Ask Modernistic: Pet Safety Tips for Flooded Basements

Posted Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

If my basement floods, is my pet safe?

Dear Modernistic,

My dogs love being in the basement. Ever since they were puppies and were kept down there during potty training, they prefer to eat, sleep, and play down there most of the time. One thing I worry about is how safe it is for them to be down there in the event of a flood. Sometimes the drain backs up and parts of the basement get wet. It hasn’t gotten too bad yet, but with as wet as the weather has been lately, I just don’t know. Are there any pet safety tips for flooded basements?

Sincerely Worried,

Debbie L.

—-

Dear Debbie,

One thing we really care about at Modernistic is family, and some of the most adorable and vulnerable members of our families are our pets. Making sure your home is scoring high on the pet safety meter can be a full-time job, so let’s help set your mind at ease with these crucial pet safety tips for flooded basements:

1. Keep your pets away from the drain!

Even with common drain backups that may only result in a small amount of water, there are still things you can do to protect your dogs, cats, and other pets. Let’s say for instance you had a light rain, or your washer backed up and you have some dirty water sitting around the drain. Yes, this isn’t a serious flood situation, but even in this scenario, you may want to attach a small steel cage cover or barrier that extends at least a foot around the drain. This will help prevent your pets from drinking any contaminated water that could get them very sick.

2. Make sure they aren’t locked in!

If you are in the situation every homeowner dreads and your basement is fully flooded, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to keep your pets from drinking the water. What you can do though is take some precautions to make sure they aren’t stuck treading water.

One surefire way to make sure your pets aren’t forced to swim for their life is to make sure they have an exit plan. Now, more than likely your basement has stairs, but not all basements have landings on that stairway. If your stairway to the basement does not have a safe space for your dogs to rest on a landing above the flood waters, then make sure to leave the basement door ajar. This is a huge pet safety tip. If your dogs like to get into stuff and show their unruly side in the rest of the house, then we recommend some sort of pet door or gate to keep them out of the rest of the house, while still allowing them to escape the basement in times of emergency.

3. Elevate food and water!

The easiest way to prevent your dogs from trying to drink any contaminated flood water or eat any random floating objects is to make sure their food and water are safe.  A flooded basement can bring up all kinds of nasty things you don’t want your dogs (or anything else) to be eating; things like half-used paint cans, unsecured flammable liquids, dead rodents, and any number of things your imagination can come up with. It’s a good idea to put your pets’ food and water in a safe, high place away from the rising floodwater. Places like the top of the stairs, or a landing if you have one, are perfect.

4. Keep them out of the basement!

…if you can, anyway! If your basement is prone to flooding or you live in a high-risk area, it might be wise to keep them upstairs at all times, just to be safe. In our 40+ years of restoring homes after water damage, we know one thing for absolute certain: You never know when a flood might happen!

If you can follow some of these pet safety tips for flooded basements, your dogs will be just fine. One great thing about technology today is that there are all kinds of in-home cameras you can install to keep an eye on your little furry babies when your away from home too. We hope this helps Debbie!

Sincerely,

The Modernistic Mitigation Team

We love our pets here at Modernistic, and we want to help keep yours safe too. Contact us 24/7/365 for all your emergency water damage and flooding needs!


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!


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…


How to Practice Fire Safety During the Holidays

Posted Monday, December 5th, 2016

Keeping the Yuletide Fire Safe and Bright

We all love the festive warmth and good cheer of a roaring fire in the fireplace, or some decorative candles throughout the house. But according to the American Red Cross, nearly 47,000 fires occur during the holiday season each year. These cause more than 2,200 injuries, doing $544 million in property damage, and taking over 500 lives. Follow these few simple precautions to practice fire safety during the holidays.

Use candles with care.

We all love the pleasant glow of candles over a special meal or on a winter’s evening. Seasonal scents add to the fun, with many companies marketing holiday themed candles that smell like cinnamon, pine, and Christmas baked goods. However, the U.S Fire Administration reports that candle fires are four times more likely to start during the winter holidays. Remember to keep candles well away from flammable decorations and far from the reach of children, and to extinguish any flames before leaving the room.

Christmas trees shouldn’t become kindling.

According to the records of the National Fire Protection Association one of every twenty-two home fires started by Christmas trees will take a life. An artificial tree is the safest choice. But if you must have that natural pine, make sure it is at least three feet from heaters, fireplaces, radiators, any other heat source. Also, always keep the tree watered so that the branches stay as green as possible. The moisture in the tree will act as a fire retardant if it is exposed to an ignition source. Finally, the tree should be firmly secured, so that mischievous pets and children won’t be able to knock it over.

Check your lights and any other electrical decoration.

Most decorations that use electrical power will come with specific safety recommendations. Even if you think you know the product it’s better to check the instructions. Some light strands can’t be used outdoors, and some can’t be used on artificial trees. All need proper maintenance if you’re hoping to reuse them several years in a row. Immediately dispose of any electrical decoration with frayed wires and replace dead bulbs as soon as possible. Always unplug your lights before you go to bed at night or when you leave home.

Keep your kitchen safe.

Holidays come with a lot of extra cooking. You have everyone’s favorite dishes to make, contribute to the school bake sale, and bring your neighbor some of your famous Christmas cookies. Remember to keep the chaos under control. Anything that can catch fire, like potholders, dishtowels, flammable packaging, and wooden utensils, should be kept far away from hot surfaces. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand just in case you need to put out a stovetop or oven fire.

Don’t neglect your normal fire safety measures.

Managing everything over the holidays is enough to make a few things slip your mind. Don’t let it be fire safety. Just living in a home with the recommended number of working smoke alarms cuts fire fatalities almost in half. Make sure that all your alarms have working batteries before the holidays begin, so you won’t have to think about it as things get busier. And with all the extra laundry you have to do with thick winter clothing and guests coming to town, make an appointment to have your dryer vents cleaned regularly by a professional. Little things make a big difference when it comes to fire safety.

If the worst does happen, Modernistic is here.

A fire is one of the most traumatic events a family can go through. After recovering from the initial shock, you are left trying to put your life and home back together as quickly as possible. When disaster strikes, Modernistic is at your side to make the restoration process as painless as possible. Our certified technicians are available 24/7 to guide you through the restoration and mitigation process. We will also work with your insurance to coordinate the billing and rebuilding process. Check our website for our comprehensive list of services here, and contact us for immediate assistance.

Serving East Lansing, MI for 40 years.