How to Test Your Sump Pump and Why You Need a Sewer Sump Pump Rider
A sump pump is a vital component of your home's drainage system, especially if you live in an area prone to heavy rain or flooding. Its primary purpose is to prevent water from accumulating in your basement or crawl space, which can lead to costly water damage and mold growth. To ensure your sump pump is in good working condition and your home is protected, regular testing is essential. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the steps of testing your sump pump and explain why having a sewer sump pump rider on your homeowner's insurance policy is crucial in case of failure.
Testing Your Sump Pump
- Locate Your Sump Pump: Before you can test your sump pump, you need to know where it's located. Most sump pumps are found in the basement, typically in a sump pit.
- Ensure Power Supply: Make sure the sump pump is plugged in and receiving power. It's recommended to have a backup power source, such as a battery or generator, in case of a power outage during heavy storms.
- Inspect the Discharge Pipe: Ensure the discharge pipe is connected correctly and directs water away from your home's foundation.
- Check the Float Switch: The float switch is what triggers the sump pump to turn on when the water level rises. Pour a bucket of water into the sump pit and watch to see if the float switch activates the pump. The pump should start automatically when the water level rises.
- Listen for Unusual Noises: When the sump pump is running, listen for any unusual noises, such as grinding or clunking sounds, which may indicate a problem.
- Test the Check Valve: The check valve prevents water from flowing back into the sump pit once it's pumped out. Make sure it's functioning correctly by observing the water flow.
- Regular Maintenance: Schedule routine maintenance for your sump pump. This includes cleaning debris from the pit, checking for rust or corrosion, and ensuring all parts are in good working order.
Why You Need a Sewer Sump Pump Rider
A sump pump can be a lifesaver when it comes to preventing water damage in your home, but what happens if it fails? Here's where a sewer sump pump rider on your homeowner's insurance policy comes into play:
- Coverage for Sump Pump Failure: Standard homeowner's insurance policies may not cover damage caused by sump pump failure. A sewer sump pump rider provides additional coverage specifically for this scenario, ensuring that you're financially protected.
- Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have coverage in case of a sump pump failure can provide peace of mind. You won't have to worry about the high costs of water damage restoration and repairs out of your own pocket.
- Immediate Action: If your sump pump does fail, it's crucial to act quickly to minimize damage. Having coverage means you can call professionals like SERVPRO to clean up and restore your home promptly.
Testing your sump pump regularly is a simple yet vital task to ensure it functions properly when you need it most. Additionally, having a sewer sump pump rider as part of your homeowner's insurance policy is a smart investment to protect your home and finances in case of a sump pump failure. Remember, it's better to be prepared and proactive than to deal with the consequences of water damage without proper coverage.
Preventing and Managing Mold in Your Musty Basement
Humidity-based mold growing on a bathroom ceiling in the basement.
A musty basement can quickly turn into a breeding ground for mold, a nuisance that not only damages your property but also poses health risks. Preventing and managing mold in such an environment requires proactive measures and professional assistance. Enter SERVPRO, your trusted partner in mold cleanup and prevention.
Preventing Mold in Your Musty Basement:
- Control Moisture: Mold thrives in damp environments. To prevent its growth, address any moisture issues in your basement. Ensure proper ventilation, fix leaks, and use a dehumidifier if necessary.
- Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean and declutter your basement to reduce potential mold food sources. Keep surfaces dry and free of dust and debris.
- Proper Insulation: Insulate walls and pipes to prevent condensation. Cold surfaces can lead to moisture buildup, creating an ideal environment for mold to flourish.
- Gutters and Downspouts: Keep gutters and downspouts clear to prevent water from seeping into your basement. Redirect water away from the foundation.
- Seal Cracks: Seal any cracks or gaps in walls and floors to prevent moisture infiltration. This will help reduce the chances of mold growth.
Why SERVPRO is the Best Choice for Mold Cleanup:
- Expertise: SERVPRO is a renowned leader in the restoration industry, with extensive experience in mold cleanup. Their professionals are trained to identify the source of mold and effectively eliminate it.
- Advanced Techniques: SERVPRO utilizes advanced equipment and techniques to remove mold and prevent its recurrence. Their expertise ensures thorough and lasting results.
- Safety First: Mold cleanup requires careful handling due to health risks. SERVPRO follows industry standards to ensure the safety of occupants and workers during the cleanup process.
- Comprehensive Assessment: SERVPRO conducts a thorough assessment of the affected area to develop a tailored plan for mold removal. This personalized approach ensures that all traces of mold are eradicated.
- Prevention Strategies: Beyond cleanup, SERVPRO offers guidance on preventing future mold growth. Their experts provide recommendations to keep your basement dry and mold-free.
- Insurance Coordination: Dealing with mold can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to insurance claims. SERVPRO assists with the documentation and coordination necessary for a seamless claims process.
In conclusion, preventing mold growth in a musty basement requires proactive efforts, while tackling existing mold calls for professional expertise. SERVPRO's experience, advanced techniques, and commitment to safety make them the ideal choice for mold cleanup and prevention. By partnering with SERVPRO, you can ensure a clean, healthy, and mold-free environment in your home.
Kitchen Fire Cleanup: Why SERVPRO Should Be Your Top Choice
Heavy soot damage in a home
Dealing with the aftermath of a kitchen fire can be overwhelming, but a swift and thorough cleanup is crucial to restoring your space. When it comes to fire damage restoration, SERVPRO should be your first choice. With their expertise and comprehensive approach, they can help you navigate this challenging situation with ease.
Assess the Damage: Before you begin the cleanup process, assess the extent of the damage. Evaluate both the visible damage and potential hidden issues like smoke residue, soot, and structural damage.
Safety First: Ensure your safety by wearing appropriate protective gear, including gloves and masks, to avoid inhaling potentially harmful particles.
Ventilation: Open windows and doors to ventilate the area and allow fresh air to circulate. Proper ventilation helps in dissipating lingering odors and preventing further smoke damage.
Remove Soot and Residue: Use a dry sponge or a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to gently remove loose soot and residue from surfaces. Avoid using water-based cleaning methods as they can worsen the situation.
Professional Help from SERVPRO: For a thorough and effective cleanup, consider reaching out to SERVPRO. They specialize in fire damage restoration and have a team of trained professionals who understand the complexities of smoke and soot removal. SERVPRO uses advanced equipment and techniques to ensure your space is properly cleaned and restored.
- Expertise: With years of experience, SERVPRO knows the ins and outs of fire damage cleanup. They understand the specific challenges posed by kitchen fires and tailor their approach accordingly.
- Comprehensive Cleanup: SERVPRO doesn't just clean visible damage; they also address hidden issues like lingering odors, soot particles, and structural damage.
- Advanced Equipment: SERVPRO employs state-of-the-art equipment and techniques, ensuring a thorough and efficient cleanup process.
- Quick Response: Time is of the essence after a fire. SERVPRO offers prompt response and 24/7 availability to mitigate further damage.
- Supportive Approach: Dealing with a fire can be emotionally taxing. SERVPRO's professionals provide compassionate support throughout the restoration process.
- Preventing Future Issues: SERVPRO goes beyond cleanup. They provide recommendations and solutions to help prevent future problems related to fire damage.
In the aftermath of a house fire, SERVPRO stands out as the reliable choice for effective cleanup and restoration. Their commitment to professionalism, expertise, and compassionate service ensures that your space will be back to its pre-fire condition sooner than you think.
Wisconsin Flood Awareness Week
March 6th to the 10th is Flood Awareness Week in Wisconsin. A flood plain is “an area of low-lying ground adjacent to a river, formed mainly of river sediments and subject to flooding.” That said a flood can occur just about anywhere given the right conditions. A flood is “the temporary overflow of water onto land that is ordinarily dry.”
This time of the year can be a particular problem for flooding when heavy rain falls on still frozen ground. It is not uncommon to see water flow across frozen ground in search of the lowest point to settle. If your home or business is in the path of that flowing water, you will have water damage.
What can you do to prevent this? Proper grading around your home or business is essential to keep the water flowing away instead of towards. Following is a great article on what needs to be done and why. Yard Grading 101: Everything you need to know (thisoldhouse.com)
National Repeat Day
June 3rd is National Repeat Day. Having to call SERVPRO to help clean up after a disaster is not something most people want to repeat. So today might be a good day to assess your property and determine if there is anything you can do to prevent that from happening.
While we typically think about cleaning our gutters in the fall, ideally gutters should be cleaned twice a year. Spring and early summer is another great time to clean your gutters. Keeping your gutters clean will allow rainwater to flow through them and away from your home’s foundation, helping keep your basement dry.
It is also a great time to check the slope around your foundation to ensure that rainwater running across the surface of the ground, because of heavy rain or frozen ground, will flow away from your home and not into it. Following is an article to help you determine if you have the proper slope around your foundation. If not, summer is a great time to make those adjustments so that next winter when we have rain on frozen ground, you don’t find water flowing into your basement. If you’ve ever had that happen to you, we’re sure it’s not something you want to repeat, especially since that type of flooding is typically not covered under your homeowners insurance policy.
How Much Slope You Need Near a House in Land Grading (thespruce.com)
Firework Safety Month
June is firework safety month. According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Fireworks caused an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. Five deaths resulted from fireworks-started fires, along with 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage.” And this doesn’t include the injuries the fireworks themselves directly cause to individuals. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year 10,000 people are injured due to fireworks. In 2017 alone, 12,900 individuals were injured, with eight people dying. About 50% of all reported injuries are of children and young adults under 20. Out of this, 45% of the affected children are under the age of 14.”
With numbers like these it’s easy to see why it’s probably best to leave the fireworks displays up to the professionals. But if you are going to use fireworks this summer, here are some safety tips from the National Safety Council:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks
- Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
- Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
- Never light them indoors
- Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
- Never ignite devices in a container
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
- Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire
- Never use illegal fireworks
We are in the heart of severe storm season in Wisconsin. Severe thunderstorms can occur any time of the year and any time of the day. But they occur most often between April and August, and in the late afternoon and early evening hours. This is because of the heat that is generated during these times. Thunderstorms usually develop in areas of high humidity. Moisture in the air that rises into the atmosphere in conjunction with warm temperatures causes a thunderstorm to form. Summer air has a greater potential for bringing on a thunderstorm because warm air can hold a lot more water vapor than colder winter air. And late afternoon and evening is typically the warmest time of the day, making it the perfect time for thunderstorms to develop.
Thunderstorms pose a wide variety of risks to your home or business. A lightning strike can cause a fire. High winds can blow shingles or other roofing materials off your roof making the structure vulnerable to water damage from the heavy rains that often accompany these thunderstorms. Lost power can mean a nonworking sump pump resulting in water in your basement.
Not much can be done to prevent these things. But a quick response can help limit the damage and prevent secondary damage. Be alert for threatening conditions and protect yourself first and foremost. But as soon as the storm passes, call SERVPRO to help you clean up. We can make it "Like it never even happened."
Do you rent the property you live in? If so, do you have renter’s insurance? It’s not uncommon for renters to think they don’t need insurance, especially if the property owner has adequate coverage. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t true, and renter’s find themselves wishing they would have gotten renter’s insurance. Here’s why.
In general, the property owner’s insurance covers damage to the structure, while the renter’s insurance covers what we call “contents”, or the renter’s personal property, things like their furniture, clothing, shoes, electronics, accessories etc…
Let’s look at a specific example. Let’s say you are renting an apartment, and the tenants in the unit above you forgot they left the water running in their tub, it overflows, and water pours into your unit destroying your big screen tv and getting your couch all wet and dirty. The property owner’s insurance will cover the drying and repair of the structure itself, the carpet or flooring, the drywall, the light fixtures etc.. But it will not cover your big screen tv or couch. Those items would be covered under renter’s insurance.
An added benefit of renter's insurance is that because the coverage is for your personal items and not the residence, your belongings are typically covered due to theft and other covered losses when you travel away from home.
Renter’s insurance can also cover expenses like hotel and meals should your residence be uninhabitable from a loss. And it can also provide liability coverage should someone other than you get hurt on your property and attempt to sue you.
If you are a renter, and you don’t have this very important coverage, we highly recommend reaching out to your insurance agent today. A renter’s insurance policy can be as little as $10-$15 a month and is well worth the investment.
Commercial Construction Fire Hazards
Commercial properties often have fire safety and prevention systems in place. An effective system will incorporate three main elements: detection, control, and extinguishing. Components of these three things can include but are not limited to: fire & smoke alarms throughout the building, fire extinguishers throughout the building, sprinkler systems, fire/smoke curtains that drop down and contain smoke to certain areas and help hinder spread of the fire.
However, when a commercial building is under construction, these things do not yet exist. This means that commercial buildings under construction can be at increased risk of fire. In addition, according to the U.S. fire Administration, “Buildings under construction or renovation are at their most vulnerable and weakest condition. Accumulation of waste combustibles, limited access, minimal water supply and hazardous operations increase the challenge. Add to this the effects of firefighting operations, increased water weight, weakened metal and support structures, and hidden hot spots, and you have a formula for disaster waiting to happen.” For tips on fire prevention at buildings under renovation or construction visit:
Fire prevention at buildings under renovation or construction (fema.gov)
IICRC Triple Master
IICRC Triple Master Beau Baumgartner
SERVPRO of Appleton is pleased to announce that our very own Beau Baumgartner is now a Triple Master, holding IICRC Master Certifications in all 3 available areas:
- Fire & Smoke Restorer
- Water Restorer
- Textile Cleaner
IICRC stands for “Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification”. The IICRC is a certification and standard setting non-profit organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. They develop health and safety related industry standards, as well as common, industry-accepted language and terminology.
IICRC offers over 20 certifications. Each certification requires candidates to successfully complete a course and get a passing grade on a standardized examination. Becoming a Master in each category is a long and labor-intensive process. It requires candidates to get all certifications related to that category in stages, as well as years of experience in the field and a final master exam. The first step is to get multiple certifications in the specific category as well as a minimum of 12 months working in the field for Journeyman status. Once that is achieved there are more certifications and a minimum of 3 years in the field before qualifying for the Master Course and exam. Only 3.7% of IICRC’s constituents have attained this prestigious designation. And we are fortunate to have one of them working for us!