Have an Emergency Plan for Dealing with Frozen Pipes

Posted Monday, January 16th, 2017

Michigan winters are tough. Make sure you know what to do if your pipes freeze.

You did everything you could to prevent frozen pipes this winter. You added extra insulation, safely dismantled hoses, wrapped pipes in extra insulation, and kept the house warm. Still, once the temperature falls you should have a plan for dealing with frozen pipes, just in case.

Inspect your pipes for signs of freezing.

Check on the pipes you think are most likely to freeze. If you see frost along the length of a pipe or an area that looks abnormally swollen your pipe is probably frozen. There is another less obvious indicator that your pipe is frozen as well.  If you turn on the tap and nothing comes out, you may have a frozen pipe. You may not know exactly which pipe carries water to that section of the house, but check any nearby that lie along the exterior walls.

Shut off the water to the frozen pipe.

You should familiarize yourself with where water shut-off valves are located. In a crisis you don’t want to be running around like a slapstick comedian, getting soaked and looking for the shut-off. If learning where all the shut-off valves are seems too intimidating, at least know where the main water shut-off valve is for your home.

Thawing frozen pipes.

When you locate the frozen pipe there are a few things you can do to thaw it out before it bursts. Warm the pipe with a safe heating source, like an electric heating pad, a hair dryer, a space heater, or heating tape. Never use a heat source with an open flame, particularly on plastic pipes. As you warm the pipes, leave the faucet open. When some of the ice melts, water will begin to run through the pipe, speeding the thaw. You’ll know you’ve melted all the ice once water pressure is back at full strength.

What to do after a pipe bursts.

The first thing to do when a pipe bursts is shut off the water supply to this particular part of the house. You want to cut off the gushing water quickly as possible. Then call a licensed plumber who is qualified to make the repair, and your insurance agent. Finally, contact Modernistic. Freezing temperatures might be round the clock, but we’re here too with 24/7 emergency assistance. Our mitigation crew will arrive within an hour and a half to begin assessing the damage and extracting the water. When frozen pipes flood your home, Modernistic is there.

Serving Berkley, Michigan, for 40 years.

Do You Know How to Identify Black Mold in Your Home?

Posted Friday, November 11th, 2016

Is the Mold in My Home Harmless or Toxic?

Mold loves moisture and will grow wherever it is found. It quickly spreads in nooks and crannies in the bathroom, behind pipes in the kitchen, in basements, furniture and even your HVAC system. As most allergy sufferers know, many common molds can irritate allergies or cause other respiratory problems, including fungal infections in the lungs of elderly and other immunocompromised people. This makes it extremely dangerous for anyone living in a mold-infected home. Knowing how to identify black mold in your home—and prevent it from forming in the first place—is a key for any homeowner.

What is Black Mold?

Black mold is a fungus which produces mycotoxins that can be quite dangerous to humans. Though there’s insufficient evidence to conclusively link black mold to rare health complications, like acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, the CDC recommends preventing and removing black mold where you can. Since it can be expensive to remove mold once it’s colonized a large area, here are a few tips for identifying and avoiding black mold in your home.

Keep Your Home Consistently Dry

Mold quickly dies without water, so keep every space in your home at around 50% humidity. A good dehumidifier, regularly emptied, will often adequately dry damp spaces. Air conditioning will also help, particularly in warm humid climates. Be sure to run your home ventilation fans appropriately, so that the bathroom and kitchen stay as dry as possible when you shower or cook. If you notice a leaking pipe or appliance deal with it as soon as possible. Every drip creates a more hospitable environment for the mold spores that are constantly floating in the air.

Use Your Nose to Sniff Out the Source

Smelling something musty? Try to track it down to the source. You may know of a likely spot based on previous water damage, but if not, let your nose guide you. Does a certain area of the carpet, section of the wall, or piece of upholstery, seem particularly malodorous? It could be hiding a mold colony.

Spot the Mold (If You Can)

Sometimes mold grows behind walls or in fabric, making it hard to see. However, once you find the origin of the moldy smell, it’s possible you might notice visible mold. Mold comes in many colors: yellow, pink, orange, black, white, and green. Black mold is dark, as the name suggests, growing in a particular shade of blackish green. Other molds are also dark so the color alone is not enough to confirm that you do have black mold living in your home. Still, if you see patches of a black colored mold, you should take further steps immediately.

Test the Mold

The CDC has partnered with two biotech companies to sell revolutionary testing kits that rapidly detect several strains of mold. An affordable kit from either Advnt Biotechnologies or Alexeter Technologies comes with a user-friendly test strip, that should allow you to rapidly test your home for a variety of molds.  This can help you identify visible mold, or detect molds that hiding behind walls or in carpets and upholstery.

Eliminate Mold Colonies

There are a variety of home solutions for removing mold from various surfaces. Some tile and grout cleaners are specifically formulated to attack the mold growing on hard surfaces in your bathroom. A homemade bleach solution will usually kill mold on any hard surface. Mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water, then wipe or spray over the moldy area. Allow it to sit, then clean it off thoroughly with rag or scrub brush.

Call for the Experts

If you smell mold in carpet or upholstery, professional cleaning is your best choice. Only professional cleaning equipment can penetrate deeply into fibers and padding, delivering a targeted amount of cleaning solution, and removing mold. Leather should also be cleaned professionally. With any delay, the problem will only get worse with time, potentially ruining your furniture and carpets.

When your mold problem has gotten out of hand, Modernistic is here to help. Our certified technicians offer a full list of services, including:

  • Professional evaluation
  • Air sampling and testing
  • Containment of the affected area
  • Growth removal and treatment of all affected areas
  • Disposal of affected materials
  • Re-testing of air samples

We can tackle the most resistant strains of mold, even when the growth is extensive. Don’t let mold destroy your belongings, your home and your health. Contact Modernistic today!

Serving Lansing, Michigan for 40 years.

Flood damage from a burst pipe? Here’s what to do.

Posted Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Your pipe burst and there’s water everywhere.

If water suddenly begins gushing from your washer, toilet, or sink, you’ve probably burst a pipe. It’s a serious problem, but if you act quickly, you can mitigate most of the damage. Mold, for example, won’t start to grow for at least 24 hours.

Your first step? Take a deep breath. The water is running and the clock is ticking, but panic will slow you down. Quick action will mitigate a lot of flood damage from a burst pipe. So put your game face on, call a plumber and Modernistic’s 24-hour emergency restoration team, and let’s get ready to tackle this.

Cut the power and turn off the water.

Water conducts electricity, and the two make a dangerous combination. To protect yourself and your family from serious injuries or even death, turn off the power to the flooded area and unplug nearby electrical appliances.

If the water is still running, shut it off. Check for any electrical appliances nearby, but be careful, especially if you’ll need to wade through water to reach the shut-off valve. If you have any reason to doubt your ability to safely shut off the water or electricity, stand back and wait for help to arrive.

Be aware of potential dangers from pollution.

Clean water running from the kitchen sink is unlikely to be polluted, but it can pick up grime and bacteria as it flows across the carpet or down the walls. Sewage from a toilet, on the other hand, will almost definitely carry harmful bacteria.

So what should you do? Wear gloves and boots if you can, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after the project. Be especially careful not to ingest any of the water, and keep an eye on children and pets who may be tempted to splash around.

Modernistic’s team will arrive in about an hour. What can you do until then?

Your homeowner’s insurance almost definitely covers damage from burst pipes, especially if you haven’t neglected routine maintenance or ignored minor problems. Grab a plastic bag or something waterproof to keep your camera secure and dry. As you survey flood damage from a burst pipe, snap photos for documentation. With this in hand, you’ll be more prepared to talk with your insurance agent about making claims.

When Modernistic’s crew arrives, you can leave further documentation to us.

Remove carpet, furniture, and valuables.

Do any valuables or heirlooms look salvageable? If so, move them to a dry place as soon as possible to prevent further damage or loss. Don’t spend too much time cleaning them, though — if there’s anything you can save for later, save it for later.

Unfortunately, many soaked items, like rugs and furniture, may not be salvageable. If anything looks too heavy or dangerous to remove, leave it – our expert crews will take care of it when they arrive. If the weather permits, and if you can do so easily and safely, you can hang rugs and other small items outside to dry.

Sop, mop, and remove the water.

The next step is to remove standing water, a task that becomes more difficult as the water gets deeper. If you’re lucky, all you’ll need is a mop and some towels to sop up the water. Once you finish, discard or thoroughly wash any sponges or towels you used. If you’re not so lucky and the water is too deep, wait for our crews to remove it.

Between the cracks and behind the drywall

Water damage can seep deep into your walls, floor, and ceiling, so a mop won’t be able to get all of it. Modernistic’s team will evaluate the area, identifying what’s been affected and how badly. After that, we’ll provide you with an itemized list of recommended services and a price quote.

Our professional, trained, and certified team will quickly remove water and moisture to minimize further damage. We’ll move and protect anything affected by water damage and provide you with industrial-strength air moves and dehumidifiers to dry the area beyond what a towel can do. We monitor and document the moisture levels daily until the area is completely dry.

After this, we’ll get to work restoring the damage.

Will my insurance cover flood damage from a burst pipe?

Nobody wants their pipes to burst, but it happens – and that’s what insurance is for. Dealing with paperwork and red tape can be a pain, but Modernistic is here to help.

While our crew takes care of the damaged area, we’ll also take care of you. We have working relationships with many insurance companies in Michigan, and our teams are familiar with the claim-filing process. We’ll document what needs documentation, keep you informed, and make sure your claim isn’t overlooked.

It’s stressful, but with Modernistic’s help, you can handle it.

We’ll be with you every step of the way, from assessing damage to filing claims.

Before long, your home will feel like home again.

Serving Grand Rapids and Ada for 40 years.