Recent Posts

3 Tips To Prevent a Candle Fire

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

living room, table with cereal box, cups, box of juice, walls covered with smoke damage. Concept of fire damage in a home Never leave a burning candle unattended in your home St. Michael, MN home.

Candles Safety Tips

Candles are a popular choice in St Michael, MN, for lighting, décor, ceremonial uses, and even fragrance. While they can be beautiful, candles can also be dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 21 candle fires are reported each day. It only takes a matter of minutes for a candle fire to spread to other parts of your home. These tips can help you use candles safely.

1. Pay Attention to Placement
Be sure to put candles in a sturdy holder or container that won’t be easily knocked over. Place the holder on a flat, sturdy surface. Choose a location that is safely away from children and pets and is at least 12 inches away from anything flammable, such as books, decorations, curtains, furniture, paper, or clothing. Avoid candles if anyone in your home uses an oxygen tank.

2. Don’t Walk Away
Never leave a burning candle unattended, especially if there are other people in the house. Keep an eye on the wax level and be sure to put the candle out before it gets too low. If the flame gets too close to the bottom of the container or side of the holder, the holder could become extremely hot or even explode, sparking a candle fire.

3. Consider Alternatives
Today, there are many options available that mimic a candle’s soft, flickering glow. Battery-operated flameless candles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Because they don’t emit heat, these candle alternatives can be safely used just about anywhere. If scent is your primary motivation for using candles, consider using a fragrance diffuser with scented essential oils, or a plug-in air freshener. If you keep candles on hand for power outages, swap them for battery-powered flashlights. Keep fresh batteries with the flashlights to be sure you’re prepared.
A flickering candle may look lovely or smell amazing, but no candle is worth the potential injuries, smoke cleanup, and structural repairs that can accompany a candle fire.

How To Prevent Wind Damage To Your Commercial Building

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial building destroyed by hurricane winds Commercial roof damage in Buffalo, MN.

Protect Your Commercial Roof From Wind Damage

Wind can damage your commercial building in many ways. You could end up with missing shingles or a roof leak. However, there are some ways to mitigate the harm to your Buffalo, MN, property.

Outdoor Areas
You probably do not keep all of your assets inside. You may have some of the following outside, as well:

  • Sheds
  • Equipment
  • Inventory

Make sure all of these items are anchored to the ground. Anything that cannot be secured should be brought inside. You should properly attach outdoor signs to your property, as well.
Do not forget that wind can knock large shrubs and trees into the top of your building. To prevent a damaged roof, trim any branches that have grown close to the structure.

Doors and Walls
Before the storm comes, seal any crevices or cracks so the wind cannot enter your property. Similarly, you should secure all windows and siding.
Pay special attention to the exit and entrance doors. Install a triple hinge and a deadbolt lock on each door.

Have an inspector check out your building prior to the storm. The expert can tell you if you are at risk for a roof leak. The inspector should notify you if the shingles are loose or fail to meet local building codes. Make sure the inspector looks at the sheathing, skylights and HVAC units, as well.

Company Vehicles
Your vehicles are a valuable part of your business. Fixing them after a storm can be expensive. To keep them safe, store them inside when possible. If you have to park them outside, avoid placing them under power lines, lamp posts, or trees. You could also ask one of your employees to take the vehicle home with him and keep it in his garage until the storm passes.
A wind storm does not have to cause a roof leak or other forms of damage to your property. By protecting your building ahead of time, you can limit your need for commercial cleanup and restoration services.

3 Tips To Prevent Basement Flooding

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

wet floor of basement Keeping your basement dry is one of the best ways to protect your home and its contents.

Here Are Three Of The Best Ways To Avoid A Basement Flood

If you own a home with a basement in Annandale, MN, you've likely already thought about what to do if your basement floods. But as the saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Preventing basement flooding before it happens can save you time, stress and money on water damage and pipe repair. 

1. Keep Your Foundation Dry
The largest culprit behind basement flooding is a cracked foundation, as water will naturally follow the path of least resistance. Check thoroughly for any cracks that are leaking in your foundation. If you find any, repair them right away with caulk or hydraulic cement. It's also important to ensure that stormwater is directed away from your foundation. If needed, you can purchase downspout extensions, which help divert the water and aid in keeping your foundation dry.

2. Check Your Windows
If you have window wells (a window that is below grade), it's easy for water to collect there and potentially lead to flooding. Using window well covers can prevent this from happening. If you have any other external windows or doors in your basement, check them regularly to ensure their seals are water-tight.

3. Invest in a Flood Alarm
Flood alarms are sensors that track differences in moisture levels and are installed by your baseboards. They're perfect for smart homes, as they connect easily and alert you if it detects any flooding. This way, you can head off any potential basement flood and get a handle on it before it escalates and requires professional mitigation or pipe repair.
Keeping your basement dry is one of the best ways to protect your home and its contents. No method of prevention is foolproof, but using a combination of these and other prevention tips can greatly lessen your chances of flooding in your basement.

How Does SERVPRO's Electronic Claims Service Help?

2/24/2021 (Permalink)

Tablet and cell phone. The SERVPRO electronic claims service ensures that it's handled quickly and efficiently.

How Does SERVPRO's Electronic Claims Service Help?

When your Howard Lake, MN, client files an insurance claim on their damaged property, it's critical to get the process underway as quickly as possible. Over the years, SERVPRO has become a trusted leader in the damage mitigation and restoration industry.
SERVPRO's electronic claims service provides several benefits:

1. Easier Collaboration
When information passes through the hands of insurance agents, adjusters and damage restoration professionals, it helps to have all the data in one location. Unlike paper documents, electronic files provide everyone access, allowing for collaboration without the risk of data loss. An insurance agent can prepare a claim by reviewing the electronic claims system. Damage information and photos are just a couple of parts of the electronic claims service, along with access to nationwide comparisons.

2. More Security
SERVPRO's electronic claims service offers more security than paper records stored in an office filing cabinet. Security teams back up and monitor the digital files. Not only is the information protected from being physically destroyed (e.g., by fire), but its confidentiality is also more secure.

3. More Accessibility
Data related to the insurance claim can be easily viewed and inputted from the office or in the field by everyone involved. The insurance agent, adjuster and remediation specialists can access it via smartphone, tablet, or computer.

4. Less Risk of Errors
Everyone engaged in the claims process sees updates online through the electronic claims service. This ensures that all remain on the same page, reducing the chance of mistakes. Fewer mistakes mean a more accurate compensation value so the restoration can be completed as quickly as possible.

5. Quicker Resolution
When restoration professionals submit detailed data regarding damage and the cost estimates, the agent and adjuster can also view it. This real-time exchange makes for a much faster resolution than the traditional claims process, in which information is typically distributed through the mail.
The longer the insurance claim process, the more damage can affect the property. The SERVPRO electronic claims service ensures that it's handled quickly and efficiently.

Prevent Plumbing Disasters by Staying Proactive

2/17/2021 (Permalink)

Plumber with a clipboard writing down It is a good idea to get the contact information of a reliable plumbing service.

Here Are Four Ways To Prevent Plumbing Disasters

Being proactive when it comes to plumbing problems is a great way to prevent disasters and extend the life of your business’s plumbing system. Conversely, ignoring minor signs and waiting for disaster to strike can lead to costly repairs and additional damage. If you want to save money, and perhaps save your sanity, learning how to stay ahead of your plumbing issues is especially important in Rockford, MN.

1. Find a Professional Plumber
Even before you become aware of any potential issues, it is a good idea to get the contact information of a reliable plumbing service. Knowing who to call in the event of a broken pipe or similar emergency can save you from the headache of scrambling to find one later when the need is urgent. It is also recommended to have the number of a commercial water cleanup services available, in the event of an unforeseen water disaster.

2. Schedule Routine Inspection and Maintenance
Routine maintenance is important for ensuring your plumbing system is working properly. Plumbers will advise you on proactive measures, such as upgrading old equipment that is no longer reliable. Upgrading can save you money in the long run by helping you avoid leaks and other damage.

3. Fix Small Problems
Take care of minor plumbing problems like dripping faucets and slow draining sinks before they morph into expensive issues. Dripping faucets may not seem like a bit deal, but they can run up your water bill over time.

4. Watch Your Monthly Usage
Keeping an eye on your monthly water bill can help you spot problems that go unnoticed to the naked eye. If your bill skyrockets without any explanation, you could have an underlying problem, such as a faulty pipe behind your walls or a major leak in your water main.
Being proactive is one of the most effective ways to ensure you catch plumbing problems in your building before they start. Investing the time and money to maintain a good working system will far outweigh the cost of major repairs down the road.

What To Do if You Smell a Musty Odor From Your AC

2/3/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wood Wet wood in Delano, MN

Signs and How To Prevent Mold

As a commercial property owner or manager in Delano, MN, you know there are many tasks you must perform to keep buildings running smoothly. If you’ve ever noticed a musty odor when you run the heating or air conditioning, it might be time to check the ducts for black mold. An understanding of the signs, and how to prevent mold in the future, will help you identify the problem. Here are a few things to look for.

Signs of Mold
Even though it is small, mold leaves signs that will alert you to its presence. When determining the source of a musty odor, the first thing you should do is check for the telltale symptoms of mold:

  • Black dust near air ducts
  • Moisture or discoloration on floors or walls
  • Foul odors when air is flowing

If you notice any of these signs, the best thing to do is call a mold remediation specialist. Cleaning and sanitizing mold-affected items requires specialized equipment and expertise, so this is not a DIY situation. If you try to clean it on your own, you'll likely make the problem worse.

Prevent Mold
After your building is free of black mold, you’ll want to prevent it from coming back. Here are a few simple things you can do:

  • Improve ventilation
  • Keep gutters clean
  • Change the HVAC air filter regularly
  • Install a humidity sensor
  • Inspect bathrooms and kitchens for water leaks

These tasks will help you keep your building free of excess moisture, which causes mold growth. Depending on your climate, you may want to consider a system-wide dehumidifier to keep levels under control. In addition, you can schedule an annual duct cleaning to ensure mold doesn’t grow unnoticed.
Black mold is a tiny organism that can create significant problems if not addressed in a timely manner. By ensuring your building has clean ducts, you’ll maintain a healthy space for everyone inside.

3 Ways To Prepare Your Sprinkler System

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

Automatic ceiling Fire Sprinkler at the Office Don't allow your fire sprinkler system to be forgotten

Three Things To Do To Ensure the Safety of Your Staff and Your Building

As a new business owner in Clearwater, MN, you made sure that a sprinkler system was installed. When did you last think about it? Unfortunately, sprinkler systems often get left off of the yearly maintenance to-do list because they don't malfunction like an HVAC system where people notice if something is wrong. In the event of a fire at your business, you want to feel confident that your fire sprinkler system is going to do its job. 

Plan to periodically check your sprinkler system for obvious issues. Perhaps one of the sprinklers was damaged when a piece of equipment bumped it, or a pipe was bent during some type of maintenance. If you notice anything like that, call your fire suppression system contractor to come and replace the parts. Check too for dust build-up or rust.

The National Fire Protection Association sets standards for regular maintenance, inspection, and testing of fire sprinkler systems. Following these regulations keeps your business up-to-code and ensures that your system is ready if it's needed.
You don't have to set off the sprinkler system in your building to test it. Completing the main drain test will likely fall under the scope of a whole system inspection, but if for any reason you're concerned that your sprinkler system may not be working properly, you can test it yourself.
In the event that your sprinkler system does go off due to a fire, it is important to contact your system contractor to reset the sprinklers promptly. Then, follow up with a local fire and water remediation team that will assist in the fire sprinkler cleanup process as well as with soot and smoke damage mitigation.
Don't allow your fire sprinkler system to be forgotten. Regular maintenance, inspection, and testing will keep your business and employees safe.

4 Essential Steps to Take When Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

Insurance claim form Filing an insurance claim, while daunting, may save you a substantial amount of money

4 Essential Steps to Take When Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim

Dealing with water damage in your Monticello, MN, home is hard enough without adding insurance policies. Unfortunately, filing an insurance claim is an essential task for avoiding monetary loss. In order to make it easier, here are four essential steps to take when you're filing a water damage claim.

1. Contact Your Insurance Providers
Ignoring the existence of your insurance company can sound tempting. However, you must stay in contact at all times. First, make sure you understand your policy completely. Call the organization if you have any questions, no matter how minor. These are some possible queries to bring up:

  • What's the timeline for filing an insurance claim?
  • What are the mandatory steps to take?
  • Will my damage be covered?

Next, make sure that your providers are taking the right steps. If you experience any problems, now isn't the time to let anything slide.

2. Document Damages
In order to prove the need for monetary reimbursement, you'll require proof. Specifically, every spot in your home that's damaged must be documented. Take photos of items with visible flood damage. When an adjuster comes, be sure the individual inspects every problematic area. This can protect you from any claims of fraud or denials of your predicament.

3. Keep Monetary Records
Another important step in getting reimbursed is documenting your financial losses. Any money spent on remediation experts and replacements should be written down and presented to your providers. If there's a way to get proof of purchase, do so.

4. Fill Out Necessary Forms
Paperwork isn't exciting, but it's vital to fill it out as quickly as possible. The sooner you get your claim done the sooner you can recover after, for instance, a pipe burst. Make sure that you fill out each form with complete accuracy.
Filing an insurance claim, while daunting, may save you a substantial amount of money. If you stay thorough at every step, your home may be back to normal in no time.

4 Tips for Flood Proofing Your House

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

Clear standing water in a utility room Stormwater in a Maple Lake, MN home

Steps You Can Take To Enjoy a Bit of Flood Safety

Floods are some of the most common and most damaging disasters that U.S. homeowners face. However, there are some steps you can take to enjoy a bit of flood safety.

Prevent Electrocution

When flood water meets your electrical outlets, furnace, and other electrical equipment, there's a significant risk of electrocution. Even a tiny amount of water, combined with electricity, can cause serious injury. Reach out to a licensed plumber or experienced water damage remediation pro to determine your probable flood level and then move circuit breakers, sockets, and wiring above that level. Make sure your water heater and other equipment are located above that level as well. Steering clear of water and electricity is one of the most important safety tips you can follow.

Block Sewage Backups

When storm water overwhelms that sewer system, that system could back up into your home. Some expert recommendations include installing gate valves on every pipe that enters your home. A backflow valve, at the interior or exterior of your home, is a good option for keeping sewage out when flood waters rise.

Maintain Water Management Systems

Check the downspouts, drains, and gutters around your home. Are they free of debris, so water can easily flow through? These systems are meant to keep water away from your foundation, so it's vital that you keep them clear and in good condition.

Elevate Outside Equipment

If you have appliances outside, such as air conditioners, fuel tanks, and generators, store these in an elevated position, such as on flood-proof cement blocks. Make sure this equipment is anchored in place, so rushing water doesn't carry them off. This flood safety tip prevents you from some financial losses and also protects the community around you.
Before there's any risk of flood, take a look at how water moves around your Maple Lake, MN, house. Does the ground slope near your foundation causing puddles to form? Is there a lot of standing water in your street? Flood safety starts before the storms roll in; do what you can today to prevent flooding in the future.

3 Tips To Prevent Mold Growth In Your Building

1/7/2021 (Permalink)

Humidity control icons Monitor humidity levels

Mold Prevention Tips

The air in Buffalo, MN, is filled with mold spores. When mold spores encounter a moisture source, typically from a leak or other water damage, they begin to grow into mold. Excessive mold growth can cause serious structural damage to your building, not to mention cosmetic issues. These mold prevention tips can help you avoid a mold problem before it starts.

1. Monitor Humidity Levels
High humidity levels make the interior of your building an ideal breeding ground for mold. Increased humidity means more moisture in the air, the walls, and the carpeting. High humidity is also more likely to cause condensation to form on windows, plumbing fixtures, supply lines, and HVAC ducts. What’s more, high interior humidity could be a sign of a hidden leak somewhere in the building. Hygrometers, which measure humidity levels, are inexpensive and available at most hardware stores.

2. Correct Water Damage Immediately
If you notice any signs of leaks or other moisture-related damage in your building, always act immediately. Time is of the essence for controlling mold growth, as colonies can begin to form and spread in as little as 24-48 hours after the damage occurs. Act quickly to remedy any leaks or condensation. If major damage takes place, consider calling a professional water restoration service.

3. Ensure Adequate Airflow
Proper ventilation and airflow are essential to regulate the temperature and moisture levels in your building and to prevent mold growth. Keep doors between rooms open, especially during cold weather, and open doors to unheated rooms or closets. Move furniture away from walls to encourage proper air circulation. Ensure that your building has adequate ventilation to move fresh air in and moist air out.
Routine maintenance and inspections can go a long way toward preventing a mold outbreak in your building. Of course, sometimes accidents happen. By acting quickly after water damage and ensuring that proper mold remediation takes place, you can avoid a mold problem in your building.