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How To Avoid These 3 Common Causes of House Fires

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

Young man using red fire extinguisher to stop fire coming from oven in kitchen Kitchen fire in a Monticello, MN home

3 Common Causes of House Fires

There are many different types of accidents that can potentially lead to a house fire and require fire cleanup services, which is why it is important to always be aware of potential hazards in your home. Three common causes of home fires include cooking fires, a cigarette fire, and candle fires. Find out how you can protect your home in Monticello, MN, by reading the tips in this guide.

1. Kitchen Fire

From leaving cooking food unattended to accidentally allowing grease to splatter, there are many opportunities for a fire to start in your kitchen. Always make sure to stay near food whenever you are cooking and never leave food in the oven or in a slow cooker when you leave the house. Keep all flammable objects off the stove. When cooking with oil, have a lid nearby and don’t overheat the grease.

2. Smoking Indoors

Cigarette fires are the leading cause of fire deaths, which is why it is important to always practice safe smoking habits. While only smoking outdoors is the best way to prevent a fire from starting indoors, bedrooms should be kept completely off-limits. Steer clear of all flammable objects and make sure to avoid an ashtray fire by always putting out butts and properly disposing of ashtray contents.

3. Candles

Many people use candles around their homes, especially during the holidays. Always make sure to burn candles from away from flammable items, such as curtains and towels. Blow out candles before exiting a room, leaving the house, or falling asleep. Keep candles far out of reach from curious animals and children. Additionally, never let candles burn all the way down to avoid overheating the container.
These tips are all great ways to avoid the devastation a candle, kitchen, or cigarette fire can cause. The best tactic in keeping your home safe from a fire is to always remain aware of your surroundings and address any hazards you see right away.

What You Need To Know About Black Mold

9/23/2019 (Permalink)

Ceiling tiles with mold Mold damaged ceiling in Albertville, MN

What Causes Black Mold to Grow?

Even though mold is a natural organism, it can be worrying to see it inside your Albertville, MN, home, especially since it could be a danger to its soundness and hygiene. Something that may appear more intimidating is black mold, mostly due to its darker color. Read on to learn more about this specific mold, what causes its growth and mold cleanup and repair options.

What Is It?

This type of mold is also known as stachybotrys chartarum. Despite the name, it is not always black, as it sometimes takes a dark green color instead. The spores for this mold are found in both indoor and outdoor locations. While you may find it in the soil or in the grain, most of the time, it can make its way inside someone’s home or building through doors, vents or other entrances.

Why Does It Grow in Your Home?

Stachybotrys chartarum may thrive inside people’s homes due to the high number of cellulose sources found there:

  • Fiber
  • Paper and paper-derived materials
  • Wood and wood-derived materials
  • Carboard
  • Ceiling tiles

Drywall, paint and carpet also can attract black mold. It usually grows in very moist places, such as those caused by leaks, floods, condensation or humidity. The specific combination of high cellulose and low nitrogen in these environments can encourage the mold’s growth.

How Can You Get Rid of It?

You may treat this type of mold as any other kind. It can have the same effects on your property, such as structural damage and a strong, unpleasant odor. As such, you might need to remove it from the affected area as soon as possible. Mold remediation specialists can help you eliminate the mold and restore the area to its previous state.

Despite the darker hue, black mold essentially has the same behavior and weaknesses as regular mold. You may stop its destructive impact on your home in Albertville, MN, with proper cleanup and repair services.

Lower Your Commercial Water Bill With These Simple Upgrades

9/23/2019 (Permalink)

The Following Four Upgrades Can Help You Manage Your Monthly Water Bill

As a commercial business owner in Monticello, MN, you are always looking for ways to become more efficient and cost effective in your business practices. If you've experienced water issues in your facility, you know the costs can range based on the repair work needed and the resulting water damage restoration. Whether you want to lower your operating costs or prevent costly repairs, the following four upgrades can help you to manage your monthly water bill.

1. Hands-Free Faucets

For some, the initial cost of replacing and installing sink fixtures may feel like a bit of an investment. But when replacing old sink heads with touch-less faucets, think of the long-term savings and water waste prevention. With a touch-less faucet, motion sensors turn on the water only when washing. This prevents sinks from being uselessly left on and may save you money in the following ways:

  • Less water used
  • Less water wasted
  • Prevention of sink flooding

2. Efficient Flush Valves

Are you operating in an older facility? If your building is over 25 years old, it may be time to switch-out old toilet flush valves. This water upgrade will save you three-to-five times the water used by older valves. This is a fairly inexpensive fix and can save you a good amount of money with time.

3. Drip Irrigation

Does your business pay for on-site irrigation? Some of the most costly water issues are a result of poor irrigation planning. From haphazard watering patterns to leaking sprinkler heads, these water-wasting practices quickly add up in cost. One simple solution might be installing a drip irrigation system. These concentrated sprinkler heads use a fraction of the water and deliver it right to the plant, making them over 60% more efficient in some cases.

4. Timely Plumbing Repairs

While regular plumbing inspection may not be considered an upgrade to your building, plumbing professionals can address the need for immediate repairs. Likewise, they can alert you of water issues that may be costing you hundreds of dollars each month. Consider these four suggestions when looking to reduce your commercial water costs.

Keeping Sewer Water Out of Your Home

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

A plumber with a tool called "snake" trying to push out any blockage on a toilet Plumber with snake tool trying to push out any blockages on toilet

Take the Following Steps To Protect Your Home From Water Damage

Are your household pipes draining slowly? Do you hear bubbling from sinks or toilets? If so, somewhere in the drainage system, you may have a clog. Overtime, this issue can become troublesome, leaving the property vulnerable to sewage backup. Homeowners in Buffalo, MN, should take the following steps to protect their homes from water damage.

1. Trash It, Don't Flush It

Tossing items down the drain seems like a simple and easy solution. These lines, however, are not built for objects. Solids such as feminine products, flushable wipes, and paper towels are hazards. These do not dissolve and can cause backups; therefore, they belong in the waste can instead.

2. Cut the Grease

Oils do not mix with water, and fluids such as grease solidify in the drain. Locate a cup or container to hold these substances. Once they've cooled, dispose of them properly in the trash.

3. Clear the Lines

When major clogs occur, call in sewer cleaning specialists who can evaluate the situation and stop backups before they occur. After locating the access point, the crew should use a long cable called a snake to push out any blockages.

4. Trim the Trees

Large, bountiful trees are beautiful, but if they grow too close to the pipes, it can become problematic, creating holes and breaking the line. Keep plants trimmed to avoid this situation.

5. Add a Preventative Valve

During heavy rains, water levels rise. At times, this could overload the sewer lines and cause flooding into basements or lower-level areas of the home. Consider installing and maintaining a backup valve. The device redirects the water flow away from the residence, offering an additional layer of storm damage protection. If a flood does occur, locate the shut-off valve and turn off the water supply. Then, call a professional restoration company to handle the cleanup and repairs. The crew can fix your home so it looks and feels “Like it never even happened."

Homeowners should take steps to avoid flooding. Continually monitor the building's water flow, and keep lines free and open. Such actions may stave off larger, more costly issues such as a sewer backup.

How to Thaw Frozen Water Pipes

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

Place a space heater near the pipe

How to Thaw Frozen Water Pipes

Frozen pipes at your home in St Michael, MN can turn into a major problem if not dealt with immediately. Resulting burst pipes can lead to flooding, which can mean costly repairs. But there are several paths you can take to try to resolve the problem yourself before a disaster occurs.


Open the Faucets


Try turning on faucets to determine which pipes are frozen. If they are frozen, very little or no water will run out. Open the faucet (both hot and cold) of the affected pipe and let nearby faucets trickle. This running water can sometimes thaw some of the frozen water in the pipes within a couple of hours. It will also release water as the ice melts. Running water is less likely to freeze than water sitting in the pipes. It’s important to start with faucets first and work your way from there. This will keep pipe pressure to a minimum as the ice is thawing.


Heat the Air


Place a space heater or heat lamp near (but not touching) the pipe. Depending on the size of the room, several heat sources may be needed. Turning up the central heat at the property may also help.


Heat the Pipe


A hairdryer can be used to help warm frozen pipes. Use the hairdryer in a sweeping motion, constantly moving it to avoid uneven heating or overheating the pipe.


Wrap the Pipe


Electrical heat tape applies heat directly to the pipe. Wrap one layer of the tape around the affected pipe in a spiral motion and plug it in. Heat tape can be left attached to the pipe; just plug it in as needed.


Apply Salt


Since salt lowers the melting point of ice, pouring a tablespoon of salt down a drain can help to unfreeze the pipe.
Frozen pipes need to be dealt with quickly and safely to prevent bursting. If your house experiences damage from pipe freeze, you can rely on winter storm damage restoration professionals to get it back to normal as soon as possible.

Key Steps to Orchestrating a Fire Drill in the Office

8/22/2019 (Permalink)

Map out the building and determine the safest exits routes

You probably remember being in school and going through periodic drills to get ready for the possibility of a fire. You may have scoffed at these occasions, but the information and practice are valuable. As a business leader, you should carry on the same tradition and consistently hold a fire drill. You hope to never experience a fire in your Buffalo, MN, workplace, but the knowledge and preparation can give you peace of mind.

Map Out the Building

Regardless of the size of your office, you and everyone at work need to be aware of the layout and design. Study the map and determine the most effective and the safest exit routes from every floor and from every portion of the facility during an emergency.

Assign Roles

A fire drill should definitely not be a free-for-all where everyone rushes out of the building without order There are critical responsibilities that people should play in this scenario. These include the following:

  • Team lead or floor warden, who is responsible for making sure everyone gets out safely
  • Communication specialist, who can teach employees about the drill steps and what to do in an emergency
  • Design specialist, who can come up with the physical or digital representation of the escape route and meeting place.

Talk About It

Before having a drill, it is essential that all employees in the organization understand what will take place and what they will do once it begins. In groups meetings or in a company gathering, discuss the critical components of your drill, including where to meet and the importance of leaving promptly but calmly.

Practice

Have a drill at least once a year. This will benefit newer employees and refresh the memories of more seasoned workers. Afterward, discuss with the group what went well and what improvements are necessary.
After a fire, you can rely on experienced fire restoration specialists to get your building back to working order. However, you must do your part to evacuate safely and avoid injuries or other mishaps.

A Comprehensive Plan To Deal With Fire Damage

8/15/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot damage from fire in Annandale, MN

A Comprehensive Plan To Deal With Fire Damage

When fire damage strikes in Annandale, MN, it pays to have a comprehensive plan in place. A complete plan includes the following elements:

  • A quick response from fire remediation specialists
  • Action to secure the building from looters
  • Equipment in place to deal with water removal
  • A dry-cleaning strategy for uniforms and other fabrics
  • The storage of contents

The restoration of the building

All of these steps are necessary to get your business up and running again. The fire remediation professionals will work quickly to restore your building to its condition before the fire happened.

Why Content Cleaning Is Crucial

When a fire sweeps through your commercial building, there is likely to be some structural damage. There will also be damage from smoke and soot and this will have to be addressed before the building will be functional again. Specialized equipment in the hands of trained technicians will be needed. For clothes, dry-cleaning is the most effective approach, as it removes smoke odors and cleans away soot. For non-porous items, ultrasonic measures provide the best cleaning.
Another immediate concern is removing the excess moisture in the building. This can come from flooding due to a storm or from the efforts of the fire fighting crew. ventilation devices, scrubbers and thermal foggers are employed to remove the excess water and humidity. This is a crucial task to make certain mold doesn't begin to grow in areas of the building. Water removal will also help with retaining the viability of electrical equipment such as computer software and hardware. Content storage may be needed to remove items from the building while the cleanup is going on. This gets the items out of the way and keeps them protected while the work is going on.
Relying on a smart plan is the quickest way to recover after a commercial fire. Actions such as dry-cleaning, water removal and drying allow your business to get up and running as rapidly as possible.

3 Tips To Prevent Sewer Backup in Your Home

7/25/2019 (Permalink)

Tree roots growing in the sewer line is a common reason for sewer backup problems

3 Tips To Prevent Sewer Backup in Your Home

Sewer backup in your Rockford, MN, home can be a nightmare. Not only do you need to worry about water damage, you also need to protect yourself and your family from the bacteria often present in raw sewage.

There are many potential causes for backup. There may be a blockage or clog in your lateral pipe, in which case you may require sewer cleaning. Excessive rain can cause flooding that results in raw sewage backing up into your basement. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent basement floods in either case.

1. Install a Preventative Device

Examples include backwater valves and one-way floor drains. These usually remain open to allow wastewater to flow away from the home but then close up during flooding due to storms to prevent sewage from backing up into your home.

2. Trim Tree Roots

Small tree roots can get into pipe joints and cracks in the sewer line in their quest for moisture. As they grow bigger, they can cause blockages or other types of damage to the sewer system. It may be necessary to have the roots trimmed professionally.

3. Dispose of Paper Products and Grease Properly

What you send down the drain may come back to haunt you later on. Be careful flushing any paper products down the toilet; do not do so unless the manufacturer has marked it as safe. Do not flush feminine hygiene products under any circumstances.

Additionally, avoid pouring any cooking grease down the drain of your kitchen sinks, including the garbage disposal. Though it appears liquid when heated, it will become solid again as it cools. This can lead to blockage if it happens in the sewer pipes.

While these prevention methods can be highly effective against basement floods, none of them are infallible. Despite your best efforts, you may experience flooding, sewer backup, and resultant storm damage. Fortunately, emergency restoration services are Here To Help 24 hours a day.

Identifying the Odor of Mold

7/25/2019 (Permalink)

Mold damage on ceiling panels in a Howard Lake, MN building

When mold is hidden beneath your flooring, inside your walls or within your ductwork it can be difficult to spot signs of mold growth. However, a signature musty odor typically accompanies mold, particularly mold with dangerous mycotoxin. Keep your Howard Lake, MN, business safe with these helpful tips.

Why Does Mold Have a Musty Odor?

Mold can produce a range of unusual smells. Here are just a few unusual smells that could be affecting the air quality of your commercial property:

  • Musty
  • Pungent
  • Moist

Some smells are very faint, while others are quite strong and can affect your entire commercial building. Musty odors can detract from your professional environment and concern your customers and employees. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to can restore your building, prevent further mold growth and remove the dangers that can be associated with mold.

However, a musty odor isn’t the best sign of dangerous mold. Many of the dangers that come from mold in a commercial building come from mycotoxin, which is released by mold spores. The unusual odors that are coming from your office building or storefront are signs that mold is growing, but just because it has stopped smelling doesn’t mean that it’s no longer dangerous.

Effective Mold Remediation

Don’t simply try to remove the smell from your commercial building. Effective mold remediation not only removes the unusual odors, but also the potentially dangerous mold spores that are in the air and covering surfaces. Removing spores is the best way to restore your building and improve your air quality.

The best way to prevent mycotoxin spreading throughout your commercial property is by contacting a mold remediation specialist. A specialist has access to the HEPA filtration systems to clear the air and any surfaces that are damaged by mold. With prompt and professional cleaning, both the smell and the danger will be removed, “Like it never even happened.”

Why Is Mold Such a Concern After a Storm?

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

Mold damage after a storm in St. Michael, MN.

Storms pass through St. Michael, MN, often. When these chains of weather are particularly nasty, your commercial building may get beaten down and damaged. Storms can lead to hail, water or wind damage, but often the problems caused by storms are associated with mold growth. There are several reasons why your building may be at a higher risk for mold after a storm.

4 Reasons Why Mold May Grow After a Storm

  • Less protection. When winds tear your roof off, your building is open to all sorts of issues. Even light rain can cause water pockets to form in your attic or down your walls. Storms have a way of weakening the protection your building has, which could translate to more water problems and fungus growth.
  • Standing water. Some storms are accompanied by large amounts of water. If your basement is left flooded after bad weather rolls through, you need to get the issue addressed as quickly as possible. Storm water is often full of contaminants, which can cause mold to start growing in as little as 24 to 48 hours after the initial flood.
  • Passing time. Bad weather has a way of making normal activities hard to do. If the storm caused roads to shut down or your building to be unsafe, it may take a while for you or a remediation team to get into the building. This passing time increases the chances that bacteria and mold spores will cause bigger issues on your property.
  • Missed issues. Even if you were able to address roof repairs, broken windows and flooding right away, there is always the chance that a small problem was missed during the restoration. Even a small hole in the siding of your building can grow and cause a bigger mess. This small hole, for example, could let water in between your siding and sheathing. When this happens, mold growth is likely.

Mold growth does not always happen after storms. If you suspect fungus could be growing in your commercial space, it may be a good idea to get it looked at as soon as possible.