Bonfire Safety Tips
Cold weather is ideal for bonfires, and it is an activity that many people enjoy during the colder months. You may be planning a barbecue or a bonfire party, and we know you and your guests will have an awesome time, but we also know that accidents can happen if good safety practices are not observed at these types of events. With that in mind, we are going to share some bonfire safety tips with you today so that you can be sure that your event is memorable for all the right reasons.
Never Leave Bonfire Unattended
Most bonfire accidents happen quickly, so don’t step away from the fire for even a few minutes. Keep a bucket of dirt or a hose nearby to deal with any incidents immediately. Being vigilant will let you address any problems before severe fire damage happens. We recommend that you wear hard-soled shoes around the fire, too, for protection from flying sparks.
Build In A Safe Location
Choose a location well removed from any flammable materials. Prepare a patch of bare dirt, dig a small depression, and surround the perimeter of your fire with stones; these steps will prevent your bonfire from spreading unexpectedly. Make sure there are no dry grasses, trees, shrubs, fences, sheds, cables, or wires around or above the bonfire.
Choose Proper Materials
An ideal bonfire should be built only from wood, charcoal, paper, sticks, and other organic materials, and you should never use accelerants like lighter fluid or gasoline on the fire. These can cause the bonfire to quickly spread and even to explode. Once the fire is going, avoid throwing batteries, fireworks, and other combustible materials into the fire, and don’t burn items such as tires, furniture, or other things that are man-made, since the materials used in their construction can be toxic when burned.
Extinguish Fire Properly
Even when a bonfire burns down, it still contains a lot of heat. Many fire damage incidents happen because a smoldering bonfire reignites long after everyone is gone. To put a fire out properly, spread the ashes out with a rake or shovel to let them cool, and gently pour water over the ashes until no burning or hot areas are left. If the fire is properly put out, you will not feel any heat if you extend your hand over the area above it.
If you experience damage from fire, water, or a weather event, keep in mind that the team here at SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids is ready to help at a moment’s notice. We are disaster restoration experts, and we have all the skills and tools necessary for mold prevention and remediation, too.
This SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.
HVAC Maintenance This Winter
One of the most important home or business maintenance projects during the winter months is maintaining your HVAC unit. Neglecting this most important piece of equipment can lead to extremely bothersome situations, but regular maintenance practices can help you avoid that altogether. You can choose to do it yourself or to hire a professional to oversee your HVAC.
A professional will inspect and clean the wiring and mechanisms for your HVAC unit and determine if you have any outstanding operational issues that need to be addressed immediately. You can also maintain your HVAC yourself to increase its efficiency between professional inspections and maintenance visits through these practices found below:
- Check thermostat and controls for proper measurement and regulations
- Inspect fan motors, blowers, vents, and ductwork and lubricate all moving parts
- Replace worn-out belts and pulleys
- Inspect electrical components and connections as well as replacing batteries
- Check for gas leaks and flue gas passageways
- Install high-efficiency, pleated air filters and be sure to change regularly
- Keep your heating units and AC free of pollen, leaves, and grass
- Maintain a clear two feet of space around your outdoor AC and heating units
- Inspect refrigerant lines every month and clean drain lines and pans
- Inspecting the heat exchanger, heating elements, heat pump, burner, and the ignition system
Inspection, preparation, and maintenance of your HVAC throughout this will keep your unit in top form and that means your interior living and working environments will be comfortable through all kinds of freezing conditions and will help you avoid going out into such conditions to handle any HVAC issues.
At SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids, our team continually maintains the skill and equipment necessary to keep your HVAC working perfectly during even the coldest winter weather. We are also experienced in large cleanup projects that can help you to recover from fire damage or water damage, and we are mold remediation experts. We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, as well. Ask us how!
This SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.
5 Tips for Home Owners
If you love your home, take steps to proactively protect it.
Your home is likely the largest asset you will ever own. So what are a few things that you can do to ensure that your investment is protected? We are glad you asked! Here are a few tips from your local SERVPRO professionals right here in Grand Rapids, MI.
Know where your main water valve is located
It is incredible how many people think that they can shut the water off to the entire house by closing the valve located under the sink in the kitchen or behind the toilet. These are not the only water valves in the house. In fact, they are only meant to cut water supply to that specific unit. Look for the water meter in your home. There should be a valve located next to that water meter; that is the valve you want to tag as the primary shut-off point. Make certain that each member of the family knows what this is and where it is located. Properly shutting the water down quickly can save you a lot of money and spare your home from a lot of damage. If you do need water damage restoration, your team at SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids can be there quickly and get your home on the road to recovery in a flash.
Inspect your home
At the time of purchase, many people choose to have the home inspected. This is a good precaution to take, but what about years down the road? Keep an eye on your appliances and the integrity of the general structure of your home; especially areas that grant some sort of access to the outside. If you are not sure what to look for to determine the current areas that could pose an issue in the future, hire an inspector to evaluate your home. Licensed home inspectors are a knowledgeable resource that could help you prevent an expensive repair down the road.
Change your locks
This tip applies mostly to those who have recently purchased a home. It is quite standard for the previous home owner to leave a couple of sets of keys on the counter, which is great. However, those keys are usually the sets that the homeowner utilized, but what about family and friends that may have house sat on occasion? There is no telling how many copies of that key are floating around the neighborhood. If there is a keyless entry system set up for your home or the garage be sure to clear the current code and update it.
Emergency Contact List
Working with a person or company you trust is SO important. Especially if you are working with a service provider such as a local plumber, electrician, or restoration partner that would likely need access to your home for a period of time. Having a list of those trusted contacts will empower the entire household to be proactive when a situation occurs. Making the emergency list easily accessible could also significantly reduce response time and limit the damage or danger of an unexpected event.
This is a two for one!
Home insurance - As your most valuable asset, you want to be sure that it is properly insured with a local home insurance agent. Your local agent will have a good idea of what costs are involved when it comes to rebuilding a structure and can advise you on your policy limits accordingly. In addition to risks involving physical repairs, your agent can advise you on what type of liability coverage should accompany that homeowners policy. Lastly, be sure to elect to have sewer and drain coverage included on your policy. SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids has helped countless households recover from water damage that happened as a result of sewer and drain backup.
Life Insurance - Most families do not have enough cash in their back pocket to pay off their home if the primary bread winner were to pass unexpectedly. Life insurance is commonly overlooked by younger adults because they do not feel a sense of urgency and often do not have hefty financial obligations depending upon them. However, as a homeowner, a lot rides on the income and expertise you provide to maintaining the structure and financial well-being of any dependents. Knowing what type of life insurance policy to purchase and how much coverage is appropriate is something that a local life insurance expert can talk though with you. Consultations are typically free and you will have a better understanding of your options.
As a homeowner, you likely have some of these measures in place, but we hope that you were able to glean a valuable nugget of information that will set you up for long term success. If you have any questions involving fire, water, or mold, please give us a call at 616-662-9700. SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids is here for you 24/7/365.
What Happens After Water Damage?
Water damage of any kind can be devastating to your home or business. Structures, tools, documents, and household items can be compromised or lost this way, and depending on the extent of the water involved, your losses can be significant.
If your water damage is relatively small - such as a small leak under a sink or appliance - you can handle that fairly easily. You can expect to have some water to remove and some repairs to pipes or water lines to complete; you can do this yourself in most situations. If the water leak has been going on for some time, you may have a mold colony growing. This will almost certainly require the services of a professional mold remediation company since once mold gets established, it can never be completely eradicated. Choose a company that has the training and equipment needed to get your mold remediation project done right.
If your water damage is extensive your building structures may be compromised and even unsafe. You can inspect your premises yourself, but it would be wise to engage a professional construction company to come and do a thorough inspection. There may be some small repairs that you can do yourself, but keep in mind that this may affect any insurance claims. Know your policy and requirements before the worst happens so that you can ensure your coverage is not affected by any actions you may decide to take.
Documents that are stored where water can reach them will be adversely affected by damp conditions as well as the water itself. Storage for your paper documents needs to be properly addressed before a flooding event or damp conditions present themselves, and if you have already experienced such an event and you are faced with damaged documents, you can connect with a professional document restoration service to recover them if at all possible.
Many different situations can arise after water damage, but no matter what you are experiencing, you can always depend on SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids to help you clean up and recover. We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, too - ask us how. This franchise is independently owned and operated.
What To Do After Storm Damage To Your Home
The very first thing you will want to do after a storm is to make sure everyone is safe. A storm can create dangerous situations both for you and for your loved ones, so you’ll want to assess your home and outside premises to see what has been affected by heavy rains and high winds.
As you check your yard, keep an eye out for debris that may be loose or hanging; branches from trees can sometimes be caught in lower branches and fall eventually - someone may be under the tree when that happens. Take stock of broken branches that will need to be removed, and if you find a tree that is down completely then you will need to contact a professional arborist to come and remove it. This type of business can take care of all your vegetation, so point out to them any issues you have found during your inspection.
If your roof has been affected by the storm this can cause you trouble in the days ahead, and you’ll only know when you have sustained water damage from the next storm. If you can safely view your roof, take the closest look that you can to see if any damage is apparent, such as gutters that have fallen, loose shingles, or even holes. If anything looks like it is wrong, connect with a professional construction company to come and handle that right away. Keep in mind that any projects you do yourself can affect your insurance claim, so be sure to educate yourself in that area.
The seals on doors and windows in your home can be affected by stormy conditions, so inspect these areas after a storm to see if they have sustained damage. You may discover that some spots will need to be re-caulked, or you may determine that it’s time for new windows if the damage to them is severe.
If you have experienced damage to your home from area storms, SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids is here to help. We specialize in clean up and restoration projects involving water damage and fire damage, and we’re mold remediation and prevention experts, too. We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, as well; give us a call and we’ll tell you how. This franchise is independently owned and operated.
When your home gives you a "Surprise Party"
Your SERVPRO team has tackled circumstances like this one, and much worse. We will be there for you when you need us.
It’s 8:00 p.m. on a Sunday, and you walk into your home after a relaxing vacation expecting to switch on the lights, put the kids to bed then get some rest yourself. Much to your dismay, a water pipe burst over the weekend, dumping thousands of gallons of water over your hardwood kitchen floor, your carpeted living room, and it is raining water in your basement. SURPRISE!!! The problem is far beyond handling on your own. What do you do now?
Here to help 24/7
When it is your home or business that is underwater, time is of the essence. You need professional water damage restoration to begin immediately. Since SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids has someone on call for emergencies 24/7/365, you can call us any time at 616-662-9700.
The cost of water damages can increase exponentially with time. Wood Floors warp, dry wall soaks in moisture and mold develops in hard-to-reach areas of your home or business. The team members at SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids are experts at assessing what measures need to be taken to minimize damage and get you back to normal asap.
If the unthinkable happens to your home or business, allow SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids to help quickly turn your “before” into a “happily ever after.”
Fire Damage Restoration - It Takes A Tribe...
Our SERVPRO crew members were able to make this Grand Rapids basement like new. Fire damage clean up is something we know and do well.
A flood of questions and emotions can overwhelm those that experience a fire at their home or business. Most people do not have extensive experience with fire damage clean up. So it is no surprise that questions such as these create stress and anxiety:What items are going to be replaced?What irreplaceable heirlooms can be restored?Is the structure safe to enter?Should I submit an insurance claim?What will my insurance cover?How long will all of this take?
It takes a team, or tribe, of professionals to properly advise on questions such as those above. The answers (or lack thereof) to these questions are what fuel the emotions. Stress, sadness, and concern will likely all be present but with the right team on your side hope, relief and confidence will come through as well.
Insurance Agent -
Insurance agents are often underestimated and underutilized. Developing a relationship with a local agent begins with tailoring a policy that fits your needs and understanding what makes it special for your circumstances. If your agent is not detail oriented when the policy is being developed, they will not likely be a good advisor when something happens.
Your local agent should also have a wealth of information on what types of rulings the local adjusters tend to be more lenient or stringent on and what vendors do good work. When in doubt, call your insurance agent before putting in a claim. They can save you a lot of money by advising a course of action based on how your policy is constructed.
Restoration Team -
It is crucial that you are working with a company that restores, as opposed to a company that just tosses and rebuilds. As mentioned earlier, a good restoration company knows that certain things simply cannot be replaced, items that hold significant sentimental value. Like anything else in life, experience hones skill; choose a company like SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids that has daily experience bringing cherished possessions back to life.
Another major point to take into consideration is that every insurance policy has limits. Restoring (if possible) often costs less and takes less time than tearing out structural materials and replacing them. See the picture for an excellent example of this very point. The structure is solid, will be cleaned, and no smoke odor will be present once the job is completed; all in less time that rebuilding.
If you or someone you know experiences a fire, help is available and a team is ready to come to your aid. Work with your insurance agent and SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids.
Top 3 Winter Roof Saver Tips
It all starts with a little snow build up and a few innocent icicles.
When temperatures drop and snow begins to fall, you’ll want to be confident that your roof is ready for winter weather. Your roof is one of the most important elements of your home when it comes to protecting your property from the elements all year round, and it becomes especially important in the winter.
To help you get ready for Grand Rapids snowfall, we have some tips on how to take care of your roof this winter:
Prevent and Remove Debris
Before the first significant snows ever fall, make sure to remove any fallen branches or other debris from your roof. If you see that there are tree branches hanging above your home, just know that these branches, twigs, and leaves may fall onto your roof and collect in gutters and overhangs, especially under the weight of snowfall, so a trim of trees and tall bushes may be in order. Gutters that are clogged with leaves and debris will stop melted snow from draining away properly, and you may experience water backing up into walls and attics.
Keep Snow Build Up at Bay
While snow on a roof is a lovely sight, it can actually weaken your roofing if you let it sit there too long. Snow is actually pretty heavy, depending on how much has fallen, and if your structure has any weaknesses, that weight can be a problem. It also has the potential of creating an ice dam when it melts. (An ice dam is an ice build-up on the eaves of a sloping roof that happens when melting snow under a snowpack reaches the eave and freezes there.)
Clear Your Gutters
Your gutters are one of the places where freezing precipitation will accumulate right away. They should also be checked regularly to make sure that they are not filled with leaves, branches, and other debris. One of the main causes of ice dams that we just mentioned is when gutters are clogged; they are often unable to hold the added weight when they fill up with ice and can tear away from your home, causing a lot of damage and even affecting the structure.
If you are planning on maintaining your roof yourself, please remember that climbing up on a snowy and icy roof can be dangerous. You may want to hire professional roofing contractors to clear it for you.
Our team here at SERVPRO of North and Southwest Grand Rapids is here to help you any time your home or business experiences damage from weather conditions, fire, or a mold infestation. When disaster strikes, we are there for you.
What are some of your roof saving tips?
What To Do If An Appliance Is Leaking
While refrigerators and dishwashers are fixtures in almost every kitchen in Grand Rapids, they are frequently the cause of water damage.
Your household or business kitchen appliances can spring a leak and go undetected for quite a while. If the leak has been slowly developing over time with small amounts of water dripping, you may also find yourself with a mold infestation, as well. Mold requires a food source, moisture, and time to grow. Therefore a slow leak can create the perfect conditions for mold growth.
If this happens to you and you find yourself asking what you should do if an appliance is leaking, we’ve got a few answers and tips for you below.
Minor Leak - Dripping/Puddle
If a small leak has been detected, follow these simple steps to protect your flooring and any items around the leak that could be negatively affected:
- Turn off the water supply to the appliance. A small issue can quickly become a big deal if circumstances should change.
- Soak up any access water on the floor and surrounding areas with a towel.
- If the appliance can easily be repaired, feel free to fix the issue, otherwise call your appliance repair professional right away for their expertise.
- Lastly have a trusted restoration company send a trained technician to evaluate if there is any remaining moisture below the surface of the floor and walls. In most circumstances, charges do not come into play until remediation begins.
Major Leak - Standing Water
- Turn off the water supply to the appliance immediately. If you are not sure where the water originally came from shut off water to the entire house/business and locate the source.
- Call your appliance repair professional right away for their expertise on whether the appliance should be repaired or replaced, as well as gauging the likelihood of a similar loss in the future.
- Call your local restoration company as quickly as possible. Time is money. If water has been standing for any period of time you will likely have some damage to flooring, walls, or personal belongings.
Your cleanup and repair professionals can be onsite in no time to get your home or business back to normal. If you find that paper files and documents have been affected, a professional restoration company will have the equipment and training to be able to save them in most cases, for example.
SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids is ready and waiting to help you 24/7 with any kind of water-related issues, and we handle repairs and renovations related to fire damage, as well. Mold remediation and prevention is another one of the areas where we excel by maintaining the training and skills necessary to properly manage this particular kind of cleanup project.
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – a defensive cleaning program
Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.
Let us help you get back to business
As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.
Extensive training and specialized products
As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned. Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities.
From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.
3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify
When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.
- Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
- Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials. In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible.
- Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.
Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation
We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.
Call SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids today at 616-662-9700 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.
* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience. Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.