Preventing frozen pipes
It's February in Michigan. That means it's cold. With the "2021 version of the "Polar Vortex" firmly over us, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac is starting to get the annual frozen and burst pipes calls at the offices. While there isn't much we can do about the temperatures outside, we can pass along some hints we saw in the DTE Energy Smarts for Michigan Small Businesses Winter 2021 issue. They list 7 top things you can do to save money and keep your home or business warmer this winter.
- Your HVAC really does need an annual tune up for several reasons. Cleaning and maintaining the system will make it run more efficiently as well as help prevent breakdowns when you need it most. Do it before it breaks and the HVAC guys will really appreciate not having their 5thcall of the night when it’s 20 below.
- Install a programmable thermostat can save you a ton of money. Just remember to replace the battery every year as the thermostats aren’t usually hardwired and if the battery fails, so does your heat. And if you are in Florida when that happens, you will be calling SERVPRO for frozen pipes.
- Change your filters. This goes along with the annual tune up but it is one of the most cost effective ways to keep your HVAC system running efficiently. If you hold the filter up to the light and cannot see light, it needs changed.
- Use the sun. If you are home, opening and closing blinds and curtains can really help your furnace and can save money. Insulated drapes will pay for themselves in just a few years.
- Keep registers and vents clear. Do not block them with furniture, rugs, or debris. If the air cannot circulate, your furnace will need to run much longer to heat your home and that means more money out of your pocket.
- Look into upgrading your system. Modern improvements have made HVAC systems much more efficient. They really do pay for themselves in just a few years.
- Finally, their list included lighting upgrades. While that is mainly a safety issue, motion sensors and timers can also save money.
The experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac would be happy to help if you have frozen pipes, but keeping them from freezing makes us smile also. If you do have issues give us a call at 877-350-4872 and let us make it "Like it never even happened."
Ready for winter weather?
SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac has been helping customers in Mason, Manistee, Lake, Oceana, Wexford, and Osceola counties survive winter in west Michigan for nearly 20 years. Because the list of things that goes wrong never really changes, SERVPRO would like to remind you of things to check to prevent having to call us for help.
If you have a seasonal home that you are closing for winter and leaving the heat on:
- Have you checked your propane tank and arranged to have it kept full?
- Have you arranged to have the road plowed so the propane company can get to your tank?
- Have you marked your driveway for the plow driver and marked your drain field, sprinkler heads, outdoor hydrants and other potential issues?
- Do you have someone locally who can check on the home? They need to check for open doors and windows, suspicious tracks, heavy snow build up, and fogged or frosted up windows indicating water damage or heat loss.
- Do they have a key or know where it is hidden?
- Have you removed the outside hoses and made sure the frost free shut off valve is clear
- Have you notified the local authorities that you will be gone? They are happy to check on your home for you if you let them know.
- Have you changed the thermostat battery? It is a leading cause of furnace failure in unoccupied homes.
- Consider turning the water off at the well. (Unless you have a boiler that requires make up water) Even if a line freezes, it will not flood your home.
- Open doors to cabinets and vanities that contain water lines to allow heat to circulate.
Have you winterized the home if you are going to turn the heat off?
- If you drain your water heater, remember to turn the power off first to prevent burning out the heating element.
- Have you checked with your insurance company to verify that you still have coverage even if you are not living at the home? (Note: some insurance companies do not insure vacant homes)
- Never leave a temporary heater running in an unoccupied home. They start countless fires every year.
Even though you try to do everything right to prevent a loss, accidents still happen. If you have a loss don’t hesitate to call the local professionals at SERVPRO. Our crews at the Scottville, Manistee, and Cadillac shops can quickly respond to your emergency and help you make it “Like it never even happened.” Give us a call at 877-350-4872 and we will get a crew to your home within an hour.
Here for all your COVID-19 cleaning needs
As everyone who hasn’t been living in their parent’s basement knows, COVID-19 has changed everything. One of the big changes at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac is the number of proactive and positive COVID-19 cleanings we are now asked to do. For the most part, a business’s normal cleaning crews can handle daily and weekly cleaning of offices and businesses. However when a positive COVID-19 exposure shuts them down, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can get you up and running quickly and at a surprisingly low price. Most private cleaning companies do not have the skills, PPE, and specialized equipment and products to safely clean COVID-19 issues.
A recent study by SERVPRO Corporate found:
- 71% of consumers expect your business to be cleaner than their home
- 76% say the cleanliness of a business is a good indicator on how well a business is run
- 68% respond that COVID 10 is constantly on their mind
- 59% are worried about touching a surface that has not been professionally cleaned.
Anyone who has received the call from an employee saying “I have been exposed” knows the “Now what do I do?” feeling. Give us a call and we can make it “Like it never even happened”. The crews at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can fog your business with the only EPA registered food grade disinfectant on the market. This proprietary SERVPRO product allows fogging and wet cleaning of all touch points with no rinsing necessary. This drastically reduces cleaning time and cost.
SERVPRO can fog your business and have you back running in a few hours. No need to reclean every item on the shelves or desks. We have been getting many calls from convenience stores and small businesses as well as private homes. Getting small businesses back running quickly is always a priority. In many cases at a private home, the customer has a loved one who has tested positive or is in the hospital and they want the home cleaned before it is reoccupied. We can help. Give the experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac a call at 231-723-4872 to schedule a time to take care of all your proactive or positive COVID-19 issues.
But what about fire losses?
As anyone who has suffered a water loss and called SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can tell you, SERVPRO's response can be amazing. The phone is answered 24/7 by a trained operator, managers return your call within one hour, and a crew is onsite within 4 hours. But what about fire losses? The first part of the experience is the same and if needed a crew can be onsite boarding up and protecting your home within hours. But fires are different. Often the fire department and maybe a fire Marshall must clear and release the scene before anyone is allow inside the home. Sometimes a C&O (Cause and Origin) representative from the insurance company gets involved. It is not unusual for the home to not have power or water.
Unlike water losses, your insurance adjuster or C&O expert may want to see the scene before it is disturbed and cleaning started. Usually the insurance company will want at least a preliminary estimate before work starts. If there is structural damage, local building inspectors may get involved to check for code upgrades. Getting the utilities turned on can be a challenge. If subcontractors are needed it may be necessary to wait for their estimates. After hiring SERVPRO none of these possible events are your problem. The highly trained managers and crews at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac have seen and handled these issues countless times. You can trust them to help you make it “Like it never even happened." If you have had a loss, give us a call at 877-723-4872 to have a manager from either our shop at Manistee, Ludington, or Cadillac meet you at your home to start the process.
Cooking fire prevention
This past week was the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Prevention Week. Their campaign “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” focused on three main goals to reduce kitchen fires.
- Never leave cooking unattended
- Do not leave flammable items near the stovetop.
- If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stovetop.
In this time of COVID 19 and social distancing more meals are being prepared at home. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires and 49% of all home fires start in the kitchen. Oven mitts, wooden utensils and towels and curtains top the list of items that can cause fires if left near the flame. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case you have a stove fire. Be very careful with loose clothing. Clothing fires cause 14% of all home fire deaths.
Other hints include always cook with a lid ready to slide over the pan if flames erupt. Resist the urge to check under the lid…let the pan cool completely as the fire could re-ignite. Never throw water on the fire. Baking and soda and salt work to smother fires but never use flour as it can explode. Heat oil slowly when frying and sautéing. Be especially vigilant around the holidays. The top 3 days for kitchen fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Make sure everybody in your home knows the quickest way out of the home and practice your fire escape route.
If you do have a kitchen fire, remember the experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can help make it "Like it never even happened." Give us a call at 887-350-4872 24/7.
Once again it’s hurricane season in the southern United States. Luckily western Michigan doesn’t get hurricanes but we do get storms that can knock out power for several days at a time. When this happens people often turn to generators. The news from the gulf coast last week says that Hurricane Laura killed more people from carbon monoxide poisoning from generators than died from the storm. This is sad since it is totally preventable.
Although using power generators is useful and often necessary to prevent food spoilage, provide lights, and water, it must be done safely. Never use a generator inside a building or partly enclosed area such as a garage or covered deck. Keep generators away from open windows and doors. Wind can force the exhaust back into your home. Keep generators dry and out of the rain and be careful how you cover them. Try to keep them at least 5 feet from any combustible materials (including tarps).
Never start or stop a generator without first unplugging all cords and making sure there is no load on the unit. Use proper fuel, never leave them unattended, and keep children away from the units. Make sure you don’t overload the generator, do use heavy duty (outdoor rated) extension cords, and let the unit cool completely before adding fuel. Store fuel away from generator if possible.
Carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless. You will not even know it is there until it is too late. The experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can help with the storm damage, but the only thing we can do about generator safety is to remind you to be careful. Call our crews located at our offices in Ludington, Manistee, and Cadillac at 877-350-4872 for 24 hour help.
What can you put in your toilet
SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac has noticed a significant increase in sewage losses in the past weeks. We are not sure if it is resulting from the toilet paper hoarding/shortage but we thought it may be a good time to review the rules on what you can and cannot flush. According to Jim Ervin, who was compliance manager for a major wastewater treatment facility for 27 years, the Golden Rule of Flushing is: "If you wouldn’t put it down your garbage disposal, don’t flush it." There are only certain things you should be putting in your toilet, which is why they were made.
The list of what not to flush is much longer.
- Baby wipes, facial tissues, disinfectant wipes, moist wipes (even if the label says it is flushable)
- Napkins, (paper or cloth) paper towels, swifter’s and cleaning pads often have a plastic mesh to keep them from falling apart and don’t dissolve.
- Q-tips and Cotton pads tend to clump and can clog pipes
- Menstrual products can expand and again can clog pipes
- Diapers, a no brainer, just don’t do it
- Dental floss, just does not go away and can cause real problems.
- Medication or vitamins do not cause drain issues but are very bad for the environment.
- Kitty Litter, egg shells, nut shells, coffee grounds, nope
- Cooking wastes like fats, oils and greases can cause major issues
- Socks, rags, hand towels, sponges…don’t even think about it
The experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can certainly help clean up the mess when you clog or blow apart your sewage drains, but we would much prefer if you kept the lines clear.
We can handle the big stuff
A local Manistee chain motel recently found out what happens when a main water line to its fire suppression system freezes and bursts. SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac was called during the night when the front desk night manager noticed water pouring from the ceiling in one of the wings. The experts at SERVPRO quickly helped the quests relocate and started extracting water to begin the drying process. The wet insulation in the ceiling was removed, drywall cut, baseboards removed and some carpet pad removed. Most of the carpet was able to be dried in place. The motel was approved to remain open for guests after drying equipment was set, the fire suppression system was repaired and inspected, and containment built to isolate the affected rooms. With the quick response by the experts of SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac it kept any customers from having to find another place to spend the night.
COVID-19 in Western Michigan
SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac is fully operational and responding to all normal work and Covid-19 emergencies. We are always here to help.
During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. Obviously there are multiple levels of cleaning required depending on the level of contamination. The lowest level is proactive cleaning. This level usually requires two passes. The first cleaning removes the dirt and involves scrubbing with soap and water. Normal household cleaning should be done at least daily.
Specialized training is needed for cleaning when confirmed Covid-19 positive events are encountered.
We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if you encounter positive tests. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform daily.
Once the normal dirt and grime has been removed the next step is to disinfect the surface with an EPA registered cleaner. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, the EPA has hundreds of approved products listed on their web site and most commercial products will work fine. Read the product labels carefully and be sure to allow the required dwell times for the cleaning product to work.
The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. If disinfecting is being completed due to a positive case; cleaning of walls and floors should be included in the scope. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:
- Kitchen/Food Areas
- Retail Spaces
- Water Fountains
- Locker rooms
- Sales Counters
- Carpets and Rugs
- Stair Handrails
- Elevator Cars
- Playground Equipment
- Fitness Equipment
If you need specialized cleaning help, don’t hesitate to call the experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac.
When a storm hits, how safe is the water in your basement or crawlspace?
When a storm drops a foot of rain you quickly find out your homes weak areas. It may be the roof or gutter system, or skylights, or possibly the foundation or sump pump. Because of the laws of gravity, eventually the problem will end up in your basement or crawlspace. When this happens, you must be very careful how you deal with the water. Aside from the obvious issues with electricity and water there can be another problem; the water may be contaminated.
The IICRC and the EPA standards state that all groundwater is considered Category 3 which “is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic toxigenic or other harmful agents and can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. Examples of Category 3 water can include, but are not limited to: sewage; waste line backflows that originate from beyond any trap regardless of visible content or color; all forms of flooding from seawater; rising water from rivers and streams; and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment, such as wind-driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms, or other weather-related events.” This water and everything it touches can make you sick.
Making matters worse is you probably have limited or no coverage help from your insurance company. The experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can help you understand what steps you need to take to protect your home and family. As a general rule, hard surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected while porous surface items should be discarded. This includes carpeting and pad, wet drywall and insulation, and affected clothing and bedding. And of course, the sooner you call, the higher on the waiting list your name will be. So don’t wait. Call SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac, we are always here to help.