Heating Fire Safety
Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 52,050 fires involving heating equipment each year in 2012-2016. These fires resulted in annual losses of 490 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in direct property damage. The homes include one- and two-family homes (including manufactured homes) and apartments (including townhouses and other multi-family dwellings). Space heaters are the type of heating equipment most often involved in home heating fires, figuring in two of every five of these fires and accounting for 86% of associated civilian deaths, 78% of civilian injuries, and 54% of direct property damage.
- Heating equipment fires accounted for 15% of all reported home fires in 2012-2016 (second behind cooking) and 19% of home fire deaths.
- The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (27%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
- The leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths (54%) was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.
- Most home heating fire deaths (86%) involved stationary or portable space heaters.
- Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.
Here at SERVPRO of Fenton/South Ballwin we want you to be safe this winter. If you sustain any damages due to any heating source we are here to help 24/7/365 at (636) 527-5990.
Record snowfall in Ballwin Missouri could cause an ice dam in your home.
Cross section of a home with an ice dam.
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.
What causes ice dams?
There is a complex interaction among the amount of heat loss from a house, snow cover and outside temperatures that leads to ice dam formation. For ice dams to form there must be snow on the roof, and, at the same time, higher portions of the roof's outside surface must be above 32 degrees F while lower surfaces are below 32. For a portion of the roof to be below 32, outside temperatures must also be below 32. When we say temperatures above or below 32, we are talking about average temperature over sustained periods of time.
The snow on a roof surface that is above 32 will melt. As water flows down the roof it reaches the portion of the roof that is below 32 and freezes. Voila! - an ice dam.
The dam grows as it is fed by the melting snow above it, but it will limit itself to the portions of the roof that are on the average below 32. So the water above backs up behind the ice dam and remains a liquid. This water finds cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering and flows into the attic space. From the attic it could flow into exterior walls or through the ceiling insulation and stain the ceiling finish.
Preventing and dealing with ice dams
- Remove snow from the roof. This eliminates one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam. A "roof rake" and push broom can be used to remove snow, but may damage the roofing materials.
- In an emergency situation where water is flowing into the house structure, making channels through the ice dam allows the water behind the dam to drain off the roof. Hosing with tap water on a warm day will do this job. Work upward from the lower edge of the dam. The channel will become ineffective within days and is only a temporary solution to ice dam damage.
- First, make the ceiling air tight so no warm, moist air can flow from the house into the attic space.
- After sealing air leakage paths between the house and attic space, consider increasing the ceiling/roof insulation to cut down on heat loss by conduction.The proper new construction practices to prevent ice dams begin with following or exceeding the state code requirements for ceiling/roof insulation levels.Recessed lights, skylights, complicated roof designs, and heating ducts in the attic will all increase the risk of ice dam formation.Moisture entering the home from ice dams can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. These biologicals can cause respiratory problems. It is important that the growth of mold and mildew be prevented. This can be done by immediately calling SERVPRO of Fenton/South Ballwin, 24/7/365 at (636)527-5990 to dry out portions of the house that are wet or damp. Action needs to be taken to clean the home environment and maintain its air quality.
Do You Know Your Zone?
We ALL live in a flood zone and we are all at risk of floods damaging our property. MSD wants to encourage homeowners, renters, and business owners to educate themselves on their individual flood risk. A good place to start is with the National Flood Insurance Program. Click the link below to get started!
Anytime it rains, overland flooding can occur. So that means we ALL live in a flood zone.
Flood risks range from low, moderate, or high. Your insurance will be determined by where you live and the risk of overland flooding.
You don't have to live near a river, creek or stream to be a victim of flood damage.
Twenty percent of all insurance claims come from areas that are not in a high risk flood zone.
The average flood damage claim for homeowners and renters exceeds $35,000 in damages. Most homeowners' insurance does not cover these costs.
Flood insurance is designed to restore your property to its pre-disaster condition. There's no better way to protect the life you've built.
If your home or business is affected by flood waters, SERVPRO of Fenton/South Ballwin is here to help 24/7/365!
Flooded Commercial Business in Fenton, Mo
This flooded Business in Fenton, MO was the result of a near by lake flooding. The business office was flooded with muddy water causing not just water but mud to get everywhere. Our crews extracted the water throughout the commercial building. After the rest of the water was extracted the crews then tore up the tile flooring and took down the walls that were affected by the floor damage. The whole clean up process took three weeks. Three weeks may seem like a long time but with the amount of space that was damaged our crews kicked butt and got everything back "Like it never even happened." sooner than the business owner thought. The owner of the building was very pleased with how fast our crews worked and how great everything looked at the end.
Never use a DIY mold test, Heres why!
If you look on the internet, there are scores of DIY mold test kits. Before you invest in one of these kits, here are things you ought to know about mold:
- Mold is everywhere and every single house has some form of “mold.”
- Most self-test mold kits only tell you if your home has mold, but often provides false negatives and positives. It also does not tell you what kind of mold or how to kill it.
A true mold test can only be conducted by a Professional Environmental testing company; they determine the type of mold, the source of the moisture, and how to kill the mold at the core. They create a protocol, which can be read by an IICRC professional (like us!). It’s best to use a testing company that does not do cleaning themselves because their assessment will be unbiased.
- Mold is more often hidden, sometimes under the floor or in the walls, or in your air ducts
Where the mold is located, often dictates where the moisture is affecting the building
- Untreated water damage may result in mold growth within 24-48 hours of the event
Wood, insulation, fiberglass, carpet and other organic substances become a thriving environment for mold once there is moisture present for more than 24 hours. After a week, it is almost guaranteed.
Free estimates or removing mold yourself cost homeowners more in the long run
Be wary of companies who advertise free mold testing. Free mold tests are often offered by people who are uncertified or inexperienced and if they do the mold testing themselves, they are using these kits mentioned above. Unless they are a certified Environmental Hygienist and have a PhD in microbiology, they do not have the knowledge or resources to truly diagnose the mold condition in your home.
- The source of the mold is never addressed, so the problem is reoccurring.
- They use the “self-test” kits mentioned above instead of environmental testing with diagnostics
- Remove only topical mold instead of killing it at the source
- They often remove more walls and floors than needed which increases the price to rebuild.
- They do not remove enough, or don’t use the right materials which brings the mold back.
This means you have to pay to have it removed again, and have more sanitation and demolition performed, which increases the price to rebuild and replace tremendously.
What you should do instead
Having mold can be scary, especially if anyone in your home is prone to getting sick (people with asthma, low immune systems, allergies, babies and the elderly). We recommend the following course of action if you need to have mold removed from your home.
- Measure the area affected and check for moisture.
- Call your insurance company, ask:
- If you are covered for mold
- What is your deductible
- What is your coverage
- Ask for a company that they approve of for mold mitigation (Chances are, it’s us.)
If your insurance company says you can use anyone – or if you are not going through insurance then look for someone who is certified in
- IICRC, Water Restoration Technician
- IICRC, Mold restoration
- IICRC, Applied Structural Drying
- Now that you’re armed with knowledge, it’s time to start making some calls.
Now that you know your coverage, how much visible mold there is in your home, and whom your insurance company approves as mold remediation specialists. It’s time to start making some calls.
Coping with flooding in your Fenton, Mo Basement
Have you recently suffered a long rain or maybe heavy storms in your area? Understandably, you may feel some apprehension before opening the door to your home's basement in Fenton, MO if you anticipate seeing water covering the floor. While your first instinct may be to grab your wet/dry vac, unfortunately there’s more involved in conducting a successful water cleanup in a basement flood.
How Does Water Get Into the Basement?
There is no one answer to how flooding occurs, but here are some common areas where water finds its way in:
• Window joints
• Cracks in the foundation
• The joint between the foundation footing and the wall
• Water heater or washing machine leaks
• Other joints in the walls, floor, and mortar
• Gutter cracks
• The floor drain
• The sump pump
• Burst sewer pipes
When Should You Call the Professionals?
If you have suffered basement flooding, your best bet is to call restoration specialists who are trained in removing the water and fully drying the area. Their expertise and high-end equipment can restore the room to its original condition. They can also test for hidden water damage lurking behind walls, which can often lead to the development of black mold.
What Is the Restoration Process?
Prior to beginning the restoration process, the specialist must determine any and all points where the water has entered the basement. Repairing the sources of the water prevents additional water from coming in and often includes sealing cracks, joints, and hose or pipe repair.
Professional machine extraction and dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air and the furniture, floors and assorted other materials. Carpet and padding often needs to be removed, and the professionals will determine how much of the baseboards, insulation and sheetrock require removal. After cleaning and sanitizing the affected area, the drying process begins and often requires upwards of three days to complete.
Flooding may seem disastrous, but you can get your basement back. The professionals will work alongside your insurance company to formulate a plan for basement reconstruction and restore your home back to normal. Visit http://www.SERVPROfentonsouthballwin.com for more information on commercial water damage or water damage in a residence.
Dryer Fire Prevention Tips in West Kirkwood and Sunset Hills
Did you know that failure to clean the dryer (34 percent) is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires?! Most of clothes dryer fireshappen in the fall and winter months, than in spring and summer, because of all the bulky clothing you are drying.
Some tips to help prevent dryer fires are: 1. Clean out the dryer vent every time you dry a new set of clothes. 2. Don't add as much clothes to the dryer s you would in the spring or summer. 3. Keep area around the dryer free of flammable items. Clothes drying fires account fro 92 percent of all fires. For more safety tips and prevention checkout: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Safety-in-the-home/Dryers-and-washing-machines
If your Fenton and South Ballwin home or business has been affected by a clothes dryer fire give SERVPRO a call at 636-527-5990 and we'll make it "Like it never even happened."
Smoke Dectors Save Lives
Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. To lower these rates make sure you replace all of your smoke detectors every 10 years. Here are of couple of things you can do to prevent fires in your Fenton/South Ballwin home or or business!
- Make sure all of your smoke detectors are interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
- All of your smoke detectors should be tested once a month.
- Larger homes or businesses will acquire extra smoke detectors.
Your Fenton/South Ballwin home or business is where we are at the greatest risk and where we
must take the most precautions. Most deaths occur from inhaling smoke or poisonous
gases, not from the flames. SERVPRO of Fenton and South Ballwin are here help if your home or business has a had fire due to faulty smoke detectors. Give us a call at 636-527-5990 and we'll make everything "Like it never even happened."
The four W's of Mold
Protecting your home from the ravages of mold can be a daunting task if you don't know what to look for or don't know you have it. However, it's a process that every homeowner should consider in order to protect the structural integrity of their home as well as the health and wellness of their family.
The Four W's of Mold...
The process of determining if you have mold, and if so, what type begins with 5 questions that cover a number of considerations. It's a given that mold only grows in damp conditions. As a result, you must ask yourself if you or a neighbor has a water leak? Mold only takes a few days to form in moist situations. Even if you don't have a leak, your neighbor's leak could become a true bone of contention for you if you live in an apartment or duplex.
What Where and When...
Obviously, if you can visibly see mold you know you have a problem that needs resolving. Determining what type of mold you have becomes the obvious next step. Additionally, if you have water that pools against the exterior of your house when it rains, the moisture will affect not only exterior walls but the interior walls as well. It's just a question of "when."
In addition to visibly seeing mold, a musty moldy smell is a good indication that your dwelling has a mold issue. If the atmosphere in your home is humid, and your windows sweat revealing condensation, these are conditions that are ripe for developing a problem with mold if you don't already have one. Flair ups with allergies and illness in your pets are also strong indicators of a mold problem. Mold is a serious issue that can impact not only the infrastructure of your house but the health of you and your family members. Even if you plan on moving it's a good idea to have your new home tested for the presence of mold as a safety measure.
Having your home tested for mold is a good investment to protect the health and the integrity of both your family and your homes structure. After all, an ounce of prevention is always worth a ton of cure.Our crews here at SERVPRO Fenton and South Ballwin have all the necessary equipment to treat and make sure that everything is taken care of, "Like it never even happened." Give us a call at 636-527-5990!
Why Water Damage is NOT a DIY Project
Oftentimes, homeowners don't realize the extent of the water damage in their home. Excess moisture is one thing, but damage from a flood, sewer backup or something else can be devastating to your health and your home in general. It doesn't take long for a situation like this to spiral out of control and leave you struggling to figure out what you are going to do to take care of it. The best thing you can do is turn to the help of a professional. Our team at SERVPRO Fenton and South Ballwin has all of the necessary tools to make sure your home is taken care of and the water damage is cleaned up properly.
- Dirty water from sewage backups is loaded with deadly substances from parasites to chemical residues.
- Bacteria, fungi and viruses thrive in contaminated fluids. They pose all sorts of health risks, such as hepatitis and salmonella.
- It only takes 24 hours for mold to begin growing out of control and invading your space.
- Even a small amount of water left undried could be a source of problems for your home.
Our team here at SERVPRO Fenton and South Ballwin has all of the necessary tools and experience to come in and get your water damage taken care of and thoroughly cleaned up to prevent anyone from falling ill or mold setting in.