Recent Water Damage Posts

Ice Dam in St. Clair Shores, MI

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Ice Dam in St. Clair Shores, MI Ice Dam in St. Clair Shores

Watch for Ice Dams!!

An ice dam is an ice build-up on roofs of buildings which may cause water damage to the building and contents if the water leaks through the roof. This home in St. Clair Shores had accumulated snow on the roof and the lack of proper ventilation and insulation caused an ice dam. Water leaked into the attic in several places and seeped down into the ceilings and walls of several rooms.

Our crews cleaned the snow off the roof to prevent any further damage, then proceeded the drying out process. If you notice any wet ceilings or walls in your home, don’t hesitate to call us. Our water restoration technicians are available 24/7 to help with your emergency needs. Call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores (586) 741-5050.

Frozen Pipes in St. Clair Shores, MI

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Frozen Pipes in St. Clair Shores, MI Frozen Pipes?

Now that the weather is finally getting colder, pipes can freeze!

Watch for signs of a broken pipe:

  • Unusual Sounds

If you flush the toilet or use the sink and you hear a gurgling sound, that could be a problem with a broken pipe. Any other strange whistling or banging sounds could also be another sign.

  • Odors

Sewage has a distinctively unpleasant odor. Pay attention to any odors coming from your sinks, toilets or drains.

  • Visible Water Leaks on Walls or Ceilings

Damp drywall can be a good indicator that there may be a broken pipe behind the wall or ceiling.

  • Sink not acting properly

If the water is not coming out of the faucet at the usual rate, or if you have a persistent clog you could have a broken pipe.

Keep our number handy in case of an emergency. We are available 24/7. Call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores (586) 741-5050

Water Restoration Process

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

24 Hour Emergency Contact

The restoration process begins when you call us. SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small in your Roseville, MI home. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. Even a delay of a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

Water damage can be chaotic and traumatic. When you call us, we understand you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

We answer the phone Ready to Help. Call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores today (586) 741-5050.

Flooded Basement in Clinton Township, MI

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flooded Basement in Clinton Township, MI Flooded basement in Clinton Township, MI

Flooded Basement in Clinton Township, MI

Have a loved one affected by a water loss? Hire a company that will care about your family like they are our own. This is a picture from a water loss in Clinton Township, MI for a homeowner who lives alone and who did not know where to turn. Her insurance adjuster put her in contact with a company that can take care of her every need. We work directly with insurance adjusters to provide our customers with a smooth claims process, and our experts make sure your property is dried properly and thoroughly.

SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores is always Here to Help! Call us at (586) 741-50-50 for your restoration needs! We are available to help 24/7.

Thermal Imaging

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Thermal Imaging Detecting Water Damage in St. Clair Shores

Thermal Imaging

Sometimes you might not know exactly what has been affected when you have a water leak. Did you know that we can detect hidden moisture with the use of thermal imaging? We can detect where moisture has infiltrated walls, carpeting etc. with the use of thermal imaging cameras. A thermal imaging camera can detect slight temperature differences inside your home. It creates a visual map so we can pinpoint the location of leaks and moisture.

Generally speaking, the higher an object's temperature, the more infrared radiation is emitted as black-body radiation. A special camera can detect this radiation in a way similar to the way an ordinary camera detects visible light. It works even in total darkness because ambient light level does not matter.

Call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores at (586) 741-5050 for your emergency water damage cleanup.

Frozen Pipes in Grosse Point, MI

11/27/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Frozen Pipes in Grosse Point, MI Frozen Pipe

This is the time of year when your home’s pipes could freeze and cause damage and potential flooding

What to do if your pipes freeze:

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. You could be electrocuted.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.

Take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your home from water damage and costly repairs. It is important to know who to call if you ever have a problem! Save our phone number at (586) 741-5050. We are always Here to Help – 24/7 our experts are standing by.

Sewage Cleanup in St. Clair Shores

11/21/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Sewage Cleanup in St. Clair Shores Sewage Cleanup in St. Clair Shores

Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment are necessary to safely clean this type of contamination.

This St. Clair Shores home had a sewage backup recently. Sewage water ran out of toilets and bathtubs on the first floor, flooding the entire first floor and rained back down into basement, flooding the basement. The main drain pipe was confirmed broken under the slab so the concrete flooring needed to be broken up in order to repair the pipe. Once the pipe was repaired we could commence the cleanup and sanitizing.

24 Emergency Service

Sewage backup should be considered an emergency and dealt with as quickly as possible. We are the water damage restoration specialists with specific training and expertise to safely restore your home or business.

Sewage Backup or Toilet Overflow? Call Us Today – (586) 741-5050

Clogged Toilet in Grosse Pointe, MI?

11/21/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Clogged Toilet in Grosse Pointe, MI? Watch your Toilet During the Holidays!

With the holidays approaching, many of us will be having large family gatherings in our homes. One thing to keep in mind is the majority of those family members will be spending some quality time in our bathrooms! There is nothing worse than a clogged toilet during your festivities.

Fortunately, you can clear most clogs yourself without having to pay a plumber. Most clogs can be cleared with a good plunger or homemade drain cleaner made with hot water, baking soda and vinegar. For deeper clogs, try snaking the drain or using a wet/dry vacuum to do the job.

If all of your efforts fail and you end up with a flooded bathroom you can call the experts at SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores. We are available 24/7 for your emergency needs. Call (586) 741-5050.

Frozen Sump Pump Discharge Lines St Clair Shores

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Frozen Sump Pump Discharge Lines St Clair Shores Pipe Break Cleanup in St. Clair Shores

At SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores it seems like we have seen it all. Most homeowners think if they have a back up sump pump for their sump pump they WILL be ok, and it won't flood. But what most people do not think about with these temperatures is, what if your Sump pump discharge line freezes? Can your basement still flood? Just ask the customer we worked for this weekend who woke up to 4" of water in his fully finished beautiful basement. This is exactly what happened to him. His discharge line outside became frozen solid and the water eventually destroyed the fern-co fitting inside his house and the pump continued to pump all of the water directly up and back into the house making a nice waterfall attraction, something that might be nice to look at, but definitely not in your basement.

Depending on how great your backup system is designed, the discharge line of a sump pump system can be a major weak point in a sump pump system. When a sump pump system is improperly designed, it becomes vulnerable to clogs in the system, including clogs related to frozen discharge lines.

As a discharge line begins to clog, a sump pump system will be forced to work harder to keep up, leading to overheating and sometimes pump failure. And if the system clogs or fails entirely, then your basement will flood. There are a number of problems that a clog can result in but none of them will result well for your basement. This is the perfect time to check on all system parts in your backup system including going outside to check the discharge. If you experience a problem and your basement floods, you know who to call. We are the leaders in flood and fire cleanup and restoration and our crews are on standby 24 hours a day to help you out of any kind of disaster. Call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores at (586) 741-5050.

Pipe Break Cleanup in St. Clair Shores, Michigan

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Pipe Break Cleanup in St. Clair Shores, Michigan  Pipe Break Cleanup in St. Clair Shores
Burst Pipe Cleanup Timeline Burst pipe cleanup will generally will depend on these four important factors: 

Type of Water

Whether the water in the burst pipe is clean or dirty will determine the flood damage classification and type of repairs and restoration required.

SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores professionals can help you from filing the claim, throughout the cleanup process to the repairs.  We can help you sort what can be salvaged and what cannot be saved. 

Extent of Damage

The amount of damage to building structures, materials and personal items will determine costs and the length of time to restore your home.

Our professionals at SERVPRO can give you these estimated times upon beginning the project.  Once the dry out is complete, the time frame for repairs can be established. 

Length of Time

Flood damage from clean water within 48-72 hours will have a lower classification than floods from pipes containing dirty water.

If you are unsure of the source of loss, call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores.  We can help you figure out the source of loss, and help you stop it immediately until repairs can begin. 

Probability of Mold Damage

The presence of visible mold, musty odor, or other signs of long term water damage will classify the damage as more extensive and likely to require mold remediation.

This is the most important reason to act quickly.  When you notice a problem, you will want to call us out immediately.  We can help you file the claim and begin mitigation immediately to prevent any further issues from arising.  Save our phone number in your phone.  You never know when you may need us!  We are available 24/7 for your emergency needs.  SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores (586) 741-5050.

Pipe Burst Cleanup in Macomb County

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Pipe Burst Cleanup in Macomb County Pipe Burst Cleanup in Macomb County

What You Should Know About Broken Pipes and Pipe Burst Cleanup

Coming home to find yourself ankle deep in flood water from a burst pipe is an experience no one ever wants to have. But in reality, it’s a relatively common problem with the plumbing and seldom occurs at a convenient time. When the pipe that bursts is in a location where it’s easy to find – like under your kitchen or bathroom sink – this is actually a better problem to have; that is, when you find it right away and can call a plumber and SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores to perform immediate burst pipe cleanup services. Extracting this water within 48-72 hours, drying and dehumidifying building structures, cabinets, affected furnishings, and personal items may save thousands of dollars in expenses and allow you to stay in your home during repairs and restoration.

But what happens when you have a burst pipe hidden from view? How do you know about it and what should you do?

Signs of a Leaking or Burst Pipe

  • Pooling of water or water damage to areas of the wall, ceiling, or floor.
  • Hissing sound of water running when the plumbing is not in use.
  • Pressure in pipes is not consistent when using a pressure gauge attached to your plumbing when the water supply is shut off.
  • Your ceiling is bulging.
  • There is a visible split in a portion of a pipe.
  • You receive an enormous water bill and have not recently filled a new swimming pool.

At SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores we have on call crews that are available 24/7 for your emergency needs. If disaster strikes, strike back by calling SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores. Your Cleanup and Restoration Specialist at (586) 741-5050.

Do you know what an Ice Dam is?

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

What are Roof Ice Dams in Michigan

A roof ice dam is basically a ridge of ice that will form at the edge of your roof. This ridge of ice will prevent any melting snow from draining off of your roof. This is very dangerous because any water that backs up due to the ice dam can leak into your home. This will cause damage to your home because the leaks will damage the ceilings, walls, and floors. It can also cause damage to your insulation.  If gone unsolved you could in return have major problems with mold growth or denial of insurance claim coverage.  It is important that you prevent further damages to your home or business immediately!!  Our expert at SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores can help you from removing the ice dam to helping you file an insurance claim to the dry out and restoration of your property.  Give us a call at 586-741-5050 if you need help this Winter! 

What to do I do if I have an Ice Dam in Michigan this Winter

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage What to do I do if I have an Ice Dam in Michigan this Winter Ice Dam Removal in Macomb, Michigan

What to do I do if I have an Ice Dam in Michigan this Winter?

If you have a roof ice dam in Michigan, the best thing you can do is call a professional. Climbing the ladder to get on your roof is very dangerous with all the ice and snow we have in Michigan. In a blink of an eye, you could slip on the ladder and injure yourself very badly. So, you definitely need to call a professional to come out and take care of the situation for you. SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores experienced employees are well equipped to handle this situation for you. They have all of the tools, chemicals, knowledge and experience needed to remove the ice dam and to do it safely.

With the type of weather we experience in Michigan during the winter, sometimes ice dams can’t be avoided, even if you do all the things you can to prevent it. The quicker you get the situation taken care of, the better off you will be. From filing an insurance claim or drying out your structure in the affected areas SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores can help you. Call our office to schedule an appointment at (586) 741-5050. We have experts available 24/7 to help you through any situation.

Prevent Ice Dams This Winter!

11/28/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Prevent Ice Dams This Winter! Don't let this happen to your house!

Ice Dams by Energystar.gov

Diagnosis:

Ice dams usually occur after a heavy snowfall and several days of freezing temperatures. Warm air inside your home leaks into the attic and will warm the underside of the roof causing snow and ice on the roof to melt. The melted water will drain along the roof, under the snow, until it reaches the cold overhang. The overhang tends to be at the same temperature as the outdoors and the melted water will refreeze and form an ice dam and icicles. The ice dam can cause damage to the roof, which will result in water leaks to the inside. Frequently the result will be a water spot on the ceiling under the roof damage.

Prescription Checklist

  • Don’t get on your roof to solve this problem, it could be dangerous.
  • Avoid standing on the ground and “chipping away” at the ice. Not only could this cause damage to your roof, but you can be seriously injured by falling ice, debris, or tools.
  • Contacting a roofing contractor to fix your roof leak will not prevent future ice dams.
  • Seal air leaks in your attic to stop warm air leakage (the source of the problem).
  • After sealing leaks, add additional insulation in your attic.
  • Provide adequate attic ventilation so that the underside of the roof and outside air are at the same temperature.
  • Check to make sure attic insulation is not blocking roof ventilation.
  • Clean leaves and other debris from gutters before the first snow. This will help prevent ice build-up in gutters.

Take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your home from water damage and costly repairs. It is important to know who to call if you ever have a problem! Save our phone number at (586) 741-5050. We are always Here to Help – 24/7 our experts are standing by.

Keep Your Home Safe on Vacation

5/3/2017 (Permalink)

Keep Your Home Safe on Vacation: 10 Essential Tips --by Caroline Costello

Murphy's Law for travelers: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong while you're on vacation -- which is arguably the worst time a household calamity can strike. Coming home from your honeymoon, African safari or Mediterranean cruise can be gloomy. But returning from a memorable journey and learning something has gone seriously wrong at home can be downright devastating. To make matters worse, a house or apartment left empty while its owners are traveling is a tempting target for criminals. We don't want to scare you -- or leave you fearing for your treasured belongings while basking on a Caribbean beach. But it's imperative that every traveler take certain key steps to keep his or her home safe and sound while seeing the world. Basic preventative measures (which take only minutes to complete) can work wonders to help you keep your home safe from power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more while you're away.

  1. Ask a Friend to Help

A simple, albeit crucial, way to gain peace of mind while traveling is to ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your house while you're away. First, bribe your friend with some freshly baked cookies or cupcakes. Next, ask him or her to drive by your home once every day or so and check on the place. Give this person a key so that he or she can bring your mail in, feed your cat, water your plants, rake your leaves, etc. If you don't have a garage, you may also want to give this person a key to your car -- you never know when your vehicle may need to be moved. He or she should also have your contact information and a copy of your itinerary in case of emergencies.

Do you have more than one person visiting your house while you're away? If so, tell them about each other! If the neighbor you asked to keep an eye on your abode calls the police on your elderly cat sitter, don't say we didn't warn you.

  1. Don't Tip Off Criminals on the Web

In a world where it seems everyone is blabbing about their business on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it's important to stop and think: Who exactly is reading this stuff? The anonymity of the internet can encourage us to share personal information without fully realizing that there may be hundreds of complete strangers receiving our daily musings. Would you announce to a crowd that you will be leaving your house unattended for two weeks this December? If not, then you should think twice about posting your detailed vacation plans on social media -- especially if that information is visible to internet users other than your friends and family (and it probably is).

Be careful what you say on your answering machine or voice mail too. Callers don't need to know that you're not home -- they just need to know that you can't come to the phone right now.

  1. Do Tip Off the Police

Consider notifying the police if you're going on vacation. No need to let the cops know about a weekend getaway, but do call them if you're leaving town for longer than a week or two. It's possible the police may go out of their way to drive by your house while on patrol, especially if you live in a small town. If you have a security alarm, leave a house key and the code with someone you trust, and provide the police and alarm company with their name and phone number. You may also want to contact your local neighborhood watch program if there's one in your area.

  1. Curtains Closed -- or Open?

Before you leave for vacation, you may decide to close your curtains to prevent people from peering inside your home to see whether you're there. However, closed curtains also stop those who aim to help -- the police, your neighbors or friends -- from seeing inside your house. So, what's your best bet? Leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you are home, since noticeable changes could hint that you're not around anymore -- especially if your curtains are uncharacteristically left closed for two weeks. Move expensive items, like jewelry or computers, out of plain sight if they're visible from the window.

  1. The Lights Are on But No One's Home

Don't leave your lights on at home throughout your entire vacation in an effort to make it look like someone is in the house. Your electric bill will end up costlier than your mortgage, and house lights blazing throughout the night might look a bit suspicious.

Instead, purchase a light switch timer that can turn your lights on and off automatically according to a programmed schedule. Criminals keeping an eye on your house will notice lights flipping on and off, and will probably assume someone is doing the flipping.

  1. Stop Your Mail

Either place a "stop" order on mail and newspapers, or arrange to have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail while you're away. Otherwise, a week's worth of papers piled on your front step could signal to criminals that this particular homeowner is out of town. It's easy to put your mail on hold at USPS.com.

  1. Put That in Your Pipe

If you live in a cold region of the world and your pipes are in danger of freezing during winter, you have another compelling reason to leave a house key with a friend while you're traveling. Ask your friend to stop by and check your faucets. If he or she turns on a faucet and only a few drops of water come out, your pipes may be frozen.

Take other precautions like making sure your pipes are properly insulated and keeping your heat on while you're away. Show your key-bearing companion the location of the water main shut-off in case a pipe breaks.

  1. Pull the Plug

Unplug your television, computer, toaster oven and other appliances to protect them from power surges. This will help you save power as well; many appliances draw energy even when they're turned off.

  1. Remove Your Spare Key

That plastic rock isn't fooling anyone. If some criminal figures out you're away on vacation, it's likely that he or she will check your porch for a spare key. So, reach under the mat, into the mailbox, above the door frame or into the flower pot and remove your spare key before you leave on your vacation.

  1. Emergency Phone Numbers

Leave emergency phone numbers with whomever is checking your house while you’re away. Be sure to include SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores (586) 741-5050. We are always here to help – 24/7 our experts are standing by!

Flood Readiness

2/13/2017 (Permalink)

Key Facts About Flood Readiness   CDC April 2015


 


PREPARING FOR A FLOOD


Basic Steps to Prepare for the Storm



  • Contact the local county geologist or county planning department to find out if your home is located in a flash-flood-prone area or landslide-prone area.

  • Learn about your community's emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters.

  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be the "family contact" in case your family is separated during a flood. Make sure everyone in your family knows the name, address, and phone number of this contact person.

  • Post emergency phone numbers at every phone.

  • Inform local authorities about any special needs, i.e., elderly or bedridden people, or anyone with a disability.

  • Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect them before the flood strikes. Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power lines, or before you evacuate. Turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate. Secure structurally unstable building materials.

  • Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where it is and how to use it.

  • Buy and install sump pumps with back-up power.

  • Have a licensed electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12" above your home's projected flood elevation.

  • For drains, toilets, and other sewer connections, install backflow valves or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering.

  • Anchor fuel tanks which can contaminate your basement if torn free. An unanchored tank outside can be swept downstream and damage other houses.If you are under a flood watch or warning:

  •  



  • Gather the emergency supplies you previously stocked in your home and stay tuned to local radio or television station for updates.

  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.

  • Have your immunization records handy or be aware of your last tetanus shot, in case you should receive a puncture wound or a wound becomes contaminated during or after the flood.

  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse and fill with clean water.

  • Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans inside or tie them down securely.Emergency Supplies You Will Need

  • You should stock your home with supplies that may be needed during the emergency period. At a minimum, these supplies should include:

  •  



  • Several clean containers for water, large enough for a 3-5 day supply of water (about five gallons for each person).

  • A 3-5 day supply of non-perishable food and a non-electric can opener.

  • A first aid kit and manual and prescription medicines and special medical needs.

  • A battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.

  • Sleeping bags or extra blankets.

  • Water-purifying supplies, such as chlorine or iodine tablets or unscented, ordinary household chlorine bleach.

  • Baby food and/or prepared formula, diapers, and other baby supplies.

  • Disposable cleaning cloths, such as "baby wipes" for the whole family to use in case bathing facilities are not available.

  • Personal hygiene supplies, such as soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc.

  • An emergency kit for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, etc.

  • Rubber boots, sturdy shoes, and waterproof gloves.Preparing to Evacuate

  • Expect the need to evacuate and prepare for it. When a flood watch is issued, you should:

  • Insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin, screens, or long-sleeved and long-legged clothing for protection from mosquitoes which may gather in pooled water remaining after the flood.



  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and make sure the emergency kit for your car is ready.

  • If no vehicle is available, make arrangements with friends or family for transportation.

  • Identify essential documents such as medical records, insurance card along with ID cards and put in waterproof material to carry with you during evacuation.

  • Fill your clean water containers.

  • If you have pet, identify a shelter designated for pets.

  • Review your emergency plans and supplies, checking to see if any items are missing.

  • Tune in the radio or television for weather updates.

  • Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.

  • Put livestock and family pets in a safe area. Due to food and sanitation requirements, emergency shelters cannot accept animals.

  • Adjust the thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coolest possible temperature.You should never ignore an evacuation order. Authorities will direct you to leave if you are in a low-lying area, or within the greatest potential path of the rising waters. If a flood warning is issued for your area or you are directed by authorities to evacuate the area:

  • If You Are Ordered to Evacuate



  • Take only essential items with you.

  • If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water.

  • Disconnect appliances to prevent electrical shock when power is restored.

  • Follow the designated evacuation routes and expect heavy traffic.

  • Do not attempt to drive or walk across creeks or flooded roads.To get through the storm in the safest possible manner:

  • If You Are Ordered NOT to Evacuate



  • Monitor the radio or television for weather updates.

  • Prepare to evacuate to a shelter or to a neighbor's home if your home is damaged, or if you are instructed to do so by emergency personnel

  • Take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your home from water damage and costly repairs. It is important to know who to call if you ever have a problem! Save our phone number at (586) 741-5050. We are always Here to Help – 24/7 our experts are standing by.

WINTER STORM DAMAGE CHECK LIST

2/3/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage WINTER STORM DAMAGE CHECK LIST WINTER STORM DAMAGE

WINTER STORM DAMAGE CHECK LIST

Prepared by Susan Busler, OSU/Lane County Extension Service FCD Faculty

 

With the recent winter storms, now is the time to check around your home and apartment for possible leaks that can lead to mold in the future.

 

Check Your Roof

 

  • Do you have any loose or missing shingles?
  • Check around the flashing at your fireplace and the seals around your skylights to ensure you don’t have        areas that water can get in.
  • Trim back any tree limbs that may be brushing against your roof or are at risk of falling through your roof should they break.

 

Check Your Spouting and Downspouts

 

  • Is it correctly attached to your roof line and that water can’t be blown in?
  • Check your downspouts. Are they clear of leaves and debris and is free flowing?
  • If your downspouts aren’t plumbed into your storm sewer, be sure that they empty far enough away from the foundation of your home.
  • If you have standing water around your foundation or your crawl space you may need to consider getting a sump pump to move the water out of the area. In the spring you may want to consider improving the drainage around your house to prevent future water damage.

 

Check Your Siding, Windows and Doors

 

  • Complete a close inspection of your siding to ensure no areas have come loose or that water has seeped in.
  • Check your door and window seals and outside caulking to ensure no water leakage.
  • On the inside of your windows, wipe up any window condensation to avoid mold growth in window sills, particularly metal windows. You may want to consider replacing your metal windows with vinyl and the thresholds on your exterior doors to prevent leakage of both air and water.

 

Check Your Basement and Crawlspace

 

  • If you have a basement area in your home, ensure you have no moisture seepage and that all walls and floors are dry. Check the crawlspace under the house for standing water.
  • Inspect the upstairs crawl space to verify you have no leaks or moisture damage that can stain ceilings.
  • You may need to consider purchasing a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the area.
  • Ideal indoor relative humidity should be maintained between 40% to 60%.

It’s always a good idea to leave wet clothes, shoes, and umbrellas outside to dry. Many times we just hang our coats back up in the closet creating an ideal situation for mold to grow. Also don’t forget to dry off “Fluffy and Fido” when your wet pets come in from outside.

 

If you have experienced flooding or have water damage, call SERVPRO of St Clair Shores (586) 741-5050. We are always Here to Help – 24/7 our experts are standing by.

 

Winter thaw: Tips to avoid basement flooding

2/3/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Winter thaw: Tips to avoid basement flooding Winter thaw: Tips to avoid basement flooding

Winter thaw: Tips to avoid basement flooding

By David Shum

 

What you can do outside the house

  • Seal cracks or openings in walls, floors, windows and foundations, and seal all window wells.
  • Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves and other debris that prevent proper drainage.
  • Make sure your downspouts are draining properly, ideally a minimum of 6-8 feet from your foundation’s walls.
  • Ensure the grading around your home slopes away from the foundation wall to help drain water away from your home (without negatively affecting neighboring properties).
  • Increase the green space around your home with native plants and shrubs and install porous pavement to help absorb rainwater and melted snow.
  • Repair/replace damaged weeping tile systems.
  • Clear debris from roadside catchbasins (grates) to help water enter the stormsewer. (If it is safe to do so.)
  • Ensure drainage swales (shallow ditch) between properties are maintained and clear of obstructions.

What you can do inside the house

  • Ensure that your plumbing is in good working condition. Homeowners are responsible for the plumbing from the property line to inside the home. The City is responsible for the public portion of the service line.
  • Hire a licensed and qualified plumber to install a backwater valve and a properly-sized sump pump and piping.
  • Ensure the proper and regular maintenance of basement flooding devices in your home. Sump pumps need power to operate, so consider installing a back-up power source.
  • Consider installing shelves to help keep items off the floor in your basement. Also, avoid keeping valuables or important documents in the basement. If you do, keep them in a watertight/water-resistant container.
  • Avoid carpet in the basement, which retains water and is harder to clean up.
  • Dispose of small amounts of cooking oil and grease in your green bin, not down the drain, which can cause a drain blockage. (Make sure there is absorbent material in the bin).
  • Avoid flushing objects down the toilet, such as dental floss, condoms, tampons, razor blades, non-biodegradable products, etc., which can block the sanitary pipe.

Keep SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores in mind for any emergencies you may have around your house or business. We are available 24/7 for your emergency needs, just call 586-741-5050.

 

Snow Removal Tips

12/2/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Snow Removal Tips Snow Removal Tips

Roof Snow Removal Tips

2016 The Travelers Indemnity Company

 

While snow-covered roofs can make for a picturesque winter scene, the combination of freshly fallen snow with the melting and refreezing of snow can place stress on the roof of your home or business. If more than a foot of heavy, wet snow and ice have accumulated on the roof, you should have it removed.

Snow Removal Tips

Clearing the snow off your roof from the gutters or eaves upwards of three to four feet after each winter storm can help prevent ice dams from forming. Remember to avoid using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions. This can be extremely dangerous and is best left to professionals.

For Flat Roofs:

If your flat roof is easily accessible from an interior stairway, you may want to shovel the roof, but be careful not to damage the roof covering.

Remember to put safety first any time you are on a roof, especially one that is covered in snow and ice. If you have any doubt, leave it to professionals.

For Sloped Roofs:

It may be possible to remove the snow and ice from your sloped roof using a roof rake – a long-handled tool designed specifically for this purpose. Stand on the ground and pull as much of the snow off the eaves as you can safely reach.

If you cannot safely reach the roof, contact a homebuilder, landscaping and roofing contractor, or property maintenance company to remove the snow and ice.  Call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores at (586) 741-5050 for any help that you may need.  We are qualified and insured.

The amount of snow and ice your roof can support will depend on a number of factors, including the roof type as well as the age and condition of the structure. But a good rule to keep in mind is if more than a foot of heavy, wet snow and ice has accumulated on your roof, you should have it removed.

 

Knowing What to Do When a Pipe Bursts

12/2/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Knowing What to Do When a Pipe Bursts Pipe Break

Knowing What to Do When a Pipe Bursts

By Kimberly Duncan

A burst pipe can create serious water damage to your home and belongings. As soon as you learn that you have a burst pipe at home, consider it an emergency and follow the steps below immediately to mitigate water damage.

 

Stop the Water Flow

Shut off the main water supply by turning off the main stop tap, which is usually either in the area where the main service pipe connects to the home or under the kitchen sink. It is best to ensure that everyone in your family knows where the main stopcock is located and how to turn it off in case of a burst pipe emergency.

Let the pipe drain out the water by turning on all cold taps. Switch off the water heating system and then turn on all hot taps to help in draining the water supply system. Also, flush all toilets. All leaks should stop once there is no more water running from the taps.

Find the Break

Locating exactly where the pipe burst is should be done immediately to prevent further damage. Once you've found the burst, you'll know what you have to do next. For instance, if it’s a tiny crack, patching it up may fix the problem for a while. Also, consider which pipe has burst. If the damage is in a main water pipe, it needs to be repaired and dealt with carefully regardless of the cause or size of the break.

If there has been leakage in the house for some time, be careful when entering rooms. Pay attention to the ceilings because if they appear to bulge, it means it is holding loads of water and could cave in any moment. If you've noticed the leak right away, place a bucket underneath to catch the drip.

Get Professional Help

If there is flooding or water damage in the home, call SERVPRO of St Clair Shores (586) 741-5050 to remove the water from your home and dry it out. Remember to turn off the main electrical supply unit immediately and never touch anything electrical if it's wet.

Also, call a reliable professional plumber to fix or replace burst pipes and a trusted electrician to repair any damaged electrical wiring. Attempting to do the repairs and restoration on your own can be dangerous or cause further damage so it is best to let the experts do the work.

Submit an Insurance Claim

When incidents like emergency water damage happens, it is best to contact your insurance company immediately to begin your homeowner’s insurance claim. Your insurance agent will advise you what steps you should take for your policy. He or she will certainly give you a visit to assess the damage. Documentation of the damage is very important and you can do this right away while waiting for the insurance agent if you have a digital camera or video camera at home.

Learn about Prevention

While it is easy to get professional help to fix a burst pipe and restore a water-damaged home, you should work towards preventing such damages to happen in your home in the first place. Preventing pipe bursts is not complicated at all. Take the time to learn about it and you’ll find out that preventive measures are way easier than repairing damaged pipes and a lot cheaper, too.

 

6 Questions Every Homeowner Should Have About Water Pipes

12/2/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage 6 Questions Every Homeowner Should Have About Water Pipes Pipe Burst

6 Questions Every Homeowner Should Have About Water Pipes

2016 American Water Resources

 

Homeowners protect their houses from floods and fires. Some take out warranties for appliances. Some even carry health insurance for their pets. But many do not protect themselves from costly water line and sewer line disruptions and in-home plumbing emergencies.

 

This year, many homeowners will experience problems with their water and sewer lines (the pipes that run from their property line to their home). Even more will deal with in-home plumbing issues. Pipe clogs, leaks and breaks are surprisingly common, and the numbers are becoming more common as America’s pipes age. The “Water is Your Business Campaign,” sponsored by the National Association of Water Companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, reports that there are 650 water main breaks per day in the U.S., resulting in a daily loss of 7 billion gallons of water. The results of a residential water pipe break can have a serious impact on homeowners’ properties and their wallets.

 

Yet, many homeowners are unaware of the most common causes of water problems outside and inside their homes. Homeowners, not the local municipality or water utility, are generally responsible for the pipes running through their property. What’s more, most don’t know that most homeowners’ insurance policies will not cover the repair costs, leaving their biggest investment unprotected from expense.

 

Here are 6 water-related concerns every homeowner should be aware of in order to help protect themselves from the hassles, headaches and potentially high costs of water line, sewer line and in-home plumbing problems.

 

  1. How old are your pipes?

 

The vast majority of the nation’s water pipes were installed after World War II and are in serious need of replacement or repair. In fact, a 2010 report from the National Association of Water Companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated that nearly half of all pipes in the U.S. were in poor shape. And, according to a 2012 Water Infrastructure and Sustainability fact sheet by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average age of a broken water main in the U.S. is 47 years. Knowing the age of your pipes will help you to assess their need for repair.

 

  1. Do you have mature trees near your water service lines?

 

Invasive tree roots often “follow” and disrupt service lines. Roots seek out pipes because they provide essential elements that trees need to grow - water, nutrients and oxygen. When tree roots get into pipes, they can cause clogs and blocks that lead to serious problems and need for repair.

 

 

  1. Do you have clay soil?

 

Poor soil conditions - such as low soil resistivity and high chloride content - can cause corrosion of pipes from the outside, and lead to leaks and contamination. According to NACE International, the world’s leading professional organization for the corrosion control industry, sandy soils are among the least corrosive, and clay soils are among the most severely corrosive. Corrosive soil can start attacking your pipes almost immediately, with corrosion building over time. This means that although your pipes are already being invaded, you might not experience a leak or break until much later.

 

  1. Have you been ignoring the warning signs?

 

Many times, it’s the deceptively small things homeowners overlook that may signify a water issue. Something as simple as a family cooking frequently in the kitchen can lead to continued grease and food disposals building up over time in the sewer and drain lines. A stammering faucet can be an indication that a water line is leaking. And, a clogged toilet or slow drainage can signal to a homeowner that the sewer line is clogged. All of these signs could point to a sudden and potentially costly repair. Detecting these easy fixes and taking care of them can save you from potential problems - and save you more than 10% on water bills, according to the EPA.

 

  1. Do you live where the seasons suddenly change?

 

Water lines are more susceptible to breaks at times of extreme temperature swings, both hot and cold. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission and the American Society of Civil Engineers advises that just a 10-degree change in temperature can increase stress on water mains and service lines, and increase their risk of damage. Pipes become brittle when water temperatures get below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while air temperatures at or below freezing cause the ground to freeze. However, water main breaks often don’t occur until one or two days after the freezing temperatures arrive because water temperature takes more time to decrease than air temperature.

 

  1. Do you know what your pipes are made of?

 

A 2012 study conducted by the Utah State University Buried Structures Laboratory showed that nearly a quarter of all water mains in the U.S. are more than 50 years old. These older pipes were generally made from clay, steel or tile – materials more prone to deterioration over time. Additionally, Steven Folkman, USU professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering completed a comprehensive pipe materials study and discovered that “nearly 75 percent of all utilities have corrosive soil conditions and combined with a high portion of old cast iron and ductile iron pipes, corrosion is ranked the second-highest reason for water main pipe failure in the United States.” If your home was built before the 1980s, it is mostly likely that your pipes are made of clay, and in need of repair or replacement.

 

One more thing to worry about: the potentially high cost of repairs

 

Because repairs to leaking water pipes are often not covered by your homeowners insurance, you could end up paying hundreds to thousands of dollars to fix them. The cost to repair or replace a water service line averages in the $1,500s, while the typical cost of hiring a plumber can range from $250–$1,500, depending on the job at hand.10 What’s more, data presented by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling shows that 64% of Americans don’t have $1,000 in savings. As a result, funding on-the-spot emergency repairs for the home could be challenging.

 

How can you stay water-worry free?

 

Take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your home from water damage and costly repairs. Be aware of what’s going on in and under your property. Check your pipes regularly and heed the warning signs, no matter how small. It is important to know who to call if you ever have a problem! Save our phone number at (586) 741-5050. We are always Here to Help – 24/7 our experts are standing by.

Flooding Facts

8/15/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flooding Facts Flooded Homes

Floods rank as one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether you live near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river or even in the desert, there is a potential for suffering flood damage. In fact, nearly 25% of last year’s claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in moderate to low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $6 billion in annual losses in the U.S. Flooding can also result from plumbing failures, frozen pipes and damaged structures. Flood damage can affect your business operation in a variety of ways and can range in size from being isolated to a single room to entire floors being fully submerged.

Knowing how to prepare and deal with potential flooding in advance can affect how much of your property can be restored and how much has to be replaced. Contact our office today at (586) 741-5050 for your FREE Emergency Disaster Recovery Plan for your business. 

Grosse Pointe - Sewage Damage Tips

8/1/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Grosse Pointe - Sewage Damage Tips Grosse Pointe - Sewage Damage Tips

Sewage Damage Tips

Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter homes or buildings. It contains fungi, bacteria and viruses, many of which are disease-causing. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the hazards that sewage presents, particularly for the very young or very old, or for those with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems.  Keep SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores in mind when dealing with these situations.  We are on call to serve you 24/7 at (586) 741-5050.

Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups:

  • Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic – disease causing – fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
  • Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
  • It is not safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
  • Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly. This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too.
  • There’s simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
  • Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy.

Are you covered if your basement floods?

7/21/2016 (Permalink)


It's #InsuranceAwarenessDay which is a good reminder to make sure your property insurance is up to date and that you're fully aware of what it covers and what it does not.

Most people do not realized the riders most policies offer as additionals.  These would cover things such as SEWER AND DRAIN BACKUP.  Most insureds do not realize they do not have this coverage until it may be too late! 

Now is the perfect time to call your insurance agent for a review of your policy.  Make sure to let them know if you have finished your basement or if you store a lot of contents down there, such as storage rooms or living areas with sofas and tvs.  Your insurance agent will be triggered to make sure you have the correct coverage on your home if you are able to let them know what you need covered.  If you have any questions on what it costs for the average sewer back up in a finished basement, give us a call today at (586) 741-5050.  We would love to help you make sure you choose enough coverage limits.  We are always Here to Help at SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores at (586) 741-5050

Sewer Pipe Clog Issues?

7/18/2016 (Permalink)

Is Tree Root Killer the Answer to Your Sewer Pipe Clog?

June 17, 2015

By Justin P. Lambert

Learn the pros and cons of chemical tree root killer and when it's time to call a plumber.

If you own an older home, there's a good chance you will eventually have to deal with tree roots invading your clay sewer pipes. This can be an especially common nuisance during periods of prolonged drought, since trees are searching for any source of moisture they can find, including water flowing through your sewer pipes.

One purported solution to this problem is pouring a chemical tree root killer down your toilet and letting it eradicate those roots for you. But, since we're talking about your home's main sewer lines — a potentially expensive and difficult repair or replacement project — let's take a moment to discuss this problem in more detail.

Finding the root of the problem

First of all, it's important to identify the cause of the sewer drain clog before just assuming it's tree roots.

If you have access to the site plans for your home, determine where your main sewer line runs toward the street and see if there are any trees growing along that path. Of course, larger trees can have root systems that travel for many feet underground, so take that into consideration when surveying the area.

Also, try to determine if your sewer lines are clay. If your home was built prior to 1970, chances are good you have clay sewer lines. If not, there's a chance your lines are PVC, and tree roots will not be an issue. Of course, older homes may have had the lines replaced in the past, and some newer homes may have had clay lines installed despite PVC being the industry standard, so digging down to the pipe may be the only surefire way to find out that answer yourself.

If you do have clay pipes and you have trees within thirty feet of your main sewer line, there's a good chance your clog is caused by tree roots.

Using chemical tree root killer

Various chemical root killers are available from your local hardware or plumbing supply store, and all of them work on the same basic principle: the chemical is poured down a drain, most commonly the toilet, and the corrosive properties of the chemical kill the roots when it comes in contact with them in the drain pipe.

Since you are working with potentially dangerous chemicals, it's vital to read and follow the directions on the package you choose and abide by any safety precautions recommended. Not only may the chemical be harmful to your skin and eyes, it may also have potentially harmful environmental effects as well.

For example, in years past, copper sulfate was used extensively to free clogs and kill roots in drains. However, this practice has been stopped because of the long-term corrosive effect this chemical has on your sewer pipes and the fact that it will kill beneficial bacteria in your septic tank, if applicable.

Knowing when to call a plumber

If there is any question in your mind as to whether or not tree roots are causing your clog, or whether a portion of your clay pipe may have collapsed due to the invasion of roots, you would be well served to hire a professional plumber to bring a borescope (a drain snake with a camera at the end) and determine what's causing the clog once and for all.

A plumber will also be able to offer some other solutions that may prove more effective with less potential hazard, such as trenchless sewer line replacement of a section of pipe that has collapsed or localized removal of the roots by means of a snake and cutting head.

Even more importantly, a professional can provide you with the peace of mind of knowing you're handling this repair as efficiently and effectively as possible, preventing another messy clog and protecting your single largest investment: your home.

Water Damage Do's and Don'ts

7/17/2016 (Permalink)

Sometimes you never know when water damage is going to occur. With these tips, you can be sure you are prepared for any water damage situation.  Call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores for your flood cleanup at (586) 741-5050.

Water Damage From Clean Water

DO:

  • Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building, when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood and furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
  • Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors.
  • Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors.
  • Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperatures.


DON’T:

  • Enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist.
  • Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water.
  • Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
  • Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets to cause staining.
  • Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
  • Use TVs or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.


Water Damage From Contaminated Water

DO:

  • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.
    Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with contaminated items.


DON’T:

  • Spread contaminated water by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet areas.
  • Turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
  • Use household fans to dry the structure and spread contaminants.
  • Use products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.

Call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores at (586) 741-5050 for your emergency water damage cleanup.  We are available 24/7 and are always Here To Help!

Industry Perspective on Water Damages

7/17/2016 (Permalink)

Industry Perspective

 Wondering what the differences are between different water losses that may arise at your house or business.  Read below to learn a about our industry standards on what needs to be done after each kind of loss.  Give us a call to help you in your time of need, at SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores (586) 741-5050.  We are available 24/7 for your emergency needs. 

IICRC Storm Damage Restoration Recommendations
The following information is submitted by IICRC as a public service to those who have suffered water-related losses due to storm damage (e.g., hurricane, tornado). Since there are many variables involved in deciding about appropriate restoration steps, users of this information assume any and all liability for implementing the procedures covered herein.

The following recommendations assume water-related storm damage to residential or light commercial structures. For recommendations regarding restoration of major commercial properties and building assemblies, it is important to consult with professionals who have specific training and experience in this area.

Whether insured or not, it is important for property owners to document damage with photographs or video, and immediately begin loss mitigation procedures themselves; or hire a qualified contractor to do this on their behalf. It is totally inappropriate to put off mitigation while waiting for an insurance claims representative to arrive on the scene to evaluate the loss. By that time, in all probability sufficient time will have passed to grow and amplify microorganisms, which may not be covered by insurance. Loss mitigation is defined by insurance policies as “reasonable and prudent measures designed to preserve, protect and secure property from further damage,” including microbial growth and amplification.

According to IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500), there are three categories of water that cause damage in buildings. They are summarized as follows:

Category 1 Water – That which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans. Category 1 water may become progressively contaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings or building assemblies (walls, decking, subflooring). Time and temperature, which promote the growth and amplification of microorganisms in water can cause Category 1 water to degrade. Examples: burst water pipes, failed supply lines on appliances, vertically falling rainwater.

Category 2 Water – That which begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans. As with Category 1 water, time and temperature can cause Category 2 water to become progressively more contaminated.

Category 3 Water – That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Examples: sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes. There are two ways in which water enters a building as a result of wind storm damage:

The first involves falling or windblown rainwater that enters as a result of damage to roof components or wall assemblies. The second involves horizontally traveling ground surface water (Category 3) containing silt and soil contaminants that infiltrate into structures, generally through doors or around foundation walls. This ground surface water (storm surge) may accumulate to a depth of several inches or several feet. When structures are partially submerged or remain substantially flooded for weeks, far more elaborate procedures usually are required.

Most household microorganisms (fungi, bacteria) typically require five conditions for germination, growth, amplification and dissemination. Generally, they include:

• organic food source, especially cellulose (e.g., paper, wood), which are found in abundance in construction materials
• moisture, even high humidity (67% RH plus)
• moderate temperature – 68-86°F/20-30°C
• stagnant air
• time – several hours to several days

Anything that can be done to control or minimize these optimum conditions will prolong the time required for microbial growth.

With the above background information in mind, loss mitigation procedures may include but are not necessarily limited to:

A. Foremost, consider safety:
1. Structural Integrity – Before entering a storm or flood-damaged structure, consider structural integrity, which may be impacted by the force of the wind on, or the force of the water entering the structure. When in doubt, obtain an evaluation by a licensed and qualified builder or structural engineer before entering.
2. Ventilation – Fresh moving air discourages the growth and amplification of microorganisms. Open windows and doors and air the structure out thoroughly. It is highly recommended that ventilation be maintained during and following the restoration effort, or until damp areas can be contained and subjected to mechanical dehumidification (HVAC or specialized equipment). This reduces, but does not eliminate, inhalation of microorganisms.
3. Shock Hazards – Ensure that electrical shock hazards have been eliminated by turning off the supply of electricity (circuit breakers) to damaged areas. Anticipate that electricity may be restored suddenly without notice.
4. Personal Protective Equipment – Wear protective clothing, boots with steel or fiberglass shanks, and a hard hat. Protect yourself from injury or exposure to microorganisms. Wear protective gloves before handling contaminated materials. Splash goggles are highly recommended to protect and prevent microorganism entry through the eyes. An organic vapor respirator (paint respirator) is highly recommended to prevent inhalation of most microorganisms or spores.

B. Remove quantities of debris (silt, vegetation, floating objects brought in by storm surge), if present, with shovels, rakes, etc. Carefully clean all tools with appropriate detergents after use.

C. Identify the source of water and extent of wetting:
1. When wind-blown rain water enters a building, it is important to identify the route of entry and to trace its path, as possible, to identify all wet components (ceilings, walls, insulation, framing). Professional water restoration contractors, when available, have specialized water-detection equipment and may be available to assist in this determination.
2. In rising water situations, typically there will be a visible water line on drywall or paneling. However, water may migrate or wick upward within the wall material itself or within insulation behind the wall.

D. Remove unsalvable or wet materials:
1. When wetting is caused by storm damage and comes from overhead or around openings in the building envelope, and especially when power has been interrupted in hot climates, it is important to remove wet components, as possible, to expose pockets of saturation to air circulation before microbial growth can occur.

a) Begin at the point of water entry and trace the path of wetting, removing ceiling and wall components and insulation as you go.
b) Although it may be possible for professionals with specialized equipment to dry carpet, pad and subflooring materials, when damage is wholesale in an area, seldom will qualified contractors be available to respond for this work. Therefore, it is normally prudent to remove saturated carpet and pad.
c) It is highly recommended that solid or laminated wood flooring, or sheet vinyl be removed to expose pockets of saturation.

2. In rising water situations (storm surge with contaminated ground water):

a) Remove and dispose of drywall (Sheetrock®), paneling or other wall materials up to a point 15-24″ inches above the water line visible on the wall. If possible, stay within four feet of the floor to salvage as much wall material as possible, since drywall is usually installed horizontally in 4’x8’ or 4’x12’ panels.
b) Remove and dispose of wet insulation materials exposed during wall removal. Look for evidence of moisture wicking up insulation materials. Leave only wall framing components that are durable and minimally porous, and which can be cleaned and decontaminated with relative ease.
c) Remove and dispose of floor coverings; carpet, cushion, pad, felt and sheet vinyl, laminate, or tile flooring materials. Porous materials may absorb considerable quantities of water and contaminant, and non-porous materials may trap moisture to prolong drying. The inevitable result will be rapid microorganism growth, along with associated odor and health hazards. Hardwood flooring should be removed since contaminants and moisture will collect underneath in the flutes or hollow areas between the hardwood and the subfloor.
E. With Category 1 (clean source) water (e.g., rainwater), drying is the next course of action required to prevent on-going damage due to microbial development.

The following procedures may require the assistance of a professional water damage restoration company, if available, which has trained technicians, specialized cleaners, biocides, extraction, drying and dehumidifying equipment, and moisture measuring and monitoring instruments. A certified professional can be located by calling the nonprofit IICRC toll free at 800-835-4624 or by accessing www.iicrc.org.

F. With ground surface water (Category 3), steps for cleaning soil residues brought in by heavy rainfall or storm surge may include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Since many biocides are inactivated by quantities of organic contaminants, cleaning always should precede biocide application.
2. When fresh water is restored within the structure, mix an appropriate general-purpose household cleaner according to label directions and liberally spray it onto salvable components.
3. Brush agitation may be required to evenly distribute cleaning solutions, followed by at least ten minutes of “dwell time” for soil suspension.
4. Where appropriate, flush contaminants from salvageable surfaces with a water hose or pressure washer. Work from top-to-bottom and from walls-to-flooring.
5. Wet vacuum or mop up excess rinse water from flooring materials immediately. Be sure to thoroughly flush all contamination from wall frame (sill plate) areas. Pressure washing, if available, is specifically recommended to flush contaminants from hard-to-access areas, followed by removal of contaminated water with industrial wet vacuuming equipment.
6. Repeat steps 6-9 as necessary, until all surfaces are clean and contamination is physically removed.

G. Disinfecting:
1. Applying disinfectants or biocides usually is unnecessary with Category 1 (clean source) water, since this may only serve to introduce additional moisture into the building, which may prolong drying.
2. With Category 2 or 3 water contamination, while maintaining ventilation and skin and respiratory protection, liberally spray cleaned salvageable materials (studs, decking, joists, etc.) with an appropriate biocide. A 6% solution of household chlorine bleach (e.g., Clorox®) mixed 1 part bleach to 11 parts water (½%) may be used on durable, colorfast surfaces. Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia or strong acids! An appropriate alternative to chlorine bleach may be a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide.
3. In rising water situations, following application of properly diluted biocides, brush agitate all areas to encourage biocide distribution and penetration into cracks and crevices.

H. Dry structural components with plenty of air circulation, while maintaining constant ventilation (weather conditions permitting). If possible, take advantage of low outside humidity (check local weather reports). Use oscillating or box fans, repositioning them within the structure every few hours. Avoid temperature extremes that might slow drying, or promote microorganism growth (around 72-75oF/22-24oC is ideal). Rent high-volume professional drying equipment (airmovers and dehumidifiers) if available, especially in areas where ventilation is not possible (sealed buildings, security problems). It is highly recommended that electrical components that were wet be checked for operational safety by a qualified contractor.

I. Leave cleaned structural surfaces exposed to fresh air movement for several days or even weeks, or until you are sure that they have returned to within four percentage points of normal moisture content (MC) levels (generally the normal MC of structural wood is around 10%). Otherwise, subsequent structural damage and/or health effects may result after wall and flooring materials have been replaced or painted. Professional water restoration contractors with specialized, high-capacity drying equipment can shorten drying times considerably.

J. Reconstruct or replace components as required.

Where financial resources permit, it is highly recommended that comprehensive restoration be accomplished by trained, IICRC Damage Restoration Technicians.  At SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores we are trained to help you through any matter that may arise at your property or business.  Give us a call today at (586) 741-5050.

10 Things You Must Know: Finishing a Basement

7/6/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage 10 Things You Must Know: Finishing a Basement 10 Things You Must Know: Finishing a Basement

10 Things You Must Know: Finishing a Basement

A finished basement is a great addition to any home. Be sure to read these expert tips before you get started on your renovation.

Keep It Dry

Check for any water issues in your basement before beginning the planning process. Obvious signs are pools of water or drips coming through the below-grade walls. Check outside to make sure the ground is graded away from your foundation. Also look for cracks in your foundation walls and repair that damage if necessary.

Know the Code

After you've taken care of any moisture problems and have come up with your plan, it's time to check with your local municipality to see if you'll be required to get any permits. This is particularly important if you're planning plumbing and electrical work, which may have to be inspected.

Consider the Fasteners

Basement walls and floors are generally some sort of masonry, cement, block or brick, and a regular 'ol nail or screw isn't going to cut it when attaching framing. You'll need to get the proper fastener and possibly anchors for your wall type. In some cases, you may need to rent a powder-actuated fastener, sometimes referred to as a shotgun fastener. These are similar to a shotgun in that they use a charge to fire a fastener into concrete.

Add a Vapor Barrier

Even after taking care of any moisture issues, your basement can become a damp place. You'll need to add a vapor barrier to both the walls and floors prior to framing and finishing off these surfaces. It's a good idea to lay down a vapor barrier for a day or two, then check underneath to see if and how much moisture may be coming through before continuing.

Create an Offset Space

Despite all efforts, even with a vapor barrier, moisture can still be an issue. Create a slight offset from the outside wall by adding thin slats of wood or metal called furring strips. These strips can also be used to help level out a wall that may be “wavy” to create a flat surface for adding framing.

Keep Out the Cold and the Warmth In

Insulation will not only help control the temperature inside your basement, it may also add another layer of moisture control, as well as help dampen sound from the outside. Choose an insulation that includes a vapor barrier on both sides. Other options include a spray foam insulation. Be sure to check code requirements for this type.

Drop Ceilings Provide Easy Access

A drop, or suspended, ceiling offers a way to both conceal and provide access to electrical and plumbing lines via the removable tiles. You may have a preconceived notion that such a ceiling will look more like an office than a home, but there are plenty of attractive options available. These ceilings will reduce the amount of overhead space available, so keep that in mind when planning.

Give Your Lighting a Recess

Recessed lighting in a basement is a good option, because they won't take up valuable overhead space that a light fixture would. Plus, it's easy to install with a drop ceiling.

Add Some Warmth at the Baseboards

Warm air rises, so it makes sense to install heating vents at floor level. Baseboard heating is a good option, but make sure it makes sense for your plan and is easy to tie into your existing HVAC system. For a finished space, you want to make sure you're not relying on space heaters, so plan carefully.

The Utility Room is Not for Finishing

Keep the space housing an HVAC unit or units and water heaters clear, open, and unfinished. These spaces have specific code requirements for spacing and framing, plus you'll need access for inspection and/or repairs. You may be tempted to finish off this area, but keep it simple to avoid problems later.

If this is someething that you plan on tackeling, give us a call for more tricks!  We have a lot of ideas to prevent your materials from being destroying in case of a flood.  Call SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores at 586-741-5050.  We are also licensed builders who can help! 

Spring Flooding is here already!

3/8/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Spring Flooding is here already! Tree Root Water Back Up St. Clair Shores

Any dwelling that has plumbing carries risk of a sewage backup, but homes in places that commonly flood, get heavy rain or are in old or historic neighborhoods are particularly prone to backups. You'll know a sewage backup has occurred if water or waste is coming up through floor drains in the basement if you have one, or sink drains.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, specific coverage for sewage backups should be added to your home insurance policy in the form of a sewage backup rider. Such a rider generally costs $40 to $160 a year, depending on the deductible and how much coverage you need.

The real danger with not having home insurance coverage for sewer backups is that there's no real way to tell what condition your line is in because it's underground. Common problems include blockage from shrubs and tree roots, which can cause extensive damage and cracking when they seep into the joints of the pipeline. As the tree or shrub grows, so does the damage. To prevent roots from entering, you can replace your line and tap with plastic pipe.

Another reason for a backup is blockage in the city's sanitary main. You can reduce the likelihood of it entering your home by having a qualified plumber install a backwater valve, but it won't completely prevent the problem from happening in the main line.

If you do experience a sewage backup, responding quickly is critical to prevent further damage and health risks.  By calling SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores, you will have an immediate response of crews removing standing water/sewage, removing all affected contents, steam cleaning or removing wet carpet and damaged walls, disinfecting all floors and walls, and sanitizing and drying out your basement or your home/business.

If you do have a rider on your home insurance policy that covers sewage backups, we will work directly with your insurance carrier.  If it is a self pay or a covered insurance loss we will provide before and after pictures of all affected areas and property.  Call the experts at SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores at 586-741-5050.

Sewage Damage Tips

11/24/2015 (Permalink)

Water Damage Sewage Damage Tips Sewage Back Up - Grosse Pointe, Michigan

Sewage Damage Tips

Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter homes or buildings. It contains fungi, bacteria and viruses, many of which are disease-causing. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the hazards that sewage presents, particularly for the very young or very old, or for those with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems.  Keep SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores in mind when dealing with these situations.  We are on call to serve you 24/7 at (586) 741-5050.

Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups:

  • Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic – disease causing – fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
  • Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
  • It is not safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
  • Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly. This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too.
  • There’s simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
  • Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy.

Fraser Sewage Backup

8/19/2015 (Permalink)

This picture is a sewage backup that we responded to in Fraser.  Sewer backups should be considered an emergency since the water may contain viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that cause serious illnesses. SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores' Professionals have specialized training and equipment to quickly and safely clean contaminants like sewage.

Toilet Overflow or Sewer Backup?
Call Today 1-586-741-5050

Water damage can be classified by the three types of contaminated water. SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores' Professionals will inspect your home or business to determine the appropriate plan of action for the type of water encountered.

24 Hour Emergency Service

Water contaminated with sewage backup should be considered an emergency situation and dealt with as quickly as possible. SERVPRO of St. Clair Shores' Professionals are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are water damage restoration specialists with specialized training, equipment and protective gear to safely restore your home or business.

The three types of contaminated water:

Category 1: "Clean Water"

Category 1 water is from a clean source like a broken water supply line or leaking faucet. If not treated quickly, this water can turn into category 2 or 3, depending on length of time, temperature, and contact with surrounding contaminants.

  • Water from a clean source like a broken water line
  • If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3

Category 2: "Gray Water"

Category 2 water is contaminated and could cause discomfort or illness. Examples include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.

  • May contain bacteria and viruses
  • Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated

Category 3: "Black Water"

Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. Examples include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.

  • May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
  • Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup

For more information, call our office at 1-586-741-5050.

Insurance Review

6/29/2015 (Permalink)


It's #InsuranceAwarenessDay which is a good reminder to make sure your property insurance is up to date and that you're fully aware of what it covers and what it does not.