What is a puff back?
A puff back is a misfire or malfunction of an oil burning furnace. It sends soot throughout a home or business. The phenomenon can happen all at once (suddenly like a car backfiring) or over an extended period of time (a chronic problem that occurs with each system ignition). The property’s air ducting system will act as a conduit to distribute soot into every corner of the house or business. You will find an oily “dust” or soot covering your furniture, flooring, walls, picture frames, soft-contents, electronics, etc…
Last month we featured tips 1-5 on how to avoid fire damage and increase safety in your home. The United States has approximately 400,000 house fires every year (NFPA). We see many in Nashua, Salem, and Laconia every year. We do not want you to be a part of that stat. Please read our final five tips on fire damage prevention and safety. If you missed last month’s article click here.
Fire damage is devastating. There are approximately 400,000 home fires in the United States every year (NFPA). We see many in Manchester, Concord, and Portsmouth every year. Many of these fires are preventable. We wrote this two part article to identify some of the leading causes of fire damage. The goal is to educate you on how to make your home a safer place and to prevent costly fire damage. We will provide you with 10 important tips. Five will be this month and the remaining five tips with be featured next month.
According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th. Approximately 78% of the peak tropical activity occurs in August, September, and October. Knowing what volatile and destructive weather is potentially ahead, it would be wise to strategize and implement a game plan to deal with potential disasters. The goal of New Hampshire and Massachusetts residents should be to
Mold can be a challenge to deal with. If you have to hire a professional for help, do not hire anyone without prequalifying them first. Use this questionnaire to help find the right one for you!
Everyone is well aware of the cleaning needs that exist for kitchens of bathrooms. However, do you stop and consider the cleaning needs of other high-touch areas. We are talking about elements of the house (or office) that affect your breathing, touch your skin, and are shared by every creature using the property. As you learn about the three most overlooked places in your home where regular professional cleaning is needed, ask yourself, “when was the last time I had this cleaned?”
Avoiding water damage at your property should be a priority. Every year thousands are New Hampshire and Massachusetts basements suffer from flooding. This costs millions of dollars in damage and provides endless frustration to owners. Rest assured that there are precautions you can take to protect yourself and reduce the possibility of a flooded basement.
Below are three simple strategies that you can employ to help prevent costly water damage at your property. Please understand these ideas are not a total solution, but they serve as a large step in the right direction towards your quest to avoid basement flooding…
1) Gutters: These simple devices serve to divert rain water away from your home. Do you have gutters? If not, have a qualified contractor review your property to discuss options for installation. Are they clean? Gutters can accumulate dirt, debris, and leaves. Fall and spring are the best times to clean them out. Are the downspouts channeling water away from your foundation? Gutters can create problems such as pooling near the foundation if they are not directed properly.
2) Grading: Believe it or not the slope of your property can have a huge impact on flooding. Inspect your property during the next rain storm. Do you have pooling in areas around the foundation? If there are apparent low spots that are susceptible to accumulating water, you could have a problem. We suggest a property regrade that will divert water away from your home. Seek the counsel of a qualified landscaper or excavation contractor.
3) Sump Pump: As ground water levels rise a sump pump can come to the rescue. This important device works to keep the area under a building dry. They are typically installed in the lowest area of a basement in a special pit. As water accumulates in the pit, the pump will work to drive water away from the building. When planning the installation, make sure to take into account the power source of the pump. Make sure to have a backup solution in the event power is lost.
If you are submitting a water damage claim to your insurance carrier for your New Hampshire or Massachusetts property, let them know you are using Soil-Away.
Water damage is one of the leading causes of property damage. Water damage can result from a broken pipe, roof damage, malfunctioning appliance, flooding from ground water, etc… The mitigation process can be time consuming and expensive if you are not properly prepared.
The first step in preparation is insurance. We encourage all our clients to have a conversation with their insurance agent over what their policy covers and what it excludes. Make sure to take the time and really understand your policy. Know that there is a difference between homeowners insurance and flood insurance.
In typical circumstances, a homeowner’s policy should cover water damage situations resulting from roof damage, such as a tree falling or wind blowing shingles off. It should also cover something like a hot-water tank failing or washer machine overflow. Homeowner’s policies typically do not cover ground water entering the basement through the foundation. These occurrences typically take place in the spring when snow-melt and heavy rains combine to raise the water levels in bodies of water and the ground. Separate flood coverage may be available and worth considering if this is a concern. Bring it up to your insurance agent to understand your options.
The final step in preparing for water damage cleanup is to build a relationship with a certified, reputable water damage restoration company. You do not want to be caught off guard in the event you need emergency water damage or flood cleanup. Soil-Away’s water damage mitigation team serves south/central New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. In the first quarter of 2014, Soil-Away restored hundreds water damaged properties in towns such as Manchester, Hampstead, Portsmouth, Concord, Bedford, Moultonborough, and Laconia, NH.
Do you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove? If so, it likely gets a lot of use during the cold New Hampshire or Massachusetts winters. When was the last time you had your chimney inspected or cleaned? If you cannot answer this question, it has been too long.
Hundreds of chimney fires occur every year. Many of the fires are a result of built up soot and creosote. Creosote is the thick, slimy material that is a byproduct of burning wood. When it cools off it can solidify and accumulate on the interior of your chimney and become a clogging hazard. If a fire burns too hot, creosote combustion can be a major concern as well.
Chimney fires are extremely dangerous and destructive to properties. Often times they can go unnoticed for a period of time because they are hidden behind walls. They can also spread to other parts of the house by breaking through weak points in masonry or flue pipe joints. Indications of a chimney fire occurring have been described as the following: loud cracking and popping noise, increased volume of dense smoke, and intense/hot smell.
What can you do to prevent a chimney fire? Regular maintenance is the solution. Having a certified and licensed chimney firm inspect and clean your chimney on an annual basis will drastically reduce the threat of a fire. Simply put, clean chimneys don’t catch fire. If you need an inspection or cleaning, please contact Soil-Away for a referral to a qualified chimney company.
If your property has sustained fire, soot, or smoke damage from a chimney fire, Soil-Away can help. Soil-Away’s team of certified fire restoration technicians will clean, deodorize and restore your property to pre-loss condition. We will work with your insurance company to process the fire damage claim and ensure life gets back to normal as soon as possible. Soil-Away’s fire/smoke damage cleanup team serves south/central New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. In the first quarter of 2014, Soil-Away restored chimney-related fire damaged properties in Windham, Franklin, Sunapee, Nashua, Dover, and Salem, NH.
It is a distasteful practice that is unfortunately common in our industry. Some call it “ambulance chasing” while others may call it “fire chasing.” The essence of the activity is that firms will hunt for property disasters and prey on victims of fires or floods.
How is this done? Information about a property fire or disaster is obtained by listening to emergency service (Police/Fire) scanners or through notifications from special smart phone apps.
Who does this? Many large (often franchise) mitigation companies use this practice along with some public adjustment firms. They have “marketing” departments on call 24/7 to take advantage of unfortunate situations.
What is the goal? Ultimately, “fire chasers” want to obtain business from the situation. By being the first-to-the-scene, these firms want to obtain the property owner’s signature on a work authorization form and start the work immediately to ensure they get the job for the fire, smoke, and water damage cleanup.
Does it work? Unfortunately it does enough of the time to see the practice continue in the industry. Property owners are under distress, anxious, and do not understand the whole scope. Often times they may feel pressured by the pursuing party and are not prepared to handle the situation.
Is it ethical? We will let you answer that, but let it be known that Soil-Away does not and will not participate in such activities.
What should I do? If you have a fire or property disaster in which emergency services are involved, rest assured that you will be pursued by these companies. Stand strong and decline their services. Would you hire an unfamiliar lawyer at the hospital after you have been injured in a car accident? The best thing is to build a relationship with a firm you trust BEFORE anything happens. Another step is to reach out to your local insurance agent. They can navigate you through the proper channels of claims processing.
Please note that Soil-Away is an approved vendor for numerous national and local insurance carriers. We ask you to consider connecting with Soil-Away today regarding an emergency property damage mitigation plan. You do not want to be caught off guard in the event of water, fire, or mold damage situation.