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Restoring Your Home and Belongings After a Fire

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Four Potentially Hidden Consequences Of A House Fire

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Potentially Hidden Consequences Of A House Fire

If you’ve just experienced a house fire, there’s likely a lot of visible damage that you need to deal with. From burnt appliances and furniture to wallpaper and carpet, you’ll need to replace and repair much of your home. But there are also some potentially hidden consequences of a fire that you might not be aware of. 1. HVAC System Damage An HVAC system can gather ash and debris within its vents and filters following a fire. Though the HVAC system may not be seriously damaged, the increase of ash and debris may make the HVAC system work harder than it should. This can make the system break down earlier. The HVAC system should be thoroughly cleaned and the vents should be blown out following a fire to ensure better operations.  2. Internal Wall Damage Fire can travel up into walls without causing exterior damage. Old insulation, wiring, and other interior wall features can catch on fire and burn. It’s always critical to have an inspector look through your home’s structure to ensure that there aren’t any problems lurking inside of your walls, ceiling, and floor. Some of these structural issues could even make the entirety of the house unsafe, especially when it deals with the support areas of the home. 3. Smoke Odors The smell of smoke can be quite pervasive following a fire. But many people may not realize that the smoke odor is lingering because they assume that it’s on their furnishings and their other items. In fact, a professional cleaning is usually necessary following a house fire for just this reason. Smoke odors can get everywhere, from inside of filters to within the insulation itself.  4. Heat Damage Just because something isn’t burned doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Appliances may have heat damage that isn’t visible — and this damage could render them dangerous to use. For instance, the insulation around an appliance’s wiring could melt, potentially causing another fire hazard. All appliances that were potentially subjected to heat during the fire should be thoroughly tested before they are used again. If they appear to be damaged at all, they can still be included on an insurance inventory to be safe.  House fires can be devastating. To protect yourself from future issues, you should always hire a professional damage contractor for a complete assessment. Otherwise they may not be covered by your insurance policy — and the damage could get worse over time. To learn more, contact a company like Serclean...

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How To Be Ready For A Major Pipe Leak Beforehand

Posted by on Dec 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Be Ready For A Major Pipe Leak Beforehand

There are a number of things that you can do to minimize the possibility of a leak in the pipes in your house, but it’s impossible to be completely sure that it will never happen. Regardless of whether you’ve just had a major leak or whether you’re just anticipating it, you can be ready for the next time it happens by taking a few simple steps. The more you prepare, the less you’ll have to deal with water damage. Locate Your Water Main Shut Off Valve Just about the last thing you want to have to worry about when water is gushing out of your pipes is where the water shut-off valve is located. You need to make sure you figure this out well ahead of time. Being able to go to it and turn off the water right away could make a big difference of gallons are pouring out of your pipes every minute. It could mean the difference between hundreds of extra gallons spewing onto your floor or much less than that. Generally, there are specific shut-off valves for certain appliances and the overall shut-off valve for the house. Most main valves are right next to the water meter, so if you know where that is you’re in luck. If you don’t, and you live in a cold-weather climate, the meter and the valve will definitely be located inside, probably near your water heater. Use Floor Pans Another modern approach you can use that often helps is installing floor pans underneath appliances that use a lot of water. These devices excel at stopping nearly undetectable leaks that damage your house over a long period of time. These are major projects, so you will need to commit to them ahead of time. This means that you should only do it in a house you plan on living in for a while. Set Up Electronic Leak Detection There are many devices these days that can inform you when a leak happens. You can get a warning on your phone so that you can go stop the leak quickly rather than only finding about it later. Some devices can even shut off the individual mains automatically. Research Water Damage Professionals Ahead of Time Small amounts of time can matter when it comes to water damage, and hunting around for the number of a professional who can help you with clean up and recover is something that can take more time than you might think. Keep information for a local contractor, like Servicemaster Of Martinsburg & Hagerstown, on hand. Ultimately, you likely won’t be able to eliminate water damage entirely, but minimizing it through a quick and effective response is often the best...

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Tips For Removing Smoke Odor After A Small Fire

Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Removing Smoke Odor After A Small Fire

Damage from even a small, contained fire can permeate an entire house. While most of the area that is actually damaged by the fire will require replacement, areas that were only subjected to smoke exposure are usually salvageable. Smoke is especially pervasive because it often leaves behind soot or an oil residue, which traps the odors in fibers. If the odor is still overpowering, even after repairs have been made, the following tips can help you get rid of it. Tip #1: Shampoo the Carpet and Upholstery These are the two biggest items in a home that can absorb smoke odor. Keep in mind that smoke can filter through ductwork and between floorboards, so smoke can even get into carpets and furniture that are on a different floor than where the fire occurred. A deep shampooing is the best way to remove the smoke residue. Professional fire restoration cleaning is a better option than a DIY job. Not only will they use enzymatic cleaners that will help break down the oil residues left behind, they usually have powerful extractors that will suck the dirty, smoke-carrying cleaning solution out of the carpets and pads. Tip #2: Wash Your Drapes and Linens Fabric is the next big absorber of odors. Drapes and window coverings, shower curtains, and table linens may have all suffered direct exposure. These can usually be machine washed with an oxygenated bleach cleanser to help remove all smoke odor. Some items may be dry clean only, but even these can be thoroughly cleaned by a professional. If the odor seems to linger, make sure that it didn’t permeate into any linen cupboards or closets. If it did, thoroughly wash the contents. Tip #3: Tend to Your Artwork While any type of display item or picture can be coated in the oil smoke residue, most can be simply cleaned with a damp rag and diluted bleach in water. Canvas and fabric mounted art can pose a greater cleaning challenge, though, and these are also more prone to absorbing the smoke odors. Fortunately, canvases can generally be cleaned. This is best left to a professional, since cleaners and solvents have to be used carefully to avoid damaging the paint on the canvas. Tip #4: Clean the Air If the odor persists even after all the final details throughout the home have been thoroughly tended to and cleaned, you may need to fully air out the home so any remaining odor can dissipate from inside walls and ducts. Your restoration specialists may recommend duct cleaning, or they may run a temporary ventilation fan. Deodorization methods, such as ozone cleaning, may also be used to remove the last vestiges of the smoke...

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Handling The Effects Of A Pipe Burst

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Handling The Effects Of A Pipe Burst

If you are experiencing a pipe burst within your home or business, you will want to take immediate action in stopping and repairing the problem in an attempt to avoid excessive damage. Witnessing the effects of a broken pipe can be a bit overwhelming, but by taking the proper steps, you will be able to stop the water supply, fix the problem, and clean up the damage. Here are some basic guidelines to follow when handling a pipe burst on your own. Turn Off The Water Shut off the main water supply to your home. This is best when you do not know which area of a pipe is experiencing a leak, as it will stop all water flow in the system rather than just one portion of piping. The main water supply shutoff valve is either located under your kitchen sink or near where the main pipes enter your home.  Empty The Pipes When the water is turned off, you will then need to drain it from the pipes. Turn on the cold water faucets on all sinks in your home or business to help push the remaining water from the pipes. Afterward, turn off your water heater and turn on all your hot water faucets. Flush each toilet in the building once. This will remove all water from the piping system, allowing you to start to make repairs. Repair The Broken Pipe Locate the area where the water was pouring from the pipe so you can inspect it for damage. If there is a small crack in the pipe, you may be able to patch it on your own. If the damage appears extensive, the whole section will need to be replaced. Call a plumber to assist in pipe repair if you are not comfortable doing the job yourself. Thoroughly Clean The Area The area that suffered from spraying water will need to be assessed and cleaned up appropriately. If the burst pipe was not noticed right away or if you had difficulty locating the main water supply line, causing an excessive amount of moisture in the area, you may want to call in a professional damage restoration service to help in removing all water that had accumulated. If you decide to undertake the cleanup on your own, you will first want to turn off the electrical supply to the area until all water can be removed. Use a water pump plugged into an extension cord leading to another part of the home to remove the water from the floor. Use towels to sop up puddles the pump leaves behind. Sitting water can cause mold to occur, making it necessary to dry the area completely using fans, cross-ventilation, and a dehumidifier before cleaning it down with a commercial-grade mold cleaner. For more information, contact Accutech Restoration or a similar...

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