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How Many Smoke Alarms Should You Have

12/12/2022 (Permalink)

Ionization smoke alarm Ionization alarms tend to be better at detecting fast-burning fires

Keeping your home safe from the threat of fire can be a tricky proposition. After all, fires don't always happen when you're home — so how can you keep yourself and your loved ones safe? One simple way is to install smoke alarms in each room of your house. But how many smoke alarms should you have? And where should they go? Read on for answers to these questions, plus tips for choosing the best type of alarm for your home.

How many smoke alarms should I have in my home?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement. The NFPA also recommends placing one outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom.

Additionally, there should be one smoke alarm in the kitchen and another in your basement or other areas below grade level. This is especially important for older homes with original wiring and electrical panels that could be easily damaged by water or fire.

Where should smoke alarms be installed?

The number of smoke alarms you should have depends on the layout of your home and how many sleeping areas you have.

If you live in a multi-story apartment building or condo building with an elevator or staircase, follow these guidelines:

Install at least one ionization or photoelectric/photoionization combination smoke detector per floor. You can add additional alarms if desired; this is up to local code requirements for multi-family residences (not just single-family houses).

All bedrooms should be within 10 feet of a functioning smoke detector, regardless of which type it is (i.e., ionization or photoelectric/photoionization combination). If this does not work for some reason (e.g., if there is already another working unit installed), consult with local fire officials about alternative solutions that would still meet safety regulations while also allowing for proper functioning of all other devices throughout restful periods such as nighttime when most people are asleep anyway so alarms aren't going off every time someone sneezes while watching TV before bedtime

What type of smoke alarm should I install?

You should have both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms in your home. The reason is that both types of detectors can help you detect a fire and alert you to the danger more quickly. Ionization alarms tend to be better at detecting fast-burning fires, while photoelectric alarms are better at detecting slower burning fires.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule:

  • If you live in an apartment building, landlords must install ionization smoke detectors only if they want their tenants to receive federal assistance for housing. In either case, it’s up to state laws where landlords will be required (or not) to install both types of detectors.
  • If you live in a mobile home or trailer park, it’s recommended that all homes have dual-sensor technology installed by law. This includes ionization and photoelectric devices which will protect residents against both fast-burning house fires as well as small cooking fires that may start on stoves or hot plates

Houses with more than one story should have at least one smoke alarm on each level, as well as in each bedroom. If you're building a new home or renovating an existing one, make sure there are enough smoke detectors and they are working properly before moving in.

The Responsible Host’s Fire Safety Guide for Thanksgiving Day

11/17/2022 (Permalink)

Being aware of the possibility of fires, practicing safety measures to prevent fires, and knowing what to do in the event of a fire are important responsibilities for anyone who is hosting a Thanksgiving celebration.  

As you prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday and begin to plan the details for your gathering, be it big or small, exuberant or relaxing, there are several safety tips to keep in mind to promote a safe environment for you, your family, and/or your friends (and your furry family too!). 

How likely am I to have a fire on Thanksgiving Day?

According to The U.S. Fire Administration, cooking fires cause the most Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings, occurring more often on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year.  On Thanksgiving Day, 74% of fires in residential buildings were caused by cooking followed by 8% of fires caused by heating.  By comparison, cooking caused 51% of residential fires that occurred on all days of the year other than Thanksgiving.  Over half (54%) of Thanksgiving Day fires occur between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. when people are preparing Thanksgiving dinner.  

Tips for preventing kitchen fires. 

  • Never leave your range or cooktop unattended while cooking. If you have to leave the room, turn your range or cooktop off.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves. Loose clothing can hang down onto hot surfaces and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and free of combustible materials. Food wrappers, oven mitts or other materials left on or near the stove may catch fire.
  • Be sure to clean up any spilled or splattered grease. Built-up grease can catch fire in the oven or on the cooktop.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher readily available. Having an extinguisher nearby is important, but you also need to have the correct type of extinguisher and know how to properly use it.
  • Never throw hot grease in the garbage as it can ignite combustible materials. Be sure to let grease cool and consider disposing it in an old can, such as a metal coffee can.
  • Do not store food or other items in your oven. It can be easy to forget there is an item in your oven, and this could catch fire while preheating.

What to Do If a Cooking Fire Flares Up

By exercising caution in your kitchen, you can help reduce the risk of a kitchen fire. But if a fire does flare up, you need to be prepared.

  • Your safety comes first. If you cannot safely extinguish the fire, leave the scene, call 911 for help, and let the fire department control the fire.
  • If a small fire flares up and you are going to try to extinguish it, call 911 for help first. A fire may grow out of control more quickly than you anticipate. It is safer to have help already on the way.
  • Smother a grease fire – never throw water on a grease fire. The water can be superheated and change to steam, and can cause severe burns. Also, it can cause oil to splash up and spread the fire. If a grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by sliding the lid – while wearing an oven mitt – over the pan. If it is safe to do so, turn off the heat source. Do not move the pan; keep the lid on until the fire is out and the pan is completely cool.
  • If a fire starts in your oven, KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED & TURN OFF THE HEAT SOURCE. Keeping the door closed will help smother the flames. Do not open the door until the flames are completely out.
  • If a fire starts in your microwave, turn off the microwave and do not open it until the fire is completely out. Unplug the microwave only if you can safely do so.

With these safety precautions in place and the knowledge of how to handle a kitchen fire, you are one step closer to being a responsible host.

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving 

to all of you responsible hosts out there!

From SERVPRO of North Knoxville

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Do Drain Cleaners Cause Pipe Damage?

11/1/2022 (Permalink)

Advertisements drain cleaners, water pipe detergent with clear piping section in 3d illustration. When you think of drain cleaners, what comes to mind?

Do Drain Cleaners Ruin Pipes?

Drain cleaners are one of the most popular chemical cleaning products in the world. They are sold at grocery stores, hardware stores, and even auto shops. You can find drain cleaners that are made specifically to clean drains and pipes, or you can buy stronger chemical cleaners like Drano, Liquid Wrench and other brands that claim they will clear your drainpipes.

Drain cleaners may seem like a quick fix for clearing clogs in your sink and toilet, but these toxic substances can cause serious damage to your plumbing system if not used properly.

What is more important than what type of chemicals are used when cleaning drains is how often you use them!

In this article we'll explore why drain cleaners cause pipe damage, how often homeowners use them improperly and what our plumbers recommend instead!

Yes, drain cleaners do cause plumbing problems.

The short answer to this question is “Yes.” Drain cleaners can cause a lot of damage to your pipes, but why? It’s because they are highly corrosive and often contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

Clogged drains are common in homes and businesses across the country, so it’s no surprise that people want a quick solution when they need to get their clogged drain unclogged as soon as possible. Unfortunately, clogging drains is only one problem with drain cleaners; there are other problems that you may not even know about unless you read up on these products before using them.

The main issue with drain cleaners is their extremely high pH levels (the scale used by scientists to measure how acidic or basic chemicals are). These acids can cause corrosion on metal pipes which leads to leaks and other problems down the road

There are two major classes of drain cleaners:

  • Regular drain cleaners. These are the chemicals you'll find at your local hardware store. They're strong enough to unclog drains, but they can also cause damage if too much is used or if it's left in the drain for too long.
  • Natural drain openers. These contain natural ingredients that break down clogs over time without damaging pipes like regular cleaners do.

Lemon juice and soda

While soda and lemon juice are a great way to tackle a clogged drain, they are not as effective as chemical drain cleaners. If you have a stubborn clog that won't budge with these household items, it's time to call in an expert for help.

Drain cleaners can be quite dangerous if used incorrectly or in large quantities, but less-toxic alternatives like soda and lemon juice are safe enough for everyday use. However, like any other chemical product, they must be used correctly to avoid causing damage to your pipes or septic tank.

The use of harsh chemicals can cause more clogs.

Chemicals that are used to clean drains are designed to break down organic materials and other debris, but they also have the potential to damage pipes and prevent them from working properly. A regular build-up of grease or food waste can be removed with a simple plunger, or by flushing out the pipes with water. However, when you use chemicals on your drain instead, it could damage the pipes and cause further problems for you later. In addition to this issue, many drain cleaners contain harmful ingredients that contribute towards environmental pollution such as mercury or phosphates; these may not dissolve quickly enough in your sink's basin but instead end up in lakes or rivers downstream from where you live.

Call the experts at SERVPRO of North Knoxville to clean your drains, not those harmful toxic chemicals.

When you think of drain cleaners, what comes to mind? A bottle of sulfuric acid that you can buy at the local hardware store? Or perhaps a container of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) that says “DANGER!” on it in red letters?

These types of products are very dangerous and should be used with extreme caution. If you have any questions about whether they are safe for your pipes and drains, please call the experts at SERVPRO of North Knoxville. We can explain why calling them is better than using those harmful chemicals.

SERVPRO professionals understand that many homeowners do not know what kind of damage these chemicals can cause when used incorrectly or accidentally spilled down into your drains and pipes. Using these types of substances around water lines is very dangerous because they could cause severe burns if someone were to encounter them. The effects would be even worse if one were swallowed! Even if someone accidentally drops some on themselves – like their eyes – it can cause serious injury or even blindness since there's no way to see where those chemicals may have splashed onto other parts of their body before realizing what happened."

So, now you know the answer to the question, “Do drain cleaners cause pipe damage?” It should be no surprise to anyone that they do! Commercial cleaners are designed to eat through grease and soap scum – not only those in your pipes but also on surfaces around the house. If you have a clog in your line, it’s best to call SERVPRO of North Knoxville at (865) 947-9992 so we can take care of it properly. Our technicians will use an industrial strength solution that won’t harm your plumbing as well as offer 24/7 emergency service if necessary.

How Do You Estimate Fire Damage?

10/10/2022 (Permalink)

Ceiling collapsed and burned in the hallway of a property Major fire damage in North Knoxville, TN.

How Are Fire Damage Estimates Made?

Fire damage is one of the most devastating events that can happen to your home or business. It's important to know how much fire damage you've sustained and how much it will cost to repair so you can begin the recovery process. Here are some steps you can take before hiring a fire restoration professional:

Fire damage can be devastating to your home or business.

We’re here to help you learn more about how much a fire damage estimate is, so that you can make an informed decision about how much coverage you need. The best way to do this is by calling (865) 947-9992. Our experts will guide you through the process of estimating your fire damages and help communicate with your insurance company find the right degree of coverage for your needs.

It’s important for homeowners and business owners alike to know about their options when it comes to securing property insurance against fire damages—not just because it protects them financially if something happens, but also because they may need an accurate estimation before making repairs or rebuilding.

Assess the damage.

  • Check for fire damage. Fire can cause significant damage to your property, so it's important to assess the extent of the fire damage before you begin estimating its cost.
  • Check for smoke damage. Smoke and soot can be a major problem in areas such as attics and basements, where they can accumulate over time and result in unpleasant odors that will make your home unpleasant to live in until they're removed or cleaned up by a professional cleaner.
  • Check for water damage. Water from firefighting efforts or water used to put out flames may have seeped into areas where you wouldn't expect it, like your walls or floors.

Calculate the cost of repairs.

As you analyze the damage to your home and belongings, you might want to think about whether some items are worth repairing. In many cases, it is more cost-effective to purchase new items than attempting to fix them. If so, add these expenses into your final repair estimate.

If you choose to repair your damaged goods, use this guide on how much it costs (and how long) to mend different items:

  • Carpeting: $3-$6 per square foot (see below)
  • Hardwood floors: $1-$2 per square foot (see below)

Determine what items are salvageable.

Once you've determined that the cause of your property's damage was a fire, you can begin determining which items are salvageable.

To do this, think about whether any of the following statements apply to any item in question:

  • If an item is damaged but not burned, it can be repaired.
  • If an item is burned but not damaged, it can be restored.
  • If an item is burned and damaged (e.g., melted), it will need to be replaced.

Calculate the cost of replacing items

Once you've estimated the cost of repairing damaged areas, it's time to figure out whether you need to replace any items. If your insurance company doesn't provide coverage for the entire cost of replacement and you decide to hire a professional, you'll need to consider:

  • How much this is going to cost.
  • Whether or not replacing the item yourself makes more sense financially.

Estimate fire damage as soon as possible after a fire.

Estimate fire damage as soon as possible after a fire. The sooner you estimate the damage, the better. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to estimate the damage and more risks that there are hidden issues that might affect your estimate. If you wait too long (e.g., one year), then insurance may not cover your losses since they cannot verify them or make an accurate determination of how much was actually damaged to pay out on their claim.

You should also keep in mind that if you do not notify your insurer within 30 days of discovering your loss and/or filing for benefits under your insurance policy, then some policies require payment for storage fees and additional charges before any funds will be released.

When you’re dealing with a fire damage estimate, it is important to know what you are getting into. This can be overwhelming for many people and that is why it is important to have someone who understands what they are doing so they can make the process easier on everyone involved.

4 Tips for Storm Preparation

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

Hand with orange glove cleaning a gutter with leaves Keep your gutters clean.

Storm Preparation

Some storms may spring up suddenly, but being aware of when storm season in Strawberry Plains, TN, is approaching can help you prepare your home for its arrival. By following these tips, you can weather the season’s storms better and hopefully stay above the flood water.

1. Stay Alert

You can’t protect your family and yourself against a problem you don’t know is coming. Your community probably has a severe weather warning system in place. Sign up for notifications, and keep an eye on the radar when your area is under a severe storm threat.

2. Update Protection

The moment you are standing in your flooded home is not the time to wonder about whether your flood insurance has expired. Storm restoration can be very expensive. Make sure that you always have adequate coverage for water damage, especially if you live in an area that tends to see significant flooding.

3. Maintain Regularly

There are ways to shield your home from extensive damage from flood water. Consider installing a sump pump in the basement. Make sure your gutters stay clear of debris, particularly during rainy seasons. Make sure valuables are stored in higher places so that are less likely to get wet.

4. Have a Plan

Everyone in the family should know what to do in an emergency. Outline evacuation routes and talk about safety precautions. Pack an emergency bag that you can just grab and go if you need to vacate your flooded building quickly. In this bag, be sure to include copies of valuable documents, such as the deed to your home and contact information for your insurance company and local flood restoration specialists. Know what you need to do before you need to do it.

Weather can be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you have to be unprepared. Taking precautions before the flood water starts to rise is key to getting through the storm.

4 Ways to Keep Plants Free of Mildew

8/23/2022 (Permalink)

Mildew on plants Avoid plant mildew.

Plant Mildew Prevention Steps

Homeowners in Blaine, TN, know that humidity and wet conditions are part of the location. Bringing nature indoors is a great way to freshen the air and add charm to your home. Unfortunately, the outdoor environment may still lead to plant mildew and mold. While eventually needing the help of a water, mold and mildew damage company may be unavoidable, below are four tips to minimize it.

1. Monitor Humidity Levels
Even indoors, humidity levels can rise quickly. That is especially true in the kitchen, bathroom and basement. While fans can help, it is recommended to use a dehumidifier. Depending on your HVAC system, you may have settings that can help keep levels low throughout the home. If possible, keep levels below 50% but above 30%.

2. Circulate Fresh Air
When trying to avoid plant mildew, ventilation is key. On days when the outdoor air seems just right, open the windows to get air circulating. Using fans is another way to ensure that air is moving around the home and not staying stagnate. Proper airflow is also a key way to minimize areas of the home staying moist, which may quickly turn into breeding grounds for bacteria.

3. Dry Wet Areas
No matter which fungi you are trying to avoid, any excess moisture makes that much more difficult to achieve. From small spills to areas prone to condensation, ensuring they are regularly dried and cleaned helps keep fungi at bay. Appliances should also be regularly inspected, especially water heaters and washers, to ensure that no water is pooling.

4. Avoid Over Fertilizing
When it comes to mildew growth on plants, fertilizing is often another culprit. Depending on the type being used, it can have high nitrogen levels that may welcome unwanted growth. There are organic options available that may provide what you need without raising the risk of fungi growth.
While plant mildew may be annoying, it also is an indicator that the moisture levels in your home aren’t quite right. The above tips may help your plants thrive and your home environment fresh and enjoyable.

Are Storm Damage and Flooding the Same?

8/18/2022 (Permalink)

Entrance of a building flooded Flooded building in Fountain, TN

Storm Damage vs Flood Damage

Torrential rain, golf ball sized hail and high winds invade your business in Fountain City, TN. These events cause water damage inside your property. There is flooding on the ground floor, so is this considered flood damage? Or is it storm damage because the storm caused the flooding? You are not alone if you find this confusing. Read below to understand the difference between the two.

Flood Damage

To an insurance company, there is a clear-cut difference between water damage caused by a flood and water damage caused by a storm. If you have flood insurance for your property, the following indicates that it will likely cover the damage:

  • Your business and at least one other property (or two or more acres) are normally dry but are suddenly and temporarily flooded.
  • A natural source causes the floodwaters, such as a hurricane storm surge or mudflow. Any other sudden accumulation of water rising up into your commercial property is considered a flood, including heavy rainfall that saturates and seeps up from the ground into homes or businesses.

Storm Damage

Storms cause a myriad of problems, not limited to water and wind damage. The following are common types of commercial problems caused by a storm:

  • Heavy winds, rain, or hail may crack or stress the windows, foundation, or roofing material, leading to water getting in. When the water damage is caused by falling rain that does not rise up from the ground into your property, it is considered caused by the storm even if the result is floodwater inside your business.
  • The damage from winds, rain or other events only impact your business, not necessarily the surrounding areas.

Whether storm damage or flood damage ravages your commercial property in Fountain City, TN, storm and water restoration specialists are your first line of defense. Depending on the cause of damage and your specific policy, your commercial insurance may or may not provide coverage.

Tips for Efficient Fire Restoration

7/27/2022 (Permalink)

Inside of a building damaged by fire Major fire damage to a building in Powell, TN.

Tips For Handling Fire Damage To Your Building

A fire does more than damage your building. It interrupts your business and can even affect your revenue. It is in your best interest to get everything back to normal as soon as possible. Here are some tips for handling fire damage to your building in Powell, TN, efficiently.

Hire One Company
Your first call after the fire is out should be to a reliable fire mitigation company. The certified technicians in charge of your repairs can arrive within hours of your call to assess the damage and inform you of the steps of the cleanup process:

  • Water extraction
  • Material removal
  • Surface drying
  • Disinfection
  • Restoration

Many business owners will hire a different team to handle the rebuilding process, but the whole job goes much more smoothly if you choose one company that specializes in both mitigation and restoration. It streamlines the process and simplifies communication when the same technicians handle the job from start to finish. Restoring your building after the fire damage is gone is easier when builders have full access to information about what needs to be replaced.

Contact Your Insurance Provider
As soon as you know the extent of the damage that needs repair, you must call your insurance company to start the claims process. An insurance adjuster will be sent to walk through the building and take note of the state it is in. If you have any pictures or video of the affected area soon after the fire was extinguished, this documentation may be helpful, particularly if mitigation is already underway by the time the adjuster arrives. Another benefit of choosing the same company to handle both mitigation and restoration is that you can present one estimate that details all the costs that your policy is likely to cover with your claim.
When your building burns, it's important to mitigate the fire damage and restore your building as soon as possible. Hiring one team for the whole process is the best way to get it done quickly.

How To Prevent Grill Fires

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

Cleaning a grill at a summer barbecue party. Clean your grill frequently to avoid a fire in your home.

Prevent A Barbeque Fire

Grilling is a fun activity that brings families and friends together to enjoy great food and time outside. If you aren't careful, however, a grill fire may occur, potentially causing injuries and smoke damage. Here's how you can prevent a barbeque fire.

Know-How To Put Out a Fire
Knowing how to put a fire out and having the right supplies on hand is just as important as preventing fires. Here are some tips:

  • If the propane tank is on fire, get as far away as you can and call the fire department.
  • Cut off oxygen by closing the grill's lid.
  • Turn the grill off if possible.
  • If the fire does not stop, spray it with a fire extinguisher or cover it in baking soda to cut off the oxygen.

After the fire is extinguished, call a fire damage repair service in Heiskell, TN, to repair any damage that might have affected nearby buildings.

Choose a Safe Location
To prevent fires from spreading to your home, operate the grill at a safe distance away from the building. Avoid grilling on a balcony, patio, deck or other areas that are close to your house. Instead, position the grill in a clear area of your yard.

Clean the Grill Frequently
Burnt remnants on the grill can catch fire easily. After you are done grilling, allow the grill to fully cool and then thoroughly clean it. Always check that it is clean before turning it on.

Trim the Fat
While some fat on your meat is a good thing, excess fat can be a fire hazard. These fatty areas catch fire easily, causing flare-ups that can turn into a fire if you aren't careful. Trimming away excess fat can help reduce this risk. You can also keep a spray bottle of water near the grill to put out small flare-ups, but never pour large amounts of water onto a grill fire.
It's easy to prevent grill fires by grilling far from the building, cleaning the grill frequently, and trimming excess fat. You should also know how to put out a barbeque fire in case one occurs.

3 Things You Should Know About Black Water

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

Floodwaters enters a home Flooded home due to severe storm.

What To Do If You Find Black Water In Your Home

If you have experienced a plumbing backup or a flood in Hallbrook, TN, then it is possible your home has been damaged by black water. Because it is highly contaminated, this type of water should be treated a bit differently from others. The following information may be helpful if you find yourself in this situation.

1. What is Black Water?
Also known as category 3 water, this water carries large amounts of contaminants from sewage and human waste to mud and debris. Because of this, it can easily spread bacteria throughout your home. If there are mold spores present in the water, it can also result in a large infestation in the building.

2. Where Does It Come From?
This water can come from multiple sources. A common one is flooding, whether from a storm or rising levels in a nearby body of water. Plumbing and sewage problems resulting in flooding toilets or showers may also bring this type of water into your home. If category 1 or 2 water is not removed quickly, it may also become category 3 over time.

3. How Should You Remove It?
Because of the large amounts of contamination, this water should only be removed by a trained professional. Water and sewage cleanup can be done by a water damage remediation company. With their training and necessary equipment, these professionals are able to perform water removal quickly and safely. After this, any damaged areas of the house should be cleaned thoroughly. Affected items should be cleaned if possible or thrown away.
If your house has been damaged by black water, you should take steps to have it removed as soon as possible. It can bring mold, bacteria, and sewage into your home. Water removal and repairs should be done by professionals who have been trained to handle contaminated water. They will be able to return your home to its previous condition.