What To Do After A House Fire: Beginning The Restoration Journey

Posted on December 12, 2019.

After a house fire, moving on can seem like an impossible task. 

There is so much that just instantly changed in your life, and it can have you feeling a little lost. But it doesn’t have to feel like this. 

Knowing where to begin and where to go for help is a critical first step in getting your life back, even if there are a few changes.  

If you have gone through a house fire, follow the steps below to be the rock your family needs during this tough time. 

Find a Place to Stay

A house fire can be a terrifying experience for everyone involved. 

First thing you need to do is find a safe and comfortable place to relocate that will help you plan your next steps, and allow your family time to rest and get a handle on what just happened. 

Some of the most common places you can go for a place to stay are family members, friends, or neighbors, as well as finding a hotel. 

If those options are not available to you, reach out to a local disaster relief agency like the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. 

These organizations can usually offer some sort of temporary shelter for free. 

Contact Your Insurance Agent

If you have a house fire, you should file a claim immediately. The sooner you can alert your insurance carrier, the sooner your search for a new home or home repairs can begin. 

Many insurance carriers provide help for daily expenses known as a loss of use coverage. This is especially useful since you won’t be able to cook at home and will most likely have to eat out. 

Your agent is also able to help find cleaning or other services. 

Contact the Police

An empty home can be an attractive location for looters even after a fire. Contacting the local police about your fire will help to ensure that your property will remain safe while you are away. 

Boarding up windows will also provide you with additional security. You can either do this yourself or hire a professional to do this job. 

The cost of boarding up your windows will range between $20 and $100 per window. 

Prices will vary based on the number and size of your windows and whether or not you hire a professional. 

Also, be sure to check with the fire department that your home is safe to enter before you enter your home to begin this task. 

Plan Your Finances

Although you are going through a rough time, your financial responsibilities will still be something you need to keep up with. 

Many of the insurance companies out there will cover mortgages, but it is also smart to check on other recurring costs like car payments as well. 

You should also think about canceling any TV and internet services for the time being if you are not going to be using them. 

Losing things like clothes and cooking equipment is a common occurrence in fires. 

Hold on to your receipts when you are replacing the items to be sure you are reimbursed as soon as possible. 

The price can add up fast if there are purchases being made for several family members.  

Create a List of Damaged Items

By making a list of the items that were either lost or damaged in the fire, you will ensure that you are reimbursed. 

Many insurance carriers require specific information such as the make and model, serial numbers, etc. 

This is going to be challenging to find all this information, but you may be able to find a good amount of it from online bank statements so that you can present proof of purchase and costs. 

You should also be sure to make a list of important documents that were lost in the fire. 

Essential items such as driver’s license, passport, deeds, medical records, birth certificate, and other items will need immediate replacement. 

Your agent should be able to tell you which items are necessary for your claim, and you should replace those first.  

Check on the Safety of Your Home

When you have a house fire, the structure of your home can become weakened and leave behind fumes and burned items and materials. 

If you are looking to return to your home to collect your items and materials, wait for a fire marshal to check it over and say it is safe to enter. 

While entering your home post-fire can be dangerous, re-entering your home can also void parts of your insurance policy and give you major problems in getting reimbursed. 

The lesson here is only to enter your home if your home is considered safe by the fire department and is cleared by your insurance carrier. 

Save Undamaged Possessions

If your home was only partially damaged and is safe for you to enter, go back and collect anything that wasn’t affected in the fire. 

When you remove the items from home, you should be sure that you are getting these items cleaned. 

There are professional cleaning services that can restore those fire-affected items. 

You can rent a storage unit for the time being so that your home does not cause further damage to the items and allows for repairs to be made. 

Wait to Turn on Utilities

Many times after a fire, the utilities will be turned off to prevent further damage. 

If your utilities are disconnected and you want to turn them on, you should contact your fire department and utility provider to be sure everything is safe and okay to turn on. 

Be sure to have a professional inspect your home as connecting unsafe utilities can cause additional fires and gas leaks that cause even more damage. 

 

When your home has a disaster like a fire happen, the desire to get things back to normal as quickly as possible is at the front of your mind. This is a specialty of the disaster restoration team at ServiceMaster of Minneapolis.

We’re on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and know that disaster can come at any time.  There is no didaster too big or too small for us to handle.

Hopefully, this list was able to give you a road map about what to do after a house fire and takes a little bit of stress away from your current situation. 


7 Cheap Ways to Heat Your House This Winter

Posted on December 9, 2019.

 

Well, we’re at that time of year again where just the thought of stepping outside sounds dreadful, and we all wonder why we haven’t moved somewhere warm. 

Winter can also be expensive, especially considering we spend the majority of our time inside under blankets binge-watching TV, and our utility bills are continually adding up from heating the house. 

It can be tough staying warm in the winter, after all, how long can you sit under a blanket while also being productive throughout your day?

Thankfully, there is a way for you to reduce the utility bill with a few small changes. there is a way for you to reduce the utility bill with a few small changes. 

Get a space heater that is energy efficient

When you heat a whole house, it can get expensive, especially since you are only using a small portion of it. 

One way you can save on this is to dial down your thermostat a few degrees and buy yourself a space heater. Space heaters are usually pretty mobile, so you can bring it with you whenever you change rooms. 

Not every space heater on the market is going to be designed to save you money. Some older space heaters will require very large amounts of electricity to power them. Before you buy one, you should check to see if it includes energy-saving features like timers or a built-in thermostat. This will mean that once it hits the desired temperature, your heater will shut off automatically. 

It is also important to never run a space heater unless you are home, as they can be a fire hazard if they are left unattended. 

Buy a smart thermostat

You could be throwing away hundreds of dollars every year if you still have an old-fashioned thermostat. 

You should consider investing in a programmable thermostat where you can turn the heat on when you are home and off when you are at work. 

You can take it a step further and buy a smart thermostat, which ranges from $139 to $199 for basic models. Your utility company might even give a rebate if you purchase one. 

Smart thermostats can do some pretty cool things like adjusting for minor temperature changes from activities like cooking that can increase the temperature. 

Use your fireplace

Your fireplace can be a big ally in helping you to reduce the high costs of heating. 

You can reduce your costs by turning down your thermostat and use zone heating in the areas where you spend most of your time with an energy-efficient fireplace.

Some homeowners can reduce their heating costs by 20-40 percent this way. 

If you don’t have a fireplace and are looking to get one, a professional installation can be completed in as little as six hours and can make your fireplace up to 85 percent more efficient.  

Use your curtains

Make the most out of the sun and get some free heat. Open your curtains and let the sunlight in during the day for some extra (free) heat. 

When it gets dark, you should shut your curtains. This will act as an extra insulator to keep the heat inside your rooms and make sure there are no leaks and gaps, so the warm air stays in, and the cold air stays out. 

Insulate your attic

Keeping things insulated will help you to decrease your costs for years after the installation. When a home is well insulated, it will keep the warm air in and the cold air out during the winter. 

You can either hire someone to do the installation professionally or buy the insulation yourself. If you have the extra cash, you can also have more insulation pumped through the rest of your house, although this would require you to put a hole in the drywall. 

While there are some upfront costs with these projects, you will save money in the long run as the need for more energy will decrease.

Invest in warm clothing

If you can tough it out, turn your thermostat down and throw on some extra layers. Keeping the thermostat lower can help save you hundreds of dollars in heating bills. 

You could invest in some warmer clothes like ski socks, sweaters, hoodies, etc. It might take a little to get used to, but once you do, you’ll barely notice it. 

Just buy a couple of extra layers and save hundreds on your heating bills. 

Cook the heat into the room

When you’re cooking, you are using energy, and you’ve got to eat so you might as well kill two birds with one stone. When you are cooking, your oven will help aid in the heating of your home. 

When you are complete with your cooking and shut off your oven, crack the door open, and the remaining hot air will come out, and you will get the benefit of the heat the oven generated. 

As you can see, there are many different ways for you to heat your home this winter and save yourself a little extra cash. 

You just need to find the one that best suits your home and your lifestyle. You don’t need to pick only one option either. You can play around with these ideas, and eventually, you will come up with a system that you like the most.  

Good luck staying warm this winter, and hopefully, some of these ideas will help. 

Also, if you need a carpet cleaning at the end of winter, give us a call, and we’ll get your carpets looking like new again. 


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