Disco Era Asbestos?
When working in older homes and commercial buildings, responsible contractors will test for lead and asbestos routinely to protect their workers, the inhabitants and maintain EPA and OSHA compliance.
Specifically for asbestos, there are certain materials from certain construction periods that are high risk. VCT floor tile, pipe insulation and wall plaster are some of the common perpetrators. You wouldn’t think that drywall from the 1970’s would be guilty for asbestos content, yet it came up positive for unsafe levels in a recent pre-demolition asbestos test subcontracted by SERVPRO of Lincoln Park / Allen Park.
In such instances, a licensed asbestos abatement contractor is required to perform any needed demolition. Such practices are something to inquire about when choosing a mitigation contractor if you are concerned about such materials as asbestos.
Insurance coverage for drain back-ups
Of course no one wants to over pay for homeowners insurance. It can be tempting to trim extras or switch to a cheaper insurance company to save some money. When evaluating a policy, many homeowners overlook the drain back-up coverage, until they have a problem!
Not all Insurance policies cover drain back-ups. Many policies will include ryder coverage for drain back-ups in increments of $5,000. Check your policy! When there is 6 inches of dirty water in your basement, it is the wrong time to find out you're not covered. Remember, not only does the coverage have to be appropriate for the replacement costs for mechanicals and wall materials, etc, but it also has to cover the clean-up and mitigation as well. Here are some rules of thumb for insurance coverage needs for drain back-ups:
$5,000 worth of coverage - Unfinished basement with no drywall or stud framing. No carpet, no pad...just major mechanicals like furnace and hot water heater. No furniture or contents. In a dramatic back-up where there is 6 inches or more of water, this coverage will typically only replace the furnace and hot water tank. This type of coverage leaves no room for clean-up or mitigation if the mechanicals are affected, so guess who has to either pay out of pocket for the difference (or do the cleaning)? The homeowner! If you are unable to clean-up after a drain back-up due to health issues or old age, then any assistance can be costly. These costs can cause delays in clean-up, which can lead to mold and bacterial issues.
$10,000 - Semi-finished basement. Some wall materials. Some contents, some furniture. Typical mechanicals like furnace and hot water heater. This type of coverage gets used up very quickly in a dramatic back-up event. Mitigation and clean-up can account for several thousand dollars. Major mechanicals can account for the next $5,000, leaving not a lot to replace drywall, contents and furniture or a washer and a dryer. This may seem like plenty of coverage, but it goes quickly. In a dramatic back-up, it can be quite insufficient in even semi-finished basement.
$15,000+ Depending on size of basement and its contents!!! Fully finished basement with finished walls and carpet/pad throughout. Typical mechanicals, furniture and contents
It pays to understand the replacement value of the contents, furniture, wall materials and mechanicals in you're basement when evaluating the drain back-up coverage in your homeowners policy. Add in additional coverage for typical mitigation costs (possibly over $5,000 for a large basement) to arrive at the appropriate back-up coverage that will be sufficient for a dramatic back-up event.
Sewer Drain Maintenance
Tree roots can block and even crush sewer drains.
A sewer line clog could lead to significant damage to the interior of your home and an expensive sewer line repair or replacement.
Homeowners who understand and respond to their home’s early warning system can stave off severe sewer and plumbing issues. Here are some things you should pay attention to.
Clogged drain or toilet
The most common red flags are water backing up out of a drain or the toilet plumbing, or a gurgling sound coming from the drains.
If you notice that when you’re done with the washing machine, the toilets start "percolating" or you get water around the floor drain in the basement, that’s one of the first telltale signs.
If the main sewer drain is clogged, any drain you use could cause the toilet to percolate or cause a backup into the bathtub or the basement.
Tree roots are the primary cause of a clogged sewer line, especially in an older home. In newer homes, common sources of clogging include feminine hygiene products, paper towels and even certain types of thicker toilet paper.
Experts say slow flowing drains, and gurgling noises from your toilet bowls are the first signs that your sewer system is being affected by tree roots. If you don't take some action to remove the roots, a complete sewer line block will occur.
If you get a clog in your home and suspect that a blocked sewer drain is the cause, it’s important to shut off the water at the source or at the main if it’s a main line clog. Do not use the plumbing fixtures or anything that goes down the drain may just end up in your living space.
Homeowners who have access to their sewer cleanout line — typically a short, round, white pipe with a rubber cap located in the yard near the house — can remove the cleanout cap during a backup to release pressure build up; and send backup water outside instead of into the house.
Request a camera inspection
Sewer line cleaning companies typically run a cable, also known as a drain snake or auger, through the clog to clear it. A simple cleaning or cleanout typically costs less than $150. If they can’t find the problem, many companies recommend a camera inspection. Experts warn consumers to avoid companies that offer a camera inspection before trying to clear the clog.
One method to help prevent sewer line issues is to fill your sinks to the top and then drain them once or twice a month. That water pressure will help ensure you have proper flow through the pipes and move out any waste that’s sitting in the line.
Also experts recommend snaking sewer lines every 2 to 5 years even if the drain is working properly. The frequency of these clean-outs depends on past issues, fear of tree roots, etc. Talk to the plumber that performs these services for advice. If there are significant tree roots present, offending trees may need to be removed and the line replaced.
Hidden Mold Issues
At SERVPRO of Lincoln Park / Allen Park we get an array of calls regarding mold. Most people know what mold looks like and know that it needs to be handled carefully and addressed quickly. We do come across some folks who are a bit over cautious though. It is not their fault! There is a lot of inflammatory information out there on the internet and it can be difficult to sort through.
Recently we received a call from someone who seemed to be a bit over cautious over the phone. Our team arrived for the estimate ready to work. We weren’t too concerned as the suspected area did not seem much of a problem. The homeowners were concerned about some intermittent musty smells in a lower level bathroom. Our initial visual and olfactory inspection of the area yielded no concern. Moisture readings were low. We attempted to use a boroscope to inspect the hidden side of the drywall to no avail due to insulation.
We apprised the homeowner of their options and collectively decided that an 8 foot section of drywall would be flood cut. We suspected this was overkill, but the homeowner was somewhat insistent.
In trying to be fair to the possibly over-zealous homeowner’s pocket book, we determined that containment wasn’t necessary yet as no mold had been found. We closed the bathroom door and made our cut. As we carefully tipped back the drywall, there was the reason for the mustiness…fresh, green, fuzzy stuff along the bottom 10 inches of the backside of the drywall.
Without a word, we tipped the drywall right back into place and prepared to inform the homeowners that their suspicions were correct and some plastic containment and men in white suits and respirators was to be in their future. We apologized to their pocket book.
CE Class, Property Fire Damage Restoration complete!
SERVPRO of Lincoln Park / Allen Park hosted it's annual CE Class on Property Fire Damage Restoration. It was taught by a very knowledgeable member of the SERVPRO team, and well attended by a great group of insurance professionals from the area. Nice to meet you all!
Everyone in the class gained a greater understanding of how involved property restoration can be in a fire loss, as well as how to better handle a fire emergency.
The class was motivated to learn about the many steps that are taken in the restoration process in a fire damaged property. Fire losses can vary greatly, from smoke damage that results from a small kitchen fire to a total loss.
The demonstrations shown in class on the restoration of highly valued, irreplaceable family heirlooms was particularly interesting. Sometimes being able to restore a personal item can make a devastating loss more bearable.
In addition to learning about the restoration process for fire damage, the class also learned a little bit about fire safety. The SERVPRO Lincoln Park / Allen Park team wants you to know these important facts of a fire timeline (based on a taped, timed and measured fire):
- 0 minutes - fire started in a wicker basket with an incompletely extinguished object
- 2 minutes - smolder turned to flames
- 5 minutes - temperature inside main room was ~1400 degrees F
- 5.5 minutes - smoke went from floor to ceiling and visibility was at zero feet, making escape unlikely
- 7 minutes - stairways were filled with smoke and noxious gases had reached deadly levels
It was clear how little time you have to react to a fire emergency and that every second does count. They don't teach fire safety in schools anymore so please be sure to come up with a family plan in case this should ever happen to you.
SERVPRO of Lincoln Park / Allen Park is here around the clock to serve you. If you have any property restoration needs, please call us at (313) 914-7388 or email us at office@SERVPROlincolnpark.com and above all stay safe!
Continuing Education Class in Allen Park, MI
SERVPRO of Lincoln Park / Allen Park will be hosting a Free CE Credit Course Understanding the Restoration Industry: Property Fire Damage Restoration. This class will provide you with four (4) hours of insurance course credits, course number 71142. The class will be held at the Quality Inn 3600 Enterprise Dr. Allen Park , MI 48101 on March 2, 2017 8am-12pm. Registration begins at 7:30pm. Coffee/Bagels/Pastries Available Prior to Class. If you are interested in attending or want more details please email us asewell@SERVPROlincolnpark.com or call (313)914-7388. We need an accurate head count for course materials. Also note that late arrivals will not be admitted so please arrive on time, if not early! We look forward to seeing you there!!
Crime Scene Cleanup
SERVPRO of Lincoln Park / Allen Park crew members are trained to safely and effectively remove bodily fluids and other substances from residential and commercial structures following acts of violence or suicides.
Dealing with blood spills or other kinds of biological contamination means dealing with the potential for the spread of diseases, some of which may life-threatening, such as: swine flu, E. coli MRSA and hepatitis. All of these pathogens are bloodborne and some can stay in affected environments for years before they become active.
Any waste or affected material will be properly disposed according to OSHA and EPA regulations. Our crew members will properly contain, sanitize, disinfect and remove waste to return your indoor environments back to usability.