Misery and Michigan Frostbite

January 21, 2012

It doesn’t matter how cold it gets in Michigan in January, there is always someone walking around ill-prepared for the elements. You might see her on the street with a light jacket when it’s 25 degrees out. You might see him shoveling his sidewalk without gloves. Or you might be that person we’re talking about.

At Aaron’s Restoration, we deal in disasters all the time: storms, fires, floods, etc.. But our business involves working around things that can be replaced. It may be flooring damaged by flooding, a dryer burned in a fire or a wall lost to a tree felled by a storm. But human fingers and toes aren’t easily replaced when amputation becomes necessary after frostbite.

It may seem unusual for a restoration company to be discussing a medical condition. After all, you won’t find a doctor blogging about mold remediation. But we understand the need to be comfortable in your home, your sanctuary. It’s difficult to do that when your health and well-being are affected by the impact of frigid weather on your body. Even just adding a hat that covers your ears can prevent you from losing 40% of your body heat when you’re out in these chilly conditions.

Working outside for any period of time makes it imperative to dress properly for the weather. As you’ve certainly felt recently, our temperatures have stayed below freezing quite often, and even a gentle breeze at those temperatures can produce a fierce wind chill. That’s why we make sure our crews are prepared for the weather each and every time they respond to a call.

A little bit of extra time getting dressed for our cold Michigan winter days and nights is always well worth it. It may only take an extra sixty seconds to find those thick gloves and put on a warm hat. Easy enough, right? You want to be prepared for an emergency, not become one.

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Warm Those Pipes, Michigan

January 19, 2012

As January rolls along, temperatures in Michigan are dropping even further. In fact, as daytime highs fail to climb out of the 20s, you’ll miss those warmer winter days when our highs topped 40 degrees. But while you’re dressing in layers outside or covered with an extra blanket inside, your water pipes may not feel so warm and toasty.

There are numerous ways to protect those pipes. For example, you could buy a product to insulate them. Some people recommend leaving a tap on to allow water to steadily flow through the pipes, reducing the risk of a freeze. Yet whatever option suits you best, it’s wise to address the potential problem before it becomes an actual problem.

The extended freeze makes a pipe burst more likely because the daytime temperatures don’t warm up enough to make a difference. And there is a huge difference between a few degrees. 29 is not 33.

A few days of freezing temperatures coinciding with a weekend can lead to a disaster if no one is home to tend to the pipes. A wise Michigan resident who is out of town during these particularly cold spells will contact someone to check on the house in his or her absence. An early observation of a developing problem can become a significant game changer with the right intervention.

A developing problem that gets neglected during a deep freeze can lead to widespread damage, depending on where the pipe burst occurs. It may affect flooring, furniture, walls and much more. By the time the disaster is discovered, the expense of clean-up could have doubled, tripled or worse.

Your best bet is to expect the best but prepare for the worst. That’s pretty much a smart policy to adopt in any area of your life, especially if you’re new to Michigan. Winters around here can pack a pretty cold punch.

Aaron’s Restoration is ready to handle disasters round-the-clock, during even the most chilly conditions. Whether it’s water mitigation, mold remediation, fire and smoke clean-up or virtually any other home disaster, the team of specialists at Aaron’s Restoration can return a home to its original condition quickly and expertly. Visit www.aaronsrestoration.com today or call 888-442-2766.

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The Holiday Season Heats Up in Michigan

December 8, 2011

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s turning up everywhere these days. This Saturday, you can take the kids to see St. Nick at Cranbrook House and Gardens in Bloomfield Hills at noon. Maybe a 1 pm lunch with Kris Kringle at Stonycreek Metro Park in Utica sounds good. Or for early birds, meet the jolly man in the red suit at Macy’s (Oakland) in Troy for breakfast at 9 am. Yes, he sure seems to travel fast. But so do you.

Quick departures from home to get to the stores, community events, school functions, or church services can be the norm this time of year. After all, there is so little time and so much to do. But during the next few weeks, as we wrap up 2011, it definitely pays to take time for a few precautions before leaving the house every time, no matter how short the expected trip may be.

Fireplaces are the usual suspects and hopefully you know better than to leave a fire burning when you’re out of the house. But what about a clothes dryer? An unattended clothes dryer is another fire hazard, especially one with a build-up of lint. The safest option is to turn it off before leaving.

Attending that office holiday party may prompt you to use the curling iron to look your best, but leaving the curling iron on, one without an automatic shut-off, is a hazard that can lead to horrendous consequences. The same can be said of a clothes iron. These household items should be safely turned off and moved to a place they can cool off without igniting nearby fabric or material.

As a safety precaution, do a walk-through of your home to inspect for potential fire dangers. Identify what items, if left on or unattended, could spark a fire. Then, when it’s time to get on the road, assign each family member a room to check. The extra few minutes you spend now just might save you thousands of dollars later.

In the event of a fire, rely on Aaron’s Restoration for 24-hour emergency service from board-up to rebuilding. Visit aaronsrestoration.com anytime, or when disaster strikes, call 888-442-2766 first.

Weekend Events Info

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Michigan Supplemental Heat Risks to Avoid

November 17, 2011

As the temperatures drop below freezing tonight, and then linger in the 30s for overnight lows in the days ahead, Michigan residents may be tempted to rely on supplemental heating sources to keep the family warm. These sources may include fireplaces, electric space heaters, wood burning stoves, and kerosene and gas space heaters. While they provide much-needed heat to make a late fall night more comfortable, they also pose a risk that residents should be aware of every time one of these sources is in use.

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) provides a warning about the dangers associated with supplemental heating sources. You may have missed the reminder last month or ignored it all together. But it bears repeating. Properly using supplemental heating sources sharply reduces the risk of accidental fire which can lead to serious injuries and even death.

Some of the MPSC Consumer Tips involve common sense, such as making sure the chimney flue is open before lighting a fire in the fireplace. You may have also heard that it’s safer to buy a space heater that automatically turns off if it falls over. But you may not know that sleeping while a space heater is in use is not recommended. It’s also potentially hazardous to use a gas or electric oven or stove burners to heat a home.

While carefully reviewing the owner’s manual of a heating device is always wise, the manual is not always available if lost, discarded or the device was a second-hand purchase. In many cases, you can find operating guidelines for these devices online. If not, contact the manufacturer before using a heating device with which you’re not acquainted.

Aaron’s Restoration invites you to get a full look at the MPSC Consumer Tips by clicking on the link below. Pass along the information to your friends and neighbors too. With the right information and consistent safety practices, you may not need to see us this winter.

MPSC Consumer Tips

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Avoiding Autumn Fire Dangers

September 22, 2011

Autumn is notable for its bright colors, cooler temperatures and warmer clothing. But the season also presents some potential threats, including fire hazards. Some homeowners in Michigan and Ohio may be living with dangerous conditions that could lead to a house fire right now. Even worse, they may not even know it.

Homeowners can reduce the risk of these threats by evaluating some key areas. Start with your smoke alarms to ensure they are functioning properly. Carbon monoxide detectors are another valuable purchase. They detect a deadly build-up of the odorless gas, which can lead to immediate health effects as well as fire.

While you’re thinking “up”, consider another danger area: light fixtures. Faulty wiring and other problems can lead to a fire, if not addressed. One warning sign is an excessive amount of heat around the fixture.

Protecting yourself and your family also involves carefully cleaning the lint trap in your dryer. With an increase in laundry loads and a busier schedule, this area may get overlooked more often. A dryer fire can lead to a much larger disaster, especially if it breaks out when no one is home.

Examining all major appliances is another helpful part of this annual home review. While extending the life of an old appliance is financially wise, continuing to use an appliance, such as a water heater, that has been malfunctioning or shows signs of electrical damage is more risk than it’s worth. If you you think cannot afford a replacement, consider the expense caused by a house fire started by that problem appliance.

Vents are another important area to focus on. Venting for dryers, water heaters and furnaces are appealing places for animals to build nests. While they are dark and secure, animals may also be drawn to this type of shelter to escape the cooler weather of the season. Unfortunately the nests block the flow of hot air and other substances through the vents, and the dry materials in the nests could ignite.

Before using your furnace for the first time, it’s ideal to have it professionally serviced to ensure it’s functioning safely and properly. Uncleaned furnace filters can be a fire hazard. Another heating source, the chimney, should also be cleaned before first-time use this season. A professional chimney sweep can clean from top to bottom, ensuring no blockage along the way that could later ignite. Also, purchasing a chimney cap can keep animals an debris out. As an added safety measure, many Michigan homeowners have switched from wood-burning fireplaces to gas log systems.

As always, be sure to hire only licensed and reputable contractors for your fire prevention work. You’ll save yourself problems later, and have peace of mind knowing your family is safer at home. That’s a good feeling, especially when winter arrives and you’re spending a whole lot more time in the house.

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