Leave your shoes at the door

Leave your shoes at the door

Whether they’re strict about it or not we all know someone with the “no shoes in the house” rule. Although some may find that policy annoying or even sometimes odd for guests you may want to consider adopting the practice for your own home.


I’m sure you’ve heard “a little dirt never hurt anyone”, but how about pesticides, lawn fertilizer, the flu, E. coli and C. diff? What is C. diff? It’s a dangerous bacterium that causes terrible symptoms from diarrhea and cramping to kidney failure and fatal inflammation. It’s nasty stuff but what’s even scarier is how possible it is that you’re carrying it or something similar around on your daily footwear! Something as simple as propping your feet up on the ottoman after a long day can actually be a bad idea.

Take a look at the numbers.

  • The University of Arizona shared that the bottom of shoes contain on average 421,000 different types of bacteria, 96% detected coliforms (bacteria used to indicate the sanitary quality of water and food), and 27% detected specifically E.Coli.
  • As shared by TODAY, a study by the University of Houston found that 26.4% of shoes carry that awful sounding C. diff.
  • The University of Utah’s study concluded that bacteria on your shoes are transferred into your home at a rate of 90 to 99%!

So leaving your outdoor shoes on in the house is highly likely to carry quite a bit of bacteria throughout your home where you eat, relax, breathe and sleep.  For healthy adults that may only bring a threat of being sick for a few days, but for children, elderly and people with compromised immune systems it can be extremely dangerous.

Still not sold on the daily practice of dropping you shoes at the entry mat? You can keep your home healthier by at least spraying them down with a disinfectant and then thoroughly washing your hands. It’s not as good as taking them off and spraying them down, but it’s certainly heathier than not doing either. And as Mom always said, “no shoes on the table.”

Flooding on Cape Cod

We’ve seen many storms and some pretty nasty winters the last few years here on Cape Cod, but last week was certainly something different for the area. While locals braced themselves for a storm after sustaining a long cold snap they didn’t quite expect to be facing such a major flood situation.

Provincetown’s high tide just after noon measured a whole 4’ higher than the previous tide, hitting a total height of over 10’ and turning Commercial Street into a river. Not only did the tides raise, the groundwater level rose so places like dirt crawlspaces flooded and all of the melting snow didn’t drain completely into the ground. Some areas reported surges that exceeded those of the historic Blizzard of ’78!

Eastham, MA Storm Surge Flooding

Not only were areas of the Cape being devastated with storm surge and groundwater damage, the warmer temperatures thawed homes with frozen pipes causing water damage in other areas.  We can’t stress enough the importance of winterizing your home if you’re going to be away for an extended period of time. Even if it’s just a short while, make sure someone checks in on it, that your water is off and that your heat is on. Open your cabinets under sinks to allow for the warm air to flow to the plumbing. If you’re away often, purchase a water detector for damage prone areas like the basement to alert you as soon as water is detected, and Wi-Fi enabled thermostats so you can monitor the temperature in the house.  These things help you act fast when disaster strikes so you can minimize the amount of damage you sustain.

Complicating matters even further were the power outages. Most heating systems rely on electricity to work so when the storm knocked out power to areas it also knocked out the heat. Later that night temperatures dropped to a deep freeze.  It was a recipe for disaster. Pipes were even freezing in homes that were primary to the residents and the heat was on. It was really that cold, and the wind was that strong that it froze pipes in their exterior walls and ceilings.

Although there are a lot of areas where homeowners are required to purchase flood insurance because of their location on FEMA’s flood maps those policies don’t cover damaged contents. Think of all of the things that people keep in their basements; seasonal clothes, pantry items, extra furniture, etc. Finished basements could be entire bedrooms, offices and TV rooms. Flood insurance at least covers damage to burners and electrical equipment, but the cost to not only replace but dispose of all of the contents can be in the thousands.

“25% of homes with flood claims each year are in low risk zones.”

It has been a real eye opener. As restoration efforts continue and our crews remain available round-the-clock for emergency services we hope that everyone really takes a look at the measures they have in place for such disasters to protect themselves, their business and their homes from future events. It’s obvious the weather patterns continue to change, and the storms seem to be getting stronger, so please, stay safe out there and make sure you prepare for all of the possibilities.

January Home Maintenance

Happy New Year! I love January for the fresh start it brings to mind. Start your year off right by updating your new calendar with your scheduled appointments and tasks, and tackling this month’s list of your home to-do’s early! You’ve got this!


  • Test all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Keep an eye out for bargains on discontinued appliances and tools. Before buying, make sure the warranties are still valid.
  • Organize your home improvement files. Review warranties and product manuals for recommenced maintenance for furnaces, equipment, appliances, and tools. Update your calendar to keep everything on schedule.
  • Update your home inventory list. Add new items that you received as holiday gifts. Photographs to go with your room-by-room list will be very helpful in the event of a fire, flood, or other disaster.
  • Review your homeowner’s policy. Make sure you have enough coverage under your contents section (your updated inventory list comes in to play here), and be aware of the different deductibles you may be subject to. For instance, a wind deductible is usually higher than a standard policy deductible, and groundwater is often not a covered loss.
  • Remove drain traps from under your sinks and clean them thoroughly along with the pop-up drain plugs. Test your water heater temperature pressure relief valve by lowering the test lever and allowing some water to flow through the pipe. If no water flows or if it only trickles out, replace the valve.

Here’s your printable January Home Maintenance Checklist

Goodwill and Giving

♥ ‘Tis the season of giving and goodwill. ♥
How will you show your holiday spirit? We’ve got some great ideas for you!


  • Volunteer for the Salvation Army. Reach out to your local office to find out all of the opportunities in your area such as toy sorting, assisting truck deliveries and food basket deliveries.
  • Reach out to your local hospital and see how you can volunteer or visit the patients.
  • Share some love with furry friends and the MSPCA. Spend some time giving attention and love to local shelter animals. Donating old blankets, pillows and animal toys would be great!
  • Volunteer at your local homeless shelter preparing and serving meals to the homeless.
  • Bring some cheer to senior citizens so no one has to spend the season alone or without a home cooked meal.
  • Make a difference in the life of a child with a life-threatening medical condition with the Make-A-Wish foundation.
  • There’s always the timeless tradition of caroling. Check with your local community centers and neighborhood groups or rally a crew of your own. You could even merge this with the senior and hospital suggestions above! Make it even more fun by dressing up as holiday characters!
  • Reach out to your local food pantry and see if you can help deliver holiday meals.
  • Check out Volunteer Match.
  • Pay for someone’s layaway anonymously.
  • Buy the coffee order for the person behind you.
  • Pay for someone’s dinner tab.
  • Bring a panhandler a brown bag lunch.
  • Enjoy a street musician’s talent and pay them for the show.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation in a friend’s name

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – Calvin Coolidge

December Home Maintenance

Decorations, strolls, carols, parties, football and the start of winter weather – December sure has a lot going on! We’ve simplified this month’s maintenance to-do list so that you can focus on the beauty of this special time of year. From our big Whalen Restoration Services family to yours, Happy Holidays!


  1. Test all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  2. Unpack and test all electrical holiday decorations. Repair or discard any that do not function properly.
  3. Review the family fire escape and emergency plans with every household member.
  4. Check your fire extinguisher’s expiration date and the gauge to ensure that it is fully charged.
  5. Check that there is still insulation around all exterior pipes and make sure that water cannot seep under the insulation.
  6. Detail clean your dishwasher, trash compactor and countertop appliances.
  7. Clean your range hood and either clean or replace the filter.

Printable version: December Home Maintenance Checklist