Candle With Care
Burning candles in your home carries real risk
Keep Your Home Safe!
From 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 8,700 home structure fires that were started by candles per year. These fires caused an annual average of 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in direct property damage.
Facts and Figures
During the five-year period of 2011-2015:
- Candles caused 2% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries, and 4% of the direct property damage in home fires.
- Roughly one-third (37%) of home candle fires started in bedrooms. These fires caused 36% of the associated deaths and 51% of the associated injuries.
- Falling asleep was a factor in 11% percent of the home candle fires and 21% of the associated deaths.
- On average, 24 home candle fires were reported per day.
- More than half (59%) of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material came too close (or was left too close) to the candle.
- December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 12% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
Source: National Fire Protection Association "Home Candle Fires" report
It’s Raining Water in my Basement!
Flooded residential basement
(Where to Store Important Things)
Almost everyone in the Clinton Township/Sterling Heights area uses his or her basement (if he or she has GOT a basement) as a place to store things. But, you know, basements are underground and that means they are prone to flooding from any number of water sources. So what happens to all the stuff you’ve got stored down in the basement if and when it floods? All too often the answer to that question is that the stored items end up damaged beyond repair, ruined by the flooding.
Does that mean there’s nothing you can do to protect the items you’ve got stored in the basement? No, there really are some things you can do to keep your things from being destroyed by water in the basement. Here are some suggestions.
- Keep valuable items off the floor and off the bottom shelf of shelving units. Most basement floods don’t get deep enough to reach the second and higher shelves.
- Don’t store valuables in cardboard boxes. Cardboard wicks basement water up and into your stored items. Instead, buy plastic storage bins with tight-fitting lids, and keep your storage items in them. Even if you do have flooding, these boxes will protect your possessions in almost all cases.
- Keep in mind what is on the floor or floors above the basement. Don’t pick storage spots right under bathtubs, sinks or toilets, or right under water pipes crossing your basement ceiling. If something does leak, your odds of saving your stored items are much better if you have picked storage locations less likely to have water raining down on them.
- Call SERVPRO right away at 586-412-9595 if your basement does flood. The sooner you can get professionals on the job, the more likely your wet stored items can be salvaged.
How Did All This Water Get In My Basement??
Interior and exterior drain tile systems emptying into the sump well
Sump Pump Probably Failed
During storm events a lot of Clinton Twp. and Sterling Heights homeowners end up with a flood in their basement. If you ask where the water came from, the answer is almost certainly the storm. Why it ended up flooding the basement could actually have several answers, but the most common by far is that the sump pump failed. The sump pump is in your basement for no other reason than to pump out storm water (or water from any other source) as it collects. So if you’ve got a flood down there, something went wrong with the sump pump system.
When your house was built, you probably got an exterior drain tile system just outside the foundation footings. Or you may have gotten an interior drain tile system under your basement floor just inside the footings. You may even have gotten both (especially if your house is in an area with very wet soil). No matter which one you got, you also got a sump pit or well built into your basement floor, a couple of feet wide and perhaps three feet deep. A heavy plastic sump liner with a lid went in that well. The drain pipes from the exterior or interior drain tile system (or both) empty into this sump liner. A submersible electric pump, called a sump pump, is placed on the floor of that sump liner. It has a float switch that turns on the pump when the water level in the sump well reaches a certain height, and the pump empties the sump well, moving the water outside your home, probably to the municipal storm sewers. The pump then shuts off and waits for the rising water in the sump well to turn it back on. If something like a power failure occurs, the sump pump doesn’t come on and the water overflows the sump well and floods the basement. This often happens during a bad storm, when there’s lots of water coming into your drain tile system and your electricity has been knocked out by the same storm that brought the water.
There are battery backup systems available, as well as backup pumps run by your home's city water pressure, but that’s a subject for a different blog post.
One thing is for sure: you’d be wise to check your basement for flooding during big storms. And if your basement does flood, call SERVPRO immediately at 586-412-9595. We’re available 24/7 and we’ve got the trained personnel, the equipment and the experience to get rid of the water and get you back to normal.
Now THIS is a flooded basement
Could Ruin Your Whole Day!
This Clinton Township home had a little problem in the basement when the sump pump failed during a storm. Actually, it was more than a little problem…the entire basement was flooded to a depth of close to two feet. It was about a 1500 square foot basement so that was a LOT of water.
In each cubic foot of water there are 7.48 gallons. That would mean this basement contained 22,400 gallons. And water is HEAVY. A gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds so that flood weighed 185,920 pounds. That’s right…edging up onto 200,000 pounds. It’s not too difficult to imagine that much water doing some damage.
Happily, SERVPRO was able to get this homeowner’s basement pumped out and then properly dried and disinfected because we have the procedures, training, equipment and products that are needed to address exactly this kind of problem.
If anything like this ever happens to you, give us a call at once. We’re available 24/7 at 586-412-9595.
When Drain Tiles and Bleeder Lines Aren’t Working Right…
Basement drain tile working properly
Most homes with a basement have two sets of drain tiles to keep water out of the basement. The exterior perimeter network of drain tiles goes around the outside of the house buried at about the level of the basement floor. The interior perimeter network of drain tiles is under the basement floor and empties into the sump crock. When the drain tile system is operating properly, water soaking into the soil around the outside of the house enters the exterior drain tiles, flows through bleeder lines (holes through the concrete footing of the foundation), and enters the interior drain tile network that empties into the sump crock to be pumped out.
If any part of this system is not functioning properly, it can cause water from soaked soil to work its way right through the walls into your basement. Sometimes you can inspect the components in your home and diagnose and even fix the problem or problems yourself. But other times, you’re going to need professional help. If, for example, the bleeder lines through your footings are missing or clogged, a portion of the basement floor will have to be removed in one or more locations, the bleeder lines cleared and the floor re-poured in order to restore the system to proper operation. In most cases, this would be a job for a professional waterproofing company.
Do Not Use Fans To Dry Building
Things You Should NOT Do
When you are waiting for the storm cleanup professionals to arrive at your home or business there are several things you should NOT do. Here’s a list.
- Spread contaminated water (treat it all as contaminated unless and until you know differently) by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet parts of the building.
- Run or turn on the HVAC system. You could be blowing contaminated particles all over the building.
- Use household-type fans or window fans to dry out parts of the structure. This tends to spread contamination.
- Use any products exposed to flood water. This includes personal cleanliness products (soap, shampoo, etc.), makeup and, of course, food.
- Use a household-type vacuum cleaner or shop vac to remove water from the premises.
When It Rains It Pours
Storm Damage - Things You Should Do
Things You Should Do
When there is a storm event in the areas we serve in Southeast Michigan we get more calls for help than we can get to quickly. This is also true for all other local providers of cleanup and restoration after storms. Naturally, we do the best we can to get to every homeowner or business owner who calls us for help after a storm. But we can’t get to everyone at once, so sometimes there is at least a little bit of a wait, and occasionally more than a little bit. So, if you are waiting for us (or for any other local cleanup provider) after a storm, what can you do? Here’s a list of the three most important things you should do while you wait for the cleanup professionals to arrive.
- Most important: Shut off water and power to wet areas of your home or business. This will tend to keep the damage from getting worse and reduce the chances of electric shock.
- In most cases, water intrusion in the home or business will contain at least a minimal level of sewage or other gross contamination. Do all you can to avoid contact with the flood water and wash your hands at once after each time you come in contact with it.
- Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or likely to be damaged by moisture, remembering to wash your hands after any contact with flood water.
Cleaning Carpeting Before Busy Season
Carpet Cleaning Before Busy Season
What a Concept!
Some of our commercial customers call on us once or twice a year to come in and clean their carpeting just before their busy season gets rolling. Their strategy is to make their place of business looks as good as it can look when their customers come flooding in.
This is particularly true of those commercial businesses that have very definite cycles of "busy-ness," such as accounting offices just before tax season.
For them, and for a fair number of our other customers, cleaning the carpeting AFTER the busy season only impresses their employees. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but their clients and customers don’t get to see the fresh, new appearance of just-cleaned carpeting.
Exactly the same thing is true of retail gift shops just before the Christmas shopping season, or retail ski shops in late Fall, when their customers are just starting to think about gearing up for a ski trip over the winter.
Moving To a New Location?
Cleaning Before Moving In
Get SERVPRO to Clean the Flooring Before You Move In
If you happen to be a commercial business or office preparing to move into a new location, you might give some thought to calling on us to clean the floors before you move all your furnishings and equipment into the space. This will enable us to get at ALL the flooring and not have to skip the parts that are under heavy pieces of furniture or office automation equipment.
We have a staff of qualified, trained technicians who have all the specialized skills, equipment and cleaning products to thoroughly clean any kind of commercial flooring, including carpet, wood, vinyl/ceramic tile, or even bare concrete.
Whoever is leasing or selling the space to you will usually do a cleaning before you move in. But often cleanings of that kind are done quickly and not very thoroughly. They’ve already made the sale so they’re less motivated to make the space perfectly clean. Be sure to look it over carefully before you start moving in. If you see anything that really could be cleaner than it is – give SERVPRO a call 24/7 at 586-412-9595. We will see to it that you are glad you called on us.
POST-FIRE RESTORATION PROCESS
Even Small Fires Can Be Devastating
More Than Meets the Eye
Every fire restoration job, whether residential or commercial, is unique and presents its own challenges and opportunities, but there are some common characteristics true of most jobs. Our tasks as SERVPRO fire restoration professionals usually consist of the following responsibilities, in chronological order.
- Coordinate with the adjuster from the property owners’ insurance company to be sure our restoration work will meet all requirements.
- Secure the jobsite. This is especially important when doors or windows have been broken while the fire was being extinguished. Here, we may call in subcontractors for boarding up, roof tarping and installation of lock hardware on access doors. We may also need to bring in emergency power, water supply or heating/cooling equipment if the damage level makes that necessary.
- Pack out the contents of the home or business, assuming the cleaning and restoration of building contents is to be done offsite (in some very small fires, with minimal damage, the contents cleaning and restoration can be completed right at the jobsite). In a pack-out the building contents are removed from the site of the fire and transported to the location at which the cleaning and restoration work will be done. This would almost always be in the vault system we maintain in the warehouse area of our SERVPRO business offices.
- If subcontractors will be involved in specialty restoration tasks (textile and clothing cleaning, electronics/appliances restoration, art restoration, document drying, etc.) we assist the subcontractors in removing the items from the jobsite.
- Clean the packed out building contents at our warehouse area and prepare them for return to the jobsite. Depending on the extent of the job, this could take weeks or even months.
- Complete any adjuster-authorized demolition at the site of the fire and clean/deodorize the building’s ceilings, walls and floors.
- Repair, rebuild or restore any parts of the building that require such work. This may be our own employees doing the work or outside subcontractors.
- Move the cleaned and restored building contents from the vault system at our SERVPRO warehouse back into the jobsite building.