Electric Blanket Safety; 4 Simple Rules
Cuddle up with peace of mind in your electric blanket this winter.
Winter is here and so it is the season for snuggling up and staying warm; a job accomplished nearly perfectly by an electric blanket. Here are a few simple, easy to follow tips to ensure you stay nice and toasty, safely this winter, under your electric blanket.
- Use a newer electric blanket (prior to 2001). Newer electric blankets have a shutoff mechanism to prevent the blanket from overheating or catching fire. Older blankets may not have this feature, and therefore run the risk of overheating. Older blankets are considered a fire hazard, and cannot be recommended. Electric blankets will save you money, so go ahead and spend a few bucks for a newer, safer blanket if you don’t already have one.
- Don’t’ let your electric blanket get “bunched up”. Keep your blanket as flat as possible. Keeping your blanket flat will avoid air pockets, which can trap hot air and cause excessive heat build-up, particularly when your blanket is being used at higher settings.
- Don’t lay objects on top of or underneath your electric blanket. An object, like a cell phone, can trap heat between itself and your blanket; potentially causing your blanket’s coils to overheat and possibly burn.
- Don’t use an electric blanket with your infant or small child. It is not safe to use an electric blanket with infants and young children because of the risk for burns. Likewise, anyone who is helpless, paralyzed, insensitive to heat or incapable of understanding the control’s operation should not use an electric blanket.
As a trusted leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO of Morris / Ottawa provides 24-hour residential and commercial services. As a locally owned and operated business, we’re dedicated to being faster to any size disaster, with the training, equipment, and expertise to handle your restoration and cleaning needs.
4 Easy Tips to Avoid A Holiday Lighting Mishap
Avoid an Electrical Fire This Holiday Season
Follow these 4 simple rules to avoid electrical mishaps this Christmas season
- Use UL-Listed lights and light strings. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a nationally recognized, independent product safety certification organization. UL Listing means that UL has tested representative samples of a product and determined that it meets UL's requirements.
- Check for damage. Check for damage to wire insulation, plugs and bulbs. Broken bulbs can be replaced, but damaged cords or plugs should be discarded and replaced.
- Replace bulbs with the same wattage. Using a higher wattage bulb your product is rated for can cause it to overheat and cause a fire.
- Use the right extension cord. Extension cords are rated for outdoor, indoor or indoor/outdoor use; use the correct one. Every extension cord has a certain wattage it can handle. Check that your cord is the appropriate gauge to handle the wattage of your Christmas decorations. Finally, get an extension cord that’s only as long as you need; the longer the cord, the less power it can deliver.
TOP 4 DIY CLEANERS TO KEEP YOUR HOME TOXIN FREE
Keep your Morris/Ottawa home toxin free this winter with our favorite DIY cleaners.
Keep your home toxin-free and safer this winter with our top 4 DIY natural cleaners. These are our favorites because they are easy to make, easy to use, and very effective. See what you think…
- Foaming Hand Soap: Fill a foaming soap dispenser 1/5 full with liquid castile soap. Then top off with water. That’s it, I told you these were going to be easy.
- Natural Liquid Drain-O: If your sink clogs, use this easy, all-natural solution. Take ½ cup of baking soda and pour it down your drain. Next pour ½ cup of vinegar down the drain. Cover with a stopper or pot lid for five minutes. Finish the clog off by pouring one gallon of boiling water down the drain.
- Air Fresher: Believe it or not, most air fresheners contain chemicals that are known to be allergens and induce asthma. The easiest solution is simply setting a bowl of white vinegar out. But for something a little more fun you can combine a couple of cinnamon sticks with several cloves and several orange peels and place them in a pot of water. You can turbo-charge it by bringing it to a boil in a pot and letting it simmer for a while.
- All-Purpose Cleaner/Disinfectant: This one is so easy and so effective, making it our all-time favorite! Just take 1-part vinegar and add to 9 parts water, mix in a spray bottle, and presto! All done!
There you have it, our top 4. If you like these and want more, let us know!
Top 8 Tips for Avoiding Kitchen Fires This Holiday Season
Cooking Fires are the Leading Cause of Home Fires
While you are busy whipping up delicious dishes in the kitchen this holiday season, it is also important to take time to remember safety.
Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home-fire-related injuries in the United States. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports “Cooking equipment was involved in almost half (48%) of all reported home fires...and tied with heating equipment for the second leading cause of home fire deaths.” You can help ensure your holiday plans don’t go up in smoke by taking a few precautions!
- n Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- n Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- n If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- n Keep anything that can catch fire—oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains—away from the stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- n Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- n Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- n For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- n If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- n Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Source: National Fire Protection Association
SERVPRO of Frankfort provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.
Take These 5 Steps to Travel Safely This Winter
Be Prepared in Chicagoland This Winter
We in the Chicagoland area are all too familiar with winter storms. A winter storm can bring dangerously low temperatures and leave you stranded in your car. Travel safely this year by taking these 5 steps:
- For starters, don’t travel if a storm is likely to hit your area. If you must travel by car, let a family member or friend know you’ll be on the road and have them check in with you to be sure you arrived at your destination as planned.
- Carry an emergency kit in your vehicle with the following: a shovel, sand for traction, a blanket and extra warm clothing such as a winter hat and gloves, and a portable cell phone charger.
- Be sure your wiper blades are working good. Wiper blades should be replaced every 6 months to one year, or as soon as you notice a decrease in driving visibility.
- Make sure your car’s washer fluid is well filled. It’s worth taking a peek under the hood of your vehicle to see how much fluid you have; if you wait for the warning light to come on you may run out before you can make it to your destination. At the very least, stop at a gas station and fill up with washer fluid if your car’s washer fluid warning light does come on. Follow this link if you have never filled your car’s washer fluid to see how it’s done: https://youtu.be/vboG7lRgE7s.
- Check your tires for adequate traction. You can use a tread depth gauge, or if you don't have one, you can use a penny; just insert a penny into the tire tread grooves with Lincoln's head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, your tires are at 2/32nds of an inch or less of remaining tread and need to be replaced right away.
Major winter storms can cause big problems for those who are unprepared. Take action this year and be prepared ahead of time.
How to Deep Fry a Turkey Safely This Thanksgiving
Deep Fry Your Turkey Safely This Thanksgiving
A deep-fried turkey: delicious, but worth it? If you’ve seen any of the numerous videos of turkey fryer explosions and fires online, you may have asked yourself this question before. Running the risk of bodily injury or property damage is something to consider when menu planning this holiday season. Follow theses 5 tips to avoid such troubles:
- Deep fry outdoors, away from the house. Stay at least 10 feet away from the house. This includes staying out of the garage (even with the door open), and off of the porch. If a mishap does occur, you’ll be glad that at least you didn’t burn your house down. That leads us to #2…
- Have a fire extinguisher at your side. Don’t just have it in the house or garage, have it readily on hand. An oil fire can get out of hand in seconds, so you’ll need to be ready to act immediately in the event something goes awry. And by the way, never throw water on an oil fire! This will cause a violent reaction, resulting in an explosion; not advisable. Speaking of water…
- Use a thawed turkey. Excess moisture in a frozen can cause the oil in your frying pot to boil furiously and spill over on to the burner below. If oil from your pot spills onto the burner it will burn violently and can cause a fierce fire instantly. Also, to keep oil from spilling over…
- Set up on level ground. The oil in your pot must be level to prevent it from boiling over and spilling on the burner.
- Do not over fill your deep fryer pot. To determine how much oil is needed for frying, place the thawed turkey in the fryer basket and place it in the fryer. Add water until the top of the turkey is barely covered. Mark the water level with the turkey OUT OF THE POT. This is the level you will fill your pot to before you put your turkey in to deep fry it.
Follow these tips and enjoy your delicious deep-fried turkey! For complete instructions on how to deep fry your turkey let me suggest you go to www.butterball.com/how-tos/deep-fry-a-turkey.
SERVPRO of Frankfort provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs
HOW TO REDUCE TOXINS IN YOUR HOME THIS WINTER
Easily Reduce Toxins in Your Morris/Ottawa Home
Most of us spend more time indoors during the winter season. More time indoors means more exposure to the many toxins that are found in the typical home. But fear not, you can minimize your exposure to harmful toxins this winter by taking these 4 steps:
- Take off your shoes inside the house. Sure, this is a no brainer, but it’s so often ignored! So many of the harmful substances in your home are dragged in on the bottom of your shoes. This includes stuff like pesticides, feces, urine, dirt and microscopic bugs.
- Clean your air ducts & fire place. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends getting your air ducts cleaned every three to five years, and the National Fire Protection Association recommends chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year.
- Use a HEPA home air filter. Air conditioner filters only capture relatively large sized particles. HEPA filters remove smaller allergens like dust, smoke, chemicals, asbestos, pollen, and pet dander. If you can’t afford a HEPA system for your whole house, you can purchase room filters for the rooms you spend the most time in. Another option would be to use traditional furnace filters in the higher range of the MERV ratings (12-16). These filters can be used with your existing furnace and come close to the levels of HEPA filtration, with the exception of virus removal.
- Use natural cleaners. Replace chemical cleaners with natural, non-toxic cleaners, such as baking soda, vinegar, castile soap and borax. Check out our blog next week for 5 easy to make yourself home cleaners; you’ll love it!
Do I Need Flood Insurance in Morris / Ottawa?
Don't find out too late if you should have gotten flood insurance?
Homeowners are often surprised, rather unpleasantly, to find out that they do not have flood insurance. In fact, over 75% of homeowner’s find out too late that they should have gotten flood insurance, but didn’t.
Your realtor is supposed to make sure you, the home buyer, is made aware if your newly purchased home is in a flood zone. If your realtor did not inform you either way, call him or her up and ask! You can also check to see if your house is in a flood zone by creating a free account on FreeFlood.net and search for your property there.
If you find out that your property is located in or near a flood zone, you can also check out FloodSmart.gov, where you can get a ballpark estimate on how much flood insurance will cost you.
The most common flood insurance available is offered through a federally regulated program known as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), managed by FEMA, offers flood insurance to homeowners in communities that participate in the program.
NIFP has two policies: One that covers your actual home (building property), and one that covers your personal property. Premiums vary depending on your property's flood risk. You’ll have to get your flood insurance through an insurance agent; you cannot buy it directly from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). FloodSmart.gov can also help you find an agent if need be.
Top 5 Easy Home Tips to Prepare Your Morris/Ottawa Home for Winter
Prepare Your Morris/Ottawa House for Winter
INSULATE EXPOSED FAUCETS AND PIPES. Outdoor faucet protectors and foam pipe insulation or tape are super cheap and easy to apply. The pluming you want to insulate are the pipes exposed in unheated areas of your house such as in attics, crawl spaces, basements and garages. Also, throw a faucet protector on any outdoor faucets after you have disconnected the garden hose.
CLEAN WINDOWS, LIGHT FIXTURES, AND BULBS. Day light hours are limited during the winter, so make the most out of the daylight hours you do have by cleaning your windows and removing any tree branches or bushes that may be blocking them. For streak-free windows, mix ¼ cup of vinegar with ¼ teaspoon of dish detergent and 2 cups of water. Once the sun has gone down get the most out of your lamps and light fixtures by making sure they are good and clean. Your home will appear 30% brighter if you simply clean your light bulbs.
SCHEDULE A FURNACE INSPECTION AND CLEANING. OK, I’ll admit it, this is a no-brainer. Why then do so many people blow this off? Maintenance includes cleaning soot and corrosion, replacing filters and checking the whole system for leaks and damage. Neglecting furnace maintenance can take years off the life of your furnace (a new unit costs about $4,000), drive up heating costs, and fail to keep you warm and comfortable during the winter months.
While you’re at it, schedule an appointment with a chimney sweep also. Having your chimney cleaned prevents carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires during the winter months.
SEAL UP DRAFTS. Sneaky cracks can let cold air in and warm air out during winter. Find drafts around window sills, electrical boxes, recessed lights and wall outlets. You can use a lit incense punk to detect sneaky drafts. Cracks can be sealed easily and inexpensively with a simple tube of caulk.
SWITCH THE DIRECTION OF YOUR CEILING FANS. Slide that switch on the base of your ceiling fan to the opposite direction. You want the blades to turn counterclockwise when it’s warm and clockwise when it’s cool.
Follow these five easy tips for a brighter, warmer and more hassle-free winter!
SERVPRO of Morris/Ottawa Can Help After a Home Fire
Act Fast After Soot & Fire Damage Occurs From a Home Fire
Mitigation requires quick action. The faster a SERVPRO® Franchise Professional arrives on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results—including lower claim costs. Within four hours of loss notification, a SERVPRO® Franchise Professional will be on-site to help ensure a fire damage is handled by utilizing the following services.
After smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. Your experienced local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional will pretest to determine the extent of damage, then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your insured’s structure.
All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can provide wet or dry-cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, and much more. Finally, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items for your insured.
SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals provide specialized services that rid your insured’s home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.