Warning Signs of Mold in Your Home
As summer weather continues to heat up our area, you may begin to notice signs of mold in your home. Read below to get a step ahead of these signs and stop mold growth before it becomes a major, and costly problem.
If you notice a musty odor, especially one coming from a basement or crawlspace, this is a very good indicator of mold. Even if you can’t see any discoloration, the smell could be coming from behind the flooring or walls where you can see it. By the time you can smell it, steps should be taken to inspect for mold and then clean or remove and affected materials.
Leaks or Past Water Damage
If you have experienced recent or past water damage, or if you notice there is a current leak in your home, mold growth may have taken place. Mold grows in dark; moist environments and a leak can provide enough moisture for mold growth. Additionally, past floods can contribute to mold growth. To prevent water damage from turning into mold, act quickly to dry up any leaks or spills and if it is major damage, contact a professional remediation company, such as SERVPRO, to clean it up fast.
Which Appliances are Most Likely to Leak.
Although any appliance that uses water is susceptible to a leak, here are the ones you need to be most aware of, to prevent a wet disaster in your home.
Hot Water Heater
Most water heaters will last 10 – 15 years, but leaks can happen at any time. The seals going into the water heater can break down quickly because of the constant pressure from heating and cooling. With hot water heaters also being tucked away into closets, leaks can go unnoticed until they become a major problem.
A dishwasher’s water lines are typically made from a soft plastic that can easily fail, so checking for leaks under the dishwasher as part of your annual home maintenance is wise. If you notice dishes not being clean, strange noises, or your dishwasher just not working right, inspect for a leak.
Washing machine hoses are some of the most common sources of leaks. Because they are notorious for this, it is recommended that they are inspected at least once a month by homeowners so you can be sure no issues have arisen. In addition to these regular checks, they should be fully replaced every five years in order to prevent hidden deterioration.
The drain in your HVAC unit is designed to keep condensation from pooling in and around the unit, but if this drain malfunctions, water damage can quickly be caused. Reference your manufacturer’s manual to determine how often your unit should be inspected and serviced—having a professional technician evaluate your machine is the best defense against HVAC-created water damage.
While not as likely to create as big of a mess, window air conditioners can also create leaks from condensation buildup, pump failures, and a number of parts issues. Most of the time these leaks can be cleaned up with towels and the unit repaired, but improper use over a period of time can create a leak and cause a mold problem as well.
Different ways a Summer Storm can Damage your Home.
As we head into the summer months, North Dakota storms may be on their way, that can cause damage to your home. While we have experienced a dry spring, you never know when a sudden storm could form in our area. Below are some different ways a storm can cause property damage.
High winds and water are the perfect combination to damage your roof. Whether it is tearing off shingles or opening a crack that creates a leak, your roof is the first and foremost concern after a violent storm. Additionally, trees and branches could be brought down during the storm, causing obviously devastating damage.
Similar to your roof, wind and rain can tear siding off your home or create leaks. After a storm, walk around the perimeter of your home and make sure nothing has come loose or been torn off.
While you may not think about your foundation being damaged in a storm, a storm with a large volume of rain can cause flooding into your basement. Rain can sink down and pool up next to your foundation, increasing the pressure of water against your foundation wall, which could result in cracks, shifting, sinking, and bowed foundation walls.
These are just a few ways that storms can damage your home, if you ever have damage that you want professionally inspected, give us a call and we will see what we can do to help you get your home back to normal.
What causes a sewer back up?
One of the most common homeowner insurance claims is because of sewer backups. This ends up being a nasty, messy catastrophe in your home, but what is the cause of it? There are a multitude of reasons why you could experience a sewage back up, but here are a couple of the most common.
Clogged drains are one of the most common reasons for a sewer backup. Improper use of toilets and sinks can cause a main sewer line to become clogged. Flushing cleaning wipes, diapers, napkins, and many other hygiene items can cause a sewer line to become clogged over time. Sewer lines are filled with a volatile combination of hair, soap, and dirty water, adding things such as grease or excess kitchen waste can clog the drain and lead to a sewer backup.
Sewer lines often run under front lawns and nearby tree roots can grow into and around the pipes. Trees have expansive root systems and even if the pipe itself is not near a tree, the roots can spread out and around the pipe.
Once a tree root has grown into a sewer line, the line will need to be replaced and often times the tree roots removed or trimmed down. This will be a big project involving digging into the ground and replacing the existing sewer lines.
How to inspect your roof for damage after a thunderstorm
After a booming North Dakota thunderstorm, you might be concerned about damage to your home and especially your roof. After a storm, here are some tips for inspecting your roof for water damage so you can get it fixed before the next storm.
Look for leaks
The most clear and obvious way to know if you have roof damage is if there is water leaking into your home. Look along the seams where the wall meets the ceiling, corners of rooms and in the attic for any kind of moisture or dampness. If you find any, you will know where to make repairs and can help to mitigate against further damage.
Look on the roof
If you find no damage on the interior of your home, try getting up on the roof and looking for any breaks in shingles, projectile damage, or other cracks that may have opened in your roof. Carefully go over each section to find any kind of wind or water damage. Make sure any seals around grates, vents, or windows are intact and have not weathered.
The Garden Hose Test
The most thorough test you can do for your roof to ensure there are no leaks is to test it out by simulating heavy rain conditions. With someone inside watching for leaks, pour water from the garden hose over sections of your roof to look for leaks. You can also do this to make sure your gutters are properly draining. This test will give you a firsthand look at how water is draining off your roof and let you know of any repairs that need to be made.
If you do find any damage to your home or roof, immediately contact your home insurance provider and make sure to document any damage with pictures so that you can get a claim submitted for repair costs.
How SERVPRO Gave Back to Minot Firefighters
This past year, Minot’s local firefights stepped up to the challenge. From battling the COVID-19 pandemic to responding to a series of wildfires that occurred early in a dry spring, on top of dealing with all the normal emergencies we expect of our first responders. To wanted to give them a show of our appreciation, and we were able to do just that, with the help of Big Time Bistro.
We donated dozens of gourmet sandwiches from Big Time Bistro to all stations and all shifts of fire fighters in the Minot Fire Department. The firefighters were ecstatic to receive food from this local Minot brand which had just recently returned to the community after a hiatus for a few years.
Our first responders are essential to keeping our community safe and saving lives, properties and homes that would otherwise be lost. We cannot thank all of our first responders enough, and hope by providing them lunch for a day we were able to show a small sliver of the thankfulness we have for them.
How Sprinkler Systems work to put out fires in commercial buildings.
A staple of modern fire prevention, sprinkler systems are a modern marvel when it comes to protecting buildings, their assets, and the people who live and work inside of them. Sprinkler systems are highly sophisticated and have saved countless lives and properties since their implementation in the early 1800s. Below are the three main steps that set off a sprinkler system.
1. A sprinkler head turns on when it detects high temperatures. Fire sprinklers turn on when high heat triggers the system rather than being activated by smoke. Hot air rises during a fire and spreads across the ceiling until it reaches a sprinkler head and activates the fire suppression system. Many sprinkler head designs feature a glass bulb filled with a glycerin-based liquid that expands when it comes into contact with air between 135 and 165-degrees Fahrenheit. The liquid shatters the glass container when the surrounding air reaches temperatures in this range, activating the sprinkler head.
2. Sprinkler heads dispense pressurized water from the pipe system. Each fire sprinkler head is attached to a pipe that brings in water. When a sprinkler head becomes activated, a valve connected to the head opens and sends water out through the sprinkler head to douse the fire. Water pressure is important, as it causes water to spray out over a larger area.
3. Sprinkler heads function individually to limit water damage. Each sprinkler head in a sprinkler system functions separately. Many small fires can be extinguished with only one or two activated sprinkler heads. Sprinklers pose less of a water damage risk to a property than a fire hose. Some restoration specialists estimate that the average sprinkler system dispenses six times less water than a hose.
How SERVPRO uses Technology to stay ahead of our competition.
In an effort to constantly strive for improvement, SERVPRO of Minot tries to stay on the leading edge of new technologies to help us improve our work. We provide our employees the latest available tools to improve our overall efficiency and quality. Here are a few examples of technology we use.
Xactimte is a national estimating software used by insurance adjusters. We use this software to make sure we have standardized, competitive prices as well as ease of communication when working with adjusters.
Matterport is a 3D modeling and sketching software. This allows us to use 3D virtual models to document job sites. Using this, we can more accurately create estimates, enable quicker communication with insurance professionals and property owners.
We use infrared cameras to detect moisture in walls, floors, and ceilings. These handheld cameras allow us to find water that is being held in walls, flooring, or ceilings. With a better idea of where the water is being trapped, we save time when extracting wet affected materials wall also having to replace less materials when we restore the site.
Moisture meters are handheld detection devices that, like infrared cameras, can be used to find the source of moisture or where water has spread. The difference between these and infrared cameras is that infrared cameras are used 2 scan an area where there is no known leakage 2 find a possible leak, while moisture meters are used to determine the spread of an already known leak.
These are just a few examples of some technology we use to be on the leading edge of restoration companies in North Dakota. Follow our Facebook page @SERVPROMinot to see what other tools we use to stay ahead of the competition.
Three things you can do today to prepare for a summer home fire.
As we head into this summer months and the temperature start heating up, now is a great time to make sure you are ready in case the unexpected happens. Summer is the busiest season for home fires to occur. Here are three things you can do today to make sure you are ready for a home fire.
Check Fire Extinguishers
Now is a great time to check your fire extinguishers and perhaps by more if necessary. Check the gauge at the top of the extinguisher and make sure it is properly pressurized. If an extinguisher has no pressure, return it to the manufacturer or proper dealer and purchase a new one. Make sure priority rooms in your home are within reach of a fire extinquisher, this includes the kitchen, garage, basement, utility rooms, hallways and any other room that could be susceptible to a fire. Remember to place your extinguishers around your home so that you will be able to reach one quickly and safely, without being cut off by a potential blaze.
Make an Escape Plan
Bring your whole family together for a reminder about the escape plan in case of a fire. Have a predetermined location for everyone to meet after they have left the house. This way it reduces family members going back into the home to look for someone, which should never be done. In the plan be sure to determine how every member will get out, where to meet, and plans for afterward such as friends or family to stay with and insurance numbers to call.
Check smoke alarms
Smoke alarms should be checked annually. This is a simple step that can be done to drastically help prevent fire damage and prevent loss of life. Make sure the alarm is fully functional by pressing the test button until a sharp piercing noise can be heard. If no noise is made, replace the battery and try again. If there is still no noise, replace the whole unit.
As we head into the summer months, be sure to take steps to protect your home and family from an unexpected fire today.
Disaster in Velva after a Long Weekend
When city employees came back to work after a long weekend, they were stunned to find a wet mess throughout their office space. A pipe had burst and completely flooded half of the City hall building.
After calling SERVPRO, technicians were on the site within two hours after the call and began extracting water from the rooms and removing restorable materials from the building. Additionally, they applied anti-microbial products to the affected flooring and walls to prevents mold growth. Technicians were able to answer all concerns that employees had and update the insurance professionals on the status of the work.
Once mitigation of the water damage was completed, reconstruction was scheduled, and materials were ordered to begin the build back work. This is a perfect case in why you never know what can happen over a long weekend and why we will always be here to help.