Our Six-Step Drying Process
When North Dakotans are confronted with water damage, SERVPRO is the most trusted cleaning and restoration company in the state. This is due, in part, to our Six-Step Recovery Process used to ensure a property is completely dried and restored after suffering from water damage. Whether it is from broken pipes, sewer backups, or appliance leaks, we use the same process to ensure quality results.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
The first step is when we get the call. Whether it is directly from the property owner or from an Insurance professional, we get all of the details needed to begin our response. This includes details about the loss, contact and address information, and what has been affected by the damage. This gives our team the best idea of what equipment and specially trained technicians to send to begin response.
Step 2: Inspection and Damage Assessment
Once the call has been received, an inspection will be scheduled and SERVPRO technicians will be sent to assess the damage and begin work if approved by the property owner and their insurance. In most cases, a property owners insurance policy will cover initial services to mitigate damage, such as water extraction and removal, this means that technicians can begin work immediately without needing to get an estimate approved by the insurance provider.
Step 3: Water Removal/Water Extraction
The water process begins with packing out any materials to prevent further damage. This could be furniture or boxed items, or anything that can be moved to help our technicians best begin water removal.
Once items have been removed, powerful pumps and truck-mounted extraction wands are used to remove any existing water. This powerful suction technology will remove most of the moisture from affected flooring, making the drying process go quicker and smoother.
Step 4: Drying and Dehumidification
Once the excess water has been removed, the floors and walls may appear dry, but a quick inspection will reveal they are wet to the touch. Nearly all building materials, like wood, drywall, and flooring materials, are porous and therefore retain water. This retained water can cause the materials to break down, warp, or cause mold damage.
Using commercial grade dehumidifiers and high-volume air movers, we begin drying out the area while monitoring the progress with handheld moisture meters. For most jobs, the drying process will be complete within 1-3 days, depending on size and amount of moisture in the materials. After drying is complete, the final repairs can be scheduled and made.
Step 5: Cleaning and Repair
After drying is finished, cleaning and repair takes place. This varies from job to job but could involve cleaning off affected contents such as clothes, furniture, or other belongings. Additionally, for water damage, the area is cleaned and sanitized with special anti-microbial agents to prevent mold growth. Additionally, deodorizing might take place if there is a smell left over from the damage.
When stopping water damage, this can mean cutting into walls to stop further damage or to remove wet materials. After the area has been dried out, any left-over debris is removed and documented for the restoration repairs.
Step 6: Restoration
The final step in our recovery process is the restoration. While we try to save as much of the existing property as possible, oftentimes some things are unsalvageable. In these cases, our build-back department works with your insurance provider to restore the property to the condition it was in prior to the loss.
This can be as simple as replacing damage carpet or as extensive as a complete tear down and reconstruction of the damaged area. Whether it is a complete bathroom reconstruction or a simple wall replacement, we work with the insurance provider every step of the way to get approvals based on existing policies to get a seamless restoration completed.
Our 3D Matterport Camera.
Our New Matterport Camera
Continuing to strive to improve our service, SERVPRO of Minot recently purchased a 3D Matterport camera. This new technology will provide property owners and insurance companies with incredibly accurate measurements and 3D images for all property losses while we work to restore the damaged property.
Using Matterport, we are going to have accurate, updatable documentation throughout the entirety of the job duration. From our initial inspection until final walk through.
This will ensure the most comprehensive preloss asset documentation and risk management with the digital twin that allows for more informed and accurate underwriting practices.
- Unbeatable documentation accuracy for higher quality assessments.
- Add policy, work approvals, and claims notes directly into the 3D model.
- Complete detailed measurements of affected area with 3D imaging to ensure quality.
With 3D models, timelines for completing jobs will decrease exponentially. This will allow quicker communication between the property owner, their Insurance company and us here at SERVPRO of Minot. Allowing for the work to be done quicker, better, and with everyone on the same page.
Along with the 3D images model, Matterport also can create an accurate floor plan sketch. This sketch can then be uploaded to Xactimate® to send out estimates with all the information needed right in the sketch and models. This will speed up time for claims to be paid out and job losses to be processed.
SERVPRO of Minot is excited to begin training on Matterport programs and systems. We expect to begin implementing Matterport in our work later this month and look forward to using it to help our North Dakota communities recover from whatever disaster they may experience.
The Danger of Leaving a Car Battery Charger Unattended
During the frigid, North Dakota winters, it is common to come across a dead car battery. When temperatures dip below zero, car batteries can struggle to turn over the engine, preventing a vehicle from starting. The two remedies to get the vehicle to start are to: replace the battery or charge the battery, either through jumping with another vehicle or using a battery charger powered by an outlet.
While using a battery charger, it is important to monitor the progress of the recharge. Most modern battery chargers provide indicators that tell how far along the recharge is. Once a battery is full, starting the vehicle should be attempted, and if successful, the charger removed. If the vehicle does not start, even after having a charger on for a period of time, it means a battery is beyond saving and should be replaced with a new one from an auto parts store.
Continuing to leave a charger on a vehicle can have some bad consequences. Recently a Minot home was damaged when a charger was left on a vehicle, unmonitored, sparking a fire. Although it is suspected the charger or battery may have been compromised, there is a risk of fire with functioning equipment when left unmonitored.
Once the fire started, it quickly enveloped the vehicle that was charging and spread throughout the garage. Although the fire was extinguished, there was significant damage to the property left behind. Smoke and soot were prominent throughout the home and the garage, with damaged contents throughout.
SERVPRO of Minot is continuing to clean this property and working with the homeowner and the insurance provider, we hope to quickly complete a full restoration of the home and get it back to normal.
Types of Spring Weather to Be Prepared For.
As we make out way ever closer to summer, it is important to not forget about the possibility of spring storms in our area. North Dakota can experience a variety of different types of weather this time of year, here are just a few.
Although we have had a very mild winter, there is always the possibility of a spring blizzard in and around Minot. Overnight, there can be a dramatic decrease in temperature and accumulation of moisture. This can be hard on your home and you should always be watching and prepared for when a cold front is expected.
Spring is the prime time for sudden thunderstorms. These can have a tremendous impact on your home, from flying debris, to ripping off siding and damaging your roof. In addition, downpouring rain can be a hazard if gutters are not properly cleaned out or if there is a leak where water can enter your home.
Heat and Fire Danger.
As we have seen for the last few weeks, dry temperatures can cause potential risks for heat and fire danger. The dry environment creates the perfect conditions for grassfires which can cause damage to dozens or even hundreds of homes if not contained. In addition, the heat can be dangerous for your personal health and that of young children and senior citizens. Be sure if you are ever out in the heat for long periods of time to bring plenty of water and stay hydrated.
High winds are almost a staple of North Dakota. Although we are used to high gusts, it is still important to prepare for them. The biggest concern with high winds is damage to siding, roofing materials, and throwing debris into your home. Cleaning your yard and removing potential flying objects when a storm is expected, can guard against damage. While there is little you can do to prevent wind from removing siding, fencing, or roofing, other than proper, secure installation, you can make sure your insurance policy covers against that damage.
Fire at a Bismarck Hotel
Image captured from our 3D Matterport™ camera
Although you may expect to have problems when you stay at a hotel, you usually have an idea of what problems those will be, a bad mattress, poor breakfast, or loud neighbors. However, you do not expect a fire to ruin your stay. That is what happened at this Bismarck hotel when a case of arson left behind a sooty, smokey room.
Staying at a hotel is supposed to be a relaxing experience. Whether you are on a trip to relax or for work, the last thing you expect to have a fire within the building. Thankfully, nobody was harmed, and the fire was contained to the one room.
This was one of the first jobs we used our new 3D Matterport™ camera to document the damage and create a 3D model of. Having a 3D model will allow us to have the most accurate documentation of the job site and easy communication between our staff, the hotel managers, and their insurance providers. This will allow us to have quicker and better communication and ensure the property gets cleaned faster, allowing the hotel to reopen that room for guests once again.
Five Tips for Spring Cleaning
As the weather gets warmer and we make our way back into spring, here are five quick cleaning tips to make sure your spring cleaning goes smooth and easy this year!
Use minimum products
When preparing to start your cleaning, use as few products as possible. Minimizing your cleaning product inventory creates less clutter and confusion. Most of the time, you will just need a good all-purpose cleaner and some rags. Instead of overwhelming yourself with a wide range of cleaners for floors, wooden furniture, and appliances, use an all-purpose cleaner and save time switching between different products.
Create a plan
Organize your home and assign dates to clean different rooms and areas. Begin by making a list of all rooms in your home, including outside. Under ever room, make a list for what needs to be cleaned, it may help to walk through every room and write out the list. Once this is done, including everything that needs to be cleaned outside. Assign dates to every room, schedule bigger projects for weekends and smaller ones for afternoons throughout the work week. This way you have a plan and timeline to get everything cleaned.
Clean out the cabinets!
Spring cleaning is not just about what you can see. Declutter cabinets, fridges, drawers, etc. this will help get your home organized more than anything else. Everything might be clean now, but when you have to start digging through drawers and boxes to find something, your home will quickly become a mess again. Consider purchasing drawer and refrigerator organizers to help contain the clutter.
Lemons work great for cleaning all sorts of surfaces. From faucets to tabletops, lemons are great as a cleaning product. To clean your microwave, squeeze a lemon into a bowl of ½ cup – 3 cups of water and leave the lemon in the water, microwave for about 3 minutes or until it is steamy. Afterwards just wipe out the grease from the insides! Lemons are a natural, cheap, versatile tool to use for cleaning hard to clean areas.
Wash windows on a cloudy day.
When the sun is bright and shining, it can leave streaks from drying out too fast. Instead, wait until it is either cloudy, or the sun is not directly shining on the windows, such as at dusk or in the evening. This goes for mirrors too, turn off any bright lights and use ambient lighting to leave a streak less clean on these surfaces.
Places to not forget
While cleaning, don’t forget to clean out these easy-to-forget places as you complete your spring cleaning!
Wipe down kitchen cabinets
Stove top fans
Crumbs in toaster
Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Commercial Property
As we begin to transition from cold winter temperatures to warmer spring weather, here is a checklist of points on your property to check for winter damage and begin planning repairs. Compared to our typical North Dakota winter, this one has been pretty mild still, there was still a handful of weather events that had the potential for major damage. As our state continues thawing out, here are some things to check over and ensure for quality.
We are currently in a dangerous time of the year, as daytime temperatures begin regularly going over 32° the nighttime temperatures continue to dip well below that freezing point. This cycle of thawing and freezing can have a harsh effect on many parts of your building. Things like pipes, window seals, and drainage systems can become blocked or damaged. These should be constantly maintained throughout the year with a heavy focus during the winter and early spring months.
Additionally, here are things to look for during your spring inspection
- Pipes with minimal water flow
- Poor drainage pipes
- Cracks in the foundation, walkways, parking lots, and patios
- Broken or loose pavement
- Sink holes
- Missing roof shingles
- Separations or erosion in siding and masonry
- Rotting or loose boards
- Chipped paint
- Broken, cracked, or leaking windows
- Landscaping debris such as fallen leaves or branches
If you notice any of the damages listed above, you can begin making preparations for repairs, additionally, be sure to contact your insurance company if you suspect the cause of damage. While you may not have noticed the damage until days, weeks or months later, it is still possible you have not exceeded the timeline to file an insurance claim. For example, if a windstorm caused damage to your roof, but you were unable to get a roof inspection due to the cold, slippery conditions, you can still file a claim and be covered. When in doubt, it never hurts to ask your insurance company if your damage is covered.
Why You Should Purchase a Dehumidifier
When cleaning up water damage, commercial-grade dehumidifiers are excellent for sucking excess moisture from the air, helping to dry out the area and prevent further damage. While extraction of the standing water takes first priority, dehumidification prevents a variety of further problems such as improving air quality and reducing mold growth. If you don’t already have a dehumidifier, here are some benefits of why you should get one.
As mentioned in the paragraph above, the benefit of cleaner air is huge. Overly moist air is susceptible to catching a variety of airborne particles, contaminating your air. This could include dust, dead skin cells, and mold spores. Dehumidification reduces the number of particles in the air, making it easier and better for breathing.
Reducing moisture and maintain cleaner air is one of the best ways to prevent mold growth in your home. Mold grows by finding a damp, wet environment and then releases spores into the air which spread throughout your home until they find another surface to grow on. One of the reasons we at SERVPRO of Minot dehumidify areas that have been affected by water loss is to reduce the chance of mold growth.
While our commercial-grade dehumidifiers are excellent at removing large amounts of moisture from the air in homes and businesses, they are not affordable for the average person. However, many residential dehumidifiers are available that can be placed in a basement or other room and are specifically designed for a space of that size. Home dehumidifiers are affordable for most families and can be found in a variety of stores both online and in-person stores. If you have been considering buying a dehumidifier, there is no better time than now to make a purchase.
What to do if you have frozen pipes.
This is the time of year where harsh North Dakota winters pose the biggest threat of frozen pipes to your home. When water freezes in your home’s pipes, the water molecules expand into an ice blockage preventing water from passing through. This creates a pressure buildup in the pipe which can lead to a burst and a wet mess throughout your home or business. With North Dakota’s long stretches in negative degree temperatures, your home’s water pipes can quickly freeze if not taken care of. Here are some ways to know if your pipes are frozen and some remedies for how to fix them if you discover one is frozen.
Most of the time, a frozen pipe is not obvious. This can cause a problem as you will not even know it is frozen until too late. Signs of a frozen pipe include:
- No running water or only a trickle. In these cases, the pipe leading to the tap may be frozen.
- Frosted over pipes . If you can see frost on a visible pipe, there’s a good chance that it’s frozen. Of course, this is more difficult to check on pipes that are not in visible areas.
- Odd smells. If a pipe is blocked because of freezing, you or your tenants may notice an unpleasant smell coming from the taps or drains.
If you suspect a pipe is frozen, you should immediately shut off your main water line to prevent further water from flowing into the pipe. Next, you should attempt to slowly thaw out the pipe, if possible. DO NOT use open flames to thaw it out but other heat sources such as a hairdryer or towels soaked in hot water or increasing the temperature of the room by bringing in warm air.
If you suspect your pipes are at risk of bursting, immediately call a plumber and have extra towels ready to soak up a spill. Additionally, find a water mitigation company (such as SERVPRO of Minot) and be ready to call them to cleanup any mess that may occur if the pipe bursts. The sooner a technician can arrive, the more damage can be prevented.
While frozen pipes can be a dangerous situation, if discovered soon enough, you can take steps to protect your home and avoid a costly cleanup charge.
Disaster in Stanley
It is estimated that over 300,000 gallons of water fell through the broken ceiling pipe in this Stanley church.
Just before Christmas, SERVPRO of Minot received a call from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Stanley, ND. Above the Church’s indoor basketball court, a sprinkler pipe had burst cascading hundreds of thousands of gallons of water down on the church. This water spread throughout the building and spilled into the parking lot and nearby streets before being discovered.
This is one of the worst disasters we have seen this year. Due to the pipe burst not being discovered for a period of time, it meant that the water had time to soak into materials and contents throughout the church. Besides the collapsed ceiling, there was significant damage to the floors, walls, doors, and contents throughout the church.
Once we had received the call and had staff on site to assess the damage, technicians began working over the weekend to begin removing damaged materials and starting the drying process. With a job of this size (over 16,000 sq. ft.) it requires almost our entire staff along with additional temporary workers to make sure we are meeting deadlines for drying and saving as much of the existing structure as quickly as possible.
With a loss this devastating, it will be a while before normal operations in the church can resume. It will take a couple of weeks for drying to be completed, followed immediately by application of anti-microbial products to prevent mold growth. Once that is completed, a construction company will be brought in to build back and repair the building’s damaged and removed components until it is restored like new and ready to reopen. This will involve repairing the flood cuts in the drywall, replacement of damaged carpeting, repairs to the ceiling and, of course, replacement of the basketball court flooring.
This is a devastating loss for the Stanley community and people of the church, but SERVPRO of Minot is here to help get things back to normal and are glad that nobody was hurt in the loss.