Halogen Lamps Can Cause Havoc, When Not Properly Used
Halogen light bulbs may last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they have additional dangers associated with them. Compared to incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs have a longer lifespan and are more energy efficient. Being aware of the dangers associated with halogen lights can help minimize the risks that come with using halogen light bulbs.
Halogen light bulbs can reach temperatures much higher than traditional light bulbs. According to the New York State Fire Administration, a 300 W halogen bulb can reach temperatures as high as 970 degrees F. This high level of heat generation can potentially cause ignition of combustible fluids or fumes nearby.
Because of this, they have been known to cause a fire when they touch the wrong surface for too long. For example, if the lamp falls over and the light is turned on, it could potentially catch the drapes or some paper on fire. Small children have been known to drop a blanket or some other flammable object on the top of a lamp and leave it, promptly starting fire
Various items that were placed over a halogen lamp in a test were used to determine how quickly a fire can happen. Results included a polyester/cotton shirt burning in 24 seconds. Cardboard ignited in 1 minute 17 seconds, and a piece of pine wood caught fire in 1 minute 43 seconds, according to the study results.
As a preventative measure, make sure you place lamps in areas where they won't get knocked over or bumped into. Keep fabric, wood and other flammable items away from the light. Nothing should ever impede air flow around the bulb. Turn off the lamps when not in use, and avoid direct contact with the bulb except when changing the bulb.
Mold In The Environment
Molds are fungi than can be found virtually everywhere whether it be indoors or outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more.
Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.
Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.
Specific recommendations for your home:
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%--all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
- Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
- Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
- Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
- Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.
If you have any questions regarding mold or have mold present in your home or business, call the experts at SERVPRO of Framingham for your remediation needs at (508) 370-4400.
For more information on mold visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at: http://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm
Fall Home Maintenance Tips!
It is important to clean your gutters after all the leaves fall!
Fall foliage is beautiful, but not when it builds up in your gutters! Take these tips into account during the cool autumn months.
- Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician.
- Keep flammable materials, including all lawn and power equipment, away from water heaters and wiring in the basement.
- Insulate water pipes in areas exposed to cold temperatures, and turn up the thermostat during extra cold periods.
- Check for damage to your roof, and clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating. This is especially important during the fall season to keep leaves from building up in gutters.
- Check and repair caulking around doors and windows that show signs of deterioration.
- Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases; and make repairs as needed.
- Have your chimney cleaned and maintained annually by a professional.
- Clean and/or replace your furnace filter.
- Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material.
- Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other power service.
- Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible, filled and ready for operation.
- Inspect your smoke detectors. Make sure there is one on each floor of your home. Test them monthly, and change the battery annually or as needed.
SERVPRO of Framingham is here to help 24/7 with your emergency needs. Call our office 508-370-4400 so we can make it "Like it never even happened".
Our Four Legged Best Friends Can Also Help Detect Mold In Our Homes
Many professional home inspectors use specialized tools such as water pressure gauges, infrared thermometers, devices to detect moisture and some even use mold detecting dogs!
That’s right, dogs.
These highly trained dogs are qualified to detect at least 18 kinds of mold that are deemed harmful to humans. Their training is similar to bomb-sniffing dogs and drug-sniffing dogs.
When a home inspector cannot see behind the wall, their dogs are trained to sniff for mold in hidden places. They alert the inspector of where mold was detected by immediately sitting down in front of that area.
The home inspector can then do a more in-depth investigation in that area, pulling back the baseboard, cutting a small hole in the dry wall, or pulling out all of the contents of the bathroom or kitchen cabinets.
This additional investigation may also lead to spore sampling. This is a process where the inspector pulls a sample of the material, seals it in a vial, identifies it, and ships it off to an independent laboratory for analysis.
Luckily for our fury friends, the mold is not harmful to them as they have the special ability to purge odor and contaminants from their noses.
Another reason to love our best friend!
National Fire Prevention Week (Oct 8 - 14) - SERVPRO of Framingham
National Fire Prevention Week (Oct 8 -14)
Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years
FIRE PREVENTION WEEK has established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.
According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow - belonging to Mrs. Catherine O'Leary - kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you've heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O'Leary, for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.
While the Great Chicago Fire was the best-known blaze to start during this fiery two-day stretch, it wasn't the biggest. That distinction goes to the Peshtigo Fire, the most devastating forest fire in American history. The fire, which also occurred on October 8th, 1871, and roared through Northeast Wisconsin, burning down 16 towns, killing 1,152 people, and scorching 1.2 million acres before it ended.
Historical accounts of the fire say that the blaze began when several railroad workers clearing land for tracks unintentionally started a brush fire. Before long, the fast-moving flames were whipping through the area 'like a tornado,' some survivors said. It was the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin that suffered the worst damage. Within an hour, the entire town had been destroyed.
Those who survived the Chicago and Peshtigo fires never forgot what they'd been through; both blazes produced countless tales of bravery and heroism. But the fires also changed the way that firefighters and public officials thought about fire safety. On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should henceforth be observed not with festivities, but in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. The commemoration grew incrementally official over the years.
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.
September is National Preparedness Month - SERVPRO of Framingham
SEPTEMBER is National Preparedness Month, and we are asking you to help your family and friends prepare for whatever may come.
Here are a few tips* on how you can protect those that matter to you without spending a fortune:
- Make a Plan. Work with you family and neighbors to make an emergency plan for the types of disasters that affect your area. Make sure everyone in your family understands where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. You can download Family Emergency Plan templates www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
- Update Contact Information. Having accurate records for family, friends and neighbors will help you stay in contact and possibly help those in need. Make sure updated contact information is posted in visible places throughout your house and workplace.
- Check Your Policy. Review your insurance policy annually and make any necessary changes – renters, too! When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will get you back on your feet.
- Make a Ready List. You may not need all of the items in ready-made preparedness kits. Choose the essentials that fit your needs and budget. Don’t forget to keep supplies at work and in your car.
- Plan Your Purchases. You can save money by thinking ahead. Don’t buy preparedness items just before a storm when they’re expensive and supplies will be in high demand. Buy items at the end of the season when you can get good deals.
- Shop Sales. Shop at sales and used goods stores. Buy preparedness items throughout the year, instead of all at once, and you won’t notice the cost as much.
- Make Sure it Keeps. Store water in safe, containers. You don’t need to buy expensive bottled water, just make sure your water containers are disinfected and airtight.
- Request a Gift. We all get things we don’t need. Suggest preparedness supplies as gifts from your friends and family. It just might save your life.
- Trade a Night Out. Trade one night out to fund your 72-hour kit. Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80. Just one night staying in could fund your Ready kit.
- *The best tip: start now. Take small steps toward preparedness and before you know it, you will be Ready!
Build an Emergency Supply Kit
- Water, one gallon per person per day
- Food, non-perishable 3-day supply
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Hygiene items
- Important documents, copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account information
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
SERVPRO of FRAMINGHAM - 4 Insurance Mistakes to Avoid
Avoid these common mistakes and you're on your way to getting the best insurance for your needs and budget.
Saving money feels good. And shopping around when you’re looking for insurance coverage is a great way to do it. However, simply reducing your coverage or dropping important coverages altogether is like diet without exercise—focused only on numbers, not on results. Don’t risk ending up dangerously underinsured and on the hook for much bigger bills in the event of a disaster.
Following are the four most common home, flood, and renters insurance mistakes people make, along with suggestions to avert those pitfalls while still saving money (we call them, “better ways to save”):
- Insuring a home for its real estate value rather than for the cost of rebuilding. When real estate prices go down, some homeowners may think they can reduce the amount of insurance on their home. But insurance is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding, not the sales price of the home. You should make sure that you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home and replace your belongings—no matter what the real estate market is doing.
A better way to save: Raise your deductible. An increase from $500 to $1,000 could save up to 25 percent on your premium payments.
- Selecting an insurance company by price alone. It is important to choose a company with competitive prices. But be sure the insurer you choose is financially sound and provides good customer service.
A better way to save: Check the financial health of a company with independent rating agencies (some well-known ones: A.M. Best, Moody's), and ask friends and family members about their experiences with insurers. Select an insurance company that will respond to your needs and handle claims fairly and efficiently.
3. Dropping flood insurance. Damage from flooding is not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as from some private insurance companies. You may not be aware you’re at risk for flooding, but keep in mind that 25 percent of all flood losses occur in low risk areas. Furthermore, yearly weather patterns—spring runoff from melting winter snows, for example—can cause flooding.
A better way to save: Before purchasing a home, check with the NFIP to determine whether a property is situated in a flood zone; if so, you may want to consider a less risky area. If you are already living in a designated flood zone, look at mitigation efforts that can reduce your risk of flood damage and consider purchasing flood insurance. Additional information on flood insurance can be found at www.FloodSmart.gov.
- Neglecting to buy renters insurance. A renters insurance policy covers your possessions and additional living expenses if you have to move out due to an insured disaster, such as a fire or hurricane. Equally important, it provides liability protection in the event someone is injured in your home and decides to sue.
A better way to save: Look into multi-policy discounts. Buying several policies with the same insurer, such as renters, auto, and life will generally provide savings.
SERVPRO of FRAMINGHAM is ready to assist 24/7 with any disaster situation homeowners or renters face. In the event of a fire/water/mold emergency you can count on the team of SERVPRO of FRAMINGHAM to "make it like it never even happened." Contact our office at 508-370-4400.
Flash Flood Watch VS. Flash Flood Warning
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Flooding often occurs following a hurricane, thawing snow, or several days of sustained rain. Flash floods occur suddenly, due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe!
A flood/flash flood WATCH means a flood or flash flood is possible.
A flood/flash flood WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. TAKE IMMEDIATE PRECAUTIONS!
Right Before a Flood You Should Do the Following:
> Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
> Be prepared to evacuate quickly and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.
> Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
Then, If You Can, Do This
> Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking.
> Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing the toilet or washing the floor or clothing.
> Fill your car's gas tank, in case you need to evacuate.
> Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
> Turn off propane tanks to reduce the potential for fire.
If You Still Have Time, Do This
> Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
> Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities to prevent damage to your home or within the community. If you shut your gas off, a professional is required to turn it back on.
> Unplug small appliances to reduce potential damage from power surges that may occur.
Mold Can Affect Any Homeowner
From the New York Post:
Imagine this — Yoko Ono’s former West Village penthouse is an $8.3 million wreck, with warped beams, toxic mold and a rotted roof deck.
Ono sold the fourth-floor pad at 49-51 Downing St. to developer David Blumenfeld in 2014. She’d purchased the penthouse — part of a converted 19th century horse stable — in 1995 for her son Sean Lennon who lived in it for just a few years.
Now Blumenfeld is suing the co-op board for refusing to make “structural repairs’ that have allegedly made the unit “dangerous” even though his adult son lives there.
Blumenfeld says in court papers that the 10-unit co-op doesn’t want to do $1 million in renovations because the repairs would be “a major disturbance to other tenants.”
He believes the problems stem from a shoddy conversion job including the use of undersized beams that have caused “chronic and significant leaks and mold” making the unit “dangerous, hazardous or detrimental to the life” of the occupants, the suit says.
The Importance of Sprinklers
According to The National Fire Protection Association, the evidence is clear that automatic fire sprinklers technology, which has been commonly used in structures for many years, is a proven way to protect lives and property against fires. Sprinklers also respond quickly and effectively to the presence of a nearby fire, and function well, without creating problems for homeowners.
Ten businesses located in Framingham Massachusetts, know this all too well, when they experienced a devastating fire in their strip mall this past spring. The swift moving fire broke out at 2 a.m. in the attic, which took three fire stations and four hours to extinguish. Thankfully, there were no casualties as no one was onsite at the time, but the building was a total loss.
The facility had fire sprinklers installed but regrettably not in the attic where the fire originated. At the time the building was constructed in the early 1980’s, it was not mandatory to have sprinklers installed in the attic.
Despite the total devastation, the business owners vowed they will rebuild.