Recent Posts

The fire dangers of Christmas decorations

12/6/2021 (Permalink)

Fire engulfs a Christmas Tree When real Christmas Trees go un-watered they have a higher chance of catching fire.

Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the years, where decorations inside and outside of the home light up the night and keep you and your family comfy during the cold December nights. While Christmas lights and trees are sure signs of the holidays, many can also end up becoming dangerous fire hazards. If you aren't careful your happy holidays could turn into a disaster very quickly. Make sure to understand the dangers of your holiday decorations to ensure you and your family enjoy a Merry Christmas.

- Real Christmas Trees. Real trees are the most popular option for Christmas Trees. Around 78% of Americans choose a real tree for their home, and spend over one billion annually on their trees. Without proper care a real tree can be engulfed in flames in under a minute. Make sure to keep water in the base of the tree stand to prevent it from drying out, and never put your tree close to a fireplace, candles, or other open flame.

- Fake Christmas Trees. Most fake Christmas trees pose less of a fire hazard than real trees because they are treated with flame retardant chemicals. Flame retardant does not mean a fake tree cannot catch fire however and similar precautions should be taken as if you had a real tree. Because of the chemicals added to fake trees, smoke from them in case of a fire can contain toxic chemicals that can be extremely harmful.

- Christmas Lights. Just because your Christmas lights worked last year don't assume they will this year. Make sure to check each strand for broken bulbs and nicks in the cord. Any exposed wires on the string of lights could lead to a fire if they come into contact with a flammable source.

- Male to Male Extension Cords. Male to Male extension cords are a relatively rare type of power accessory. You won't find them in many reputable hardware stores, but they have popped up online in recent months. These cords have two prong end and when plugged in electricity is constantly flowing to the unplugged prongs. This can lead to serious physical damage if touched. They also produce a lot of heat on the exposed end and can cause fires if they come into contact with anything flammable.

Unexpected fire damage raining on your holiday parade? Give us a call and we can make it "Like it never even happened." (616) 647-4300

Ready faster to any disaster

12/3/2021 (Permalink)

Employee moving air movers One of our dedicated team members getting air movers into place to dry out the walls.

On the day before Thanksgiving around 4 P.M. we got a call that Ross College of Grand Rapids had suffered a water loss from a fire suppression sprinkler breaking. Despite being late in the day before a holiday, we were on the scene in a matter of minutes. Water poured out of the fire suppression system for 15 minutes, while that may not seem like a long time, it's an eternity with how fast water can pour out of a broken sprinkler head.

We had three crews on the scene to start mitigation services, and got to work immediately extracting an impressive amount of standing water from the main floor and basement. Water had made its way into the walls and in some areas of the basement ceiling. We ended up setting up over 100 air movers to dry the walls and ceiling throughout the building, that ran for nearly three days. In total over 3,000 sq feet of commercial property was damaged from only 15 minutes of water running through the broken sprinkler head.

When dealing with a water loss, time is a serious factor in how much damage can be prevented. When time is of the essence there's no one better to call than SERVPRO of NE Grand Rapids, Ionia, Montcalm Counties and Big Rapids/Fremont. We have the manpower, equipment, and can do attitude to get to your emergency faster than the competition 24/7/365. We work harder to fix your worst nightmare, and give you the peace of mind that things will be back to normal soon. To put it simply, we make it "Like it never even happened."

Dealing with water or fire damage? Give us a call 616-647-4300

Steps to take after an apartment fire

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

Fire in an apartment unit A fire rages in an apartment building

When a fire breaks out on a rental property it can be hard to figure out who has to pay for the damages. Whether you rent out commercial or living space, the liability after a fire is pretty straightforward. Tenants will be responsible for damages done to their personal belongings, such as furniture and appliances. As the property owner you will be responsible for most of the damages done to the building itself. Following a fire you may be responsible for the following tasks after an apartment fire:

? Communicating with Fire Fighters. These first responders can help you assess the safety of your building. You and your tenants will likely want to enter the apartments to get an idea of the damage done. You won't be able to enter the building until it is deemed safe.

? Starting the Claims Process. You have to get in touch with your insurance provider to report the apartment fire. Your agent may give you a list of fire restoration professionals that they prefer you use. You may also want to make sure your renter calls his or her insurance provider to start the claims process for personal belongings.
? Documenting Fire Damage: You need to take pictures of the structure, make lists of damaged appliances and record other furnishings you owned that were damaged.

? Securing the Property. You need to secure the property for two reasons. First, you need to protect the safety of those who may want to enter the building, such as your renters. Putting up warning signs may be enough to keep people out until it is safe to enter. Second, you need to keep vandals and thieves out. You may need to board up windows and put up a security fence.

After an apartment fire, you need to take the proper steps to ensure that everyone, including yourself, is safe and fully aware of the damage liabilities. While you aren't responsible for all of the damages, you do have a lot of financial responsibility.

Dealing with fire damage in your rental property? Give us a call! (616) 647-4300

Three ways a winter storm can damage your property

11/26/2021 (Permalink)

Snow causes a roof collapse Old roofs are susceptible to roof collapses under heavy snow accumulation.

During the winter in West Michigan, lake effect snow storms can dump massive amounts of snow in a short period of time. While Michiganders are generally well equipped to deal with snowfall, blizzards can cause a large amount of damage to your property if you are ill-prepared. You can help prevent irreparable damage by:

? Replacing your building's roof every 20-30 years
? Updating appliances
? Insulating your building's plumbing system

Damage from a storm can catch property owners off guard, especially if they are new to owning their own property. Here are some of the most common damages inclement winter weather can do to a building.

1. Plumbing Issues
A common cause of burst pipes is cold weather brought on by winter storms. Lowered temperatures cause water to freeze inside of pipes. The frozen water then increases the pressure inside of your building's plumbing system. Pipes can burst under this pressure and can result in devastating water damage. If you experience a burst pipe, stop the flow of water immediately to prevent further damage.

2. Roof Collapse
Roofs are engineers to carry at least 20 pounds per square foot. When a winter storm hits, the snow can pack on top of your roof putting extra weight and strain on the structure. An older roof can cave in under the stress of packed snow. Ice dams are another common cause of roof collapse. Insurance companies will often cover a replacement roof if you have experiences this type of storm damage.

3. House Fires
Property owners crank up the heat during inclement weather by using furnaces and gas heaters. This increases the risk of a fire, especially if appliances are outdated. The stress of added heat can cause the old appliances to catch fire, causing sever damage to the building. To prevent a fire, keep your heating and electrical systems updated before a storm hits.


Dealing with damage from a winter storm? Give us a call! 616-647-4300

How to protect your pipes from bursting

11/23/2021 (Permalink)

A frozen pipe bursts Your pipes freezing can cause bursts like this and lead to devastating water damage.

Many properties in the state of Michigan are unattended during the winter months. They could be a vacation home that only gets used in the summer, or a primary residence where the owners have gone south for the winter. While your house remains empty during the cold winter months, the risk of your water pipes freezing and bursting rises exponentially. Even a relatively short trip away can cause serious damage to your home if the proper steps aren't taken before hand.

? Insulate your pipes. Pipe insulation can be one of the most effective and cost efficient methods of preventing your pipes from freezing. Almost all pipe insulation fits easily over the outside of the pipes, and some forms of insulation can protect to temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius.

? Let faucets drip. While this may sound counterintuitive at first, running water has a much harder time freezing than standing water. Letting the faucets drip can also help relieve pressure in the pipes so that if water does freeze, the pipes are less likely to burst.

? Leave the heat on. While you may be running the heat in an empty house, keeping the heat on will help prevent your home from dipping into freezing temperatures. You don't need to keep it as warm as you would if it were occupied, 55 degrees or higher is appropriate to keep your pipes safe.

? Open interior doors. To some degree, most homes have an uneven distribution of heat throughout the structure. Leaving all of the interior doors open helps circulate heat evenly throughout the home.

? Drain your pipes. Removing the water from your pipes is one of the best ways to prevent pipe bursts. With no water standing in the pipes none can freeze, and with the water main turned off to the house, no water would pass through on the chance you experienced a burst.

Dealing with water damage from burst pipes? Give us a call! 616-647-4300

The danger of sewage backups

11/15/2021 (Permalink)

Cleaning up during a sewage backup. An example of a sewage backup in a home bathroom. Only trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation.

Water damage can come from a variety of sources. One place in your home water damage can come from is the sewage pipes. Sewage back-ups in your home can be as dangerous to your health as they are to the items and structure of your home. Sewage can contain a variety of disease causing pathogens and should only be handled by professionals.

Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups and how to handle the situation with caution:

- Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic - disease causing - fungi, bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.

- Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.

- It is not safe to stay in a building that's flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.

- Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper, or even fabrics that can; be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly. This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation, and several other structural materials too. There's simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.

- Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a "third party" indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or "Clearance testing" to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy.

Dealing with a sewer backup in your home? Give us a call! 616-647-4300

How to keep mold out of your bathroom

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

Mold in the corner of a bathroom Don't let mold take over your bathroom! Keep reading for preventative tips and tricks! If all else fails, we are here to help!

Mold can be a common occurrence after an instance of water damage. Mold requires water, food, an oxygen to grow, all three are prevalent after a water loss. However, one of the most common places mold grows in a home is in the bathroom. This can happen with only regular use and no extraordinary circumstances occurring. Here are some helpful tips to prevent mold growth in your bathroom.

Frequent Cleaning

The best method to prevent mold growth is keeping the bathroom clean. You should aim to thoroughly clean every part of the room once a week, including:

  • Toilet
  • Bathtub
  • Sink
  • Floor
  • Vents
  • Shower

Tub and tile cleaners are likely to have enzymatic properties. Enzymatic cleaners are designed to eat through organic material, such as mold.

Timely Repairs

Bathrooms are vulnerable to frequent leaks. If one pipe leaks or one supply line breaks, resulting water damage can lead to mold if the problem is not resolved quickly.

Proper Air Flow

Maintaining airflow to an area by keeping vents open can prevent mold spores from settling and multiplying on surfaces. Ventilation also helps prevent stagnation and helps control the humidity in the room, two factors that often lead to mold contamination.

SERVPRO of NE Grand Rapids specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after Mold damage. 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.

If you need help with cleaning up after mold damage, call the Professionals at SERVPRO of NE Grand Rapids 24/7 616.647.4300

What to do when lightning strikes?

10/25/2021 (Permalink)

Lightning strikes an open field Lightning strikes in an open field, a dangerous area to be during a thunder storm.

Lightning is one of the most common occurrences during a storm, it is also one of the most dangerous. Lightning strikes at random and it's impossible to predict where it will hit. While you have a million to one chance of getting struck by lightning, it can start fires and deal damage to trees and buildings easily. It's important to act quickly when the first signs of lightning appear and act accordingly, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

When Outside

  • Remember the 30-30 rule. When you see lightning count for 30 seconds, if you hear thunder before 30 seconds are up head to shelter immediately. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
  • If you are caught in an open area, act quickly to find adequate shelter. The most important action is to remove yourself from danger.
  • Stay away from concrete floors or walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.

When Indoors

  • Avoid contact with water during a thunderstorm. DO NOT bathe, shower, wash dishes or have any contact with water during a thunderstorm as lightning can travel through plumbing.
  • Avoid using electronical equipment. Lightning can travel through electrical systems, and radio and television reception systems.
  • Avoid using corded phones. Corded phones are NOT safe to use during a thunderstorm. However, cordless or cellular phones are safe to use during a storm.

Storm damage can happen fast and leave you searching for answers on how to recover. SERVPRO of NE Grand Rapids and SERVPRO of Ionia & Montcalm Counties responds immediately to your flood and storm damage emergencies. We have the storm damage restoration experience and specialized equipment to restore your Northeast Grand Rapids home or business back to pre-storm condition.

Have Storm or Flood Damage?
Call Us Today (616) 647-4300

What causes damage during a storm?

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

A tree fallen onto a house One of the many end results of a storm. This tree was uprooted by high winds, and fell onto this house causing damage.

Since the beginning of April, West Michigan has seen eight occurrences of severe storm weather according to the National Weather Service. Storms during this time left hundreds without power and caused thousands of dollars worth of property damage. Thunder storms are one of the most common severe weather threats seen in Michigan, but what in these storms brings about so much damage?

High Winds
Thunder storms have the potential to reach wind speeds of up to 120 MPH, and can cause enough damage to rival a tornado. Wind becomes capable of damaging structures between 40-50 MPH. High speed winds can uproot trees, knock down powerlines, damage roofs, and turn lighter objects into high speed projectiles.

Thunder storms are capable of producing hail of all sizes. Large hail can dent cars, damage roofs, and even break windows. On average hail storms last only 5 minutes, but are responsible for an estimated one billion dollars of damage annually.

Lightning occurs regularly during thunderstorms. Each flash takes an average of 0.2 seconds and can heat up the air surrounding it to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightning can cause fires if it strikes something flammable, and when hitting a house can surge though and permanently damage appliances plugged into outlets.

Storms can be capable of producing flash floods within minutes of rainfall. Rising water can cause mudslides, tear out trees, and destroy buildings. Along with physical damage, flood water can produce health risks when mixed with sewage, chemicals, and debris that get swept up during the flooding.

Storm damage can happen fast and leave you searching for answers on how to recover. SERVPRO of NE Grand Rapids and SERVPRO of Ionia & Montcalm Counties responds immediately to your flood and storm damage emergencies. We have the storm damage restoration experience and specialized equipment to restore your Northeast Grand Rapids home or business back to pre-storm condition.

Have Storm or Flood Damage?
Call Us Today (616) 647-4300

Some helpful tips to avoid water damage in your home

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Leaking pipe and shut off Check your pipes!

It is probably no surprise that water damage is one of the most common, not to mention costly claims that insurance companies receive. That is because water damage can be a year round risk. With that being said there are steps you can take to make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent unnecessary mishaps and or incidents from taking place. We realize that not all water damage incidents can be completely avoided but we certainly can do our part to minimize those incidents.

Let’s start with the outside; make sure you are disconnecting your hoses in preparation for winter. This should be a part of your Fall to-do list. If you leave your hoses attached, standing water can freeze in the hose and back into your pipes. If you are lucky it will only block water flow, the worst case however is that it causes pipes to burst creating damage to walls, floors and your foundation. So disconnect those hoses!

Cleaning out your gutters and downspouts is another great way to prevent water damage. This should really be done twice a year. If you are not properly cleaning them out,  you are left with standing water in your gutters. This can cause damage to your roof and gutters. And when the water has nowhere to go and it can back up under your shingles. So don’t neglect your gutters!

Inside your home it is important to know where your water main is. Plumbing experts say that knowing where the main water shut off is key to preventing a major water loss.It supplies water to the entire home so in the event of a potential water issue, you are prepared. Another helpful tip is knowing how to maintain your appliances. Appliances are one of the top causes of water damage in a home. Maintaining them can make all the difference. It’s also good to check the water lines for any leaks. If you do find evidence of a leak anywhere in your home, it is highly recommended to investigate it immediately and take the necessary corrective steps to get it fixed! Ignoring leaks of any kind from anywhere in your home is never a good idea. It can lead to unnecessary damage, mold, dry rot and structure damage. 

For more helpful tips, or if you have any questions please call us at (616) 647-4300