Fall / Winter Checklist for Homeowners
The air is starting to get cooler, and the leaves are changing colors and beginning to fall from the trees. Fall is here, and winter will be creeping up on us before we know it! With the change from warmer to colder weather comes a list of home maintenance tasks that homeowners should consider to keep their homes in the best possible conditions for the cold weather season.
Clean or replace your gutters. Leaves and other debris can clog your gutters and downspouts and cause them to not drain properly, which may lead to ice dams on your roof or leaks in your home’s foundation.
Inspect your roof for loose or damaged shingles. You don’t want snow and ice coming through your roof and creating interior damage as well! Better to get repairs done now than in the dead of winter.
Check your windows and doors for drafts and air leaks. Adding caulk or weather stripping can help minimize cold air leakage into your home, which will not only increase your comfort, but can also help you save on heating costs.
Change your furnace filter and schedule furnace maintenance when needed. Changing your filter regularly will help keep your air quality high and your energy bills lower. Having your furnace cleaned and inspected by a qualified HVAC company can often help extend the life of your furnace unit.
Remove exterior hoses and cover up outside water spigots. Any outside hoses should be emptied of water and moved indoors. Spigot covers can help keep exterior pipes from freezing and can be purchased at any hardware store.
Test and clean your fireplace and sweep your chimney. Removing soot and creosote buildup not only reduces the risk of chimney fires, but can also improve the efficiency of your fireplace.
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Although this should be done all year, the end of daylight savings time when we change our clocks back can also be a convenient reminder to test our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries if needed.
Clean and organize your garage, and find your rakes and snow shovels. Get rid of any trash, put away bicycles, lawn maintenance tools, and any other items you don’t plan to use often in the cold weather months. Make sure your rakes, shovels, and snowblower are easily accessible for fall and winter.
Store away outdoor furniture. Since we live in Michigan, we probably won’t be using our patio furniture again until late spring. Moving it inside into a garage or shed for the winter will help extend its life by keeping it out of the elements where it can become damaged from snow and ice. Another option is to cover it up.
Inspect your driveway and fill in any cracks. The freezing and thawing conditions of winter can sometimes cause cracks to develop in the cement. Fall is a great time to fill any cracks from the previous winter to prevent any further damage.
Check your attic and/or crawlspace for pests. The best pest control is prevention. Repair any cracks or holes to prevent insects and rodents from coming in to seek refuge from the cold. Be sure to get any current infestations under control to keep them from worsening. Call a pest control company if needed.
Got mold? Let SERVPRO help!
Mold damage can occur in many places in your home. Mold spores are present almost everywhere and can grow with an appliance or pipe leak, after a sump pump failure in your basement, or any other source of water intrusion such as a roof leak. Mold colonies can develop if water soaks into the structures of your home or into soft furnishings and materials such as carpet, and can also grow on the surfaces of walls. It is sometimes challenging to prevent mold growth after a water leak or other source of moisture, and many homeowners will struggle with fungal growth at some point.
How Does Mold Grow?
Molds are microscopic fungal organisms that can colonize and grow on damp surfaces within 24 to 48 hours. They reproduce through spores that travel through the air, and digest and destroy organic materials. (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/rebuild/recover/fema_mold_brochure_english.pdf) The most common types of indoor molds have been identified as Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. (https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm)
The fungus needs the following to grow and spread:
- An organic food source such as cotton, paper, or wood
Mold grows best in cool and dark conditions. The spores reproduce rapidly and can create a significant problem in as little as 24-72 hours, including both structural damage and health problems.
How Does SERVPRO Reduce Mold Damage Risks?
You might call us out if you are concerned about visible fungi, a moldy smell, or a water leak. Mold remediation services can minimize the damage, demolition, and costs of replacing mold damaged materials.
We know that looking for visible signs of mold is sometimes not enough. The fungus often grows in dark, hidden corners of your home and hard to reach places like inside wall cavities. We can use various equipment to assess moisture levels in your home's walls and carpets and to check humidity levels. We can also refer you to companies that provide air quality testing to let you know the types and levels of mold spores in your home.
Why is Drying Your Home so Important?
Because fungus needs moisture to thrive, properly drying your home reduces mold damage risks. This is especially important if your house has suffered recent water damage or a water leak.
Getting your home dry is a crucial part of our mold remediation process. This includes:
- Setting up air movers to help dry the surface of wet flooring or walls
- Using dehumidifiers to reduce the amount of moisture in the air
- Using portable extractors to remove water from floors and carpets
Our crews can also deal with the fungus that is already present. We use air scrubbers and HEPA filters to help capture the airborne spores. We can also clean or dispose of items depending on whether they are salvageable. Antimicrobial products are typically sprayed on treated surfaces to inhibit any future mold growth. SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee microbial remediation technicians have the skills, experience, equipment, and products to leave your home looking "Like it never even happened." Call us for your mold remediation needs at (734) 299-7006.
Biohazard situation? We can help!
SERVPRO of Carleton-Maybee technicians are thoroughly trained in the cleaning and disposal of hazardous contents and affected materials. We provide cleanup and recovery services for many biohazard situations. These include the following:
- Suicide/death accidents
- Homicide cleanups
- Blood cleanup
- Accident cleanup
- Chemical spills
- Sewage backups
- Hoarding situations
- Animal waste
When it comes to biohazards, we are prepared to handle situations like these. Protection is of utmost importance for our employees, as removing biohazard materials can pose potential serious health risks such as lung irritations and viral or bacterial infections. Our crew is equipped with the necessary PPE (personal protective equipment) and cleaning products to tackle these types of cleanups.
Specialized training and experience are key when choosing a cleanup company to resolve these types of circumstances. Here at SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee, we can help transform these unhealthy environments into clean, safe homes and offices. In most cases, we can restore your home or business back to its preloss condition. Give us a call if you need any biohazard cleanup services – at (734) 299-7006. SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee is always here to help, making it “Like it never even happened.”
Fire Prevention and Safety
Fire Prevention Week is October 9 - 15, and will be celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year with a campaign theme of “Fire won't wait. Plan your escape™” (https://www.nfpa.org/fpw). During this annual event, the National Fire Protection Association provides resources and materials to educate the public about important actions that can be taken to prevent home fires and to keep their families safe from fires should they occur.
The NFPA estimates that a family may have as little as two minutes to safely escape a home fire after the smoke alarm goes off (https://www.nfpa.org/Events/Events/Fire-Prevention-Week/About). This makes it crucial for every household to establish a home fire escape plan, as well as a family home safety action plan that focuses on preventing fires from occurring in the first place, and detecting and reacting to them quickly if they do. The NFPA offers the following guidelines for fire safety:
Smoke alarms should be placed in every bedroom and hallway on each level of the home at a minimum. The only rooms smoke alarms are not recommended is in kitchens and bathrooms. They should be tested regularly by pushing the test button, as often as on a monthly basis. In between tests, if a detector begins chirping the batteries should be replaced immediately. For any smoke detectors that are over 10 years old, the whole unit should be replaced.
Home fire escape plans should be made to make sure that everybody knows what to do to get out safely if the smoke alarm goes off, or if someone smells smoke or sees flames. These plans should include a map of the home marking two ways out of each room (including windows and doors), escape routes, and an outside meeting place. Arrangements should also be made to assist young children, older adults, and people with disabilities to evacuate should a fire occur. Home fire drills should be practiced at least twice a year.
Some additional fire safety tips offered by the National Safety Council are as follows: (https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/emergency-preparedness/fire-safety)
- When cooking, stay in the kitchen. Keep anything that could catch on fire away from the stovetop. If baking, use a timer and check the food regularly.
- Do not leave space heaters or fireplaces unattended. Turn off heaters and make sure fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room. Keep all flammable items at least 3 feet away and keep children and pets away as well. Look for space heater models that shut off automatically when tipped over.
- When using a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS: Pull the pin, Aim low at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle slowly, and Sweep the nozzle side to side. Home fire extinguishers should only be used on small fires. If the fire has spread or there is a lot of smoke, you should call the fire department and evacuate as soon as possible.
If your family does suffer the unfortunate event of a home fire loss, SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee is here to help. We have specialized fire restoration training to remove any water from firefighting efforts, dry remaining moisture with air movers and dehumidifiers, remove smoke and soot from walls and ceilings, and clean and sanitize all restorable items that were damaged by the fire. We will work with your insurance company to coordinate this process and direct you to reconstruction services for any repairs that may be needed. Call us in the event of a fire emergency at (734) 299-7006.
Business Planning & Mitigation
In recognition of the National Preparedness Month of September, we continue with some recommended business planning activities that should be performed to prepare organizations for potential hazards and emergencies that their businesses may encounter. Whether there is a natural disaster such as a flood, tornado, or storm damage, a health hazard such as a viral epidemic or bacterial contamination, or other emergency due to an accident, equipment failure, or even an act of violence or terrorism, business emergency plans are essential for sustaining business operations and keeping staff and customers safe.
There are many resources organizations can use to plan for emergencies, including the Ready Business Toolkits put together by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which offer business leaders step-by-step guides to planning for specific types of emergencies. Each toolkit contains the following sections: Identifying risk, Developing a plan, Taking action, and Being recognized and inspiring others (https://www.ready.gov/business). Another resource is the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile, which can help minimize business interruptions by having an immediate plan of action and knowing what to do in advance should an emergency occur (https://ready.SERVPRO.com). These and any other types of emergency preparedness plans should focus on prevention, mitigation actions, return to operations, and business continuity following a disaster.
SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee is here to help for your commercial mitigation needs. We offer fire and water restoration services, mold remediation, and even biohazard cleanup. This includes our Certified SERVPRO Cleaned program, which offers a high standard of cleaning for workplace COVID-19 infections and other viral pathogens. Call us at (734) 299-7006 for a consultation and estimate whenever mitigation is needed for your business!
Flooding and Water Damage
Flooding is both a common weather and household hazard that can happen at any time. Whether a flash flood from heavy rainfall or a flooded kitchen or basement from a broken pipe, floods can be dangerous and even potentially life-threatening, and can also cause extensive property damage. However, there are certain things you can do to prepare for floods in order to minimize the effects in both situations (flash flooding or household water losses).
Flash flooding can occur with little to no warning, within minutes to hours of a heavy rainfall, especially in low-lying areas that are in close proximity to small bodies of water such as rivers or streams. Homeowners insurance policies generally do not cover this type of flooding, so additional flood insurance should be purchased in areas that are prone to flash floods (https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance). Evacuation plans should also be made so that all family members know what to do and where to go in the event of a flood.
Household water losses can lead to flooding inside the home as well. This can be caused by many different things, such as a broken pipe, overflowed toilet, roof leak, water heater leak, drain backup or even sump pump failure. Standard homeowners insurance policies generally cover water damages from “sudden and accidental” causes, but special coverage usually must be purchased for sump and water backup losses (https://www.forbes.com/advisor/homeowners-insurance/water-damage/). You can check with your insurance agent to verify what type of coverages you have on your homeowners policy.
Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically cover damages to your belongings as well. It is always a good idea to take photos of major household appliances and other valuables in case they ever need to be included in an insurance claim. Important documents and valuables should always be kept in waterproof containers on higher levels or shelves.
Some other preventative measures include clearing out drains, periodically checking water valves, and using a sump pump that has a backup battery in case of a power outage (https://www.ready.gov/floods).
The most important consideration to be taken during any flood situation is safety. Stop the source of the water intrusion if at all possible. Do not touch any electrical equipment that is wet or in standing water. Turning off the electricity is the best way to prevent electric shock if safe to do so. Stay out of any areas with sagging ceilings. Then contact us at SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee to begin the water mitigation process at (734) 299-7006. We are here to help!
Be Prepared for Disaster Emergencies!
As the summer is coming to an end and we are approaching the Back to School season, it’s important to be prepared for potential emergencies both at home and school. The upcoming month of September is National Preparedness Month, which is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (also known as FEMA), and encourages people to prepare for all types of emergencies that may arise. This year’s theme is “A Lasting Legacy: The life you’ve built is worth protecting. Prepare for disasters to create a lasting legacy for you and your family.” (https://www.ready.gov/september#theme)
Family emergency planning – what to do, emergency contacts, evacuation plans, etc. Get the whole family involved in both the planning and practicing of emergency drills. Teach older children and teens how to use fire extinguishers and shut off water valves.
Emergency supply kits – food, water, toiletries, first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, matches, cash, etc.
Making your home safer – smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, home fire escape ladders, etc.
Financial preparedness – emergency savings funds, property, health, and life insurances
Prepare your teachers and students for all types of emergencies or disasters that may occur, including but not limited to fires, floods, tornadoes, and power outages.
Multi-hazard emergency action planning
School emergency operations planning
Establishing an Incident Command System
Fire safety training
Fire and tornado drills
Although the best way to deal with disasters is preventing them from even happening in the first place, not all of them are preventable and we at SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee are here to help for your fire and water restoration needs. This includes smoke remediation and cleaning and sanitizing after flooding or sewage backups. You can call us at the time of any emergency at (734) 299-7006.
Fire Damage In Your Flat Rock, MI Business
A fire in your business, regardless of the size, can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with. If this happens, you want to regain control as quickly as possible to avoid disruptions in your business, and minimize the time that you have to be closed, and therefore losing income essential to your company’s survival.
Specifically trained in the cleanup and care of your business and equipment, SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee will arrive on site within hours of the loss to begin mitigation services. We understand that timely response could prevent business closure and revenue loss, and our goal is to get you back to normal and “Like it never even happened,” as fast as physically possible.
Communicating the extent of damage, indicating how the damage may be handled and providing reassurance are just some of the initial steps taken to help begin the restoration process. Rest assured, your business and your belongings are in good hands.
SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee is available and on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help get you back up and running. Call us today at (734) 299-7006 if you have had a fire and need help or have questions on the fire restoration process.
How Do I Protect My Downriver Business After a Water loss?
Call SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee to rid your downriver business of water damage!
Pipe breaks never seem to happen in the open, at a convenient time on a Tuesday. They always seem to be overnight on a weekend or about an hour after the store closes and no one is around.
What Exactly Is Water Mitigation?
Water mitigation means reducing the severity of a water spill as quickly as possible. SERVPRO response teams can begin removing water and restoring your tux and formal dress shop within minutes after arriving in the parking lot.
What is the First Thing Team Members Do?
Our first task is to get the water out of your shop. Our teams usually begin with large pumps, but for a smaller operation, we begin with extraction wands. These devices work exceptionally well on concrete and wood floors, as well as commercial carpets. Water removal takes several days to a week for most stores.
There is still moisture in the air and trapped in carpets though. To finish the task and bring the inside humidity to a normal level again, our technicians use a combination of exhaust fans, dehumidifiers, and air movers.
Is There Anything I Can Do When It Comes to Mitigation?
Yes, absolutely! Even with our rapid response team, SERVPRO technicians still arrive an hour or more after someone notices the problem. Owners and employees can perform these tasks:
- Shut-off the water. Every building has a cut-off valve or switch. If you can’t find it, call the Water Department immediately to do it for you.
- Open the doors and windows. This allows water to drain out of the store and increases airflow to improve the rate of evaporation.
Both actions help prepare your business for our response team but remember safety first. If there is any risk of being inside, wait for our team leader to help assess the situation.
To schedule a service call, contact SERVPRO of Carleton/Maybee today at 734-299-7006.
Water Damage Do's and Dont's
No one wants to come home to a flooded basement or to wake up to the sound of a broken pipe spraying water on valuable furniture and household possessions. However, the possibility of water damage occurring in your business or home is very real. Whether it is a pipe burst or a weather-related issue, it is important to arm yourself with some basic knowledge to deal with this type of emergency before it happens.
Here are a few tips to help in the event of water damage :
- First, ascertain whether it safe to stay in the house.
- Make sure there are no active electrical devices or outlets immersed in or near the water.
- Note that wet floors are slippery and “slip and fall” hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Keep in mind that wet materials can be VERY heavy.
- Have your plumber’s phone number ready and available.
- Contact your SERVPRO Professional at 734-299-7006 for complete restoration.
While waiting for your SERVPRO Professional to reach your location, here is what you CAN do:
- Shut off the water
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air condition on for maximum drying in the Summer.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects and other prized possessions to a safe, dry place
- Gather loose items from floors.
What NOT to do After Flooding:
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
- Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.