Winter Cleaning Tips to Keep You Safe from Fire Damage
A fireplace is a wonderful thing to have where people gather for warmth and companionship. A lit fireplace provides a wonderful ambiance to any room, and even more fantastic to have during really severe cold weather, such as blizzards and ice storms. The mantel is a great place to display pictures of family and friends or decorations for celebrations like Valentine’s Day or birthdays.
But a fireplace can also be dangerous if not cared for properly. Animals can build nests in your chimney during the warmer months without you ever knowing, and we can all just imagine what can happen when the first fire of the season is lit in a case like that!
Here are some precautions to think about; being prepared can greatly reduce the chance of a chimney fire in your home fireplace.
- First, do an inspection. (If you have a steep roof, then this isn’t a DIY project, and you need to enlist the help of a professional, for obvious safety reasons.) There are certified chimney sweeps throughout the country and they can easily be enlisted to help with your winter chimney cleaning project. During the inspection, you are looking for creosote buildup. It may not seem like a big deal, but it ignites at only 451 degrees and expands from there, possibly increasing temperatures to over 2,000 degrees. At that temperature, it can engulf your entire chimney and potentially destroy your home or cause some serious fire damage.
- If you are in the habit of burning green wood, make sure you have your chimney cleaned or inspected every 50 burns or so. To know whether your wood is green or not, look for moisture bubbling out from the cut ends of the log. Wet, green wood doesn’t burn cleanly and will send particles up your chimney, which in turn builds up as creosote and soot. Choose hardwoods such as oak or birch, which burn hotter and cleaner.
- A professional cleaning would include an inspection for soot build-up and for cracks or obstructions that could cause issues. Older chimneys can sometimes have gaps in the clay liner where mortar has fallen out, which causes water damage and can make your chimney unstable. If you do find yourself in need of a chimney sweep, look for someone who is insured and properly certified in your area. They will ensure that you are safe from fire damage due to an unkempt fireplace and chimney
The SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties team has years of experience dealing with fire damage, and we’re here to handle any damages in your home or business, should the worst ever happen. We also take care of water damage restoration, and keep in mind that we are also mold prevention and remediation specialists able to offer mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well.
New Years Cleaning Resolutions for Your Business
It’s that time of year again. The time of year where everyone is thinking about what they can do to make the new year even better than the last one. Business owners are planning ways to do better business and how to succeed in bigger ways, and you’re no exception.
One of the challenges any business owner faces is that of keeping their place of work clean and tidy, presenting a great image to the rest of the world. Perhaps in your case, your processes haven’t been the best, or everyone has just gotten busy with other things. It’s understandable; there is so much that must be attended to when running a business, even if it’s a small, local organization.
Here are some tips for New Years cleaning resolutions you can make with your staff to help keep everything looking good:
- Delegate. Put together committees made up of the people who work for you and delegate specific areas of your grounds to keep up. You may be in a position to add a pay incentive for a job well done, or perhaps staff members can go home a bit early on Friday. Incentives are always a good idea!
- Organize. Have a cleaning schedule posted in a noticeable spot so that everyone knows what needs to be kept up. If you are having professional cleaners come in, make that schedule available so that your staff can do a bit of prepping before they come in, such as remove fragile personal items from desktops, or put up breakable items in the kitchen or break room.
- Tidy. If your workspaces are neat and tidy, they will be much easier to keep clean. Encourage everyone to pick up after themselves and to limit the amount of clutter they keep at their desks and workspaces. Clutter is also a safety hazard and could save you money spent on injuries.
- Sanitize. Keeping work areas clean and sanitized on a regular basis, like perhaps every Friday evening before going home, will go a long way towards preventing seasonal illnesses.
The SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca team is ready to help you with all cleaning needs for your business. Call us today for a consultation! We are experts at fire damage restoration and water damage restoration, and we offer mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well!
Preparing Your Business for Winter Storms
Preparing properly for an oncoming winter storm is essential as a business owner. You have invested lots of time, money, and effort into your business and property, and you will want to safeguard it against damages that can come from winter storms.
- Pipes and water mains. Make sure that all of your pipes and water mains are thoroughly protected against freezing. Do an assessment of the condition of all your water-bearing pipes and fittings and replace anything that is not functioning properly before winter storms hit your area. Be sure to replace any pipes or fitting that are showing cracks or other signs of age.
- Heating. Make sure that all of your heating systems are in good running order. If they need maintenance, you will need to see to this to help prevent possible fire damage. You can call on our team of experts to help you in this area.
- Windows. If you haven’t already, install a new set of storm windows. These should be fitted with a plastic lining on the inside. These windows will help to provide an extra layer of insulation that will work to keep the cold outside air from entering your home during a storm.
- Insulation. You will also need to make sure your business is properly insulated. It's a good idea to caulk your doors and windows and make sure the weather stripping is in good shape.
- Winter storms can be extremely unpredictable. Pipes, fixtures, and sewage systems that lasted through a previous storm may not make it through the next one. If you have any doubts about the ability of your home to survive severe storm damage, call an expert for help with assessments and repairs.
SERVPRO of East Huron & Seneca Counties is here to help you to get your business ready for the colder months ahead. Call for an appointment and visit from our service team today. We are water damage and fire damage experts, and we provide mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well!
Keeping Your Hotel Mold-Free
Mold is unsightly and unhealthy, and it can cost your hotel business. Today, we are sharing some steps you can take to mold-proof your motel or hotel business so your guests can truly enjoy their stay with you.
- IDENTIFY PROBLEM AREAS. Do an audit of your business premises to identify the problem areas. Are the windows in some rooms frequently damp? Are there any persistent leaks in ceilings or hallways? Preventing mold from taking hold and spreading can be as simple as ripping up carpet or using mold-resistant cleaning and renovation products, or just cleaning out rain gutters. If you are in need of mold inspection services, SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties is available to assist you in your mold inspection and mold remediation needs!
- KEEP THINGS DRY. Mold growth can’t occur without moisture, so take care of wet areas immediately. Seepage after heavy rainfalls or melting snow and ice, or even carpet spills or minor flooding due to broken pipes, etc. need to be fully dried within 24 to 48 hours. Make sure any bedding and furniture that may have been affected are either completely dried or removed from the area to prevent the need of mold remediation services.
- VENTILATION. Make sure all your staff members are educated as to good practices in mold prevention. All areas need to be properly ventilated, from the kitchen to the on-site laundry, if you have one. Your housekeeping staff needs to be trained to keep a lookout for leaking AC units in guest areas, and everyone should know what to look for in break areas, bathrooms, and other areas where they work daily. Dehumidifiers might be appropriate to use, especially in more humid regions or during very wet seasons in your area to prevent water damage and mold growth.
- KEEP A WEATHER EYE OUT. Regular inspection of exterior doors, windows, and roofing can expose any leaks or improper fits right away. Even the smallest leaks can, over time, cause a mold issue that can be difficult to eradicate.
- GREEN STUFF. Do you use live plants in your decorating scheme? We know they are beautiful and useful, too; they help to purify the air of indoor spaces, which is always helpful. However, they can also accumulate mold on their leaves and in their pots. Make sure that part of their regular care involves checking for mold. Natural food stores carry products that can be added to water for your plants to keep excess moisture down while being safe for the environment.
- RESISTING MOLD. When it comes time to repair or renovate, keep in mind that there are many mold-resistant products on the market today, such as drywall or Sheetrock. Many paints now include mold-inhibitors, which are a great asset in the battle. Some cleaning products can be a benefit, as well in preventing mold growth.
Here at SERVPRO of East Huron & Seneca Counties, we are experts when it comes to water damage, fire damage, and mold remediation, and are here for all of your emergency service needs. We are also available for any mold inspection needs that you have in the Seneca areas.
Keeping Your Pipes from Freezing this Winter
The colder months are almost upon us, and when temperatures plummet, the risk of pipes freezing and bursting becomes very real, and with it, water damage. Burst pipes are actually one of the most common property damages owners will experience during frigid weather, and can create thousands of dollars in water damages, and water damages can, in turn, lead to other issues, such as mold growth which require mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well. The pipes in basements, attics, and garages are most at risk since these spaces are generally unheated, but even those located under your cabinets or in exterior walls can freeze. Today, we will share some simple tips you can use to keep your home or business dry:
- Insulation. Insulating your pipes can be fairly inexpensive, costing perhaps as little as fifty cents per linear foot when doing it yourself with products from your local hardware store. This investment could save you both time and frustration as well as money, saving your real estate and personal property from loss and damages.
- Doors. Keep garage doors closed, especially if your garage hosts a water supply, while in the kitchen and bathroom you will want to keep the cabinet doors open; this allows warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Faucets. Let cold water drip from your faucets if they are connected to exposed pipes. A trickle of water will help prevent those pipes from freezing by keeping it moving.
- Thermostat. Set, and keep, your thermostat at the same temperature both day and night. A cold snap is not the time to turn the heat down to save money. If you are leaving home for an extended period of time during the holidays, leave the heat on using a temperature of nothing less than 55 degrees.
- Insulation, again. Insulation added to attics, basements, and crawl spaces will help maintain higher temperatures in those spaces of your home or business. Sealing cracks and openings around all windows, doors, and sill plates will also be beneficial.
The SERVPRO of East Huron & Seneca Counties team cares about you and your home or business. We are here to help with all weather-related issues and concerns. Visit our website today to contact us or for more information about keeping your spaces safe and damage free. We are also available for mold inspection and mold remediation services as well as water damage and fire damage restoration!
Winter Fire Damage to Be Prepared for
A fireplace is one of the things most of us look forward to using when cold weather rolls around. They lend such a cozy ambiance to any home, no matter the size. We also will be pulling out the heavier blankets and space heaters and lighting the furnace for the first time in a while. Perhaps your home is even outfitted with an old-fashioned potbelly stove! All of these cold weather items can, if not properly cared for and used, can become a fire damage hazard. Here are some helpful suggestions to help keep your home and loved ones safe from winter fire damage:
- Have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed throughout the home and keep them in working order at all times.
- Ensure that materials such as carpet, drapes, and furniture are kept away from the fireplace, furnace, or space heaters while they are in use. All of these materials are combustible and must be watched carefully to avoid fire damage to your home. Use a firescreen to keep children and pets away from the fireplace flames and to make sure that sparks are not projected near anything that could catch fire.
- Never leave space heaters running when you are not in the room and don’t use them during the night while everyone is sleeping. If something goes wrong, you will want to be awake and alert. Never leave a child or a pet in a room with a space heater unattended.
- Check the cords and plugs for your space heaters thoroughly on a regular basis to make sure they are in good repair at all times.
- Keep the ash accumulation in your fireplace or potbelly stove under control, cleaning them out when the ash reaches the bottom of the grate. An accumulation can impede airflow and also make building a fire more difficult. When removing ash, it’s a good idea to wear a dust mask and gloves.
- A certified sweep in your area can inspect and clean your wood-burning fireplace and chimney; once a year or more can keep you and your family safe from fire damage and smoke damage. The Chimney Safety of America maintains a list of approximately 1500 chimney professionals that actively carry the Certified Chimney Sweep credentials, and they can be contacted in 49 of the 50 states.
- A good way to test the safety of your fireplace is by lighting a few small pieces of seasoned wood. If the smoke doesn’t exit up into the chimney but goes out into the room, immediately troubleshoot and correct any problems. These can include creosote or soot buildup, debris in the chimney such as bird or animal nests, a closed or partially closed damper, or even wood that is damp; all of which can pose serious fire hazards and risk fire damage and smoke damage.
- Make sure you burn only seasoned wood in your fireplace or potbelly stove. This should be wood that has been cut and dried under cover for 6 -12 months. Greenwood does not burn as thoroughly and creates more soot and creosote buildup, creating problems with your fireplace. Hardwoods, such as oak, ash, and maple are dense and heavy, delivering more heat than lighter softwoods, such as pine, poplar, and cedar; you should have no problems finding these woods from many area sources.
These simple tips can keep your home fire-safe all winter long. Remember to call SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties if you need any help with fire damage, water damage or mold cleanup around your home or office this winter season.
Checking Your Attic for Water Damage
Your attic will be one of the main places where damage from heavy rainfall can occur, and then mold growth becomes a possible concern - that’s not anything a homeowner wants. It is one of the places in your home that you won’t visit regularly; usually, a trip up to the attic is only made when you need something you have put up for a rainy day. It’s important to check your attic area periodically for leaks and water damage, especially after winter or other damp seasons, depending on your geographic location.
Some houses have water heaters in the attic, and they are known to leak as they age. Your attic will also take the brunt of storms, right along with your roof. When the roof sustains damage such as loose or missing roofing material, you will probably see water stains in the attic, letting you know a problem is developing.
Follow these tips to help you keep on top of any water damage to your attic:
- Check your attic for damage regularly. It’s important to assess your attic space as often as you check other parts of your home. You’ll want to make sure this area isn’t holding water, which can spread to problems with your interior ceilings.
- Check your roofing after extremely damp or severe weather. It’s crucial to check all roofing after a strong storm and/or high winds to ensure it is still intact.
- Make sure a water heater located in the attic of your home is working properly. If your water heater isn’t functioning the way it should, or if it has seen better days, have it checked by a professional. A malfunctioning water heater can flood your home and cause major property damage.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are always ready to help with cleanup after water damage and fire damage and are experts in the area of mold remediation. Call us at (419) 442 1790 with questions or concerns, or to schedule an appointment if you are in the greater Seneca areas, including Bloomville, Green Springs, Greenwich, and many, many more!
The Difference Between Mold Removal and Mold Remediation
Mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere. They can be found both indoors and out, and since they are microscopic, they cannot be detected by the naked eye until an entire colony has formed. Removing all mold from a home or business is actually impossible to do, so mold remediation is the focus when it comes to mold.
Some professional restoration businesses choose to advertise mold removal, and even go so far as to guarantee total removal of all mold, but this is not really possible. A qualified restoration company understands the science behind mold and its growth. The SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties team has the training and expertise in remediation of the mold in your home or business; mold remediation means that the focus will be on getting mold back to its normal and natural level.
Every situation where mold damage is found is going to be totally different and therefore will require a specific solution, but in general, the mold remediation process remains the same.
If you believe that you have an unnatural mold situation, call our team at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties to schedule an inspection and mold damage assessment. We will take steps to contain the mold and filtrate the air of the area affected, and all mold and materials will be removed, and we’ll ensure that the contents and belongings of the area will be cleaned thoroughly. We will then undertake the restoration of your property and make sure you are mold-damage free.
Here are some things home and business owners need to be aware of when it comes to mold:
- Mold spores float along in the air and can enter a home or business through windows, doors, or HVAC systems. They can even hitch a ride on your pet!
- Mold is microscopic; don’t expect to always see it with your naked eye.
- Mold growth can happen in as little as 48 hours. The spores thrive on moisture, so even a higher-than-normal humidity level indoors can encourage the growth of mold colonies.
- Mold produces a strong musty odor.
- Mold produces irritants and can be hazardous to your health.
Call us here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties at (419) 443 1790 to discuss mold remediation for your home or business. If you are in the Greater East Seneca area, such as in Port Clinton, Sandusky, or Huron, give us a call for any fire damage or water damage restoration needs!
Last Minute Home Cleaning Tips for Thanksgiving
The week before Thanksgiving is the time that you begin to wonder why in the world you offered to host this family event last year. How did 51 weeks pass so quickly? Now there’s the shopping to do, and the school events, and picking people up from the airport, and airing out the guest rooms….and the cleaning. It might seem difficult to see how this will all get done with your already busy schedule, but we want to share a few tips with you today that might be helpful for last-minute cleaning:
- Kitchen Tips. Gather clutter together and put it in a laundry basket in the laundry room. Crisis cleaning is all about making things look tidy and forgetting about organization right at the moment. Spray the counters with cleaner and wipe down, and then attack the appliances, the sink bowl, and the faucets. Sweep or vacuum the floor, and spot clean. Spray air freshener. Check for any visible water damage or possible mold growth.
- Bathroom Tips. Turn the fan on to remove odors and use fragrant candles before guests arrive. Put cleaner in the toilet bowl and let it sit for a while, while cleaning mirrors and polishing chrome. Wipe down the counters and clean the toilet thoroughly. Replace all the towels with ones that are freshly washed and sweep the floor; spot clean here. Spray air freshener. Like the kitchen, check for mold growth or visible water damage.
- Guest Room Tips. Get rid of clutter by moving to the laundry area or a similar area of your home that guests will not frequent. Shake out curtains and change the sheets. Fluffing pillows will give the room a fresh look. Dust the furniture and don’t neglect the head and footboard of the bed. Polish reflective surfaces. Sweep or vacuum flooring, and spray air freshener. Scent sprayed onto a cool light bulb will freshen the room when the light is used. Fragrant candles are a nice touch here as well.
- Living Room Tips. Toss the clutter into the laundry basket and remove any trash. Straighten and fluff pillows and fold blankets. Wipe away food spills and dust the furniture, polishing reflective surfaces. Make sure you remove pet hair with a damp cloth from seating and eating areas, especially. Move furniture to look neat and regular; this adds to the overall clean and neat look of the room. Vacuum or sweep the flooring, and spot clean. Spray air freshener.
- Entryway Tips. First impressions are made here, so take care that it looks great. Shake off the Welcome mat, and polish the reflective surfaces. Sweep the front step, and clan all glass. Remove shoes and clutter from this area and place out of view.
- Finishing Touch Tips. Empty all the trash bins throughout the house. Add a hospitality touch to the guest room by providing tissues, reading materials, and a water carafe with glass. For a welcoming scent when guests arrive, simmer two cups of water, two whole cloves, a cinnamon stick, and half an apple, orange, or lemon on the stove for an hour or so beforehand.
- Start Cooking!
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we wish you the best 2018 holiday season ever! If you live in the greater Huron area, including Gibsonburg, Attica, Bloomville, or other surrounding areas, we are here to help with all of your water damage, fire damage, or mold growth restoration needs.
Mold Removal Tips for Your Bathroom
Due to the large amounts of water used in your bathroom, it is one of the most susceptible areas of your house when it comes to water damage and mold growth. You’ll need to practice preventive measures to ensure that you don’t develop serious mold growth in the bathing areas of your home, and have some cleaning tips on hand when mold takes hold. Once mold has established itself in an area, it can come back even more quickly every time the humidity rises.
Here are some tips to preventing mold in the first place:
- Paint your bathroom with paint that is mold-resistant. Products of this type are readily accessible at your local hardware or home goods store.
- When doing any type of repair or renovation in the bathroom area, check with a professional to find any available products that contain mold-resistant ingredients, such as flooring and drywall.
- Avoid standing water in this area of the home. During floor cleaning, use less water than you might otherwise, and always dry off countertops after cleaning, paying special attention to cracks and crevasses. Another great tip is to keep your bath area well-ventilated to help further prevent long-standing water damage and mold growth.
- Keep an eye on the cabinets under the sinks and around the toilet for leaks from hoses and pipes leading to walls. Clean behind and underneath them well on a regular basis and take a good look while you are completing this task.
- There are products on the market that are great for cleaning mold, but some of the best might just be found around your home. Here are a few:
Using Hydrogen Peroxide:
- Pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and saturate the moldy surface completely. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Scrub the area to remove all mold and mold stains and then wipe down surfaces to remove residual mold and spores.
- Pour white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle - do not water down. Spray the solution onto moldy surfaces and let it sit for one hour. Wipe the area clean with water and allow to dry thoroughly; any odors from the vinegar should be gone within a few hours.
- Baking soda can also be used along with the vinegar to kill different mold species.
Using Baking Soda:
- Add ¼ tablespoon baking soda to a spray bottle of water and shake until dissolved. Spray the moldy area with the solution and use the scrubbing brush to remove all mold from surfaces. Rinse the area with water to remove any residual mold.
- Spray the surface a second time and let dry thoroughly; this will kill any left-over mold and prevent it from returning.
The team at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties is ready to help you with any water damage concerns or mold growth or issues in your home or business in the greater Huron and Seneca areas, including Norwalk, Clyde, Bellevue, and more! We are also available for cleanup after fire damage. Call us today at (419) 443 1790.