As New Orleans fire clean up professionals, we feel a moral responsibility to share our knowledge and experiences with those who have yet to experience a disaster for themselves, in the hopes that they might never have the misfortune of allowing us the honor to serve them in person.
We have witnessed many common causes of soot, fire, and water damage, along with the acidic and corrosive destruction slowly exacted upon a home and all its contents by the harmful properties of smoke and odor. Sometimes, there is just simply nothing that could have been done to prevent a disaster that was bound to happen to someone, at some time.
But more often than not, these disasters are caused by one simple mistake, one little oversight or accident, one tiny slip-up made all the more painful by the knowledge of how easily and quickly it could have been avoided. That’s what the Bayou Brief is all about—disaster prevention, and disaster preparedness for when prevention fails—and that is why our next winterization tip will focus on the fireplace.
Before you use your fireplace for the first time each year, please have your chimney inspected thoroughly. Be sure to get a screen cap or some other exclusion/filtration device installed on the top of the chimney if you don’t have one already, and make sure the chimney itself is intact and sealed tightly to the roof, with no penetrations or gaps in the mortar. Be careful with what you store around the chimney vent in the attic.
Even though it should be properly insulated to protect against dangerous amounts of heat transfer, it’s still not the kind of area for tons of cardboard boxes filled with old, dry newspaper clippings and scarecrow decorations. Before your first fire of the year, make sure that the entire chimney is free and clear from leaves and debris or blockages caused by birds or other small animals looking for shelter up on the roof.
A dry nest of twigs is the last thing you want burning inside your chimney, so close to the wood that comprises your home. Also, when your fire is out, make sure that the flue is closed so as not to let outside air in or conditioned air out.
There are more than enough PSA’s saying the same thing on the radio these days, but please, no more than three lengths of lights to an extension cord, and be sure not to climb around or under any power lines when installing your own electricity.
Pipes should be wrapped, or ready to be wrapped, at the first mention of a possible overnight freeze, and all the water to your outside spigots should be shut off and the pipes fully drained before the freeze begins.
If your home is raised, make sure that your plumbing pipes are insulated. This is a problem even in the summer for raised homes, since condensation from un-insulated pipes can wreak just as much havoc on a subfloor, slowly over time, as a sudden frozen pipe burst can do in a matter of minutes. Frozen pipes are a huge source of water damage claims each year, but pipes with no insulation are a year-round threat to your home’s well being. So unless you’d prefer to be walking in a Water Wonderland this Christmas, wrap ‘em up! It also doesn’t hurt to leave just a tiny stream of water flowing in each of your faucets during those extra cold nights when a freeze is most likely.
A final tip for keeping warm and saving money at the same time is to reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. (Yeah, imagine that.) If your ceiling fan blades are rotating in a clockwise direction, they will do a much better job of keeping the heat closer to the floor level where the family is, rather than up towards the ceiling, where warmer air is normally inclined to travel.
If you do experience water or fire damage this holiday season, the safest thing you can do at that point is to remain calm, gather your family to safety, and call your local New Orleans fire clean up company. We can help you with the claim-filing process and get you on the path to recovery as quickly and as smoothly as possible. So when the weather outside is frightful, remember these tips and stay safe and prepared during the holiday season!
Written by Freelance writer, Nathan Folse