Recent General Posts

Appliance maintaince tips

10/17/2016 (Permalink)

Failure to maintain your appliances could lead to damage of your home.

You rely on your fridge, dishwasher, oven, and laundry to work, and work well when you need them. The last thing you want is for them to fail, or cost you a ton of money to repair or replace. Here are five simple tips from US News Money to keep those appliances in good, working order for the long haul.

 

Some of these assume you have at least a semi-practiced hand at household DIY, but most of them are simple maintenance techniques anyone can do. 

  • Fridge: Clean your refrigerator coils regularly. They can get caked and clogged with dust, which can kill the efficiency of your fridge and can contribute to failure. This is especially important if you have pets.
  • Oven and Range: Be careful how you clean your oven and range, and what you use to clean it. Overly harsh chemical cleaners can clog range burners, especially gas ones, and spraying directly onto control knobs on the front of your oven or stove can get liquid in the electrical components behind those knobs, leading to a short and an expensive repair. Always use soft cloths, light cleaners, and if you need to use something harsh, apply it to the cloth before the surface.
  • Dishwasher: Don’t pre-wash your dishes so much. This is a hot topic, but pre-washing your dishes too much will inevitably mean they’re still wet, and even a little soapy, before they go into the dishwasher, where they’ll be washed again. This can cause your dishwasher to overflow, oversud, and leak all over your kitchen floor.
  • Washer: Don’t overload your washing machine. Every washer warns you not to stuff too many clothes into it, and for good reason. Overloading your washer adds wear and tear to the motor and can cause damage and leaks. It’s all around bad news, and leads to expensive repairs or replacements.
  • Dryer: You probably already know to clean the lint trap, but make sure you also give it a deep clean to get any lint in the ducts or around the exit vents, where dust winds up collecting. Similarly, clean that moisture sensor while your at it,  since residue from dryer sheets and dust can clog it up and make your dryer work harder to dry your clothes.

5 tips to save energy and money.

9/26/2016 (Permalink)

Most of these improvements will save you money down the road.

As the temperatures begin to cool down, many homeowners’ energy bills start to rise. One money saving solution: wrap yourself in blankets so you don’t have to turn on the heat. A better solution: do some simple, energy-saving remodeling projects.

While the up-front costs might be slightly higher, the long-term benefits of energy-efficient home improvements quickly add up. Plus, you’ll stay warm and cozy this winter without having to wear gloves indoors.

Here are some top tips on how to remodel in way that saves you energy and money this season:

1. Insulate – Most homes are under-insulated and this is a quick fix. For a $15 roll of insulation at the store, you can keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, reducing costs up to 20 percent.

2. Appliances – Look for Energy Star-rated appliances, which are designed for efficient energy consumption. Older dishwashers can use up to 10 gallons of water per cycle while today’s options only use 5.8 on average. Replacing outdated HVAC systems can also result in instant energy reduction.

3. Thermostats – Programmable thermostats are more accurate and have the potential to save you up to about 10 percent a year with their energy and money saving, easily paying for themselves. Ceiling fans are an even cheaper way of keeping temperatures cool. Bonus tip: run ceiling fans counter clockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter for best results.

4. Water – Low flow shower heads can reduce water consumption as much as 50 percent. And while multiple shower heads may seem luxurious, they also use more water. If you can afford it, also make sure your water heater is a high efficiency model.

5. Doors and windows – These two areas are the biggest culprits for heat and cold loss in your home. By simply investing in Energy Star-rated window and doors, you can cut that loss considerably.

“This is the only home improvement that beautifies your home inside and out, makes it easier to maintain, more comfortable inside, more secure, more valuable, AND save you money on your energy bill,”   You may also qualify for a government tax credit on this year’s taxes due to installing Energy Star-rated devices. 

Here are some great tips for maintaining your Michigan home.

9/12/2016 (Permalink)

If you need help maintaining you home Give SERVPRO a call at (989)835-5015.

   SERVPRO of Midland / Gladwin counties would like to offeryou these tips to get your fall and winter off to a great start.   Those 110-degree days are starting to cool down. The fallrainy season, for most of the country anyway, hasn’t hit, and you can still work outside in shorts and a tee shirt. It’s the perfect time to make over an ugly, or even just a sad and homely looking home, and to make sure it’s safe and ready for winter. Here are 11 things you can put on your honey-do list:

Clean and inspect the gutters.

We know. When all the leaves start falling is when most people start cleaning their gutters. But it’s better to begin before the heavy fall foliage starts. Why? You can clean light litter out of the gutters and inspect them without having to push piles of wet leaves away. Now’s the time to make sure the gutters are clear, that they’re not pulling out of the eaves, and that they aren’t rusted, broken, bent or in disrepair. While you’re checking on gutters, consider adding gutter guards before the leaves, limbs, and acorns start falling. Save yourself a real headache by heading off a dangerous and annoying chore. If you string Christmas lights, now is the time to take advantage of the weather to install permanent hooks for any holiday decorations. It beats standing on a ladder in rain, cold and snow after Thanksgiving.

Repair the roof.

Your home may not need roof repairs, but if it does, now is the time to do it. Get out a pair of binoculars and start looking at your roof. Look for curling, broken, damaged or missing tiles. If you have an asphalt-tiled roof, look for areas where the asphalt granules are accumulating. This is a sign you need or will shortly need, a patch.

Patch and paint.

If your home doesn’t have siding, fall is the best time to patch and paint. Not only will you prevent water damage from the upcoming fall rains and winter snows, but you may also save yourself water damage, mold problems and critter invasion by going over your entire exterior and patching and painting as needed.

Plant bulbs.

The best way to ensure a beautiful yard in the spring is to plant bulbs in the fall. It’s an inexpensive way to make your yard a colorful paradise for years to come.

Clean up the property.

It’s easy to let tools, bikes, boxes and storage tubs accumulate in back and side yards until you can “get around” to cleaning up. Now is the time to clean up. Remove trash and items that need to be thrown away. Put that lawn clipping pile of dead grass and leaves into a legitimate composting enclosure. Haul limbs and debris to the dump. Pretend you’re selling your house and get rid of anything that would leave a bad impression from the street. Weed, weed-eat around fences, trees, and areas where grass has grown up all summer. Mulch as needed.

Replace or repair trashcans.

Trash cans get a lot of abuse. They’re thrown around, kicked, slammed and cracked. Make sure your cans are ready for the harsh weather that’s coming. Scrub them out with a good cleaner, inspect them for cracks, and repair and replace as necessary.

Clean your fireplaces and chimney.

You don’t want to be the guy (or gal) who waits until the first freeze to find out your furnace or fireplace doesn’t work or needs cleaning. Chimney fires can be deadly, and yet too many people put off an annual chimney cleaning because they wait too late in the season to hire a chimney sweep. You should also check the flue for bird’s nests, critters and creosote build-up.

Schedule a furnace check and maintenance.

Call in a professional to check and make sure your furnace is ready for winter. Once cold weather starts, the pros get busy. You can damage or destroy a furnace that’s not in working order. Noisy belts, poor performance, and erratic behavior are all signs something’s not working. It could be something as simple as a belt or filter that needs changing or servicing. The longer you wait, the more it will cost and the less likely you’ll be able to find a service technician who can get to you right away.

Check your humidifier.

Changing filters and doing routing cleaning and maintenance should be a monthly thing as mold grows fast once it starts.

Check your gas lines.

This is best left to the pros, but if you have gas heat, have the pros come out and check the lines and perform any routine maintenance needed.

Winterize your outdoor water faucets.

Depending on what part of the country you live in, September through October are the best months for winterizing your outdoor faucets.

    

The Dos and Don’ts of Spray Painting

8/23/2016 (Permalink)

Here are some great tips to help your spray painting come out great.

Grab a can and shake up your decor with these practical tips

When you need a quick, cool upgrade that doesn’t cost a bundle, spray paint is hard to beat. A host of exciting new hues and finishes have taken spray paint to the next level, and you can use it on all sorts of surfaces, from concrete blocks and stepping stones to wood, plastic, or metal furniture. But getting pro-quality results does take a bit of skill, so read on before you spray away!

DO CHOOSE THE RIGHT LOCATION

As with any painting project, you’ll need to work in a well-ventilated spot. If the weather is pleasant, you can take it outside, but beware of breezes. Wind can mess with your ability to get good coverage, and it can blow dirt onto your piece, which will be difficult to remove and will mar the finish. If working indoors, open all windows for cross ventilation, or consider painting in the garage, near the open door.

Photo: istockphoto.com

DON’T SLACK ON PREP WORK

Prep is key to any successful paint job. So, depending on the material you’re painting, do what’s necessary to mend any scratches or holes, then sand to smooth out rough spots. Wash your piece with mild detergent solution, rinse with water, and allow it to dry thoroughly.

DO PRACTICE PROTECTION

There will be overspray, so cover the surrounding area with drop cloths or newspaper. If you’re working on something small, contain overspray by setting the piece inside a cardboard box. Perhaps more crucial is protecting yourself. Aerosol paint can get into eyes and lungs, so wear goggles and a dust mask or respirator. Gloves are a good idea, too, and remember that overspray on the floor can stick to the bottom of your shoes—remove footwear and check your soles before leaving the area to avoid tracking paint.

DON’T RUSH IT

For optimal, even coverage, apply spray paint in several thin coats. Don’t worry if you can see through the first or even the second coat. Patience is a virtue here.

DO USE A SWEEPING MOTION

Waving the can randomly will result in uneven results. Instead, hold the can six to eight inches from the surface and use even, horizontal strokes, sweeping from left to right, then right to left. Be careful not to hesitate in any one spot or you’ll get drips.

DON’T HAVE A HEAVY TRIGGER FINGER

To avoid glops and spots—and to conserve paint—spray in short spurts rather than a constant stream. Listen for brief bursts of air coming from the can, as opposed to a long, steady hiss.

DO ALLOW THE PAINT TO CURE COMPLETELY

Spray paint does dry quickly, but it usually requires at least 24 hours to cure completely. Resist the urge to move your piece or replace any hardware you’ve removed until you’ve reached the curing time indicated on the can. A scratch or fingerprint late in the game will be difficult to fix.

National Flag Day

6/14/2016 (Permalink)

Happy Flag Day to everyone out there.

NATIONAL FLAG DAYOn June 14 we honor Old Glory on National Flag Day. This day commemorates the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777. On National Flag Day, Americans show respect for the U.S. Flag and what it represents. Representing independence and unity, the Stars and Stripes have become a powerful symbol of Americanism and is flown proudly. While Betsy Ross has been given credit for stitching together the first American flag, there isn’t any sound evidence supporting the story. At the same time, there is any to disprove it, either. During Ross’s Revolutionary time, several standards were carried bearing red and white stripes and varying symbols where the blue field and stars now reside. Since 1977, the design of the flag has been officially modified 26 times. For 47 years, the 48-star flag was in effect. In 1959, the 49-star version became official on July 4. President Eisenhower ordered the 50-star flag on August 21, 1959. Seventeen-year-old Robert G. Heft of Ohio designed the 50-star American flag. His was one f the more than 1,500 designs that were submitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation deeming June 14 as Flag Day. President Wilson stated, “It is the anniversary of the day upon which the flag of the United States was adopted by the Congress as the emblem of the Union.” He also wrote, “On that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, ‘one and inseparable’ from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts.”

June 5 through June 11 is beach hazard awareness week

6/1/2016 (Permalink)

Be safe while enjoying all of the beautiful beaches in Michigan

SERVPRO of Midland / Gladwin Counties has a few tips for beach safety         
Sun, Sand and Safety
Every summer, people pack their bathing suits, sunscreen, flip flops and a good book for a trip to the beach. Or, perhaps where you live, you are fortunate to have beach weather for the greater part of the year. Regardless of how often you get to sink your toes into the sand, the American Red Cross has some beach safety tips and steps you can take to be make sure you and your family remain safe.
Beach Safety

Swimming in the ocean takes different skills, so before you get your feet wet, it’s best to learn how to swim in the surf. You should also swim only at a lifeguard-protected beach, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.

 

While you’re enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Make sure you swim sober and that you never swim alone. And even if you’re confident in your swimming skills, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.

 

Other beach safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in and the around water. No one should use any other type of flotation device unless they are able to swim.
  • Don’t dive headfirst—protect your neck. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, and go in feet first the first time.
  • Pay especially close attention to children and elderly persons when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause a loss of footing.
  • Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone.
Rip Currents

Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Beach goers should be aware of how dangerous rip currents are, and swim only at beaches with lifeguards in the designated swimming area. Rip currents can form in any large open water area, such as low spots and breaks in sandbars, or near structures such as jetties and piers.

 

For your safety, be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight the current.
  • Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore.
  • If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t make it to the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
  • If someone is in trouble in the water, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.Throw the victim something that floats – a life jacket, cooler, inflatable ball and yell instructions on how to escape the current.
  • When at the beach, check conditions before entering the water. Check to see if any warning flags are up or ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.

Beach Safety Tips | Ocean Safety | American Red Cross

        Beach Safety Tips | Ocean Safety | American Red CrossThe American Red Cross has some beach safety steps you can take to be make sure you and your family remain safe while in the water or at the beach. View on www.redcross.orgPreview by Yahoo  

How to display the flag properly

5/25/2016 (Permalink)

Fly your flags high on this memorial day weekend.


We are very patriotic here at SERVPRO of Midland / Gladwin counties and would like to let you know how to properly display out nations colors on this memorial weekend.

1. When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

2. The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right [that means the viewer's left --Webmaster], and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

3. The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. By "half-staff" is meant lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. Crepe streamers may be affixed to spear heads or flagstaffs in a parade only by order of the President of the United States.

4. When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the right of the flag of the United States (the viewer's left). When the flag is half-masted, both flags are half-masted, with the US flag at the mid-point and the other flag below.

5. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

6. When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.

7. When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

8. When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes or drapings are desired, bunting of blue, white and red should be used, but never the flag.

9. That the flag, when carried in a procession with another flag, or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

10. The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

11. When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

12. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium on or off a podium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker (to the right of the audience).

13. When the flag is displayed on a car, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

14. When hung in a window where it is viewed from the street, place the union at the head and over the left shoulder.

May 21/27 is safe boating week

5/24/2016 (Permalink)

Have fun on the water but please do it safely.

With all the boats and lakes in Midland and Gladwin counties SERVPRO would like to remind everyone to be safe on the water.

Safe Boating Tips

No matter how much experience you have, it’s always a good idea for everyone to review boating safety rules before departures. Below you will find 10 basic boating safety tips to help you stay safe:

  1. Be Weather-Wise

    Always check local weather conditions before departure; TV and radio forecasts can be a good source of information. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water.

  2. Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist

    Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.

  3. Use Common Sense

    One of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also, be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your own safety.

  4. Designate an Assistant Skipper

    Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety. If the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated in any way, it’s important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone else back to shore.

  5. Develop a Float Plan

    Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else know your float plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone.

    A float plan can include the following information:

    • name, address, and phone number of trip leader
    • name and phone number of all passengers
    • boat type and registration information
    • trip itinerary
    • types of communication and signal equipment on board, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
  6. Make Proper Use of Life jackets

    Did you know that the majority of drowning victims are the result of boaters not wearing their life jackets? Make sure that your family and friends aren’t part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each member of your on board team with a life jacket prior to departure. Wear it!

  7. Avoid Alcohol

    Practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.

  8. Learn to Swim

    If you’re going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim. Local organizations, such as the American Red Cross and others, offer training for all ages and abilities. Check to see what classes are offered in your area.

  9. Take a Boating Course

    Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. Boater education requirements vary by state; however, some require validated completion of at least one boating safety course. Regardless of your individual state's requirements, it's always important to be educated and prepared for every circumstance that might arise. You can learn boating safety rules by taking a local community course or online course to help educate yourself.
  10. Consider a Free Vessel Safety Check
    Take advantage of a free vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard. They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. Free of charge, they’ll provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations. They also offer virtual online safety checks as well

SERVPRO of Midland / Gladwin Counties is an IICRC Certified Firm

4/28/2016 (Permalink)

We are an IICRC Certified Firm

SERVPRO of Midland / Gladwin Counties is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Midland / Gladwin Counties

SERVPRO of Midland / Gladwin counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: 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.

Certifications

  • MSR - Master Fire & Smoke Restorer
  • OCT - Odor Control Technician
  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation
  • IICRC Certified Firm
  • MTC - Master Textile Cleaner
  • CMT - Commercial Carpet Maintenance Technician
  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • RRT - Carpet Repair & Reinstallation Technician
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
  • UFT - Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician
  • CRT - Color Repair Technician
  • CCT - Carpet Cleaning Technician

http://www.SERVPROmidlandgladwincounties.com/restoration-training-certifications