How To Avoid House Fires From Holiday Decorations
December is an exciting time of year when everyone is feeling festive and decorating their homes and businesses with Christmas and Hanukkah decorations. It is important to remember that holiday decorations can increase your risk for a home fire. As you deck the halls and trim the tree this year, make sure you are being fire smart.
Did you know that over fifty percent of home decoration related fires in December are caused by candles? If candles are part of your decoration plans this year, consider switching to battery operated candles; They're safer and you can even set them to turn on with a timer! If you like lighting candles for the smell and ambiance, be sure to always be attentive to the flame and never leave a candle on when you sleep or leave the house. If you need candles for your menorah or candelabra, make sure you keep the candles at leas 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
Christmas tree fires are not particularly common, but they are incredibly dangerous when they do occur. On average, 1 out of every 45 home fires caused by Christmas trees resulted in death. To avoid Christmas tree fires you should start by picking a fresh looking tree. Older, dried out trees are at a higher risk for fire. Once you bring the tree home, make sure you keep it watered (TIP: If you shake the tree and a lot of needles fall out, that may be a sign the tree isn't getting enough water). Also keep the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, or heat vents. You should also check for faulty lights that could potentially ignite the tree, and turn off the lights when you aren't around to keep an eye on the tree.
In addition to checking the lights on your Christmas tree, you should also be checking all of the lights you put around your home, inside and outside. LED lights are typically safe and won't get too hot, however incandescent Christmas lights can get hot enough to burn or ignite other decorations. Be mindful of where you place your Christmas lights - never place Christmas lights on a metal tree or other metal decorations as they can become charged with electricity and could shock someone. If you are putting Christmas lights outdoors, double check the package and make sure that they are outdoor lights (it should be clearly marked on the packaging). The same goes for extension cords - never use indoor extension cords outside, and be sure not to overload extension cords because they can also get hot enough to burn.
Holiday decorations are typically safe, but it is important to take these aforementioned safety measures to have a safe and happy holiday season.
Protect Your Home From Rain
Southern California isn't affected by harsh winter weather in the same way the much of the rest of the country is. That does not mean, however that we don't need to be prepared for some winter weather. As we enter these colder months (cold for us!), more rain will be on the way, and it is important to have our homes and properties prepared for the rain so as not to become devastated by water damage.
Though we will occasionally experience heavier downpours in Southern California, the days with light, constant rain can pose a bigger threat to our properties. We have compiled a list of tips/to-do's to check off to prepare your home before the next rain hits.
- One of the best things you can do to protect your home from water damage due to rain is to regularly inspect your roof. Do this at least twice year or even more frequently if you choose. Inspect first from the ground and look for signs of damage, sagging, and aging. Look for loose or skew roof tiles. Also look to see if any tiles are cracked or missing. If you have any missing tiles, your roof is directly exposed to any adverse weather conditions!
- You should also regularly check your gutters. Fall doesn't hit as hard here in SoCal, but your gutters are still most likely collecting leaves and other debris. If your gutters and downspout are backed up, the rain water may likely end up inside your home - it needs to go somewhere and clogged gutters aren't able to carry the water away from your home!
- Keep any trees and other foliage in your yard well maintained. If branches grow too long and are close to your home, they could be leading water directly to you structure. Additionally, any lose branches or debris could be blown into your home during a windy storm, leading to structural AND water damage.
- When you're done inspecting the outside of your home, don't forget to inspect the inside as well! Check all windows and doors in the home to make sure that they close and seal properly - make any repairs as needed. You can also check for signs of roof leaks inside the home. If your ceiling appears to have water rings, staining, mold, or any discoloring, that is typically a sign that something is leaking, whether it be a pipe, the roof, or an upstairs bathroom fixture.
Thanksgiving Fire Safety
Did you know that Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for fire departments when it comes to home fires involving cooking equipment? With more home cooks cooking larger meals than they are probably used to, the number of home fires involving cooking equipment spikes to nearly 4 times the daily average on Thanksgiving! Whether you plan to be in charge of the kitchen or are just helping out, be sure to follow these important safety tips when preparing this year's Thanksgiving feast!
- Start your Thanksgiving with a clean stove and oven! The weekend before Thanksgiving, remove any food or grease buildup from burners, stovetops, and the oven.
- Always stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop. While items in the oven may not require as attentive an eye, food on the stovetop should have constant monitoring in case of spillage or splatter.
- Stay in the home while cooking the turkey. You don't need to set up camp and keep a constant eye on the turkey once it's in the oven, but you should stay inside and check on it frequently. The last thing you want is a burnt turkey that sets your kitchen on fire!
- Keep a flame-resistant oven mitt, potholder, or lid near your cooking space so that you can smother any flames before they get out of control.
- Should an oven fire occur, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. This should allow the fire to burn out on its own. Once the fire has gone out, open your windows before carefully opening the oven door to release the smoke. IF THE FIRE DOES NOT GO OUT ON ITS OWN: LEAVE THE HOUSE AND CALL 911.
- Make sure your home has working smoke alarms and that your family knows the fire escape route in the event of a fire. Remember to always plan TWO WAYS OUT of every room.
- Avoid using turkey fryers, but if you must, make sure to follow the fryer's instructions. Also be sure to completely thaw the turkey before frying and always fry outside at a safe distance from the home.
Stay safe this holiday season! Should your home experience any fire damage, be sure to call SERVPRO of Tustin to make that fire "like it never even happened".
How To Prepare Your Home For The Santa Ana Winds
Fall has officially arrived in Southern California. Unlike other parts of the country where fall means leaves changing colors and brisk temperatures, here it means it's wind season, Santa Ana winds to be specific.
The Santa Anas are very strong and dry winds, and can wreak major havoc on a home. The first winds of the season were some of the strongest we've seen in decades, with gusts reaching up to 75 mph! The winds are expected to last as normal from October through December, so it is important to make sure your home is protected for when they pick up again.
What can you do to prepare your home or apartment before the Santa Ana winds return?
- Clean your yard of any dead or fallen trees and limbs. Keep as much excess debris as possible out of your yard so that when the winds do come again, the debris isn't blown into your home causing structural damage.
- Trim your trees and bushes regularly. This goes along with keeping your yard clear of debris. A well maintained bush or tree will have less loose debris to blow into your home. This is especially important of any trees in close proximity to the structure. Cleaning up lose branches before the winds hit will make sure you don't wind up having any branches in your windows.
- Duct tape your windows. Strong winds can stretch your windows inward when it blows directly at them, and that can often lead to shattered windows. It's not the most aesthetic choice, but reinforcing your windows with duct tape could save you from having to replace a shattered window.
- Check your roof shingles annually and replace any loose shingles. You should also store extra shingles on hand in the event some are pulled up or blow away when the winds hit.
- If you have an exterior television antenna, satellite dish, or any outdoor decorations, you should tighten them up or remove them for a short while when high winds are expected.
Do You Know The Signs of Mold?
Do you know what's going on behind your walls?
Mold growth can be a nightmare for homeowners. That's why it is important to know the signs of mold so you can stop it before it spreads too far. Most of the time, once the mold has become visible on the surface, it has been growing behind the scenes for quite some time. Make sure you know the signs to look for BEFORE that mold becomes visible.
If you notice a strange odor, that could be a sign of mold. If an area of your home is giving off a persistent must smell, there is a strong possibility that there is mold in the room. You can typically follow the smell to where it is strongest in the room and find the mold.
Condensation can also be a tell-tale sign of possible mold. It can be excess moisture on windows, or condensation dripping from pipes. If there is excess moisture in your home, that is often a sign that mold may be growing somewhere you can't see.
A water damage in your home can also lead to mold growth. If there was a leaking pipe or appliance that went unnoticed for some time, there may be mold present. Mold can start to grow as soon as 48 hours after moisture has been present, so if you suspect that you had an ongoing leak, you may want to have a professional inspect for mold.
If you do suspect your home has mold, give SERVPRO of Tustin a call for an inspection 714-480-1340.
Signs of Water Damage in Wood Floors
Our technicians place wood floor recovery mats to dry wood floor affected by a leak of the water line to the fridge.
Hardwood floors are a popular flooring option for many homeowners due to their aesthetic as well as the relatively low maintenance required. While hardwood floors are extremely durable, they can be quite vulnerable to moisture. If your home has hardwood floors, it is important that you are always on the lookout for signs of water damage to the wood flooring.
A very common sign of water damage in hardwood floors in known as cupping. This occurs when moisture causes the wood to expand, which then pushes the boards together and deforms them in the center. Another common sign of water damage in wood floors is called crowning. Crowning is essentially the opposite of cupping. While cupping causes a depression in the center of the wood planks, crowning is when the boards are pushed together and result in a raise in the center of the wood boards. Both cupping and crowning can lead to a buckling floor if left unchecked. Buckling is when the floor boards have actually begun lifting from the subfloor, causing considerable damage to your wood floor.
Other signs to be aware of are if the floor starts to crack, the boards are separating, or the wood becomes soft and weak. If you notice any of these signs occurring in your wood floor, you have wood floor water damage, and need to take action to prevent further damage.
The first step in preventing further water damage is to determine the source of the damage. If you have an active leak, it is best to turn of the water to the home and have a leak detector or plumber inspect to determine the cause of leak and make a repair.
You should also call SERVPRO right away to begin the mitigation services. If the floor is salvageable, we can place drying equipment (including a floor drying mat system) to repair the damaged floor to its preloss condition.
If you think your home may be affected by a water damage, give SERVPRO of Tustin a call today! 714-480-1340
Is Your Office Prepared For An Emergency?
While you should always be prepared for an emergency, National Preparedness Month is a great time to go over your emergency plan(s) in your office building. Go over this list and make sure your office prepared for anything!
- Whether you work in a high-rise office building or in a single story building, it is important that you have your team prepared in case of an emergency. Take some time this month to meet with your team and practice different evacuation routes. It is important that everyone know at least TWO WAYS OUT from EVERY ROOM.
- Don’t forget to check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers (and to replace any that may have expired). Set a schedule for replacing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s best to replace the batteries before they run out of juice. Regular maintenance of air vents and sprinkler systems are also a great way to AVOID an emergency situation. Sometimes the best preparation is active prevention.
- Another way to make sure your staff is prepared for an emergency is to hold or offer classes for you team to learn potential life-saving skills! The Red Cross offers classes for CPR, First Aid, and AED among other skills.
Disasters and emergencies don’t plan ahead, but you can!
5 Common Causes of Water Damage in Orange County
Unlike other parts of the country, rain isn't the main cause of water damage in homes and other buildings in Orange County. Get to know some of the common causes of water damage so that you can do what you can to prevent it from happening on your property.
- Broken Pipes – A broken pipe can do a lot of damage to your home in just a short amount of time. Before you know it, gallons short amount of time. Before you know of water could be spewing through your home. Pay close attention to any leaks, drips, and signs of deterioration. Have a plumber come out to your house for regular maintenance, and if there ever is a broken pipe, you can always turn the water off before the plumber arrives in order to avoid further damage.
- Pinhole Leaks – common if a home has copper plumbing, a pinhole leak is a puncture of a copper pipe due to corrosion. If your home has a copper water system, check your pipes for signs of corrosion often.
- Old/Faulty Appliances – If your fridge or washing machines aren’t maintained well, or have gotten too old, they could start to leak and create a significant amount of water damage in your home. It’s especially important to keep an eye on the appliances in your kitchen, as water damage caused by your fridge or dish washer can affect not just your floor, but your cabinets as well. Often times, leaks that go undetected for some time will cause significant water damage behind cabinets, which in turn can lead to mold if the problem goes unnoticed for an extended period.
- Roof Leaks – We don’t typically see much rain here in Southern California, but when we do, a lot of homeowners tend to suffer water damage due to roof leaks. Check your roofs frequently and take care of any maintenance or repairs while the weather is still sunny. That way you won’t have to worry about your home flooding next time a storm hits.
- Accidents – Sometimes luck just isn’t on your side and one tiny mistake can lead to a big problem. A clogged toilet or too much soap in the dishwasher or washing machine can have water coming across your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. These parts of the home are generally better equipped than the rest of the house to handle a larger spill, but water moves fast and could potentially cause damage to the walls, ceiling, or other rooms in the home. If an accident ever does occur that you think calls for a professional, call SERVPRO of Tustin and we’ll make it"Like it never even happened."
Storm Damage? No problem for SERVPRO of Tustin!
When Tustin and Orange businesses suffer serious damage after storm events, SERVPRO of Tustin will work around the clock to clean up any debris and to restore the property to preloss conditions. We understand that commercial storm damage can be very costly in terms of productivity; that is why it is always our goal to get your business back up and running as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.
We Have the Resources to Handle Large Commercial Storm Damage
When a storm hits Orange County, we can scale our resources to handle large-loss commercial restoration projects. We have access to equipment and personnel from a network of over 1,600 Franchises across the country, as well as elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
If your business is ever damaged by severe floods or storms, call us right away at (714)480-1340. Disaster can strike when we least expect it, but SERVPRO of Tustin will be there to help you weather the storm.
Avoid Mold Damage In Your Home In The Heat
Temperatures are high, which means your Tustin home is at a greater risk for mold growth. Mold spores can grow in temperatures ranging from 32 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The optimum temperature range for mold growth is between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a common temperature range here in Orange County.
As the summer weather continues to remain hot and humid, it is time to be even more cautious of any possible moisture or water damage on your property. In order to reproduce, mold spores require moist or damp areas. Excess moisture in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms are prime areas for mold to grow. Also be on the lookout for flooding, leaky pipes/windows/roof, etc., and call a professional right away should any of these problems occur.
SERVPRO of Tustin has a highly trained and experienced crew ready to make it "Like it never even happened."
Available 24/7, call (714)480-1340