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Reducing the impact of allergens


Have allergies been a summer nuisance? If so, Team Newman and LeSqueegee have a couple recommendations for around the house that can improve your indoor air quality and reduce the impact of allergens.


Take care of the spaces you occupy most – Having a clean bedroom is vital to avoiding irritating allergies. Clean bedding and a dust free area is very important to getting a good night sleep. A room air filter can also be a huge benefit in reducing allergens. Frequently change or wash sheets and vacuum frequently. Be mindful of how often you leave your window open as it can be a gateway for allergens to enter the home. 


Carpets and rugs can be a trap for allergies – Allergens can settle within the fibers of carpet. Regular vacuuming can be a solution, however it is best to vacuum with a HEPA filter. This will trap allergens that can filter through regular vacuums. If vacuuming isn’t doing the trick, invest in a professional carpet cleaning. Not only will it improve the look of carpets or rugs, it will make a significant impact on the allergens, dust and dirt trapped within. 


Clean filters and ductwork is vital to stop allergens – Set a reminder on your phone or calendar to clean or switch the filters in the HVAC system. Filters need to be checked monthly and replaced if they are dirty. Normally, filters require changing every two months. A clean filter helps an HVAC system operate properly. A professional air duct cleaning should occur once every three years to maintain high air quality and clean ductwork.


Avoid tracking allergies – Allergens can be carried into a home on shoes and clothing. It is a good idea to remove shoes when entering a home to avoid spreading dust and dirt. This can have a major impact on what gets spread throughout a home. If you do like to wear shoes inside, have a pair of indoor shoes you can put on that stay clean. 


Windows can also be a problem area for allergens – including drapes and curtains – Open windows can easily allow for pollen and other irritants to travel into a home. Drapes and curtains are a common collection point for these allergens. Vacuum drapes and curtains regularly or if suitable, machines wash them. 


Summary – The best way to reduce the impact allergens have on your home is to keep it clean. Eliminating dust buildups, removing shoes at the door and regular cleaning is a great start. If issues persist, look to the professionals for help. A professional carpet cleaning or duct cleaning can provide major relief.


Avoid damage from heavy rain storms


Summer rain storms strike quickly in central Montana. A few minutes of heavy rain are enough to cause costly water damage. Team Newman has a few tips to help prevent water damage from heavy rain. 


Proper drainage is a major factor – Directing water runoff away from the property is the best way to avoid costly water damage. Water pooling up around the foundation will find a way through the foundation. Downspouts must be directed away from the property and stay free of blockages. Gutters must also be kept clean in order to work efficiently. Poor landscaping allows water to settle close to the property. If the landscaping slopes toward a home, it causes the water to flow directly to the home and settle near the foundation. Designing and maintaining landscaping to divert water away from the home is a major factor in protecting your property.


Prep window wells – Window wells are a common spot for water to enter a home during a rainstorm. If possible, cover window wells to prevent rainfall from entering. Coverings can also stop fallen branches or debris from breaking a window and causing major damage. Even with a proper cover, window wells can fill with groundwater. This issue can be solved with proper drainage. In many cases, a drain system can be installed in window wells to properly divert water away from the home. All drain systems must be properly maintained to ensure effectiveness. 


Inspect property after a heavy rain – The first thing to look for is any signs of water damage inside the home. Check around the exterior walls for wet carpet or swollen trim. It is also a good idea to check the exterior. Look for water in window wells and see if it has pooled anywhere around the exterior of the home. This can show where water is not draining properly. Address issues immediately to prevent damage in the future.


Inspect for foundation cracks – Foundation cracks are another common source of water damage during a big rain storm. Water saturates the ground and pushes its way through the foundation. Some cracks are not visible because they are covered by sheetrock. However, some foundation cracks can be seen from the exterior. If a foundation crack is visible, it is a good idea to invest in a waterproofing crack injection.


Home Improvement Safety for Summer Projects


The summer is a popular time for home improvement projects. Team Newman has a few safety tips to help make sure your home renovation is a success.


Be on the lookout for hazardous building materials – Asbestos and lead paint can be harmful even in small doses. If you are renovating a building built before 1980, be aware of asbestos. Asbestos can be found in drywall, textured surfacing (popcorn ceilings), siding, insulating materials, laminate flooring, floor tiles and mastic. It is best to contact an asbestos expert before starting a renovation on an older home. Newman Restoration can help identify possible asbestos containing materials and conduct asbestos testing. Along with asbestos, lead paint can be found in older homes. At home lead paint test kits can work if administered properly. However, contacting a lead paint professional is never a bad idea.


Wear proper clothing to protect yourself – Use safety glasses when cutting or drilling. Wear a respirator when sanding. These are good steps to help keep your lungs and eyes protected. Be careful of baggy clothing which can catch on power tools. Also, if working outside, take frequent breaks to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion. 


Follow instructions and safety recommendations – Use power tools and equipment only in ways for which they have been designed. Improper use of tools and ladders is a common cause of injury. Having a first aid kit and knowing where it is located is crucial before starting a home improvement project.


Know when to leave it to a professional – There is a reason why it takes years of training to become a plumber or electrician. Plumbing and wiring, especially in an old house, can be complicated and dangerous. While it may be an unwanted upfront cost, leaving plumbing and electrical work to the professionals can often save time and money. 


Develop a plan first, don’t start with digging or cutting into walls – Home renovation can cause a big mess. Do not cut or tear walls without having a plastic containment system. It is very easy to create a large mess in only a few minutes. Be aware of possible electrical and plumbing built into walls, as a small cut can cause major damage. It is also a good idea to have a plan before digging. Even professionals can make a mistake when digging outside. If you aren’t sure what is underneath the ground, call 8-1-1 before you dig. Please look at the forecast before you start a major outdoor project. Loose dirt and gravel can wash away into window wells during a heavy rain storm. 


Summer Safety Tips


As summer weather approaches, Team Newman has a few helpful summer safety tips.


Use sunscreen when heading outside – A sunburn can ruin your summer fun very quickly. Make the decision to put sunscreen on before you head outside. Make sure to reapply sunscreen frequently as it does not protect you all day.


Be mindful of the summer heat and proper hydration – Whether it is the kids playing outside or someone working on the yard, hydration is a key to summer safety. Heat stroke can happen quickly. Take frequent breaks and hydrate properly. If you start feeling tired, dizzy, lightheaded or unwell, it is a sign you need to take a break and hydrate.


Don’t be too cool for safety gear – Safety gear exists to protect you so make sure you are utilizing it properly. Whether you are working on a little remodel or gardening outside, gloves and safety glass go a long way in protecting you. Are the kids outside riding bikes or skateboards? Make sure they have the proper safety gear so they can be protected from a trip or fall. 


Be extra careful around the pool – Remind your kids, and yourself, that the area around the pool can be slippery. Make sure inexperienced swimmers are not let unattended around the pool. 


Be mindful of mosquitos – Mosquito bites are annoying but can also be dangerous. Use a repellant when outside to keep mosquitos away. It is also a good idea to limit the amount of stagnant water on your property as it is a mosquito breeding ground.


Just plan ahead! – It is always good to make a plan and inform others of your plan. If you are going camping or hiking, tell some family or friends where you will be staying and for how long. If you are going out on the town for the night, make a plan for a designated driver! Planning ahead can make sure that everything runs smoothly.


Spring cleaning season is here!


While some days feel like summer and others still remind us of winter, now is a great time to prepare and complete your spring cleaning.


A proper dose of spring cleaning comes with many benefits – Conquering spring cleaning this year will not only make you feel accomplished and your home looking spotless, it can also reduce the impact of spring allergies. Decluttering and deep cleaning have the best impact on removing allergens, especially dust. If you are suffering more this year from allergies, look to a professional carpet cleaning and air duct cleaning to dramatically increase indoor air quality. 


Prepare a detailed list of what you want to accomplish with your spring cleaning – Whether it is small goals or big goals, write everything down to be prepared for spring cleaning and hold yourself accountable. Also a spring cleaning goals list can be motivational. Give yourself multiple small tasks to build up and conquer a larger task. Make your list in order of priority so you can tackle what is most important to you.


Get stocked up with your supplies – Nothing is more frustrating than getting in the groove of cleaning and not having enough supplies or the proper supplies. It can kill your motivation and take time out of your planned cleaning time to reload on supplies. So as you are making a list for what you want to accomplish for spring cleaning, also make a list of the supplies you will need.


Budget – Budgeting is very important for spring cleaning. Make a budget for your time to ensure that what you want to accomplish is feasible. Also budget for the money to be spent on spring cleaning. Whether it is money for a professional carpet cleaning or more supplies, having a set budget can ensure spring cleaning doesn’t put a big dent in your wallet.


Prep your mind and space for spring cleaning – Envision what a perfectly clean area of your home would look like and how exciting it will be to host that first barbeque or party! Start with removing clutter that has built up over the winter to get some positive feelings flowing about the upcoming spring clean.


Plan to clean from the top down – Cleaning from the top down produces the best results. Start with ceilings and ceiling fans and work down to bookshelves, tables and countertops. Save the floors for last as this will ensure you only have to clean them once at the end of the process instead of multiple times.


Hardwood floor cleaning brings lots of benefits


Hardwood floor cleaning does more than improve the looks of your flooring. Proper cleaning and maintenance can even extend the life of your floors.


Dust, sweep or mop regularly – It is important to clean your wood floors regularly. Dusting, sweeping and or mopping should be completed every few days. It is important to remove surface contamination as it can ruin finish or leave scratches. Any spills or stains should be cleaned up immediately. Water can penetrate into the flooring and cause swelling or microbial growth. Utilize furniture pads to prevent scratching. Furniture can cause hard wood floors with scratches or wear marks. 


Use a vacuum weekly – A vacuum with a bare floor or hardwood setting is very effective for cleaning floors and preventing damage. A vacuum will get the dirt and debris which can settle into the crevices and be missed with sweeping or mopping.


Clean with hardwood floor cleaner multiple times a year – There are many products available for hardwood floor cleaning. Make sure you pick one that is suited for your type of floor. It is often best to test any new products before using it.


Have a professional cleaning completed once a year – A professional deep clean of your hardwood floors can maintain a hardwood’s natural beauty. A deep clean will eliminate all abrasive particles and ensure a lasting clean. 


Refinish flooring every few years – Hardwood flooring needs to be refinished every few years depending on the amount of traffic it gets. This range is normally between three to six years.


Understanding Foundation Cracks and Fixes


A foundation crack can lead to water or structural damage in a home or business. Discovering a problem with the foundation of a building can be an unsettling situation, but Team Newman is here with some helpful information so you can be educated about what to do with a foundation crack. 


Vertical cracks are the most common – As a home settles, it is typical for vertical cracks to develop. Vertical cracks are found most often in basement walls and are typically the easiest type of foundation crack to fix. The main issue that comes with vertical cracks is how they allow for water to penetrate the foundation. However, a foundation waterproofing injection can solve the issue and prevent interior water damage.


Diagonal crack may point to bigger issues – If a foundation crack has an angle from 30-75 degrees, it is considered a diagonal crack. These can be caused from the foundation settling in an uneven manner. If water does not drain properly from one side of the house, it can cause the soil to compact more on one side and create a diagonal foundation crack. Along with fixing the crack, additional steps may need to be considered to ensure the cause of the uneven foundation settling is addressed. Landscaping and drainage issues often need to be addressed. A diagonal crack can also require a structural fix to ensure the integrity of the foundation.


Horizontal crack can cause issues with structural integrity – This is the most serious type of foundation crack. Pressure on the foundation wall can cause it to bow inwards. This can lead to the failure of the foundation and collapse of the property. It is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed right away. Fixing a horizontal crack is often a major project. It can involve installing anchors or piers to prevent any further bowing to prevent the foundation from failing.


Fix it when you have the chance – When a crack is discovered, it is best to seal it right away. If a crack is left unattended, it can grow and lead to a more costly repair. A horizontal foundation crack may require that the property be evacuated until it can be fixed. Many vertical cracks can be sealed with a waterproofing injection. Horizontal and diagonal cracks may need a structural fix if recommended by a structural engineer. 


Be on the lookout for signs of a structural issue – Water or added humidity in a basement or crawl space is a common sign that there is a foundation crack allowing for water penetration. Pungent or musty odors are also an indication that water is entering the property through a slow leak or foundation crack. Cracks in plaster walls and doors that no longer open easily are a sign that the foundation is settling in an uneven matter. These signs are a good reason to have your home and foundation inspected. 


Water damage from foundation cracks may not be covered by insurance – Many homeowners are not protected from foundation cracks and the ensuing water damage. Because the water is coming from outside the home, many insurance carriers will deny coverage. It is always best to have an understanding of your liabilities or gap in insurance coverage. Often, a flood insurance policy can protect homeowners from water damage due to an outside source. However, it is important to cover the topic with your specific insurance company.


Spring is the perfect time for a professional carpet cleaning


Professional carpet cleaning is the perfect way to maintain a substantial investment made in a home. Especially when entering the warmer months of the year, a professional carpet cleaning can improve the look and health of your carpets.


Extend the life of a carpet – A professional carpet cleaning improves the lifespan of a carpet. It is often a requirement to maintain the warrant of a newly installed carpet. If done correctly, a carpet cleaning will remove dirt and debris from the carpet that can cause permanent damage if left to stay. Ever notice traffic lanes start to develop in a carpet? A professional carpet cleaning can help these areas spring back and last longer without wearing out. It is important to get rid of the dirt and debris that has built up over the winter!


Develop a healthier in-home environment – Allergens, dirt and bacteria become trapped in a carpet from regular use. A professional cleaning can thoroughly reduce the amount of contamination built-up in a carpet and create a healthier environment. It can also reduce odors that are emanating from a carpet. Your carpet can act as a filter for the air in your home. You do not want to go an entire year without getting that filter cleaned. 


Improve the look of a carpet – One of the most noticeable benefits of a professional carpet cleaning is the improved look. A cleaning can remove staining and brighten the look of a carpet. It also revitalizes worn down traffic lanes. Don’t be hesitant to invite guests over because of carpet that looks worn down. A professional cleaning will make your carpet look much younger.


Add a carpet protector – After a professional cleaning is the best time to add carpet protector. This is an option with most professional cleaning companies. It can protect against the buildup of stains and dirt. It also allows your vacuum to work more efficiently and will leave your carpet looking cleaner for longer.


Spring is the perfect time for a chimney sweep


As the weather begins to warm up around Montana, most of use will retire using the fireplace or wood burning stove for the next six months. However, now is the best time to get a chimney swept.


Chimneys should be swept yearly – If a chimney is used regularly during the winter, it should be swept every year. A chimney sweep can prevent creosote buildup, which is a common ignition source for a dangerous house fire. A sweep will also eliminate any blockages and allow for the chimney to draft more efficiently. 


Avoid the rush – Once the cold weather starts to set in, the phone starts ringing for professional chimney sweeps. You can avoid the rush by booking your chimney sweep in the spring or summer.


Be ready for the cold weather – Getting your chimney swept early puts your mind at ease for when the cold weather comes. Having a clean chimney means you are prepared for the cold weather ahead.


Easier access = a better clean – A snow covered or icy roof can prevent access to the top of the chimney. The ability to clean from the top of the chimney down to the fireplace or stove, allows for a more thorough clean.


Be cautious of ice damming on your property


Snowfall and freezing temperatures leave many homes at risk of water damage from ice dams. Ice dam removal should be handled by professionals and can be dangerous for the inexperienced.


What is an ice dam – An ice dam occurs when snow melts and refreezes on a roof. Sunlight or heat from the inside of a home partially melts the snow as it refreezes overnight. Water can penetrate the shingles and then freeze and expand, eventually causing damage to the roof and allowing water to penetrate inside the home.


How to prevent ice dams – There are many products available to prevent an ice dam. Heat tape, snow shields, roof melt and improved attic insulation are all beneficial products to prevent an ice dam. Roofing and insulation experts can be your first line of defense against an ice dam. Using a roof rake to clear snow from the roof before it can freeze is an effective tool, but it can be dangerous and difficult work.


Removing an ice dam – Removal can be a tricky and dangerous job. Aggressively removing an ice dam can pull shingles and cause further damage. Do not use a sharp tool like an axe or pick to remove an ice dam as it can penetrate the roof. The most effective method is to use a roof melt product to create a trough for the ice to melt off the roof. It is also important for gutters and downspout to be clear to allow for proper drainage

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