Safety with Space Heaters
Safety with a Space Heater
With Winter in full swing, many of us have broken out space heaters to keep ourselves warm. Whether it is at work or at home, space heaters are a great way to stay toasty when the temperatures get to be in the negatives for days on end.
When using a space heater however, it is important to follow best safety practices to prevent a fire. Space heaters are perfectly safe, when used properly. Use the tips below and keep your home and office safe, and warm, this winter.
- Leave the heater on level floor, don’t place on carpet - it can overheat and start a fire.
- Do not use in bathroom, unless it is designed for it - moisture can damage the heater.
- Keep three feet away from flammable materials and out of the way of children and pets.
- Should always be plugged directly into wall outlet, don’t use with extension cord because it can cause overheating.
- Don’t leave heater unattended, make sure to unplug when not in use.
- Never sleep with a space heater on.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor.
If your space heater shows signs of wear such as broken cords, power fluctuations, or inconsistent temperature, immediately replace. An old space heater can malfunction and start a fire or overheat and leave an odor/smoke smell in the air. Never overuse a space heater and if you smell burning, immediately unplug and discontinue use.
When dealing with frigid temperatures, space heaters are a quick solution to help fight the cold. Using them safely will keep you warm and your home or office safe this winter.
Does Windchill Affect Your Home?
Windchill Affect on Homes
In North Dakota, we are used to the phrase “It wouldn’t be so cold if it wasn’t for the wind.” Windchill is calculated through a formula that describes how much colder the air temperature is due to heat loss caused by winds. While windchill is usually used to describe how the temperature affects humans, it is important to remember how it can damage your home.
The same way humans give off heat through their skin, homes give off heat through low insulated spots such as windows, open doors, or leaks. The more insulated a home is, the better it will be at retaining heat. Wind chill affects every and all objects, until it doesn’t. It stops having an effect when the object is the same temperature as the actual air temperature. Any warm heat sources like your body or your home, that are trying to maintain a warm temperature in a cold environment, will all be affected by windchill.
When a wind chill advisory is in effect, if you have a drafty home or if you accidentally leave the fireplace flue open or a window is not fully closed, the cold wind is going to have a noticeable effect on your home heating and home comfort. Make sure to insulate and seal up your house as much as possible. A poorly insulated home is susceptible to water damage caused from leaks or frozen pipes.
When dealing with cold temperatures, wind can have an additional impact on your home and heating bill. Properly insulating your home and sealing up cracks or other drafts can make a huge difference in the lifespan and value of your home. When the windchill temperature gets lower, be sure to keep your home protected and prevent disaster.
Dealing with Commercial Water Damage
Drying Equipment in Commercial Building
When dealing with water damage, bigger is almost always worse. The more water that is flowing through a space, the worse the damage will usually be. Water damage in commercial buildings has the potential to be far more disastrous than a residential home, because of how many more pipes there are in a commercial building. More bathrooms, appliances, and sprinkler systems mean there are a greater number of chances for a water loss, whether this is from a frozen pipe or one that has not been maintained properly.
With a commercial loss, it also means more equipment will need to be used to dry out the area. More equipment means more manpower needed to move the equipment. This trend can keep compounding out to show how commercial jobs can have costs add up quickly.
It is also the cost of not doing business that makes a large water loss so damaging. Not being able to have a store/location open for days, weeks, or months at a time can mean a devastating loss of profit which will just makes a water loss worse. This is why SERVPRO of Minot uses every method to expedite the restoration process. Such as working directly with insurance providers, offering construction services, and using state of the art equipment to get the restoration process completed fast!
Large commercial water losses can be scary, SERVPRO of Minot relies on our experience to get the damage under control and back to normal.
Disaster in Stanley
It was estimated that over 300,000 gallons of water fell through the broken ceiling pipe in this Stanley church.
Just before Christmas of 2020, SERVPRO of Minot received a call from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Stanley, ND. Above the Church's indoor basketball court, a sprinkler pipe had burst cascading hundreds of thousands of gallons of water down on the church. This water spread throughout the building and spilled into the parking lot and nearby streets before being discovered.
This was one of the worst disasters we saw that year. Due to the pipe burst not being discovered for a period of time, it meant that the water had time to soak into the materials and contents throughout the church. Besides the collapsed ceiling, there was significant damage to the floors, walls, doors, and contents throughout the church.
Once we had received the call and had staff on site to assess the damage, technicians began working over the weekend to begin removing damaged materials and starting the drying process. With a job of this size (over 16,000 sq. ft.) it requires almost our entire staff along with additional temporary workers to make sure we are meeting deadlines for drying and saving as much of the existing structure as quickly as possible.
With a loss this devastating, it will be a while before normal operations in the church can resume. It took a couple of weeks for drying to be completed, followed immediately by application of anti-microbial products to prevent mold growth. Once that was completed, a construction company was brought in to build back and repair the building's damages and removed components until it was restored like new and ready to reopen. This involved repairing the flood cuts in the drywall, replacement of damaged carpeting, repairs to the ceiling and, of course, replacement of the basketball court flooring.
This was a devastating loss for the Stanley community and people of the church, but SERVPRO of Minot is here to help get things back to normal and are glad that nobody was hurt in the loss.
Before and after of this hotel loss.
After a major water loss over the summer of 2021, the SERVPRO of Minot team got this hotel looking like new.
With water damage from multiple pipe breaks flowing down through multiple floors, this was our largest job that year. Once the drying was completed we had to completely tear out and build back the rooms, hallways, and specialty rooms in the hotel. This is included the fitness center, pool, and maintenance rooms.
When dealing with large losses like this, it is important to be very detailed when documenting the damage. Keeping detailed notes helps with time management, labor costs, and most importantly, material costs. This also allows for the most efficiency throughout the whole job process.
When it comes to fire and water damage, there is no company more trusted in the Minot area than SERVPRO!
How to Prepare for a Winter Storm
Be prepared this winter!
In North Dakota, we are no strangers to a bad winter. With freezing temperatures, lots of snow, and high winds, winter storms can be dangerous for your home and your family. Here are some tips to make sure you're ready for the North Dakota winter.
Be Prepared to Lose Power
The biggest worry during a storm is that you will lose power. Although this is usually restored within a few hours, it is very possible to lose power for multiple days if there are multiple power lines down throughout the area. Stocking up on non-perishable food, warm clothing, and buying batteries is essential. If you can have a generator fueled and ready to power your home, this would be the best-case scenario to ensure your families safety. Be in contact with friends and family and have an emergency home to go to in case you need to stay a few days somewhere else while power is restored.
Be Aware of Frozen Pipes
In freezing temperatures, water pipes are very susceptible to freezing. Even if your home has power and heat, pipes can still freeze. To prevent this, use water sources regularly so that water flows through pipes and doesn't have time to build up and freeze. If you try to use a sink, toilet, or appliance and there is no water coming into it, this is a sign you might have a pipe break. Another tip for prevention is to have a tiny drip of water flow through your pipes to stop pressure from building up.
Remove Snow as Far Away from Home as Possible
If feasible, push snow away from your home. This will prevent ice from building up around your home and its foundation, which could cause cracks and leaks inside the house. Pushing snow away from your home will also help during spring when snow and ice begins melting. If there is too much water near your home, it can seep in through the foundation or other cracks in your windows or siding. Although sometimes snow has to be piled up next to your house, when possible, push it as far away as possible.
We hope you and your family stay safe this winter! If you ever suspect you have water damage, give us a call and we can use our water detection technology to find any leak or pipe break!
The Leader in Advanced Restoration Technology
Check this out!
As a leader in property restoration, SERVPRO of Minot uses the newest tools and technology to get the job done right. From advanced drying equipment to latest restoration software programs.
Mold Testing Technology
When faced with mold, we have a testing system to guarantee that mold is in the area. With lab analysis, we can know within 24-36 hours whether or not there is mold in an area that needs remediation.
Testing for mold allows us to save homeowners and property managers money and time. A post-test also allows us to certify that our remediation efforts were successful and removed the mold from the property.
DryBook™ Job Tracking Software
Using our trademarked restoration software, we can log job details, know how much equipment we use, and have customers fill our forms electronically on site. Electronic documentation also allows easier communication with insurance representatives and our office staff.
Matterport™ 3D Model Camera
Our Matterport™ 3D Model Camera is unlike anything other restoration companies have! Using this, we can map the job site and create virtual 3D walkthroughs of the property. This helps with creating estimates, communicating with insurance representatives and documenting the progress of the job from start to finish!
We strive to be the leader in cleaning and restoration. Finding and using the latest in restoration materials helps us to make every disaster "Like it never even happened".
How to Safely Set Up a Christmas Tree
Be careful with your tree!
Every year, U.S. fire departments respond to ≈160 fires that started at a Christmas tree. These fires cause injuries and death along with millions of dollars in property damage. To keep your family and home safe this holiday season, follow these tips below.
Choosing the Tree
- If choosing a real tree, use one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off with normal movement
- Remember to water your tree daily
- If using an older tree, make sure the pieces aren't broken and are stable enough not to fall over
Lighting the Tree
- Make sure to use indoor lights and not outdoor lights
- Never leave lights on at night or while away from home
- Do not use candles as lights or have them near the tree - contact with flame is not needed for ignition
- Replace any broken or frayed lines that are on your lights
Replacing the Tree
- Do not place your tree within 3ft of any heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or powerful lights
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2" from the base of the trunk
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit and isn't in a path where people or pets could trip over it
Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family, be sure to use caution and safety to have a great holiday season!
What Needs Replacing After Water Damage?
Watch for these things that may need replacing!
Water damage can happen unexpectedly. Anything from a dishwasher hose break, a sump pump failing, or a toilet backing up can lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. This cost is what it takes to remove the water, dry out the affected area, remediate any potential mold growth, remove unsalvageable materials, and replace those materials. This is why a full coverage insurance policy is a must-have for homeowners to cover the cost for the work to get your property back to a preloss condition. Here are some items that you might need to replace if you have a water loss in your home:
- Water can seep into the wall and soak up into the insulation behind it. To prevent further damage, we create 3 foot flood cuts on any affected walls. This means removing the bottom 3 feet of wall and removing wet materials.
- Like walls, removing and replacing flooring affected by water damage is necessary, if the floor can't be dried out properly.
- Children's toys
- Pet Toys
While we never think of water damage happening in our home, it is important to be prepared for it. Check your insurance policy, maintain your home, and if you ever have water damage in your home, call SERVPRO as soon as possible to get the water damage cleaned up quick!
Tips for Cooking with Oil
Be careful when cooking with oil!
The number one cause of house fires is from cooking. The heat we use to cook our food can be dangerous when we are careless or leave a hot surface unattended. Cooking with oil is especially dangerous due to the volatility of hot oil. Below is a list of best practices for cooking with oil to make sure you and your home stay safe.
Never Leave a Hot Frying Pan Unattended
A fire can quickly ignite and become uncontrollable within seconds. Leaving the kitchen for even a short time can be disastrous for your home.
Smoking Oil is Dangerous
If you are heating up oil and it begins to smoke, this a warning sign. Immediately turn off the stovetop and wait at least 15 minutes for the surface to cool. If possible, safely move the pan from the burner and set on an unheated burner or other surface.
Keep a Lid Nearby
If a fire does happen, place the lid over the pan to suppress the fire. Do not throw water onto the hot oil as the water will instantly boil and set off a burst of hot oil and water than can spread the fire.
Cooking with oil is a quick way to make all of your favorite foods and recipes. Using caution, you can have a wonderful meal with no worries. Be sure to exercise safety when cooking at all times and hopefully you will never have to worry about cleaning up a fire in your home.