Winter has arrived, along with bitter cold and freezing temperatures. In an effort to keep living and working spaces cozy, many residents and employees turn to alternative heat sources. The most common form of alternative heat comes from portable space heaters. These devices can generate a lot of extra heat, but if used improperly, can also create a serious safety hazard.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating is the leading cause of home fire deaths. Almost half of these deaths occur during the months of December, January, and February. Statistics show most of these fires also involved stationary or portable heaters. In 2009, heating equipment fires were responsible for an estimated $1.1 billion in direct property damage.
When used as directed and maintained properly, space heaters can be used safely. When purchasing a space heater, make sure it has been evaluated by an independent testing Laboratory; this will generally be indicated on the box or tag. Before operating the heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions. For more ways to minimize the risk of a heating related fire, review the tips list here:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the heating equipment, like furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving a room.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
SERVPRO of Iredell County professionals are dedicated to restoring both the property and the lives of customers being helped. The number one goal is returning damaged areas and items to preloss condition, doing all we can to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Tips to Avoid Electrical Fires
A recent report from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) shows home electrical fires claim the lives of 280 Americans each year and injure 1,000 more. Many electrical fires in the home or workplace care caused by overloaded circuits and extension cords. Many electrical fires can be avoided if basic safety precautions are taken.
· Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
· Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately
· Replace any electrical tool or appliance if it overheats, shorts out, causes even small electrical shocks, or gives off smoke or sparks.
· If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
· Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets
Preventing frozen pipes in Mooresville, Troutman, Statesville NC
What Causes Frozen Pipes? The water inside pipes can freeze when outdoor temperatures drop below freezing. As freezing water expands, it causes the pressure inside the pipes to increase, possibly leading to bursting pipes. Preventing Frozen Pipes
- Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest
- Seal air leaks surrounding or near pipes
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage
- Disconnect all outdoor hoses and turn off water to exterior faucets and sprinkler systems
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing
- Keep heat at 55 degrees F. or higher even when you are out of town
- During a cold spell turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls to allow a small trickle of water to run during the night
- If you need to be away from home, leave the heat on and drain your water system before you go
- Identify the locations of shutoff valves so that you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible when a pipe bursts
What to Do When Pipes Freeze or Burst If pipes freeze:
- Open all faucets
- Remove insulation and wrap pipes in rags
- If all else fails, call your plumber
If pipes burst:
- Shut off the water immediately to prevent additional damage
- Take proper precautions to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near standing water
- Take an inventory of any damaged property or possessions
- Contact SERVPRO of Iredell County and we can properly dry out the damaged area
Cold Weather Emergency Kits
Tips for Putting Together Cold Weather Emergency Kits
If you’re left without power during a heavy winter storm, it’s important to have a cold weather emergency kit prepared for your home to stay warm and safe until the heat comes back on. Depending on the severity of the storm and length of the power outage, you may need to seek alternate shelter, but in most cases you will only be without power for several hours. Whatever the case, having a plan in place and an emergency kit on hand will alleviate some of the stress of the situation.
Stock your emergency kit with the following items. You may not need every item in the kit, but being prepared is the best way to cope with an emergency situation.
- Non-perishable food
- Bottles of water
- Battery-operated radio
- Heavy plastic sheeting
- First aid kit
- Duct tape
- Kerosene space heater
- Wood and kindling for the fireplace
- Home generator
In addition to preparing a cold weather emergency kit for your home, it’s also a good idea to prepare one for your vehicle. If your car breaks down and you have nowhere to go, a cold weather emergency kit for your car will ensure you stay warm until help arrives. Because the temperature inside your car will drop much more quickly than inside your house. It’s even more critical to be prepared with an emergency cold weather kit. Your kit for your vehicle should include:
- Jumper cables
- Chemical light stick
- Folding shovel
- Cat litter
- Weather-proof jacket
- Extra gloves, hat and scarf
- First aid kit
- Utility tool/knife
- Bottles of water
- Protein bars
- Extra cell phone battery
- Distress flag
- Reflective tape or reflective triangles
Most of these items are inexpensive and easy to find, and having them on hand during an emergency can make a bad situation a little safer and less stressful. Before the heavy lake effect snow that we’ll be getting arrives, put together your home and vehicle winter safety kits and ensure you’re prepared for whatever winter brings your way.
Fire Damage Restoration
The fire trucks may be gone but without proper immediate response, the real damage and the costs are just beginning. To return your residential or commercial property to its preloss condition requires professional restoration. This is not the job for a do-it-yourself property owner.
Professional restoration technicians know that damage increases and restoration costs escalate the longer neutralization, corrosion control and cleaning is delayed. When homeowners prolong the restoration of their home, they extend the effects brought on by the smoke exposure. The following is an initial timeline of the effects of fire and smoke on a home:
Within Minutes: Acid soot residues cause plastics to yellow; small appliances located close to the source of combustion discolor; highly porous materials (marble, alabaster) discolor permanently.
Within Hours: Acid residues stain grout in bathrooms; fiberglass bath fixtures may yellow; uncoated metals tarnish, counter tops may yellow; finishes on appliances, particularly refrigerators, may yellow; furniture finishes may discolor.
For results you can have confidence in, the IICRC recommends hiring a certified restoration firm. Restoration to a property can be complex. Proper smoke and odor removal are tasks that require technicians certified in these specific areas.
When selecting a certified restoration firm several factors must be considered:
- Formal and up-to-date specialized training
- Health and safety certifications
- Experience in a wide range of restoration projects
- Proof of proper insurance and licenses
Emergency Sewage Damage Tips
- Shut off the water source if possible.
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs.
- Hang furs and leather goods separately at room temperature.
- Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Do not use a regular vacuum to remove water.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
- Do not leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpeting.
- Avoid walking thru or cross contaimenating the remainder of the property with the sewage.
If you have questions regarding sewage damage, please call SERVPRO of Iredell County at 704-872-7466.
IICRC Certified Firm
SERVPRO of Iredell County is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.
IICRC Certified Firms must
- Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
- Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
- Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
- Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
- Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.
The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry
The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.
Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.
How to avoid mold growth in your Iredell County home
No one wants mold and mildew to grow inside their homes! It can cause health problems, decrease the value of a home, and damage the structure.
Mold or organic growth can be caused by closing up rooms and not allowing good air circulation.
Our special cleaning products will of course remove the surface mold and dirt but a longer term solution includes regulating the moisture levels in your home by using a dehumidifyer or adjusting the settings on your HVAC system. Cleaning and drying walls, floors, and belongings, and making sure the air in the home circulates.
If you have any mold questions, call SERVPRO of Iredell County -- 704-872-7466.
Tips on what to do after a fire in your Mooresville home
What to Do After a Home Fire
Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process.
When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact.
Contact your insurance company or agent right away.
Ask your agent:
- What to do about the immediate needs of your home. This includes pumping out water and covering doors, windows, and other openings.
- What you should do first. Some companies may ask you to make a list of everything that was damaged by the fire. They will ask you to describe these in detail and say how much you paid for the items.
Entering the home after the fire:
- Do not enter a damaged home or apartment unless the fire department says it is safe to go in!
- Fires can start again even if they appear to be out.
- Soot and dirty water left behind may contain things that could make you sick. Do not eat, drink, or breathe in anything that has been near the fire’s flames, smoke, soot, or water used to put the fire out.
SERVPRO technicians are experts in cleaning and/or restoring your personal items.
What to do after water damage has occurred in Iredell County
When facing a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensure proper cleanup. There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals.
Damage from Clean Water:
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items. Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
- Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
- Do no use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
Damage from Contaminated Water:
- Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
- Do no walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
- Do not turn on HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
- Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminates.
- Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.
When you have a water damage, don’t leave your property to chance. Call SERVPRO of Iredell County.