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How to Handle ‘Household Hazardous Waste’

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines household hazardous waste (HHW) as leftover household products that can be potentially dangerous, as they can catch fire, react, or even explode under certain circumstances. Additionally, these products can be corrosive or toxic, posing serious risks to health and the environment. We must handle and dispose of these materials with great care. Common household items such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, pesticides, and more can and often contain hazardous ingredients. Therefore, it is essential to exercise caution when dealing with them.

Many people unknowingly pour these substances down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or even mix them with regular trash. However, the dangers of such disposal methods may not be immediately apparent. Improperly discarded HHW can contaminate the environment, pollute water sources, and pose a threat to human health. Some quick tips...

1. Follow product labels: Carefully read and adhere to the instructions for use and storage provided on product labels. This will help prevent accidents and mishaps at home.

2. Dispose according to label instructions: Read product labels to determine the proper disposal directions. This will reduce the risk of products exploding, igniting, leaking, mixing with other chemicals, or posing other hazards during transportation to disposal facilities.

3. Use original containers: Never store hazardous products in food containers. Keep them in their original containers and avoid removing labels. Corroding containers require special handling, so it's important to consult your local hazardous materials official or fire department for proper instructions.

4. Avoid mixing HHW: Never mix HHW with other products. Incompatible substances can react, ignite, or explode, rendering the HHW unrecyclable. It's crucial to handle and dispose of them separately.

5. Seek information from local authorities: Check with your local environmental, health, or solid waste agency. They can provide guidance on year-round collection systems, designated collection days, and drop-off locations for safe disposal and recycling.

6. Handle empty containers with care: Even empty containers of HHW can pose hazards due to residual chemicals. It's important to handle them with caution and ensure they are disposed of properly.

And as with any cleaning-related questions or concerns, contact your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro

Sump pumps are crucial in safeguarding homes from water damage, especially in areas prone to flooding or excessive moisture. These devices are designed to efficiently remove water accumulating in basements or crawl spaces, preventing costly damage and potential health hazards.

At its core, a sump pump is a mechanical device that sits in a specially constructed pit, known also as a sump pit or sump basin, usually located in the lowest part of a basement or crawl space. The primary function of the sump pump is to pump out water that collects in this pit.

This is where it gets interesting, because if any of this fails you, then you could have a flooded basement and thousands of dollars in damages.

How it all works and what you should know

When water enters the sump pit, it triggers a float switch or pressure sensor, depending on the type of pump. These mechanisms activate the pump when the water reaches a certain level, signaling the need for action. Once activated, the sump pump uses an electric motor to power an impeller or propeller, which spins rapidly, creating a centrifugal force.

As the impeller spins, it creates a low-pressure area at its center, causing water to be drawn into the pump through an intake valve or suction pipe. The water is then accelerated and expelled from the pump through a discharge pipe, which directs it away from the house to a designated drainage area, such as a storm sewer or a dry well.

Some sump pumps have additional features to enhance their functionality and reliability. For instance, some models come with a backup power source, such as a battery or generator, to ensure continued operation during power outages when water damage risks are often higher. And some have a check valve system to keep water from flowing back into the pit.

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the optimal performance of a sump pump. It is recommended to inspect the pump periodically, checking for any signs of damage or debris that may impede its operation. Testing the pump by pouring water into the sump pit can also help verify that it activates and pumps out water as intended.

If the unthinkable does happen and your home is damaged by water from a failed sump pump — or from other water intrusions — call in your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro

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