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Common Appliance Malfunctions

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

We all know that appliances do not last forever but appliance malfunctions always tend to take us by surprise. It is crucial to take the best care of your appliances, so they do not end up causing damage, such as starting a fire or possible plumbing issues. We have seen hundreds of residential and commercial fire and water damage situations due to appliance failures. Follow along for a few of the most common appliance malfunctions that can happen to homeowners so you can minimize your risk. 

Washing Machines 

One of the most common malfunctions homeowners come across is with their washing machine. A few different things can cause washing machine failure. If your washer is not sitting on a completely level surface, it could cause problems for your machine. Another common source of the malfunction is draining obstructions. User errors could also cause issues with your washing machine; make sure to read instructions thoroughly and never overload your machine. 

Dryer Vents

Hot air being exhausted from your dryer needs a clear route to exit your home. The dryer vent provides this path. Over time, dryer vents can become clogged with lint and dust from your clothes. Make sure to regularly inspect and clean your dryer vent as it is a very common source of home fires every year. 

Refrigerators 

Your refrigerator is probably your most essential appliance. It works very hard, as it is never turned off, and works all day every day to keep your food fresh. One of the most common causes of refrigerator malfunctions is dirty coils. It is crucial to clean your refrigerator coils occasionally to get rid of dirt, grease, food, and anything else gathered on the coils. Leaving them dirty and covered in debris may cause the fridge to overheat and break down. Another piece of advice to prevent overheating is allowing for airflow around the area of your fridge. Ensure that it is not pushed directly up against a wall or other appliances; put a least an inch of space between. 

Microwaves 

Old food stuck to the side of your microwave is more than unsightly; it is potentially hazardous. Once the food starts to harden on the walls and you continue to use your microwave, that food can easily catch fire once it starts to heat up. Food being stuck can also cause the turntable and rollers to stop working. It is crucial to clean your microwave well and thoroughly, as they can cause real damage if not taken care of. 

Contact Soil-Away for Restorations

The expert team here at Soil-Away thought it was necessary to share this advice with you because we are all too familiar with the aftermath of poor appliance care. It can go from your microwave not heating your food well to catching your kitchen on fire in the blink of an eye. If your appliance malfunctions have caused severe damage to your home, make sure to call Soil-Away today. We are here to help 24/7/365!

What is Safe to Salvage After a Flood?

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

No matter the scale of the flood, water entering your home and ruining your things is devastating no matter what. The first thing you want to do after this happens to you is rush inside and save all of your belongings. Proceed with caution and prioritize safety. Consult with building professionals if necessary to eliminate hazards such as electrocution or structural collapse. Once you are back in, you must determine which of your belongings is safe to salvage and which items must be tossed. Here, we will go over what is safe to keep from a flood and what must be discarded for your safety. 

Food 

Any piece of food that has been affected by floodwaters must be discarded immediately. If the flood caused an extended power outage, you might need to throw away any meat, poultry, dairy, and perishable items from your refrigerator. Monitor your freezer contents as well. They may spoil over time due to a power outage. 

While on the topic of food, if there are any porous utensils that you use to make food affected by the water, make sure to toss those. Metal and ceramic utensils can be washed thoroughly and need to be thoroughly sanitized. 

Upholstered Furniture 

Upholstered furniture and mattresses that were contaminated with floodwater must be thrown away or professionally restored. If you have a valuable piece of furniture that you cannot imagine getting rid of, it may be possible to restore it professionally. It is not enough to simply dry them out, as the inside of the furniture is contaminated as well. 

Wood 

Anything made of wood in your home that has been affected by the flood might be salvageable. Whether it is flooring, furniture, or cabinets, there is hope of being saved! It is essential to take extreme caution and sanitize as much as possible. Make sure the wood is dried thoroughly, which may include special drying methods. Then, clean with a wood cleaning agent and disinfect thoroughly. Depending on the damage, you may have to sand down and refinish certain areas or pieces. 

Contact Soil-Away 

Soil-Away is a team of flood restoration specialists. We have years of experiencing cleaning up homes after floods and assisting in the salvaging process, making sure everything is safe. If you have gone through a flood and are looking for restoration assistance, make sure to give us a call today at (603) 641-6555, we are happy to help.

How to Prevent Mold Growth in the Summer

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

Summer is here in New England, and while we enjoy most of what the summer months bring, there is one thing that we could all do without; mold! Humid, hot, and moist weather are the perfect combination for mold to grow. Because of the structural damage and potential health risks that mold brings with it, it is imperative to prevent mold from growing before it starts. Take these preventative steps this summer so you can focus on the fun parts of summer, not the mold! 

Keep it Cool 

Mold tends to grow faster in elevated temperatures, especially when combined with a moisture source. On hot summer days, if possible make sure your air conditioning is turned on to ensure the indoor temperature does not rise above 77 degrees. 

Look Out for Moisture 

Even if your air conditioning is kicking and it is quite cool in your home, because of the differing indoor and outdoor temperatures, it can cause moisture in your home. Whether it be caused by temperature difference, cooking on the stove, or taking a hot shower, make sure to wipe off any visible condensation you see as quickly as you can. 

Because moisture is also caused by humidity, it is important to keep humidity under 50%. If your home tends to get more humid than normal it may be a good idea to purchase a dehumidifier to assist in keeping humidity levels low. It is important to make sure that bathroom and kitchen fans are working properly as well. 

Monitor Open Windows When it Rains 

Though it is calming to see and hear the rain, it is not a good idea to keep your windows wide open during a summer rainstorm. If your walls and floors get wet during a nighttime storm, it can lead to mold growth the next day. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and monitor your windows if rain is a possibility to prevent water infiltration into your home. 

Watch Out for Roof Leaks 

A leaky roof during summer rain poses a huge threat for your home and for mold. A tell-tale sign that your roof has caught a leak is any discoloration you may see in your ceiling. Even if you do not outright see water coming through, the discoloration means that it is or was wet. It is crucial to get these leaks fixed by professionals as soon as you see it. 

Soil-Away 

As mold removal and remediation experts, we know how serious the damage mold can cause can be. That is why we wanted to share these preventative tips to ensure you do not see mold growing in your home this summer. For any further questions or if you are noticing mold in your home, make sure to call the experts at Soil-Away today!

What to do if Your Basement Floods

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

Basement flooding is, unfortunately, an incredibly common occurrence in New Hampshire. Whether it is caused by a burst pipe or rainwater, it is something that no one looks forward to finding. When you notice flooding in your basement, you may tend to panic. The most important thing is that you do your best to remain calm and follow these few steps in order to stay safe and save your belongings. 

Proceed with Caution and Prioritize Safety

When your basement is flooded, your immediate reaction may be to run in and gather belongings you want to save. It is imperative that you stop and prioritize safety. Do not going running into the basement without a plan! One of the very first thing you should do when you notice a flooded basement is to consult with an electrician to assess for electrocution hazards. Another safety consideration is the type of water filling your basement. What is the potential contamination level of the water? That will be determined by the source (sewer pipe, clean water line, ground water, etc…). Always proceed with caution. 

Water Removal and Stabilization

Once you are certain that it is safe to enter the basement, it is time to begin the stabilization process. The goal of this is to stop the ongoing damage and reverse the difficult situation. First you must deal with the source of the water. For example, you make need to call in a plumber to fix the pipe or turn of the water supply to the house. Next is focus on extracting the water. Get it pumped out of the basement. After the water is removed, start the dehumidifying process to start removing excess humidity. You’ll also need to address the contents in your basement. Items that have taken on water will likely need to be removed, cleaned and dried. Hopefully most of your items are salvageable. 

Cleaning and Sanitizing the Basement

Basements are damp, dark areas of your home; the perfect situation for mold to grow. You can use soap and warm water to clean your walls thoroughly and set up blowers and dehumidifiers to assist in the drying process. 

If you do notice mold growth it is crucial to take care of it immediately as it can be a threat to your health. If you see mold growing in your flooded basement, make sure to seek professional help like the remediation team at Soil-Away. 

Prevent Future Flooding 

It is important to figure out exactly how and why your basement flooded in the first place to ensure it will not happen again. If it was caused by the weather, make sure to locate where the rain-water was getting into your basement. If it was caused by an appliance leak or burst pipe, it is essential to get them fixed as soon as possible.

Soil-Away 

Basement floods are no easy task to take on alone. If you have experienced flooding in your basement, make sure to call the professionals at Soil-Away to assist you in flood damage clean-up and restoration! If you notice mold growing after a flood, we have expert mold removal and remediation services to take care of it quickly and efficiently. Give us a call today! We are here 24/7/365. We specialize in insurance claim water damage cleanup.

Soil Away Helps a Local Family After a Fire

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

“After the extinguishment of a recent structure fire, the Bedford Fire Department learned that a young resident of the home had planned to dance in an important recital the following day. The young lady’s dance gear suffered smoke damage and replacements could not be locally sourced. The fire department set out to find a resource that could restore the dance garments to a usable state in less than 24 hours. After numerous phone calls it seemed that there was no one that could help. That’s when Soil-Away Cleaning & Restoration Services, LLC came to the rescue. “

How to Protect Your Commercial Property From Flood Damage

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

You cannot prevent the rain, but you can prepare to deal with flood damage. It is imperative for commercial properties to be equipped with preventative measures when it comes to flooding. Follow these tips to prep your property for flood damage prevention and recovery. 

Assess the Property Location

The first step to preventing flood damage would be to assess the building location. Are you in an area the is more prone to flooding? What bodies of water are you near? Is the building in a lower spot related to the surrounding structures and streets? Does the building or area have any history of flooding? These are all important questions to address when analyzing your flood risk. 

Building Envelope Inspection

Work with structural professionals to deal with vulnerable areas of the exterior of your structure. Have the roofing, siding, windows and foundation inspected. Some basic maintenance to the building envelope can go a long way in preventing water infiltration during a rainstorm or flooding situation. You may need to make a larger capital investment (i.e. basement waterproofing or roof replacement) in the short-term, but the long-term benefits should make it worth it. 

Landscape

You cannot change the physical location of your property, but you can enhance your landscape in a way that will assist in the prevention of flooding. Ensure that your landscape is allowing water to run away from the property and always have your downspouts facing away from the building. You may also utilize native plants and other vegetation that can help with the drainage of water. 

Get Covered

If you feel as though your commercial property is in an area that is prone to flooding, make sure that you get reliable flood insurance. Many insurance plans do not include flood insurance, so make sure to be aware of the possibility of flooding and get insured accordingly. 

Be Prepared

It is always the best idea to prepare for a flood before it ever happens. Prepare your building for floods well in advance of one ever happening. Be sure to set a plan for everyone in the building to know what to do and the best route to take if there is ever an instance of a flood.

Soil-Away

For any further information on how to properly deal with flood damage in your commercial building, call our team at Soil-Away today at 603-641-6555! We are experts in flood damage cleanup and restoration. If you have experienced flood damage to your property and need assistance with restoration, we have incredible services that will ensure your property is back in pre-flood condition.

Restoring Your Home After a Natural Disaster

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

The damage natural disasters cause to homes is devastating. There is no definitive way to go about restoring your home after natural disasters; everyone will take it in differently and begin restoration their own way in their own time. Thankfully, there are very helpful tips to help guide you through it. We are going to go into more detail about some steps you will need to take when restoring your home after a natural disaster. 

Gather Your Emotions

Losing some or all of your home to a natural disaster can take a toll on you mentally. Make sure you are taking the proper steps to prepare yourself. Take all the time you need to be able to walk into your home with a clean mind and clear restoration goals. 

Safety

Clean-up after natural disasters can be dangerous. There are many hazards around your home, like broken glass from windows, pieces of wall and ceiling hanging down, rotting floors, and so much more. It is essential that you wear proper protective gear when entering your home. Make sure to wear a hardhat, clothing that covers your skin, gloves, respiratory protection, safety eyewear, and protective boots. You may also need to make accommodations for temporary lighting to see in the event you have no electricity. 

Disinfect 

Anything left in your home that can be restored or saved must be cleaned and disinfected intensely and immediately. For any furniture you believe can be restored, you need to remove it from your home into a dry area as soon as possible. If you leave it, it could start to rot and grow more harmful bacteria. Remaining salvageable surfaces and building materials, must be cleaned thoroughly with a strong, reliable cleaning solution to rid any germs or dirt. 

Proper Climate Control

Make sure there is proper climate control and airflow throughout the house when restoring your home. In some cases, it is beneficial to keep all possible windows and doors open while inside. This can help with drying under the right circumstances, and also exhaust harmful airborne particulates outside the property. If you are looking to speed up the drying process in certain areas of the house, commercial dehumidifiers and air movers may be a good investment. 

Soil-Away

If you have gone through the terrible reality that is natural disasters and need assistance with restoring your home, call Soil-Away right away at 603-641-6555! We have an expert team of home restoration professionals that are ready to help. Our goal is always to return your home to pre-loss condition. Give us a call today! We are here 24/7/365.

Water Damage Cleanup at a Church in Bedford NH- Commercial Case Study Soil-Away

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in .

Listen to Josh Solloway from Soil-Away talk about a successful case study where the Soil-Away crew was able to help a church in Bedford NH re-open on a Sunday after receiving an emergency call at 4am! We were able to safely and effectively clean up water damage to allow the church to continue operations without disruptions. Soil-Away specializes in restoration services to help get your commercial building up and running quickly after a natural disaster.

Commercial Fire in a Salem NH Warehouse- Restoration Case Study

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Listen to Josh Solloway from Soil-Away discuss a successful case study at a smoke-damaged warehouse. After a fire began in a dumpster and spread throughout a commercial warehouse in Salem NH, we worked to recover their space which was left covered in soot.

How to Remove Mold in Your Commercial Building

Written by Casey Shearns on . Posted in , .

You may have experience with mold removal in your home, but commercial mold removal is an entirely different ballgame. Due to the size of commercial properties, mold has much more room to expand and grow than it does in a residence. Mold growth can possibly halt business operations, preventing employees and customers from being able to enter the premises. Because of this, it is imperative that when mold is detected, it is removed immediately. 

Here, we will discuss mold removal remedies for commercial buildings.

What Can Cause Mold?

Mold can grow wherever there is moisture and a food source. In commercial spaces, mold can grow and spread due to any of the following factors:

  • Uncontrolled moisture/ leaks in the building
  • Water damage (detected or undetected)
  • Elevated relative humidity
  • Presence of attractive food sources – Building materials such as sheetrock, ceiling tiles, and carpeting

Warning Signs

Signs that your building may possibly be exposed to mold include:

  • Musty odors
  • Noticeable moisture problems
  • Visible mold or mildew
  • Water stains in the building
  • Chronic and unexplainable illness of building occupants (symptoms such as headaches, allergies, congestion, etc…)

Identifying the Mold Issue and Scope

A certified mold inspector will come into your property to locate problem areas and see how far the mold has spread. They will conduct a visual inspection, moisture meter test along with air and/or surface sampling. A report should be produced identifying the areas of concern along with their levels of contamination. 

Mold Remediation

Mold remediation involves the abatement process; the elevated mold spores will be removed from the property. However, remediation involves a few more preventative steps in order to stop mold growth from occurring again in the future. Professionals will inspect the premise, contain all areas of mold, filter the air, clean up the mold, and thoroughly treat the building. This process removes the elevated mold levels in your commercial property. Since the source was found, preventative measures are taken to ensure it does not happen again. 

Contact Soil-Away

If you notice mold growing in your commercial building, contact Soil-Away immediately. Our expert team has been performing mold removal and remediation services in south/central New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts for 30 years! Call 603.641.6555 to schedule a mold remediation estimate and service.

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.

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