Protect Your Pipes: Winterization Tips
Winter may be officially upon us, but it's never really too late to prep your home. 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 Belfast/Camden/Rockland! Call us at (207)338-1850 today!
Returning to Your Home After a Flood
Floods can be extremely devastating, both to your property and mental well-being. It can be tempting to immediately rush back into your home after the water finally recedes, but there are a number of factors that need to be considered first. A post-flood home can feature a variety of potential hazards that should be considered prior to reentry.
When first entering your home, be sure to open the doors and windows to ventilate the structure and help remove foul odors or leaking gas. Do not turn on any of the house’s lighting; instead, use a flashlight as you’re moving throughout the structure. Open flames, electrical sparks and cigarettes can cause an explosive fire if there is a gas leak. Should you discover a leak, immediately exit your home and contact your service company for assistance.
After a severe flood, there will likely be damage to a house’s electrical system. Avoid turning on lights or operating electrical appliances. Ensure the electricity is turned off at the main panel before checking an individual circuits or equipment. If your basement is flooded, the utility company will need to disconnect the power from your house. If you absolutely must work on live circuits, don’t rely on basic rubber gloves or rubber soled footwear to protect you; only properly rated equipment is sufficient for use around electricity.
Watch for falling debris and check for possible damage to floors and walls. Knock down any hanging plaster. If you are not sure of the dangers the structural damage presents, call the city building inspector or engineer.
There is a danger of foundation walls collapsing, especially if the basement is flooded. Keep an eye on the foundation walls as the water is removed. This causes a change in pressure and could cause the walls to cave in. To prevent radical changes in pressure, pump about a third of the water out each day. The water pressure needs a chance to equalize.
Drinking Water, Food Safety
Supplies from any source suspected of being affected by flood conditions may be treated by one of the following methods:
- Mix teaspoonful of commercial laundry bleach with 2 gallons of water. Let stand five minutes before drinking.
- Bring water to a boil for ten minutes in a clean container. Eliminate the flat taste by shaking the water in a bottle, by pouring from one container to another, or by adding a pinch of salt. If the water is from a public supply, local authorities will tell you if boiling is necessary.
- Add five drops of tincture of iodine solution to one quart of water. Mix thoroughly and allow to stand for 30 minutes before drinking.
- Use water purifying tablets, available in drug stores or camping equipment outlets.
Do not use fresh food that has come into contact with flood waters; it will likely be contaminated with any number of infectious agents.
Although we can't prevent floods from happening, we can certainly help with the cleanup and restoration after the waters have receded. When in need, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850; we're always here to help!
After the Fire: Smoke and Soot Damage
Fire damage can extend well beyond what was burned; smoke and soot can easily spread throughout a house.
moke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (207) 338-1850
Managing Mold in your Belfast-Area 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)338-1850
Board Ups: Another Service We Offer
The image of boarded up buildings is a familiar one for most people. While there are many reasons to do so, ensuring your building is properly boarded up after a significant fire or prior to an impending storm is extremely important.
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 Belfast/Camden/Rockland 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)338-1850
Biohazard Clean-Up: One of the Many Services We Offer
SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland is fully equipped to handle any sort of disaster and get you back into your home as quickly as possible.
While SERVPRO is the #1 leader in the restoration industry, we're equipped to handle much more than just fire or water damage! Disasters come in all shapes and sizes; whether it is an act of vandalism or a full on crime scene, SERVPRO Technicians are trained to cleanup and restore messes of all degrees:
SERVPRO Professionals remove and dispose of bodily fluids, tissue and other potentially pathogenic substances resulting from accident, trauma, crime or death. Trained SERVPRO Technicians thoroughly clean, disinfect and deodorize the scene.
Crime Scene Residues
From fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals to tear gas and pepper spray residues, SERVPRO Professionals can clean and restore your property and contents.
Arson and Vandalism
SERVPRO Professionals are recognized as leaders at helping property owners recover quickly from fire and water damage. Your professional also provides general cleaning and deodorization services for situations resulting from vandalism including graffiti, egg, spoiled foods and human or animal waste.
Sewage backups and black water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly deposits – these damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a structure. SERVPRO Professionals remove the sewage, contaminants and moisture, disinfecting and deodorizing as they clean.
No one should have to sit in a house or work in a business contaminated with anything listed above, so make sure you call SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850. One phone call to us will begin the process of making it "Like it never even happened."
Join Us at the Belfast Area Job Fair
Bill Frysinger of SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland
It's a new year and businesses in the Belfast area are ramping up for the influx of returning Summer residents and tourists, all looking to enjoy the sites, sounds and beauty in Belfast and our surrounding communities.
Part of this preparation is hiring new staff to meet the needs of the coming season.
So, on Tuesday, March 7th from 10am-2pm SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland will be partnering with other area businesses in a job fair.
The job fair will be held at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave. in Belfast.
This will be an amazing opportunity for area residents to find a new job or the perfect seasonal job with a great local employer.
SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland develops a detail oriented, highly trained staff to serve Belfast, Camden and Rockland area residents and businesses in their time of need.
We help our community deal with the effects of Smoke or Fire damage or even the effects of Mold.
Polish up your resume and stop by to see us at the job fair next Tuesday, March 7th between 10-2.
Keeping Your Carpets Clean During Winter
Winter in Maine means snow
Let's face it, winter in Maine means snow... lot's of snow.
Dealing with cleaning all this snow means that eventually the snow, ice, salt and sand eventually makes it into you house... and eventually into your carpets. This can take a toll on your carpets and keeping up with cleaning can be a challenge.
So what can you do?
Here are a few tips to help:
Remove Your Shoes - It isn't always easy to take off your shoes and boots when you first walk into your home after cleaning snow.
If you set up a basket or rubber mat near your door, it will give you a place to put your wet boots. As an added bonus, if you get into a habit of doing this, this will help save your carpets during mud season as well.
Use Throw Rugs - Let's be honest, we can't always take our shoes off immediately when we walk into the house. So, consider strategically using throw rugs. Throw rugs can take the brunt of the damage from the dirt, rain and snow.
Place throw rugs in main traffic and transition areas, then when they get dirt, you can throw them into the laundry to clean them.
Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum - Vacuuming your carpets more often will help increase their life. Focus your energy on main traffic and transitions areas.
Let It Dry - Most of the dirt coming into your home comes in wet... snow, rain, mud... letting it dry completely will often make it easier to clean, usually with just a vacuum.
Call The Professionals - No matter how dedicated you are about cleaning and vacuuming winter has a way of just getting ahead of you and damaging your carpets.
When it get's to be more than you can handle, give the professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland to get the dirt out. Reach us at 338-1850
Protecting your carpets from winter weather is a constant fight, but by using these tips, you can prolong it's life and save yourself some money.
5 Holiday Candle Safety Tips
Candles Enhance Your Holiday Decor
The holidays are here again.
It's time to enjoy the season with family and friends, decorate the house, the yard... go all out!
Those decorations we use include candles. Candles can create great ambiance and add the perfect highlights to our other holiday decor.
But, as nice as candle may be, they can also create risk when we use them.
So, let us help you mitigate that risk so you can focus on what's important... family & friends.
Candle Safety Tips
The U.S. Fire Administration tells us that home fires started by candles peak in December. But by following these candle safety tips you will reduce the chances this will happen to you.
1. Trim the Wick - Keep the wick on your candle trimmed to 1/4 inch. If the wick on your candle is too long the candle will not burn or drip evenly.
2. Don't Leave Candles Unattended - So what exactly does this mean?
Simply put, make sure that there is a responsible adult in the room when you have a candle burning. You want to make sure that any small children or your pets don't get too inquisitive and hurt themselves or accidentally start a fire.
3. Use The Right Candle Holder - Make sure that the candle holder you are using is designed for the candle you are burning. Be sure that the containers you are using are resistant to heat, placed on a level surface and are big enough to hold any melting wax safely.
4. Give Your Candle Enough Space - Keeping your candles well spaced from each other can help prevent a problem. You should keep burning candles at least 3 inches apart.
5. Candles & Water Don't Mix - Using water to put our a burning candle can cause wax to splatter and a hot candle jar to crack. Snuff out a candle to extinguish it safely.
By following these tips we can help keep our families safe this holiday season. But if disaster does strike, we are only a call away!
You can reach the professionals of SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at 338-1850.
Christmas Tree Safety Tips For Your Holiday Season
Christmas tree fire test (NIST)
Christmas is quickly approaching. The closer it gets, the more we turn to thoughts of family, friends, gift giving and decorating our homes.
Let's face it, it is a magical time of year which stirs feelings of peace and glad tidings.
But did you know that it can unfortunately also a time for tragedy for some families?
There is good news though... with just a little work, the holidays can be free from tragedy and full of joy and warmth.
Christmas Tree Safety
While Christmas tree fires are not as common place as they were years ago, they do still occur. It is reported that 1 in every 31 Christmas tree fires results in death.
This is a staggering statistic. The National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) performed a test to learn how these tragedies occur and how fast it can turn deadly.
Check out the NIST video here.
So to help reduce the chances that this happens to you, follow these safety tips when decorating this holiday season.
1. Choose a freshly cut tree. You can find one by running your hand on the branches. The needles of a fresh cut tree will not fall off easily.
2. Make sure you set up your tree away from heat sources such as radiators or fireplaces and keep it clear from any exits.
3. Make a fresh cut on the trunk of your tree when placing it into the tree stand.
4. Decorate your tree with lights that have been tested by an independent testing lab such as UL Labs.
5. Replace any lights which have worn or broken cords.
6. Turn of the lights before you go to bed
7. Be sure to keep your tree watered daily.
Remember, the time has come to say goodbye to your Christmas tree when it starts to shed it's needles. Many communities in our area have recycling programs for Christmas trees to ensure their safe disposal.
These simple tips can help to keep you and your family safe this holiday season. But should you suffer the tragedy of a fire, let us help make it "Like it Never Even Happened."
You can reach the professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at 338-1850.