Lead paint clean-up inside your home
If your home was built before 1978, it may have lead based paint located somewhere in the home. If your home happens to have lead based paint there are a few requirements that the Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA, requires to safely and efficiently renovate the interior of the home.
SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac is certified for lead based paint clean-up so to help, here are some handy tips to ensure the safe removal of lead based paint in your home. Collect all of the paint chips and debris. Seal these in a heavy duty plastic bag. Mist, remove and fold, with the dirty side in, and tape or seal any protective sheeting.
Always place plastic sheeting between non-contaminated rooms. All work areas must remain in place until after cleaning and removal of other sheeting has been done.
The area must be vacuumed by a HEPA vacuum and or the walls wiped from high to low with the appropriate wet wipes. Following the wiping, the room must then be vacuumed by a HEPA vacuum again and wipe the room down again with the appropriate wet wipe or damp cloth.
When cleaning, clean out at least 2 feet beyond the contaminated and contained work area.
As always, use disposable wipes and change clothing frequently.
If you are cleaning a room that has a rug or carpet, use a HEPA vacuum with a beater bar for the best and most efficient results. For all hard floor not bearing carpet, use a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop for the best cleaning results.
As always, were here to help, so for any questions concerning the clean-up of lead based paint, please visit www.SERVPROmanisteeludingtonandcadillac.com.
Tips to avoid Christmas tree fires
From the finding and cutting of the perfect tree, to admiring the beautiful decorations and perfectly placed lights. Those are just a couple of the fond traditions so many people have during the Christmas season.
But did you know just how dangerous Christmas trees can be? According to the National Fire Protection Association, 1 in every 31 Christmas trees become deadly. The US Fire Departments respond to an average of 230 structure fires that stem from a Christmas tree every year. To help ease your mind this holiday season, here are some safety tips to try at home to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday.
Check your lights. If the cords are frayed, have cracked bulbs or have any loose connections, it's time to buy a new strand.
Be sure to use only a single extension cord that can reach your homes outlet without being to long and getting tangled.
Make sure all outdoor light connectors are away from metal rain gutters and off the ground.
To lessen the chance of a fire, purchase a freshly cut tree and be sure to keep the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
Water your tree every day and properly dispose of it shortly after Christmas before the tree becomes dry.
For more tips on how to prevent a Christmas tree fire in your home this holiday season please log onto https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/10-ways-to-prevent-christmas-Tree-holiday-decoration-Fires-362624651.html
And for any other questions that you may have please visit our website www.SERVPROofmlc.com
Baking kids happy at Christmas
We're excited to ring in the holiday season by engaging with other local organizations as part of the annual "Shop with a Cop" program, benefiting children all around our community.
Children throughout Mason County are crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s on the Christmas lists that they have been working so hard on. They fantasize about the mound of presents under the tree, hoping Santa brings them everything on their list.
But what if that mound of presents doesn’t exist? What if Christmas morning is a time of sadness and empty hopes? What if Christmas morning is really just that, a fantasy?
We believe no child should go without this holiday season, and that's why we're committed to helping make every child's Christmas morning a dream come true.
For the second year in a row, we are proud to participate in our local “Shop with a Cop” program, where elementary-age children are paired with a local law enforcement officers to shop for Christmas gifts for themselves and their families.
In order to raise money to purchase the gifts, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac, along with other local businesses, are pulling together for a pie auction. Each pie is prepared and donated, and auctioned off live on local radio station WMOM, with 100% of the proceeds going towards the "Shop with a Cop" program.
We hope that with your support, this annual event is bigger and better then ever before.
Tune in to WMOM on Wednesday, November 22 for the live auction, so you can enjoy a nice slice of pie this Thanksgiving – and children in our local community can enjoy the Christmas of their dreams.
Visit the Facebook auction page here.
OH NO! You have sewage in your basement/crawlspace. Do you have insurance coverage for that? That is the hardest question SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac gets asked in a typical day. The answer is “Maybe”, it depends on exactly what your policy says is covered. Most home policies cover the structure and everything in it. This is where it gets sticky. Is it your “poo” or the neighbors’? Let’s try to sort it out for you.
If you have a septic system there is a good chance you will have coverage since many insurance companies consider the septic system a part of normal home “plumbing”. You still will need to call your agent who will probably defer to your adjuster for the ruling. Another thing to be aware of is that the “sewer backup” part of the policy normally does not cover contents. This should be a hint for you be very careful of storing valuable or unreplaceable contents on the basement floor. Sewer back up on home policies often have a limit of $2,000 to $5,000 and may or may not cover mold growth.
If you are on a city sewer, your chances of being covered are much slimmer. Most home policies will not cover the loss and it is very difficult to convince the city that it is their problem. You have to prove that they either had design issues or possibly a pump failure and that’s tough to do. Also remember that there is a big difference between a sewage backup and ground water back up from the sump pit or floor drain. As always, read the fine print on your policy before you renew to prevent a nasty surprise when it happens to you. And don’t forget to call the experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac at 231-723-4872 if you need help.
Do I have mold?
If your home has been wet you probably have some level of mold growth but finding it is not that simple. Compared to a grain of sand, which can be 10,000 microns in size, most mold spores are less than 1 micron in size. This means that they are not visible to the naked eye. The only way to determine if you really have mold is to send a sample to a lab equipped with a 500 times microscope. If someone tells you that you have mold ask them which lab they used.
Think of visible mold using the sand example magnified 10,000 times. You would not be able to see a single mold spore or grain of sand in your home. However, you would be able to see a pail of sand. After mold grows for several days or weeks, it does become visible to the naked eye just like a pail of beach sand is visible. But, just because it looks like mold, it may be something else. I have seen many instances where well-meaning home inspectors ruined a home sale by falsely identifying dust, oils, tar, and insulation as mold. To be sure, it must be tested by a lab.
It is a conflict of interest (and illegal in most states) for the same company to do mold remediation and also do clearance testing. Note: Michigan has no mold laws so be careful of self-proclaimed mold experts offering to remove your mold and provide “proof” with sampling. SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can guide you through the process, provide contact information for local independent testing personnel, and answer any questions. Give us a call at 877-350-4872.
Do I have toxic black mold?
There are thousands of different species of mold commonly found in Michigan. Most are black or grey. The famous “toxic black killer mold”, is actually a Texas and Florida mold, Stachybotrys Chartarum. It can be found in Michigan but is pretty rare because it requires high temperatures and extremely high moisture levels for a long time to grow. Stachybotrys Chartarum was blamed (probably falsely) in infant deaths in the 1990’s and has had a bad reputation ever since. When attacked (think bleach) it does give off micro toxins which can cause health issues to sensitive people.
Whenever molds’ food source (drywall, wood, dirt, leather, clothes, or pretty much any organic material) is wet above 16%, mold will grow. Actively growing mold will give off Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs). These musty or moldy smells are actually aldehydes, benzenes, tulolenes. These odors are commonly associated with the moldy basement smell most people recognize. If you smell them, you need to look for the water problem and address it immediately.
You will hear this over and over but you cannot have a mold problem without also having a water problem. SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can quickly find the source of water and get it dry before the mold problem gets worse. SERVPRO has IICRC and ACAC trained professionals on staff to help with any mold issue you may have. Give them a call at 877-350-4872. Never let someone work on your home unless they show you a copy of their certifications and proof that they carry mold malpractice insurance. If they or their employees get sick working on your home, you could be liable.
Is it safe for me to stay in my home if I have visible mold?
The only one who can answer that question is your health care professional who is familiar with your health history. Ask your doctor. That said, the majority of symptoms of mold are allergy symptoms that go away after you leave the source. Think hay fever. If you are allergic to rag weed and go out in a field of rag weed, you will start sneezing, your eyes will start running, and you will feel terrible. A short time after leaving the allergens you will begin to feel better. Mold is similar. If you are allergic to the specific mold or molds in your environment, you will have symptoms.
Mold symptoms are related to time and extent of exposure. You may have more severe symptoms from mold in your bedroom that you will from your bathroom due to the amount of time spent in each area. A couple square inches of mold on your shower curtain will likely not affect you as much as a wet moldy carpet. Don’t assume that because you never go into your attic or crawlspace that mold in those areas is OK. Spores will travel throughout the home due to air currents and pressure changes from your furnace, AC unit, bathroom vent fan, range hood, or outside wind loads.
SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac’s highly trained professionals will take the time to explain the possible issues related to mold and work with your insurance company to determine if you have coverage. Some insurance companies cover mold and some don’t. Read your policy carefully. The insurance companies that do cover mold often have limits and usually require the mold to be caused by a covered loss such as a broken pipe or wind damage to the roof.
If I see mold, can I just cut it out?
You can legally, it is your house and you can do whatever you want. It is not recommended because of the risk of spreading spores to unaffected areas of the home. Once mold is disturbed by cutting, sanding, or cleaning; massive amounts to spores are released into the area. While there are no safe spore count limits identified in Michigan, most hygienists like to see spore counts in occupied dwellings at or below the 2,000 to 3,000 spores per cubic meter range.
During demolition of moldy drywall or carpeting the spore counts can easily reach one million spores per cubic meter. SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac has highly trained professionals who can safely remove the visible mold and invisible spores. Give us a call at 877-723-4872. SERVPRO employees will do the remediation and cleaning in full PPE which includes full face respirators, nitrile gloves, and Tyvek moon suits. They will also set containment and negative air pressure to prevent the spores from spreading to unaffected areas of your home.
Special care must be taken with the heating and cooling systems to avoid contaminating them and spreading spores throughout the home. After the visible mold has been removed, SeERVPRO will HEPA vacuum all surfaces followed by wet cleaning with an EPA registered anti-microbial. Other steps may also be required if the area has “at risk” occupants or is a daycare or health care facility. One last thing to consider is, never do any mold remediation until the source of water has been stopped and the area is dry.
I have black, brown, red, white, or green stains or crystals on my unpainted block walls. Is it mold?
As we stated in an earlier post, you really can’t be sure if it is or isn’t mold without a lab report. However, most of the time these crystals and stains are efflorescence caused by water entering the block from outside the home, evaporating, and leaving the minerals and salts behind as crystals and stains. Although mold can grow on bio-films, dirt, or paint on block walls, it cannot grow on the concrete itself. Mold requires organic material to digest and concrete is inorganic.
A bigger problem with seeing the efflorescence on the block is the water intrusion itself. The water will evaporate from the block and condense on some other surface when it reaches the dew point. Unless this water is removed (usually by setting a dehumidifier) or prevented from entering the structure, the possibility of mold growth on other surfaces is likely. While SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac does not specialize in waterproofing basement, we can give you advice on keeping the water away from the structure.
Installing roof eves with downspouts that get the water at least 6 feet away from the basement is usually the quickest and most cost effective way to solve the water intrusion problem. Landscaping to divert the water away from the basement is another solution. The mold expensive (and sometimes necessary fix) is to dig up the wall and coat the outside with waterproofing material or install drain tile to remove the water. Sometimes installing a vapor barrio near the surface can help in preventing the water from causing problems. Give SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac a call at 877-723-4872.
Using a generator safely following Michigan storms
Yesterday's paper read, "Two Die At Home Running Generator During Power Outage." In this case, an elderly couple died after setting the generator in an enclosed garage because of the power outage. Their death was entirely preventable. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires manufactures of portable generators to have a label that states "DANGER! Using a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES."
* Never use generators indoors.
*Never set generator outdoors near a window, door or vent.
* Never use generators in crawlspaces or under awnings.
* To prevent shock and electrocution, never use a generator in wet conditions.
* Make sure you have working CO (Carbon Monoxide) detectors and alarms in your home.
Opening doors and windows will not prevent carbon monoxide buildup, although, you cannot see or smell carbon monoxide. Symptoms include feeling sick, dizzy or weak. If you hear a generator running in your neighborhood, please check to see if it is being operated properly. If you suspect CO poisoning, do not open the building. Call 911 or your local fire department immediately for professional assistance. Carbon Monoxide deaths are easily preventable and SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac, encourages you to use generators safely and watch out for your neighbors and friends!