Preventing a House Fire in 2017

Posted July 24, 2017 at 8:58 pm
As the summer of 2017 is well underway, it is important for homeowners to be aware of the risks that come with rising temperatures and longer days. From outdoor activities and fireworks to indoor hazards, here are the most important tips to prevent fire Rockford homeowners can keep in mind.

Conduct a Fire Risk Audit

Every year, make a fire risk audit part of your annual home maintenance checklist. The best fire risk assessments go room by room to assess the potential hazards associated with the layout of your home, storage, appliances and other issues that could lead to a fire. The basement and attic are particularly high-risk areas, especially if they are unfinished. Homeowners tend to use these areas for storage, and the accumulation of furniture, boxes and debris means that fires in these areas can spread rapidly. Search the rest of the home for signs of faulty wiring and improperly connected appliances and equipment. Also take care to check the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home to ensure that they are properly installed and replace the batteries as indicated by your system.

Upgrade Old Appliances

From ancient water heaters to refrigerators with damaged wiring, old or faulty appliances can pose a serious fire hazard. While replacing or repairing these appliances may require an upfront investment, this step can help minimize the risk of a home fire and save big on restoration costs in the long run. Also check electrical decorations, such as hanging lamps and Christmas decorations, for any shorts in their wiring.

Avoid Overloading Power Strips

Overloading power strips and outlets is a leading cause of fires in the home. Avoid plugging more than one power strip into an outlet, and never connect multiple power strips. Also remember to avoid plugging appliances such as air conditioners and heaters into power strips, as a single medium-to-large appliance is often enough to overload a strip meant for computers and small electrical items.

Schedule an Inspection

An annual inspection is a great way to address any issues or concerns you may have after conducting a fire risk assessment on your own. Professional inspectors can tell you if there are any threats to your home's fire safety that need addressing.

Home Fire Prevention and Restoration

If your home has been damaged in a fire, Leaders in Disaster Restoration can help. We have decades of experience in home fire restoration and remediation, and we will help you develop a comprehensive plan to address the damage to your property at a reasonable rate. Call today at (888) 874-7066 for more information on scheduling your consultation. We offer a zero-pressure consultation and estimate to help you get a better idea of the options available to you after a fire.

The Most Common Locations for a House Fire to Begin

Posted July 19, 2017 at 10:00 am
A house fire is something every homeowner fears, but understanding how and where fires in the home occur goes a long way toward preventing them. Read on to discover the most common locations where house fires originate, including some you might not have considered.

Kitchens

The kitchen is by far the most common place for house fires to start. Unattended food left on the stove is what most people think of when it comes to a kitchen fire hazard. Fires in the kitchen can easily get out of control, especially if grease is involved. Pouring water on a grease fire is a dangerous mistake. Always keep a fire extinguisher under your kitchen sink and remember that a kitchen fire should be starved of oxygen. Water can cause hot grease to splatter, leading to serious burn injuries.

Laundry Rooms

The laundry room is a surprisingly common place for household fires to originate. Washers and dryers both pose a fire hazard if they are improperly hooked up. Lint left in a dryer trap can easily catch on fire under the high temperatures of a drying cycle. Because laundry rooms are usually only occupied when changing loads, it is easy for a fire in this area to spread and go unnoticed.

Basements and Attics

Basements and attics tend to be where homeowners store most of their clutter and old appliances. This means that if a fire does break out in one of these areas, there is plenty of fuel for it to consume. Old boxes, clothes and furniture stored in an attic or basement can easily become kindling if a fire gets out of hand, so it is important to keep these areas as clutter-free as possible. Always maintain a clear path of exit through stored items and avoid leaving appliances plugged in without supervision.

Outdoor Fires

Many people fireproof their homes and forget to fireproof their yards and other outdoor areas. From tool sheds to piles of wood kept outside the house, outdoor areas are often even more prone to fire during the summer months. If anyone in your home smokes, dry grass and brush can easily catch fire, especially during times of warmer temperatures. To minimize the risk of a fire starting around your house, keep your yard clear and hydrated throughout the summer. Avoid leaving large piles of natural materials around. Not only do they pose a fire risk, but they invite termites and other pests to congregate as well. Call Leaders in Disaster Restoration today at (888) 874-7066 for more information on what to do after a house fire Rockford homeowners can trust. If your home does experience a fire, there are steps that can be taken to salvage your most treasured belongings after the fact. Before you throw important items away, schedule a consultation to find out if fire damage restoration is an option.

Fire Damage 101

Posted July 12, 2017 at 10:00 am
Fire damage can lead to stress and significant expenses for affected homeowners, but knowing the steps to take after a fire will make the process easier. Read on to learn more information about how to prevent a house fire Rockford homeowners can trust.

How Fire Damage Happens

Fire damage occurs when property is either burnt or damaged by smoke during a house fire. The extent of damage can range from minor to severe, leaving damaged property unsalvageable. Even if an item has not been touched by actual flames, smoke and soot can render it unusable. It is incredibly difficult to get set-in smoke odors out of fabric and many other items, so addressing fire damage as soon as possible is the key to successful restoration.

Surprising Causes of Damage

In many cases, fires in the home start because of a faulty electrical appliance or a small, contained fire that is left unattended, such as a lit candle. Candle flames can easily surge without warning, catching nearby curtains, fabric and furniture on fire. The best way to prevent fire damage is to avoid leaving candles and electrical appliances unattended and to always maintain your smoke detectors for early detection of a fire.

Recovering from Fire Damage

House fires can lead to extensive structural damage in the home, but most of this type of damage should be covered by your homeowners' insurance plan. Many homeowners worry most about the items that can't be replaced, such as family heirlooms and photographs. The good news is that there are fire restoration services available that can help you restore and reclaim your most valued possessions. Leaders in Disaster Restoration offers extensive fire damage restoration services. Scheduling an inspection as soon as possible after you have contacted your insurance company is important. Many restoration services are covered by insurance, and LDR technicians are equipped and trained to handle even the most extensive types of smoke and fire damage. The first step to restoring your property is to assess the extent of the damage. Set-in smoke odor is more difficult to deal with than property that has recently been exposed to smoke. Even fire-damaged photographs, clothing and furniture may be salvaged with the right techniques and products. A professional restoration service has access to products and expertise that most homeowners do not possess, meaning that even if you are unable to salvage an item, hope is not lost. Call Leaders in Disaster Restoration today at (888) 874-7066 to schedule your consultation. LDR has been serving homeowners in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin since 1991, and all staff are thoroughly trained and certified to deal with complex restorations. Getting an expert opinion will help you save money by salvaging property you might otherwise have to throw away and replace, and it will also give you the peace of mind you need after a fire.

5 Tips to Prevent Fire Janesville Homeowners Need to Know

Posted June 28, 2017 at 10:00 am
Summer is a time of year most people look forward to, but it is associated with a higher risk of home fires. Read on to learn about tips to prevent fire Janesville homeowners can put to use today.

Check and Replace Wiring

Replacing faulty wiring is one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to preventing a fire. Old appliances pose a serious fire risk, especially if left unattended for an extended period of time. From refrigerators and dryers to small appliances, such as flat irons and toasters, bad wiring can easily short circuit an outlet. Old Christmas lights and other holiday decorations that are infrequently used can pose an even higher risk of starting an electrical fire. Regularly check wiring for external signs of damage or rubber stripping to minimize the risk.

Safety Inspections

The best way to prevent house fires is to schedule an annual inspection. Professional inspectors have the expertise and tools to identify fire hazards before they have time to become an issue. Getting a yearly inspection will also help give you peace of mind. If your home has a natural gas system, it is even more important to schedule a regular home inspection. If you suspect a gas leak in your home, you should call an inspector immediately to minimize the associated health risks.

Clean Filters Regularly

HVAC systems can be a surprising cause of home fires, especially if lint accumulates in the filters. Lint and debris can easily become fuel for a fire if a cooling unit malfunctions. The coils and burners of your furnace should also be cleaned regularly throughout the winter and after extended periods of disuse.

Monitor Flammable Items

Flammable items such as fabric upholstery, curtains and tablecloths should always be kept away from open flame, candles, stoves and heated appliances. Lamps also pose a risk of fire if they are not used with a properly fitted shade, or if fabric is laid overtop of a heated bulb.

Use Extension Cords Carefully

Extension cords should never be used for air conditioners or other large appliances. Using two or more extension cords in the same outlet is also a serious risk. These cords can easily overheat and lead to electrical fires, especially if they are filled to capacity.

Minimize Outdoor Clutter

Outdoor clutter is one of the leading causes of fire in and around the home. During warmer temperature periods, dried grass, leaves, brush, twigs and other outdoor debris often result in fires that can easily spread out of control. Keeping a fire extinguisher in your garage or another accessible area outside the home can help stop an outdoor fire before it causes extensive damage. Call Leaders in Disaster Restoration today at (888) 874-7066 to schedule a consultation if your home has been damaged in a fire. LDR can also help you identify potential risks to prevent a fire in the future. If your property has already been damaged by smoke, soot or flame, there are restoration services available to salvage your most valued possessions.

Preparing Your Home for Summer Heat

Posted June 21, 2017 at 10:00 am
As the weather heats up, there are plenty of summer home maintenance chores for Rockford homeowners to check off their lists. From ensuring that your AC unit is functioning correctly to properly ventilating the home, here are some warm weather tips to keep in mind.

Schedule an AC Inspection

HVAC systems can fall out of repair during the winter months, so it is important to have your air conditioner checked out before summer arrives. Be sure to clean any vents or filters thoroughly before you use your air conditioner for the first time. Accumulated dust and debris can easily circulate around the home, leading to allergies.

Keep an Eye Out for Mold

Because summer means drier conditions, many people make the mistake of assuming that mold is not an issue when the temperature rises. Air conditioning units often produce condensation, which can lead to the growth of mold during the summer. If you notice the growth of mold in or around the home, be sure to call Leaders in Disaster Restoration to schedule an inspection for home mold remediation Rockford residents can trust.

Inspect for Leaks

From summer storms to HVAC leaks, it is important to thoroughly inspect your home for any sign of leakage. Weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors are also important when it comes to maintaining the efficiency of your HVAC system. Improperly sealed windows and doors leak cool air, meaning that it takes more energy and money to keep your home at a comfortable temperature throughout the summer months.

Choose Green Energy Products

There are a variety of green energy products available to help keep your home cool during the summer without spending too much money or wasting electricity. Consider purchasing reflective film, room darkening blinds, or roller shades that reflect sunlight to prevent the summer sunshine from heating your home in the first place. Also keep in mind that older cooling units, such as fans and outdated air conditioners, can be a huge drain on your power supply. Even when your cooling devices are not plugged in, they may still be draining energy. A great summer tip is to ensure that only necessary appliances remain plugged in when not in use. Since many homeowners spend extra time outdoors during the summer, you can save big by only using your air conditioner when the house is occupied.

Adjust Your Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans should rotate clockwise during the winter so rising heat can flow evenly throughout the room, but when summer rolls around, you should adjust your fan to spin counter-clockwise. This minor adjustment makes a big difference by producing a cooling breeze that reduces the need to rely on an air conditioner. Summer is a fun and exciting time of year that doesn't have to coincide with a higher energy bill. Use these tips to keep your Rockford home cool throughout the summer and call Leaders in Disaster Restoration today at (888) 874-7066 to schedule a summertime inspection.

Questions to Ask After a Flood

Posted June 7, 2017 at 10:00 am
After a flood or a burst pipe, homeowners may feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tasks on their to-do list in order to get everything back in working condition. Read on to learn more about the questions regarding water damage restoration service Janesville homeowners need to ask.

Is It Safe?

One of the most important questions to ask after a flood is whether or not it is safe to return to your home. Water damage can not only lead to the destruction of valuable property but serious safety hazards as well. Downed electrical lines or water-damaged appliances pose serious electrical and fire risks, so it is important to have your home inspected for safety before trying to assess the damage. Once the electricity has been shut off and the water has been removed from the area, you can begin taking inventory of the damage.

What Type of Damage is Covered?

After your home has been secured and any safety hazards have been addressed, be sure to speak with your insurance adjuster to discuss your policy. The best time to learn what is and isn't covered after a flood is before a disaster happens, since many policies require a waiting period before certain types of water damage qualify for coverage. In some cases, you may be unable to receive coverage for insurance purchased during a high-risk period for flooding until a certain time limit has passed. Knowing what insurance will pay to repair or replace goes a long way toward reducing the stress associated with water damage.

What Can Be Salvaged?

Many homeowners make the mistake of throwing away salvageable items, thinking the water damage is too extensive to repair. A professional water damage restoration service can help you recover your most precious possessions as well as practical items. From appliances to carpeting and hardwood floors, it is often possible to salvage items that have been exposed to water. The sooner you begin the restoration process, the better chance it has of success. Before you throw out your antiques, schedule a consultation with a restoration service to find out how much you could save on replacement costs.

How Can It Be Prevented?

The best way to address water damage is before it strikes. Whether you live in a flood zone or simply want to reduce the risk of water damage in general, it helps to have a plan before you need one. Regular inspections make it easier to identify irrigation issues, faulty plumbing and other common causes of water damage. If your home has flooded, call Leaders in Disaster Restoration today at (888) 874-7066. Our friendly and knowledgeable technicians are available 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have about the repair and restoration process. From salvaging your family heirlooms to preventing storm damage, we will work with you to develop a plan that is tailored to your unique situation.

Mold Damage in Commercial Settings

Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:00 am
Mold damage can be a serious issue for homeowners, but it is also a major issue in commercial settings. If you believe that your business may be developing a mold problem, it is important to reach out for assistance as soon as possible and learn to recognize the signs.

Be Aware

Often, the first sign of mold in a commercial setting arrives in the form of employee complaints or call outs due to workplace-related illness. If employees have reported allergy symptoms, mold may be the cause. Depending on the location of your business, certain times of year could pose more of a mold risk than others. It is common for areas that receive heavy rainfall in the spring and fall to have an uptick in mold growth during these times of year.

Use Dehumidifiers and Proper Ventilation

Mold thrives in moist, dark environments, so any area near an air conditioner or unsealed windows is especially prone to mold growth. Condensation creates a perfect environment for mold to grow in, but the issue is not always as visible as you would think. Mold can even grow underneath wallpaper, inside of drywall and under floorboards, so it is important to schedule a thorough inspection if you suspect that mold growth is an issue. Open air environments are far less likely to facilitate mold growth, so ventilation is the key to effective prevention.

Act Quickly

The longer a mold problem is left unaddressed, the more likely it is to get out of hand. While most forms of mold are non-toxic, all mold can lead to allergies and unsanitary work conditions. Providing a safe and sanitary environment for your employees and customers begins with eliminating the threat of existing mold and preventing mold growth in the future. Properly sealed doors and windows go a long way toward reducing the risk of mold growth as well.

Call in the Experts

When it comes to dealing with mold damage in your business, the easiest way is to call in a professional service for mold removal Janesville companies can trust. From toxic mold issues to general health and sanitation hazards, an ongoing mold problem could present numerous legal issues for businesses that fail to take action. Protect your employees, your customers and your brand by calling for a professional mold inspection. If you do have a problem with mold in your place of business, addressing the issue as quickly and thoroughly as possible with professional mold remediation could save your company a significant amount of time and money in the future. Call Leaders in Disaster Restoration today at (888) 874-7066 for more information on scheduling a mold remediation consultation. Even if you are unsure of whether your business has a mold problem, it pays to work with professionals who are trained to identify the earliest signs of mold growth and act preventatively against future problems.

Fire Safety Tips for Summer

Posted May 24, 2017 at 10:00 am
Amid backyard barbecues and picnics, there are some summertime safety hazards all homeowners can take steps to mitigate. Warmer weather brings an increased risk of fire in and around the home, but with these safety tips, you can stay prepared.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher in the Home

All homes should have at least one fire extinguisher that is easy to access in case of an emergency. During the summer months, it is helpful to keep a fire extinguisher where it can easily be accessed to address outdoor brush fires. The kitchen is the ideal place to keep a fire extinguisher since cooking is one of the most significant fire hazards around the home.

Avoid At-Home Fireworks Displays

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety, an average of 200 people visit the emergency room as a result of July 4th-related activities. Safety experts recommend avoiding home fireworks displays altogether since the risk of fire and injury is so high.

Store Flammable Gear Carefully

Flammable items such as lighter fluid should be stored well away from fire pits and other areas near electrical devices or open flame. This is especially important during the summer months, when bottles of lighter fluid are often left around during barbecues and grilling sessions.

Never Leave a Fire Unattended

From a small scented candle to a grill, it is important to remember never to leave flames unattended for even a short period of time. This is true of hot stoves, ovens and fireplaces throughout the year as well. While many people are cautious of the fire hazard posed by faulty wiring in Christmas decorations or old appliances, many homeowners make the mistake of leaving gas grills or other outdoor fire hazards unattended during the summer. A fire can spread rapidly in a matter of seconds, so supervision is the key to summer safety around the home.

Monitor Outdoor Wiring

From garden party lights to pool equipment, any electrical appliance or device that is left plugged in can malfunction, leading to a fire. Make a habit of checking to ensure that all of your outdoor wiring is properly stored and turned off before going to bed or leaving the house.

Keep Brush and Yard Clutter to a Minimum

Brush fires are especially common during the hottest months of the summer, but they are always easily prevented. Check with your local sanitation department to find out the proper procedure for getting rid of yard waste to avoid unsightly brush piles that can turn into a major fire hazard. The closer piles of wood and brush are to the structure of the house, the easier it is for a fire to spread. If a fire breaks out in or near your home, call Leaders in Disaster Restoration today at (888) 874-7066 for information on what to do after a house fire Janesville residents can trust.

The Most Common Types of Water Damage

Posted May 17, 2017 at 10:00 am
Water damage is a nightmare for any homeowner, but the different causes of flooding affect which type of water damage restoration service Janesville homeowners need to seek. Whether your basement has flooded after a summer storm or you need to have excess water removed from your yard due to improper drainage, it helps to know what type of water damage you are dealing with.  

Flood Water Damage

Flooding is a significant issue for homeowners during multiple times of the year. In the spring and fall, an increased frequency of thunderstorms and rain showers can result in the flooding of low-lying  areas. In the springtime, as the winter snow begins to thaw out, large quantities of melted ice, slush and water can find their way into the home, causing a significant amount of property damage. Flood damage is especially a problem for homeowners with basements and foundations that are not properly sealed against the elements.  

Appliance Malfunction

Many household appliances use large quantities of water, including the water heater, washing machine and dishwasher. If any of these appliances malfunction, it could lead to a significant amount of water damage in your home. Dishwashers may overflow or become backed up, causing damage to hardwood flooring in your kitchen. Likewise, a malfunctioning washer can easily soak through carpets in the laundry room.  

Burst Pipes

Burst pipes are one of the leading causes of water damage in both commercial and residential settings. From rust to faulty pipe connectors, there are a variety of culprits behind a burst pipe. In the winter, water within the pipes can freeze, resulting in the expansion and subsequent weakening of the metal. Whatever the cause of a burst pipe may be, it is important to address the damage as quickly as possible. Once the water is shut off, the process of removing the excess water in a basement or other areas of the home can begin. A non-electric water pump is a great appliance to keep on hand in the case of a burst pipe that requires you to have your electricity shut off as well.  

Improper Drainage

A proper drainage system is designed to route water around and away from the home. If your home sits at the bottom of an incline or is otherwise improperly irrigated, you may be at an increased risk for flood damage. The best way to deal with drainage issues is to keep your gutters well-maintained to prevent water backup and ensure that your foundation and lower-level windows are properly sealed. A yearly inspection is even more important if you live in an area with heavy rainfall. If you are a Janesville homeowner dealing with the aftermath of water damage from any of the above causes, Leaders in Disaster Restoration can help. Call today at (888) 874-7066 to schedule a consultation and receive an honest quote from one of our highly trained technicians.

What Can Be Salvaged After Water Damage (And What Usually Can’t)

Posted May 3, 2017 at 10:00 am
SalvagedOne of the most common myths about water remediation Janesville homeowners believe is that most property can't be salvaged after a flood. From furniture and clothing to priceless heirlooms, there are a variety of items that can often be salvaged and restored after water damage. Read on to learn more about the items a professional restoration service like Leaders in Disaster Restoration can help you with.

Heirlooms

Family heirlooms are some of the most sentimental items a homeowner can own, and many people grieve these items the most after a flood. While upholstered items are more prone to water damage than others, it is often possible to save them with the right techniques.

Wooden Furniture

While it is true that water-damaged wood can become rotted and compromised, professional restoration services are often able to restore these items to great condition. Whether it involves refinishing the base or removing water damaged upholstery and reupholstering an antique frame, there are various steps that can be taken to protect and preserve your favorite wooden furniture items.

Clothes

While it may be easier to simply replace cheaper items of clothing and linens, some clothes can be salvaged with thorough cleaning. If the clothes have been left in a moist area for an extended period of time, it may be necessary to perform more intensive cleaning than an at-home washer or dryer can provide. Dry cleaning services are often tailored specifically for addressing water damage. The most important thing when it comes to restoring water damaged clothes is to lift and eliminate any mold or mildew. Wet clothes that are allowed to dry will develop a musty smell that can linger forever if not properly treated with safe chemicals designed for the purpose.

Flooring

Carpeted basements are often difficult to deal with after a flood, but it may be possible to salvage your flooring. Simply drying the carpet is not enough if it has been exposed to sitting water for a long period of time. Flood water is often contaminated, making it important to have the carpet thoroughly cleaned with professional-grade chemicals. Shampooing and drying the carpets is often enough to remove any mildew or set-in debris that occurs as a result of a flood.

Electrical Items

Electrical items are often the most difficult to salvage, and you should never attempt to test or restore water-damaged electrical appliances on your own. A professional restoration service can safely address these items to minimize the risk of electrical shock. If your home has been subjected to flooding, call Leaders in Disaster Restoration today at (888) 874-7066. Addressing flood damage as soon as possible is the key to preserving your most important possessions. The longer water has to set in, the more extensive the damage will be.

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