Your home is your sanctuary. At home, you should feel that your family and possessions are safe and secure. Yet, many homeowner fear losing it all to fire, and rightfully so. Fire is the greatest threat homeowners face in terms of damage to their property. Roughly seven people die in house fires every day, and over five times as many are injured in house fires daily. Over $7B in damage is done to property every year as a result of house fires. While these numbers are staggering, there is good news, too—many of these disasters are preventable.
By following the guidelines presented by our home maintenance company in the following four tips to prepare for and prevent house fires, you may drastically reduce the risk of a fire occurring in your home.
Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms – This one action could cut your risk of death by fire in half. Roughly 3 out of every 5 deaths in a house fire occur in a home without smoke alarms, or with non-functioning smoke alarms. Two types of smoke detectors are available: ionization and photoelectric. Ionization alarms are more responsive to flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms react better to smoldering fires. Since no one can predict what type of fire will occur, the safest choice is to use dual smoke detectors. Additionally, it is a good idea to interconnect them, so that if one is triggered, they all will be set off in response. This way, regardless of where people are in the house, they should hear the alarm. Place smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement, and both in- and outside bedrooms. Test your smoke alarms monthly, and replace batteries every six months, ideally when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
Have an Escape Plan – If your home catches fire, you may have as little as two minutes to escape. Many people falsely believe they have more time, but this misconception could cost you your life. Make an escape plan in advance, so that if a fire ever does start in your home, you already know the fastest way to get out. This is especially important if you have children. Astonishingly, up to 80% of families have not practiced fire escape drills with their children. Talk to your family about the importance of a fire escape plan, and practice it with them occasionally. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but if the situation arises, at least you will be prepared.
Use Caution with Common Fire-Causing Activities – Cooking is the top cause of house fires. Keep alert while cooking and do not leave your stovetop unattended. Stay in the kitchen, or, if baking or simmering, check in regularly and use a timer as a reminder. Keep flammable objects away from your stovetop, such as towels, curtains, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, etc. Another leading cause of house fires is candles. If you choose to burn candles in your home, keep them at least one foot away from anything that can burn, and be attentive at all times. And always be sure to extinguish them if you are leaving the room. Use sturdy candle holders and never allow a candle to burn all the way down to the end.
Be Mindful When Using Electricity – Minimize your use of extension cords, and never use them for major appliances. When using heat-producing appliances, plug only one into an outlet at a time. A few warning signs of electrical problems include: an outlet that produces sparks, wall outlets that are warm, flickering lights, appliances that emit a burning smell, and appliances that generate a tingling feeling when touched. If any of these situations occurs, take all safety precautions and unplug the offending appliance immediately.
If you have been a victim of a house fire and require fire and smoke damage restoration services, call Warren Restoration. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each. We can safely and effectively handle all your fire cleaning and restoration needs.
Statistics show that up to 95% of all basements will, at one time or another, experience some form of water penetration, flooding, or recurring leak. If your home is located on a flood plain, or the water table is above the foundation of your home, you might already be in that statistic. And, if you do not already have a sump pump installed, consider doing so. For your own peace of mind, and to minimize the water damage to your basement—including to the structure and whatever furnishings and belongings are located there—one of the smartest investments you can make as a homeowner is to install a sump pump.
What does a sump pump do?
A sump pump is a mechanical device that pumps water that could potentially flood your basement and remove it away from the property where it will drain away properly. Sump pumps are usually located in the basement of a home (or lowest point of a building), either beneath or above the floor. When water in the area where the pump is located reaches a pre-determined level, the sump pump turns on via a float switch. Once the pump has begun to function, it pumps out the water that accumulated in a specially created pit and transfers it to the outside. In addition to helping avoid flooding in your basement, the pump removes the water and moisture that can lead to other concerns such as rust, rot, and mold. A dependable sump pump will reduce the potential for water damage to the floor and subfloor, carpeting, walls, furniture, and other belongings stored in the basement. And, with the water pumped out, the chance for an infestation from mold is also minimized. A sump pump is not expensive, yet having one increases your property value considerably.
What do I look for in a sump pump?
Once you’ve decided to buy a sump pump, look for one that comes with an alarm. This type will alert you when the water reaches a certain level. Add additional insurance by using one with a battery backup—that way you know the sump pump will continue to work even during a power outage. Common in urban homes are water-driven pumps. These pumps are connected to the main water supply, and the water that flows through the main provides power to the sump pump.
Once your sump pump is installed, regular maintenance checkups are key to ensuring proper functioning at all times and to avoid risk of flooding. A good time to test your pump would be at the same time you check the batteries in your smoke detectors. Make sure the check valve is functioning properly, and look for jammed switches or clogged or frozen discharge lines.
Whether you own a sump pump or not, should you find yourself with a wet basement, it’s critical to take care of the water damage as quickly as possible to minimize the need for costly repairs. You can rely on professional water damage and restoration services to expertly and efficiently handle your water damage problem. They will thoroughly dry, clean, and treat the area to avoid the potential for further damage or health concerns from a mold infestation, and repair any structural ruin to floors, subfloors, walls, etc.
If your home has received basement water damage, call the IICRC-certified professionals at Warren Restoration. We are available to handle any type of basement water damage or water leak issue from a faulty sump pump. We will thoroughly dry and clean the water-damaged area and restore it to its clean, safe condition. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each.
If you need tree service removal, feel free to get in touch because our experts are ready to help you instantly.
Did you know that leaking air conditioner (AC) units are a common problem in the home and that they account for more than 90% of repair calls? When an air conditioner leaks, it is usually due to one of three main reasons:
the condensate line is blocked,
the air filter is clogged, usually with dirt, or
the overflow drain pan contains a crack or hole.
A dripping air conditioner may not seem like too big of a problem, but over time, the water that leaks can lead to a much larger problem. When a basement gets flooded due to heavy rains or an appliance breaks down and leaks water, that type of water damage is very obvious to homeowners. But a slow leak in your air conditioning unit is a different matter. AC dripping can occur for weeks or months, causing costly destruction in your home before you even notice the leak. And the resulting damage from a constant drip can end up being worse than more obvious flood damage, and result in hundreds to thousands of dollars in property damage. The added threat of a serious and unhealthy mold infestation resulting from the dampness is also very real.
It is recommended to have an HVAC professional clean your air conditioning unit annually. With this type of regular maintenance, you might prevent what could first be considered an annoying drip from becoming a huge inconvenience from a much larger water problem. Most repairs required to resolve a water leak in your air conditioner are simple and inexpensive compared to the potential property loss if the problem goes unresolved. You might also consider installing water-sensing safety switches that will shut down your air conditioner before it develops into a larger water issue, and also clean the filter at least twice each year to prevent it from getting clogged with dirt and dust.
While it is normal for water to drip from the air conditioning unit into a pan or drain, when water leaks onto the floor, or through the wall or ceiling, you need to address this problem as soon as possible. Call a professional water damage restoration and repair company, and they will track the source of the leak and take steps to address the problem, including drying and cleaning from the water damage. An expert team will fully assess the situation to determine what needs to be done to get your home back to its pre-water-damage state. Professionals are trained to deal with severe water damage, and they have the tools and equipment to properly clean up the water damage from a leaky AC unit as well as search out and handle potential mold infestations.
Cleaning and repairing the areas in your home that were ruined or destroyed by a leak can be time-consuming and expensive. Rely, instead, on a reputable company experienced in taking care of water-damaged property to ensure the damage from your leaky system will be repaired correctly and thoroughly. A professional water damage restoration and repair company will determine the cause of the leak. They will thoroughly dry and treat the area to avoid the potential for further damage and health concerns from a mold infestation. If necessary, some companies also repair structural damage to floors and subfloor, walls and ceilings.
When choosing a water damage restoration specialist, make sure you hire qualified, IICRC-certified professionals. Warren Restoration’s team bring the skills, training, and expertise to any water damage situation. If you’ve discovered water damage from a leaky air conditioning unit, call Warren Restoration right away. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each. We can handle any water damage or water leak issue, and thoroughly dry and clean the damage area to restore your home to its pre-water-damage condition.
Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The leaves turn vibrant colors, pumpkins and decorative corn husks adorn buildings, and the heat of the summer mellows into a comfortably moderate temperature. Fall is also a very important time for annual home maintenance. By taking care of your home’s critical features in the fall, you can assure yourself of energy efficiency, reliability of the systems you need, and of course, less stress in the coming winter.
Below, we’ll highlight which areas of the home need the most attention in the fall, and what you can do to keep everything running smoothly on into the winter.
Clean the Gutters – After the leaves have fallen, clear out all muck and debris from your gutters. Run water through them to flush anything else out and to test for leaks and holes. If you live in a wooded area and your gutters are more prone to clogs, consider installing mesh covers on them, to prevent buildup of leaves. Clogged gutters are a primary factor in causing ice dams, which are deposits of ice on a roof in winter which can cause water to pool and eventually leak through the roof and insulation into your home. While you are up in the vicinity of the roof, it is also a good idea to inspect for missing or damaged shingles. Repair any such problems, as these could also result in leaks or water damage during the winter.
Prepare the Driveway – Fall is a good time to check the condition of asphalt driveways. If there are cracks or surface damage, clean these out and fix them with driveway filler. When this is done, apply a coat of asphalt sealer. The harshness of the cold winter months and the frequent uses of salt tend to wreak havoc on asphalt. Ideally, your driveway should be in top condition before the snowy season, so that winter doesn’t exacerbate any pre-existing damage.
Clear the Lawn and Foliage – Rake up the dense accumulation of leaves on your lawn. If you allow leaves to sit too long, moisture will compact them together, which can suffocate your lawn and invite insect problems. Don’t, however, let those leaves go to waste. Your leaf pile can be used for composting or mulch, or piled over your garden to create a protective blanket through the winter. Use the opportunity granted by a clear lawn to aerate and fertilize the area, and plant cool-season grasses. It is also a good time to fertilize turf grasses, so that when spring comes, your lawn will already be in good shape. Fall is also a good time to trim the branches of trees around your home, to prevent weak and dead limbs from falling under the weight of snow and ice during the winter months and causing damage to your property.
Properly Store Cooling Devices – At the end of summer, remove window-mounted air conditioning units, thoroughly clean them, and store them in a dry place. For central air systems, vacuum the internal parts and be sure to cover the outdoor components with a tarp or specially designed cover. This will prevent rust damage through the winter.
Check the Heat System – Don’t wait until winter to discover problems with your heat. Have your heating system checked by a professional in the fall. Regular maintenance will increase fuel efficiency and longevity. If your home has a woodstove or fireplace, check this too. It is a good idea, when applicable, to have your chimney swept before the winter wood-burning season. This will decrease your risk of a chimney fire, which is typically caused when an accumulated residue called creosote ignites in the chimney. Additionally, to help with energy efficiency, you must be sure that the heat you generate stays in your home. Check for drafts around windows and doorframes, and use caulk to fix problem spots.
Reverse the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans – Remember to do this in the fall, so your fans will create an upward draft which distributes warm air throughout the area.
In spite of taking precautions to properly care for your property in advance of the winter months, damage can occur at any time from fire, water, and storms. Warren Cleaning and Restoration can help solve problems you encounter as a result of such damage. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each.
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to forget how long they have had their appliances
Like most things, appliances have a life expectancy. After a certain amount of time it’s a good idea to replace them before they have a malfunction and cause serious damage. Although, people tend to replace appliances long before they become worn out due to changes in styles and updated technology. Life expectancy also depends on a great deal the use it receives. Here is a list of things we use; things we need; things we can’t live without in our everyday lives and just how long their life span is.
Warren Restoration wants you to take some extra precautions for your home this Christmas. While the Holiday season is a time for decorating fun, it can also pose several dangers. You wouldn’t think that decorations could cause such a threat! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there were 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating seen in emergency departments nationwide during November and December 2012. Here are tips on how to prevent these decorating dangers!
Now is the time when everyone is out shopping!! People are shopping to prepare for upcoming holiday parties, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas gifts, and New Year resolutions. This time of year is also a dangerous time to be out! Here are some Safety tips to keep in mind the next couple of months.
It’s finally October which means temperatures are going to start getting lower and lower. Now is the time to prepare you for the freezing temperatures to come! The temperature threshold for freezing pipes is 20 degrees F. Water freezes when heat in the water is transferred to subfreezing air. The best way to keep pipes from freezing is to slow or stop the transfer of heat. Here are great tips to keep in mind for this winter to come.
Vulnerable pipes that are accessible should be fitted with insulation sleeves or wrapping. This will slow the heat transfer. You can find these at any hardware store, but we suggest spending a little more for the extra thick insulation that can be found at a plumbing supply store.
Any cracks or holes in an outside wall and foundation near water pipes should be filled with caulking.
Keep cabinet doors open that have water pipes inside. This lets warm air circulate around the pipes.
Letting a faucet drip slowly can prevent a burst in pipe, but not the water inside the pipe from freezing. The small flow relieves the excessive pressure between the ice blockage and faucet.
Going on a trip? Be careful how much you lower the temperature. Also, you can drain the water system. If there is no water in the pipes then they cannot freeze. Do this by turning off the main valve and turning on all water fixtures (hot and cold lines) until no more water comes out.
If no water comes out of the faucet after turning it on then don’t wait! Call a plumber. If a pipe DOES burst then turn off the water at the main shut off valve. This is usually located near the water meter or where the main line enters the building. If in case a pipe does burst please do not hesitate to call us at Warren Restoration!! We of course are here for you when things like this happen!
Tips for Keeping Your Home Smelling Fresh and Wonderful
Odor can develop in many different places like your kitchen, closets and bathrooms. It also can be very displeasing for any guests coming over to visit. Here are a few easy natural tips to keep your home smelling fresh.
Not only is sewage disgusting but it’s extremely hazardous. It contains fungi, bacteria and viruses, many of which are disease-causing. People that are likely to be more affected are very young or very old people or those with compromised immune systems, respiratory problems or pregnant. Here are 5 key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups.
Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
Sewage exposure is dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, and are recovering from surgery.
It is unsafe to live in a home that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
Sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly. This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too.
Only trained professionals like Warren Restoration should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home is safe.
Warren Restoration is here for you 24/7 with a 90 minute or less response time for any of your emergencies. Call us if sewage has backed-up into your home or business and let us be your Restoration Heroes!