Fire prevention tips for holiday homes

This season’s fluctuating highs and lows have caused an unusual rate of house fires in the metro and—amidst strands of decorative lights and power cords—now marks a good time to highlight some important safety tips. Here’s a quick list of precautions that will help you enjoy a safer holiday.

Treat outdoor lighting with respect.

Exterior lights often require more electricity and burn hotter than indoor lights. While many people are quick to use any extension cords they might have in storage, it’s crucial to use outdoor-approved extension cords and nothing else. LED lights also burn much cooler and more efficiently than the old-school incandescent bulbs, making them a smarter buy that lowers several risks. These are quick, easy fixes that should be heeded much like wearing a seatbelt.

Be aware of indoor hazards.

In the cold months, coziness is understandably a priority at home. Amidst the relaxation, remember to be mindful of where your heat sources are. Is your space heater at a distance of at least three feet from its surroundings? Is everything in your home—especially if you have a Christmas tree—safely distanced from the fireplace? Is all the lint removed from around your dryer? Is all of the tinsel, toys, wrapping and seasonal décor kept away from flame or heat? Did you switch off your electric blanket after using it? Also, despite its admitted use by homeowners, any fire department will tell you to never heat your home using an oven.

Wisely place and water your tree.

A high-moisture, well-watered tree is good. An under-watered tree can become dry, turning those lights wrapped around it into potential igniters. And if your tree is artificial, check your electrical connections and keep it away from flames or heat sources. And whether your tree is natural or otherwise, always remember to switch off those lights before bed.

Test your smoke alarms.

Now is a good time to ensure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Some fire departments offer smoke alarms free or at a reduced price. You can inquire about this by calling your fire department’s non-emergency number. And on that note, always make sure your home has a fire extinguisher in case of emergency.

We’ve seen—and repaired—every type of home disaster at Total Construction. So in addition to wishing you the warmest holiday season, we also wish you the safest. For additional household inquiries, you can always call our team of experts for more information. Stay turned for further safety tips after the holidays.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

The one amazing solution that benefits every home.

Every homeowner loves to think about the fun projects—décor, flooring, countertops and upgrades galore. But the one project that often goes overlooked—yet is equally exciting—is an increasingly popular method of spray foam insulation called Icynene.

Why is it exciting? For starters, it lowers your bills every month. But that’s not the only reason it attracts widespread attention. In a truly fascinating concept, Icynene is a substance that quickly expands once applied (think Bruce Banner growing into the Incredible Hulk) to seal every nook and cranny far better than traditional fiberglass insulation—instantly transforming the walls in your attic and other spaces into airtight, weatherproof shields. It not only works; it wows everyone who never realized this modern—daresay elegant—option was available.

In today’s lighter-yet-stronger world of technology, spray foam insulation is no different. Icynene is a simple, swift, inexpensive way to seal your home better than ever.

And that’s why it’s such a fast-growing trend for anyone who owns a home. After all, it’s an option far too smart—and too energy-efficient—to neglect.

The best way to apply this solution to your home and start reaping the benefits? Just call a local contractor who offers the service. They’ll know how to spot the energy “leaks” in your home, how to best apply spray insulation where needed, and how to best reduce your monthly costs and overall carbon footprint.

As a trusted local source for Icynene, Total Construction continues to offer the latest knowledge in insulation. There’s a reason we chose to offer Icynene in our array of services—and while we provide this excellent and proven method of spray foam insulation, most importantly, countless homeowners across the nation testify to its unparalleled quality. It’s remarkably safe, remarkably effective, and like any homeowner knows, when there’s a better solution to save money and save energy, you seize it.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

10 smart ways to winterize your home

With the winter freeze fast upon us, there are several opportunities to warm your home easily, effectively, and practically everywhere you look. Here are just a few simple steps to convert your home into a cozy, cost-saving, winter-warding fortress.

1. Seal those seams.
As we know, cold air will find its way into the home however it can—wasting 5% to 30% of your energy use. With the autumn’s falling temperatures, now’s the perfect time to locate those pesky drafts and stop them before the true freeze kicks in. So take a walk throughout your house and spot where the drafts are coming in. Some you’ll feel immediately; others you can detect by lighting an incense stick. You can seal basement seams and cracks with caulk, window seams with plastic insulation kits found at your local hardware store (they’re invisible to the naked eye once applied), and the bottoms of your doors with weather stripping—or even rolled-up towels. Wherever there’s a draft, there’s definitely an option available to dam it up.

2. Look for available tax credits.
You’d be surprised how many energy-efficient upgrades to your home will not only save you money on your bills, but reap in tax credit from the government. Among the many options that could get you cash back simply for having them installed or updated include: Storm doors, windows, water heaters, furnaces, programmable thermostats, insulation and more. When your home is equipped with the proper energy-efficient components by today’s standards, you’ll be rewarded for it in more ways than one.

3. Reverse your ceiling fans.
Most ceilings fans come with a handy switch that makes them spin clockwise instead, which recirculates the rising hot air back down into your living space. This simple trick can cut your heating costs as much as 10%.

4. Change your furnace filter.
It’s important to change your filter once a month to prevent unhealthy airborne particles from infesting the home. There are even modern permanent filters on the market today that can remove up to 99.97% of particles in the air.

5. Shut off or empty your A/C and outer water lines.
Drain any outdoor hoses, remove them, and stow them neatly for next season; shut off the water supply to your outer hose bibs (locate the twist valves on your water pipes near the outer walls of your home to do this); drain any air conditioner pipes and make sure water isn’t pooled in equipment that could potentially freeze.

6. Attic Insulation.
Sounds odd, but a well-insulated attic, especially when done by professional contractor, should actually maintain a cold temperature. Why? If poorly or improperly insulated, your attic will absorb unwanted heat from the home below, which can warm layers of snow on the roof in a stovetop effect. This can lead to untimely melts and ice dams forming near the gutters. Which brings us to the next step.

7. Clean your gutters.
With falling leaves now accumulating atop our homes, now’s the time to clean them out from the gutters. Whether it’s done personally or professionally, cleaning gutters will allow for the proper flow of meltwater away from your home, rather than collecting and causing ice dams, leaks, or potential damage to your roof.

8. Give your furnace a tune up.
To ensure your furnace runs efficiently and flawlessly all season long, call your heating company for a tune-up and maintenance check. The earlier you call the better as colder weather leads to busier schedules for technicians.

9. Dress appropriately.
A light sweater can make you 2 degrees warmer. A heavy sweater? Four degrees. And let’s not forget our blankets. The old-fashioned power of layering, obvious as it seems, will help us resist the temptation to adjust the thermostat or make any impulsive decisions that could be otherwise avoided.

10. The most failsafe option of all: Call a certified professional.
A certified contractor can perform the most thorough energy audits for your home, provide the most thorough, timely advice and address every cold weather situation with veteran experience. There’s no substitute.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

A Miracle Happens in Omaha

Anyone who leaves town for a few days knows the simple joy of returning to home sweet home. But for one woman, it was much sweeter.

Sue V., an Omaha resident who single-handedly raised seven kids in her home, found an opportunity to finance a quick weekend trip to visit two of her sons living out of state. She’d leave Friday, return Sunday. Simple.

But not so simple, given what she knew.

Sue knew that, amidst her priorities of being a good and ever-present mother, she’d still be returning to the same deteriorating home, the same holes in her siding, and the same foundational issues. She knew that her home was falling fast into disrepair, despite recently emptying her retirement in efforts to maintain it. She knew that times were becoming tighter and money harder to come across.

But she didn’t know this: As soon as her plane left the runway at Eppley Airfield, her close friend Joyce from her church and Total Construction CEO, Kevin Jackson, marched a small cavalry onto her property to fix her house. It was a secret operation involving contract workers, construction equipment, good friends and volunteers of all ages, working dawn till dusk to restore a home to a condition as pristine as the heart of its owner.

Part of the project was fundraised among friends. But most of it was just old-fashioned volunteerism and hard work—much the case for Jackson, who donated time to the project despite it being the busiest, most demanding time of year for contractors.

The home’s foundation was repaired. Siding was restored and painted. Grounds were repaved. Qualified workers performed major professional operations while others ran caulk guns where needed. Fences were rebuilt among other things. Home was, for Sue, sweet again.

Sue arrived home late Sunday night when the darkness served like wrapping paper hiding the gift from plain sight—until her daughter reached in and turned on the porch light.

“At first I thought it was the wrong house.” Sue said. “I’ve never had a deck before.” Her friends had been waiting underneath the newly built deck in the meantime with flashlights.

“They surprised me and took me around the house. It was a miracle.”

Her astonishment continued well beyond that evening. “For well over a month every single day I walked around the house to witness it. I am so grateful.”

On a September evening shortly thereafter, Sue hosted a party to thank everyone who had helped. After all: that night, there was no home across the city that was better suited for such an occasion.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Total Construction achieves rare Master Elite Status among Roofing Contractors

In a feat that only 3% of North America’s roofing contractors have ever achieved, Total Construction has been named as a Master Elite Weather Stopper® Roofing Contractor for GAF—the largest roofing manufacturer in North America.

This status is awarded to contractors who demonstrate an uncompromising commitment to the highest standards in sales, services and installation to ensure that each customer receives the best and safest choice in roofing.

To become factory-certified as GAF Master Elite, a roofing contractor must also show that they are:

  • Properly Licensed by their state to perform roofing work
  • Adequately Insured for customer protection
  • Have a Proven Reputation for providing quality roofing services throughout the community
  • Committed to Ongoing Professional Training to ensure quality installation

While Total Construction is honored to receive such a high badge from such a successful and reputable company, we hope this is an indication of our constant goal to work seamlessly with all parties with whom we do business—from listening to the needs of each customer, to communicating with their insurance, to dealing with the finest vendors and product available on the market.

Onward!

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

The Problem-Solving Power of Good Attic Insulation

Sure, most attics are just dark and unlivable spaces, so it’s easy to overlook their importance. But when given modern-day maintenance and insulation, these vacant areas of the home are actually packed with potential to keep your roof, siding and other components free of problems in the cold months—while saving you additional money.

Why a “Cold” Attic is a Good Attic in Wintertime.

Sounds odd right? But interestingly enough, a well-insulated attic or “cold” attic in the wintertime does its job by keeping warmth where it belongs: in your living spaces below. If poorly or improperly insulated, your attic will absorb unwanted heat, which can warm layers of snow on the roof in a stovetop effect. The result: Untimely melts and ice dams forming near the gutters—in other words, water that can creep underneath shingles and enter your home. Water loves to find a way in wherever it can, but an insulated attic is a great way to keep it out.

Early fall is the best time.

With the Autumn chill soon upon us, now marks the best time to have a professional contractor look at your attic—not only to inspect the spread of your insulation, but also the type of insulation you have installed. Like any building material, attic insulation materials have evolved into much better and budget-savvier options that cut costs and keep temperatures pristinely balanced. And by doing it now, you’ll be staying one step ahead of latter part of Autumn, the time of year most prone to fluctuating cold temperatures, attic-bourne moisture and ice damming. (For the same reason, early spring also sees high occurrences.)

Stay tuned.

Attic insulation is just one of several professional pointers in our series of fall home maintenance tips yet to come—some widely known, some lesser known—and a great way to face the approaching cold months head on. As always, if you have any questions or issues regarding repair, roofing, remodeling or any seasonal adjustments to your home, call a licensed contractor. And keep an eye out for more tips in future blogs!

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Mold problem? Don’t Wait. Seek a Professional Solution.

Mold can happen anywhere in your home—just add water. With nearly 100,000 varieties, it’s no wonder homeowners might find it colonizing on wallboards, in vents, behind air conditioning units, around windows and roofs that leak, or under any carpeting that may have become wet. But when treated effectively, this notoriously resilient, airborne-prone fungus can be eradicated, and your home can be quickly restored to clean air, clean walls and even a cleaner bill of health for your lungs.

What causes mold?

Any damage to your home where moisture has infiltrated can lead to mold. Think of it like this: Plants only need moisture and sunlight, and mold only needs moisture and cellulose—a substance commonly found in many building materials. Obviously, wetter seasons of the year see greater occurrences of mold.

Is mold threatening?

Not always—certain molds help to age cheese to perfection—but the types of mold that grow within your home pose a risk and should not be taken lightly. If you spot any blemishes or large patches that are usually darker green to blackish in color, contact a mold remediation professional immediately to get an assessment. It’s also important to never disturb any mold growth visible on your home’s infrastructure, and never trust any DIY mold removal kits on the market, which often prove ineffective. Mold contains spores that can go airborne and, in some cases, cause respiratory health problems for a building’s residents. That’s why it’s important to address it right.

The best option is prevention.

A certified, independent contractor is usually your best bet for not just mold remediation, but also inspection and prevention before it happens. With water being a main ingredient for mold to occur, it’s smart to hire a water damage expert to provide the repairs or preventive consultation needed to help keep your home at its healthiest.

For professional remediation and repair across Omaha, Papillion, La Vista and Bellevue, you can always call the experts serving the Metro since 1987.

Out with the mold, in with the new!

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Proper Attic Ventilation: A Breath of Fresh Air for your Roof.

As the summer swelter takes full effect and temps rise to annual highs, the circulation of cool air is important throughout your home—as well as your attic. In fact, homeowners who understand the need for proper attic ventilation enjoy more efficient cooling bills, a longer lifespan for their roofs and the avoidance of costly problems down the road.

The Importance of Doing it Right.

Attic ventilation, done to professional standards, ensures a constant cycle of fresh air while keeping the attic cool in the summer. But here’s where it works hardest to benefit your home: Ventilation reduces the risk of fires, prevents wood from rotting, stops mildew from forming and equalizes your roof and attic temperatures to guard you from roof damage in the future. Even in the cold months, proper ventilation prevents the buildup of moisture, ice dams, and condensation that can allow mold to collect and damage the boards your shingles are nailed to.

It’s simple: A roof that breathes year-round enjoys fantastic protection and longevity that others do not. That’s not only good for you, but also good for any other parties involved in your roof, such as shingle manufacturers, who will often void a guarantee if the roof and attic don’t have proper ventilation.

For expert attic ventilation, roof repair, installation or any related service requiring professional attention, you can always call the roofing experts serving Omaha, Papillion and La Vista since 1987.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Total Construction continues to reward $100 for successful customer referrals

Total Construction Referral RewardsAs part of our Referral Reward program, and as a way of saying thanks after serving the Metro since 1987, Total Construction is rewarding people $100 if they refer someone to our company who then uses our services—whether it’s roof replacement, repair, restoration or remodeling, or any other Total Construction service.

Simply go to mytotalconstruction.com/rewards to refer someone to Total Construction and, if they qualify by doing business with us, we’ll send $100 your way. Not only will you receive a reward for each successful referral who works with us, but you can also rest assured that we’ll do the job right and make your references meaningful.

The referral reward program is just another way Total Construction is showing our appreciation for many great years of serving great people. Here’s to many more.

(402) 572-7457 | mytotalconstruction.com