Frozen Pipes, how to prevent and how to deal
What is worse than a major home maintenance disaster? Try several major home maintenance disasters… at once. When a house’s water pipes freeze, the situation is not as simple as calling a plumber, an 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.
Frozen water pipes are a problem in both cold and warmer climates, affecting quarter-million families each winter, and it can happen in homes with both plastic and copper pipes. It’s all too common, especially considering this damage is largely preventable.
In addition to taking the usual preventive precautions, here are a few steps you can take to keep your pipes from turning frigid nights into inconvenient, and expensive ordeals.
Before winter arrives
The three central causes of frozen pipes are quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. You can prepare you home during the warmer months.
- Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic, even if you live in a climate where freezing is uncommon. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember, the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
- Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions.
- Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause the pipe to freeze.
- Before winter hits, disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
When the mercury plummets
Even if you’ve taken the right preventative steps, extreme weather conditions can still harm your pipes. Here are a few more steps you can take:
- A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
- Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature – more common overnight – could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
Before you skip town
Travelling in the winter months might be good for the soul, but don’t forget to think about your pipes before you leave. Here are a few things you can do:
- Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C)
- Ask a friend to check on your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing.
- Shut off and drain the water system (winterize).
If your pipes do freeze
What if your pipes still freeze, despite your best preventive measures? First step: Don’t panic. Just because they are frozen doesn’t mean they’ve already burst. Here’s what you can do:
- If you turn on your faucet and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
- Don’t not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. You could be electrocuted.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flam because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!!
- You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, warming toward the coldest section of pipe.
- If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.
Grilling safety tips
Fire in the grill, under hot dogs and burgers, is a welcome sight at the family cookout. But fire anywhere else can make your summer kick-off barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons. With approximately 8,900 fires started by grills each year, SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale doesn’t want your summer to be ruined by one as well. To keep you and your family safe while grilling, follow these general guidelines.
General grilling tips
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
Before you use your grill:
- Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
- Check the gas (propane) tank hose for the potential (gas) leaks. To do that:
- Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.
- Turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
- If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
- If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
- If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.
When the grill is on:
- As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners.
- If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
- If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
Of course, accidents do happen, no matter what. If you do find yourself the victim of a grill fire and in need of help, contact us at 248-246-0790, 24/7, 365. The sooner you call us, the sooner we will get your summer back to sunshine, family fun-days, and backyard barbecues, “Like it never even happened.”
Water Damage Tips for Commercial Properties
Water damage can affect your commercial property in Metro Detroit at any time. Regardless of whether the damage occurs from a broken pipe or a weather related even, every hour spent cleaning up is an hour lost in revenue and productivity. Proper extraction and drying equipment and techniques is crucial to help minimize the possibility of additional damage and potential microbial growth after the water damage has occurred. Drying out the affected areas quickly and efficiently requires specialized methods and equipment that can only be provided by trained professionals, like the crews at SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale.
Safety should always be your primary focus. Make sure that the affected areas are marked so the tenants and visitors are aware. Here are some safety tips for Metro Detroit Commercial property owners who are faced with water damage.
Safety Tips for Commercial Water Damage Cleanup
- Turn off electricity
- Do NOT use home or shop vacuums to remove water, to avoid the risk of electric shock.
- Do NOT turn on heating or air conditioning units if the situation is sewage-related. This may spread contamination.
- Wash your hands following contact with damaged items.
Steps You Can Take Before The Professionals from SERVPRO Arrive
- If at all possible, stop the water at its source.
- Remove loose items from floors.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture to avoid any damage.
- Remove colored rugs and other items that may stain floor coverings.
- Take out wet upholstery and cushions.
- Pin up any draperies or furniture skirts to keep them as dry as possible and to prevent staining.
- Position plastic blocks or aluminum foil between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air conditioning on and open windows for maximum drying in summer.
- Move art and other decor to a dry place.
Create you SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile
SERVPRO offers what we call an Emergency READY Profile to any of our business owning customers. The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile is a startup approach that provides the critical information that is needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of building and contact information. By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business will receive the benefit of other 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you to quickly get your property back in working order.
The Advantages of The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile
- A NO COST assessment of your facility – This means that there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency – It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects, but it will save you a lot of time if ever needed.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster. – This can help you minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
- Establish your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. - you have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
- Identification for the line of command for authorizing work to begin. – This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information. – Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”
Fireworks Safety for this Upcoming Independence Day!
With the Fourth of July holiday just around the corner, it’s time to start planning and lining up the fun and entertainment. Many of us Michiganders will be lighting off fireworks in tradition and celebration of our country’s independence. In 2012, Michigan enacted a new firework law, allowing for state residents to purchase and operate bigger fireworks, year-round. Consumer-grade fireworks are now legal for purchase from state-authorized retailers, and must meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. This genre includes roman candles, bottle rockets, aerials, missile-type rockets, and reloadable shell devices. With these this new law comes more need for added safety to discharge these larger fireworks. Not only is there a heightened risk for bodily injury, with approximately 8,600 injuries caused by fireworks each year and 10-12 deaths, but fireworks are also responsible for over 2,000 reported structure and vehicle fires. It is important to know and practice firework safety, not only for yourself, but for your audience and guests, as well as your neighbors and all the personal property surrounding the ignition and viewing area. SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale is dedicated to keeping you informed and offering way to protect not only your home, but your family as well.
If you plan on entertaining with fireworks this upcoming Independence Day, SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale recommends that you follow this fireworks safety tips:
- Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance description prior to igniting.
- Know and obey all your local laws and ordinances regarding the use of fireworks.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from building and vehicles, as well as overhanging trees.
- A responsible adult should always supervise all firework activities.
- Children should never handle fireworks, even sparklers. Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle fireworks, under close adult supervision.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Be careful when lighting the fuse. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back up to a safe distance.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Don’t try to pick it up right away either. Wait at least 20 minutes then soak it in a bucket if water.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case of a fire or other mishap. After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water, or place spend devices in a bucket of water for a few hours before discarding to prevent a trash fire.
- Use Common Sense. Never point or throw fireworks at any living thing. Never carry them in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. Wear safety glasses.
- Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale wants you to have a happy, fun, and safe 4th of July. But hey, accidents happen. If you find yourself in need of fire or water restoration, call us at 248-246-0790. We are available to you 365 days a year, 7 days a week, and 24 hours a day. Call us any time, day or night and we will be there, SERVPRO is faster to any size disaster.
We are in need of Experienced Crew Chief, are you the One???
Our SERVPRO Heroes, is this you!??
SERVPRO® of Oak Park/Ferndale is looking to fill a Production Crew Chief Position
Do you love helping people through difficult situations?
Then, don’t miss your chance to join our Franchise as a new Production Crew Chief. In this position, you will be making a difference each and every day. We have a sincere drive toward the goal of helping make fire and water damage “Like it never even happened.”
Our Franchise is seeking someone who is comfortable working hard in challenging situations, enjoys meeting new people, has excellent communication skills, enjoys supervising others, and is a serious multi-tasker. If you are self-motivated and have superb interpersonal skills, then you’ll thrive in this work environment. Are you highly dependable and super-excited about routinely exceeding expectations? Then you may be our perfect hero!
As a valued SERVPRO® Franchise employee, you will receive a competitive pay rate, with opportunity to learn and grow.
- Explain process and answer customer questions, as needed.
- Monitor, communicate, and respond to customer needs/concerns.
- Communicate clear expectations to Production Technicians and supervise their activities.
- Perform production processes as scheduled and ensure quality control.
- Identify safety hazards, communicate, and establish control measures to ensure the safety of occupants and workers.
- Manage job file documentation to ensure complete and accurate project details.
- Manage and control costs of production projects.
- Manage assets by protecting and using equipment and materials properly.
- Effective written and oral communication
- Basic math skills
- High school diploma/GED
- At least 6 month of water/fire restoration experience, in a supervisory role preferred
- IICRC WRT Certification (include register number on resume)
- Valid Michigan Driver’s License with a good driving record
- Ability to lift a minimum of 50 pounds regularly, occasionally up to 100 pounds with assistance
- Ability to climb ladders, work at ceiling heights, work in tight spaces (e.g., crawls spaces, attics)
- Ability to sit/stand/walk for prolonged periods of time
- Ability to repetitively push/pull/lift/carry objects
- Ability to work with/around cleaning products/chemicals
- Ability to travel locally and out of state when necessary
- Ability to successfully complete a background check and drug screen subject to applicable law
Hourly pay rate is based on experience and certifications, with possibility of overtime pay and increases based on merit.
TO APPLY: E-mail your resume to SERVPRO9678@comcast.net
SERVPRO® of Oak Park/Ferndale is an EOE M/F/D/V employer
It's a Bird, it's a Plane, No, it's a HOUSE! How to Survive a Tornado
A Home Damaged by a Tornado in Lapeer, MI
Storm season is upon us and while we may not reside in “Tornado Alley,” Michigan still sees its fair share of tornadoes. Many of us have been bless to never have experienced an actual tornado, yet I’m sure we’ve all been under a tornado warning. Well we hope that none of you will be caught in one, SERVPRO wants to give you some tips and knowledge that can help save your life if you’re ever staring down a tornado.
First things first, what is a tornado and what causes them? A tornado is a violently rotating column of air which descends from a thunderstorm to the ground. No other weather phenomenon can match the fury and destructive power of a tornado. A tornado can destroy large buildings and lift 20-ton railroad cars right off the tracks. While scientist do not fully understand exactly how tornadoes are formed, they do know that a preceding supercell thunderstorm is needed. A supercell is an organized thunderstorm that contains very strong, rotating updraft. This rotation helps to produce severe weather events such as large hail, strong downbursts, and of course, tornadoes. Tornadoes form under a certain set of weather conditions in which three very different types of air need to come together in a specific way. It goes something like this:
Near the ground lies a layer of warm and humid air, along with strong south winds. Colder air and strong southwest winds lie in the atmosphere. Temperature and moisture differences between the surface and the upper levels create what is called instability, one of the necessary ingredient for tornado formation. Thank change in wind speed and the direction with height is known as wind shear. This is linked to the eventual development of rotation from which a tornado may form. A third layer of hot dry air becomes established between the warm, moist air at low levels and the cool, dry air upward. This hot layer acts as a cap and allows the warm air underneath to warm further, making the air even more unstable. Things start to happen when a storm system aloft moves east and begins to lift the various layers. Through this lifting process the cap is removed, in turn setting the stage for an explosive thunderstorm to develop as strong updrafts form. Complex interactions between the updraft and the surrounding winds may cause the updraft to begin rotating… and a tornado is born.
The Difference Between a Watch and A Warning
Your listening to the weather on the TV, your NOAA Weather Radio (don't got one? Get one!), or online. You hear that there’s a tornado watch/tornado warning. Do you know the difference? A tornado watch means that conditions are right for a tornado, and tornadoes are possible. This also means to remain alert and watch the sky. Watch for these danger signs that a tornado is immanent:
- Dark, greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if its rotating)
- A loud roar, similar to a freight train
If you are noticing any of these sign, you best take cover quickly. That brings us to a tornado warning. This means that a tornado has been spotted by a human eye or radar, and that it is moving towards you in the warning area. Take shelter immediately. Tornadoes are very unpredictable and just because it’s not on a bee-line course to you, doesn’t mean it won’t shift at any moment, change directions and end up in your backyard.
What to Do During a Tornado
So, a tornado warning has been issued and you’re directed to take cover immediately but you don’t know where to go for shelter… Here are the recommended safest places to go based on where you are:
- A Mobile Home/Trailer: Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of any nearby building or storm shelter. Even if the mobile home is equipped with a tie-down system cannot withstand the force of a tornado’s winds.
- A Vehicle: If you can safely drive away from tornado, please do so. If there’s a sturdy structure available, go inside, go to the lowest floor possible. If you don’t have time or not sure if you have time, or you’re not sure which way the tornado is moving, you can stay in the vehicle, park it but leaving it running so the airbags will work. The airbags and the frame can offer some amount of protection but this is not absolutely safe. The other option is to get out of the car and lay down inside a ditch. See more in “Outside with no Nearby Structure” for what to do here.
- A Structure/Building: Seek shelter in the lowest level of the building (basement, storm cellar). Bring with you your NOAA Weather Radio, so you can get all alerts and updates. If there isn’t a lower level, go to the inner most room on the ground floor. Often a bathroom or laundry room can make a suitable shelter area because the water pipes reinforce the walls, providing a sturdier structure. Put as many walls between you and the outside and stay away from windows and doors. Get down on your knees and use your hands to protect your head and neck from any falling debris. You can cushion yourself with a mattress, but don’t cover yourself. Stay inside until the your certain that the storm had passed, as multiple tornadoes can emerge from the same storm.
- Outside with No Nearby Structure: Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head and neck with your hands. If you were in a vehicle, make sure you are far enough away from the vehicle so that it doesn’t tumble unto you. Beware of potential flooding in the ditch you are occupying. Do not get under an overpass or bridge, this will increase your risk of injury. You are safer in a low, flat location. Be aware of flying debris, a tornado can pick up significantly large objects and turn them into missiles. Flying debris causes the most tornado deaths.
You Survived a Tornado, Now What??
After a tornado passes and you need to take some additional safety measures. Wait some additional time to be sure that there are no additional tornadoes coming your way. Be careful as you leave you shelter, there might be some unseen damage and debris waiting for you on the other side of the doors. If your home or business has been damaged in the tornado, walk carefully around the outside and check for any injured or trapped people, and check for things like loose power lines, gas leaks, and general structural damage. Leave the area if you smell gas or if there is floodwater around the building. Call your insurance agent and file a claim. Take photos of all the damaged areas to your home, business, and/or vehicles. Call SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale as well, 248.246.0790, we will be out to your home ASAP, usually within 2-4 hours, and we’ll begin emergency services right away as we wait to hear from the insurance company to confirm coverage and obtain approvals. If the destruction to your home or business is extensive, don’t freak out and panic. The American Red Cross and other volunteer agencies will arrive to your area with food and water, and to set up temporary housing and shelters. Regardless the amount of damage your home or business has suffered from this storm, SERVPRO can help. “We are faster to any size disaster!”
Mold in your home, school, or workplace is a serious concern for your health, since up to 40 percent of American Schools and 25 percent of homes have mod infestations. Mold can cause several serious health problems that you may not realize are related to mold exposure. SERVPRO wants you to be able recognize a mold problem as well as the symptoms of systemic mycotoxicosis (debilitating symptoms caused by mycotoxins.) Mycotoxicins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which you then unwittingly inhale, ingest, or touch. These mold toxins are extremely potent and can cause adverse health effects.
Mold’s Favorite Places in Your Home
Fungi grow by releasing reproductive cells (spores) into the air, just like plants reproduce by spreading seeds. These airborne spores are invisible to the naked eye; it is not uncommon to find hundreds or even thousands of mold spores per cubic foot of indoor airspace. Spore are extremely small. 20 million would fit on a single postage stamp. Spores can survive harsh environmental conditions. In fact, they can lie dormant for decades until favorable conditions all them to spring back to life.
Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, provided moisture and oxygen are present. The most common indoor places for mold to take hold are damp areas, such as:
- Bathrooms and kitchens, especially under sinks – particularly leaking ones
- Behind or under appliances that hide sloe plumbing leaks (refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.)
- Roof leaks
- Around windows where condensation collects
- High humidity areas for your home, such as basements
Often, the first sign of a mold problem is a “musty” odor. You are probably familiar with the smell of mildew-mildew is simply a variety of mold.
Know Your Molds
Mold is a type of fungus, like mushrooms and yeast. There are 100,000 to 400,000 types of fungi, with more than 1,000 types of mold that grow inside houses across America.
The five most common indoor mold varieties are:
- Alternaria: Commonly found in your nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract;
- Aspergillus: Usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant house dust; produces mycotoxins;
- Cladosporium: This very common outdoor fungus can find its way indoors to grow on textiles. Wood, and other damp, porous materials;
- Penicillium: Very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation; some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.
- Chaetomium: Chaetomium is a dangerous mold that little about which is known. This species of mold is characterized by a strong musty odor while thriving in water damaged drywall. Exposure to chaetomium results in classic mold related symptoms
- Stachybotrys: Extremely toxic “black Mold’ that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious health problems; thankfully, less common in homes that the other four, but not rare; found on wood or paper (cellulose products), but NOT on concrete, linoleum or tile.
Established That Mold Is a Problem
Mold spores are very difficult to destroy, even with cleaning agents, such as hot water or bleach (which is itself toxic). First and foremost, you want to get away from the problematic area – which means move if you have to. But come on, moving just isn’t an option for most. If you can’t move, there are some remedial steps you need to take to address the mold problem:
- Get a high-quality air purifier to control mold toxins. In addition to the mold itself, you need to make sure you get rid of any mold toxins. When a mold breaks down, it disintegrates, and every little particle may contain mycotoxins that have the capability of making you very sick. One option is a photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) unit. These unit can cover the whole house (up to 3000SF), they require little maintenance, and are relatively inexpensive. Please understand, no air filter in the world will take care of a mold issue until you have the humidity under control and the mold has been properly cleaned from your home.
- Get professional Mold Remediation. If your mold problem is sizable, or if you have black mold, your best bet is to hire a professional mold remediation company, like us here at SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale. Mold remediation is treaty and complicated and should always be done by a professional. Unless proper precautions are make, trying to remove black mold on your own is just as hazardous as doing nothing at all. Once mold is disturbed, spores are then stirred up and become airborne, affecting other areas that may not have been affected before. Professional mold remediation may not be cheap, but it is better than the alternative, and when it comes to your health, and the heath of your family, you can’t put a price on that.
When it comes to choosing a mold remediation company, it is always best to choose a contractor that is certified. SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale is an IICRC (Institution of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification) Certified firm. Our technicians are trained in the proper techniques to successfully remove mold from a home. We are also preferred contractors with several insurance companies, if the mold remediation is covered by your insurance.
The Process of Mold Remediation
Once an indoor air quality hygienist (IAQH) has completed the mold testing and verified the mold types, the severity of the infestation and what areas are affected, remediation can begin. It is important, depending on the severity of the mold, to consider relocating. When remediation begins, the removal of drywall, carpet, wallpaper, etc. can release massive amounts of mold spores. While containment is set to contain the work area from the unaffected spaces, if that containment is breached, those spores will be released and will affected the remaining spaces. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) should always be worn while in the affected work area. This results in an exposure to a massive amount of spores all at once. This is especially dangerous when handling Stachybotrys or Chaetomium. Frequently, visible mold only accounts for a fraction of the actual mold infestation. Many species can penetrate beneath the surface, therefore making it nearly impossible to remediate without full removal and replacement. A dehumidifier is important to stabilize the environment and keeping the moisture level of the air at a minimum during the remediation. All affected materials should be removed; the remaining areas should be scrubbed clean with an antimicrobial solution and then sealed to prevent any re-infestations. Special equipment is placed in the affected areas to further remove any remain mold spores from the air. The area is to remain closed and contained until the IAQH has performed the post-test and the results confirm the area is clean and safe. Testing should always be performed by a third party to ensure the integrity of the results.
If you are experiences any of these listed health issues or expect that your home or place of business has mold, call us at 248-246-0790. We will walk to through this process and discuss your options. Please remember, never try to removed mold on your own, you’re doing more harm than good. Let SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale take care of this for you, it’s what we do.
Steps to Recovering after a Storm
Bad weather can spring up without much warning. Most of the time when a bad thunderstorm is threatening your area, you hardly have enough time to find shelter. As a homeowner, it is important to think about these moments before they occur.
Do you have the correct insurance policy? Is your home going to be covered in the event of a disaster? Is the amount of coverage going to be enough to restore your home? Thinking about these questions BEFORE the storm damage occurs can make your life after much easier.
Before you do anything else, stop and make sure your home is covered for the following:
Water and Windstorm Damage
Debris and Tree Removal
Sewer Backup Due to Flooding
Sump Pump Failure Due to Flooding
Additional Living Expenses in Case a Storm Forces You Out of Your Home
Once you have the proper home insurance coverage for storm damage, you can feel safer during the event of a tragedy. Seeing your home in ruins after a major storm can be heartbreaking. It can be difficult for families to know how to move on from this misfortune. The best thing you can do for your family and for your home is to begin storm damage recovery immediately. If you have suffered loss or damage because of bad weather, take the following steps on how to recover:
Take Pictures of the Damage
As soon as you are able, you need to start documenting the damage that has been done to your home. The trick to good storm damage recovery is keeping solid records of the damage. This includes noting any conversations that you have with your insurance agency and with the restoration company about the damage. You should be able to provide them with pictures and evidence of the destruction.
Make an Insurance Claim
It is crucial that you contact your home insurance agency immediately after your home suffers from storm damage. This is one of the biggest steps in storm damage recovery. Your homeowner’s insurance company should be able to provide you with support and structure for moving this process forward to restoring your home.
To start, you should find an exact copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy and determine if the damage exceeds your deductible. You will then need to work with your insurance company to get the necessary money and repairs completed. They will be able to refer you to local restoration companies, some may have preferred contractors that they will recommend, but the decision is ultimately yours as to who you chose to use. Once you have made your decision, report it back to your insurance company.
Finding a contractor that works directly with your insurance company is your best option, and it will save you time and hassle. Being the man in the middle of the two companies can be difficult. There are some contractors who make it their goal to work directly with your insurance company (SERVPRO is one of them) to improve communication during the project. This will take a lot of stress and pressure off you during this difficult time.
Make Temporary Repairs
Once all the proper claims have been made and the damage has been reported correctly, you can begin to make some temporary repairs. These repairs don’t have to be major reconstructions, and they don’t have to last your family forever. You can start by making your home livable again.
If you have suffered roof damage, place a tarp or plastic material over your roof to keep your home from being damaged further by additional rain. Begin the water mitigation process by having all the wet, destroyed materials removed and drying equipment put in place to prevent further damage from microbial growth. If you have lost a wall or large portion of your home, work on closing off that section of your house until you can do more permanent repairs.
Allow Your Family to Recover Slowly
Home repairs do not have to be completed all at one time. Storm damage can take several months to fully recover from and it is important to give your family the time that need. It might take a while before your home is fully restored to its former glory, but it is important that you take your time and get the job done correctly.
Call SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale if you find yourself victim of Mother Nature’s wrath. We are a preferred contractor for most insurance companies and we can work directly with any insurance company to take that stress off your hands, you have enough to worry about. Just give us a call at 248-246-0790 after your insurance claim has been made and we’ll handle the rest.
Fire Safety Tips for your Next Outdoor Party from SERVPRO!
With the warmer weather we’re having and summer just around the corner, outdoor parties in the backyard, or at the cottage are a delightful way to spend time with family and friends. However, safety should be your top priority when hosting any kind of party, especially when you’re using open flames for cooking, lighting or ambiance. Fire sources such as candles, portable outdoor fireplaces, sky lanterns, patio (tiki) torches, and fire pits can start a fire if they’re not used carefully. SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale wants you to enjoy your family and friends, as well as see you all be safe, so here are some practical tips to prevent fires during you next outdoor party:
- If there are children and pets at the party, always supervise them and keep them at least 3 feet away from any flames.
- If the scene is decorated with burning candles, use sturdy candle holders to help prevent candles from being tipped over.
- More than half of all candle fires start when objects that can burn are too close to candles. Keep flammable objects far away from candles and any other open flame.
- We strongly recommend using battery-operated flameless candles and patio torches instead of their more dangerous, open-flame counterparts.
- When a portable fireplace is burning, be present at all times. Or designate another responsible adult to keep an eye on the fireplace.
- Keep in mind that sky lanterns are prohibited by NFPA code requirements, so consider using something safer instead, such as kites or streamers.
- If you’re going to make a campfire, build it in a fire pit to help prevent fire from spreading. Never leave the fire unattended, and keep a water source nearby.
- If you’re grilling, keep the gill at least 10 feet away from any structure and don’t turn on the gas with the grill closed.
SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale hopes that you’ll keep these tips in mind during any outdoor party and pass them on to those who plan to host outdoor parties this summer. SERVPRO want you all to have a wonderful, safe summer. However, if you, or someone you know find yourself in need of any professional fire, water, storm, and mold restoration services, contact SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale office at 248-246-0790. We are here for you 24/7, 365!
Flood Insurance Vs. Sewer Backup Coverage, Are you covered??
Flood insurance and sewer backup insurance are not the same thing, nor are they included in your standard homeowner’s policy. It is important to understand the difference between the two, whether you have them, and if you need one or the other… or both!
Floods are the most devastating natural disaster in the US each year causing billions in losses and displacing thousands. While flooding is a common concern for those near rivers and streams, all homes in the US can be caught off-guard by floods. Floods are defined as surface water that enters your home for the outside. A flood can be caused by spring run-off, melting snow, an overflowing river, lake or stream, or even a swimming pool. Excessive groundwater buildup that enters your home via leaks or seepage is also considered flooding.
Sewer back-ups occur when massive volumes of water overload a drainage system. Once the waste water rises above your basement drains, it pushes up into your home through not just those floor drains but your sinks, tubs and any other drainage outlet. Sewer back-up can be a smelly, filthy mess and can introduce black mold, harmful bacteria, and sewage waste into your home, creating health risks and extensive damage.
Both these events can be caused by heavy rainfall, and if you don’t have the proper coverage. you will be footing the bill for this. It is important to know what coverages you have. Based on where you live, one of these may not be logically for you to carry. Here are some facts flood insurance you should consider:
- All flood insurance policies are backed by the federal government, they set all rates.
- Flood insurance never covers contents in a basement. It only covers the basement’s foundation and drywall, it does not cover carpeting, paneling, or tile.
- Most flood insurance polices just cover the dwelling, in case the home is swept away in the flood.
- You can purchase flood insurance for the contents in the main floor, but it will increase your premium.
- Flood insurance will cover certain major appliances like furnaces, air conditioners, freezers, etc. but it will not cover stereos, televisions, furniture or other contents.
- Enter your address into FloodSmart.gov’s One Step Flood Risk Profile tool and the site will tell you how likely it is that your property will be flooded
- There’s a limit on government coverage.You can get upwards of $250,000 on the structure of your home, which in most parts of the U.S. is going to be enough.
- Flood insurance involves water coming into your home from rain, a river, a lake, or external source of water. Flood insurance does not cover water sewer backup, even though this may be caused by excessive rain water.
Sewer back-up coverage can be added as an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy. This endorsement covers physical loss to property covered by your policy if the loss is caused by a discharge of water or waterborne material from a sewer, drain or sump. For a loss to be covered, the sewer, drain or sump must be located on premises listed in the endorsement. Here are some facts to consider:
- Sewer back-ups are somewhat a common occurrence.
- The cost can vary, but the typical sewer backup endorsement will cost under $100.
- With sewer backup, you purchase specific amounts of coverage, i.e. $10,000; $15,000 or $20,000. This helps cover the cost of cleaning and mitigating the damage caused from the backup as well as replacing carpets, drywall, personal contents, even cleaning ducts.
- There are some exclusions to the endorsement, one being floods, as well as poor maintenance, power failure, nor will it cover the cost of repairing the sewer or drain.
- Metro Detroit residences should all carry sewer backup coverage, especially if they plan to finish their basement and keep a lot of stuff in there.
Understanding the difference between these two add-on coverage's in lieu of your homeowner’s policy is very important and can save you thousands of dollars if South Eastern Michigan experiences more of the epic rainfall that happened August 2014. If you have more questions or don’t know what coverage you do have, call your insurance agent and find out. Ask questions, be informed. SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale had a lot of customers that found themselves coming out of pockets $30,000+ to repair their homes after that storm, we don’t want this to happen to you.