducting initial and annual training for staff and tenants concerning procedures to follow after finding a water leak. The plan should also include a map or diagram showing the location of water shutoff valves and exactly how to close the devices. If a building has a sprinkler system for fires, then it is often necessary to turn off these devices to avoid damage from water or chemicals. For confidential or sensitive areas of a building, make a list of the designated employees who can enter the space.

Step Three: Emergency Contact List

Maintain an up-to-date 24-hour emergency contact list with names and telephone numbers for:

• The business maintenance staff

• Plumbers

• Electricians

• Tenants

• Local water company after-hours number

• Water mitigation service vendors such as SERVPRO of Cherry Hill NJ

• Building agent or broker

Step Four: Additional Plans

When a major water disaster happens in a multi-story business, owners need to know where all records are kept along with essential services and key operating systems. Business owners should always have duplicate records in a safe place off-site in addition to having online records. Understand the procedures for relocation or movement of goods, records or tenants to a safe area. A written plan for evacuation of employees, guests and tenants along with equipment shutdown and closing a facility is essential to save property and people from danger.

Biohazard cleaning in Cherry Hill NJ, Biohazard cleaning in Moorestown NJ,

10/3/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard Biohazard cleaning in Cherry Hill NJ, Biohazard cleaning in Moorestown NJ, Biohazard cleaning in Cherry Hill NJ, Biohazard cleaning in Moorestown NJ,

Biohazard and Crime scene cleanup is a term applied to cleanup of blood, bodily fluids, and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). It is also referred to as biohazard remediation, because crime scenes are only a portion of the situations in which biohazard cleaning is needed. Such incidents may include accidents, suicides, homicides, and decomposition after unattended death. It could also include mass trauma, industrial accidents, infectious disease contamination, animal biohazards (e.g. feces or blood) or regulated waste transport, treatment, and disposal.

Television productions like CSI: Crime Scene Investigationhave added to the popularity of the term "crime scene cleanup". Australia, Canada and England have added it to their professional cleaning terminology. As a profession, it is growing in popularity because of media exposure and the growth of training programs worldwide.The generic terms for "crime scene cleanup" include trauma cleaning, crime and trauma scene decontamination ("CTS Decon"), biohazard remediation, biohazardremoval, blood cleanup and crime scene cleanup. The state of California refers to individuals who practice this profession as "Valid Trauma Scene Waste Management Practitioners".

Types of cleanups

Crime scene cleanup includes blood spills following an assault, homicide or suicide. There are many different sub-segments, named primarily after additional collateral, contingency, or preconditions, regarding the presence of non-blood borne organics, toxic irritants

(e.g.,tear gas) or disease vectors.

However, it is the legality of charging a fee for mitigating potentially harmful biohazard situations that differentiates a registered crime or trauma practitioner from any general restoration, carpet cleaning, janitorial or housekeeping service.

Business

Crime scene cleanup began primarily as a local or regional small business activity but maturity and consolidation has created some larger entities in the industry; only a few nationwide companies exist, although some national carpet cleaning and restorationcompanies franchises have added crime scene cleanup and biohazard removal to their services. Due to the legal and ethical complications crime scene cleanup is often its own business entity or a separate division.

Regulatory requirements

While the field of crime scene cleanup is not specifically regulated as a class, most if not all of the activities performed by biohazard cleanup teams in the United States are regulated or fall under best practice guidelines from governing and advisory bodies such as OSHANIOSHDOT, and EPA.

Those who hire a crime scene cleanup company should make sure that they are properly trained in applicable federal and state regulations and can provide documentation of proper biohazardous waste disposal from licensed medical waste transportation and disposal companies. If in California or Florida the client should confirm that the company is registered with the state Department of Health. A few states such as California, New York and Florida are the only states that explicitly require registration or licensing for crime scene cleanup. Other states may require biohazardous waste transport permits from the DOT.

In the US, OSHA requires that exposure to blood-borne pathogens be limited as much as possible due to the assumption that the blood and biological material is infectious. Most actions taken to limit exposure fall under cross-contamination protocols, which provide that certain actions be taken to avoid further spreading the contamination throughout otherwise clean areas. CTS De-con companies should have in place, an exposure control plan before beginning work on any trauma scene. Under employee safety and cross-contamination protocols, the following OSHA regulations may pertain to bioremediation.

  • OSHA29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(2)(ii)- Initial Assessment of Work: Must assess work site for potential hazards to employee safety. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200, et seq.- Hazard Communication Protocol: Required to establish what chemicals are used and that they are properly labeled.
  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030(d)(2)(i);29 CFR 1910.1030(e)(2)(iii); 29 CFR 1910.1030(d)(1); and 29, CFR 1926.1053 – Work Practice & Engineering Controls and Safety: Having done the initial assessment, must determine damage, potential hazards, equipment needs, egresses, work routes, possible complicating factors, ladder/scaffolding safety protocols, availability for hand-washing/sanitization wipes.
  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030(d)(1) – Method of Compliance: Ensure employees are following all OSHA-mandated engineering and work practice controls through proper supervision, written documentation and photographs.
  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(2) – Exposure Determination: Determine employee safety concerns due to exposure to biological materials.
  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(1) – Hazard Signs and Labels: Hazardous areas must be demarcated; use of biohazard tape and establishment of zones separates and identifies hazardous areas.

In the UK, biohazards are regulated in part by HSE. Canada has published Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines.

Methods

The crime scene cleaners' work begins when the coroner's office or other official, government body releases the "scene" to the owner or other responsible parties. Only when the investigation has completely terminated on the contaminated scene may the cleaning companies begin their task.

Standard operating procedures for the crime scene cleanup field often include military-like methods for the decontamination of internal and external environments. Universal precautions recognized worldwide are the cautionary rule-of-thumb for this field of professional cleaning.

Cleaning methods for removing and sanitizing biohazards vary from practitioner to practitioner. Some organizations are working to create a "Standard of Clean" such as ISSA's K12 Standard, Which includes use of quantifiable testing methods such as ATP testing.

Organizations

The first specialty trade organization for this field of cleaning was the American Bio-Recovery Association (ABRA). The largest association dedicated to the crime scene cleanup industry is the National Crime Scene Cleanup Association (NCSCA). Among other tasks, they organized cleanup procedures for Ebola decontamination in 2014.

Clean Trust (aka IICRC) is a certifying body for the cleaning trade in general. International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) is a global standards body and trade organization of professional janitorial and cleaning professionals.

In popular culture and the media

Crime scene cleanup as a profession has been featured sporadically in popular culture and the media. It first showed up in films when Quentin Tarantino produced Curdled, then after an eleven-year hiatus in the Samuel L. Jackson film Cleaner, and more recently when Amy Adams and Emily Blunt teamed up for Sunshine Cleaning. On television it has been featured in a smattering of documentaries aired on the National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Channel, as well as reality series such as Grim Sweepers.

In video games and visual media, crime scene cleanup takes center focus as the main objective in the game, Viscera Cleanup Detail. Viscera Cleanup Detail is a PC game distributed through Steam that enables players to clean up blood and body remains after a Sci-Fi battle has occurred on a space station. Another example of crime scene cleanup in video games is Safeguard. Safeguard takes a more realistic and educational approach, enabling users to learn about the hazards of crime scene cleanup, as well as the equipment and tools used. Safeguard also uses virtual reality to immerse users in the crime scene environment.

ANSI/IICRC S540 Trauma and Crime Scene Cleanup

Standard for Trauma and Crime Scene Cleanup

IICRC announces the publication of a new ANSI/IICRC S540 Standard for Trauma and Crime Scene Cleanup (1st edition, 2017). 

ANSI/IICRC S540 Standard defines criteria and methodology used by the technician for inspecting and investigating blood and other potentially infectious material (OPIM) contamination and for establishing work plans and procedures. The Standard describes the procedures to be followed and the precautions to be taken when performing trauma and crime scene cleanup regardless of surface, item, or location. This standard assumes that all scenes have been released by law enforcement or regulatory agencies.

9 Affordable Ways to Dry Up Your Wet Basement For Good, Water damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Water damage in Moorestown NJ,

10/2/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage 9 Affordable Ways to Dry Up Your Wet Basement For Good, Water damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Water damage in Moorestown NJ, 9 Affordable Ways to Dry Up Your Wet Basement For Good, Water damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Water damage in Moorestown NJ,

Diagnose the Water Problem

Water or moisture in basements comes from two sources. One source is indoor humidity that condenses on cold surfaces, much like water droplets form on a cold drink on a humid day. The other is water—or water vapor—that comes from outside. Rainwater, melting snow or groundwater can saturate the soil around your foundation and leak in. Water can leak through cracks, or it can penetrate porous concrete or masonry walls in the form of water vapor. To figure out what's causing the problem, tape aluminum foil to your basement wall and inspect it a few days later. Moisture on the outside surface of the foil indicates high indoor humidity. Moisture behind the foil means moisture is leaking through the walls.

Get Rid of Excess Humidity

Eliminating the sources of humid air will help dry out your basement. Seal leaky dryer vents with foil tape to prevent unwanted humid air from entering your basement. Don't just use duct tape; it'll eventually fall off. Add a vent fan to your basement bathroom and make sure your family turns it on during showers. Keep your basement windows closed during humid weather. And if you're still getting condensation on cool surfaces, run a dehumidifier to lower the indoor humidity.

Insulate Pipes

Condensation dripping from cold pipes can contribute to basement water problems. Cover cold water pipes with foam pipe insulation to stop condensation. The foam insulation is inexpensive and easy to cut with scissors.

Insulate Walls

Insulate exterior walls to prevent condensation. In cold climates, insulating basement walls also saves energy and reduces your heating bill. But don't cover the walls with insulation if water is leaking in from outside; you'll just create a potential mold problem.

Keep Water Away From the Foundation

If your basement leaks after heavy rains or after snow melts, making sure water is diverted away from your foundation may solve the problem. It's common for the soil alongside your house to settle over time, creating a moat that collects runoff and directs it down your foundation wall and into the basement. Lawn edging and gravel along the foundation can make things worse. Solve the problem by creating a 6-ft.-wide slope that drops about 4 in. away from the foundation. For extra insurance, cover the sloping soil with a layer of 6-mil poly. Then hide the poly with mulch, gravel or a layer of soil covered with grass. This will keep water from soaking in near the foundation.

Add Gutters and Extend Downspouts

If your basement leaks after it rains and you don't have gutters, consider adding them. Gutters catch the rain and channel it to the downspouts, which direct it away from the house. Whether you're installing new gutters or already have them, be sure the downspouts have 4- to 6-ft. horizontal extensions to move the water away from the house.

Plug Holes and Cracks in the Foundation

Holes and cracks in your foundation can let moisture and water seep into your basement. Plugging them probably won't solve basement leaks, but it'll help. Hydraulic cement works great for patching holes in a foundation because it can set up even under water, and it expands as it sets to seal the hole and lock the plug in place. Use a cold chisel or an angle grinder fitted with a masonry-cutting disc or diamond blade to enlarge the hole or crack into an inverted “V,” with the narrow part of the “V” on the surface of the wall. Then follow the package instructions for mixing and using the hydraulic cement.

Waterproof the Walls

Waterproofing materials that go on like paint fill the pores in the concrete or masonry walls and prevent water from leaking in. To be effective, these coatings must be applied to bare concrete or masonry walls. Start by removing loose material with a wire brush. Then clean off any white powdery “efflorescence” with masonry cleaner. Follow the safety and application instructions carefully. A common mistake when using masonry waterproofing products is to spread them too thin. The goal is to fill every pinhole to create a continuous waterproofing membrane. Brush the coating in all directions to completely fill every pinhole. Add a second coat after the first dries.

Install a Drainage System

The best permanent fix for chronic basement leaks is to install drainage tubing below the basement floor that's connected to a sump basket and pump. You can install a system like this yourself, but breaking out the concrete floor, burying the tubing, and patching the floor is a lot of backbreaking work. Materials to do an average basement will cost $600 to $1,000. Expect to spend $3,000 to $8,000 for a professionally installed system in a standard-size basement.

When to Replace Your Hot Water Heater, Water damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Water Damage in Moorestown NJ,

9/29/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage When to Replace Your Hot Water Heater, Water damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Water Damage in Moorestown NJ, When to Replace Your Hot Water Heater, Water damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Water Damage in Moorestown NJ,

If your water heater is leaking or not heating up, you may be able to repair it rather than replace it. Regular maintenance will extend the life of your water heater. Some repairs, such as replacing a pressure-relief valve or heating element are pretty simple. Follow our tips to troubleshoot your gas or electric water heater issues and learn how long a water heater should last.

Safety First

Some water heater repairs are simple. However, if you aren't comfortable working with gas or electricity, always call a professional.  

Repair or Replace

Based on the manufacturer's suggested service life, the life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years. That varies with the location and design of the unit, quality of installation, maintenance schedule and water quality.

If your water heater is more than 10 years old, leaks around the base of the tank, and / or works erratically or not at all, it's probably time for replacement. However, before you begin the replacement process, make sure that an electrical problem, such as a blown fuse or tripped breaker, is not the reason for the unit's failure.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Perhaps the most common problem connected with a water heater is water that isn't as hot as you want it to be. This is usually caused by a faulty thermostat or a defective heating element. Check the following when your water is not hot enough:

Electric water heater

  • Make sure that the power is connected. Reset the thermostat.
  • Flush the heater to remove sediment from the tank.
  • Insulate the hot water pipes.
  • Replace the heating element or thermostat.
  • Raise the temperature setting on the thermostat.

Gas water heater

  • Make sure that the gas is connected and the pilot light is lit.
  • Flush the heater to remove sediment from the tank.
  • Insulate the hot water pipes.
  • Clean the gas burner and replace the thermocoupler (a safety device that shuts off the gas automatically if the pilot flame goes out).
  • Raise the temperature setting on the thermostat.

Other common problems and possible solutions

  • Hissing or sizzling noises: Sediment may have collected in the tank. Drain the tank until the water clears. Remove and soak elements in a pan filled with white vinegar for up to an hour and scrape off the collected scale.
  • Leaking pressure-relief valve: Replace valve.
  • Leaking water supply pipes: Tighten the fittings. If that doesn't work, shut off the water and replace the fittings.

Water Heater Maintenance

Today’s water heaters are manufactured to require little or no maintenance, but these maintenance tips could prolong the life of your water heater:

  • Drain the water heater twice a year to rid it of collected sediment that causes corrosion. This also increases efficiency.
  • Test the pressure-relief valve by lifting the valve’s handle and letting it snap back. This should release a burst of water into the overflow drainpipe. If it doesn’t, install a new valve.
  • Lower the temperature setting on the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This reduces damage to the tank caused by overheating.

When Replacement Is Necessary

If you're replacing a water heater, you can replace it with the same type of unit. However, upgrade possibilities should be considered. For example, you may choose to increase or decrease the unit's holding capacity to accommodate a changing family. Or, you may opt to go tankless. 

When looking for a water heater, consider these features:

  • Gallon capacity (40-gallon and 50-gallon heaters are the most common)
  • Recovery rate (the number of gallons the heater will heat in an hour)
  • Dimensions (width and height — physical space may limit your ability to upgrade your unit's capacity; will the heater fit in the space you have for it?)
  • Energy efficiency ratings (a sticker on the side should list the estimated annual cost of operation for the unit)

Before making repairs or purchasing a new water heater, check the nameplate on the side of your current unit. Here you will find helpful information including the tank capacity, insulation R-value, installation guidelines, working pressure, model and serial number. If you have an electric water heater, the nameplate will also list the wattage capacity and voltage of the heating elements.

  • How will you dispose of your old water heater? Check local codes governing disposal of such appliances.
  • Will you be able to physically handle the unit? Water heaters are bulky and heavy. You will need assistance.
  • Do you have the tools necessary to do the job? Water heater installation requires adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, a hacksaw and pliers. You may also need a propane torch if your installation uses copper pipe.
  • Do you have time to do the job? Once you start replacing a water heater, you have to finish.

Caution

If you intend to convert from electric to gas or vice-versa, or if you don't feel comfortable doing the repair or maintenance work, hire a professional.

Caution

Make sure your home is equipped with carbon monoxide detectors when gas-powered appliances are present.

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Tenant Vandalism? Property damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Property damage in Moorestown NJ,

9/26/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Tenant Vandalism? Property damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Property damage in Moorestown NJ, Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Tenant Vandalism? Property damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Property damage in Moorestown NJ,

A tenant of a property stripped down the home to the bare drywall and inflicted $1.5 million worth of damage. The tenant took fireplaces, railings, lights, windows, doors and every other fixture imaginable! What are homeowners and landlords to do in such a situation? We see many predicaments such as this (fortunately most are not as severe as the one we depicted), and our clients always wonder: Does homeowner’s insurance cover acts of vandalism and theft?

The answer is that standard homeowners insurance policies will generally not cover any damages inflicted by tenants; Homeowners insurance policies only cover residences lived by the actual homeowner, or to put it simply, covers only the property in which a homeowner lives. Rental properties require a different policy under a rental homeowner’s policy known as a “dwelling fire policy”. Under the dwelling fire policy, normal wear and tear damage is not covered, but preempted vandalism is.  However, in order to claim vandalism, homeowners must file a police report and press charges against the offender.

All homeowners and landlords to check with their insurance companies to review their policies and get a better understanding of what is and isn’t covered under their premium.

Tenant vandalism cases are tricky because homeowners will need to present proof to back their claim in order to get compensation from their insurance company. Of course this is not always possible and insurance companies might not honor the claim without proof. Alternatively, landlords could take this issue to court and sue tenants in a small claims court for damages, but even so monetary collection is still complicated and difficult to obtain. All landlords or homeowners who are renting their properties to enforce strict security deposit regulations, which will offer ample protection for the landlord and cover any damages caused by the tenant.

Again, remember to check with your insurance companies to see what liabilities your policy covers and doesn’t cover.

Most insurers, including, offer vandalism insurance as part of a homeowners policy. However, as specific coverages vary from insurer to insurer, it's best to contact your provider to verify that you're covered; don't just assume.

You'd hate to be counting on vandalism insurance, only to find out after an incident that you need to pay out of pocket. If a basic homeowners plan doesn't include coverage for vandalism, you may be able to add it as a named peril.

Are you protected against vandalism? 

Keep in mind that vandalism coverage may not apply if your place is vacant for a significant amount of time, as could be the case with vacation homes or investment properties. Again, this varies from policy to policy, so be sure to speak with your own insurer about time-period restrictions when it comes to being away from home.

common types of vandalism

Graffiti is by far the most prevalent form of property vandalism, accounting for 35 percent of cases according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That being said, there's a lot more than just spray paint to worry about when it comes to your home. You may be glad to have protection against vandalism on your homeowners insurance policy in case:

  • Your outdoor lights or windows are broken
  • Your lawn is salted or garden dug up
  • Your house is egged
  • Your trees or bushes are cut
  • Your home is burned
  • Your plumbing is tampered with
  • Your locks are glued

And those are just several examples. Because vandalism can come in seemingly endless forms, and is often the result of random rebellion or teen peer pressure (roughly 40 percent of vandalism arrests involve juveniles), it can be especially hard to anticipate. That's all the more reason to back up your home and hard-earned savings with homeowners insurance to help protect against a variety of hazards.

80 percent of Property Owners lack flood insurance, Flood damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Flood damage in Haddonfield NJ, Flood Insurance,

9/25/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 80 percent of Property Owners lack flood insurance, Flood damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Flood damage in Haddonfield NJ, Flood Insurance, 80 percent of Property Owners lack flood insurance, Flood damage in Cherry Hill NJ, Flood damage in Haddonfield NJ, Flood Insurance,

The vast majority of homeowners in the area devastated by Hurricane Harvey lack flood insurance, leaving many who escaped the storm with little financial help to rebuild their homes and lives.

“I wish I had flood insurance now,” lamented Leroy Moore, a 58-year-old whose home in Northeast Houston filled with water. He cancelled his flood policy when it grew too expensive. He and his wife were rescued from the rising waters on Sunday by National Guard troops and are now sleeping in a church. “When it's a choice to make between things and life, sometimes you've just got to let the things go and hang on to life.”

Regular home insurance covers wind damage but not flooding. Homeowners have to purchase separate flood insurance policies from the government-run National Flood Insurance Program, which will end in late September unless Congress renews it. In Texas, the average cost for a NFIP plan is $500 a year, but it can rise to more than $2,000 for homes inside a floodplain.

Only 17 percent of homeowners in the eight counties most directly affected by Harvey have flood insurance policies, according to a Washington Post analysis of Federal Emergency Management Agency data. When disaster hits, the policies cover up to $250,000 in rebuilding costs and $100,000 to replace personal belongings such as TVs and furniture.

Everyone else who loses their home to flooding will be dependent on private charity and government aid, especially grants from Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But FEMA's help is a poor substitute for flood insurance: The grants, intended to help residents rebuild homes and cover hotel stays until permanent housing is available, are capped at $33,300. Most receive significantly less. Funds will be even tighter if Congress doesn't provide additional emergency funding for Texas soon.

To get a grant, “FEMA has to believe your house is damaged so substantially that there’s no area in your house you can live in,” says Saundra Brown, a lawyer whose home in Houston was flooded. She spoke to The Washington Post while removing drywall to prevent mold. Her advice is to take photos of everything.

 

President Trump vowed “very rapid action” to help victims, but aid is usually slow to arrive, particularly in a large-scale disaster that strains FEMA's capacity to inspect and assess all the damaged homes.

Brown has seen firsthand just how long FEMA can take. She heads up Lone Star Legal Aid's disaster response unit, a group of lawyersthat assists low-income clients, including helping them to get FEMA money. Some of her clients were fighting with FEMA for months after the smaller storms that deluged Houston with rain in 2015 and 2016.

“It’s not like the government comes in with big buckets of cash and just hands it out,” says Robert Meyer, a professor and co-director of the University of Pennsylvania's Risk Management Center, which studies natural disaster response. “People who don't have insurance may have to abandon their homes.”

Moore and his wife were sitting in the First Baptist Church in North Houston trying to comprehend how quickly everything they worked for was ruined by a horrendous storm. The couple fled the home they'd owned for 32 years with just the clothes on their backs.

Moore, a forklift driver, used to buy flood insurance from the government when it cost $200 a year, but he says the premium rose above $300, so he stopped. His home had never flooded before Harvey until now.

“I've been in Houston all my life … I've never seen it like this,” Moore said, looking around the room at so many other families in the same situation.

Losing a home without insurance compensation is financially devastating. A home is the most valuable financial asset that many middle-class Americans have. The median home value in Harris County, where Houston is located, is $138,000, according to the U.S. Census. A total loss could delay retirement or force people into bankruptcy. Even if they can rebuild, it's unlikely the home will be worth as much if it is now marked as prone to flooding.

Legally, homeowners in places that FEMA designates as “high-risk” flood areas are supposed to have the insurance, but the rule isn't tightly enforced. Across the country, only 12 percent of homeowners have flood insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The rate is a bit higher in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, but even in those coastal areas, only about 20 percent get it.

The best hope for those who don't get much FEMA aid is a low-interest government loan.“The largest vehicle for disaster recovery isn’t FEMA grants; it’s Small Business Administration disaster loans,” says Brown. Some businesses and charities in the Houston area are already offering aid and cheap loans up to about $10,000.

“Nothing like this has happened before in Houston. Individuals and businesses are all trying to help,” says Yuvette Chou, a 41-year-old who didn't have flood insurance and was trying to stay positive. She spent Sunday sitting with her husband on the stairs watching water seep into their home for the first time ever. Her employerhas already reached out to offer a low-cost loan. “I've learned my lesson.”

Houston, with 2.3 million residents, is America's fourth-largest city. It's the country's energy hub, and it has thrived thanks to the shale gas boom. In total, nearly 6 million people live in the eight counties most affected by the storm. One of the biggest concerns for the economy is whether people will leave after Harvey. Katrina demonstrated what such a storm can do to a major American city. New Orleans lost half its population in the year after Katrina struck.

Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water Inside My House, Water damage restoration in Cherry Hill NJ, Water damage restoration in Moorestown NJ,

9/22/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water Inside My House, Water damage restoration in Cherry Hill NJ, Water damage restoration in Moorestown NJ, Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water Inside My House, Water damage restoration in Cherry Hill NJ, Water damage restoration in Moorestown NJ,

First, turn off your AC to prevent serious water damage and hazardous electrical issues. Next, we highly recommend calling a HVAC company for help.

Why water forms in an AC’s indoor unit

Condensation is a natural reaction that occurs inside all AC units.

You see, your AC’s job is to pull heat and humidity from the air inside your home. To do that, your system pulls in warm air through an indoor vent (called a return grille) and moves it across your inside unit’s cold evaporator coil to cool the air down.

When this happens, moisture forms on the evaporator coil. Just like the condensation that forms on a glass of ice cold water on a hot summer day.

Normally, the condensation on the coil drips into a drain pan and down a condensate drain pipe that leads it outside of your home (or into your plumbing system).

Now that you know why the condensation happens and the parts involved, here are a few common problems that can cause water to leak inside your house.

Clogged condensate drain line or rusted pan

If your drain line is clogged–commonly by dirt, algae, insects or a dirty evaporator coil–water drainage is limited; causing a buildup of water with nowhere to go other than your home.

And because it is so hot and humid, your AC runs more often so it doesn’t take long for large amounts of water to build up.

Also, the drain pan may be rusted through, allowing the water to fall through the pan and cause disastrous leaks and dangerous electrical issues inside your home. So, you’ll definitely need to replace the pan.

Improperly installed condensate trap

If your AC is fairly new, the problem could be with the way your system’s condensate trap was installed. An improperly designed condensate trap can block drainage and cause the drain pan to overflow with water.

What to do: You’ll need a professional to know what to look for in a condensate trap design and to see if it needs to be reinstalled.

Frozen evaporator coil

Condensation on your cold evaporator coil can also freeze. If it does, there’s a clear problem with your AC. It can even freeze all the way down the refrigerant lines to the outside unit.

And when it melts, there can be a lot of unwanted water in unwanted places throughout your home. 

Common causes of a frozen coil include:

  • Dirty air filter
  • Low refrigerant
  • An airflow problem

Other issues...

There are a number of problems that cause water leakage from your AC but these are a few of the most common. We understand this stuff can get pretty complicated.

Note: Depending on where the inside unit is and what specifically is causing water to leak inside your home, the damage could be pretty significant and extremely dangerous. Many, if not all, of these problems require a professional to ensure safety and proper resolution.

Contact a Certified Water Damage and Mold remediation company, to resolve any Microbial issues,