Top 7 Causes of House Fires

Top 7 Causes Of House Fires

Top 7 Reasons for A House Fire: A fire in any property can occur out of nowhere. Our blog post is focused on the various reasons for a house fire to educate homeowners on precautions they can take to prevent them. House fires are unpredictable, can escalate in a matter of seconds, destroy precious property, and in alarming cases harm individuals as well. The mental scars left behind by a house fire can often last for years.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are 350,000 house fires that occur each year across the United States. There are multiple ways in which your home can catch fire. However, there are only two broadly defined ways in which fire accidents happen. The two categories – fire caused due to heat igniting combustible objects and tools, and fire outbreak due to a chemical reaction.

There are many ways in which your home can catch fire. Accidental fires can wreak havoc. Your home has tools and appliances that are combustible under certain conditions. These things are regular essentials that you cannot do without. Hence, it makes your home more susceptible to accidental fires.

Here are the Top 7 Causes Of House Fires:

1. Cooking is the #1 reason on our list of Top 7 Causes Of House Fires and represents 40% of the total pie

Cooking remains the highest cause of an accidental house fire. About 40% of house fires are a result of cooking mishaps. The overheating of pots and pans or other cooking equipment can easily lead to a fire within seconds. Most fire accidents begin in the kitchen due to negligence or when uncontrollable factors come into play. Leaving the kitchen unattended while cooking, forgetting to turn off the gas or oven, cooking at high temperatures, and using oil can cause a fire. Grease is a highly combustible element. It can burn spontaneously above a certain temperature even without direct contact of flame. Portable cooking electrical appliances are another addition to the list. Unattended, they can deal heavy damage.

2. Heating Appliances is the #2 reason on our list of Top 7 Causes Of House Fires and represents 18% of the total pie

Second, on the list, heating appliances lead to 18% of house fires. Home space heaters, automatic and manual fireplaces, chimneys, and other heating appliances contain the deadly carbon monoxide gas that can catch fire and spread rapidly. Given the combustible nature of this gas and its potential to burn objects like towels, furniture, curtains, and even you, it can rapidly spread indoors. Heaters requiring kerosene to fuel them up for burning are more dangerous. An electrical fault in wiring or cabling of the heating appliances can also result in a house fire.

3. Electrical Malfunctioning is the #3 reason on our list of Top 7 Causes Of House Fires and represents 17% of the total pie

Different types of electrical faults in home-wiring can lead to the breakout of fire. Typically, most electrical fires arise due to short circuits in the wiring system of the appliances or the switchboard. When a short circuit takes place, it causes sparking that ignites the building materials. This can also happen when the circuits are overloaded with the current. This causes overheating of the wires. Electrical fires are deadly because most of the time, they ignite in hidden locations. They turn into major fires before you are even aware of it. It can build up while the occupants are sleeping, which could be fatal. When electronic devices fail and batteries overheat, they can catch fire too.

4. Arson unfortunately is the #4 reason for a house fire

Any burning, substantial discoloration, damage due to smoke, alligator patterns, charring, the destruction caused by explosives, and the ruining of objects and spaces due to excessive heating, all meet the criteria of arson. This is one of those reasons that is so unprecedented that you might never see it coming. There are a number of other reasons behind an arson which include criminal mischief, reckless burning and exploding, voluntarily setting a property to fire, and unauthorized use of a fire hydrant to cause trouble. Arson makes up for the fourth most common reason for accidental house fires in the US.

5. Careless Smoking unfortunately is the #5 reason for a house fire but falls to 5% of the total pie

Smoking cigarettes is not only hazardous to your health, but it is one of the most common reasons for starting a fire too. Cigarettes have a high potential of igniting fire when the buds are carelessly or drowsily dropped or thrown on carpets, furniture, and other flammable objects. This happens when the cigarette buds haven’t been put out properly and may still be burning. Smoking in the bedroom and on the bed is very dangerous, as it may be the easiest place to catch fire. A single bud of the lighted cigarette is enough to ignite a towel, blanket, mattress, and other clothing objects.

6. Candle Fire #6 reason for a house fire but falls to 3% of the total pie

As calming as candles are when burning in the dark, they can be the reason behind deadly fires as well. In fact, candles are an underrated cause of starting a house fire. They are pretty, delicate objects that can easily make a cloth, carpet, curtains, and blankets catch fire. If the item to catch fire is in close proximity to other inflammable things, the fire spreads quickly. Matches and lighters that are used to light candles can be dangerous tools when they are in the hands of children. New Year and Christmas is the time when candle fire accidents are noted frequently. Burning candles can pose a fire threat when left unattended.

7. Other Causes #7 reason for a house fire but falls to 2% of the total pie

There are many other ways that can cause a house fire or act as catalysts to it. The storage of flammable liquids in inadequate circumstances, holding barbeque parties indoors, the use of modern construction materials like polystyrene insulation and timber frames, and hazardous lighting are some of these. Sometimes things as innocuous as mirrors can also lead to fire, by reflecting direct sunlight onto an inflammable object. So, the positioning of mirrors plays an important role too. Irrespective of all these reasons combined, the end result remains the same. It all leads to accidental house fires.

The home is a place to feel and live safely. A house fire can not only cause damage and disrupt the dynamics but cause emotional trauma on the residents. The more you are aware of the ways and causes, the better equipped you are to deal with them to prevent the same.

Have you experienced fire damage or smoke damage in the recent past? Or perhaps the damage has occurred quite some time back and you haven’t had the chance to look into it due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Opt for an immediate cleanup to restore your property and ensure safe living.

Call ECOS at 888-496-3153 today!

We are committed to providing reliable services to make your life safer, easier, and better, so please visit these internal links:

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Why Choose ECOS?

• We have a live operator on call 24/7 to schedule your project (Monday through Sunday).
• Our services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
• We give topmost priority to the health and safety of our clients.
• Our modern equipment is safe for people, animals, and sensitive materials.
• Our technicians are friendly and helpful.
• We have 16+ years of professional experience in the industry and are experts.
• We have no hidden charges and work well with insurance carriers

Source links:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/arson/
https://www.thespruce.com/causes-of-house-fires-1835107/
https://www.realinsurance.com.au/home-insurance/home-safety/the-most-common-causes-of-house-fires/

The Most Common Places That Fires Occur in the Home

COVID19 Cleaning & Wiping EPA Disinfectant

COVID19 Cleaning & Fogging

COVID19 Cleaning & Fogging Disinfectant: 

ECOS professionals are actively doing COVID19 Cleaning & Fogging an EPA registered Disinfectant as a preventative measure through out Colorado. Call ECOS on 303-442-3267 to hire our COVID19 technicians, project managers, and supervisors. ECOS is an essential business open 24/7 for COVID19 Cleaning in commercial and residential structures. Our professionals are actively wiping, spraying, fogging, and applying an EPA registered disinfectant using CDC protocols. ECOS has over 15 years experience cleaning biological contaminants (viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.). Our well trained experts wear full face respirators & PPE to preserve the health and safety of our team & your environment. Health & Safety is our #1 priority on every COVID19 Cleaning project we complete. Simply put, we clean and apply an EPA registered disinfectant to your property to reduce illnesses, cross contamination, and downtime in your operations. As a 24/7 business, ECOS is performing COVID19 Cleaning from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.  Once again, call ECOS on 303-442-3267 to speak with a live manager to hire our COVID19 professionals through out Colorado.

 

Understanding COVID-19

As the coronavirus spreads faster than fire, everyday a new medical term is entering the glossary. Understanding the transmission and analyzing the statistics of the growth, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has confirmed this disease as a pandemic. So, how does an epidemic and pandemic differ? Coronavirus being highly contagious, health officials recommend patients “social distancing” and “self-quarantining”. But what do they mean? This blog will take you through clinical words and phrases essential to understand COVID-19 and its latest developments.

Epidemic and Pandemic

According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O), an epidemic is an illness that outbreaks in a region unexpectedly. Unlike normal diseases, epidemics spread without any warning and effects a set of population above normal expectations. COVID-19 started as an epidemic from the city of Wuhan, China but was declared as a pandemic as it spread across more than 100 countries worldwide. A disease which spreads worldwide is regarded as a pandemic. According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the W.H.O, the organization took time to coin this disease as pandemic as they didn’t want to use the term carelessly.

What is COVID-19?

The clinical term for this Coronavirus disease is SARS-CoV-2. It is a respiratory disease caused by virus and is commonly known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19. The name has been crafted after the crown like spikes of the disease-causing virus, that look like the sun’s corona. Coronaviruses are referred to a group of viruses that are present in both human and animals. However, the new virus that has caused SARS-CoV-2, originated in China and is believed to have spread from bats.

Antibiotics don’t work against viruses. As viruses cannot be killed, researchers are trying to figure out antidots that could distort their proteins and cease infection.

Flattening the Curve

As the COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, a chart has gone viral that can make people understand the speed and scale of the pandemic. Known as “Flattening the Curve”, the curve sheds light on the wave of the cases expected to hit. When the curve is high, it means the virus is spreading rapidly. It also portrays the increasing number of deaths and lack of medical care. On the other hand, a low wave represents slow development. When it is low, it means medical teams have both time and resources to treat and save more lives.

Illustrated by Rosamund Pearce, the visual data journalist, the “Flattening the Curve” also comes with a flatter slope that indicates a gradual increase of infection over a certain period of time.

State of Emergency Been Declared

Now that the disease has spread over most continents, a state of emergency has been declared over most of the infected countries. So, when does a state call of an emergency? – when a natural disaster, epidemic or any other health emergency hits a state. With increasing number of COVID-19 cases, dozens of states in the USA have declared a state of emergency, including Michigan, New Jersey and New York. The have called for emergency as an initiative to take preventive measures and protect the public from infection. These states are putting up emergency regulations and reallocating funds to diminish the spread of the disease.

Incubation Period of COVID-19

Before talking about the incubation period of COVID-19. Let’s first learn what the term ‘incubation’ means. The incubation period is referred to the time for symptoms to appear as a person gets infected with a disease. Clinically, this period is very critical for prevention and control. If an individual has symptoms, it allows the health officials to put that person under observation or quarantine.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) the incubation period for COVID-19 can be from 2 to 14 days. In most of the cases, the symptoms started appearing from the fifth day of infection. During the incubation period, even if the infected people are not exhibiting any symptom, it is possible that they shed the virus particles wherever they go. This makes the situation very challenging as it becomes almost impossible to identify and isolate the people who got infected from the virus.

Ways to Skip COVID-19

The two most effective ways to avoid this communicable disease are social-distancing and self-quarantine.

So, let’s first talk about social-distancing and its importance to prevent this pandemic. The COVID-19 virus has the ability to spread rapidly in crowded or dense places. Whether it is a packed subway or a crowded concert, public gatherings are considered to be the primary points from which this diseases spreads.

To fight this disease effectively, the very first step people should consider is social distancing. The more the proximity between people decreases, the spread of virus will get reduced. Thus, administrations are encouraging cancellation or postponing of mass gatherings and to fight it hard, closing the educational institutes and promoting the concept of work from home. Apart from that, while meeting or greeting a person, one should also try to keep a proximity of 6-feet to minimize the spread of this disease.

Now, let’s discuss self-quarantine, as it is the key that stops virus from escalation. Self-quarantine along with social distancing and self-disciplinary measures like sanitizing hands and using masks are really effective at keeping the coronavirus at bay.

Sometimes quarantine is also associated with isolation. However, there’s a difference between the two terms. While isolation is all about separating a diseased person from healthy people, quarantine is referred to the limitation of movement of the individuals exposed to the infection. It is a process of clinical observation to check if they fall sick.

So, what are your thoughts about self-quarantine? According to the C.D.C., people who have visited the area infected with COVID-19 must self-quarantine. They should consult health departments and stay separate at home for at least 14 days.

Fatality Rate of COVID-19

What is fatality rate? It is calculated by dividing the total number of deaths by the total number of affected people. With the widespread of COVID-19, scientists have come up with a new term infection fatality rate that calculates the death rate from the infected virus. According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O), the total death rate of COVID-19 is 3%. However, the experts believe that in actual the percentage is 1%.

R-Naught of Coronavirus

Want to know how contagious coronavirus is and why we recommend COVID19 Cleaning? R0 or R-naught might help you to understand that. It is a metric used to find how much infectious a disease is. Also known as reproduction number, the metrics are used to measure the rate at which an infection spread.

As said by Dr. Adam Kucharski (mathematician at the London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), the reproductive number of the coronavirus can help people understand the seriousness of the pandemic. If the R-Naught scores above one, the probability of infection is one in every other person and it means the infection is spreading speedily. On the other hand, if the number is less than 1, it is less contagious. The research on R-naught of coronavirus is at a very early stage. However, experts believe that a person carrying COVID-19 can infect between two-four people on average.

How to Control COVID-19?

Coronavirus has a high transmission rate which is why ECOS recommends COVID19 Cleaning. This characteristic has made it tough to control its outbreak. According to Dr. Adam Ratner (the director at NYU Langone Health for division of pediatric infectious diseases), containment of the infection fully depends upon the tools and facilities available to minimize the transmission of it.

In the very early stage, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the USA, the government had stopped the entrance of the foreign nationals from China. However, the rule was not applicable for the American citizens who had travelled to China. Though the step helped the administration to prepare for the emergency, the lack of observation or testing centers made the situation adverse. Early stage of observation plays the key role in such cases and would have made containment much easier.

Containment of coronavirus in particular is very challenging. It is a highly transmissible disease and many of the carriers even don’t exhibit any symptoms, but still pass on the infection to others. The speed at which the pandemic is grasping the whole world, it can be easily stated that the world is extremely interconnected, and every country should unite to fight this pandemic strongly.

Five Precautions To Take If You Live In A Fire Danger Period

Five Precautions To Take If You Live In A Fire Danger Period

If you live in an area prone to fires, it’s important to be aware of the risk and take steps to mitigate it. From knowing the USDA fire danger levels to making sure you’re covered if a fire does impact your home, here are five precautions to take if you live in a fire danger period.

1. Know The Fire Danger Levels

The USDA classifies fire danger into five levels. You’ve probably seen the signs featuring Smokey Bear when visiting public lands. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the fire danger level and adjust your activities accordingly.

When fire danger is low or moderate, fires do not ignite easily, and they are easy to control. Once the fire danger level reaches high, fires can ignite easily and spread rapidly. As the danger level increases, fires become more difficult to control and last longer.

If you live in an area with a high fire level or above, campfires and brush fires can easily escape and become dangerous wildfires.

2. Prepare Your Home

Maintaining your home with the possibility of wildfire in mind can help protect it. Keep your roof and gutters clean. Debris such as pine needles or leaves can easily ignite. Make sure your shingles are in good shape and replace any that are loose or missing. That way, embers won’t be as likely to get through. Use wire mesh on attic vents and below patios and decks to prevent embers from entering. Finally, remove all items stored beneath decks and anything flammable from the walls.

3. Think About Your Landscaping

Colorado State University recommends making use of defensible space and planting native species within it. They define defensible space as room for firefighters to do their jobs. In fact, firefighters may pass by houses that do not have adequate defensible space in consideration of the danger to them and the likelihood of being able to save the structure.

Plants near your home should be lower and more widely spaced than those that grow farther away. Using decorative gravel or stone can slow the spread of fire and should be used for the first three to five feet from the house. Use mulch to conserve moisture and prioritize which plants will be saved in a drought. Keep your grass mowed and consider using ground cover plants.

If you plant wildflowers, make sure there is a wide space between the beds. Similarly, any shrubs used in landscaping should be low-growing and non-resinous. Space them apart from one another and away from trees, where they could become ladder fuels. Do not plant trees near structures. Sticking to native species is best. Aspen or narrow-leaf cottonwood are good choices, but it’s important to pick up leaves when they fall to reduce available fuel.

4. Consult With Professionals

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends contacting local professionals like the forestry office and fire department for information about local laws, building codes, and protection measures.

It’s important to make sure your house is as fire resistant as possible. Consult with a professional about replacing materials that are not suitable. Roofs should be made with non-combustible material, like slate, metal, or fiberglass. Siding should be similarly fire resistant. Consider making use of metal, brick, concrete, and rock. Windows should have dual or triple-pane thermal glass, and any shutters or drapes should also be fire resistant.

If you have a chimney, make sure a spark arrestor is in place. Eaves, porches, and sundecks should all be enclosed to prevent trapping heat and embers. Even your patio furniture should be non-combustible. When in doubt, consult with a professional so you can be sure your home is as fire resistant as it can be.

5. Know Your Policy

If you live in an area prone to wildfires, make sure you know what your policy covers. Standard insurance policies will pay to repair or rebuild your home, replace your belongings, and reimburse you for living expenses like hotel rooms or meals out. However, coverage amounts vary. Make sure you have enough insurance to protect you, keep an up-to-date inventory of your possessions, and keep copies of important papers off site.

Being prepared ahead of time can set your mind at ease. If the worst does happen and your home is damaged by fire or smoke, call ECOS immediately. We work well with all insurance companies and take pictures to document the damage and repairs.

Does Your Insurer Impact The Coverage You Need

Does Your Insurer Impact The Coverage You Need?

Imagine you come home one day to see a raccoon climb out of your attic vent and scurry down a tree. You hurry inside to investigate and find that the raccoon has done considerable damage to your attic. Will your homeowner’s insurance pay to fix it? Coverage varies.

What’s Covered?

Homeowner’s insurance generally covers damage to the structure of your home from things like fires and storms. If lightning strikes your home, the damage will be covered. Similarly, if a tree falls on your roof, your insurance will pay to fix it.

When you get beyond the basics, though, coverage varies. Insurers may cover different amounts of damage. They may also offer additional coverage that can be added to your policy. Often, homeowners don’t realize some damage isn’t covered until after it has already occurred.

Floods and Sewage

Most areas of the country are prone to storms. Although lightning damage is covered by standard policies, if the same storm causes your basement to flood, the damage to your basement will not be covered.

Along the same lines, if flooding causes your sump pump to fail or sewage to back up into your house, that’s usually not covered by standard policies either.

If you live in an area where flooding occurs, even infrequently, it’s a good idea to purchase flood insurance. Many insurers also offer coverage for sewer backup. Paying a small fee now helps you avoid footing the entire bill for cleanup later.

Earthquakes

Like floods, earthquakes are often left out of standard homeowner’s policies. If earthquakes are a concern where you live, it’s smart to purchase coverage that will allow you to repair damage or rebuild your home if necessary.

Mold

Mold is a serious problem that can damage the structural integrity of your home. It also poses a health hazard to you and your family. Unfortunately, the coverage provided by insurers varies widely.

Some insurers only cover mold if it is caused by specific perils listed in your policy. Others offer more broad coverage that pays for mold damage unless the cause is explicitly excluded.

Coverage for mold is often confusing, and many insurers attempt to exclude it altogether. It’s wise to ask your agent about specific scenarios to get an idea of what is covered under the policy you’re considering.

Animals

If we return to the scenario this post opened with, the good news is because it was a raccoon, there’s a good chance the damage is covered. However, there are exceptions. If your insurer finds that the raccoon was nesting in your attic for a prolonged period of time and you made no attempts to block its access, you may not be covered.

Unlike damage from raccoons, rodent damage is virtually never covered. If you have a rat, mouse, or squirrel problem, odds are you’re on your own. In contrast, if a deer crashes into your bay window or a bear pulls your door open and raids your cabinets, you’re probably covered.

When it comes to damage from animals, the damage usually needs to have happened in a single event. If it happened over time, your insurer may say you could have taken steps to prevent the damage.

If you live in a wooded area, where wildlife is plentiful, we recommend talking to your insurance agent to see what types of animal damage are covered by your policy.

ECOS has over a decade of experience working with insurance companies to get our clients covered. Whether you’re experiencing damage from water, animals, mold, or fire, we are happy to help you navigate the often-confusing process of getting insurance claims approved.

In the event that damage is not covered by your insurer, ECOS will work with you on the most cost-effective method of cleaning and restoring your home to a healthy environment. If your home has been damaged, don’t wait for problems to get worse. Call ECOS today.

Common Water Damage to Homes

The Most Common Damage Done To Homes With Water

Your home is your sanctuary, and it’s also a significant investment. Water is a constant threat that has the potential to do profound damage to your home. Below, we discuss the most common ways water damages homes and how to avoid four common plumbing issues that lead to them.

1. Broken Or Clogged Pipes

Plumbing is necessary for us to live healthy and comfortable lives, but when pipes break or become clogged, thousands of gallons of water could leak into your home. According to one report of the most expensive insurance claims made by homeowners, water damage from plumbing and appliances made up 19% of all claims.

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors recommends regularly checking your pipes to make sure they aren’t leaking, dripping, or clogged. Additionally, make sure you know where your shut-off valves are. Labeling them can help you use them quickly to minimize water damage if a leak occurs.

2. Frozen Water Lines

Plumbing issues aren’t limited to leaky pipes and clogged drains. The weather presents its own set of issues, particularly in the winter. Water expands as it freezes, and that means your pipes may burst.

It’s wise to take steps to prevent your pipes from freezing. The American Red Cross recommends adding insulation to unheated spaces, removing and draining outdoor hoses, and draining swimming pool and sprinkler lines before winter.

Once cold weather arrives, leave cabinet doors open to allow warm air to enter spaces around pipes. Leaving the cold water dripping also helps keep pipes from freezing. It’s also a good idea to leave your heat on while you’re away and keep it turned up at night.

If your pipes do freeze, thaw them with a hair dryer or heating pad. Do not attempt to use propane, kerosene, blow torches, or similar devices. These pose fire and carbon monoxide risks to you and your family.

3. Appliance Failures

Many of the appliances in our homes use or produce water, including the refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, air conditioner, and hot water heater. If these appliances fail, water can leak into your home.

The Insurance Information Institute suggests checking the hoses leading to your appliances on an annual basis. Replace any that are cracked, and get new hoses every five to seven years.

4. Sump Pump Failure

Homes with basements often have a sump pump. Sump pumps are designed to move water out of your basement and away from your foundation. However, if your sump pump fails, your basement can become flooded.

Since sump pumps run on electricity, a power outage is a common reason for failure. Having a generator can help get you through a power outage.

Sump pumps may also fail if they are the wrong size. Have a professional inspect your sump pump to make sure it can adequately address your home’s needs.

Dirt and debris can also clog your pump. Your sump pump should be serviced every six months to ensure it is working properly.

Getting Help With Water Damage

As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We always recommend taking steps to prevent water damage. However, emergencies happen, and if you experience a leak, we are here to help.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can clean up and repair the damage yourself. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to colonize, putting you and your family at risk. Additionally, if sewage is a problem, bacteria and other pathogens become an immediate concern.

ECOS is here to help. We are on call 24-hours a day and seven days a week. If you are experiencing a leak or suspect water damage, give us a call. We’ll work quickly to minimize the damage done to your home and restore it to a healthy and safe environment.

Bad Air Quality Health Risks

Bad Air Quality – How To Evaluate The Health Risks

If you’ve had headaches, itchy eyes, or sinus congestion, you probably just chalked it up to a cold or allergies. That could be the case. However, people often fail to consider air quality as a possible cause. Read on to see how the air in your home could be making you sick.

What Causes Bad Air Quality?

According to one article, people spend an estimated 90% of their time indoors. That means it’s crucial that the air we breathe when we’re indoors is clean.

There are many factors that change the air quality in our homes and other buildings. Pet dander, mold spores, and dust mites can build up, especially in the winter. Outdoor pollution can enter through ventilation systems, and moisture can find its way inside.

The things we use to clean and heat our homes can harm indoor air quality, too. The habits and behaviors of occupants also matter. For example, it’s well known that smoking creates a health hazard inside.

How Do I Know If Bad Air Quality Is Making Me Sick?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you may experience symptoms after just one exposure to bad indoor air. Your eyes, nose, and throat may feel irritated. You might feel dizzy or fatigued, and you may have a headache.

Clearly, the symptoms listed above are vague and can be caused by a variety of illnesses. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to when they happen. If you feel better after leaving the building, there’s a good chance your symptoms are caused by bad indoor air quality.

Long-Term Problems

Sometimes, bad indoor air quality causes health problems years after the fact. Repeated exposure to bad air quality over a long period of time also leads to serious health problems for some.

Respiratory diseases, cancer, and heart disease can all be caused by bad indoor air. Since these diseases are often fatal, it’s important to address indoor air quality issues as soon as possible.

What Can You Do About Bad Indoor Air Quality?

There are some easy steps you can take to improve indoor air quality. First, keep your home clean. Vacuuming, clearing clutter, and washing bedding and drapery all cut down on allergens.

Choosing to install hard flooring rather than carpeting can also be helpful. If you do have a carpet, make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter, and use it several times a week.

Change filters in heating and cooling systems regularly and let fresh air in whenever possible. Consider purchasing an air purifier to help clean the air and a dehumidifier if damp areas are a problem.

Other Considerations

Bad indoor air quality impacts some people more severely than others. Vulnerable people like children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible.

Many times, the source of bad indoor air quality is invisible. Radon is a gas that can be a problem in some areas. Carbon monoxide is emitted by gas heaters and stoves, leaking chimneys, furnaces, and tobacco products.

Construction materials and furnishings can also pose a danger. If your home was built before the 1980s, it may contain asbestos. Formaldehyde is used in furnishings, building materials, and household products. There are often higher concentrations of formaldehyde indoors. Both formaldehyde and asbestos can cause serious health problems, including cancer.

Seeking Help From A Professional

It’s a good idea to have your home checked by a professional, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with bad indoor air quality. Professionals have the knowledge and equipment to deal with dangerous contaminants like asbestos and radon.

If you need help identifying the source of your bad indoor air quality or in remedying the problem, give ECOS a call. We have a live operator available 24/7, and our equipment is safe for the people and pets in your home.

Hoarder Cleanup

Six Things You Can Get Help With When Cleaning Up Hoarding

If you are faced with the task of cleaning up a hoarding situation, the sheer volume of objects in the home can be overwhelming. The good news is help is available to you. Below, we discuss six things you can get help with when cleaning up hoarding.

1. Therapy

One thing that’s important to recognize is that people who hoard are suffering from a recognized mental disorder. As such, getting appropriate therapy is crucial. Simply removing all their possessions will not fix the problem and may subject them to a great deal of emotional stress.

Here at ECOS, we work with the family and the therapist to ensure people are treated with respect throughout the process of returning their home to a healthy environment. If you or someone you love suffers from hoarding, reach out to a licensed therapist for help.

2. Cleaning Up With Respect To Feelings

When cleanup begins, it’s important to remember that the person suffering from hoarding experiences anxiety over parting with their possessions, even things that seem meaningless or like trash to others. Cleaning up after hoarding requires a specific process that respects that anxiety yet still restores the home to cleanliness.

At ECOS, we have over 12 years of experience cleaning up hoarding. We work with professionals and ensure that everyone is treated with respect and sensitivity throughout the process.

3. Sorting

While someone from outside the situation may look at a hoarded home as a giant pile of trash, for the person who hoards, it is all valuable in some way. As a result, necessary documentation, family heirlooms, and the like can be mixed in with other items or even trash.

Sorting through the items in the home is important so that items that are truly valuable are saved. Additionally, remember that the person who has hoarded must be involved in the process and able to make decisions. Forcefully removing a person’s possessions will cause emotional distress.

When you are ready to begin the process, having a professional cleaning company help will ease the burden and speed up the process of restoring the home.

4. Safety

An important consideration of cleaning up hoarding is the safety of everyone involved. Hoarding may mask structural problems, leaks, or dangerous mold. Additionally, there can be pathogens from large amounts of bacteria in the home.

A professional cleaning company has the equipment to handle the job safely. They will also recognize any problems that need to be addressed. Once the home is clean, any necessary repairs can be made by appropriate professionals.

5. Trash Removal

Often, there is a huge amount of trash in a home that has been hoarded. It’s far beyond what you can set out on the curb for pickup.

Getting help from a cleaning company keeps you from being overwhelmed with all the trash that has to be thrown away. A cleaning company can bag, remove, and haul all the trash away for you.

6. Repairs

Heavy furniture, piles of books, magazines, etc. can weaken a home’s structural integrity. Spills and leaks may cause beams and floors to rot. There can be pest invasions, as well. These are things beyond the average homeowner’s experience.

After cleaning, it’s important to restore the home to safety. For structural repairs, call a licensed contractor. If pests are a problem, reach out to a pest removal company for assistance.

Hoarding creates a daunting situation for both the people who hoard and their loved ones. Embarrassment may prevent people from calling for help, but help is available. If you or your loved one need help cleaning up after hoarding, consider giving ECOS a call.

You can learn more about our hoarding cleanup service here. Rest assured we will treat you and your loved ones with dignity.

 

The Environmental Hazard That Is Hoarding

Judging by the popularity of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, many of us have too much clutter in our homes. For about 2%-6% of the population, however, the clutter interferes with daily living.

Hoarding is now a recognized mental health disorder, in which a person accumulates excessive possessions and feels distress when parting with them. We have begun to recognize the emotional impacts of hoarding, but it’s important that we also think about how hoarding affects the environment.

Hoarding is a Community Health Issue

Hoarding can affect the air quality within a home. Many times, so much clutter builds up that it becomes impossible to properly clean. Irritants such as mold, dust, ammonia, and pet dander increase to unhealthy levels. That can lead to breathing problems for people who live in or visit the home.

The buildup of trash, food, and filth invites pests into the home. Fleas, rats, bedbugs, roaches, and the like may infest the property. The crowded conditions also make extermination more challenging.

Hoarding of all types can create exposure to disease, but animal hoarding is of particular concern. In such cases urine, feces, and sometimes even dead animals build up in the home. Diseases and parasites can spread to humans and become a threat to everyone in the area.

People who hoard often live in unhealthy conditions, with malfunctioning heating and cooling systems or broken appliances. They are too embarrassed to call a professional to help, so the situation only gets worse.

Emergencies and Disasters

Hoarding directly causes some emergencies. It may also prevent first responders from being able to help residents during an emergency or disaster. Additionally, hoarding puts neighbors at risk when it occurs close to other homes or apartments.

Hoarding creates a risk of fire due to clutter coming in contact with heat sources. Once a fire starts, the amount of flammable material causes it to burn hot and spread quickly. Burning materials may also release toxic fumes. Blocked pathways make it difficult for firefighters to enter the home. Residents also have trouble escaping, so many occupants die in such fires.

The weight of hoarded objects may weaken the structural integrity of the buildings that store them. Many homes are simply not designed to hold a lot of heavy things, like furniture and books. Spilled liquids, leaking roofs, or broken pipes may also damage the home. Over time, that can cause the building to collapse.

Pollution

Obviously, all that stuff has to go somewhere. The objects that were hoarded impact the environment whether a home is cleaned out, lost to fire, or collapses. Rotting food releases methane gas. Plastic takes a very long time to break down. It is filling our oceans. Smoke from fires releases toxins and carbon dioxide. Improper sanitation may lead to contamination of water and soil. In short, hoarding affects us all.

We need a clean environment inside and outside of our homes to be healthy. It is in our best interests to address hoarding, but it must be done with care and compassion. Simply throwing away everything in a hoarder’s home will not solve the problem. Doing so without permission may ruin your relationship. It will always cause distress. In fact, the experience can be so traumatic, it is thought to have led to the death of some people.

If you or your loved ones need help with hoarding, give Ecos Environmental and Disaster Restoration a call. We will work with the family, therapist, and person suffering from hoarding. You can trust us to treat you with respect and compassion. We’ll discretely restore your property to a safe environment.

Image: Pexels

 

 

Weather damage to property

How To Claim Insurance From Weather Damage To Your Property

Water damage, winter storms and spring thaws cause weather damage to your property. How do you file a claim due to that loss appropriately?

In 2015, winter storms led to about $3.5 billion in insured claim losses. Weather patterns shift, and increasingly, bring harsh conditions to areas that didn’t experience a severe level of weather activity previously. The good news is that most homes and businesses are properly insured and can receive coverage and compensation for losses through their insurance company.

Insurance Claims and Weather-Related Loss

Weather-related loss can occur in many ways. The most frequent causes of weather damage include:

  • Water damage
  • Sudden thaws leading to floods
  • Roof damage
  • Hail damage
  • Fallen trees
  • Freezing pipes
  • Sewer backup
  • Wind damage
  • Displacement caused by power failure

Your insurance company should cover most of these types of weather damage. However, your insurance company does not typically cover flood damage. Thus, you need to look into obtaining national flood insurance in the future, and the FEMA website offers a great resource for research.

In the event of liability, your home insurance typically covers liability. One of your first steps should involve contacting your insurance company, even when you think you are not at fault. So, don’t try to resolve the issue yourself. You pay the insurance company to help you in times like these.

Your insurance company also has relationships with emergency contractors and clean-up experts who can step in to help you resolve the issue quickly and safely. ECOS Environmental has years of experience in doing just that. We can help you document the damage and repair through every step of the claim process.

Document and Prevent Further Damage

Waiting for the insurance company to step in? You still have a responsibility to prevent further damage to the property.

It’s normal to feel anxious and want to get started immediately. First, look around and access. Start taking photos, videos and notes about what you notice on your property. Where has damage occurred? What are the dates and times involved? What is the value of damaged materials and electronics in your home? Do you know the date of purchase? Keep track of receipts and records of any money spent.

The where, what, when and why becomes important as the insurance company reviews the claim. This scenario is where restoration and clean-up experts like ECOS Environmental really shine and offer support. When weather damage follows an emergency, our crews often reach the site faster than the insurance company can.

Keeping Up With Your Weather Damage Claim

Always contact your insurance company any time you notice weather damage or are accused of responsibility for damage to another’s property. Access and document the damage, gathering information. Additionally, keep a claim log about who you speak to regarding the damage, noting the status, date and time. Note every contact.

So, always check with your insurance provider before throwing out damaged items. Take photos before discarding if your municipality requires you to get rid of damaged materials for safety. This documentation process will also help you when it comes time to submit an inventory to the insurance company.

Sign up for text alerts from your insurance provider, so you can keep up with the status of your weather damage claim. This step will help you keep track of when an estimate becomes available or when a payment is issued.

Your home insurance policy should offer you the best possible coverage and support your best interests. Consequently, don’t take on extensive costs that you hold no responsibility for or cause more damage by resolving the issue yourself.

Always go through the proper channels. Contact ECOS Environmental to make sure every step in the claims and clean-up process is impeccably handled. You will come out on top safely, more informed and save more money.

Mold Remediation

Renovating: Dealing With Hidden Mold

Most folks know that mold needs moisture to grow indoors. You commonly find mold growth occurring after a flood, in a damp basement or as a result of your roof leaking. However, mold is sneaky, and many people end up dealing with hidden mold while renovating.

Experts suggest that hidden mold can be present in up to 60% of homes. When you see a bit of mold, you spritz, wipe and move on. However, the problem can be deeper than you assume. That cracked and leaking ceiling or broken pipe often leads to mold spreading. Out of sight, out of mind.

You Must Take Mold Seriously

Mold is different than concerns you may have with a house with old lead-based paint or asbestos. These are single contaminants that have definable and determinable health risks, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Researchers are still getting to know mold, but current findings reveal serious, long-term concerns for those with hidden mold.

Toxic mold exposure may pose issues with memory loss, trouble concentrating, insomnia and confusion. Mold exposure can contribute to symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also cause upper respiratory tract symptoms in adults and children. Black mold is toxigenic, and symptoms of mold poisoning often occur as flu-like symptoms.

It is important to test for hidden mold through a certified inspector before you begin the renovation process. You should hire an expert renovator who is experienced in dealing with mold.

Dealing With Hidden Mold

Uneducated renovators and home and business owners who remain unaware of the mold effects and continue with renovation risk the health of others. You must understand what mold removal entails so that you don’t further contaminate or damage the structure and cause harm to those you care about.

Microbial air sampling is conducted if experts suspect mold. It’s not visible after the initial inspection. This type of sampling helps to locate hidden mold behind walls and other structures. A combination of moisture readings and surface or bulk sampling can help determine how far colonization may spread.

Mold remediation costs soar when you attempt to remove the visible areas of mold only to find more hidden. Some insurance companies now cap off what they will and won’t cover when it comes to mold. However, a certified expert gets the job done the first time and can afford more flexible payment terms. They also offer documentation assistance for insurance purposes.
cross contamination. Containing the area experiencing mold growth is important. Always practice safety measures, such as wearing goggles, a dust mask and rubber gloves.

Porous and Non-Porous Materials

Don’t treat contaminated porous materials with bleach. Bleach kills a large degree of germs,  but it doesn’t have the same effect on mold. Adding bleach adds moisture which encourages mold growth. The toxic nature of bleach may prove dangerous when not used with care.

Has mold infected porous materials, such as drywall, carpet and ceiling tiles? The best practice is to double bag and dispose of it. Containment helps prevent cross-contamination.

It’s safer to brush or scrub mold contamination off non-porous materials. Then, you will need to utilize a HEPA vacuum to stop mold particulates from taking to the air. Airborne particulates are a common way that mold spreads. You can spray anti-microbial solutions on non-porous surfaces to prevent mold growth.

Mold may be present in up to 60% of homes, and it’s difficult to determine how deeply mold may penetrate a structure. Hidden mold is more frequent in homes and businesses than you may suspect.

Avoid cross-contamination by focusing on mold containment. Contact ECOS Environmental today for thorough mold testing and removal assistance.