Dealing With Extreme Cold
Frozen & Burst Pipes Can be a Serious Problem
As temperatures drop this winter, following are some tips that people can take to stay safe during the cold weather.
- Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep warm inside.
- Have a working carbon monoxide detector. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning device inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any enclosed area. Locate these items a minimum of 20 feet from doors, windows and vents.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure that everyone knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk during the winter as more people turn to alternate heating sources (such as space heaters) without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- If you have a wood burning fireplace, make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected. Use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs. Make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
- Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
- If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
- Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
- Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
- Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
- Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
Unfortunately, even the best prepared can still become a victim of water damage due to the cold weather. If this is you, or someone you know, have them call SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City. Working to make it "Like it never even happened."
What to Know About Mold
Extensive Mold Growth on Drywall Surface
Mold affects more homes and businesses than you think - it’s everywhere. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re breathing it in as you’re reading this blog. Mold spores are ever present in nature and wet, damp environments are ideal breeding grounds for mold spores to grow and flourish. Left unchecked, the mold will get out of control and an expert mold remediation service company, like SERVPRO, will be needed to get rid of the problem.
Following are some mold facts in order to help you learn to understand the basics:
- Bleach does not kill mold and industry leaders do not recommend it. It usually grows back within weeks after being sprayed with bleach.
- All home buyers should require an inspection before buying a home. Even newly built homes can report active growth.
- Mold spores exist almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors. It only becomes a problem when large amounts of spores exist in an area. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps 300,000 or more.
- Often times, homeowner insurance policies do not cover damages directly related to mold.
- Organic and/or porous materials only have to be exposed to excessive moisture for 24-48 hours before mold can begin to grow.
- Mold growth usually does not happen directly on glass or concrete. However, it can grow on the dust that accumulates on these materials.
- Serious infestation reduces property values.
- Infestation usually means that there is a structural defect that’s allowing moisture access.
- Live Christmas trees can be a significant source of mold spores.
- Humidifiers can cause moldproblems because they could significantly increase indoor humidity making conditions right for mold growth.
- If you try to paint over porous surfaces, mold will grow through the paint.
- Outdoors, it plays an important role in nature. It breaks down toppled trees, fallen leaves, and dead animals.
Things that you can do to minimize the risk of mold contamination include promptly mitigating any water damage that occurs in your home. Drain backups, toilet overflows, leaky pipes and roof leaks, if not properly cleaned, disinfected and dried will create the wet environment that mold spores seek. A dehumidifier placed in an overly humid environment will help reduce the humidity levels which will preclude and minimize the spread of mold.
It is vital that you be continually look around your home or business for mold as well as follow your nose. Oftentimes the damp, musty smell is a good indicator that a problem is developing. Should you find yourself concerned about mold, please contact us here at SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City where we work to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Safety Tips for the DIYer
Always Remember to Work Safe!
When beginning a home improvement DIY project, it’s important to consider the following safety tips to keep you and your family safe:
- Personal Protective Equipment: Wear protective clothing including safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask when working with potentially hazardous materials such as glass or spray paint. It is also a good idea to wear a mask when working in a dusty environment. Consider ear plugs or ear muffs if tools are particularly loud.
- Protect Your Lungs: When painting, or using any material that generates toxic fumes or dust, keep the room well ventilated. Never smoke while painting or standing close to a freshly painted area. Always wear a mask when dealing with fiberglass insulation.
- Use the Right Tools: Always use the correct tools for the job. It is worth investing in high quality equipment as this will be safer and will probably do the job quicker. Store tools in a safe place, out of the way of children and pets. Keep them in a box or secured on a rack.
- Knife Safety: When using knives, always cut away from you. Use a baton as a guide and run a sharp knife along the edge of it. Always store knives securely in a safe place.
- Use Caution When Working with Electricity: When fixing or checking electrical appliances or connections, always switch off the power and remove the fuse or circuit breaker (MCB). If you're fixing an electrical appliance, switch off the appliance at the socket and pull out the plug. As an added precaution, wear rubber-soled shoes when working with electricity and electrical items.
- Fire Safety: Always keep a chemical fire extinguisher in the house in a convenient location such as under the kitchen sink, in your utility closet or in your laundry room. Never use water to put out a fire in an electrical appliance. Keep in mind that gas and electrical work is best left to a registered professional.
- Power Tools: When using a power drill, choose a model that has a plastic non-conducting body. Unplug the drill before fitting parts and remove the chuck key before switching it on. Wear sturdy shoes with slip-proof soles. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry, which could get caught in the drill. Tie back long hair. Make sure that power saws or in good working order and that all guards are in place to ensure safe operation.
- Working with Heights: Ladders are one of the main causes of DIY accidents. Erect the ladder according to the manufacturer's instructions. Never lean to one side as you could lose balance.
- Take Your Time: Don't rush as you're more likely to have an accident. Carefully plan the job before you start work. Know your limitations and consult a professional if you are unsure. It's also a good idea to ask someone if they can help you.
Water Damage Prevention
Roof damage allowing for water damage.
One of the worst problems that homeowners encounter is water damage. The causes range from weather related issues to aged or faulty plumbing systems. Severe storms causing backups or flooding, cold temperatures resulting in pipes freezing and bursting, washer or dishwasher problems, sump pump failures and clogged drains are all types of water damage that can occur. Water damage can cause a lot of damage to homes and property which will cost a significant amount of money to repair. The best thing to avoid spending a lot of money on repairs is to prevent water damage from happening.
There are three key ways of preventing water damage that every home owner should know and apply.
- Watch for water leaks and address them promptly; inspect your roof occasionally and repair any damaged, loose and missing shingles. You should also check for stains on ceilings, toilets that shake and dark spots below pipes.
- Ensure all drains are clear and working properly. Make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clear and make sure that your yard is sloped some distance away from the foundation.
- Check appliances (washer, dishwasher, ice maker) frequently and inspect the supply and drain lines to be sure that they’re in good condition. Check to ensure that your water heaters and sump pump are in good condition.
Other steps you can take to prevent water damage include:
- Keeping track of your water bill.
- Disconnecting hoses when not in use.
- Installing water detection devices.
- Closing your water main whenever you are going away for an extended period.
- Taking care of your vegetation and trees.
- Avoid landscaping too close to the utility pipes.
If you have done all the above but are still facing water damage problems, it is time to seek professional help. SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City is prepared to assist you with any water damage issues. Contact us at (313) 228-5134. SERVPRO…working to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Cleaning up Smoke and Soot Damage
Smoke and Soot Damage
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
There are three (3) different types of smoke.
- Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber: Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
- Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood: Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
- Protein Fire Residue: Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. Protein fire residue is virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, and has an extreme pungent odor.
Each type of fire has a different type of cleaning process. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.
We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care. Should you suffer from fire and/or smoke damage, contact us at (313) 228-5134. SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City…working to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Fall/Winter Home Checklist
Prepare Your Home for Winter
As the season’s change with fall upon us and winter approaching, following are some tips to make sure your home is ready for whatever happens:
- Windows and Doors: Seal leaky windows and doors with spray foam, caulk or weather stripping. The only good draft this fall is the one you’re having for your fantasy football team.
- Roof: Check your roof or have a professional do so, especially after extreme weather events. Pay particular attention to shingles that are loose, curled, blistered or broken. Roof valleys and roof flashing should also be inspected. Close attention should be paid to roof penetrations such as chimney’s and stack pipes.
- Gutters: Preventing gutter overflow is important; just make sure you always practice ladder safety when cleaning out fall leaves (or hire a professional).
- Smoke Detector: Make sure you check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace their batteries as needed. This should be done twice per year when the clocks change for daylight savings time.
- Energy: Consider investing in a programmable thermostat to save energy and money while staying warm.
- Healthy Lawn: Keep your soil healthy by mulching leaves with a mower or raking them up. Leaves can kill your grass if left on the ground for a prolonged period of time.
- Fireplace: Check your chimney and have it swept when 1/8 inch of sooty buildup is present.
- Firewood: Dry firewood should be stored at least 15 feet from your home and up off the ground to prevent rodent infestation. Large amounts of wood should not be stored in the home due to the risk of termite infestation.
- Lawn Equipment: Once summer ends, empty the fuel from your lawnmower to prevent sediment buildup before storing it away until the spring.
SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City can assist you with issues you may encounter with your property and we can be reached at (313) 228-5134. At SERVPRO, we work to make it “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO - Faster to Your Disaster
SERVPRO has the resources necessary to handle your emergency!
SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to servicing customers and clients in Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster, Westland, Redford and Detroit. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.
Our services include fire, smoke and water damage cleanup and restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, bio-hazard, trauma, crime scene cleanup. We also perform general cleaning and offer help for hoarders. We offer 24 hour service, 365 days per year to both commercial and residential customers.
We are faster to any-sized disaster with highly trained restoration technicians. Locally owned and operated, we utilize the latest restoration and cleaning equipment and are a trusted leader in the restoration industry.
So whether you have a need for water or fire emergency services or if you have general cleaning needs, SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City is your one stop for cleaning and restoration. At SERVPRO, we work to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Don't Delay When Water Damage Happens
SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City provides water damage restoration service and we’re the kind of professional that no one wants to call. But what’s important to remember is that when we are needed, it is important not to delay. Moisture is often the enemy, capable of penetrating into just about any space, and taking advantage of every little crack and structural problem. Regardless of how the moisture has entered the structure, the response should be the same: get the home cleaned and dried quickly to ensure that there are no lingering health threats once the moisture is gone.
If water has entered the home through a contaminated source, don’t try to handle it on your own. Floods and sewage backflows contain a cocktail of deadly bacteria, viruses and fungi, and even momentary skin contact can leave a person seriously ill. A water damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City not only has the training and tools to eliminate the moisture; they have the necessary equipment and technology their disposal.
This includes powerful vacuums and pumping systems, high volume air movers, dehumidifiers, heat injectors, moisture meters, and a number of detergents formulated for destroying fungi and other microbial threats. While the technicians work on the building, disposing of compromised materials, and drying the rest, they will also destroy all mold and microbial colonies. This is the only way to ensure a home is safe to live in, and a business safe to work in; any other cleaning method is a dangerous gamble.
So if you find yourself with water damage, don’t be the person with the beach towels and the box fans. Get professional help. Call SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City at (313) 228-5134. Working to make it…”Like it never even happened.”
Spring Cleaning Tips and Suggestions
Spring has Sprung!
Spring is upon us…trees are beginning to bud, tulips and daffodils are popping up through the ground, temperatures are getting warmer and the days are getting longer which means it’s time for spring cleaning. Some people find this task overwhelming so following are some tips and suggestions to help you get started:
- Shed some light on the subject by cleaning your windows. Wipe down all walls and baseboards.
- Go through your clothes. Rotate your cold weather gear out and replace it with your warmer weather wardrobe. Review your winter weather items to assure it’s still in good condition and/or still fits. If you didn’t wear it, consider donating it to the less fortunate.
- Trade in your flannel sheets for linen ones and consider putting away the extra blankets after washing them first. Don’t forget to flip you mattress.
- Go through your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer and look for old items and food that is past the expiration date. Get rid of it. Don’t forget to wipe down the shelves in the cupboard and refrigerator. Defrost the freezer.
- Sweep and mop the floors and wipe down the kitchen countertops.
- Wipe down the kitchen cabinets of all drips and spills. Use a good quality cleanser or wood oil soap to get them looking spiffy again.
- The stovetop is an area that needs particular attention. Get scrubbing.
- Clear off all flat surfaces and wipe off all dust, dirt and debris. Vacuum lampshades.
- Vacuum all your carpets and consider getting them professionally cleaned. Most new carpet warranties require a hot water extraction cleaning process at least twice per year.
- Indoor air quality may be compromised so consider getting your ductwork cleaned.
- Think about getting rid of clutter. Toys your kids no longer play with? Stuff placed throughout the home you’re getting tired of looking at? Box them up and donate them or look to have a garage sale.
- Outdoors, look at the condition of your welcome mats and replace them if necessary. Rake out last year’s dead leaves from your flower beds and look at replacing you mulch.
SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City specializes in cleaning and can assist you with any and all of your spring cleaning needs. Call us at (313) 228-5134 so we can help you make it “Like it never even happened.”
Help for Hoarders
Hoarding Within a Home
Compulsive hoarders have difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with a hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items and an excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs. These items clutter the living spaces and keep the person from using their rooms as they were intended, and these items can cause distress or problems in day-to-day activities.
Facts about hoarders:
- The average age of a person seeking treatment for hoarding is about 50. They tend to live alone and may have a family member with the problem. It is estimated that serious hoarding problems are present in at least 1 in 50 people.
- Most often, people hoard common possessions such as paper (mail, newspapers), books, clothing and containers (boxes, paper and plastic bags). Some people hoard garbage or rotten food. In more extreme cases, people hoard animals or human waste products.
- Some hoarders consider themselves “thrifty” and think that their behavior is due to having lived through a period of poverty or hardship. The behavior can worsen, however, when a hoarder experiences a traumatic event or serious loss such as the death of a spouse or parent.
The signs of compulsive hoarding are many:
- Difficulty in getting rid of items.
- A large amount of clutter that makes it difficult to move around easily.
- Losing important items like money or bills in the clutter.
- Feeling overwhelmed by the volume of possessions that have “taken over” the house.
- Being unable to stop taking free items, such as advertising flyers or sugar packets from restaurants.
- Buying things because they are a “bargain” or to “stock up.”
- Not inviting family or friends into the home due to shame or embarrassment.
- Refusing to let people into the home to make repairs.
What makes getting rid of clutter difficult for hoarders?
- Difficulty organizing possessions.
- Unusually strong positive feelings (joy, delight) when getting new items.
- Strong negative feelings (guilt, fear, anger) when considering getting rid of items.
- Strong beliefs that items are “valuable” or “useful” even when other people do not want them.
Effects of hoarding:
- Severe clutter threatens the health and safety of those living in or near the home, causing health problems, structural damage, fire, and even death.
- Expensive and emotionally devastating evictions or other court actions can lead to hospitalization or homelessness.
- Conflict with family members and friends who are frustrated and concerned about the state of the home and the hoarding behaviors.
How to help a hoarder:
- Recognize that, until a person is motivated to change, they may not accept your offer to help. Further, motivation cannot be forced.
- Respect the fact that the person has a right to make their own decisions at their own pace.
- Have sympathy and understand that everyone has some attachment to the things they own.
- Encourage the person to come up with ideas to make their home safer, such as moving clutter from doorways and halls.
- Point out that hoarding interferes with the goals or values the person may hold.
- Develop trust by asking for permission before throwing anything away
Once the “stuff” has been removed, a good, thorough deep cleaning of the structure should be undertaken to clean the home of dust, dirt, grime, animal feces, mold and/or and any other type of biological contamination. SERVPRO of Dearborn Heights North/East Garden City has experience in cleaning up hoarding situations and can provide you with compassionate and caring assistance in dealing with these difficult and complicated situations. Call us at (313) 228-5134 for a free, no cost assessment for all of your cleaning needs. At SERVPRO, we work to make it “Like it never even happened.”