Stack Effect/ Chimney Effect
With the colder months upon us and the fact that it’s going to proceed to get colder something that every home owner should be aware of is a stack effect, or as it is also known chimney effect. In this article we will cover what stack effect is, causes and reactions, and also provide suggestions on how to combat it to improve your home’s ventilation.
Textbook definition states that the chimney effect is the movement of air in and out of buildings, chimenys, or flue-gas stacks, resulting from air buoyancy. Buoyancy occurs due to a difference in indoor-to-outdoor air density resulting from temperature and moisture differences. The result is either a positive or negative resistance force. The greater the thermal difference and the height of the structure, the greater the buoyancy force, and thus the stack effect occurs. The stack effect helps drive natural ventilation, air infiltration, and fire upwards into a flu or chimney like containment. In other words, warm air rises & cold air sinks, and when you’re trying to heat your home in the winter this can cause higher heating bills and colder homes. The same holds true in summer, except it’s cold air escaping through poorly sealed windows, doors, and vents.
Reactions on buildings:
Like wind, the stack effect can move large volumes of air through a building envelope. In the winter, the warm air in a heated building is lighter (less dense) than the cold air outside of the building; that warm bubble of air wants to rise up and out. Which creates the flow of air leaving the top of the building, drawing cold air into cracks at the bottom through windows, doors, and vents. In summer, the reverse happens when hot air outside of an air-conditioned house can push cooler indoor air down from the ceiling and out of cracks in the basement. This potentially can lead to moisture problems on the top floor.
Stack effect can also cause moisture damage.
Moisture rides on air currents, so in any part of a building that experiences a large flow of air between inside and out, moisture will condense on cold surfaces. You can sometimes see the results on brick buildings—as moist air accumulates in the brick, it can cause staining, efflorescence, and spalling from freeze-thaw cycles. These problems aren’t confined to brick, anytime there is pressure pushing moist inside air, or pulling moist outside air, into the wall cavity you can get condensation which in turn can lead to mold and rot.
The differences in temperature and pressure aren’t as great during the summer as they are during the winter.
Unlike most other pressures, the stack effect acts every hour of every cold day, and the pressures created by the stack effect are substantial. Which goes hand in hand with the fact that “leaky” buildings go through great amounts of energy. Air leaks can add to condensation, compromising the quality of the indoor air.
Chimney effect is self-perpetuating
Air entering the building causes the lower levels to be cold, in response they turn up the thermostat. When the people upstairs get all that heated air, they open the windows to cool down. This escalates the flow of air leaving the building, which increases the flow of air coming up from the bottom floors. So the people downstairs plug in space heaters, you end up with a continuous cycle of sucking air up from the bottom, heating it, and blowing it out the top.
A Voice of Assistance:
In a house, stack effect pressures aren’t as high as in taller buildings, but they still cause uncomfortable drafts, moisture movement, and energy loss. As in all buildings, positive or negative pressure is highest at the top and at the bottom, so make sure the ceiling plane is tight. That means sealing all holes for can lights, connections between floors through dropped soffits and tray ceilings, and other pathways for air movement. At the bottom of the building, the biggest leaks are in the rim joist assembly because so many components are fastened together there. If all parts of the air barrier system aren’t correctly detailed, you’ll have fairly significant air leakage at the rim joist.
With this information, we hope that you correctly, and in the most reasonable and energy efficient way this winter, make sure there’s a good cycle of ventilation that isn’t allowing too much warm air to escape your home. This will help ensure everyone is kept warm, dry, and comfortable.
For further information, we reference research proven from http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/stack-effect-when-buildings-act-chimneys
Winter Season Prep Tips
Winter is when the colder temperatures really set in. We all know there are a few things that need to be done to help you stay warm, safe and dry as much as possible. For those who haven’t completed your winter proofing “to do” list here are a few suggestions to ensure your home is ready for this season and everything that comes along with it.
Arborist are handier than you think. Many winter tree catastrophes are preventable. Get a certified arborist to walk around your yard with you to look for rotting trees, and damaged or dangling limbs that may come down in the next storm. No one wants to call a restoration company because a tree limb has fallen and punctured their roof.
Stock up on wood for your fireplace. Some homes use heaters, and some use a good old fashioned fireplace. If you fall under this category we suggest stocking up on some logs, and maybe getting a little bit more than you think you’ll need, just in case. Ask friends and neighbors for suggestions on good sources in your community. Any hardwood, such as oak, maple, beech or elm, will work fine for firewood. You want firewood that has been seasoned for at least one year to prevent build up of creosote, which is a cause of chimney fires . Make sure your wood is stored in the driest place possible.
Skip the rake. Instead of raking your leaves, just leave them where they fall and run them over with a mulching lawn mower. You'll be amazed at how one of these powerful machines can turn a pile of leaves into a million little pieces that decompose faster than whole leaves. As an added bonus, they add valuable organic matter to your lawn and garden. Similarly, leave grass clippings on the lawn to enrich your lawn with essential nutrients and to promote aeration.
Maybe not squeaky, but decently clean gutters are helpful. So many water-in-the-basement problems are because of clogged gutters, causing the water to pool in unwanted areas of your landscaping and around your home exterior. It is important to keep gutters clear in order to properly drain rain water away from your home. If you can’t get on a ladder yourself look into hiring someone, possibly waiting until all the leaves have fallen and doing it all at once (unless, of course, they're already overflowing when it begins to rain).
Frozen Pipes are no joke. No one wants to experience a pipe burst from the lines freezing over. Try leaving an outside water spout slightly running. This keeps a minimal drip going so the water doesn’t freeze inside. In case a pipe does freeze and hasn’t burst, search for either a dripping or ice-covered pipe, and proceed to listen for a hollow sound. You can use a hair dryer or pick up heat tape from your local hardware store.
Heat more efficiently. There are quite a few things you can do to make your house more energy-efficient. Some things are simple, like checking the caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows, and replacing or repairing them if needed. Other things are a bit more extensive, such as adding insulation in your walls, replacing broken or cracked windows, and installing storm doors. All of these will help keep heat in; no one needs to have the heat going and a draft sucking out a good portion of it.
Hire a chimney sweep. If you haven’t had your chimneys cleaned in a while, it’s most likely time. Chimneys should be cleaned, or inspected, on an annual basis. Even if they appear to be in tip top shape, there’s a possibility of internal water damage to the bricks that you can't see. Chimney sweeps can also help you determine if there is a creosote build up inside your chimney and will help clean it out. Between cleanings and inspections be sure to burn creosote logs regularly to help minimize creosote build-up. Maintaining your chimney will not only help prevent water damage, but also will help prevent chimney fires.
Got a furnace and/or boiler? Inspection is suggested. Instead of frantically calling around for service when your boiler blows on a dead-cold winter night, set up with a reputable heating company for yearly inspections and maintenance. Many oil and propane suppliers are happy to bring you on board with an annual service contract. During inspections these companies look for outdated or broken pieces of equipment, ensure your system is functioning to the best of its ability, and give you the option to repair or replace anything that’s broken or outdated. It’s worth it in the end.
Need a generator? If a big storm is forecasted or upon you, the chances of finding a generator last minute are slim to none. So think long and hard now about whether it’s time to finally get one. Generators do require some thought because they are very loud and require a location that is very well ventilated. Most generators are run by gas, which means carbon monoxide is emitted while it’s being used. Because of these factors, remember to consider your neighbors when deciding where it will be placed.
Winter storms are the third largest cause of catastrophic losses, behind hurricanes and tornadoes. We hope these tips help you get your home winter ready. If you, a family member, or friend are in need of some winter damage help give our experienced SERVPRO of Kitsap County crew a call to help make your disaster “Like it never even happened.”
Restore Versus Replace
Knowing that you can trust our team to treat your property right as we get it back to preloss condition = priceless.
When disaster strikes, whether it’s fire, water, wind, or smoke, there’s a long list of things to stay level-headed about when it comes to home back to normal. The first thoughts are often related to the safety of your family and pets, but concerns about the damage to your house will certainly follow quickly after. In many cases though, knowing how to get your home back to its preloss condition will come down to a single question: Will I need to restore or replace my belongings? But what is the difference?
Restore by definition; “to bring back to a previous condition or state”
Replace by definition; “to supply or substitute an equivalent for”
Replacing isn’t always cost efficient or necessary.
We see that in a few cases after fire or water disasters, homeowners use these situations as justification to do some much-wanted renovation to their home. In retrospect, knocking everything out and replacing it isn’t always the best solution to the situation. Being knowledgeable about your insurance policy is a good starting point. When it comes down to it, if your kitchen has significant water damage, an entire kitchen remodel most likely will max out your policy. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but you never know what the future holds, and it could hold a second loss. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but never say never.
Examples where the decision to restore an item, rather than replace, would be when a family heirloom is involved, such as an old Grandfather clock, or a handmade quilt. Sometimes, just part of an item or object is damaged. In those cases, it may not be necessary to say goodbye to your favorite item. Many times parts of the object can be restored to their natural, preloss beauty with effort, dedication, and the necessary procedures, products, and or tools.
Home restoration is the fastest option possible
The most obvious incentive to choose restoration over replacement is the speed at which the restoration will be complete, and your home will be back to normal, versus the time it takes for complete reconstruction. Nobody wants to live in a construction site; that’s why a quick restoration job is often the preferable choice for homeowners who are eager to get their homes back. Whether you want to seal a set of vinyl windows or remove some soot and some damage from your walls, if it is done properly, restoring these pieces of your home will save you both time and money.
The most important reason to restore vs. replace is that you get all of your prized possessions back. Sure it would be nice to get all new “stuff”, but trying to find that favorite shirt or favorite accessory that isn’t made anymore can be a bit of a headache. Also, if you have ever talked to someone who lost everything in a fire, they spend the next year or more shopping. Even for those who love to shop, the experience can be a bit overwhelming.
Next is the cost to restore vs. replace. The cost to restore damaged contents is a fraction of the cost to replace. You want to get all of your belongings back, and the insurance company is obligated to pay for restoration or replacement. What most people don’t realize is that the insurance company will not give you an open check book. The insurance company reserves the right to restore damaged contents instead of replace them. Running up the cost of replacing contents can have a detrimental effect on your rates and coverage for many years to come. Once belongings are deemed non-salvageable, they are disposed of. If you want to keep any non-salvageable items, you must discuss that with your insurance adjuster immediately.
If you or someone you know has a fire or water damage with contents involved, don’t be influenced by all of the suggestions from your friends and neighbors. Talk to a Fire & Water Restoration professional who will work with you and for you. We will help direct you through the entire process.
Our team at SERVPRO of Kitsap County has helped countless customers with a wide variety of loss situations; there seems to always be a new scenario popping up here or there. With our training, experience, and skills, we can appropriately help you or someone you know who is going through a loss or disaster. We’re here for you no matter what – any time, any day to make your loss "Like it never even happened."
Draining Water - Signs of Failure or Backing up & Preventative measures for your property and home
Finding drainage problems when they’re smaller and easier to fix can save you money and plenty of headaches down the line. You don’t have to be a SERVPRO professional to know that wet patches in the basement or a small, newly forming lake on the front lawn are signs of drainage issues. If left alone, and not fixed, those water stains and puddles can cause a lot more damage to your home and property than you might think. There are some common denominators in jobs that come our way that can be prevented if appropriate measures are taken early on. Some drainage problems aren’t so obvious though. Here are some of the more subtle signs of an arising issue, and why you’ll save money, time, and dodge a stress bullet if you address these situations sooner rather than later.
Indication #1: Faulty Gutter Drains
Every inch of rain that drops on 1,000 square feet of a roof yields more than 600 gallons of runoff. For most people this runoff flows through their gutters and into their downspout, or the ever popular rain chain. Putting that much water so close to the foundation can send it straight to the basement or crawl space, where it can start to ruin the base of your structure, and potentially any contents you may have stored there. Try adding at least 5 feet of gutter extensions to irrigate the water away from the house. This prevents downspouts from being too short, which will continually cause water to move toward your foundation. When water seeps down into the soil and adds stress on your foundation walls, it can cause them to crack. Once stress damage occurs, you may need to excavate around your foundation to make repairs. Preventing water damage to your foundation, by having proper drainage for your gutters or rain chains, can save you time, stress, and a lot of money.
Indication #2: Water Marks in the Basement
Sometimes you can tell if water damage is caused by surface water, or water traveling underground by where a water stain appears. Surface water is water that collects on the surface of the ground, such as rain runoff. Underground water is water that travels below the surface of the water, such as storm drain runoff.
Water stains high on a foundation wall indicate the cause is from surface water, such as an overflowing gutter, surface runoff, or pooling storm water. Water stains in a line around the basement or foundation indicate the foundation lies below the level of public storm drains. These drains can back up during heavy rains and flooding. These issues could mean that your foundation isn’t sloped properly. If water marks are forming in other places in your basement or crawl space, and you can’t seem to figure out the source, don’t forget to give our crew a call! We can come out to see if we can pin point the problem at its source.
Indication #3: Not So Gentle Gutters
Water pouring over the rim of your gutter means debris and dead leaves are obstructing the flow, but you don’t need to see this occur to know that there are problems. Vertical streaks of dirt on the exterior of gutters, mud splashed on siding, or paint coming off of the house in vertical slivers are other sure signs. If you don’t take action fast, overflowing gutters can deteriorate the siding, destroy your paint job, and cause structural damage…additional expenses no one wants. Hopefully it’s only leaves congesting the downspout. If so, you’ll just need to clear out the debris. If the gutters are smaller than needed or incorrectly pitched, they will need to be replaced or reinstalled. Replacing and reinstalling gutters can add up quickly, but it’s still cheaper than new siding. We highly encourage routine home maintenance, especially for your gutters. This includes keeping them cleared, even though it’s difficult to keep up on it during the wetter months, it’s well worth the additional preventative measure.
While there are many other telltale signs of potential drainage problems, these are a few of the most distinct ones to look for. If you feel you have had water damage, even if it seems small, give us a call here at SERVPRO of Kitsap County. We are always here to help, and we would be happy to come take a look to see how we can make it like it never even happened!
Time Effects After A Fire & What We Have For It
Property losses where contents are affected can be distressing. Personal items hold irreplaceable value. At SERVPRO of Kitsap County we understand this and do our best to save and preserve as many of your belongings as possible. We can help you measure the damage to your contents and create a strategy for our team of technicians to help get your contents and structure back to preloss condition. Fires cause substantial damage to homes and their contents; but keep in mind that the "after the fire" actions can cause more damage than the fire itself. It’s important to take instant and appropriate actions.
Fires can cause direct damage by heat and combustion and smoke damage can affect virtually everything in your home. SERVPRO of Kitsap County will evaluate the contents in every room to conclude whether they need to be replaced or can be successfully restored to preloss condition. Cost, sentimental value, and antique/historical value are all considerations. In many cases, if items have not been damaged directly the fire or by excessive heat they don’t need to be discarded and can be restored using our environmentally-friendly cleaning products, or our new FIRELINE ultrasonic system.
Soot can start to damage contents within just a few days by chemical reactions that take place on deposited surfaces, for example: smoke can etch brass or copper in 24 hours. Also keep in mind that the type and amount of particles and chemicals in smoke varies depending on what is burning, how much oxygen is available, and the burn temperature. Which confirms that time is of the essence, so dealing with soot promptly is crucial to reducing content damage. Ventilation and air filtration are used during the on-site restoration to minimize re-contamination and maintain a healthy environment. Restored contents are returned to the property once the restoration process is complete. Documents or photographs affected by water, mold, and have gone through fire damage can sometimes be dried out and salvaged, or sent to our corporate headquarters for complete document restoring measures.
Our franchise recently underwent a remodel and added a FIRELINE restoration cleaning system to assist our technicians with restoring damaged contents better and faster. This addition opened up a variety of contents that we can restore to preloss conditions and it has helped us to be able to service more of our customers and their contents to a higher ability, now setting a new standard for us to exercise and show what truly the best of our ability is.
FIRELINE products and the entire system is specifically intended to deal with the many variables encountered in contents restoration and are known for their performance and reliability. FIRELINE cleaning equipment is built to the highest quality standards utilizing the latest improvements in ultrasonic wave sweep technology and all segments are made from 100% stainless steel for ultimate durability. Our 5 station production line provides our technicians with greater cleaning capabilities and unrivaled speed of production.
The Tools We Use
The SERVPRO of Kitsap County franchise takes pride in making sure our customers are helped to the best of our ability. To do this, our products and equipment need to be the best available so we can make sure the property and situations we encounter during disasters are able to be restored and brought to preloss conditions. With that in mind, we will take you through a behind the scenes look at some of the equipment we use to help get your property and structure to preloss condition. Each machine and piece of equipment has a crucial role in the restoration process. Our technicians are trained to use each piece of equipment to its highest potential. Here are a few of our most commonly seen and used machines, and their purpose.
PORTABLE EXTRACTORS: Extractors are used for cleaning carpets, cleaning upholstery, and removing water from floors after a water loss. An extractor has three major components: a heater, a pump, and a vacuum system. Our technicians use this machine for variable heat controlled cleaning, including to heat the rinse solutions to clean more effectively. The vacuum system and waste recovery tank remove soils and moisture from the surface and collects it in the tank. With this machine, we can expedite the removal of water and moisture from damaged materials and textiles to help restore it to preloss conditions. In doing this, the potential of having to replace materials or belongings is lowered.
THE OZONE GENERATOR: The portable ozone generator eliminates a variety of odors caused by animals, cigarette smoke, mold and mildew, fire, and water damage. This machine generates “ozone”, which consists of unstable oxygen molecules (containing three oxygen atoms). Ozone chemically reacts with odor-causing molecules to oxidize residues and remove the odors. When using this piece of equipment, we follow the absolute and necessary guidelines of use with the purpose of all people and pets should be removed from the environment during ozoning for health and safety reasons. Once the deodorization process is complete, ozone quickly reverts to the normal oxygen molecule, leaving no residues. Once the odor is gone, the results are permanent. One of the features of the ozone generator is that it is made to be compact and portable, yet also be a durable and professional unit.
WEARING AND FIT CHECKING OUR RESPIRATORS: Safety for not only our technicians, but also our customers, is a priority in our company. We enforce that respirators must be worn during all times by our technicians during exposure to hazardous situations. To be safe, we follow one rule of thumb: if the work environment is unpleasant or if it makes you dizzy, our crew is to wear their respirators. No if’s, and’s or but’s. If we are using respirators, we inform customers in the general area of this and advise them with the necessary precautions associated with the work going on for their safety.
DEHUMIDIFIERS: Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air after it has evaporated. Our technicians position dehumidifiers strategically in a water-damaged structure so the moist, humid air moves through the unit while dry, warm air is discharged from the unit circulating back into the wet areas. Did you know that dry air acts like a sponge to absorb moisture from wet materials? Since it does, we use the dehumidifiers especially because it provides a continual source of dry air to enhance the restoration process. Refrigerant dehumidifiers remove water vapor through condensation, and based on the specific job, we will use a small commercial refrigerant dehumidifier because it removes approximately 8 gallons of water per day from the atmosphere, while an extra-large commercial refrigerant could remove as much as 20 gallons per day.
AIR MOVERS: Air movers are used in water damage restoration to enhance evaporation at the surface level and reduce drying time. These machines introduce airflow at the surface level and replace the highly saturated air with drier air to enhance evaporation. Our crew has gone through specific training on the science of drying to know how many air movers they will need and how to position them to create airflow across all wet surfaces. In some cases, when the lower portion of multiple walls are wet, involving wet drywall behind baseboards, enough air movers are positioned to create a vortex of circular airflow around the walls. Our technicians operate the air movers in several different positions, offering flexibility in how to direct the airflow with the best possible outcome.
TRUCK MOUNT: A truck-mounted extraction unit consists of several smaller components, which work together to make one of the best pieces of cleaning equipment in the industry. The pieces are made up of the engine, the vacuum, the chemical pump, the water pump, and the heating system. The vacuum system extracts water, soils, and cleaning solutions. The chemical pumping system meters cleaning solution into the extraction tool. The water pumping system pressurizes the water used for cleaning and/or rinsing. The heating system heats the water used for cleaning and rinsing. This equipment setup is crucial and is used for various disaster clean ups. Due to the required training of this equipment our technicians know the specific environment needed for this piece of machinery to work and how to maintain it appropriately for health and safety reasons.
The SERVPRO® Equipment Department tests all equipment, including the truck mount, before putting the items in the product line. To provide the best service to our customers, we must know how the truck mount works, how to set up and maintain the unit, how to use it safely, how to clean the vehicle interior, unit, tools, hoses, and so forth as needed, and how to inspect all equipment and accessories for any damage, leaks, or wear.
There are many other machines and equipment accessories we use, but for today’s behind the scenes look we are proud to show you some our most commonly used pieces of equipment. These machines help us get your personal disaster back to preloss condition and to make it “like it never even happened!” because SERVPRO of Kitsap County is always here to help!
Why Our Technicians Are Trusted
We believe in our team and their training.
Since 1967, SERVPRO Industries, Inc., has been reshaping the mitigation and restoration industry. We take pride in our technicians and the training that they go through to warrant that they are not only following procedures correctly, are being safe while working, but have a full understanding of the mitigation and restoration industry for every part of our services that we offer to our customers. Let’s take a look behind the scenes at what goes into being a SERVPRO technician, specifically for our training aspects.
With training available at a specific headquarters facilities, we also have multiple types of training for the employees in the office and the production side of our teams that can be done at each franchise location. One of the more industry specific training that our staff goes through is at precise dates and locations, which are needed to be a part of the SERVPRO team, and we enjoy that they are there always on time and ready to learn.
The entire ECTP programs and exams are a self-paced program designed for the franchise employee. Certification is awarded after successful completion of course materials and an examination for each category. Franchises usually set up an Introduction to Production course that focuses primarily on completing the Employee Certification Training Program (ECTP) requirements for certification from SERVPRO Industries. These certification program and its modules include:
- Crew Training
- Fire Restoration
- Water Restoration
- Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
Which covers topics including roles and responsibilities, job-site processes, an introduction to the core products, and an overview of SERVPRO equipment. Included is an exam review session and completion of the SERVPRO Crew Training Course examination. Next is the Water Training Course, which covers topics ranging from basic water damage procedures, to an introduction to more advanced topics such as psychometry and microbiology, which also culminated in an exam review session and completion of the SERVPRO Water Training Course exam. For the Fire damage restoration training, it goes over cleaning for fire damages, the work process of fire damages, restoring contents and structures, as well as deodorization of smoke odors. The most recent addition course is the upholstery cleaning and carpet cleaning course which goes over different textiles and carpet, as well as cleaning and restoring them to preloss conditions with the use of some SERVPRO equipment and the products needed. These ECTP Certifications are a prerequisite for many insurance programs so it helps with more than just the requirements for our company, but can be used in other industries as well.
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is recognized world-wide as an educated industry power and resource. It serves as an independent, nonprofit standard-setting and certification entity, to set and encourage high principles and ethics; and to improve communication and technical expertise within the inspection, cleaning and restoration service industries. In these specific certification training's, our technicians go through the classes identifiable to our cleaning, restoration, and water damage training program needs. Preparing them to be industry specialists in the use of equipment and procedures geared to help restore customer items to their preloss condition. Education and training are key to an important work experience; professional development is crucial to job satisfaction; and educated, well-trained, satisfied employees are the fundamental piece to having satisfied customers.
With these training sessions, along with countless hours of on the job teaching, our technicians are vital to our company and industry, not to mention we know consumers look for and trust symbols of technical proficiency and high ethical standards. We aim to maintain good communication with our customers not only because it is a franchise requirement, but also because our technicians know our customers call us while their worlds are turned upside down; they want to know what’s going on and to be updated regularly. Our crew knows protocol but has been observed going above and beyond the requirements of a job to make sure the homes and belongings of each customer is treated with the utmost care. We are a 24/7 365 day a year service, which means our team is prepared to answer your emergency call mid-day or even at midnight, any time to make sure your disaster needs are met. We are here for you, and are always here to help make your disasters and losses like they never even happened.
Commercial Fire Causes & Prevention
Granted Commercial fires don’t happen as often as residential, but they are still happen more than you might think. Let’s go over some of the biggest factors to take into account about commercial fires. Hopefully these tips will help you take the appropriate measures to prevent a fire.
Common Causes of Non-Residential Fires
To better understand when your business is most at risk, and what precautions you can take to diminish that risk, let's analyze when structure fires are most likely to occur.
The time of day fires are most likely to happen depends on what type of business you're in. An office building may have different operating hours than a manufacturing plant. For example, in office buildings, fires are most common during the typical daytime work hours with the occurrence of fires peaking in the early evening hours between 3 pm - 6 pm.
Outside of the work day, between 7 pm - 7 am, fires are 31% less likely to occur. Additionally, you don’t see as many fires on weekend days when office buildings are closed.
Cooking Related Fires
1 in 4 office building fires are related to cooking equipment including microwaves. These fires tend to account for less damage, but are easily preventable with fire protection measures such as alarms and fire extinguishers.
The second most common cause of commercial fires are those that were deliberately started. They account for nearly 10% of fires, and usually cause the biggest amount of destruction. Intentional fires also result in more civilian injuries and fatalities. Different from cooking and heating fires, it's most common for purposeful fires to be started between 3 pm and midnight or during non-normal business hours.
A few common locations in your building to be aware of include:
- Trash bins
- Open areas like a lawn or field
Arson related fires don’t just affect business owners or the company, they potentially result in loss of jobs for workers. These destructive fires can easily spread to other buildings and public utilities nearby adding to the overall damage and cost of the fire.
Human Error & Negligence
9.2 % of commercial fires were accidental, and result from careless acts. A few examples of acts that result in fires are:
- Leaving space heaters or other heat generating equipment on unattended
- Improperly thrown out cigarette butts that ignite fires
- Overloading outlets and extension cords by plugging in too many things at once, and not using surge protectors
The risk of fire increases as more people are in the building using any equipment or appliances. The equipment itself is not usually the cause of the fire, but instead it is the misuse of the equipment.
Building Maintenance on Equipment - Water Heaters, Boilers, and Furnace Fires
Heating-type fires make up 9% of all nonresidential building fires. Central heating units, fireplaces, water heaters, and other heating appliances and systems should be regularly inspected to prevent fires. It's important to move any flammable materials and furniture away from heat sources, especially in the winter months when the heat is turned on. Inadequate installation and lack of maintenance on these pieces of equipment can cause a fire. Flammable materials like chemicals, paper and trash should never be stored in the same area as this equipment.
Electrical machines or systems can cause a fire, but there are often other factors that lead to the fires. When businesses employ unqualified individuals to alter electrical outlets or circuitry, it can lead to complications. Electrical code violations are often committed by unreliable builders or workers. These code violations can translate to fires in your building. Another cause of fire can be the electrical equipment itself. Equipment that is misused or overloaded can often cause fires, as well as a lack of proper maintenance or airflow.
Now that you’ve looked over some of the common causes of commercial fires, hopefully you’ve noticed something you're missing that could save you thousands of dollars in fire damage and loss. The following are a few things you can do to help protect your business in case a fire does occur.
Putting Out the Flames & Protection
- Sprinkler system - A sprinkler system can put out a potentially deadly fire. Having only 1 or 2 fire sprinkler heads can contain the majority of fires.
- Fire alarms - This may seem obvious, but fire alarms are often disregarded or left with dead batteries, or are not maintained properly. These systems are not only required, but they save lives and property from damage.
- Fire extinguishers - A fire extinguisher placed near the kitchen area can give employees the power to stop a small cooking fire from spreading. Make sure your employees are trained in proper fire extinguisher usage. It is also important to make sure that your fire extinguishers are inspected yearly, and are still in adequate working condition.
Upkeep & Testing
Now that you know the essential fire protection methods to have in place, do you know if they are well maintained and up-to-date? Are your fire extinguishers expired? Are you following the legal state requirements for having these systems tested regularly? Is your building up to code according to local and state requirements?
Put in a Commercial Alarm System
No one likes to think that there are people who would deliberately start a fire on their property. Regrettably, this is a situation that you need to be prepared for. It would be wise to Invest in a security alarm system that will spot any suspicious goings-on in the evening hours when the building and surrounding area is most at jeopardy. Keeping the area well-lit at night, or setting up motion detection lights outside, can discourage unlawful activity.
You and your employees will appreciate the feeling of safety and security.
Emergency Ready Profile Service
Consider contacting your local SERVPRO of Kitsap County franchise to have a professional come to your business and set up an Emergency Ready Program (ERP). An ERP is a comprehensive and detailed booklet of your business’ building information in the event of any type of emergency. It even includes pictures for a clear and identifiable explanation to show where important things are when an emergency or disaster occurs. This has proven to come in handy when the business owner isn’t on site, and an employee is there. That employee will have all pertinent emergency information related to the building in hand to give to the emergency responders, preventing further damage to the building and property.
Now that you have the information you need to protect your business from a devastating fire, we hope you will review your safety plan, or create one if needed. We are always here to help, so give us a call to schedule your ERP at no charge to you. You can also call us during and after a fire has occurred. We will help make sure you, and your building and property are taken care of, and brought back to its preloss condition.
Mold in your HVAC
Mold in your HVAC systems
Mold is one of the most common complaints regarding Residential and Commercial ducting systems!
Did you know that one of the initial entry points for mold is through your heating & cooling systems? Mold thrives in that environment, and mold spores are quickly spread throughout a building by a forced air HVAC system. The HVAC system carries mold spores from the outdoors and circulates them inside.
Another way mold spores spread are when mold in a building becomes airborne, and drifts into the HVAC system. The duct work essentially helps the spores travel throughout your building where they latch onto items in the building or home and grow.
You should routinely inspect your HVAC systems, not just for mold, but for moisture as well.
If you think you do have mold…
- First, call your local SERVPRO of Kitsap County franchise, we have the resources to do mold testing. and to identify if you do have mold. If you do, we can do the work necessary to clean your ducts & HVAC system
- We throw away the wet & water damaged filters
- Wet vacuums are used to extract any standing water if necessary
- SERVPRO uses an EPA registered disinfectant specifically labeled for HVAC system use to rid the ductwork of mold, mildew, dirt and odor causing bacteria
- The rooms within the building can be fogged with our EPA registered disinfectant if indicated
- Finally, we thoroughly clean everything in the building with a HEPA vacuum to ensure all of the mold has been removed
Our customers’ health, satisfaction and peace of mind are a priority for SERVPRO of Kitsap County. Dealing with mold isn’t something that should be put off, especially if it’s in your HVAC systems. If you think that you might have mold, give your local SERVPRO of Kitsap County a call. Our professionals will be sure to get the job done right. We are always here to help!
SERVPRO’s Document Restoration Services
When faced with a fire or flood, much more than the structure becomes affected. Everything, including furniture, electronics, and even important documents may need attention. A couple of years ago while thinking of ways to help serve our customers better, SERVPRO decided to invest in an ozone and drying chamber set ups that can recover important documents and other media.
This allows us to offer an additional restoration service to our clients. Since conception, SERVPRO has performed a tremendous amount of work, drying out everything from financial records and engineering drawings to photo albums and vintage Barbie doll boxes. Wet documents are found at any water loss, whether it’s a family bible or pictures at a home owner’s property, legal documents, medical files, or government papers at a business loss. It’s imperative to identify these and make sure to get them restored to the best of our ability.
Even on category 3 losses or items affected by microbial growth, the drying chamber can help recover those items. The drying chamber team is available 24/7, 365 days a year to assist with customer concerns about the drying process, and making sure we get your personal belongings and memories back to you to as close to preloss condition as possible.