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Back up sump pumps can save you the heartache of a water damage

6/20/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Back up sump pumps can save you the heartache of a water damage Sump pump back ups are important!

Summer has sprung which means it is time for heavy rains, flooding, and all the not-so-fun basement water damage that often accompanies the rainy season in much of the Midwest. For those homeowners with full basements or larger crawl spaces, you likely have sump pumps. If you don’t, it might be a good idea to have one or two installed.

There are two types of sump pumps: pedestal and submersible. A submersible sump pump rests in a larger basin, with the motor beneath the water line. A pedestal sump pump is smaller, with the motor above the water line. If you have the room, a submersible is the better choice — but if your basement is prone to flooding, any sump pump type is better than no sump pump.

MAINTENANCE

Like your hot water heater and furnace, you should check your sump pump at least once a year to make sure it is in proper working order. For those living in wetter conditions, a twice-yearly check is best. Look at the pump’s power cord to determine if there is any corrosion and the cord is free from contacting water. The test valve should move easily, and any alarms should work.

Flush the drain pipes. Pour hot water into them and see how fast they empty outside. A slow flow likely means the pipes are getting clogged with debris. Check the sump pump for oil leaks. Test the backup battery by unplugging the sump pump and filling the basin with water. The pump should turn on with a battery reserve. Once the basin is empty, plug the pump in and again fill the basin with water to make sure the pump works with electricity.

CLEANING

You might think all this contact with water would keep your sump pump nice and clean — but you’d be wrong. Sump pumps get dirty and can get moldy. If you are handy, you can clean the sump pump unit. Just make sure to unplug it and disconnect the backup battery and any alarms before removing the pump.

You should remove the entire pump for ease of cleaning and to see it better. To do this, remove the fasteners attaching the discharge pipe. If the pump does not come free easily, use a lubricant to loosen it. Place the pump on a tarp or take it outside. Cleaning the pump will get messy.

Once you have the sump pump out, use a dry sponge or clean rag to wipe away grime. For whatever sticks, try a flathead screwdriver or small paint scraper to loosen it. After the debris is cleared away to the best of your ability, it is time to disinfect. This means disinfecting not only the sump pump, but also the basin and the discharge pipe.

Wipe down the outside of the sump pump, the inside of the basin, and the discharge pipes with bleach or vinegar. If you are working indoors, ventilate the area. Wear a face mask and disposable gloves no matter where you are and what you use as a cleaning agent.

For those with a shop vac, put it to use by sucking out all the gunk and water inside the bottom of the pit. Make sure to empty the vac after use and wipe down the inside with disinfectant. Once everything is clean and dry, reassemble the sump pump and plug it in.

HAVE A BACKUP

Lightning often comes with heavy rains and both can knock out electrical power, so it is important to have a sump pump that works with a backup battery. The last thing you want is to know that your basement or crawl space is getting flooded, and the one thing you bought to help with that is not working because the power went out.

Firework safety tips

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Firework safety tips Follow these Firework Safety Tips to avoid an unwanted disaster!

While you are enjoying your grilling, family time, and fireworks, take time to remind your kids what this holiday is about.  The lighting and display of fireworks came with a price to many men and women sacrificing for their kids and future generations. Remain safe if your family tradition includes lighting fireworks. 

Here are 10 fireworks safety tips you should use and teach to your kids.

  1. Fireworks packaged in brown paper are made for professional displays – avoid buying.
  2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, especially with sparklers.
  3. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  4. Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  5. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire and to douse used fireworks before discarding in trash.
  6. Never allow young children to play or ignite fireworks.
  7. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  8. Never try to re-light or pickup fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  9. Never place a part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting.
  10. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

BE SAFE this holiday! Fireworks can be a fire hazard and can burn buildings, things and even you! SERVPRO of Decatur/Forsyth wants you to enjoy this 4th of July the safe way!

How to Pick a Campfire Spot

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Pick a Campfire Spot Campfires can be nice and relaxing if they are started in a suitable spot!

Picking a suitable campfire spot is crucial to maintaining a safe fire and preventing wildfires.

Be sure to evaluate the site before starting a fire. If the area is brushy or extremely dry, you might want to avoid building a fire altogether. These types of conditions are perfect for igniting wildfires.

Another important thing to remember? Always check with the campground operator or local agency to make sure fires are permitted in the area.

If fires are allowed and conditions are safe, follow these tips to choose a campfire spot:

  • Look for an existing fire pit or ring. If you can’t find one, choose a site with a rock or dirt surface.

  • Avoid areas with fuel for your fire, like moss, logs, or decaying leaves.

  • Build your fire at least 15 feet away from trees, tents, chairs, or any other debris.

  • Select a site that’s sheltered from high winds.

  • Don’t forget to look up – find an area without any overhanging branches.

If you have any questions, contact your campground ranger. Fire safety is their top priority and rangers can help you determine whether a pit or site is suitable for a campfire. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

BEWARE OF FLASH FLOODS

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage BEWARE OF FLASH FLOODS Don't get caught in flash flooding! Be safe.

11 Facts of flash flooding:

  1. No region is safe from flooding. All 50 states are subject to flash floods.
  2. Flash floods can bring walls of water from 10 to 20 feet high.
  3. A car can be taken away in as little as 2 feet of water.
  4. To stay safe during a flood, go to the highest ground of floor possible. If your skin comes in contact with flood water, make sure to wash it with soap and disinfected water because the contents are unknown.
  5. Flooding is caused by spring thawing (snow and frozen grounds melting in the spring), heavy rains, snow melt runoffs, flash floods, and mudflows.
  6. Floods are the most widespread natural disaster aside from wildfires. 90% of all U.S. natural disasters declared by the President involve some sort of flooding.
  7. In preparation for a flood, it is important to stock up on first aid items, non-perishable foods, 3 gallons of water per person for 3 days, battery operated radio for weather reports, extra batteries, personal hygiene necessities.
  8. Based on Floodsmart, a 2,000 square foot home undergoing 12” of water damage could cost more than $50,000.
  9. Since flood damage is almost never covered by homeowners insurance, flood insurance is important for people living in high-risk flood zones.
  10. To stay safe during a flood, go to the highest ground of floor possible. If your skin comes in contact with flood water, make sure to wash it with soap and disinfected water because the contents are unknown.
  11. Communities particularly at risk are those located in low-lying areas, near water, or downstream from a dam.

SERVPRO of Decatur/Forsyth wants you to be aware and prepared for any natural disaster! We are always here to help!

(217)428-2371

Difference between storm warnings and watches

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

It's important to stay aware of severe weather watches and warnings and to know how to react. A "watch" means that conditions are favorable for severe storms. Watches are typically issued for large areas and are in effect for several hours. When a "watch" is issued, you should be alert for the POTENTIAL for severe weather. You can proceed with your plans, however you should be "on the lookout" for changing weather conditions and be ready to move to a safe place if you hear thunder or see lightning.

A "warning" means severe weather is imminent or occurring, and action should be immediate. Severe thunderstorms are capable of producing damaging wind and/or hail. In our area, straight-line winds result in the majority of storm damage. Therefore, you should be ready to react when a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.

It should be noted that lightning occurs with every thunderstorm. There is no "lightning warning." This does not mean that lightning is not dangerous. In fact, lightning kills or injures just as many people as tornadoes in an average year. If you hear thunder or see lightning, it is possible for lightning to strike. Lightning can strike several miles from the thunderstorm, even while the sun is shining! The safest place in a thunderstorm is inside a sturdy building. Stay away from windows, anything that is "plugged in" and plumbing. A hard-topped vehicle is acceptable if you are unable to reach a building.

2019 Macon County Fair

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Community 2019 Macon County Fair Alan Dobrinick (Marketing Manager) and Joel Robb (Owner)

2019 Macon County Fair

SERVPRO of Decatur/Forsyth are proud Platinum Level Sponsors. 

SERVPRO of Decatur/Forsyth has been in the community for nearly 30 years. We are glad we got to help out this wonderful event in Macon County. We are her to support our local community. 

Here are 10 ways to give back to your community:

Promote Local Businesses

One of the best ways to support your community is to help out other businesses in the area. Buy local as often possible and set aside an area of your website to link to your favorite local companies. Cross networking with non-competing companies with similar markets helps you reach more people and help out other local business owners just like you--a win-win!

Participate in Holiday Food Drives

During the holidays, many businesses encourage employees to bring in unopened non-perishable canned and boxed foods that can be donated to local food banks. This is a fantastic way to help you community, and it requires very little additional tie. You'll only have to set aside a half hour or so just before Christmas to transport the items.

Sponsor a Youth Sports Team

Chances are someone on your staff has a child on a youth sports team. By finding a local team to sponsor, you'll be able to help with the funds it needs and get publicity in exchange for your support. This is a simple way to help out with very minimal time investment.

Set Up a Collection Jar

This is a way to support your community with no time commitment. Simply choose a charity that is important to your team and collect money in a high-traffic area inside your business.

This is a great way that I have seen children be able to participate in their own way. You can teach them important values that will last with them for all time.

Hold a Contest

You can support your community while also encouraging your employees to have fun by holding a contest. Each employee chooses a local charity and instead of prizes, money goes to the charities chosen by the winners.

This was one of the most successful ways that I've been able to help some of the local charities around my business. Popular TV shows like the Apprentice and other shows have done this as well to help out charity organizations.

Sponsor an Event

Sponsoring a participant in a local marathon can be a great way to show support, especially if you can support your own employees who are participating in such events.

Adopt a Brick

Occasionally new civic buildings will offer local residents the option of purchasing a brick or stone, either on a walkway or building. Such a purchase gives you the opportunity to contribute to progress while also enjoying a little publicity.

Build a House

Organizations like Habitat for Humanity offer businesses the opportunity to participate in construction projects that benefit disadvantaged residents. The best thing about this type of volunteerism is that many builds are done on weekends.

Offer Your Skills

As a leader in your industry, you likely have an area of expertise that's of value to others. Consider teaching classes on entrepreneurship to local residents or offer to teach a specialized skill that could be of value to those who have been out of the workforce for a while.

I personally help with the Open to Hope foundation on a daily basis. This has brought me some of the biggest personal wins. Helping be apart of something that's bigger than yourself will deliver happiness in your life.

Encourage Employee Volunteerism

Many businesses are now encouraging employees to volunteer by offering paid time off for volunteering. A business can show its support for the community by giving employees a specific amount of time each month, quarter, or year for volunteer work, which boosts morale while also increasing a business's community involvement.

Some of the biggest corporations on the planet allow a specific number of hours each year that are allotted to a company to volunteer at a charity of their choice.

As a vital part of your community, it's important to regularly show support for the residents and businesses who support you. By researching various ways you can participate in local events and organizations, you will be able to come up with your own unique way of giving back to your local community.

Ways to be prepared for a power outage

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Ways to be prepared for a power outage Be prepared for a Blackout!

Fill the Tub

When the power grid goes down, your city water supply may soon follow, says Tompkin Lee, The Family Handyman field editor. So fill up buckets and bottles with water. Fill ?the bathtub, too. But most drains are not all that tight, and in a few hours all that precious water may be gone. To prevent that, seal the drain with duct tape before you fill the tub.

Turn your car into a generator

 A power inverter, which turns DC current from your car into AC current for electric gadgets, is the next best thing to a generator when it comes to surviving a blackout. Small units can recharge your computer or phone. Larger ones can power a fridge or power tools.

Save food with ice

A couple of days without power can cost you a few hundred bucks as food spoils in fridges and freezers. Fill locking freezer bags with water and keep them in the freezer. During a blackout, they’ll help the freezer stay cold longer. Or you can transfer them to the fridge or a cooler. When they thaw, you’ve got drinking water. 

Be safe with CO Detector

Blackouts often lead to carbon monoxide deaths. Here’s why: To get heat during outages, people crank up fireplaces, gas stoves, and all types of heaters—and anything that burns produces carbon monoxide. “So I get out a battery-powered CO detector whenever I use an emergency heat source.”

Gas up your car

Your car is a critical part of your survival kit. It’s your emergency transport, your charging? system for cell phones and maybe even the only heated space you’ll have. So keep your tank full before storms. If you have gas cans, fill them, too. When the power is out, gas stations can’t pump gas from their tanks into yours. 

We are happy to be in the Decatur community.

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO We are happy to be in the Decatur community. We are here to help!

SERVPRO is always ready to do work and is happy when recommended to do so. We feel very honored to be out in the community. We show appreciation to everyone who use our services and support us. We truly do what we love to do. 

We would love to hear any ideas for marketing in the Decatur area. SERVPRO also would be interested in sponsorship's that need help. The more involved we can be in the community the better. We strive to be the best that we can be. 

Your local SERVPRO of Decatur/Forsyth is out and about throughout the Decatur area. We really give thanks to the customers and the community support and look forward to SERVPRO-ing you in the future!

(217)-428-2371

Candle Burning Safety

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Candle Burning Safety Never leave a candle burning unattended

How many house fires are caused by candles in the U.S. each year?

Candles cause an estimated 15,600 house fires, 150 deaths, and 1,270 injuries each year.

 Why are candles so dangerous?

A candle flame may be small, but you should treat it as you would any other flame – with care. Candles turn to liquid in order to release their fragrance and this wax carries heat and that can cause another surface, such as a wood table, to catch fire. Over half of candle fires start because the candle is too close to combustible materials.

What is one of the common factors in fatal candle fires?

More than half of all candle fires start when something that can burn, is combustible, such as furniture, bedding, mattresses, curtains, or decorations are too close to the candle flame. One-fifth or 20% of these fires are candles unattented or abandoned.

When do these fires occur?

The majority of candle fires and fire deaths occur during the month of December between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m.

What is the safest way to use candles?

• Always burn candles in a suitable glass or metal container. Containers should not tip easily.

• Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything than can burn.

• Clean and trim candlewicks to 1/8 or ¼ inch before lighting.

• Do not burn candles all the way down to the bottom.

• Keep candles where children and pets can’t reach them. A pet, such as a cat, can jump up and knock over the candle or knock over something into the candle.

• Keep candles out of windy or drafty areas and away from anything that can easily catch fire (for example, furniture, curtains, carpet, or newspapers). So often, a curtain blows into a candle, something falls on it, or the candle burn downs and ignites nearby combustibles

• Always place candles on a heat-resistant surface. Small candles such as tea lights can melt plastic surfaces, such as the top of a TV and the side of a bath tub. • Always place candles on an uncluttered surface.

• Candles should not be used during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery powered lights are safer options.

• Always put the candle out when leaving a room or going to sleep. Use a special candle snuffer or candle quencher. Do not use fingers or blow them out. Blowing them out can send sparks and hot wax flying

A bad roof can lead to extreme damage to your home.

6/6/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage A bad roof can lead to extreme damage to your home. A water damage could cost you thousands of dollars.

How to tell if your roof is leaking....

Here are a 17 things to look for »

  1. Water stains or damp spots on your ceiling
  2. Moist drywall or paint around light fixtures or electrical outlets
  3. Damp spots around interior air vents or fireplaces
  4. Interior paint bubbling or peeling during hard rains
  5. Dripping sounds inside your home
  6. Water stains on rafters or on roof sheathing inside your attic
  7. A musty house smell (especially in your attic)
  8. Curling or buckling shingles on your roof
  9. Loose shingles laying in your yard
  10. Loose or exposed nails on your roof
  11. Cracked or damaged flashing around roof vents
  12. Loose flashing or cracked sealants around your chimney
  13. Roof rot with discolored or excessively degraded shingles
  14. Peeling paint or rotten areas under roof eaves
  15. Clogged or loose gutters & downspouts
  16. Debris piles in roof valleys or above chimney
  17. Shingle granules in your gutters

Regular maintence to your roof can save you the heartache from a water damage.