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5 Winter Home Heating Safety Tips

1/17/2023 (Permalink)

A house that has experienced fire damage. Preventative measures can help avoid a winter fire.

1. Be Aware of Flammable Materials 

Keep anything that burns easily at least three feet away from fireplaces, wood stoves, furnaces and space heaters. Fires often spread past its origin point because the heat source was too close to something flammable. Make sure nothing is close to your heat sources to prevent a fire from spreading.  

2. Service Your Heating System Annually

Hiring a professional to inspect and clean your heating system and chimneys can help ensure your safety. These checks should be done annually. You should also be active in checking the areas around the furnace and boiler.

3. Don’t Leave Space Heaters Unattended

25,000 house fires and more than 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters. Never keep space heaters on when no one is around or while you are sleeping. Space heaters should be plugged directly into a wall, as extension cords or power strips can overheat and cause a fire. 

4. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Monthly 

According to a study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first month of the year is the worst for carbon monoxide poisoning. House fires are also common after the holidays. It’s extremely important to regularly check that all your detectors have working batteries. 

5. Fireplace Safety 

Keep a screen over your fireplace to stop sparks from flying out. Let fire ashes cool before putting them into any covered, metal container. Also, ashes should never be kept in plastic containers. Keep all containers of ashes a safe distance away from your home. 

How to Prevent Ice Dams

1/17/2023 (Permalink)

Ice dams on a residential home. Ice dams can cause damage to your home.

Icicles hanging off the edge of the roof can be beautiful scenery on a winter day, but those frozen crystals can cause some ugly problems for your home. 

Icicles are formed by the combination of snow-covered roofs and freezing weather. These conditions are what leads to ice dams—a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of the roof that prevents melting snow/water from draining.

Dams can be a real pain in the ice. They can tear off gutters, loosen shingles and cause water to back up, resulting in water pouring into the house. This can lead to paint peeling, floors warping and ceilings getting stained and sagged. 

Moisture entering the home from ice dams can also cause respiratory issues for your family, resulting from mold and mildew growth.

What can be done to prevent these damn...err..dams?

Clear the Roof

Instead of waiting for warm weather to solve the problem, you can take matters into your own hands.

The first short-term move is to stop any leaking. 

You can set up a box fan in the attic and aim it at the bottom of the roof where water is leaking in. This will freeze the water and stop the leak.

Another effective move can be taking a  long-handled aluminum roof rake to scrape off snow. 

You can also de-ice your roof with pantyhose.

Seriously. 

By filling the leg of a pair of panty hose with a calcium chloride ice melter, you can melt through the ice and snow to create water flow. Lay the hose so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter.

Uniform Roof Temperatures 

Ice dams are caused by nonuniform roof surface temperatures. 

For dams to form, the top of the roof must be above 32 degrees, while lower surfaces are below freezing.  

When the snow on the top of the roof melts, water flows down to the bottom of the roof and freezes, creating the dam. 

In most cases, the reason for the lack of uniform roof temperatures is due to heat from the house warming the roof.  

One way to reduce heat escaping is by adding insulation. This will make the top surface temperature of the roof closer to surrounding attic temperatures, creating more uniformity. 

This step should come after making the ceiling air tight so that no warm, moist air can flow from the house into the attic. For an unsealed attic hatch or whole-house fan, you can use weatherstripped caps made from foil-faced foam board held together with aluminum tape.

Heating cables can also create uniform roof temperatures. By heating the roof from the outside instead of blowing in cold air from the inside this tactic can equalize your roof’s temperature. 

More Solutions

There are several other tactics you can take to solve your ice dam issue. 

Double check that the ducts in your house connected to the kitchen, bathroom and dryer vents all lead outdoors through the roof or walls, but not through the soffit. Seal and insulate ducts by spreading fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts, and cover them with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.

Use caulk to seal around electrical cables and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant. You should also look for spots where light shines up from below or the insulation is stained black by dirt. 

Recessed lights should be replaced with insulated contact (IC) rated fixtures, as old-style lights can’t be insulated without creating a fire hazard. 

Bridging the gap between the chimney and house framing with L-shaped steel flashing that’s kept in place with unbroken beads of a fire-stop sealant is another possible remedy.

Winter Weather Hazards

1/3/2023 (Permalink)

A residential house on fire. Winter fires generally take place in the kitchen or from heating systems.

Winter weather leads to issues for thousands of people and their homes each year. Since cold weather can cause issues that don’t occur the rest of the year, it’s important to be vigilant about any problem that could arise. 

Here are some potential problems that should be on your radar this winter.


1. Heating System Fire

While most winter fires take place in the kitchen, heating systems can also be a culprit. Thousands of residential fires occur each year due to failure of home heating systems. Fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors are responsible for half of the fires. That’s why it’s important to have your heating system checked regularly, especially if you have a gas or electric furnace or heat pump.

Space heaters also cause many fires in the winter, and in total cause 25,000 per year. Space heaters should never be left on unattended, especially after going to sleep. 

Being aware of the potential hazards of your heating system can keep you fire-free this winter. 

2. Frozen Pipes

Pipes freezing and bursting can be a nightmare for your home. 

Frozen pipes cause an estimated $400-$500 million in damage annually. To avoid adding to that number, it’s crucial to take preventive measures. Drain water from pipes that are likely to freeze and disconnect any outside hoses. 

If you are still worried that your pipes might freeze, you can also place a 60-watt bulb in areas you’re concerned with. Just make sure none of the materials near the bulb are combustible. 

To keep pipes from freezing, your thermostat should be kept around the same temperature at all times, and your house temperature should never fall below 55 degrees. 

3. Ice Dams

While ice dams can be pretty to look at, they can be a nuisance to deal with. Since ice dams are caused by a lack of uniform roof surface temperatures, this problem must be addressed if you are experiencing ice dams. Making your ceiling and attic air-tight, adding insulation and installing heating cables to the roof are all steps that can create uniform temperatures. 

If you are already dealing with ice dams, you can take a long-handled aluminum roof rake to scrape off snow from the roof. And if you’re experiencing leaking, you can set up a box fan in the attic and aim it at the bottom of the roof where water is leaking in. This will freeze the water and stop the leak.

4. Carbon Monoxide

Cold temperatures can often lead to problems with carbon monoxide in the home. Sadly, 430 people die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning, while approximately 50,000 are hospitalized. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs due to faulty heating systems. Whether it’s unvented space heaters, malfunctioning furnaces, clogged chimneys or other heating system issues, it’s important to make sure your system is functioning properly.

That’s why you should have your furnace and fireplace inspected before each winter. In addition, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in your home (if you don’t already have them), and the batteries should be checked and replaced regularly. 

Also, make sure that if you’re going to use space heaters they are properly ventilated.

How SERVPRO Spells Help

1/3/2023 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO tech talks to a customer. SERVPRO of St. Charles is here to help.

You forgot about the chicken dinner on the stove, filling the house with smoke. The water pipe breaks flooding the entire basement. A roof leak has caused mold in your attic space. The fire sprinkler bursts, saturating the floors of your warehouse. 

We all need help at some point in time. Help to clean the smoke off the walls and remove the odor. Help to extract the water and dry the structure. Help to safely remove the mold in your attic. Help to dry out your warehouse and get you back to work.

This is how we spell help:

is for the Service that we provide. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are always here to help.

E is for the Expert advice that we offer. We are your expert Fire & Water Clean Up and Restoration company.

R is for the Resources that we can bring to every job. Air movers, dehumidifiers, air scrubbers, drying mats, duct cleaning machines, carpet cleaning machines. Residential and commercial. Whatever your job demands.

V is for Value. We value our customers and it is truly an honor to serve you.

P is for the Professionalism that we bring to every job. We are always prepared. Our highly trained staff is here to “Make it like it never even happened”.

R is for being Ready for any sized disaster. Our crews are on call and always ready to answer the call when needed. 

O is for the Outstanding work that we provide. Our work is certified, warrantied and performed by IICRC trained technicians.  

SERVPRO of St. Charles is always here to help!

Water Damage Prevention Tips

11/17/2022 (Permalink)

Water spraying from hose with green background. Text: Water Damage Prevention Tips Don't wait. If you have water damage, contact SERVPRO of St. Charles.

Ignoring water damage in your home can be a costly mistake. Knowing what to do to avoid water damage can protect your investment.


Here are a few ways you can avoid water damage in your St. Charles, Missouri home:

  • Older wood windows should be cleaned, repainted, and re-stained periodically. Glazing compound around older windows should be replaced as needed. Update your windows and doors. Watertight options are best in new windows and doors.
  • Replace washing machine supply hoses. Plan for new ones every three to five years as part of a proactive maintenance plan.
  • Regularly check your roof for signs of damage, such as excessive wear on shingles or missing shingles.
  • Use gutters and downspouts to make sure water is diverted away from your home and its foundation. In some cases, it is necessary to update of repair drainage.
  • Test your sump pump twice a year or as suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Much home piping has a lifespan of 50 to 80 years, so if you have an older house, ask a plumber to check its condition. PVC pipes may need to be replaced every 25 to 40 years.
  • Seal your basement. Thick coatings, paint and silicate-based sealers may help minimize or prevent water damage. Each method varies in application and cost.


Even minor plumbing problems can turn into major issues down the road. Mold and mildew can create the ideal conditions for harmful bacteria and fungus to start growing and eventually cause a myriad of health problems for your family, including young children and family pets.

If left unchecked, water leaks will cause more damage to your home or business, which is why they need to be addressed the instant you notice them.


Water Damage? Contact SERVPRO of St. Charles at (636) 926-0033.

Protect Your Investment from a Mold Lawsuit

10/13/2022 (Permalink)

Mold on kitchen wall with text: Mold Damage Lawsuit? Help protect your investment with these 3 tips. SERVPRO has the training, experience, and equipment to contain the mold infestation and remediate it to preloss condition.

As a commercial property manager in St. Charles, MO, you have certain responsibilities when it comes to issues of mold in the buildings that you manage.

Mold can be a touchy subject because mold insurance claims tend to be imprecise. Many insurance companies have riders that exclude certain types of mold damage so you must have a secondary insurance plan of some sort.

Here are three reasons why you as a property manager could face a mold damage lawsuit. Understanding the possibilities will help you to ensure that you have the proper coverage. 

  1. Property Damage
    If it is discovered that mold has damaged the tenant's property or products, the mold claim will likely be over who is responsible for paying for damages and how much things are worth. One way to avoid this issue is to have the building inspected before you rent it and come to a formal, written agreement with the tenants about who is responsible for what in the event of damaged property.
  2. Commercial Fitness
    Commercial buildings don't have to be inhabitable the way residential buildings do, but they do have to allow for the intended business to function. If a tenant feels that the building is no longer fit for its intended use, then lawsuits over mold insurance claims could result.
  3. Prevention and Remediation
    Preventing mold growth and remediating existing mold are probably the most common reasons that property managers could find themselves involved in a lawsuit. Mold prevention looks like responding to concerns about leaks and dampness while remediation is about repairing an existing problem.

Especially if you've agreed with your tenant about who is responsible for what aspect of mold remediation and prevention, keeping up your end of the bargain and maintaining good records will help when faced with a legal dispute. When in doubt, hire a professional mold remediation specialist such as SERVPRO of St. Charles to provide an assessment.

It’s important to know what responsibilities you have and how to prepare for them. It is also important to know who to call when disaster strikes. SERVPRO of St. Charles City can respond quickly, working to first contain the infestation to help prevent its spread to other parts of the building. Next, we will begin the remediation process, working safely and effectively to manage the situation. We have the training, experience, and equipment to contain the mold infestation and remediate it to preloss condition.

Have a Mold Problem? Call Us Today – (636) 926-0033

3 Fire Extinguisher Tips for Business Owners

9/7/2022 (Permalink)

Image of fire extinguisher with text "3 Fire Extinguisher Tips for Business Owners" A fire extinguisher can protect your staff and property in St. Charles, MO.

Keeping a fire extinguisher at your commercial property in St. Charles, Mo is a wise choice and also a requirement. According to the Division of Fire Safety, all commercial buildings are required to have a minimum 2A*10B*C rated fire extinguisher within 75 feet of all points of the building(s).  Stairs may not be used as a path to an extinguisher.  Typically, one 2A*10B*C extinguisher can serve a maximum 3,000 square foot area. Some operations and facilities have more stringent requirements. 

In an emergency, effective use of the device reduces potential fire damage and protects staff.

Consider the following three tips:

Purchase the Right Extinguisher

Do your homework before going shopping. Look into local fire code ordinances to determine how many devices you need for your property based on the square footage. There are also different classes of extinguishers depending on possible hazards at your place of business.

  • Class A – Paper, cloth, wood
  • Class B – Flammable liquids such as gasoline
  • Class C – Electrical fires
  • Class D – Metals including lithium, titanium, and magnesium
  • Class K – Cooking oils or grease in a kitchen fire

Train Staff on Correct Usage Techniques

It is not enough to have a fire extinguisher present; employees must be trained on proper usage. Extinguishers are most effective on small fires in the early stages. For portable extinguishers, the PASS method is an easy way to teach and learn.

  • Pull – Remove the pin
  • Aim – Point the nozzle at the bottom of the flames
  • Squeeze – Maintain pressure on the handle to activate the device
  • Sweep – Move the device from side to side towards the fire.

Plan for Fire Emergencies

Extinguishers are part of a more comprehensive safety plan. In the case of a fire emergency, there are other considerations for both staff safety and minimizing fire damage.

  • Evacuation – Practice procedures, exit routes and roles
  • Supplies – In addition to extinguishers, have disaster supply kits on hand
  • Hazards – Map potential onsite hazards, such as combustibles
  • Insurance – Obtain coverage through a commercial insurance company
  • Recovery – Have contact information readily available for a fire restoration company like SERVPRO of St. Charles

A fire extinguisher is a smart way to protect your staff and property in St. Charles, MO, in the event of a fire emergency. Prepare ahead of time by purchasing the appropriate device, training staff, and knowing what to do during and in the aftermath of a fire.

If you experience a fire, SERVPRO technicians are trained to address small and large fire damage projects. We are IICRC certified and have the experience to tackle difficult problems. Our team is ready to serve businesses and families in the greater St. Charles area including St. Peters, O’Fallon, Weldon Spring, and Portage Des Sioux.

Call us and let us help you, (636) 926-0033

Source: Missouri Division of Fire Safety (mo.gov)

Commercial Water Damage in St. Charles, MO

8/23/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO vehicle in front of large commercial loss. Text: Commercial Water Damage in St. Charles, MO When you call, we answer the phone - ready to help. Fire and water emergencies don't wait for regular business hours and neither do we.

Whether it’s the aftereffect of a sudden storm, the result of aging pipes, or a leaky roof, water damage can strike your business at any time and have a devastating effect. To properly handle commercial water damage, St. Charles is home to a water restoration company it can trust.

Commercial Water Damage Restoration with Your Business in Mind

At SERVPRO, we know there is never a convenient time for fire or water damage to strike your business. Every hour your business is closed for restoration means lost revenue and productivity. Therefore, when you have an emergency, we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

We can handle any size job and move quickly so you can get back to business. As a local business, we take great pride in approaching each property as if it were our own and providing the quality restoration you expect.

Trust the Pros

We have staff ready to respond 24/7, 7 days a week. Our goal is to have an experienced technician at your door within four hours of your call. We will perform a full walkthrough and damage assessment. After the assessment, we will put together a plan and we’ll go over each step, so you’ll know exactly what to expect. We can also point out any unsalvageable so you can decide how to proceed and assist on filing your insurance claim. We can also provide mold remediation services, if necessary.

When you call, we answer the phone - ready to help. Fire and water emergencies don't wait for regular business hours and neither do we.

If your business suffers a major loss, call (636) 926-0033.

Mold Remediation in St. Charles After Major Flash Flooding

8/18/2022 (Permalink)

Photo of water damage, drywall removed. Text: Mold Remediation in St. Charles After Major Flash Flooding If your St. Charles, MO home or business has mold damage from the recent flash flooding or another source, we are here to help.

After the significant rainfall that occurred just a few weeks ago there may start to be a musty odor in your home or business. Maybe you can see mold spores starting to grow on your drywall in a dark corner of your basement. SERVPRO of St. Charles can help you remove the mold and musty odor that has invaded your property. We specialize in water and mold restoration, with advanced training in restoration techniques and experience to quickly restore your property.

How can I tell if I need mold remediation?

Unfortunately, if your home or business was impacted by flash flooding or interior water damage, mold is a likely outcome if it was not dried properly. Mold spores will thrive when given moisture and the right materials to feed on. While mold is present everywhere, indoors, and outdoors, we can restore your home or business to pre-exposure levels.

When you call SERVPRO of St. Charles, our Green Fleet to your door with skilled technicians and all the right equipment for the job. Every mold infestation is different, from the amount of mold to the types of materials affected. Each scenario requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. After our arrival, we will:

  • Identify the moisture source to remove water and address the root cause. Failing to do so only means we leave an outlet for mold to develop again. 
  • Containment is put into place using sheeting and negative air pressure to keep microscopic spores from moving into unaffected areas of your property.
  • We begin pulling up mold spores with the help of vacuums and air scrubbers with HEPA filtration.
  • All surfaces get thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and deodorized with the help of specialized cleaning agents and anti-microbial products.

We welcome questions and want you to feel comfortable while our technicians are repairing your property. If you want a new level of peace of mind when hiring someone for mold remediation, our skilled team at SERVPRO of St. Charles is here to help.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (636) 926-0033

St. Charles County Hit By 1,000 Year Flash Flood

7/29/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO vehicles onsite of recent flooding with text: St. Charles County Hit By 1,000 Year Flash Flood If your home or business has been affected by the recent flooding, we are here and ready to help. Give us a call today.

On Tuesday, July 26th, 2022, a complex of thunderstorms set up along the I-70 corridor in Missouri. Several rounds of thunderstorms with rainfall exceeding 2inches in an hour affected this area, including the of St. Peters and the surrounding greater St. Charles, MO area. Upwards of 11” of rain fell in St. Peters, MO and over 8” of rain fell in St. Charles, MO. This rainfall was one of the most significant events since records began in 1874. 7.68” of rain was received in just 6 hours, which has a 1 in 1,000 chance of occurring each year. This also accounts for 25% of the normal amount of rain for July and August combined.

A state of emergency was called Wednesday in St. Charles County. The flooding caused roads to close, homes to be evacuated and left motorist stranded. When the Dardenne Creek Levee breached north of St. Peters in the St. Charles County area, water poured across highway C flooding nearby parks such as Lone Wolff Park. Homes, apartments, and businesses have suffered major water damage. Many have had to abandon their homes and enter shelters.

SERVPRO of St. Charles City has been busy helping those affected by the recent flash floods, calling in additional help from the Disaster Recovery Team. Team Wolfe arrived with a semi full of equipment and trained water restoration technicians to help with the large influx of customers needing immediate help restoring their homes and businesses.

If your home or business has been affected by the recent flooding, we are here and ready to help. Give us a call today.

Source:

July 26th, 2022 Historic Flash Flooding in the St. Louis Metro Area (weather.gov)

St. Charles County issues a state of emergency after flooding | FOX 2 (fox2now.com)