SERVPRO® is often recognized as a nation-wide leader in disaster restoration services but, it is important to note that SERVPRO® of Washington County and all SERVPRO® locations are locally owned and operated. As a local business, we enjoy getting involved in our community; getting to know each other, engaging in community events, and of course, working with other business owners in our area when needed. We know that working locally means our reputation is always on the line and for each and every job it is of the utmost importance for our team to maintain our great reputation, especially with our neighbors!
In addition to our restoration services, we can also provide our neighbors cleaning services. We provide carpet and upholstery cleaning and ductwork cleaning, contact our office today!
As an insurance agent, adjuster or property manager you may wonder why SERVPRO extracts water from soaked rugs and carpets that will most likely end up being thrown away anyway! There are a few reasons for this; first, the weight of a wet carpet or rug requires more manpower to remove and move, so extracting water reduces the weight of the carpets to be removed significantly. This not only makes the material easier to lift and requires fewer technicians but it is safer for our technicians to handle, reducing on-site injuries. Also, by removing the weight of the water we reduce the amount of total weight of the waste removed, helping to keep waste removal fees down. Finally, by extracting and removing the water from wet carpets and rugs we are removing the water from the property entirely! The importance of this cannot be understated because removing water from the property quickly is the first step in preventing further structural damage and mold growth. Dragging wet rugs and carpets from a property without extraction can leave water behind and exasperate an already dire situation.
Every once in a while we get a little special recognition from our clients. It's not that we need it, our clients are always thankful, but it is great to know we personally helped someone so much they felt the need to send a gift. Here is a photo of a note and gift to one of our project managers Ray Erazo, who once again went above and beyond for the comfort of a client. Ray is one of our longest tenured employees and an all-star in restoration project management. Great work Ray!
In the wintertime, we tend to forget about mold becoming an issue in the home. For the most part, we associate mold with humid summer days creating the perfect environment for mold growth in dark, damp spaces… but this is not always the case. For example, mold growth can strike quickly after a flood or fire even in the winter. We recently encountered a home in which the pipes had burst on the third floor of the dwelling. With no one home, the water soaked the home for 2 days before the leak was discovered. Our crew began working in the home within 72 hours of the disaster and within that time mold growth could be seen on wet surfaces throughout the house. If not properly treated mold can quickly make its way into difficult to find places like vents and ducts where it may cause health issues to those in the home if not removed.
Finding mold in your home or commercial property is a precarious situation. Sometimes it may be a localized outbreak that can be easily cleaned away, other times what appears to be a small patch of mold is an indication of a much bigger issue that could be hazardous to the health of those living in the home. SERVPRO of Washington County’s mold remediation is second to none and will evaluate and remediate mold outbreaks.
As many areas in the US see continued growth many old, unoccupied commercial buildings are now opening their doors again. If you encounter mold in your new commercial property SERVPRO of Washington County can help. Call our office today and we can send an experienced technician to review your mold issue.
Restoring a home or place of business after a small fire is always a difficult task. Even a small cooking fire can cause damage and immerse the surrounding areas with soot and a smell that will linger permanently if not treated correctly. SERVPRO® of Washington County is the area's most experienced disaster recovery team. We have decades of combined experience amongst our ranks and we extensively train each and every new crew member to utilize proven techniques and to optimally manage all drying equipment. Since we are a SERVPRO® Franchise we have access to new technology, equipment, and methods that are backed and tested by the nation's most reliable disaster relief franchise. Hopefully, you will never need our services, but if your home or commercial properties ever experience a fire we will be there when you call.
Residential fires are some of the most difficult situations we encounter. Not because our crew is unprepared for the event, but because the personal loss of a home and possessions is extremely painful for the owners and can lead to a highly scrutinized job site. Our crew is prepared for this and sympathizes with the anguish each and every homeowner feels after a disaster has impeded their life. We are trained to move quickly understanding that every moment saved at the onset of disaster recovery increases the chance of a successful mitigation exponentially. We carefully attempt to salvage any items that can be restored and store them in our warehouse to be cleaned and dried. After the structure has been reviewed we then begin the cleaning process, being careful to protect any undamaged areas of the home before we start. Once clean we can begin drying and assessing the damage totality, our trained crew includes carpenters and other subcontractors that can help to expedite the recovery process and get you back in your home faster.
Reaction-time cannot be underestimated when disaster strikes a retail establishment. At SERVPRO of Washington County we strive to react and be onsite within the hour for most disasters. Recently we responded to a call from a retail store where flooding had occurred. Our team arrived on-site and immediately removed & stored all retail goods from the affected area, saving the owners thousands in lost merchandise. Next the crew began to contain the water damage to the already affected areas of the store to prevent further damage. Using our know-how and the drying equipment at our disposal the crew was able to begin mitigation processes within 45 minutes of arrival. Once further damage was contained our repair crew began to take preventative measures to safeguard the structure from further flooding knowing another rain storm was due the following day. Once drying was complete our contracting team took over and began the repairs needed to fix the damage from the flood and to repair the building to prevent a future flood.
When disaster strikes a business or commercial property SERVPRO of Washington County has scored high ranks with our clients, we understand the importance of ensuring a business or commercial is in operation as soon as possible. In many cases we are able to isolate the area where the disaster has struck and the business can remain in operation. Recently we were called to a disaster at a hotel where water from persistent rains flooded the lobby. Upon arrival our first goal was to clean and restore as much of the lobby as possible. We knew that by doing so we could allow the hotel to operate and service their customers as we continued to mitigate and dry the public areas of the business. Our team built temporary barriers to block the view of the equipment and the crew as the mitigation work was underway, 24/7 until the lobby was 100% recovered.
Some of the most rewarding work we do is directly in our community. When we are called to a disaster in our hometown of Westerly, RI we know that our every-step is on display to individuals we may end up seeing around the community many times over afterward and we must step-up our performance. A few years ago we had been called to a summer home on Atlantic Ave which had flooded after a winter storm. We were on the scene within the hour and began the process of mitigating and repairing the home. Little did we know the owner of the home was also a local business owner and his boatyard also suffered damage after the storm. Thanks to our crew and their professional approach in the beach home we were called into work on and mitigate the water damaged suffered in the warehouse and office building of the yard.
All too often homeowners wait too long before contacting a water damage mitigation expert in the event of a flood. A good example is when an appliance (like the dishwasher or washing machine) breaks and leaks throughout the house. If you are lucky you realize the leak right away and are able to fix the problem before any real damage is done. But many times a small leak goes undetected for weeks until the leak expands and parts of the home begin to show water damage.
In one particular example, a two-story single family home was set up with the washer and dryer on the second floor. The homeowners left the machine running before leaving for the day and returned home to find the supply hose had become detached from the washing machine and was draining onto the carpets and throughout the house.
They attempted to dry the mess themselves and waited 5 days before contacting SERVPRO of Washington County multiplying the problem and damage to their home.
Needless to say, it has been a busy hurricane season in the United States. SERVPRO of Washington County has been busy serving the affected communities while also leaving an experienced crew behind ready to serve Rhode Island in case emergency restoration services have been needed.
During the last few months, we have provided equipment, manpower, and management in the hurricane-affected areas of Texas, Florida, Louisana, Mississippi & Alabama. It has been difficult work and hard to witness the damage first hand but it has also been uplifting to see the resolve of the people who want to get back to normal and have pitched in to help their community.
We would like to send our continued prayers to the communities surrounding the hurricane zones of Houston & Florida, SERVPRO of Washington County is available if you need us!
AT SERVPRO® of Washington County we believe learning shouldn’t be paused or canceled, even in the face of disaster. Disasters at an educational facility are highly complex and require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a small school or a campus of higher education, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area so that normal operations can continue while we restore your facility. Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area. Your job is to provide valuable lessons and information to the students; ours is to make sure you have a safe place to do so.
An Emergency Ready Profile Can Save You Thousands. By profiling your school, library, daycare or event facility with SERVPRO of Washington County you allow us to document and understand how to approach any disaster with the intent of mitigating further damage immediately upon our arrival on the scene.
Setting up your Emergency Ready Profile is easy, simply call (401)-315-2337 and we will schedule a convenient date and time for an SERVPRO Project Manager to review, document, tag, and photograph your facilities as part of your new Emergency Ready Program Profile.
Our team of disaster restoration professionals is well trained in adhering to the highest sanitation standards, especially when working in 'clean spaces' such as hospitals, doctors offices, rehab facilities, etc.. Our team knows time is crucial for both your operations and your patients and we strive to work around the clock to complete the task at hand as quickly as possible.Each crew member undergoes specialized training to work in operating rooms and other restricted areas and knows how to handle regulated medical waste according to HIPPA regulations. We also adhere to a strict policy that every medical facility disaster is prepared for environmental and infection control, and teams establish containment areas, monitor progress and make sure that all necessary health certifications are obtained prior to completing any job. Our number one priority is to quickly and safely take full responsibility of your cleanup needs so that you are free to focus on your number one priority: the patients. Our experience in the healthcare industry has given us the ability to provide a variety of detailed services for the following:
Summer is a time to enjoy the great outdoors, but it is also important to keep safety in mind. Consider the following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association to keep you and your family safe all summer long.
When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. Extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite.
Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.
Your local SERVPRO® of Washington County wishes you a safe and happy summer!
Choosing the right carpet cleaning company has never been easier. SERVPRO of Long Island City's professional cleaning crew is available for carpet cleaning work of any size. Our experience and powerful cleaning equipment can handle large commercial and residential cleaning jobs such as hotels, lobbies, and common hallways. Or small jobs such as residential homes and small business retail locations. As the country's leader in disaster restoration SERVPRO employees have become accustomed to clean-up work that appears to be beyond repair. Yet time and time again their training and determination prove otherwise thus earning a reliable reputation for disaster clean-up. Carpet cleaning, although smaller in scale visually, is not much different than a full on disaster. It requires the technician carefully evaluates the situation and determines the course of action to produce the best results.
As we begin the summer months it is important to note the start of the 2017 hurricane season is also underway. Meteorologist and scientist around the world believe this year we could see an increased number of Atlantic Ocean hurricanes due to a weak to non-existent El Nino effect. SERVPRO of Washington County offers experienced leadership and crew members when it comes to hurricane damage and flooding mitigation.
Experienced team members play a crucial role in reducing the damage caused by severe weather, especially in coastal communities. SERVPRO of Washington County managers and crew members have participated in mitigating floods across the country including floods caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2014.
Please take a minute to note this phone number, 401-315-2337, our office is available 24-7 and ready to send a prepared crew to your emergency situation in a moment's notice. We offer several mitigation services that can drastically reduce the overall damage caused by weather.
Nationwide 2017 has been a unique year for weather. Across the country cities and towns have been stressed by the weather extremes from snowfall accumulating in 48 of 50 states to almost non-stop rain storms and flooding throughout the spring in some areas. The next battle will be the warm summer months and mold will be a new challenge as a result of the spring weather. SERVPRO technicians everywhere are getting prepared for what they believe will be an above average year for mold contamination in homes and commercial properties everywhere.
In New England states like Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts many homes and commercial properties will have mold issues, especially in basements and lower levels. These areas tend to get very little light and remain damp even when the temperature rises creating the perfect environment for mold to thrive.
If you believe your home, office or commercial building could be experiencing mold issues call us today! 401-315-2337
Commercial damage and restoration projects can be difficult for Insurance Adjusters to project and estimate. Our executive team recently held a class offering an opportunity to meet with area adjusters and help them to understand commercial disaster applications and how to better cost analyze these specific types of projects. Insurance adjusters from several different companies attended the class and were each able to take away helpful tools and tips for several different types of restoration jobs such as water and fire damage, mold remediation and more.
SERVPRO of Washington County is happy to arrange these types of seminars for insurance agents and adjusters who would like to better understand how to estimate and price services in a disaster situation. Contact our office today and we will provide you details for your companies private seminar.
Springtime cleaning in the coastal New England states of Connecticut, Rhode Island & Massachusetts usually means the typical top-to-bottom refreshing of a home or place of business that is needed after a long winter. Many times homeowners and business managers take on these tasks in-house and spend hours cleaning surface dust and dirt refreshing and cleaning the space. While this may give an appearance of a freshly cleaned space SERVPRO Professionals know there is so much more to true “spring cleaning”.
One of the first task to evaluating a commercial or residential space is to identify the type of heating source used throughout the winter; homes or businesses using duct work to provide heat should begin by cleaning ducts ensuring the dust a debris collected after a full season heating is removed. SERVPRO of Washington County provides duct cleaning services throughout Rhode Island and the surrounding area; so even if you prefer to do the bulk of spring cleaning in your home we can help to clean your duct work to ensure clean air when it is time to turn on the air conditioning.
For commercial spaces duct work cleaning is imperative as larger buildings will accumulate more dust and debris and, in turn the accumulation reduces airflow and air purity for the entire property. SERVPRO of Washington County is an experienced commercial property duct cleaning provider and can offer you a no obligation evaluation of your property. Clean ducts can not only help to provide cleaner air into your facility but drastically reduces cooling and heating cost and can prevent the likelihood of fire do to a heating system malfunction.
Contact a SERVPRO professional from SERVPRO of Washington County today. We specialize in spring cleaning of any size from duct and carpet cleaning, to hoarder clean-outs and disaster restoration we are a team you can trust!
Fire pits are a great way to accessorize your yard and they are perfect for gatherings! When you use your fire pit, make sure you are keeping you and your property safe by following these safety tips!
Make sure you keep your fire pit AT LEAST 10 feet away from any structures. This may help prevent sparks from hitting your home and excessive smoke from entering your or your neighbor’s home.
Do NOT put your fire pit under tree branches or on a covered deck. Make sure your fire pit is in a location where the flames and sparks will not hit any objects.
Under the Pit
If your fire pit is not built into the ground, make sure you have stone, brick, gravel, or concrete under the pit. This will help prevent the area below the pit from burning. You should NEVER place your pit over dry grass or over a wooden deck. This is because the heat from the base of it pit may spark a fire to the ground below it.
Do not use your fire pit if it is windy. The wind may push sparks from the fire to an area that is flammable.
When you are using your fire pit, you should notice the direction the breeze is blowing. You should move any object out of the way of where the breeze is blowing to help prevent a fire from occurring.
Lighting the Pit
When lighting your fire pit, use a commercial fire starter pack. Do NOT use lighter fluid or gasoline to light the pit or to relight fires. You should always keep water nearby just in case the fire inside of the pit spreads.
Before you use your fire pit, you should check your town’s laws on fire pits. Some towns require a permit and an inspection. If the unfortunate happens, call the experts at SERVPRO. We will restore your property and make it look “Like it never even happened.”
It’s that time of year where everyone wonders if they should get their air ducts cleaned. Dirty air ducts usually spread dust, dirt, and mold around your property. This can lead to poor indoor air quality.
While it is normal to have some dust and pollen in your air ducts, you might want to consider getting your ducts cleaned if the following is true:
1. There is mold growing inside of the air ducts
It is not always easy to see if mold is present. If your service provider says that mold is growing, ask him to show you where it is. If you do have mold in your air ducts, please note that it is impossible to completely get rid of mold.
2. Your ducts are infested with vermin
Do you have unwanted guests living in your air ducts? If so, you should call an expert to get them out as quickly as possible in order to prevent the problem from getting worse.
3. Your ducts are clogged with debris and dust
If your air ducts are clogged, you should call a professional to clean out your ducts. A clog can contribute to poor air quality.
If you have experienced any of the above issues, make sure you find out what caused the issue because it is likely that it will happen again.
If you believe your ventilation system falls into one of these three categories, call SERVPRO! The experts at SERVPRO will inspect your ductwork and HVAC system, give recommendations about the best way to address poor air quality, and fix your problem.
Mold can grow everywhere, from your carpet to your window seals, and even inside of your walls! Sometimes it is easy to detect mold, and other times it’s more difficult. While it is impossible to completely eliminate mold, here are some tips on how to prevent mold from growing.
Dry Wet Areas
Mold needs moisture to grow. You can help prevent mold from growing by wiping away condensation and by not leaving wet items around. Always make sure you wipe down the bathroom after you shower and hang wet towels in a room with good air circulation to dry.
Poor ventilation allows water to stay in the area and may help mold grow. If you are doing an activity that produces a lot of moisture, like cooking, make sure you are using the exhaust fan. You can always open up a window in addition to using an exhaust fan.
The EPA recommends indoor air humidity should be between 30 and 60 percent. You can keep an eye on humidity levels in your home with a moisture meter which can be picked up at your local hardware store.
If your home has high humidity levels, you may want to get a dehumidifier. This will help keep humidity levels down.
Direct Moisture Away from your Home
If your property constantly is flooded, you may want to develop a way to prevent water from getting inside of your home. This will help prevent water damage and it may help prevent mold from growing inside of your home. This can be done in a few ways.
Create a barrier
Dig a trench
Build a dry well
If you suspect that you have mold growing in your home, call SERVPRO. The experts at SERVPRO will inspect and assess your property with our specialized training and equipment. We will make your property look “Like it never even happened”.
Spring has officially sprung and that means it is time for spring cleaning! If you think the only way to clean your home is with harsh chemicals, think again! You can clean almost every surface in your home with distilled white vinegar. Get every room in your home looking clean and smelling fresh by following these spring cleaning tips.
Over the course of the winter, your carpet may have developed an odor and it may have sand, salt, and dirt trapped inside of it. Help eliminate the odor and remove anything trapped inside of the carpet by mixing essential oils and distilled white vinegar. Before applying this mixture, test it out on a small area of your carpet because some fabrics are sensitive and it may cause damage.
Over time, windows get dirty or develop smudges. You can make your windows look crystal clear by mixing one part hot water and one part distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Simply spray the solution on the window and wipe away to clean.
Follow these three steps to make your windows truly shine.
Clean from the top down.
Do NOT clean your windows in direct sunlight. This will cause streaking.
Avoid damage to your window frames by drying immediately.
Dust mites and odors are inevitable when it comes to mattresses. You can help eliminate them by doing the following steps.
Remove all sheets and blankets from the bed.
Spray mattress with distilled white vinegar.
Sprinkle baking soda over the white vinegar and let it bubble.
Place a towel over mattress for 1-2 hours or until dry.
Vacuum up any residue from the baking soda.
You probably want to avoid using harsh chemicals where you store your food. Follow these steps to get your refrigerator looking like new!
Remove all contents from the refrigerator.
Wash shelves and the sides of the refrigerator with one part hot water and one part distilled white vinegar.
Dry all areas of the refrigerator
Wipe down jars before putting them back in the refrigerator.
Over the course of time, your tub can build up with grime and soap residue. You can eliminate the buildup with ease by doing the following.
Fill a spray bottle with one part hot water and one part distilled white vinegar
Spray mixture in the tub and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Wipe clean with a sponge or a towel
Rise tub with water and wipe again
These cleaning tips should make your home look and smell great. Remember, you can always call SERVPRO to do your spring cleaning for you. SERVPRO offers “green” cleaning products and we are available 24/7!
According to the NFPA, the number of fires your household can expect in an average lifetime is five. Any fire regardless of size will cause damage to your property. Fire damage is classified into six different classes and the type of fire damage can be classified in two ways.
Six Types of Fire Damage
Fires are classified into six different classes. These classes are Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E, and Class F.
Class A: Involves flammable solids, plastics, paper, rubber, cloth, and wood
Class B: Damage is caused by flammable solids that became liquids and by liquids. Examples of these types of substance are gasoline, petrol, oil, plastics and, paints. Cooking oils and fats are excluded from this class
Class C: Involves flammable gasses such as hydrogen, natural gas, butane, and propane
Class D: Damage is caused by combustible gasses such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium
Class E: This class is a combination of Class A and Class B but, it involves electrical elements
Class F: Damage is caused by cooking oils and fats. Cooking oils and fats are in their own class because the fire is usually hotter and more damage is caused.
Fire extinguishers are not a one size fits all. Make sure you read the label on your fire extinguisher to see what types of fires it can put out. Some fire extinguishers are water based which would not be safe to use on a Class E fire. Also, check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher to make sure it is still good to use in case of an emergency.
Types of Fire Damage
Most insurance companies use two classifications for fire damage. These categories are primary damage and secondary damage.
Primary Damage: Damage is caused by direct flames to the structure or to objects inside of the structure
Secondary Damage: Damage is caused by corrosive substances, smoke, and water from putting the fire out
Secondary damage typically causes the most damage to the structure. This is because soot and smoke can work its way throughout the structure.
If you experience a fire in your home, the first step you should take is to call the fire department. Your second step should be to reach out to your insurance agent. Your final step should be calling SERVPRO. All SERVPRO franchises are available 24/7 with highly trained restoration technicians. SERVPRO specializes in fire and water damage and will get your property looking “Like it never even happened”.
Restoring Your Newport and Bristol Counties Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event
Flooding and water damage events at SERPVRO of Newport and Bristol Counties commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of Newport and Bristol Counties
SERVPRO of Newport and Bristol Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
(From Staff Editors of "The Fiscal Times" on Yahoo!)
Getting a tax refund can feel like winning a small lottery. And it’s tempting to blow the windfall. But hold tight: There are smarter ways to use your mad money than putting a down payment on a Harley or jetting to Aruba for the weekend, and they will put you a step closer to financial security.
Last year the IRS issued more than 77 million tax refunds averaging about $2,800, the agency said. That’s not pocket change. For many people, that’s bigger than a paycheck. So think before you splurge.
“Have a plan for the funds before they arrive and implement the plan as soon as you receive your check,” says Michael Busch, president of Vogel Financial Advisors in Dallas. “It’s dangerous to let the money sit in your checking account—it might get spent.”
Here’s are some do’s and don’ts from financial experts.
1. Fund your golden years. Use the refund to beef up your IRA or Roth IRA, says James Guarino, tax partner at Moody, Famiglietti & Andronico in Wakefield, Massachusetts. This only works as long as you have enough earned income for the year to meet contribution requirements.
Or consider increasing your contributions to your 401(k), says Busch. You can’t deposit the refund directly into the 401(k), but you can increase the amount that is taken from your paycheck for the rest of the year. The refund will offset your reduced take-home pay. It’s a double win, too. “Not only will you get the refund into your 401(k) account this way, but you will also lower your tax bill because the increased 401(k) salary deferrals will reduce your taxable wages,” Busch says.
2. Put a dent in your debt. Eliminate that credit card balance once and for all with your tax refund. If you don’t have enough money to cover all of your outstanding balances, start with the one that has the highest interest rate and move down the rate ladder, says Chris Hardy, CEO at Paramount Investment Advisors in Suwanee, Georgia. In certain cases, interest you pay on student loan debt can be deducted from your taxable income (for the following year) up to $2,500, Hardy notes.
3. Save for a rainy day. If you don’t have an emergency fund or have a very small one, use the tax refund to increase your peace of mind. The rule of thumb is to be able to cover at least three months to six months of expenses. Keep it in a savings account or other account that can be accessed quickly.
“You never know when you need cash and since you have a nice inflow, now is a good place to start,” says Neil Waxman, managing director Capital Advisors in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
4. Pay down your mortgage. Use your refund to make an extra principal payment on your mortgage, Busch recommends. “A $1,000 extra principal payment at the beginning of a 30-year, $100,000 mortgage at 6 percent will save you nearly $5,000,” he says. “If your interest rate is higher, the savings will be even greater.”
5. Fund a child’s education. A tax refund is a great opportunity to start or increase your child’s or grandchild’s college savings fund, says Busch. You can use the refund to open a Coverdell IRA or a 529 college savings plan. If used for education expenses, the earnings on these funds grow tax-free.
“And the return on this kind of investment—a college education for your children—can’t be measured,” says Busch. “It’s priceless.”
6. Give it away. Pass along your good fortune by donating your tax refund to your favorite charity. This is also a smart tax move, because you get an extra income tax deduction for the following year.
7. Invest it. Make that tax refund work hard for you by investing the money in a non-retirement brokerage account. Then, watch that tax refund grow over time, increasing your overall net worth. “If you put away $2,700 a year for 10 years at a modest 5 percent return, you will have over $32,416,” says Vickie Adams, a certified financial planner in San Pedro, California.
8. Buy something. Even financial planners think its O.K. to indulge in guilty pleasures every now and again. “I’ve never been one to tell a client what they shouldn’t do with their money,” says Taylor Schulte, president of Define Financial in San Diego. “It’s important to maintain balance in their lives, and if they think that making a material purchase or taking a family vacation is what would be best, I can respect that.”
Here’s a good way to figure out how to spend it smartly, according to Waxman. Write down all the things you want to save for and prioritize them by importance. These can be short term, like buying new clothes or furniture; medium term, such as a big vacation or down payment on a house; or long term, like retirement or college savings. “Save or spend according to that list, but try and at least fund all of them,” Waxman says.
Niv Persaud, managing director of Transition Planning and Guidance in Atlanta, recommends doing a little of everything above. “Follow the philosophy spend-save-share,” she says. For example, take 10 percent—that’s $280 of the average refund—and spend it on something frivolous. Save 80 percent or put that money toward a financial goal such as buying a new home, preparing for retirement or college or paying down debt. Give the remaining 10 percent to your favorite charity.
Experts also offered some of the ways you shouldn’t use your tax refund.Don’t spend indiscriminately without a plan, says Waxman. “Consumption isn’t bad as long as it’s measured and done after thinking about the alternatives,” he says. He also says to avoid investing in your buddy’s stock tip.
“Do not spend it without having agreement in your family,” says Angela Giboney, owner of AFG Financial in Mill Creek, Washington. “Do not use it as a down payment on a car.”
Last, don’t get a refund next year, says Bryan Lee, founder of Strategic Financial Planning in Plano, Texas. “Rather than giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan throughout the year,” he says, “they should change their withholding and use that money to invest throughout the year.”
Sportsbooks have released some of the exotic props for Super Bowl 50, involving everything from the musical acts performing to the color of the Gatorade that will be poured on the winning coach after the game.
Beyonce and Coldplay will entertain the crowd and what could be a record television audience during the halftime show, and each of them have their own Super Bowl 50 props. Bettors can wager on what color Beyonce's shoes will be when she comes out on stage, with black a slight +150 favorite (bet $100 to win $150) over gold/brown (+250), white (+275), silver/grey (+475) and any other color (+700).
You can also bet on what song British band Coldplay will open with during their set. Their recent hit "Adventure of a Lifetime" from their latest album A Head Full of Dreams is the +200 favorite with "Fix You" the +350 second choice followed by "A Sky Full of Stars" (+450), "Viva La Vida" (+500), "Clocks" (+750), "Speed of Sound" (+900), "Paradise" (+1000) and the title track "Head Full of Dreams" (+1000).
As well, you can wager on the annual Gatorade shower. Orange remains the favored color for the Super Bowl 50 Gatorade shower at +125 followed by Blue (+300), Clear (+400), Yellow (+400), Red (+600), Green (+1000) and Purple (+1000).
Blue has emerged as the second choice after New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was doused with that color of Gatorade last year following his team's 28-24 victory against the Seattle Seahawks.
Some other interesting exotic props for Super Bowl 50 include how many times Archie Manning -- the father of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning -- will be shown during the television broadcast along with Broncos General Manager and former quarterback John Elway.
Manning's OVER/UNDER has been set at 1.5 with the UNDER favored at -140 (bet $140 to win $100) while Elway's number is 2.5 with the UNDER also favored at -140.
Those who think Peyton will announce his retirement in the postgame interview after the Super Bowl can bet on that happening at +500.
Chicago Bears head coach John Fox had the same job with both Denver and the Carolina Panthers previously before getting fired by each team, and you can wager on how many times his name will be mentioned during the TV broadcast with the O/U set at 1.
And if you have a good feel for TV ratings, you can bet on how many viewers will be tuning into the big game on February 7, taking OVER or UNDER 117 million, or pick whether you think the Nielsen Rating will end up OVER or UNDER 48.5.
The Griswold House from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation".
“Buzz, your girlfriend…WOOF!”
Good news for “Home Alone” fans -- you can drive-by the famous McCallister family home at 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetta, Illinois. The 4,243-square-foot home is as large as it appeared in the film (4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and 9 rooms in total). The residence was purchased in 2012 for over $1.5 million, according to Zillow.
Miracle on 34th Street
Despite the addition of a second-story window, little Susan Walker's "dream home" from "Miracle on 34th Street" appears just as it did almost 70 years ago.
Located at 24 Derby Road in Port Washington, New York, the single-family home features 7 rooms.
The home featured in John Hughes' 1994 remake starring Mara Wilson, is located at 771 Washington Road in Lake Forest, Illinois, and it's more than quadruple the size of the home from the original film. The Illinois house was listed for sale on Zillow in July for a cool $3.4 million.
Walter Hobbs (James Caan), father to Buddy (Will Ferrell), resided in the Upper West Side of New York City in the movie. The apartment was located at 55 Central Park West, where scenes from the 1984 film "Ghostbusters" took place as well.
The 19-floor co-op building was used for exterior shots but interior shots of the apartment may have been a set.
A Christmas Story
Beware of the Bumpass' dogs.
Thanks to "A Christmas Story" super-fan Brian Jones of Jacksonville, Florida, Ralphie's home located at 3159 W. 11th Street in Cleveland, Ohio, has been well-preserved from the inside and out.
Jones, who purchased the house in December 2004, turned it into a tourist attraction complete with a museum and gift shop open to the public.
For the past five years, he has even held eBay auctions inviting people to come and stay in the house where Ralphie lived with his mom, dad and little brother Randy.
This year, the winning bid was $8,700. The winner will get to spend two nights in the three-story, 1940s-style home complete with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a loft, a leg lamp in the window and an old fashioned radio to listen to "Little Orphan Annie."
The comedic take on the Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol" starring Bill Murray (Frank Cross), told the laugh-out-loud story of a self-absorbed television executive who's visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve night
"Scrooged" was largely filmed in New York City with interior (lobby) and exterior shots of the 38-story, 516-foot Seagram Building located at 375 Park Avenue in Manhattan.
Other notable Big Apple locations from the movie can be seen on 5th Avenue and the 45 Rd. Courthouse Sq. subway station in Long Island City.
The Family Stone
With 5 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, the 3,554 square-foot home from the "The Family Stone" still appears large enough to house a semi-awkward Christmas gathering, just as it did for the 2005 holiday film.
Built in 1860, the colonial sits at 144 Riverside Avenue, Riverside, Connecticut, and was sold in January 2008 for $4.1 million, according to Zillow.
With no up-to-date interior shots of the home, it's a wonder if Sybil Stone's (Diane Keating) clutter-filled kitchen and worn-in, cozy living room remain as they were 10 years ago.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Sad but true, the "Griswold House" from the classic Christmas comedy "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" sat in The Warner Bros. back lot. According to IMDB, the neighborhood where the Griswolds lived was the same as the one used on the 2009 television series "The Middle" (2009), which funny enough, featured Brian Doyle-Murray (Clark's boss Mr. Shirley) in a recurring role as the character Mr. Ehlert.
It's a Wonderful Life
George and Mary Bailey's “drafty old house" in the fictional town of "Bedford Falls" was also built as a residential set on the RKO Ranch in Encino, California, according to IMDB.
Mold can also be harmful to your health, so mold prevention is very important. Mold uses tiny spores to reproduce, and inhaling those spores causes respiratory problems and other health problems, like headaches, depression and fatigue.
Mold is a type of fungus. In nature, mold eats dead plants and animals, serving an important purpose. Mold can grow indoors, however, where it does not serve a purpose but can destroy materials. It can damage materials in your home. It can ruin carpet, even walls. Preventing mold is important because if mold takes hold, you can spend a fortune replacing ruined items.
Mold prevention is also important because once it takes hold; it’s hard to get rid of it. If you see mold or notice a musty smell in your house, you have a mold problem and need to address it. If you don’t see or smell mold, you probably do not have a mold problem and you want to keep it that way. If you’re not sure if you have a mold problem, you can have a professional come in and conduct a test. Your homeowner’s insurance may even pay for it.
HOW DO I PREVENT MOLD?
Mold requires organic material and moisture in order to grow and thrive. There is usually plenty of organic material in homes and it’s almost impossible to get rid of it all, so the key to mold prevention is eliminating excess moisture. Water leaks, high humidity and condensation all provide moisture that allows mold to grow. If your roof leaks or water comes in around windows, fix it. If humidity is high, invest in a dehumidifier.
If you experience flooding or a leak, you need to dry things out thoroughly. Use fans and a dehumidifier (or two), take up all carpet and remove all soaked objects until they can be dried. Some items may need to be discarded and replaced.
Make sure your home has adequate ventilation in areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms and attics. Energy efficient homes may hold moisture inside, in which case opening a window or turning on a fan when showering and cooking will help with mold prevention.
USE MATERIALS THAT PREVENT MOLD WHEN RENOVATING
You can purchase mold-resistant drywall or sheetrock, which are particularly useful in high-moisture areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms. Ask for mold-resistant products at your local home improvement store, or if you have a professional contractor handling your home renovations, ask him or her to use mold-resistant products whenever possible.
MONITOR INDOOR HUMIDITY
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. Purchase a moisture meter at your local hardware store and use humidifiers or dehumidifiers if necessary to keep the humidity at the right level to prevent mold.
DIRECT GROUND WATER AWAY FROM YOUR HOME
Another key to mold prevention is directing ground water away from your home. If the ground slopes toward your home, you’re likely to have leaking in your basement or in a crawlspace, which will lead to the growth of mold.
KEEP YOUR GUTTERS CLEAN
Clogged gutters often lead to leaky roofs. Prevent mold by preventing leaks. Clean your gutters regularly and if you notice stains on your ceiling, check the gutters for clogs and check the roof right away for leaks.
Bernard Bennick had two winning tickets for the "Bank a Million" Virginia Lottery game. (Photo: Virginia Lottery)
When Bernard Bennick couldn’t remember if he had purchased a ticket for the November 18th drawing of the Virginia Lottery’s 'Bank a Million' game, he ended up buying another one with identical numbers; both matched the numbers that were selected, giving him the top prize of $1 million twice for a win of $2 million.
Microwave Chocolate Pumpkin Fudge. Yes, It Turns Out You Need This!Tess PanzerNovember 17, 2015
The holidays are all about sweet indulgences, and one of our favorites is fudge. We love, love, love a good, creamy, toothsome piece of fudge, and we’ve found a way to make it perfect for the holiday season — pumpkin!
Making fudge may seem a bit intimidating, but we assure you it’s really very simple. With no more than five ingredients and a microwave, you’ll be rollin’ in the sweet stuff in no time. Hurray!
The World is Falling in Love With the Boy in the Moschino Barbie CommercialJihan ForbesNovember 16, 2015
The commercial for the Moschino Barbie collection dropped about two weeks ago, but the spot is finally getting some buzz thanks to one particularly enthusiastic cast member. The actor is, according to the New York Post, the first little boy to be cast in a Barbie commercial.
“Moschino Barbie is so fierce,” our young mohawked prince exclaims, punctuating his enthusiasm with an equally fierce neck roll and hand gestures. The boy’s appearance comes at a time when society is moving away from gendering toys and clothing for children. Target, for example recently decided to remove gender-based signs in their toy aisle.
This commercial is just another step forward in ending the stereotype that children’s toys are suitable for one gender as opposed to another. After all, the only real difference between a Barbie doll and an “action figure” is stylish clothing options – and who it’s been traditionally marketed to.
Most importantly, we hope the commercial will connect with little boys who actually enjoy playing with Barbie dolls, showing them that liking those things isn’t a bad thing, and that their playtime options shouldn’t be limited. Barbie is a fun toy and all kids should be able to play with her regardless of societal pressures. And it seems the world is ready for these changes, as the reaction to the video has been overwhelmingly positive.
We're excited to announce a contest we will be running this football season. It is FREE and open to all in our service area. If you aren't a fan of football, feel free to submit an entry on behalf of family, friends, etc.The contest is simple, each week, on Tuesday, I will select 5 NFL games and you just reply to my email with your pick for the winner of each game (straight up, no spread involved). Then you select the total number of combined points for the Monday Night game as a tiebreaker. It's that simple.There will be a weekly winner of a $100.00 gift card, and there will be a end of the season grand prize winner for a $500 AMEX Gift Card; so your best chance is to enter every week since the person with the most total "wins" overall will be the grand prize winner. If you have any questions just reply to this message. Going forward, I will only send the email out to those interested in participating. You may indicate so simply by entering your picks for this week.You can type in your picks in a forwarded message to jay@SERVPRO9563.com or you can just delete the team you DON'T want to pick.Week 1Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England PatriotsNew Orleans Saints @ Arizona CardinalsBaltimore Ravens @ Denver BroncosNew York Giants @ Dallas CowboysPhiladelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons (Monday Night Game)Monday Night Combined score for both teams (i.e. if you predict 24-21 then your tiebreaker is 45)Good Luck, I will need all picks by end of business Thursday's.Feel free to forward to any colleagues I may have missed, the more the merrier!
As the weather warms and the snow melts beware of the potential water damage that may be brought on by local flooding. Besides the major threat of river and run-off flooding, your home or business could fall victim to the amount of water that is created by melting snow adjacent to structures.
To reduce the risk of water damage try to remove melting snow that is too close to your home or business so that it may melt into the ground and not into your basement!
The below freezing temperatures of January and February are the most likely time your pipes can freeze and burst. Creating a costly disaster in your home or business. Be sure to shut off water to faucets not in use this time of year and to keep temperatures warm enough in the basement and attic to avoid a problem.
If you do experience a broken, or burst pipe, call SERVPRO of Washington County or SERVPRO of Newport & Bristol Counties immediately. Response time is crucial to minimizing damage to your property.