Posts filed under ‘Maintenance’

Bedbugs Part 2 – Resources for Battle

Being what I am, responsible for low income multi-family housing, this subject has become very important of late.  Tonight I have a good selection of resources to dispel some myths and rumors around this pest.

First is a handout from the LA County Department of Health ( bedbugs_handout LA County Health) that is good primer on this annoyance.  Now after you read this you will realize that aside from the severe creep factor bedbugs aren’t going to cause the next plague.

The most common vector seems to be hotels and motels as this is the most highly reported cause for them to show up in your home.  There are of course web sites that can help you avoid these:

Bed Bug Registry – http://bedbugregistry.com/metro/la/

Bed Bugs Los Angeles – http://www.bedbugslosangeles.com/

These are both for Los Angeles but I am sure that there are sections or similar ones in most major cities by this time.

There is all one product that says it can help prevent you from bringing these pests home from your travels. This is the Packtite portable treatment device (http://www.usbedbugs.com/PackTite-Portable-Luggage-Heater_p_6.html)

Heat treatments are one proven way to get rid of most insect pests, including various grain beetles, roaches and termites so it is no surprise that it works for our new friend the bedbug.

If you are unfortunate to already have this problem please find a reputable local exterminator and don’t be pulled into some of the more shady proposals out there.  There are sites that will sell you “Do it yourself” kits that will most likely be a waste of your time and money. These pests are very hard to get rid of and experience is the key to success.

There is one unlikely solution that seems shady but isn’t.  There are trained dogs that can inspect your house to find where these bugs are hiding.  The sources I questioned support the claim of 90% accuracy of detection.  This process allows a much more targeted approach which save time and money.

So for tonight it really is “Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite”!

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

November 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm 1 comment

Bedbugs, now officially an epidemic!

I have written on this topic before and I was hopeful that science would have come up with a fairly simple answer to this age old problem.  However these pests seem to have joined drug resistant staph infections as things that have stumped science.

Now we are having Bed Bug Summits!  Actually the EPA had one last year (http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/csb_page/updates/2009/bed-bug-summit.html) that completely slipped my notice.  This year Bed Bug University, wait there is a whole university dedicated to eradicating these pests?  Anyway they held a summit in Chicago this year and it attracted a whole lot of attention.

The official Site: http://www.nabedbugsummit2010.com/

Chicago Tribune: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-09-21/news/ct-talk-bed-bug-summit-20100921_1_bedbugs-dini-miller-tiny-pests

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30208436/

CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/09/21/earlyshow/contributors/susankoeppen/main6887137.shtml

Okay you get the idea.  These pests have been on the march for a couple of years now and it seems that we aren’t going to get  a chemical savior anytime soon.  Unless of course we make DDT legal again.  So we are in for a long frustrating battle that may only be in the end a holding action.  No one is really sure why the infestation is growing so rapidly but there are certainly those searching for solutions.

Let’s just hope they find some good ones soon….

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

September 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm 1 comment

Follow up to Compact Fluorescents – Making the right choice

It seems that sometimes the information on a particular subject comes in streams over several days instead all at once and it is certainly the case about CFL’s.

Ecogeek.org has a great article (http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/2509/) on how to convince your friends to take the plunge into the world of more efficient lighting choices.

Excerpt: “In the fourth quarter of 2008, one out of every four bulbs sold in the U.S. were compact fluorescents. For the last five years, one out of every one bulbs I’ve bought have been compact fluorescents. What is up?

How have incandescent lights managed to hold on for so long? I’m going to do a little bit of guessing here, but this article, I hope, will help explain the resistance.

Also on Ecogeek.org another report is brought forward giving the good, the bad and the ugly about CFL’s. (http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/2507/) The report mentioned in the article is also found here: http://www.ewg.org/node/27399 It’s a great shopper’s guide to help us all get the best product and value when making greener lighting choices!

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

January 26, 2009 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

Compact Fluorescents – Making the right choice

I found a great article about choosing the right one of these bulbs for your use taking into account location and application.

There is a summary at SuperEco (http://www.supereco.com/news/2009/01/26/which-compact-fluorescent-bulb-is-right-for-you/) and the main article is at the Energy Star website: (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_shapes).

However as the article mentions you should really consider the location of these bulbs before installing.  I have several location in my house where a spiral bulb would be a mistake, such as track lighting in my stairway.

Also in outdoor locations it is better to buy the CFL’s that look like a conventional bulb in that they are enclosed.  The main reason, at least for me is that the regular bulbs always become spider or other vermin nests, bu the additional protections seems to allow for a slightly longer life.

Lastly keep in mind that a CFL may not be the best application and you may want to spend some extra money on a LED bulb or a CFL that can be dimmed.  All in all I can see that when the mandates to eliminate the incandescent bulbs become law I am sure I won’t have a single one left and so won’t care except from a historical viewpoint.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

January 26, 2009 at 7:34 am Leave a comment

October – National Toilet Repair Month!

Although this is one of those sponsored “official” celebrations, this time by Fluidmaster (http://www.fluidmaster.com/html/index.html), it is still good advice to actually take a good look at a household fixture that is very important to our everyday lives.

Excerpt from the Fluidmaster Site: “Fluidmaster Sponsors “National Toilet Repair Month” in October.

Fluidmaster, the world’s largest manufacturer of toilet replacement parts, has officially designated October as National Toilet Repair Month.

“We want to take the mystery out of toilet repair and care,” says Gary Harris, Vice President of Sales. “A well-tuned toilet is actually a very easy D-I-Y project . It provides long-term satisfaction for homeowner’s and consistent profit for our retailers. That’s why Fluidmaster created and continues to sponsor National Toilet Repair Month.”

The month will kick off with the finals competition for the Fluidmaster Flush-Off- a truly zany talent contest where contestants perform their best vocal impression of a toilet flush for an audience that includes nationwide media. This year’s Flush-Off will take place at Fluidmaster headquarters in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, October 6. Winners will take trophies home cash prizes of $250 to $1,000.

Fluidmaster will also promote Toilet Repair Month nationally with consumer publicity that spotlights America’s #1 D-I-Y plumbing project. D-I-Yers will learn of toilet trends, trivia and most important, the steps and components of a Toilet Tune-Up™.

October was selected as National Toilet Repair Month as it is historically a strong sales period for toilet repair products since many home repairs are tackled prior to holiday events and the arrival of house guests.

The lowely toilet, one of the marvels of indoor plumbing, can be a large waster of water.  If you live like I do in the desert southwest wasting water is a really big problem.  Routinely the Metropolitan Water District gives away free low flow toilets to help cut down on our use.

Here is an older but still very valid page with some interesting toilet facts and a good simple process to insure your toilet is in proper working order: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Fluidmaster+Celebrates+October+as+National+Toilet+Repair+Month-a019799813

Perhaps if NASA had heeded the sponsor’s advice we wouldn’t have had such a problem earlier this year at the international space station…In any event here is also a link talking about that little problem and for those of you who have to know and explainer about how you do the toilet thing in space: http://space.about.com/b/2008/05/28/space-station-toilet-broken.htm

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

October 12, 2008 at 8:21 pm Leave a comment

Time to check your roof, winter is coming!

One of the least maintained parts of any building is the roof. This is true for many reasons but certainly the most obvious is that it is often hard to get to safely. None the less periodic inspections and simple maintenance can lengthen the life and keep you dry this winter.

All good maintenance programs start with an inspection. Now I certainly don’t expect you to become a roofing expert by reading my post, but there are simple steps anyone can take.

First take a look at all of the parts that are easily visible from the ground and this includes all gutters and down spouts.  You are looking for obvious parts that are broken, disconnected in the case of the gutter or discolored.

Now if you can actually safely get up on the roof you should do a physical survey of the surface noting equipment, deficiencies and areas of future concern.  If possible a drawing should be made and phtographs should be taken to document the existing condition for use as a comparison in future years.

There are loads of offers on the web or in your mailbox for roof inspectors, often offering free inspections.  Be very careful as this is of course a way for roofing companies to drum up business and you may get a proposal for a complete new roof when yours is actually fine.

That being said let me offer you a few resources to help you at this point.  The first is a good checklist to aid you in being thorough in your inspection: http://www.pws.gov.nt.ca/pdf/publications/Roof-Inspection-Checklist.pdf Next are a couple of sites that give definitions of roofing terms and even a video of someone actually doing an inspectionand talking about the process (http://www.buyerschoiceinspections.com/Roofs). There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section from the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (http://www.asphaltroofing.org/resources_faq.html).

Here are also a couple of articles that cover this topic in more detail: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/ms/article.asp?id=5441&keywords=roof,%20roofing,%20ro%20ofs,%20roof%20inspection and http://www.inspect-ny.com/roof/roofing.htm

Lastly there is new technology that will help you understand the current condition as well as help you find that elusive leak, it is thermal imaging.  It is still fairly new and hence somewhat expensive however it is certainly useful when you can’t figure out where your building is leaking from.  Here is a good introduction ot the technology from Maintenance Solution Magazine: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/ms/article.asp?id=8595

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

September 29, 2008 at 10:15 pm 2 comments

Indoor Air Quality – Don’t let your building become sick!

One of the hardest calls to get as a facility or property manager is when someone claims that the building is making them sick.  It is hard especially because it may actually be true and because of that it must be treated most seriously. On the other hand with our society so in love with lawsuits it is something that is also very dangerous to your professional reputation.

There are many processes, chemicals allergens and building materials that can adversely affect you buildings indoor air quality (IAQ). A great explainer is listed here as part of an opinion of the European Commission Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER). : http://copublications.greenfacts.org/en/indoor-air-pollution/index.htm

Excerpt for the site: “Brussels, 24 June 2008. Indoor air may contain over 900 chemicals, particles and biological materials with potential health effects. When assessing the health risks to the general population and particular vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and elderly people, the principles used in the EU for risk assessment of chemicals should also be applied to indoor air. This is one of the conclusions of a recent opinion by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER).”

There is also guidance from our own EPA: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/ia-intro.html However the main tenents are these:

1. Maximize the introduction of fresh air into the space and filter this air for the elimination of outside irritants.

2. Minimize the use of caustic chemicals in the space. this also includes the off gassing common to some building materials and finishes.

3. Be very diligent about handling water intrusion into the building to minimize the chances of mold growing out of control in any of the interior space. Mold growth requires three things to grow, cellulose, darkness and water.

4. Create and diligently manage a complete janitorial plan for the building to lessen the effects of a build up of dust and dirt.

5. Comprehensive pest control using green techniques.

Now I have posted previously on all of these seperate issues and will add to those as I find additional supporting articles and evidence.  These are liste under the maintenance catagory in the side bar.

The other pitfall to be aware of is the legal ramifications of the situation.  If someone is claiming illness then this becomes a workplace injury and all of the OSHA and worker’s compensation rules apply.  The OSHA rules can be found here: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html

The good news is that this also provides additional resources and expertise you can call on to resolve the problem.  You should absolutely involve your superiors and your Human Resources department and potentially your insurance company that provides the worker’s compensation coverage. This frees you up to worry about the building problems and leaves the legal and medical issues to those whose job it is. By involving your superiors at the beginning you can educate them about the problem, gaining by in and streamlining getting the problem resolved.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

July 17, 2008 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Categories

Feeds