Tips for Flood Proofing Your Basement

Posted Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

There are many reasons your basement could end up looking like a bowl of soup (especially during Michigan’s rainy season). But don’t panic! There are definitely a few easy things you can do proactively to prevent your basement from flooding; a few simple tips for flood proofing your basement before you’ve got a wet mess on your hands and the lower section of your house looks like grandma’s minestrone!    

Where Did That Water Come From!?

A weak foundation is more often than not one of the primary causes of water finding its way into your basement. We know when people hear “Foundation Issues”, many homeowners want to throw your hands up in the air and start looking for a new home. You should have a foundation specialist out to your home to work on any cracks or slivers in the concrete that might let in water.

Professionals aside, there are safeguards you can take on your own to help to protect your basement. One of the easiest things you can address on your own is the framing around windows at the main level. These windows can often be the main cause of rain water leaking in to the basement. With a quick trip to the hardware store, you can pick up some basic caulking to apply to any slight openings or gaps to limit the odds of any flooding.

One fail safe way to help protect your basement from troublesome basement windows is to seal them completely. Many basements will have small windows resting just above ground level, which don’t really provide much of a view or light to begin with. In these cases you may want to seal these windows from the outside. Some basic masonry work should do the trick, covering them with properly-sealed bricks over the window openings.

As always, if you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these projects yourself, consult a professional!

Just In Case

Sump pump, sump pump, sump pump…. It’s so much fun to say! Really we could say it over and over again and still not have said it enough. Chances are good you already have a sump pump in your basement. If not, you should look into getting one; with all our rivers, lakes, and wetlands, every home in Michigan should probably have a sump pump! Even if you already have one, you’re not quite done yet. Since it’s out of sight and out of mind, it’s easy to forget about your sump pump. But you should be checking up on it at least every 3-6 months to make sure it is operating in tip top shape – otherwise, you may walk downstairs to do some laundry and discover a lot more may need cleaning!

Backup and Detection

Having backup plans are a good thing for anyone. Basement floods, particularly, would be a perfect thing for which to have a backup plan. We’ve already gone over sump pumps, but what about a back up for your sump pump? Having a second battery-powered sump pump backup should be required for anyone living in a flood zone, or if you frequently suffer power outages. A failed sump pump due to a power outage is another incredibly common issue that can make you wish water didn’t exist. Installing a backup for your sump pump can be crucial to avoiding a major financial burden.

Another thing you can do to help to detect the moment you might have a problem on your hands is to purchase a smart water leak detector for your home. There are many products on the market now that can alert you to water leaks in your home so you can take action before things get too crazy. Many of these new devices even have apps that can connect to the detector and alert you wherever you are on your smartphone.

Armed with these simple tips for flood proofing your basement, you can be confident that you’ve done everything you can to prevent your basement from ending up like the one in the picture at the top of this article. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, you should be much better prepared for avoiding the most common basement flooding problems.

It’s impossible to cover every flooding scenario of course, so if you ever do have a flood in your home, just know that the water damage experts at Modernistic are just a phone call away! 24/7/365, we’ll be there for your basement flooding emergencies.


Spring Weather Causes Burst Pipes

Posted Thursday, March 15th, 2018

It always happens around this time of year. Our Michigan springs are notoriously volatile, with temperatures ranging from sunny and warm one day, to cloudy and freezing the next. While Detroit and Ann Arbor residents don’t have to deal with lake effect like Grand Rapids and Lansing, they still have to contend with weather systems pushing up from the south, which can leave them even colder than the rest of the state! (minus the U.P., of course, since they’re basically tundra until May). Springtime in Michigan certainly isn’t gentle, and this fluctuating weather can be incredibly harsh on your indoor plumbing. This sort of spring weather causes burst pipes, leaving us Michiganders with water in our basements and a mess on our hands.

Freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw – the weather cycle we experience in spring causes a major strain on your water pipes. Why does fluctuating weather cause pipes to burst? Well, when water freezes, it expands. Ice will take up more volume than water, which is a huge problem in confined spaces – like your plumbing!

If you’ve ever had the ice cubes in your ice tray freeze together, you’ve experienced this effect. Even though you put the exact right amount of water in the tray (and it didn’t overflow), the cubes all froze together on the top when you pulled it out of the freezer. What gives? When the water froze, it pushed upwards and out. Having this happen in your ice tray is a minor inconvenience; having this happen in your plumbing can be a disaster!

Expanding ice will push against the barriers of the piping, and, given enough pressure, will actually split the pipe. Not good. The worst part is that you won’t even realize it until the water thaws and starts flowing again. Even a tiny, ⅛ inch split can spill up to 250 gallons of water per day!

Luckily, there are a few Simple & Quick steps you can take to help prevent burst pipes from happening:

  1. Locate and insulate any vulnerable plumbing
  2. Keep your thermostat at a steady temperature – day and night
  3. Let your faucets slowly drip when the temperature drops
  4. Close the garage

That’s why Michigan spring weather causes burst pipes; the up-and-down temperatures make it more likely that your pipes will freeze, which puts them at risk of bursting and causing a massive flood in your basement. Or bathroom. Or kitchen. Or any room that plumbing runs through. While you should be vigilant all year long (like in the winter, for example), springtime is prime time for burst pipes and water damage in your home.

From burst pipes to flooded basements to toilet overflows, Modernistic has been helping Michigan recover from water damage for over 45 years.


How To Prevent Ice Dams

Posted Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

“If you seek an ice free roof, just look above you.”

Ice dams on your roof, if you don’t already know, can cause major damage to your shingles, gutters, or even worse, the inside of your home.

The problem is, “What causes ice dams?”

Whether it’s in your home or business, insulation is one of the key factors in how to prevent ice dams.

So What’s An Ice Dam?

Without getting too technical, an ice dam is a buildup of of ice that typically form along the eaves.

how to prevent ice dam

As snow on your roof melts, it drains down the roof towards your eaves, a part of your roof that is not insulated.

With Michigan winters being cold as they are, the water passes over the cold eaves and freezes, causing an ice dam.

Over time, more and more snow melts, causing larger ice dams and more risk for water damage to leak into the interior of your home or business.

 

What Causes Snow To Melt On My Roof?

Just look up….no… not at the sun, in your attic!

Under-insulated attics are one of the major contributors to the formation of ice dams.

If your home or business doesn’t have the proper amount of insulation, heat will escape into the attic, causing the attic temperature to increase. As the attic temperature increases, the roof begins to warm.

Once the roof begins to warm…BOOM!, you have yourself some melting snow, one of the main ingredients for the start of an ice dam.

Now that you know what causes them, here’s how to prevent ice dams from forming.

Got It! Now How Do I Prevent Ice Dams?

Adequately insulating your attic is one of best way to prevent ice dams.

According to the EPA, the average homeowner can save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs by properly insulating their home.

With the proper amount of insulation, more heat will stay in the inside of your home or business, keeping the attic temperature closer to the temperature outside. This will help keep the snow from melting, which will help prevent ice dams from forming.

But before you hire a contractor to inspect your insulation, take a peek for yourself.

  • Check the height of the insulation. If the height of the insulation is at or below the top of the joist, you should add more.
  • Make sure it is even. Check to make sure that the insulation is distributed evenly across the entire attic. High or low spots can be corrected by either adding or removing insulation.

The right amount of insulation will not only help your heating and cooling costs, it will also help prevent thousands of dollars worth of repairs caused by water damage from backed up water in your attic or walls.

Next, learn how to get rid of ice dams if they have already formed.

How To Get Rid Of An Ice Dam

Too little, too late, right? Not so fast! If you spot an ice dam, there are some steps you can take to help keep it under control, or better yet, eliminate it.

If you know that warm weather is in the near future, don’t wait! Yes, warmer temperatures will help snow melt, but when temperatures start to drop, the melted snow will freeze and you’ll end up with more ice dams.

The name of the game is to be proactive and start working at those ice dams now.

  • Rake the Roof! A good way to prevent water runoff from freezing and creating an ice dam is to simply remove the snow from your roof. A roof rake is a safe and common tool used to remove snow from a roof from the safety of the ground. No ladders!
  • Use Panty Hose. Yes, you are still reading about ice dams! Filling panty hose with calcium chloride ice melter and laying it vertically across the ice dam will slowly melt the snow and ice, providing a channel for water to run down the roof and into the gutter. Safety note: Using a ladder when there’s snow on the ground is dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Fight the Cold with Cold. For a temporary fix, place a box fan in your attic and point it at the area of the roof where the ice dam is forming. The idea here is to use the fan to cool the warmer area of the roof that is causing snow to melt.
  • Just DON’T Do It! Avoid using ice melt for sidewalks and driveways. Runoff from these products can damage your plants and other vegetation in the area.

Also, never use a chisel or any other sharp tool to chip the ice dam away. Not only is dangerous to be on ladder at that height in the winter, chipping away at ice can damage your shingles, gutters, and other parts of your roof.

Conclusion

Ice dams can give you fits! With these tips, you should now be familiar with ice dams and the dangers they pose. Of course, it’s always best to get a professional to evaluate your particular ice dam situation before following any of this advice.

Poor insulation, snow accumulation on the roof, and warming and cooling temperatures are all key ingredients for the formation of ice dams and the potential for water damage in your home or business.

If it’s too late and you’ve experienced water damage from ice dams, call the professional mitigation team at Modernistic. For over 40 years we’ve been helping Michigan home and business owners with their water, fire, and mold restoration needs!


Why Customer Delight Matters

Posted Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Customer Delight

In our 40+ years of serving Michigan’s cleaning and restoration needs, we’ve learned a few things about customer satisfaction; namely, you’ll never go out of business if people love your service! That’s why one of Modernistic’s core values is Customer Delight. We want to do whatever it takes to make our customers happy, and that extends to all our mitigation and reconstruction services.   

Info When You Need It

When it comes to customer satisfaction, effective communication is key. Losses can be extremely stressful on a homeowner, and the last thing they need to worry about is if their contractor and their insurance company are on the same page. That’s why we go the extra mile and provide regular updates to not only the customer, but to the agent in charge as well. That way, everyone’s informed and up to date with the progress of the claim. Our goal is to make sure nobody’s left out of the loop!

One Point of Contact

Another way we help facilitate good communication is with dedicated claims coordinators. Have you ever tried to find out the status of a project and had no idea who would have the information you need or how to contact them? Very frustrating. That’s not Customer Delight! That’s why Modernistic assigns a claims coordinator on each claim to act as a point of contact for homeowners, agents, and everyone in between. That way, specific, up-to-date project info is only a phone call or email away! No waiting for a receptionist to relay a message, or getting lost in phone menus; just one call or email to the assigned claims coordinator puts you in touch with the person that has the info you need.  

One Goal

Everything we do here at Modernistic is focused on one thing: Providing service that makes our customers, clients, co-workers, vendors, and everyone else we do business with go “Wow!”. If that falls in line with your business’s goals, let’s have a conversation. Contact your local Modernistic office today!


Simple & Quick Ways To Prevent Frozen Water Pipes This Winter

Posted Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Brrr, Your Pipes are Cold Too!

We’ve seen some intensely cold temperatures this winter here in Michigan, and that means bad news for your indoor plumbing. Did you know that frozen water pipes are one of the main causes of home flooding in the winter? We’ve already cleaned up after dozens of frozen pipe floods this season, most of which could have been avoided with some basic precautions. Continue reading…