Burning Leaves Safely
Fall is finally upon us after a rainy and hot summer. This time of year means leaves falling from the trees and piling in your yard. The following are some tips to follow if you want to take the route of burning your leaves.
- Contact the fire department to see if there is a good day to burn and if you need to obtain any special permits as each town is different. A good rule of advice to follow is to only burn when skies are clear and wind speed doesn’t exceed 15 miles per hour.
- Rake the leaves into a manageable pile with 6 feet clear in every direction. Light a small branch with a match and then place it among the leaves. It is not advised to use gasoline or fire starters to ignite leaves as it can sometimes cause a large unmanageable fire.
- Constantly supervise and keep a garden hose and/or a multipurpose fire extinguisher just in case the fire gets out of hand.
- Hose the fire down once it burns out just to make sure you put out any embers that might still be glowing.
- Once the fire is completely out gather up the ash safely and properly dispose of it. You can place the ashes in a metal container to reduce the risk of an out of control fire.
Have a safe and fun fall!
Cleaning your Gutters is Important
Fall is upon us and now is the time to start thinking about cleaning your gutters. Fall is the perfect time to think about cleaning your gutters since leaves dropping from trees are a main cause of clogging. It is recommended though to check your gutter system at least twice a year to help prevent any future water damage.
An inch of rainfall on a typical 1,000 square foot roof sends over 600 gallons of water into the gutters and downspouts. Any sort of blockage that obstructs this considerable flow can potentially cause water damage indoors. Foundation damage can happen by a blockage causing water to pour over the sides of the gutter and pool around the foundation which over time can cause cracks to form. If your basement isn’t waterproofed, the water pouring down the foundation can lead to a damp basement. This can lead to a whole host of other issues. Boards that hold the gutter system are often made of wood and when the gutters clog and fill with water it can cause these boards to deteriorate and rot. During the winter ice dams can form on the gutters which will cause water to pool and will eventually seep into the home if not taken care of.
It is recommended to hire a professional if you don’t feel comfortable or experienced enough to clean them.
Taking Care of Standing Water in Your Home
Should you come across any stagnant/standing water in your home it is important to get it taken care of as soon as possible. This kind of water can be found in your basement, on flooring, or even under carpeting. Most of the time this water comes from clean sources such as a supply line breaking or rainwater that is seeping into your home but you could also run into contaminated water and this type of water comes from flooding and sewage backups. Water that is not taken care of in a timely manner can become a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause mold to grow and spread in as little as 48 hours. It can also be harmful to your health.
If you come across any type of standing water it is important to identify the source of the leak if possible and get it fixed. The restoration process cannot begin until that happens. Once the source has been identified and stopped call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington. We will help to return your home back to preloss condition and give you peace of mind that you are living in a safe and healthy home.
This is a phone charger that was plugged in and shorted out causing this to happen.
Let’s talk about phone charger safety for a minute. While I know it is convenient to leave your charger plugged into the wall at all times it is typically not recommended. Even when they are not being used they are constantly drawing power and this could lead to a small chance of a fire due to either heat buildup or short circuit. Although this tends to happen more when a charger is being used. Another way this can happen is if there is an excess amount of moisture in the air which can short circuit the transformer. Not only can this create a fire hazard it also wastes energy which in turn means you are paying for electricity you are not really using.
Should you want to leave them plugged in it is recommended to use a power strip as they work as surge protectors and you can turn them off when not in use. Another important thing to consider is when you are charging make sure you allow for adequate ventilation so they don’t overheat. It is not recommended to charge them under a pillow, on a bed, or on a couch.
Thanks to SERVPRO of Dubuque for the picture!
Sump Pump Failure
After all the rainy weather we had in May and June it caused some major flooding to our rivers and we got a couple hundred calls about flooded basements. Luckily, we have dried out but I thought sump pump failure and what to do when it happens would be a perfect topic. A good number of the basements that we ran into with water in the basement was sump pump failures.
Most basements sit below the water table level, and especially during a storm, as groundwater levels rise, the water is diverted to the sump pit, where a float activates a switch when it rises above a certain level. Some of the most common reasons a sump pump might fail is if it doesn’t have battery backup and you lose power during a storm, sump pump is the wrong size and can’t keep up, or maybe it was improperly installed. Another big factor is a lack of maintenance, this allows for debris to clog vents and air holes.
Should you find yourself with water in your basement and it is manageable, you can mop it up or even use a wet/dry vacuum and make sure to dump it at least 20 feet away from the house. It is important to get the water taken care of as soon as you can because the longer it stands it can lead to mold and mildew and can create a musty odor. On a side note, if flooding leaves water standing in your yard around the foundation, you will have to wait for it to recede before true cleanup can begin.
Don’t hesitate to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington if your flooded basement is something that you are unable to handle. We can return your flooded basement back to normal and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Commercial Sewer Backups
Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous due to the water being grossly unsanitary and it also may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. This is referred to as black water and any contact should be avoided. This kind of damage can definitely take a toll on your business and may even force you to close for a period of time. Should you happen to have this kind of emergency it is best to rely on the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington. We respond 24/7 and have the special training and equipment needed to safely clean your sewer backup and get your business back up and running in a timely manner. Let us help you make your sewer back up “Like it never even happened.”
Weather Alert Radios
As we start to enter the season of thunderstorms it is important to be prepared in case of an emergency. While a first-aid kit, bottled water, and non-perishable food are important to keep on hand so is a weather alert radio. A weather alert radio can be just as important as a smoke detector and when it comes to storms time is crucial so you can get your family to safety. NOAA weather alert radios range in price anywhere from $25-$100 and can be found at just about any of the major retail stores. Below are some benefits to having a weather alert radio.
- You can program it so that it only sends alerts that are specific to your area. It will immediately sound a warning once an alert for your area is issued by the National Weather Service.
- The alert is loud so you can even hear it when you are asleep.
- They can operate on battery backup so you won’t have to worry about it working if you lose power. If you are someone who tends to forget to check battery life or live in an area that experiences frequent extended power outages they also have emergency crank weather alert radios.
In our area we have seen an increase in garage fires. Every year, there are 6,600 garage fires in homes that result in an average of $457 million in property loss with the leading cause being electrical malfunction. The following are some tips to follow to help prevent a garage fire from happening to you.
- Store oil, gasoline, paints, propane and varnishes in a shed away from your home.
- Keep items that can burn on shelves away from appliances.
- Plug only one charging appliance into an outlet.
- Don’t use an extension cord when charging an appliance.
- Keep the garage tidy and remove clutter.
- Install a heat alarm as these will sound if the temperature rises too high.
- Do not use or install solid-fuel burning devices such as wood, pellet, or coal in garages where gasoline and other flammable vapors may be present.
Sometimes it's the Water you Can't See that can Cause the Most Damage
Sometimes it the water you can’t see that can cause the most damage. That is why it is important to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington. We will use a moisture meter to determine where the moisture is so we are not doing any unnecessary demo. The following are some signs that your home may have water damage.
Water accumulation is the most obvious sign. If you have areas of standing or pooling water it can lead to a bigger problem such as mold.
If you suspect water damage in the ceiling look for water spots and stains. It can appear wet or dry and may be discolored. Walls may also have bubbling, cracking or peeling paint or wallpaper.
Flooring can also show discoloration like walls and ceilings but the main sign of water damage in floors is detected by changes in texture. Water seeping into the floor boards and areas underneath them can cause warping, buckling, sagging, and expansion to happen.
Odor is another telltale sign you may have a water problem. This is a result of mold and mildew buildup in areas where water has been accumulating for a while such as basements and walls.
Preparing for a Windstorm
It is that time of year in the Midwest when we start worrying about storms and the possible damage they can do. Most people probably don’t think about windstorms but they can be just as dangerous as thunderstorms. Wind speeds during a windstorm typically exceed 34 miles per hour. Depending on the severity windstorms can down trees and power lines and even potentially wreck vehicles and homes. Following are some tips to help protect your property and prepare for this kind of storm.
Check for any old or loose shingles and repair if needed as these could come off during a windstorm.
Remove any dead trees or shrubs which are too close to your home and any power lines.
Make sure your garage door is reinforced and can withstand high winds. Should your garage door come flying off it can leave the contents vulnerable.
Watch the forecast and if it has the potential for high winds secure your backyard and patio furniture as it has the potential to not only damage property but can also injure people.
Should you need storm damage repair don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Burlington. Our professionals are available 24/7 to assist you in your time of need. Stay safe this storm season!