4th of July BBQs
A table full of bbq food, hot dogs, and burgers.
The Fourth of July brings Barbecues, parades, concerts, and fireworks. Everyone loves fireworks. Who doesn’t love the sounds, lights, and colors? But there are some safety concerns that you need to be aware of when handling or being around fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission states that in 2018, there were 9,100 reported firework injuries and 5 deaths.
If fireworks are legal where you live and you choose to use them, here are a few safety tips:
Never allow young children to handle fireworks
Older children should use them only under adult supervision
Never use fireworks if impaired by drugs or alcohol
Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
Never light fireworks indoors
When using fireworks point them away from people, houses, and flammable material
Never point or throw fireworks at another person
Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
Never ignite devices in a container
Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
Never use illegal fireworks
Another 4th of July favorite is the sparkler. There is a misconception that they can’t hurt you because they don’t shoot off in the sky, but they can. The National Fire Protection Association states that sparkler injuries make up 25% of fireworks-related emergency room visits. Sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That is hot enough to melt metal. If dropped on clothing, it can catch them on fire. It can also cause severe burns to the feet if wearing sandals, or if you are barefoot. Glow sticks, confetti poppers, and colored streamers are safer alternatives to sparklers.
We at SERVPRO of Casper hope you and your family have a fun and safe Fourth of July!
A coin jar with a tree coming out of the top.
When you own or operate a small business, you typically don’t have unlimited financial resources to stay afloat. It is critical to manage your expenses so you can control cash outflow from your company. If your business is in a commercial building, your utility bills can make up a large amount of your monthly expenses. Managing and reducing energy consumption is a sure way to lower your bills, and keep more money in your business.
- Insulation Saves Energy
One fairly inexpensive way to reduce energy costs is insulating your property. You can save up to 10% of your energy bill by installing proper insulation and sealing your building. Sealing drafty windows is a great start, as well as adding insulation to exterior walls. Additionally, sealing around plumbing penetrations and correcting leaks in HVAC ducts is helpful.
- Turn Off Lights and Computers
At the end of the business day, have your employees power down their computers, and turn off all lights. Modern laptop computers and LED lighting consume far less electricity than their older counterparts. However, they still use a small amount of energy. Fully shutting off computers and lights can still result in savings in the long run.
- Utilize Smart Building Technology
Modern building controls, including programmable thermostats, are a great way to limit energy consumption. Smart thermostats can help you build a heating and cooling schedule that keeps your employees comfortable during business hours, while cutting back on usage during times that nobody is present. Motion-sensing light switches turn lights on when people are in a room, and automatically turn them off when no motion is detected. This minimizes electrical consumption, and cuts down your electric bill.
- Maintain your HVAC system
Dirty HVAC systems consume more energy to operate than a clean, well-maintained system. Clogged filters, dirty refrigeration coils, and dust buildup in the supply and return ducts all add resistance to airflow. The blowers have to work harder to push air, and consume more power as a result. Changing filters regularly, and scheduling periodic duct cleaning, can save you money in the form of reduced utility bills.
SERVPRO of Casper can address your HVAC cleaning needs. We have the tools and training to keep your HVAC system running cleanly and efficiently, so you can keep a handle on energy consumption expenses in your business.
3 reasons your fridge may leak
A kitchen that has standing water on the floor.
Your kitchen has a lot of appliances and fixtures that can develop water leaks. The sink, refrigerator, dishwasher, and water cooler are all potential sources of water damage. One of the most concerning appliances in this respect is the refrigerator. Refrigerator and ice maker troubles tend to start as very small leaks. Most leakage occurs in the back, normally out-of-view. A leak can continue for a long time before it is noticeable, and has caused substantial damage. The three most common sources of leakage from a refrigerator are improper leveling, drain blockage, or the water supply line for the ice maker.
- Refrigerator Leveling Problems -
If you get a new refrigerator, or installing new flooring, you should always double-check the level of the refrigerator when you put it back. The front of the refrigerator should be between a quarter-inch and half-inch higher than the back. This helps front-to-back tilt and enables coolant to flow freely. If coolant cannot circulate properly, it may pool in the pipes and force the fridge to work harder. This can create extra condensation around the coils, resulting in water dripping on the floor.
- Inspecting for Defrost Drain Blockage -
The defrost drain (located on the back of a freezer or refrigerator), should be checked to make sure it is not blocked by ice or debris. Flush out the drain hole with 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed into hot (but not boiling) water. As a preventative measure, you can perform this flush once or twice a year.
- Checking the Water Supply Line -
Flow problems on your water dispenser, or erratic ice production, could be signs of a leaking supply line. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall and inspecting the line and its connections. Be careful not to pull the refrigerator too far away, as it could put strain on the fittings, and cause damage.
If you notice floor swelling or warping around your refrigerator, or paint bubbling on the surrounding walls, you should perform the above inspections to find what is causing the damage. Once you have the source of the water stopped, contact SERVPRO of Casper to evaluate and repair the damaged area.
Commercial Duct Cleaning
Before and after on duct cleaning
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in a commercial building serves an important function. The HVAC system brings in heating and cooling throughout your facility. As any employer knows, it’s important to keep your employees comfortable and happy. Regular cleaning of your HVAC ducts is an important maintenance measure in your building. Here’s why:
Air Duct Cleaning Improves the Quality of Indoor Air
Having your air ducts cleaned it decreases the number of airborne particles in your building. As air passes through the HVAC system, contaminants such as dust and pollen accumulate in the ducts. An excessive amount of these substances can cause allergies or “hay fever” symptoms in some people. Frequent changing of filters helps control this problem, but some particles get past the filters. Duct cleaning reduces the amount of these fine particulates in the system, leaving you with healthier air. We use specialized tools (such as air whips and rotary brushes) to agitate the dust from the duct walls, and a HEPA-filtered vacuum unit to collect it from your system.
Air Duct Cleaning Conserves Energy
A clean HVAC system simply works more efficiently than a dirty one. If properly and thoroughly cleaned, it can reduce the costs of running your HVAC system. It can also increase the useful life of your air conditioner and furnace. Performing routine commercial air duct cleaning can help improve airflow, and help your system to work more effectively, and use less energy.
SERVPRO of Casper specializes in cleaning commercial and industrial air ducts. Call our office today to set up your free estimate at 307-235-6558.
A house and shop that has been flooded by a spring storm.
We don’t encounter spring floods often in Casper. But in certain rare years, flooding from storms and mountain runoff can occur. It is good to be prepared for if and when that time comes.
- Have an ERP (Emergency Ready Profile) on your home or business. It is a portfolio that identifies key emergency contacts, as well as utility shut-off locations for your property. SERVPRO of Casper provides these as a complimentary service.
- Elevate any goods or household items that are in storage areas. Placing them on pallets can provide excellent protection against water intrusion.
- Check your gutters and downspouts, and make sure they are clear of debris. See if you need to add an extension to your downspout to make sure water is directed away from your house.
- If you have a sump pump, make sure its operational. Pour a five-gallon bucket of water into your sump monthly, to exercise the pump and test its functionality. If the pump malfunctions, you should look into getting it replaced. A back-up generator is a good idea, to maintain the function of your sump pump during and electrical failure. You should also visit with your insurance agent, and make sure you have sump pump coverage included with your homeowner policy.
- If water starts rising and is getting closer to outlets, if you can safely get to the power box, you should shut off the power. Electricity can run a current through the water and cause serious injury or even death. If you are not able to get there safely, call your local electrician.
If a flood happens, acting quickly to protect yourself and your property is critical. You don’t want flood water dwelling in you home. It may contain bacteria and other hazardous substances, and can cause more problems the longer it sits. Call SERVPRO of Casper for rapid emergency response.
A roof that has a lot of hail damage
Even the smallest hailstorm can cause significant damage. The impact from hail can cause denting, cracking, and breaking of a multitude of surfaces. If a home is older or poorly-maintained, the damage from a hailstorm may be more severe. Hail can cause damage to both the interior of your home and the exterior of your home, as well as any exterior attachments.
Exterior Damage – The roof takes the majority of the hit, and depending on the material of the roof it could crack, split, peel, chip, or dent. In some cases windows could break, and if there is a skylight there is a higher risk of them breaking too. Aluminum and wood siding may be dented by side-swept hail. Vinyl siding has an increased risk of breaking under heavy hail impact.
Interior Damage – Depending on the condition of the structure, hail could melt and cause damage to the interior. If you start to see dripping or dark spots in the ceiling drywall, you should look up in the attic to check the insulation to make sure it’s not wet and causing more damage. Then you should look around in your attic and find the location where the water is coming in, so you can tell a roofing contractor. If the hail breaks any windows or skylights, rain and hail can get inside and cause significant damage.
Exterior Attachments – Hail can damage air conditioning units, satellite dishes, antennas, and other attachments on the outside of a home.
If your home sustains interior water damage from a hailstorm, rapid response and drying is important. Give the professionals at SERVPRO of Casper a call anytime, day or night.
Water Damage in Crawlspaces
Water Damage in Crawlspaces
When water is able to enter the crawlspace under a home, it can cause substantial damage. Here are some of the common ways that water intrudes a crawlspace, as well as measures to prevent it from happening.
You want the ground to slope away from your home, creating positive drainage. If water pools up around the foundation it can over saturate the ground, and there’s a risk of it seeping through the foundation and going into your home.
If you live near a stream or river, you are at risk of flooding. Storms or large amounts of run-off can cause streams to come out of their banks, and reach nearby structures. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will encounter flooding inside the living space of your home. But the water can seep through the foundation and go into your crawl space.
The groundwater table varies greatly in Casper, from neighborhood to neighborhood. If you live in a low-lying area with a high water table, your crawl space could have continuous water intrusion problems. Sump pumps and drain tiles may help relieve the problem.
It is common for household plumbing to run through crawlspace areas, as it allows easy access to all rooms in the home. At any time, pipes can develop cracks or pin-hole leaks. Because these types of leaks are slow, and homeowners rarely go into their crawlspace, large amounts of water can accumulate over time. The increased humidity in the crawlspace may cause condensation on wood framing, which could encourage mold growth. The best way to avoid these problems is to inspect crawlspaces on a monthly basis.
Downspouts and gutters are designed to collect water from the roof and direct it away from the house. If a gutter becomes blocked, or a downspout is disconnected, the water may build up along the edges of the house. This water eventually enters the crawspace through foundational seepage. Keeping gutters free of debris, and repairing damage when it is discovered, will help keep the water away from your home.
If you should get water in your crawlspace, SERVPRO of Casper can help. Call us for a free inspection, or emergency service.
Winter driving 1 of 2
A vehicle driving on snow/icy roads.
Winter weather can be unpredictable in Wyoming. When winter storms occur, the condition of local roads and highways can get very bad. While most drivers believe that they are skilled in driving on winter roads, many are not familiar with the fundamentals of driving in slick conditions. Here are some tips on how to drive safely when the roads are slick.
Driving in the snow:
- Stay home, if possible: Simply avoid getting on the road in bad weather, unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Drive slowly: Reduce your speed during slick conditions. It will help maintain traction on snow or ice.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly: Push down on the throttle and brake pedals slowly to maintain traction, and avoid skids or spin-outs. Allow yourself more time and distance to slow down or stop on slick roads.
- Control your brakes: Even if you have an anti-lock brakes, you should keep your heel planted on the floorboard, and the ball of your foot on the pedal.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it: If you can go slow up to a red light instead of completely stopping, it is safer. It requires more power to start moving from a full stop versus a slow crawl, and increases your likelihood of breaking traction.
- Don’t “power” up slick hills: If you apply too much throttle on a slick hill, your wheels may start to spin out. Build the inertia on dry land before going up a hill.
Winter driving 2 of 2
A vehicle driving on snow/icy roads.
As you read in the last blog, winters can be unpredictable in Wyoming, and not everyone knows how to drive on bad roads. Here are some tips on how to drive long distances on slick roads, or in unpredictable winter conditions.
- Be Prepared: Make sure your vehicle is in good working order before leaving on long trips.
- Check the Weather: Check the weather reports along your route often for changes.
- Stay Connected: Before leaving on a trip, or when you get to your destination, let someone know.
- Stay with your vehicle: If you get stuck in the snow, don’t leave your vehicle. Your vehicle is a temporary shelter, and it makes it easier to find you.
- Don’t exert yourself: When digging out your vehicle, listen to your body. If you need to rest, do it.
- Be visible: Make sure you have something in your car that is bright and colorful. If your vehicle breaks down, you can tie something bright (such as engineer tape) on the antenna or roll a piece of cloth in the window. If it is night time, turn on your dome light to light up your vehicle so emergency responders can find you.
- Clear the exhaust pipe: Make sure the pipe is not clogged with snow, ice, or mud. If it gets plugged or blocked, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poising.
- Stay warm: Use whatever is available to insulate your body. It is a good idea to pack an extra coat and a couple of blankets during colder months.
- Conserve Fuel: Only run the engine and heater long enough to remove the chill. This will help conserve your fuel, and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Hardwood Flooring drying
A wet hardwood with rescue mats to help dry the floor.
When a water damage affects your home, multiple types of flooring material can be affected. Some types of materials, such as glue-down carpeting, can be relatively simple to dry. Others can be more difficult to fully dry, and may require specialty equipment. Take hardwood flooring, for example. Water can seep into the grooves, and absorb into the plant cells of the hardwood floor, causing deep penetration and binding. SERVPRO of Casper has highly-trained technicians with the most up-to-date equipment to help get your hardwood floors dry.
Hardwood flooring is an expensive investment. When they get wet from a water damage, we follow a set of steps to ensure your hardwood flooring is dried effectively.
Step 1: Inspection
We look at the wood floors, paying close attention to signs of any buckling or warping. If there is severe buckling or warping, the floor may not be restorable. But under many circumstances, we are able to save them.
Step 2: Extraction
If there is standing water on the surface, we use our truck-mounted extraction system to remove the water. Then, we address the water that has soaked into the wood flooring. We use specialized wood floor “rescue” mats, connected to the truck-mounted extractor, to suck out the rest of the water. We continue this process until there is no more water coming out of the flooring.
Step 3: Drying
Once all the water is removed from the affected area, we set up the drying system. We use the same rescue mats and connect a specialty blower to them. The blower creates negative air pressure, drawing air through the boards, which removes additional moisture from the wood.
Step 4: Monitoring
Once the hardwood drying system is running, we return on a daily basis to monitor the progress of the floors. Hardwood floors must be monitored closely to prevent over-drying. Once the moisture content in the affected wood reaches equilibrium with the rest of the wood flooring in the home, we remove the drying system from your home. It is recommended that the flooring be allowed to rest without any further repairs for 45 days, to ensure that all of the wood returns to full equilibrium with the home environment. After that, any necessary sanding and refinishing may be done to complete the restoration process.
If you have questions about the process on drying your hardwood flooring, feel free to call us at 307-235-6558.