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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Tis the Season

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Halloween is over: Thanksgiving is over: heck, even deer season is over, and Christmas is fast approaching. SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac had our first call of a flooded home due to frozen pipes this weekend. "Tis the season".

People of Michigan (Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac), you know it can get cold this time of year.

- Have you taken the time to walk around your home looking for possible issues?

  • Just a quick walk could save you a lot of money and a lot of hassle.

- Have you removed the hose from the frost free hydrant?

  • If you didn't, it cannot drain, and it will freeze and possibly break, flooding your basement.

- Are your gutters clean and working properly?

  • If not, they can cause issues even in the winter

- Is the snow melting off your roof in strange places?

  • You may have missing or damaged insulation that can cause ice dams or expensive heat loss raising your heating bills. 

- Are the icicles huge?

  • You know that is a problem and indicates ventilation problems that can cause ice dams. They could also be caused by missing or damaged insulation. Squirrels and rodents can make a mess if they get in the attic.

- Did you check the propane tank level?

  • Do you know the propane company "keep full" agreement is void if the road isn't plowed or a fallen tree blocks it and they can't deliver gas?

- Have you changed the battery in your furnace thermostat?

  • If it is not hardwired to the home wiring, the furnace will shut off if the 9 volt battery dies and your home will get very cold.

- Have you marked your driveway for the snowplow driver?

  • He needs to know where your drain field, sprinkler heads, outdoor hydrants, or other potential issues are located.

- Consider turning the water off (well or street valve) if you are going to be away from home for an extended period.

  • Remember to turn the power off the water heater off if you drain the tank to prevent burning out the coils or heating elements.

 - If you burn wood, did you clean the chimney?

  • Thousands of fires are caused every year by dirty chimneys or stove pipes.
  • Try to only burn seasoned and dry wood
  • Be careful about burning paper and highly combustible materials.

- How about the pellet stove?

  • We get many calls every winter with wood, pellet, or gas stoves that "puff back" and soot up the home because they haven't been maintained. You must clean these stoves regularly. And make sure you empty the shop vacuum after every cleaning. Hot ashes can and will start a fire in the vacuum or ash bucket. NEVER leave the ashes “out on the porch” for the same reason.

- Remember to be careful using temporary heaters.

  • They cause many fires every winter. These fires range from the heaters not far enough away from combustible materials, heaters tipping over, improper or damaged cords, or undersized wiring.

- Be careful if you enjoy a natural Christmas tree.

  • Keep it watered. 
  • Never use candles near the tree.
  • Inspect the lights and replace any damaged cords.
  • Don’t leave cords where they can be a tripping hazard
  • Don’t put cords under rugs or anything that can cause them to overheat

- Make sure you have a clear escape route from any room in case of a fire

  • Go over and practice the route and escape plan with any children in the home.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy.

You checked all the above? Great! Did you check your mom’s house, or grandma’s house, or your friend’s cabin who lets you use it in the summer? Many of the calls we get are seasonal homes where a small problem gets really big really quickly when nobody is checking to see if the toilet is overflowing, or furnace quits, or power is out. We have seen thousands of dollars of damage caused by someone breaking into a home to steal a half bottle of liquor. The thief then leaves with the broken window to drain the propane or fuel oil tank, freezing the pipes, and flooding the home.

Make a habit of checking to see if smoke is coming out of the chimney, check for broken windows or open doors, check for tracks in the driveway, or even fogged up windows. Remind the owners to consider turning off the water when not at home or even fully winterizing the cottage.

You know we are happy when you call us to help you or your neighbors, but a lot of those problems are preventable, and we are just fine if you prevent them. We are also sure your friends at your local insurance agency would appreciate you taking a few minutes to check the above list. If you need help, go ahead and call the friendly technicians at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac and we promise not to say, “We warned you.”

 “Tis the Season”

Who to call if you have visible mold

11/2/2018 (Permalink)

If you see visible mold in your home, do you need to call a hygienist? That is a classic “depends” question. Do you have “at risk” people living there? At risk includes:

  • (1) very old--immune systems breaking down,
  • (2) very young--immune systems not fully developed,
  • (3) very sick--immune system disorders, on chemo, have organ transplants, or have AIDS
  • (4) someone in the home is pregnant

If you answered yes to any of the above, you may want to consider a hygienist.

Are there legal issues or could someone be sued? An independent third party could be useful in that case. This often occurs in a renter/landlord situation. Are you selling your home and need documentation that the home is safe to live in? Was the water problem caused by someone who may be liable (subrogated) and forced to pay for the cleanup? If none of the above apply you probably do not need to pay for a hygienist.

If you have visible mold, you also have a water problem. The first thing you need to do is address the water problem. You cannot do mold remediation if the source of the problem has not been addressed. Most mold guarantees imply: “We guarantee your mold problem will be back if you do not address the moisture issues”. Usually this involves fixing the roof leak, dripping pipe, groundwater intrusion, or some other event causing the affected area to get wet and stay wet for at least 48-72 hours. Once the area is dry (below 16%) mold remediation can start.

A second time a hygienist could be useful is after the mold has been removed. It is a conflict of interest and illegal in most states for a mold remediation contractor to test his own work. An independent third party hygienist is often called at this time. However, the national guidelines state that successful mold remediation involves “no visible mold and dust free”. Note that it does not require clearance testing. Testing is always an option but isn’t usually necessary unless someone living in the home meets the “At Risk” definitions in the first paragraph or legal issues in the second paragraph.

If you have mold issues, it is best to just let the professionals at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac make it "Like it never even happened."

Sewage problems?

10/16/2018 (Permalink)

A big shout out to SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac's Scottville crews of David, Victoria, Donnie, Cody, Johnathon. They spent most of last week in full PPE (Tyvek suits, rubber suits, boots, gloves, and full-face respirators) under a local home after a sewage spill flooded the crawlspace. The job involved scooping the "solids and liquids" into pails, sliding them on a sled to the access door, and transferring them to goose neck bags for proper disposal. Working all day on your knees in a crawlspace filled with sewage is not fun but they did a great job making the home safe for the owners and their children.

If you Google sewage you will get lots of advice on how to clean it up. It ranges from soaking it up with kitty litter, covering it with lime, covering it with plastic and dirt, and a whole list of fixes that are just dangerous. I'm sure if you look far enough someone will even have a recipe for mixing white vinegar and baking soda to make it as good as new. Nope. Two words, source removal. You must get it out of there. Hire a septic cleaning company to pump out any standing water. You can do it yourself if you have access to a sanitary sewer to properly dispose of the sewage water. Note: it is illegal to put it down the storm sewer. If you get caught, it will be expensive.

Once the standing water is gone, the feces and solids must be mucked out and disposed of properly. Be careful who you hire for this portion of the project. Make sure the company you hire is insured and requires their employees to wear safety gear (PPE). If the employees get sick or injured, you could be liable for any costs. The solids must be also be disposed of properly. Some cut-rate businesses have been known to toss the sewage in the woods and ditches. Again, you are liable if your sewage is disposed of improperly. Once the solids have been removed, you will also need to remove at least some of the contaminated soil.

Replace it with fresh sand and apply an EPA registered disinfectant to retard bacterial and microbial growth. Place a fresh layer of 6 mill black plastic over the affected area and clean any splashes off the structural portions of the home. You are now ready to dry the structure. Dehumidifiers and air movers may require returning the walls, floors, and joists to preloss condition and dry to below 16% moisture content to prevent mold growth.

As with any disaster time is critical. If you smell any unusual odors coming from your homes' crawlspace, check it out immediately. Then call the professionals at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac to make it "Like it never even happened".

Are you aware if you have flood insurance coverage?

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Do you need to buy National Flood Insurance from the NFIP (FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program) if you live in Western Michigan?

If you have a flood, your home insurance is probably not going to cover anything. Most home policies covering water damage require that the source of the water originate inside the structure. If ground water comes up from the floor or through the walls you are probably not covered. If it runs down your driveway and into your new egress window into the basement bedroom, no coverage. If it bubbles up from the city sewer, no coverage. If your sump pump quits and groundwater floods your basement, probably no coverage (unless you bought a limited sump pump policy rider).

There are a few exceptions. Often the homeowner’s policy covers sewage back up if it comes from your septic tank system (some policies consider the tank, drain field, and lines part of the homes plumbing). A few sump pump policies will cover you from sewer backups on your portion of the line to the city system. Read your policy carefully. You should have coverage if a tree falls on your home and damages the roof or high winds damage the home and allows rain to enter. Ice dams are usually covered. Other than these few exceptions the answer is usually “no coverage”.

According to FEMA, the average cost of one inch of water in your home approaches $25,000. USA Today says only 10-20% of North Carolina coastal homes and less than 3% state wide have flood insurance. The main reason obviously is cost. A policy in a high-risk area can easily exceed $10,000 a year. This cost is established by the government based on the risk assessment maps produced by FEMA. Much of western Michigan has been mapped and you can view your area by entering your address at the FEMA Flood Map Service Center. Most of our area is listed minimal or low risk of flooding which drastically reduces the annual premiums.

But flooding can and does happen. According to FEMA more than 20% of flood claims come from properties outside high-risk flood zones. If you live in a marginal flooding area of western Michigan, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac recommends that you check the pricing on these low risk area policies. And please, read the policy carefully to determine exactly what is and is not covered. Also, do not hesitate to contact your local homeowner’s insurance agent and get his advice on protecting what is probably your most valuable asset.

Far too often SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac gets called to help flooded homeowners in Western Michigan and we must tell them to call their agent, but that they probably do not have coverage. Don't let that happen to you.

The most helpful resource tool

4/5/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that 50% of businesses never re-open following a disaster? SERVPRO offers a no cost, no obligation service called an Emergency Ready Profile or an ERP. This proactive resource tool is to better prepare yourself, home & business for any of life's unexpected disasters. When you make the choice to have an ERP done on your business or home, one of our marketing representatives will walk through your business with one of your trusted employees. Your employee will show our marketer where all of your major shut offs are located and all contact information for the company. This 14-page portfolio will allow the SERVPRO employees to answer most questions on whereabouts for things, complete with descriptions to the shut locations and accompanied by pictures. This folder will also have work authorization contact info, insurance information and any other special regards that will help SERVPRO in the event of a disaster. When the ERP is presented, the marketer will also walk the representative from your company through downloading our free app that will already have all of this important information uploaded onto it. An ERP is an essential tool to help when life throws one of their unexpected disasters at you.

National volunteer week

4/5/2018 (Permalink)

With National Volunteer Week taking place the week of April 15-21, it's important that we recognize those putting their lives on the line everyday. Did you know that many fire fighters and EMTs are volunteers? 

There are more than 29,700 fire departments with over 1 million total fire fighters. Of those many are volunteer. Same goes for EMTs. There are more than 245,000 EMTs and paramedics. So many of our local heroes are out everyday risking their lives to save ours and doing it all out of the goodness of their heart.  

So the next time you see someone in uniform or those red lights flashing in your rear view mirror, give then a nice hand shake and move to the side of the road.

Do you have mold

4/3/2018 (Permalink)

Most of us know that fungi can naturally happen all around us. In fact, there are over 100,000 different kinds. Even though certain types of mold can add value to our everyday life, there are many kinds that can be extremely harmful and can present concern for your health.

Water or moisture can be a breeding ground for mold. Moisture can very easily make it's way into your home without you even knowing. When not taken care of promptly, is when the growth of mold spores may start and quickly multiply.

SERVPRO professionals handle water damages on a daily basis and are thoroughly trained in mold removal and the proper way to handle and rid the home or business of the mold issue. SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac can efficiently restore your building back to a safe and healthy environment. For any questions, please head on over to http://www.SERVPROmanisteeludingtonandcadillac.com for other questions you may have or give us a call at 231-723-4870 to speak with one of our trained professionals today!

April fools day

4/2/2018 (Permalink)

April 1st, also known to many as April fool’s day, is a day filled with harmless jokes and pranks but where did the April fool come from? Who was this person and where did he live? And what exactly made him so foolish?

According to history.com, April fool’s day is thought to have originated back in 1582 when the French switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. It is thought that some people did not want to recognize or failed the knowledge of the new year being moved to January 1st, so they continued to celebrate the last week in March through April 1st. That then brought on jokes for those who did not recognize that the holiday had been moved.

The jokes that were played on one another back then were a far cry from the kinds of jokes and pranks played on people these days. One of the most popular jokes was someone putting a paper fish on your back. The paper fish was known as poisson d'avril also known as April fish. This fish was thought to symbolize an easily caught fish or a gullible person.

During the 1700's, the April fool’s popularity grew. English pranksters were at the foot of the popularity and spread the jokes of the day through their land. 

Through all the speculation, the actual origin to April fool’s day is still a mystery. But that sure doesn't stop people of all ages enjoying pulling a friendly joke or harmless prank on someone for a good old belly laugh!

The facts about smoke alarms

3/15/2018 (Permalink)

We all know that smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives when installed and maintained correctly so why is it that 37% of home fire deaths result from fires in which no working smoke alarm was found to be present?

SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac has a few tips to ensure the safety of your home by installing smoke alarms. Aside from installing them on every level of your home, they should also be installed away from the kitchen at least 10 feet to prevent false alarms. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house including the basement. 

Test your smoke alarms at least once a month along with changing out the batteries every 6 months. If you hear the alarm chirping, that is an indication that the batteries are running low and you should change them as soon as possible. In addition to batteries, all smoke alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years.

Three out of five fire deaths occur in home where no working smoke alarms or no smoke alarm at was found. The scary part is the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half with homes that have working smoke alarms. 

For more questions about your smoke alarms, please contact SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac and we would be happy to help you and answer any questions that you may have.

March is...

3/8/2018 (Permalink)

The month of March brings many things. It may bring the sunshine and the taste of spring. If you live here in Michigan, it may bring the last snow fall for the year but the month of March is very significant to the charity world as it is the American Red Cross month. 

The American Red Cross is a charitable organization founded in 1881 that relies on donations and volunteers to carry out their mission of helping people. 

The American Red Cross is committed to helping people in need. Whether it is disaster relief, blood donations, first aid and CPR training, life guard training and something that hits close to many of our hearts, military family support. 

The American Red Cross is part of the Global Red Cross Network. It is the world's largest network for volunteering. It is found in 187 different countries, so if you're interested in volunteering, it's not to find a local American Red Cross.

To learn more about the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org.

Floods

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding is one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in America. Fema has reported that in the last 5 years, every state in the United States has experienced floods or flash flooding. 20% of all flood insurance claims come from a low to moderate risk area. 

According to the American Red Cross, flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other natural disaster that is weather related. On average, a home that has 1 inch of flood damage can cost about $27,000. 

In the event that a flood strikes your home or business, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac is here to help. With 24 hour 7 day a week service, we will have you back in your home or business in no time. 

Lead paint clean-up inside your home

1/22/2018 (Permalink)

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

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

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

11/21/2017 (Permalink)

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.

Sewage disaster

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

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?

4/4/2017 (Permalink)

 


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?

4/4/2017 (Permalink)

 

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?

4/4/2017 (Permalink)

 

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?

4/4/2017 (Permalink)

 

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?

4/4/2017 (Permalink)

 

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

3/16/2017 (Permalink)

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!

What do the national guidelines say about mold?

1/20/2017 (Permalink)

The best source of mold information is the IICRC S520, Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation 2015 3rd edition. This ANSI standard is accepted throughout the world as the standard care that should be followed on all remediation projects. Make sure that whoever does your mold remediation follows this standard. SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac's employees have been trained in this newly released standard, and can help you with any size project.

The summary of this standard, is source removal. It clearly states, that the use of bleach and anti-microbials, is not an acceptable remediation procedure. Let me just repeat that one more time, no-one should be using bleach or relying on anti-microbials to kill mold. A dead mold spore is just as dangerous to the human body as a live spore.

The standard also states, that porous materials with visible mold growth must be discarded. Hard surfaces with visible mold growth can be cleaned with abrasive cleaning followed with wet cleaning with soap and water. Care must be taken to prevent the spread of mold spores to unaffected areas of the structure through the use of containment, engineering controls and air scrubbing. Contact SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac for advice on rather this is a project you can tackle yourself or need SERVPRO's assistance or visit our website at SERVPROofmanisteeludingtonandcadillac.com

How did I get mold?

1/19/2017 (Permalink)

Example of Mold Spores

In a home, the recipe for growing mold is "Just add water." Mold needs three things to grow: food (any organic material) water and spores. Mold spores are everywhere. Its food is everywhere, so all that is needed to grow is water. Most mold spores take 48 to 72 hours to start growing after their food source reaches 16% moisture content. This means that 2-days after a rain or dew, you will have mold growth outside and new spores. The same thing happens indoors after you have a water event.

Mold spores will enter your home in many ways. They are small enough to go through the walls as the home breathes, they can be carried in by pets or on your clothes. Open windows are an obvious source. When we say, spores are everywhere, that includes in every home in Michigan. That also includes doctors' offices, hospitals and your car. Remember, "Just add water."

If you have a water leak anywhere in your home, you need to get it repaired immediately. If you have a flood or broken pipe, give SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac a call at 877-350-4872. SERVPRO strictly follows the national drying guidelines that require that the structure be dried down to below 16% moisture content within 72 hours to prevent mold growth. This is not a do-it-yourself project if you have major water damage. Specialized equipment will be needed to get it dry before mold starts.

Back to school tip and tricks

8/15/2016 (Permalink)

With all of the parents gearing up to send their children back to school, the harsh reality of back to school shopping begins to hit their wallets like a freight train. American parents with children from kindergarten through 12th grade will collectively spend about 24.9 billion dollars, which is an average of $315.18 per child. That amount is down 6% from last year according to Martha C. White. A lead consult at familyfinance.com. 

A good way to lower the spending costs is to simply shop around. Shopping online has so many benefits. A lot of the time, you can get the name brands at a fraction of the cost and even shopping around online on multiple sites will allow you that price break. For example, my daughter wanted a specific pair of Under Armour tennis shoes that she found at a popular sporting goods store for $77. I started looking online and found the same pair of shoes for $29.99 with free shipping after searching around a few different sites. $47 less then what they were at the sporting goods store. 

Another great way to cut prices is to use social media. Facebook has so many of the yard sale and garage sale sites where people re-sell their gently used items and sometimes brand new which are a lot less because they are simply trying to get rid of them. 

There are so many ways to cut costs for back to school shopping. A lot of them are at your fingertips. The internet is great tool to find all of the name brand must haves to make their first day entrance one to remember.

Memorial Day

6/9/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington & Cadillac has had the priviledge of employing exceptional people. Employees who work hard to provide for their families and allowing SERVPRO to maintain our highly recommended reputation. Among them are David Gancarz, Marc Pirtle & Phillip Wicinski. These three men, to most people, just look like your everyday people walking down the street but us here at SERVPRO, they are heroes. 

Phillip Wicinski had been with SERVPRO for just over 2 1/2 years. Working as a Recon Carpenter, Phillip works mainly out of our Manistee location. Born in Muskegon, Phillip re-located to Manistee in 1976, where he remains today. In 1988, Phillip made the brave choice to join the Navy. Phillip served for quite some time before marrying his beautiful wife Stacey. Together, they have 2 sons, Zachary and Jakob and in March 2016, Phillip and Stacey welcomed their 1st grandchild Carter. Phillip has always had a place in his heart for helping people, stating that his favorite part of working for SERVPRO was "Helping people in their time of need."

Marc Pirtle has been with SERVPRO for almost a year. Even though Marc is new to SERVPRO where he works as a Mitigation/ Recon Technician, where he works mainly in the Cadillac area. Marc does not lack in his knowledge in the field. Having over 20 years' experience in the paint and construction industry and owning his own painting business along with 2 retail businesses, Marc has exceptional customer service that he employs every day with SERVPRO customers. Marc spent 8 years in environmental monitoring and equipment installation but among his biggest accomplishments were the 15 years that he served in the United States Army. Marc served in the 312 Armed Calvary Regimen. Although, Marc has now settled down and started a family of his own, he will never forget the men and women that he has met and the places he has been. He stands tall and very proud to say that he served.

Finally, David Gancarz has been with SERVPRO for just about a year working as a Crew Chief. David was born and raised right here in Mason County and is a Freesoil graduate. He and his wife Mandy, have 3 beautiful daughters and now reside in Custer. After graduating from high school, David made the choice to join the United States Army where he proudly served 4 years. While in the Army, David was decorated with many badges and medals, but among them is one that he holds very close. While serving, David was struck by a road side bomb while on deployment. Due to that incident, David received the purple heart. David is very proud of the time he served. He feels as though every day is a gift and life is a gift and knows just how fragile both are. David lives by making the most of every day and giving as much as he can to his family.

Memorial Day, originally known as Declaration Day following the Civil War, was made into a nationally observed holiday in 1971. The day was to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate price fighting for our freedom. To most of us, Memorial Day is a day off to relax with the family, have a BBQ and enjoy the sunshine but like David, Phillip & Marc have experienced first-hand, the reality that freedom isn't free is all too real. This Memorial Day let's rememeber the true reason this holiday was instilled as a national holiday and shake a hand to those who gave some and pay your respects to those who gave all.

From all of us at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington & Cadillac, thank you to all of the men and women who have or are currently fighting for our country and a special thank you to the families who are away from their loved ones serving proudly as a representaion of them. We salute you. Please have a safe and happy Memorial Day. God Bless.

Emergency Ready Profiles

5/4/2016 (Permalink)

Did you know that 50% of businesses never re-open following a disaster? SERVPRO offers a no cost, no obligation service called an Emergency Ready Profile or an ERP. This proactive resource tool is to better prepare yourself, home & business for any of life's unexpected disasters. When you make the choice to have an ERP done on your business or home, one of our marketing representatives will walk through your business with one of your trusted employees. Your employee will show our marketer where all of your major shut offs are located and all contact information for the company. This 14-page portfolio will allow the SERVPRO employees to answer most questions on whereabouts for things, complete with descriptions to the shut locations and accompanied by pictures. This folder will also have work authorization contact info, insurance information and any other special regards that will help SERVPRO in the event of a disaster. When the ERP is presented, the marketer will also walk the representative from your company through downloading our free app that will already have all of this important information uploaded onto it. An ERP is an essential tool to help when life throws one of their unexpected disasters at you.

For your protection

3/28/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO hosted the areas first lead renovators training for the area contractors in December of 2009 and have been the areas leaders in work safe practices since 2002. We highly recommend that you ask any contractors that you hire to provide proof that they are trained in lead safe practices and are following the law to protect you and your family. If you choose to have the lead removed from your home (and this can be very expensive) make sure your contractor is a licensed and insured lead paint abatement professional which is vastly different  from someone trained in lead safe procedures. If you have questions call the EPA hotline 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) or go to www.epa.gov/lead website for questions.

Lead paint poisoning

3/28/2016 (Permalink)

Lead poisoning from paint is not just an indoor issue. If the pre 1978 paint on the homes exterior is not properly removed it can contaminate the soil. The lead never breaks down and your loved ones can track it into your home, get it on their hands, clothes, or toys and ingest it causing health issues. Extensive containment of the outside of the home including covering bushes and the ground with heavy plastic sheets is necessary to prevent the lead from getting into the soil. It's the law. SERVPRO recommends going to the EPA website website www.epa.gov/lead to learn how to remove the paint safety.

Being EPA certified

3/28/2016 (Permalink)

You should never allow a contractor or painter to work on your home (built before 1978) unless he/she shows you their training certificate that proves they are EPA certified in lead safe procedures. The law also requires that every contractor working on a home built before 1978 either test the paint to prove that it is lead free, or follow lead safe practices. All contractors are also required have you sign a form stating that they gave you an EPA guide to lead safe practices if they do over 6 square feet of interior work or 20 square feet for exteriors. There are large fines for failures to follow these steps. You should not try to remove this paint yourself without first going to the EPA website www.epa.gov/lead to learn how to do it safely.

Lead paint basic rules

3/28/2016 (Permalink)

The basic rules of safely disturbing lead paint include setting containment to prevent dust and debris from escaping the work area, moving any furniture or contents that can be moved, covering the floors and any furniture that cannot be moved, and sealing doors and heating & cooling systems to prevent transfer to unaffected areas of the home. Open flame burning or torching, sanding, grinding, needle gunning or blasting with power tools not equipped with a shroud and HEPA vacuum attachment, or using a heat gun with temperatures greater than 1100 degrees F are prohibited. The affected area must be cleaned using the EPA special methods including HEPA vacuuming followed by wet wiping and mopping with clean rinse water. Stay tuned to learn how to know if your contractor is lead paint safety trained.

Lead paint in your home

3/28/2016 (Permalink)

With the mandated water testing in most areas of Western Michigan, you can be comfortable that the area lead issues are related to lead paint, not water quality. Before it was banned in 1978 most paint contained large amounts of lead (sometimes 50% or more). There are multiple layers of this paint on nearly all homes built before 1978. If this paint is in good condition and not disturbed, it is usually not dangerous. Also, it has often been painted over with modern lead free paint providing further protection. However once you disturb it by scrapping, sanding, using a heat gun, or trying to remove the paint, it can become very dangerous. The next blog will give some SERVPRO hints on what your contractor should be doing to protect your home.

Lead in our area

2/25/2016 (Permalink)

During the past few weeks there have been excellent articles written in Western Michigan about the high lead levels in the area. According to the Center for Diease Control, no safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay atention, and academic acheivement. And effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected. That means prevention of lead exposure is the only option. Stay tuned as SERVPRO gives some guidelines on how to lower you or your families risk of lead poisoning.

'Like It Never Even Happened'

1/18/2016 (Permalink)

With all of the wintery weather conditions and fluctuating temperatures, you never know when a where a disaster will strike, so a quick tip for any body with seasonal homes, take a look around or ask a neighbor. Look for condensation, foggy windows and if you have propane check the tank. You don't want that tank to get empty not allowing heat into your house and gain the chance of burst pipes. In the event that you have an issue do not hesitate to call SERVPRO! We will make it 'Like It Never Even Happened' you have our word!

Ludington/Scottville Office close to opening

10/7/2015 (Permalink)

Front of existing building

We are getting very close to opening our Ludington/Scottville office.  The final touches are being applied to the existing interior and the new site work completed.  We will also be adding more storage space in the rear of the building this fall as well.  Look for more photos to come.  Look for the new road signs this coming week!!! 

SERVPRO opens office in Ludington

1/29/2015 (Permalink)

Big news! SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac is opening an office in Ludington!  

We have served the Ludington area since starting in 2002.  To better serve the area we will be opening an office at 1833 US-10, Scottville, 49454.  This means quicker response times for emergencies and a better overall service for our customers in the Ludington area.

Look for the "coming soon" sign within the next week on the south side of US-10. The ground breaking will begin as soon the weather allows!

Stay tuned for updates and photos! 

Ultrasonic Cleaning

11/21/2013 (Permalink)

"Bubba"

SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac recently purchased an ultrasonic cleaner for our contents cleaning division. 

Ultrasonic cleaners are used for cleaning of contents on water, fire and mold jobs.  The ultrasonic cleaning method provides a deeper and more thorough cleaning then hand cleaning.  This allows us to provide better deodorization of items and to clean detailed items that can not be cleaned by hand.

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