Fireworks Safety in Cache Valley

Fireworks to Celebrate

fireworksJuly is known for fireworks. As we celebrate Independence Day – and Pioneer Day for Utah – we light up explosives. We dazzle ourselves with the bright colors and deafen ourselves with loud noises. The noise drives our neighbors and their pets crazy. It’s a good time all around.
It’s also a fire danger. Even though the 4th has passed, fireworks are lit up all month long. It’s not always legal, but there’s always a few people ready to slide the law. We’re not here to judge you for that, but just don’t ignore your fireworks safety.

Fire Hazards

Fire is always a risk of setting off fireworks. Just this year alone, firefighters have already had to put out several blazes. In the past, wildfires from mishandled fireworks have caused significant damage to the Logan Canyon mountainside. It’s no leap of logic to see how they could even set your house on fire, too. Be sure you follow these safety tips.

Safety Tips

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Clear a wide area around where you intend to use fireworks to minimize the risk of fire
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use 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
  • Fireworks sold in brown paper are for professional use only; do not buy them if you don’t have proper training.
  • Always be aware of the fire hazard warning for the day. Cache Valley posts the fire danger for every day, so be sure to check it.

Sparklers

sparklersSparklers are a favorite firework for many. When I was a kid, everybody wanted to play with them. They’re fun, but they are dangerous. Sparklers burn at temperatures up to 2000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals. Contact with the burning end of the sparkler will cause third degree burns almost instantly. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Given the danger, it’s probably best not to let children play with them (especially not younger children), but if you do, be sure you watch them closely and be ready to take them away at the first sign of things getting out of hand.

Keep Pets Away from Fireworks

It may be tempting to want your precious pup to join in the fun, but this is a bad idea. Animals are extremely afraid of loud noises and burning smells. Fireworks produce these in abundance. If you don’t lock your pet inside during the celebration, more than likely it will run away. This could result in your pet getting lost or injured. That’s not a risk you want to take.

If The Worst Happens

Even with proper precautions, fireworks are dangerous. Injuries are always possible and you should know what to do. If someone is burned by a firework, remove clothing from the burned area and call the doctor immediately.
The worst case scenario would be an eye injury. If there is an injury to the eye, be sure you prevent the injured person from touching or rubbing it. Do not attempt to flush it or put ointment on it. As above, call the doctor immediately. With quick enough medical attention, it may be possible to prevent permanent loss of eyesight.

For More Information

There are specific times of the year when it’s legal to buy fireworks in the state of Utah. The Utah fire marshal has helpfully provided a flier for the dates. For the specifics of the state laws for fireworks in Utah, you can go here.
Staying safe is an important part of our July celebrations, so be sure you follow all our safety tips. If your home should be damaged from fire during these celebrations, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re a full-service restoration company with lots of training. We employ the most experienced professionals in the field of fire restoration. We’ll get your home back in living condition in no time.
Otherwise, we hope you have a safe and fun July!

Mold Growing On Walls

5 Things You Need to Know About Mold

Mold, The Smelly Killer

There’s a musty smell in your basement bathroom.  It’s not strong enough to make you nauseous, but it’s unpleasant.  You can’t ignore it.  It’s mold, and it’s a hazard to your health and home.  Here’s what you need to know about mold.

Hazard Classes

mold removalMold falls into three hazard classes: A, B, and C.

Class A molds are the most hazardous. Exposure to Class A mold will result in headaches, fever, coughing, severe allergic reactions, and some are even known to cause cancer.

Class B molds are potentially dangerous because they produce allergic reactions in some people.  The reactions become stronger the more you are exposed to them.  They can worsen asthma and cause serious breathing problems.

Class C molds are not known to be hazardous to health and are not known to cause allergic reactions.  They’re still a problem, however, because they destroy paint, drywall, and wood.  An infestation of Class C mold will ruin the value of your home.

Most molds in your home will fall into Class B, but regardless of their class, you should take care of them as soon as you find them.

How Does Mold Grow?

Mold reproduces by spores, which are spread through the air.  They begin to grow as soon as they land on a material that provides them with what they need.

First, they need a food source, like wood, drywall, or cotton.  Secondly, they need moisture and oxygen.  It also can’t grow under ultraviolet light, so they colonize dark places.  Finally, they need warmth, as the cold makes spores go dormant.  When these conditions are met, it can start to grow in 24-48 hours.

Where Does It Grow?

Mold can grow just about anywhere when the conditions are right.  They prefer to grow on porous, organic surfaces.  The most vulnerable materials are wood, drywall, and paper.  If mold takes root in them, it’s impossible to remove it.  Once it infects these materials, you must remove and replace them.

It can also grow on tiles and concrete, though since these are not organic materials, they aren’t growing on them directly.  Usually, they have some organic material on them, such as dust, or dead skin.  Since it isn’t growing on these materials, it’s fairly easy to clean them off.  You can often wipe it off with a damp cloth.  You can also find mold killing products at home and garden stores that help.

Your Basement is the Most Vulnerable Place

Given the conditions required for mold to grow, the most vulnerable place in your house will be the basement.  It’s underground, so it rarely gets direct sunlight.  Basements tend to be poorly ventilated, so you get pockets of stale, moist air.  As the lowest point in your home, water will always flow towards it when you have a leak or a flood.  All of these conditions combine to make basements the perfect breeding ground.  You should regularly check your basement if you want to keep your house healthy.

5 Signs of Mold Infestation

  1. Odd Smells: Unexplained musty smells are a good indicator of an infestation.
  2. Peeling Wallpaper: Wallpaper is a good source of food for mold. If it takes root, it will cause it to peel, crack, or bubble.
  3. Dark Colored Spots: Mold comes in a variety of colors. If you see any dark, discolored spots on any surface, that’s probably mold growing on it.
  4. Recent Water Damage: With the wet spring we’ve had this year, this is going to be a problem. Water damage creates excellent places for spores to grow, so if you’ve recently experienced flooding or leaks, have your home inspected for mold.
  5. Health Issues: The health effects include worsening asthma, cold symptoms that won’t go away, or allergic reactions. If you suffer from these symptoms, you might want to have your home checked.

 

Be Safe

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration SpecialistsHere at Alpine Cleaning and Restoration, we’re mold experts.  If you’ve noticed signs of mold in your home or office, get in touch with us right away.  Alpine can do testing in your home to find it.  Don’t delay, since the longer it goes untreated, the more difficult and costly it becomes to remove it.

We can take care of the problem from start to finish.  We’ll identify, contain, and remove the mold, and then treat the area afterwards to help prevent further breakouts.  We’ll also help you find the source of the mold, fixing leaky pipes, condensation, and anything else that might be contributing to the infestation.  We do it all.

floods

Flood Preparation in Utah and Idaho

floods            With winter past its peak and inching toward spring, we can look forward to warmer weather.  While we’re all happy about being able to go outside without so many layers of coats we can’t put our arms down, there is something we ought to be on the lookout for: floods.

Floods are the most common natural hazard faced in the U.S., and Utah is no exception.  Whether it’s the flooding of Ogden in 2015, or the Box Elder Creek overflow in Brigham City last March, floods happen all over.

Causes of Floods

The causes of floods are many and varied.  As a desert region, Utah does not have a lot of consistent rainfall, but sometimes, storms come in and dump a lot of water all at once.  While there are many systems in place to prevent disaster – sewers, drainage basins, dams, etc. – a particularly heavy storm can sometimes drop more water on us than we’re prepared for.  This can cause flooding in houses, especially if they’re at lower elevation.

Storms mixed with the melting snow in the spring can cause rivers to overflow.  If you live along a river or stream, you may not even need to have heavy rain in your area to experience flooding.  If anywhere upstream of you experiences a significant storm, floods are possible.

And on a smaller, more personal scale, a surprise leading cause of flooding in Utah is bad plumbing.  Now that the weather is warming up, leaks from frozen pipes bursting will become apparent.  Although this presents little risk to the community as a whole, it can be quite devastating to a home where it happens.

Flood Preparation

Basement flooding            There are a few things you can do to prepare for floods. First, know how your local government announces flood warnings.  Radio and television will usually announce any warnings. During peak flooding periods, you should be listening for these warnings.

Secondly, take some precautions.  Waterproof your walls, especially your basement.  Have sandbags ready in case you need to lay some down.  Elevate any movable property.  In the case of an emergency evacuation, have a plan.  Have a list prepared of items you need to secure, or take with you.  If time permits, move all of your valuables to an upper floor.  Store insurance policies, important documents and other smaller valuables in a safe-deposit box.

Finally, know what to do when you return.  We’ve already written an article on that subject, so feel free to read that.

We Can Help

In spite of all your precautions, sometimes there is simply nothing you can do to prevent a flood.  Rivers can overflow quite suddenly, giving you no time to put up the sandbags.  Storms can hit equally quick.  And even if warning announcements are made, there’s no way to absolutely guarantee that you’ll hear them.

Floods strike quickly and do a lot of damage. Here at Alpine, we know all about that. We have offices in several locations, from Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls, and are ready to help as soon as you need it.  Since floods do more damage the longer they sit, it’s important to get on them right away. That’s why we promise to arrive within 60 minutes of your call.  We’ll get started as soon as possible in order to save as much of your home as we can.

If you experience flooding this spring – or any time – don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We’ll be there to help you get back on your feet.

Wax Ring

Wax Ring: Problems You Didn’t Know You Had

Unheard of Problems

Everybody’s got problems.  Whether it’s money concerns, health issues, or just Frank next door not returning those yard tools he borrowed, there’s always something going wrong.  It’s easy to fix most problems if you get on top of them right away.  To do that, however, you have to first know what they are.  So I want to let you know about a problem you may not even realize you had: the wax ring under your toilet.

The Wax Ring

Wax RingThe wax ring is an airtight and watertight seal that prevents leakage of fluids and gasses from your toilet and the sewer it connects to.  The reason we never think about this is because generally, it’s not a problem. The wax seal is designed to last as long as your toilet does – up to 30 years or more!  Under normal conditions, you won’t have any problems.  If something DOES go wrong, though, the problems it can cause will be expensive if you don’t take care of them.

The Problems of A Broken Seal

If the wax seal breaks, the toilet will leak. However, most of the water will leak underneath the floor.  This will warp the wood your bathroom tile normally protects, weakening the floor. If left too long, you’ll need to replace the whole floor.  That’s expensive, time consuming, and worst of all, most insurance companies don’t cover it.  They claim you can’t prove who is at fault – you, or the previous owner of the house.  It’s a dirty way to get out of covering a major issue, but it’s what many do. This will often put the repairs completely on you.

3 Signs the Wax Ring Might Need Replacing

 

1. Odors

The wax ring is supposed to be an airtight seal. That means no air from the sewers bellow should be able to get through it into your house.  This is important because aside from the terrible smell, sewer gas contains hydrogen sulfide, which can be harmful to your health.  If you smell a distinct rotten egg odor from your bathroom, then it’s a good sign that the seal cracked.

 

2. Leaks

problemsIf the wax seal cracks, then water from the toilet will start to form puddles around the base of your toilet.  However, a puddle doesn’t automatically mean a broken seal. It can also be condensation on the tank, or a leaky joint where the water line meets the tank.  Before you try replacing the ring, you should check to make sure that these other issues aren’t the real problem.  Either way, water puddles rot your floor. Don’t delay fixing it.

 

3. Wobbling Toilet

If your toilet wobbles, that might mean it’s sitting on a broken flange.  If so, you’ll have to replace it, and that also means replacing the wax ring.  The ring should not be jiggled.  Even if the flange isn’t broken, even if your toilet only wobbles a tiny bit, constant movement weakens and eventually cracks the seal.

Moving Your Toilet

Whether temporarily removing it, or completely replacing the toilet, if you pull the toilet out for any reason, you will have to replace the ring.  Pulling up the toilet , or even just repositioning it slightly, can break the seal apart.  When you replace the seal, be sure that you remove all of the old ring.  It will usually peel off in chunks, requiring the use of a putty knife to remove it all.  If don’t remove all of the old ring, the new one won’t sit right on the flange and will break much faster.

Worse Comes To Worse

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration can help.  If the wax ring cracks and floods, we can clean up the mess and help you restore the damage.  Our experts are ready to act as soon as you call. Since water damage is harder and more expensive to fix the longer it lasts, we guarantee that if you call for water damage we will arrive in 60 minutes to get started on it.  However, you can usually spot and fix this problem before you need our help.  If you notice any of the warning signs that the seal might be going bad, check up on it, don’t ignore it.  Replacing the wax ring is much easier and less expensive than repairing and restoring after flood damage.

Don’t wait.  Hesitation can cost you big time.

Ice Dam

3 Common Problems Caused by Ice Dams

Ice Dam

Image copyright: Dennis M. Crookshanks

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a major problem for many homes during the winter.  Snow builds up on your roof and when the roof warms, the snow melts.  As the water flows down away from the heated areas, it freezes again.  As the ice builds up, it can begin to cause all sorts of damage to your home.  Here are 3 major problems that can come up.

1. Icicles

Icicles are a fact of winter, but while they may look fine, they are a safety hazard.  This is especially true when they form on the edge of your house.  As they get larger and heavier, they can break off and fall. The damage a two-foot-long spear of ice can do to your car – or your head – can’t be laughed off.  Ice dams form large numbers of icicles in a short time, making them an immediate risk to your personal safety.

2. Leaks

With the repeated melting and freezing of snow on your room, some of the water will be backed up underneath your shingles.  This will soak the sheathing and leak into the attic.  From there, it can leak further into your home.  This can lead to rotting and mold inside your house, which is expensive to repair.

3. Roof Damage

Along with the leaks, the ice dam will also cause damage to the shingles on your roof.  They could rot and fall off, which hurts the value of your home and can raise your insurance rates if you don’t take care of it.

Along with damage to the shingles, it also puts a lot of weight on your guttering.  If allowed to sit, it could bend the guttering, or even break it off completely.

 

How Do I Prevent an Ice Dam?

Once the snow has already fallen, it can be tough to prevent ice dams.  There are products you can buy to melt the ice and tools to scrape it off, but using them requires you to climb up on the roof during the winter.  This, you might be able to guess, is dangerous.  There are also cleaning companies who will be happy to help remove the ice and repair the damage if you’d rather not take the risk yourself.

However, the best way to prevent ice dams is to take some steps before the snow falls.  For starters, proper ventilation can help you keep the roof cool so the ice doesn’t melt.  But ventilation alone won’t do the trick.  You need to do everything you can to make sure your attic is kept as close to the same temperature as the outside.  To do this, apply insulation to your attic floor.  Sealing in the air leaks of your attic will not only help prevent ice dams, but will also keep your living spaces warmer.  Secondly, minimize heat sources in your attic.  Check for uninsulated lights, ductwork, or exhaust fans.  All of these can bring hot air from your house to your attic.

Finally, before the winter comes, make sure you clean out your gutters.  If your gutters are clogged with fallen leaves, then the melted snow has nowhere to go. It will cling to the leaves and freeze, causing ice to build up faster.

 

We’re Here To Help

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is always here to help if you need it.  While we hope a little preparation before the coming snowfall will prevent the problem, things can always go wrong.  Whether ice dams end up causing damage to your guttering, roof, or just cause leaks and mold, we are able to help you repair the damage.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need our help.

hose

Prevent Frozen Hoses and Faucets

frozen hose

The Frozen Hose and Faucet Checklist

It’s not winter yet, but winter is coming. There’s no clearer sign of it than how quickly the nights are cooling down.  Here in Utah and Idaho, frost and freezing can start to happen before winter actually begins, so now is the time to start protecting your home from the coming cold.  There’s no better place to start than with your hoses and outdoor faucets.  You don’t want them to get frozen during the cold months ahead.

Remove the Hoses

You might be wondering why you have to unplug your hoses if you turned off the water.  After all, how can it freeze if there’s no water running to it?  Just turning off the faucets is no guarantee.  Even if your faucets are not putting out water, that doesn’t mean there’s no water in the hoses.  While the water may have stopped spraying, there’s still water inside the hose.  Your best efforts to get it all out won’t get everything.  During the summer, excess water will evaporate in the heat.  In the fall, it never gets warm enough for that.  By the time the first frosts roll around, there’ll be plenty of water leftover in the hose; enough to burst your hoses if you leave them out.  This may even potentially damage the faucets they’re attached to.

Inspect The Faucets

frozen faucetOnce you’ve removed the hoses, inspect the faucets. Check all the faucets for leaks and drips.  Even a small leak is enough to freeze.  If the water freezes, the expansion could damage the faucet or the pipes connected to it.  Frozen faucets lead worse leaks and possible flooding in the spring. Worse, if it freezes during the winter, it can become impossible to do anything about it until spring.  So, if you do find any leaks while inspecting your faucets, correct them before the winter hits.
Here’ we’re talking specifically about the outside faucets. If you’d like to learn more about how to winterize your pipes to prevent them from freezing, we have another article you can check out.

Storing Your Hose

Once you’ve inspected the faucets, it’s time to store your hoses away for the winter.  It’s easier to do while it’s still a little warm, so don’t delay.  First, do your best to drain your hose.  Elevate it at one end so the water runs down, then slowly walk along the length of the hose, elevating each position as you pass.  When you get to the other end, keep it elevated until the water stops dripping out.  Afterward, coil it up, making sure there are no kinks.  The coil should be about three feet in diameter.  Be sure to connect the end fittings to keep insects from crawling into it and plugging it up.  Once this is done, store the hose in a warm location off the floor.  A hose hanger or shelf in the garage is usually the best bet.

Enjoy the Winter

Despite the cold, there’s a lot to enjoy about the winter and we hope you do.  While we can help with the potential flood problems if you need it, it would be far better if it never came up.  Be sure to take care of these before it gets too cold.  And if you need anything else from us, be sure to get in touch.

plumbing

Fall Plumbing Preparation

PlumbingFall Is the Best

Summer draws to a close, taking its long days of exhausting heat with it.  The cooler weather makes spending time outside more fun here in Utah and Idaho.  The changing leaves will fill the landscape with color.  Fall is a good time to enjoy yourself; however, don’t get so busy enjoying yourself that you neglect winter preparations.   In a few months, the snow will start to fall and the cold weather will lead to problems in your plumbing.

Frozen Plumbing Is No Fun

One of the biggest problems of the winter is when the pipes freeze.  The ice expands and bursts the pipes, which will flood your house as soon as it starts to warm.  That’s a mess you don’t want to deal with, so be sure to take some precautions.

Adhesive Insulation           It’s pretty well known that leaving your faucet running during the night is one way to help prevent pipes from freezing.  This works up to a point, but a better and more reliable method is installing insulation.  This is an easy project you can do yourself.  Adhesive plumbing insulation is readily available at any home improvement stores and is easy to attach.  Just measure the length of the pipes, cut the insulation to the appropriate length with a utility knife, and stick it to the pipes.  It won’t take long and will go along way to keeping the pipes from freezing.

While you’re installing the insulation, keep an eye out for any leaks in the pipes.  Leaks in the pipes greatly increase the chance of the pipes bursting if they freeze.  If you find any leaks, call a plumber to have them fixed as soon as you can.

 

Don’t Forget The Hoses

Freezing water can ruin hoses just as easily as plumbing.  Be sure to disconnect them when it starts to get cold.  Fix any leaking faucets they connect to so you don’t have to worry about icicles over the winter.  Roll up the hoses and store them somewhere warmer than the outside.  Your garage will usually suffice.

 

Inspect Your Water Heater

It’s a good idea to inspect your water heater once a year.  Fall is the best time for this.  You’ll need plenty of hot water over the winter, so make sure your heater is up for it.  Look for rust, puddles of water, or other warning signs.  Check the pressure relief valve to make sure there’s no danger of the heater exploding.  Have a plumber drain and clean any sediment build-up.  All this will make sure your heater is able to last you through the winter.

 

Check The Sump Pump

The sump pump helps prevent basement flooding.  Its position away from the house also makes it a freezing risk and a faulty pump will be a serious problem during a thaw. Make sure the pump is working properly by removing the lid and checking for clogs.  Pour water into the pit to make sure it drains.

 

If Something Goes Wrong

If you take the appropriate steps in the fall, you shouldn’t have any problems over the winter.  In case you do, Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is there to help.  In the event of a flood, whether it be from burst pipes, or unexpected precipitation, cleaning things up fast is vital.  That’s why Alpine has a guaranteed 1-hour emergency response time.  Get in touch with us, and we’ll be there as fast as we can to start the cleanup process immediately.  We save you a lot of time and money by taking care of it before it gets out of hand.  We’ll restore your flooded home to as good, if not better than it was before we arrived.

Wildfire Season safety tips

5 Wildfire Season Safety Tips

Wildfire season safety tips

It’s Wildfire Season Again

You may have heard about the wildfire blazing on the Utah-Idaho border.   This is only one of as many as twenty wildfires that firefighters in Utah have responded to this year.  Already, they have burned up as much as 1500 acres of land.  Smoke from these fires has created a smoggy haze that’s fallen over cities many miles from the fire’s actual location.

Wildfires are destructive and terrifying, but they only happen in forests right?  Wrong! Last year, the most devastating fires in California all happened miles away from any forests despite the focus on forest firefighting in the media.  Urban areas are a prime target for wildfires, most often because people think they’re safe and don’t take precautions.  In the last article, we looked at some general fire safety tips.  Today, we’re going to look at five ways you can specifically protect yourself and your home from wildfires.

1. Secure the Area Around Your Home

A common mistake people make during wildfire safety is having combustible materials too close to their homes. Wildfires generate intense heat and can ignite material from as much as 100 feet away!  Therefore, it’s wise to move firewood, dead plants and dried grass, unpruned and low-hanging branches, and even wood fencing, as well as anything else that could catch fire to a minimum safe distance of at least 30 feet. If you do have a wooden fence, it’s a good idea to separate it from your home with a masonry or metal barrier to prevent a fire from spreading along the fence to your house.

But it’s also important that you don’t go overboard. Some people think creating a buffer zone means clearing out anything that might burn within the 100 foot danger area.  This is actually a mistake.  While you should definitely thin out the vegetation close to your home, be sure to leave some there.  It will help to catch the embers blown by the wind, which is the number one way that wildfires ignite houses.  Live vegetation, when kept watered, is slower to ignite than you’d think.  If enough is there to catch the embers, they are more likely to have time to cool before they can actually ignite anything.

2. Keep the Fire From Getting In

Speaking of embers, a single one is enough to light up any number of things in your home.  You need to do everything you can to keep them out.  The number one place for them to get in is through openings in the eaves and vents on your roof.  Make sure that any openings are screened.   It may seem like a little detail, but a good metal screen is often a surefire way to make sure the fire doesn’t get into your house.

Windows are another overlooked precaution.  Intense heat can go right through the glass and light up anything too close.  Replace your drapes and any furniture near the windows with heat-resistant fabrics.

Combine this with some extra planning for the outside of your house and the chances of your home surviving a wildfire increase dramatically.  And on the subject of the exterior . . .

3. Protect the Outside of Your Home

The best time to start planning on fire protection is when you first start building a house.  From the get-go, you should plan for wildfires, especially if you live in an area prone to them.  First of all, consider the location.  Putting your house near a thick stand of tress is clearly not a smart idea, but it’s also a bad idea to put your house on hilltop, or overhanging any place that a wildfire might sweep through.  These spots are just asking for your house to go up in a blaze.

When designing your home, plan to build it from fire resistant materials.  Avoid complicated shapes in the layout, as these create places for embers to fall and get stuck in.  If you build your homes with these in mind, it will greatly reduce the fire danger.

If you aren’t building a new house, try to buy one that meets these conditions.  And even if you’ve already bought your home, there are still ways to improve on it.  Consider upgrading the roof, for example.  Older homes often have wooden shingles.  These are a big mistake.  Asphalt shingles are better, but steel and tile are the safest.  If you’ve got a wood-shingled house, have the roof replaced with better materials as soon as you can.  Not only will it decrease the fire hazard, but it can also reduce your insurance rates.

4.  Work with Your Neighbors

All of these safety tips are useful, but they might not be any good if your neighbors don’t also take precautions.  In places where homes are closely packed, your house is only as fire-proof as the one next door.

Therefore, it is a good idea to form community fire plans. Get together with the people in your area and make sure everyone understands the basics of fire safety. Help them fire-proof their homes as much as you can, because if their home goes up, yours might, too. Community meetings to discuss the matter will help get everyone on board.  Don’t be afraid to remind your neighbors of fire hazards in their yards, either; chances are, they might not have realized it and will appreciate the reminder.

5. Always Have A Wildfire Safety Plan

Even with all the precautions taken, there’s no way you can absolutely guarantee your home will be protected.  Do everything you can to protect your home, but be sure that you have a plan for what to do if a wildfire gets out of control in your area.  Develop a plan for what you will do and where you will go if a wildfire gets close to your home.  Make sure that your family knows it and have practice evacuations so everybody in your home knows what to do.  It will help them stay calm if the worst should happen.

Don’t try to stay in your home if a fire gets close. There’s nothing you can do to prevent your house from burning down by staying in it.  A house can be rebuilt, but lives lost cannot be restored.  Do not take the risk.  Taking the above precautions will dramatically increase the chances of your house surviving a wildfire.  If you’ve done them, then all that remains to do is get yourself and your family to safety and hope for the best.

 

We’re Ready To Help You

Alpine 100% No Smoke Smell Guarantee SealWe all hope that the worst doesn’t happen, but that’s not always in our control.  Even with every precaution taken, your house might still be lost or damaged in a fire. If that happens, the people at Alpine Cleaning and Restoration are here for you.  We’re the best restoration company in Utah.  As soon as the firefighters give the clear to return, you can get in touch.  We will restore your house to as good as new, if not better.  You won’t even smell the smoke!  We’ll work with your insurance agency to give you the best restoration possible.  You can rest easy knowing we’re on the job.

House Fire

Summer Fire Safety

Summer fire safety

The Heat Is On!

We’re coming up on the final month of summer, but the heat isn’t letting up just yet.  Many people think that summer is the worst season for fire danger, but according to the NFIRS, summer is actually when the lowest dangers exist.  I know it’s hard to believe that when we keep reading about the huge wildfires in California, but only about 8% of all house fires that happen occur in the summer.  Most house fires happen in December and January – often due to faulty space heaters and wood burning stoves/fire pits.  But don’t let that make you think that summer is a time you can overlook fire safety.  Here are a few things you should consider to make sure your house doesn’t go up in smoke.

Cooking Fires

By far, the most common cause of house fires is cooking and that doesn’t stop during the summer.  Nearly 32% of all house fires are caused by cooking accidents.  Never leave stoves and ovens on, even briefly, when you can’t be there to attend them.  It only takes a second for them to overheat and start a fire and if you aren’t close enough to stop it, it’ll quickly spread.  Grease and oil are particularly bad offenders on that front.  Dishrags left too near the heat are also a danger. To reduce the risk of danger, make sure you clean the cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease from building up on them.

Air Conditioning

While faulty heating systems cause many fires, air conditioning units cause their fair share as well.  Portable and fixed AC units will sometimes have inadequate wiring for their heavy power loads, which causes short circuits.  The peak time for AC fires is between 2 and 8 PM, when they see peak usage.  Be sure to have an electrician check your AC unit to make sure the wiring is properly installed and can handle the load.

Look for ways to avoid needing to use the air conditioner all day so it won’t overheat.  Consider turning on a small fan in the room you’re using rather than running the AC all through the house if you can.  Check the AC’s filter regularly to make sure it doesn’t build up dust or debris.  And never, ever run a cord powering an AC unit under a rug or through a door.  This increases the chances of the cord being damaged, which is guaranteed to start a fire sooner or later.

Yard and Vehicle Maintenance

You’d be surprised how much this goes overlooked. During the summer, a poorly kept yard is a prime target for fires.  Loose brush and debris are highly combustible.  Be sure to clear them from your yard.  While you’re at it, trim the bushes and trees, as poorly kept branches and brambles are also prone to catching fire.  Check up on your vehicles to make sure that no hot metal parts dangle from under it.  Mufflers and exhaust pipes are chief offenders here.  Keep them raised away from the ground as much as possible and avoid parking your cars near dry brush or grass.  Be sure to avoid dragging chains, or other metal objects that could create sparks.  Keep a shovel somewhere in the yard that you can access quickly to bury a fire if you catch one starting early.

Attics

Attic fires peak in both summer and winter.  While in the winter, the cause is often faulty wiring; during the summer the cause can be just the heat itself.  Attics are often closed-off spaces with poor ventilation. Combined with the insulation surrounding them, they are prone to getting very, very hot.  Do not overstuff your attic with items, especially not combustible ones like paper.  Not only does this increase the number of things that can catch fire if it gets to hot, it provides more fuel for the fire if it does start.

It can also make it impossible for you to get at the fire with an extinguisher if you catch it early enough to stop it.  The summer months are also prone to lightning storms.  While there’s not much you can do to stop lightning from striking, you can mitigate the damage.  Unplug appliances during thunderstorms to prevent short circuits and consider installing a lightning protection system if you live in an area where lightning storms are particularly common.

General Fire Safety

The general fire safety rules are as good in summer as any other time.  Don’t overload power sockets.  Install smoke alarms and check up on their batteries regularly to make sure they work. Keep fire extinguishers in accessible places near known fire risk areas.  And in case the worst happens, always have a fire safety plan.  Make sure your children know it and practice following through on it.  The more you practice, the less likely you are to panic if a fire actually breaks out.

We’re Here To Help

Even with the best fire safety precautions, accidents can happen.  That’s why Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is on call 24/7, ready to respond at a moment’s notice.  If something should go wrong and a fire starts, get in touch.  Fire prevention starts with you, but fire cleanup starts with us.  If your home is damaged by fire, we can not only clean it up, but also restore to just as good a condition as it was before the fire. There won’t even be the scent of smoke to remind you that a fire ever happened.

That’s a promise.

upholstery cleaning

Upholstery Cleaning

upholstery cleaning

Photo by Benjamin D. Esham

Upholstery Cleaning

Upholstery can be an expensive investment and you want to take care of it as best you can.  If you want your upholstery to last, regular cleaning, either by a professional, or with professional equipment is important.  How often you should have it professionally cleaned varies, but the recommendation is every 12-18 months.  Depending on how much you use it, and how many children or pets you have, you might need to clean more often.

Vacuum

The first step in the cleaning process is to vacuum.  You want to remove debris that might be disolved into the couch fibers themselves.  I would suggest you vacuum thoroughly for several minutes with the upholstery brush tool before going into any cleaning.  This will prepare the fibers and help you get ready for the more deep cleaning.

Spot Cleaning  Your Upholstery

The next step to cleaning your upholstery is to do some spot cleaning.  It’s important to use a spot cleanser that doesn’t change the original color of your couch.  Before spot cleaning, test the formula in an discreet area of your couch first.  Once it dries, check to see if there is any discoloration.   Once you’ve tested the solution, feel free to treat the other spots in the areas that need to be treated.

Cleaning Your Upholstery

You can now dive into the actual cleaning.  If you are on a tight budget, some simple clear dish soap in warm water will work great.  For microfiber-suede, a 50% alcohol-water spray works well to clean and dry quickly.  You will also need some clean white dish cloths or sponges.  Work up some suds, then gently scrub in a circular motion over the entire couch.

After you’ve cleaned your entire couch, you’re done!  Just let it dry and then enjoy your cleaner, brighter furniture!  If you want a deeper clean, we offer top of the line equipment that not only cleans the fibers on the surface but also deep cleans your upholstery fibers for a fresh new living room!

We Can Help

If you’d like to have the assistance of a professional, we are always available.  Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.