Furnace Puffbacks Cause Soot Damage in New Haven County Homes
Furnace puffbacks leave soot cobwebs throughout your home in addition to a fine layer of oily soot on every surface of your home.
With the arrival of cold weather in the Milford area, the calls coming to our office take a different tone.
Winter brings calls from homeowners who have had burst pipes and chimney fires as well as furnace puff backs. A puffback is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout the interior of a home. Puff backs happen when your oil burning furnace doesn't ignite when it should. This causes oil vapors to build up which results in an explosion when the igniter finally triggers. The result of this is soot and other debris is forced from the furnace's exhaust system. The soot then enters the homes heating system and gets blown throughout the home.
After a puffback, the contents of your home will be covered with a fine film of soot and soot cobwebs. Our crew observes that the damage is greater in homes with forced air heating or HVAC systems as they provide a pathway for the particles to disperse through the house.
If you see signs of a puffback in your Ansonia home, call your oil company immediately for an inspection of your furnace. The mechanical failure that caused the puffback will require repair. If a homeowner hasn't experienced a puff back before, they might mistake the soot on their surfaces for dust and attempt to wipe it away. However, soot cannot but easily wiped away- it requires specialized cleaning by your local SERVPRO franchise. Puffback residue cannot be cleaned up using traditional methods. Professional cleaning utilizes a treatment that is waterless and absorbs the soot in order to removes it. Draperies and carpeting requires chemical cleaning to remove the sticky soot.
Fortunately, puffback damage is covered under most homeowner's insurance policies. Our franchise also provides emergency heating while your furnace is being repaired or replaced. At SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford, we have the tools, training and experience to get your New Haven County home back to normal and properly remove soot in your home. Call us at (203) 301-0500 for immediate service after a puffback.
Meet The Team: Kirkland Hart
Kirk Hart is a restoration technician at SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County.
Our crew works day after day, helping home and business owners during difficult times. They are on call throughout the night, on weekends, on holidays and in bad weather. Their dedication to their jobs often goes without much recognition. This month, we’d like to recognize one of our crew members who shows up with a smile on his face no matter what the circumstances.
Kirkland Hart has worked in the restoration industry for seven years, the last five with our SERVPRO franchises. Originally from Clarendon, Jamaica, Kirk now lives in Bridgeport with his wife and four children. When not at work, you can find him playing soccer (futbol) or dominos or enjoying his favorite meal, chicken and rice.
If we were to make a list of what attributes make a valuable employee, Kirk would be in mind. What stands out about Kirk is his can-do attitude and willingness to help our customers as well as others on the crew. If there is a job that needs to be done, Kirk will make it happen - even if that means coming into work early and staying late. He takes pride in his work and easily falls into a leadership role with our newer employees.
We understand that our customers are dealing with a stressful situation and having a crew in their home can sometimes be difficult. Kirk’s smile and friendly nature enable him to connect with our customers and put them at ease. He is kind and helpful when people need it most. We are grateful to have such a guy as part of our team.
SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County Restores Homes After Puffback Disasters
SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County cleans soot webs that are left throughout homes after an oil burner puffback.
With the arrival of cold weather in the New Milford area, the calls coming to our office take a different tone. Winter brings calls from homeowners who have had burst pipes and chimney fires as well as furnace puffbacks.
A puffback is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout the interior of a home. Puff backs happen when your oil burning furnace doesn't ignite when it should. This causes oil vapors to build up which results in an explosion when the igniter finally triggers. The result of this is soot and other debris is forced from the furnace's exhaust system. The soot then enters the homes heating system and gets blown throughout the home.
If you see signs of a puffback in your Newtown home, call your oil company immediately for an inspection of your furnace. If a homeowner hasn't experienced a puff back before, they might mistake the soot on their surfaces for dust and attempt to wipe it away. However, soot cannot but easily wiped away- it requires specialized cleaning by your local SERVPRO franchise.
At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we have the tools, training and experience to get your Fairfield County home back to properly remove soot in your home. Call us at (203) 743-5362 for immediate service.
Mold Remediation in Fairfield County Schools and Businesses
SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County provides mold remediation in schools and businesses in the Brookfield, CT area.
Mold infestations in schools and commercial buildings are a common problem in Litchfield and Fairfield Counties. As commercial buildings grow older, they become increasingly vulnerable to mold due to factors like leaky roofs, a tendency towards moisture retention and the erosion of waterproofing material.
Mold Risks in Schools
Unfortunately, the school setting often creates the right condition for the development of mold. This risk can increase as the school ages. Common areas for mold growth include storage closets, cafeterias, locker rooms, and bathrooms. The mold spores can then circulate throughout the school by way of the air ducts, one of the major factors contributing to "bad air." Clean ambient air quality provides a safer environment for our students.
For the prevention of these fungi from spreading in school buildings, it is important for school officials to have regular maintenance work and inspections scheduled and completed. The EPA has a comprehehsive list of ways that schools can reduce the chance of mold spores growing. Since malfunctioning HVAC systems and leaky pipes are the most frequently reported causes of mold proliferation, having this equipment and plumbing checked can drastically decrease mold growth in schools, or hopefully, prevent its occurrence.
Mold Risks in Commercial Buildings
Just as school buildings are susceptible to mold infestations, commercial buildings can become a hotbed for the fungi. One of the common places for mold to grow within the commercial setting is the HVAC system. The systems that are not functioning optimally or are ill-equipped to handle the workload can generate moisture buildup. This can lead to mold growth as the spores within the air ducts will adhere to organic matter and develop into mold colonies. The mold can now spread throughout the office via the A/C network. SERVPRO can inspect and, if necessary, clean, sanitize and deodorize the HVAC system as part of a regular maintenance and cleaning program.
If you haven't had your New Milford area school or business inspected for mold, call SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County at (203) 743-5362 to schedule one. Our mold specialists have decades of experience in this business and know where to look and what to look for when inspecting for mold. They will give you an honest assessment of whether remediation is necessary and also recommendations on how to prevent an infestation in the future.
Does Your Homeowner's Insurance Policy Cover Mold Growth?
If there is a leak under your kitchen sink that you fail to repair in a timely manner, mold may not be covered by your homeowner's insurance policy.
We are called to New Milford area homes on a weekly basis to inspect mold. With all of the attention on black mold and it's potential to be toxic to the health, many homeowner's don't want to take a chance when they spot mold. Luckily, not every home that we inspect requires professional remediation from the SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County team. There are times where the mold found can be cleaned up safely by the homeowner themselves (such as when isolated on a hard, non porous surface such as bathroom tile).
However, there are also the cases in which there is a mold infestation in the home that requires our services. It can be surprising to some homeowners to discover that their insurance policy does not cover mold.
Typically, mold remediation will be covered if it is caused by water damage that has been properly addressed. For example, if a pipe bursts in your basement and you call in a water damage restoration team to clean up the water quickly, you should be covered if mold grows as a result of the humidity in the air.
However, if you have a leaky pipe under your kitchen sink that you ignore for months and that results in mold growth that requires professional remediation, you most likely will not be covered. Your insurance company will consider the mold growth a result of your failure to maintain the property.
Call your insurance agent if the language of the policy is confusing and you are unsure. Some policies contain clauses that exclude mold. Some will cover mold removal only under certain circumstances. Typically, if your policy does not include mold remediation it can be added onto the policy. It's a smart preventative measure that can save you thousands in the future. The best prevention that a homeowner can take, however, is to be vigilant about water leaks in their home and repair them as soon as they are discovered.
If you see signs of mold in your Fairfield County home, call SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County at (203) 743-5362. Our mold technicians will come out and give you an honest assessment of the situation.
Common Causes of Mold and Tips to Avoiding it in Your Newtown Home
Because they are often damp and dark, basements tend to be an ideal location for mold growth.
There has been a lot of press on mold in homes and the potential health hazards of black mold lately. At SERVPRO of Newtown & Southern Litchfield County, we talk with many homeowners who are concerned when they discover mold in their home.
In order to grow, mold requires certain conditions to be met. Mold spores need to be present and have a food source (examples would be cotton, sheetrock, plywood, etc.). In addition, mold requires darkness, oxygen and warm temperatures. However, these are typical conditions in most homes. The factor that most determines whether mold will grow in your home is moisture.
Some of the most common causes of residential mold damage are:
1. Leaky Pipes - A slow leak might not be obvious to a homeowner but over time can create an environment that is ideal for mold growth. We have responded to a number of jobs in Fairfield County in which a plumber has discovered mold behind the kitchen cabinets due to a leaking pipe. In these cases, the kitchen cabinetry as well as walls and flooring often requires removal.
The fix: Periodically check pipes, walls and cabinetry for any signs of leaking.
2. Attic Mold – In order to keep moisture levels low in an attic, it must be ventilated properly. A well-ventilated attic will allow warm air to escape through the peak of the roof via the ridge and soffit vents. Another reason for moisture in an attic can be a roof leak.
The fix: Have your ridge and soffit vents checked for blockages and inspect your roof and attic for leaks.
3. Basement Mold – Due to low sunlight, condensation, high humidity, flooding and leaks, the basement is a common location for mold growth. In addition, people spend little time in their basement and are less likely to spot it early on.
The fix: If there is flooding, have your basement waterproofed. Keep humidity levels down with a dehumidifier. Repair any leaky pipes. If there is water at your house's foundation, it may be necessary for ditches and drains to be built to protect your New Fairfield home.
The good news is, not all mold requires professional remediation. If you spot mold in your Bethel home, give us a call at (203) 743-5362. Our mold specialists have over 20 years of experience inspecting mold and will give you an honest assessment of whether mold remediation is required.
Heavy Rains Cause Flooded Basements in Fairfield County
SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County restores flooded basements caused by heavy rains.
Fairfield County has seen more rain this summer than I can remember. Starting with the water and wind damage caused by the tornadoes and microbursts that hit New Fairfield and Brookfield last May, rain throughout the summer and now with a week of rainfall in September, it’s been wet!
With the rain, we have received several calls from homeowners who have flooded basements. Even one of our production managers discovered a lake in his Warren, CT basement this morning. The source of the rainwater can come from many different sources including:
- Water leaks in from the outside through a basement window
- Sump pump failure, which can cause water overflows from your sump pump crock
- Water seepage from cracks in your concrete floor or foundation
- A sewer system back up into your basement
In many houses with flooded basements, contents of the basement such as storage, tools, boxes etc. may also have water damage. When responding to water damage, quick action is key to minimizing the damage.
If your Fairfield County basement is flooded from rainwater or a sewage leak, call SERVPRO of Newtown & Southern Litchfield County at (203) 743-5362. We are available 24/7 and ready to respond to your water damage emergency.
Tips to Keep Your Family Safe During National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month - is your home and family ready for an emergency situation? National Preparedness Month is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters, both large scale and smaller local events. Here in Connecticut, we know all too well the impact a hurricane or winter storm can have on our daily lives.
Here are some simple steps recommended by FEMA, who is the sponsor of the National Preparedness Month, on how to make sure your family is ready.
The first step is to Know your risk. It is important to understand the potential risks where you live. You can do this by doing the following:
- Bookmark weather.gov to stay informed on severe weather.
- Learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts, messages that will be sent to your phone during an emergency.
- Get practical tips on preparing for disaster at ready.gov.
The second step is to Take action. Make sure that you and your family are prepared for an emergency. Ensure that you can go for at least three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or other local services.
- Prepare a disaster supply kit with at least three days of food and water.
- Create a Family Emergency Plan, so that your family knows how to communicate during an emergency.
- Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio.
For additional tips and kit information, including ways to involve your family in the planning, visit ready.gov.
If the Brookfield, CT area does get hit with a hurricane this fall, and you experience a downed tree or flooded basement, call SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County at (203) 743-5362 for a 24 hour response to your emergency.
Microwaves, Batteries, Laptops and Old Appliances Cause House Fires
Leaving a laptop on your bed can cause it to overheat and cause a house fire.
Most people are aware of the common causes of house fires – including fireplaces, old electrical wires and candle. At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we have restored homes in which the fire was caused by other, less common but still equally as destructive, sources.
- Battery Fires: You’d be surprised at how widespread a fire from household batteries can be. When the terminals touch each other, or a metal source such as a key, a fire can start. Batteries should be stored in a battery storage case, if one is available. If you do not have one, store them standing up, rather than loose in a container or drawer. Shorts can be prevented by placing electrical tape over the ends when they are being stored as well as when disposing. 9 volt batteries are particularly risky due to the proximity of their terminals. Never throw batteries into your garbage can or even in a bag together as that could start a fire, as this homeowner discovered when his home burned down due to 9 volt batteries.
- Microwave Fires: Microwaves can catch fire for a number of reasons- from unnoticed metals on dinnerware or take out containers to overcooking food such as burnt popcorn. Microwaves can also malfunction and catch fire. If something in your microwave has caught fire, unplug it if it is safe to do. Do not open the microwave door, as this will fuel the fire with oxygen. With no air, the fire should suffocate itself.
- Dryer Lint: Make sure that everybody in your family knows to clean the dryer lint out of your dryer with every load. Because the lint trap only catches 25% of the lint, the exhaust and duct work should also be cleaned periodically.
- Light bulbs: The main cause of lightbulb fires is when a light bulb with too high of wattage for a given outlet is used. Be sure to check the label on your lamp and when in doubt, keep it under 60 watts. Caution must also be taken when using CFLs (compact fluorescents). The spiral shaped CFL’s should not be used in an enclosed fixture. If your CFLs are burning out early and you notice they are brown at the base when you remove them, the bulbs are overheating and could result in fire. The newer LED lights are cooler and less prone to causes a fire and also have a much nicer glow to them.
- Laptops: We’ve all felt the heat of a laptop on our lap after its been used for a while. You may have even seen some photos of a laptop that burned somebody’s bedding.
Laptops can get pretty hot during normal operation. Never leave your laptop on a bed or couch, or any place where its cooling vents are blocked. This could result in fire. Store laptops securely on a desk or laptop stand.
- Clutter: Stacks of newspapers or magazines can ignite quickly if left too close to a heat source. If you must keep old newspapers or magazines, be certain to store them in a cool, dry place in short stacks. The same goes for any clutter – whether that be a pile of sweaters stacked in your closet next to a light bulb or stuffed animals that touch a nightlight.
- Old appliances: The wiring on older appliances often becomes worn and begin to disintegrate. Check them regularly to ensure good working condition and the safety of cords and connections. Even if your unit is working properly, consider replacing it if the electrical wiring is not up to code.
These tips take little time and effort to follow and can save you from a house fire.
It's Our Business to Keep You in Business After a Commercial Property Has Fire,Water or Mold Damage
SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County has the training and expertise to restore your Brookfield business after fire and water damage.
When your business requires restoration services, the crew at SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County can help. Whether your commercial property has experienced a sewage overflow, requires mold remediation or an electrical fire, we have the experience, equipment and training to keep your business back up and running. We understand that you can’t afford to have your doors closed for long and our restoration plan is modeled with that in mind.
Water Damage Restoration
When it comes to water damage at commercial properties, we’ve seen it all – from coffee maker lines bursting to basement flooding. We offer 24 hour service, 7 days a week because floods don’t wait for business hours. No matter where your business is located and no matter if you are a small privately owned business or a big box store, we have the resources and training to fix your problem.
Fire Damage Restoration
If your company has experienced a fire, business continuity is your primary concern. In addition to smoke, soot and structural damage from the fire itself, most businesses that have had a fire also have extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. As a trusted leader in fire and water damage restoration, SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County knows the ins and outs of fire damage and the extra damage that can come with it. We have training and experience in fire and smoke restoration, odor control, upholstery and fabric cleaning as well as all aspects or water damage restoration.
Mold can be frightening to discover at your Fairfield County business. Mold, whether from a leak or plumbing, can cause serious problems to those who enter your business, give us a call to discuss how we can manage it as we work fast to address the mold. We know how to contain mold growth while reducing the number of mold spores in the air and on surfaces. Our crew members have training as Applied Microbial Remediation Specialists as well as Applied Structural Drying.
The SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County team has the experience, knowledge, and expertise necessary to keep your business running after a water, fire or mold disaster. It’s our business to keep you in business.