Best Practices For Using A Space Heater
Your central heating system will be working hard this winter. You may only need to heat one room at times, so keep in mind that you can use a portable space heater to take the load off of your main heat source. Space heaters are high-wattage appliances and do have the potential to cause fires if they are not used correctly, however. With that in mind, we would like to share some best practices for using a space heater here:
When selecting your space heater:
- Check to see that your heater is listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
- Purchase one with a sensor that will shut it off automatically if it overheats or gets tipped over.
- Inspect your heater and its cord and plug. Do not purchase it if you think it could be defective.
When setting up your space heater:
- Place your heater on a solid flat surface, and make sure it’s at least 3 feet from anything flammable. If it is being used in the garage or workshop, keep it away from any paint, oil, and gas cans.
- Don’t place the heater on furniture or cover it up, and be careful of high-traffic areas and doorways, where someone could trip over it and get burned. Never run a power cord under carpets, rugs, or furniture.
- Plug your heater into an outlet directly rather than using an extension cord or power strip, and ensure that the plug fits well and is the only plug in the outlet.
- Always keep your heater away from water, and if you’re wet - don’t touch it.
When using your space heater:
- Check your heater often to make sure that the plug, cord, outlet, or faceplate isn’t hot. If it is, stop using it immediately, and remember that a hot cord may mean it is defective and could ignite a fire.
- Don’t run your heater 24/7. It isn’t made to work for long periods of time.
- Never leave a space heater unattended or in a child’s room, and turn it off while you are sleeping.
- Install smoke detectors in your home, as well as carbon monoxide alarms. These need to be tested monthly.
We hope these best practice tips will help you to use your space heater properly. Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we want you, your family, and your friends to be safe. If you experience damage to your property, we’re here to help, 24/7. We are specialists when it comes to fire damage or water damage, and we can handle mold, too. We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned if you need it, so ask us how.
What To Do When An Appliance Is Leaking
An appliance that develops a leak can cause big problems in your home or business. Many times we won’t even know that the appliance is experiencing issues until it’s too late, and by that time flooring, cabinetry, and other belongings have been affected or compromised. If the leak has been developing over time, slowly, with small amounts of water dripping, you may also find yourself with a mold infestation, as well.
What are some best practices for you to consider when your appliance is leaking?
If you have discovered a small leak, the first step to take is to protect your flooring and any items around the leak that could be affected. This may be able to be done by using towels or other large pieces of absorbent material put in place as buffers.
Take a good look at the appliance and see what part of the machine is at fault. If it is just a small leak on a hose or pipe, for example, you may be able to stop the water drip by using duct tape. Keep in mind, however, that this is not meant to be a permanent solution; call your appliance repair professional right away to get their opinion. Hoses and piping are usually fairly easy to replace and having the peace of mind that comes with knowing the job was done right will be worth it.
If, on the other hand, the leak is significant, turn off any source of water to the appliance immediately. Call your appliance repair person and have them come to take a look at the machine. In cases like these, it’s usually time for a new appliance, but the professionals will be able to give you the right recommendation.
Assess all the affected areas around the leak. If there has been a large amount of water standing for any period of time you may have some flooring damage. Your cleanup and repair professionals can be onsite in no time to get your home or business back to normal.
SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties is always ready to help you with any kind of water-related problems, and in addition to handling water damage, we handle fire damage issues, as well. If you do find that you have developed a mold situation, we are mold remediation experts, so we can take care of that for you right away. We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, too. Ask us how!
How Do I Know When To Replace My Roof?
If you live or own a business in an older building, you know it will become necessary to replace the roof at some point. Have you seen some water stains in your attic or have you just gone through a season of really heavy weather and some shingles have disappeared? If you answered yes to either of these questions or if you have had other issues relating to your roof, keep reading! Today we are going to share some points to think about as you decide when you should replace your roof.
Gutters/Rain Spouts. Gutters and rain spouts are part of the overall roofing system. They can pull away from the building if they are overloaded or clogged with water and debris, and this can cause damage to the corners of your roof and exterior walls. This kind of damage is easily seen from the ground, so take a walk around your building and see if you can find any of this kind of damage. If the damage has been evident for a while and no repairs were done, your roofing may have experienced enough damage that it needs to be replaced now.
Signs and Symptoms. Curled, buckled or missing shingles are some of the first items that give you a clue to the health of your roof. They will need to be replaced if you are to avoid leaks and future water damages. If a large number of shingles are compromised you are looking at a roof replacement. Water stains in the attic are a telltale sign that you might need to replace your roof, as well. If you are experiencing higher-than-average energy bills, that is yet another sign that you may need a new roof. Do you have critters in your attic? They must have found a way in, and that is most possibly due to an issue in your roofing system.
Maintenance. Conducting regular inspections of all parts of your roofing will aid you when it comes to the condition of your roof. It can be easy to forget about it, but a damaged roof can quickly become a huge issue, allowing water to intrude into every part of your home or business and cause water damage.
In addition to roofing issues, SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties handles water damage, fire damage, and mold remediation, so contact us right away if you have experienced any of these issues. We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned; ask us how!
Do You Have A Fire Evacuation Plan For Your Business?
While a fire itself is dangerous enough, the threat of fire can be compounded by panic and chaos. If you aren’t prepared, injuries and even more damage can result. The best prevention here is to have a detailed fire evacuation plan; a high-quality fire evacuation plan will not only prepare your business in the event of a fire but also for any other type of emergency that could happen on your business premises.
Do you have a fire evacuation plan for your business? The law requires you to have a plan. If the answer is no or if you need to revisit the one you have in place, we have some points to share with you while you are creating a fire evacuation plan.
Location. An average of 3,000 fires occur in office properties per year, and most of those fires were caused by faulty cooking equipment, intentional acts, or electrical malfunctions. These are the areas to pay special attention to in your business.
Causes. Do you have a kitchen in your office or are people using portable space heaters or personal fridges? Do wildfires threaten your location during the summer? Make sure you understand the specific threats in your area and on your premises.
- Note: fires related to cooking are at the top of the list for office properties, so make sure to post rules about using the microwave and other office kitchen appliances where everyone can see them.
Leadership. Your employees will need leaders for guidance and reassurance during an evacuation. Choose those you believe you can rely on to be responsible and create a chain of command. These people will be the ones who lead everyone to safety, handle calm communications, and ensure that even the most vulnerable on your team are safe. Designate volunteers who are willing to learn and operate fire extinguishers correctly, should the need arise.
Communication. Designate someone to handle the job of calling the fire department and getting information to employees, customers, news media, and any other entities, such as the community, organizational management, suppliers, transportation partners, and government officials. Whoever you choose will need a robust, multi-channel communication system, as the chaos of a disaster, such as a fire, can result in people not necessarily thinking clearly and may miss important information. Being able to communicate through email, phone, text, and mobile app will ensure your communication gets to everyone in a timely manner.
Route. A good fire evacuation plan for your business will use primary and secondary escape routes, and clear signage should mark all the exit routes. Make multiple maps and post them so all your employees know the evacuation routes to the safe spot(s) you have designated.
Tools. It is recommended that you refill reusable fire extinguishers every 10 years and replace disposable ones every 12 years. Also, make sure your employees know where the fire extinguishers are located in the workplace. While you’re at it, make sure these office tools are up-to-date and operational at all times wherever applicable:
- Fire alarms
- Emergency lighting
- Fire doors
- Escape ladders
- Megaphone/Traffic Controller Wand
Drills. Regular fire drills will minimize confusion through repetition, giving your employees a clear idea of how a real evacuation should work. A safe outcome is more likely when everyone knows what is happening.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties, we care about you and your business, and we care about the safety of your workforce, too. If you need help with cleanup after a fire or flood, or if you have experienced fire damage or water damage, we are here to help. We can get your home and business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, too! Ask us how.
What To Do After Finding Mold In Your Home
If you recently found mold in your house, you are aware that this is something to be taken seriously. Mold can be dangerous to your health, so it’s important to take the necessary steps in handling mold right away. Here are some tips on what to do after finding mold in your home.
Have your home tested by a trained mold tester; many people make the mistake of cleaning up the mold without testing. It is important to know the type of mold you are dealing with and how bad your problem actually is. If it’s a small problem, a professional may recommend that you clean the mold up yourself, and they can give you advice on best practices to use in removing it.
Cleaning up mold yourself may be a good idea if:
- The mold only covers a small area.
- The mold is growing on easy-to-clean surfaces like glass, metal, tile, tubs, or sinks.
- The mold is growing on hard-to-clean materials, like carpet, that are easy to remove and replace and you know how to do it properly.
- You don’t have any health problems likely to be made worse by increased exposure to mold (check with your doctor if you’re not sure if it’s safe for you to clean up a mold problem yourself).
If it is a large job, however, you will need to contact a professional mold remediation company. (Before any work is done, contact your insurance company and find out if mold removal is covered in your policy. In many cases it will be, although it often depends on the cause of the mold.) A professional will oversee the proper, and thorough, cleanup and removal process. When the job is done, they will come back and test again to make sure the removal was properly completed.
Cleaning up mold yourself is probably not such a good idea if:
- The mold covers a large area.
- Mold develops after flooding with water that might be contaminated with sewage or other potentially hazardous substances.
- There is mold in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.
- You aren’t sure how to do all parts of the job correctly, For example, if there is mold in your wall interiors and you don’t know how to remove and replace drywall or if you don’t have all the tools required to do the job.
- You have moldy wood that cannot be removed and replaced, so the moldy area needs to be sanded and encapsulated instead (it’s recommended that only mold remediation professionals sand moldy wood since it significantly increases one’s exposure to mold, which can lead to potentially serious illnesses).
- You smell mold but can't find it. Mold can hide in the subfloors, attic, inside walls, under carpets, or crawl-spaces.
Identify the cause of the mold, and make sure that any issues are fixed so that the mold will not re-establish itself. For example, if you find that there was a leak in the roof that led to optimum damp conditions, make sure that leak is repaired. Another issue could be that the humidity level in your home is too high, so you may want to get a dehumidifier to bring it down to the proper levels.
If you are going to hire a professional mold remediation company, make sure you get a few estimates and choose a company that you believe will do a thorough job. Be sure to check with your local Better Business Bureau or Health Department to find out if the company has a good reputation here in the Huron and East Seneca area.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties, we maintain the training and equipment that are necessary to handle a mold infestation. Call us today if you need help with a project of this kind, no matter the size. We are fire damage and water damage experts, too, and we are committed to getting your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!
Smoke Removal From Your Kitchen
Damage from a fire in your kitchen can be significant and devastating. The smoke is a major issue as well, as its residue and odor are very hard to get rid of. In the event of an oven or stove fire in your kitchen, you can be left with a mess that requires the help of professionals to handle. The acidity of smoke and soot can make them difficult to remove, and also contain particles that are harmful to breathe. It is going to be essential to clean the smoke damage completely out of your kitchen as soon as possible, especially if anyone in your home or business suffers from asthma or other respiratory issues.
There are a few things a home or business owner can do themselves to remediate smoke damage by using household cleaners or substances that can often be found in a cupboard, such as rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and degreaser. The only other items you will need are hot water and a dry-cleaning sponge, so you may want to purchase a couple of the sponges to have on hand, just in case.
If a fire occurs in your kitchen, open all windows once the fire has been put out, even if it’s cold outside - ventilation is essential. Use fans to get air moving and turn off your HVAC system to prevent the spread of the smoke, soot, and all harmful particles.
Make sure you wear protection for yourself, such as long pants and long sleeves. Gloves and eye protection are important, as well, since you will be freeing soot as you clean. Lay down floor protection and remove furniture that is not damaged. You may be able to cover items with plastic if the area affected is small, but if it’s the whole kitchen it will be wise to simply remove everything and seal off undamaged areas. If the damage is too severe for you to handle, be sure to contact a professional.
Remove loose soot particles with your shop vac. If you don’t have access to a shop vac, you can use a regular vacuum cleaner and its attachments.
The next step is to wipe up soot and smoke stains using your dry-cleaning sponge. These sponges have special chemicals in them to lift stains, so they are ideal for this kind of project. Never use water or cleaners before you use this sponge, or you will spread the soot all over, making it impossible to remove. As the sponge gets discolored, you can slice the used parts off with a knife to get a fresh start, but make sure you are always using a clean portion of the sponge.
You can now use a clean rag and any cleaning agents you have on hand. Soak your rag in the preferred cleaner and wipe all the walls throughout your kitchen, even if you don’t see soot or smoke damage. After this, soapy water should be used to wipe down everything, including light bulbs, so be sure to refresh your water throughout the process. Once you’ve finished, you will want to wash everything down with clean water to finalize this project to remove smoke from your kitchen. After your kitchen is clean, you will want to dry all the surfaces and run your fans, too.
Cleanup after a fire can be very involved, so in order to save time and get your kitchen back to normal, you can call a professional for help. Here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties, we have all the necessary training and equipment needed to help you recover your kitchen from smoke damage. We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!
Steps To Take If Your Hotel Floods
Flooding is a serious issue, and the proper steps need to be taken to ensure both the safety of the residents and the integrity of the building. If there are high levels of flooding in your hotel, call SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties immediately to ensure that there is no additional damage being made. While it is hard to be prepared for flooding, know that it can happen at any place and at any time.
- Evacuate everyone from the premises as soon as possible before serious flooding happens, if at all possible, and find a dry, safe spot outside of the hotel while waiting for the flooding to stop. If flooding is caused by a natural disaster, call the authorities or listen to the local news to find a temporary shelter and relocate to that shelter when possible. Ensure that everyone who was evacuated is safe.
- If the flooding is not from a natural disaster, find the source of the flooding and stop it at the source. Turning off the main water valve may solve the issue.
- Turn off electricity, and be sure you do not attempt to reach the fuse box if you have to walk through standing water; water is a conductor of electricity and you could be shocked. If you cannot reach the fuse box without stepping on water, call an electrician.
- Document everything: take photos and videos of all the affected areas. Use this information for insurance purposes.
Once the flooding has stopped, you can start the clean-up process.
- Do not touch the water without the proper equipment as it may be contaminated with sewage or other hazardous material. If you have to enter the establishment, wear waders and waterproof boots.
- All of the water has to be removed, then a wet vacuum or a pump can be used to dispose of any standing water.
- Attempt to salvage any items that were not seriously damaged. Do not eat any food that has been contaminated by floodwater.
- If the water damage is not too bad, dry the space out with fans and dehumidifiers. Anything that was touched by the water also needs to be disinfected.
Warm, wet spaces are a breeding ground for mold growth, so you will want to act as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth.
- The property needs to be as dry as possible to prevent mold spores from growing. Once it starts growing, it is difficult to remove. To avoid mold from growing, keep the affected areas as dry as possible, and treat it with a strong cleaner, such as a bleach solution.
- Open any windows and doors to let fresh air in and circulate, unless the weather is humid. In the case of humid weather, you can use dehumidifiers and fans, instead.
Flooding does not mean the end of the world. Even if your hotel was flooded, it can still be salvaged, and If the damage is critical or you are not capable of fixing the issue by yourself, don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties to aid you in returning your hotel back to peak condition. Here at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties, we are experts at water damage repair and restoration along with mold removal and remediation. We are committed to getting your home, hotel, or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!
What To Do In Case Of A Flood In Your Home
If your home has been flooded, the first thing you will be wondering is what you can do about the damage. The good news is that we have help to offer you. Today, here at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties, we will share some important steps that need to be taken to ensure the safety of your family along with the integrity of your house.
Here are some steps to take if your house is flooded:
- Evacuate everyone from the premises as soon as possible if you see that flooding is imminent. Find a dry, safe spot away from the house while waiting for the flooding to stop. If flooding is caused by a natural disaster, call the authorities or listen to the local news to find a temporary shelter and relocate to that shelter when possible. Call 911 if anyone needs medical attention and make sure that everyone is accounted for and safe.
- Attempt to find the source of the flooding if it is not from a natural disaster. Stop it at the source. Try to turn off any faucet or seal it up; turning off the main water valve may also solve the issue.
- Turn off the electricity, but do not attempt to reach the fuse box if you have to walk through water to reach it! If you cannot reach the fuse box without stepping in water, call an electrician.
- Document all the damage by taking photos and videos of all the affected areas. This information will be necessary for insurance purposes if you need to file a claim.
The clean-up process:
- Never touch the water without the proper equipment, as it may be contaminated with sewage or other hazardous material. If you have to enter the establishment, wear waders or waterproof boots.
- All water must be removed and a wet vacuum or a pump must be used to dry things out.
- Salvage any items that were not seriously damaged; do not eat any food that has been contaminated by floodwater.
- If the water damage is not severe, you can dry the space out with fans and dehumidifiers. Keep in mind that anything that was touched by the water will also need to be disinfected.
Warm, damp spaces are an attractive breeding ground for mold colonies, so act as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth:
- Your property needs to be as dry as possible to prevent mold from establishing a colony. Once a mold colony gets established, it will be difficult to remove it completely. Keep the affected areas as dry as possible and treat them with a strong cleaner, such as a bleach solution.
- Open all of your windows and doors to let fresh, dry air in to circulate.
If the damage to your home is critical and you won’t be capable of fixing the issue by yourself, don’t hesitate to call us to assist you in getting your house back to normal. Here at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties, we are experts when it comes to water damage repair and restoration, and we are mold prevention and remediation pros, too. We can get your home and business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!
We Offer Commercial Cleaning Services
If you own a business in the Huron and East Seneca area, you should consider the systems and processes you have in place to get your business back up and running again if disaster should strike. Disasters such as water damage or fire damage can take a significant amount of time and effort to clean, and cleaning and restoring commercial properties requires a unique blend of training, experience, and equipment. SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties has the resources and expertise to give you excellent results while minimizing the disruption to your clients. Here at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties, we offer commercial cleaning services to:
- Small Office Buildings
- Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
- Apartment Buildings
- Small Retail Stores
- Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
- High-Rise Residential
- Manufacturing & Industrial
SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties offers professional cleaning and preventative maintenance for your carpet and upholstery that keeps your property looking its best. Our cleaning system offers a number of specialized cleaning options to match your needs. Whether your business needs a deep cleaning or a persistent odor removed, you can trust SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties.
You don’t have time to worry about the common wear and tear that gradually soils your business. When grime, odor, and moisture challenges go beyond the scope of your regular janitorial staff, you can call SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties for prompt and professional service. Whether it’s removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring or carpets, you can rely on us to make your commercial workspace look its very best.
SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties offers commercial cleaning services ranging from cleaning restaurant hoods to removing biohazard contaminants. We have specialized training and products to get your property back to business. Our cleaning services include Air Duct and HVAC maintenance, biohazard and sewage cleanup, trauma and crime scene cleanup, drapes and blinds cleaning, odor removal and deodorization, and so much more! Contact us today to schedule your commercial cleaning.
Mold Prevention In Your Commercial Warehouse
If the odors associated with mildew or mold in your warehouse become apparent, don’t wait to investigate. Mold can live in walls, behind wallpaper, under flooring, and in ceilings, and these are just the most common places. After a period of wet weather, mold may have taken hold anywhere that has stayed damp. You can hire a certified mold inspector to stop by and check it out; they will be able to run the necessary tests to determine if you have a mold problem in your warehouse.
Practicing preventive measures will help to keep your commercial warehouse safe from the damage of a mold infestation. Inspecting those areas that are vulnerable is always the best step to take first, of course.
Mold will take hold in low-lying areas that remain damp and the spores will be attracted there, especially if these areas are dark. Scheduling periodic visual inspections in these places will help to identify a mold colony before it becomes unmanageable.
If your warehouse has recently undergone a flooding event or significant leaks have developed recently, these will be situations that could promote a mold issue. Always consider areas with moisture as places you need to pay attention to.
Keeping everything as dry as possible is another way to practice mold prevention in your commercial warehouse. If your warehouse has air conditioning, keep it running during wet weather, or place dehumidifiers into use. If you are experiencing standing water, have it removed and the area dried out.
When it comes to storage use storage shelving; the metal styles with grating will allow water to escape and air to reach the bottoms of boxes, etc. so that damp conditions don’t develop and create a haven for mold.
If you need help with a mold infestation in your commercial warehouse, call the mold remediation experts here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties. Our team has the experience and skills needed to take care of the mold issues that can develop in your warehouse or business. We handle water damage and fire damage, too, and we are committed to getting your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!