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!
Preparing your Commercial Property for a Flood
Right now in our area we are dealing with some minor flooding. With more chances of rain and all that snow from up North eventually headed our way I want to provide you with some tips to help protect your commercial property from a flood.
Check your insurance plan- Most policies don’t cover flood damage and the loss of income that can result. So check and see if it is possible for you to add flood coverage.
Basements are vulnerable to flooding. So if you have a basement caulk any cracks on interior walls, extend downspouts, and re-grade the landscape so water runs away from the building. You can also install a sump pump to protect against seeping groundwater or minor floods. If water is a recurring problem, apply a waterproof sealant to foundation cracks, framing joints, and the floor.
Regularly clean your gutters and storm drains.
Keep backup copies of important documents. These documents can include but not limited to insurance documents and vendor contact information.
Prepare ahead of time a map showing where key equipment is and know how to shut off the mains for electrical, fuel, and water supply.
Last but not least, don’t wait to move or act. Heed official advice for evacuations or other measures and carefully consider the best evacuation routes.
Document Freeze Drying
I went over a little bit about our document restoration services in a previous blog. For this blog I am going to go into a little more detail about the freeze drying process and why it is effective over just letting them air dry.
To start off vacuum freeze drying is the only method approved by the National Archives and Records Administration and also the General Services Administration. This process involves freezing an item containing moisture and then it is dried using vacuums and pressures to achieve sublimation. In order to prevent further damage it is important that your water damaged documents be frozen as quickly as possible.
- We use 10x12x15 banker boxes to store your water damaged documents and label each box so in the future it can easily be found and returned to you.
- We will then ship these items to a cold storage facility until those items are needed.
Vacuum freeze drying is just the first step in the process of restoring your water damaged documents. We will also clean, sterilize, deodorize, and if they can’t be restored we also offer certified destruction. Should you find yourself dealing with water damaged documents, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington to help restore them.
What to do Before the Professionals Arrive
Water damage in any part of your home can be stressful and you may be thinking, "What do I do next?" First step would be to identify the source of incoming water and shutoff or stop the water source if possible. Next would be to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington but there are some things you can do before we arrive, which I will list below, but first and foremost safety should be your top priority. You need to determine if it is safe to stay in the house and only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
- Remove excess water by mopping.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- If it's summertime turn on air conditioning for maximum drying.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floors.
While these are some things you can do before we arrive the following is a list of what you shouldn't do.
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place.
- Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
- Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
- Don't use television or other household appliances.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
The professionals here at SERVPRO of Burlington are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to respond to your emergency. We can help make it "Like it never even happened."