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Pipe Bursts in East Lansing Apartment

2/13/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Pipe Bursts in East Lansing Apartment The ceiling of the apartment complex after falling due to water.

The nationwide Arctic Freeze in December was like nothing we've experienced in the past recent years - Michiganders were seeing temperatures in the negative teens for days. Our homes are just as susceptible to these frigid temperatures. Pipes were bursting in homes all over the state, and the technicians at SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett were able to respond quickly to put a halt to any damage being done.

On this particular occasion, a pipe burst between the first and second floors of this East Lansing apartment, and the damage was already pretty severe upon our arrival. With a pipe burst comes a lot of force, which you can see from this photo. The water being built up between the ceiling and floor was enough to saturate the ceiling and cause it to deteriorate and collapse. The water was able to then travel throughout the main floor, and soak through to the basement and crawlspace.

Our crews worked tirelessly to get the apartment cleared of wet materials and to get everything dried completely. While devastated about the amount of damage caused by the pipe burst, and the amount of remodeling to be done, the complex owner was very pleased with our crews dedication to completing the mitigation in a timely manner.

Staying Safe During a Winter Storm

1/24/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Staying Safe During a Winter Storm While beautiful, snow covered landscapes can be treacherous.

Although the deep freeze has passed, Michigan's unpredictable winter could throw a few more weeks of frigid temperatures our way. Following these helpful tips from the Red Cross can help keep you, your family, friends, and neighbors safe during a winter storm.

  • Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers.
  • Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink liquids such as warm broth or juice. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia. Alcohol, such as brandy, is a depressant and hastens the effects of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration.
  • Bring your companion animals inside before the storm begins.
  • Move other animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water. Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration.
  • Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone.

If you must go outside, protect yourself from winter storm hazards:

  • Wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens or gloves and a hat will prevent the loss of body heat.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air. Avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.
  • Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries.
  • If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation if possible. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.

What You Need to Know About Insuring Your Business

12/4/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial What You Need to Know About Insuring Your Business City of East Lansing

Starting your own business can be an exciting time - but make sure you've got all your bases covered! After you've secured the proper insurances to protect you and your employees, SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett can come to your business to set up your ERP!

Learn What’s Protected Under General Liability Insurance Coverage

Business liability insurance coverage is something most business simply must have, so it is essential that you understand what it does and doesn't cover.

Here are some general liability insurance coverage rules of thumb. To be sure about your specific business needs, be sure to consult with a qualified business insurance agent.

What’s typically protected by commercial liability insurance coverage

Business is inherently risky, but business liability coverage safeguards against many known and unknown risks. Commercial liability insurance coverage protects you, your business and your employees from claims involving bodily injury or property damage, up to the limits of your policy. Policies shield you from the expense of out-of-court settlements, litigation and judgments awarded by courts.

Lawsuits, investigations and settlements

If damages are filed against you or you’re sued, general liability insurance covers the insurance company’s investigation and attorney expenses, any judgment or settlement, medical expenses in case of injury and bonds if they must be subsequently posted.

Injury damages

Claims can arise from bodily injury or property damages resulting from accidents on your premises or from your products, your operations or advertising for your business.

Miscellaneous

Liability insurance can also cover things you may not have thought about, such as advertising injury in the event your company’s marketing violates someone’s copyright. Business liability insurance coverage even offers some protection against alcohol-related accidents (as long as your company is not in an alcohol-related business, such as the manufacture or distribution of alcohol).

What’s typically NOT protected by business liability coverage

Here are some situations that would not be protected by general liability insurance coverage. 

Employee injuries

Workers compensation is the insurance you would need to protect your employees when they are hurt on the job.

Professional mistakes

Business liability insurance coverage won’t cover a professional mistake, but professional liability will. It insures against mishaps that may occur as you offer your opinion, solution, service or recommendations in the course of business.

Auto-related coverage

Business liability coverage does not protect you against auto accidents. Purchase a separate auto policy to protect your business.

Punitive damages

Though there can be exceptions, a general business liability policy rarely pays for punitive damages resulting from a lawsuit.

Intentional acts

General business liability insurance does not cover damages or injuries resulting from expected or intentional acts. For example, if an employee assaults a customer, your business liability coverage would not cover the damages if they sue. But if the employee was defending himself or the company from a criminal act, the liability insurance would provide coverage.

Your work

Referred to as the “workmanship” exclusion, and is common in general liability policies. Insurance policies do not respond to what would normally be picked by a company’s warranty for their work.

Source: Nationwide

Mold Remediation at Jackson, MI Golf Course

12/4/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Mold Remediation at Jackson, MI Golf Course Just one of the areas affected in this 4,000 square foot clubhouse.

This Jackson, MI golf course has been in business since 1960. Each year, the owners will close during the winter season, and head down to Florida, sending someone in check on the clubhouse every other week. During this particular February, a pipe burst in the clubhouse between checks. Everything in the clubhouse remained functioning as normal, such as the heat, which combined with the moisture from the pipe burst created the perfect breeding grounds for microbial growth.

SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett was able to get our crews down to Jackson as soon as the owners found out about the loss. A thorough inspection revealed mold covering 70% of surfaces in the clubhouse. Chairs were rusted, contaminated water covered the floors, tables, walls, and ceilings were covered in mold. This turned out to be a complete tear out and rebuild - especially since this is a business where food and drinks are served.

Our crews worked tirelessly setting up equipment, doing demolitions, and getting the reconstruction squared away. 

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett

SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

The Mold Remediation Process

Every mold infestation is different, from the extent and type of growth, to the variety of materials affected. Each scenario requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. When you discover mold, call us at 517-999-0789 and we will go through our standard mold remediation process: 

  • Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
  • Mold Containment
  • Air Filtration
  • Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
  • Cleaning Contents and Belongings
  • Restoration

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 517-999-0789

Helpful Tips on Mold Prevention

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Helpful Tips on Mold Prevention Serious mold growth in a Mason, MI home.

Michigan's humid climate creates the ideal breeding ground for microbial growth in your home. Here are some tips from Mother Nature Network to help prevent harmful microbial growth in your home.

1. Identify problem areas in your home and correct them. You can't mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.

2. Dry wet areas immediately. Mold can't grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you've experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can't be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don't leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower. Don't leave wet clothes in the washing machine, where mold can spread quickly. Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.

3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn't invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.

4. Equip your home with mold-resistant products. Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless — the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive. Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available; the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.

5. Monitor humidity indoors. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store. You'll also be able to detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture (for example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows).

6. Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn't sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.

7. Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.

8. Improve air flow in your home. According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.

9. Keep mold off household plants. They're beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean — and mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants. The oil of this tree, which withstands fungi even in rain forests, helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.

Finally, educate yourself on your region's climate — be it the cold and wet Northeast, the hot and wet South, the hot and dry Southwest, or the cold and dry West — and how it responds to moisture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mold prevention. Knowing what works for your climate and your home is an important first step.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 517-999-0789

Preparing Your Business for Michigan's Winter

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Preparing Your Business for Michigan's Winter Take the time to prepare your business this winter!

The winter months bring in weather systems that can lead to heavy property damage as well as a higher incidence of employee illness, power outages, and the possibility of weather-related closures. Sub-zero temperatures can lead to burst pipes and flooding and leave business owners dealing with an expensive clean-up.

These dangerous conditions can also increase the risk of employees, customers, or clients slipping and falling on your property. Are you prepared? As a business owner, you owe it to yourself, and to your customers and staff, to do everything possible to protect against these eventualities. An estimated 25 to 40 percent of small businesses never recover from a disaster, forcing them to close their doors forever. With the right property and casualty insurance and business insurance in place you can protect against these losses even if your business is unable to operate for weeks, or longer.

Planning for Winter Weather

As a business owner, you have worked hard to establish your enterprise and keeping it financially healthy is always important. Weather disaster planning can help you avoid financial losses. Take the following steps to protect your business over the winter months:

  • Risk assessment. Evaluate your business property for vulnerabilities in electrical systems, roof, pipes, refrigeration units or other critical systems before winter weather hits. 
  • Assess the cost of a business interruption. Determine how much your business needs in a reserve account or in insurance coverage to be able to survive a shutdown for a week, month, and six months.
  • Disaster plan. Develop a disaster plan and issue it to all employees. Hold a meeting to go over the plan, point by point.
  • Power backups. If possible, install a back-up generator to supply power to phone systems, lights, and other critical systems.
  • Emergency contact list. Create a list of employee phone numbers – both primary and secondary – as well as cellphone and landline numbers and email addresses for emergency contacts for each employee.
  • Battery-operated radio. In some severe conditions, your only source of information may be the radio. Ensure you have a quality battery-operated radio so you can get these updates.
  • First aid supplies. Have a full first aid kit available.
  • Insurance policy review. Evaluate your coverage under your existing business insurance and property insurance policies. 

Source: Eastman Insurance Agency

Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to spend with friends and family - but the holiday happiness can be cut short when a sudden fire catches in the kitchen. According to the NFPA, the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. Follow these safety tips from the NFPA to ensure your home steers clear of a disaster this Thanksgiving:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop, so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot, and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

From all of us at SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Prepare Your Mid-Michigan Home for a Winter Storm

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Prepare Your Mid-Michigan Home for a Winter Storm Prepare your home and family for Michigan's upcoming winter season!

Michigan is no stranger to deadly winter storms - take the time this fall to prepare your home and family for this year's winter season!

Trim or Remove Trees

Trees are responsible for the majority of damage to homes and personal property during winter storms. Your homeowner’s insurance may not protect you in the event of fallen limbs or trees. According to insurance company Allstate, your homeowner’s insurance probably will not cover a fallen tree if the tree exhibited prior signs of rot or instability.

  • Trimming: Trimming is far less expensive than full removal. Crews can thin out the branches to reduce the “sail effect” when those high winter winds blow. Trimming can also can balance out the tree’s load and keep one side from being heavier than the other, a condition that may topple the tree.
  • Removing: Tree removal can entail a significant cost, especially in dense, metro areas where mobility is limited. The average cost to remove a large tree hovers in the $1,500 range, not including debris removal. Many communities require that you apply for a tree removal permit or at least put in a written notification. In many cases, the permit or notice must be accompanied by an arborist’s report stating that removal is required.

Check Roof and Flashing Stability

High winds can loosen roof shingles. Walk your roof and inspect it carefully. Shingles that are obviously loose should be replaced by a qualified roofer.

The condition of the flashing – the metal sleeves around the chimney and other roof protrusions – is more difficult to visually determine. Have a contractor or roofer inspect these areas.

Promote Drainage Away from House

When storms hit, massive amounts of water are directed at your house over a short period of time. Re-grade the soil around your house so it declines away from the foundation.

Clean and Repair Gutters and Downspouts

One source of water damage to foundations and basements is downspouts that force water straight into the ground. This can be easily and cheaply fixed by adding plastic downspout drainage lines that deposit the water away from the house. Fix or replace gutters in the summer. Clean gutters in the early fall, as soon as all the leaves are off the trees.

Purchase Ice Melt

In areas prone to freezing weather, walkways and driveways can become dangerously icy. Purchase ice melt in early fall (it may not be in stock in stores earlier than that). Calcium chloride is better than rock salt because it is less damaging to hardscaping and surrounding plants.

Remove Air Conditioners

By the end of summer, window unit air conditioners are no longer needed. A/C units are weak points for water intrusion. Even if there is a tight seal between the unit and the window, water can still enter through the back of the unit. Remove them and stow them away.

Remove Screens and Install Storm Windows

Depending on your climate, you can likely keep the windows open for a month or two past summer’s end. Eventually, though, it is good practice to remove the screens, wash them down, and store them until the following summer. Exterior retrofit storm windows can protect your windows against light debris impact and wind-blown rain, snow, and sleet.

Clean Chimneys for Wood-burning Fireplaces

Wood-burning fireplaces build up creosote, an oily black substance that can cause chimneys to internally ignite. Hiring a chimney sweep is the most effective way to rid your flue of creosote.

However, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) endorses one product, Joseph Enterprise’s Creosote Sweeping Log, as being acceptable for do-it-yourself creosote cleaning.

Prepare Your Home’s Interior and Yourself

Dealing with exterior issues during the summer, when the weather is fair, gives you more time and leeway to tackle interior areas as winter approaches.

Tune-Up Your Heating System

Bringing in a technician to conduct a furnace “tune-up” is like your biannual dentist’s visit for teeth cleaning: you can miss it sometimes, but it is highly recommended that you do every year.

The greatest value in doing the tune-up before winter storms is that you can accomplish it on your own terms. If you wait until your furnace dies during a storm, you will be at the mercy of overtasked HVAC companies, their tight schedules, and their often-inflated pricing.

Learn How to Shut Off the Water Main and Gas

Quick – Do you know where your water main and gas shut-off valves are located? If you cannot answer this question off the top of your head, you need to find out now.

Water main valves are typically located within the house on the perimeter, facing the street. Gas valves are located outside the house near the gas meter. Most gas and water shut-off valves require a special tool that costs less than $15.

Install Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting is your protection against fumbling around in the dark when the power goes out. Available for less than $20, these lights stay plugged into outlets so they are always charging. When power to the outlet is cut off, they automatically turn on.

Create a Family Emergency Plan

Creating a family emergency plan is as simple as printing and filling out a form that is available at the FEMA website.

This plan lists phone numbers, addresses, and medical information for all family members. Because both power and cell phone reception can go down in storms, it is valuable to have all this information available in hard-copy form.

Tips courtesy of fix.com

Pet Safety in an Emergency

10/13/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Pet Safety in an Emergency SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett - 517-999-0789

Emergencies come in many forms:  fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and violent storms.  In the event of a natural disaster or extreme weather, would you know what to do to protect your pet, to keep them safe?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests five (5) steps you can take to keep your pets safe during and after an emergency.

  1. Have a plan- what you would do if you aren't home or can't get to your pet when disaster strikes
  2. Make a kit- stock up on food and water, tap water could become contaminated
  3. In Case of Emergency- have information with you that will help find your pet in case they get lost or run away
  4. Make sure vaccinations are up to date- in case your pet needs to stay at a shelter
  5. Have a safe haven- Pets get nervous too, make sure you have their favorite toys, a leash, and a bed or cage

The CDCP gives some other things to think about and other resources with information to help keep your pets safe in an emergency.  Remember we are Always Here to Help.

The Water You Don't See

10/13/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage The Water You Don't See Coming home to see this is never in anyone's plans!

With any leak or spill, it’s the water you don't see that can cause the most damage. When you experience a water damage, make the right choice. A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for the unseen water intrusions. While the surface may seem dry, the water you don’t see can contain bacteria, cause mold or rot, and cause other unseen damage.

The insurance industry estimates that approximately 90 percent of household damages come from water-related occurrences. The most commonly reported cause is leaky or broken pipes and plumbing fixtures. Home appliances are considered a leading cause of preventable water damage. By implementing a simple inspection and maintenance program, homeowners can reduce their risk significantly:

  • Dishwasher - Periodically check around the base of the dishwasher, as well as the water supply line under the sink.
  • Refrigerator - For refrigerators with ice makers, periodically check the hose connection attached to the water supply.
  • Washing Machine - Hoses should be inspected regularly for wetness around hose ends, as well as for signs of bulging, cracking or fraying. Hoses should be replaced every three to five years.
  • Water Heater - While the service life of the standard water heater is 10 to 15 years, water heaters should be inspected routinely for signs of leaks or tank rust. Water heaters should be located next to a floor drain or placed inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.

So before risking the value of your home or further damage by attempting to clean and dry it yourself, call us to inspect your home.

SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett - 517-999-0789