Types of Smoke Residue
When your home or business experiences a fire, there’s more to the damage than just what’s been directly burnt by the fire. Smoke and soot can cover your home in difficult to clean residue and leave an odor that no one wants lingering.
There are four common kinds of smoke damage: dry smoke, protein residue, fuel/oil residue, and wet smoke. Each of these are caused by the different circumstances of the fire such as the temperature, location and the materials that are fueling the fire. They all also vary in means of restoration process as well.
Dry Smoke – Fires that are fast burning and high temperature are what creates dry smoke. These fires are typically fueled by paper or wood. It has a powdery texture that makes it slightly easier to clean than some other kinds of smoke residue, however this same texture also makes it easy to fall into porous materials. This can make the odor harder the fix as even when the house appears clean the particles responsible for the smell are trapped inside the porous materials of your home. Fortunately, the odors of dry smoke are not as strong as some of the other smoke odors and a professional remediation company can easily handle these unwanted smells.
Protein Residue – This kind of smoke damage is caused when organic materials evaporate during a fire with low heat. Most commonly when there is an accident in the kitchen and a cooking fire happens. This residue, while there’s not any noticeable soot or streaking, can still permanently discolor finished surfaces with a yellowish-brown residue. Unfortunately, the smell that is left behind is also pretty unpleasant and can easily fill your home if left.
Fuel/Oil Residue – While fuel/oil fires are not all that common in homes, furnaces can have what’s called a puffback where the soot and smoke from inside the furnace are blown back into the house instead of out the chimney. This residue is very sticky and dense making it difficult to clean up as well has carrying a particularly unpleasant smell that can run belongings and furniture if not treated promptly and properly.
Wet Smoke – This is typically caused by the thick black smoke that comes off of low-heat, smoldering fires fueled by rubber or plastics. The smoke is very sticky and dense, easily covering your house in a heavy coating of offensive smelling residue. This smoke residue is also prone to smearing making it difficult to clean up without special equipment and proper techniques.
SERVPRO of Chesapeake North knows that trying to get back to normal after a fire in your home can be difficult. That’s why our team constantly trains to help ensure that we are using the latest techniques in fire damage remediation and make your home’s fire damage “Like it never even happened.”
How to Avoid Water Damage in Your Business
Water damage can be absolutely devastating to any business. Which is why it is crucial to understand what needs to be done in order to help prevent anything from happening to your business.
Sprinkler malfunction is a very common cause of water damage in commercial buildings. While fire suppression systems obviously contribute greatly to the safety of those inside a building, if they are not properly inspected and maintained you increase your risk of them malfunctioning which could cause a lot of water damage in your building.
Be sure to regularly have the roof of your business inspected for any damage or leaks, especially after big storms. If you do find damage to the roof it is imperative to act quickly to mitigate any further damage to your property. SERVPRO can help with this by installing a tarp on your roof while you wait for repairs to happen, to help shield the inside of your business from the elements.
Plumbing is another large cause of many commercial water losses. It is important to stay aware of the condition of your plumbing including the materials used, as well as when the system was installed. Regular maintenance and inspection can tell you if your pipes are damaged or corroded before serious problems arise.
While preventative measures are always better than having to deal with the costs and problems involved in water damage remediation, if you do need assistance with any kind of water damage, our professional teams are here to help.
Risks of Winter Storm Damage
Storms of any kind can cause all sorts of damage to our homes and businesses. Winter storms however can be some of the worst. These storms carry the same high wind and water damage risks as other storms, with the addition of heavy snow and ice that can cover trees, powerlines, and roads making things slippery and even more dangerous. We wanted to highlight a few potential storm damages that you should watch out for this winter.
Fallen Trees and Branches:
When the temperatures plummet below freezing, ice and snow can accumulate on tree branches. Water is very heavy, and this added weight can cause branches or even entire trees to fall over. Besides the obvious dangers of things falling from above, these branches and trees can take out power lines causing a loss of electricity during a time where heating your home is crucial, as well as falling on your home and damaging your roof and other parts of your house.
Colder temperatures outside mean that the places in your home that are not directly heated (the parts of your house that your pipes are in) can reach sub-freezing temperatures. During these periods it is especially important to take care of and inspect your water pipes as the potential for pipes to crack is much higher. When water freezes it expands as it turns into ice, if the water in your pipes does this it can cause them to crack under the added pressure of expansion and flood your home.
Roofs are meant to withstand a lot, after all they protect your home from the elements, but that doesn’t mean that they are impervious to damage. Like mentioned above, snow and ice are heavy and a large build up of either can put enough stress on your roof to cause it to collapse. This is why it’s important to make sure that your gutters are cleaned during the winter months, in order for snow and ice melt to drain off properly and not collect in ice dams.
You can never really be too prepared for emergency scenarios and disasters, but sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent storm damage from occurring to your home. Should you be on the receiving end of a winter storm this year and find that you need emergency cleanup and restoration services give your local SERVPRO of Chesapeake North a call, we’re here to help 24/7, 365 days a year.
What To Know About Grease Fires
Cooking is the number one cause of fires and fire injuries in the household. Thousands of cooking fires devastate homes and families every year, and grease/oil are often the cause. Keep reading for some tips on how to prevent a grease fire in your home.
- Never leave the kitchen while frying your food. This applies to all forms of cooking but is especially true when there is a large amount of oil involved.
- If there is a strong smell, or smoke coming off of the oil in your pot/pan that’s a good sign that the oil is burning, and you should take it off the heat to let it cool and lower the burner temperature, so it doesn’t happen again
- Keep a lid that can cover your pot/pan. In the event that a fire starts, a lid that seals the fire in can be a quick way to safely eliminate a fire in your kitchen without having to use an extinguisher.
- Make sure that nothing flammable is around the stovetop
While accidents can and do happen, following proper safety procedures and cooking techniques can make grease fires significantly less likely to happen to you and your family.
Storm Pet Preparedness
People often talk about making emergency preparedness plans and emergency kits for themselves and their families in the event of severe storms, but how much thought have you given to an emergency plan/kit for your pet? After all they’re part of the family so you’d never leave them behind, but how prepared are you to bring them along?
It’s important when you have pets to make sure that your emergency evacuation plans include places that are pet friendly. Many shelters and hotels do not offer accommodations for animals, so having a safe place to take your pets along with your family is crucial. You should also talk with friends or family to make sure that in the event that you can not evacuate with your pets someone is able to get them and care for them. Finally, you should get your pets microchipped. Keep this info up to date with correct addresses and an emergency contact that is outside of your immediate home. Emergencies can be hectic, and accidents can happen where pets get away from you, but if they are microchipped the likelihood of them being returned home safely is greatly increased.
Once your plan is in place you should build an emergency kit for you pets. Just like for your family’s emergency kit it should include the basic items needed for survival in the event of an emergency:
- Several days’ worth of food and water stored in airtight (waterproof for food) containers
- Medicine/First Aid Kit – talk with your veterinarian to find out what is best for your pets’ personal emergency needs
- Extra collar, ID tag, leash/harness - this should also include copies of your pets’ registrations and other documents in a waterproof container and electronically
- Crates or carriers for each animal
- Grooming items and sanitation needs - emergencies can be messy and having a dirty pet is less than ideal, additionally this should include things like a litter box/litter if appropriate or plastic bags
- A picture of you and your pet together - this can help people to identify your pet should you be separated as well as help prove ownership if needed
- Familiar items – As stressful as emergencies can be for you and your family, they can be even more so for pets who don’t understand what’s going on. Having familiar items like toys or blankets can help make your pet feel safe and more relaxed
SERVPRO of Chesapeake North knows that during storms being prepared is key and having a plan for everyone involved makes things that much easier. We hope that this little checklist can help you keep your pets safe should any emergencies arrive.
SERVPRO After Fire Cleaning and Restoration
When your house is struck by fire damage the structure of the home is not the only thing seriously affected. All of your belongings, furniture, clothes, and other items are likely also damaged by soot and smoke. This is why at SERVPRO with our “restore” not “replace” mentality we specialize in restoring your belongings to save you money, as well as to help ensure those irreplaceable items are protected and taken care of.
Our team is trained in several methods for cleaning and restoring your belongings depending on what material and damage has been done, including:
- Wet Cleaning – Effective for Moderate to heavy residues
- Dry Cleaning - Used for lighter residues or to prepare/pre-treat for wet cleaning
- Immersion Cleaning – Items are submersed in a bath of the cleaning products
- Foam Cleaning – For upholstery fabrics that might be otherwise damaged by wet cleaning techniques
- Abrasive Cleaning – The surfaces of the items are agitated while cleaning
In the event that your home needs extensive restoration SERVPRO also offers a Move-Out service. This allows for a faster restoration process, protecting your items from damage on site. Once the job is complete we will work with you to coordinate a move-in based on your needs.
What to Know about Mold in Your Commercial Business
Mold can cause health effects. Mold spores live everywhere inside and out, and what most people don’t realize is just how fast mold can grow and spread. This is especially true if a building has suffered from water damage.
- Mold thrives in areas with high humidity, and spores traveling through the air can latch on to damp surfaces and quickly multiply.
- Mold takes as little as 24 to 48 hours to establish itself on a surface and can form colonies in as little as one to twelve days.
- When the mold spores land in the correct environment, they begin feeding and breaking down materials such as wood, carpet, fabric, and sheetrock. This can lead to structural damage if not taken care of.
If you think mold is present in your building it is very important to check any areas that may have encountered water damage. No matter the size of the leak any moisture that is present can lead to mold growth.
If you do actually find mold present in your building, please be sure to contact a professional for remediation. This is crucial as professional mold remediation technicians are able to use specialized equipment and have the proper training to handle the situation, and improper handling can actually end up making the mold spread even more.
Don’t forget, it can take less than two days for mold to establish itself on a surface so DO NOT delay in contacting your local SERVPRO for a fast response in order to help mitigate the damage the mold causes in your building.
The Effects of Water Damage Timeline
In the restoration industry, we always preach that responding fast to water damage in your home or business is crucial to the damage mitigation efforts, but just how fast does water cause damage?
Immediately After Water Damage
- Water spreads quickly, saturating anything it comes into contact with
- Paper materials will rapidly begin to break down and deteriorate
- Porous materials such as insulation, fabric, upholstery, and wood will start to absorb water
24 Hours After Water Damage
- Paper materials are typically unsalvageable at this point
- Drywall and other structural materials like wood and insulation start to show signs of extended water exposure like bowing and swelling
- Colors can start to bleed from fabrics
- Carpet and upholstery are soaked through
- Musty odors are present and mold growth is a concern
48 Hours After Water Damage
- Mold may be visible on surfaces and micro-organisms may begin growing making the water a health concern
- Wood is full of moisture and the weight causes warping
- Drywall, furniture, carpet, and other fabric items show signs of prolonged exposure and may no longer be salvageable
- Metal begins to corrode
One Week After Water Damage
- Water is now considered Category 3 (Black water)
- Many items if not all of them inside the building will be unsalvageable
- Restoration requirements and costs are greatly increased as the severity of the structural damage will require rebuilding to achieve preloss conditions
- Mold has become its own completely separate issue as the spores have likely spread throughout the building, not limited to just the affected area
As you can see, the state of a building suffering from water damage rapidly declines in a matter of days and in some instances, hours, which is why you should trust your local SERVPRO of Chesapeake North with your water damage restoration. We respond faster to any size disaster, so give us a call and let us know how we can help.
Key Points of Flash Floods
As one of the leaders in disaster clean up and restoration here in Chesapeake, our SERVPRO team knows first hand the kind of damage flash floods can do to an area. We wanted to take some time to help educate you on flash floods and how to be safe when a storm comes through your area.
Flash floods are typically seen when a storm happens suddenly or if there is a series of storms within a few days of each other where the ground can’t absorb all of the water that is falling from the sky. Most commonly during: Sudden large rainstorms, long periods of rain like hurricanes, when it warms up quickly after a heavy snowfall and the snow melts faster than the ground can absorb it, or man-made issues like clogged sewer and storm drains.
Flash floods are quite dangerous and it’s very important to take the proper safety precautions when dealing with a potential flood.
First, it is important to know the difference between a flash flood watch, and a flash flood warning. A watch means that the conditions are right for a flash flood to occur, and a flash flood warning means that a flash flood is about to happen or is currently happening and you should take action. If you find yourself in an area under a flash flood warning here are some things to help prepare you:
- Listen to instructions from local authorities. They will have the most up to date information regarding the situation and you may be required to evacuate an area or move to a sheltered area
- Make sure all of your windows and openings to the outside of your home are shut and keep an eye on the lower levels of your home to make sure there is no water damage occurring.
- If you should find yourself near a body of water during a flash flood warning your best option is to move away from that area immediately until the flood threat subsides, but if you can’t, keep a close eye on the body of water and be ready to leave at any moment if the water starts to rise rapidly.
- You should NEVER try to drive your car or walk through flood waters. It can take only a few inches of water to cause you to completely lose control of your vehicle and a foot of water is enough to make many vehicles completely float. A large amount of flood related deaths occur because of people who’ve been trapped in their cars or get swept away by flood waters.
It’s scary to see rising water around your home but these tips can help keep you and your family safe. SERVPRO of Chesapeake North is proud to offer our emergency services should you discover that your house was damaged in the floods. Please call us as soon as possible so that we can get our clean up and restoration efforts started and try to mitigate any further damage to your home!
Fire Recovery Steps
Unfortunately, accidents happen. Fires can cause untold damage to your home, some of which you may not even know about. It is important to know how to respond once the fire is taken care of so that your house can get taken care of too and you can get back to living your life as fast as possible. These are the steps that we will take to clean up after fire damage so that you have a better understanding of what to expect!
First our team will come to your house for an assessment of the damage and how we can best help you. It’s important to know that while you will probably want to get cleaning immediately, you should wait until the crew completes their initial assessment as they will know the best way to proceed.
Next begins the mitigation. Smoke, soot, and fire damage are not the only things that you have to worry about after a fire. Professionals will make sure that any holes, broken windows, or doors are boarded up to protect your home from the elements. This also may include covering the roof as well.
After mitigation the crew will begin removal. One major part of fire damage recovery is water removal. Firefighters use a huge amount of water to make sure that all of the fire in your home is put out, and the first step of the removal process is often to remove all the standing water and begin drying out your things.
Once things are dry and any damaged parts of the home are removed the next step is sanitation. Clothing and electronics, as well as furniture and any other belongings may have been contaminated by soot and need to be cleaned by professionals.
Finally, once everything is removed and cleaned repairs can begin. This is where things will finally start to get back to normal. Professionals will repair windows and walls, flooring, siding, and even repainting walls and installing new carpet if required.
Fires in your home can certainly be traumatic but you can rest assured knowing that our highly trained professionals here at SERVPRO of Chesapeake North are here to help.