SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac’s (PPE) Pathogen Preparedness Essentials Toolkit!
As we move through these uncertain times SERVPRO has been the industry leader in response to cleaning and disinfection around Coronavirus and COVID-19.
Below is a resource we are going to update as we move through the phrases of reopening set By the state of Michigan. Included in our PPE packet is:
- Local official recommendations for businesses
- A daily screening log for temperatures and daily questions
- A recent webinar focused around preparing your business to open
- Information about our new Certified SERVPRO Cleaned Program
- Emergency Ready Plan - Information on our cost neutral Disaster Planning System
SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac- (PPE) Pathogen Preparedness Essentials Packet
Keep your family safe and warm this winter
house fires affect more than just your property. We help you get your life and home back.
The winter season is in full swing. the days are shorter and the temperature is lower. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in the weather but in Michigan, we tend to feel the full effect of harsh winter 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.
In 2011, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 reported US home structure fires. Unfortunately, that's not where the story ends. Along with the fires, there were 400 civilian deaths, over 1500 civilian injuries, and $893 million in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 14% of all reported home fires.
Heating is the second leading cause of home fire deaths, making it important to review ways to help reduce the risk of a heating-related fire. Here are some tips to ensure you stay both warm and safe this winter:
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
- Use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- All heaters need space. Keep flammable objects, at least, three feet away from heating equipment
- Plus space heaters directly into outlets, never into an extension cord or power strip
- When using fuel-burning heaters, use only the fuel specified by the manufacturer
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide and smoke alarms inside your home and business. Test alarms monthly
- Remember to turn portable heaters off before leaving the room or going to bed. If you are buying a new unit, choose one with a shut-off timer.
- When using a wood burning fireplace, make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to help prevent sparks from flying into the room. Spent fireplace ashes should be cool before removing and putting them into a metal container. The container should be stored away from your home or business
At SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac, we want you to be both warm and safe but you can trust that if you have an issue we will make it "Like it never even happened."
Michigan and quick seasonal changes
Water lines are more susceptible to breaks at times of extreme temperature swings, both hot and cold. The American Society of Civil Engineers advises
Do you live where the seasons suddenly change?
How often have you heard the term "Michigan Weather"? Wearing shorts one day and then winter jackets the next is a normal occurrence here. Extreme changes in temperature affect more than our choice in clothes.
Water lines are more susceptible to breaks at times of extreme temperature swings, both hot and cold. 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. This is because water temperature takes more time to decrease than air temperature.
You may not be able to control the weather but there are steps you can take to limit your exposure to any issues that arise:
1. Use a Water Main Shut Off tag on your home- After a pipe break it is imperative to stop the flow of water from entering your home. You can easily have hundreds of gallons of water in your home within minutes.
2. Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape- This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls.
3. Close all windows near water pipes; cover or close open-air vents- Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more frequently.
4. If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off water supply valves to your washing machine- Shutting off your water supply to your washer helps prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Look at the rear of your washing machine and you’ll see two knobs: one blue and another red (usually). Turn both of these knobs in the opposite direction to disengage the water.
4. Keep an emergency list of numbers near by- Even if you take every precaution, emergencies can still happen. Have a list of emergency numbers include a plumber, your insurance agent, and a restoration company like SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac.
Hopefully these tips will help you steer clear of a disaster in your home. If, even after your best efforts, you still have a pipe break, call SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac at (248)377-2220 in your hour of need. We want to be there for you and make it "Like it never even happened"
Why hire a specialist?
A fire in your home disrupts your life and can be stressful. Calling a professional like SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac can help you get back to normal
Why Hire a Specialist?
One of the most stressful events for a family is a house fire in your home. It’s unsettling and suddenly, everything that’s “yours” is at risk.
To make matters worse, Fire damage is often serious. Even property that wasn’t on fire may be affected by heat, smoke or water.
After a fire in your home, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is getting your property cleaned and restored. Seeking assistance from a fire restoration service may be the best first step.
So why hire a Specialist? The combination of fire and water damage can be devastating to personal property. The pressurized water from the fire hose alone can be destructive. If you have property damage
- Fire damage experts have access to specialized equipment and methods that facilitate timely drying and restoration of your belongings.
- Professionals are trained to use safety precautions to prevent accidents and injuries.
- Specialists work quickly to prevent secondary damage, such as mold, from developing.
Turning over your home and property to restoration experts can feel uncomfortable. It may help to have some more information about what to expect.
What About Your Belongings?While structural restoration continues, a content-cleaning team will begin to sort and inventory your personal items.
Fire-damaged items are often unsalvageable, but many water-damaged items can be restored. Textiles, carpets and upholstered furniture that are not badly smoke damaged can be dried and cleaned.
If not damaged by heat, electronics such as computers and televisions will be dried, dehumidified and restored to working order whenever possible.
When a fire in your home disrupts your life, it can be overwhelming. A professional cleanup service like SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac can be the best way to get your home back as quickly as possible.
Using a secure, multi-step process, we will clean and restore your belongings as quickly and completely as possible. Knowing what to expect may help you decide what will work best for you if you experience a home fire.
What causes Mold?
Moisture is really the key cause of mold growth since the other conditions on the list are always going to be present in homes.
What Mold Needs to Grow
Mold needs these conditions before it can begin to grow in a home:
- Mold spores
- A food source (eg wood, drywall, cotton)
- Darkness (mold can't grow under ultraviolet light)
- Warmth (mold can't grow in freezing temperatures)
- Moisture (eg water leaks, humidity)
- Enough time (most molds can begin to grow in 24-48 hours if the conditions are right)
Moisture is really the key cause of mold growth since the other conditions on the list are always going to be present in homes.
So, essentially, the difference between whether mold grows in your home or not comes down to whether you have a moisture problem.
Humidity Causes Mold
If the weather's been very humid for a few days in a row you might notice mold starting to grow in your home. When it rains for several days it's especially common to see mold start to grow on walls, benches and other surfaces because of the wet air.
If you live where humidity in the air is naturally high, like by the coast or another large body of water, then mold growth in your home can also be a recurring problem.
Also when moisture inside your house evaporates into the air it increases the humidity indoors. If your home isn't well ventilated then the humidity will stay high for a long time.
Drying clothes indoors on clothes lines or stands is a common culprit when it comes to causes of indoor humidity problems. The household HVAC system can also create humidity troubles while it artificially heats or cools the air.
Sometimes people use humidifiers in their homes. But there are molds that only need the humidity level to be higher than 55% to start growing. So if you need to use a humidifier in your home make sure to keep the humidity below 55%.
Not only does high humidity feed mold, but it means that puddles of water and damp materials in the home take longer to dry out. These wet surfaces can in turn create mold growth of their own.
Leaking Pipes Cause Mold
Water leaks from pipes are a common cause of mold growth. The worst leaks are the ones that go undetected because they are hidden out of view, like inside a wall. By the time you discover these leaks mold has usually started to grow already.
Leaks in Roof Cause Mold
Like some leaking pipes, a roof that leaks into the attic might not be discovered until it's already lead to mold growth.
The best thing to do is to check the attic regularly for leaks and keep an eye on the ceiling below the attic. If you notice any signs of water damage on the ceiling or any mold that has grown through then you probably have a leaking roof.
Condensation Causes Mold
Cold surfaces can create condensation in your home. Condensation collects on cold metal pipes as well as on cold concrete floors, even if there is carpet over the top, and on walls. Places like these where condensation occurs are prime spots for mold growth.
Poor Ventilation Causes Mold
If your home is poorly ventilated it can create pockets of stagnant moist air which mold thrives in. Steam and water evaporating into the air creates humidity inside which then needs to be circulated outdoors through windows to keep the moisture level balanced.
Poor ventilation also means wet surfaces dry out more slowly. Ventilation is especially important in rooms such as the bathroom and the kitchen where there is a lot of steam.
Wet Clothes Cause Mold
If you leave clothes wet for a long period of time in your house mold can grow on them as well as on other surfaces due to the moisture wet clothes release into your home.
Damp clothes left in a pile waiting to be washed for more than a day can lead to mold growth. Clothes left wet for over a day after being washed may also end up fostering mold.
Drying your clothes in a dryer instead of outside on the line releases a large amount of moisture into your home if the drier is not vented outside the house. Clothes drying inside on indoor clothes lines or racks will also create a build up of moisture inside unless the room is well ventilated.
Flooding Causes Mold
It is almost inevitable that some mold problems will develop after your home has been affected by flooding. Obviously your house will be very wet for a long time during a flood, taking days or even weeks to dry out. Since mold only needs a suitable surface to be wet for 24 hours before it can grow this means there is a huge risk of mold growth.
Some dangerous toxic molds require more extreme conditions than common molds do, such as the toxic mold Stachybotrys chartarum which requires material to be very wet for several days to grow. A flood can create these conditions putting your home more at risk of being infested with dangerous toxic molds.
Taking care of a water loss correctly is vital in avoiding the risk of mold growth.
Damp Basement Causes Mold
Basements often contain higher amounts of moisture or humidity than other rooms because they are usually not well ventilated. Basements are also often colder meaning more condensation occurs which leads to dampness and humidity.
Also any water from leaks in your home will often end up running down to the basement since it is lower than all the other rooms. Not only is mold more likely to grow in basements but because they are usually neglected mold growth may not be discovered until it is well set in.
Water at the House's Foundation Causes Mold
Water building up in the yard and ground around the base of your house can cause frequent water problems for the foundation of your home.
If the ground around your home slopes towards the house rainwater will end up building up at the foundation. If this causes constant problems you might even need to do some landscaping to modify the slope of the ground so water drains away from the house. Alternatively ditches and drains can be dug to channel water away from the home.
What to do when a water loss happens
If you are grappling with the aftermath of residential water damage, you want the problems resolved as quickly as possible. Keep handy the name and number of a local cleanup and restoration company like SERVPRO. Our job is to provide state-of-the-art service to our customers that are in need of expert water damage restoration. And we do so with rates that won't break your budget.
What You Can Expect From a Water Damage Restoration Service
When you contact us to assess the character of your problem, we will respond by sending a team of friendly, knowledgeable service technicians and leaders to your home. We will make a full inspection and assessment of your property, making sure to note where all of the damage and future potential trouble spots lie. We find the source of the water intrusion, if not visible, for repair. We must identify the water to determine if it is contaminated (such as Black Water from a sewage backup or groundwater intrusion), to use a correct and safe extraction method. Once we have completed this initial diagnosis, we provide you with a full estimate of the cost involved. We will even help you with the insurance claims process.
How We Deal With Water Damage
Once water damage has taken its toll, engage the path to a solution as soon as possible. This means hiring a professional cleanup and restoration service to drain all of the unwanted water out of the building. We have truck-mounted pumps and portable extractors to quickly dispatch water. Our Applied Structural Drying Technicians (ASD) can dry out your home with the additional aid of air movers and dehumidifiers, both desiccant and refrigerant. Our trained WRT-Water Damage Restoration Technicians, adhere to the cleaning standards of the IICRC . We ensure, by testing with moisture meters, infrared cameras, and hygrometers, that the affected areas are dry.
if you ever have any issues rest assured that SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac will make it, "Like it never even happened."
The Science of Drying: what is it and how can it help you
The Science of Drying
What is so scientific about drying? This thought may have crossed your mind, however, understanding psychrometrics, or the science of drying, is essential to properly dry and restore a structure to its preloss condition.
Upon entering a facility and noticing wet carpet from a water loss, a business owner’s natural reaction might be to place a fan or two around the damaged area until the carpet feels dry. While the carpet itself may be dry, there may be hidden moisture you cannot see or feel creating the potential for further damage.
Water can seep through pinhole cracks and crevices in floors; surfaces such as wood, drywall, and carpet readily absorb water, pulling moisture further into the structure. Measuring moisture levels of the visibly affected areas, as well as surrounding areas, helps ensure proper drying and prevention of secondary damage.
After calling SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac, one of our IICRC certified technicians will follow strict, industry-approved standards to measure the extent of moisture saturation and to offer drying, deodorizing and disinfecting services to help reduce the chance of any secondary damage.
Our IICRC certified technicians will:
- Inspect the buildings to detect every 7 area and component that is wet, preventing damage from occurring due to overlooked areas.
- Measure the moisture levels in the wet materials and monitor these levels to ensure materials are drying properly.
- Expedite the natural drying process by using professional drying equipment
All of this probably sounds pretty good but what does “Expedite the natural drying process” actually mean? The environment always seeks equilibrium, because of this, a wet building can often dry naturally. When materials are a wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface, but this can only happen if the air is actually drier. The trouble with the natural process is the length of time it can take to dry naturally. When drying takes too long, secondary damages may occur.
Our certified technicians have been trained to use top of the line equipment, designed to expedite the natural drying process including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough to reach places inside walls, and much more. State of the art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific method allows professionals from SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac to dry your home or business fast!
Armed with the science of drying, we have the training and equipment to make it, “Like it never even happened.”
What to do if a water loss happens
A broken pipe can happen with no warning and impact every aspect of your life. Call us to help you deal with it quickly, efficiently, and effectively
Having a water loss in your home can be a a scary experience. Thankfully, if you catch it in time, there are some precautions you can take to mitigate the damage to your home and belongings.
What you should do as a property owner after you notice a water loss:
- Turn off your home’s water supply. If you know where the leak is coming from, you can shut off the valve closest to that fixture, if not, it’s best to shut off the water supply to the entire house. If you don’t know where that is, you can shut it off at the street (or turn your well off if you have a well).
- Call SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac. The faster we can get to your property and perform water cleanup services, the less likely it is that your home will experience any severe water damage or mold development.
- If the water is clean and not from a sewage backup, you can also:
- Prevent the spread of water into other areas of your home. You can do this by creating towel dams, opening a drain or by pushing water out of your homes doors.
- Get your furniture and other belongings out of sitting water. Put the legs of your furniture up on plastic tarp or some other impermeable material that won’t absorb water.
- Remove as much water as possible with either a shop vac or mop and bucket. The more water you can get out, the better!
At SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac we know that in the case of a water leak or backup, a fast response will reduce water damage and mitigate future costs. We use industrial grade fans and dehumidifiers to quickly and thoroughly dry your home or business.
In some cases, we may have to perform water damage restoration if water has been sitting in your property for an extended period of time. Our goal is to have your home back in its original condition in the quickest time possible and that starts with mitigation.
If you or someone you know in the Metro Detroit area experiences water damage in their home or business and is need of help, call the experts at SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac at the first sign of a problem. We are available for emergency service and can be reached 24/7 at (248)377-2220
Why you shouldn’t use bleach to kill mold
Misinformation and myths about mold have been around for years. This can make it difficult to know how accurate or outdated some advice is
Chlorine Bleach is often regarded as the answer for stopping mold growth and removing the mold. However, this is a myth. Bleach does not exonerate mold. Here are three reasons why bleach is not the answer to mold, and should never be used to clean a contaminated area.
1. Bleach Loses Effectiveness Over Time
Chlorine bleach can dissipate rapidly, causing the bleach to be less effective. Over time this occurs because chlorine can evaporate and even faster in areas that are above room temperature. When the chlorine disappears, the bleach bottle turns into a bottle of salt water.
2. Bleach can actually contribute to mold growth
Chlorine bleach was made to clean surfaces, therefore can only kill surface bacteria and mold. This is due to bleach’s ion structure, which prevents the chlorine from penetrating porous material such as wood and drywall. When mold grows in porous areas, the enzyme’s roots grow deep within the material, rendering the bleach ineffective of exterminating the mold. The bleach can only remove the green stain from the mold, allowing surface to appear clean. But underneath the surface, the water component of the bleach penetrates and helps the internal roots to continue to grow, causing mold to reappear.
3. Bleach is Toxic
Bleach emits harmful fumes that pollute the air we breathe and can become harmful to humans and even pets. Over a period of time, inhaling the gases bleach emits can deteriorate the lungs and esophagus lining in addition to the scarring of the respiratory tract, which occurs in earlier stages. Also research shows that household bleach is one of the leading causes of accidental poisonings in the United States.
Homes in Michigan are at a higher risk of having a mold issue when compared to other states. Why? Two words… heat and humidity. Mold thrives in dark, moist areas, and Michigan’s humidity only helps that process. That’s why if you experience water damage and don’t take care of it the right way and in the first 48 hours; mold has an opportunity to grow.
Smoke and Soot Damage: What to Know
Unfortunately fires can cause smoke and soot damage to not only the structure that's on fire but other buildings nearby as well.
Smoke and soot is invasive and can get into every nook and cranny of your home all while causing hidden damage, odor, and stress for the homeowner.
At SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac, we have the expertise and experience to accurately asses the damage and develop a plan to make it "Like it never even happened."
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two types of smoke, wet and dry. The type of smoke will determine what needs to be done to clean it properly. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Greater Pontiac will test the soot to determine the type of smoke damage. We then will create a comprehensive plan using the information gathered from our pretest.
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Every fire is different. That means that every fire cleanup is different. With our expertise we can create a comprehensive plan to restore your property and help you make it “Like it never even happened.”
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (248)377-2220