The Truth About Black Mold and Toxic Mold

The Truth About Black Mold and Toxic Mold Project X Restoration DenverHere at Project X Restoration in Denver, we want to share the truth about black mold and toxic mold. Just the words “black mold” are enough to make you feel queasy. No one wants mold in their home and black molds and toxic molds can be particularly harmful to your health. If you suspect that you may have these molds in your home or business, it is important to contact a professional to remove it.

Toxic Molds and Black Molds

The term black mold is fairly misleading. People use the term “black mold” to refer to all mold and they use the term interchangeably with toxic mold. For professionals, there is only one black mold: Stachybotrys atra, which is also known as Stachybotrys chartarum. The weird part? This mold is actually a greenish black and can even be gray. There are over 100,000 types of mold, but only this one is the “real” black mold.

Mycotoxins

“Toxic mold” is also a misleading term. Because of the term, “toxic,” people think that the mold is poisonous. The mold itself is actually toxigenic. This means the mold produces toxins. The toxins attach to spores and float away in search of a new place to reside. Unfortunately, when these toxins are inhaled they can be harmful.

The truth about black mold and toxic mold is that mold spores aren’t released unless they are disturbed, and the mold doesn’t produce the toxins constantly. While this can provide some comfort, you really do not want mold to be allowed to grow in your home. If you find mold, you will want to have the mold remediated as soon as possible. Molds are particularly dangerous for people with mold allergies and compromised immune systems.

Black Mold Signs

A musty smell that is similar to dirt and rotting leaves is a sign of mold. Black mold or Stachybotrys is particularly strong smelling. Molds prefer moderate temperatures, darkness, and moisture. A combination of factors is an ideal environment for mold to grow.

If you have the kind of strong earthy smell in your home, you likely have a mold problem. If you know that areas of your home have moisture issues, or maybe you have had a flood in your basement recently, you should consider having it checked. If you suspect that you have a mold issue, you should call a mold removal and remediation services professional.

Testing

It is impossible to tell for sure which kind of mold you have. You could test to be sure, but the reality is that any kind of mold can create health issues in the long run and it will need to be removed and be mitigated to avoid reoccurrence. Mold removal is a must, regardless of the type.

Now that you know the truth about black mold and toxic mold, contact us here at Project X Restoration, serving Denver metro and Colorado. We can figure out whether you have a mold issue and get it removed for you quickly and safely so that you can rest easier and avoid potential health hazards.

How to Choose a Biohazard Cleanup Service

How to Choose a Biohazard Cleanup ServiceWhen a tragedy or disaster occurs, knowing how to choose a biohazard cleanup service is incredibly important. Here at Project X Restoration in Denver, we want to share a few helpful tips so that if you ever need a biohazard cleanup, you’ll know what to look for to ensure you only work with true professionals.

Experience and Training

The most frequent reasons a biohazard cleanup is needed are death, trauma, or crime scene. It is important to have dangerous contaminants safely removed to get your home, property, business, or scene of the trauma back to clean, safe condition. Before selecting a biohazard cleanup service, ask about:

  • Bloodborne pathogen compliance and training
  • OSHA training
  • Medical waste transport and handling training
  • Respiratory protection training and compliance
  • Personal protection equipment compliance and training

Licensing

Certification and licensing requirements can vary from state to state for biohazard cleanups. Here in Denver, be sure to inquire about whether the biohazard cleanup service you are considering meets Colorado’s legal requirements. The company you are considering should be able to show proof of any licensing.

When dealing with medical waste, the company in question should have a medical waste transporter license and have a contract with a licensed medical waste disposal company. It is important to note that there are no specific certifications for crime scene or death-related cleanups. This makes due diligence on your part incredibly important.

Safety Standards

Choose a company that has a lot of experience with cleaning up biohazards. We here at Project X Restoration in Denver have over 135 years of combined experience and we will make sure that your biohazard is cleaned up properly. You want to choose a company that uses the correct equipment for the job to ensure that your home, business, or property is safe from toxins. You also want a company that has high standards for their services.

Empathy

You want a service that is going to understand the severity of your situation and respect the emotional impact that can come with such experiences. The company you hire should be respectful of you and your situation. You should be treated with kindness, compassion and professionalism. A cleanup company shouldn’t add to the strain of your situation.

References

Look at reviews of the company. What do previous customers have to say about service, cost, timeliness and professionalism? When it comes to how to choose a biohazard cleanup service, it’s helpful if you are able to locate reviews from customers with a situation similar to yours. You want a company with satisfied customers that speak to a company’s to experience and commitment. The Better Business Bureau is another good place to check.

Now that you know how to choose a biohazard cleanup service, contact us here at Project X Restoration for your biohazard cleanup needs. We care about providing a high standard of cleanup service and most importantly, care about helping get your home, property, or business cleaned up quickly and correctly so that you can focus on other important issues.

Disaster Preparation and Taking a Home Inventory

Disaster Preparation and Taking a Home Inventory DenverAt Project X Restoration in Denver, we recommend making time for disaster preparation and taking a home inventory. As professional restoration specialists, we’ve seen first-hand the devastation that can be caused by a natural disaster, plumbing issue, house fire and so much more. These situations are incredibly stressful, making it difficult for homeowners to clearly think through an exhaustive list of their home’s contents. Being prepared is vital.

Nobody expects their basement to flood or electrical system to ignite a fire, so it’s natural not to think too much about being ready. But, if it ever happens to you, disaster preparation and taking a home inventory can spare you added stress and more quickly get you on the path to restoring both your home and your life.

Some Statistics

According to a 2012 survey, over half of U.S. residents have not done an inventory of their home to account for all their possessions. Of those who have completed inventories, 27% do not have photos to accompany their inventory, 28% don’t have a backup stored outside their home, and 48% have no receipts to accompany their inventory. Almost 60% have not updated their inventories in over a year. If you fall into any or all of these categories and experience damage from a fire, you’ll likely face issues when seeking reimbursement from your insurance company.

A Successful Home Inventory

Because a home inventory can seem overwhelming, it is best to start with a portion of your home. Choose an inventory tool that you will be likely to use and will be able to best keep up to date. Treat your inventory systematically and keep at it until you have completed it.

Once your inventory is complete, you need an offsite storage place or an accessible online location. Saving this information to a home computer will do you no good if it’s destroyed in a fire or home flood. Every significant purchase should be added at least on an annual basis.

Successful methods for home inventories include:

  • Spreadsheets: Spreadsheets are an easy way to track and organize an inventory.
  • Photos: Be sure to photograph every room systematically and be sure to take individual photos of important or valuable items. You will need a way to track purchase dates, costs, and model or serial numbers.
  • Video: You will need to be sure to capture information similar to photos. Videos have an added advantage of having audio to accompany your inventory.
  • Apps: There are a lot of apps that are great ways to complete your inventory. Some that have been recommended include Inventory for Homeowners, DreamVault, Home Gallery, and The Home Inventory. These apps are just a few of the available options that may work well for you.

Worth the Effort

Disaster preparation and taking a home inventory can save you time and energy in case of an emergency. It may also mean a more streamlined reimbursement process. If you need help in your restoration efforts following an unfortunate event, contact our professionals at Project X Restoration in Denver. We can help you with clean-up and restoration following water damage, fire, smoke damage, and more. We care about helping you and your family.

Why Choose IICRC Certified Professionals for Water Damage?

Why Choose IICRC Certified Professionals for Water Damage? Project X Restoration DenverWhy choose IICRC Certified Professionals for water damage? Here at Project X Restoration in Denver, we want to share why the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is so important when it comes to hiring a professional to clean and restore your home or business following water damage.

Water Damage Can Be Serious

Comprehensive water damage restoration involves going into a business or home following water damage caused by floods, burst pipes, or other destruction and involves helping with clean-up but also includes drying everything from substructures to drywall, wood, metal, and concrete. It’s a very intensive process that requires proper training.

Of course, one of the biggest concerns following a water disaster is mold damage, but there are many other issues related to moisture damage that are also vitally important, such as crumbling plaster and drywall, weakened supports and beams, as well as rusting of metal surfaces. Each issue must be addressed individually and restored meticulously.

Trained Professionals

So, why choose IICRC Certified Professionals for water damage? Because of the potential for the initial damage to spread, you need a professional service with appropriate training like Project X Restoration in Denver. A service that has earned the ability to post the IICRC logo has met a rigorous list of standards. The IICRC encourages consumers to look for the IICRC logo, not just because it is a sign of high quality, but also because this organization has led the way in establishing standards for water damage restoration and mold remediation.

Need to Understand the Source

In order to understand how to best to clean up after water damage, it is important that your restoration and cleaning professional know about the different types of liquid involved.

According to IICRC standards (there are 500 of them), there are three categories of liquid in water disasters.

  • Category 1: Liquid in this category is from a clean, sanitary source. Liquids like water from faucets, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, etc. are all category 1.
  • Category 2: Liquids in this category have a small level of contaminants. This category would include water from washing machines, dishwashers, or toilet overflow that involves urine only.
  • Category 3: This liquid is considered grossly unsanitary. Floodwater from rivers or streams, sewage backups, and toilet overflows with feces, etc. are in category 3.

Need to Know the Level of Destruction

It is also important to have a full understanding of the level of destruction in order to understand how to perform the water damage clean-up and restoration. There are different levels of damage depending on the types of material ruined and amount and category of the liquid involved. The clean-up and restoration for a Category 1 liquid that affected minimal amounts of a room with a concrete floor will be very different than a Category 3 liquid that has affected the entire house and has saturated the floors, carpets, and insulation. If you use professionals that have the IICRC’s approval, you are working with a company that knows the best way to deal with such dramatically different situations.

If you have water damage and need an IICRC approved company to help with clean-up and restoration, contact us at Project X Restoration in Denver. We’re available 24/7 in case of emergency and will help you restore your home to its preloss state.

Dangers of Smoke Damage After a Fire

Dangers of Smoke Damage After a FireFire is dangerous, that’s obvious enough, but few people understand the dangers of smoke damage after a fire. At Project X Restoration in Denver, we want you and your family to be protected not only from fire but also from the issues that can occur after you have survived a fire in your home.

Did You Know?

When people think of house fires, many focus on the flames burning things to ash, but did you know that smoke from the fires is often the true killer in house fires?

Smoke is the leading cause of death in fires; it surpasses burns by a 3:1 ratio. Many people also understand that direct exposure to smoke is harmful to your respiratory system, but did you know that the smoke could cause issues with your home’s structure? Smoke from a fire contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and soot. Whatever burns in the fire can also release harmful chemicals that are dangerous when inhaled but also cling to walls, furniture, ductwork, clothing, and more.

Knowing more about the dangers of smoke after a fire can help when it comes to restoring your home to its pre-loss state.

Flow of Smoke

Hot air rises so smoke damage commonly occurs in the following locations:

  • Directly above the fire. This assumes there were no strong air currents flowing through the structure. The highest concentration of smoke will usually be found on the ceiling over the flames.
  • Outside windows and walls. Cold air descends below warm air. This will allow a path for the smoke to travel to exterior walls. This occurs even if the fire occurs in the center of a large room. The exterior windows and walls will still often incur smoke damage and contain heavy amounts of smoke residue.

Temperature and Airflow Determines Much

One of the most surprising things about the dangers of smoke damage after a fire is where else in your home it can be found. Some of this makes sense once you understand how temperature and airflow interact with the surrounding environment. Additional heavy smoke damage occurs in the following areas, which can be unexpected, but again, makes sense once you understand.

  • Enclosed spaces: Closed closets, wall cavities, and dresser drawers may seem like places which would incur very little damage, but in fact, these areas will frequently sustain more damage than the area where the fire actually burned. Part of this is because air and smoke particles in warm air move faster. The particles are kept in circulation because of the warm temperature. Smoke naturally moves towards cooler areas and as the particles move into enclosed, cool spaces they slow down and come to rest.
  • Behind drapes and blinds: Because of the cooler temperatures and often because of the material involved, smoke damage can be quite high.
  • In ducts: Also due to cooler temperatures, smoke will frequently come to rest in the ductwork. Following a fire, a thorough inspection should be performed to figure out the true extent of your home’s smoke damage.

If you have had a fire and are experiencing the dangers of smoke damage after a fire, contact us at Project X Restoration in Denver. We can help you sort through how best to restore and repair your home following a fire.

Where to Place Smoke Alarms and Extinguishers

Where to Place Smoke Alarms and ExtinguishersToday, our experts at Project X Restoration in Denver share with you where to place smoke alarms and extinguishers. By taking a few minutes to get familiar with these important tools and how to place them throughout your home, you’ll be much better prepared to prevent extensive damage to your home (or worse) if the unthinkable happens.

When determining where to place smoke alarms and extinguishers, it’s a good idea to know more about these tools. Let’s look at a few basics that can help save your home from fire and smoke damage.

Which Fire Extinguisher

Knowing which fire extinguisher works for the different kinds of fires will help you to choose the right extinguishers for your home and where to place them. The wrong type of extinguisher for the fire can have life-threatening results. There are different classifications of fire extinguishers. The three that are generally used for homes are:

  • Class A: This extinguisher is used for ordinary combustible materials such as cardboard, paper, wood, and plastic.
  • Class B: This extinguisher is designed for combustible or flammable liquids such as grease, oil, gasoline, and kerosene.
  • Class C: This extinguisher is designed for electrical equipment such as wiring, outlets, appliances, and circuit breakers. Do not use water to attempt to extinguish a class C fire. You could be electrocuted.

Where?

Determine which class extinguisher you may need for an area should be based on the items in the surroundings. Make sure you have one in your garage or workshop and at least one on each floor of your home, near bedrooms is a good idea and in plain sight. If a fire breaks out in the middle of the night, having an extinguisher stored in the back of a closet does you no good. If you have a fireplace inside or firepit outside, make sure you have one nearby.

Having an extinguisher in the kitchen, such as a Class K that uses a unique process to fight grease fires, is also essential. Using water on this type of fire can splash the grease and cause the fire to spread very quickly.

Which Smoke Detector?

There are two general types of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric.

  • Ionization: This smoke detector works well for flaming fires. An ionization smoke alarm has two-electrically charged plates and a bit of radioactive material in between the plates. The plates ionize the air and cause a flow of current between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, the ion flow is disrupted, which reduces the current and activates the alarm.
  • Photoelectric: This smoke detector is best for a fire that starts after a period of smoldering. Photoelectric alarms aim a light source into a chamber with a light sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, light is reflected into the light sensor and the alarm is triggered.

Though each kind of smoke detector works better for one kind of fire, both types of detectors will detect both kinds of fire.

Where?

Smoke alarms should be placed high on the wall since smoke rises. Install them on every floor and in every sleeping room. Additionally, you should have them spaced evenly throughout your home—hallways, kitchens, at the base of stairs leading to an upper level and living spaces should one if there are not any nearby. Keep them away from windows, doors, or any other drafty areas that could prevent them from working properly.

To prevent a home fire, smoke detectors should be inspected regularly and batteries should be changed once a year. Don’t wait to play the find the chirping smoke alarm game!

Knowing where to place smoke alarms and extinguishers can help you avoid a tragedy. We want you and your home to be protected in case of a fire. If experience a fire in your home, we here at Project X Restoration in Denver can assist with your cleanup efforts and take good care of you and your home.

Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About Mold and Mildew

everything you didn’t want to know about mold and mildewHere at Project X Restoration in Denver, we want to share everything you didn’t want to know about mold and mildew. Sure, the topic is ugly and gross but it is a common problem that can cause damage to your home and create health issues for you and your family.

Mold and Mildew, Are They Different?

Mold and mildew are similar, but mildew is actually a specific form of mold. Mold is kind of fungus that grows in black and green patches and has the ability to penetrate surfaces. Mildew only remains on the surface and can be wiped away and removed fairly easily.

Mildew usually grows on damp surfaces and organic materials. Mold, on the other hand, grows in walls, crawl spaces, food, and permanent structures. Mildew is easier to clean, so it can be a do it yourself project. Mold should be cleaned by a professional mold remediation company.

Kinds of Mildew

Mildew is actually considered to be a plant disease that often causes damage to crops, though it does grow on other surfaces, including those in your home. It comes in powdery and downy forms. Powdery mildew first appears as gray and/or white splotches that slowly become yellowish brown or black. Downy mildew varies in appearance depending on the surface where it grows. Generally, this mildew begins as yellow spots that eventually turn brown.

Types of Mold

Though there are well over 10,000 types of mold, most household mold is generally one of the following five common kinds.

  • Alternaria is often found in showers, on walls, under sinks, and in generally damp areas. This is the kind of mold that is frequently found in buildings that have suffered water damage. This mold is wooly or has a down-like texture and can be black, gray, or dark brown. Long-term exposure to this mold can cause asthma or allergic reactions.
  • Aspergillus is the most common indoor mold. This mold can cause allergic reactions, as well as respiratory infections, and lung inflammation in people with weakened immune systems. This mold can be gray, brown, yellow, green, white, or black and often grows on insulation, walls, paper products, and clothing.
  • Cladosporium grows in cooler areas, which is unlike other molds that prefer warmer environments. This mold tends to grow on fabrics (such as curtains and carpets) and wood surfaces (such as wood floors and cabinets). It is characteristically black or olive-green and has a strong musty odor. This mold is known to cause a number of respiratory problems.
  • Stachybotrys chartarum is typically referred to as black mold (because it generally black only) and can be quite dangerous. This mold produces mycotoxins which can cause severe health problems including asthma, chronic sinus infections, fatigue, depression, breathing problems, and allergy issues. It has a characteristic musty odor and grows easiest in areas that are constantly damp—such as air conditioning ducts, leaky pipes, or other places that aren’t ever dry.

Is It Mold or Mildew?

Examining the characteristics of mold and mildew can help you identify which one has invaded your home. Mildew grows in a flat pattern and appears to be powdery or fluffy. Mold is usually fuzzy or slimy in appearance and has irregular shapes spots. If you are not sure which one you are dealing with you can test them using the following methods.

  • Home testing—Place a few drops of bleach on the area. Wait five minutes and inspect the space with the bleach. If the area looks lighter, then the issue is mildew. If it remains dark, then you have a mold issue. If you have a mold issue, you will want to consult a professional service, such as Project X Restoration in Denver. Because mold infiltrates through surfaces and will damage structures internally, removal is not easy.
  • Professional testing—Mold is better tested and treated by a professional. A professional will be able to ascertain what remediation and removal services would be best. Additionally, all the steps can be performed safely to avoid additional exposure or potential spread of mold spores.

Prevention

The most efficient way to prevent the growth of mold or mildew is to keep all the areas of concern dry. Humidity levels lower than 40-50% are best. If your space has higher levels of humidity, a dehumidifier is helpful for maintaining lower humidity levels. Regular inspections of your heating and cooling systems and air ducts will help ensure that the airflow is maintained. Also, be sure to fix any leaks and address any moisture issues as soon as you see them. The sooner you fix them, the less likely mold and mildew will have a chance to grow.

Cleaning

Mold clean up is best left to professionals for a variety of reasons. Cleaning up mold improperly can lead to the spread of mold spores—either spores that get left behind or spores that spread as a result of the removal. Using a professional for mold removal is important.

If you know for sure you have a mildew issue and not a mold issue, it can be something that you may be able to manage on your own. Again mildew only lives on the surface of items so this means that mildew does not require special removal. Because it can still cause health issues, it is good to be sure that the mildew is being removed while the area is well ventilated and whoever is cleaning the area is wearing a facial mask.

Now that you know everything you didn’t want to know about mold and mildew, contact us at Project X Restoration, if you are dealing with a mold or mildew problem that needs professional attention. We can take care of the cleanup, help identify the source, and help you prevent a reoccurrence.  We can remove your mold or mildew issue safely and effectively and help you protect your family from the health issues that can be created from the very common problem.

Why You Need Emergency Board Up Services

Why You Need Emergency Board Up ServicesAt Project X in Denver, we realize that you may not understand why you need emergency board up services. If you have never faced an emergency at your home or business, you may not know what board up services are, much less why or when you might need them. To clear things up, we’ve put together some information to explain more about board up services.

Board Services in a Nutshell

Windows are one of the most vulnerable points of a home or business. Put simply, windows are easy to break, much easier than a door or a wall. If you are unable to get a window repaired right away, having an emergency board up service come out is a way to protect your home or business while you are waiting for the repair or replacement to be done.

Often, in natural disasters, such as storms, many people find themselves in the same need for window repair and replacement. Emergency window services just may not be available right away and board up services are the answer in the meantime.

Common Reasons for Board Up Services

Here are a few of the common reasons people need board up services.

  • Storm Damage: Storms can be quite powerful, especially here in Denver where we live in hail alley. Just this year, we had golf ball sized hail and bigger.
  • Fire: Heat from a fire can cause windows to shatter. Firefighters might also break windows in order to access a structure and put out the blaze.
  • Property Vacancy: An unattended property, such as one that’s abandoned, foreclosed or even mid-renovation, will sometimes be vandalized. Board up services help protect the building from further damage.
  • Prevention: If you know a big storm is on the way, using board up services can stop windows from breaking, eliminating the need for window replacement altogether.

 

Save Money by Using Board Up Services

Some people don’t feel that using board up services is worth the money and time. Here are some reasons it is really a money saving move.

  • Prevents further damage: Boarding up after your home has sustained damage will be cut further losses. If you’ve suffered a fire or other disaster, securing your home or business will help protect you from ongoing issues.
  • Retain insurance coverage: Many policies require that once your home sustains damage, you must stop further damage from occurring. If hail has broken a window and you then had your home boarded up, your insurance company should pay for the damage. Not doing so may give them a reason to deny your claim or only pay a portion of your costs.
  • Preventing vandalism: Once a home or business is damaged, if there will be a period before windows or doors will be repaired or replaced, particularly with foreclosures, board up services are a must. This deters vandalism, theft, and potential liability issues.

Now that understand why you need emergency board up services, call us at Project X in Denver if and when you have determined you have a situation that requires board up services. We’re available 24/7 and can typically have a crew out to your location in about an hour.

How to Choose the Right Restoration Company

How to Choose the Right Restoration CompanyExperiencing a fire, flood, or other disaster is stressful, how to choose the right restoration company shouldn’t be. At Project X Restoration in Denver, we that know losing your home or business, even having it damaged in such an event, can be traumatic. Given the emotions experienced in such a terrible situation, it can be difficult to know who to turn to. Today, we’ll discuss how to take the next step towards putting your home and life back together.

First and foremost, it is very important to choose a qualified and experienced restoration contractor or company who can help alleviate the stress of such a difficult time, not add to it. A restoration company should listen closely to you, keep an open line of communication, and guide you through the entire restoration process.

The following questions will help you sort out what a restoration contractor or company must be able to do for you.

How much experience do they have working with insurance companies?

A restoration company that has successfully completed work for a number of clients, should be very familiar with various carriers. They should have a thorough understanding of the policies and required operating procedures that will ensure each restoration claim is paid.

Should you choose someone you know?

Maybe you have a family member or friend who is a general contractor or who works in the construction business and think it might be a good idea to consider them for your remodeling and construction. This could actually backfire on you. Unless they are genuinely experienced in restorations following a disaster, it is probably not a good idea. Additionally, the restoration process is incredibly stressful and this could put a strain on or even ruin your relationship. It may even cost you more money in the long run if they don’t truly know what they are doing.

Should you consider the contractor or company who built your home or business originally?

Your home or business was probably originally built by a general contractor or construction company. While they are fine choices in most building situations, in a restoration, they are often are unfamiliar with an insurance restoration process. The type of work required, such as mold remediation, water damage restoration, fire and smoke damage, and other specialized work is often unusual for them to manage. Companies that work specifically on restoration projects, such as Project X Restoration, are trained and experienced in the work required.

Couldn’t a cleaning company do the work?

When there has been a fire or flooding, some people wonder if the clean-up could simply be handled by a cleaning service, after all the smoke has cleared and the water has receded. Unfortunately, such damage goes well beyond the superficial cleaning. Microscopic toxins and particulates found in the walls and substructures, as well as other places, can cause hazardous mold and related health conditions if not properly treated.

Knowing how to choose the right restoration company can be difficult, but the above tips will help you navigate the process and avoid some costly mistakes. If you are in need of a restoration company, call us here at Project X Restoration. We can help you through whatever restoration work you need, making the process as stress free as possible. We know insurance companies inside and out and have built our business on delivering quality restorations.

Protect Your Home from Common Causes of Fires

Protect Your Home from Common Causes of FiresAt Project X Restoration in Denver, we know it’s important that you understand how to protect your home from common causes of fires. One disaster that is often the most devastating on families and homeowners is a fire. Aside from the damage to your property and belongings, the worst part is that a large majority of such fires are completely preventable. So, we have put together the following list to help prevent it from happening to you.

The most common house fires start in the kitchen and are often caused by leaving something cooking on the stovetop or from careless use of flammable oils and grease.

To prevent this from happening, never leave something cooking in your home when no one is home. There is always a chance that you will delayed in getting home and it may be too late by the time you arrive. Leaving something simmering on the stove while you nap or perform other tasks is also a bad idea. People often think that slow cookers can be left unattended without issue and this can be a surprising cause of fire. Be sure to check your slow cooker, and even your oven, at regular intervals of 15-30 minutes.

In case of a grease fire, the first rule is not to panic. Place a lid over the flame and turn off the heat. Avoid using salt, flour, or baking soda to extinguish the flames. These substances can cause the fire to flare and burn people or it can cause grease to splatter, potentially spreading the fire. A good way to avoid letting it get so hot that it catches fire is to never leave oil unattended.

Smoking

Careless use of cigars, cigarettes, and pipes lead to some of the deadliest fires in homes. Most of these types of fires are caused by someone falling asleep while smoking. The cigar, cigarette, or pipe falls and catches nearby items, like the carpet or furniture, on fire. To avoid this, be sure to extinguish smoking materials completely. Running water into any ashtray before dumping the remnants in the garbage is the best method for ensuring the contents are still smoldering.

Also avoid smoking in bed, especially if you are really tired or are intoxicated. Be sure all smoking materials are completely extinguished. Try to smoke in areas with very few flammable materials or limit your smoking to outside areas.

Dryers

Every year, there are more that 14,000 fires that stem from clothing dryers. Lack of maintenance and proper cleaning is the number one reason a dryer catches fire. Leaving laundry and storing combustibles near the dryer also contribute to a high number of fires, especially around gas dryers which have open flames. To avoid this type of fire, clean your lint trap or filter after every use of the dryer. Clean the dryer exhaust hose annually. If the lint build-up in the hose is substantial or if it was difficult to remove, it is time to replace the hose with a new one. All combustible materials should be kept at a safe distance (3-4 feet) from any heat generating equipment such as dryers, water heaters, furnaces, and portable heaters.

Candles

There are more than 12,000 household fires associated with the use of candles every year. Half of these fires originate from candles in bedrooms. Burning candles are prone to tipping over and setting nearby items on fire. To prevent this, always use a sturdy candle holder that is difficult to knock over. Never leave a candle burning unattended. Be sure the areas around candles are free from any flammable objects and always blow out candles before going to sleep or leaving the room or your home. Be aware that even candles in glass containers can cause fires. The containers can shatter due to overheating which spreads the hot wax and flames.

Electrical Appliances and Wiring

Most people think that faulty wiring inside a home’s walls causes electrical fires. While this is a common reason, more electrical fires are caused by the wiring attached to electrical appliances.

Too many appliances run off of a single outlet can cause wires to overheat and catch fire. To prevent this, only use one extension cord for each outlet. Your extension cords should all have a UL label attached to them assuring they meet certain standards. Be sure to use the correct size extension cord for the device you are using. Cords should not be run under carpets or rugs because traffic can wear away the protective coating and cause them to spark. Never use a malfunctioning appliance and beware of using older appliances.

If you experience any odd smells, odd noises, or sparks, discontinue use immediately and replace the device with a new one. Pay careful attention to any odd flickers or thrown circuit breakers. They can be cause for major concern and it may be wise to have an electrician inspect it for potential problems

Flammable Liquids

Often people do not pay close attention to how they store flammable liquids. Flammable liquids should never be stored in the home. They should be kept in a separate space with good ventilation and moderate temperatures. Always use such liquids for their intended use only. Be aware of any warnings that may be provided.

For example, most people are unaware that the fumes of gasoline are more flammable than the actual liquid. This is an important detail if you are working with gasoline, like cleaning a spill after filling your lawn mower. Any rags that have been saturated with gas should be placed in a metal container. The lid should be tight since the rags can ignite themselves and catch on fire.

Finally, be sure that you have working smoke detectors and that you have fire extinguishers in rooms that are prone to fire such as the kitchen, laundry room, and garage. We hope that these tips inform you on how to protect your home from common causes of fires. We at Project X Restoration want you and your home to be safe, but if you find yourself in a situation, we can be there to assist you with cleanup and restoration, often in less than an hour.