As the holiday season quickly approaches and temperatures continue to drop, many families are doing just about anything to stay warm – piling on the blankets, busting out the cozy Christmas onesies, and plugging in the old trusty space heater.
However, staying warm should not sacrifice safety. While space heaters are a great thing to have during the colder months, they still need to be used responsibly. Heating equipment fires are the second leading cause of residential fires in the U.S., according to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). Heating equipment fires usually happen at night and can spread throughout an entire house within minutes. In order to prevent any space heater-related accidents, here are four easy ways to use a space heater safely this holiday season.
- NEVER LEAVE A SPACE HEATER UNNATENDED – most house fires happen during the night when people are asleep and spread so fast it could be too late by the time someone wakes up. Fires can be prevented if heating equipment is always supervised. Always keep an eye on heaters when using them, and ALWAYS remember to unplug heaters when leaving the room.
- Keep space heaters AT LEAST THREE FEET away from all flammable materials – most fires start because a space heater was left unattended next to a blanket, curtain or laundry basket. Leaving flammable materials like cloth curtains and clothes close to a space heater only heightens the risk of an incident. It’s best to leave the space heater sitting in the middle of the room to avoid any incidents.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet, NOT an extension cord or surge protector – plugging heaters into anything except a wall outlet only increases the chance for overheating. Minimize these chances by avoiding extension cords and surge protectors if possible.
- If possible, purchase spaces heaters with an automatic shut-off switch – an automatic shut-off switch can prevent a house fire in case a space heater overheats. However, this only lowers the risk of house fires and should still be monitored.
Space heaters can be a life saver when used correctly. But without proper supervision and care, it can lead to more problems than cold feet during the holidays. If fire damage does occur, always remember to contact SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock at 806-780-6311 to make it "Like it never even happened."
Candles—Do’s & Dont’s
Who doesn’t love a lighting nice peppermint scented candle to help ring in the season? The wide variety of sweet and exotic scents and styles can really help bring a room together… or, if people aren’t careful, burn it down. Candles may seem like a harmless thing to have, but they can cause just as much damage as an unattended space heater. December is the peak time of year for home candle fires, according to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), and an article released earlier this year by ABC News shows candle fires are indeed on the rise. In order to keep that pretty little candle from turning into a pretty little disaster, here are three surefire (no pun intended) ways to keep a house smelling like a brisk winter evening instead of a smokey, charred throw pillow.
- NEVER leave a candle unattended – most candle fires happen because a candle was left unsupervised. While it might be nice to leave a candle going while going to sleep or stepping out for a quick errand, it raises the risk of something going terribly wrong. Always remember to blow out candles before leaving a room or falling asleep.
- Keep candles away from small children and pets – accidents happen. Children and pets are constantly knocking into things, and if a candle is put in the wrong place it can easily turn into a disaster. To prevent any candles from possibly getting knocked over, its best to keep them out of reach.
- If a candle wick is getting low, throw it out – letting a candle burn too close to the holder can increase the risk of fires in the house. Replacing candles before the wick gets too low is an easy way to protect your house from any fire damage. If damage does occur, contact SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock to get the house looking like new.
Candles can really help set the mood. But without proper supervision and care, it can lead to more problems than during the holidays. If fire damage does occur, always remember to contact SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock at 806-780-6311 to make it "Like it never even happened."
Drying A Water Damage
Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water-damaged structure to its former condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a few fans or two around the damaged area, this can actually lead to secondary damages like mold. Our SERVPRO professionals are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any of these secondary damages. If your business suffers a water damage, we will:
- Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
- Measure how much moisture is in wet material and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
- Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
What exactly does it mean to help "speed up Mother Nature?" A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material-but only if the air is, indeed, drier.
The only problem is, nature often takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.
SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals have the tools and equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to hep dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more. We also use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business.
It's not only the equipment, but the technology too. SERVPRO has developed DryBook, a proprietary tool that provides real-time documentation and updates on the drying process and helps ensure industry drying requirements are met. With DryBook Mobile, you have the ability to know exactly where your property is in the drying process.
The bottom line? SERVPRO of Southwest Lubbock professionals have the training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened." Call us anytime at 806-780-6311!
Kitchen Fire Safety
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Follow these tips to create a safer cooking environment:
- Be alert! If you are tired or have consumed alcohol don’t use the oven or stove.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from the stovetop.
- Keep an easily accessible fire extinguisher somewhere in your kitchen.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you are cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave a pan covered until it is completely cooled. Never add water to a grease fire!
If you have experienced a kitchen fire call the professionals at SERVPRO of Southwest Lubbock at 806-780-6311.
The key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth is to control excessive moisture and condensation. Keeping susceptible areas in the home clean and dry is critical. In general, mold will not grow indoors without water, dampness or excessive moisture.
Three main factors contribute to condensation of water on building surfaces:
- Relative Humidity: Condensation occurs when the air is saturated with water and it cannot hold any more moisture. For example, steam generated from bathroom showers or from cooking can fill up the air with moisture, which will then condense into drops of water on cooler surfaces, such as mirrors and windows. Where possible, localized sources of humidity, such as clothes dryers, should be directly vented to the outdoors. To lower indoor humidity during warm, humid weather, air conditioners should be used.
- Temperature: Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Condensation occurs when warm humid air comes into contact with a cold surface and the moisture condenses into water. This can often be seen on single-pane windows, where water condenses and then runs down, causing the wood frames and sills to rot and the wall under the windows to blister.
- Poor Ventilation: Indoor humidity can build up if there is not enough ventilation and exchange of indoor and outdoor air. Where there is little or no air movement, such as behind dressers and cabinets, surfaces can remain cooler than surrounding areas, which can lead to increased condensation and mold growth. It is recommended that the area is ventilated, and the occupants use exhaust fans (vented to the outdoors) to remove moisture from high-humidity areas, particularly in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas. Furniture should be moved slightly away from walls so that air can freely pass behind it. Air should be allowed to circulate between rooms and regularly ventilate to remove humid air. Fans should be used as needed.
Other things that can be done are to clean and repair gutters regularly, make sure the ground slopes down and away from the home’s foundation and keep air conditioner drip pans and drain lines clean. In addition, in air-conditioned buildings in hot and humid climates, vinyl wall coverings on the interior sides of exterior walls should not be used, as these materials can trap moisture, resulting in mold growth underneath them.
In the case of floods or leaking pipes, any standing water should be promptly removed, and water-damaged materials should either be dried out and cleaned or removed and replaced. Porous materials that are wet for more than 48 hours are likely to produce mold growth and should be discarded. In instances where the water damage is extensive, it is recommended that you call SERVPRO of Southwest Lubbock at 806-780-6311, so that we may assist you in preventing growth after a water damage or remove the mold if it is already an issue.
5 Uses for Fall Leaves
As you all know, Lubbock has a reputation for being a windy city. In the summertime, this breeze is much needed to give some relief from the rising temperatures. However, in the fall the wind can cause leaves to fly around everywhere leaving everyone’s lawn and gutters a mess. Usually after raking or blowing the leaves into a neat pile they are thrown out and never thought of again. There are, however, a few different ways to use your leftover leaves so that you don’t always need to throw them away.
- Use them as an art project- You can create a wreath out of leaves, or even paint over them and make a whimsical painting. Pinterest has tons of fun and easy ideas to use for art projects.
- Mulch- Break the leaves up and repurpose them into your soil for a free, organic mulch.
- Save them- Leaves are always beautiful to look. Why not press them and frame them to go in your house.
- Let your kids enjoy them- Most people’s favorite fall memory as a kid was jumping into a pile of leaves. Have your kids enjoy rolling around and throwing leaves as a fun activity.
- Compost- Create a compost bin out of your leaves. Be sure to chop the leaves up first to speed up the process.
Finding new uses for leaves can help make decorating for the fall season more exciting. If you get any property damage due to the fall weather call SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock at 806-780-6311 to make it "Like it never even happened."
Seeing your building vandalized can be upsetting and leave you feeling clueless on how to begin the clean-up process. SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock has your back and our highly specialized team can begin the clean-up and make it look like “it never even happened.”
Make sure that when your building is vandalized to contact the police. In Texas, any form of vandalism resulting in less than $100 in property damage requires the vandal to pay a fine. If the vandalism results in $750 to $2,500 in damage, the vandal could end up facing up to one year in prison and up pay up to $4,000 in fines.
Vandalism is a crime whether it was meant as a joke or done purposefully. Always know that you are not alone in the clean-up, and be sure to call SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock at 806-780-6311 to clean up any vandalism that occurs.
How to Save on Electricity This Winter
During the winter months it’s easy for your electricity bill to skyrocket. On average the electric bill can be 200 kWh more in the winter than in the summer months. Between cranking up the thermostat and decorating your home in Christmas lights it’s easy to see why the bill is so much higher in the winter. Here are a few tips that you can use to lower your bill:
- Turning the thermostat down at night and instead adding a few extra blankets to your bed can help keep down the energy cost.
- Make sure you are closing all the doors to your house. If a door is cracked or left open the warm air can escape making the house feel colder than it is.
- Christmas lights are another large drain on the energy bill. LED Christmas lights can use up to 75% less energy than other brands. Also make sure to always unplug your lights at night before going to sleep.
- Bundling up in warm clothes can allow you to leave the thermostat lower. Wearing a sweatshirt or jacket around the house can both be comfy and cost effective!
- Unplug appliances around the house if you are not using them. Often, we can leave small appliances running without even thinking that they’re running the bill up.
This winter doesn’t have to mean a high electric bill. By following these simple tips, you can work towards lowing your energy costs.
How to put out different types of cooking fires
According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. When at home cooking in your kitchen, if a fire starts panic can start to set in and leave you scrambling on how to put it out. Here are different types of fires that can occur in your kitchen and how to put each of them out. And remember if you don’t get the fire out in time before damage occurs, call SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock to make it "Like it Never Even Happened."
Grease Fire- You’re heating up oil in a pot when you get a phone call. You turn your back to the stove and next thing you know your pot of oil has gone up in flames. Even though you may be tempted, you should never pour water on a grease fire. Why? Because water and oil don’t mix and therefore won’t put out the fire. The first step you should take is turning the stove off and seeing if you can smother the fire yourself. Salt and Baking soda are also good to throw on the fire. Make sure to call your emergency number if the fire can’t be contained, and if any damage is done to your kitchen call SERVPRO.
Oven Fire- If something in your oven catches fire the best thing to do is turn off the oven and leave the door closed. This will cut off any oxygen and will allow the flame to die. If the fire does not go out, then contact your emergency number and vacate the premises.
Electrical Fire- Never use water on an electrical fire. If you have a fire extinguisher use that, and even if the fire is put out still make sure to call the fire department any time there is an electrical fire.
Remember after a kitchen fire if there is ever extensive damage be sure to call SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock at 806-780-6311 and we can make sure your home is back to normal in no time.
What is Mold?
Let’s get scientific for a moment. What is mold? Mold is an informal term for a group of filamentous fungi that are common on food or wet materials. According to American Industrial Hygiene Association, most molds that are found inside are caused by flooding from surface waters or storms, roof leaks, leaking pipes, damp basements, or condensation on cold surfaces.
Here’s a little more about mold that you might not know:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
Mold can spread throughout a property in as little as 48 hours. Since mold can produce allergens and irritants, SERVPRO® of Southwest Lubbock is available to inspect your home if you get the hunch that you have a mold problem. If mold is found, we have the training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation. Call us at 806-780-6311 – we’re faster to any size disaster.