Recent Posts

Document Restoration

2/4/2019 (Permalink)

As a leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO® knows timely mitigation is the key to reducing severity and recovering damaged items. Water– or smoke–damaged paper can rapidly deteriorate. Without proper handling, valuable files and irreplaceable documents could be lost forever. Let SERVPRO’s Document Restoration Team help you recover your damaged paper goods before it is too late.

SERVPRO’s technicians are trained to use the most advanced technology available for document recovery and drying; in fact, the Document Restoration Team uses the same technique the Library of Congress uses to dry water-damaged books.

Vacuum Freeze Drying?

Vacuum freeze drying is the most efficient and effective way to salvage water-damaged documents. The Document Restoration Team uses
sublimation—turning a solid directly into a vapor, skipping the liquid stage to avoid causing more damage to the documents. This process can recover even the most delicate items—from documents to photographs and x-rays, to entire business archives.

All employees of the Document Restoration Team are HIPAA Master certified and once your items arrive at the SERVPRO® facility, 24/7 video surveillance is guaranteed.

Digitizing

With the new age of technology, digitizing records and documents has become a standard practice in most industries. This eliminates the need to have massive file storage rooms and allows us to access records at the click of a button. If your file room was damaged by water or smoke and needs to be cleaned, dried or decontaminated, digitizing might be a good choice to eliminate the need to have hundreds or even thousands of documents and records in storage.

Gamma Irradiation

Gamma irradiation is a process used for cleaning/disinfecting and decontaminating documents or other consumer goods.

In a CAT 3 situation (sewage or flood water), documents are not only deteriorating but are also infected with all types of bacteria. In most storm situations, you are dealing with CAT 3 water; therefore, most of the affected documents you encounter will be contaminated.

If this is the case, decontamination is always a must. In living cells, these disruptions result in damage to the DNA and other cellular structures. These photon induced changes at the molecular level cause the death of the organism or render the organism incapable of reproduction. The gamma process does not create residuals or impart radioactivity in processed products.

Certified Destruction

Unfortunately, many businesses and government agencies have to dispose of counterfeit, faulty, expired or contaminated materials. All entities need to be certified that their products and materials are destroyed. The guarantee of certified destruction is to protect one’s liabilities, brand image or proprietary information. We guarantee certified destruction to give you peace of mind that your documents are disposed of properly.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

12 Protection Tips for Fire Damage Restoration

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

Source: https://www.randrmagonline.com

During a fire, innumerable toxic chemicals, poisonous gases, heavy metals, and other toxins are generated by the materials, household products, and vegetation that burns. These contaminants fill the air, become part of the ash, and are extremely dangerous to your health if inhaled or come in contact with your skin. We often forget about the dangers involved in the various environments we enter, but safety should always be a top priority.

If you are entering an area affected by fire or smoke, consider the following safety tips:

  1. Avoid breathing air contaminated by smoke odor and minimize your exposure to contaminated areas.
  2. If you need to enter a smoke damaged structure, wear proper personal protective equipment, including a proper fitting respirator with a P-100 HEPA filter designed to filter vapor or gasses (not a dust mask).
  3. Persons with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before using a mask during post-fire cleanup.
  4. Avoid handling or coming in direct skin contact with items or materials affected by smoke, soot, or ash. If you need to retrieve items damaged by smoke, wear proper personal protection equipment, such as coveralls, eye protection, gloves, proper foot wear, hardhat, etc.
  5. Avoid getting ash into the air as much as possible. Do not use leaf blowers or take other actions that will put ash into the air.
  6. Avoid using shop vacuums and other common vacuum cleaners. These do not filter out small particles, but blow them out the exhaust into the air where they can be inhaled.
  7. Do not allow children or pets to enter areas that have smoke odor, ash or soot. If children or pets get soot or ash on their skin or hair, wash immediately with mild soap and warm water.
  8. If you anticipate that you will need to be inside a building or area affected by smoke, attempt to ventilate the area by opening windows or doors unless doing so will allow outdoor smoke odor or ash to get in. Minimize your exposure as much as possible.
  9. Have an environmental testing laboratory test for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and particulates to determine what types and concentrations of toxins may be present. 
  10. When sorting through contents, don't take chances. People should not eat or drink anything that has signs of heat or smoke damage. When in doubt, throw it out!
  11. If you experience any adverse health symptoms from exposure to smoke or soot, seek medical attention immediately.
  12. If you need to be in an enclosed space that has smoke odor, such as an office, home, or building, try to set up air scrubbers with HEPA filters or other type of filter designed to remove ultra-fine particulate matter as quickly as possible. In addition, using a hydroxyl generator can help to break down odor causing molecules.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

Frozen water exerts thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch on a pipe and can burst it, causing flooding and major damage to your business. Extensive water damage can also occur as a result of frozen pipes in sprinkler systems during extended power outages in freezing weather.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Guidance for reducing the risk of pipes freezing:

  • Provide a reliable back-up power source, such as a stand by generator, to ensure continuous power to the building.
  • Install a monitoring system with notifications if the building’s temperature dips below a pre-determined number.
  • Insulate recessed light fixtures in the ceiling to reduce heat entering the attic. Look for visible light inside the attic. If present, insulate or seal. If the space above a suspended ceiling is conditioned, there is no need for added insulation or sealing.
  • Insulate and properly seal attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, electric and mechanical chases, and access doors, and all doors and windows.
  • Seal all wall cracks and penetrations including domestic and fire protection lines, electrical conduit and other utility service lines.
  • Sprinkler systems should be consistently monitored by a central station to provide early detection of a pipe failure.
  • Install insulation and/or heat trace tape connected to a reliable power source on parts of wet sprinkler system piping. This includes main lines coming up from underground passing through a wall as well as sprinkler branch lines.
  • UL-approved gas or electric unit heaters can be installed in unheated sprinkler control valve/fire pump rooms. If back up power is provided, the heaters should also be connected to this power source.
  • A monitored automatic excess flow switch can be placed on the main incoming domestic water line to provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve when the business is closed.

Peace of Mind

Although it seems as if our winters are longer and colder, the winter weather business protection tips described above can help give you piece of mind during the winter months. We believe that implementing these tips can greatly reduce a building’s potential structural loss and loss of business operations due to large snow falls, freezing temperatures and power outages during these times.

8 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipe Damage for a Business

  1. Seal Exterior: Seal all cracks, holes, windows, doors and other openings on exterior walls with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating wall cavities.
  2. Seal Interior: Insulate and seal attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, and electrical and mechanical chases.
  3. Relieve Pipe Pressure: Let all faucets drip during extreme cold weather to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe, and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet.
  4. Keep the Building Warm: Install a monitoring system that provides notifications if the building's temperature dips below a pre-determined number.
  5. Insulate Vulnerable Pipes: Insulate pipes most vulnerable to freezing by using pipe insulation.
  6. Install Early Detection System: Install an automatic excess flow switch on the main incoming water line to monitor and provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve.  Use wireless sensors near water sources.
  7. Monitor Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems: Monitor sprinkler systems using a central station to provide early detection of a pipe failure and heat unheated sprinkler control rooms.
  8. Install Backup Power: Provide a reliable backup power source to ensure heat to the building.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Prevent Damage from Frozen Pipes

12/30/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

Frozen pipes are one of the leading sources of property damage when the temperature drops. Don’t let damage from frozen pipes soak your home or business—prepare using the following guidance.

1. Seal Exterior

Seal all cracks, holes, windows, doors, and other openings on exterior walls with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating wall cavity.

2. Seal Interior

Insulate and seal attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, and electric and mechanical chases.

3. Relieve Pipe Pressure

Let all faucets drip during extreme cold weather to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe, and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet.

4. Keep the Building Warm

Install a monitoring system that provides notifications if the building’s temperature dips below a pre-determined number.

5. Insulate Vulnerable Pipes

Insulate pipes most vulnerable to freezing by using pipe insulation.

6. Install Early Detection System

Install an automatic excess flow switch on the main incoming domestic water line to monitor and provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve. Use wireless sensors near water sources.

7. Monitor Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems

Monitor sprinkler systems using a central station to provide early detection of a pipe failure and heat unheated sprinkler control rooms.

8. Install Backup Power

Provide a reliable backup power source to ensure heat to the building.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Commercial Roof Snow Load & Ice Dam Risks

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

When it comes to the weight of snow, the type of snow is as important as the depth of snow. Fresh “powder” type snow is typically lighter than wet packed snow. Ice is heavier than snow. During the winter months, a roof system can be exposed to all three combinations over a several month period.

General guidelines to help estimate the weight of snow:

  • Fresh snow: 10-12 inches of new snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space.
  • Packed snow generally is heavier than new snow: 3-5 inches of old snow is equal to one inch of water, again about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space.
  • Ice is also heavier than snow. One inch equals about a foot of fresh snow.
  • The total amount of accumulated snow and ice is what matters in evaluating snow load risk. For example, the accumulated weight of two feet of old snow and two feet of new snow could be as high as 60 lbs per square foot of roof space, which may stress the limits of even the best designed roof.

If you are in the “danger zone” according to chart above or if the loads you estimate based on the thickness of the various types of snow and ice exceed 20-25 psf, you should consider having the snow removed from your roof.

Preventing Roof Collapse

Factors that could dictate how your particular facility will perform under the weight of ice and snow. These factors are listed below, which includes engineering considerations that could help you avoid roof collapses this winter.

  • Live and dead load design;
  • Age of the building and the roof;
  • Condition of the roof;
  • Elevation;
  • Maintenance during or after a major snow storm

Addressing Roof Strength

If it is determined that the roof system is not adequately designed to withstand the snow falls being encountered, a building owner should consider strengthening the roof as soon as possible or before the next winter. A structural engineer can determine the maximum loads your roof can withstand, as well as provide practical solutions to improve the strength of your roof.

Snow Removal

Safe snow removal may reduce some of the snow load on your roof. Consider contracting with a professional for snow removal. If your workers will be removing snow keep the guidelines below in mind. To avoid roof collapse, snow removal should begin prior to reaching the snow load limit of the roof.

Always follow Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) Regulations and Standards, particularly fall protections for roof work. Avoid using shovels or snow blowers. Instead, use a heavy duty push broom with stiff bristles or roof rake to brush off the snow down the slope of the roof. For most single-story buildings with steep sloped roofs, a roof rake may be used for while remaining on the ground to pull snow down the roof slope. Do not pull snow back against the slope or sideways since the snow may get underneath the cover and can break shingles.

Ice Dam Risks

Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow (water) from draining off your roof. The water that backs up behind this “dam” can leak into your business and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas. Additionally, when the roof doesn’t drain properly, snow, ice, and water remains trapped on the roof, adding loads that put your roof at greater risk.

Preventing Ice Dams

IBHS offers the following guidance to help prevent damage from ice dams:

  • Increase insulation above ceilings.
  • Create a roof preventative maintenance, including periodic roof drainage inspections.
  • Install self-regulating heating cables on gutters, downspouts, and around roof drains.
  • Keep all drains, scuppers, gutters, and downspouts free of debris and vegetation.
  • Prune trees that may hang over the roof to prevent an accumulation of tree leaves and branches that may clog or slow roof drainage.
  • Improve ventilation. Consider installing electric power vents with thermostats.

Removing Ice Dams

We do not recommend chipping or breaking ice dams because this can damage the roof. The following guidance is for the most common types of commercial roof systems.

Steep Sloped Roof Systems:

  • If the building has a history of ice dams, remove the snow to reduce the risk.
  • If the building is too tall to reach with a roof rake from the ground, hire a roofing professional. For more information, please see Selecting a Roofing Professional.
  • Remove or relocate heat sources that are installed in open areas directly under the roof.
  • Increase ventilation in attic spaces:
    • New gable roofs: Soffit/ridge vents provide good ventilation.
    • Gable end vents: place an electric fan over vents to increase the flow of air.
    • Hip roofs: Box or static vents are practical improvements.
  • Insulate recessed light fixtures in the ceiling to reduce heat entering the attic. Look for visible light inside the attic. If present, insulate or seal.
  • Insulate or seal all attic penetrations: partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, electric and mechanical chases and access doors.
  • New roof installation: Seal the roof deck using at least two layers of underlayment cemented together or a self-adhering polymer modified bitumen sheet. Extend the moisture barrier at least 24 inches from the edge of the eaves to beyond the inside of the exterior wall.

Flat, Monoslope and Low Sloped Roof Systems:

  • Flat roofs are particularly vulnerable to water leaks if ice dams keep water from flowing into roof drains. Removing the snow will remove the source of a potential ice dam.
  • Drains:
    • If ice dams form around drains, place heating cables on the roof and connect the cables to the drains to create a path for the melting ice to follow.
    • Consider installing heating cables in a zigzag manner inside gutters.
    • If there is extensive ice build-up around the drains, consult a roofing professional.
  • When the roof is dry, inspect the roof cover. Look for mold, mildew and vegetation, all of which are signs of a problem with the slope of the roof cover system and drainage. A roofing professional can advise you about re-pitching the roof cover.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Commercial Winter Weather Guidance

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

Among the biggest weather events of the winter are the recurring monster snowstorms that wallop the Northeast and wreak havoc on travel throughout the U.S. during a 6-week period from late January to early March. Frequent snowfalls are accompanied by persistent cold temperatures that prevent melting. When it is all done businesses throughout the region experience roof collapses, frozen pipes, and the logistical challenge of getting employees to work when neither roads nor transit systems can keep pace with the snow.

While these “snowpocalypse” storms receive the most attention, winter cold and storms pound many parts of the U.S. during the past year; the lessons learned from these heavy storms can help businesses elsewhere prepare for and respond to snow, ice, and freezing temperatures in 2018 and beyond. With this goal in mind, following is guidance on severe winter weather and business protection.

Use Social Media to Communicate Before, During, and After a Major Storm

Winter storms launch a “blizzard” of social media, as people across the Northeast post photos, videos, and personal anecdotes about the snow. While many of these posts help inject humor into a difficult and sometimes dangerous weather event, they also helped strangers isolated by the storm come together and commiserate. At least as important, social media serves as a way for emergency management officials to warn residents about approaching weather conditions (including how to prepare and what to do during and after a storm), and some businesses use it to stay connected with employees, customers and business partners. This allows them to communicate quickly, widely and accurately—providing such information as the opening status of the business, whether employees need to report to work, any delays in the provision of goods and services, and when updated operational information would be available. Importantly, while these same social media tools that employees use in their personal lives can be applied to post-disaster business communications at little or no cost, planning ahead is essential to finding the specific social media platforms that will work best. 

Telecommuting Should Be Part of Every Winter Weather Business Continuity Plan

Due to the rapid and heavy snow accumulation last winter in the Northeast, a number of states and localities issued widespread travel bans. Even after the bans were lifted, many roads remained impassable, and Boston’s public transit system was incapable of transporting its usual 1.2 million daily riders. For many employers, telecommuting became a vital option that allowed them to avoid a shutdown while keeping employees off of clogged or dangerous roads and stalled mass transit systems. However, for telework to be successful, employers need to plan ahead by identifying telecommuting strategies, documenting a telecommuting policy, putting in place an I/T structure to support the program, and testing the system prior to a blizzard or other emergency. 

Keep the Power On and the Business Running with Generators

Snow and ice have the potential to weigh down tree limbs and pull down power lines, causing widespread and long-lasting power outages. Although power outages associated with winter storms are not as severe as anticipated (due to the powdery light snow that falls in most areas), that is not always the case. In fact, one of the worst storms in this regard was the unprecedented 2011 Halloween nor’easter which hit when many trees were still in leaf, resulting in tree and branch collapses that caused an estimated 3.2 million commercial and residential power outages, some lasting long after the snow had been removed or melted. A commercial generator can help businesses minimize disruption when faced with such a situation, but only if one is purchased, installed, and maintained prior to the time of need. It is also critical to have effective generator safety practices in place to minimize risks to people and property, including fire, damage to electrical equipment, and, most tragically, carbon monoxide poisoning. It is also important to have contracts in place with reliable vendors  to ensure delivery of generator fuel and other critical supplies. 

Snow Removal is Essential to Keep a Clear Path to Your Business

After snowfall, it is important to clear parking lots, driveways and sidewalks to provide safe access for employees, customers and suppliers. In some jurisdictions, there are legal requirements for snow removal; but even if that is not the case, promptly removing snow and minimizing icy surfaces is important for reducing the likelihood of slips and falls, and shows customers you are open for business. Smaller snow amounts can be handled by maintenance staff (assuming the right snow removal equipment is on hand), but large accumulations generally require professional snow removal contractors. These crews are in heavy demand after a storm, so it is critical to have outside service contracts in place prior to the first snowfall of the season. When selecting a contractor, it is important to make sure the people who remove your snow/ice will show up as anticipated, do a thorough job, and work within previously negotiated price guidelines.

  • Make sure the contract covers all of your needs (e.g., parking lots, driveways, walkways, roofs).
  • Look for an established, licensed and bonded professional.
  • Check references.
  • Ask to see the contractor’s certificates of insurance. Make sure coverage for liability and workers’ compensation insurance is current.

Beyond the big headline blizzards, severe winter weather can occur in many parts of the U.S. from late fall until early spring. By the time these storms are broadcast by local forecasters, it may be too late to put in place the measures needed to remove heavy snow and ice, protect roof systems and water pipes, and keep employees and operations productive. With advance planning, businesses can minimize “snowpocalypse” disruption as they wait for warmer weather to arrive.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

5 Ways to Winterize and Holiday-Proof Your Commercial Property

11/24/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

For many small businesses, the holiday/ winter weather season is when they will earn a significant part of their revenue for the entire year. For others, it is a time when they will close for a short break or long winter hiatus. Regardless of your business model, preparing for the holidays and winter season can help prevent problems caused by indoor hazards or winter weather.

1. DECORATE SAFELY

  • Choose decorations wisely. Some may be combustible and should be kept away from any heat or ignition sources.
  • Use battery-operated candles in place of traditional ones.
  • Never hang decorations from fire sprinklers or block them—this can prevent sprinklers from operating properly.
  • Do not cover emergency exit signs, fire extinguishers or fire alarms with decorations; also avoid overcrowding aisles or cluttering any place that would make it difficult to exit in an emergency.
  • Do not place extension cords in high-traffic areas of your workplace, or under rugs, carpets or furniture.
  • Promote safe ladder use. This can help protect both employees and customers.
  • Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving the building.

2. PREPARE FOR CLOSING

  • Inform customers in advance if you’ll be closing for the holidays or a longer seasonal break.
  • Update your company website to reflect closing details. Shut down any unnecessary office equipment.
  • Secure your building and set alarms. Advise your security company that you will be vacating the property. Verify/update emergency contact information they have on file.
  • Consider hiring a patrol service to conduct recorded rounds while inspecting the premises at different times of day and night to reduce the threat of vandalism and theft.

3. PROTECT AGAINST FREEZING

  • Thermostats should be maintained at a minimum of 55°F when the building is unoccupied.
  • For early detection of a broken pipe or valve, consider installing a monitored electric leak detection system for the main domestic water line. Monitored electronic sensors can also be installed near water sources for early leak detection.
  • Run a small trickle of water to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Open cabinet and utility room doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
  • Ensure all pipes located in vulnerable areas, such as crawlspaces, exterior walls, attics and unheated basements, are insulated with sleeves or wrapping. The more insulation you have, the better. Hardware and big box stores usually carry foam or fiberglass insulation.
  • UL-approved gas or electric unit heaters can be installed in unheated sprinkler control valve/fire pump rooms.
  • Indoor and outdoor fire protection sprinkler systems should be monitored by a constantly attended central station to provide early detection of a sprinkler pipe rupture due to freezing. At minimum, if your business is not located close to where you live or are spending the winter, have someone check the property to ensure the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen. 

4. READY THE ROOF

  • If the building will be unoccupied for a prolonged period, safely clear the roof of all debris, dirt and leaves, which can block gutters and downspouts. Debris buildup can prevent snow melt from properly draining away from the building and can cause ice dams and heavy snow buildup on your roof.
  • Inspect gutters/downspouts for securement. Heavy snow/ ice can cause gutters to weaken and sag, leading them to break away from the building and allow for water intrusion.
  • If a winter storm occurs during a holiday or seasonal break, arrange for snow removal for employee access and plan to have a professional remove any excess snow from the roof. This will prevent excessive loads on the roof which could cause structural failure.

CONCLUSION

The winter holidays should be a time for businesses to reflect on past challenges and accomplishments, and make plans to prosper in the New Year. But at the same time, it is important to take steps to prevent injury or damage that can be caused by risks that are unique to this season. Doing so now can provide a head start on New Year’s resolutions to strengthen your business in 2019.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Reduce Damage to Homes from Alternative Heating Sources

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

Consumers often turn to alternative heating systems like wood pellet stoves (a.k.a. wood burning stove or wood pellet furnace) during the winter to heat their homes. If you’re considering switching to a wood pellet stove, space heater, or fireplace this winter, consider the following safety information.

Use Caution

  • Before using any heating device, install carbon monoxide detectors in several parts of the house.
  • Except where specifically recommended by the manufacturer, only the fuel (e.g., pellets, corn, log wood, coal or gas) for which a stove is designed should be used.
  • Never use a kerosene heater indoors.

Stove Placement

Alternate heating stoves can vary in construction regarding self-contained insulation and thermal protection. A single layer iron-walled stove, for example, can generate enormous heat several feet in all directions. On the other hand, more sophisticated multiple walled insulated forced-air stoves can remain safe to the touch when in use.

Placement of the stove must take into consideration adequate space for installation, maintenance and replacement, flue or vent pipe routing, and most importantly, safe location relative to combustible materials. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recognizes appropriate American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards and testing of the reduction of heat with distance from the unit as well as non-combustible shielding (defined in codes). Properly tested and rated stoves will have an attached safety label and an installation manual, which will detail the manufacturer’s recommended minimum separations. Some general guidelines are provided for different types of stoves in the following sections for cases when labels are missing.

In most cases, protection of the floor or combustible surface under a stove is required and specified including shielding beneath and extending on all sides in accordance with the code and label requirements. This includes adequate protection in front of the fire box and where ash removal is required.

Standards also exist for locating and routing flue and vent pipes in order to provide separation from combustibles adjacent to and through walls and to existing chimneys.

Pellet Stoves

These modern devices operate through an automated fuel-delivery process. In some designs, a fan delivers air to the fire and blows exhaust by-products out of a vent pipe that is smaller and typically less expensive than a chimney. Often, a separate fan blows air through heat exchangers in the stove and out into the home.

  • Always hire an installer who is licensed and certified.
  • Stove placement must allow for access to proper venting and electrical sources and must meet minimum required clearances. Certified installers operate according to these guidelines.
  • Outlets must be checked for proper voltage, grounding and polarity.
  • According to model building codes, multiple walled insulated forced-air stoves within compartments or alcoves should have a minimum of 3 inches of working space clearance along the sides, back and top with a total width of the enclosing space being at least 12 inches wider than the stove.
  • Stoves having a firebox open to the atmosphere should have at least a 6-inch working space along the front combustion chamber side.
  • Keep the stove clear of all combustible materials.
  • Use PL vent pipes tested to UL 641.

The following materials should never be used to vent pellet appliances:

  • Dryer vent
  • Gas appliance Type B vent
  • PVC pipe
  • Single-wall stove pipe, unless approved by local codes and the installation manual.
  • Inspect chimney before installation. Relining may be required.
  • Altitudes higher than 2,500 feet may require special venting options.
  • An outside air source may be required for houses with tight construction or strong kitchen, bath or other exhaust fans.
  • Manufacturer’s instructions must be closely followed regarding sealing joints and seams, particularly of pressurized mechanical exhaust vents.
  • Regular maintenance is critical to ensure safe operation.
  • Frequency of cleaning will depend on the fuel type, grade and content.
  • Components should be inspected daily.
  • Professional cleaning is recommended for vent systems before each seasonal use.

Wood Stoves

These traditional heat sources remain popular, but have been linked to an increase in house and chimney fires.

  • Choose a stove that has been tested by UL.
  • Second-hand stoves should be free of broken parts or cracks.
  • Maintain at least a 36-inch clearance between the stove and combustible materials or use fire-resistant materials to protect woodwork and other areas. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Keep the stove clear of combustible materials.
  • Noncombustible floor covering should be used under and around the stove. The material should extend 18 inches on all sides.
  • Prior to using the stove, place a layer of sand or firebrick in the bottom of the firebox.
  • Vent pipes or chimneys must be inspected prior to use.
  • If a stove pipe is used:
  1. Use 22- or 24-gauge metal with a total length of less than 10 feet.
  2. Maintain at least 18 inches between the top of the stove pipe and the ceiling or other combustible material.
  3. Ensure that the stove pipe enters the chimney at a spot higher than the outlet of the stove firebox and that it does not extend into the chimney flue lining.
  4. The inside thimble diameter should be the same size as the stove pipe for a proper seal.
  5. The stove pipe should not pass through a floor, closet or concealed space, or enter the chimney in the attic.
  6. If a metal chimney is used, make sure it is UL-approved.

Whether masonry or metal, the chimney should extend:

  • At least 3 feet above the highest point where it passes through the roof, and
  • At least 2 feet above any portion of the building within 10 horizontal feet of the chimney.

The chimney flue lining should not be blocked.

  • Keep the chimney flue and stove pipe clean and free of obstructions.

Space Heaters

These appliances can be an affordable option for heating a small space, but they also are the leading source of house fires during winter months.

  • Look for products that have been tested by UL.
  • Buy a model with an automatic shut-off feature and heat element guards.
  • Maintain a 36-inch clearance between the heater and combustible materials, such as bedding, furniture, wall coverings or other flammable items.
  • Do not leave a heater unattended.

Electric heaters should be inspected prior to use.

  • Check the cord for fraying and cracking, and look for broken wires or signs of overheating in the device itself.
  • Use only heavy-duty extension cords marked with a No. 14-gauge or larger wire.
  • If the heater’s plug has a grounding prong, use only a grounding (three-wire) extension cord.
  • Never run the heater’s cord (or any cord) under rugs or carpeting.

Liquid-fueled heaters must be operated using only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Never use gasoline or any other substitute fuel.
  • Allow the heater to cool down prior to refueling.

Fireplace

This popular heat source is found in homes throughout the United States, but requires proper maintenance and caution to ensure safe operation.

  • Annual inspections are required by a professional chimney sweep.
  • Regular cleaning will keep the fireplace free of obstructions and creosote.
  • Have a removable cap installed at the top of the chimney to keep out debris and animals.
  • Install a spark arrestor that has 1/4-inch mesh.
  • Maintain proper clearance around the fireplace and keep it clear of combustible materials such as books, newspapers and furniture.
  • Always close the screen when in use.
  • Keep glass doors open during the fire.
  • Use a fireplace grate.
  • Approved fireplace tools are recommended.
  • Never burn garbage, rolled newspapers, charcoal or plastic in the fireplace.
  • Avoid using gasoline or any liquid accelerant.
  • Clean out ashes from previous fires and store them in a noncombustible container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container outside and away from the house.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before closing the damper.

Gas fireplaces require specific maintenance:

  • Adjust the milli-volt output.
  • Keep the glowing embers and logs clean.
  • Inspect and clean the air circulation passages and fan.
  • Clean the glass as needed.
  • Avoid obstructing the vents.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Put A Freeze on Winter Fires

11/3/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://www.nfpa.org

Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months. NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration are teaming up to help reduce your risk to winter fires and other hazards, including carbon monoxide and electrical fires.

Heating

Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%). More statistics on heating fires.

Carbon Monoxide

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. More statistics on carbon monoxide incidents.

Winter storms

Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.

Generators

Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools. 

Candles

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top four days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve. Each year between 2009 and 2013, an average of 25 home candle fires were reported each day. More statistics on candle fires.

Electrical

Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters. More statistics on electrical fires.

Christmas tree disposal

Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasing flammable as they continue to dry out in your home. Nearly 40 percent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur they’re much more likely to be serious. More statistics on Christmas tree fires.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Last-Minute Winter Weather Checklist

10/25/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

Prepare for a Power Outage

Heavy snow and high winds are a recipe for widespread power outages. It’s important to prepare a plan now before a possible outage.

Prevent Roof Collapse

If heavy snow begins to accumulate on your roof, remove the snow with a snow rake and a long extension arm that will allow you to remove the snow while standing safely on the ground. Find additional guidance at disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/prevent-roof-collapse.

Stay Safe and Warm

Inspect your source of heat for any damage which can cause a fire and result in costly property damage. Also, remove combustible items placed near a heat source. For more information, check IBHS’  guide on alternative heating at disastersafety.org/wp-content/uploads/alternative-heating.pdf.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Prevent costly water damage caused by frozen pipes by:

  • providing a reliable back-up power source to ensure continuous power to the building;
  • insulating all attic penetrations;
  • ensuring proper seals on all doors and windows; and
  • sealing all cracks and openings in exterior walls.

Additional guidance is available at disastersafety.org/wp-content/uploads/Freezing-Bursting-Pipes_IBHS.pdf.

Know Your Winter Weather Alerts

When severe winter weather is on its way, it’s important you know and understand what each alert means so you can respond accordingly. Learn more about alerts at disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/finding-meaning-in-winter-weather-forecasts.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.