preventing electric blanket fires

Preventing Electric Blanket Fires

When the cold winter air beings to mount its offensive onslaught, one of the best defensive maneuvers you can possibly mount is to plug in that trusty, old electric blanket. They are practically unrivaled when it comes to warmth, comfort, and efficiency. Typically much more affordable than warming your entire room or home, the electric blanket has been keeping people warm and toasty for over a century. Preventing electric blanket fires is easy and can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle.

How Electric Blankets Work

preventing electric blanket firesOriginally created in the early 1900’s, the heated bed covering bear little resemblance to the electric blanket we all know today. These were large, bulky devices that were often dangerous to use, and were largely considered oddities by society. In fact, the earlier models were predominantly used in tuberculosis sanitariums in order to keep the patients warm.

The first automatic, electric blanket was invented back in 1936. Featuring a separate thermostat control, these blankets automatically turned off and on depending on the temperature in the room. The thermostat also served as a safety device and would turn itself off if hot spots in the blanket occurred. This basic model remained in prominence until 1984 when thermostat-free electric blankets were introduced to the market.

It is generally considered fact that most models released before 2001 aren’t nearly as safe as the more recently designed electric blankets, featuring elements that could potentially lead to fire hazards. It’s usually considered unsafe to have an electric blanket in use for longer than the lifespan projected within your owner’s manual, typically less than ten years.

Preventing Electric Blanket Fires

preventing electric blanket firesThe absolute best way to avoid potential fire hazards with electric blankets to perform regular safety checks and inspections of your device. You can’t place too large an emphasis on your family’s safety, and proper precautions can make all the difference. Be sure to note if your unit is showing dark or charred spots, as well as a plug or cord that is cracked, frayed or showing clear signs of damage. These are clear fire hazards and safety issues and must be immediately discarded.

Be sure to never use an electric blanket on a hospital bed, recliner or sofa, or adjustable bed as the heated wires may become pinches, causing overheating. Always make sure to spread your electric blanket out so it lays flat,  never bunch up, fold or roll it up. Never have the control cords running between the mattress and box spring, as the friction could damage the cord or electricity within the cord can become trapped, thus becoming a fire hazard.

Fire Damage Restoration with Tidal Wave Response

Al electric blanket should bring with it feelings of comfort, warmth, and security. With the proper care, precaution and regularly performed safety checks, it will be. Now that you know how to avoid these potential safety issues and fire hazards, the only thing you’ll need to remember is who to call if you ever do encounter a fire caused by your electric blanket. Tidal Wave Response is your guaranteed go-to and security blanket in case of emergency, covering all of the bases from Fire and Smoke damage, Water and Sewer issues, leaky pipes, foundation cracks, as well as cleanup and restoration. Our 24-hour emergency service line (770-693-4568) is fully staffed and ready to support you in your time of need. Why call Tidal Wave Response before you call your insurance company? Because we work with your insurance company to get your loss covered. Tidal Wave Response; THE most trusted resource in the Atlanta area in case of emergency!

electric blankets a fire hazard

Why are Electric Blankets a Fire Hazard?

Nothing says warm and cozy quite like an electric blanket on a cold, frigid night. Some use them as an extra layer of heat during the winter months. Others have looked to electric blankets as a highly efficient heat source in lieu of turning the thermostat up or flipping the switch on that electric space heater stashed nearby. Electric blankets have been a tried and trusted way to keep warm for decades, but many might not be aware of the safety issues that can lead to the potential fire hazards these blankets can bring with them.

Why are Electric Blankets a Fire Hazard?

electric blankets a fire hazardMost new models on the market come with a shut-off mechanism specifically designed to prevent overheating or catching fire. The majority of the older electric blankets made before 2001 do not have said mechanism and can run the risk of these safety issues. Tellingly, the overwhelming majority of fires are caused by electric blankets or pads that are more than ten years old. Most of these blankets would be considered potential fire hazards.

Experts have estimated that electric blankets are the cause of an average of 500 house fires every year. In many instances, these fires occur without abuse or misuse of the blanket, while the consumer is using it according to the instructions. These fires occur without warning, often after many years of use without a single issue.

In most cases, there are two major causes of fire when using an electric blanket. Igniting of combustible materials caused by the heating element overheating, or the electric arcing of a broken electrical conductor. There are some makes and models that could lead to a third, rare cause of a fire, where an electric component other than the heating element overheats, to the point of igniting combustible materials.

Performing safety checks on a regular basis is a good practice that to help prevent accidental fires. If your electric blanket shows any of the following, it should be considered a fire hazard and must be immediately discarded:

  • Visible dark or charred spots


  • Includes a plug or cord or plug that is frayed, cracked or showing signs of damage.


  • Includes a manufacturing or broken control unit.


  • Does not display the endorsement of the Underwriters Laboratory.


  • Has exceeded the projected lifespan noted in the owner’s manual, usually no more than then years.


electric blankets a fire hazardIt’s recommended to avoid using an electric blanket on an adjustable bed, sofa, recliner or sofa, as the heated wires could become pinched or overheat. Always ensure your blanket is spread out so that it lays flat. They should never be rolled up, folded or bunched up in any way. Never run the control cords between the box spring and mattress. Friction could eventually damage the cord, or electricity running through the cord could become trapped, thus becoming a fire hazard.

With the proper care and consideration of safety precautions, a modern electric blanket can and should be a great source of comfort for your home that will last for years.Most of the accidental fires caused can potentially be avoided when using the guideline listed above. If your electric blanket does catch fire, or you are a victim of a fire in your home or business, please remember that Tidal Wave Response is only a phone call away.

Fire Damage Restoration with Tidal Wave Response

Tidal Wave Response is the most trusted resource in the Atlanta area, treating fire and smoke damage, water and sewage, as well as cleanup and restoration projects. Our 24-hour emergency service line (770-693-4568) is your direct lifeline when faced with any of those issues, and should be the first number you call when you reach for your phone. Call us before you call your insurance company. Your safety is in good hands with Tidal Wave Response in case of emergency!

How to Choose a Space Heater

Space heater sales begin to pick once the temperatures outside begin to drop. If you’re searching for a way to reduce that energy bill while eating a specific area of your home, there is no better choice than a space heater. Knowing how to choose a space heater will save you time and energy. Here are a few things to consider when on the lookout for the ideal choice for your home and needs.

How to Choose a Space Heater

Choosing the right space heater one will be determined by your individual circumstances. Surveying the landscape shows us that there are several options on the market. Smaller units are a great option if you’re only looking to warm one or two instead of a roomful of people. Many of these units will have those near it feeling warm and toasty in less than twenty minutes.  Larger space heaters are a better option for heating an entire room, and can usually have the room warm in about 15 minutes.

  • how to choose a space heaterCeramic space heaters are radiant heaters that cost significantly less than oil or gas systems. Many of these units feature fans to circulate the heat into and throughout the room.
  • Oil-filled space heaters are typically lightweight, and feature wheels for easy transportation from room to room. These are filled with oil that’s heated by electricity which is far more efficient than water when supplying radiant heat to specific areas.
  • Infrared space heaters use glowing quartz or another type of metallic element in addition to reflectors to areas close to the heater instead of the entire room. Some of these units have the capacity to heat a larger room depending on it’s BTU.
  • Oscillating heaters use reflected radiant heat instead of a fan to warm those in front of them. The oscillation provides heat to a broader area without blowing dust around.
  • Baseboard heaters are typically permanently installed units but portable models are now available and have become a popular choice. Heating is provided by electricity as well as convection currents that circulate warm air into and throughout the room. These are typically used in spaces that do not require heating at all times.

how to choose a space heaterSafety is another thing that should be taken into consideration when looking for the right space heater for you. Obviously, space heaters are designed to be hot. That said, you should never be burned while operating one, nor should a fire hazard ever be in question. Look for units with sensors that turn the heater off to prevent overheating. Never use an extension cord with electric heaters and make sure to inspect cords for damage on a regular basis. Parents in particular would be wise to consider how hot these units can get and whether materials are protected from curious children.

A few, final details to take into consideration before making your purchase should include the following:

  • How much noise am I comfortable with?

Some find the ambient noise of a space heater to be a calming, soothing presence. Others can’t stand it. Find one that works within your comfort zone.

  • Importance of visual appearance.

If you’re looking to heat a public space in your home and you do a lot of entertaining, it might be in your best interest to spend a but of extra money on a model featuring sleek design. If you know you are the only person who’ll see it and a have a handy stash spot for when guests are en route, it might be a good idea to save that extra cash.

  • Budget

If this is a temporary solution and you’re unsure how long you’ll even need this space heater, look for budget options that are still highly rated. If you know this space heater will be used to keep you warm for years to come, you would be best to take that into consideration and invest in a high-quality model.

Taking all of this into consideration might have you feeling overwhelmed, but it’s good to remember that selecting the right space heater doesn’t need to leave you feeling overwhelmed. It’s all about customizing the selection to your specific needs.

Fire Damage Restoration with Tidal Wave Response

If anything should ever go awry with your space heater selection, never forget to call Tidal Wave Response, the most trusted water and fire restoration company in the Atlanta area. For emergencies and damages including, but not limited to Fire and Smoke damage, Water and Sewage, Cleanup and Restoration, there is no better resource than Tidal Wave Response. We’ll be there to save the day!

How to Find Water Damage and Mold in a New Home

We’ve talked to too many people who bought a house and moved in only to find that their home was infested with mold. Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of people. Without first knowing how to find water damage, it is hard to look for signs of potential mold in your home. However, millions of homes in America are filled with mold, and it is important to recognize the clues as you shop for a new house.

How to Find Water Damage

If you want to know how to find mold problems in a house, you’ll need to know how to find water damage. Here are a few tips:

1. Scan the walls

The number one sign of old mold damage in a home is water stains on the wall. Because mold thrives in damp, dark conditions, water-damaged walls are a great place to start looking for it.

If you see a wall in a house that has a brownish stain on it, there is a good chance that mold is growing behind it. The brown stain is most likely caused by a leaking pipe or a crack in the roof. Unless the space behind the wall has already been treated, you can be sure that it is a hotspot for mold growth.

2. Look at the floors

Similar to walls, floors tend to stain when water damaged. If the floors are uncarpeted, look for signs of old water damage. If the floors don’t have any stains, keep your eye out for warping the wood planks or tile.

If you can feel bumps on the floor as you walk over it, there is a chance that this is caused by mold growing underneath the tiles or floorboards.

3. Check out the basement (and attic)

Obviously, the most common places for mold to grow is in the dampest areas of the house. The basement and attic, due to their proximity to moisture, are common culprits for mold.

Basements are often the place where water from leaking pipes collects. This often results in mold growing in corners, along the walls and behind storage items. Attics, as they often contain old wooden planks, should also be checked. Scan the attic ceiling for cracks and spaces between the wood to see if any mold has grown there.

4. Ask to see the pipes

Knowing how to find water damage requires also knowing where to look for pipes. They are most commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens as well as near laundry machines and hot water heaters. If any of the pipes are leaking or have recently leaked, there is a chance that you’ll find mold nearby.

If you can’t find the pipes, ask the owner or realtor to show you. This will give you the opportunity to look for any signs of old water damage on the floors or walls nearby.

5. Walk around the house

If you ask a professional how to find water damage, they’ll probably tell you to start with the gutters. A leaky gutter essentially allows water to flow directly onto the structure of the house. Take a look at the gutter and make sure that it works properly. If it doesn’t, search for signs of old mold damage.

Additionally, take a stroll around the house’s perimeter. If there is mold growing on the outside of the building or along the ground near the edge of the house, there is a good chance that you’ll find it inside as well. If you find that shingles are missing or there is damage to the roof, you may want to inspect the house’s interior further.

How to Remove Smoke Damage

Smoke damage removal is a burdensome yet essential part of the fire damage restoration process. When left untreated, smoke damage and soot can pose an enormous threat to you and your family. Unfortunately, a fire can leave soot all over the walls, floors, furniture, clothing and other items in your home. However, it is highly important to put time and effort into removing all traces of smoke damage from your house before you return to life as usual. Knowing how to remove smoke damage will help you to expedite the process.

How to Remove Smoke Damage

The most important step in smoke damage removal is knowing where to look for it. While smoke damage on the walls is apparent, many people overlook the fact that the fire has left residue on their clothing and other belongings as well. Here are a few tips on removing smoke damage thoroughly and efficiently.

1. Start with the Walls

In order to start removing smoke damage from your walls, you’ll want to make sure that air is circulating through the room. Smoke damage is extremely harmful to your lungs. Additionally, you’ll need to use bleach and other toxic cleaning solutions to remove the soot from your walls, so it is important that you ventilate the room.

The first thing you can do is to wipe down the loose soot with a towel and water. After removing the easy stuff, you can mix up a bleach solution and start scrubbing. You’ll find, as you scrub, that your sponge gets dirty very easily, so make sure to rinse it out as necessary to avoid making the mess worse.

If bleach isn’t doing the trick, you may want to purchase some trisodium phosphate. TSP is an extra-strong cleaning chemical used by professional fire restoration services and can help you expedite the process. Remember to wear gloves and protective eyewear through the entire smoke damage removal process.

2. Wash All of Your Fabrics 

Removing smoke damage from clothes, furniture and carpets is going to take the longest amount of time. It is important that you wash every piece of fabric in your home as soot can linger on any textile. With larger pieces of fabric such as furniture upholstery, you can use a Shop-Vac to remove large amounts of soot. Vacuum lightly so as to not push the soot further into the grain of the fabric.

When it comes to clothing, you may have your work cut out for you. The grease produced by smoke damage is extremely difficult to clean out. Start by bringing your clothing outdoors and shaking them out. After that, you can use a strong detergent to wash the clothes. Do small loads of laundry to give each piece of clothing room to breathe. In many cases, you may have to throw clothing out. If an article of clothing has grease stains that won’t go away or continue to smell like smoke after washing, it is strongly recommended that you get rid of them.

3. Call a Professional Fire Damage Restoration Company

Fire restoration services experts know how to remove smoke damage. If you find that you are unable to remove the smell of smoke from your home, give Tidal Wave Response a call. We can get your home back to a livable state and advise you on the necessary steps to take.

Additionally, certain laundry services are trained in how to remove smoke damage from clothing and other fabrics. Living with smoke-damaged textiles is extremely dangerous, so make sure to call a trained professional if you need help.

Can Fire Damage Concrete?

We are often asked by customers, “Can fire damage concrete?” Unfortunately, many people are unaware that, not only is concrete susceptible to fires, its reaction to fire can be extremely detrimental to the entire structure.

Although concrete is one of the more flame-resistant materials, it can, in fact, become damaged during a fire. While the soot and smoke damage left on the concrete may appear to be simply an eyesore, it can actually be a sign that the structure of the building is in trouble.

Can Fire Damage Concrete?

When asking, “Can fire damage concrete?”, most homeowners want to know if damaged concrete is bigger than just an aesthetic problem. They want to know if, after the soot is scrubbed off and the stains are removed, does the concrete need to be repaired further?

The answer is yes. Fire-damaged concrete can be extremely dangerous.

Essentially, the effects of fire on concrete can weaken the integrity of a concrete structure. As concrete heats up past a certain point, the particles which make up a block of concrete begin to loosen. Because the sturdiness of a piece of concrete depends on the block to have tightly-packed particles, the structure of the block becomes weaker as it starts to loosen up.

While concrete structures are reinforced with rebar, there are still corners of each component that are left susceptible to overheating. Therefore, the corners of a fire damaged concrete slab are the part that start to crumble first. 

Can I Repair Fire-Damaged Concrete?

While you may want to contact a professional if you are trying to repair fire-damaged concrete, there are some steps you can take in the meantime. Start by using warm water and steel wool to remove the soot from the surface of the concrete. If you have access to a power-washer or strong hose, that will work as well.  

You can diagnose the damage by using a rebound hammer to measure the cracks in the concrete’s structure. Essentially a rebound hammer is designed to give you an idea of how much damage has occurred within any given piece of concrete. It will tell you if your concrete structure is in danger of collapsing and, therefore, if you should be worried or not.

If the damage is small enough, you can purchase some mortar to fill the cracks with. Mortar can be purchased at most hardware stores and will fill the empty spaces left by the slab’s expose to fire. To apply the mortar, you’ll mix the powder with water as outlined on the product packaging and apply it to the concrete with a trowel or plaster knife. It helps, in many cases, to saturate your concrete slab before applying the mortar to ensure that your repair bonds as best as possible.

Additionally, with smaller amounts of damage, a strengthening adhesive to repair cracks in the concrete. A good adhesive solution will basically “weld” the material back together by filling the empty space left during the concrete’s exposure to extreme temperatures. The adhesive will come with instructions on how to use it properly.

Important note: It is important to remember that DIY repair solutions should only be used when the concrete damage is minimal. If you fail to repair the crack well enough, you can risk making the situation worse. When in doubt, call a professional to have them assess the damage.

Next time somebody asks you, “Can fire damage concrete?”, you can tell them, “Yes! It does!” You may be able to help them repair the slab on their own or call a trained expert to prevent the concrete from deteriorating further.

Top DIY Fire Damage Cleanup Tips

Restoring your home after a fire isn’t easy. On top of the large amount of stress you’re burdened with, fire damage cleanup requires a good amount of hard work. In order to get your house back to pre-fire state (and prevent more damage from occurring in the future), you need to work methodically through the steps of fire restoration.

While you may want to hire a professional fire restoration service like Tidal Wave Response to handle the big tasks, there are a number of things you can do on your own. Below, we’ve outlined a number of fire damage cleanup tips.

Top Fire Damage Cleanup Tips

 1. Scrub your walls

 Even the smallest kitchen fire can potentially leave your walls with soot stains and smoke damage. Your drywall, wallpaper and even tiles can accumulate ash and should be cleaned as soon as possible. Luckily, soot is relatively easy to remove with some bleach and elbow grease.

Start by wiping down the surface with a wet rag. You may want to vacuum it if possible. After that, you can use a mixture of bleach and water to scrub out the stains. Eventually, you’ll need to paint over the damaged wall, but be sure to clean it thoroughly before doing so.

2. Treat your floors

Most likely, a house fire will do some heavy damage to your floors. The damage is caused not only by the fire itself, but also by the water used to put the fire out. Whether your floors are exposed wood or carpeted, you’ll need to dry them up to prevent mold.

In order to restore your flooring, pull up your carpets and throw them away. At this point, they are most likely unsalvageable. Use towels and a wet-vac to remove any excess water from the floor. Open as many windows as possible to allow air to circulate through your home. You may also want to place fans or a dehumidifier in the room to help eliminate moisture.

3. Mold-proof your home

Along with your floors and carpets, your furniture and walls are also susceptible to mold. If left untreated, the moisture that collects after you extinguish a fire will provide the perfect conditions for mold to grow. Mold removal is perhaps the most important aspect of fire damage cleanup.

In order to prevent mold from festering, you’ll need to make sure that every inch of your home is completely dried out. Because water removal is so difficult, you may want to call a professional like Tidal Wave Response. Our experts are trained in the fire damage restoration process and will be able to dry out your home and prevent mold from growing in the weeks after the fire. In the meantime, however, you should start by throwing out any furniture that got overly wet during the fire.

4. Don’t forget the small items

Scrubbing clothing, dishes and other small items is one of the most vital steps to the fire damage cleanup process. The soot left around your home after a fire is dangerous for your lungs and other parts of your body. In order to make sure the soot is removed entirely, we recommend that you have your clothing cleaned professionally. A consumer-grade washing machine is usually not strong enough to remove the grease entirely from your clothing.

In addition, it is important that you clean the soot off of your dishes, vases and other glass surfaces. You should start by soaking your dishes in a water/bleach mixture for a half-hour before you attempt to clean them. This will loosen the soot up and increase the chance that you’ll be able to salvage them. If you find that you are unable to remove the soot from any given item, it is highly recommended that you throw it away.

how to clean a fireplace

How to Clean a Fireplace

As the winter season approaches, it is important to understand how to clean a fireplace properly.  After all, if you own a fireplace, you’ll probably find yourself curled up and enjoying the warmth at some point during the next few months.  While fireplaces are one of the most enjoyable features of a home, they can be extremely dangerous when left unclean.

How to Clean a Fireplace

Understanding how to clean a fireplace the right way will require different things depending on what kind of fireplace you have.  If you have a brick fireplace, for example, the cleaning process will be slightly different than if your fireplace is made of stone.  Additionally, some fireplaces have a glass cover door, which requires some extra work to clean properly.

How to clean a brick fireplace

how to clean a fireplaceWhen cleaning any fireplace, you’ll need to buy a fireplace cleaning solution (usually made up of trisodium phosphate mixed with water and bleach).  This can be made at home, but commercial versions of the product tend to work better.  Because of the solution’s corrosive nature, you’ll want to make sure that you wear gloves and protective eyewear.

After you’ve got your solution mixed up, you’ll want to lay a tarp or sheet of plastic down around your fireplace to make sure that you don’t ruin your carpet.  Tape it at the edges if you feel like it may shift as you’re working.  Next, what you’ll need to do is to apply the solution and let it sit for between five and ten minutes.  This will start to dissolve the soot and make it easier to start scrubbing.

Once you’re scrubbing away at the brick, make sure that you get the brush into all of the crevices to clear soot from the mortar.  It is crucial, if you want a clean fireplace, to wipe the brick and mortar down with a damp cloth after scrubbing to remove any sooty residue from the surface.

How to clean a stone fireplace

how to clean a fireplaceUltimately, cleaning a stone fireplace is very similar to cleaning a brick one.  However, the crevices in stone are much more difficult to clean than those found in brick.  They go much deeper and therefore may require you to let the solution sit for longer while it breaks down the soot.  A stone fireplace may also require more scrubbing than one made of brick.

Cleaning a stone fireplace also requires one additional step:  the application of a stone sealer.  While the stones that your fireplace is built from were probably sealed before your home was built, the sealant tends to corrode over time.

However, reapplication of the sealant will ensure that your fireplace stones are strong and stain resistant, meaning that it minimizes the number of times you have to clean your fireplace again in the future.

How to clean fireplace glass

how to clean a fireplaceIf your fireplace is equipped with a glass cover, knowing how to clean a fireplace means understanding how to clean the glass as well.  Unfortunately, the glass needs to be cleaned far more often than the brick or stones the fireplace is made of.

If you use your fireplace frequently, you’ll want to clean your fireplace glass at least once every week. The longer you wait in between cleanings, the more soot will build up on the surface.  Luckily, however, cleaning the fireplace glass takes far less work than cleaning the walls of the fireplace itself.

Start by burning a fire to loosen up the soot on the door.  This should be easy if you enjoy using the fireplace anyway.  After the fire has died down, wait seven hours before you begin to clean it.  You can then wipe down the glass using a wet towel or a sheet of newspaper.  Adding vinegar will make the cleaning process a bit easier.

Ultimately, cleaning your fireplace glass is much like cleaning a window.  It may be a hassle to do sometimes, but it will keep your fireplace looking great and prevent soot from building up over time.

holiday fire safety

Holiday Fire Safety

Did you know that the holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of the year when it comes to fire-related accidents?  Because we get so wrapped up in the festivities, we often fail to take account of the numerous fire hazards we surround ourselves with.  Between Christmas lights, cooking equipment, and fireplaces, more damage is caused by fires during the holidays than any other time of year.  For that reason, it is crucial to understand holiday fire safety and to do what you can to protect your loved ones during this festive season.

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

Below, we’ve outlined a few points on holiday fire safety.  We hope that these might help you to enjoy the holidays in the safest possible fashion.

1. Minimize the flammability of your Christmas tree

holiday fire safetyWe all love to look at a Christmas tree.  However, it is easy to forget that pine is one of the driest and, therefore, most flammable trees in the world.  It takes only half-a-minute for a Christmas tree to catch fire and potentially set ablaze your home.

For that reason, it is important that you water your tree every day.  Keeping your tree watered will ensure that is full of moisture and thus less likely to catch fire.  Additionally, you want to make sure that your tree is a good distance away from fireplaces as this poses an obvious risk of fire.

2. Update your lights

holiday fire safetyPeople tend to keep their Christmas lights around for decades, repairing individual bulbs as necessary.  However, there are more components to Christmas lights than just the bulbs that need to be cared for.

The cord and socket of your Christmas decorations should be checked before you install them.  Because many folks use nails, screws and staples to install their lights on the walls or roof, it is common for Christmas light cords to have holes in them.

Of course, exposed wires can be devastatingly dangerous, particularly when they come in contact with dried out wood.  If your light string has a hole in it, we strongly recommend that you consider throwing it away.

3. Be careful when you’re cooking

The biggest cause of fires during the holiday season is cooking.  Distracted and overwhelmed, people easily forget when they have food cooking on the stove.  In order to practice good holiday fire safety, make sure that someone is always in the kitchen with food while it’s cooking.  Additionally, keep a fire extinguisher nearby and replace the batteries in your smoke alarms before the holiday season starts.

4. Maintain your fireplace

holiday fire safetyEveryone enjoys sitting near a warm fireplace during the holidays.  Unfortunately, however, fireplaces are a hotbed of holiday accidents.  When improperly maintained, fireplaces pose a number of risks to homeowners and their guests.

In order to make sure that your fireplace is safe for the holidays, have it cleaned before you begin to use it.  A chimney sweep will be able to clean out soot, which can otherwise be dangerously flammable.

You’ll also want to make sure that nothing goes into the flame except firewood.  Newspaper and other items should not be burned inside of the home.

5. Use candles responsibly

Although quite beautiful, candles can be extremely dangerous during the holidays.  With children running around and their parents not paying close attention, it is common for candles to get knocked off of tables.

If you’re lighting candles during your holiday parties, make sure that they are placed in areas where children or animals don’t have access to them.  Place candle covers over their lids and be sure not to place anything flammable near them.

Tidal Wave Response

If you do experience a holiday fire, you should contact a fire damage restoration service such as Tidal Wave Response as soon as possible.  We’ll be able to return your home to its pre-fire state in a quick and effective manner.

water pipe bursts

What to Do If a Water Pipe Bursts in Your Home

There is almost nothing worse than when a water pipe bursts in your home.  If you’ve never lived through it, you probably know somebody that it’s happened to.  They’ll tell you that it can be scary, somewhat costly and especially cold.  Brrrrr!

After all, we depend on our water pipes to heat our homes through the coldest months of the year.  A burst water pipe can really put a damper on our otherwise warm and cozy lives.

How Do Water Pipes Burst?

water pipe burstsEssentially, a water pipe bursts because the water inside of it freezes.  Many people don’t know this, but one of water’s characteristics is that it expands as it freezes and solidifies.  When ice expands beyond the capacity of the pipe that contains it, the pipe will eventually crack.

Of course, not all pipes break during the winter time.  Usually, a water pipe that bursts is one that is too exposed to cold temperatures.  For this reason, many homeowners prepare their pipes for winter by insulating them.  When we forget to do this or just aren’t aware that our pipes are in danger is when we end up dealing with a burst water pipe.

What You Should Do If a Water Pipe Bursts

 If you go to take a shower or turn on the sink and no water comes out, you’re most likely dealing with a burst water pipe.  You will want to deal with it immediately in order to ensure that your home stays warm and you have access to running water.

Here’s what you should do:

1. Turn the water and electricity off

 If you know where your home’s main water valve is, turn it off right away.  This will prevent water from running through the pipe and minimize the damage your burst water pipe will cause.

Additionally, you’ll want to turn off the electricity in the area of the house where the pipe isn’t working.  You want to make sure that no electric currents are active in places where they might be in danger of getting wet.

2. Contact a professional water damage restoration service

water pipe burstsYou’ll need to find an expert trained in water pipe bursts.  Most plumbers will have the knowledge and tools necessary to fix the problem.  After you turn the electricity off, call your plumber and let them know what happened.  Because many plumbers have fixed hours, you may have to search for one who provides round-the-clock services.

Tidal Wave Response is open 24/7 for those inconveniently timed late-night emergencies so you don’t have to wait. Every minute counts when it comes to water damage, as water starts causing damage to your home within minutes of exposure.

3. Start cleaning up

While you wait for the plumber to arrive, you’ll want to start dealing with the water leakage.  Most likely, you’ll see at least small flooding happening somewhere in your home.

If you have a wet Shop-Vac or sump pump, you can begin to pump the water outside of the home.  Otherwise, you’ll want to get as many towels and buckets as possible.  The quicker you can remove the water from your home, the more likely you’ll be able to minimize the damage caused by your burst water pipe.

4. Prevent pipes from bursting again

water pipe burstsAfter the damage has occurred, you’ll want to make sure that it never happens again.  Make sure that the coldest areas of your home are well-insulated and protected from low temperatures.  Once you experience a broken pipe, you know which areas in your home are at-risk.  This is good, in a sense, because you can take the precautions necessary to prevent pipe bursts from reoccurring.

Talk to your plumber about the various forms of insulation that are available.  If they can’t cold-proof the pipes themselves, they should be able to refer you to a contractor that can make sure your pipes stay warm in the future.