The causes of water damage in the home, and how ServiceMaster Restore can help.

Water damage to your home can be devastating.

And at this time of year, in particular, the cold weather makes your home susceptible to damage.

At ServiceMaster Restore, we regularly see and help people whose homes are affected by water-related issues.

There are ways to protect against water damage, and knowing the common causes will help immensely.

But should the worst happen, and your home succumbs to water damage, it can be hard to know what to do next.

That’s where ServiceMaster Restore comes in. Our technicians have the knowledge and equipment to deliver a comprehensive and expert home restoration.

This blog post delves into the common causes of water damage and how we help should the worst happen.


How is water damage caused?

Damage can occur for many reasons, including (but not limited to) a burst pipe, flooding, or even issues with your radiators.

Even a small amount of water can cause problems if left unchecked, so act quickly.

If water is left, it allows mould and bacteria to breed. This can pose a severe risk to your health and cost much more to repair than if immediate action was taken against water damage.

So how can you repair water damage?


Water damage repair and restoration

When your home floods, time is of the essence. Acting fast is crucial to minimise water damage and maximise successful restoration.

If you are worried about any escape of water and need water damage cleaning and restoration, you can rely on ServiceMaster Restore.

Our technicians are on hand 27/4 and have the specialist skills and equipment to resolve things the first time.

We work to insurance industry standards and should you choose to claim on your insurance, we’ll sort everything out with your insurance company, broker or loss adjuster while keeping you informed every step.

Our first port of call however is typically…


Water extraction

The first goal we have when arriving at your home is to determine the contamination level of the water or liquid.

At ServiceMaster Restore, our top-of-the-range equipment initially restores your home to as close to its prior condition by extracting fluids.

The pollution levels tend to vary depending on the water’s origin. But generally, the longer the water has been left to stand, the more contaminated it gets.

We aim to remove the liquid and dry out the space fast.

We pride ourselves on fast, efficient and professional water damage restoration services, enabled through processes like ServiceMaster Restore Plus.


Water damage clean-up

When water damage has affected your home, all affected material must be removed from the property and disposed of safely.

In some cases, you may be able to salvage your belongings, but this will usually depend on the water’s contamination level.

Unfortunately, in most cases, water-damaged materials must be disposed of to prevent the spreading of mould spores.

Sometimes though, the damage isn’t noticeable until the mould has begun to spread.

In these unfortunate circumstances, we will be on hand to restore mould damage to your home by removing mould safely and effectively.


Drying

Mould spores require moisture to develop and spread, so it’s essential to dry the space affected by water as a priority before restoration can take place.

When restoring your home, we protect your assets, leave your property as good as new whenever possible, and are ready to reinstate decor and furniture in severe cases.

Furthermore, when drying, our modern equipment can run in quiet mode so you don’t lose sleep while it dries.


Contact ServiceMaster Restore today

If you’re struggling with water in your home, don’t hesitate.

Act as soon as possible by contacting your local ServiceMaster Restore experts by finding your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business or calling 0845 762 6828 in an emergency.

The restoration experts share everything you need to know about smoke damage in your home. 

Are you recovering from a fire in your home?

Because the fire is out, it doesn’t mean the damage is done.

A surprising amount of damage from fire isn’t caused by the fire itself but by the smoke residue.

To make matters worse, soot and smoke damage can worsen even after the flames are out.

This blog examines how smoke damage impacts your home and how to deal with it.


Understanding smoke

Smoke can affect areas untouched by flames, spreading to unaffected rooms and causing further damage.

A lot of the harm from smoke is down to the fact that it brings high temperatures from the fire, but that is not the only reason the smoke is harmful – there is also the acidic content to consider.

According to a study from Michigan State University, between the heat and the corrosive properties, smoke inhalation is the primary cause of death for indoor fires and one of the biggest obstacles to getting your home and your life back in order following a fire.

Soot

Furthermore, where there is smoke, there’s usually soot.

Soot is another by-product of fires.

It is a powder-like or greasy substance comprised primarily of carbon.

Soot presents many health hazards, and prolonged exposure carries a risk of cancer, including skin cancer and cancer of the oesophagus, lungs, and bladder.

It’s one of the reasons that diesel exhaust is dangerous, and it’s responsible for over a quarter of hazardous air pollution on Earth.

Long story short, you don’t want soot in your home.

Smoke and soot can affect your home’s structure and belongings alike.

It’s different from the harm that fire causes, and fixing it can be one of the most lasting and strenuous aspects of fire damage clean-up.


How does smoke affect your home?

Acids

Smoke often contains several different acids.

The makeup may vary depending on the fire that caused it, but you can usually count on acids related to carbon and sulphur.

However, scientists are still making discoveries about what smoke is made of.

As recently as 2011, researchers discovered a kind of acid in smoke that they hadn’t previously known about. And even smoke that isn’t acidic can still cause harm.

Corrosion and metal damage

One glaring effect that smoke can have is on the metal in your home.

Depending on the kind of smoke and type of metal, effects can range from tarnishing to outright corrosion.

Smoke can affect many parts of your home, from small details like doorknobs and kitchen fittings to the structural elements and pipes.

Corroded pipes, in particular, are dangerous due to being at risk of leaking and causing further damage from water.

Porous material damage

Smoke also causes permanent discolouration of porous materials often used in home construction.

This includes plastics and marble that may be used in countertops or tiles – all of which can start to occur in just minutes.

Likewise, hardwood floors are porous, giving smoke plenty of hiding spots.

In some cases, good mopping and deodorising can work. But many times, the floor needs to be refinished or even replaced.

Even if your floors and walls aren’t porous, they may still be at risk.

Smoke odour and permanent stains can set in on walls and synthetic carpets.

Acidic residues left behind may eat away at wall coverings like paint or wallpaper.

DIY: Reducing damage

You can do a little to reduce the harm on your own.

To start, rub any affected metal surfaces with olive oil or vegetable oil and leave it there.

This isn’t a long-term solution, but it will slow or prevent pitting and discolouration until professionals can arrive for a professional cleaning.


Items commonly damaged by smoke:

Carpets and rugs

Carpets and rugs made of synthetics may be permanently stained in a matter of days.

Cleaning is often possible if the carpets aren’t damaged by heat, water, or any chemical agents used to fight the fire.

But the cleaning must be done before the damage becomes permanent.

Curtains and upholstery

Curtains and upholstery can similarly become yellow.

Cleaning fabrics often requires special tools like alkaline cleaners since trying to vacuum these things can spread soot instead of cleaning them.

It’s best to call in experts who know how to clean smoke damage

Furniture

Smoke can harm your furniture, whether made of porous wood or corrodible metal.

Like upholstery, the other parts of your furniture are at risk if you use the wrong cleaning agent.

It’s easy to damage varnishes, paints, and wood stains when trying to clean smoke damage, just as it’s easy to rust metal.

Clothing

Soot can be stuck in clothing, like other fabrics around the home.

Like those other fabrics, they may require special cleaning techniques and solutions, and time is still of the essence before staining becomes permanent.

Tossing clothing into the washing machine may cause a smoke odour to set, and it may not get the sooty oil out of your clothing.

Chemicals left behind in soot can cause skin irritation, making it all the more important to get them cleaned thoroughly, promptly, and professionally.

Some dry cleaners will handle smoke-damaged clothes, but not all do.

Appliances

The corrosive effects of smoke extend to the inside and outside of your appliances.

Smoke odour can permeate the interior of your fridge and other appliances, and the caustic effects of smoke residue can damage the electrical systems.

Plastic

Plastic is highly porous, so it collects more soot than anything else in your home.

Plastics will start discolouring in minutes.

If possible, wipe them down with an alkaline cleaning solution.

Most things should wait for professionals, but if you can act on your plastic, do so quickly.

Porcelain

Porcelain, like bathroom fixtures, can discolour within hours if not cleaned.

Wipe residue away to prevent etching.

You may also want to wash it with soap.

Both measures can buy you some time before the professionals come in.


How to clean smoke damage

Depending on the material, you have anywhere from minutes to days to begin smoke damage restoration.

Generally, the sooner you can deal with it, the better.

But there is a list of priorities.

Some materials are more resistant to soot than others, and time is precious when cleaning up after a fire.

The best thing is to call in the experts, but in the meantime, here are some tips:

Within minutes

  • Wash as much porous material as you can.
  • Clean porous floorings like tile, marble, wood, plastic and PVC.

Damage to these materials becomes irreversible very quickly.

  • For plastics, use an alkaline cleaner.

Within hours

  • Wipe any metal down with cooking oil to buy yourself some time for a more thorough cleaning.

The oil will act as a barrier, helping prevent further damage and rust.

  • Wood furniture may begin to lose its finish, so clean it as much as possible.
  • For finished wood, an all-purpose cleaner can help you stave off damage until the pros arrive.
  • Porcelain fixtures start staining during this time, so wipe them down and clean them with soap if possible.

Within days

You’ll start seeing permanent discolouration of fabrics like clothing, upholstery, curtains, and carpeting.

You may also start seeing discolouration on your walls, as well.

It may be tempting to vacuum these things, but most household vacuum cleaners aren’t powerful enough.

Instead of cleaning soot, they’ll transfer it to the next thing you try to vacuum.

Don’t try to wash papered or painted walls on your own, clean carpet, or touch anything sooty with your bare skin.

Instead, wear rubber gloves to prevent the oil transfer from your skin, setting the soot.

Cleaning certain things without the correct equipment can worsen the problem, and exposing your skin to soot can be a health hazard, spreading soot to other parts of your home.

As soon as possible, call restoration professionals.

Clean-up and restoration experts like ServiceMaster Restore have the right equipment, machinery and protective clothing to save as much as possible as fast as possible.


How to restore smoke damage

The salvageability of an item will depend on what it is and how quickly it is cleaned.

Many plastics and metals will likely need to be replaced.

However, a trained professional can quickly evaluate what is salvageable and what is a waste of time to restore.

Bringing in a pro isn’t just about getting the proper equipment to save your belongings.

It’s about having someone there who knows how smoke affects things and how quickly.

It is about someone who can look at the tile floor and know if it can be saved or if that time is better spent trying to save your metal appliances.

It’s about having enough hands to do both, if possible.

The fact is that getting smoke damage restoration experts into your house as soon as possible is the best way to save as much of your home as possible.


Contact ServiceMaster Restore

Fortunately, there are experts from ServiceMaster Restore available to you 24/7 on our emergency hotline, 0845 762 6828.

As leading cleaning and disaster restoration experts for over 60 years, our technicians are here to help you in whatever crisis you may be facing.

When dealing with smoke damage, there is a lot to take in.

This information may be overwhelming, but it is what we do.

For smoke damage restoration and support during a crisis, find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business today.

How cold temperatures lead to water damage and what you can do about it.

With temperatures in the UK dropping, you may already feel the cold snap.

But what does this mean for the safety of your property?


How the cold leads to water damage

During a cold spell, water damage is one of the biggest dangers to your home and business.

The cause of this is likely to be a burst pipe.

This commonly occurs when water in your pipes freezes and expands, leading to pressure build-up and causing them to rupture.

Flooding can also be a concern during the snow. This usually happens when frozen water thaws and leaks from pipes, gutters, or appliances.

This can damage your property in multiple ways, including causing unpleasant smells or odours, wearing away at walls and mortar, causing wood rot, and even fostering mould.


How to spot water damage

When expecting cold temperatures, look out for signs of water damage.

Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Separations on the doors and window frames
  • Missing or cracked roof tiles
  • Intact guttering
  • Rings on the ceiling or walls
  • Signs of a leak
  • Soft or sagging spots within the flooring:
  • Cracked and warped flooring

How to prevent water damage in cold temperatures

When expecting cold temperatures and the water damage they may bring – there are some ways to optimise the safety of your property.

How to guard against damage:

  • Turn off outside water sources to prevent frozen or burst pipes.
  • Clear your gutters of debris so that any melting snow can flow away easily.
  • Inspect your insulation. Inadequate insulation could cause warmth from the house could rise into the attic, causing a damn of ice on the roof.
  • Keep windows closed where possible.
  • Lay sandbags to prevent flooding from melting snow.

How does ServiceMaster Restore help?

Should the worst happen and your property falls victim to water damage, your local ServiceMaster Restore technicians will be on hand to help with the restoration.

Our experts have the specialist skills and equipment to protect your assets and leave your property as good as new whenever possible.

And, if you choose to claim on your insurance, we work with your insurance company, broker, or loss adjuster on your behalf.

That way, you don’t have to lose sleep worrying about insurance claims when you already have enough on your plate, and we’ll keep you informed every step of the way.

Contact your local restoration experts by finding your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business or by calling 0845 762 6828 in an emergency.

Different types of flooding and how to combat them.

When you think of flooding, it probably seems straightforward: rain, rain, rain, with nowhere to go… flooding.

However, it isn’t quite so simple.

There are various types of floods, and the damage each can do to your home can be different.

Knowing which types of floods could affect your home is essential to better prepare for the disaster.

Different Types of Floods:

  • Coastal flood
  • River flood
  • Flash flood
  • Groundwater flood
  • Sewage flood

Coastal Flooding

A coastal flood is an accumulation of water on land caused by waves, tides, storm surge, or heavy rainfall.

Coastal areas are prone to flooding because they are near the ocean.

Due to climate change, the risk is expected to continue to grow.

According to the Office for National Statistics, over 5.3 million residents live in coastal towns in England and Wales, of which 3.5 million live in seaside towns and 1.9 million in other coastal towns.

Coastal flooding can have dire consequences, from drownings and injuries to contaminated water-caused sicknesses to mental health problems.

Some of these include mental health issues caused by stress during the flooding, injuries while attempting to escape from the water or falling debris, respiratory illness due to damp environments that can lead to mould damage, and coming into contact with contaminated flood water.

There are three levels of coastal flooding:

  • Minor: Low likelihood of property damage and not directly life-threatening
  • Moderate: Elevated likelihood of property damage and possibly life-threatening
  • Major: Significant likelihood of property damage and seriously life-threatening

River Flooding

A river flood occurs when water rises over the top of riverbanks.

Any size of river and stream has the potential to flood, with rivers having an increased potential to overflow once every two years.

Typically, river flooding is caused by extreme rainfall, long-lasting thunderstorms, combined rainfall and snowmelt, and ice jams.

These pulses of melting snow or rain cause water to rise above the riverbanks and flood surrounding areas.

Though river floods can usually be predicted, there is potential for unexpected property damage if a dam or dike breaks.

However, most of the causes of river floods often stem from storms that allow enough warning for those in surrounding areas to evacuate safely.


Flash Flooding

Flash flooding begins within 6 hours of heavy rainfall and is often caused by severe thunderstorms and other weather patterns.

Flash floods can also be the result of a dam or levee breaking.

Several factors contribute to the severity of a flash flood, including:

  • The intensity of the rainfall
  • Location of the rainfall
  • Landscape
  • Soil type and condition

Urban areas are more prone to flash floods than suburban or rural areas, and the damage is likely to be greater with less soil to soak up the water.

However, the lack of soil is not the only reason for this increased risk of flash floods.

Areas that have soil but haven’t seen rain in some time are in similar danger since the water cannot be absorbed by the soil fast enough, leading to water quickly running off to lower areas.

The greatest danger with flash flooding is that it can occur quickly and leave little time to prepare.

Those in areas of heavy rainfall are urged to know the difference between flood watches and warnings to identify if an evacuation is needed.

Most flood-related deaths are the result of flash foods.

They can also lead to significant structural damage to homes, including foundation damage, damage to appliances, and long-term harm resulting from mould.


Groundwater Flooding

Groundwater floods are usually the result of inundated drainage systems by significant rain that causes water to overflow into streets and nearby properties.

They are equally likely to occur in urban and rural areas.

Fortunately, groundwater flooding happens gradually when the water levels are shallow, so homeowners often have time to remove their possessions.

However, this groundwater flooding can be troublesome because it may persist for weeks or months until the soil can absorb the standing water.

As a result, they can lead to significant danger to homes, with an increased likelihood of structural damage to properties and more risk to long-term risks such as mould.


Sewage Flooding

Sewage flooding is caused when unexpected heavy rainfall overwhelms sewage systems or treatment plants, causing them to break down and release untreated sewage into water bodies.

Sewage floods are arguably the most unpleasant, with sewage leaking through pipes or drains or coming up through toilets, sinks, or showers.

These floods are the most hazardous because the water is contaminated with harmful bacteria and chemicals that can cause infections, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, and other diseases.

Fast response and a thorough and detailed clean-up by experts familiar with sewage cleanup services are vital in these situations.


Recover from Flooding Damage to Your Home

No matter the type of flood, the damage to your home can be severe.

Each home flooding situation is different and requires an expert to know the correct steps that need to be taken and how to best recover from the damage.

ServiceMaster Restore has qualified flood and water damage restoration experts who are highly skilled and can get your home back to normal as quickly as possible after a flood occurs.

See how your local experts can help you by finding your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business today.

How to deal with a burst pipe. 

With the colder seasons approaching, it is vital to be aware of the potential threat of a burst pipe – the risk of which dramatically increases in cold weather.

What causes a burst pipe?

The primary cause of a burst pipe is low temperatures.

This is because, during cold and freezing conditions, water in exposed pipes will freeze and then expand, which leads to a build-up of high pressure that ruptures the pipe and can cause flooding.

Flooding can also occur when frozen water thaws and leaks from pipes or appliances like radiators and boilers.

Potential Damages

The biggest threat of a burst pipe is damage from flooding, as the build-up of water can be substantial and cause considerable damage to your home.

This can include breakages to your personal belongings and staining your furniture or even lead to damp and mould growth, which can threaten your health and well-being.

Naturally,  this can be upsetting and cause emotional distress, particularly if your belongings and sentimental items are damaged or destroyed.

Prevention

Luckily, there are several things you can do to stop this from happening:

Insulate your pipes

Insulating your pipes will help prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting.

If you find a frozen pipe at ground level that is easily accessible, you could try to thaw it out.

However, be very careful with this.

If you are unsure, always contact a professional.

Turn off your water main

When leaving your home over winter or if you have another property left unattended, we recommend turning the water off at the main stopcock.

These are typically located downstairs, by your gas meter or under your kitchen sink.

Up to 9600 litres of water (the equivalent of 48 bathtubs) can build up in a single day, so turning off the water at the mains can significantly reduce the risk of a burst pipe.

Drain your taps

There will still be a lot of water in pipes and tanks, so just turning off the water won’t suffice.

Therefore, if leaving your property unoccupied for an extended period, draining down the heating system and shutting off your water supply can better prevent burst pipes.

If you are going to do this, we recommend getting advice from a heating engineer or plumber on how to do so safely.

Service your boiler

Getting your boiler serviced annually can avoid breakdowns during cold spells.

Therefore, your property doesn’t reach cold enough temperatures for pipes to freeze.

Shut off outside water sources

External water sources like garden taps can cause burst pipes as they are more exposed to the elements and cold temperatures.

Who to call in the event of a burst pipe

Don’t know what to do next? We do.

If a pipe does burst in your home, the best thing to do is to act quickly and turn off the water supply and any electrical items, including your water heating system, in case of flooding.

Should the worst happen, and the cold weather or a burst pipe cause flooding in your home, we will deal with the aftermath and restoration.

Call 0845 762 6828 for emergencies or find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business for expert restoration from flooding and trauma damage.

Storm Agnes is coming.

With the area of low-pressure officially dubbed Storm Agnes by the Met Office set to hit much of the UK this week, here’s everything you need to know and how to prepare to prevent potential damages.

What can we expect from Storm Agnes?

The Met Office warns that:

“Storm Agnes will move into western areas of the UK and Ireland on Wednesday, with the strongest winds most likely on Irish Sea coasts, though it will be a widely windy day across the UK.”

Rain

To be more precise, we can expect around 60mm of rain in some areas of Scotland and heavy rain across the UK.

As Agnes moves north towards the end of the week, rain will move south in heavy bursts on Thursday and Friday across England and Wales.

Wind

A yellow weather warning for wind has also been issued across the UK on Wednesday and Thursday, with only the southeast of England currently except.

Inland areas can expect a high likelihood of wind gusts around 50 to 60mph, while exposed areas like coastland may see gusts ranging from 65-80mph.

This may cause transport disruption, with some roads and bridges closing.

Preventing Potential Property Damage

The wind warning may pose a risk to buildings, as well as the possibility of power cuts for some.

Wind is the most common form of damage and disruption in the UK, with 184 recorded deaths from wind-related building failures between 1962 and 1995.

Here are our top tips for storm preparation:

  1. Secure Loose Objects

Secure all loose objects such as ladders, outdoor furniture, or anything that could be blown into windows and cause damage.

  1. Fasten Doors and Windows

Close and securely fasten all doors and windows, like those for a garage.

  1. Gas, Electric and Water Supply

Remind yourself how to turn off your gas, electric and water supplies. You may need to do this in a pinch, and it’s best to be prepared.

  1. Check all Gutters are Clear

Check all of your gutters and drain pipes are clear to avoid blockages.

  1. Unplug Electronics

Unplug all non-essential electrical appliances.

  1. Have an Evacuation Plan

Have an evacuation plan ready in case of an emergency.

What if Storm Agnes damages your property?

If your property is the victim of damage during Storm Agnes, ServiceMaster Restore will be there to aid in the aftermath and restoration.

To learn more about our services, find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business today or call 0845 762 6828 in an emergency.

What is leak detection and why do you need it?

At ServiceMaster Restore, we have over 60 years of expertise in working with both residential and commercial clients to provide expert damage restoration services.

Whether you’re a homeowner, landlord, loss assessor or adjustor, service provider or a commercial premise, we are here to help you deal with the fallout and recovery from incidents that have damaged your property, be it fire, flood, mould or a burst pipe.

We are proud to announce that as of the July 2023, we are now offering professional leak detection services to people and properties across the UK.

But what is leak detection?

Leak detection is the process of using non-invasive and market-leading technology to locate and address leaks in a property, therefore mitigating potential damage, stress, and repair costs.

When might you need leak detection services?

Leak detection is a major way of preventing unnecessary costs and damage to your property.

If you’ve noticed things like:

  • Unexpected increases in your water bill
  • Damp spots or discolouration on walls, ceilings and floors
  • The sound of running water when all faucets are off

You may have a leak that you can’t see.

If you suspect a leak in your property, contact us immediately for a professional, non-invasive inspection.

As experts in disaster restoration, we know that a leak can occur at any time, which is why we offer our services around the clock.

Our team is always prepared to respond immediately, ensuring a swift initiation of the leak detection and mitigation process.

For a 24/7 rapid response to leaks and property damage, think ServiceMaster Restore.

How leak detection helps you

Professional leak detection services are an investment in the future health of your property.

Ignoring a suspected leak can lead to devastating consequences, including structural damage and expensive repairs.

ServiceMaster Restore uses cutting-edge and market-leading equipment to quickly and effectively identify leaks.

Our technology is designed to cause minimal disruption to your property and allows us to locate leaks without unnecessary destruction.

In doing so, it can:

  • Prevent Expensive Repairs by detecting leaks early and mitigating further damage. Thus, reducing the overall cost of repairs.
  • Protect Your Property: Unresolved leaks can pose a serious threat to your property’s structural integrity. Our services aim to preserve your property’s condition, thereby protecting its value and appeal.

Suspect a leak in your property?

If you suspect your property may have a leak that you can’t see, don’t delay – contact the experts and get it checked.

Choose ServiceMaster Restore for all your leak detection needs, and experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing your property is in expert hands.

Our combination of professional knowledge, innovative technology, non-invasive methods, and a firm commitment to customer satisfaction makes us a trusted name in disaster restoration.

If you suspect a leak, whatever the time of day, contact us on 0845 762 6828 or find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business now.

How to have a safe and happy BBQ this summer with ServiceMaster Restore.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, you’ve probably considered firing up the barbecue if you haven’t already.

After all, nothing says summer like the smell of burgers, steaks, and hot dogs fresh off the grill.

Until something starts burning, that is.

While barbecue grills can cook up large amounts of delicious food, they are also a fire hazard.

But don’t worry! There are easy ways to prevent injury and keep your home safe.

Keep your property out of harm’s way the next time you smoke, sizzle or sauté outside by following a few simple BBQ safety tips from ServiceMaster Restore.

Practice Good Grilling Habits

Whatever kind of barbecue you use, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk of fire or injury.

Here are some grilling safety tips to follow:

  • Set your barbecue away from structures and overhangs, including your main building, shed, garage, trees and other potentially flammable objects.
  • Never use your grill inside, in a tent, or under an outdoor awning. Doing so can pose a fire hazard and cause carbon monoxide poisoning using a gas barbecue.
  • Light any gas or charcoal BBQs using long-length lighters or long matches to avoid getting burned. Keep all ignition sources out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave an actively burning BBQ unattended.
  • Let the grill fully cool before you cover or store it.
  • Clean your barbecue thoroughly and often to reduce flammable build-up inside.

Be Aware of Proper Charcoal Barbecue Safety

Many swear by the taste of food cooked on a classic charcoal barbecue.

This method may be popular, but it also poses unique fire risks.

Keep these safety tips in mind if you own or use a charcoal barbecue:

  • Only add enough charcoal to cover the bottom of the barbecue. Don’t pile too much inside since it could cause ashes and sparks to become airborne, possibly catching nearby objects or your home on fire.
  • Store extra charcoal in a secure place away from other potential fire hazards, preferably in an airtight metal container.
  • Only use starter fluid designed for charcoal. Apply it to cold coals only, and don’t add extra once the BBQ is lit. Otherwise, the flames could get too high, resulting in possible burns or an unconfined fire.
  • Empty your used ashes only when they have cooled. Never store or dispose of them in a bin or leave them on the decking. Even when cooled, ashes can still cause a fire. Dump them on garden soil in a metal receptacle for proper disposal.

Use your Gas BBQ Wisely

Gas barbecue grills are convenient, easy to use, and require less refuelling than charcoal grills.

But they are also susceptible to fire risks. Remember these safety tips if you own a gas BBQ:

  • Open the lid before lighting the barbecue. This allows oxygen to escape and reduces the risk of fire or explosion.
  • Check the gas line and tank fittings regularly for leaks. You can do this by brushing soapy water around these areas. If you see bubbles emerge, there could be a leak somewhere. Replace damaged and leaking parts and make any other repairs before using the barbecue.
  • If you have spare gas cylinders, never store them under a stairway. Place them upright and outside, away from furniture or structures, to minimise fire risks.
  • Turn off your barbecue using the controls first, then close off the gas line at the tank to ensure gas can escape safely.

In need of fire damage restoration?

If the worst should happen and you experience a fire during the warmer months, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore are always available to help.

We hope you never need to make that call. But if you do, we’ll be there to help with the recovery.

Find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore today or call 0845 762 6828 to see how we can help you in the aftermath.

How to remove hazardous waste from your premises.

As the private landlord of a residential tenanted building or the manager of a housing association, there may be occasions where you have to deal with hazardous waste that previous occupants have left on your property.

This is naturally not an ideal situation for you.

Particularly as you may not know what to do next.

Thankfully, at ServiceMaster Restore, we do.

As experts in damage restoration, we know how to safely dispose of dangerous materials and restore your premises to their original condition.

Chiefly, all hazardous waste should be handled cautiously and disposed of quickly, as they can be dangerous for your health.

So, if a tenant has moved out and left hazardous waste, how should you deal with it?

Types of hazardous waste

Hazardous waste covers a wide range of unpleasant substances.

The types of hazardous waste we’ve come across in vacant residential properties include:

  • Drug paraphernalia, such as needles and syringes (sharps)
  • Human and animal waste
  • Bodily fluids
  • Rotten food
  1. Carry out a risk assessment

Before beginning any clean-up, undertaking a risk assessment is necessary to determine the type of waste and how to dispose of it.

Removing hazardous waste will require the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and the proper biohazard cleaning and sharps removal equipment.

  1. Clear and clean the property

The first step must be to sanitise and clear the property of all waste.

Then the property will require a deep clean to prepare for the next occupant.

  1. Use a professional restoration and cleaning service

Given the health risk and specialist nature of waste clearance cleaning, we recommend using a professional restoration and void cleaning company like your local ServiceMaster Restore.

They will have the skills and the equipment to remedy the waste effectively and safely.

The sooner your property is restored, the sooner you can let it to new tenants.

At ServiceMaster Restore, we provide restoration and waste removal services to housing associations, private landlords, and environmental health departments.

Our teams are fully trained in all aspects of hazardous and biohazardous waste removal, including the safe collection and disposal of used needles and sharps.

We can also remove fridges, freezers and mattresses requiring unique disposal.

With the waste cleared, we carry out a deep clean and decontamination.

We can also provide fogging, where very fine droplets of disinfectant are sprayed throughout a room to disinfect it thoroughly, or Ozone treatment, which removes unwanted odour and kills mould, vermin and microorganisms.

Contact ServiceMaster Restore

If your property has suffered damage from hazardous waste, contact your local experts at ServiceMaster Restore to help with the clean-up.

With fast response times to callouts in emergencies and preventative solutions to mitigate the reoccurrence of issues, whatever the damage, we will be there for the aftermath.

In an emergency, call 0845 762 6828 or find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business to see how your local experts can help.

Sewage Backup? Here’s what to do.

Sewer lines transport waste water away from your home through underground plumbing that leads to local sewer mains.

If the line clogs or fails, it can create a raw sewage backup in your home.

This is a grave hazard to your home.

Not only is the smell unbearable, but it is also a biohazard that destroys any absorbent material it touches and is incredibly difficult to dry and remove.

How dangerous is sewage?

Sewage contains a mix of both water and waste products.

This consists “of both organic and inorganic matter, including human wastes, mineral salts, and garbage,” according to How Stuff Works.

Organic material decomposes quickly and emits odorous gases.

These can be health hazards, especially coming from human waste.

Organic material also contains disease-causing pathogens, so quick and effective sewage removal is critical after any backup.

There’s a sewage backup in your home. Now what?

If you discover a sewer backup in the home, you can immediately:

  • Check all the toilets, sinks and waste pipes for blockages.
  • If there is a blockage that you can clear, clear it.
  • If needed, call a plumber for assistance.
  • Avoid using the toilets or sinks until the blockage has been removed.

If it’s a main line clog, the water will back up and then come up through the bathtubs or any cellar.

PLEASE NOTE: If standing water is in your cellar due to the sewage backup, never enter while the power is on – this is dangerous.

Electricity and water can kill.

Assess the risks

Dealing with a sewage backup can be dangerous.

It’s vital to assess the risks before attempting any clean-up.

Sewage-contaminated water can contain a variety of bacteria and viruses.

While not transmitted through the air, contact with skin can result in rashes or infection if you have even the smallest open sores or cuts.

Accidentally touching your nose, eyes or mouth with hands or gloves contaminated by sewage can make you sick.

When faced with a sewage backup, it is safer to call the professionals.

How ServiceMaster Restore helps

ServiceMaster Restore offers complete sewage clean-up services.

Our specially trained teams safely and effectively extract any water and sewage.

They will also assess any damage and complete a comprehensive remediation plan.

This may include dehumidification and drying services, as needed.

Sewer backups in the basement are smelly, messy and best left to the professionals.

This type of home disaster is also dangerous.

Keep yourself and your family safe, and let ServiceMaster Restore tackle the sewage backup.

You may not know what to do in an emergency like this. But we do.

Whatever the damage, we will be there for the aftermath.

In an emergency, call 0845 762 6828 or find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business to see how your local experts can help.