Commom causes of Fires in Homes
Here are top 5 most common causes of house fires as identified by the National Fire Protection Association.
From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.
- Never leave a candle burning near flammable items.
- Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room.
- Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over.
- Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep
While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.
- If you smoke, consider smoking outside.
- Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
- Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen.
- Don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
- Electrical & Lighting
According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.
- Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords.
- Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.
- Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
- Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.
- Dryers & Washing Machines
Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage.
- Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
- For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
- Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
- Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
- Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
Prep your Home for Spring Cleaning
Clean Rain Gutters
Wind, animals, and gravity bring sticks, leaves, and other organic matter into your rain gutters, and chances are yours have accumulated their share of detritus over the winter. That's bad news for your home: When downspouts are clogged, rainwater can spill out of your gutters and around the perimeter of your house, putting it at risk for leaks and flooding. Get ready for spring showers by removing the mess from your gutters to ensure that the water will flow freely.
To maintain optimal air quality in your home, it’s a good idea to replace your HVAC system's air filter seasonally as well as the filter in your kitchen range hood. While you're at it, consider changing the filters in your water purification system. Depending on your water, you might not need to change these as often as your HVAC filters, but it's not a bad idea to check them now. So, go ahead and welcome spring with new filters all around to keep your home clean and fresh, and your appliances in good working order.
As snow melts away from your home’s foundation, it’s a good time to check any vents along the foundation or in the attic. Look for missing or damaged screens, debris, signs of insect or rodent infestation, or other issues, and correct them before they have a chance to become bigger problems later in the season.
Check the Roof
Take advantage of the sun’s return to check your roof for cracked or missing shingles or tiles, and examine flashing around vents and the chimney for damage. While you’re at it, have the chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
Any question or help call SERVPRO of Western Lake at 440-975-9585
Preventive ways to prevent mold growth.
Mold is a common issue in commercial buildings. Mold spores are a natural occurrence, and the only thing you can do is try to prevent mold growth in your structure. Here are three things that you can do to avoid mold problems.
1. Keep the Building Clean
Mold needs food and moisture to survive, which is why you need to maintain a clean and dry environment. Vacuum once a week with a HEPA vacuum. However, how often you need to vacuum depends on how much and what kind of traffic your building sees. Thorough carpet cleaning should be performed at least once a year but more often if your building is highly trafficked. In addition to carpet cleaning, mats at doors for wiping feet should be cleaned and replaced on a regular basis.
2. Perform Regular Maintenance
Fix a leaky plumbing system or leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible to prevent excessive moisture and mold growth. Any condensation or wet spots need to be dried immediately as mold can grow within 24 hours. Have HVAC systems inspected regularly to detect mold or any potential for mold growth early. Part of this maintenance should also be the cleaning of air ducts. Mold can live off of the dust that collects in them and travel to other areas of the building. This is also why carpet cleaning is so important: carpets collect lots of dust.
3. Maintain a Hostile Environment
What this means is that you have to create an environment in which mold doesn’t have a chance to grow. Use a dehumidifier to keep the relative humidity level at bay, preferably below 60 percent. An ideal level would be between 30 and 50 percent. Any rooms in your building that are prone to high levels of moisture should be vented properly. Increased ventilation is also important when the outside air is cold and dry.
Helpful Hints before SERVPRO arrives.
If you have a water damage from a clean source such as water supply lines, sink overflows, tub overflows, or appliance malfunctions, here are some things to do before SERVPRO arrives.
Shut off the source of the water.
Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if the access panel is safe from electrical shock.
Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting
Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items
Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying
Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting
Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors
- Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors
How to Prevent Electrical Fires.
Electrical fires cause millions of dollars in damages, while also claiming lives in the process. There are so many possible causes for these types of fires. One of these causes can be faulty wiring through out the house, and overloading connection for more than they were designed for. Improper use of extension cords and power strips can cause a situation. Even something as simple as small animals chewing through wiring in the wall can cause a fire.
You can prevent electrical fires in the home by following a few safety tips. When purchasing a used heating appliance, make sure the temperature switch will shut down the equipment if the thermostat fails. When doing duct work, make sure you use a licensed professional. Anywhere there is an electric current, there is a chance of a fire. By the time you see or smell smoke, the electrical fire may already be out of control. SERVPRO of Gateway wants you to stay safe and take action immediately to repair and replace faulty wiring in your home to reduce the risk of an unwarranted situation. Know the signs before the fire even starts. Call 1-800-933-7179
24/7 Response ALWAYS!
SERVPRO of W.Lake Co. provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.
- 24-Hour Emergency Service
- Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
- Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
- A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
- Locally Owned and Operated
- Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment
Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 1-800-933-7179
Just around the Corner here comes Spring
We want to give you a few tips before the impending spring rains hit Ohio. As the temperatures climb and you just have to get outside to enjoy the warmer weather, make your first venture out a productive one.
Take a look at your Roof to see if you have any shingles missing or other damages the winter winds may have caused. Don’t forget to clean the Gutters while you are on the ladder. How about those underground or exterior Drains?
The winter could have wreaked havoc on your Siding or the exterior Paint. Because of the mountainous terrain most of us have basements so check for Cracks in the Block or Foundation. Remember to check the Caulking around doors and windows.
If you have managed to survive the winter without water entering your House or Business, make it a point to keep them dry this spring and summer too.
Check your Water Heaters.
HOT WATER HEATER – How did we survive before its invention? It’s a must have to make life easier.
Unfortunately, the water from a faulty water heater can cause major damage to our homes and businesses. We recommend that you regularly check your water heater and its pipes, including the area behind and beneath it.
Some things to look for? Indications of leaks, corrosion, and even signs of mold. If you see anything that looks out of the normal – shut-off the cold water line coming into the heater or shut-off the main water line. Contact a plumber or appliance specialist immediately.
Replacing or repairing this appliance may be an expense you were not anticipating but the investment can save not only money, it can save you the anxiety of dealing with this type of loss.
What is a PUFF BACK?
Furnace 'puff backs' occur most often in the winter. A puff back is a misfiring of your furnace that can send soot throughout your home, covering furniture, cabinets, walls, linens and everything in between. The consequences can be severe but SERVPRO of Western Lake County can work closely with you in the cleaning and restoration of your home or business.
How Does a Puff Back Occur?
A puff back happens when an oil burner doesn't ignite immediately and oil fumes are allowed to build up resulting in an explosion similar to the backfiring of a car. The explosion can shoot soot and debris through the furnace or boiler's exhaust system throughout your home.
The soot is not just a powder-like substance, but is black and sticky and will include a mixture of oil that is difficult to clean. The first thing you should do is contact your insurance company to start a claim, which will usually cover your home and contents affected by the puff back (calling your insurance carrier should always be the first step to see if you have coverage. Understanding your coverage should be a high priority for any home or business owner).
What Should You Do?
Here are some helpful tips on what you should do, should a puff back occur in your home:
- Assess the situation and the amount of damage that was done.
- Wash all affected clothing and fabrics in the house - some may require professional cleaning.
- Throw away all exposed foods.
- Call a repairman to fix the malfunctioning furnace.
- Call SERVPRO of Western Lake County to take care of the cleaning of the soot and chemicals.
We will work closely with you, your insurance agency and your adjuster to ensure that the job is done as quickly as possible to get you back to your normal, daily routine.
How to Prevent Puff Backs
- There are a few steps you can take to prevent puff backs:
- Keep your oil heating system free of dust
- Inspect and service your heating system yearly
- If you hear noises or see soot near your furnace, call your heating company