How to Prevent a Dryer Fire
Every year, firefighters across the country respond to around 14,630 home fires caused by clothes dryers, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Unfortunately, most dryer related fires can be prevented. An estimated 34 percent of these fires occur due to failure to clean the machines. Most dryer fires happen in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.
If dryer fires are relatively common, but preventable, what you can you do to make sure a fire doesn’t occur at your home? Here’s how to prevent an incident:
Clean Your Lint Filter
The most common cause of a clothes dryer fire is lint build-up and reduced airflow. Lint is an extremely combustible material.
The built-up lint eventually sparks and catches fire. Usually lint will simply burn inside of a dryer and leave a burning smell along with damage to the dryer, but oftentimes the machine catches on fire. If the fire is severe enough or the flames spread, the fire can destroy an entire home.
The lint screen should be cleaned before and after each load, no matter how small the amount of lint is. This will also build the habit of constant cleaning.
Take Care When Washing Stained Items
Clothes stained with flammable chemicals or substances, such as gas, cooking oil, cleaning agents, or paint thinners, need special care. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends washing the clothing more than once to minimize the volatile chemicals, then hanging to dry. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that concludes with a cool-down period.
In the event that a fire does start, keep the dryer door closed, as a fire needs oxygen to keep it going.
Clean the Vent Line
Cleaning should not only take place inside of vent hoses and inside of dryers, but also outside of the machines.
The vent line is the wall area that is behind the dryer and goes toward the outside flap of the dryer. This area should never be restricted or clogged up with lint. The chance of a dryer fire increases if this area is clogged.
If this area is too difficult for you to reach and clean yourself, reach out to a professional chimney sweep or cleaning service.
Maintain a Clear Drying Space
The entire surrounding area near a dryer should be clean and free of debris. No clothes, towels, cleaning supplies, or other materials should be gathered outside of a dryer.
This extra clutter, especially if cleaning supplies or flammable materials are present, will enhance the chance of a fire spreading across the home if one sparks. Fires spread rapidly, and anything that can contribute to that spread should be removed.
How Do You Know a Dryer is Failing?
If your clothes are taking a longer than normal time to dry, are hotter than usual, or any other out of the ordinary issue occurs, your lint dryer needs to be checked. In order to check the dryer, reach out to maintenance professionals.
- Never use a dryer if the lint filter is missing, loose, or damaged.
- Avoid overloading the dryer.
- Frequently check that nests of animals or insects are not blocking vents.
- If your dryer is gas powered, it should be inspected by a professional once a year. The professional should ensure that gas lines are connected and no leaks are present.
Preparing for Winter Weather
California winters seem to carry great variety from year to year. In some winter seasons, the rain comes down for multiple days in one week with chilly temperatures. Other years, the rain may never come and balmy seventies will persist until a few surprise days of cold in the spring. Whatever the case may be, as homeowners and community members it is important to be prepared for winter.
Heavy rainfall can lead to flooding in Southern California. The drought conditions cause dry soil, which leads to poor absorption of groundwater. Keeping storm drains clear is one way to alleviate the potential of flooding. This includes using sandbags and a plastic tarp to create a better flow of water. Also, keeping home gutters free of leaves and other environmental debris will lead to a more consistent and controlled flow of water away from your house, to the well functioning storm drains.
Floods can cause millions and millions of dollars in damages and unfortunately great injury to people. This makes community members' involvement crucial in flood preparedness. Local fire stations provide free sandbag materials and the Department of Public Works can provide services to clear storm drains, 1-800-675 HELP (4357). Utilizing these local resources can help prevent flooding. Families should also put together disaster kits in case of emergency.
In the worst-case scenario, if water enters your home it is important to take care of the moisture immediately to prevent hazardous mold from growing. SERVPRO Irwindale/Baldwin Park provides mold remediation services, and is open 24 hours 7 days a week to make your emergency "Like it never happened." Call us today!
Protecting Your Commercial Property
When required, in industrial areas restoration services can take on a different kind of expectation when contrasted with residential losses. With residential properties, services typically focus on salvaging personal effects, cleaning up living spaces, and getting people’s lives back to normal. In the commercial and industrial setting, there are certainly personal aspects to fire and water damage. There are also considerations that can extend to very large dollar values in inventory, equipment, lost and damaged business relationships, and the lively hoods of employees.
For these reasons, a restoration contractor with experience with “Large Loss” disasters is important. A restoration contractor with access to hundreds of trained technicians, truckloads of equipment, and specialists who can advise on every scenario that a complex project can pose may be important to keeping the recovery short and reducing potential loss of revenue.
SERVPRO of Irwindale / Baldwin Park is a Certified Large Loss Contractor working for the past 15 years all over the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles Basin, and across the US. We are experts at helping businesses impacted with fire and water losses recover with a minimum of lost time and revenue. Frequently, it’s possible to work with the business to avoid complete shut-down, performing the restoration in parallel with operations and around the clock to keep the time for full recovery short.
If your business is threatened with lost revenue, damaged reputation, or a slow-down in production from flooding, fire, or bio hazard contamination consider bringing in professionals who have experience and resources to recover rapidly and reduce the loses. Play it safe and call in SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park as a contractor you can trust and count on in any large scale disaster.
Nine Common Fire Starters
SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park wishes safety and prosperity for our community members. Please take note of the nine most common fires starters below, and actively make strides to prevent these easy mistakes.
House fires happen most during dinner hours—between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. That’s because people are cooking. Here's what you should remember when using the kitchen:
- For grease fires, only use a fire extinguisher or baking soda. Do not use water! It will spread the oil/grease and make your fire worse.
- Never leave your food unattended. Fires only need 30 seconds to go from a small flame to an out-of-control blaze, so even going to the bathroom could endanger your home.
#2: Heating Equipment
Almost 13% of all residential fires are caused by heating equipment. Make sure to turn off all heating equipment once you have finished using them.
# 3: Electrical Equipment
Electrical equipment causes over 6% of house fires. Look for frayed wires, surge marks in wire, and damaged cords.
Mistakes happen. For house fires, negligence causes 5.8% of blazes. Carelessness includes not putting our cigarettes, leaving candles burning, putting heating equipment near combustible items, and more.
#5: Open flame
Candles, fires in the fireplace, and outdoor bonfires are enjoyable when controlled, but disastrous when they’re not. About 4% of all house fires start from an open flame.
Appliances cause about 4% of house fires. You can decrease the chances of something malfunctioning and catch on fire by making sure it’s approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Arson is a felony and can result in up to 20 years. But, people still do it. Out of all house fires, 4.2% are intentionally set.
About 2% of fires are caused by cigarettes. Just put your cigarettes out.
Nature happens. This means wildfires and those caused by lightning are unavoidable. Don’t worry though! Natural causes only account for 1.6% of all house fires.
Remember, house fires claim a life every 7 seconds. To protect yourself, home, and business, be aware of where fires are most common. #fire #firedmaage #SERVPRO #community #stormdamagerepair #restoration #waterdamagerestoration
Heat Wave Tips!
Heat waves have been striking the San Gabriel Valley all Summer. Just like any other natural disaster, heat waves can be very dangerous!
Here are some tips to survive a heat wave:
Before the Heat Wave Hits
- Properly install window air conditioners, sealing any cracks and insulating if necessary.
- Check A/C ducts for proper insulation and clean filters.
- Install awnings, blinds, or light-colored drapes and keep them closed to keep sunlight and heat out.
- Upgrade your windows and weather-strip doors to keep heat out and cool air in.
- Make sure your first aid kit is updated and get trained in first aid relief.
- Have a plan for wherever you (and your family members/pets) spend time during a heat wave—home, work, and school—and prepare for power outages. Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household.
- Check the contents of your emergency disaster kit in case a power outage occurs.
- Be aware of weather forecasts and the upcoming temperature changes.
- It’s not just the high temperature. The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. See our heat index chart.
- A backhome home generator is the safest and most reliable solution! Power outages are common during heatwaves because the need for A/C puts too much pressure on the power grids. A standby generator, however, automatically keeps the A/C running, the lights on, food and medicine from spoiling, and medical devices operating.
During the Heat Wave
- Use box fans and ceiling fans to promote air circulation throughout your home. Opening doors in the house and using box fans to push hot air outdoors can function as an "exhaust" system and draw cooler evening air into the house. In the cooler evenings, open all windows and promote as much air circulation as possible.
- Take advantage of the cooling power of water. Wet towels and bandannas can have a cooling effect when worn on the shoulders or head. Consider using a spray bottle filled with cold water for refreshing spritzes throughout the day.
- Head downstairs. Since hot air rises, the upper stories of a home will be warmer than the ground floor. A basement can be a cool refuge from the midday heat.
- Eliminate extra sources of heat. Incandescent light bulbs can generate unnecessary heat, as can computers or appliances left running. Eat fresh foods that do not require you to use the oven or stove to prepare.
- Remember to maintain an adequate level of hydration, which means you'll need to consume more water than you usually do when it's hot. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration; you should drink sufficient amounts of fluids before you feel thirsty in order to prevent dehydration
- For a homemade "air conditioning" system, sit in the path of a box fan that is aimed at an open cooler, or pan filled with ice.
Hot Weather And Firestorms
A firestorm is an intense fire that develops its own wind system. The strong wind currents make it easy for the flames to spread and it also increases its potential to cause damage significantly. During the summer the chances of one occurring increase due to the natural hot weather. Areas close to the forest or places with dry vegetation are at a higher risk of being affected by a firestorm. It is key to always be prepared for a fire as they can begin so suddenly. Some important tips to better prepare yourself include
- Have an emergency plan in place
- Install smoke detectors, detecting a fire early on may prevent complications
- Inspect your home for potential fire hazards; being aware of their location can prevent a fire
- Know the phone number of your nearest fire department; the sooner you call the faster they can arrive
- If a fire occurs indoors if possible you can close the door of the area. This may slow the spread of the fire
- Know the location of fire fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers
- Evacuate your home if there is a wildfire nearby that may reach your home
- Reduce or eliminate dry vegetation surrounding your home; dry vegetation is easily flammable
- Don't try to fight a large fire
- Be aware of your surroundings
No matter the location or size of a fire they are always dangerous. If you see there is a firestorm taking place then you should really remain on alert as they are very dangerous. In the event that you do receive fire damage then SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park specializes in fire damage mitigation. We have the equipment and expertise to assist you with your situation and we always want to help. We can easily be reached at (626) 852-9922. We are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
HVAC Leak In The Attic
The hole that was left after the ceiling collapsed.
We are in the middle of summer and many people have their air conditioning systems running consistently to stay cool. However, as comfortable as it may be you should always do some preventative maintenance as there is always a chance they can leak water. We recently received a job where the air conditioning unit in a bedroom ceiling was leaking consistently. The insulation in the attic was absorbing the water while at the same time the water was weakening the ceiling. Eventually the weight was enough to cause it to collapse and for some water to spill throughout the home. The leak ended up affecting the tenants bedroom walls, floors and the closet. It also affected the hallway walls and ceilings along with the living room walls. It also left a large whole in the ceiling in the room it originated. The client reached out to SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park for assistance and we were able to arrive within a day to begin the restoration process.
Air conditioning units create a comfortable setting in one's home. However, this comfort may cause one to overlook a malfunction in their unit. Signs of a defective unit include hearing or seeing unusual water dripping, or if you notice a puddle of water around your HVAC unit. An above average electric bill is also a common sign. A damaged unit will require more effort to run effectively thus a higher electricity bill. If you notice its not cooling as it is supposed to then that can also be a sign of a potential problem. If you haven't inspected your unit in at least 1 year it is suggested to give it a quick observation. If you do notice any signs of a malfunctioning unit it is key to take action as resolving the issue early on can save you from dealing with future complications. If you do happen to experience water damage from an HVAC leak then you can reach out to SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park. We specialize in water damage mitigation and are always willing to help. We can be reached at (626) 852-9922. We are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Be Careful When Smoking
Smoking is one of the leading causes of fires taking place. Being aware of your surroundings and of the potential fire hazards is important as fire can start suddenly. Some things you can do to prevent smoking fires include:
- Avoid smoking indoors; too many materials such as your bed, carpet, wood cabinets and blinds around that can catch on fire
- Avoid smoking around flammable materials even if you are outdoors
- Don't smoke in landscape areas. Things like trees and grass can easily catch fire
- Try to stick to smoking areas; they were designed for people to smoke and to minimize the risks.
- Discard the materials in appropriate areas such as ashtrays. Don't just throw them on the ground or thrash
- Make sure the butts and ashes are completely extinguished. If no ashtrays are around you can use the concrete or dip them in water
- Always be aware of your surroundings
The small flame from the cigarette butt can easily become a large one if not careful. If so then a variety of complications will arise. Even if the fire is put away quickly it can leave your home with a bothersome smell that can linger around for days. If you do happen to need assistance in dealing with fire damage then SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park is always ready to help. We specialize in fire damage mitigation and we can be reached at (626) 852-9922. We are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
A Water Leak in the Middle of the Home
The water leak affected the ceiling right below it.
We recently received a call from a tenant that experienced water damage. The home was a multi- unit three story condo where the toilet had overflowed on the second floor. Because it took place in the middle of the building the water was able to spread into the lower level as well. By the time the tenant took action, the damage had become extensive.
It affected the restroom's tile floor and vanities and the flooring in two nearby closets. It had also reached the living room and kitchen areas where the laminate flooring and lower walls were damaged. On the lower level it reached the entrance of the home and the garage; the ceiling in between the floors ended up being damaged as well. The tenants insurance reached out to us about the situation and we were happy to help. When we arrived we set up drying equipment and packed the necessary materials. We drilled wall cavities to allow the air flow to be more effective and speeden up the drying process. We removed some of the laminate flooring that was not salvageable and set up a containment in the affected areas so that possible contamination did not spread. We kept in contact with the insurance on behalf of the property owner the entire time and our Project Manager regularly monitored the restoration process. The tenant was impressed on how rapidly we proceeded, how we were handling the situation and with the convenience of the process.
SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park specializes in dealing with water damage. We will aim to arrive quickly to assist and try to make the entire process as easy as possible. If you need our help just reach out to us at (626)852-9922 we always want to help. We are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
Hot Summer Storms
The summer is officially here. The weather is hot and the sun is out longer. It is normal to see people spending time outdoors and enjoying the long days. A few days ago the weather was at 90 degrees. One would think it was just another beautiful day. However, that day it was raining, windy, and there was a consistent lightning storm taking place.
The moral of the story shows how even in the summer, storms can occur. During these summer storms water from the light rain can come in through a roof that has leak holes. Your roof can be damaged if water begins ponding in a weakened area. Thus, causing it to break and allowing water to fall inside. Water can also seep in through gaps around the building and damage your floor. Sewage problems can potentially arise and lead to some overflows. Also, there is always a small chance that the lightning strikes can start a fire, thus leading to a large disaster. With all these possibilities one would think it's the rainy season that takes place during the Fall and Winter time, but in fact it is during the summer when the temperature reaches 90 degrees and above daily.
Regardless of the time of the year, it is wise to always be aware of the potential damages that can take place during storms. If you do run into a situation where water or fire damage happens feel free to reach out to SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park at (626) 852-9922. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We always want to help and we will begin the restoration process and make it “like it never even happened.”