Time is critical even after the fire is out
The cost of smoke and fire damage restoration depends on a few variables even after the source is subdued. To prevent secondary damage call on a professional to help as soon as the fire department says it’s safe to start the mitigation process.
Soot, when left on surfaces can corrode and permanently discolor in the span of a few hours. If left for days, the issues can become irreparable and require the replacement of furniture, floor coverings, counter tops, and much more.
Beyond the soot; Burnt smells frequently linger, which make odor neutralization another important part of the process.
What many people don’t consider until they’ve experienced a fire first hand is the effects of the water used to put the fire out. Parts of the structure and the contents that weren’t damaged by the fire itself may be adversely affected by the water and if not cleaned and dried quickly will need to be discarded and run the risk of mold growth.
In order for smoke damage restoration to be most effective, the job should be approached as soon as possible by a professional in mitigation. Trained technicians can remove and neutralize odors, and quickly identify which items may be able to be restored.
Smoke, ash, and water all contribute to the devastation, so having someone with the proper training is crucial. SERVPRO technicians with certifications in Fire and Smoke Restoration, Water Damage Restoration, Fabric and Upholstery Cleaning, Odor Control, Mold Remediation and Prevention, and Applied Structural Drying will have all the skills necessary to salvage and return rooms to a previous state
SERVPRO® National Call Center served 313 insurance and property management companies and their clients nationwide in the last year alone. We have earned the trust of the insurance industry by serving thousands of their policy holders and clients with respect and integrity. The more we restore the less that needs to be replaced. This helps our clients save millions of dollars each year and helps lower your insurance rates too!
24-Hour Emergency Service; in our business, you need us fast! Professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Whether you live in Winston Salem, Clemmons, or Rural Hall, our trained, uniformed mitigation specialists are equipped to restore your property to preloss condition whenever possible and will walk you through the process until the work and your satisfaction are complete.
From large commercial environments to small residential losses, SERVPRO of West Forsyth County understands your loss is the job that matters most!
Exhaust Vent Fire Safety
You have heard the phrase electricity and water don’t mix. Well lint, dust and hair can be hazardous also when combined with electrical items such as a bath room exhaust fan or dryer vent. In an earlier blog we told you how an exhaust vent is a good thing to help prevent excessive moisture build up and mold growth in your bathroom. But like anything around your home proper maintenance will keep it in good working order and help prevent fire hazards.
According to NFPA.org (National Fire Protection Association) over 45,000 homes suffered a fire loss between 2010 & 2014 involving electrical failure or malfunction. These fires resulted in $1.4 billion in property damage and more tragically over 1300 injuries and over 400 deaths. Those numbers are staggering when you consider that some are preventable with proper usage and maintenance of the electrical items around the house.
Exhaust vents can present a potential fire hazard if not cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Fans over time build up lint which can cause the motor to overheat and ignite the lint, plastic fan blades and the nearby combustible wood structure. How fast lint builds up is dependent on how often it is used and the amount of particulate in the air moving through the exhaust or vent.
Dryer vents and exhaust fans are used in both commercial and residential properties. The original install of this equipment was not purchased for longevity nor are most of these devices thermally protected. Thermal protection causes the motor to shut off should they seize and overheat. This safety feature has been available since the late 1970’s, but was not widely used until the early 1990’s. Along with changing batteries in smoke detectors you should clean the exhaust fans in your home or place of work twice a year. If it starts to make noises or smells odd, it’s time to replace it.
If you have Fire, Water or Mold damage in your home or business call us 336-946-1131 SERVPRO of West Forsyth County. “Like it never even happened.”
Check list to recover from winter storms aka Spring Cleaning
The weather is turning nicer here in Winston Salem NC and you will want to do some work outside to maintain your home. We talked about winterizing your home in an earlier blog but what if your preparation didn’t hold up? Here is a check list of things to look for to minimize damage and maintain the value of your home.
Landscaping (shrubs) surrounding the house need trimming to make sure the wood behind them can dry out. Ensure the slope of the landscaping leads away from the home. Pools of water next to the foundation are bad. They can lead to a water intrusion if not properly addressed.
Exterior faucets, we told you in winterizing your home to take hoses off and use hose bibs to prevent freezing. As you turn water on & check faucets for leaks. Be prepared to shut water off quickly as burst pipes are often inside the house and in the wall. If you have someone who can be on the other side of the faucet to check, that will help.
Gutters should cleaned once a year, twice a year if on a wooded lot. Many houses have different needs on each side of the house so clean as often as needed.
Roof – check for missing or loose shingles; check around chimney, vents & skylights for leaks, and long the eaves for evidence of ice dams. The vents should have good seals and no cracking looks for signs of dry rot and wear. Check the fascia (vertical) boards underneath gutters if icicles have formed on them that may indicate a leak.
Siding & paint – Paint is a seal against outside water intrusion, check for cracks, gaps and peeling. Repair/replace caulking if you find any gaps.
Doors & windows – Replace weather stripping as needed to prevent rain water from creeping under the door. Repair screens, install/swap screens for storm doors/windows.
Window sills and kick boards below exterior doors are the most vulnerable wood items, so check them carefully. If wet and rotting they could also be an invitation to termites. Replace and paint as necessary to prevent extending and invitation to further damage.
Deck – clean, repair and stain. Stain wears better & easier to maintain, i.e. doesn’t peel. Again rotting wood should be replaced and sealed / treated for termite prevention.
Mailboxes, etc – repair damage done during snow removal to mailboxes, fencing, stairs, etc.
Grill – clean outdoor grill; check to insure it’s working properly. Be sure to keep this a safe distance from your home and never leave it unattended.
Attic – If you found missing shingles during your roof inspection, check insulation for moisture and replace as needed. Add more ventilation to insure moisture doesn’t get trapped. Never cover vents or eaves as they allow airflow and reduce the chance of mold growth.
Bathrooms – ensure the exhaust fan is in good working order and dust or clean to ensure good airflow. Check caulking and grout, and repair as needed to prevent water damage or mold.
A/Cs – Change air filters if you have pets this should be done more frequently. Check window A/Cs have good drainage. Check central A/C duct work and insure no leaks. Have your system checked by a professional to ensure the condensate drain line is working properly and your HVAC system is ready for the hot Carolina summer.
Appliances – Dust and clean refrigerator coils, stove exhaust hood and dryer vents. A duct cleaning professional could also be of help with the clothes dryer vent checking off two important areas.
Ceiling fans – clean (lots of dust on top) and check to insure fans are operating properly.
Basement or Crawl Space – check walls and floor for dampness; address source of humidity where possible; run sump pump to insure it’s functioning properly before spring rain. Are there any standing pools of water? These can cause mold and affect the air quality in your home.
Dehumidifiers – Ensure the drain line is clear and flowing freely. Clean periodically and make sure they’re working properly.
Hot Water Heater – Can build up scale especially if your water is hard. Drain twice a year and clean out deposits on bottom. Check for leaks and place a water leak detector near this and other water sources i.e. toilets, dishwasher, behind refrigerator.
Safety – The time change to daylight savings is a good time to check batteries in smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Ensure your family knows the plan in case of an emergency. Ready.Gov has a checklist
These should help prevent disasters and add value to your home. A well maintained home is worth more. But should a water, fire or mold situation invade your home call us direct at 336-946-1131 we will make it “Like it never even happened.”
Don't get scammed! Call someone you can trust!
We have had a lot of rain lately and the winds seem to be picking up to, along with the wind picking up so to scammers. Jack and John Thayer trolled neighborhoods after storms, offering to fix damaged homes. The duo stole more than $770,000 in down payments from storm-traumatized homeowners — without fixing the homes. Many victims were elderly. The Thayers received up to 20 years in prison. This story ended in justice but all too often Winston Salem home and business owners are taken advantage of by less than reputable people.
Be wary of door-to-door and trucks patrolling a neighborhood after a storm or telephone sales people. Recently the BBB of North West NC reported that consumers were victims after Hurricane Imra one such scam where the homeowner was contacted by a gentleman who said they are currently working in the area and they notice that she had storm roof damage and they will send a representative so they can help her claim the insurance for this damage.
You can keep scammers away. Protect your family, bank account and yourself from crooks: Stay alert, ask questions and go slow and pay attention to details.
Contact your insurance agent don’t trust that the contractor will file the claim for you. No one should be filing a claim on your insurance but you. This is a good time to talk with your agent about if you should even file a claim or not. You may need additional information like estimates from a reputable company.
After a damage to your car or home ... Take photos of the damage and passengers. You can prevent fake injury and damage claims.
Contact your state insurance department or National Insurance Crime Bureau (1-800-835-6422) to report a scam. You can also report a scam with the BBB
Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts, if temporary roofing repairs are necessary. Know what your deductible is and know when to file a claim.
Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. Don't be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact. Be proactive in selecting a business and not reactive to sales solicitations. It is common for storm chasers to call and knock on your door.
For major repairs, take time to shop around and get 3-4 estimates based on the same specifications and materials. Check out references that are at least one year old, verify with your local government to find out whether or not businesses are required to be licensed/registered to do work in your area, and check with your local building inspector to see if a building permit is required.
Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim to have leftover materials from a job “down the street” or who do not have a permanent place of business. If salespeople go door-to-door, check to see if your community requires them to have solicitation permits.
Be leery if a worker shows up on your doorstep to announce that your home is unsafe. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, have an engineer, architect or building official inspect it. While most roofing contractors abide by the law, be careful allowing someone you do not know inspect your roof. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work. This goes for Mold Remediation also. Contact an independent environmental specialist to perform an air quality test. Or ask if they do the test themselves or do they have a third party perform the test. If the mold mitigater does the testing or the roofer does the inspection what do you think the odds of them finding work for themselves to perform are?
Require a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. Be sure their name, address, license number, if applicable, and phone number are included in the contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety, and don’t sign a blank contract. A copy of the signed contract is to be given to you at time of signature. What certifications does the company have?
Find out about reported scams in your neighborhood or report a scam using the BBB’s new Scam Tracker tool.
Check out SERVPRO of West Forsyth County A+ accreditation on the BBB
Call a trusted contractor call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County at 336-946-1131
3 Tips to prevent fires in the home
Growing up, we’re given important advice on preventing home fires: don’t leave candles burning; don’t leave your stovetop on; keep anything that can catch fire (like a pot handle) away from the stove.
Household fires are a growing problem in the U.S. According to the Department of Homeland Security, each year thousands of people die in home fires, which cause an estimated $7.3 billion in direct property loss annually.
Indeed, three often-overlooked household items can cause a fire: clothes dryers, batteries and power strips.
The Today show spoke with Lt. Anthony Mancuso, Director of Fire Safety and Education with the FDNY to give us some helpful tips on minimizing the risk of house fires from these items.ip 1: Clean your lint screen
Dryers work best when the lint screen is clear. But did you know that a dryer full of lint is actually a fire hazard, too? Lint is extremely flammable, and electricity from a running dryer can be enough to spark it if the screen is full.
Luckily, it's easy to safeguard your home against this fire risk. Before starting the dryer cycle, simply open your lint catcher compartment and give it a quick swipe.
Tip 2: Carefully store your batteries
Batteries – particularly 9 Volt – pose a potentially serious fire risk. We tend to leave them lying around the house when they're not powering our electronics. We usually keep them sitting loose in a drawer somewhere.
But because of the design of 9V batteries - which feature both the positive and negative poles on the same side of the battery – they can be a real fire hazard.
Something as simple as a paperclip or coin coming into contact with both poles can be enough to overheat the battery and cause a spark, which can turn into a fire.
Even AA or AAA batteries should be stored in a safe way: store them upright, or cover the top with a piece of tape.
Tip 3: Be aware of what you plug into power strips or extension cords
Most people plug their devices into whatever open outlet is closest. But beware if that outlet is a power strip or extension cord! These devices can be mismatched with the voltage your device requires which could easily lead to a home fire.
This is especially a concern with items that heat up, like toasters, coffee makers or space heaters. These items should be unplugged when not in use.
When you start putting extension cords on some of these items, the extension cord may not be matched properly with the same size wire. When you’re pulling all that electricity through that other extension, it starts to melt that wire – and that’s when the fire starts.
What should you plug into a power strip or an extension cord? The power strip is for your computer, your flat-screen TV, any entertainment items. It’s not for space heaters or air conditioners; those items should be plugged directly into the wall outlet.
Take these tips into consideration to avoid a home fire. Should your home experience an unexpected disaster, visit SERVPRO® to contact the Fire & Water Cleanup & Restoration experts.
It's best to call us directly 336-946-1131
What to do for a frozen pipe.
When the temperatures are consistently below freezing what can you do to prevent freezing pipes? Turn the hot and cold water on a trickle. Open the cabinets so warm air can circulate around the pipes especially if the sink is on an exterior facing wall. Ensure that crawl space vents are closed and that pipes are well insulated within the crawl. Preparation is key in our blog winterizing your home, we suggested inspecting for air leaks. Caulking around windows, doors, dryer vents and where electrical wiring comes into your home is a good idea to protecting pipes.
If the temperature is below freezing and your water doesn’t come on, you may have a frozen pipe, and you may already have a leak. The short answer is call a plumber. But some DIY people go too far. Never try to thaw a pipe with a blow torch or open flame. A hair dryer could help but never use an electrical appliance while standing in water. If the pipe has burst be sure to cut the water main off. It’s a good idea to teach everyone in your household where the shut off valve is.
Heat tape is readily available at your local home improvement store, but we recommend that it be installed by a professional. Placing it on an already leaking pipe could result in shorting the heat tape and may also result in an electrical shock. If you have had an issue with frozen pipes in the past then this may be an item to put on your to do list when winterizing your home.
If you’re leaving on vacation in the winter here are some tips. Never turn the heat below 55 degrees. Remember that water main cut it off if you’re gone for more than a couple days. Even if pipes don’t freeze they can fail. A 1/8th inch split in a water supply line can dump 250 gallons of water a day into your home or business. Not to mention you might have mold by the time you got back from your trip. Asking a friend or family member to check on the house to ensure it’s not too cold is also a good idea.
You can count on SERVPRO of West Forsyth County to be there should you have a water disaster. It’s best to call us directly 336-946-1131
Vacation Planning? Prepare your home!
Vacation time is either here or approaching. Going on vacation should be relaxing and worry-free which is why it is important to make sure your house is secure before you leave for your trip. Be SERVPRO ready so you don’t come back to damages in your home. Here are some tips for preparing your home provided by SERVPRO of West Forsyth County
Make Arrangements with an Emergency Contact
- Choose a close friend or neighbor you trust as your emergency contact and provide them with all of your itinerary information in case they need to contact you.
- Have them check on the house to ensure it is not to cold, check on water sources.
- A timer on lights will give the impression someone is home.
- Leave written directions for alarm codes, doors, or other information needed to properly care for your home.
- Make sure your mail is collected; burglars often look for homes with overflowing mail.
- The Post office can suspend your mail and deliver the day you get back. Here is a link to the US Post Office
Take plumbing and electric precautions
- Prevent leaks and floods from damaging your home by shutting off water at the meter, supply tank or appliances.
- Turn off the water valves to washing machines, sinks, and the dishwasher.
- Unplug electronics to cut down on any possible shortages which could potentially cause a disastrous fire.
- Turn Gas off unless it’s a winter vacation that could lead to freezing pipes.
- Check your smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly.
- Adjust your thermostat for the season in the winter 55-60, in the summer 75-80 should help control usage.
Right before you leave
- Notify your security company that you are leaving town.
- Take out the kitchen trash and other trash that could get smelly.
- Go on one last walk through of your home to secure windows, blinds, fences, doors, and plugs. This will ensure all entries are safe from hazardous obstructions.
Bon Voyage !!
If you come back from vacation and encounter water, fire or mold damage within your home, call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County 336-946-1131. We clean up mold, fire or water damage to your home or business in the Winston Salem and surrounding areas.
Frozen Pipe and Spigots are you prepared?
The next couple of weeks are supposed to be bitterly cold here in Winston Salem. And SERVPRO of West Forsyth County wants to warn you against the hazards of frozen outside spigots and pipes.
When water freezes, it expands. That's why a can of soda explodes if it's put into a freezer to chill quickly and forgotten. When water freezes in a pipe, it expands the same way. If it expands enough, the pipe bursts, water escapes and serious damage results.
Why Pipes Burst
Surprisingly, ice forming in a pipe does not typically cause a break where the ice blockage occurs. It's not the radial expansion of ice against the wall of the pipe that causes the break. Rather, following a complete ice blockage in a pipe, continued freezing and expansion inside the pipe causes water pressure to increase downstream; between the ice blockage and a closed faucet at the end. It's this increase in water pressure that leads to pipe failure. Usually the pipe bursts where little or no ice has formed. Upstream from the ice blockage the water can always retreat back towards its source, so there is no pressure build-up to cause a break. Water has to freeze for ice blockages to occur. Pipes that are adequately protected along their entire length by placement within the building's insulation, insulation on the pipe itself, or heating, are safe.
Water pipes in houses here the southern climate often are more vulnerable to winter cold spells. The pipes are more likely to be located in unprotected areas outside of the building insulation, and homeowners tend to be less aware of freezing problems, which may occur only once or twice a season.
Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are all vulnerable to freezing, especially if there are cracks or openings that allow cold, outside air to flow across the pipes. Research at the University of Illinois has shown that wind chill, which is the cooling effect of air and wind that causes the human body to lose heat, can play a major role in accelerating ice blockage, and thus bursting, in water pipes.
Holes in an outside wall where television, cable or telephone lines enter can provide access for cold air to reach pipes.
If you have a loss SERVPRO of West Forsyth can make it "Like it never even happened." Call us directly at 336-946-1131
Holiday Candles And Cooking Be Safe
The holiday season is here and Winston Salem families gear up for decorating their homes and hosting large gatherings of friends and family, Jeff Meadows of SERVPRO® of West Forsyth County reminds homeowners to take note of some sobering statistics about home fire safety from the National Fire Prevention Association:
Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires. The three peak days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.1
Candles fires peak in December. The top three days for candles fires are Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve2 .
“These statistics are a serious reminder of how the excitement of holiday entertaining can quickly turn into a life-altering fire or even a tragic injury or death,” says Meadows. “While glowing candles and elaborate meals set the stage for a great holiday get-together, homeowners need to exercise extra care in controlling the dangerous potential for fires.”
According to the NFPA3, unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of home cooking fires, with frying posing the greatest fire risk and electric ranges posing a higher risk than gas ranges. Range top cooking in general started the majority of home cooking fires and caused 86 percent of related civilian deaths for the reporting period.
While incidents of candle fires peaked in 2001 and have been falling since, candles are still one of the top 10 causes of U.S. home fires, according to the NFPA. As with cooking fires, unattended or abandoned candles account for a large portion of candle fires–almost 20 percent–but the most frequent cause of candle fires is placing the candle too close to something that can burn, like curtains, decorations or furniture.
“It’s easy to see why cooking and candle fires both peak during the holiday season,” says Meadows, “and it’s also easy to see why homeowners need to take extra care when decorating their homes or entertaining. A moment’s inattention at the stove or a guest repositioning a candle on a tabletop may be all it takes to turn the festivities into a fight to save property and lives. While our business is fire and water damage restoration and we stand ready to help at a moment’s notice if disaster does strike, our sincere hope is that our friends and neighbors will enjoy a fire-free and festive holiday season.”
For more information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit http://www.SERVPROwestforsythcounty.com/fire-smoke-damage-restoration . For more information on SERVPRO® of West Forsyth County, please contact us at (336) 946-1131
Holiday cooking fire safety
The holidays and cooking go hand in hand. But more time in the kitchen means an increased chance for cooking-related fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are nearly 4 times as many cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day as there are on any other typical day of the year. Cooking has long been the leading cause of residential fires and fire injuries, and while Thanksgiving is the peak day for residential cooking fires, folks tend to start heading into the kitchen more and more as temperatures drop. Halloween really marks the beginning of the season for baked and fried treats. A cooking fire is typically ignited by food or the grease and oils used to prepare the food, making cleanup more difficult. Turkey fryers can also lead to fire damage or injury.
A kitchen fire, regardless of the size, can be overwhelming. And while these fires typically begin on the stove, the damage generally affects the entire kitchen including, the walls, ceiling, air ducts and appliances. Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County Professionals have specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire loss condition. We can also remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet. Proper remediation of fire, smoke, and soot and water damage can help prevent further damage such as lingering odors, mold growth and permanent discoloration of items.
Before attempting to clean any smoke or fire damage, contact SERVPRO of West Forsyth County.
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County 336-946-1131
It's always best to call us directly.