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Why Has My Sump Pump Failed and What Can I Do About It?

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

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It’s a sight a homeowner never wants to experience: a basement floor covered in several inches of water and the eerie silence of an idle sump pump. A failing sump pump is a wet and often expensive mess. But these telltale signs can help you prevent flooding and preserve your property.

How a Sump Pump Works

A sump pump is a pump that’s installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. As its name implies, a sump pump’s job is to pump water in order to help the area under the building stay dry and prevent it from flooding. Most sump pumps are installed in specially constructed pits. When water collects in these pits, it’s pumped out and away from the building.

Given this important “stay-dry” job, it’s obvious that a failing sump pump often leads to a flooded basement and expensive water damage. Unfortunately, even less than an inch of standing water on your basement floor can quickly transform into property damage and a mold problem.

Know the Signs, Spare Your Property

The SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County staff shares their tips about what causes sump pump failure and what you can do to prevent or minimize water damage:

  • The sump pump switch is stuck in place. A stuck switch is one of the most common reasons why a sump pump fails. There are several different types of sump float switches—vertical and tethered floats are most common. Vertical floats are often more reliable, as tethered floats have a habit of getting stuck on the side walls of the sump pit. Debris in the pit is the main reason why floats get stuck. You can check the float by shutting the sump pump’s power OFF and removing any debris in the pit.  
  • The power is out. Just like a dishwasher or washing machine, if your sump pump has no power source, it’s not going to work. In the case of a severe storm, a power outage can lead to a flooded basement quickly. That’s why it may be wise to invest in a high quality battery back-up sump pump. When charged properly, this battery backup system operates a separate pump linked to the discharge pipe for hours of protection until your power is restored. Some backup pumps even monitor the battery’s condition and alert you when it needs to be replaced.
  • Your sump pump is not the right size. Much like a water heater, there are different sum pumps for different performance demands. It’s best to consult with a plumbing professional to make sure your sump pump is the proper horsepower to keep up with your home’s or business’ flow of water.  
  • Your sump pump is aging and needs replacement. Sump pumps are not built to last forever. In fact, it’s recommended that sump pumps are replaced every five to seven years to ensure they’re operating effectively and keeping your property dry.
  • The discharge pipe is frozen. Frozen pipes throughout homes are a particular concern given our harsh Wisconsin winters. With regards to a sump pump, the discharge pipe is an issue if it’s not installed and pitched properly. This then causes water to collect, freeze, and eventually block it from flowing. 

From Sump Pumps to Storm Damage, Rely on Our Expertise

Basement flooding from sump pump failure is serious—that’s why your local SERVPRO experts are here when you need us. Call us 24/7 at 414-421-3500. Or depend on us for other repair, restoration, and cleaning services for your home or business.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes and Property Damage

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

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One thing you can count on every year in Wisconsin? Frigid winter weather in some form or another. That’s why it helps to have these tips handy to prevent frozen pipes in your home or business when outdoor temps plummet:

  • When you know below-freezing temperatures are forecasted, allow water to run in all the sinks at a slow, constant drip. Just a trickle is enough to keep the water moving through the pipes and prevent them from freezing.
  • Open up the cabinet doors in your bathroom vanities and under your kitchen sink. This allows heat from the home to circulate and keep the pipes warm.
  • Keep your house at a warm, consistent temperature during the day and night.
  • If you leave home for extended periods of time, keep your thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To keep garage pipes from freezing, make sure your garage door stays closed.
  • If your pipes do freeze, use a hair dryer, heat lamp, or heat gun to thaw them. Then run hot water from your faucet for a couple minutes to keep the pipes warm.

Frozen Pipe Damage? Call SERVPRO Immediately.

When pipes freeze in your home or business, it could lead to a burst pipe and eventual water damage. Trust your local SERVPRO staff here in Southeast Milwaukee County to help get your home or business back to normal. Contact us anytime at 414.421.3500 for help in an emergency, or to learn about our other repair, restoration, and cleaning services.

Why You Should Have A Fire Escape Plan For Your Family

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

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Fail to plan , plan to fail. That saying can annoy some of us, especially if we prefer to live life in the moment. But when it comes to emergencies like fire, planning is non-negotiable—you need to know what to do ahead of time to keep everyone safe. That starts with having a fire escape plan.

Fire can spread rapidly throughout your home—within as little as two minutes after a smoke alarm detects it. A fire escape plan gives you and your family a life-saving strategy to follow in a fire emergency. These specific steps will help you get started:

Make a map of your home.

Create a “blueprint” of your home, then label all the doors, windows, and every room in your house. Plan at least two escape routes from every room—remember to account for family members’ disabilities and create alternative escape routes as necessary.

Determine where you’ll meet if there’s a fire in your home.

Designate a family meeting spot when a fire occurs. Since you could be separated from other family members during a fire, it’s important to regroup and get a headcount after escaping from your burning home.

Make sure everyone can call 9-1-1. 

No matter if you have young children, teach them as soon as they’ll understand to dial 9-1-1 when a fire happens. This is so critical, especially if no adults are home during a fire. 

Do an at-home fire drill.

Practice your fire escape plan by walking with your family from room to room. Talk through your escape instructions. If it’s easy and safe, practice escaping. Do your own fire drill at home by sounding off your fire alarm to get your family in the right mindset for leaving the house.

Don’t forget about STOP-DROP-ROLL.

Once you have your fire escape plan in place, make sure everyone in your family knows how to “stop, drop, and roll” if they catch fire. Also, train your family members to check the doors for heat to see if they should open them or not once the fire alarm sounds. It’s important, too, to test your smoke detectors monthly, and change the batteries one to two times per year. 

After a Fire, Rely on Us for Restoration

Should a fire happen at your home or business, dial 9-1-1 immediately. After the fire has been safely extinguished, SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County is your source for fire damage repair and restoration. In addition to repairing and restoring anything damaged by heat and flames, our trained team can remove all the soot, ash, and smoke from the fire as well as deodorizes your property. Call 414-421-3500—we’re available any time, any day you need us.

Why Call a Professional for Water Damage?

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

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Water damage. These two words can carry some serious consequences in terms of health issues and property destruction. That’s because depending on the situation, the extent of water damage can be hard to identify in your home or business. The best way to get answers and save your property or building’s integrity from future damage is to consult a professional.

Suspecting Water Damage in Your Residential or Commercial Property

Has a water stain appeared on your ceiling? Or have you noticed another sign that you think may indicate water damage? Before you call a professional, it’s a good idea to investigate the suspected water damage on your own. In fact, get in the habit of inspecting your home carefully every few months for signs of water damage—flaking or peeling paint; water stains on the walls or ceiling; puddles or moist spots on floors or under sinks/vanities; and bowed walls. Mold or dried water stain spots are also telltale signs that water damage is or was present and may not have been correctly addressed. The more you see these signs typically means the more severe the damage.

After taking note of any and all signs of suspected water damage, it’s time to call a professional to assess what you’ve noticed as well as pick up on any others that you may have missed. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to water damage—calling a professional is a wise choice.

When Water Damage is Evident

Are there obvious signs of water damage on your property? This could include big stains in the ceiling or walls; mold growth along walls, in basements, or under sink/vanity areas; or compromised structural integrity. When water damage is evident, you should call a professional as soon as possible to survey the damage and advise you on next steps. In some cases if the water damage is extensive enough, it may not be safe for you to remain in the building.

Restore Your Property from Water Damage and So Much More

Whether it’s subtle or obvious, water damage can have a lasting negative impact on your residential or commercial property. But with our knowledge, equipment and experience, we can help bring the value back to your property—contact SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County at 414.421.3500 around the clock, every day. Or rely on us for other cleaning and restoration services, such as storm damage, fire restoration, and mold remediation.    

What to Do After Your Basement Floods

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

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On the list of unwanted home-damaging events, a flooded basement is most certainly at the top. Flooding happens when you least expect it, and is a stressful experience if you don’t know where to turn or who to call. That’s why you should read these helpful tips from your local SERVPRO team

Stay out of your flooded basement.

Basements flood first because of their low-level, underground nature. Of course your instincts may tell you to start bailing out buckets of water—don’t. The safest thing to do is not enter your basement until you call a professional water restoration company AND an electrician to come and assess the aftermath. Electricity and water are a dangerous combination; you need to keep yourself and your loved ones safe by making sure a professional properly deals with the situation beforehand. Turn off your circuit breaker only if it’s outside of the basement, on the ground level or upper level of your home.

Once it’s safe, remove excess flood water.

Once the electricity is turned off, it may be safe to enter your flooded basement and start bailing out water. Do this as soon as possible to mitigate the damage. Make sure your sump is working properly to help remove the water, or that it’s not malfunctioning and causing flooding in the first place. If flooding isn’t that extensive, use buckets, mops, and towels to soak up the water.

Take photos, then remove and air out damp objects.

Before you start cleaning, take photos of your flooded basement and damaged property for filing your insurance claim. In as little as 48 hours, mold can grow on anything damp in your flooded basement. That’s why after taking photos it’s important to remove any damp objects and leave them in an area to dry out. If you have a finished basement, rip out any wet carpet and padding underneath it. Unfortunately but realistically, your carpet will not be salvageable.

Dry the flooded basement area.

As mentioned earlier, you want to dry the area out to prevent mold growth and further damage. If you don’t own them, rent some fans and a shop vacuum from your local hardware or home improvement store to dry the basement area as quickly as possible. Then have a professional inspect the area make any necessary repair recommendations as well as prevent future mold growth. It may also be wise to buy a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture and allow your basement to dry faster.

When flooding happens, we’ll be there immediately.

May flooding never happen in your home or business. But if it does, know that SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County has the team, tools, and timeliness you need in an emergency. We’re here to serve you 24/7 at 414-421-3500. When it’s less urgent, we’re also here for any cleaning or damage restoration services you need.

Help—My Appliance is Leaking! Take These Immediate Steps

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

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You wake up, stumble in the kitchen to make your coffee, and see it…Water pooling under your sink. Panic sets in. Few people think about what to do immediately after an appliance is leaking. That’s why the experts at SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County share these steps you can take as soon as you spot the leak.

  1. Shut off the water source for that appliance.

The sooner you stop the water, the better in terms of damage and repair costs. Most times you’ll find the main water shut-off valves in your basement.

  1. Determine where the water is coming from.

There are typically three main sources for most water leakage problems: a drain line, a supply line, or a burst pipe. Leaks in drain lines happen when a drain isn’t properly working. Whether a drain leak is fast or slow, it can cause bacteria to grow in the line. A leak in your supply line is coming from that pipe that brings water to your appliance. When you spot a burst pipe, the best thing to do is put a bucket underneath it to catch any leaking water.

  1. Unplug any electronics near the leaking appliance.

As you know, water and electricity are a dangerous mix. Be sure to shut off and unplug any electronics near the leak. Your safety is paramount: If the leak seems excessive, turn off your home’s circuit breaker, and call your local electrician, as well as the water damage restoration professionals to assess the situation and return your home back to normal.

  1. Take photos for your home insurance claims. 

It’s important to take photos of the leak and the subsequent water damage for insurance purposes, especially if the damage is extensive. Do this before cleaning up any of the mess so that you have accurate documentation of the leak and the property damage.

  1. Call the professionals to repair the water leak and damage. 

You can attempt to identify the water leak type and resolve it yourself, but that may not be the best long-term solution. A wiser investment is to call the local plumbing professional who can fix your leak and appliance properly. If there is damage as a result of the leak, it’s also best to contact your local restoration company, too.

When Leaks Happen, Call SERVPRO 24/7

Don’t deal with the aftermath of water damage from a leaking appliance alone—trust a team of technicians who are equipped to help you around the clock, even on holidays. That team is your trusted neighborhood SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County. Fellow residents and businesses also rely on us beyond water damage restoration—we do everything form air duct cleaning and disinfecting to storm damage and mold remediation. Call 414-421-3500, or contact us online.

Your Source for Emergency Relief When a Home Disaster Hits

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

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They’re scenes no one wants to come home to: Rivers on your kitchen floor from a leaky dishwasher. An inch of water in your basement after a torrential downpour. A fallen tree that landed on your garage after a severe storm. But there’s one source that can rescue you from all these scenarios—SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County. Regardless of the disaster or the time it happens, our trained restoration pros have the equipment and know-how to help you 24/7.

Disaster never strikes on schedule—SERVPRO is ready around the clock.

Everyone knows that a disaster wouldn’t be a disaster if we knew when it was coming. Middle of the night, while on vacation, late morning while everyone is away at school and/or work…disasters like a tornado or flash flood strike when we least expect them.

Luckily, your neighborhood SERVPRO team is just a call away to fight your next emergency restoration battle. Whether you’re dealing with flooding, water damage, fire, mold, or smoke, SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County is available to you 24/7 with the technicians and advanced technology to return your property back to its original state.

While disaster restoration jobs may take time, our emergency response doesn’t make you wait. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays, and we’ll be there. Expect an immediate response time from us, day or night, because we pride ourselves in our ability to assist you when you need us most. 

At SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County, we respond to disaster scenarios immediately because it enables us to minimize the damage that occurs and reduce your restoration and repair costs. Water can be particularly invasive, and precious minutes can accumulate higher costs and more extensive damage if it’s not addressed from the onset. 

We are staffed and equipped to respond to emergencies on any size scale at both residential and commercial properties. Even if you have an inkling of an emergency on your hands, and our disaster restoration team will be there before you know it. As they say, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Simply call 414-421-3500 and we’ll be on our way.

SERVPRO is there for non-emergencies, too.

There are times when cleaning and restoration is necessary but not an urgent response to a disaster situation. That’s why homes and businesses throughout Southeast Milwaukee County trust SERVPRO for everything from cleaning and sanitizing to fire damage and mold remediation. Contact us for a complimentary consultation and estimate—we look forward to serving you.

What You Can Do About the Damaging Effects of Heavy Rainfall

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

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Rain, rain, go away…that could never be a more true mantra when heavy rains fall. While water damage is typically associated with situations like flooding or plumbing malfunctions, heavy rain can bring its own set of challenges when it comes to household water damage.

While any moisture level can be damaging, heavy rain is considered rainfall at more than 0.3 inches per hour. This persistent rate can work its way into much smaller vulnerabilities in your home. To help you better prepare and avoid water damage, consider how rapid rainfall rates can cause these issues...

Household Water Damage from Heavy Rains

  • Leaky windows and doors. Windows and doors should be sealed against Mother Nature’s elements, but their weatherproofing can age and deteriorate over time. Water can find its way into minuscule cracks and cause damage during a heavy rainfall.
  • Inadequate foundation drainage. Heavy rains can build up against the base of your home and cause leaks in your basement or crawl spaces. This can be especially common in homes at the bottom of a hill without adequate drainage around the foundation.
  • Vulnerable chimneys and skylights. Chimneys and skylights tend to be more vulnerable to heavy rains. Though they are attractive home features, seals where they meet the roof can weaken over time and be susceptible to leaking when rainfall is heavy.
  • Seeping water around the roof. Roof leaks are a leading consequence of heavy rainfall that can sneak up suddenly. Something as minor as a missing shingle or weak spot can let unwanted rainwater seep in.
  • Clogged gutters. Gutters clogged with debris can’t properly drain rainwater, which means leaks from puddles as the water is left standing against the roofline. This is why clogged gutters can cause significant home damage after heavy rains.
  • Malfunctioning sump pumps. Regular maintenance is critical to homes with sump pump systems. If issues go undetected, the pump system can get overwhelmed and cannot effectively move water away from the home.

Rain + Water Damage = Mold

The unfortunate result of heavy rains is water damage. And the unfortunate result of water damage in homes is a possibility of mold growth. In fact, mold can begin growing in as little as 48 hours after water damage has occurred. That’s why it’s important to stay safe and get excess water cleaned up professionally to minimize the chance of mold growth. Our Team at SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County is ready at a moment’s notice to help with any of your water mitigation emergencies—simply call 414-421-3500.

Count on SERVPRO in Dry Conditions, Too

Rainfall and other causes of water damage aren’t the only threats to your home or business. Thankfully residents and businesses throughout Southeast Milwaukee County rely on our SERVPRO team for everything from air duct cleaning and fire damage restoration to commercial cleaning and home disinfecting. Discover what we can do for you—contact us for a complimentary consultation and estimate today!

What Can You Do About Mold and Mildew?

11/10/2020 (Permalink)

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You can’t see them, even when magnified up to 400 times. Under normal conditions indoors, you inhale up to 10,000 of them per minute. But under excessively humid conditions, they can cause health effects to humans and animals…we’re talking about mold and mildew. How can you keep mold and mildew at bay to maximize indoor air quality in your home or business?

What’s the difference between mold and mildew?

Mildew is a surface fungi that grows in green-white colored patches (think long-forgotten leftovers in a refrigerator). Mildew grows on top of moist areas, and can easily be treated with a store-bought cleaner and scrub brush.

Mold is a different story. Once black or green patches of mold are detected, it means there is a larger infestation of this otherwise microscopic organism. Often you hear the term black mold, which can produce allergens and irritants in affected areas of buildings. Black mold is not toxic, but it can cause health effects. Because mold thrives in damp environments, water damage or excessive humidity must be addressed to prevent mold from regrowing.

How can I prevent indoor mold and mildew issues?

The most effective way to control mold and mildew indoors is to control your humidity levels. Ideally, an indoor humidity level of 30–50% will prevent mold and mildew growth, and promote the best possible indoor air quality. Water damage is another main source of mold growth. In fact, mold grows sin homes or businesses that have some sort of water damage within as little as 48 hours.

The EPA is a comprehensive source that offers are several ways you can prevent mold and mildew growth in your home. But for mold growth resulting from water damage, it’s best to consider hiring a professional to remediate mold and properly restore your property. In the meantime, there are mold damage emergency tips to practice before expert help arrives.

What’s the difference between mold removal and mold remediation?

Bottom line: Mold spores exist because they are a vital part of our ecosystem. But excessive indoor mold and mildew growth is not part of that eco-equation. This is an important point to note when companies guarantee that they “remove mold.” Microscopic mold spores are nearly everywhere, so removing them from inside a home or business is impossible.

Mold remediation, on the other hand, is the proper way that professionals eliminate visible  mold growth and bring mold levels down to normal, healthy levels. With proper cleaning techniques, your home or business can be restored and refreshed for the long term.

Breathe Better Indoor Air with SERVPRO

Mold and mildew growth can happen year-round, so it’s good to know you can depend on our Southeast Milwaukee SERVPRO team 24/7. In fact, residents and businesses in your neighborhood rely on us for mold remediation, water damage restoration, fire restoration, and much more. Contact us for a complimentary consultation, or when you need us in an emergency.

The Challenge of Keeping Your Business COVID Clean

10/21/2020 (Permalink)

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Cleaning enough to meet COVID requirements is a monumental task. Beyond keeping workspaces and public spaces disinfected, every “touch” between customers, business owners, and employees must be sanitized to maximize disease prevention.

There are several cleaning products that can be used against COVID-19, such as ready-to-use sprays and disinfecting wipes. But with the colder weather and influenza season upon us, these cleaning and disinfecting products will be in higher demand, and could even reach the scarcity level that toilet paper did in March 2020 (a memory we’d all like to forget).

Supplying all the products you need and implementing your daily COVID cleanliness plan leaves you little time for other aspect for your business, especially for deep-cleaning. How can you overcome the constant challenge of keeping your business clean? Hire a commercial cleaning professional with specialized training and products. Even everyday janitorial services won’t yield the level of deep cleaning your business needs to keep COVID and other viruses and bacteria at bay.  

Stay Safe and Clean with the SERVPRO Team

In addition to commercial cleaning to meet stringent COVID requirements, Greater Milwaukee businesses trust SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County for a whole host of services such as air duct & HVAC cleaning, water damage, mold removal, and fire restoration. Contact our Southeast Milwaukee County location for 24-hour service, and a free consultation and estimate.