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Can My Wet Carpet Be Saved?

6/9/2020 (Permalink)

Office carpet that has been damaged by water Quick action can help save your property's water damaged carpets.

After a flood, many property owners may wonder if their carpet and pad can be saved as carpeting can be an expensive investment. Saving it is more cost-effective than replacing it but successful flooded carpet cleaning depends on many things.

The age and quality of the carpet and pad, as well as installation type, are key factors. But knowing the type of floodwater involved is essential to knowing if water damaged carpet cleaning is possible. In the water damage restoration industry, we classify floodwater into three main categories.

The three main types of floodwater

Category 1: Clean water from a broken pipe or rainwater that has not mixed with contaminants. Saving a carpet damaged by Category 1 water is possible if the carpet has been wet for less than 24-48 hours. Otherwise, the water may “degrade” into Category 2. Professionals can restore both padding and carpet through proper sanitation and remediation procedures.

Category 2: Greywater which is contaminated and can cause sickness if swallowed or if it touches the body. This includes overflow from washing machines or dishwashers, toilet overflows with no solid matter, broken aquariums, sump pump failures, etc. With this type of loss, the padding needs to be replaced, but the carpet can be salvaged. Not treating a Category 2 loss within 24-48 hours will turn into a Category 3.

Category 3: Blackwater that’s highly contaminated with pathogens or other harmful agents and materials. Examples include sewage, toilet backflows, flooding from seawater, rivers, streams, and water from hurricanes, storms or other weather-related events. Cleaning your flooded carpet is nearly impossible if Category 3 water saturated it.

Every water damage situation is different. So, you cannot know for sure if or when your carpet and pad can be salvaged until you have SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead inspect the carpeting.

Also, the faster you report the disaster, the lower the costs will be. If you’re dealing with a flooded carpet problem, contact SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead right away!

Flooded carpet cleaning: DIY or call a pro?

While trying to extract the water yourself has some benefits, professional carpet cleaning is a much better solution. A shop vacuum, towels, and ceiling fans are no match for professional extraction and drying equipment. Plus, an expert can evaluate the entire water damage incident and mitigate and remediate the entire loss, not just the carpet.

Also, the mitigation process should begin without delay. Otherwise, the carpet can suffer permanent damage. To have a better chance of saving the carpet, contact SERVPRO of Salem/peabody/Marblehead at once after the water damage incident. We have the tools and expertise to sanitize and dry the flooded carpet efficiently.

Except for cases of blackwater flooding, professional carpet cleaning can bring carpets back to life. The goal is not to replace, but to restore. We can help you save money by avoiding the high replacement costs.

After any flooding incident, always call your insurance company. Your homeowners insurance might cover the flood damage, but some flooding losses are not covered. For those, you might need separate flood insurance. If the loss has coverage, take photos and videos of the damage right away and file the insurance claim. Your insurance agent may also recommend a reputable restoration company to come to your rescue.

For any of your flooded carpet cleaning needs, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Saelm/Peabody/Marblehead. Our restoration teams will provide an industry-standard estimate and create a proper plan of action to restore your carpet quickly.  978.744.4545

How to Prevent Water Damage from Your HVAC System

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

A standard outdoor HVAC unit Proper HVAC maintenance can save you an expensive water damage later!

Change the HVAC filter regularly

  • Changing the filter helps prevent the unit from overworking, which can cause freezing and then defrosting on the evaporator coils, leading HVAC water damage.
  • Change the filter at least once a month with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. Some air filters need to be changed twice a year, others once a month, depending on their type and how often you use the HVAC system.
  • Check the instructions manual first to know what type of filter you need.
  • If the filters are inside the furnace or air handler, hire a contractor to change the filters.

Clean the condenser

  • The condenser is the exterior portion of your air conditioner or heat pump. It requires proper airflow to work efficiently.
  • Any dirt or other debris that accumulate on the condenser should be removed once a year (preferably at the beginning of spring).
  • Also, make sure to keep plants away from the condenser and remove any cover from it to ensure proper airflow.
  • Leave at least two feet of space between the unit and the bushes or shrubs in your yard.

Maintain the condensation drain line

  • When your AC unit is running, check the condensation line opening to make sure you see water flowing to the drain. The amount of water that flows depends on the humidity level in the house.
  • Clean the AC drainage holes. Locate the drainage hole on the base of the cabinet (beneath the evaporator fins). Use a paper clip or wire to poke through the hole and clear it, thus ensuring the AC drainage is kept clear.
  • Once or twice a year, flush out your drain line with an algaecide to prevent mold or algae from forming. Use a commercial solution or regular bleach.
  • Make sure to properly connect and install the main drain line and emergency drain line.
  • Check that the pipe is oriented correctly, as it might be knocked out of alignment.

How to unclog the drain line

  • Sometimes, the drain line gets clogged with algae, dirt, mineral deposits, and even mold or mildew, causing water to overflow into your home.
  • Attach a wet/dry vacuum to the drain line (removing the paper filter first) and suck the clog out.
  • Consider installing an overflow shut off device on the drain line to automatically turn off the A/C unit if the drain line backs up.

Install a condensation pump

  • Another tip on how to avoid HVAC water damage is to install a condensation pump.
  • That helps excess water flow into the proper disposal drain.
  • Additionally, install a safety float switch to automatically shut down the power to the AC unit whenever condensation builds up, and there is a risk of water overflow.

Maintain the overflow drain pan

  • The drain pan collects any water that has overflowed due to a clogged drain line.
  • Over time, drain pans made of metal or plastic may get damaged, resulting in leaks and water damage.
  • If you notice leaks near the drain pan, carefully inspect it for damage using a flashlight.
  • Consider patching up small holes or cracks using epoxy glue or replacing the pan entirely.
  • Regularly clean the drain pan. Rinse the pan and clean it with a bleach-water mixture to clear out any dirt or mold growth.

Have your HVAC system inspected professionally

  • HVAC inspection and maintenance can be difficult for homeowners, so hiring a professional is a good idea.
  • Besides the tasks already mentioned, they can inspect and fix problems related to HVAC components.
  • Those include the ductwork, furnace flames, grills and registers, AC compressors, the thermostat, and more.

Is your HVAC unit causing water damage? SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead can help!

Knowing how to prevent AC from leaking is sometimes not enough to prevent your unit from causing water damage. When leaks occur, the moisture promotes mold growth that can contaminate the air in your home. For HVAC water damage restoration and mold removal, contact SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead today...978.744.4545

Advanced Drying Techniques

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO drying equipment SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead uses the most modern drying equipment

After a flood, it is critical to dry water-damaged properties and contents as quickly as possible. In the past, water damage restoration contractors had few options available to them when performing water damage restoration. Equipment was restricted in its availability, variety, efficiency, and effectiveness. It was not only slow but would also result in removing and discarding damaged contents.

Then, of course, it was necessary to install new materials, paint, etc. The result was a long period of disruption to the occupants and extra expenses for insurance companies. Today, however, the “science of drying” has improved significantly. Thanks to modern equipment, we can completely restore water damaged properties and contents with minimal intrusion.

Some of the latest drying technologies include:

  • LGR Dehumidifiers — Using LGR Dehumidifiers, technicians can reduce the relative humidity to as low as 10%. These tools can remove up to 16 gallons of water from the air per day. Older dehumidifiers were able to reduce the humidity to only 40%, removing about five gallons of water per day. This disparity represents a vast improvement in efficiency, resulting in faster drying times – 24 to 48 hours as opposed to four or more days with older equipment.
  • Desiccants — In the right setting, restoration professionals will turn to a desiccant dehumidifier. Desiccants release very dry and warm air (5% relative humidity and 110 degrees F) into humid areas, eliminating moisture. They use silica gel to absorb humidity from the air. Desiccants operate very effectively, even if the environment is below freezing.
  • Intra-wall Drying — This technique helps the drying process inside of walls without removing drywall. In this process, baseboards are removed, and small holes are drilled through walls near the base. Technicians then push air into the cavity behind the wall. This dramatically reduces drying time for the wall, often to less than half of what it would take to dry it by other methods. The forced air approach also works for certain types of insulation, again eliminating the need to remove drywall to gain access. This method is especially appropriate when water damage originates from above the affected room. In many cases, it’s the only way to effectively save the walls.
  • Rescue Mat Systems — Today’s powerful water extraction equipment is far more effective at removing moisture than simple vacuum units, a common practice in times past. Rescue mat systems can extract water from hardwood floors efficiently, leaving the underlying pad slightly moist but not wet.

Other benefits of using advanced drying tools

  • Lower expenses — Wet carpet, pad, and drywall can often be completely restored and do not need replacement. This results in lower costs for the loss, and it allows the occupants to return to their normal lives much sooner with far less disruption. Also, modern technology can prevent the costs related to older methods, such as turning back and/or removing carpet; removing, discarding, and replacing the pad; replacing the new carpet or relaying the old.
  • Preventing mold — Thanks to faster drying, mold and other fungi have less time to develop. This helps alleviate possible health problems, such as respiratory discomfort and allergic reactions, which fungal contamination can cause. In addition, mold can weaken structural materials, such as drywall and wood framing, to the point that they must be replaced. Using advanced dehumidification systems removes moisture and thus helps prevent mold growth. With little or no moisture present, mold and mildew either do not start or die very quickly.
  • Other benefits of rapidly removing moisture include the prevention of irreversible swelling in porous materials, such as paper and wood; shrinkage in some fabrics, such as upholstery and drapes; rust occurring on metals like doorknobs and hinges; and damage to electronic equipment that could occur with high levels of humidity.

Most importantly in a situation dealing with water damage is how effective professionals are now. SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead's knowledgeable restoration professionals invest in the latest equipment and have the training and expertise to properly remove moisture. That means your home will return to its original state more quickly, minimizing all related costs and inconvenience.

For water damage caused by storms and floods, as well as fire, smoke, and mold remediation services, call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead...978.744.4545

Ten Reasons Your Smoke Detector Goes Off Randomly

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

A finger pushing a button on a smoke detector Your smoke detector could be trying to tell you something!

1. Burnt Food on Stovetop

If you don’t supervise the stove when cooking, your dinner may produce smoke, which activates the smoke alarm. In some cases, smoke isn’t even necessary — a hint of burnt food can be enough to set off the detector. Also, make sure your smoke alarm is optimally placed, such as in the hallway leading to the kitchen, not in the kitchen itself.

2. Burnt Toast or Popcorn

Leaving bread in the toaster or popcorn in the microwave for a little too long can happen to the best of us. That sends heavy particles into the air, which your smoke alarm picks up. To avoid this situation in the future, keep your smoke detector at a safe distance from these devices.

3. Fireplaces

Fireplaces can also cause smoke detector false alarms. Your fireplace can sometimes send smoke into your house, which sets off the alarm. This isn’t the alarm’s fault, though. Your chimney may not be clean, and the dampers may not be properly set. Hire a chimney sweep if your fireplace sends smoke into your home.

4. High Humidity

Smoke alarms don’t always distinguish between smoke particles and moisture content. Thus, the density of the moisture particles can trigger your alarm, even if they’re water particles. If you have high humidity in your home, use fans or windows to dissipate the humidity.

5. Steam

Dense water vapor is like humidity when it comes to triggering false alarms. When you take a shower or boil water on the stove, smoke detectors can sense the steam and sound the alarm. Make sure you ventilate your bathroom and kitchen properly to prevent this.

6. Insects

Small bugs love dark crevices in your home, so they may crawl into your smoke detectors, triggering a false alarm. If you don’t know what caused an alarm, open the device and check for small insects. Use pest control sprays around your smoke alarms if insects were the culprit.

7. Chemical Smells

Painting or using harsh chemicals can also cause smoke detector false alarms. Smoke detectors pick up on those chemical odors fast. Ventilate areas where you paint or use chemicals to avoid the startling noise of your smoke alarm.

8. Dust and Dirt

Dust that comes from activities like remodeling may set off your smoke alarms. To clean your smoke alarm, open it up carefully, and look inside for dust or dirt. Use a vacuum attachment or electronic aerosol cleaner to remove dust particles.

9. Low Batteries

When smoke alarm batteries are running low or aren’t properly connected, they typically make small chirping noises. While that’s not the sound of smoke detection, it’s a warning sign that you should check on your device. Replace batteries twice a year — when daylight saving time starts and ends.

10. Old Smoke Alarm

Smoke alarms generally have a lifespan of about 10 years. When they reach the end of their lifespan, smoke alarms may give off false alarms. If your detector is older than 10 years, replace it with a new one right away.

For fire damage restoration, contact SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead

Remember, smoke alarms are meant to be sensitive. If a detector sounds a false alarm, it doesn’t mean it’s broken. Their purpose is to help you catch a fire before it becomes life-threatening. Install your smoke alarms not too close, but not too far away either, from potential fire hazards.

In the unfortunate case where the smoke detector did not give off an alarm, the smoke likely caused heavy soot damage to the property. That fire and smoke damage will need to be handled by professional disaster restoration technicians. This is where SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead comes in.

For fire damage restoration or smoke cleanup, contact SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead today...978.744.4545

Keep Your Backyard Safe From Fire

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

a fire in an open backyard grill Keep your backyard safe from fires this summer

As the weather gets warmer, we tend to spend more time in our backyards. Using fire pits and patio heaters, as well as grilling are popular ways to relax in our backyards, but they pose the risk of fire and related injuries. Here are important tips to keep your backyard safe from fire:

Fire Pits

  • Keep flammable material and fluids such as charcoal and gasoline away from the fire pit.
  • Never use flammable fluids such as gasoline, alcohol, and kerosene to light or relight fires.
  • Place your pit at least 10 feet away from any structures, fencing or other flammable material.
  • Find a level surface for your fire pit. Don’t place it under tree branches and telephone or electrical wires.
  • Don’t allow children to use the fire pit. Keep children and pets at a safe distance away from the fire pit.
  • Don’t wear flammable or loose-fitting clothing such as nylon near the fire pit.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood to maintain the fire pit. Avoid burning trash, leaves, paper, cardboard or plywood, as well as soft wood such as pine or cedar.
  • Don’t overload the fire pit.
  • Before you light the fire, check the wind direction and make sure that the lid will still close to extinguish the fire in case of emergency.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water or garden hose nearby to extinguish in an emergency.

Grilling

  • Only use propane and charcoal barbeque grills outdoors.
  • Place the grill well away from the home and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Remove grease or fat buildup from the grills. Grease and fat burn quickly and can cause burn injuries or fires.
  • Always supervise the grill.
  • If you have a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid to light the grill. However, charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using paper as a fuel.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • After you finish grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Patio Heaters

  • Patio heaters are fueled by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) that can be dangerous if improperly used.
  • Only use patio heaters outdoors in well-ventilated areas. Never use them indoors under any circumstances.
  • Don’t use patio heaters when it is windy. Wind can blow out the flame and tip over the patio heater.
  • Never allow children to operate patio heaters. Keep children and pets at a safe distance away from patio heaters.
  • Ensure the tap is off before changing the gas cylinder and do it in the open air.
  • Make sure you know how to turn the patio heater OFF before you turn it ON.

If you’re hosting a party in your backyard, take a look at these tips to prevent fires outdoors.

 For professional fire damage repair or smoke remediation services, contact the SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead office at 978.744.4545

How to Handle Water-Damaged Wood Floors

6/2/2020 (Permalink)

water puddled on a wood floor Often water damaged wood floors can be saved with quick action.

REMOVE SURFACE WATER

Removing surface water on water damage wood floors is the first step to saving your floors from the junkyard. The foremost thing you should do, however, is to identify the source of water that is damaging your floors. Check for burst or leaking pipes and holes on your ceilings and roof. You should repair damaged areas in your house to prevent water damage in the future.

When your home has been exposed to water damage your water damaged hardwood floors will have unsightly dark stains. You can restore your floors to looking like new but it will require some elbow grease. You can remove the stains on your floor through the least invasive methods to the more extreme treatments. Stains on wooden floors are a result of water seeping below the polyurethane finish to the wood material.

The first thing you can do for stain removal is to wipe away surface dirt and grime with a damp cloth. After you have cleaned the floor thoroughly apply a steel brush to lightly rub the stained and surrounding areas. The feathering technique will help in future staining and refinishing touches. Apply bleach on heavily stained areas from water damage to lighten the stain.

SCRUB THE FLOOR

Scrubbing the floor is important after water damage to remove mud, silt, and organic material. These substances are pollutants which aid in the formation of mold growth. Mold is unsightly and can cause allergic reactions. The presence of mold will further exacerbate your problems after suffering water damage on your home. Water on a wood floor with its increased moisture can play host to different species of mold. Disinfect your home once and for all by mixing a mild detergent and a compatible disinfectant with clean water in a bucket. Scrub the entire floor thoroughly including baseboards and other woodwork such as stairs and posts with a stiff brush. Avoid pouring more water on the floor because the floor is already saturated.

When you have water damage on your floors you may notice cupping or warping. Water damage to hardwood floors buckling should be prevented because it could spread to the rest of your floor area.  When water damage occurs in your home you should do your best to dry the area thoroughly using air movers and humidifiers. Wood that is dried too fast tends to get warped and cracked so you must take care to control the temperature.

DRY THE FLOOR

You should dry wooden floors at a constant temperature to bring back its former look.  The first step on how to dry out hardwood floors after a flood is to keep fans and air movers on the area. Open windows and doors unless the outdoor air is more humid than the indoor air. A good tip on drying hardwood floors water damage is to dry the floor steadily and slowly. Apply cross ventilation by getting a box fan on a large window so the fan blows out, then, open windows on the opposites side to let fresh air in. This method is also a great way on how to dry water under the wood floor.

REPLACE LAMINATE

Laminate is an often-used material on homes but it is different from hardwood although it may look like one. The laminate flooring material is made up of wood pulp in the fashion of particle boards and sometimes MDF or medium-density fiberboard. Laminate flooded floors get destroyed easily and may need to be replaced. Floors made from laminate are highly sensitive to water damage and swells when it gets soaked which ruins the material entirely. It is important to replace laminate flooring immediately because it will only be a host to mold and mildew. As a precaution, do not use laminate flooring near areas where water damage may happen. These areas include bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Flooring on these areas must be made of flood floorings resistant materials such as tiles or marble.

CONCLUSION

Water damage can cause you headaches but repairing wood floors water damage is possible. Water spill on a hardwood floor is easiest to rectify and you will only need to scrub the stained area with a steel brush. Wooden floors that have warped however due to extensive water damage to wood floors buckling may need to be replaced. Hardwood is resilient and the question- does water damage hardwood floors– depends on the extent of water damage. If the wood has been sitting on water for long periods it may have rotted and warped and need to be replaced. All in all, you have to apply elbow grease to save your wooden floors. The question of can water damaged hardwood floors be repaired—depends on your willingness to act fast and mitigate the damage by applying your own effort or getting professional assistance.  When in doubt call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead and our team of professionals will assess your floor damage for you.  978.744.4545

The Do's and Don'ts for Cleaning Fire Damage

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

a kitchen with smoke and fire damage Fire and smoke damage cleanup should be handled by professionals

DO'S FOR FIRE DAMAGE RESTORATION

Your checklist for after a fire should contain certain non-negotiable tasks, including:

  • DO contact the certified restoration specialist at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead: Make sure you immediately contact a certified fire and smoke restoration professional for remediation services
  • DO turn off utilities: Turn of water, electricity, gas, and any other utilities until a professional can evaluate if any of these systems were damaged during the fire.
  • DO break out the vacuum: A professional should provide service, but you can enhance the professional’s chances of success by doing the first pass on your own. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment and go over your upholstered furniture. Your furniture will look better as soon as the soot is removed. Also, cover your furniture with a sheet if you need to sit on it while waiting for professional help. This will prevent the soot and ash from grinding into your upholstery.
  • DO address your carpets, floors, and countertops: Give similar treatment to your carpets. Vacuum them for an immediate and superficial improvement over the damaged state. It will help prevent soot from grinding deeper into the carpet’s roots. Countertops and hardwood floors should be wiped clean to prevent the soot from deeply staining and clinging to the surfaces.
  • DO check your appliances: Your utilities should be off. Make sure empty your freezer and refrigerator, and leave the doors open to prevent mold and mildew. Likewise, winterize your plumbing and drain your hot water heater and boiler. In the absence of heat during the fire damage restoration process, fluids can freeze and cause burst pipes and other damage.
  • DO take care of pets: Remove pets from your fire-damaged home. Lingering soot and smoke can be harmful to them.

DON’TS FOR FIRE DAMAGE RESTORATION

Your checklist should also include several things to avoid at all times, including:

  • DON’T use your AC, heater or electronics: Wait until a professional arrives on the scene — same with electronics like the television, computers and DVD players. Turning on electronics can create greater damage.
  • DON’T clean walls or clothing: Also, do not clean walls, ceilings and other similar surfaces, and wait to clean your clothing and similar garments. A professional should examine them first and provide advice.
  • DON’T eat leftover food: Never eat anything that was in the home during the fire. It is most likely not safe to consume due to contamination from smoke, soot, or contaminants introduced to the environment when the fire was being extinguished.
  • DON’T wipe away powder from extinguishers: Forgo trying to clean up any staining from the powder discharged by a fire extinguisher. It is best to let professionals guide the clean up of these areas.

These are some basic guidelines for preventing further damage and get a head start on cleanup, but they are not a substitute for professional restoration services. When in doubt, wait for the professionals at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead. Upholstery, carpets and counters are fine to begin cleaning, but the rest is best left to the pros. And remember, never reenter a home until it has been cleared by the fire department or other local officials.

Only when you have been given a “go” signal by a fire marshal should you consider to start the clean up after fire damage. Always practice proper caution when handling fire restoration work. Wear proper clothing, gloves, and mask. The walls and ceilings are the surfaces that are most commonly damaged by fire and smoke. Insulation should be removed and replaced at any instance of a house fire.

Seeking professional fire restoration services is highly recommended if the extent of the damage is serious enough to address on your own.

ALWAYS CALL AN EXPERT

If you’re wondering what to do after a fire, it’s always tempting to start the cleanup process immediately, and do as much as possible. The best course of action is to call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead to provide expert knowledge and service. The situation requires specialized tools and knowledge that only a professional can provide. Our trusted professionals will offer an after-fire checklist that will help speed along the fire and smoke damage cleanup process. We will help you restore your property back to like-new condition as quickly as possible.

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead: 978.744.4545

Cleaning Up After A Grease Fire

5/25/2020 (Permalink)

flames shoouting up from a stove top Grease fire cleanup requires help from the professionals at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead

A grease fire damage can be an unexpected disaster for your kitchen and home. One of the challenges of grease fires is that they are difficult to extinguish. Pouring water on a grease fire only makes it worse, and trying to snuff it out with towels or other materials close by can lead to the fire spreading. A fire extinguisher is the best way to put out a grease fire so you will want to be sure you have one that is easy to access in your kitchen.

The most common type of fire at home is kitchen fires. Statistics reveal that annually, there are 5,000,000 cooking fires occurring in the U.S. households.

And the reason is that the kitchen is a source of major fire hazards – electricity, heat, gas vapor, and grease.

And of all kitchen fires, fire in ovens is the most prevalent.

Grease fires are very dangerous because they spread out quickly. Before you know it, the fire has already spread all over your kitchen walls, cabinets, and ceilings. Worst, the fire has spread all over your house and made irreparable damage in a split second.

Many cases of grease fire damage usually occur when someone leaves a pan on a stove unattended, or when the oil in a pan overheats and the grease catches fire.

Because it is such a common occurrence, every household owner should be prepared at all times by learning how to put out a stove fire, how to get rid of smoke in the house from oven and clean it up, and most importantly – how to prevent kitchen fire damage.

But then there’s cleaning up after a grease fire damage, which is the second challenge. Just as a grease fire is hard to put out, a grease fire damage is also difficult to clean up.

GREASE FIRE DAMAGE: HOW TO PUT OUT GREASE FIRE

Follow these steps on how to put out a stove fire:

Putting out grease fire requires skills, a speedy reaction, and most importantly – the presence of mind.

  • It’s easier said than done, but the best way to confront any emergency situation is to stop panicking and stay calm. Only then will you be able to think of the best solution in the quickest way possible.
  • When there are grease fires, one thing you should never do is to pick up the pan. Otherwise, the fire can spread to you or the grease could spill into the counter or kitchen floor, causing the fire to spread easily.
  • Do NOT put water to the pan. Doing so could only cause the fire to grow bigger. Before you know it, you have walls on fire.
  • Instead, what you should do is cover the pan with a lid to deprive the fire of the oxygen it needs. If you can’t cover it, dump lots of baking soda in it. Once the pan is properly covered with a lid, turn off the burner. Let the pan cool before touching it and cleaning up the mess.
  • If the fire is too huge to handle, cease it using a fire extinguisher.
  • If you or your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll. This is life-saving technique is applicable for all types of fire emergencies.

HOW TO PROPERLY CLEAN UP AFTER A KITCHEN GREASE FIRE

Now that you successfully put out the grease fire, breathe and give yourself a pat on the shoulder.

Your job has not ended though. The next thing to learn is how to get fire smoke smell out of the house, along with the soot, residue, and debris.

Cleaning up after a fire is a laborious, intensive process. It’s much better to solicit help from family members or friends to save time and energy.

Follow these steps to clean up after a grease fire damage:

OPEN AND WINDOW AND TURN ON A CEILING FAN

Turn off your HVAC system to prevent the soot and smoke particles from spreading to your entire house.

Ventilate the area by opening the windows and making use of smoke eater ceiling fans or just a regular fan or air blower. Place the fans in opposite corners of the kitchen.

CLEAN GREASE AND SOOT WITH VINEGAR

You can use some distilled vinegar which is a very effective cleaning product that does not only remove grease and soot but also eliminates the smell of smoke. Yes, vinegar is a powerful DIY smoke eater.

REMOVE THE MICROWAVE

If your microwave is located above the stove, you may need to throw it away if it was damaged by fire. Next, clean the surfaces that may have been affected by the fire, such as your kitchen cabinets, walls, counters, and floors using degreasing agents or vinegar. Carefully clean the insides and outside surfaces of your cabinets. If you don’t completely remove the grease and soot, they can stain your kitchen and the smell could linger. For appliances, clean them with a soap-water solution using a sponge. Throw out contaminated food items.

Is oven safe to use after fire? After a grease fire, you should check with an appliance technician to see if your oven is safe to operate.

PREVENTING GREASE FIRES

  • Grease fires are extremely dangerous. But the good news is they are preventable. Follow these tips to prevent grease and other kitchen fires:
  • Never leave your pot or frying pan unattended.
  • Do not put frozen food into hot grease. Remove as much moisture from food before cooking.
  • Always keep grease at the recommended levels and heat oil slowly.
  • Always keep a metal lid on the counter to cover burning pan or pot.
  • Store a fire extinguisher nearby, preferably between the kitchen and the nearest exit.
  • Keep flammable items away from the stove, such as wooden utensils, mittens, rugs, etc.
  • Keep your kitchen well-ventilated. Trapped heat can cause grease fires to develop faster.

Always keep your kitchen appliances in good shape. A routine inspection by a licensed technician ensures that there are no issues like faulty wires or gas leaks that can exacerbate grease fire when it happens.

Grease fire damage is one of every homeowner’s worst nightmares. Knowing what to do when it happens can save your life and your property. Additionally, taking preventive measures should minimize the risk of any kitchen fire.

WHEN TO CALL THE PROS

Because of just how quickly a grease fire can spread and because of how intensive a grease fire damage can be, it’s almost always ideal to call a professional for help with repairing damage from a grease fire. A grease fire damage most often leaves a heavy scent of smoke throughout your home. It can also leave soot covering your kitchen, including the ceiling, cabinets and more. No matter what, there’s going to be grease residue and soot everywhere — and grease is notoriously difficult to clean.

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead has the knowledge and experience to quickly and effectively repair damage from a grease fire, as well as the tools needed to get the job done. Additionally, we will know the proper techniques for taking care of grease fire residue on different materials.

Residue can often find its way onto paper, wood, plastic, natural substances and more, and there’s a proven process for cleaning each — but the processes are different. SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead can take care of these different materials in the best way possible for each.

BE PROACTIVE WHILE YOU WAIT

When you’ve experienced a grease fire in your home or in your restaurant, it’s important to be proactive. Here’s a look at what you can and should do immediately:

  • Call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead: It’s likely you’ll need fire damage restoration professional help. Contact us at 978.744.4545
  • Remove Pets and Children: Smoke and soot can cause health problems in both people and animals. For this reason, until the environment has been cleaned and repaired, children and pets should be taken elsewhere.
  • Replace Your Filters: Because of the smoke and soot’s ability to travel throughout your house, it’s important that you change out your furnace’s air filter. Replace the filters on your refrigerator, too — if it’s salvageable.
  • Toss Out Food: Discard any food substances that were out when the fire struck — soot and smoke particles have contaminated your food.
  • Clean Cabinets: It’s likely your cabinets are covered soot inside and out. Wipe them down, too. While initially cleaning them is important, you may need a professional to sand, reseal and repaint the cabinets to fully remove the odor.
  • Check Appliances: Your microwave may need to go. If it was located close to the fire, it will be next to impossible to get the smoke scent out of the plastic. Check the gasket seals on your refrigerator for damage as well. If they are impaired, it may be time to get a new refrigerator. This is another area where professional guidance can be helpful.

Never enter a structure that has been affected by any kind of fire until it has been declared safe to do so by the fire department or other public authority. If you have any doubt about the structure’s soundness, wait until a professional can assess it.

HIDDEN DAMAGE CAUSED BY KITCHEN GREASE FIRES

You can see soot when it is clinging to your kitchen ceiling and cabinets. But a restaurant kitchen fire or a home kitchen fire can leave damage that’s not as easy to see.

For example, flames from a grease fire can find their way into ductwork and cause damage there that will only get worse if left unaddressed. Smoky odors leftover from a grease fire can also linger if they aren’t dealt with in a professional manner.

Hidden damage is yet another reason why it’s often a good idea to call in the professionals for help cleaning up after a grease fire. If left to take care of the damage on your own, you may get your kitchen and home looking great — but the hidden damage can cause problems down the road and certainly hurt your home’s resale value. SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead will know all the places to look, and they will also know how to repair that damage.

Do You Have Mold Inside Your Walls?

4/30/2020 (Permalink)

mold inside of a wall on the insulation Getting rid of mold inside walls is a job best left to the professionals at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead

Mold is every homeowner’s unwanted visitor. And sometimes, despite all your efforts to keep your home clean and dry, you might be surprised to see black mold on walls, ceilings, and other surfaces in your home. Just the term “black mold” is enough to make you cringe. Well, you should as it is one of the most dangerous types of mold inside walls that are too common in many households.

How to remove mold naturally from walls is a common topic explored by most homeowners. Well, you don’t need to search too far. On this guide, you will learn how to check for mold in walls and more importantly, how to stop mold growth from inside walls.

HOW TO DETECT MOLD IN WALLS

Cleaning mold on visible surfaces may not be easy (especially if it’s a major infestation) but it is very much possible. Of course, it is more advisable to seek professional help when treating mold on walls but if there’s a minor build-up on your walls, floors, or ceilings, you can get rid of it using common tools and cleaning supplies that you may already have at home.

But what if the infestation is inside your walls? How do you even know it’s happening?

Before you learn how to remove mold inside walls, you must learn how to detect it. Take note that mold spores are super tiny and not visible to the human eyes so they can spread throughout your house discreetly. And until you know the signs of mold build-up, the black mold could already be damaging your property and you are still clueless.

Alright. So how can you tell if the black mold is hiding inside your walls?

If you’re like most homeowners whose walls are made of gypsum walls, also called “drywall”, you might be curious to know whether there’s mold build-up inside. Experts recommend several ways:

Cut a large hole on your wall. This is perhaps the most definitive way of determining whether there’s mold inside your walls. If there is, you will be tearing them down anywhere. However, there are drawbacks to this approach. First is that using a drywall saw can damage any electrical or plumbing systems if you unknowingly drill them. Be sure to have some plastic sheathing ready to cover that hole afterward.

Perform a smell test. The second method is to sniff around electrical outlets. If the mold is actively growing, it produces microbial volatile compounds which are the musty, earthy odor released by the mold. Electrical outlets and other openings provide you more direct access to the odors inside your walls. If you smell the musty odor through them, there’s likely a mold infestation. The drawback of this approach is that you may not find any electrical outlet or opening on the walls you suspect are damaged or infested by mold. You may also find it hard to determine the extent of the mold build-up, like if it’s just around the outlet or far from the outlet.

Check for moisture problems. When there is a moisture problem, then there is most likely mold build-up. If you see water stains on your walls or if a part of your walls has sustained water damage and it has been there for quite some time, there’s a big possibility of mold.

Hire pros to test for mold. This might come with a price but it’s the safest and most effective way to tell whether there’s mold lurking inside your walls.

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead has trained and certified technicians that can assist with any mold issues.

REMOVING MOLD FROM WALLS If the mold build-up is on the outer surfaces of your walls, you can safely and conveniently get rid of it using a few solutions like detergents, vinegar-baking soda, or commercial cleaners. But getting rid of mold inside walls is a different thing. It involves tearing down the wall and replacing it. It is best to leave it in the hands of professional mold remediators like the team at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead as doing it by yourself could lead to the possibility of drilling or grinding through electrical or plumbing systems.

So how do you remove mold from walls?

  • Prepare your cleaning solution.
  • Scrub the mold off using your cleaner and water.
  • Dry the area. Open doors and windows to allow air to circulate.
  • Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture problems and prevent mold from growing back.
  • If the mold infestation is inside the walls, you will need to hire professionals as there’s a need to knock down the walls and replace them.

HOW AND WHY MOLD GROWS ON WALLS

You’re here because you are eager to learn how to get rid of mold in walls. But you might be curious to know – how come mold grows on walls? There are a number of reasons why:

Humidity – this is the primary cause of mold problems inside homes. If you live in a humid area, it is advisable to purchase a dehumidifier and move it regularly to different parts of your home to decrease moisture content in your indoor air.

Condensation – this occurs naturally in the perimeter walls of your home, which is cooler than the air inside your house. When the water in the air experiences a temperature drop as it touches the walls, condensation takes place (moisture is turned into liquid).

Water Leaks – another common cause of black mold in walls are water leaks coming from different sources, such as holes in the roof or cracks on plumbing systems. It is important to check pipes regularly and takes steps to keep them from leaking.

OTHER TYPES OF MOLD ON WALLS

Removing black mold behind drywall is a serious task. But you should know that aside from black mold in walls, there are other types of mold that could grow on the surfaces or even inside walls. They include Aspergillus (which can cause allergic reactions and respiratory infections), aureobasidium (which can cause more severe reactions than black mold on walls), Chaetomium, Penicillium, and Serpula Lacrymans (that can also grow on wood surfaces).

CONCLUSION

Mold and mildew inside walls are a real nuisance.  How to fix mold in walls is a common concern by many homeowners because moisture problems are almost always likely to take place whether you live in a humid area or not.

At this point, you already know the signs of mold behind walls and what you need to do to get rid of it. As you see, getting rid of mold inside walls is not that easy for two reasons: you can’t determine how much the infestation is without ripping off the walls and you will likely need to replace your drywall to ensure that the mold does not grow back.

Mold inside walls is a big problem if left unresolved. So if you suspect mold call the experts at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead at 978.744.4545

 

Water in Basement After it Rains?

4/30/2020 (Permalink)

a basement with flood waters Spring rains in Massachusetts bring flooded basements!

In the Northshore of Massachusetts...When it rains, it pours! Especially if you have water or moisture problems at home. Learning how to deal with nasty, smelly leaked water in your basement is one of the best ways to protect your home and prevent costly damage in the future.

WATER IN BASEMENT CAUSES

Basement water leaks are an alarming problem. In fact, the American Society of Home Inspectors estimates that 60% of homeowners in the country have basement water problems. Even newly constructed homes are still prone to leaks and there’s a good chance that you will have to deal with it eventually.

You might wonder though – what causes water problems in the basement?

Flood. Needless to say, basements are prone to flooding since they are the lowest part of a house. If you live in a flood-prone area, one of the best things you can do to protect your property is to apply some flood control methods, such as raising your home on stilts, installing foundation vents or a sump pump, applying coatings and sealants on your basement walls, and installing check valves on your pipes.

Water Seepage. Water can seep through cracks in your walls as well as other porous materials. There are two types of wall cracks – horizontal and vertical. The former is more serious as it is caused by pressure against the walls. If you see stains on your basement walls or floors whenever it rains, it’s an indication of water seepage.

Window Well. Windows allow light and air into your basement. However, during heavy rains, water can collect within the window wells.

WATER LEAKAGE IN BASEMENT AFTER HEAVY RAIN

Do you always notice water coming in the basement after heavy rains? You’re not alone. Many Massachusetts homeowners experience the same.

Rain is definitely a major cause of water leaking into basements. Even if it doesn’t rain, water is always present on the ground. But when it rains or snows heavily, more water is absorbed into the ground. Once the soil is saturated and can no longer hold any more water, the water table (level below ground that is saturated by water) causes hydrostatic pressure under your home’s foundation. The excess water goes to your basement.

Meanwhile, the water absorbed by the soil that surrounds your foundation causes lateral pressure. Both hydrostatic and lateral pressure push moisture and water leaks into basement walls and floors.

Water in the basement after heavy rain is a serious problem. If not addressed early, it can lead to serious damage that could cost you thousands of dollars.

FOUNDATION DAMAGE SIGNS

Learning how to check the foundation of the house for water damage is essential. Of course, the first step is to check for signs of leaks, such as water damage textures in your basement along with moisture problems in other parts of your home.

WATER SEEPAGE IN BASEMENT AFTER RAIN

So how do you know if issues of water in the foundation is caused by rain and not something else? Check out the following signs:

  • If there are standing puddles close to your house whenever it rains hard
  • If doors and windows become swollen with moisture
  • If your basement walls are buckling or leaning.
  • If your basement leaks water when it rains hard.

WATER DAMAGE TO BASEMENT

Water damage is a problem that every homeowner dreads. Water damaged basements, in particular, do not only undermine the value of homes but also compromise the health and safety of families who live there.

Below are the ways water damage in basement harm your home and your family:

  • Mold growth. While mold has an important role in nature (breaking down dead things), it’s the last thing you want to have in your home. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to invade your basement, damaging various surfaces like walls, floors, and furniture. 
  • Damaged wiring and appliances. Water that seeps through cracks on the walls can damage electrical appliances in your basements, such as your washer, dryer, water heater, and furnace. Electrical problems can also cause life-threatening accidents to anyone in your family.

FOUNDATION WATER DAMAGE

Water damage to the foundation of a house occurs in various ways and may either be structural or non-structural. Structural damage happens when the presence of water is extensive and prolonged whereas non-structural damage occurs when water seeps through tiny cracks in the foundation. Water leakage in basement walls is an example of this.

Apart from rain, sources of water leaks include roof spillage, surface runoff, improper exterior foundation drains, and clogged gutters and downspouts. 

HOW TO STOP WATER FROM LEAKING INTO BASEMENT

Many homeowners are clueless about how to stop water in basements. But it’s easier than what it seems. Some steps include adding gutter extensions, installing plug gaps around plumbing pipes, repairing footing drains, and sealing cracks in walls and floors.

HOW TO GET RID OF MOISTURE IN THE BASEMENT

It’s always best to call the restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Saelm/Peabody/Marblehead especially if there is already some serious damage.  You can reach our office at 978.744.4545