Cooking Fires And The Potential Damages
Your stove and oven are two big potential fire sources.
Your kitchen is the heart of the home. Homework gets done, bills get paid, and pets get fed. So many great memories get made cooking in the kitchen- the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies, late night hot cocoa, leftover pizza for breakfast….
One of the household’s most basic and repeated tasks can also be one of the most dangerous. Kitchen fires are the most common types of household blazes; half of all residential fires start in the kitchen. Of these, most are triggered by cooking. According to NFPA.ORG, cooking equipment is responsible for 1 in 5 blazes and the leading cause of home fires. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
Your stove and oven are two big potential fire sources; they generate heat with gas or electricity. Ranges or cook-tops are responsible for 58 percent of home cooking fires, ovens account for 16 percent. Grease is highly flammable, but so are paper, cloth, and wood–all often close to the cooking surfaces.
Many kitchen fires come from burned and scorched food in the pan. A dirty oven or stove top with accumulated grease and residue is another fire safety hazard.
Although they are convenient, microwaves can be dangerous if you heat flammable aluminum foil, Styrofoam or certain plastic containers. Almost all foods can ‘catch fire’ when improperly heated in the microwave (for example 10 minutes instead of 1 minute.) Toasters and toaster ovens can gather crumbs and grease, sometimes causing a fire.
Ovens can malfunction and start a fire, especially if they are old, not maintained properly or damaged in some way. Electric ovens have heating elements that can spark a blaze; gas models may develop leaks that can lead to explosions. When the switches and thermostats age, the oven may not turn off completely. Ensure that the appliance is serviced regularly, and immediately if the cooking temperature is erratic.
Lack of Cleaning
Of all the potential causes of an oven fire, this is perhaps the most avoidable; every year thousands of fires are triggered by greasy residue. A buildup of oils and other cooking byproducts, or even thick dust, can trigger an oven blaze. Clean your oven regularly, especially if you spill something or food boils over inside of it. Use only appropriate cleaning products. Check the internet for ideas using vinegar and baking soda for an eco-friendly option.
- Unattended equipment is a factor in one-third (31%) of reported home cooking fires and over half (53%) of the associated deaths.
- Never pour water on a grease fire. Instead of running with the pan, turn off the stove, put the lid on the pan and let the fire die out from lack of oxygen. If you don’t happen to have a lid for the frying pan, slide another lid or a metal cookie sheet over the pan, being careful not to get your hands near the flames.
- If you see a fire in the oven, don’t whip open the oven door. Instead, turn off the oven and keep the door closed. If you can keep the fire from getting more oxygen, you’ve got the problem solved.
- Don’t use your oven for storage.
Is The Exterior Of Your Home Ready For The Fall Weather?
If the exterior of your home is damaged, it can cause interior problems to occur.
The exterior of your home is what protects you from the outdoor elements. It keeps you warm and dry from the sleet, snow, and rain. If the exterior of your home is damaged, it can cause interior problems to occur. Before Fall arrives, it is a good idea to check for any problems. You should check the interior and exterior of your property with the change of each season.
Roof and Gutter Checks
Your roof is one of the most vital areas to check. If you have a missing or broken shingle, you risk water damages to the interior of your home. You also should check that the structure of your roof is in good shape, as sleet and snow can become heavy, which could cause more damages. If your roof looks damaged, have it repaired as soon as possible. Your gutters should be cleaned of all debris. Debris in your gutters can cause water damages and even ice dams to occur.
If you have unprotected pipes on your property, it is important that they are protected. Colder weather can weaken pipes, causing them to splinter and burst. You may also end up with frozen pipe lines. Both problems can cause water damages and possible mold growth.
Window and Siding Checks
Always check that your windows are sealed and in good shape. You never want ice, rain, snow, or cold air to enter through cracks in your window. If you have damages to your siding, it could result in water damages to the interior of your home. Repair any damages to ensure you do not have water damages this Fall.
If you have dead branches or trees, now is the time to remove them from your property. A severe storm can cause dead trees to fall, which could result in damages to your home and property. If you have low limbs above your roof, have them trimmed. You never want a heavy limb to fall and damage your roof.
If you do have water damages to your property, contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville immediately. Water damages are an emergency and can quickly cause lasting damages to your home.
Using Infrared To Detect Water Damage
An IR camera can detect moisture located behind interior walls under the right conditions.
At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville we use infrared cameras to detect moisture in your home or business.
Thermal imaging "sees" the infrared wavelengths of heat instead of the wavelengths of visible light, which normal cameras detect. The technology has been around since the 1960s, when militaries originally used it in war to spot active factories. Now, advances in thermal technology have made higher-resolution imaging available in the palm of our hands. According to FLIR, an infrared camera is a non-contact device that detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image or video, on which you can perform temperature calculations. Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be very precisely quantified, or measured, allowing you to not only monitor thermal performance, but also identify and evaluate the relative severity of heat-related problems.
The problem faced by most property owners is that moisture behind walls, over ceilings, and under floors is often impossible to detect until the problem is excessive and visible to the naked eye. Since the investigation and removal of infestations of not yet visible mold in structures is often difficult, technology is now being used to do what once was impossible.
The time saved using infrared, and the larger areas covered rapidly by an IR Camera, can save time and money by providing a faster, more efficient and more reliable survey. An IR camera can detect moisture located behind interior walls under the right conditions. The temperature difference created by the presence of moisture on the inside surface of a wall will appear differently than the surrounding area. IR and IT experts recommend that property inspectors or their insurers should use IR cameras and IT for moisture detection under the following circumstances.
- After any water damage event like a flood, broken water lines, equipment failure, roof leaks, etc.
- Before warranty expiration on new construction. (In many cases, those damp basement walls are explained away as "during construction" moisture. It pays to make sure before warranty expiration.)
- Before acquiring real estate suspected of having hidden moisture damage. (Don't believe the story about the house has been vacant and closed up. Musty odors are caused by moisture.)
- When basement walls are covered by finish materials, and the inspector cannot give a definitive answer on moisture issues.
- When suspected plumbing leaks have occurred from in-slab water supply and/or waste lines.
- When doors, windows, or other openings in the structure are suspected of leaking.
- When performing an energy audit of the building to determine areas of infiltration and exfiltration.
- To determine adequacy of insulation. Wet insulation is a poor insulator but is a great conductor of heat.
- Infrared inspection of the roof can determine potential for ice dams, plugged drains, and water retention that may cause roof damage and/or leakage.
- Locating hidden leakage and/or dampness under resilient flooring.
- Locating wet areas in non-accessible crawlspaces.
Infrared technology is especially useful for inspecting flat roofing systems and synthetic stucco systems, which rarely give any visual clues as to their condition or the location of leaks and moisture retention.
Finding Hidden Problems
Finding and identifying the source of water damage can be a bit tricky. Water always travels the path of least resistance, which means water coming from an upstairs bathroom might show up along a wall in your living room. Or perhaps there is a roof leak, and water is entering your ceiling and traveling to the lowest point, often a light fixture or pooling in an area near the wall.
As a home inspector, we use infrared cameras in every room to search for any signs of moisture. Frequently there is no evidence of moisture infiltration until the problem has significantly progressed. If you can catch it early, it can save the homeowner money.
For instance, sometimes a small roof leak will trickle down the underside of the roof and into the walls, where it may be absorbed by the insulation. This can go on for years with no one being the wiser. However, with a moisture meter, you may be able to detect dampness inside the walls of a room. When the home inspector identifies a wet area on a ceiling, the next step is to find out what’s up above it. It may be a hole in the roof, or it may be a plumbing leak in the bathroom upstairs. If you see a wet area in a basement, water may be seeping through the floor, but it may also be trickling in through a window, door, or crack in the wall, a camera can help us trace the water back to its origin.
While IR cameras are useful for locating hidden pockets of moisture in your home, it is just one of many tools a properly trained and qualified home inspector can use. Moisture meters should be used in combination with IR cameras to confirm the presence of water.
When Should I Call A Restoration Company?
Sometimes it can be hard to know when you need to bring in the professionals.
When Should I Call A Restoration Company?
Knowing when to call SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville after your home sustains severe damage can save you extra heartache. No matter the cause of your home’s damage, the wreckage can increase if problems are left too long. Because of this, it is essential to learn the early signs of problems in your home and report them to us as soon as possible. Plus, nobody wants to live in a damaged home longer than they have to. For these reasons, the experts at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville are quick to respond to your call. We have what it takes to efficiently provide your family with quality restoration services, from severe water damage to mold growth, and we provide deep cleaning services.
How You Know It Is Time To Call An Expert
Sometimes it can be hard to know when you need to bring in the professionals. Some minor damage to your home might seem insignificant; perhaps you think you can fix the issues yourself and save your money for worse problems in the future. However, you should always call a professional for your restoration needs. A SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville expert has the skills and insight to fix the problems without creating larger issues. Furthermore, they might be able to catch other problems that you couldn’t see; home damage is usually more extensive than it first appears. Never jeopardize your family’s health or safety by trying to restore your home alone. If you are unsure of whether to call an expert, look into a home inspection to gather more information about the degree and severity of your home’s restoration needs. A SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville specialist can always give you the best advice about the safest way to proceed.
Restoration Services We Offer
At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville, we know how to tackle a wide array of home damage with quick and efficient solutions proven to return your home to its former glory. These services include mold remediation and removal, water damage restoration, fire and smoke restoration, crime scene and trauma cleanup, crawl space cleaning. . Remember that when your home sustains damage, one or more of these restoration services might be essential to fixing your home. If you are unsure of which services you need, a SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville expert can help you put together a plan of action.
Benefits Of A Professional, Commercial Cleaning Service & Why Every Business Needs One
Your employees are happier when the workspace is fresh, clean, and free from accumulated dust and dirt.
Americans spend most of their waking hours at work. While many businesses use a cleaning service, the actual cleaning performed is often minimal, with a quick vacuum and emptying of trash. Deeper dirt, dust, allergens, and pathogens remain in carpets, on blinds, and deep within the upholstery of office furniture. Read about the benefits of professional commercial cleaning, and why your business should consider investing in a high-quality cleaning from SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville.
Increased Employee Productivity
Your employees are happier when the workspace is fresh, clean, and free from accumulated dust and dirt. The air smells sweet and is healthier to breathe. While many businesses understand the need for ongoing employee training and recognize that healthy company culture is important, very little thought may be paid to the most important factor in productivity – pure, clean air.
While it is well-established that polluted air is a risk to human health, many business owners may not realize the significant impact of unhealthy indoor air. Within the walls of a business, the air may be contaminated with particulate matter, all of which is continuously circulated by the HVAC system. Research reveals that polluted indoor air quality leads to a significant drop in productivity. It is believed that dirty, unhealthy indoor air diminishes human cognitive function.
A Safer, Healtheir Work Environment
Employee health has become an issue of concern, more so now than ever. Many businesses are interested in a more environmentally-friendly operation. A professional commercial cleaning service can use safer, “green” products so that toxins do not linger in the air and the environment is not filled with perfumed cleaning products that can trigger a reaction in many people. If you want to provide a safe, healthy environment for your employees, clean, fresh air matters.
The air ducts in your business must be regularly cleaned to keep free from pathogens. The procedure used in duct cleaning can vary. To fully extract allergens, bacteria, dust, dirt, mold, and debris, a state-of-the-art, advanced extraction system should be used. Removing all harmful contaminants on a yearly basis can help keep business indoor air quality fresh, with the added benefit of reducing energy costs, as your HVAC system will perform more efficiently.
Allergies affect many people and are one of the top three reasons employees miss work. At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville, we understand how to limit the spread of disease through a professional cleaning process. Employees carry allergens from home to work, including pet hair and dander, dust mite eggs, and other substances into the business. Frequent carpet and upholstery cleaning, along with standardized processes to fully remove dust and allergens from surfaces, goes a long way in keeping your employees functioning at their best.
A Positive, Professional Appearance
Contrast two ideas: Walking into a business that has stained carpet, dusty desks, and trash overflowing with crumpled paper and takeout cartons or walking into a business that looks pristine, smells fresh, and is obviously clean. The image you project to customers is an important factor in the success of your operation. A shoddy appearance creates the impression that your business performs shoddy work. A smart, clean, sanitary appearance, with air that smells fresh and sweet, produces a subtle impact on customers, clients, and visitors to your enterprise – and higher confidence in your business goods or services.
Good business “housekeeping” includes several critical steps. Some of the more obvious are reducing clutter accumulating in stairways, halls, and other walking areas, keeping trash bins clean, rather than just replacing bags, along with effective dust and dirt removal performed daily. Standard vacuums, even larger models often used by small commercial cleaning companies, do not offer the option of HEPA filters, which are needed in businesses that work with hazardous substances. No matter what industry, at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville, our team of professionals has the correct equipment for the job at hand.
Many areas must be thoroughly cleaned every day, while others will require periodical maintenance.
Appliances Most Likely To Endanger Your Home With Water Damage
Water damage does happen due to malfunctions inside the home, like pipe bursts or leaks, and from appliance mishaps, and certain appliances.
Water damage often happens because of outside waters from flooding or heavy rains and storms. However, water damage does happen due to malfunctions inside the home, like pipe bursts or leaks, and from appliance mishaps, and certain appliances are more likely than others to cause damage. Here are the most common appliances to cause water damage issues for homeowners.
Hot Water Heater
A leak or break in your hot water heater is a huge risk to your home. While yearly maintenance may seem like an inconvenience, it can help reduce the risk of flooding from the appliance. If you notice leaking from/around the heater, contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville to repair any damage as quickly as possible to reduce the chances of mold growth.
Air conditioner units reach throughout your home. If the water becomes an issue, it can spread throughout the entire home. Attic air conditioners run a bigger risk of damage than AC units located in different areas of the home. Watch for moisture and leaks within the system.
Washing machines hold a large amount of water. There are also several types of complications a washing machine can have that could cause water to escape and damage the home. Hoses are one of the main concerns with washing machines. So are drains! Watch for clogged drains or worn-out hoses to help keep your washing machines running smoothly.
Leaky refrigerators are really a nuisance. Not just because of the water leaking out, but because a problem with the fridge could mean an issue for the food inside it as well. Water damage from refrigerators usually are caused by a freeze or clog in the defrost drain. When this happens, water builds up and escapes from the waterlines. Leaks from refrigerators can happen without notice for some time. Water often leaks toward the back wall or under other appliances like the stove. Be sure to check around your fridge often to inspect for water damage.
Wherever water is in a home, there is a risk for water damage. The dishwasher is another appliance that can experience problems in the drain, hoses, and other plumbing connections.
The older your appliances are, the more likely they are to cause water damage. Be mindful of where water can turn up (or hide) and make sure to check for signs of water damage. Signs can include warped flooring or floorboards, discoloration of paint or wallpaper on nearby walls, musty mildew scents, and an increase in the water bill.
If any of these appliances cause an issue with water inside your home, do not wait to get help. The longer water is allowed to sit, the more time it has to spread and cause further damage. Water will quickly spread to other areas and, if not dried up immediately.
Preventing Winter Fires In 5 Steps
There are many ways that you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fire.
According to the NFPA, U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated 358,500 house fires every year. 3/4 of all structure fires are home fires. Most of these are preventable if the homeowners took the necessary precautions to avoid the fire breaking out in their homes. Because of the alarming number of house fires that happen throughout the United States, the NFPA offers many resources, tools, and tips on how to prevent a fire from starting in your home and potentially destroying it. Taking the proper precautions doesn’t mean that you will never experience a house fire, but you most definitely can decrease the risk of experiencing one. If a house fire does break out in your area, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help.
There are many ways that you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fire, follow the tips below:
- Keep Up On Smoke Alarms – don’t put up smoke alarms and then forget about them all year. Your smoke detectors need to be tested regularly and the batteries replaced. Schedule a routine check-up of these so that you don’t forget about them.
- Routine Maintenance Of Furnaces – Invest in your future and hire a professional to check your furnace at least once a year. If anything is wrong with the furnace, it will be caught early and decrease the risk of a fire starting there.
- Do Not Leave Candles Burning – Candles create a nice ambiance and can set a calm mood – but you don’t want to leave them going without supervision. Also, be extremely cautious about the location of the candle. It doesn’t have to be in direct contact with something to heat it up or send out sparks that could start a fire. Blow your candles out when you aren’t using them.
- Space Heaters Need Space – Do not clutter the area around a space heater. These are extremely hazardous if placed near blankets, curtains, and other fabrics. Do not allow anyone, including pets, to sit any closer than 3 feet to the heater. Also, do not leave a space heater on overnight. Put it on a schedule or make sure it has automatic shut-off controls so that it isn’t forgotten.
- Invest In A Fire Extinguisher – Everyone should have a fire extinguisher in the home and know how to use it. Don’t store the extinguisher away in a place that is difficult to get to. If a fire should break out – DO NOT be afraid to use the extinguisher.
Cleaning up after a house fire can be devastating for all involved. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville know how to properly repair and restore home properties to their clients. Take some time and invest in protecting your home and family from house fires.
Preventing & Removing Ice Dams
Ice dams are formed when the snow on your roof starts to melt and runs down towards the colder eaves.
Mother Nature has been wreaking havoc on our homes all winter long, with ice dams being at the top of that list. With below-freezing temperatures and unexpected snowfall, this winter season will not be very fun for most homeowners. This winter, the water damage experts at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville have helped dozens of homeowners cleanup and repair water damage inside their homes from frozen pipes and ice dams.
What Causes Ice Dams?
Ice dams are formed when the snow on your roof starts to melt and runs down towards the colder eaves. Poor attic/roof ventilation can cause your roof to become warmers than the eaves. When this happens the newly melted water refreezes when it reaches the eaves and then compounds.
Why is this a Problem?
It can be surprising to discover that your roof and gutter system have problems with supporting frozen water. When the ice starts to accumulate along the eaves and within the gutters, the weight of that ice starts to build…and build, causing some major stress on your roof and gutters. This additional weight can cause severe damage, and in some cases, can cause your gutter system to completely collapse potentially damaging shingles or siding on the way down. This can become a major safety hazard if someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Not to mention that when the water from an ice dam melts, it can start to seep into and under your roofing, causing significant water damage to your attic or crawlspace. More often than not, this type of water damage goes unnoticed until the water starts seeping through light fixtures, causes the ceiling to bubble and sag, or causing discoloration to the walls and ceiling.
Preventing Ice Dams
The great news is, with some proper preparation and a little elbow grease by you or a reputable contractor, ice dams can be prevented. The best ways to keep ice dams from forming are by having proper attic insulation and roof ventilation.
Additional ways to prevent ice dams from forming:
- Maintain your gutters. Clearing your gutters from fallen debris and leaves will help any melting snow finds the right place to drain. Clogged gutters can slow down the flow of the melting water, allowing it to freeze in inconvenient places.
- Reduce the heat in the attic or crawlspace. Did you know that uninsulated recessed lights in the room below your attic or crawlspace can allow a significant amount of heat into the attic or crawlspace creating ventilation problems? Make sure your lights are properly insulated.
- Invest in a roof rake to keep your roof free of heavy snow.
If ice dams have caused water damage to your home contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville.
Commercial Water Damage
When there’s a need for commercial water damage service, the scale and consequences of damage are often more extensive.
When there’s a need for commercial water damage service, the scale and consequences of damage are often more extensive than residential incidents. Potential losses may be greater, as well, as critical equipment and products may be endangered and a normal business interrupted. Company workers may also be facing a disruption in income because the affected building is not habitable.
Here are some other reasons why commercial water damage can be specifically challenging:
- Higher water pressure. Commercial buildings often utilize higher water pressure to service the larger structure plus specific needs relating to the company business. That means a greater volume of water may be released faster into the building in the event of a ruptured water supply line.
- Larger roof area. Because of the typically larger square footage of a commercial building, the potential damage from roof leakage is also more likely. Since many commercial roofs are flat, leakage from deep standing water on the roof due to inadequate or blocked roof drainage is also more prevalent.
- Hidden damage. Commercial buildings often incorporate more areas of the structure where water damage can occur without immediate notice. Plumbing pipes are often routed through unseen or seldom-visited areas.
- Unoccupied premises. Because commercial buildings are often not occupied for long periods over weekends and holidays, water damage occurring in that time frame may be very advanced by the time it’s discovered.
Commercial Water Damage Service
Water damage in a commercial building can mean a substantial reduction of revenue as well as lost customers. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville takes into account the unique requirements of a business, including:
- Rapid response—24/7/365—to return all company functions and services to normal operation, ASAP.
- Site security while water damage recovery services are underway.
- Techniques to isolate water-damaged areas of the building from unaffected areas in order to keep as much of the company operational as possible.
- Attention to preventing ancillary issues such as excessively high indoor humidity that damages business paperwork and documents.
Types of Damaging Winds
There are different types of damaging winds that can affect properties and surrounding trees
Straight-line wind is a term used to define any thunderstorm wind that is not associated with rotation, and is used mainly to differentiate from tornadic winds.
A downdraft is a small-scale column of air that rapidly sinks toward the ground.
A macroburst is an outward burst of strong winds at or near the surface with horizontal dimensions larger than 4 km (2.5 mi) and occurs when a strong downdraft reaches the surface. To visualize this process, imagine the way water comes out of a faucet and hits the bottom of a sink. The column of water is the downdraft and the outward spray at the bottom of the sink is the macroburst. Macroburst winds may begin over a smaller area and then spread out over a wider area, sometimes producing damage similar to a tornado. Although usually associated with thunderstorms, macrobursts can occur with showers too weak to produce thunder.
A macroburst is an outward burst of strong winds at or near the surface with horizontal dimensions larger than 4 km (2.5 mi) and occurs when a strong downdraft reaches the surface. These trees were felled by straight-line winds in Minnesota in 2011.
A microburst is a small concentrated downburst that produces an outward burst of strong winds at or near the surface. Microbursts are small — less than 4 km across — and short-lived, lasting only five to 10 minutes, with maximum windspeeds sometimes exceeding 100 mph. There are two kinds of microbursts: wet and dry. A wet microburst is accompanied by heavy precipitation at the surface. Dry microbursts, common in places like the high plains and the intermountain west, occur with little or no precipitation reaching the ground.
A microburst is a small concentrated downburst that produces an outward burst of strong winds at the surface. Microbursts are generally small and short-lived.
A downburst is the general term used to broadly describe macro and microbursts. Downburst is the general term for all localized strong wind events that are caused by a strong downdraft within a thunderstorm, while microburst simply refers to an especially small downburst that is less than 4 km across.
A gust front is the leading edge of rain-cooled air that clashes with warmer thunderstorm inflow. Gust fronts are characterized by a wind shift, temperature drop, and gusty winds out ahead of a thunderstorm. Sometimes the winds push up air above them, forming a shelf cloud or detached roll cloud.
A derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. A typical derecho consists of numerous microbursts, downbursts, and downburst clusters. By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles (about 400 kilometers) and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph (93 km/h) or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho.
A haboob is a wall of dust that is pushed out along the ground from a thunderstorm downdraft at high speeds.