August 21, 2017
Dangers of Smoke Damage After a Fire
Fire is dangerous, that’s obvious enough, but few people understand the dangers of smoke damage after a fire. At Project X Restoration in Denver, we want you and your family to be protected not only from fire but also from the issues that can occur after you have survived a fire in your home.
Did You Know?
When people think of house fires, many focus on the flames burning things to ash, but did you know that smoke from the fires is often the true killer in house fires?
Smoke is the leading cause of death in fires; it surpasses burns by a 3:1 ratio. Many people also understand that direct exposure to smoke is harmful to your respiratory system, but did you know that the smoke could cause issues with your home’s structure? Smoke from a fire contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and soot. Whatever burns in the fire can also release harmful chemicals that are dangerous when inhaled but also cling to walls, furniture, ductwork, clothing, and more.
Knowing more about the dangers of smoke after a fire can help when it comes to restoring your home to its pre-loss state.
Flow of Smoke
Hot air rises so smoke damage commonly occurs in the following locations:
- Directly above the fire. This assumes there were no strong air currents flowing through the structure. The highest concentration of smoke will usually be found on the ceiling over the flames.
- Outside windows and walls. Cold air descends below warm air. This will allow a path for the smoke to travel to exterior walls. This occurs even if the fire occurs in the center of a large room. The exterior windows and walls will still often incur smoke damage and contain heavy amounts of smoke residue.
Temperature and Airflow Determines Much
One of the most surprising things about the dangers of smoke damage after a fire is where else in your home it can be found. Some of this makes sense once you understand how temperature and airflow interact with the surrounding environment. Additional heavy smoke damage occurs in the following areas, which can be unexpected, but again, makes sense once you understand.
- Enclosed spaces: Closed closets, wall cavities, and dresser drawers may seem like places which would incur very little damage, but in fact, these areas will frequently sustain more damage than the area where the fire actually burned. Part of this is because air and smoke particles in warm air move faster. The particles are kept in circulation because of the warm temperature. Smoke naturally moves towards cooler areas and as the particles move into enclosed, cool spaces they slow down and come to rest.
- Behind drapes and blinds: Because of the cooler temperatures and often because of the material involved, smoke damage can be quite high.
- In ducts: Also due to cooler temperatures, smoke will frequently come to rest in the ductwork. Following a fire, a thorough inspection should be performed to figure out the true extent of your home’s smoke damage.
If you have had a fire and are experiencing the dangers of smoke damage after a fire, contact us at Project X Restoration in Denver. We can help you sort through how best to restore and repair your home following a fire.
August 7, 2017
Where to Place Smoke Alarms and Extinguishers
Today, our experts at Project X Restoration in Denver share with you where to place smoke alarms and extinguishers. By taking a few minutes to get familiar with these important tools and how to place them throughout your home, you’ll be much better prepared to prevent extensive damage to your home (or worse) if the unthinkable happens.
When determining where to place smoke alarms and extinguishers, it’s a good idea to know more about these tools. Let’s look at a few basics that can help save your home from fire and smoke damage.
Which Fire Extinguisher
Knowing which fire extinguisher works for the different kinds of fires will help you to choose the right extinguishers for your home and where to place them. The wrong type of extinguisher for the fire can have life-threatening results. There are different classifications of fire extinguishers. The three that are generally used for homes are:
- Class A: This extinguisher is used for ordinary combustible materials such as cardboard, paper, wood, and plastic.
- Class B: This extinguisher is designed for combustible or flammable liquids such as grease, oil, gasoline, and kerosene.
- Class C: This extinguisher is designed for electrical equipment such as wiring, outlets, appliances, and circuit breakers. Do not use water to attempt to extinguish a class C fire. You could be electrocuted.
Determine which class extinguisher you may need for an area should be based on the items in the surroundings. Make sure you have one in your garage or workshop and at least one on each floor of your home, near bedrooms is a good idea and in plain sight. If a fire breaks out in the middle of the night, having an extinguisher stored in the back of a closet does you no good. If you have a fireplace inside or firepit outside, make sure you have one nearby.
Having an extinguisher in the kitchen, such as a Class K that uses a unique process to fight grease fires, is also essential. Using water on this type of fire can splash the grease and cause the fire to spread very quickly.
Which Smoke Detector?
There are two general types of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric.
- Ionization: This smoke detector works well for flaming fires. An ionization smoke alarm has two-electrically charged plates and a bit of radioactive material in between the plates. The plates ionize the air and cause a flow of current between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, the ion flow is disrupted, which reduces the current and activates the alarm.
- Photoelectric: This smoke detector is best for a fire that starts after a period of smoldering. Photoelectric alarms aim a light source into a chamber with a light sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, light is reflected into the light sensor and the alarm is triggered.
Though each kind of smoke detector works better for one kind of fire, both types of detectors will detect both kinds of fire.
Smoke alarms should be placed high on the wall since smoke rises. Install them on every floor and in every sleeping room. Additionally, you should have them spaced evenly throughout your home—hallways, kitchens, at the base of stairs leading to an upper level and living spaces should one if there are not any nearby. Keep them away from windows, doors, or any other drafty areas that could prevent them from working properly.
To prevent a home fire, smoke detectors should be inspected regularly and batteries should be changed once a year. Don’t wait to play the find the chirping smoke alarm game!
Knowing where to place smoke alarms and extinguishers can help you avoid a tragedy. We want you and your home to be protected in case of a fire. If experience a fire in your home, we here at Project X Restoration in Denver can assist with your cleanup efforts and take good care of you and your home.
July 18, 2017
Everything You Didn't Want to Know About Mold and Mildew
Here at Project X Restoration in Denver, we want to share everything you didn’t want to know about mold and mildew. Sure, the topic is ugly and gross but it is a common problem that can cause damage to your home and create health issues for you and your family.
Mold and Mildew, Are They Different?
Mold and mildew are similar, but mildew is actually a specific form of mold. Mold is kind of fungus that grows in black and green patches and has the ability to penetrate surfaces. Mildew only remains on the surface and can be wiped away and removed fairly easily.
Mildew usually grows on damp surfaces and organic materials. Mold, on the other hand, grows in walls, crawl spaces, food, and permanent structures. Mildew is easier to clean, so it can be a do it yourself project. Mold should be cleaned by a professional mold remediation company.
Kinds of Mildew
Mildew is actually considered to be a plant disease that often causes damage to crops, though it does grow on other surfaces, including those in your home. It comes in powdery and downy forms. Powdery mildew first appears as gray and/or white splotches that slowly become yellowish brown or black. Downy mildew varies in appearance depending on the surface where it grows. Generally, this mildew begins as yellow spots that eventually turn brown.
Types of Mold
Though there are well over 10,000 types of mold, most household mold is generally one of the following five common kinds.
- Alternaria is often found in showers, on walls, under sinks, and in generally damp areas. This is the kind of mold that is frequently found in buildings that have suffered water damage. This mold is wooly or has a down-like texture and can be black, gray, or dark brown. Long-term exposure to this mold can cause asthma or allergic reactions.
- Aspergillus is the most common indoor mold. This mold can cause allergic reactions, as well as respiratory infections, and lung inflammation in people with weakened immune systems. This mold can be gray, brown, yellow, green, white, or black and often grows on insulation, walls, paper products, and clothing.
- Cladosporium grows in cooler areas, which is unlike other molds that prefer warmer environments. This mold tends to grow on fabrics (such as curtains and carpets) and wood surfaces (such as wood floors and cabinets). It is characteristically black or olive-green and has a strong musty odor. This mold is known to cause a number of respiratory problems.
- Stachybotrys chartarum is typically referred to as black mold (because it generally black only) and can be quite dangerous. This mold produces mycotoxins which can cause severe health problems including asthma, chronic sinus infections, fatigue, depression, breathing problems, and allergy issues. It has a characteristic musty odor and grows easiest in areas that are constantly damp—such as air conditioning ducts, leaky pipes, or other places that aren’t ever dry.
Is It Mold or Mildew?
Examining the characteristics of mold and mildew can help you identify which one has invaded your home. Mildew grows in a flat pattern and appears to be powdery or fluffy. Mold is usually fuzzy or slimy in appearance and has irregular shapes spots. If you are not sure which one you are dealing with you can test them using the following methods.
- Home testing—Place a few drops of bleach on the area. Wait five minutes and inspect the space with the bleach. If the area looks lighter, then the issue is mildew. If it remains dark, then you have a mold issue. If you have a mold issue, you will want to consult a professional service, such as Project X Restoration in Denver. Because mold infiltrates through surfaces and will damage structures internally, removal is not easy.
- Professional testing—Mold is better tested and treated by a professional. A professional will be able to ascertain what remediation and removal services would be best. Additionally, all the steps can be performed safely to avoid additional exposure or potential spread of mold spores.
The most efficient way to prevent the growth of mold or mildew is to keep all the areas of concern dry. Humidity levels lower than 40-50% are best. If your space has higher levels of humidity, a dehumidifier is helpful for maintaining lower humidity levels. Regular inspections of your heating and cooling systems and air ducts will help ensure that the airflow is maintained. Also, be sure to fix any leaks and address any moisture issues as soon as you see them. The sooner you fix them, the less likely mold and mildew will have a chance to grow.
Mold clean up is best left to professionals for a variety of reasons. Cleaning up mold improperly can lead to the spread of mold spores—either spores that get left behind or spores that spread as a result of the removal. Using a professional for mold removal is important.
If you know for sure you have a mildew issue and not a mold issue, it can be something that you may be able to manage on your own. Again mildew only lives on the surface of items so this means that mildew does not require special removal. Because it can still cause health issues, it is good to be sure that the mildew is being removed while the area is well ventilated and whoever is cleaning the area is wearing a facial mask.
Now that you know everything you didn’t want to know about mold and mildew, contact us at Project X Restoration, if you are dealing with a mold or mildew problem that needs professional attention. We can take care of the cleanup, help identify the source, and help you prevent a reoccurrence. We can remove your mold or mildew issue safely and effectively and help you protect your family from the health issues that can be created from the very common problem.
June 26, 2017
Why You Need Emergency Board Up Services
At Project X in Denver, we realize that you may not understand why you need emergency board up services. If you have never faced an emergency at your home or business, you may not know what board up services are, much less why or when you might need them. To clear things up, we’ve put together some information to explain more about board up services.
Board Services in a Nutshell
Windows are one of the most vulnerable points of a home or business. Put simply, windows are easy to break, much easier than a door or a wall. If you are unable to get a window repaired right away, having an emergency board up service come out is a way to protect your home or business while you are waiting for the repair or replacement to be done.
Often, in natural disasters, such as storms, many people find themselves in the same need for window repair and replacement. Emergency window services just may not be available right away and board up services are the answer in the meantime.
Common Reasons for Board Up Services
Here are a few of the common reasons people need board up services.
- Storm Damage: Storms can be quite powerful, especially here in Denver where we live in hail alley. Just this year, we had golf ball sized hail and bigger.
- Fire: Heat from a fire can cause windows to shatter. Firefighters might also break windows in order to access a structure and put out the blaze.
- Property Vacancy: An unattended property, such as one that’s abandoned, foreclosed or even mid-renovation, will sometimes be vandalized. Board up services help protect the building from further damage.
- Prevention: If you know a big storm is on the way, using board up services can stop windows from breaking, eliminating the need for window replacement altogether.
Save Money by Using Board Up Services
Some people don’t feel that using board up services is worth the money and time. Here are some reasons it is really a money saving move.
- Prevents further damage: Boarding up after your home has sustained damage will be cut further losses. If you’ve suffered a fire or other disaster, securing your home or business will help protect you from ongoing issues.
- Retain insurance coverage: Many policies require that once your home sustains damage, you must stop further damage from occurring. If hail has broken a window and you then had your home boarded up, your insurance company should pay for the damage. Not doing so may give them a reason to deny your claim or only pay a portion of your costs.
- Preventing vandalism: Once a home or business is damaged, if there will be a period before windows or doors will be repaired or replaced, particularly with foreclosures, board up services are a must. This deters vandalism, theft, and potential liability issues.
Now that understand why you need emergency board up services, call us at Project X in Denver if and when you have determined you have a situation that requires board up services. We’re available 24/7 and can typically have a crew out to your location in about an hour.
June 16, 2017
How to Choose the Right Restoration Company
Experiencing a fire, flood, or other disaster is stressful, how to choose the right restoration company shouldn’t be. At Project X Restoration in Denver, we that know losing your home or business, even having it damaged in such an event, can be traumatic. Given the emotions experienced in such a terrible situation, it can be difficult to know who to turn to. Today, we’ll discuss how to take the next step towards putting your home and life back together.
First and foremost, it is very important to choose a qualified and experienced restoration contractor or company who can help alleviate the stress of such a difficult time, not add to it. A restoration company should listen closely to you, keep an open line of communication, and guide you through the entire restoration process.
The following questions will help you sort out what a restoration contractor or company must be able to do for you.
How much experience do they have working with insurance companies?
A restoration company that has successfully completed work for a number of clients, should be very familiar with various carriers. They should have a thorough understanding of the policies and required operating procedures that will ensure each restoration claim is paid.
Should you choose someone you know?
Maybe you have a family member or friend who is a general contractor or who works in the construction business and think it might be a good idea to consider them for your remodeling and construction. This could actually backfire on you. Unless they are genuinely experienced in restorations following a disaster, it is probably not a good idea. Additionally, the restoration process is incredibly stressful and this could put a strain on or even ruin your relationship. It may even cost you more money in the long run if they don’t truly know what they are doing.
Should you consider the contractor or company who built your home or business originally?
Your home or business was probably originally built by a general contractor or construction company. While they are fine choices in most building situations, in a restoration, they are often are unfamiliar with an insurance restoration process. The type of work required, such as mold remediation, water damage restoration, fire and smoke damage, and other specialized work is often unusual for them to manage. Companies that work specifically on restoration projects, such as Project X Restoration, are trained and experienced in the work required.
Couldn’t a cleaning company do the work?
When there has been a fire or flooding, some people wonder if the clean-up could simply be handled by a cleaning service, after all the smoke has cleared and the water has receded. Unfortunately, such damage goes well beyond the superficial cleaning. Microscopic toxins and particulates found in the walls and substructures, as well as other places, can cause hazardous mold and related health conditions if not properly treated.
Knowing how to choose the right restoration company can be difficult, but the above tips will help you navigate the process and avoid some costly mistakes. If you are in need of a restoration company, call us here at Project X Restoration. We can help you through whatever restoration work you need, making the process as stress free as possible. We know insurance companies inside and out and have built our business on delivering quality restorations.