7 Things to Buy for Your Home at the End of Summer

Summer is on its way out and fall is just around the corner! While it may be tempting to spend every free moment at the pool or park soaking up the last of summer’s rays, the end of summer is the perfect time to prepare your home for the onslaught of winter. At Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine, we know it can be tough to discern which projects you need to accomplish now and which ones can wait until a little later in the season. We compiled this list of 7 things to buy now. You’ll be thanking yourself when winter rolls around!

1. Weather stripping and/or caulk. If your windows or doors are drafty, you’ll really start to feel it when the cold weather hits in a few months! Buy some new weather stripping or caulk and apply it to your windows and doors now (bonus: It’ll save you a little extra cash on your energy bill during that last heat wave of summer!).
2. Furnace filters. Be honest—when was the last time you replaced your furnace filter? If you can’t remember (or didn’t know they required replacing), it’s time to head to the hardware store! Dirty filters inhibit air flow, so you’ll get better heating for better prices this winter if you change your filter now. Plus, you’ll actually increase the life of your furnace if you regularly replace your filters. If your furnace hasn’t had regular maintenance work done in over a year, it’s time to call a professional.
3. Hardy winter plants. It’s time to clear the annuals out of your window boxes and invest in some hardy winter plants to keep your yard bright during the colder months ahead. Plants like chrysanthemums, cabbage, fuchsias and hollies blossom late into the winter and stand up well to cold temperatures.
4. Candles, flashlights and matches. Remember last winter, when the windstorm knocked the power out and you couldn’t find candles or flashlights anywhere in your home? Don’t let this year be a repeat performance! At the end of summer, take the time to stock up on these key items. Store them together in a specific, waterproof, easy-access spot in your home. When this year’s “big one” hits, you’ll be glad you planned ahead!
5. A storm door. If you have an older home, your front and back doors may be made of un insulated wood—not the best material for keeping windstorms and freezing temperatures out! You might want to consider installing a storm door, which helps seal the entrance, making your home more comfortable and fuel efficient during the winter months. Storm doors are installed outside of your exterior doors; while you don’t have to remove your interior door to do so, you do have to keep the doors open during installation, so it’s best to do this project now before it gets too cold!
6. Deck sealant. Does your wood deck look graying or faded? Is it starting to crack or grow mildew? If so, you need to reseal your deck before fall begins; otherwise, you risk snowstorms and subsequent snowmelt ruining your deck beyond repair (resulting in exorbitant replacement costs). Also, now’s the time to check for mold growth and call in a professional if hazardous spores are spreading within your deck.
7. Canned food and bottled water. At the end of summer, do an inventory of your emergency food and water stash. Toss any expired cans, and make sure to replenish your food and water supplies—experts recommend having enough to last each member of your family for three days. When the blizzards do hit, you won’t have to fight the crowds at the supermarkets and risk the stores being sold out of necessities.

Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine services the following communities: Bangor Brewer, Old Town, Ellsworth, MDI, Houlton, Waterville, Augusta, and surrounding towns in Central & Down East Maine.

News Release

Property damage restoration company, Paul Davis, provides safety tips for
National Preparedness Month in September

Old Town, ME – Paul Davis, a leading national provider of water, fire and mold damage clean up and restoration services for residential and commercial properties, supports National Preparedness Month to help individuals and families. “Disasters can strike at any time. It is essential to take readiness steps now for a better response later,” said Keith Trembley, owner of Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine “The National Preparedness Month event is a great reminder for communities and businesses everywhere to always be prepared for a disaster.”

According to The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA), the program focuses on preparing for threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk to the security of the United States. It is the shared responsibility of individuals, communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, along with Federal, state, and local government.

The program stresses the lessening of impact from natural disasters and promotes quick response to save lives, protect property, the environment, and meet basic human needs in the aftermath of a catastrophic incident.

This year, the National Preparedness Month theme includes creating a family emergency plan; emergency supply kits; help for neighbors in need, and teamwork for safety. Visit www.Ready.gov for information.

Paul Davis recommends the following for a Basic Emergency Kit:

• Water – one gallon per person per day for at least three days
• Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• Clothing – change of clothing and a sleeping bag for each person
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio, a NOAA Weather Radio, extra batteries
• Cell Phone and charger
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit – sterile gloves; adhesive bandages; antibiotic ointment; gauze pads; iodine/alcohol pads; medical tape; pain reliever; emergency Mylar blanket; thermometer; prescription medications and supplies.
• Waterproof, portable containers – for IDs, insurance policies, bank account records, site maps, employee contact, computer backup files, emergency and law enforcement information, and priority documents. Store a second set of records off-site.

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About Paul Davis:
Paul Davis Restoration, Inc., a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation (NASDAQ: FSRV; TSX: FSV), is a national franchisor and leading provider of restoration services for residential and commercial properties since 1966. Paul Davis also provides complete remodeling services and has franchise locations throughout North America with owners and technicians who are certified by The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Visit the local office website at www.keithtrembley.com.

Tropical Storm Isaac and the Top 5 Ways to Prepare for a Disaster

Residents of the Gulf Coast are busy preparing as Tropical Storm Isaac churns toward them; it’s expected to become a Category 1 hurricane—and hit land—Tuesday. At Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine, we recognize that no matter where you live, disaster can strike at any time. We want to help you be prepared. Here’s a list of the top five things you should do in advance of a storm—keep these tips handy so you’re prepared to be prepared.

The top 5 ways you can prepare for a disaster:
1. Stock up
Make sure your basic emergency kit is fully stocked. It should include:
• Three-day supply of food and water for each member of your family
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Portable radio
• Changes of clothing and a sleeping bag per person
• Copies of all important records (IDs, insurance papers, emergency information and priority documents) in a waterproof container
2. Cover up
One of the best ways to protect your home from storm damage is by covering all of your windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection; if a storm is approaching and you don’t have shutters, board up your windows with plywood—tape alone will not protect your windows from wind damage!
3. Clean up
If a natural disaster is on its way, take a few moments to prepare your yard. Move all outdoor furniture, toys, garbage cans and anything else that’s not secure or tied down into your home to prevent these items from becoming projectiles during the storm.
4. Study up
In the event of a natural disaster, it’s important for you to know your surroundings. Is your property flood-prone? Do you know the quickest way to higher ground? Where’s the nearest shelter, and will they accept you if you have pets? Do nearby levees and dams pose threats to your property? Learn all you can now to keep you and your family safe when disaster strikes.
5. Get out
If local authorities direct you to evacuate, you should do so immediately. Follow all instructions and stick to the suggested evacuation routes.

In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, we at Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine are committed to providing useful and relevant safety and emergency tips for commercial property and homeowners. Check in weekly for the latest information to help you prepare for and ride out disasters from tropical storms to wildfires.

Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine services the following communities: Bangor Brewer, Old Town, Ellsworth, MDI, Houlton, Waterville, Augusta, and surrounding towns in Central & Down East Maine.

5 surprising things that can melt in the heat

Whew! Is it hot out enough for you? It’s the tail end of summer and as heat waves (and wildfires) sweep across the country, our homes are getting a little warmer than we’d prefer. Even if you’re accustomed to extreme temperatures, you may be surprised by what household items can get damaged by the heat. At Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine, we want to help you eliminate those unpleasant discoveries and any potential hazards that may come from these unplanned meltdowns. Check out these 5 surprising items that can melt in the heat and how to keep them properly stored.

1. Vinyl siding
Yep…even your house can melt during a heat wave. Melting vinyl occurs during house fires or when grills are placed to close to your home, but it can also occur in hot weather. If you have vinyl siding, constant exposure to harsh sunlight (usually caused by reflections from house and car windows) can make your siding warp. There’s even a phrase for it: “thermal distortion.” This is a tricky phenomenon to prevent, but you can always check your home for reflected light from parked cars and move your vehicles to a designated spot during the summer months where no reflection occurs. If your siding has already started sliding due to excessive heat or wildfire damage, call in a restoration professional for wildfire clean up assistance and get your home’s exterior back in tip-top shape.

2. Candles
Candles are supposed to melt…but not when they’re unlit! If your house doesn’t have air conditioning, you may find your candles drooping over in extreme heat (particularly soy-based candles, which have relatively low melting points of around 120 degrees Fahrenheit). If you do get melted wax on your furniture or other soft material, a company specializing in “Soft Contents Restoration Technology” could potentially save the day.

3. Crayons
Decorative melted crayon art may be all the rage among DIYers right now, but your kids probably won’t see the artistic merit in accidently melted crayons when they just want to color! Be sure to check the car seats for stray Crayolas before they get molded into the fabric—crayons start to soften when temps reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Crayons aren’t your kids’ only possessions that will melt at relatively low temperatures—plastic toys also are quick to melt in the heat.

4. Cheap grills
You would think that a grill would be able to withstand extreme temperatures—after all, that’s what they’re made for. But cheap grills sometimes have major meltdowns (there’s a reason they’re $9.99). The heat from the charcoal can melt an inexpensive grill’s lid or interior, resulting in minor fires. Unfortunately, even high-quality grills can melt—grease fires can raise the heat of the fire to extreme temperatures, melting the internal parts of the grill (as in this photo). If you’re shopping for a portable grill, be sure to read customer reviews first before you hit the “purchase” button.

5. Steering wheels
Picture this: You gingerly get into your car after it’s been sitting in the bright sun all afternoon. You put on your seatbelt, turn on the engine and touch the steering wheel…ouch! Surprisingly, steering wheels actually can start to melt and warp in hot and humid conditions. To prevent yours from doing the same, try using a windshield sunshade whenever you park, and consider purchasing a wheel skin. Remember, if it’s hot out enough to melt your steering wheel, it’s too hot for a multitude of other household items left in your car—makeup, food products and chemical products. Always bring hazardous materials such as paint and cleaning supplies into a cool place like the garage and store them carefully to avoid any accidents.

Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine services the following communities: Bangor Brewer, Old Town, Ellsworth, MDI, Houlton, Waterville, Augusta, and surrounding towns in Central & Down East Maine.

10 funny things your home says about you

Your home – and everything you choose to place in it – says a lot about your family. And whether or not you realize it, your home’s personality says a lot about you! At Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine we see examples of this everyday as we go from home to home to help families recover from weather events and natural disasters. We see how much energy, time and money many families spend to keep their homes in good condition, and we also see how lack of preparation can lead to even a worse outcome after a disaster! We’d never name names, of course, but we did pull together a list of 10 types homes and their owners. Find your match and then tell us: Do you agree?

The Master of Disaster
Your garage is stocked to the rafters in anticipation of Armageddon (maybe a bit too much—when was the last time the family car fit inside?!). But being reasonably prepared for an emergency, particularly if you live in regions prone to natural disasters, is a smart way to protect you and your family.

With that in mind, here’s a look at some statistics about your chances of being caught in a weather events:

• Hurricanes. According to the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, if you live in Miami, FL, you have a 48% chance per season of experiencing a hurricane. That’s tied with Cape Hattaras, NC, as the highest average in the nation. San Juan, Puerto Rico residents have a 42% chance and New Orleans residents have a 40% chance per season!
• Tornados. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, on average 1000 tornados hit the U.S. each year!
• Earthquakes. Alaska and California experience the most earthquakes per year. SoCal has an estimated 10,000 earthquakes, but of those, only several hundred have a magnitude of greater than 3.0 and only 15-20 are greater than a 4.0, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That said, earthquakes happen everywhere in the world—so a little preparation to keep your home safe is good common sense.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Your family is rough-and-tumble and er, your home is showing it. It looks like a shootout might’ve occurred in your living room! Sometimes cosmetic fixes can wait until the kids and the puppy have matured. But here are some important structural things you should take care of today.

• Mold grows quickly. Did you know it only takes 48 hours for mold to start growing after water damage and/or exposure? So if you have a leak in your bathroom, dry it immediately to prevent mold growth. And if you already have a mold problem, call in a professional immediately to get it taken care of!
• Ladders are dangerous. Each year, Americans make more than 164,000 emergency room visits related to ladder falls, and most ladder deaths result from falls of 10 feet or less. If your roof needs patching or resurfacing, be safe and call a trained professional to make the fixes for you.
• Wires cause fires. More than half a million Americans seek treatment for burns each year, and more than half of these injuries happen at home. One major cause? Electrical fires. If you notice a frayed cord or smell smoke when you plug an appliance in, stop using it immediately until you have it evaluated by a professional. If your light switches feel hot to the touch, this is a sign your wiring may be faulty and it’s time to call in someone to evaluate your electrical system.

The Hostess with the Mostest
You know how to throw a great party—your food is delicious, décor classy and playlist perfect! Everyone clamors for an invitation; often, your home is filled to the brim with your friends. While you may have prepared for the arrival of adults, take a few moments to make sure your home is ready for kids, too! These are the three biggest no-nos for hosting whole-family parties:

1. Adult food only. Sure, some of your friends’ kids may have sophisticated palates, but we can’t imagine many children who’d be happy eating foie gras and caviar for dinner! Make sure you provide plenty of kid-friendly options along with your adult fare.
2. Not enough entertainment. Since you and your friends are happy to gab until the sun sets, it’s easy to forget that kids bore easily and need activities (or at least, a good climbing tree!). Set out coloring books, puzzles and toys for kids to play with.
3. Inviting too many guests. In a sea of unfamiliar faces, many children become shy or downright scared. Don’t invite so many guests that the children might feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed.

The Gadget Genius
What can you say, you love technology! Your home office looks like an extension of the electronics store and you’re always on the hunt for the next greatest gizmo. But if you find yourself running to the basement far too often to reset the circuit breakers, your gadgetry may have gone too far! You may be a tech whiz, but how much do you know about home electronics safety? Check out these common myths and misconceptions:

• Plugging your gadgets into a power strip doesn’t have a safety benefit. False! A power strip, also known as a surge protector, will protect your sensitive tech toys from over-voltages of power, which could result in a fried laptop or smartphone.
• Turning off your toys is the final step for safety. False! After you’ve finished using and turn off your gadget, there’s still one final step: Unplug it! Not only are you saving on energy costs, you’re also eliminating potential fire hazards and protecting your toys from electrical surges.

Animal Farm
Your house resembles a farm, and you love each and every animal dearly. That’s why it’s so heartbreaking for you when your pets are frightened from a storm! But there are some ways you can be prepared to help your furry friends feel calmer:

• Dogs. According to the Humane Society, dogs will try to reduce their fear through destruction and escape. Barking, chewing, howling and digging are all ways your dog demonstrates his fear. The Humane Society suggests creating a safe place for your dog to retreat to during a storm, and distracting him or her with an activity or toy right when he or she is beginning to get anxious. Never punish your dog for being afraid, or force her to experience or listen to the noise that frightens her—this could increase her aggressiveness or destructiveness.
• Cats. Cats tend to display fewer outward signs of fear during storms than dogs, but this doesn’t mean they’re comfortable or fearless! Cats tend to hide during storms, and experts agree the best method of handling a frightened cat is to provide a safe haven. If you can bring your cat into a contained room (like a basement), this will help reduce their anxiety.

Top Chef
Anyone can see from your kitchen that you’re a master cook—you’ve got the mess from constant activity (and something delicious simmering on the stove at this very minute) to prove it! But even top chefs need some safety reminders every now and then. Take a peek at these three tips:

1. Use a glass, not wood or plastic, cutting board for meat and veggies. The surfaces of wood and plastic cutting boards can be nicked, allowing bacteria to hide and potentially make you ill.
2. You may be busy cooking up a storm, but leaving your dirty knife out anywhere in the kitchen—even the sink!—is dangerous. Instead, take a minute and wash, dry and put away your knife immediately after you’re finished using it to prevent accidents.
3. Taking your cooking to your outdoor kitchen? Keep a plastic spray bottle of water next to the grill to manage any flare-ups.

Mr. Clean
You believe everything has its place, and your home is a perfect reflection of that mantra—it’s spotless! But all that cleaning may have potential hazards for your health. If you store or use your chemicals and pesticides incorrectly, you could inhale or absorb them through your skin with potentially fatal consequences. Plus, who wants to breathe in hundreds of unpronounceable chemicals every time they clean the bathtub?!

The next time you’re scanning the detergent aisle, look for product with “green” labels. You’ll find brands covering a variety of cleaning needs from detergents and soaps to traditional bathroom and kitchen cleaners, all of which are nontoxic and natural. Many companies with traditionally “harsh” chemicals in their products are jumping on the green bandwagon. Now you can feel good about getting your scrub on!

Some Like It Cool
Your home’s chilly 60-degree temperature is a year-round indicator that you hate being overheated. But in the stifling summer months, running your air conditioner constantly can make a serious dent in your wallet! In fact, the average homeowner spends roughly $375 (or 17% of their total energy costs) per year cooling their home! How does your energy bill compare?

The Fish
From the Pacific Ocean to your bathtub (with some toy sailboats afloat in it), you love being in the water. But traveling to the Florida or California coast (and stops at big-name parks your kids are desperate to visit!) for a summer getaway costs some serious cash. A 2010 American Express survey found that the average family of four spends $4000 on summer vacations, including airfare. Ouch!

Instead, plan a staycation: Purchase a guidebook or surf the net for fun facts about your city. Visit all the historical monuments and attractions (think zoos, aquariums and national/state parks) — they often offer discounts to locals. Time your vacation around a local event your family would enjoy, whether it’s strawberry picking when the weather warms up or your city’s annual food fest. Splurge on things you normally skimp on when you travel – a short stay at an upscale hotel (yes, in your own city!) or a Kobe steak dinner at a five-star restaurant. Make sure to treat your staycation like a real vacation—that means no checking your work email or tackling the leaves in the gutters!

The Chronic DIY-er
The welcome mat made out of corks? You made that. The farmhouse table in your kitchen? You made that too. You are a DIY master, and your home is filled with beautiful projects you created using love and a whole lotta elbow grease. Check out these potential projects:

• Hardwood floors. You’ve gotta love the appeal of sleek hardwood floors, especially on the first floor of a home. If you already have hardwood floors, consider re-sanding or replacing them for maximum visual appeal!
• A finished basement. Who wouldn’t want to add extra space to their house? A comfortable basement not only adds square footage to your home, but it’s the perfect opportunity for you to invest in some “fun” spaces like a media room.
• An upgraded kitchen. Perhaps the most popular focal point for American upgrades is the kitchen. After all, you and your family spend hours preparing and eating delicious meals there, so why not make it an efficient, attractive space? Consider granite countertops, new appliances and an island to boost your kitchen’s value.

Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine services the following communities: Bangor Brewer, Old Town, Ellsworth, MDI, Houlton, Waterville, Augusta, and surrounding towns in Central & Down East Maine.