Getting Your Home Winter-Ready
Parts of the Midwest have already seen snowflakes flying this fall, and as we all know – Hudson Valley won’t be far behind! Before it gets too frigid and snowy, there are some things you can do to make sure your home is ready to withstand another winter and another potential water damage emergency. The professionals at Advanced Disaster Recovery Inc. would like you to take some precautions and make sure you don’t have to experience a disaster this year.
When was the last time you took a good look at your gutters? It’s important that gutters are free and clear of debris year-round, including going into winter so ice and snow have a place in which to melt and drain away from your home. Overflowing gutters put unnecessary strain on your roof, which would eventually collapse under the weight. So many basement floods are the result of clogged gutters – we’ve seen it happen more times than we care to admit! As you’re cleaning your gutters, it’s a good idea to make sure water is being sent away from your home all around.
This includes cracks in the foundation of your home, or in walkways, steps, or other stonework. This will help ensure water and cold air stay outside your home, and where walkways are concerned – gives you a nice, smooth surface for shoveling. Cracks can cause water to leak into your home and the water can damage the structure of your home. Protect your walls, ceilings, and floors so that water does not destroy them.
- Look for energy efficiency problems
Have you ever walked past a window or door in your home and felt a draft? It’s a good idea to think about making some energy efficiency improvements if that’s happened to you. This could mean caulking around doors and windows and adding weather stripping, adding extra insulation in the attic, and repairing cracked or broken windows. Often, local energy companies offer free energy efficiency audits of customers’ homes to show you where improvements could be made in your home to improve energy efficiency and in turn, reduce your energy bills.
No one wants their furnace going out at 1 a.m. in the middle of January. So, it’s a good idea to spend a little bit of money now to have your furnace or boiler inspected to make sure everything is running as it should, and you are getting maximum efficiency from your system.
If you’re one of those homeowners who can’t get enough of a real wood-burning fireplace, make sure it’s ready to go for the winter months! If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned out in some time, you should consider having a chimney sweep come and do the job for you. Even if everything looks fine to the naked eye, there could be creosote buildup on the inside of the chimney, or even internal water damage, where some bricks need to be tuck-pointed.
Oh …. And while you’re having the fireplace readied for some cozy winter nights, don’t forget to stock up on nice, dry firewood.
Are you ready in case there’s another massive snow or ice storm this winter? Usually, we have enough warning to stock up, but it’s still a good idea to have an emergency kit with water, non-perishable food items, flashlights, etc. on hand just in case. If you’ve been without power for long periods of time in previous winters, you could also consider purchasing a generator. Also, have contact information ready to contact a professional service just in case you do experience water damage or a fire disaster.
If you are in Hudson Valley, keep in mind that if you happen to experience a water damage emergency and need professional services to help restore your property, contact the certified & insured professionals at Advanced Disaster Recovery Inc..
Fire Damage Myths and the Truth Behind Them
Fire can cause catastrophic amounts of damage to your home or business, you may even call it the ultimate annihilator. Fire consumes almost everything in its path and what it doesn’t consume it damages. The path left behind fire usually consists of the charred, sooty, and oily residue of what used to be there. As a home or business owner, you are responsible for the safety of the people, contents, and property. Fire prevention safety should be on the top of your list. With that in mind, Advanced Disaster Recovery Inc. in has decided to debunk some common fire damage restoration myths that you may have heard.
First Fire Damage Myth: Smoke Detectors Are All I Need.
Smoke detectors are great at providing an early warning…when in working order. Make sure your smoke detectors are installed properly and have well-charged batteries. Smoke detectors can provide you and your family with the opportunity to stop before it gets out of hand, however, there may be some unforeseen factors that can go wrong. It is crucial that you have an evacuation plan in place for fire damage emergencies. Sit down with your family, housemates, or employees and put together an emergency preparedness plan so, if the time comes, everyone can evacuation the property safely.
You may also want to invest in the appropriate fire extinguishers or sprinkler system for your home or business. Providing that additional layer of safety can go a long way in preventing fire damage to your property and saving the lives of property residents. Fun Fact: fire sprinkler systems are eligible for insurance rate savings and can increase property value.
Second Fire Damage Myth: Sprinklers Cause Way More Damage
When a fire occurs, typically, only the sprinkler within range of the fire will active, releasing water directing on the fire. The other sprinklers will remain dormant unless the fire spreads. Roughly 85% of the time, during a fire, only one sprinkler will be active.
With that in mind, fire sprinklers can reduce damage and property loss significantly. The sprinkler system will quickly eliminate the heat and control the smoke from the fire, limiting the damage the fire is able to cause. Any resulting water damage is minimal compared to the water damage caused by fire-fighting hose lines.
Third Fire Damage Myth: Most Fires Are Caused My Electrical Malfunctions
According to FEMA, The US Fire Administration, electrical malfunctions is not the leading cause of fire damage, nor is it the second-leading cause of fire damage. Cooking is responsible for nearly half of all house fires reported in the United States. Heating comes in a far second, causing over 12% of the house fires in the US. Electrical house fires come in third with consisting of only 6% of the house fires in the US.
Fourth Fire Damage Myth: Flames Pose The Biggest Threat In A Fire
Flames can cause some major destruction, but smoke inhalation is responsible for most fire-related deaths. Smoke is chalk full of toxic chemicals and is easily inhaled, leading to unconsciousness and then death.
For fire damage and smoke damage cleanup and restoration, make sure you contact a professional certified and insured company like Advanced Disaster Recovery Inc. that knows every step of the fire and smoke restoration process and how to do it correctly.
Common Causes of Smoke & Fire Damage Around the Holidays
Every family wishes for a holiday season that is merry and bright but … not too bright, right? As the cold weather settles in and snow starts to fly in Monroe, the number of house fires increases because people are simply spending more time indoors, and fire hazards are being used more frequently like small heaters, candles, fireplaces, and so on.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, a majority of house fires happen between 5 and 8 p.m. – dinnertime. Winter house fires do more than $2 billion in property damage every year; two-thirds of those fires are in single or two-family home settings, the rest happen in large buildings like apartments or condos.
The NFPA also says holiday decorations cause about 860 house fires every year between 2009 and 2013, Christmas trees excluded! Decorations too close to a heat source – like a candle or the fireplace – sparked nearly half of those fires. Twenty percent started in the kitchen, and one out of six started in the living room, family room, or den. One in five house fires started by decorations inside a home (holiday or otherwise) happen in the month of December.
Thanksgiving is the #1 day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, then Christmas Eve. Remember that decoration bit we just talked about? Well – 18 percent of cooking fires involve decorations catching fire because they are too close to the stove or other cooking equipment.
Yes, these are technically decorations too – but more year-round, and worth their own category. Candles. Who doesn’t love a wonderful smelling pumpkin or cinnamon spice candle burning during the holidays? For many of us, scents are part of the magic of the holidays! However – back to that whole discussion about decoration fires, half of those fires were started by candles during the month of December. That stat drops 15 percent in November and January – so it is clear candles are used much more regularly around Christmastime.
The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports how quickly a natural Christmas tree can burn when it’s dried out. Wow – less than a minute for it to be totally consumed. Just imagine how quickly that fire can spread through the house then during dry winter months.
It’s likely you’ve heard all these fire prevention tips before. We get it. Most house fires happen because of simple accidents like someone forgetting about a burning candle or a burner on the stove left on with something flammable on top. The holidays are so busy, and sometimes stressful, it can be easy to forget something so simple! Our best advice is to just simply enjoy the holidays while being aware of your surroundings. Make it a habit to check around the house for decorations that need to be turned off before bed or leaving the house, and voila! You’re set!
The entire team at Advanced Disaster Recovery Inc. is wishing you and your families a Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Steps to Smoke & Fire Damage Restoration
If you’ve had a fire in your home, first let us tell you we’re sorry you’re going through that! Any fire, no matter the size, is traumatizing for those involved. Having an experienced restoration team on your side will help get you back on your feet sooner than later, with the goal of restoring your home and the items inside to pre-loss condition.
Most fires only cause major damage to a small portion of a home. However, that small kitchen fire likely created soot and smoke damage throughout the entire home. Simply cleaning a home damaged by fire is likely not going to be enough, as odors can linger in objects, carpet, walls, and any other porous surface if not properly treated.
Let’s walk through the process of properly getting rid of fire and smoke damage in your home.
- The restoration company gets the call and will respond as quickly as possible. Good restoration companies, like Advanced Disaster Recovery Inc., understand the longer you let the smoke and soot sit, the harder it will be to fix the damage that’s been done.
- An estimator will take a walk through your home and see the damage, and create a plan of action. This estimator will likely also be able to work with your insurance adjuster or insurance company during the loss.
- Crews will come in and box up any contents in your home that may have been damaged – from clothing and bedding to dishes, electronics, etc., that are salvageable. Believe it or not, many of the items in your home could be saved through special cleaning and restoration techniques in an experienced contents restoration division. If one of your children has a special stuffed animal, doll, blanket, or other sentimental items that could help them through this tough time, we are happy to clean that first and return it to you as soon as possible.
- Restoration begins. This could include removing carpet or other porous materials, scrubbing down walls with special solutions that will remove the soot and the odor, and will wipe down every single surface over and over until it’s clean. It could also mean doing things like removing cabinets from the wall to clean behind them or removing charred beams saturated with smoke and soot.
- Address the smoke damage. There are a number of innovations restoration companies, like Advanced Disaster Recovery Inc., can use to address smoke damage. If not properly removed, the smoke smell can reappear during a change in the weather, presence of moisture, or other environmental changes. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced team making sure not only that your home is clean and the visible damage removed, but also that the smell is removed as well.
- Return the items to your home that had been removed for cleaning. When they were removed from your home, they were carefully packed up according to room and location. When they are returned to you, it will be the same scenario – except everything will look as it did before the fire.
The best restoration companies go above and beyond when helping you after a traumatic loss like a fire.