Protect Your Pipes: Pipe Winterization Tips
No one wants to come home to a broken pipe. Follow these handy tips to help prevent this sort of damage in your home!
It may not quite be Fall just yet, but it's never too early to prep your home for the impending Winter. Colder temperatures can be extremely damaging to your home if you're not prepared.
Contrary to popular belief, pipes don't typically burst at the point where water freezes, but somewhere between the freeze and a closed faucet. When the pressure builds due to ice blockage, it has nowhere to go but through the pipe walls, which can quickly lead to extensive water damage. Winterize your home plumbing, stop frozen pipes before they happen and prevent expensive water damage by properly insulating the plumbing pipes in your home.
1. Pipe insulation
Your pipes are more susceptible to freezing damage when temperatures drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Pipe insulation provides you with a first line of defense against cold temperatures and frozen pipes. For pipe winterization, add a thicker layer of insulation around your pipes.
Insulate the pipes in all unheated areas, as they are most likely to freeze. Wrap the pipes in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. Measure the outside diameter of your pipes to make sure you purchase the correct size of tube. Wrapping pipes in heat-tape prior to insulating adds an extra layer of protection, but make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid damage.
2. Keep a dripping faucet
On nights when the temperature is expected to drop below freezing, turn on faucets along the exterior walls to create a small, steady drip; doing so will allow the water to move and flow, helping to keep it from freezing. This also eliminates pressure that can build between the faucet and an ice blockage, so even if a pipe freezes, it may not burst.
3. Open cabinets
You can stop frozen pipes by introducing more heat. Open all sink-based cabinet doors along exterior walls to allow more heat to reach the pipes.
4. Fix exterior cracks
Note any cracks or holes along the outside walls and foundation of your home. Filling holes and cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking can help stop the cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes during extremely cold weather. No matter how many preventative measures you take, disasters will still unfortunately strike. When you do find yourself in the middle of a water damage, don't hesitate to reach out to the experts at SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth!
Fall Fire Safety Tips
Fireplaces are a great way to heat a room when the temperatures outside begin to dip...but, they can also be extremely dangerous fire hazards.
September is already here...which means Fall is just around the corner. Soon, temperatures will begin to cool - especially at night - which means it will be time to fire up the fireplaces, turn on the furnace, and get that space heater out of storage. These are all great ways to keep homes toasty and warm, but they also increase the risk of residential fires. Be sure to follow the safety tips below when preparing to heat your home as we head into the Fall and Winter months:
- Inspect your chimney regularly for cracks and obstructions.
- Don't let creosote build up in your chimney, as it could set off a roof fire.
- Don't "over build" your fire using too much paper. You could ignite the soot in your chimney.
- Never burn charcoal in your fireplace. It gives off deadly carbon monoxide.
- Keep your damper open if there are hot ashes in your fireplace. Closing the damper could enable hot ashes to heat up and cause a damaging fire.
- Let ashes cool in a sealed metal container.
- Before you turn on your furnace, have it inspected by a qualified professional.
- Make sure to check the condition of the automatic controls and emergency shutoffs.
- If the walls and ceiling around your furnace feel too, add insulation or additional clearance space.
- Keep all trash and combustibles away from the furnace.
- Check your chimney for cracks or loose bricks.
- Seal all unused flue openings with solid masonry.
- Make sure your space heater has a working safety light, alarm, automatic shut-off switch, and a cut-off device to prevent overheating.
- Keep all objects, people and pets at least three feet away from the heater.
- Never use a space heater in your bathroom. Water and electric appliances don't mix.
Heating your home is extremely important, but it's equally as important to do so safely.
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."
Smoke Odor: Removal Can Be Difficult
Although a cooking-related fire may not cause extensive fire damage, the smoke and odor damage can still be quite extensive!
Cooktops and ovens account for over 166,000 home fires in the US each and every year. The reasons behind these fires vary and they may not always cause extensive damage to the home, but there are still plenty of related issues.
Although many smaller fires don't result in major damage to the home, they can still create a mess through smoke, ash and fire extinguisher residue. Small fires, especially in the kitchen, can coat an entire room in smoke and ash even if they only burn for a few minutes. As a result, multiple treatment techniques and avenues must be considered and used. SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth has the experience to assess the situation and develop a restoration plan, as well as the equipment and expertise to ensure the odor is properly taken care of.
Even “contained” fires often require a sizable cleanup job. Ash and smoke tend to coat nearby surfaces and common household cleaning supplies typically are not capable of removing this residue. Protein fires – caused by meat that catches fire – can be extremely problematic; the odors from these sorts of fires tend to be especially strong and difficult to remove. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth has access to effective, specialized cleaning supplies that make short work of visible staining, streaking, and odors caused by cooking-related fires.
Once the visible damage and been cleaned, the scent of smoke can still linger in a room. Unfortunately, odor particles become embedded in ceilings, walls, and objects; it can be extremely difficult for a homeowner to remove the smell. Without the proper tools and equipment, eliminating the smell of smoke is virtually impossible. Just cleaning the carpet is not enough. We will often utilize use a thermal fogging machine to flush out the odors from a room, removing even the deepest smoke smells.
Smoke damage isn’t simply limited to the room; objects and belongings typically suffer fire damage, as well. Carpets, rugs and other fabrics are excellent traps for ash and smoke particles. Important documents, electronics, furniture and other valuables may need restoration, as well.
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."
The most common reasons to board up your home or business are severe rainstorms, flash flooding, severe thunderstorms, hailstorms, and of course, torn
Whether after a fire, storm, or other structural disaster, boarding up damaged property is a burden that no one should ever have to go through-especially if it is your property that has been damaged.
Boarding up damaged property incorrectly could cause secondary damages such as moisture or animal intrusion, making the situation even worse. The process of boarding up after an unexpected damage can also be as dangerous as the damage itself.
SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth can board up the damaged property and mitigate and remediate the original damage, providing you with peace of mind while helping make it "Like it never even happened."
Call us today - (207)947-0400
Fire Extinguishers: Using Them Safely in the Workplace
PASS is a handy reminder on how to properly use a fire extinguisher during an emergency.
According to OSHA, one of the most common emergencies small businesses must plan for is a fire. Fire extinguishers can be invaluable tools to help fight smaller fires in the workplace or to protect evacuation routes in the event of a larger one. It is, however, important to know how to properly and safely utilize one.
OSHA requires employers to thoroughly train workers not only how to use an extinguisher properly, but also how to accurately assess a situation and determine when evacuation is the safest course of action. OSHA requires employees to be trained in fire extinguisher use annually, at a minimum.
An easy to remember fire extinguisher training technique to use with employees is the PASS method:
- Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
- Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished.
Knowing how to correctly operate the extinguisher is not the end of training. Employees responding to a fire also should be trained to adhere to the following protocol:
- Sound the fire alarm or call the fire department immediately.
- Before approaching the fire, determine an evacuation route safe of flames, excessive heat and smoke. Do not allow this evacuation route to become blocked.
- Use the PASS technique for discharging an extinguisher and back away from the area if the fire flares up again.
- If the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out, evacuate immediately.
- If the fire grows beyond what can be safely handled, evacuate immediately.
Fire extinguishers are designed to handle small fires. If a fire becomes too large or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should know when and how to evacuate the area. If any of the following conditions are present, workers should follow evacuation procedures immediately and should not attempt to fight the fire with an extinguisher:
The fire is too large. The fire involves flammable solvents, is partially hidden behind a wall or ceiling, cannot be reached from a standing position, or covers more than 60 square feet in area.
The air is unsafe to breathe. Levels of smoke make the fire impossible to fight without some form of respiratory protection.
The environment is too hot or smoky. Radiated heat is easily felt, making it hard to approach a fire within adequate range of using the extinguisher (about 10-15 feet). It is necessary to crawl on the floor to avoid heat or smoke. Visibility is poor.
Evacuation paths are impaired. The fire is not contained and heat, smoke or flames block potential evacuation routes.
In the event of a fire emergency at your business, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Workplace Fire Safety
Its everyone's responsibility to ensure the workplace is safe and fire-free.
Fire Safety Tips for the Workplace
No matter type of business you conduct at your workplace, fire safety should always be a main concern. Here are a few fire safety tips you can distribute to your staff.
- Keep your work area free of waste paper, trash and other items that can easily catch fire.
- Check on your electrical cords. If a cord is damaged in any way, replace it. Try not to lay cords in places where they can be stepped on, as this will contribute to deterioration of the protective outside coating.
- Don't overload your circuits.
- Turn off electrical appliances at the end of each day.
- Keep heat producing equipment away from anything that might burn. This includes copiers, coffee makers, computers, etc.
In the Event of a Fire
- Upon finding a fire, call 911 immediately and don't hand up with the emergency responder until told to do so.
- Close doors when exiting to help limit the spread of smoke and fire throughout the building.
- Never use elevators during an evacuation.
- Follow the escape plan and meet at a per-determined place outside of your building and away from danger. Conduct a headcount to ensure all of your staff has evacuated.
The best way to ensure the safety of your staff is through fire prevention and preparation. Talk with your staff about fire safety in the workplace today.
Should your business suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Water Damage: Let the Professionals Take Care of You
Water damage can be difficult to handle without proper training. Leave the cleanup to the professionals!
The amount of damage water can cause is amazing, and often underestimated by homeowners. Excess moisture is bad enough, but when a home is flooded or hit with a plumbing disaster (like a burst pipe), the situation can quickly get out of hand. There’s a reason why these incidents are among the most expensive problems a homeowner can face. Contaminated water not only creates immediate structural problems, it can leave serious biological threats behind after it has been removed.
Floods, sewage backflows, and other sources of contaminated fluid usually cause the worst damage. Dirty water is filled with all kinds of deadly substances, ranging from chemical residues to animal feces to parasites. Bacteria, viruses and fungi grow explosively in contaminated fluid, and severe health risks, like salmonella and hepatitis, are common in flood waters.
This problem is compounded by the composition of most homes, which are filled with organic materials. Drywall, wood and the matter that is trapped in carpet fibers are just a few examples, and they can give pathogens room to grow. Within 48 hours, mold may begin creeping behind the walls and releasing spores, and any organic materials that have been soaked through by contaminated fluid will usually have to be destroyed.
That’s why SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth, in addition to surveying the home for structural problems, will dry the home quickly and apply antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water. This ensures the family can return to a safe home, and not one harboring a collection of deadly pathogens.
No matter how many preventative measures you take, disasters will still unfortunately strike. When you do find yourself in the middle of a water damage, don't hesitate to reach out to the experts at SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth!
Call Us Today – (207) 947-0400
Lightning Storms and Your Home
Lightning is extremely dangerous and causes numerous structural fires across the country every year.
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."
Tornado Preparedness in Maine
Tornadoes are fairly rare in Maine, but they can still form and cause extensive damage.
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!
Mold: Myths and Facts
Mold is always present and can grow on virtually any surface. Cleanup often requires the knowledge and expertise of professionals.
Molds can grow on virtually anything around the house — from wood, carpet and food to insulation systems in your walls. Mold typically grows where there’s excessive moisture, like in a damp cabinet under the sink or around a leaky window, so it’s important to ventilate these areas and prevent moisture from accumulating.
It’s also critical to prevent mold from intruding your home. Mold usually forms by water or mildew entering though vents and heating and cooling systems and then latching onto the walls of a tightly sealed bathroom with little or no ventilation. Keeping these places well-maintained and aired out will help prevent mold from growing and taking hold.
Despite its prolificness, there are many misconceptions regarding mold and mold growth. Today, we'll look at a few common myths.
Myth #1: Mold Only Grows on Organic Material
Most people assume mold will only grow on things such as wood, paper or food products. In truth, mold will grow on any surface. Even flat and smooth surfaces like glass, fiberglass, and steel are mold-susceptible. As long as mold spores (which are always in the air), moisture, heat and particulate matter (like dust) are prevalent, mold can grow. The only effective strategy to control mold is to control moisture, like installing dehumidifiers and fans in basements and kitchens.
Myth #2: Bleach Kills Mold
While bleach may kill certain kinds of mold on non-porous surfaces, it is not clear that bleach can kill all forms of mold nor kill mold on porous surfaces such as wood. Research is continuing to be done on the effectiveness of bleach as a mold cleanup agent. It should be noted that using bleach to “kill” mold poses its own health risks and is not a recommended solution by EPA or OSHA. Bleach is also very corrosive and can cause further damage if not used correctly.
Myth #3: Mold Remediation is Easy
While most home owners may be able to clean up certain kinds of mold in small quantities, the fact of the matter is most people simply are not equipped to properly handle mold remediation. To properly remediate a mold problem, the cause must be identified and isolated to prevent the mold from spreading. Additionally, the affected surfaces must be properly cleaned and treated or, in some cases, removed entirely. Unless you have access to the proper equipment, cleaning agents and knowledge, it is often best to contact a professional mold remediation company.
Fortunately, 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.
Should you discover mold in your home, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."