Summer Fire Prevention Tips
Keep fires at bay during the hottest months of the year!
Almost 5,000 fires happen every day during the summer season. Between all the cookouts and the extra loads on HVAC systems and landscaping machinery, commercial buildings and homes are both at risk for damage from fires.
Here are a few tips that can help lower the likelihood of a summertime fire in your home or business.
- HVAC Care. Dust can settle on electrical components of these units, which causes tracking faults that lead to fire. Running multiple units at the same time consistently over time can result in both overload and overheating, which are also opportunities for fires to start. Keeping your HVAC clean from dusty conditions is one way to prevent fire.
- Exhaust Fans. Clean out exhaust fans regularly, too, and take all debris out of the vents. Try to avoid running these fans for long periods of time on a consistent basis.
- Lawn Mower. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance and care schedule on your mowing equipment, and remember to remove debris and grass clippings from the cutting units, mufflers, and engines on a routine basis. Remember to never refuel your mower when it is overheated.
- Gas storage. The risk from fire is heightened by high ambient temperatures and relief valves that open at pressures that are too low. Always store gas cylinders upright and always out of doors.
- Safety While Grilling. If you keep a grill onsite at your business for company cookouts, make sure it is stored away from your buildings and away from overhanging branches. Always maintain a safe zone of at least three feet around the grill, and regularly remove any grease or gas buildup from the grills and trays. Never leave your grill unattended under any circumstances.
- Alarm Audits. Fire prevention should always include fire alarm tests. Be sure to replace any old or burned out batteries regularly.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we care about your safety. If you have experienced damages from a fire, or from water or flooding, call us today. We are experts in cleanups from all kinds of disasters, both large and small, and we are also mold remediation specialists. We’re here to help!
Preparing Your Home for Summer Storms
Don't let summer storms wreak havoc on your home!
It seems like winter storms just stopped, and now we have to think about the storms of the summer! While rough summer weather is known to have a negative effect on Huron & East Seneca homes, a little preparation can save you a lot of time and money. We have a few helpful tips to get you ready for whatever happens.
Homeowners Insurance Updates. Many insurance policies will only pay you for what your home was worth before the storm, while replacement cost value insurance will pay you for the current market value of your property loss. We don’t usually consider our insurance until we need it, so taking the time to learn exactly what is covered and what isn’t will help you know if you need to update your policy. No homeowner wants to have a 300-year old tree crashing into their home to be the reason why they ultimately learn what type of insurance they have.
Tree Inspections. Sometimes, trees may not show any types of damage before a summer storm, but something unseen like a root problem can eventually make the tree fall over, and a severe summer storm can rapidly increase the likelihood of that. If your top branches are bare, there could also be issues with the health of your tree. Big hollows and dead wood on a tree is another indication that your tree may not be very healthy or stable. Taking the time to inspect the health of your trees is a great way to prevent damage to your home and vehicles. If you aren’t sure exactly what you should be looking for, it will be worth your time to consult with an arborist to find out if you have any issues. If it turns out that you don’t, you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you, your family, and your home are protected. If you do, you will be glad to know that it is being taken care of before the summer storms!
Clean Rain Gutters. If you don’t clean out your gutters, you risk damage to your basement during a summer storm due to water overflow into walls, attics, and other areas.
When it comes to getting your home ready for severe weather, the team at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties is here to help. We are experts in the field of water damage remediation, and we handle mold issues and fire damage, too. Call us today to schedule a consultation or cleanup at (419) 443-1790.
Three Tips to Avoid Summer Water Damage
Be on the lookout for water damage before it causes serious harm!
As we are in the middle of summer and the temperatures rise, the experts at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties want to make sure your home stays dry the whole summer long. With vacations, landscaping, and outdoor use at its height right now, it’s important to be aware of the many ways your home is vulnerable to water and flood damage. We’ve put together three tips to help you avoid summer water damage:
- Maintain rain gutters and downspouts. Cleaning the gutters is one of those seasonal chores that’s always on the list, and it’s important not to put it off. Gutters need to be clean and clear of any debris and in good condition. Be sure to also maintain all your downspouts within ten feet of the foundation of your home. Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow into various spaces of your home, causing significant damage. Also, be sure to hire a professional if your gutters are too high to safely reach yourself.
- Roof inspections are important. Spot check your roof for any missing or damaged shingles, and keep an eye on any water stains along the bottom of the roof at the sheathing, truss, and rafters. You also want to make sure all insulation is in good shape by looking for any holes in the attic. Any of these issues could leave the roof of your house vulnerable to a leak, and a strong summer thunderstorm can really create problems at that point.
- Smart landscape locations. Be aware of the location of some of your landscaping. Stay away from any designs that require bedding material or mound soil to be set up against your home, and ensure that piles of leaves or compost don’t end up stacked in a place that is touching the foundation of your home. You also want to avoid vines that climb up the walls of the house because many times that type of vegetation can actually create cracks on exterior walls later on.
When you experience fire or water damage, SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties is here to help; you can call us at (419) 443-1790 to schedule a cleanup. Our team will quickly dry your property using state-of-the-art water removal equipment and advanced drying techniques, documenting the drying process to make sure your property is dry and the job is done right. And remember, we’re also mold remediation specialists!
Summer Cleaning Tips for your Business
Keeping your business clean is never underrated!
Keeping your work environment pleasant and healthy during the summer is a big, and important, job. The heat, dust, and insects can cause your workplace to look a bit less professional than it usually does, and with employees out on vacation more often, the normal maintenance might be overlooked. Here are some tips for you to use to keep your place of business looking great during the summer months:
- Dust surfaces daily.
- Clean and disinfect all bathrooms, to include: mirror, countertop, sinks, and both the inside AND outside of toilets.
- Clean and disinfect doors, door handles, and light switches.
- Sweep and mop floors, using a disinfectant liquid. Make sure the mop head gets cleaned and/or replaced regularly.
- Clean cigarette trash from provided receptacles.
- Clean and polish drinking fountain.
- Clean and disinfect kitchen area to include sinks and countertops.
- Clean all glass, especially entrance doors.
- Install insect traps in places where they hide, and use fly strips near entrances.
- Wipe down and disinfect work desks and machinery such as phones, keyboards, printers, and filing cabinets.
- Sweep and vacuum all offices.
- Dust accessible window sills and baseboards.
- Dust artwork, framed certifications, and news articles, etc.
- Clean out the refrigerator and wash/disinfect microwave.
- Sweep exterior entrances, both front and back.
- Make sure break areas are clean and presentable.
- Remove trash and debris from parking areas.
- Ensure there is no standing water on the property that could attract mosquitoes.
End of Month
- Inspect the roofing, exterior doors and windows, and parking areas for potential problems and maintenance needs, especially if there have been some heavy storms in the past few weeks.
- Trim back large bushes and tree limbs on your property ahead of wet summer weather. This is a great time to remove leaves and branches from the area, as well, and get rid of weeds.
- Do a quick inspection of fencing and entrance gates.
- Schedule periodic maintenance of HVAC and ductwork regularly during this season of heavy use.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are ready to help you handle all your cleaning and maintenance projects, both large and small, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Call us at (419) 442 1790 to schedule an inspection, or for cleanup assistance after water or fire damage. We are also experienced in mold remediation!
Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for your HVAC System
Proper HVAC maintenance is essential.
Dirty coils and clogged filters in your HVAC system could be costing you an extra $1,000 or more each season. We know you don’t want to spend that much extra money on your energy bills, so let’s talk about properly cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system.
Whether the seasonal changes are dramatic or mild, these systems require regular care, and it is vital to prepare your energy equipment for both colder and warmer weather in order to avoid breakdowns and those high costs. Today, we are going to share some tips with you for both cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system as well as some energy-saving tips:
- Change Filters. Your air conditioning filters will need to be changed once a month. This enables your unit to run efficiently, causing less wear and tear.
- Inspections. Take a close look at your ductwork to make sure it is not leaking.
- Weather Stripping. Replace weather stripping around exterior doors and windows and install this wherever it is lacking. Cracked and worn weather stripping allows cool air to escape, and when you keep this from happening, you could save up to 15 percent of your energy costs every month.
- Insulation. Make sure your home is properly insulated, using insulation with an R factor between 30 and 49 for the best savings.
- Temperature Regulation. Keep the temperature in your home cool at night and warm during the day while everyone is gone. You can use a programmable thermostat to regulate your temperatures for optimal comfort and efficiency. Keep doors and windows closed when the air conditioning is on, and use ceiling fans to circulate cool air.
Mold, mildew, pollutants, and toxins (such as formaldehyde, pesticides, and cigarette smoke) can become issues if your HVAC system isn’t kept clean, causing health problems. When cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system proves to be too big of a job for just you, you can call our team here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties. We have the experience and equipment necessary to take care of a job like this easily and quickly.
Preparing Your Business For Any Disaster
Follow these tips to be prepared in the face of the worst case scenario!
Disaster preparedness is a vital part of being a smart business owner. We all hope disaster never comes, but we need to be ready. If you don’t have a plan, it’s a good idea to consider one while everything is going well - once one occurs, it’s obviously too late, and it could be an extremely expensive omission. That’s a gamble that just isn’t worth taking.
A few steps you can take that will help prepare your business for any disaster:
- Risk Assessment. This is an essential first step and will help you understand threats to your business and the corresponding potential costs. If anyone on your team is hesitant to spend time on emergency preparedness, showing them the business impact numbers may help them to get behind the project.
- Team Building. Put together a cross-functional team that makes sense for your business, and clearly define the roles.
- Action plan. Define how your organization will respond to any disaster.
- Training. Train your staff to ensure that they have a clear understanding of what they are to do and that they are comfortable in carrying out their responsibilities. Live action practice can be invaluable here. Make sure you do regular updates and training to keep everyone ready.
- Supply Chain. Your immediate operations will be top of mind, but don’t forget your suppliers. A supplier disaster could cause you huge issues in your own operation.
- Monitor. Keep an eye on any threats that could be developing so that you can respond appropriately, and immediately, should the worst happen. Know what the threat is, and be ready for the worst. It may not be possible to have more than just a few minutes’ warning, but that can be essential when it comes to safety.
Being prepared for a disaster can seem overwhelming, but if you take it one step at a time, it can be accomplished. Call us here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties for help with your plan, and if the worst happens, we are here to help. We are experts in fire and water damage, and mold remediation is one of our specialties.
First Steps in Recovering From Water Damage
Flooding often can’t be predicted, so educating yourself on the areas most susceptible to flood damage will help you be prepared to handle such an event and will be helpful in the necessary recovery. Some areas of your home or business are going to be more likely to experience water damage than others, such as rooms that have sinks, as in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas, while low-lying areas like basements and cellars are also at risk. Keeping an eye on these spaces in your home or business will alert you to a developing issue and allow you to take the necessary steps to avoid further damage.
Here are some first steps you can take in recovering from water damage:
Basements and cellars, bathrooms and kitchens, workshops and garages, roofing and attics - all of these spaces either involve water or can be seriously affected by it. Pipes can become a real problem when they get clogged, leak, or wear out, and a roof that needs attention can allow damp conditions to develop, resulting in water damage.
- When damages from water become an issue, turn off all water sources immediately and soak up standing water using mops, or towels, blankets, and rags, being sure to remove them as they become saturated. Employ a shop vac if you have one, and get fans started to dry the affected areas as soon as possible.
- Remove and prop up all wet upholstery and cushions so that they can dry, and protect carpeting by placing wooden blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
- During the summer, turn your air conditioning on for additional drying.
Be safe! A few cautions:
- Hang furs and leather goods and don’t leave wet fabrics lying on wet surfaces.
- Remove books and magazines from wet carpets or floors; the colored inks will leave marks.
- Refrain from using household appliances and ceiling fixtures.
- Avoid rooms with sagging ceilings.
- Wet materials are often extremely heavy; avoid moving anything that is difficult.
When you experience a water damage event, keep us in mind. Our team here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties has the experience and expertise that you will need in this kind of situation. We are also experts when it comes to fire damage and mold remediation.
Space Heater Fire Damage Prevention Tips
If not used correctly, a portable space heater is a potential fire damage hazard. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations is essential to maintain a safe environment for you and your loved ones. If your living spaces cannot be adequately heated through the installed heating system for the building itself, contact your landlord or do research to upgrade your home HVAC system. Government assistance may be available for those of lower incomes, and if the upgrade is considered environmentally conscious, many times there are rebates available for these types of improvements.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when thinking about preventing fires and fire damage while using a space heater:
- Your heater should be Underwriters Listed (UL) approved for intended use.
- A thermostat with an automatic shutoff that activates at the desired temperature is a great safety feature.
- Your heater should be kept at least 3 feet, or 36 inches, away from all combustible materials, such as cabinets, desks, trash cans, paper, and cardboard.
- Never place a space heater under a desk or other enclosed area.
- Your space heater must be monitored while in operation. If the heater is missing parts, such as control knobs, feet, or heat guards, take it out of service immediately and either have it repaired or replaced.
- Plug any heater directly into a wall unit, never an extension cord.
- Never use a space heater in areas that will not be occupied continually.
- Never use portable space heaters in damp areas, such as bathrooms or kitchens, and only use away from exits, walkways, and paths of travel.
- During use, check often to determine if the plug or cord of the heater, the wall outlet, or the faceplate is hot. If this is the case, discontinue the use of the heater immediately, and contact a qualified electrician to replace all faulty parts to help prevent possible fire damage.
- Always make sure that your space heater is set up on a stable and level surface in an area where it won’t be knocked over or accidentally moved too close to combustible objects or materials to avoid possible fires and fire damage.
During the winter months, over 79 percent of all home fire deaths involve the misuse of space heaters. Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we care about your safety. Call us for help with water damages or fire damages to your home or business, and don’t forget that we are experts in the area of mold remediation and prevention.
Scheduling Regular Mold Inspections for Your Business
We’ve all seen ugly mold patches in corners and smelled musty odor in the bathroom. We’ve also heard that mold can sometimes be harmful, and we know that it thrives in humid environments, spreading very quickly and easily. But do you know that mold colonies needs less than 48 hours to begin growing? Or that dead mold spores are just as harmful as live ones, and that modern-day building practices actually promote mold growth?
Mold is a fungi that reproduces by making tiny spores which can survive extremely harsh weather conditions and spread easily over large areas. Mold spores exist everywhere in the outdoor environment and can get indoors through open doors, windows, air ducts, vents, etc. or even attached to clothes, shoes, and bags. Once the mold spores get into your business, they will wait for the right conditions to start developing.
The purpose of mold colonies in our ecosystem is to decompose dead organic material, and so it thrives in warm, humid conditions where organic “food” such as wood, paper, leather, fabric and upholstery, grout, paint, drywall, insulation materials, carpet, etc. is available in abundance. As soon as there is any source of moisture – like flooding, leaky roofs, pipe leaks, condensation, storm damage, or steam from cooking, the mold spores will begin reproducing and spreading all over your business.
Mold will begin growing within 24 to 48 hours when the right conditions are present. However, it can often remain hidden until the spores have already affected large areas of your property and caused considerable structural damage. This is because mold usually starts growing in very inconspicuous areas of the house – inside walls, behind leaky appliances, within insulation, throughout the HVAC system, in crawl spaces, and in other damp, dark places that humans don’t normally see. Scheduling regular mold inspections for your business will help you identify these areas right away, along with practices that could be encouraging the growth of a mold colony in your business spaces. A few of the most important precautions you can take:
- Ensuring good air circulation – keeping windows open, running bathroom fans, keeping air ducts clean and in good condition – can help reduce the risk of mold growth
- Keeping indoor humidity levels below 45 percent can inhibit mold growth
- Keeping your property in good repair (roofs and foundations, plumbing system, HVAC system) can prevent excessive moisture from entering your home and causing mold growth
- Inspecting your property at regular intervals, especially after a damp weather season, can help detect mold growth in its early stages and prevent it from spreading any further
- Adding mold-inhibitors to paints before the application can reduce the potential for mold growth
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are mold remediation experts as well as fire damage, water damage, and storm damage remediation professionals.
Checking for Winter Water Damages in Your Apartment Complex
During the winter months, homes of all types are more susceptible to water damage caused by icy conditions. Keeping an eye on potential problems that can be caused by wintry weather will go a long way in preventing water damages to your apartment complex.
Here are some examples of areas you will want to take note of:
If ice builds up in the gutters of your complex, as it melts it can create water damage issues in the ceilings, walls, and floors of affected units. If you notice ice dams forming in these gutters, or you have long icicles forming on the edge of your roof, it's time for some investigating.
The roof of a home or building that has a lot of ice buildup is one that is not properly insulated. If this is a condition that you are seeing in your complex, you will want to take steps to increase insulation there. The weight of snow and ice can cause buckling, which will allow water to stand there longer than is normal - this then can lead to rotting of the roofing materials, followed by leaks and drips.
Water damage can happen quickly, as in the event of a flood, or it can occur over a period of time as in the case of a slow leak from ice dams. No matter what happens, once you discover that water has infiltrated your apartment complex, you will need to get the water cleaned up. Standing water in parking areas and walkways can be damaging to all types of surfaces, as well as dangerous for your residents as they enter and exit your property.
Enlisting the services of a professional to ensure that any influx of water and its aftermath gets cleaned up as well will be a great proactive step to take, keeping your property safe from winter water damages. Such companies are skilled in finding water that has seeped into areas not easily visible, such as walls and crawlspaces. They will find the source of the water and have the damage cleaned up in a professional and timely manner. If you clean up the mess yourself, you can leave behind small amounts of moisture that could allow the establishment of a mold colony, and that can spell disaster for the owner of an apartment complex.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are experts in mold prevention and mold remediation. Call us for help with winter water damage this season. We are also professionals at water damage, fire damage, and storm damage remediation.