Recent Posts

Spring rains can bring many pains.

3/31/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Spring rains can bring many pains. Wind and rain damage

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.  

Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce

2/14/2017 (Permalink)

2017 Recognition Breakfast

SERVPRO was nominated for:

Pat Moody Award

Small Business Award

2016 Chamber Ambassador of the year Award

Keynote speaker: Governor Rick Snyder

 

 

High School Gym Floods!

2/14/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage High School Gym Floods! Dry out containment under bleachers.

Disaster of the month:


Winter 2017.  Buchanan High School locker room and gym floor floods from a broken fire suppression line in the ceiling.  The fire department turned off the suppression line and a plumber repaired it.  SERVPRO was deployed to extract water and dry affected areas.  


SERVPRO set 11 dehumidifiers and 60 air movers in the gym.  Air was circulated under the floor by removing base board and injecting heated air under a plastic containment for 6 days.


During this dehumidification process a scheduled basketball game was held in the gym.  SERVPRO manipulated the equipment so the game could be played.


Due to the immediate action taken by school administrators the gym floor will be refinished vs. replaced.  Avoiding a more costly and time consuming insurance claim.


The school was extremely happy with the fast, professional response SERVPRO provided.

Emergency Ready Profile

8/10/2016 (Permalink)

Commercial Emergency Ready Profile Emergency Ready Profile

 It is estimated that up to 50% of businesses that close due to a disaster, such as fire and flood never reopen!  Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.


Are you “Ready for whatever happens?”


Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood.  The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens.


The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile serves as a quick reference of important building and contact information or can be an ideal supplement to any well-designed emergency preparedness or existing contingency program.  Rather than simply reacting to disaster situations, most prefer proactive measures to establish a relationship with a restoration services company. 


By working with SERVPRO® of Berrien County to develop your personalized Emergency READY Profile your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster.  SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.


Call Bob at (269) 925-6841 Today for a No Cost Assessment 
of Your Facility!


Helping you to be “Ready for whatever happens,” 

Pets and Fire Damage

8/10/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Pets and Fire Damage Pets

Data Says Pets Start Nearly 1,000 Fires Each Year!

SERVPRO Of Berrien County wants all of you pet owners to know these important facts.  An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires, however, nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets, according to a new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association.

The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) and ADT Security Services have joined forces once again for the third annual National Pet Fire Safety Day (July 15) to spread awareness about how pets can start home fires but more importantly how to prevent them.

"Not many pet owners realize that their pet can actually be the cause of a devastating fire," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson.  "Simple preventative measures, such as flameless candles and stove knob covers, can mean the difference between life and death for your four-legged friends."

Chris and Kay Wardlow of Oklahoma know that all too well.  Their curious dog Lucy was home alone and spied a cake on the stove top. As Lucy tried to get a taste, her paw accidentally hit the stove knob and turned on the gas burner that was under the cake pan. Within minutes, the house was filled with smoke, triggering the Wardlow’s ADT monitored smoke detector. Firefighters were called to the scene, the house was saved and Lucy was rescued.

"Planning for unexpected emergencies like home fires and taking these precautions are an integral part of responsible pet ownership," Peterson said.


AKC® and ADT offer the following tips to educate pet owners on how to prevent your beloved pet from starting a fire, as well as how to keep your pets safe.

PREVENT YOUR PET FROM STARTING FIRES

  • Extinguish open flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
  • Remove stove knobs - Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
  • Invest in flameless candles – These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Beware of water bowls on wooden decks – Do not leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck.  The sun’s rays when filtered through the glass and water can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.     

Keep your pets safe

  • Keep Pets Near Entrances When Away From Home – Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet.  When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them. 
  • Secure Young Pets - Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
  • Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Consider using monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you’re not home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. Thiscritical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets.  Make sure to update the number of pets listed.

How To Maintain Your Sump Pump

8/10/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage How To Maintain Your Sump Pump 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.  

Tips to prevent a kitchen fire in your Michigan home.

8/10/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Tips to prevent a kitchen fire in your Michigan home. Kitchen Fire

More home fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else. In 2011, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,300 home fires that caused:

  • 470 deaths
  • 5,390 injuries
  • $1 billion in property damage

These Numbers could be greatly reduced if people paid more attention when they cooked and practiced simple fire safety behaviors.

Unattended Cooking

is the leading cause of kitchen fires

  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling of broiling food
  • Check food regularly – use a timer to remind you the stove/oven is On
  • If you must leave – turn the oven Off

Stay Alert

to avoid stirring up trouble

  • Don’t use the oven or stovetop if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol or are using drugs.

Hot Tips

  • Keep pot handles turned in
  • When you microwave food, open the container slowly to let steam escape and let food cool before eating
  • Cool a burn under water for 3 to 5 minutes and cover it with a clean dry cloth
  • If the burn is bigger than your fist, seek immediate medical assistance

Flammable Objects

Keep away from the stove

  • Keep anything that can burn a safe distance away from the stove
  • Clean up food and grease from burners and the stovetop
  • Wear short, tight-fighting, or lightly-rolled sleeves. If clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll over and over or back and forth to put the fire out. Get medical help.

Be Ready

to react fast to a cooking fire

  • When in doubt – just get out!
  • If you try to fight fire with a fire extinguisher, be sure:
    1. Other people are leaving the home
    2. Someone is calling the fire department
    3. You have a clear exit path
  • If a small fire starts:
    1. Slide a lid over the pan
    2. Turn Off the burner
    3. Leave a the pan covered until it is completely cool
  • For an oven or microwave fire, turn off the unit and keep the door closed.  

If you do have a problem in the kitchen or any other room in the house give SERVPRO a call.  We will clean up all Fire, Smoke and water damage. 

10 Unexpected Places Where Mold Creeps Into Your Home

8/10/2016 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation 10 Unexpected Places Where Mold Creeps Into Your Home Mold

These are 10 places many homeowners overlook when checking for mold:

Dishwasher

Unless a dishwasher stops working or needs replacing or servicing, most of us don’t think about it as a potential source for mold. There are two connections under each dishwasher that have the potential for mold and mildew to get started–the water supply and the discharge connection. The water supply needs to be lubricated with the right sealant and properly tightened  periodically. The discharge connection involves a rubber hose and clamp, and installing the hose before the dishwasher is installed ensures it is done properly. Hoses wear out over time. If you’re buying an older house, it doesn’t hurt to check the dishwasher connections — especially if there’s an odd smell when you open the door.

Icemaker Connections

Refrigerators often get moved, either for cleaning or other projects. This can weaken or break the water line connection to the icemaker, causing leaks behind the refrigerator.

“It seems like a simple job, so in the real world the plumbing contractor doesn’t install the water line, another contractor does,” Hoffman said. “The connection is a compression fitting and it must be installed properly to ensure there are no leaks.”

Washing Machine Connections

 When installing a washing machine, always install a brand new washing machine hose, using the rubber washers the manufacturer recommends. Also, use Teflon tape and make sure to tighten the connection with vice grips so there are no drips or leaks. After all, it doesn’t take many drips to create an environment for mold.

Hot Water Heater

“Many states have laws regarding the installation of hot water heaters, and most of them involve overflow pans that are piped to drain outside the house. The pan must be tilted ¼ inch to ensure the water does drain. Newer heaters with quick connect connectors should be properly lubricated and tightened so the shut-off valve doesn’t leak,” Hoffman said.

Plastic P-Traps

 Under every sink in your home is a “P-Trap,” almost always made of PVC pipe, which expands, and contracts. This process eventually loosens the connection and allows water to leak onto the base of the cabinet. If you look under sinks in every room you’ll easily spot the stains and discoloration commonly caused by leaking P-Traps. Use Teflon tape to seal every P-Trap and check them periodically, tightening them by hand to ensure their connections don’t loosen and leak. Over tightening PVC can cause it to crack, so be careful.

Toilet Connections

“I’m amazed at how many steps the DIY home improvement shows leave out when they explain about how to install a toilet,” Hoffman said. “The base of the toilet is where most mold grows. Toilets should be installed with a horned wax ring, and then the base of the toilet grouted in with tile grout,” he said. “The grout serves as a filler between the bowl and the floor to keep the bowl from rocking. Rocking bowls are the number one reason for the wax ring being compromised, which then allows mold to get a foothold.”

Shower Doors

Shower doors should probably be installed by plumbing contractors, Hoffman said. “They know how to keep them from leaking.” Mold growing at the base of the tub may be from leaking or improperly installed shower doors. Shower doors need caulking on all three rails — the two side rails as well as the bottom rail.

Tub

A properly caulked tub isn’t just nicer looking. It keeps water and moisture from dripping down under the tub and causing mold issues. Slab floors can create more problems — especially if installed by a DIY’er. The hole(s) in concrete slabs under tubs should be filled with a liquid tar, or expandable foam insulation to ensure moisture does not wick up from the ground through the slab.

Exterior Hose Bib

If you have a home, you have an exterior hose bib — a place where the water connection sticks out from the house. If you’ve used a hose, you know a poor connection or missing rubber washer, or loose hose can result in water spraying the house. This uncontrolled spray allows water to enter the space between the sidings, or into the wall, leading to mold growth. Make sure all holes, gaps and areas around every outdoor water connection are properly caulked and sealed.

Outdoor Water Sprinklers

Siding is engineered to shed rain falling down, not sprinklers shooting water up. Make sure your sprinklers are well away from the house when turned on. If you have children or teens that are watering the yard or garden, make sure they know not to spray the house with the hose. If power washing your home, hire a professional, or take care that water is not forced up under the siding as you wash.

As a homeowner, if you take the appropriate precautions and are vigilant about upkeep, you should be able to avoid mold, or catch it at it’s outset. While mold can be a huge problem in homes, even causing health issues, it is easily preventable.

Water Damage

8/10/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage Water Damage in Basement

If you have water in Southwest Mi basement what should you do?  Call the cleanup professionals at SERVPRO of Berrien County.  We will respond quickly and get things drying out.   Here are some other tips to help you out until we arrive.

 After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

Have A  Water Damage Emergency? Call (269) 925-6841

What To Do After Flooding

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

What NOT To Do After Flooding

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

Even if the wet area seams very small give us a call.  most times the damage goes way beyond what you can see.  Water will spread out very quickly and can create secondary damage to your home easily if not taken care of properly.

Beach Safety

8/10/2016 (Permalink)

General Beach Safety Beach Safety

SERVPRO of Berrien County has a few tips for beach safety         
Sun, Sand and Safety
Every summer, people pack their bathing suits, sunscreen, flip flops and a good book for a trip to the beach. Or, perhaps where you live, you are fortunate to have beach weather for the greater part of the year. Regardless of how often you get to sink your toes into the sand, the American Red Cross has some beach safety tips and steps you can take to be make sure you and your family remain safe. 
Beach Safety

Swimming in the lake or river takes different skills, so before you get your feet wet, it’s best to learn how to swim in the surf. You should also swim only at a lifeguard-protected beach, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.

While you’re enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Make sure you swim sober and that you never swim alone. And even if you’re confident in your swimming skills, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.

Other beach safety tips to keep in mind

  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in and the around water. No one should use any other type of flotation device unless they are able to swim.
  • Don’t dive headfirst—protect your neck. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, and go in feet first the first time.
  • Pay especially close attention to children and elderly persons when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause a loss of footing.
  • Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone.
Rip Currents

Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Beach goers should be aware of how dangerous rip currents are, and swim only at beaches with lifeguards in the designated swimming area. Rip currents can form in any large open water area, such as low spots and breaks in sandbars, or near structures such as jetties and piers.

 For your safety, be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight the current.
  • Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore.
  • If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t make it to the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
  • If someone is in trouble in the water, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.Throw the victim something that floats – a life jacket, cooler, inflatable ball and yell instructions on how to escape the current.
  • When at the beach, check conditions before entering the water. Check to see if any warning flags are up or ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.