Grilling The Right Way: Cookout Safety Tips
Memorial Day weekend is upon us! For many homes throughout the country, this is the unofficial start of Summer...and to Grilling Season!
Americans absolutely love to cook out; three out of five households own a gas grill, which means there will be plenty of tasty meals this Summer. Unfortunately, it also means there is an increased risk of home fires, as well. An average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling each year and nearly half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. While many people grill year-round, July is the peak month for grill-related fires. Before you fire up the grill, follow these simple times and you will on the way to a safer Summer!
GENERAL SAFETY TIPS
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container.
- Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.
- If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill.
- If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
- If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.
Should you suffer fire damage this Summer, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Mold Prevention Tips
Three words you never want to hear: You've got mold!
Spring and Summer are rapidly approaching. Sure, we all love to see the snow melt and the temperatures increase...but the change in seasons also brings with it increased moisture and humidity, two things mold absolutely loves.
"You've got mold" is one phrase every homeowner never wants to hear. Mold can be extremely damaging to the health of you and your family and it can be very time-consuming to fight on your own.
Here are 10 methods to help prevent and control mold growth in your home:
1. Eliminate Clutter
Clutter blocks airflow and prevents your HVAC system from circulating air. Furniture and draperies that block supply grilles cause condensation. All this moisture creates microclimates in your home that welcome and feed mold growth. Push furniture away from vents and grilles to keep air circulating. On humid, still days, run a couple of fans to keep air moving.
2. Control Indoor Climate
Mold problems often emerge during hot, humid summers when you’re tempted to play with the air conditioner. But set the thermostat too high, and the air conditioner won’t dehumidify your air effectively; set it too low, and you create cold surfaces where water vapor can condense.
3. Shut Windows and Doors When AC Is On
When you open windows and doors, you let air conditioning escape, waste money, and invite humid air into your cooler home. This causes condensation, which mold loves. So keep doors and windows shut when the AC is humming.
4. Properly Size Your AC Unit
Make sure your air-conditioning unit is properly sized for your house. If it’s too small, the unit will run constantly, elevating costs but not the temperature; too big, and the unit will constantly start and stop, which wastes energy, too.
5. Look for Standing Water
If the air conditioner isn’t the issue, search for standing water or chronic dampness that’s increasing indoor humidity and providing a lovely environment for mold. Check for puddles or dampness around hot water tanks, sump pumps, freezers, refrigerators, basement doors, and windows. Inspect crawl spaces for groundwater dampness or foundation leaks.
6. Cover Your Crawl Space Floor
Groundwater seeping into crawl spaces can add gallons of moisture vapor into your house every day. The simplest defense is to cover crawl space floors with a plastic vapor barrier — 6 mil polyethylene (landscapers’ plastic) — that traps moisture in the ground. If you regularly crawl in your crawl space, use a heavier plastic that won’t rip as easily: Some 20 mil plastic coverings are on the market.
7. Monitor Humidity
An indoor humidity monitor will help you keep track of moisture levels that, ideally, fall between 35% and 50% relative humidity; in very humid climates, at the height of summer, you may have to live with readings closer to 55%. If you reach 60% relative humidity, it’s time to look for the source of the added moisture; above 70% relative humidity, certain species of mold can begin growing.
Indoor humidity monitors start at less than $20; more sophisticated models that simultaneously and remotely track several rooms can climb to $200.
8. Evaluate Your AC
If you get a high humidity reading of 60% or more, make sure your air conditioner is doing its job.
- Is it set to the proper temperature?
- Is it cycling on and off periodically?
- Does it blow cold air when it reaches the set point?
- Are the coils clean?
Inspect the condensate drain pipe (the narrow white pipe sticking out the side) to make sure it’s dripping regularly. If it isn’t, the pipe is blocked and water may be accumulating inside the unit — or on your floor. If you suspect a problem, call your HVAC professional. To prevent blockage and mold buildup, pour a cup of bleach mixed with water down the drain annually.
9. Add a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air.
You can buy a whole house dehumidifier ($1,100-$1,800) that attaches to your furnace, treats air throughout the house, and connects to a drain so you never have to empty a tank. If you live in a very humid area, a whole-house system is the way to go. If you have occasional bouts of dampness and musty smells, a portable dehumidifier will suffice ($150-$200).
Most models have an auto shutoff that keeps the unit from overflowing when the storage tank is full. Some portables have a hose hookup that automatically sends water into a nearby floor drain.
10. Call a Professional
If you can’t find the moisture problem on your own, or you aren’t sure how to correct a problem you do find, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of Bangor Ellsworth. We can inspect, assess and remediate your property
If You See Signs of Mold,
Call Us Today – (207) 947-0400
Emergency READY Profile: Is Your Business Ready?
As we move into the warmer months of the year, many business owners in Maine stop worrying about the potential for a major disaster. The temperatures may be higher, the sun may be shining and no one is shoveling snow...but, disasters can still strike. It's never to early to worry about preparedness.
As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. And knowing you are "Ready for whatever happens" speaks trust to your clients and employees that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don’t necessarily have to be.
By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.
- A no cost assessment of your facility.
This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
- Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."
Ready to Get Started? Call us today, (207) 947-0400.
Mold Tips: What To Do If You Suspect Mold
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
Your Home and Lightning Storms
Although houses and other substantial building offer the best protection from lightning, each year many homes across the United States are struck by lightning. In fact, on average, lightning causes about 4400 house fires and 1800 other structural fires each year, some of which are deadly. All totaled, lightning causes nearly $1 billion in damages each year.
There are three main ways lightning enters homes and buildings: (1) a direct strike, (2) through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and (3) through the ground. Regardless of the method of entrance, once in a structure, the lightning can travel through the electrical and phone wires, the plumbing, and/or radio and television reception systems.
Indoor safety depends on avoiding contact with items that could conduct lightning within the home. Here are some indoor safety tips to follow when a thunderstorm is in the area.
Don't touch electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so WELL BEFORE the storm arrives.
Stay off corded phones.
Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes, or do laundry.
Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
Should you suffer storm damage this Summer, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Understanding the Process of Commercial Fire Restoration
Understanding Commercial Fire Damage and the Restoration Process
One of the worst things a property or business owner can experience is fire damage. Unfortunately, the toughest part of dealing with commercial fire damage occurs after the fire trucks have left and the fire is extinguished; assessing, mitigating and repairing the damage is often more stressful than dealing with the fire itself.
• In most cases, large amounts of water - either from fire hoses or sprinkler systems - was used to extinguish the fire; water damage must be mitigated and restored along with the damage caused by the fire itself.
• Soot and smoke will adhere to upholstery, furniture, and other appliances after a fire. It is the responsibility of the restoration company to use the appropriate detergents and cleaning agents to make sure that any smoke damage and soot damage on the floors, walls or appliances has been completely removed.
• The fire restoration process is designed to ensure the house is brought back to the state it was in before the fire. To make this happen, the commercial fire damage restoration experts assess the damage caused by the fire after the cleanup and give a quotation of what is needed to be done, and the cost.
The quality of the commercial fire damage restoration depends on the competence of the company which you hire to handle the fire restoration for you. It is best to take time, look at the offers on the table from different companies and select the one which best suits your needs.
Should you suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Preparing for Tornadoes in Maine
Tornadoes are nature's most violent storm. By definition, a tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of the thunderstorm cloud to the ground. While they are rare in Maine when compared to other parts of the country, they can still form and be quite dangerous.
Prior to the development of a tornado, a thunderstorm typically begins to rotate. As this rotation becomes stronger, the chance that a tornado may develop also increases. Although the National Weather Service's Doppler Radar generally can not see the actual tornado, the Radar does detect rotation of the thunderstorm cloud; this gives some indication of the possibility that a tornado may be forming or has formed.
The scale used to measure tornado damage is the Enhanced Fujita scale, commonly referred to as the E-F scale. Based on scientific studies of tornado damage, the original Fujita scale was modified and the new "Enhanced Fujita Scale" was officially implemented in 2007.
- EF-0 - Light damage (winds 65 to 85 mph)
- EF-1 - Moderate damage (winds 86 to 110 mph)
- EF-2 - Considerable damage (winds 111 to 135 mph)
- EF-3 - Severe damage (winds 136 to 165 mph)
- EF-4 - Devastating damage (winds 166 to 200 mph)
- EF-5 - Incredible damage (winds over 200 mph)
Tornadoes and Maine:
Peak tornado activity in northern New England occurs between June and August, but tornadoes have occurred as early as May and as late as November. Most tornadoes occur between 3 and 9 pm and have an average forward speed of about 30 mph. For the 40 year period between 1950 and 1990, 74 tornadoes occurred in Maine. This is an average of about 2 tornadoes per year. During 2016 one tornado touched down in Maine.
Due to the usual short life-span of tornadoes in northern New England, there is often little, if any, advance warning.
Tornadoes in New England generally touch down and then lift off the ground very quickly. Many of the tornadoes that have occurred in the past, have occurred while severe thunderstorm warnings have been in effect. If you hear that a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for your area, be alert for the possibility of a tornado. A low rotating cloud, large hail, and/or a load roar are all signs that may precede the touchdown of a tornado.
Here are some tornado facts and safety tips:
- Flying debris causes most deaths and injuries in tornadoes
- The safest place in your home during a tornado is your basement.
- Stay away from windows.
- Get out of vehicles or mobile homes, they offer little protection. Seek shelter in a substantial building.
- Do NOT seek shelter under a bridge overpass. Bridge overpasses offer little, if any, protection from wind- driven debris.
Although we can't stop tornadoes or severe storm damage, we can certainly help with the cleanup and restoration after everything has calmed down. When in need, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400; we're always here to help!
Managing Mold Issues in Your Home
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
When left unchecked, moisture and mold can become a severe, serious problem.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (207)947-0400
How Air Duct Cleaning Can Benefit Your Business
The air ducts in your business are extremely important; they circulate air from your heating and cooling systems throughout the building and into each room, which allows for a consistent temperature regardless of the season.
The air circulating throughout your business is the same air flowing through the ducts and being breathed by you, your employees and your customers. It's in everyone's best interest to ensure this air is as clean as possible. Regular cleaning of your business' ductwork will help keep it free from dust and other contaminants as well as increase its efficiency and prolong the life of the equipment.
Here are some of the benefits of having your duct systems professionally cleaned:
- Creates a Cleaner Living Environment
- Having your air ducts professionally cleaned reduces the dust that would otherwise circulate throughout your living space, landing on your furniture, your bedding, your flooring…just about everywhere. Fortunately, a thorough air duct cleaning reduces the amount of interior cleaning and dusting necessary to maintain a hygienic home.
- Reduces Allergens and Irritants
- In addition to dust, air ducts frequently contain harmful contaminants and micro-organisms. These include pet dander, bacteria, pollen, mildew, mold spores, and similar toxins. People who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems are particularly sensitive to these airborne particles. A periodic air duct cleaning promotes healthier living…otherwise the dirty air in your home just keeps re-circulating over and over.
- Helps Everyone Breathe Easier
- Even if no one in your household suffers from chronic allergies or respiratory problems, cleaner air makes it easier for everyone to breathe. Even among the most healthy, dust and pollutants entering the nose and lungs can trigger sneezing and coughing, as well as sinus and bronchial congestion. Air duct cleaning creates a more comfortable environment and promotes well-being. Given the choice between clean air and dirty air, which would you rather breathe?
- Removes Unpleasant Smells and Odors
- Pets, household cleaning agents, paint fumes, mold, tobacco use and even food preparation all contribute to stale smells in the air ducts. Every time the furnace or air conditioner is running, these odors will repeatedly flow through the house. Even an accumulation of dust and dirt over the years can lead to a musty scent coming from the ductwork. A detailed cleaning of the air ducts removes all odor trapping particles, resulting in a fresher smelling home.
- Improves Air Flow Efficiency
- Ductwork and registers that have a heavy build-up of dust and grime can restrict the flow of air from the furnace and air conditioner. This means your system will have to work harder to heat or cool your home, resulting in a decreased level of efficiency. Conversely, a clean system will operate at peak efficiency and provide the most cost-effective performance for your energy dollar.
For more information on HVAC and air duct cleaning, call us today, (207) 947-0400.
Spring Yard Work Safety
Spring is more or less in full-swing, which means it's time to hit the yard and start the post-winter cleanup and repairs. Before you head outside, it's important to keep safety in mind.
Here are a few tips to help keep you and your family safe during your Spring clean-up.
1) Know your equipment. Before operating your lawn equipment, read the owner’s manual and all of the safety information. Be sure to check with the manufacturers for any safety recalls, as well.
2) Practice Ladder Safety. Always ensure sure your ladder is firmly set on a level surface. Never set ladders on boxes or other objects to make the ladder reach higher areas. Lock or barricade any doors that may open toward ladders. Never stand on the top rung or step of a ladder.
3) Protect your body. Always wear protective gear; lawnmowers hit rocks, sticks and other items which can be turned into flying projectiles. Wear long pants to protect your legs from flying objects and wear non-slip, closed-toe shoes. Sunglasses will protect you from sun and earplugs can eliminate loud noises from machinery.
4) Properly tools and materials. Stepping on, landing on or being hit with garden tools like shovels, rakes, and trowels can cause a number of potentially severe injuries. Do not use these tools when in close proximity to children. When not in use, store them in safe, enclosed areas. If you have small children or pets, weed killer or lawn fertilizer can be deadly. Seal bags and store at heights where small children cannot get in to potentially harmful materials.
5) Be aware of electricity. Don’t leave electrical tools plugged in while not in use. When ready to use a tool, make sure equipment is in the off position before you plug it in. And, as is obvious, always turn equipment off and unplug it from an outlet before you attempt to fix the machinery.