Why Are There Ants in My Bathroom? Tips for Prevention and Elimination

There’s nothing more puzzling than doing your business in the bathroom only to find ants crawling around on the floor. Yuck! It makes sense for there to be ants in the kitchen because there is actual food there – crumbs on the counter and food caught in the sink and drain that can attract them, but in the bathroom? There is no food so why should there be ants crawling around on the floor? That’s a great question and fortunately there is both an answer as well as way to eliminate them for good. Let’s explore.

Prevention

One of the most important things you need to know is that ants are drawn to standing water – something your bathroom often has. If your drains aren’t draining properly or extremely slowly, this could be drawing the ants in. Clear the drains and make sure there is no freestanding water to be found in the bathroom.

Similar to drain flies, ants can also lay eggs in dirty drains. Hair that has become caught in the drain makes for perfect nesting for ants to lay eggs. To avoid this or if you suspect that this is where the ants are coming from – clean and clear your drains. Clean them monthly to avoid the buildup of hair and other gunk to prevent ants that make their way into your home from laying eggs.

Where there is an opening in your homes, ants will find it. Use a caulking gun to seal off any cracks in the walls or around the window. With the weather growing colder, ants will be drawn in by the warmth.

Elimination

Now you know how to keep ants from coming into your bathroom, but how do you eliminate the ants that are already in your bathroom? If you have pets or small children, for safety you want to avoid using any chemicals altogether. Although they appear to be a quick fix, they are extremely harmful if consumed or ingested. To avoid this altogether, opt for a natural solution that will eliminate your ant infestation problem.

Fill a small spray bottle about halfway full with water, then add about 20 drops of tea tree oil and 20 drops of peppermint oil. Fill the rest of the bottle up with water and spray directly on ants and the trails in which you’ve seen them moving. Be sure to spray along the cracks between the wall and floor. If you have a severe infestation of ants, add some cayenne pepper to the water solution. This safe, natural solution will kill the ants once they come into contact with it. The solution also prevents ants from finding the trail they used to make their way into your bathroom as well.

Need help keeping your drains clean and clear? Gillece is here to help!

The Hidden Dangers of Black Mold and How to Remove It

Cool, wet, damp areas, such as your basement is the perfect place for mold to grow. Unfortunately, with mold it’s not an out of sight out of mind type of situation – you might be able to do that with dust but not mold, especially black mold. This type of mold can be extremely detrimental to your health and should be carefully removed as soon as possible. When getting rid of mold in your home, you must take proper precautions to avoid poisoning. In this article we’ll go over the health risks and walk you through safe removal procedures.

The Hidden Dangers of Black Mold

Black mold can affect everyone differently – some may experience negative side effects while others may experience no side effects at all. Black mold is very serious and can result in some difficult health problems. Make sure you’re aware of black mold exposure poisoning and know how to treat it.

For those who are sensitive to molds, they can experience nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, fatigue and headaches. Being exposed to black mold can be especially dangerous for those with asthma and any other respiratory problems. Whether you experience any of these symptoms or not, if you’ve been exposed to black mold, you should go see your doctor for instructions and a checkup.

How to Rid Your Home of Black Mold

When removing black mold, it’s important to wear a facemask that has been specifically rated for black mold spore protection. You also want to make sure your arms, hands and legs are covered to avoid directly touching the mold. This may seem like overkill, but for those with asthma and any respiratory problems this precaution should be taken very seriously and not skipped. Using a sponge, water and soap, use some elbow grease to remove the mold from all surfaces in your home.

How to Prevent Black Mold from Growing

Improve airflow in your home – Leave doors open throughout your home and utilize ceiling fans. When the weather is warm, keep the windows open as much as possible to improve the airflow in your home and prevent mold from growing.

Eliminate humidity in your home – In damp, wet areas in your home, invest in a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will eliminate moisture from the air which will help prevent an environment where mold can grow.

Follow these easy tips and you’ll be able to keep your family safe and healthy by preventing mold from growing in your home.

Wireless Home Security Systems 101

The FBI says on average, 65 percent of home burglaries occur from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. That’s right, at 2 p.m. in the afternoon while you’re sipping on your afternoon coffee, someone could be climbing through your living room window and stealing all your expensive and most prized possessions.

Working from home or getting a guard dog might not be a possible solution for everyone out there. The good thing is we live in the day and age of technology where the protection of your home is literally at your fingertips regardless of how far from home you may be.

How it Works

A smart home wireless security system is connected to the Wi-Fi in your home. This means, you can access, control and monitor your home security from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. From a few window and door sensors to full blown surveillance cameras, lights, alarms and door locks – how much of your home security you want to be able to control from your device is up to you.

When it comes to home camera surveillance you can choose to receive notifications when movement is detected or pay more to have a company surveillance your home 24/7, providing ultimate peace of mind hassle free. This might be a better option if you don’t want to mess with installing window and door sensors around your home. Depending on the location and potential threat to your home, the decision is ultimately up to you and what you think is best for you, your family and your home.

Features and Benefits

One of the best features about a smart home wireless security system is having access to the lights, locks and garage door all from your smart phone or tablet. If you’re getting home late and you live alone, you can turn on your light from your desk when it begins to get dark, that way you’re coming home to a house that is lit and not in the dark. Having a panic attack while sitting in traffic all the way across town because you’re not sure if you locked the front door? There is no need to drive all the way home or call a neighbor to check, simply pull up the app on your phone and hit the lock button.

This feature also stems even beyond security, if you just forgot to turn off the lights when you left, with a simple tap of your finger you can turn them off while sitting in your 9 a.m. meeting. Saving energy and reducing your electric bills in the process. This feature is also beneficial for those who travel as you can turn your lights on and off, remotely, given the appearance that the home has not be left unattended.

From a simple motion alter notification to lights, sirens and an automatic call to the police, you can have a safer home and prevent a home burglary with a smart wireless security system.

Why Every Home Should Have a Backup Residential Generator

We’ve had quite a rainy year here in Pittsburgh. multiple areas of our city have not only experienced heavy rain and flash flooding, but power outages as well throughout the summer. Although you can’t control the rain or flooding from happening, you can control your power from both flickering and going off for several hours by installing a backup generator.

You would think that the best time for the power to go out would be during the summer. If your home is heated by electric, there’s no need to worry about freezing through the night or bumping into things in your home because it’s already dark after 6 p.m.

Having a power outage in the middle of July is just as inconvenient and detrimental for your home as it is any other month of the year. In most cases, a power outage typically happens during a storm for various reasons; a lightning bolt strikes an electric pole or a tree branch falls on an electric wire – cutting all the power source to your home. If this happens when it’s raining heavily in your home and you have an electric sump pump, this can be a major problem. Water is filling up the hole in your basement and the pump is unable to pump the water out. This will flood your home and cause serious damage to your foundation and home..

Although you won’t sweat to death, you will be extremely uncomfortable not having access to your air conditioning unit for a few extended hours in the middle of the hot and humid summer. Not having cool air flowing through your home will ruin the dinner you’ve planned to make cooking over a hot stove or baking in the oven.

A residential backup generator will prevent any and all of these inconveniences from happening to you, your family and your home. Although purchasing and installing a residential backup generator can be a bit costly, it will keep your sump pump working so your home won’t flood saving you money in the long run, it’ll also keep your air conditioning unit working and give power to the electric stove.

During a power outage, there are dangerous voltage fluctuations and surges that can occur that has the potential of damaging any electronics that are plugged in, your air conditioning and heating unit and major appliances. These household necessities can be expensive to replace, but with a residential backup generator, all of these appliances and accessories will be protected.

So, never worry again and make power-outages a thing of the past by having a backup generator installed today.

Dirtiest Places in Your Home Besides Your Bathroom

Your home is a haven, a place you get to escape work, unwind, relax and are free to be yourself. Unfortunately, your home is also a place where germs and bacteria fester, turning into mold and causing numerous illnesses to every member of your family. It’s easy to remember to keep your bathroom and kitchen counters clean, but there are five other major areas in your home that rarely get cleaned and are responsible for that cold or virus that gets passed around to everyone that steps through the front door.

Kitchen
Besides the kitchen counter, your sponges, dish rags, kitchen sink, cutting boards and refrigerator collect endless germs and bacteria. According to the National Sanitation Foundation, more than 75% of dish rags and sponges were tested positive for Salmonella, E. coli and fecal matter.

To prevent these nasty germs and bacteria from lingering and spreading to your loved ones, frequently use disinfectant wipes on all surfaces and in the sink after prepping raw foods. Use hot water and bleach to clean sponges and change your dish rags out at least once a week.

Door handles and light switches
The amount of people that touch the front door knob, or turn on the kitchen lights is astounding. If you don’t wash your hands before opening a door or turning on the lights in your home, then everything else you’ve touched is now on that handle or light switch. Cleaning all the door handles and switches in your home will prevent bacteria from growing and the spreading of germs throughout your home.

Electronics
Every member of your family touches all the laptops, tablets and remote controls in your home, multiple times a day. These surfaces carry bacteria that have the potential to cause mold and even staph. All of these shared items should be cleaned with a disinfectant wipe at least twice a week. if you take your remote into the kitchen or use your phone in the bathroom, you might want to consider disinfecting it immediately after or daily if this is a regular habit.

Pets
Your cat or dog brings in a great deal of dirt, mud and germs from outside. Although you can’t make your pet where shoes, or rather shouldn’t, you can wipe their feet before coming inside.

Clean their water dish daily. If you think about it, you don’t drink from the same glass day after day without it being washed, so why should your animal? When your cat or dog drinks from the water dish, it has a tendency to splash water all over the floor – easily spreading germs everywhere. Regularly cleaning your dog’s water dish will greatly decrease the amount of germs that are spread.

How to Remove Water from Your Basement

Rain is defined as moisture condensed from the atmosphere that falls visibly in separate drops. A single drop of rain on its own in theory is seemingly harmless but when over 1.5 trillion drops of rain fall from the sky during an average rainstorm, they are anything but harmless.

The dangers of flash flooding can not only be a risk to your safety if you’re out on the road driving, but has the potential to cause some serious water damage to your home. If the rain is falling too fast, sometimes your sump pump just cannot keep up and your basement ends up taking on water. Storms can also cause a serious clog to your storm drain which allows for the water from the storm to backup into your home, causing a flood.

What should you do when you discover that there is a swimming pool in your basement? Unfortunately, you have to wait until the rain has finished to deal with the messy, damaging aftermath.

Cut the power – First things first, turn off all of the power on the floor that has taken on water. This should be done before you even set foot into the water, the last thing you want on top of all of the water in your home is to be electrocuted. Once you’ve turned off the water, put on closed toed shoes to protect your feet.

Locate the source – In order to quickly and efficiently remove the water from your home, you need to find out, how the water got into your home in the first place. Check the basement floor drain to see if it was clogged during the flood. If this is the case, unclogging it will provide an easy place for the water to escape.

If there is no basement drain, use a sump pump, pool pump or wet/dry shop vacuum to remove the water. The amount of water present will determine what you use to get rid of the water. If the water is over six inches deep, consider calling a water removal company that will quickly remove the water.

Sort through the damage – Anything that was submerged in water that you want to keep will need at least 48 hours to completely dry out. If possible, place the water logged items outside or in a well ventilated location to dry. Inspect these items after 48 hours, you don’t want mold or bacteria to grow or develop. If the item appears to be too damaged, toss it in the garbage.
If the room that took on water has carpeting, tear it up. In most cases, the water will have permentaly damaged the carpet and it should be torn up and be replaced.

Drying time – Before you begin cleaning, give the basement or room a few days to completely dry out. Open as many doors and windows to let in fresh air and to help air dry the area. Using fans and a dehumidifier will help expedite the process, just be sure to regularly empty the dehumidifier.

Cleaning – Wash the walls and floors to remove mud, dirt and other debris left behind from the water. Any damaged insulation and drywall could spread mold and will need to be thrown away. Once everything is completely dry, use an anti-mildew spray.

Once you’ve done the best to clean, call your insurance company to see if you have flood coverage. If you don’t, you may want to take this opportunity and add it to your policy.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning in Your Home

It often comes without warning. You can’t see it, feel it or even smell it. It’s more fearsome than any monster under the bed or boogie man in the closet. Every year according to Forbes Magazine, 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States experience symptoms caused by Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning and 500 people die due to CO poisoning in the safety of their own homes.

The reason why Carbon Monoxide is so dangerous and deadly is because it is odorless, colorless and the nasty symptoms are similar if not the same as the common flu. One could easily think they are simply sick while not realizing their life is in serious risk. Depending on the high concentrations of Carbon Monoxide, it can result in death anywhere between 8 hours to less than five minutes.

Yes, Carbon Monoxide poisoning is dangerous and should be feared, but it can also be prevented and even completely avoided.

Here’s exactly how you can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from threatening your well-being.

Furnace tune-up – Your furnace should be serviced by a licensed and certified HVAC technician at least once a year, preferably before turning on the unit for the season. An HVAC technician will ensure your unit is working properly, this includes checking for the possibility of a Carbon Monoxide leak.

Battery operated CO detector – A Carbon Monoxide detector is just as important as your smoke detector. Be sure to invest in one and change the batteries every spring and fall.

Gas stove safety – Never use your gas oven or stove to heat your home. This is extremely dangerous and increases your chances of Carbon Monoxide poisoning greatly.

Know the symptoms – If you are exposed to Carbon Monoxide you can experience any or all the following symptoms: blurred vision, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting. Should you experience any of these symptoms, exit the house immediately and call 911 and they will contact the local fire department.

Call Gillece to have your furnace checked before the cold-season hits to ensure that it’s functioning safely and properly.

5 Easy Tips for a Cleaner Kitchen

If your home is like most, odds are you spend most of your time in the kitchen. Between preparing three meals a day, cleaning up after those meals and frequent trips to the refrigerator throughout the day, your kitchen is the second most used room next to the bathroom.

Keeping your kitchen clean and sanitary is an absolute must, considering that’s where your food comes from. Add these five things to your cleaning routine for a cleaner kitchen, and best of all, they’re extremely easy to follow and not time consuming.

1. Microwave
If your home is full of teenagers, your microwave is the most used appliance in your kitchen. Try to clean it at least once a week. Place a cup of boiling water and lemon in the microwave and allow it to sit for two minutes with the door closed. It will loosen the mess inside and make it easier for you to clean and you can avoid scrubbing.

2. Baking soda trick
Keeping a box of open baking soda exposed in the fridge will absorb odors and keep your refrigerator smelling fresh. It works best by keeping a small container in the back of the fridge with the lid off. Be sure to replace it every other month to keep your refrigerator smelling nice and fresh.

3. Sink
When you think of all the things you pour down your sink drain, it’s no wonder that a nasty odor begins to seep from the drain. Avoid this by pouring one cup of baking soda down the drain once a month followed by a half of cup of vinegar. The baking soda and vinegar will cut any odor and remove any blockages or potential clogs.

4. Blender
Sometimes the little cracks in your blender are almost impossible to reach. A quick and easy tip is to add some dish soap and a little bit of water and turn the blender on for about 10 to 20 seconds. Essentially, allowing it to clean itself.

5. Garbage disposal splash guard
Using a tooth brush and cleaner, scrub away the grease and food debris both on the inside and outside of the garbage disposal splash guard. Leftover food and grease can easily cling here and stink up your kitchen.

Best Things to Do Before Renting an Apartment or Home

Before renting an apartment or a house, you want to make sure you do all you can to make sure it’s the one you want. You’ll definitely want to check the plumbing and the electric before signing a yearlong agreement.

In most cases, the tenant is responsible for all of the drains in the apartment or house that is being rented. Before you sign your lease, make sure you’ve tested all of the drains in the unit you’ll be renting before you agree to a whole year and end up with a toilet that doesn’t flush.

Speaking of toilets, flush all of the toilets in the unit and make sure the water goes down properly and that it doesn’t continue to run a while after. Fill all of the sinks and tub up with water to make they are draining properly and that there isn’t an odor coming from the drain. It’s also a good idea to ask if you can run the dishwasher or washing machine through a cleaning cycle to ensure that it is working properly.

While touring apartments and homes, you might notice that a unit has a ton of outlets in the kitchen, which is great! That is, until you move in and find out that half of them don’t even work. Before signing that lease, bring your phone charger along with you so you can test out all of the outlets to make sure they’re working properly. It’s also a good idea to check all smoke detectors and request that they be updated or the batteries changed before moving in.

To protect your security deposit, take a video or picture of all marks on the walls, floor and carpet. Do this while you tour the place with your future landlord. Save them on a storage cloud you use and email copies to your landlord so there is a documented date and time. This way, when you go to move out, you have proof of anything that was already there before you moved in.

Fixing Your Bathroom Exhaust Fan is Easy – Here’s How

Believe it or not, a bathroom exhaust fan is a very essential feature in your home. It prevents mold and mildew from growing in your bathroom by pulling the hot or humid air caused by a shower from the room, allowing cool room temperature air to enter the room. This is a very important feature, especially if you live in a home with someone who has severe mold allergies or respiratory problems. When the exhaust fan quits working, it might not seem like a pressing issue, but to prevent mold from finding a cool damp place to grow in your bathroom, you want to take care of the problem sooner rather than later.

The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the cover of the exhaust fan. You’ll need a step ladder and some tools to do this. Once you have the cover removed, place it in the sink to wash and clean later.

Before you start trouble shooting the issue, clean the fan blade. Doing this could simply solve your problem, this is a hidden space that doesn’t get cleaned very often so it is possible that all the grime, mildew and dust that has built up on the fan over time has prevented it from functioning. Once you clean the fan thoroughly with soap and water, turn the fan back on to see if that was the problem.

Once you’ve cleaned the fan and find out that wasn’t the issue, check the wiring and the wire nuts. Overtime the nuts can become loose and need to be replaced. If you see any wiring that has been frayed or charred, consider replacing the entire unit rather than attempting to rewire it.

The problem could also be a dead motor. To find out if the motor is dead, you’ll need to test the motor. This is a bit of an advanced step so if you don’t have experience in this, consider calling an electrician or a friend for further assistance, should the motor be dead, you can simply replace the motor without having to replace the entire exhaust fan.

If you’ve checked all of the above and the exhaust fan still isn’t working, take the entire fan out and replace it. Be sure to take it with you to your local hardware store so you’re sure to get the size you need.