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September 19, 2017

Disaster Preparation and Taking a Home Inventory

Disaster Preparation and Taking a Home Inventory DenverAt Project X Restoration in Denver, we recommend making time for disaster preparation and taking a home inventory. As professional restoration specialists, we’ve seen first-hand the devastation that can be caused by a natural disaster, plumbing issue, house fire and so much more. These situations are incredibly stressful, making it difficult for homeowners to clearly think through an exhaustive list of their home’s contents. Being prepared is vital.

Nobody expects their basement to flood or electrical system to ignite a fire, so it’s natural not to think too much about being ready. But, if it ever happens to you, disaster preparation and taking a home inventory can spare you added stress and more quickly get you on the path to restoring both your home and your life.

Some Statistics

According to a 2012 survey, over half of U.S. residents have not done an inventory of their home to account for all their possessions. Of those who have completed inventories, 27% do not have photos to accompany their inventory, 28% don’t have a backup stored outside their home, and 48% have no receipts to accompany their inventory. Almost 60% have not updated their inventories in over a year. If you fall into any or all of these categories and experience damage from a fire, you’ll likely face issues when seeking reimbursement from your insurance company.

A Successful Home Inventory

Because a home inventory can seem overwhelming, it is best to start with a portion of your home. Choose an inventory tool that you will be likely to use and will be able to best keep up to date. Treat your inventory systematically and keep at it until you have completed it.

Once your inventory is complete, you need an offsite storage place or an accessible online location. Saving this information to a home computer will do you no good if it’s destroyed in a fire or home flood. Every significant purchase should be added at least on an annual basis.

Successful methods for home inventories include:

  • Spreadsheets: Spreadsheets are an easy way to track and organize an inventory.
  • Photos: Be sure to photograph every room systematically and be sure to take individual photos of important or valuable items. You will need a way to track purchase dates, costs, and model or serial numbers.
  • Video: You will need to be sure to capture information similar to photos. Videos have an added advantage of having audio to accompany your inventory.
  • Apps: There are a lot of apps that are great ways to complete your inventory. Some that have been recommended include Inventory for Homeowners, DreamVault, Home Gallery, and The Home Inventory. These apps are just a few of the available options that may work well for you.

Worth the Effort

Disaster preparation and taking a home inventory can save you time and energy in case of an emergency. It may also mean a more streamlined reimbursement process. If you need help in your restoration efforts following an unfortunate event, contact our professionals at Project X Restoration in Denver. We can help you with clean-up and restoration following water damage, fire, smoke damage, and more. We care about helping you and your family.

September 5, 2017

Why Choose IICRC Certified Professionals for Water Damage?

Why Choose IICRC Certified Professionals for Water Damage? Project X Restoration DenverWhy choose IICRC Certified Professionals for water damage? Here at Project X Restoration in Denver, we want to share why the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is so important when it comes to hiring a professional to clean and restore your home or business following water damage.

Water Damage Can Be Serious

Comprehensive water damage restoration involves going into a business or home following water damage caused by floods, burst pipes, or other destruction and involves helping with clean-up but also includes drying everything from substructures to drywall, wood, metal, and concrete. It’s a very intensive process that requires proper training.

Of course, one of the biggest concerns following a water disaster is mold damage, but there are many other issues related to moisture damage that are also vitally important, such as crumbling plaster and drywall, weakened supports and beams, as well as rusting of metal surfaces. Each issue must be addressed individually and restored meticulously.

Trained Professionals

So, why choose IICRC Certified Professionals for water damage? Because of the potential for the initial damage to spread, you need a professional service with appropriate training like Project X Restoration in Denver. A service that has earned the ability to post the IICRC logo has met a rigorous list of standards. The IICRC encourages consumers to look for the IICRC logo, not just because it is a sign of high quality, but also because this organization has led the way in establishing standards for water damage restoration and mold remediation.

Need to Understand the Source

In order to understand how to best to clean up after water damage, it is important that your restoration and cleaning professional know about the different types of liquid involved.

According to IICRC standards (there are 500 of them), there are three categories of liquid in water disasters.

  • Category 1: Liquid in this category is from a clean, sanitary source. Liquids like water from faucets, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, etc. are all category 1.
  • Category 2: Liquids in this category have a small level of contaminants. This category would include water from washing machines, dishwashers, or toilet overflow that involves urine only.
  • Category 3: This liquid is considered grossly unsanitary. Floodwater from rivers or streams, sewage backups, and toilet overflows with feces, etc. are in category 3.

Need to Know the Level of Destruction

It is also important to have a full understanding of the level of destruction in order to understand how to perform the water damage clean-up and restoration. There are different levels of damage depending on the types of material ruined and amount and category of the liquid involved. The clean-up and restoration for a Category 1 liquid that affected minimal amounts of a room with a concrete floor will be very different than a Category 3 liquid that has affected the entire house and has saturated the floors, carpets, and insulation. If you use professionals that have the IICRC’s approval, you are working with a company that knows the best way to deal with such dramatically different situations.

If you have water damage and need an IICRC approved company to help with clean-up and restoration, contact us at Project X Restoration in Denver. We’re available 24/7 in case of emergency and will help you restore your home to its preloss state.

August 21, 2017

Dangers of Smoke Damage After a Fire

Dangers of Smoke Damage After a FireFire 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

Where to Place Smoke Alarms and ExtinguishersToday, 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.

Where?

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.

Where?

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

everything you didn’t want to know about mold and mildewHere 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.

Prevention

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.

Cleaning

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.

 

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