How to maintain your sump pump.
If your home has a wet basement, you’re not alone. The American Society of Home Inspectors estimates that more than 60 percent of homes have issues with water in the basement.A sump pump can be an effective option for preventing water damage. Installed in a pit in the basement, these units sense when the water from rain or snow melt is rising in the pit and approaching the floor level. The incoming water is then pumped outside before it can damage the home or its furnishings.Sump pumps are relatively low-maintenance devices, but you can help keep your unit operational by inspecting it regularly. Steps in a regular maintenance program can include:
- Checking the discharge line to make sure it is not stopped up or frozen. If necessary, unclog the air vent hole in the line.
- Checking the inlet screen to ensure that it’s not clogged with residue and debris. Do this three or four times per year.
- Making sure the float component is unobstructed and can move smoothly.
- Scanning the pit and removing any visible debris, mud, or stones.
- Testing the pump by slowly pouring a bucket of water into the pit. The float should rise with the water level, triggering the unit to start pumping. If pumping doesn’t begin, check to see that the unit is plugged in. Your float switch or check valve might also be at fault.
- Going outside to see that water is discharging and flowing where it’s supposed to go – well away from your home.
Once a year, disconnect the pump from the power source and remove the unit. Flush it thoroughly with water to remove impurities and debris. While you have the pump out, also clean debris from the sump pit. Reinstall the pump and reconnect the power source. Test the unit by pouring a bucket of water into the pit and making sure the pump starts.If your unit has backup battery power, replace the battery every two to three years, or as directed by the manufacturer.Always refer to your pump’s instruction manual for specific information about maintenance and operation. More information about sump pumps is available from the Sump and Sewage Pump Manufacturers Association.If your sump pump does fail Call (269)925-6841 and a crew from SERVPRO of Berrien County will come out and dry your basement and all other ares that are wet.
Spring rains can bring wet pains.
Niles Feb 2018 flood
Here in Southwest Michigan we get some very heavy spring rains. They usually come with powerful winds resulting in power outages. This combination results in many flooded basements. Wind driven rain can enter your home under shingles. Trees can fall on your roof letting water in. Gutters clogged with leaves and sticks can overflow water against your foundation. Clear them out and drain 5 foot away from home. Hydrostatic pressure can push water through foundation walls. When power is lost your sump pump stops working and the basement floods. *Check to see if you have a sump pump rider on your homeowners insurance policy. If you don't the water damage may not be a covered loss.*
Are your drain lines clear of roots and debris so water can move to sewer? If not you could experience backups.
The water you don't see causes mold.
Water in the walls
There's no such thing as a small disaster. Especially when the water you don't see contains bacteria - or causes mold, rot and other unseen damage. Water damage can affect the value of your property. So before you get out the wet vac and fans to try and clean it up yourself, consider how this will affect your property.
The Feb 2018 floods affected many homes and businesses in Berrien County. This water is Category 3 which is some of the most bacteria ridden. Water wicks up the drywall, soaks insulation, saturates baseboards, ruins carpet and padding and starts the mold growth process.
Anything the water touches must be disposed of or sanitized. Please ask us to inspect your home or business for safe and proper remediation methods.
Winter flooding 2018
St. Joseph River - Michgian
Winter Feb 2018. The ground was frozen with about 2 feet of snow. All at once it rained hard for a couple days. All the storm runoff had no place to soak into the ground. All creeks, streams, rivers rose above flood stage quickly. The river level was already at an all time high and soon went 7 feet past flood stage. Sand bags did little to slow the intrusion. Homes that never had water now saw feet of dirty river water in their basements. Many were not able to reach their homes due to the depth of the water. Pets had to be rescued and many communities had utilities shut off for safety.
SERVPRO helps home owners dry out and sanitize their property so they can remodel.
Eliminating Heating Hazards This Winter
The winter season is in full swing! The days are shorter and temperatures are lower. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in weather. In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is responsible for an estimated $893 million in property damage annually. Heating is the second leading cause of residential fire deaths, making it important to review ways to help reduce the risk of a heating-related fire.
-Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater. Have a three foot "Kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
-Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
-Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
-Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
-Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
-Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be install in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detectors requirements are met.
Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees or client to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation.
Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance.
-Install smoke alarms on every level of the home including the basement.
- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
-Test smoke alarms at least once a month using a test button.
-Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps" the battery is low and should be replaced right away.
-Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
Storm Damage - Trees Falling
Summer/Fall is upon us which means storm season is here!
A common occurrence during Southwest Michigan storms is trees falling on and damaging your property. Don’t wait until it happens. Be prepared for this type of storm emergency. Here are 5 steps to take for emergency tree removal:
- Trees that are old or diseased can easily succumb to flooding and windy storms. Go ahead and remove hazardous trees before a storm approaches.
- In the event a tree does fall on your property, first make sure everyone is okay. Leave your home if you feel unsafe inside the property.
- Look to see if there are any wires or power lines hanging and if they are call the police and the power company.
- Call your insurance company and if you can safely do so take pictures.
- Contact your local mitigations and emergency storm cleanup provider in Berrien County. They will place a tarp on the roof if needed. They will also carry out any board up services required and cleanup any water inside the home. Boarding up parts of the home that have structural damage will help with your insurance claim and also deter any vandals while you are away from your home.
As a trusted leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO of Berrien County has highly trained technicians that are dedicated to responding faster to any size disaster. We provide 24-hour emergency service and have the training and expertise to handle your restoration and cleaning needs. We are faster to any disaster and will make it "Like it never even happened."
Storm Disaster Recovery Team - TEXAS August 2017
SERVPRO of Berrien County is a Large Loss Response Team. When a storm or disaster strikes, SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team is poised and "Ready for Whatever Happens." With a network of nearly 1700 franchises, the SERVPRO system strives to be faster to any disaster. Strategically located throughout the United States, SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team is trained and equipped to handle the largest storms and highest flood waters. Providing experience, additional manpower, equipment and other resources, The Disaster Recovery Team assists your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals. SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team has responded to hundreds of disaster events in many regions across the country. In the aftermath of disaster, there is only one objective, to help make it like it "Like it never even happened."
Continuing Education Classes-Insurance Agents
Insurance agents that need CE credits have an opportunity for 6 credits Sept. 13, 2017. 4 credit hours for "Restorative Drying for Water Damage" and 2 credit hours for "Cleaning and Restoring Smoke Damaged Contents".
Both classes are free and held at Lake Michigan College. A presenter from SERVPRO Corporate will hosting the classes. Jason Garrett. He also presented in 2016. Entertaining and informative.
The state of Michigan enforces all rules associated with these mandatory credit classes for the insurance industry. Pay close attention to registration times, attendance, breaks, use of technology and license information.
We will provide coffee and breakfast snacks, lunch catered by Qdoba and bottles of water and candy to help stay alert.
Classes will be held in the WMU building room #2405 which is upstairs.
Prepare for severe weather.
Emergency Ready Profile
Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster and having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive. Preparation can get you back in the building faster following a disaster. Don't wait until disaster strikes. Call us today to establish an Emergency Ready Profile for your property and be ready for whatever happens.
Build an emergency kit:
- Water (one gallon per person per day)
-Food (Non perishable, 3-day supply)
-Manual can opener
-Battery operated radio
-Flashlight and extra batteries
-First aid kit
-Whistle to signal for help
-Dust masks or bandanas
-Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
-Matches in waterproof container