Creosote can cause chimney fires in Severna Park and area homes
The black and white flaky soot is creosote. This was taken in an employees chimney right before a cleaning.
The groundhog saw his shadow calling for six more weeks of winter and it might even snow this weekend. Keeping warm is on many local’s minds, so heating up that fire place is on the top of the list. Do you know the last time you had your chimney cleaned? If it is too long to remember or over 2 years, call a chimney sweep now.
After burning wood on a regular basis, the byproduct of it all can form in to a residue called creosote. It is the blackish crusty, flaky tar- like soot that is seen in the picture. This material is flammable and can catch fire inside the chimney. These fires can be small and go unnoticed until they break through the wall or surrounding area. Most importantly these fires are preventable with proper chimney maintenance and inspections.
If you find you have smoke or soot damage from a fire our IICRC trained technicians are available 24/7/365 to assist.
Heating Safety Reminders for February
FEMA is a great resource for safety tips for everyone in the Annapolis/Severna Park area.
Temperatures in the Annapolis and surrounding area still hover around freezing throughout February. For many of us we are just about done with the cold and snow. I am done with my electric bill being so expensive, due to increased gas use to heat the house. Weather your heating unit has failed, you are tired of paying the expensive bill or you have spaces in the home that do not heat well, here are some winter heating safety tips to prevent fires.
- Never use an oven or stove top to heat your home
- Always use a metal or heat tempered glass screen when using a fireplace
- All heater should have 3 feet on each side
Our IICRC certified technicians are available now to help with frozen pipes, water or fire damage at 410.647.8181.
We are off, thanks to Runway to Success
Our team is going to Orlando, thanks to Runway to Success powered by Southwest Airlines.
Building a business in Annapolis has been a terrific opportunity for our owners. It has been over 40 years and there are still new opportunities that become available to help small companies like ours. We found out today that we have been awarded a round trip ticket to attend a conference this summer. Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation and Southwest Airlines teamed up to host Runway to Success for local businesses.
SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park submitted an application in 2017 in the hopes of funding the travel for a conference that will enhance our teams knowledge of trends in the water damage, fire restoration and mold remediation arenas.
You can see what other local companies were awarded tickets from Southwest here.
We will be sure to share everything we learn with you and our crews this summer.
Our IICRC certified techs are available now to help with frozen pipes, water or fire damage at 410.647.8181.
Bottles Bottles all around Arnold
Plastic Bottles around Severna Park will take over 400 years to naturally decompose.
The ball fields, the lunch rooms, the playgrounds and even the side of the roads. There are water bottles everywhere we turn. Statistics show globally we buy a million plastic bottle per minute. Now that we know we are the cause of all these bottles, what can we do to help eliminate them?
Our family recently purchased a bottle less water cooler similar to those at bottleless.com. We had been using the 5 gallon jugs but felt bad even about that. So now we are bottle less and we use refillable water bottles or glasses, which makes us feel like we are doing our part. This did come with the concern of having a water line installed and running. Which could leak and cause water damage to the kitchen or the basement below.
Using a professional plumber to help us install the water line and verify all the connections were sealed, we felt very comfortable that we are doing the best thing for the environment. We do check our lines once a month when we change our filter to make sure we spot any small leaks ahead of time. So far so good!
If you find yourself with any type of water damage or in need of water restoration services, call SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park 410.647.8181 anytime.
Storms could cause Holiday Travel Delays
Holiday travel around Annapolis could include rain or snow!
Holiday Travel is upon us! Whether you are traveling by car, air or boat you need to be aware of what the weather will be in your area of travel. Winter storms can come in the shape of snow, wind, rain and even fog. These conditions can cause travel hazards and delays.
Keeping your phone charged, having a charger on hand or back up battery is important in case your area loses power. Adding some key phone numbers to car rentals, airlines, and hotels in your zone of travel will help should storms change your initial plan. Airline passengers recently learned that when all the power at the Atlanta airport went out, they could not scan their boarding passes. Call me old school but I still print directions for long trips and print my boarding passes!
Checking the weather before you leave is the first step in being prepared for travel this holiday season. Stay Safe and Happy Holidays!
Overloaded Outlets Can lead to Fires
ESFI has great tips for Millersville residents about outlet safety this holiday season.
December is the season of lights, candles and food. Driving around Millersville, Ben Oaks, Shipley’s Choice, and Chartwell neighborhoods; looking at all the holiday lights and seeing all the extension cords gave us pause. Are those cords rated for outside use, are they all hooked to the same outlet?
There are some safety tips to follow when using lights outside:
- Purchase certified and lab tested cords
- Make sure they are rated for outdoor use
- Do not use multiple plug outlets chained together
Inside the home you may add some lights, your tree and maybe even some cooking appliances. Using certified and lab tested cords inside is important as well. Overloading outlets is the biggest issues that can lead to a fire. Checking connections for fraying wires, limiting the number of units per outlet and unplugging items when not in use are best practices we should all follow.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has other great safety tips that will help limit your holiday fire risk. SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park will have crews working throughout the holiday if you find yourself in need of smoke, soot or fire damage repair.
Ice Dams can cause water damage to Millersville homes
Millersville and area residents should know that icicles are a good sign there is ice damming on their roof.
We Marylander’s can to be somewhat unprepared for freezing temperatures and having sixty degree temperatures in December does not help! But in SERVPRO’s line of business, ice damming and broken pipes can wreak havoc on a home or commercial facility during a snow storm.
It is interesting to note that water damage restoration companies in the New England area have fewer freeze related losses than we do in Maryland! New Englander's know the importance of proper ventilation, insulation and controlling heat loss.
When parts of a snowy roof surface become warm enough, ice damming can occur. This occurs when part of your roof on your Millersville home warms above 32 degrees F. The melted snow runs down the roof under existing snow cover and refreezes as temps go down or the roof edge temperatures remain below freezing. The melted snow becomes trapped behind the ice dam and if it has nowhere to go and that can create leaks as melting snow can back up under shingles! If you currently have an ice dam you can gently break free the ice chunks or use calcium chloride ice melter to slowly break up the dam. Prevention is key, keep ceilings air tight so no warm air from the structure can travel into attic space and keep the insulation dense. Strive for temperatures on a roof deck to be similar to those in an attic space.
It is a best to check attic space in the winter to make sure you have no minor leaks that can potentially turn into larger issues. SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park has technicians available who can assist if you find the water damage is too much to handle.
Tips to avoid Christmas Tree Fires in Annapolis
Water your Annapolis Christmas tree everyday.
Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday have all come and gone. It is now December and officially the holiday season. Many people are out shopping for Christmas trees and putting up holiday lights. This is a festive time of year, but also a time to remember some safety tips.
At SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park we rely on the National Fire Protection Association for key fire safety tips. They recommend the following:
- Keep tree at least 3 feet from a heat source
- Be sure to add water to tree daily
- Make sure lights are not broken or have frayed cords
- Turn off holiday lights before bed or when leaving the home
Most importantly is to get rid of the Christmas tree once it is dried out. Removing the dead tree from the home and garage is the best prevention for accidental holiday fires.
SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park will be available all holiday season to assist with any smoke, fire or water damage needs. Call 410-647-8181 anytime!
Old vs. New Homes and Mold in Annapolis
Restoring historic properties is important to our team.
SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park recently worked with the City of Annapolis and its KEEPING HISTORY ABOVE WATER conference in October and continues to support the City of Annapolis and its Weather It Together initiative.
Part of SERVPRO’s involvement with Weather It Together (and I urge you to visit their website) is because, of course, we love the history and community that is Annapolis but mostly, as a SERVPRO owner, I am keenly aware of preservation and restoration. After all, our motto is, “Like it never even happened.” ... not tear it down and start over.
As we got more involved in the conference, my staff and I learned a few things. My team researched building materials and recreated structural samples spanning from pre-Civil war to the present day and how they have changed. A question presented itself. Why, for example, is mold so much more of a problem now with assumingly better modern-day materials?
In the 1920’s, indoor plumbing was introduced (great source of moisture). Builders moved from plaster and lath to drywall and from solid lumber to composites. In the 50’s, along comes air conditioning and the 60’s brought us updated HVAC systems. Buildings became more comfortable and energy consumption increased and we end up with an energy crisis in the 70’s! Energy efficiency became a priority and building design changed to reduce energy consumption. Construction became “tighter” reducing heat flow and air movement and more importantly, reducing drying potential of a commercial building or home. In the early 80’s, energy efficient structures were being built in quantity and by the late 80’s, health complaints start being connected to tight buildings and interest in mold problems began to grow.
So, for those of you who love vintage and historical properties, commercial or residential, you will be happy to know that older structures typically dry out better with less demolition than modern structures.
Calling SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park when your commercial or residential structure needs attention is your best bet!
Where did mold come from?
Mold under the microscope can look pretty. Not in your Cape Saint Claire home.
Molds or fungi are microscopic organisms that can be found just about anywhere and anyone can be exposed to mold almost daily. Molds are usually not a problem indoors UNLESS mold spores land on damp or wet surfaces and begin to grow. Elevated moisture/humidity levels create a flourishing breeding ground for molds to produce the allergens and irritants that can make a person sick. As long as moisture is not present, mold cannot grow. You must discover the reason for elevated moisture levels (leaking pipe, hot water heater, toilet, etc.). When water leaks indoors – respond quickly! If you can dry the affected area within 24-48 hours, in most cases mold will not grow.
If you “SMELL” mold, remember that the mold may be hidden atop ceiling tiles, or by wallpaper or paneling or inside ductwork. Use caution if you are investigating the “Smell/Odor” yourself as the simple act of pulling away wallpaper can release spores and NEVER turn a fan on to hasten drying as it will most likely blow those pesky spores around, causing more damage.
The area SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park services is surrounded by water! We’ve remediated hundreds if not thousands of mold projects over our 40 plus years. Most property managers or homeowners call us frantically when they believe they may have a mold problem but it is not alarming to us as we are educated and trained. A mold situation is fixable if properly remediated.