Grease fires happen when collections of oil or grease on a stove, oven or fryer get hot enough to ignite. It's easy to lose track of a pot of oil on the stove until it ignites.
Grease fires are extremely dangerous because the fuel source (the grease) is a liquid, and easily splashes If you try to spray water on it. Grease fires burn very hot and can quickly spread to cabinets or other flammable areas of the kitchen.
The most important thing you can do to prevent a fire in the kitchen is to stay put. The NFPA reports that unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires.
If your faced with grease fire aftermath contact SERVPRO of Cherry Hill/Haddonfield to restore your home "Like it never even happened."
Plugging a space heater into a power strip can be disastrous here's why
As temperatures begin to dip across the country, millions of people are pulling space heaters out of storage to help warm their homes.
You should never plug a heater into a power strip.
These units are not designed to handle the high current flow needed for a space heater and can overheat or even catch fire due to the added energy flow.
Most people do not realize that power strips are not the same thing as surge protectors.
You should definitely not use an extension cord or power strip, which could easily overheat. And you really shouldn't plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater for safety reasons.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns against using extension cords or power strips with space heaters to reduce fire risks. The agency says that portable electric heaters cause 1,100 fires per year, resulting in about 50 deaths, dozens of injuries and millions of dollars in property loss.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 32 percent of home-heating fires involve space heaters, resulting in 79 percent of home-heating fire deaths in the United States.
Using Food Coloring to Diagnose a Leaking Toilet
If you have a heavy leak in your toilet, it's easy to diagnose - the faint sound of the toilet tank constantly replenishing is a dead give away. What about a slow leak? Diagnose it with food coloring.
If you have a slow leak in your toilet tank, hundreds of gallons are just slowly and silently cascading down the side of your toilet bowl every month. Fortunately you can easily detect if the uptick in you water bill is from a slow leak or not.
A simple test for toilet water leaks, place a half a dozen or so drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. Leave the toilet alone for a half hour or more. Come back and check to see if the water in the bowl of the toilet has become tinted with the food-coloring dye from the tank. If it has, you've got a leak between the tank and the bowl.
Water Forming in Your Central Air Conditioner
Water has started to pool around your central air conditioner’s inside unit and you have no idea why.
First, you should turn off your air conditioner because this water could harm the electronic parts of your AC and cause water damage to your home. Then you should contact a professional AC repair person for help.
If you want to understand the cause of this problem before calling a professional, read this article.
We’ll talk about:
- Why water forms in the inside AC unit
- Why there’s water all over the floor
- What needs to be done to fix it
Why water forms in a central air conditioner indoor unit
Part of your air conditioner’s job is to pull humidity from the air. The inside unit’s blower pulls in hot, humid air through the return grille and over the inside unit’s cold evaporator coil to cool the air down.
When that happens, condensation/droplets form on the evaporator coil. It’s just like when water droplets bead up on a glass of ice cold water on a hot summer day in Georgia.
That water on the evaporator coil falls into a sloped drain pan and down a condensate drain line like a slip n’ slide. That drain line (usually a PVC pipe) either exits out the home (usually near the outside unit) or into your plumbing.
OK, so now you have a general idea of how the water forms and the parts involved. If there’s an issue with any of these parts, that’s why the water is forming around the inside unit.
Here are a few common problems that are causing the issue you’re having.
Clogged condensate drain line or rusted condensate drain pan
If the drain line gets clogged by dirt, insects, mold, or anything else, the water has nowhere to go but back into the home. (Some home’s have a secondary drain line but that may also be become clogged.)
Use wet-dry vacuum to suck out the obstruction from the outdoor PVC condensate pipe.
Also the root of the problem may be a dirty evaporator coil. The dirt will mix with the water and fall down into the pan, clogging the drain. Have a professional clean this coil annually as part of an annual AC maintenance visit.
Also, the drain pan may be rusted through and is falling onto the floor and causing damage to your home. So you’ll need to replace that.
Note: Your air conditioner may have a secondary drain pan to catch the water. This pan has a float switch that turns off your air conditioner to prevent water damage.
If you have a newer air conditioner, the problem may be installation related. An improperly designed condensate trap will stop the condensate from draining. So all that water builds up in the drain pan and overflows into your home, causing water damage.
You’ll need a professional to examine the condensate trap to see if it has been designed properly and fix it if necessary.
Frozen evaporator coil
Open the blower door of your inside AC unit. Is the evaporator coil covered in ice? When that frozen evaporator coil melts there may be so much water that it flows over the drain pan and then onto the floor.
There are 2 common causes of a frozen evaporator coil:
- Dirty air filter—A dirty air filter blocks airflow over the evaporator coil, causing the temperature to drop below freezing and ice up. Check the air filter and change it if it’s dirty.
- Low refrigerant— Low refrigerant causes the evaporator coil to become much colder than normal, causing it to freeze up.
To defrost the evaporator coil, turn the air conditioner off. Then turn the blower from “auto” to “on.” The fan should melt the ice slowly enough for the drain pan to handle all the water.
In the meantime, you should call a professional AC repairman to check your air conditioner to make sure it’s is working properly and ensure nothing was damaged.
Just a few of many issues…
There are other causes of water pooling around an inside air conditioning unit, but these are some of the most common.
Roof Leaks & Homeowner's Insurance
Get help in claiming your homeowner's insurance caused by roof leaks.
Many homeowners find out that the damage-causing roof leaks are not covered by their homeowner’s insurance. This is often the case unless the roof has been damaged by the wind that caused it to leak.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?
What determines whether or not your homeowner's insurance covers leaks in your roof, and any resulting damage is dependent upon what caused the leak. If, for instance, a windstorm, tornado or hail damaged your roof, your homeowner's insurance would most likely cover repairs or replacement. But if a maintenance issue like wear and tear is the reason, then you would in most instances be responsible for the costs.
Homeowners need to keep up with their home’s maintenance and day to day repairs. This is especially true when it comes to your home’s first line of defense– the roof. If a tree falls in a brutal storm and careens through your shingles, it’s good to know someone’s got your back to help cover leaks and arising repairs. That’s why it’s important to read over your homeowner's policy and seek advice from your insurer so that you know what’s covered by your homeowner's insurance.
How to Spot Roof Leaks
Spotting a roof leak early on could prevent more extensive repairs like water damage to your ceiling and mold growth in your insulation. However, finding the roof leak’s point of origin may prove difficult — sometimes even more so than fixing the leak itself. That’s because water will often infiltrate the roof in one location but trickle down to another location, where it starts to dampen the ceiling and walls.
If you find yourself in this position, please call SERVPRO of Cherry Hill/ Haddonfield today for help.
Choose a Highly Trained SERVPRO Professionals to Clean Your Water Damaged Property
Why Choose a SERVPRO Franchise Professional?
- They're Faster to Any Size Disaster
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are dedicated to responding immediately to water and storm damage emergency.
- They're Highly Trained Water Damage Specialists
They specialize in water and storm damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business.
- They have the Resources to Handle Storm and Disasters
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have a national network of over 1,700 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Team strategically located throughout the country.
Regardless of the Storm Damage, They Can Help
Storms occurs with little warning and can be especially devastating, so you'll need the company that you can trust to rise to the occasion. Regardless of the type of storm. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can handle any size disaster. During catastrophic storms and major events, our Disaster Recovery Team can respond quickly with additional resources.
- Flooding caused by heavy rains
- Hurricanes and tidal surges
- Tornadoes and wind damage
- Ice and snowstorms
- Wild fires
Possible Losses Caused by Water
Water damage describes a large number of possible losses caused by water intruding where it will enable attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, and many others.
The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface, or it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to loss of property.
An insurance policy may or may not cover the costs associated with water damage and the process of water damage restoration. While a common cause of residential water damage is often the failure of a sump pump, many homeowner's insurance policies do not cover the associated costs without an addendum which adds to the monthly premium of the policy. Often the verbiage of this addendum is similar to "Sewer and Drain Coverage".
Those individuals who are affected by wide scale flooding may have the ability to apply for government and FEMA grants through the Individual Assistance program. On a larger level, businesses, cities, and communities can apply to the FEMA Public Assistance program for funds to assist after a large flood. For example, the city of Fond du Lac Wisconsin received $1.2 million FEMA grant after flooding in June 2008. The program allows the city to purchase the water damaged properties, demolish the structures, and turn the properties into public green space.
Water damage can originate by different sources such as a broken dishwasher hose, a washing machine overflow, a dishwasher leakage, broken/leaking pipes, and clogged toilets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 13.7% of all water used in the home today can be attributed to plumbing leaks. On average that is approximately 10,000 gallons of water per year wasted by leaks for each US home. A tiny, 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day.According to Claims Magazine in August 2000, broken water pipes ranked second to hurricanes in terms of both the number of homes damaged and the amount of claims (on average $50,000 per insurance claim costs in the US. Experts suggest that homeowners inspect and replace worn pipe fittings and hose connections to all household appliances that use water at least once a year. This includes washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories, refrigerator ice makers, water softeners and humidifiers. A few US companies offer whole-house leak protection systems utilizing flow-based technologies. A number of insurance companies offer policy holders reduced rates for installing a whole-house leak protection system.
As far as insurance coverage is concerned, most damage caused by bad weather is considered flood damage and normally is not covered under homeowners insurance. Coverage for bad weather would usually require flood insurance.
Category 1 Water - Refers to a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as "clean water". Examples are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involves water supply lines.
Category 2 Water - Refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to. Known as "grey water". This type carries micro organisms and nutrients of micro organisms. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.
Category 3 Water - Known as "black water" and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affects the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination regardless of visible content or color.
Class of water damage is determined by the probable rate of evaporation based on the type of materials affected, or wet, in the room or space that was flooded. Determining the class of water damage is an important first step, and will determine the amount and type of equipment utilized to dry-down the structure.
Class 1 - Slow Rate of Evaporation. Affects only a portion of a room. Materials have a low permeance/porosity. Minimum moisture is absorbed by the materials.
Class 2 - Fast Rate of Evaporation. Water affects the entire room of carpet and cushion. May have wicked up the walls, but not more than 24 inches.
Class 3 - Fastest Rate of Evaporation. Water generally comes from overhead, affecting the entire area; walls, ceilings, insulation, carpet, cushion, etc.
Class 4 - Specialty Drying Situations. Involves materials with a very low permeance/porosity, such as hardwood floors, concrete, crawlspaces, plaster, etc. Drying generally requires very low specific humidity to accomplish drying.
See also: Convectant drying
Different removal methods and measures are used depending on the category of water. Due to the destructive nature of water, chosen restoration methods also depend heavily on the amount of water, and on the amount of time the water has remained stagnant. For example, as long as carpet has not been wet for longer than 48 hours, and the water involved was not sewage based, a carpet can usually be saved; however, if the water has soaked for longer, then the carpet is probably irreparable and will have to be replaced. Water damage restoration can be performed by property management teams, building maintenance personnel, or by the homeowners themselves; however, contacting a certified professional water damage restoration specialist is often regarded as the safest way to restore water damaged property.
Standards and regulation
While there are currently no government regulations in the United States dictating procedures, two certifying bodies, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the RIA, do recommend standards of care. The IICRC-recommended standard is IICRC S500.
Fire and Water Restoration companies are regulated by the appropriate state's Department of Consumer Affairs - usually the state contractors license board. In California, all Fire and Water Restoration companies must register with the California Contractors State License Board. Presently, the California Contractors State License Board has no specific classification for "water and fire damage restoration."
Water damage restoration is often prefaced by a loss assessment and evaluation of affected materials. The damaged area is inspected with water sensing equipment such as probes and other infrared tools in order to determine the source of the damage and possible extent of area affected. Restoration services would then be rendered to the residence in order to dry the structure, sanitize any affected or cross contaminated areas, and deodorize all affected areas and materials. After the labor is completed, water damage equipment including air movers, air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, wood floor drying systems, and sub floor drying equipment is left in the residence. Industry standards state that drying vendors should return at regular time intervals, preferably every twenty-four hours, to monitor the equipment, temperature, humidity, and moisture content of the affected walls and contents.
Storm Damage, Property Insurance Tips, Prevention, and Costs
When buying homeowners insurance there are several factors to consider. In areas where severe storms are common, it is especially important to understand the type of insurance policy you have, the limitations of your policy, what it covers and the types of storms for which you may not be covered.
Storm Damage Insurance Overview
Many homeowners have already experienced a severe hailstorm and witnessed the damage hail can cause to homes, automobiles, businesses and other property. When a hailstorm hits, it does the greatest amount of damage to the exterior of your home or property. Common types of damage caused by hail are: roof damage, siding damage, shingle damage, window damage and automobile damage.
Most standard homeowners policies, also known as HO-3 policies, cover both your home and its contents. Typically, you are covered against storm damage, theft, pet damage and some major disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and hail.
Earthquakes and floods are usually not covered under most standard insurance policies and require a separate policy. Remember, home insurance policies do not cover poor maintenance or normal wear and tear, so it is a good idea to make sure your home is always properly maintained.
What to Do Before You Talk to an Insurance Agent
Before buying homeowners insurance, the first thing you need to determine is the replacement cost of your home. The replacement cost reflects the total cost to replace the structures on your property. This is typically different than the market value, or sales price of your home, which takes into account other factors including the value of your lot.
An easy way to figure out your replacement cost is to multiply the building cost per square foot of your home, with the number of total square feet. If you don't have a good sense of building costs for your area, any local contractor should be able to give you a good idea of average building costs in your area.
Once you know your replacement cost, you'll have a good idea of what your insured liability limit should be. Liability limit is the amount of coverage you have if something, such as a tornado or other serious storm, destroys your home. Most experts recommend liability limits equal to the replacement cost, so if your home is totally destroyed your insurance will cover the costs to restore or rebuild your home, including living expenses if you are unable to inhabit your home.
If you live in an area prone to flooding, make sure you obtain flood insurance, which is typically a separate policy. If you have questions about your coverage, check with your insurance agent and make sure you have a solid understanding of your coverage, especially as it relates to serious storm damage or other catastrophic losses.
In states where a severe tornado not only threatens your home and its contents, it is important to understand the difference between actual cash value insurance and replacement value insurance. Actual cash value insurance compensates you for the actual, depreciated value of the items in your home. So, if you have a TV that originally cost $500, but is now worth $100, your insurance will pay you $100 if it is destroyed.
For homeowners with expensive electronics, art, and other furnishings, replacement value insurance is a smart way to go. Replacement value pays you the full amount it would cost to replace a broken, damaged or missing item. So, if a storm destroys a $4,000 plasma TV inside your home, your insurance will cover the full $4,000 replacement value of your TV, and whatever else is damaged inside your home, minus the cost of your deductible, up to the limits of your policy. If you own very expensive individual items, such as original art, or valuable jewelry, you might consider insuring those items individually, under a separate policy.
Whatever type of insurance you choose, it's always wise to take an inventory of the items in your home. If your home is completely destroyed, you will not be able to remember all of the items you own, unless you have a detailed inventory and pictures of what is inside. It is always a good idea to store your inventory list and pictures in a separate, secure location, such as a bank safety deposit box. If you have a digital camera, take pictures and email them to yourself, along with your inventory list.
A deductible is the amount you are required to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Typically homeowners insurance deductibles range from $250 to over $1,000. So, if your home is damaged by a hailstorm and incurs $10,000 in damages and you have a $500 deductible, the insurance company will pay $9,500 towards your repairs. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be.
When deciding on a deductible, make sure it's an amount you can come up with easily, that won't create a financial strain or hardship. Some companies are now offering policies with high deductibles, including deductibles that are calculated as a percentage of your home's value. For example, if your home is worth $200,000 and you have a 2% deductible, you will have to come up with $4,000 before your insurance pays anything. While these types of policies can offer a lower premium, make sure you are able to cover the cost of the deductible, in case a severe storm or disaster hits your area.
Shopping for Homeowners Insurance
When shopping for a homeowners policy, it is smart to check out several different insurance companies. Different insurance companies offer a wide range of coverage levels, discounts and prices. Don't just shop the companies you know best, but search for the policy that works best for your situation. If you come across a policy that looks good, but is offered by a company you haven't heard of, it's easy to check out their background. Here are three websites you can use to investigate the financial strength of an insurance company:
When selecting a policy, start by researching your area. You'll want to have a firm understanding of the storm damage history of your neighborhood related to:
- Wind Storms
- Natural Disasters
Make sure the insurance policy you select adequately covers storms and natural disasters in your area. Watch out for insurance companies known for unfairly denying claims. Every year, the American Justice Association publishes a list of the 10 Worst Insurance Companies. If your insurance company is on the list and your insurance claim has been denied, make sure you connect with a reputable contractor with the experience to fight for your rights.
Saving Money on Homeowners Insurance
There are many factors insurance companies take into account when determining the price of your insurance premium. Some factors that affect the cost of your premium may include:
- History of a severe storm or disaster in your area
- Neighborhood crime levels
- Quality of building materials in your home
- Building costs in your area
- Size and overall condition of your home
- Distance from a fire station
You may be eligible for a discount on your insurance premium by making certain improvements to your home, which can add up to significant savings. The following list of improvements will not just result in savings, but will make your home safer as well.
- Impact resistant roofing shingles
- Shatterproof windows
- Storm shutters
- Reinforced tile or slate roof
Most states prohibit insurance companies from canceling your insurance policy or singling you out for a rate increase for filing a storm damage claim. If you live in an area with a high propensity for severe storms or other natural disasters, you should expect premiums to be higher.
Insurance companies can raise rates for everyone living in a storm prone area. If this is the case, your rate will increase whether or not you file an insurance damage claim. So, if your home has been damaged by a tornado, hailstorm, severe wind, or other type of natural disaster, it is in your best interest to file an insurance claim to pay for the damage. If you fail to file a claim, your increase in premium will pay for everyone's repairs except for yours.
If you have storm damage to your home or commercial building, then you may need to file an insurance claim.
Who can buy flood insurance?
The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically. Signup to receive email updates.
I don't have flood insurance--Why do I need it?
FACT: Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year.
FACT: Homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage.
FACT: Floods can happen anywhere--More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high risk flood zone.
FACT: Flood insurance can pay regardless of whether or not there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
FACT: Most federal disaster assistance comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans from U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and you have to pay them back. FEMA offers disaster grants that don't need to be paid back, but this amount is often much less than what is needed to recover. A claim against your flood insurance policy could and often does, provide more funds for recovery than those you could qualify for from FEMA or the SBA--and you don't have to pay it back.
FACT: You may be required to have flood insurance. Congress has mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on mortgaged properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. But even if your property is not in a high risk flood area, your mortgage lender may still require you to have flood insurance.
Flood insurance helps more: Check out your state's flood history with FEMA's interactive data visualization tool. Roll your cursor over each county to see how many flooding events have happened. The tool allows you to compare how much FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration have provided in terms of federal disaster aid after Presidential Disaster Declarations to the amount the National Flood Insurance program has paid to its policyholders. It's easy to see that having flood insurance provides a lot more help for recovery.
If you are a renter or homeowner (residential policy); or business owner (non-residential policy) and your property is located in a NFIP-participating community, you can purchase a policy. Contact your insurance agent to find out if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flood insurance from the NFIP is only available in participating communities. Ask your agent if your state and community participate, or look it up online
Did you know? An elevated home, with a first floor elevated 3 feet above the base flood elevation, can expect to save 60 percent or more on annual flood insurance premiums.
Did you know? Elevating just one foot above the Base Flood Elevation often results in a 30% reduction in annual premiums.
Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water Inside my Home?
Water damage from an AC pan overflow and a clogged drain line
First, turn off your AC to prevent serious water damage and hazardous electrical issues. Next, we highly recommend calling a HVAC company for help.
Why water forms in an AC’s indoor unit
Condensation is a natural reaction that occurs inside all AC units.
You see, your AC’s job is to pull heat and humidity from the air inside your home. To do that, your system pulls in warm air through an indoor vent (called a return grille) and moves it across your inside unit’s cold evaporator coil to cool the air down.
When this happens, moisture forms on the evaporator coil. Just like the condensation that forms on a glass of ice cold water on a hot summer day.
Normally, the condensation on the coil drips into a drain pan and down a condensate drain pipe that leads it outside of your home (or into your plumbing system).
Now that you know why the condensation happens and the parts involved, here are a few common problems that can cause water to leak inside your house.
Clogged condensate drain line or rusted pan
If your drain line is clogged–commonly by dirt, algae, insects or a dirty evaporator coil–water drainage is limited; causing a buildup of water with nowhere to go other than your home.
And because it is so hot and humid, your AC runs more often so it doesn’t take long for large amounts of water to build up.
Also, the drain pan may be rusted through, allowing the water to fall through the pan and cause disastrous leaks and dangerous electrical issues inside your home. So, you’ll definitely need to replace the pan.
Improperly installed condensate trap
If your AC is fairly new, the problem could be with the way your system’s condensate trap was installed. An improperly designed condensate trap can block drainage and cause the drain pan to overflow with water.
What to do: You’ll need a professional to know what to look for in a condensate trap design and to see if it needs to be reinstalled.
Frozen evaporator coil
Condensation on your cold evaporator coil can also freeze. If it does, there’s a clear problem with your AC. It can even freeze all the way down the refrigerant lines to the outside unit.
And when it melts, there can be a lot of unwanted water in unwanted places throughout your home.
Common causes of a frozen coil include:
- Dirty air filter
- Low refrigerant
- An airflow problem
There are a number of problems that cause water leakage from your AC but these are a few of the most common. We understand this stuff can get pretty complicated.
Note: Depending on where the inside unit is and what specifically is causing water to leak inside your home, the damage could be pretty significant and extremely dangerous. Many, if not all, of these problems require a professional to ensure safety and proper resolution.
Contact a Certified Water Damage and Mold remediation company, to resolve any Microbial issues,