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Most Frequently Asked Question During Water Damage Restoration

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about water damage restoration.

  1. What happens and what are the effects when water floods my home or business?
  • First, when water contacts drywall, it sags and disintegrates. Then you’ll see paint bubbles and peeling as the water wicks up the drywall. After that, water saturates the insulation behind the drywall.
  • Next, if water dwells in your property for any length of time, wood structures begins to swell. The glue holding your particle board kitchen and bathroom cabinets dissolves, causing them to crumble. The longer the water dwells in your property, the more likely it is that the hardwood floors will buckle and warp. Wood exposed to long-term water damage rots.
  • Third, water-soaked carpets “delaminate.” Delamination is the term for carpet that pulls away from its backing. Once this happens, the carpet is permanently ruined.
  • Fourth, water damage can short-out electrical systems. This can cause fire and shock hazards and damage to electronic equipment.
  1. Why can’t I clean up and dry out the damage myself?

Quickly wiping or mopping up a small spill in the middle of the floor is okay.

But the problem is, if water flooded a large portion of your home or office, it’s the water you can’t see, the water that wicks up behind the wall or under the floors, that causes problems.

These dark cavities are the perfect place for mold and mildew to grow. And, without meters to measure the moisture, you won’t be able to find and remove the water you can’t see hiding in the structure.
All that excess water promotes mold and mildew growth and compromises the structural integrity of the materials. 

In addition, if the water damage comes from a contaminated source like a sewage backup, it presents an imminent health threat. In this case, you especially want to AVOID ANY CONTACT and call us immediately.

So, no matter what caused the water damage, to prevent future health or structural problems, water damage restoration should always be handled by a licensed, insured, IICRC certified professional water damage restoration contractor like SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte

  1. What does a professional water damage restoration contractor do differently than I would do to dry water damage?
  • First, after we extract the water, we contain the affected area.
  • Second, we remove any non-salvageable damaged materials.
  • Third, we photo catalog every part of the damage and all damaged items.
  • After that, we spray anti-microbial solution on the affected area.
  • Shop vacs and common household fans just aren’t designed to remove enough moisture or generate enough air movement to dry your home or office completely after a flood. So, we use specialized, high-speed, industrial air movers and dehumidifiers. We set up the equipment in a specific pattern, creating the most efficient drying system for your property.
  • While the equipment removes and controls the humidity and moisture levels in the air, we monitor the progress on a daily basis with specialized meters to measure the moisture.
  • Finally, we communicate with your insurance company using the latest technology to facilitate efficient processing of your insurance claim. We’re experts at this, and we’ve helped hundreds of homeowners in the Greater Philadelphia and Cherry Hill area recover quickly from water damage loss.
  1. How long does it take to dry my home or business?

The only answer to this question is It depends.
It all depends on the size and scope of the loss.
Completely drying a structure depends on the type of water damage, how bad it was, how long the water was sitting, and the type of building materials involved. For example, concrete takes much longer to dry than wood. 
Many times, water damage to your home or business takes 2 to 3 days to dry. However, properties exposed to water damage for a long time will take longer to dry!

  1. Do I have to leave my home or close my business during the restoration?

If the property damage doesn’t require a lot of reconstruction, you can stay in your home or office. However, the equipment we use during the drying process can be noisy. And it creates a lot of air movement which may be considered as unlivable or unworkable conditions. If the bathrooms in your office, or the kitchen in your home are a part of the damaged area, check with your insurance company for reimbursement of alternate living expenses or business continuity expenses until the restoration job is complete.

  1. Why does SERVPRO need access to my house or business?

Once the water is extracted and we begin the drying process, we need to monitor and control the moisture and humidity levels in the home. By doing this, we can prevent the growth of toxic mold. In addition, insurance companies require daily monitoring reports to justify your claim for damages.

  1. Why is my property monitored so often?

We place our industrial sized equipment so it will operate as efficiently as possible according to the moisture mapping. We monitor and check the progress of every job regularly so we can make any adjustments as needed. Remember our job is to get you clean, dry and sanitized as quickly as we can. So monitoring helps us do that.

  1. Why does the air in my home or office feel so dry?

We set up the equipment we use during the drying process so it will remove as much moisture from the affected space as possible. Our equipment creates an atmosphere that’s as dry as possible. This is just temporary. Once the drying process is complete, and we remove the equipment, the air condition will return to normal.

  1. Is it okay to leave the equipment running all the time?

Absolutely! Our specialized equipment is made to run continuously without overheating or causing safety problems. Remember, we position the equipment in a particular way to promote the drying process. So please don’t move it.

  1. Can I turn the equipment off at night to save money or to reduce noise?

Please don’t!

The drying process requires running the equipment 24 hours a day for several days.
Our equipment is designed for efficiency. 
And because we know the noise might be problematic, for sleeping purposes or the quiet enjoyment of your home or office, we often suggest you call your insurance agent to see if your policy covers alternate living expenses or business continuity expenses.

  1. Is it okay for me to open the doors and windows?

Please don’t!

Because our technicians have set up the best conditions on your property for drying it efficiently, if you open windows during the drying process it causes problems. Depending on weather conditions, opening windows slows down the drying progress. So, the best rule of thumb is to keep doors and windows closed, and don’t turn off air conditioning or heat without talking to us first.

  1. If I filed a claim, do I have to wait for an adjuster to come out before I call you?

The answer to this question is usually no.

Most homeowner and business policies require you to do whatever you can to prevent further damage.

  • The first step is to stop the source
  • Next, call your insurance company. Ask them if you have coverage. They will probably issue you a claim number at this time. And, they will probably give you 2 or 3 names of restoration companies to call.
  • After you call us, take pictures of the damage. Even though we will take pictures when we arrive, we tell our customers they can’t take enough pictures!
  • After that, if you can, remove or separate any personal items and furniture from the damaged area and do what you can to remove the standing water. Just don’t throw anything away.
  1. Do I have to use the restoration company the insurance company recommends?

Nope. You don’t have to use the company the insurance company recommends. You are free to hire whoever you want.
As with every profession, there are good water damage restoration professionals and not so good ones.
Remember: Most reputable water damage companies have worked with the major insurance companies and are experts at dealing with adjusters and claims.

The benefit to you of hiring us: Once we have the information about your claim, we’ll communicate directly with your insurance adjuster to make the process smooth and easy for you.

  1. If materials need replacement, can I replace them with something different?

Our job in water damage restoration is to return your property to you in its pre-damaged condition. Your insurance company will pay to replace “like-with-like.” However, after large water damage to your property, when many items have been removed, it makes the perfect time to renovate and update. But if you want to upgrade, you’ll need to pay the difference out of pocket from what your insurance company allocated.

  1. Will the carpet need to be replaced?

In some situations where carpet has been wet for an extended period, water damage will cause what is called delamination (the backing separates from the fibers) and will usually require replacement. Or if the water was from a non-clean source like sewage, the carpet will most likely need to be replaced. But in most cases, if carpets were saturated by clean water, and if we get to them right away, they can be dried, sanitized and cleaned without damage.

  1. Do I need to find a reconstruction contractor to do the repairs after the water restoration is done?

If you hired us to handle your loss from start to finish, you don’t need to worry about finding a general contractor. We have a team of qualified, experienced professionals to do the reconstruction needed, or we use sub-contractors as a part of the restoration package.

  1. Are there any chemicals used that could be harmful to me or my pets?

We use several different anti-microbials or biocides during every water damage mitigation job. These prevent mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. And most of them are rated safe for pets and children. But, if you have concerns about toxicity or chemical exposure, ask the technician on call which anti-microbial solution he will be using. You can also ask him to provide you with the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS sheets) for that product. But to be safe, it’s wise to keep yourself, children, and pets away during the drying process.

And, our most favorite of the frequently asked questions about water damage restoration:

  1. Can water damage be prevented?

There’s not a lot you can do to prevent water damage from an act of nature. Water damage from severe storms that cause over-the-ground flooding happen. But not as often as you might think.
Although all 50 states experience flooding, most water damage to properties is caused when indoor plumbing fails. And, while there are some types of indoor plumbing issues that can’t be prevented, many can.

The key to prevention is regular maintenance.

So check back with us often. In our blog, we post information homeowners and business owners to use to prevent all different kinds of property damage.

But in a nutshell, here are the 5 basic steps to prevent water damage you can take each month:

  • First, make sure all your appliances (e.g., dishwasher, clothes washer, and water heater) are in good working order. Check all water connections and hoses.
  • Second, check under your kitchen and bathroom sink for signs of corrosion and make sure connections are tight.
  • Third, check the toilets in each bathroom for any signs of leaking.
  • Fourth, monitor your water bills. A sudden, unexplained increase in water use can be caused by a leak.
  • And last, make sure everyone knows how to shut off the water supply.
# water damage 
# flood damage
# sump pump failure

How to Thank a First Responder

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

First responders' duties bring them into harm's way every day. Police officers, firefighters and paramedics put themselves on the front lines of dangerous and traumatic events, and it's common to wonder how you can thank these individuals, perhaps lessening the emotional burden of their work.

The following list is just a sampling of the many ways you can show a first responder that you care. These are good ideas to start with, and apply at any time of the year.

1. Cook a meal
Bringing home-cooked food to the local police or fire station can show the local first responder community that you care. Day-to-day life as a police officer, firefighter or paramedic can be stressful and the schedule irregular, meaning that home-cooked meals may be a luxury that will make these first responders grateful. And if you take the meal over yourself, you have a great chance to say a verbal thanks as well. Of course, since an alarm can sound at any time, it may be best if the meal is one that can be returned to later if the diners have to leave off in the middle.

2. Donate to a good cause
There are numerous charity drives in any given community to support the fire departments, police forces and more. A gift to one of these causes can make a material difference in the lives of first responders and the family members. Even if you don't possess the material means to make a big donation, there are plenty of ways to help charities, including organizing or volunteering at a drive or other event.

3. Send a letter of thanks
These days, many people don't take the time to write letters – electronic communication has driven paper out of favor. This means that sending a physical letter thanking first responders for their service may take on greater importance, feeling more personal, permanent and heartfelt than email. If you gather multiple letters from the community and deliver them all at once, the impression on the recipients could be significant.

The first responders in your community will be grateful for your thanks and support.

4. Send a practical gift basket
A gift basket is a classy way to express thanks. If you customize one of these presents to suit the tastes and needs of the local fire department or police force, it could be an incredibly thoughtful choice, one that will make your gratitude clear. Such a basket could include gift cards to restaurants in the area, allowing first responders to relax and unwind with good food between their high-stress assignments.

5. Use word of mouth
When you have a good experience with local first responders, spreading the word either online or in person can do a great service to the department. It's not a direct thanks to the police, fire and paramedic personnel, but speaking well of these individuals is a gesture of gratitude, one that is easy and impactful.

6. Just say 'thanks'
Just about every day, you likely pass police officers, firefighters and paramedics going about their daily business. Just saying a simple "Thank you for your service" can be a great way to show that individual you respect and appreciate what he or she is doing for the community. It's extremely simple, and could make a first responder's day.

What is a Furnace Puff back?

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

Homes in Western NY may be faced with a furnace puff back this fall/winter. A furnace puff back occurs after an explosion in the combustion chamber of an oil furnace. Smoke and soot are released and spread throughout a structure. In addition to damaging the furnace, a puff back also calls for professional cleaning and restoration. Find out why you should rely on cleanup professionals to take care of puff back damage.

What Causes a Furnace To Puff Back?

Oil-burning furnaces run a risk of puff back. These incidents tend to occur when 

  • The furnace fails to ignite
  • Oil vapors build up in the ignition chamber
  • An explosion occurs upon ignition

Soot from a furnace puff back spreads throughout heating and exhaust systems. The incident may also introduce debris to every room in a structure. Building owners and managers should monitor oil-burning furnaces for indications of problems, such as the presence of soot in or around the furnace or noises in the combustion chamber at the start of a burn cycle or while the furnace is not running.

What Damage Can A Puff Back Cause?

A puff back can damage the furnace and result in extensive puff back damage throughout the structure. Oily soot may coat every surface, including ductwork, and spread throughout every room with an open vent. This damage may call for the use of specialized cleaning equipment and solutions.

Why To Rely on Cleanup Professionals

Amateur cleaning efforts can actually worsen damage caused by a puff back incident. A cleanup company that specializes in fire and smoke damage will have all of the equipment necessary to handle this type of damage. Professionals can work quickly to restore a commercial structure in WNY.

If an oil furnace experiences a puff back, the owner or manager of the building should contact a furnace repair service and a damage restoration company in WNY. Puff back damage mitigation calls for fire and smoke damage restoration methods.

Chimney Fire

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

  • Clean your chimney. You can tell if it’s time to clean it if the smoke is coming out of the stove and not drafting up through the chimney 
  • Use dry wood. If the wood is wet or not cured, it will not burn as hot and will smoke more. This can build up creosote in your chimney which can be dangerous. 
  • Do not overload your wood burning stove with wood. It can either burn too hot or get too much oxygen. This can cause the metal to warp or weaken.
  • Schedule an annual chimney inspection. Sometimes we can't see damage so an inspector can find out if there is a problem and fix it, remove creosote, debris, critters or nest. 
  • Install a chimney cap. This prevents debris and critters from getting in. It also prevents "back puffing" which is escaped smoke reentering the chimney and then your home. 

Chimney Fire Clean up

Christmas Tree Safety

12/19/2019 (Permalink)

We all agree that the holiday season is a magical time, but Christmas traditions, decor, and celebrations can lead to accidents or worse if you are not careful. Here's how to keep your family safe and healthy through to the NEW Year.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), tree fires aren't super common, but when they do happen, they are more likely to be serious.

Keep your tree at least 3 feet away from all heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, and heat vents. If you have a real tree, remember to keep it watered. The drier the tree, the more easily it could ignite. Make sure to choose a sturdy stand so that the tree will not tip over.

Check your lights' packaging for the power output and never plug in more than what a power strip outlet says it can handle. Also, never connect more than 3 strings of lights in one series.

Always look for the UL symbol when buying electrical items and pay attention to its color. Green means it's approved for indoor use, and red means it can be used indoors and outdoors. If you are using old lights, check the wires for cracking or fraying. Unplug all indoor lights when you leave the house. 

SERVPRO of Eastern Niagara County would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! If you have any questions, please call us at 716-694-7776.

Source: Good Housekeeping Institute 

Leaking Roof Causing Water Damage

12/19/2019 (Permalink)

If you have a roof leak it is very important to get a professional company out to address the damage and either fix it or tarp it. If the leak continues it can turn into more than just a roof leak. The roof leaked and continued to leak and eventually caused the drywall ceiling to collapse. The customer was overwhelmed and needed help. SERVPRO was able to go out and take it off their hands. They were very pleased with our services.

 We are IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified in Fire/Water/Mold clean-up & restoration. Call us at 716-694-7776, we are always here to help.

Fight Winter Water Damage

12/19/2019 (Permalink)

Here comes another Western New York winter—and here comes the increased chance of damage to your home from water leaks. Burst pipes, storm damage, rooftop ice dams and other cold-weather hazards all put your home at risk. Withstand the challenges and stay water-tight by following these tips.

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Do these tasks to help prevent damage to your home from floods and leaks—and even from tree branches and too much snow on your roof. They are all winter hazards!

  • Clean out your gutters.
  • Disconnect and drain outside hoses. Close inside valves supplying water to outdoor faucets and hookups. Once the water supply is turned off, open the outdoor faucets to allow residual water to drain, and keep them open during the cold weather months.
  • Trim back tree branches that could get weighed down with ice or snow and fall on your house—or your neighbor's.
  • Hire a contractor to repair roof leaks and determine if it can sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.

Keep Your Pipes Too Warm to Freeze

Frozen water expands and puts pressure on pipes, which can cause them to burst. You may not even know right away that you have a burst pipe until it thaws out and the leaking and flooding start.

You can prevent a damaging leak from a burst pipe—and save money on your heating costs, too—when you do these common-sense tasks before the cold season.

  • Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves.
  • Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Set your home’s temperature set to 55 degrees or higher. Make sure your furniture doesn't block your heating vents. Close your fireplace flue when you're not using it.

During cold spells, take some additional steps:

  • Open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom so that warm air circulates around pipes.
  • Allow a slow trickle of water to flow through faucets connected to unheated or exposed pipes.
  • If you will be away from your home during cold periods, consider draining the water system.

Avoid Ice Dams

When water from melted snow refreezes above your eaves or in the gutters, it can seep in under the roof, soaking interior walls. These are ways to prevent ice dams from forming on your roof:

  • Adequately ventilate and insulate your attic.
  • Clear your gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris.
  • Consider having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof covering.

If your home or business suffers a flood, call SERVPRO of Eastern Niagara County today at 716.694.7776 for immediate water damage cleanup and restoration of your structure and property

A Safe Thanksgiving

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

Turkey Fire Putting too much oil in the fryer or dropping in a frozen or partially thawed turkey lead to most turkey fryer fires.

As you gather to celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends and family, at SERVPRO we want to help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire hazards.

According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA,  an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss each year. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking.

The USFA recommends the following tips to keep your holiday safe.

  • Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.
  • Keep a close watch on your cooking. You should never leave cooking food unattended.
  • Keep oven food packaging and other combustibles away from burners and heat sources.
  • Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
  • Don't wear loose sleeves while working over hot stove burners - they can melt, ignite or catch on handles of pots and pans spilling hot oil and other liquids.
  • Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three-feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.
  • Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

Thanksgiving just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the turkey.  And deep-fried turkey has become a favorite Thanksgiving tradition in many households.  But if used improperly, an overloaded fryer can easily tip over and set an entire house ablaze.  USFA offers the following helpful tips to backyard chefs who plan to deep-fry a turkey for Thanksgiving:

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

Tips to thaw out a frozen pipe

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

Frozen Pipes Freezing temps turns lead to frozen pipes. Use these tips to help get the water flowing and avoid burst pipes.

Thawing a frozen water pipe quickly is important. However, it is just as important to thaw the frozen pipe correctly. Here are seven tips to follow to help you get the water flowing and to help you avoid a burst pipe and potentially damaging flood at your property.

Tip 1: Locate the Frozen Pipe
In order to thaw a frozen pipe, you must first determine which pipe or pipes are frozen. Turn on the faucets in your property.

If no water comes out, or only a slight trickle escapes, then a pipe leading to the faucet is likely frozen. If one pipe is frozen, there is a chance others have frozen also.

If the pipes are exposed, such as pipes under sinks, in basements or along the exterior of the house, you may be able to see the frozen portion of the pipe. Frozen pipes often have frost on them or may have a slight bulge. If the blockage is located in part of the pipe that you have access to, you will have more options for easily thawing the pipe than if the frozen portion is enclosed behind a wall.

Tip 2: Open the Faucet
Before you begin attempting to thaw a frozen pipe, you will want to open the faucet that the pipe feeds water into. Make sure to open both the hot and cold handles. This will help to relieve pressure in the system and will allow the water to escape once you begin to thaw the pipe.

Tip 3: Where to Begin the Thawing Process
You should always begin the thawing process near the faucet then work your way down to the blockage.

This will help ensure that the melting ice and steam is able to escape through the open faucet. If you start the thawing process closer to the blockage, the melting ice could get stuck behind the blockage, creating more pressure in the pipe and increasing the chances the pipe will burst.

Tip 4: Thawing Exposed Pipes
If the frozen pipe is located in an area you can easily access, you have several options for attempting to thaw the pipe.

You should continue to apply the heat until the water escaping from the faucet returns to full strength. Here are four options for thawing an exposed pipe.

  • Hair Dryer- One of the easiest ways to thaw a pipe is by using a hair dryer. Simply turn the dryer on and point the heat at the pipe, beginning with the portion closest to the faucet. As with any electrical product, take the proper precautions and avoid coming into contact with water when operating the device.
  • Heat Lamp or Portable Space Heater- Another method to thaw the pipe is to use a heat lamp or portable space heater. Position the device so that the heat is able to reach the frozen pipe. This indirect heat can help to quickly thaw a pipe. Again, make sure to comply with the safety measures and precautions on the device you are using and keep the device away from water..
  • Hot Towels- Another way to thaw a frozen pipe is to wrap towels that have been dipped in hot water around the pipe. This can help to slowly thaw the blockage.
  • Electrical Heating Tape- A final option is to apply electrical heating tape directly to the pipe. This tape distributes heat throughout the pipe. You can purchase electrical heating tape that you plug in and unplug as needed or you can purchase heating tape that shuts off on its own.

Tip 5: Thawing Enclosed Pipes
If the frozen pipe is located in an area that you cannot easily access, you have three options for thawing the pipe.

  • Turn the Heat Up in the Property- You can attempt to thaw the frozen pipe by increasing the temperature in the property. Turning the thermostat up may be all that is needed to allow the ice blockage to melt.
  • Infrared Lamp- If you know where in the wall the frozen pipe is located, you can attempt to thaw the blockage by placing an infrared lamp in front of the portion of the wall where the pipe is located. The heat from the lamp may be able to penetrate the wall and allow the pipe to defrost.
  • Cut Out a Section of the Wall- If you are comfortable doing so, you can cut out the section of the drywall in front of the frozen pipe so that you can easily access the pipe. You can then use one of the methods for thawing out an enclosed pipe listed above.

Tip 6: Things to Avoid
Never attempt to thaw a pipe using an open flame, such as a propane torch. This can not only damage the pipe, it can also start a fire in your property.

Tip 7: If the Pipe Bursts
If a frozen water pipe does burst, the first thing you should do is shut off the main water line into your property. This will prevent additional water from flowing and damaging your property. You should know where the shut-off valves are for each of your properties and for each unit. There are usually smaller shut-off valves located near sinks and toilets, but the main shut-off valve is often located near the water meter.

Call a Professional
Call a Professional- If you are unable to thaw the pipe, unable to locate the frozen pipe, do not feel comfortable thawing a pipe yourself or if a pipe bursts, you should call a plumber or other professional. They will be able to remedy the problem for you.
Risks of Thawing a Frozen Pipe
There are two main risks you should be aware of when attempting to thaw a frozen water pipe.

Fire- When using any heat source to thaw the frozen pipe, you can run the risk of starting a fire. Make sure to follow all safety instructions and never leave the product unattended.

Burst Pipe- If you do not begin the thawing process correctly, you could cause the pipe to burst. Always start thawing closest to the faucet.

SERVPRO of Eastern Niagara County is available 24/7 to help with your water and fire damage needs. If you have questions, give us a call at 716-694-7776

Reduce Fire Risk: Keep Your Dryer Lint-Free

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

Dryer Vent A little lint in the wrong place can cause a fire hazard

Don’t you love the convenience of washing and drying your own clothes at home? The time, money, and energy you save is great. But SERVPRO of Eastern Niagara County knows the handy convenience of a home dryer can turn into a fire risk.

Dryers Cause 14,000+ Fires
According to Consumer Reports, every year, firefighters across the country respond to about 14,630 home fires caused by clothes dryers. One-third of these fires is caused by an accumulation of lint, which means that not cleaning out your dryer vent can set you up for a dangerous situation. This is far more serious than the decrease in drying efficiency caused by partially blocking your dryer's duct work.

To avoid this risk and stop the build-up of lint fire, properly maintain your dryer. Regular maintenance means frequent cleaning and may require professional help when necessary.

Check For Lint Every Time
Every time you use your clothes dryer check for lint. Most dryers have a lint filter or screen that’s easy to access and clean by hand. It may take 10 seconds to clean it. Remember, lint is very dry and combustible. A fire can happen easily if the lint hiding inside your dryer ignites.

Do go beyond just cleaning the lint screen. Clean every part of the dryer where lint can accumulate. This means:
•    Removing lint from filter after every load.
•    Cleaning the pipe that vents your dryer to the outside once every three months.
•    Scrubbing the lint filter twice a year to remove buildup.
•    Replacing accordion-style ducts (these are risky because they can sag and allow lint to build up at low points and trap lint in their ridges. Use a rigid metal duct instead.)
•    Using duct connectors and metal clamps (or foil tape) to join sections of duct. Avoid sheet metal screws because they can catch lint and cause buildup.
•    Calling for professional cleaning if your dry times become longer.

Fire remediation experts advise cleaning the whole machine to reduce the chance of fire.

Check Your Dryer’s Ventilation System, Too

Your dryer’s indoor vent should be inspected before the dryer is installed to make sure that it’s not damaged. Protect the outdoor vent from weather and small creatures that enjoy making a home inside of it. That usually means covering the outdoor vent so that the vent stays open when the dryer is on (so that lint can escape) but closes when the dryer isn’t being used. By taking the entire ventilation system into account, you are less likely to experience a fire due to excess lint.

Fire Risk Assessment

We can do a full house fire risk assessment for you. We can examine your dryer, the ventilation system, and other typical home situations that increase a fire risk.

Call us : 
Hundreds of people have called us for help with their fire, storm, and water damage issues. They tell us that three main reasons they choose SERVPRO of Eastern Niagara County are because we:
    1. Respond immediately and work quickly
    2. Have experience and solutions for virtually any water or fire damage problem
3. Answer all questions and will help with insurance claims  

Call SERVPRO of Eastern Niagara County 716-694-7776 anytime, 24/7/365.