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Is the Smell of Smoke After a House Fire Harmful?

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

House fires can be devastating, but the scary part is, the fire itself may not be the most dangerous part. The smoke and smoke odor of fire can be just as dangerous. After a fire, smoke pollution will fill your home, even in areas you would least expect. It can get into every crease and crevice of your home. The smoke and soot will cling to surfaces like clothing and furniture, meaning you will constantly be surrounded. 

You may think what you are experiencing inside your home is just a smell, but it is actually still smoke and soot that has attached to your belongings and home. This can be extremely hazardous and could potentially cause health risks. 

Respiratory Issues 

The chemicals and carbon dioxide of fire smoke can take over all of the oxygen in your home, leaving you with solely toxins to breathe in. They are embedded in your walls, furniture, clothes, and your belongings after a fire. These toxins and chemicals can then enter your lungs when breathing them in, which can result in serious respiratory problems. Even though you do not see the smoke and soot you are breathing in, it does not mean it does not exist. 

Irritation

If you stay in a home that was affected by fire smoke and soot, it can possibly lead to some pretty serious irritations. Most commonly, the aftermath of smoke and soot can seriously irritate your eyes. Without immediate attention, this could become something more serious. You could also begin to experience irritation of your skin. It is important that if you are feeling any irritation due to the aftermath of a house fire, get it treated immediately. 

Soil-Away Fire, Smoke, and Soot Damage Restoration and Cleanup

The short answer? Yes, the smell of smoke after a house fire can be dangerous and harmful. It is important that if you are experiencing the smell of smoke, remove yourself until your home is completely free of smoke and soot. Soil-Away is proud to provide 24/7 emergency services for fire, smoke, and soot damage restoration. We eliminate the soot and odor that can permeate the surfaces in your home with our highly detailed and specialized cleaning methods. Call Soil-Away today at 603.641.6555.

The Importance of a Fire Extinguisher in Your Home

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

Did you know that in 2019, a home fire was reported every 93 seconds in the United States? (NFPA Journal, 2020) Home fires can occur for a variety of reasons, from electrical issues to cooking disasters, to children getting into something they shouldn’t have. It’s estimated that approximately 75% of homeowners have at least 1 fire extinguisher in their home. Keeping a fire extinguisher handy is more important than some people even realize. They can keep the fire from growing, which can protect your home and even save lives. If you’re part of the 25% that do not have a fire extinguisher, we’re here to explain just how important it is. 

Keep Fires from Growing

Fire extinguishers are purposely designed with chemical components that have the ability to control and even eliminate fires. When released, a jet of gas, foam, and other materials are used to prevent flames from growing out of control. If and when a small kitchen fire or flames occur elsewhere in your home, a fire extinguisher can prevent it from growing larger. This can save your home from going up in flames before the fire department is able to arrive. According to UCLA Health, there are 4 different types of fire extinguishers that are designed for different types of fire; Class A is used to control fires from combustible materials, such as paper and wood. Class B is used for fires caused by liquids like gasoline, grease, or oil. Class C is best used for electrical fires. Lastly, Class D is used for putting out fires started by metals. Understanding these different classes can help you choose which fire extinguisher is best to keep handy in certain locations. 

Save Lives

Fires can be extremely dangerous; Nearly 2,620 civilians die every year due to house fires.(NFPA Journal, 2020) A fire extinguisher can help to prevent the fire from spreading, and potentially claiming lives. Having a fire extinguisher can help you and your family have more peace of mind in case of a fire. You’ll want to have a conversation with your family about where the fire extinguishers are kept and have a plan in place in case of an emergency.  

The Best Places to Keep a Fire Extinguisher

While anywhere in your home could be vulnerable to a fire, there are certain spots where it’s particularly important to keep a fire extinguisher. It’s recommended that a fire extinguisher is kept in these places: 

  • Kitchen – Since this is where the cooking happens and there may be open flames, it’s especially susceptible to fires. A lot of kitchen activities also include grease, which can be a fire hazard. Keeping a fire extinguisher in reach in the kitchen is always a good idea. 
  • Bedroom- While fires might not originate from here, it’s a good idea to have extinguishers handy here, so that if a fire breaks out in the night, you’re ready to go. If the fire has spread while you were asleep, you may not be able to get to the kitchen or other designated areas quickly enough. 
  • Potential Fire Hazard Areas- Other particularly hazardous areas, such as rooms with open fireplaces, furnaces, or multiple appliances are also particularly vulnerable to fires. Keeping a fire extinguisher nearby is highly recommended. 

Contact Soil-Away for Fire Damage Restoration in MA, NH & ME

While keeping a fire extinguisher handy can be extremely helpful and effective in preventing some fires from growing large, unfortunately, some fires cannot be controlled altogether with extinguishers. If your home or business experiences fire damage, our team provides restoration services and smoke odor control to restore your space. Soil-Away offers fire damage repair services for residential and commercial locations in MA, NH & ME. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a service.

Does my Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

A question many first-time homeowners ask, “Does my policy cover water damage?”  This can be a tricky question to answer. Coverage for water damage typically depends on what the source of the loss is. Please note: At Soil-Away, we are not a licensed insurance representative so it’s always best to check with your insurance agent to review your specific policy. 

There are different types of potential water damage situations. Since we work with so many homeowners that have experienced many types of damage, we wanted to write a blog on the topic to help customers better understand. Continue reading to learn more.

What Types of Water Damage Cleanup are Covered?

Ask your insurance agent. Some basics to understand about your policy revolve around Dwelling Coverage and Personal Property Coverage

Dwelling Coverage

Dwelling Coverage is coverage that protects the physical structure of your home. An instance where your Dwelling coverage might cover water damage would be if a pipe burst within the wall and damages said wall and floor below. However, review your dwelling coverage policy with your insurance provider to understand specific examples of damage covered by your policy.

Personal Property Coverage

In addition to your home’s structure, is your contents/belongings. If there is water damage that ruins electronics, furniture, or any other type of personal property, this is where you could possibly be covered depending on your policy. It’s always best to review your Personal Property Coverage policy with your insurance provider to exactly what damage is covered by your policy.

Homeowner Insurance Water Damage from Plumbing

This can be a gray area in terms of coverage. Again, be sure to review your policy with an insurance professional, but generally speaking, water damage resulting from failed plumbing equipment can be covered. The most common water damage situations from plumbing in New Hampshire are frozen pipes, hot-water tank failures, toilet supply line leaks and washing machine hose bursts. 

Other Types of Water Damage That Might be Covered

Remember, this list is for standard homeowner insurance policies. Be sure to confirm with your insurance provider on your particular policy. 

  • Water damage from Extinguishing a Fire. 
  • Burst Pipe
  • Vandalism 
  • Appliance Failure 

Types of Residential Water Damage Not Typically Covered 

In terms of insurance policies, there are a variety of water damage types:

  • Ground Water Flood Damage
  • Water backup from an Outside Sewer or Drain
  • Replacing/Repairing Source of Water Damage

Standard homeowner insurance policies generally do not cover the types of water damage above. We bring up these points so you can ask better questions to your insurance agent. Make sure to purchase the right policy and understand its limitations. In many cases, these are additional add-on coverages that a homeowner can opt-in to. Before you purchase any home, you should understand your equipment and if it would need to be replaced, as well as the risk of flood for your new home. Adding these types of coverages to your policies may be worth talking to your insurance agent if it is the right fit for your particular situation.

Soil-Away Specializes in Insurance Claims Documentation

If you have sustained water damage in your home, Soil-Away is here for you. We specialized in insurance claim documentation to make a smoother claim process and disaster recovery for you. Here are some of the features of the process:

  • We work with your insurance company.
  • We take all necessary photos required by the insurance company.
  • Moisture mapping – we draw out a map where water has gone and traveled to in the building and clearly map it out. We then check to see how it is drying to ensure it is drying properly.
  • Moisture reports. 
  • We can work with an adjuster, get scopes and preapprovals along the way.

Soil-Away: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine’s Leading Water Damage Experts

If your home has experienced water damage, contact the professionals at Soil-Away today! After reading this article, if you have questions regarding your insurance policy, please be sure to give your insurance provider a call and review your existing policy. If you have questions regarding Soil-Away’s services or capabilities as it pertains to fixing and remediating water damage in your home, we are happy to review on a call. Contact us today!

How to Prevent Winter Heating Fires

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

With the chill of winter, everyone seems to be blasting their heat or huddling around the fireplace. However, these sources of warmth can also be a source of fire danger. Fireplaces, heaters, and furnaces can all create a risk if fire safety precautions are not taken. We broke down some important safety precautions to take to help prevent winter heating fires this season.

Be Mindful of What’s Near Your Furnace

As a rule of thumb, keep anything that is flammable, or can burn, at least 3 feet away from any heating system. This includes clothing, upholstered furniture and bedding. Space heaters are one of the most common causes of heating fires. If you do choose to use a space heater, be sure to keep it away from cluttered areas or areas of high foot traffic.

Also, if you have small children or pets, you may want to consider putting a fence or barricade at least 3 feet around the furnace or space heater to prevent accidents or burns.

Keep Up with Maintenance to Avoid Soot Damage

You should make sure to have your oil furnace inspected by a qualified and licensed professional annually to ensure there are no potential problems. A poorly maintained furnace could result in a puffback. This occurrence spews oily soot throughout your property creating a significant mess to cleanup. Having your oil furnace checked out before you use your heater for the first time in the winter is a great way to help prevent costly soot damage resulting from puffbacks. It also helps ensure it will be working properly all winter long.

Also, you should be sure to check your chimney is clear and does not have any structural damage. Chimneys should generally be inspected once a year, before burning season starts, to check for blockages or damage that could affect proper ventilation.

Practice Proper Fireplace Safety

Fireplaces are a great way to keep warm during the winter, but they can be potentially dangerous if you aren’t taking proper precautions. Check that your fireplace has a protective screen installed so stray sparks do not escape into your home. If you have carpet or rug in front of your fireplace, this is especially important, as sparks can potentially start a fire. Also, clean out ashes from previous fires before burning a new one, as old ashes can produce smoke that can cause build up in your chimney and create dangerous ventilation issues.

Stay Aware

You should never leave a lit fireplace or space heater unattended. Be sure to fully extinguish the fire and turn off your space heater at night. You should also have a working fire extinguisher on hand and reliable smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in case of emergency.

Contact Soil-Away 

If you’ve suffered a fire in your home or business and need remediation services, contact us today at (603) 641-6555. Our expert team is available for emergencies 24/7/365 and is committed to providing an effective and thorough clean up to get your home or business back to pre-loss condition.

How Do I Recover from Storm Damage?

Written by jsolloway on . Posted in , , .

It isn’t unusual for a winter storm to cause significant damage to your home or business.  Being proactive to act quickly can go a long way to minimizing the damage.  In many cases, particularly when flooding is involved, fast action can make a big difference.   A professional restoration and rebuild company, like Soil-Away, can help to make the recovery process as painless and quick as possible.  This can go a long way to allowing you to once again resume everyday life.

Basement Mold Remediation

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Moisture-prone areas and limited sunlight make optimal conditions for mold growth.  These conditions are often seen in basements, where mold can easily grow and thrive in dark corners unnoticed.  Once discovered, it is important that the mold is removed, taking into consideration your health and the spread of the spores through the air during the process.  A company experienced in mold remediation can ensure that this is done properly.

Rebuilding After Storm Damage

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A storm can devastate a business or home, causing not only exterior damage but structural problems as well.  The first steps after a storm has damaged your property is to document the damage and file a claim with your insurance company.  After the insurance company has had a chance to see and assess the damage, you will have a better understanding of what the rebuilding process will entail. 

Who Is the Best Mold Removal Company?

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When hiring a mold removal company, it is critical that you choose a company with experience, the right equipment and proper insurance.  Mold remediation can be a complicated process, depending on the type of mold and extent of its growth.  A mold remediation company, like the mold removal experts at Soil-Away, understands the best way to remove all of the mold and its accompanying spores.  This will ensure that the mold is removed entirely and is not spread to other areas through the removal process.

Kitchen Repairs After a Fire

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Kitchen damage after a fire can be extensive, from the appliances to the cabinetry and walls.  Many fires that start in the kitchen, even when contained, produce a lot of smoke.  The smoke can damage the electrical panels of your appliances.  This type of damage can go unseen, noticed by the homeowner only when the appliance begins to malfunction.  A professional restoration company, like Soil-Away, can identify all of the needed repairs after a kitchen fire.

Disaster Restoration Contractors

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Who are you Letting in Your Commercial Property?

When a disaster has impacted your business, it is important that you hire a disaster restoration team that you can trust.  This crew will inevitably be working in your commercial property when the building is empty or near empty of employees. It is critical that the restoration crew that you allow access to your property be someone that you trust, not only from a security standpoint but also to do the job properly unsupervised.

Water Damage Insurance Claim

Written by jsolloway on . Posted in , , .

Water can cause extensive damage to a home or business, from needing to replace the floor and drywall to potential mold problems down the road.  It is important that after a flood you file a water damage claim with your insurance company.  The insurance company can assess the damage, offering compensation to make the necessary repairs to restore the property to its pre-flood state.

What Company Repairs Water Damage?

Written by jsolloway on . Posted in , , , .

After your home or business is damaged by a flood, you need a company with experience handling this type of disaster.  It is important that the restoration process addresses not only removing the water, but also any underlying moisture problems and high humidity levels.  These problems can lead to mold down the road.  A professional restoration company has the equipment and experience to address the water quickly, reducing the moisture levels back to normal and repairing any resulting damage.

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