Water, Fire, & Mold Restoration Blog

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Green Ways to Clean Grout

Grout in your house typically is used to seal spaces between tiles. Grout is composed of sand, water, cement and color tint. Grout can become dirty easily and needs to be cleaned correctly. Most importantly, remember to reseal your grout every one to two years to protect your grout from becoming permanently dirty.

There are lots of grout cleaning products in the market. We at Orange Restoration like to emphasize natural and healthy – Green is important to us. Before buying a commerical grout cleaner, try using natural products like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.

Vinegar can either be applied alone or diluted with water. It should sit for 10 minutes before you brush the grout in a circular motion.

Baking soda needs to be made into a paste with either a little vinegar or water. Scrub the paste with a firm bristled brush for a gentle cleaning or leave the paste for a few minutes for a better cleaning.

Amazingly lemon juice can remove many grout discolorations and stains! Rub some lemon juice on the affected area, leave it for 10 minutes and then wipe it off with a damp sponge.

If these methods don't work, feel free to seek more professional help.

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By |August 31st, 2011|Green, Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Green Ways to Clean Grout

Quick Tips to Help Sell Your House

1. Paint! Paint! Paint! Do you love vivid colors that pop? Does your house have an array of paint colors that mimic the rainbow? When putting your house on the market, it's important that potential buyers can envision living in the house. What if your walls are purple and the people looking at the house hate the color purple? They will have a difficult time looking past the colors of the walls. Prior to putting your house on the market, repaint your walls to white or beige. Choose colors that are unassuming and quiet.

2. Hide your photographs. Once again, you want people who are looking at your home to envision themselves living in the same space. Personal photographs, photos of your family are all wonderful additions to your home that personalize the space. Make sure to hide all photographs of a personal nature to continue the theme of neutrality throughout the home. Paintings and photographs of nature are not personal and can be left on display.

3. Clean your house. This one is probably obvious but make sure to clean your house. You want your house to sparkle. The base boards should be dust free. The floors should gleam. If you have carpet, get it professionally cleaned. Clean the outside of the kitchen cabinets, wipe any stains on the walls. All clutter needs to disappear – even if that means throwing it all into a few boxes and hiding it in the garage. Clutter distracts people and it makes a space feel smaller. You want your property to come off as roomy and airy and enticing. A dirty cluttered house will be difficult for people to look past. Nobody wants to live in a dirty house and most people will have a hard time ignoring the mess to appreciate the house.

These are just some ideas to help you sell your house for the best price. A home that is warm and enticing will attract buyers. Walk throughout your house and see how you feel when you're in a room. Do your best to perfect the appearance, you won't regret it.

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By |August 22nd, 2011|Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Quick Tips to Help Sell Your House

CA Law Mandates Carbon Monoxide Alarms in All Single Family Homes

As of July 1, 2011 all single-family homes with a fireplace, attached garage or fossil burning heater must install carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill if left undetected. It is produced by furnaces, fireplaces, heaters, some cooking devices, idling cars and some appliances. When used normally, appliances that burn fuel produce small amounts of carbon monoxide that are not poisonous. However, appliances that are not working properly can produce too much carbon monoxide and silently kill all the occupants within a home.

Any single family homes that are found to not have an alarm will be served a 30-day notice. If the owner chooses not to comply a  maximum fee of $200 fee will be given with each offense. 

Owners of multi-family leased or rental units will have until January 1, 2013 to comply with this requirement.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed outside each sleeping area of the house including the basement. It doesn't really matter where the alarm is installed in terms of height, carbon monoxide mixes with air and can be detected at any height within a home.

For more information regarding this new law, go to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Here's another great pamphlet on carbon monoxide by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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By |August 22nd, 2011|Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on CA Law Mandates Carbon Monoxide Alarms in All Single Family Homes

Water Damage is a Challenge

You don't want water damage to occur in your home. Water damage can spiral out of control if not managed appropriately. Water damage can be caused by a broken pipe, a sub-pump not working in the basement, a faucet left on while you're out of the house, irrigation leaks and anything that has to do with water! Sometimes if your sink is clogged and you turn your dishwasher on you can cause a flood to happen in your kitchen. Despite your best intentions water damage can occur.

It's important not to panic when flooding occurs. Water damage is preventable and treatable.

If you have a small leak, find the source and make it stop. Then grab a bunch of towels to soak up the water. If the water is sewage water, you may want to have a professional handle it. Dirty water is unsanitary and can spread disease.

If you are unable to fix the leak, call a professional immediately. You don't want water damage. A professional plumber can help you stop the problem before it becomes an even bigger issue.

A professional water restoration team will prevent water damage from destroying your home.

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By |August 15th, 2011|Flood, Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Water Damage is a Challenge

Fire Damage and Smoke Removal

October 2007 is a month most Southern Californians will never forget. That was the month a series of wildfires burned nearly 1,500 homes and 500,000 acres of land from Santa Barbra county to the US-Mexican border. Entire areas were evacuated forcing people to grab their loved ones and whatever they could pack into their cars in a short period of time to escape the fires.

When the fires died down and people returned to their homes, they returned to neighborhoods where one house was spared while the house next door was burned down. Houses that appeared from the outside to be untouched smelled of smoke and were covered in soot inside. Even though the houses escaped direct contact with the fires, they were damaged and needed to be repaired.

Smoke and fire damage can have lasting effects on your home if you do not repair it correctly. It's important to call a fire and smoke damage restoration company to assess the damage, communicate with your insurance company and remove all smoke/soot from your home. Residues left behind by fire need to be treated by professionals. Sometimes the damage is so great that walls need to be replaced to eliminate the smell of smoke from your home.

We at Orange Restoration have experts with many years of experience treating and restoring homes damaged by smoke. Call us for a free assessment.

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By |August 15th, 2011|Fire, Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Fire Damage and Smoke Removal

Tips on Advertising Rental Properties

Advertising rental properties is easier than ever before. The internet has changed the way property managers find tenants.

Advertising rental properties with print media is still possible, i.e., The Reader, The PennySaver, etc. You can also print out signs and put them outside your rental unit.

However, today's tenant tends to be more technologically advanced. Your best bet is advertising rental properties online.

Sites such as www.craigslist.com, www.rentals.com, www.apartments.com and www.forrent.com are all excellent advertising tools. When posting your unit online, have a set of photos that flatter your unit. When writing the post, it's important to first consider your prospective tenant/s. Your choice of words will either attract or repel your ideal tenant. Be sure to highlight anything that makes your unit “special.” For instance, if your unit is near a park, a place of worship, a shopping area, public transportation – these are all bonuses that will make your unit more desirable. Put in the time to write a good ad, you will reap the rewards when you attract your ideal tenant.

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By |August 11th, 2011|Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Tips on Advertising Rental Properties

Figuring Out Your Rent Schedule

Knowing how much to rent a unit is extremely important. If you ask for too little, the owner isn't getting the best deal; if you ask for too much, good luck finding a tenant. There are some ways to ensure you are getting the best deal for your rent schedule.

First you need to scope out the competition. Go online, Craigslist is usually a great place to check, and see what units are going for in the same area. If another unit is newly updated and yours is 3o years old, you can't expect to get the same rate. However, you might be able to get the same rate (or more) if your unit is more “special” than the newer unit. For instance, your unit is in walking distance to recreational areas, shopping, places of worship and schools. Or what if your unit has on-site recreational facilities? What is your building is beautiful or in a slightly better part of town?

No two units are idential – unless they are in the same apartment building and are identical. It's important to assess each unit individually when deciding on the rent schedule. Researching the competition will only guide you when deciding on the rent, factoring in details that make your unit “special” will allow you to get the most money for your unit.

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By |August 11th, 2011|Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Figuring Out Your Rent Schedule

The Many Jobs of a Property Manager

Property managers have it rough. Not only do they have to rent out a unit, they have to deal with tenants and owners, collect rents, maintain and upgrade units, be prepared for any emergency and keep a smile on their face. Property managers, we salute you.

Below is a great list we found at the California Department of Real Estate listing the many jobs of a property manager. Feel free to add any tasks you think should be on the list and have been missed.

SPECIFIC DUTIES OF THE PROPERTY MANAGER

(Source: http://www.dre.ca.gov/pdf_docs/ref_book/ref22.pdf)

Here are some of the specific duties a property manager must perform:

1. establish the rental schedule that will bring the highest yield consistent with good economics.

2. merchandise the space and collect the rent.

3. create and supervise maintenance schedules and repairs.

4. if applicable, insure independent contractor license status and insurance coverage.

5. set up payroll system for all employees.

6. develop a tenant/resident relations policy.

7. supervise employees and develop employee policies, including an Injury Prevention Plan.

9. qualify and investigate a prospective tenant’s credit.

10. prepare and execute leases.

11. obtain decorating specifications and secure estimates.

12. hire, instruct, and maintain satisfactory personnel to staff the building(s).

13. audit and pay bills.

14. advertise and publicize vacancies through selected media and broker lists.

15. recommend alterations and modernization as the market dictates.

16. inspect vacant space frequently. PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 531

17. keep abreast of the times and competitive market conditions.

18. obtain and pay insurance premiums and taxes.

19. be knowledgeable about and comply with applicable Federal, State and local laws.

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By |August 11th, 2011|Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on The Many Jobs of a Property Manager

Oh Kitty! How could you? Cleaning the Smell of Cat Urine out of Your Carpet

Is this your cat?

Is your cat guilty of peeing on your carpet? First of all, our condolences. Cleaning the smell of cat urine out of your carpet will be a challenge.

Let’s learn a little bit about cat urine first. Your cat’s urine smells because of the protein it contains. The urine, when dry, forms crystals that create an intense odor that may drive you nuts. Many typical carpet cleaners will do a great job of masking the smell of the urine for a while until new moist conditions reactivate the smell. Please note that cat urine is ammonia based so avoid all cleaners that have ammonia in them – it will only result in your cats peeing in the same area again.

Many of the cat cleaning solutions on the market have a reputation with not working. We suggest the following steps to clean up cat urine:

General guidelines for cat urine removal:

  • Grab a handful of towels and press firmly to the spot. Avoid the urge to rub the stain, you will only increase the size of the urine stain.
  • Try to soak up as much urine as you can by firmly pressing into the spot with your towel.
  • This tip is probably obvious, dry the spot immediately. Do not let it soak.
  • Removing urine from your carpet/rug is imperative to prevent your cat from peeing in the same location. If you are unsuccessful with removing the smell, your cat will pee in the same spot.
If all else fails, get a professional to deal with the problem. Trust me, you don’t want to spend the next several weeks trying to fight this beast.

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By |July 26th, 2011|Carpet, Tricks and Tips|0 Comments

Did Your Honey Accidentally Spill Wax on the Rug?

You come home to a beautiful candlelight dinner. Your amazing husband slaved all day in the kitchen using every single pot and pan – including the ones in the garage. Dishes sway crowded in your kitchen sink. The sweet smell of meatballs and pasta assaults your senses. Two beautiful glasses of red wine twinkle under the lights. Dinner is served. You sit down and share a romantic meal with your husband. As you finish dinner, you both get up and start to clean up. Your hands brush and you look up with love at one another. Your husband picks up the candle, burns his finger, drops the candle on the ground and now you have wax all over your new carpet.

Romantic mood killed. Now you’re ready to kill your honey. What do you do? You can’t call a carpet cleaning company ten at night. You have to fix this mess before it becomes worse, before the kids wake up in the morning and pull at the wax destroying the carpet.

There are two techniques:

1. The Icing Method: This method requires ice or something frozen. You want to cover the wax with bags filled with ice until the wax is rock hard. Then take a BLUNT object (not something that will destroy the fibers of your carpet) and break up the wax. Follow up with a good vacuuming. Repeat process until you are satisfied. You may need to call a carpet expert to finish the job if necessary.

2. The Scraping Method: Prepare yourself. This method isn’t for the faint of heart. It involves an iron. This is assuming you own an iron or at least know where your iron is located. First scrape the rug and attempt to remove as much wax as you can. Then place a sheet of paper and then use a hot iron (so you want to plug in the iron beforehand) and move the iron back and forth on the paper until you feel the wax attaching itself. Then pull the paper and hopefully the wax has come off. Again, you may need to call a carpet expert to finish the job if necessary.

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By |July 24th, 2011|Carpet, Tricks and Tips|0 Comments