Recent Fire Damage Posts

10 Tips to Avoid a Furnace Puff Back in Your Mercer County, PA Home

11/2/2023 (Permalink)

Heating season is upon us in central NJ, which has us firing up our furnace after many months of being idle. 

Generally turning on the heat is a non-event, but sometimes a malfunctioning or dirty heating unit inside your furnace creates a “puff back”.  A puff back is the puff of smoke or oily soot from a malfunctioning heating unit. This oily dust particles settles everywhere.  Puff backs can cause minor inconveniences or sever property damage to your property and heating system.

The soot residue from a puff back has different binders. It is bound by hot oils that burst out of the house registers, leaving oily soot everywhere.

Here are 10 Important Tips to Avoid this happening to your home or business.

  1. Regular Maintenance: The best way to prevent puff backs is through regular furnace maintenance. Schedule annual inspections and cleanings with a qualified HVAC technician.
  2. Check for Leaks: Inspect the fuel lines and connections for any signs of leakage. If you smell gas or oil contact a professional.
  3. Maintain Proper Airflow: Ensure that your furnace yas adequate ventilation. Clean or replace filters regularly, and make sure vents and flues are unobstructed.  Restricted airflow can lead to incomplete combustion and increase the risk of puff backs.
  4. Burner Inspection: Regularly inspect and clean the burner, ensuring it’s free from soot, debris and other contaminants. A clean burner is less likely to experience puff backs.
  5. Install an Oil Accumulator: An oil accumulator can help prevent puff backs by storing excess oil.  This prevents unburned oil from entering the combustion chamber during start-up.
  6. Upgrade to a Modern System: If you have an older furnace, consider upgrading to a more efficient, safer model. Newer furnaces often have better safety features and improved combustion processes.
  7. Maintain a Clean Chimney: If you have a chimney, ensure it’s clean and free from obstructions. A blocked chimney can lead to poor ventilation and increased risk of puff backs.
  8. Use High-Quality Fuel: Ensure you are using clean, high-quality fuel. Poor-quality, contaminated fuel can lead to puff backs.
  9. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Puff backs can release carbon monoxide (CO) into your home which is extremely dangerous.
  10. Professional Inspection: If you have experienced a puff back, it’s essential to have a professional inspect and clean your furnace thoroughly. They can identify and address and underlying issues that may have caused the puff back.

SERVPRO of Bordentown/Pemberton is ready to clean the oily soot or smoke residue "Like it never even happened." Our techs always wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including respirators, during this cleanup job.  We offer fast, reliable remediation and restoration services for commercial and residential property owners and tenants.  Call today for a free estimate at (609) 894-8555.

Every 18 seconds a fire occurs in the US…only ONE matters to you in Mercer County, NJ

9/15/2023 (Permalink)

Every year, the American Red Cross responds to on average, 60,000 disasters and the vast majority are home fires causing over $7 Billion in property damage. House fires endanger everyone in your home and even the smallest fire that is quickly extinguished can result in thousands of $$ of damage and clean-up.  Fire is unpredictable, can spread quickly, but house fires in Burlington County, NJ are also very preventable.

SERVPRO of Bordentown/ Pemberton is a leader in fire, water damage clean-up, and mold remediation. We work closely with local fire companies and support local community events.

Here are the top 7 causes of Home Fires:

  • Cooking Related-Grease fires are difficult to put out and are not extinguished by water.  Kitchen fires begin quickly.  If a grease fire starts, immediately turn off the heat source and cover with a metal cooking sheet or lid.  If the fire is small, pour salt or baking soda on it to extinguish.  As a last resort use Class B Dry chemical fire extinguisher.  DO NOT try to extinguish with water.
  • Heat Sources-Space heaters where fuel based or electric can cause fires if combustibles such as draperies, blankets or pillows are left too close. Space heaters are a nice addition to warm a chilly space, but only if you are home and monitoring.  Follow the instructions and inspect the device to ensure the heater is in good operating condition.
  • Smoking-Smoking is hazardous to your health in many ways, but any flame can lead to a fire. One single stray ash is all it takes to ignite carpet, clothing or bedding. Smoke outside whenever possible.
  • Candles-Candlelight is the perfect ambiance for a romantic dinner. Lovely to enjoy the soft light and fragrance, but the beauty can turn quickly if a candle is knocked over or left to burn unattended.  Keep matches, lighters, and candles in a secure place away from children. 
  • Electrical-Electrical fires are due to faulty wiring or overloaded circuits which stress the system or may spark. It is a good idea to have your electrical panel and your home’s wiring evaluated by a professional. 
  • Chemicals-Flammable liquids, motor oils, and cleaning chemicals should be stored in a cool location and in proper containers. Heat can cause the chemicals to ignite or possibly explode.  Vapors many times are more flammable than the chemicals themselves. Cleaning rags used may spontaneously ignite if vapors build up and get too hot.  Thoroughly wash all cleaning rags to remove the chemicals and dispose of them safely.
  • Christmas Trees-Holidays are warm, wonderful times to create memories around the festive tree, but attentiveness to watering a real tree is critical to keep it from drying out and becoming a potential tinderbox. Check your real tree often and remove when the tree is dry. Faux trees while safer in some regards also pose a risk to fire if the light strands have been compromised or if the outlet is overloaded.  In both cases, never leave the Christmas tree lights on when not at home. Real or fake, evaluate to ensure your lights are in good working order.

Attentiveness is the best, but accidents and unforeseen issues occur.  When you need disaster relief from fire or smoke, SERVPRO of Bordentown/Pemberton is faster to any disaster.  SERVPRO’s mission is to see you through, provide solutions to have you back in your home, “Like it never even happened.”  We partner with local fire departments to offer emergency cleaning and restoration services.

Call us at 609-894-8555.

Did you know, it's almost BBQ season

5/11/2023 (Permalink)

When the warm weather arrives it only makes sense to break out the BBQ grill.  Seven out of 10 adults in the US use or own a BBQ grill.  Fire Departments respond annually to an average of 9000+ house or outside fires involving grills.

As we know, our options are gas or charcoal for our BBQ needs. While these create the tasty meals we come to love and enjoy, we must remember a few basic best practices to less the potential for a fire emergency.

A grill that is placed too close to a fuel source is one of the fastest ways to introduce heat and create fire. Gas and Charcoal grills should always be located away from home and deck railings & out from under eaves &  branches, maintain enough space to allow heat to rise easily and not into the building and or eaves of the building.

Also, the NFPA estimates that 1 in every 5 fires was due to a dirty uncleaned grill. You should always keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from grills & in trays below the grill.

Young Children under the age of five accounted for an average of 2,000+, of the contact-type burns in a year. The burns typically happened when someone, often a child, bumped or ran into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals.

The NFPA is the National Fire Protection Association, 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global self-funded nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.

About the NFPA

Understanding the Aftermath of Fire in Your Burlington County NJ Home

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

The aftermath of fire in your Burlington County home is not limited to damage only inflicted by flames. Smoke and soot may cause both visible and hidden damage far beyond the original fire.

 Smoke damage can be categorized in 2 ways: Wet Smoke and Dry Smoke.

 Dry smoke is created by high temperature burning of paper and wood materials.   Dry smoke residue is powdery and fine. This fine, dry powder is generally easier to clean-up since it can be wiped, but unfortunately it will find any porous surface, crack, or crevice. Your home may look perfectly clean, however soot such as this, hidden from view may retain a smell.

 Wet smoke is a product of low temperature, smoldering fires.  It creates thick, black sticky residue which clings to surfaces and has a strong, pungent odor.  This smoke smears when wiped due to the oily consistency creating a challenging clean-up.  Plastics, rubber are the primary causes of Wet smoke.

 Other causes of damage after a fire are synthetic materials, protein material, petroleum, or natural substances.

 Synthetic materials such as fabrics, (draperies, carpets. bedding) furniture, electronics, and plastics when burned create a thick, billowy, black smoke that rises quickly and coats walls and anything in its path.  Oftentimes these synthetics are products of oil- based substances thus a sticky, oil residue will be left by the smoke.  Leave this clean-up to the professionals.

 Protein fire residue is left behind due to evaporation of material.  Virtually invisible, protein fire residue discolors paints and varnishes and has an extreme pungent odor.

 Petroleum residue is the remains of oil burning.  This smoke is dark in appearance and will discolor and stain anything it touches.

 Natural residue is left behind when natural elements are burned. Ash in color, it is the easiest to clean due to its dry, powdery nature.

 We hope you never have to experience the trauma of a fire, but if you do, SERVPRO of Bordentown/Pemberton is here to restore your home “Like it never even happened.”

Our team of professionals are trained to clean-up and restore your home in Burlington and Mercer Counties. 

Give us a call 24/7 at 609-894-8555 for all your fire, water, and mold remediation needs.