Helpful electrical tips from Squires Electric

Welcome to another guest blog entry.  Our guest expert this week is Squires Electric, contact them to assist you with your electrical needs!

 

 

squires logo

Troubleshooting Guide

OUTLETThese are just a few easy steps to try before you call Squires Electric. Hopefully these can save you the cost of a service call.

First where is the problem located? Is it in a bathroom, kitchen, garage, or anywhere outside that might be protected by a G.F.C.I. (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)?  If so first locate your GFCI’s and look to see if one of them may have “tripped”. A tripped GFCI is pictured here.

The buttons may be different colors than this but, if the top one is sticking out the GFCI is tripped. To reset it just push the button back in. Now if the button won’t go back in, it is time to go to the panel and check your breakers.

 

Resetting Your Breaker

5 Outdoor spring cleaning ideas

Spring has sprung, it’s beautiful outside!  It’s easy to find time to clean indoors when it’s rainy and gray, but when the sun is shining who wouldn’t rather be outside?  Your home’s exterior and surrounding area could use some spring cleaning too, so get out in the sun and get your house looking lovely for spring.  If you haven’t started your spring cleaning this season, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Windows – Let more light into your home with fresh, clean windows both inside and out!  You will be surprised how bright your home will be with the dust and grime removed from the exterior of your windows.
  2. Driveway – Weed out any plants trying to grow in small cracks in your driveway and treat the area to prevent them from returning.  Seal over old cracks with new concrete for a nice, even look.
  3. Garage door – When was the last time you gave you garage door a good cleaning?  It will brighten up your whole property to have your door looking fresh and clean.  Use a pressure washer, or just do it by hand with soapy water!
  4. Gutters – Your gutters have had a hard winter!  Clean out debris and leaves and use this time to check for damage to your gutters.
  5. Get ready to grill – Clean off your grill by soaking the wire racks for a few hours, then scrubbing them down with a wire brush. If you are cooking with gas, make sure the hoses are in good working order and your tank hasn’t suffered any damages.

spring cleaning

Yard work safety

We are enjoying a lovely, warm spring here in Portland!  Lawns are ready to be mowed and flowers ready to be planted, but make sure you take some safety precautions to avoid injury or property damage while doing your yard work.  Follow these basic safety tips to ensure you have a fun, productive day working in your yard.

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  1. Check your equipment from last year to make sure it is still in working order. Critters can chew through wires or wood causing your tools from last season to pose a potential risk of injury.

 

  1. Wear appropriate clothing while mowing your lawn. Clothing should not be loose or restrict movement and shoes must have adequate traction to avoid slipping.  Safety glasses and ear protection are also advised to further protect you from injury.

 

  1. Always push a lawn mower; never pull it toward you to get into a hard to reach spot. Mow hills from side to side, as opposed to up and down to prevent slipping or falling.

 

  1. Clear your yard of debris (sticks, rocks, dog toys, etc…) before trimming your grass. A lawn mower can send an object flying with enough speed to break a window or cause bodily harm!

 

  1. When using outdoor electrical power tools always check that your work area is dry; never damp or wet. Avoid electrical safety hazards by ensuring your tools are equipped with GFCIs and your extensions cords are in proper working order.

 

  1. Never allow children to operate lawn mowers or electrical power tools,

 

  1. It may not be hot yet, but always remember to stay well hydrated while performing outdoor tasks and take breaks when needed. Wear sunscreen when working outdoors, even when it’s cloudy.

 

  1. Take care of your back while taking care of your yard! Never lift more than you are comfortable with and always make sure your back is well supported by lifting properly.  Do not overfill waste bins, making them too heavy to comfortably carry.  While weeding, kneel as opposed to bending over.

 

  1. Keep pesticides and herbicides out of the reach of children and animals. These potentially toxic substances should be safely stored where only adults can access them.  Read all warning labels regarding safety, especially in areas that surround edible gardens.

 

  1. Update your tetanus shot! You should always be current with this vaccination, while working in the yard the possibility of puncturing yourself with a rusty nail or old rake is high.  Keep current records of your vaccinations so you can verify your last shot, should you accidently cut yourself.

Stain removal tips from CFM

This week on the blog, we are excited to have a guest entry from our friends at Contract Furnishing Mart!

Contract Furnishings Mart is the premier floor covering, cabinet and countertop supplier in the Northwest. As a wholesale supplier to the trade since 1981, they have the resources to work on any size project and an unsurpassed selection of products. With 11 locations through Portland and Seattle they are the Northwest’s largest floor covering dealer.

What to do when that wine jumps out of your glass and lands on your flooring?
By Nicole Schmidt, Contract Furnishings Mart

 
spill

We’ve all been there, a once pristine floor gets soiled and we panic. What should I do? How do I clean this up? Well, for starters you should act quickly! Delaying may cause the spill to become a permanent stain. But beyond that, here are some pointers, best practices, and what not to do’s.
Blot liquids right away with a dry, white absorbent cloth or white paper towels. Gently scrape up semi-solids with a rounded spoon. Break up solids and vacuum.
Pretest any spot removal solution (for color transfer to the cloth or damage to the carpet) in an inconspicuous area. If a change occurs, select another solution.

 
Cleaning carpet with cloth and  sprayer close up

 

Apply a small amount of the solution to a white cloth, and work in gently – do not rub — working from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent spreading. Allow to remain on the spill a few minutes. Be patient. Blot.
Continue to use the first agent as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth. Be patient. Complete removal may require repeating the same step several times. Or, you may need to move to the next solution.
When the spill is completely removed, rinse the area with cold water; blot with a dry cloth until all moisture is removed.
A dry, absorbent, cleaning compound may be used as a substitute to minimize drying time.
Residue Precautions: Many spot removal solutions leave residues in the carpet that may attract soil. Thoroughly rinse the area several times with lukewarm tap water. A mist type sprayer is recommended to prevent over wetting. Blot with paper towels and pat dry after each rinse. Several rinses are often necessary to thoroughly remove residues. Never use any of the solutions in concentrations stronger than those recommended.
And of course, the best solution is to call a professional and have them treat the area properly for removal and without leaving residues behind. For more ideas on what to do with specific stains, you can use our stain removal tool on our website.

Home maintenance calendar

Welcome to the New Year!  We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are excited about what 2015 will bring to you and yours!

Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to take better care of your home?  If so, we have a list to help you throughout the year.  Broken down by month, here are some chores to take care of as you work towards keeping your home safe, energy efficient and in good working order:

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January: Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.  Are your fire extinguishers in working order (do you know where they are?).  Review warranties and maintenance requirements on major appliances.

 

February: Check your home for signs of water damage and mold.  Inspect windows for incomplete seals and condensation.   Don’t forget areas that may not get as much foot traffic, like you attic and basement.  Neglect to these parts of your home may result in costly damage that could easily be remedied by early detection.

 

March: Check your roof!  How did it weather the winter wind and rain?  Check for lose or cracked shingles as these will only be further damaged by the sunny weather on the way.  Inspect flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and the chimney for damage as well.

 

April: Take a look around outside, what can be taken care of to de-clutter and freshen up your yard?  Throw away damaged flower pots and find new plants that will brighten your outdoor spaces.  Gather all the yard debris (fallen branches, leaves…) left over from the winter to prepare your lawn for a great spring and summer!

 

May: You guessed it, time for spring cleaning!  Whether you have hardwood, carpet or both, give your floors a bit of extra attention this month.  Now would be a great time to clean your windows, both inside and out and let all that lovely sunshine into your nice, freshly cleaned home!

 

June: Time to power wash your house, deck or patio!  The rain and weather from the winter and spring may have left your property dirty or mossy.  Take some time to address all the little nooks and crannies, your property will look great!

 

July: Summer is a great time to address areas of your home that may be costing you during the winter months. Perform an energy audit of your home by seeking out gaps around doors or windows where heat may be escaping your home.  These issues are more easily addressed in the summer months, your winter budget will thank you!

 

August: Make sure other creatures aren’t trying to invade your home!  Look for evidence of mice or rats by checking your home for droppings or nests.  These types of pests may also be indicated by holes and gnaw marks or an unusual odor in your home.  Check for signs of termites around your home as well.  Indicators of these pests include: hollow sounding wood in floors, walls or furniture, sagging wood, or frass (termite dropping).  Should you find signs of these pests, contact a professional to address the issue.

 

September:  Prepare for cooler weather by inspecting and, or cleaning your fire place.  Hire an inspector to ensure your fire place and chimney is in clean and working order.  It’s a good idea to have this inspection done once a year.

 

October: With leaves beginning to fall, it’s important to make sure gutters and downspouts are clear.  Clean your gutters of leaves and debris and inspect them for damage to ensure they are functioning properly.

 

November: With the temperatures starting to drop, now is a good time to inspect outdoor stairs and railings.  Railings that are broken or weak should be replaced to prevent slips on icy or wet steps.

 

December: Replace the filters in your heating and cooling systems.  During peak seasons of use, these should be changed monthly.

 

What would you add to this list?

 

Ask the Estimator!

Welcome to Ask the Estimator, where we pick the brains of the professionals who have seen it all! Today’s question went to estimator Jason Stephens. Jason came to Kennedy Restoration in 2013 with plenty of experience to contribute to the company. With 15 years in construction, 9 years in restoration and 6 years as an estimator, he is a wealth of knowledge!

 

The Question:

“What can I do prepare for severe damage to my home by water, fire, storm or other such events?”

 

The Answer:

 

  1. Know the risks for the area you live in – Planning for the worst differs depending on location, climate, and proximity to trees, elevation and many other factors. Understand the events that could affect your property and plan for them accordingly.
  2. Know your coverage – Make sure your insurance information is current and easy to find when you need it. Have all the necessary information to contact your representative handy and ready to go, should you have to leave your home during an emergency. Know your coverage limits and special endorsements (code upgrade, mold coverage, flood insurance, etc…).
  3. Know your home – Know where to shut off your water in case of leaking or pipe breakage. Any amount of water that is contained could potentially further damage. The more quickly you can shut off the running water, the less damage could be caused.
  4. Know your fire extinguishers – In case of a fire, make sure your fire extinguishers are in working order and everyone in the family knows how to use them properly. Inspect your extinguishers monthly and check the gauge to see when replacement or repair is needed.
  5. Know your emergency plan – Have a well stocked emergency kit with back up lighting and make sure all family members know its location. Run emergency evacuation plans with everyone in your household, making sure that all emergency exits are identified.

 

If you have a question to ask one of our estimators, send it our way!

5 Spring Cleaning Projects

Have you looked out your window today? It is BEAUTIFUL outside! Take advantage of these lovely, warm spring days to take on some spring cleaning projects!

  1. Clean out your closet! Do you have coats that made it through winter without getting any wear? Maybe it’s time to donate them or resell them! Why just limit yourself to clothing? Check your kitchen cupboards for gadgets that never get used or plates that don’t fit your taste anymore. Make room in your home and maybe even make some extra cash!
  1. Give your deck a makeover! Get ready for summer barbeques by sprucing up your yard or patio. Wash deck furniture from last year and clear your outdoor area of yard debris. Give your yard some TLC while you’re at it! Take on that garden or landscaping project you’ve been dreaming of all winter and enjoy it all summer long.
  1. How is your carpet holding up? It’s a good idea to deep clean carpet at least once a year to eliminate dust and dirt buildup. Bring in a pro to take on the task, or if you are feeling ambitious, you can rent equipment to do it yourself.
  1. Spring is a great time to check on your gutters. Make sure they are not loose or leaky and clear them of debris. If it’s been a while since your gutters have had an inspection, hire a professional to come take a look.
  1. An annual roof inspection is always a great idea and spring is an excellent time to do it. Winter can be hard on a roof with driving rain and wind, but that damage can be made worse by the hot summer sun. Check that your shingles are in good shape to weather the upcoming heat!

Spring cleaning

Why Garden?

It’s spring in Portland!  It’s warming up and all sorts of plants are poking their heads out to see if it’s warm enough to start growing.  For those who garden, you have most likely already started planning what to put in the ground this year and maybe even started a few seeds!  What are the benefits of creating space for a garden, you may ask?  Well let me tell you:

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A lovely spring garden

  1. Gardening is great for you health!  From the physical exercise planting and maintaining your garden, to the nutritious fruits and vegetable they produce, gardening is a great way to stay in good physical shape.  Gardening can reduce stress and be a great project for you and your family to work on together.
  2. If you are looking to add value to your property, a garden can be a great addition.  A well maintained garden can potentially increase the curb appeal of your home.  It’s a great way to put your own personal touch on the landscaping of your property.
  3. Having a garden can has a positive impact on the environment! A well groomed lawn and healthy plants can reduce urban pollutants around your property.
  4. You don’t need acres of land or even a yard to start your own garden!  Plants can happily grow when potted or contained as long as they are well tended to and maintained.
  5. The final product!  What’s better than enjoying a tomato that you cultivated and nurtured from the seed to your table?  Knowing the source and quality of the food you feed your family is reason enough to start your garden!

Why do you garden?  What would you add to this list?

Thanksgiving safety tips

Tomorrow is one of our favorite holidays, Thanksgiving!  What a wonderful day to visit with friends and family, cook delicious food and enjoy some time to relax.  Ensure that your family will have a lovely and safe holiday with these tips!

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According to the NFPA, cooking fires (already the leading cause of home fire in the US) will triple the average on Thanksgiving Day.  Protect your home from these potential fire hazards:

Fire safety

Always be in the kitchen when cooking stovetop.  It is easy to get distracted on such a busy day, but always keep an eye on what’s going on while cooking.  Never leave the house while cooking your turkey.  Check on your bird frequently to check temperature and to make sure nothing is dripping in the stove.

Keep children a safe distance (at least 3 feet) from the stove and cooking instruments at all times.  Take care to make sure they do not carry or come into contact with hot liquids like gravy or hot oil.

Wear short sleeves while cooking or roll your sleeves securely into place.  Lose clothing can easily drag through hot food or a heat source causing burns or a fire.

Make sure your smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are in working order.  You want them to be ready should you ever need them!

If you are planning on frying your turkey this year (a common cause of fire damage) make sure your bird is thawed before adding it to the hot oil.  Check that you have the correct amount of oil in the pot so when the turkey is added it will not overflow.

Many families travel for the holidays which can leave homes vulnerable to break ins.

Travel safety –

Don’t post travel plans on social networks; not everyone needs to know that your home is going to be vacant for days at a time!

Have a kindly neighbor stop by the home to pick up the paper and mail and do a general sweep of your property to make sure nothing looks out of place.

Make sure to properly secure your home before leaving, checking all doors and window for properly locking mechanisms.  Remember to arm your alarm before leaving.

Nothing will put a damper on the holiday quite like a food borne illness; cook with caution!

Food handling –

Take care while thawing your turkey that it doesn’t drip on or contaminate other fresh foods.  Turkey can contain harmful bacteria that can make you very sick!

Keep your kitchen clean while cooking.  Utensils that come into contact with a raw bird should not be used on any other foods until they have been thoroughly sanitized.  Be aware of using porous materials, like wooden cutting boards and take extra care to clean them.

165 is the magic number when it comes to cooking turkey; this is the temperature at which harmful pathogens are destroyed.  If the temperature within the turkey is any less this, it can be dangerous to eat.  Make sure to test the temperature in a dense area like the breast.

When you’re done eating, don’t let your leftovers sit out for too long.  Package them up for turkey sandwiches, turkey stew, turkey casserole and turkey everything for days to come!

Happy holidays from all of us here at Kennedy Restoration!