Recent Building Services Posts

Aluminum Wiring in Your Home

6/27/2017 (Permalink)

As residents of Tacoma, we recently received a letter from the city of Tacoma fire department warning us about the effects of aluminum wire failure. Residences and buildings built or modified between 1965 and 1972 may potentially contain aluminum electrical wiring. Small aluminum wires are associated with an increased risk of fire. If your home was built or modified during this time, be sure to check for aluminum wiring in your home or business. The city of Tacoma has provided information on how to determine the presence of aluminum, signs of aluminum wiring failure, and how you can fix the problem.

Determining the Presence of Aluminum Wiring

The best way to determine whether or not your structure contains aluminum wiring is to have an electrical professional conduct an inspection. As an alternative if you have sheathed wire visible in unfinished basements, attics, or garages, you can perform a visual check of the plastic sheathing on the cables. The word aluminum or 'AL' may be written on one side of the wiring. After turning off power at your electrical box, you can also look at the exposed wires in outlets or switch boxes. The color of the aluminum wire is silver rather than copper.

Signs of Aluminum Wiring Failure

  • Hot electrical outlet faceplates
  • Unidentified smell of burning plastic
  • Flickering lights
  • Failed electrical circuits

How You Can Fix the Problem

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has researched the fire problem associated with aluminum wiring and recommends three permanent repairs:

  • Rewire the entire home
  • Professionally install COPALUM crimp connectors
  • Professionally install AlumiConn connectors

For more information or questions about aluminum wiring, please contact the Fire Prevention Division by calling 253-591-5740.

Indoor Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

5/5/2017 (Permalink)

If you have fire or water damage, contact SERVPRO of Tacoma! 253-896-3000

It's important to keep up on home maintenance to avoid mold, water, or fire damage. With better weather, Spring is the perfect time to work on home improvements. Travelers Insurance Company gives us a list of indoor maintenance tips.

Electrical Outlets and Cords: Check electrical outlets and cords throughout your home for any potential fire hazards such a frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Outlets, fuse boxes and extension cords also should be checked to make sure they are not overloaded.

Fire Extinguishers: Check your fire extinguisher at least once yearly, including the hose, nozzle and other parts, to make sure they are in good condition and that the pressure gauge is in the "green" range. If necessary, move your fire extinguisher to an accessible place.

Air Conditioning: Before turning it on for the season, have your air-conditioning system inspected and tuned up by a professional.

Water Heater: Check for leaks and corrosion.

Furnace: Clean or replace your furnace filter.

Dryers: Dryer lint can build up inside the vent pipe and collect around the duct. Clean both the clothes dryer exhaust duct and the space under the dryer. Use a specialized brush to clean out the vent pipe. Lint can also build up inside the dryer enclosure and should be cleaned and serviced by a profession.

Smoke Detectors: Daylight savings time is the perfect time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Inspect each smoke detector to ensure all are in working order, and make sure to test them monthly. Ideally, there should be at least one smoke detector on each floor of your home, including the hallway or area outside of each set of bedrooms, and one within each bedroom itself. If necessary, install additional smoke detectors as needed.

Light Bulbs: Check each light bulb in every fixture for the correct recommended wattage and replace any burned out bulbs. Also, consider replacing all high-intensity bulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs to reduce energy and the amount of heat produces.

Smoke Alarm Safety

5/3/2017 (Permalink)

Follow these smoke alarm tips to ensure your home or business is prepared in the event of a fire.

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports nearly two-thirds of these fire-related deaths occurred in homes with no working smoke alarm or no smoke alarms present at all. Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when they are properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.

The NFPA recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house.

Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Once smoke alarms are in place, it is important to maintain and regularly test the alarms to ensure they are in the proper working order. Review the tips provided here regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance.

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A preparedness plan allows your family, employees, or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation. For tips or information on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Tacoma at 253-896-3000.

Smoke Alarm Tips:

  • Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

  • Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.

  • Test smoke detectors at least once a month using the test button

  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away

  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old

Roof Leak Prevention

3/21/2017 (Permalink)

Prevent your home from getting a roof leak with these easy steps!

It’s that time of year. The rainy season is among us and it’s the best, or worst, time to find out you have a roof leak. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent a roof leak, according to USA Roof Masters.

  • Tree branches that are touching or hovering over your roof/gutters should be trimmed.
  • Gutters should be clear from leaves, broken tree branches, and other types of debris.
  • Got hanging or loose gutters? Get them replaced or repaired right away. The purpose of a gutter is to prevent water from accumulating on the roof. A clogged gutter will stop the process of allowing water to flow and escape from the roof.
  • If you have any loose bricks, get them reset.
  • Get your chimney caulked. If you have a skylight, get that caulked as well.
  • Houses with attics should have plenty of ventilation and insulation- this will help prevent leaks.
  • Replace missing shingles. If you have patches on your roof with multiple colors, that’s a sign your roof has missing shingles. You should also consider replacing loose or cracked shingles.

If you notice you have a roof leak, causing water damage in your home, SERVPRO of Tacoma is here to help! Call us today 253-896-3000.

National Ladder Safety Month!

3/1/2017 (Permalink)

March has been named National Ladder Safety Month by the American Ladder Institute. As we begin our spring home improvement projects, it is important to keep these ladder safety tips in mind, provided by the American Ladder Institute.

  • If you feel tired or dizzy, or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the ladder

  • Do not use ladders in high winds or storms.

  • Wear clean slip-resistant shoes. Shoes with leather soles are not appropriate for ladder use since they are not considered sufficiently slip resistant.

  • Ladders with loose or missing parts must be rejected. Rickety ladders that sway or lean to the side must be rejected.

  • The ladder you select must be the right size for the job.

  • The Duty Rating of the ladder must be greater than the total weight of the climber, tools, supplies, and other objects placed upon the ladder. The length of the ladder must be sufficient so that the climber does not have to stand on the top rung or step.

  • When the ladder is set-up for us, it must be placed on firm level ground and without any type of slippery condition present at either the base or top support points.

  • Only one person at a time is permitted on a ladder unless the ladder is specifically designed for more than one climber.

  • Ladders must not be placed in front of closed doors that can open toward the ladder. The door must be blocked open, locked, or guarded.

  • Read the safety information labels on the ladder. The on-product safety information is specific to the particular type of ladder on which it appears. The climber is not considered qualified or adequately trained to use the ladder until familiar with this information.

As you begin your spring home repairs or remodels, please remember these ladder safety tips!