February 28, 2018
How to Put Out Different Types of Fires
Today, our experts at Project X Restoration in Denver want to share a bit about how to put out different types of fires to help keep you safe. In the U.S., statistics show that a home fire occurs once every 86 seconds which is surprising to many people. Of course, not all fires are the same, so when it comes to putting one out in your home it’s good to know the difference.
Knowing how to put out different types of fires can save your home, and more importantly, you and your family.
Every one of the dozens of appliances in your home is a potential fire hazard. Generally, half of appliance fires are caused by electrical and mechanical problems while the other half stem from user error. Some appliances should be treated differently when it comes to extinguishing a fire.
- Microwave: If you can, shut the door, turn the microwave off, and unplug it. Shutting the door should suffocate the flames and cause them to die down. Fires need oxygen to continue growing.
- Oven: Oven fires can be treated much like microwave fires. The first step is to close the oven door and turn off the oven. Be sure to unplug it. If the flames start to escape, a multipurpose fire extinguisher should be used.
- Television: Televisions can start a home fire if there is not enough space for air to circulate and the heat from the television can catch items that are too close on fire. Curtains, decorative knick-knacks, and paper (like cards or photos) can easily ignite. In case of fire, pull the plug if possible and douse with water or use a fire extinguisher. Do not use a blanket to smother this type of fire because you cannot eliminate enough oxygen for smothering to be effective.
Some electrical fires are caused by appliance failure or faulty wiring, but the large majority stem from homeowner missteps like overloading outlets, running extension cords under flooring or carpet, and overloading light fixtures with higher wattage bulbs.
Electrical fires pose a particular danger because many people don’t know how to put out different types of fires. They understandably reach for water first when there is a fire. However, water conducts electricity so using water to douse an electrical fire, can cause flames to spread by spreading the electrical current and can potentially shock those who come in contact with the water.
To extinguish an electrical fire:
- Use a multipurpose fire extinguisher or smother the flames with a blanket.
- Unplug devices if you can do so safely.
- Shut down power to the area from the main, if it is safe to do so.
If you’ve had a fire in your home and need assistance with the cleanup and smoke damage control, contact us here at Project X Restoration in Denver. We provide 24/7 emergency services, including board up to secure your home after the initial disaster.
Natural Gas Fire
A number of natural gas fires start in the kitchen, but natural gas fireplaces and heating sources can also be ignition points. Often the area around the stove, fireplace, or heater will overheat and start on fire. If the fire is small, smother it with a blanket or rug, shut off your natural gas main and open windows to ventilate the area. Call the fire department so that they can help you determine the source and whether there is additional danger.
If you are unable to shut off the main and ventilate the area, it may be best to let the fire department put out the fire. Natural gas builds up in a room and can explode easily, so it could be quite dangerous if not tended to properly.
America loves deep-fried turkey and lots of turkey lovers have seen infamous videos of the resulting fires. Grease fires aren’t limited to large turkeys in vats of oil. Something as simple as frying bacon can lead to a grease fire in the kitchen. When the oil in a cooking container gets hot enough, it ignites. Grease fires can be incredibly dangerous both because of how hot such fires burn but also because grease can splash onto other surfaces and even people.
This is another area where people don’t understand how to put out different types of fires. So, first and foremost, never ever throw water on a grease fire. Water can cause oil spatter that spreads the fire. In the case of a pot of oil, the water sinks to the bottom and pushes up the hot oil, causing it to explode from the pot.
To extinguish a grease fire, use the following steps:
- Cover the flames with the lid for the plan. Do not use glass lid because the high heat can cause it to shatter.
- Contrary to popular opinion, using flour, baking soda, sugar, or other powdered substance can be very dangerous. While these substances may be effective on a small fire, even in these instances, it would be better not to use them. Small, dust-like particles, such as those in flour in particular, can have an explosive reaction and achieving the smothering effect can require quite a bit of the substance and dangerously close proximity.
- Use a multi-purpose fire extinguisher or a Class B to extinguish grease fires.
Wood Burning Fireplace
Wood burning fireplaces may be the source of a house fire if they are left unattended or not extinguished properly. If the fire is small enough to be contained, spread the logs to help the fire cool faster, then cover the logs and embers with ashes or sand to smother any flames.
If there are no flames and no heat emanating, the fire has been extinguished entirely. Avoid using water because it can cause ash to be spread all over the room and it may even cause damage to your fireplace. In case of a larger fire, always call the fire department.
Knowing how to put out different types of fires properly can save your home and family. If you have had a fire in your home and need help with smoke damage, cleanup, and complete restoration, contact us here at Project X Restoration in Denver. We hope you’ll never need us, but we’re here if you do.
January 16, 2018
Myths About Mold
Over the years, we’ve discovered that there are a lot of myths about mold out there and our team at Project X Restoration in Denver would like to clear up a few for you today. Knowing the facts and not just hearsay will help you make better decisions when it comes to dealing with mold in your home or commercial building.
First, it’s important to realize that mold is so common that there’s no need to panic at the sight of this stuff. Mold can be a serious issue, but knowing more about what you are dealing with will help you to make smart decisions and refrain from overreacting. Knowing the truth about mold will help you deal with mold appropriately and effectively.
Myth: All Mold is Awful
Actually, some mold was used to develop penicillin and some mold is what makes some cheeses so delicious. Ever tried a tasty blue cheese? It is delectable because of the specific mold used. So while mold seems awful, there are some benefits to some specific molds. Not all mold is bad. It can be difficult to know what kind of mold you are dealing with though and it is important to realize that some mold really is bad and can cause problems.
Myth: All Mold Causes Health Troubles
When it comes to myths about mold, this is a big one. Mold can be responsible for health problems, but not all mold. It is important to understand that the effects on people can be very different depending on the person and the mold. Molds are responsible for some allergens but not everyone reacts to these allergens.
Some people can be highly sensitive to these allergens and for these people, mold can be dangerous and require mold remediation. Often, these individuals have compromised immune systems. Some people develop breathing troubles, watery and itchy eyes, bloody noses, headaches, as well as other issues. Repeated exposure can cause the onset of sensitivities to mold in many people and the development of additional health issues.
Myth: No Mold Should be Inside
One of the myths about mold is that it needs to be completely eradicated. However, the air around us contains mold spores and there is really no way to avoid mold spores unless you live in a bubble. The problem is not really the presence of mold, as much as it is a concentrated amount of mold in your home. Mold should not be growing on your walls or other surfaces. This is a concentrated amount that can lead to problems.
We all live with mold, but there is a question about how much people should really be exposed to in their homes. If you suspect mold is causing your health troubles, you should consider mold remediation services, such as the ones we offer here at Project X Restoration in Denver.
Myth: Bleach Kills Mold
This is one of the myths about mold that is partially true. Some molds on certain non-porous surfaces can be killed by the use of bleach. It is important to note that bleach itself can pose health risks to people and bleach is still being researched for its effectiveness in dealing with mold. Because of its health risks, bleach is not recommended to clean up mold issues. Bleach can also be corrosive to a number of materials and so using it can be problematic.
When it comes to cleaning up mold, there can be a potential for spreading mold. This is one reason why a professional removal service is recommended and often necessary.
Myth: If the Mold is Killed, There is no Reason to Remove it
Killing mold is really not sufficient. Killing mold does not remedy any health effects because all the allergens in mold are still present even if the mold has been killed. Often, the only way to mitigate further health troubles from mold is to remove the affected materials. This will eliminate the potential for the mold to spread and it will help with the continued mold exposure that contributes to health problems.
Myth: You Don’t Need to Worry about Mold Because it’s Natural
Mold is naturally occurring but that does not mean it is harmless. If you allow mold to gain a solid foothold in an area of your home, the repeated exposure to the mold allergens comes with an increased risk of health troubles. Additionally, mold can cause the materials in your building or home to deteriorate. This deterioration can cause other more serious structural problems. If you have mold, the best course of action is quick, professional, and effective mold removal.
Myth: A Little Mold is Nothing to Worry About
If you can see mold on a surface, it is likely you have a much larger problem than you realize. Mold it a bit like icebergs: most of the mold is going to be below the surface. This means if you see mold, prepare yourself that there is more growing that you may not be able to see.
This is another reason that professional removal and remediation is recommended. Professionals know that if you see mold on a wall, there is going to be a larger amount below the surface that will need to be removed.
Myth: DIY Cleanup is a Good Idea
Here’s another of the myths about mold that is partially true. Some kinds of mold in small quantities may be perfectly fine with a DIY cleanup. But for some molds, you are going to need a professional. Proper mold cleanup includes identifying the source to prevent the mold from re-growing, as well as isolating and removing surfaces that are affected.
You may need a containment unit, a commercial HEPA filtration unit, HEPA vacuums, protective gears, the ability to do a wet extraction, and specialized cleaning agents. This is beyond most homeowners and so the large majority of people would benefit from proper mold remediation which is going to remove the mold appropriately and effectively.
Now that you know the myths about mold, contact us here at Project X Restoration in Denver for your mold removal issue. We can make sure that your mold is removed properly, that the mold is contained to avoid spreading, and that the clean-up up is thorough and effective. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.
December 5, 2017
It's the Most Dangerous Time of the Year
At Project X Restoration in Denver, we know the holidays are wonderful, but also it’s the most dangerous time of the year, particularly for household fires. We thought it would be a good time to share some tips to reduce your risk. Residential fires during the holidays are more costly, more frequent, and more deadly than any other time of the year. On Christmas day, there are twice as many open flame fires than on average. New Year’s Day also has double the average number of open flame fires.
Additionally, these fires tend to cause more damage. On a holiday, property loss is, on average, 34% more than it is on a regular day and the number of fatalities per thousand fires is almost 70% higher. If a Christmas tree is the source of a house fire, the percentage climbs even higher for loss of life and property. When it’s the most dangerous time of the year, you can keep your family from being a holiday fire statistic by following the safety rules and tips we here at Project X Restoration in Denver have put together for you.
The top cause of holiday fires is actually cooking and one of the most common culprits is cooking food that has been left unattended in the kitchen. The holidays have so many distractions that it is especially easy to forget you have something on the stove. One way to avoid forgetting your food is to set a timer, even if it is only set for a minute. Another way to remember is to carry a potholder with you as a reminder.
Also, be sure to have an extinguisher in your kitchen just in case a fire breaks out on the stove. It should be rated for all fire types. Additionally, check to ensure your smoke detectors are functional and if you are planning to deep fry a turkey outside, be sure to have your fire extinguisher ready. Also, to avoid a fire, keep your outdoor fryer on a flat, level surface that is more than 10 feet from the house. This can help you avoid potential trouble.
The occurrence of candle fires is four times higher in December than it is in other months. The top, most dangerous days for candle fires are Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Halloween. To improve safety, keep the candles at least a foot away from anything flammable. Candles should either be set on a sturdy base or should be covered with hurricane glass. Consider using both for added home fire prevention.
Additionally, candles flames should never be left unattended to avoid any possibility of a fire. Making sure all candles are thoroughly extinguished at the end of the day’s festivities will also help. You could even consider LED flameless candles to entirely avoid the issue.
Another reason why it’s the most dangerous time of the year is that it can take as little as 30 seconds for a dry Christmas tree to catch fire and spread through a room. Christmas trees, particularly pine, are incredibly flammable. Some people don’t realize that turpentine (a highly flammable paint remover) is made from pine trees. To reduce your risk, keep your tree well-watered and keep heat sources, such as fireplaces and heaters, away from it. Also, keep your tree more than 3 feet away from any of your home’s heat sources.
These actions will minimize how quickly your tree dries out. Additionally, try to buy a very fresh tree which will prolong the time you have before it becomes very dry. In general, your tree will begin to dry out, regardless of conditions, after about 4 weeks. Taking it down after the holidays will minimize the risk of a fire. If you purchase an artificial tree, they usually are not much of a fire hazard, especially if you purchase a flame retardant one.
If you have Christmas lights that have become frayed or that have cracked wires or broken sockets, it would be best to throw them out to avoid having them catch on fire. Additionally, when decorating your home, it is much safer to only string 3 strands of lights together, end-to-end.
To further minimize your fire risk, be sure all of your extension cords are in good condition before you use them and be sure they are UL-rated for indoor or outdoor use, as is appropriate. If your ground fault interrupter is repeatedly tripped, it is a sign that your lights may need to be replaced. Not replacing them could increase your risk of a fire.
To protect your outdoor lights, use UL-rated hangers or clips instead of using nails or staples. Also, take down your lights within 90 days to keep them in better condition. Leaving your lights up year round exposes them to weather damage and may allow the wiring to become frayed. Pests, such as squirrels, could also chew your lights if they are kept out.
Kids and Matches Don’t Mix
The number of blazes caused by children also contributes to the holiday statistics and further proves it’s the most dangerous time of the year. There are a number of deaths caused by children playing with fire as well, so keeping matches and lighters out of the hands of children can be important to your family’s safety.
To keep your chimney from causing a house fire, be sure that it’s inspected and cleaned before you begin using it for the season. Additionally, be sure to use a fireplace screen to keep embers from landing on your floor or carpet. Avoid using flammable liquids to start a fire because the liquid can drip allowing the fire to spread quickly. Also, avoid burning materials that can create an additional fire hazard, like wrapping paper.
Even though it’s the most dangerous time of the year, you can keep your family and home safe from a potential fire. If you do experience a home fire, we here at Project X Restoration in Denver are here for you with 24/7 emergency response. We’ll help repair the damage and get your home back to its pre-fire condition.
November 22, 2017
Water Heaters and Water Damage
It is a fact that our home appliances don’t last forever. Water heaters and water damage can be disastrous. At Project X Restoration in Denver, we want to let you know how to spot any potential issues and what to do if you have an emergency.
The typical water heater has a lifespan of 10 years on average. Many water heaters degrade over time and what frequently happens is that the connections where the water comes in and goes out are easy to miss. This means the leak can do large amounts of damage over time. The moisture can saturate the drywall and wick away to a much larger area. It can create an ideal environment for mold growth.
Mold can develop in warm wet spaces very quickly and unfortunately the longer the problem goes unnoticed, the larger the damage and destruction can be. In some houses, the water heater is not even visible and is tucked in a rarely trafficked area or may be surrounded by boxes and storage.
The water damage can spread to adjoining areas. If your water heater shares a wall with your kitchen cabinets, your cabinets could be soaking up the leaking water and be on the way to ruin. Entire walls can end up being ruined by a small slow leak.
On the other end of the damage spectrum is a water heater failure due to a tank rupture. If you’ve ever dropped a gallon of milk and watched it spill across the floor, you may have a small scale visual. Just expand it to 40 or 50 gallons and imagine the damage. One water heater housed in the middle of the home can actually flood an entire house with an inch or 2 of water. When it comes to water heaters and water damage, this is your worst case scenario.
The primary thing you can do to avoid problems is to inspect your water heater regularly. Be sure to check for moisture around the connections and look for any pooling water or mold. If you find any signs of trouble, you are going to need to have your water heater repaired or replaced. You are also going to need to have any damaged areas repaired and have mold mitigated. Call a service such as Project X Restoration in Denver for help.
If you are renovating, you may consider moving your water heater to an area where there is less possibility of damage, such as your garage. Also, consider installing a metal stand for water heaters. These stands have water trays that help alert you to a leak before it gets far.
Worst Case Scenario
If your water heater suddenly bursts, contact a water damage and restoration expert. They can remove large amounts of water quickly and help you get your home back to normal. They can also help with mold mitigation and make recommendations on needed repairs and recommend additional contractors to use if needed.
If you have problems with water heaters and water damage, contact us here at Project X Restoration in Denver. We are water damage restoration experts and even provide mold removal and remediation if you need it. Call us 24/7 for professional, emergency response.
November 8, 2017
Home Renovations and Asbestos
Here at Project X Restoration in Denver, we want to share a little about home renovations and asbestos because a lot of people don’t realize that this deadly substance may be lurking in their home, particularly older homes. So, before you swing a sledgehammer on updating your home, it might be wise to take it slow and call for abatement at the first sign of trouble.
Asbestos in the Home
Asbestos has been used in building in the United State for hundreds of years. It is considered an excellent material to use because it is resistant to fire and is a strong material in spite of being relatively lightweight. Cement also adheres to it very easily. It was used extensively until scientists discovered that once it became airborne, asbestos could cause a number of illnesses and is a leading cause of mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer of the lungs’ lining.
Restrictions on building using asbestos were originally placed in 1973 and by 1989 it was almost banned completely. In 1991, the federal courts overturned the last ban and today the U.S. is one of a handful of developed nations that has not completely banned the use of asbestos. It is still used in a number of home building materials today but they are produced so that the asbestos is contained and shouldn’t pose any health issues.
Illnesses from Asbestos
When asbestos is inhaled, the tiny fibers can lodge in the lungs. They accumulate there and cause damage. Exposure to asbestos can be responsible for pleural effusions, which are a buildup of fluid between the lungs and the wall of the chest, pleural plaque, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Currently, asbestos is banned in flooring felt, rollboard, corrugated paper, or commercial and specialty paper. Additionally, pipe-insulation, wall patching compound, and artificial fireplace embers, and spray-applied surfacing material cannot contain asbestos. Asbestos cannot be added to new products or materials that have not historically contained asbestos.
However, there are still a number of products that can contain asbestos. These products include vinyl floor tiles, roofing felt, pipe wrap, cement shingles, and more. This makes home renovations and asbestos almost inevitable if it was built prior to the ban.
Remodeling with Asbestos
If the asbestos in your home is well contained, you probably don’t have to be very concerned with removal. Older homes (built before the mid-1980’s) have the greatest risk of asbestos exposure during a remodel. If you are concerned about being exposed to asbestos, contact a professional asbestos abatement company, such as Project X Restoration in Denver. Professionals know how to best remove asbestos to safely and effectively, without exposing anyone.
Materials that Could Be an Issue
It is important to understand which materials are likely to have asbestos. Problematic materials should be removed by an asbestos abatement professional. These material include:
- Older vinyl or linoleum and the glue used
- Outdoor siding
- Decorative plaster
- Drywall patching and joint compound
- Flat roofing materials
If you are performing home renovations and asbestos is found, contact us here at Project X Restoration in Denver. Even if you’re not sure what to look for, we recommend that you stop right away if you see white fibrous material breaking apart when you demolish or remove any materials and clear the area. Contact our professionals, and we’ll send someone out right away for a professional assessment.