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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

It's The Water You Don't See

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Technician showing a homeowner a moisture meter Our SERVPRO technician measuring moisture content on a flooded kitchen floor.

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.

The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property.  SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area has the equipment, training, and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur.  The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a water loss.

When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform.  SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment.  Here are a few of the tools we use.

Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture contents of various materials.  The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing us to monitor the drying process.

Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity.  When armed with this information we can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying.  

Infrared Camera are used to quickly scan large structures for temperature differentials to find the extent of water intrusions.

The bottom line?  SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area has the training and equipment to make it "Like it never even happened."

2020 Toys for Tots

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

Letter from Toys for Tots in regards to SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area's donation We were so happy to help a very well deserving Charity!

At the end of 2020 after surviving a very unusual and very different year, we decided that in lieu of Holiday gifts to our clients we would donate to charities that were in need of some help this year.  One of the charities we selected was the Toys for Tots campaign.  After speaking with the local chapter for Toys for Tots we found that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, donations were down drastically this year.  We were excited at the opportunity to help and we hope our donation brought some Holiday Joy to some children in need.

We are Cleaning Experts

3/19/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo on coronavirus picture SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area is here to help you with the Coronavirus.

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area, 231-943-9750


CDC Coronavirus 2019 Guidance to Prevent Spread

CDC Coronavirus 2019 Interim Guidance for Business and Employers

Biohazard, crime scene, and vandalism cleanup

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

Red biohazard warning Biohazard, crime scene, and vandalism cleanup

SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area offers fast, reliable biohazard and crime scene cleanup and restoration services to residential and commercial property owners.

Exposure to biological and chemical contaminates can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers, and owners.  A failure to properly handle and safely remove such hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous environments.

Our employees are trained to safely and effectively remove biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA, and state and local health regulations.

Equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products, our crews help turn unsafe environments into clean, safe homes and offices.  We can help with the following issues:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Crime Scene Residues
  • Arson
  • Vandalism
  • Sewage Backups
  • Black Water Intrusions
  • Mold Mitigation and Remediation

If you are in need of these services call us at (231) 943-9750 for 24-hour emergency service.

SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile

3/6/2020 (Permalink)

50% of business may never reopen after a disaster SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile helps your business prepare for disasters.

Did you know that 50% of business that suffer from a disaster may never reopen? SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area will help ensure you and your business are "Ready for whatever happens." We offer your facility the SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile to help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for you facility.  The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations, and priority areas.  The ERP is accessible online using your completer or tablet; download the SERVPRO's free Ready Plan app to access this information at any time using your smartphone or tablet.

The ERP establishes SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to more than 50 years experience and a system more than 1,700 Franchises strong.  Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is key to quick response and timely mitigation.  Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster.

Preparation is the key to making through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood.  The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens.

The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value the could save lot of time in the future.  Call us today at (231) 943-9750 to schedule your ERP.

Do you have an escape plan?

3/6/2020 (Permalink)

A home that is on fire An escape plan may save your from this

Every second counts during a fire.  Fire experts agree; people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it's too late to get out.  In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place.  A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families and businesses have developed and practiced a fire escape plan.  Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home or office understands the plan.  The best way to do this by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year.  Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing it.  The follow are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency escape plan.

Draw a map of each level of your home or business and who all the doors and windows.  Find two ways to get out of each room.  Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.

Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors.  Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized test laboratory.  Store them near the window where they will be used.

Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped.  Make sure to mark the location of the meeting area on your escape plan.

Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them.  Plan for everyone in your home or office, with special considerations for elderly or disabled individuals.

Practice your fire escape plan during the day and at nighttime.

The Science of Drying

3/5/2020 (Permalink)

Injectidry on hard wood floor to help dry out the floor affected by water damage Injecidry wood floor panel system

Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying?  Having the knowledge of pyschrometrics is essential to restoring a water damaged structure to its preloss condition.

SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area is trained in the sciene of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages.  If you suffer from water damage our crews will:

  • Inspect the property to detect every component that is wet to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
  • Measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
  • Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.

What exactly does it mean to help "speed up Mother Nature"?  A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium.  When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material-but only if the air is drier.  The only problem is, nature often takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.

SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area has the tools and equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more.  We also use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business.

It's not only the equipment but the technology too!  SERVPRO has developed DryBook™, a proprietary tool that provides real-time documentation and updates on the drying process and helps ensure industry drying requirements are met.

The bottom line?  SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Are has the professional training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened."

Understanding Water Types

3/5/2020 (Permalink)

A room that is flooded with standing water A flooded basement from a pipe break

When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup.

There are three types of water.  Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean.  The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water.  Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous.  Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more.  Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster.  Black water should always be handled by trained professionals.

Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.

Damage from Clean Water

  • Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock.  Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.  Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletops items.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
  • Move any paintings, are objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
  • Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

Damage from Contaminated Water

  • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.  Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
  •  Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
  • Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
  • Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
  • Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.

When you have a water damage, don't leave your property to chance.  Call SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area at (231) 943-9750.

Managing Mold

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

House that has major mold growth on the walls Building structure that has mold growth

When there's a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business.  Mold can cause health effects and can also cause significant damage to your property.  Fortunately SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem.  Although every mold damage scenario is different requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same.  The following steps illustrate a "typical" mold remove process.

Call SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area

A representative will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources and personnel needed.

Inspection and Damage Assessment

Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources.  Mold feeds on cellulose and water can be hidden from plain view.

Mold Containment

Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold and isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.

Air Filtration

Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air.  Our technicians utilize powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores.

Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials

This step depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which mold appears.  Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming.  Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate mold growth.


Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. This step may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new flooring.

SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area understands mold and mold growth and have the training and equipment to remediate mold your home or business.

Cooking Fires

2/11/2020 (Permalink)

kitchen pan on fire catching the wall behind stove on fire Kitchen stove fire

Did you know cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fires?  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers the following eye-opening statistic on structure fires.

  • 482,030 structure fires were reported in the United States in 2018.
  • These fires caused $9.9 billion in property damages.
  • One structure fire was reported every 48 seconds.

A property owner experiences a flood of emotions when a fire ravages their business or home.  Fear, uncertainty, stress and doubt about the future of the property and their livelihood can be overwhelming to the propertry owner long after the flames have been extinguished and the smoke has cleared.

Let SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area help you restore your property to its preloss condition.  Combining rapid response, the utmost professionalism, and open communication throughout the entire job process, we strive to restore not only the home or business structure, but he customer's peace of mind as well.

If the unthinkable happens and a fire strikes you business or home, give SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area a call.  We will help make it "Like it never even happened."

Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Cold Weather Killer

2/7/2020 (Permalink)

a carbon monoxide detector plugged into an outlet Carbon Monoxide detector


You can't see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes.  Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide (or CO) is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels, like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, and propane burn incompletely.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning.  It is estimate another 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning.  All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning, with some groups including unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems being more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide.

An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or idling cars left running in garages.  Taking some basic, precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Protect yourself by reviewing the following tips provided by the United States Fire Administration.

  • Have fuel-burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves inspected by a trained professional every year.
  • Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace.  Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning.  Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it.  Never run a vehicle or other fueling engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open.  Make sure the exhaust of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice, or other materials.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
  • Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings.  Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.

Happy Holidays!

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

Red christmas ornaments hanging saying Happy Holidays Happy Holidays from SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area

Happy Holidays from SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area! We hope you are enjoying the Holiday Season and spending time with family and friends.  To honor our customers this year we are donating to Toys for Tots!  This is a great organization that spreads joy to many children in need.  They still could use help this year so check NW Michigan Marine Toys for Tots to see how you can help!  Happy Holidays!

Celebrate Safely this Holiday Season

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

Small snowman next to a small pine tree Happy Holidays

When we think of the holidays, we think of spending time with family, friends and the ones we love most. Some of our favorite things to do are setting up our Christmas trees, lighting candles, putting lights on the house or even baking cookies and other delicious treats. What we don’t think about is if these things are not used properly things can go from festive to frightening fast. Here are so holiday tips and tricks.

  • Place your Christmas tree at least three feet away from the fireplaces heating ducts and other heating elements real or fake.
  • Make sure your string of lights are in good condition. Make sure the lights and electrical cords don’t have a short, frayed wires.
  • Always unplug your Christmas tree before bed or leaving the home.
  • When baking keeps anything that can catch fire away from burners and the oven. Such as potholders, wooden spoons, paper or plastic bags and kitchen towels.

SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area wishes you and yours a happy and safe Holiday season.

Fires are Preventable

10/16/2018 (Permalink)

When it comes to your property, there are certain safety precautions that can be taken to help prevent fires.  Ready.gov shares the following tips on home fire prevention.

Electrical and Appliance Safety

  • Frayed wires can cause fires.  Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet.  Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to touch and lights that flicker.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves

  • Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
  • Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

Fire Prevention Month

10/9/2018 (Permalink)

October is Fire Prevention Month

October is Fire Prevention Month - a perfect time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) designates a week each October to focus on fire prevention awareness.  The 2018 theme is "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere."  This theme hopes to create awareness in the steps necessary to reduce the chance of fire and how to react in the event a fire does happen.  The NFPA states the following:

  • "LOOK" for places fires could start.  Take a good look around your home.  Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.
  • "LISTEN" for the sound of the smoke alarm.  You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds.  Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet.
  • "LEARN" two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.

Stay safe and prepare now to help ensure you are ready for any disaster.

Smoke Alarms: Life Savers

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Have you tested your smoke alarms recently?

Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement.  In the office and commercial environments, check your state requirements or contact your local Fire Marshall to help ensure all codes are met.

Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button.  Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years.  Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years.  If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately.  Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm.  Almost half of fires were smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).

Hoarding Dangers in Grand Traverse Area

3/19/2018 (Permalink)


According to The Mayo Clinic, "Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.  A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the though of getting rid of the times.  Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs."

Hoarding can lead to homes filled with extreme clutter to full capacity from years of accumulation, making living conditions unsanitary and crowded.  SERVPRO encounters hoarding situations several different ways.  Often we are call in for a fire or water loss and find the hoarding situation.  We will communicate with the insurance company regarding their content coverage, and after approval, contents can be packed out and possibly cleaned, dried and stored at our facility so work can be begin in the home. 

Anther way we encounter hoarding jobs is through calls from landlords, case workers, or family members, often after the death of a loved one.  In these situation, the crew will see if they should look for any items of importance while they clean the job. 

Each case is very different, and hoarding jobs are often sensitive situations, but we are here to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Water Damage in Grand Traverse Area

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

Flooded home.

The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage.  Within four hours of a loss notification, SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled by completing the following steps.


SERVPRO will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning any work.


SERVPRO will take steps to help protect your home or business, as well as personal belongings and other contents, from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying. 


To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, SERVPRO will monitor the drying process and will communicate the progress with you.


SERVPRO will repair structural materials, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of your property.  A final walk-through of the jobsite will be conducted with you to help ensure the property was returned to preloss condition.

Ice Dams in Traverse City

1/18/2018 (Permalink)

An illustration of an ice dam.

Ice dams can be a major problem during the snowy season.  They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into water dammed behind still-frozen ice.  When the trapped water cannot safely flow or run into the gutter system, it can backflow under the roof's shingles and into the structure's interior areas.

Icicles can be an initial sign of an ice dam, according to Travelers.com.  To spot ice dams inside, "check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along the ceiling of exterior walls or your house.  Water stains or moisture may be an indication that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane."

Removing an ice dam as soon as it is found is vital to helping prevent damage to your property and can be done using heated cables, a roof shovel, or calcium chloride ice melter.

Frozen Pipes in Grand Traverse Area

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

A frozen pipe that has burst.

Frozen pipes are often those exposed to the cold weather, such as those outside your house, or in cold areas such as basements, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. 

A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly.  To prevent pipes from freezing, here are a few steps you can take, according to The American Red Cross:

  • Be sure to completely drain water from sprinkler lines and outside hoses.
  • Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air near the plumbing.
  • When the weather is extremely cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
  • Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night.

If frozen pipes occur ion your property  causing water damage, SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area is only a call way, 24/7, ready to restore your property to preloss condition.

Understanding Water Types in Grand Traverse Area

2/28/2017 (Permalink)

Do you know what type of water this is?

When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup.  There are three types of water.  Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean.  The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water.  Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminates to begin growing, make the water hazardous.  Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more.  Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster.  Black water should always be handled by trained professions.  When you have a water damage, don't leave your property to chance.  Call SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area to handle the cleanup.

Grilling Safety Tips for Grand Traverse

8/23/2016 (Permalink)

Grilling in Traverse City!

There is nothing like firing up the grill during the summer months!  A backyard barbecue can become dangerous quickly if the proper safety precautions aren't considered.  SERVPRO of Grand Traverse Area want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer.  Consider the following tips to ensure your summer celebrations are disaster-free!

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • When using a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.