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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Dealing with mold

7/13/2022 (Permalink)

Dealing with mold

Introduction

Mold is a mysterious and frightening problem to deal with, especially if you're not sure how to get rid of it. There are many different types of mold that can be found inside your home when you least expect it. Some types of mold are more harmful than others, so it's important to know what you're dealing with before trying to clean up the mess. In this guide we'll walk through the steps for cleaning up a small or medium size problem first, then expand outwards from there as needed!

Step 1: Check for mold.

The first step in dealing with mold is to find it. Mold starts growing when there is dampness and darkness, so look in the bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and basements of your home. If you have an attic or crawl space that doesn't get much natural light, check these areas too. Be sure to check for black spots on pipes or walls as well as blue or green streaks on ceilings and walls.

Step 2: Identify the problem.

Mold can be found in many places. It can be the result of a water leak, and it often occurs in the bathroom, kitchen or other areas where moisture is common. If there is mold anywhere in your home, you need to take steps quickly to remove as much of it as you can before it spreads further and makes its way into your walls and flooring.

Step 3: Decide how much you can take on yourself.

If you're not sure about how to remove the mold, call a professional. It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health!

Step 4: Gather your tools and supplies.

  • Goggles

  • Paper mask (or bandana)

  • Dust mask, disposable or reusable filter masks

  • Rubber gloves, nitrile or latex

  • Tissues and paper towels, preferably few-ply

Step 5: Use separate tools for each room.

Now that you have a sense of the scope of the problem, it's time to decide what tools and products will be most helpful in removing mold from each room. This step might seem unnecessary, but trust us: it's not! The best way to avoid cross-contamination is by using different brushes or pads for each room.

Also, don't forget that some of your tools may need replacing now and then (especially if they've been exposed to moisture). You could also consider purchasing a few extra pieces which can be used throughout all rooms so as not to waste time by having to stop mid-job and go get another one.

Alternatively, if budget isn't an issue for you then there are other ways in which we can help prevent cross-contamination like using disposable wipes instead of rags or cloths (which may carry residual mold spores).

You'll also need a big bucket to mix the solution in and a spray bottle to apply it with, unless you're using premixed products, which are available at Builders Warehouse.

You'll also need a big bucket to mix the solution in and a spray bottle to apply it with, unless you're using premixed products, which are available at Builders Warehouse.

I recommend using an inexpensive 5-gallon paint bucket ($8) for mixing the solution. You can get away with smaller buckets if your room is smaller than 100 square feet or so, but larger ones are needed for larger rooms because they will allow you to mix up more product at once. The reason is that when using bleach, you have to add water slowly while stirring constantly until all of the bleach has been diluted into an even mixture. If the bucket is too small, then there won't be enough room for this process and some of your mixture may not get fully diluted before being sprayed onto surfaces in your home (and may end up causing damage because it contains un-diluted bleach).

Step 6: Cleaning and disinfecting.

Step 6: Cleaning and disinfecting.

Once you’ve identified the moldy area, it’s time to clean it. Mix a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water in a spray bottle, then apply the solution directly to the moldy area using a paper towel or cloth. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe clean with a second dry cloth.

Step 7: Deodorize and prevent future mold growth.

To deodorize the area, you can use bleach and water. Start by rinsing the area with clean water, then apply a mixture of one cup of household chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water. Let this sit for at least 5 minutes before wiping up any excess solution. For best results, allow it to dry completely before using your space again.

If your mold problem is particularly severe or if it did not go away after cleaning (or if you have another type of resistant mold), bring in professionals who specialize in removing toxic molds from homes such as BioAir; these experts will be able to assess whether any additional steps are necessary.

In addition to cleaning the affected area(s) in your home thoroughly, there are several other things that can help prevent future mold growth:

  • Use a dehumidifier when possible and/or open windows during dry spells (e.g., when it’s raining outside). This will help keep humidity levels low enough for most molds not to grow inside buildings or homes where they otherwise would thrive on moist surfaces such as walls or ceilings--but take care not overdo it because too much moisture removal may cause condensation problems elsewhere within your building! If possible use both methods together; one without support from another approach will likely fail due towards lackadaisical results since nothing else exists which would serve as extra support aside from maybe frequent vacuuming maintenance schedule services."

Mold is an unsightly, expensive and sometimes hazardous problem that must be dealt with immediately

  • Mold growth is unsightly.

  • Mold growth can be expensive.

  • Mold growth can be hazardous to your health.

  • If you notice mold growth in your home, it must be dealt with immediately!

Conclusion

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you're dealing with mold, it's important to act quickly and get rid of it as soon as possible. Remember that there are many different types of mold out there, so make sure you know what kind your home or office building has before starting any cleanup process!

Meet our Team: Steven Bovia

7/11/2022 (Permalink)

Steven Bovia is from Alamogordo, NM and move to Minot 3 years ago. He enjoys cars, motorcycles, music, and singing. He enjoys being part of the Minot community and appreciates the close proximity of retail stores, restaurants, and grocery stores for his basic needs.

Steven is a Production Technician here at SERVPRO of Minot and is highly motivated to help out customers when disaster strikes. He specializes in fire and water clean up and restoration. His attention to detail and willingness to help has made him a true asset to our company.

He hopes to one day become a production manager for the company and continue to grow in his career and level of service he provides to his customers. Continuous improvement and his positive outlook are very important traits that Steven contributes to our SERVPRO team. 

Keep up the great work and thanks for being a part of our team!

Dealing with Large Commercial Water Damage

3/1/2022 (Permalink)

When it comes to commercial water damage, bigger is always worse. Commercial buildings are more susceptible than residential homes due to having more water lines for sprinklers, bathrooms, faucets, etc. These water lines are also not routinely used and therefore are more susceptible to leaks/breaks. When a water line in a commercial property breaks, it can be disastrous.

Large commercial water damage can be especially disastrous if it happens on an upper level, as water will run down into the levels below, causing damage all along the way.

Large scale damage like this is hard to mitigate as all floors need to be dried out and protected against mold growth. This can involve removing wet materials and contents or drying out and cleaning existing contents to prevent replacement.

When drying out a large, multi-story area, you need to have lots of equipment and personnel to handle the job, at SERVPRO of Minot we have a large, highly trained crew that specializes in handling large commercial losses. Our corporate playbook is used to make sure timelines are being met, work is completed up to the highest standards, and expenses are being kept in check. SERVPRO is one of the top industry leaders in large loss restoration and SERVPRO of Minot strives to keep up that reputation.

Large water losses can be devastating for a business. With SERVPRO of Minot we have the right equipment, knowledge, and people to get the job done right.

When does Water Damage Cause Mold?

2/7/2022 (Permalink)

Whenever you have a water loss, it is a nerve-racking experience. You have to worry about cleaning up the water, drying out what’s affected, and possible mold growth. Sometimes you can take care of these things on your own, other times a professional company, like SERVPRO®, needs to come in assess it and then clean it. With any water loss, mold should be a worry, but when does water actually cause mold growth?

Different types of water damage that can cause mold growth are:

  • Sewage back-up from flooding in the area.
  • Plumbing or roof leaks.
  • Damp basement or crawl space.
  • Overflows from sinks or bathtub.
  • High humidity: steam cooking, dryer vents, humidifiers.
  • or any type of stagnant water in your home.

Mold will begin to grow 24-48 hours after the initial water damage. If you discover the source of damage, stop it quickly, and clean up the mess you likely don’t have to worry about mold. If the water damage isn’t found within a few days, mold is going to become a concern.

If the water is not dried out within that time window, a professional may apply antimicrobial products to prevent growth. This is why you should contact a professional no later than 48 hours after the initial damage, if there is still moisture present.

The best way to prevent mold growth from water damage is to clean up the water and dry out the area as fast as possible. If you aren’t sure whether or not you can dry it out on your own, contact SERVPRO of Minot and we can advise you on the next steps to take to prevent further damage to your home.

Dealing with Commercial Water Damage

1/25/2022 (Permalink)

When dealing with water damage, bigger is almost always worse. The more water that is flowing through a space, the worse the damage will usually be. Water damage in commercial buildings has the potential to be far more disastrous than a residential home, because of how many more pipes there are in a commercial building. More bathrooms, appliances, and sprinkler systems mean there are a greater number of chances for a water loss, whether this is from a frozen pipe or one that has not been maintained properly.

With a commercial loss, it also means more equipment will need to be used to dry out the area. More equipment means more manpower needed to move the equipment. This trend can keep compounding out to show how commercial jobs can have costs add up quickly.

It is also the cost of not doing business that makes a large water loss so damaging. Not being able to have a store/location open for days, weeks, or months at a time can mean a devastating loss of profit which will just makes a water loss worse. This is why SERVPRO of Minot uses every method to expedite the restoration process. Such as working directly with insurance providers, offering construction services, and using state of the art equipment to get the restoration process completed fast!

Large commercial water losses can be scary, SERVPRO of Minot relies on our experience to get the damage under control and back to normal.

Does Windchill affect your home?

1/20/2022 (Permalink)

In North Dakota, we are used to the phrase “It wouldn’t be so cold if it wasn’t for the wind.” Windchill is calculated through a formula that describes how much colder the air temperature is due to heat loss caused by winds. While windchill is usually used to describe how the temperature affects humans, it is important to remember how it can damage your home.

The same way humans give off heat through their skin, homes give off heat through low insulated spots such as windows, open doors, or leaks. The more insulated a home is, the better it will be at retaining heat. Wind chill affects every and all objects, until it doesn’t. It stops having an effect when the object is the same temperature as the actual air temperature. Any warm heat sources like your body or your home, that are trying to maintain a warm temperature in a cold environment, will all be affected by windchill.

When a wind chill advisory is in effect, if you have a drafty home or if you accidentally leave the fireplace flue open or a window is not fully closed, the cold wind is going to have a noticeable effect on your home heating and home comfort. Make sure to insulate and seal up your house as much as possible. A poorly insulated home is susceptible to water damage caused from leaks or frozen pipes.

When dealing with cold temperatures, wind can have an additional impact on your home and heating bill. Properly insulating your home and sealing up cracks or other drafts can make a huge difference in the lifespan and value of your home. When the windchill temperature gets lower, be sure to keep your home protected and prevent disaster.

Safety with Space Heaters

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

With Winter in full swing, many of us have broken out space heaters to keep ourselves warm. Whether it is at work or at home, space heaters are a great way to stay toasty when the temperatures get to be in the negatives for days on end.

When using a space heater however, it is important to follow best safety practices to prevent a fire. Space heaters are perfectly safe, when used properly. Use the tips below and keep your home and office safe, and warm, this winter.

  • Leave the heater on level floor, don’t place on carpet - it can overheat and start a fire.
  • Do not use in bathroom, unless it is designed for it - moisture can damage the heater.
  • Keep three feet away from flammable materials and out of the way of children and pets.
  • Should always be plugged directly into wall outlet, don’t use with extension cord because it can cause overheating.
  • Don’t leave heater unattended, make sure to unplug when not in use.
  • Never sleep with a space heater on.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor.

If your space heater shows signs of wear such as broken cords, power fluctuations, or inconsistent temperature, immediately replace. An old space heater can malfunction and start a fire or overheat and leave an odor/smoke smell in the air. Never overuse a space heater and if you smell burning, immediately unplug and discontinue use.

When dealing with frigid temperatures, space heaters are a quick solution to help fight the cold. Using them safely will keep you warm and your home or office safe this winter.

How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

In North Dakota, we are no strangers to a bad winter. With freezing temperatures, lots of snow, and high winds, winter storms can be dangerous for your home and your family. Here are some tips to make sure you’re ready for the North Dakota winter.

Be prepared to lose power.

The biggest worry during a storm is that you will lose power. Although this is usually restored within a few hours, it is very possible to lose power for multiple days if there are multiple power lines down throughout the area. Stocking up on non-perishable food, warm clothing, and buying batteries is essential. If you can have a generator fueled and ready to power your home, this would be the best-case scenario to ensure your families safety. Be in contact with friends and family and have an emergency home to go to in case you need to stay a few days somewhere else while power is restored.

Be aware of frozen pipes.

In freezing temperatures, water pipes are very susceptible to freezing. Even if your home has power and heat, pipes can still freeze. To prevent this, use water sources regularly so that water flows through pipes and doesn’t have time to build up and freeze. If you try to use a sink, toilet, or appliance and there is no water coming into it, this is a sign you might have a pipe break. Another tip for prevention, is to have a tiny drip of water flow through your pipes to stop pressure from building up.

Remove snow as far away from home as possible.

If feasible, push snow away from your home. This will prevent ice from building up around your home and its foundation, which could cause cracks and leaks inside the house. Pushing snow away from your home will also help during spring when snow and ice begins melting, if there is too much water near your home, it can seep in through the foundation or other cracks in your windows or siding. Although sometimes snow has to be piled up next to your house, when possible, push it as far away as possible.

We hope you and your family stay safe this winter! If you ever suspect you have water damage, give us a call and we can use our water detection technology to find any leak or pipe break!

Hotel Reconstruction

12/29/2021 (Permalink)

After a major water loss over the summer, we were finally able to complete the reconstruction of this Minot hotel.

With water damage from multiple pipe breaks flowing down through multiple floors, this was our longest job of the year. Once the drying was completed we had to completely tear out and build back the rooms, hallways, and specialty rooms in the hotel. This included the fitness center, pool, and maintenance rooms. 

When dealing with large losses like this, it is important to be very detailed when documenting the damage. Keeping detailed notes helps with time management, labor costs, and most importantly, material costs. This also allows for the most efficiency throughout the whole job process.

When it comes to Fire and Water damage, there is no company more trusted in the Minot area then SERVPRO!

The Leader in Advanced Restoration Technology.

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

As a leader in property restoration, SERVPRO of Minot uses the newest tools and technology to get the job done right. From advanced drying equipment to latest restoration software programs, we keep

Mold Testing Technology

When faced with mold, we have a testing system to guarantee that mold is in the area. With lab analysis, we can know within 24-36 hours whether or not there is mold in an area that needs remediation.

Testing for mold allows us to save homeowners and property managers money and time. A post-test also allows us to certify that our remediation efforts were successful and removed the mold from the property.

DryBook™ Job Tracking Software

Using our trademarked restoration software, we can log job details, know how much equipment to use, and have customers fill our forms electronically, on site. Electronic documentation also allows easier communication with insurance representatives and our office staff.

Matterport™ 3D Model Camera

Our Matterport™ 3D Model Camera is unlike anything other restoration companies have! Using this, we can map the job site and create virtual 3D walkthroughs of the property. This helps with creating estimates, communicating with insurance representatives and documenting the progress of the job from start to finish!

We strive to be the leader in cleaning and restoration. Finding and using the latest in restoration helps us to make every disaster, “Like it never even happened.”

How to Safely set up a Christmas tree.

12/7/2021 (Permalink)

Every year, U.S. fire departments respond to ≈160 fires that started at a Christmas tree. These fires cause injuries and death along with millions of dollars in property damage. To keep your family and home safe this holiday season, follow these tips below.

Choosing a tree

  • If choosing a real tree, use one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off with normal movement.
  • Remember to water your tree daily.
  • If using an older tree, make sure the pieces aren’t broken and are stable enough not to fall over.

Lighting the tree

  • Make sure to use indoor lights and not outdoor lights.
  • Never leave lights on at night or while away from home.
  • Do not use candles as lights or have near the tree, contact with a flame is not needed for ignition.
  • Replace any broken or frayed lines that are on your lights.

Placing the tree

  • Do not place your tree within 3ft of any heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or powerful lights.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit and isn’t in a path where people or pets could trip over it.

Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family, be sure to use caution and safety to have a great holiday season!

Tips for Cooking with Oil

10/26/2021 (Permalink)

The number one cause of house fires is from cooking. The heat we use to cook our food can be dangerous when we are careless or leave a hot surface unattended. Cooking with oil is especially dangerous due to the volatility of hot oil. Below is a list of best practices for cooking with oil to make sure you and your home stay safe. 

Never Leave a Hot Frying Pan Unattended. 

A fire can quickly ignite and become uncontrollable within seconds. Leaving the kitchen for even a shot time can be disastrous for your home. 

Smoking Oil is Dangerous. 

If you are heating up oil and it begins to smoke, this is a warning sign. Immediately turn off the stovetop and wait at least 15 minutes for the surface to cool. If possible, safely move pan from burner and set on an unheated burner or other surface. 

Keep a Lid Nearby. 

If a fire does happen, place the lid over the pan to suppress the fire. Do not throw water onto the hot oil as the water will instantly boil and set off a burst of hot oil & water that can only spread the fire. 

Cooking with oil is a quick way to make all of your favorite foods and recipes. Using caution, you can have a wonderful meal with no worries. Be sure to exercise safety when cooking at all times and hopefully you will never have to worry about cleaning up a fire in your home. 

What Needs Replaced After Water Damage?

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

Water damage can happen unexpectedly. Anything from a dishwasher hose break, a sump pump failing, or a toilet backing up can lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. This cost is what it takes to remove the water, dry out the affected area, remediate any potential mold growth, remove unsalvageable materials, and replace those materials. This is why a full coverage insurance policy is a must-have for homeowners, covering the cost for the work to get your property back to a preloss condition. Here are some items that you might need to replace if you have a water loss in your home.

An important note is that anything touched or effected by dirty water such as sewer or that contaminated by waste, needs to be replaced or thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Other items that may need replaced are:

  • Water can seep into the wall and soak up into the insulation behind it. To prevent further damage, we create 3ft flood cuts on any affected walls. This means removing the bottom 3ft of wall and removing wet materials.
  • Like walls, removing and replacing flooring affected by water damage is necessary, (if the floor can’t be dried out properly).
  • Children’s Toys
  • Dog Toys
  • Furniture
  • Trim/Baseboard
  • Cabinets

While we never think of water damage happening in our home, it is important to be prepared for it. Check your insurance policy, maintain your home, and if you ever have water damage in your home, call SERVPRO as soon as possible to get the water damage cleaned up quick!

What to do if you Discover Water Damage in Your Home.

9/30/2021 (Permalink)

Blog post photo Here is what to do if your basement floods, roof leaks, or sewer backs up!

Water damage comes in many forms, when you first discover it you can be in a panic and not know what to do. Here are the first steps you should take if you discover a large water damage incident in your home.

Turn off the water.

It doesn’t matter how quickly you can clean up the existing water if you do not stop more from coming in. Find and close your home’s main water valve. Also turn off any circuit breakers to that area, to prevent an electrical shock.

Call your insurance provider.

Get in touch with your home insurance company and let them know you have had a water damage incident. They will open a claim and will schedule an adjuster to come assess the damage.

Call SERVPRO.

After you get the claim number from insurance, contact us so we can immediately send a technician to begin the mitigation process. With water damage, the sooner the excess water is removed and drying, the cheaper and quicker the process will be. Once you give us your insurance information, we can work with that provider to begin work.

Clean out any items that could be affected.

If water is in an area, it will continue to spread out and absorb into materials. Place furniture on wood blocks and remove boxes, clothes, or other items in the immediate area that could be damaged by water. Preventing further damage will save everyone time and money. If the water is contaminated by either sewer or wastewater, anything that it touches will need to be cleaned or replaced.

Discovering a water loss in your home can be scary, just follow these steps and you will be on your way to making it "Like it never even happened."

Three Tips for Fire Prevention.

9/29/2021 (Permalink)

358,500 homes experience a structural fire each year (NFPA). This is a heartbreaking statistic so we wanted to share three quick tips you can use to prevent a fire in your home.

Leave space around heat sources.

No matter how you heat your home, it is important to leave room around the source of heat for each room. Dry materials can combust without directly touching a hot object. Items like clothes, papers, furniture, and pet/baby toys should be kept away from hot air that could heat them to the point of combustion.

Don’t sleep with space heaters on.

Leaving a space heater on at night is a recipe for disaster. Anything from a wiring failure, manufacturer defect, or a pet knocking it over could be the cause of a fire. While we all love to sleep in a warm, cozy room, running a space heater at night is a bad option. Instead, run it a few hours before you go to sleep, to heat up the air

Clean cooking surfaces and range hoods.

Grease builds up quickly in kitchen, especially those that use a lot of oils or butters to cook. Make sure to clean off your stovetop and oven to prevent buildup of grease on these surfaces. Additionally, clean the range hood which is a forgotten surface that builds up grease and dirt quickly.

As we approach colder weather and we start firing up the furnace to heat our homes, remember these tips for protecting your home.

Our Three Steps for Removing Pet Odor from Carpets

9/13/2021 (Permalink)

As a homeowner, property manager, or new tenant one of the worst things you can find on your property is the smell of pets. Pet urine, and especially cat urine, is one of the most notorious smells for its terrible stench along with the difficulty in removal. Here are the steps we take when trying to remove those unpleasant odors from your home.

Deep carpet cleaning with deodorizer

If pet odor is in the carpet, the first thing that should be done is clean the carpets. Adding a deodorizer agent will help to break down the molecules that cause the smell. Using our powerful truck-mounted steam cleaners, we are able to remove dirt, hair, and stains to help eliminate the smell from the carpet.

Ozone machines

Using an ozone machine, also known as an ionizer or ionizing machine, we are able to release ozone molecules into the air, which break down contaminants in the air such as odors. This process breaks down the actual molecules causing odor rather than trying to cover it up or remove the odor.

Carpet Replacement

If the above steps are done and the pet odor is still in the air, we may look at carpet replacement at that point. We have an in-house team of remodel and reconstruction experts who can replace a small section or an entire room of carpet. Using lab analysis, we can match a carpet sample to the exact manufacturer, and have it replaced to get the exact look you need and enjoy.

Although nobody ever wants to find pet odors in their home, we are Minot’s local experts at odor removal and will help you to get your property smelling fresh as new!

You’ll Need to Add these Three Things to your Fall Chore To Do List

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

None of us North Dakotans want to think about the end of our warm weather and the bitter cold winter that is approaching. However, as we get into September and further into autumn weather, there are some things you will need to have on your to-do list this fall to prepare your home for winter.

Cleaning Gutters and downspouts

This is a chore that should be done after the leaves around your home have already fallen. Clean gutters allow your home to drain rainwater properly during the winter. Proper drainage also helps prevent ice dams from forming on your roof, leading to leaks and water damage in your home.

Clean fireplace and replace furnace filter

These two moves will drastically improve the air quality in your home as well as reduce the risk of fire once the temperatures begin dropping outside and you need to keep your home warm on the inside.

Drain and put away outside hoses.

During the summer we use hoses on everything from watering plants to filling up a swimming pool, yet once the cold weather comes in, it is easy to forget and leave them outside. This is a quick and easy step that can prevent water in the hose and pipe from freezing and causing damage in your home.

Although we hope to have a wonderful autumn this year, be sure to remember to get your chores done before the snow starts to come down.

Three Natural Cleaning Ingredients to use in your Home.

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

Today there are a wide variety of cleaning products available in our stores. Products designed to clean specific items and areas of our homes. Rather than have your cupboards overflowing with different spray bottles, here are three simple, natural ingredients you can use to clean up your home.

Baking Soda

One of the most versatile products for cleaning, baking soda can be used on almost anything to get rid of odors and clean up stains. Sprinkle some at the bottom of the garbage can to get rid of the odors. Use half a cup of baking soda in two quarts of water to scrub down appliances, inside your fridge, and other surfaces like tiles, toilets, and showers. You can also use a heavy amount of baking soda on your carpets, leave for a few hours and vacuum up late for a refreshed new smell and feel to your carpets.

Lemons

Lemons are great for cleaning, they are a natural smell and air freshener, which is why a lot of cleaning products have some sort of “lemon” scent to them. To perfume the air indoors naturally, cut a lemon in half and set the cut halves in an inconspicuous place, such as behind plants or table ornaments, just remember to throw them away after a few days. Lemon juice is also a great addition to a water solution used to wipe down tables and counter tops.

Coffee Grounds

Although most people enjoy their cup of coffee. Many do not think of coffee ground as a natural cleaning solution. You can use coffee grounds to clean up vomit from your pet or toddler, sprinkle liberally and allow the grounds to soak up the mess, then just sweep or vacuum up the rest. As an air freshener, you can place new or used coffee grounds in a bowl or container and place in cupboards, car trunks, or the refrigerator for a fresh smell.

Although it is easy and relatively cheap to buy cleaning products today, here are some natural solutions you can use to bring a new fragrance into your home.

Warning Signs of Mold in Your Home

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Smell

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.

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Dishwasher

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

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.

Air Conditioner

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.

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Roof 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.

Siding

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.

Foundation Damage

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?

5/26/2021 (Permalink)

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

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.

Tree Roots

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

5/24/2021 (Permalink)

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

5/19/2021 (Permalink)

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.

5/19/2021 (Permalink)

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.

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

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. 

Infrared Cameras

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

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.

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

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

5/17/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Why You Should Call SERVPRO after a bad Wind Storm

5/17/2021 (Permalink)

North Dakota weather can be extreme, from bitter cold winters, burning hot summer days, and crazy windstorms, we see it all.   While SERVPRO may come to mind for repairing water from frozen pipe breaks or for fire damage caused during a hot dry summer fire, you may also call SERVPRO after a powerful windstorm.

During storms, wind can damage many important features of your home including, siding, roofing, and windows. After the storm passes, your home can be vulnerable to the outside elements unless quickly protected. If your home has broken windows, damaged roofing, or other damage from a storm, calling SERVPRO can save you time and effort with temporary repairs until a more permanent fix can be made. Whether it is boarding up windows, tarping roofs, or cleaning up damage in your yard. Give us a call, let us know what happened and we will help you with whatever disaster might have struck.

Why a Fire Loss Call may turn into a Water Damage claim.

5/12/2021 (Permalink)

While it may seem obvious when we get a fire loss claim that there will be typical signs of fire damage, burnt materials, soot, and smoke residue everywhere, you might be surprised to learn that we usually find water damage in these instances too. Whether it is a big or small fire, water damage can often come with it, creating an even larger mess and problem to clean up.

Almost all commercial buildings today have a built-in fire suppression system, this is usually overhead sprinklers. When there is a fire, these sprinklers extinguish the blaze, but in doing so, flood the property with hundreds or thousands of gallons of water. While hopefully, these sprinklers prevent further fire damage, they leave behind a different problem in the form of water damage. While the sprinklers prevent further damage and protect anyone in the building the water needs to be cleaned immediately. The sprinkler water is clean, coming straight from the water main and therefore can cause minimal harm if extracted immediately, as opposed to dirty water which can leave behind germs and harmful bacteria.

In residential properties, while there may be no built-in sprinklers, fire fighters often create water damage when extinguishing blazes. Using high powered hoses, modern firefighters can pump hundreds of gallons of water into a home. Again, leaving behind a wet mess in addition to whatever fire damage happened.

Water damage is far less deadly and dirty when compared with a large fire loss and can be mitigated faster as well. While we hope all fires can be put out quickly, whenever we get a call about a fire loss, we come prepared for water damage as well.

Our Six-Step Drying Process

5/5/2021 (Permalink)

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.

4/20/2021 (Permalink)

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

4/13/2021 (Permalink)

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.

4/12/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Blizzards.

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.

Thunderstorms.

 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.

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

4/7/2021 (Permalink)

Blog post photo - image of fire damaged room 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

3/12/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Use Lemons!

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

Knife block

Ceiling Fans

Crumbs in toaster

Toothbrush holder

Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Commercial Property

3/1/2021 (Permalink)

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

2/23/2021 (Permalink)

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.

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

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

12/29/2020 (Permalink)

gym after a sprinkler pipe burst sending debris onto the floor below 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.

How to Reduce Health and Safety Hazards in Your Home

12/17/2020 (Permalink)

Blog post photo showing home outside photo via Burst Blog post contributed by Lisa Walker of neighborhoodsprout.org

Your home is a symbol of comfort and stability. We all want a cozy, safe place to live. Unfortunately, some common threats put your family at risk. For maximum comfort, remove any health or safety hazards. Here are some ways you can protect your home and your family.

Water Quality

Water quality is a common hazard that is often overlooked. However, neglecting to test or treat your water could potentially make you sick, so consider purchasing a home test kit. Home water test kits are extremely affordable and can be found for as little as $10. In order to be considered safe, your water’s arsenic level must be less than 10 parts per billion. It’s vital to understand that you can’t purify arsenic-contaminated water by boiling it. Because arsenic does not evaporate like water does, boiling the water increases the concentration of arsenic. Instead, stop drinking or cooking with your tap water until you can install a water treatment system.

Mold Prevention

In-home mold can cause health issues. To help eliminate mold from your home, it’s often best to call an experienced professional who specializes in mold remediation. For instance, SERVPRO of Minot provides a mold remediation service that includes inspection and assessment, followed by mold containment, air filtration, mold mitigation and remediation, and cleaning. If you suspect your home has a mold issue, the mold remediation process can help.

Smoke Detectors

Fires are another home threat that could strike at any time. Place smoke detectors in each room and a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home. Replace the batteries annually, and be sure to test the smoke detector monthly.

Another way to keep your family safe in the event of a fire is to have a carefully planned escape route. The National Fire Protection Association provides online guides that will walk you through the steps for creating your own at-home fire escape plan. Because fires spread in as little as one to two minutes, it’s vital to practice your escape plan as a family so that everyone knows what to do. If you don’t have them already, it’s also wise to purchase several fire extinguishers, with one specifically for the kitchen, as well as a fire-proof safe so documents and valuables are protected. Although you may not want to think about the possibility of a house fire happening to you, preparing in advance will help protect your family.

You deserve a safe, comfortable home. By taking the proper precautions, such as detecting and eliminating any potential safety hazards throughout your house, you can protect yourself and your loved ones. You’ll sleep better at night with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your family, belongings, and assets are safe and secure.

Contributed by Lisa Walker of neighborhoodsprout.org

Tips to keep you and your home safe this Christmas

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

As we come towards the end of 2020, many of us are looking forward to Christmas, with the bonus gift of it being on a Friday this year. Although some of us may be celebrating a little different this year, many Christmas traditions will remain the same and it is important to keep safe while doing so. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe.

Prepare your car for winter travel

As North Dakotans, we are used to bad winters, but it never hurts to be reminded of the basic winter travel necessities. Remember to keep plenty of gas in your vehicle, to keep your heat running, in case bad winter conditions leave you stranded on the side of the road. In your vehicle you should also have:

  • Extra blankets or coats
  • Jumper cables
  • Snow shovel

If Traveling on Christmas:

  • Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance traveled
  • Watch for icy or dangerous conditions on the roads
  • Call ahead to tell someone you are on your way and when to expect your arrival

For your home:

  • If you plan on leaving for an extended period of time, make sure your home is heating properly and turn the water supply to your home OFF.
  • Never leave open flames unattended. Whether it is a candle, fireplace, or someone is cooking, don’t leave those heat sources alone.
  • If using a live tree, cut off about 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, remember to water it and remove it from your home when it is dry
  • Inspect lights for frayed or damaged wires
  • Make plans for your pets to be taken care of

Christmas and the holiday season is a wonderful time of the year and if you stay smart and safe, you can have a wonderful time.

3 Ways to Save Heat in Your Home this Winter

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

As winter is fast approaching, all North Dakotans know that saving heat is important. Between saving money on energy bills and increased home comfort, these tips below are well worth the time and effort to get your home prepared for winter.

  • Turn fans on. Circulate air throughout your home during the cold months. We tend to turn our fans off when it gets cold but turning them on can actually have benefits. As your furnace heats the air, that warm air eventually rises to the ceiling and cools off or escapes through windows and imperfections in the roof. Turning fans on, and if angling them towards the ceiling if possible, forces that trapped warm air back down and heats your home.
  • Use a humidifier. Moist air retains heat better than dry air, so running a humidifier can save money in heating cost while also adding many health benefits.
  • Sealing leaks. The easiest and best way to retain heat in your home, and save energy costs, is through sealing leaks. Your home releases hot air through imperfections in building materials and construction design. Common areas to find leaks include around doors, windows, near the attic, where wires and cables enter your house, and around electrical outlets. Seal gaps around any pipes, wires, vents or other openings with caulk or weather stripping. This costs as little as $5 and can save up to 10-20% of your heating bill.

Our first ever Virtual CE Class

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, here at SERVPRO of Minot, we have been doing our best to keep things as normal as we can. As an essential business, we are continuing to provide our disaster cleanup and restoration efforts to the local community. We have also been providing cleaning and disinfecting services to local businesses to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

One way that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted us, was the loss of our continuing education event. SERVPRO provides free continuing education (CE) classes to those who may need credit for maintaining their insurance license. This is an excellent class for us to show our appreciation for our local insurance agents and adjusters by giving them free education to improve their professional lives. Unfortunately, we were not able to provide this event last March due to the state shutdown.

While we were disappointed by not being able to host this event, the news that these classes could now be done virtually was exciting news. Our instructor, Dan Luttrell, was able to teach the class from his home in Dallas to local insurance agents here in Minot.

This class on Ethics was an extremely informative class, with one experienced agent saying afterwards “That was by far the most fun CE class I have ever taken!” Participants in the class were taken through scenarios that could come up in their professional and personal lives and shown that most situations don’t always have a clear right answer. Over the course of the three-hour class, it was shown that sometimes the ethical choice isn’t always the easy one and what sometimes seems like the unethical choice, really is the best option.

This was an excellent class and we would like to thank Dan for doing a great job in being our instructor and also thank everyone who signed up and participated in the class.

Why Every Business Needs an Emergency Ready Profile

8/28/2020 (Permalink)

Life throws challenges at us all the time, and as a business owner, you know are constantly overcoming new challenges that arise throughout the day. Most of the time, these challenges don’t slow down your everyday operations, but when disaster strikes, your entire company can be put on hold until it is resolved. A pipe bursting, break room fire, or flooded first floor can put business on hold for days, weeks, or months depending on severity. Oftentimes a business can never recover after major building damage.

While you never know what disaster will strike, preparing for the worst can mitigate secondary damage and reduce the time doors are closed. A SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) is a free assessment strategically designed to: 1) Prevent damage from any disaster 2) Establish clear communication and authorization for work to begin and 3) Help your business recover from any unexpected event. The ERP is not a full contingency plan but rather an addition to your existing plan.

An ERP is a free assessment of your company’s facilities and potential threats to their structural integrity. This profile is established by identifying high risk events that are specific to your facilities and addressing response options. An example would be a restaurant being at a high risk of fire damage, do to cooking and hazardous conditions in a kitchen, therefore planning where a fire would take place, identifying key access points such as switches to turn off gas and power lines and then having contact info for the local fire department, insurance agents, and SERVPRO of Minot to clean any damage that occurs.

As a restoration company, the sooner we receive a call, the sooner we can have staff on site. Establishing SERVPRO of Minot as your Priority Service Provider means we can respond to your emergency faster than normal and get your business open ahead of schedule.

To learn more details about a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile, call our office today, or email Ben at benjaminr@SERVPROminot.com

5 Steps for Preparing for a Big Storm

8/24/2020 (Permalink)

Storms can be dangerous weather events that leave destruction to your property as well as cause injuries and occasionally even death. Below is a checklist to make sure your home and family are best prepared for any storms, so that you, your loved ones, and your home can stay safe.

Prepare a storm shelter.

Include essential supplies such as food, water, a first aid kid, flashlights and batteries to last a few days in the case of a severe storm or tornado.

Clear branches and dead trees around your home.

The high-speed wind of storms can send dead branches or even trees crashing through your windows, siding, and roof. Clearing these objects away from your house is an easy way to make sure they don’t cause any damage.

Secure outside objects

The benefits of technology is we have weather apps and stations that give us warning before a storm arrives. If a bad one is coming up, move large outdoor objects inside to prevent damage to your house and those objects.

Document your valuable items.

Take pictures of valuable items that you can use to show insurance later. If they are damaged or lost in the storm, you have better luck with your claim if you have documentation. Include date of purchase and purchase amount if you have that as well. Bonus points for saving receipts!

Protect Your Pets!

When preparing for storms, oftentimes pets are forgotten about. Make sure to have a plan in place for your pets, whether that is in your storm shelter or if that means having them in a separate safe location for when the storm hits.

The Danger of Smoking to Your Home

8/19/2020 (Permalink)

For years, smoking has been known to have negative consequences on your health, but what about the health of your home? Although smoking inside in public areas has been outlawed for some years, smoking inside is still common in many households across the U.S. Besides the Health consequences from smoking, your home can also suffer damages as well.

Fire Danger

Smoking is the leading cause of death in home fires. With an average of 590 deaths annually and 1,130 injuries. Fires caused by smoking materials happen mostly in bedrooms (34%) and living rooms (43%) these are areas where flammable materials such as blankets, carpet, and couch fibers are liable to catch fire if they are exposed to a flame from a cigarette.

Smoking is generally viewed as only harmful to oneself, or through secondhand smoke. However, if a fire breaks out from smoking, this damages the home and endangers the lives of everyone who lives there.

Resale Value

When trying to resell a home, one that has been occupied by a smoker can be a tough sell. The smell from cigarettes is a tough one to remove and simply cleaning the carpet is not always the solution. The smell from smoke can get trapped in cupboards, vents, and even the ceiling. All of this combines to reduce home value by almost 29%. This reduced value is sure to keep rising in severity as smoking becomes less common in society.

How to Clean

Smoke is one of the most challenging smells to get out of your home. Anyone who has burnt their dinner knows the smell can linger for hours. Years of smoking inside is even harder to restore a fresh smell. When dealing with smoke, simply spraying an air freshener or cleaning the carpet will likely not do anything to help.

Cleaning the walls and ceilings with a cleaning solution is a great start, followed by a deep cleaning of the carpets and floors. Oftentimes you may need to professionally clean your air ducts. The smoke smell can get stuck in your ducts, furnace, and air conditioning units, which will need to be fully removed to keep the smell from circulating throughout your home.

NFPA (Jan. 2019) Home Fires Started by Smoking. NFPA.com. Marty Ahrens.

Realtor Magazine. (July, 2018) How Much Cigarette Smoke Decreases Resale Value.

What to Do When You Find Mold in your Home

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

Discovering mold in your home can be a frustrating event. Not knowing how bad the problem is, how to remove it, the cost of a professional and whether or not your home is safe are just some of the thoughts you’ll have. To help relieve some of those worries, below are some tips to help manage your mold problem.

The first step to do is to call the mold experts at SERVPRO of Minot, we will immediately respond to your call and have staff on site to provide help and advice. Every discovery of growth is different and having experts take a look at it is important in deciding what to do next.

Until we are able to get staff on site, here are some tips on what to do.

Try and contain the area

If the growth is in a room that can be sealed off from the rest of the house. Air movement will spread the spores around and can lead to further growth throughout your home. Staying out of it until technicians can determine the extent of the problem is a good way to keep you and your family safe.

Stop the Source

Mold growth is accompanied by moisture from a leak or other water source. See if you can stop the leak or remove the source as this will help reduce further mold growth. If the area is wet and needs to be dried, do not turn on fans as that will spread mold growth further around the room and house. Call SERVPRO and we can remedy both the water damage and mold growth.

Contact Your Agent

Contact your insurance agent and see if your home has a mold policy. This will go a long way towards saving you money on the remediation. If you don’t have a policy, call your agent and talk to them about adding it to your existing coverage.

The best tip on how to handle the discovery of mold in your home is to remain calm and let the trusted experts at SERVPRO take care of you and your home, providing you with all the information you need to remediate the problem.

SERVPRO of Minot Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

8/10/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Minot was welcomed into the Minot Chamber of Commerce! As new owners, the chamber wanted to honor the purchase of the franchise by Ryan Conklin and Lance Larson that occurred back in September.

Due to scheduling, the COVID-19 outbreak, and busy times here at SERVPRO® we were unable to have the ribbon cutting ceremony until June 23rd. Although it was a wait to cut the ribbon, we were glad to take part with the Minot chamber.

As local owners, being apart of the Minot community is important. We love being able to go out to local residents’ homes and businesses and repair them from the disasters they face. Giving peace of mind to those we live with here in the Magic City.

To see the Facebook live of the ribbon cutting, click here.

Why Commercial Buildings should use professional cleaners to battle COVID-19

7/30/2020 (Permalink)

As we continue to battle through the COVID-19 pandemic. Commercial buildings have been doing a great job of continuing to implement different measures for keeping the people in those facilities safe. Here are the reasons why a commercial building may consider or need to bring in a professional cleaning staff to battle against COVID-19

Having an Emergency Response Plan.

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout our community, more people are going to be exposed and test positive for the disease. What will your workplace do when that happens? If there is a massive outbreak of COVID-19 in your workplace, a response needs to be in place so that 1) employees can be safe and 2) work can resume without a fear of infection from the work environment.

A proactive plan should be developed that includes preventative measures to reduce potential exposure and also reactive measures for when exposure happens, and a COVID-19 positive person enters the workspace. This second situation, one where a person has potentially left the virus in the workplace, is one where a professional cleaning staff should be considered.

While normal custodial staff are equipped to handle regular cleaning operations, COVID-19 is different. This highly infectious disease could be transmitted to an unprepared custodial staff if they are not trained in wearing proper protective equipment (PPE) and if they are exposed, it opens a legal gray area in which they can claim they were knowingly exposed to biological contamination without the right equipment.

At SERVPRO of Minot we equip all our technicians with the right PPE, which includes gloves, respirators, and full suits for protection. Additionally, we have high-grade that have been recommended for CDC use against COVID-19. This combined with full coverage insurance for our technicians allows us to confidently send them into a biologically contaminated space.

Give us a call today to talk about setting up an emergency COVID-19 response plan. This will allow you to have a response plan in place to battle the spread of COVID-19 if it should enter your workplace.

How to Properly Test Your Smoke Alarm

7/29/2020 (Permalink)

While it is a task that is quite boring, monotonous and can be seen as a waste of time, testing your smoke alarm can literally be a life or death decision. So while yes, it is boring, this simple task can save the lives of you, your family, your pets, and your home. Here is the proper way to test your smoke alarm to keep everything you love, safe.

Make sure you can hear the alarm from everywhere in your home.

Have someone stand in the room farthest away from the alarm, with the door closed to make sure the sound is audible. If they can hear it clearly, you’re good to go, if not, you can try replacing the batteries to improve hearing or you can buy another detector to place in a better spot.

To test the alarm, it is as simple as holding the test button and waiting for the piercing noise to ring out, confirming the batteries and sound are working correctly. This does not test whether or not the alarm is properly detecting smoke, however.

Testing smoke alarms by using smoke should be done a few times a year, safely, in order to ensure proper functioning of the detector. After warning the members of the house that you are testing the alarm, strike a match and then blow it out, holding the match about a foot away from the detector. The smoke given off, should be enough to trigger the alarm, if not, repeat a few times to see if you can set it off. If there is still no response from the alarm, replace the batteries and try again. Remembering it may take a minute or two before the alarm will sound.

Safely testing your smoke alarms is a mundane task, but as a homeowner it is your responsibility to make sure your home is safe along with everyone in it.

Secure your Home before your Summer Vacation

7/14/2020 (Permalink)

Blog post photo Prevent water damage while you are on your getaway.

As we make our way through the summer, you may be going on a summer trip. If so, here are some simple ways to make sure you come home to your home safe and sound, and not a watery nightmare.

Do an Inspection

As you are packing the car and getting ready to head out, do a quick inspection of your home to ensure you are ready to leave. Turn off the water main, and drain the existing water from sinks, toilets, and outdoor spigots. Once the water main is switched off, turn on faucets, spigots, and flush toilets until water no longer flows out.

Other places to inspect:

  • Pipes under every sink.
  • Water heater.
  • Seals around windows (in case it rains).
  • Appliance hoses: washing machine, dishwasher, and ice maker.
  • Sump pump. Dump a bucket of water into the sump pump to ensure it's working. Make sure to listen to its motor running as well.
  • Toilet tanks. Look for cracks that may worsen and leak while you're gone.

Have someone check on your home

Give a set of keys to a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor and have them check on your home periodically while you are gone. The amount of times they should check in depends on the length of your trip, but it should be at least twice a week. Once water damage occurs, letting it stagnate for days at a time can multiply the cleanup costs tremendously. Show your house sitter all bathrooms, where the water main is, and other areas at risk of water damage. Leaving a check list for them will make sure they don’t miss any subtle leaks or moisture.

Leave heating and cooling systems running as normal, these allow air flow through your home and prevent humidity from building up. They also will keep pipes from freezing if there is a sudden temperature drop one night, which is more of a risk during the fall and winter months than in summer.

Enjoy your trip!

If you do a thorough inspection, take proactive safety measures and leave someone to look over your home, then you have done more than enough to ensure you won’t suffer from water damage. Although anything is possible, and even the most cautious plan can still not prevent water damage, you shouldn’t worry about the safety of your home while on vacation. Take steps to prepare and then enjoy your time away!

Water Damage Response Tips

7/8/2020 (Permalink)

You are going to panic initially when you realize your home has suffered water damage. Once you give us a call, we can quickly send technicians out to begin remediation on damaged property. Before we arrive, instead of panicking, you can take steps yourself to prevent further damage. These steps should only be used if the water damage is caused by clean water. If you have suffered damage from sewer, toilet, or other contaminated water sources, stay away from the scene as it may have adverse health effects.

Here are tips for what you can do to prevent further water damage to your home, until our trained technicians can make it to you.

  • Shut off the water source if it can be done safely.
  • Remove any excess water by mopping or using towels.
  • Remove and pop up we upholstery cushions for drying. Do not put cushion covers in washing machine.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs.
  • Hang furs and leather goods separately at room temperature.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Do not use a regular vacuum to try and remove excess water.
  • If water damage is in the ceiling, do not turn on lights or overhead fans. And keep out of rooms where the ceiling is beginning to sag from holding water.

Four tips for Fireworks Safety this 4th

6/30/2020 (Permalink)

The Fourth of July is one of the biggest holidays of the year. It perfectly captures summer season activities with hiking, boating, barbecuing, being out in the sun, and shooting off fireworks. This upcoming weekend is sure to be full of fun outdoors and with friends and family, even as we are still in the midst of COVID-19. To make sure it stays full of fun, here are four safety tips to enjoy the holiday to the fullest.

Keep Sparklers Away from Children

Although they are advertised as the perfect children’s firework, sparklers are not safe for children to be waiving around. As they burn at over 2,200 degrees they are susceptible to light clothing on fire and severely burn anything that is accidentally touched. Over 25% of all emergency visits from fireworks are caused by sparklers and for children under 5 they account for almost half of all injuries.

Be Prepared for the Worst

There is an assumption that an accident caused from fireworks are from mishandling or from a lack of common sense and that “It would never happen to me.” This is a dangerous mindset to have as fireworks are extremely unpredictable and even the best experts in the world have malfunctions occasionally. This is why you should have equipment ready and waiting in case a firework does lead to an accident.

Materials to gather before lighting off the first rocket should include:

A bucket of water and/or garden hose, remember to soak used fireworks before disposal

  • Shovels and rakes
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Burn cream

Use Your Best Judgement

Never forget, fireworks at their core are explosives and that means they should be taken seriously at all times. Don’t let someone who is consuming alcohol to handle fireworks. Likewise, don’t use any fireworks without clear instructions and only buy from legitimate fireworks dealers.

The Fourth of July should be a celebration and making sure fireworks are handled safely is the best way to make sure it is enjoyable.

Take Precautions for COVID

Independence day is a great holiday to have fun with health precautions. Having an outdoor celebration will allow natural social distancing, flow of air, and UV protection from sunlight. Enjoy the weekend, but make sure to keep everyone safe.

Have different people and groups prepare their own food. Don’t have a buffet style setup where everyone is touching and sharing the same food.

Pack cleaning supplies to make sure any high touch spots can be sanitized quickly.

Utilize the outdoors. Avoid long periods of time inside homes or garages and try and spend time in parks, backyards, and out on the water.

We hope everyone stays safe and has a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Why we Test For Mold

6/24/2020 (Permalink)

Blog post photo We are the only mold remediation company in the Minot area which tests for mold to confirm removal!

Mold is one of the most challenging projects we encounter. This is due to the location of mold being in dark, hard to reach areas such as basements or behind dry wall and flooring.  Which means that our remediation efforts are hard to judge just by sight and the only way to truly know how much of an impact was made, it to test the air quality.

Mold releases spores into the air which then accumulate on organic, wet material to grow the mold that we see. While these spores are everywhere and basically harmless, mold infected areas such as basements become hot spots for spores as they stay in the stagnant air flow of the basement and multiply into dangerous levels. If unchecked, these hot spots can lead to extreme mold growth which damages surrounding organic material such as support beams and frames, along with potential health risks.

To make sure we remove all spores and thereby the ensuing growth, we conduct a series of tests in and out of the area. Before we begin work, we test both the suspected growth area along with an area we know is not impacted to develop a control. Within 24 hours we have the results from the test and know what kind of mold is growing in the area and the associated health effects that come with that type of mold.

Once we have finished our mold remediation, which involves removing and replacing impacted materials, applying synthetic products to prevent future growth, and using filtered vacuums to remove airborne spores, we then test the area afterwards to ensure all mold material was removed.

We are the only mold remediation company in the Minot area which tests for mold to confirm removal.

By testing, we remove any doubt as to the effectiveness of our efforts, and make sure the customer is not wasting money. With most types of cleaning you can see whether or not you were successful, but with mold there is no way to be sure without testing, which is why we encourage the use whenever we are called to do mold remediation.

How to Be Safe During a Lightning Storm

6/23/2020 (Permalink)

Hundreds of thousands of people are struck by lightning each year. So, while you are unlikely to be struck, there is still a significant threat which should not be ignored. Even though there is no way to be 100% safe from lightning, even if you are indoors, there are steps you can take that will decrease your chance of injury.

Being indoors does not mean you fully protected. There is a myth that you are completely safe from lightning if you are indoors. While being inside is the best way to remain safe during a lightning storm, you should follow these steps to make sure you are as safe as possible.

  • Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths, and faucets.
  • Stay away from windows and doors and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.
  • Stay away from windows which can have projectiles flung through them by the storm

Being outside is the most dangerous place to be during a lightning storm. If you are outside and see a storm coming towards you, head for the nearest building and shelter inside. Stay inside until the storm passes or it dies down enough to get somewhere safer. While there are suggested tips for what to do during a lightning storm, your safest option is always to keep moving towards a stable building. Never stay under a tree or park shelter. A good measure for if a building is safe is if it has both electricity and plumbing that will protect from electric strikes. If you are unable to get inside a substantial building, get inside a vehicle and park away from tall pointed structures such as trees or telephone poles.

Odd Places You Find Mold Growth in Your Home

6/22/2020 (Permalink)

Where to check for mold in your house

Mold can be found in many unusual spots in your home. If left to grow, mold can become a dangerous problem for your home’s value, your health, and as a cosmetic eye sore. Here are some places to check and clean to avoid these problems.

Your Toothbrush Holder

While your toothbrush gets replaced every few months (hopefully), your toothbrush holder is in an ideal location for mold growth. The moist environment of the bathroom combined with the wide array of germs from your mouth create the perfect location for mold growth. A few times a year, you should clean and disinfect your entire toothbrush holder.

Your Appliances

Specifically, your dishwasher and clothes washer are susceptible to mold growth. Check behind and underneath them to see if the darkness and moisture has caused growth. You can then clean the area before it grow into the walls and flooring, which is more costly to remove and repair. Also check INSIDE your appliances. Look under coverings and around rubber moisture seals to expose mold which has developed inside the machine where the cleaning process does not reach.

Potted Plants

If you overwater your plants there is a tendency for mold growth underneath where the sunlight does not reach. While this may actually be good for your plant, it is not worth the risk. Be careful not to overdue the watering and if you notice mold, try repotting the plants and putting it in direct sunlight for a few days

Outdoor Rugs and Floor mats

Floor mats invite mold buildup underneath as the organic material from the rug, when wet, creates a dark, moist environment with enough air flow to sustain mold growth but not enough to dry it out. By regularly cleaning your rugs or simply flipping them over and leaving them in the sun for a day, you can prevent mold buildup which can spread throughout your entry ways, steps, and porches.

Preparing for a Tornado in North Dakota

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

North Dakota Tornado Preparedness

North Dakota is known for its tornadoes. With an average of over 20 per year, it is a common occurrence within our state. Although most of these cause little to no damage and are hardly even noticed, there are some that cause massive devastation, such as the 1957 tornado in Fargo which resulted in $26 million in property damage ($236 million in 2020 USD) along with 12 fatalities. While the 1957 tornado was by far the worst to hit the state, smaller ones can cause damage to your home, vehicle, and business if you are not prepared.

The CDC recommends these three tips for tornado preparedness.

  • Be Ready
  • Be aware of Weather Conditions
  • Know where to shelter

Be Ready

This means having an emergency kit ready that has batteries, first-aid supplies, flashlights, food/water, and a battery-operated TV or radio. Have a plan for you and your family which you go over and practice to make sure that it can be put into action immediately.

Be aware of weather conditions

Paying attention to weather reports will give you advanced warning of incoming storms. On your smartphone, you can have notifications turned on that alert you of bad weather. Additionally, you can watch for these weather patterns that indicate a tornado may be incoming.

  • A dark or green-colored sky
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud
  • Large hail
  • A loud roar that sounds like a freight train

Know where to shelter

As a storm hits, you need to be able to shelter to keep yourself safe, best practices involve:

  • Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway).
  • Avoid windows.
  • For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress. Protect your head with anything available.
  • Do not stay in a mobile home.
  • If you are outside or in a car, find a stable building to get behind and move only when it is safe.

What is a Sump Pump?

5/27/2020 (Permalink)

Blog post photo Your Home's Best Defense Against Water Damage!

You will almost never think about your sump pump, unless it is broken, and that is the way it should be. A sump pump has one purpose and that is to make sure you never think about it because it is doing its job perfectly of keeping your home dry and safe. So, what is a sump pump?

Below your basement is a catch basin that is designed to accumulate water from around your home so that it does not seep inside the foundation, this basin is known as a sump. When the water accumulation begins to fill the sump, a pump is used to move the water out of the basin and into a storm drain this pump, the sump pump, keeps water out of your basement, leaving it dry.

 There are different types of sump pumps, some are automatic while others need to be manually operated. There are also submersible sump pumps, pedestal, battery operated, water-powered, and a variety of other types. What type of pump you should have depends on your budget, preferences, and the environment around your house.

A sump pump is your home’s best defense against water damage. While it can’t prevent damage from broken pipes, leaks in the roof, or appliance malfunctions, a sump pump can prevent water around your home from causing any problems. Without a sump pump, your basement could have constant influx of moisture which would cause weak floors and walls, odors, and mold growth. A worst-case scenario would be a completely flooded basement because there was nothing pumping the water out.

Keeping your sump pump in proper working condition is crucial, having a broken pump is no better than not having one. Typically, a sump pump is good for 5-10 years and will either need replaced or repaired afterwards. Hopefully, once you set it in place you won’t have to think about it until after those 5-10 years, when it is time for replacement. How do you know when to replace a sump pump? If it is making unusually loud noises this could be due to several factors, including debris jams, worn out parts, or from constant use. If you are concerned about your sump pumps condition, test it by dumping water around the pump and seeing if it starts automatically and drains the water quickly. If it appears to be operating incorrectly, contact a service provider or replace it, you don’t want to wait to do this as you never know when a heavy rainfall could occur.

The Concern with Hail Damage

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

The Concern with Hail Damage

Hail damage has increased over the past few years, with billions of dollars in repair costs every year across the US, hail is one of the most expensive repair costs overall. In 2017, there were 6,045 hailstorms recorded (NOAA) coming out to an average of over 16 storms a day. While some of those storms may have been mild, all it takes is one violent storm to cause damage to your entire home.

The worry with hail is that the impact will leave broken windows, damage your roof, and chips in your siding. While likely not deadly, these can be additional costs which you do not want to deal with. The worst fear with hail is that the damage will allow create miniscule cracks which will allow water to seep in and damage your ceiling. Unlike traditional water damage which can usually be detected easily, you may never know about the leak coming from the damaged roof until it is too late.

What you can do

There are steps you can take to be best prepared for a violent hailstorm. Before the storm arrives, you can have your roofing upgraded to be impact resistant. Paying for upgrades will almost always be less expensive then waiting until after the storms for repairs.

Keep supplies ready for a storm. Once a storm comes through it may knock out power so having a generator as well as food and water to drink will be important. In addition, have plywood or other materials for boarding up damaged windows until they can be replaced and repaired. If you do not have any, at SERVPRO of Minot, we respond to storm damage and board up windows of all sizes until they can be replaced.

Your insurance policy should cover all things involved with hail, so that you do not have to worry about the cost of damage and can sleep sound, knowing you are covered.

Although there is nothing you can do to completely protect yourself from hail damage, you can take steps to reduce the impact and give yourself some peace of mind for when it happens. The best thing you can do is be prepared and be educated about what the impact of a hailstorm could be.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

5/18/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Let's Get Back to Business!

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, even here in North Dakota, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

We are proud to launch Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, a cleaning and disinfecting program that SERVPRO offers to commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is a level of clean that goes way beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. This is proactive viral pathogen cleaning. When businesses chose SERVPRO, their employees, customers, and community can rest assured that they’ve selected a “higher standard of clean”—Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting our local businesses in Minot and the surrounding areas, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned,but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience.  Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.

What to do if a Fire Starts in Your Kitchen

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

A scenario that everyone fears happening, you are cooking your meal in your kitchen when suddenly there is a burst of energy and flames erupt! What happens next can be the difference between the safety of yourself, your family, and your home. Here are some tips for what to do if there is ever a fire in your kitchen.

  • Grease fires can not be put out with water. If you are using cooking oil or cooking foods that give off large amounts of grease and they ignite into a fire, throwing water on that fire will only cause the water to vaporize into steam which can cause burns to yourself as well as increase the flare of the fire. Instead, try and cover the flame with a lid or dish that will cut off the oxygen supply and eventually put out the flame. If you can safely turn off the heat source, that will help as well.
  • If there is a fire in your oven or microwave, do not open the door. Instead, turn off the heat source and let the flame die out on its own. Opening the door can allow fresh oxygen to reignite the flame which would otherwise die out.
  • Do not try to put the fire out by swatting at it with a towel or cloth. This will only fan it and increase the possibility of it spreading onto that towel or cloth. Instead, try smothering it with a large, wet towel. Quickly soak the towel and cover the whole pan with it to try and put out the flames. If it is already too big of a fire this will not work.
  • Make sure to have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen that is easily accessible. This is your best bet for putting out the fire before it causes any further damage as well as the safest option for you.

The one thing you should remember about kitchen fires is that you should never try and be a hero. You will know almost immediately whether you can put the fire out and should call 9-1-1 if you have any doubts about if you will be successful. Even a small fire can spread quickly and waiting for it to get out of control can be the difference between having a smokey kitchen and suffering from catastrophic fire damage. If you can not contain the fire immediately, call 9-1-1 for help.

How to Make sure your Family has a Safe Campfire this Summer.

5/12/2020 (Permalink)

With summer approaching fast and cabin fever from COVID-19 at an all time high, getting out this summer will be a great relief. Being able to go down to the lake, park, or backyard and sit around a warm fire while making smore’s will be a welcome treat. However, making sure it is done safely will prevent a hard year, from becoming even worse. Here are some tips to make sure your fire is safe this year.

The three things you need to make sure your fire is safe are 1) the right location 2) proper maintenance and 3) full extinguishment.

  • When choosing the right location for a fire, you should make sure there is nothing in the immediate surrounding are which could catch fire. There should be 10 feet of cleared space around your fire site and nothing overhead such as tree branches or a building overhang, which could be damaged by smoke. Make sure that the location you are having your fire does not have a burn ban or fire warning in effect so that you are safe from any kind of legal trouble and you know the risk of having a fire. If at a formal campground, look for a fire pit or designated campfire area.
  • Proper maintenance begins before you ever start your fire. Making sure you have all the materials you need before starting the fire is a key to safety. All fires should have a bucket of water nearby and a shovel or other tools for putting it out. Having a fire extinguisher nearby is a near guaranteed way to prevent most fires from ever getting out of control in the first place.

After your fire is started, make sure that someone is always watching over it. Never leave your fire unattended as there are a million different possibilities for something bad to happen. Proper maintenance also means proper behavior with the fire, do not throw cans, glass bottles or aerosols into the fire, they could shatter and explode sending hot, sharp projectiles all over the area. Likewise, don’t allow young children to play too close to the fire or throw any objects into the fire.

Maintain the fire by providing the proper amount of fuel. Do not add too much wood or fire igniter as you can easily make a blaze bigger than you can handle. On the other hand, do not let the fire have too little fuel as the more times you have to restart it, the more chance that a mistake happens with ignition.

  • Once it is time to put the fire out, make sure it is really out. A large portion of fire accidents occur after the fire was thought to be put out. Poor the bucket of water you brought onto the coals. Then stir the coals around with a shovel or rake and add more water if they are still not cold. Keep stirring until you are able to touch the coals with your bare hand. If the whole family is involved, this process should only take a few minutes and can be a fun activity to do together. One person gets the water, a few people stir the coals, and the rest can clean up the area.

This summer should be one that is full of fun and family activities. Families will likely still need to distance themselves from others well into the fall so enjoying family activities outside such as fires can be really enjoyable. Make sure you are using the best safety practices and have a great summer!

Why You Should be Concerned about Mold.

4/27/2020 (Permalink)

Health Risks

There are over 10,000 kinds of mold. While most of these are not going to cause adverse heath problems, a certain percentage can. It is important to remove mold quickly and safely from your house to avoid health effects that are linked with mold.

Property Risks.

In addition to the health risks, mold can cause damage to floors, walls, and ceilings that cost thousands of dollars in repair costs. By attaching to organic materials, mold leaves unsightly stains and smells throughout the area and can spread throughout your home if not removed. For those trying to sell their homes, this can drastically reduce home value.

Mold damage is caused by humid and moist environments. Typical areas include crawl spaces, bathrooms, and basements, although mold growth can occur anywhere. Monitoring these areas for water leaks, high humidity, and making sure they have ventilation will go a long way in preventing damage from mold. If mold spores make their way into your heating and ventilation systems, they can spread throughout your entire house, causing growth to happen all over your home.

Although mold can not grow on inorganic surfaces such as concrete, brick, rock or glass, mold can grow on the dirt on those surfaces. If an uncleaned area accumulates a high amount of dust or dirt which is then exposed to moisture either from a leak or high humidity, there is potential for mold growth.

Things you can do

You can prevent mold damage before it occurs. If left untreated, the cost for removal can go from hundreds to thousands of dollars quickly, and beyond your insurance coverage. Make sure to act as soon as you have suspicions of mold.

Here are ways to prevent mold growth:

  1. Control moisture. Keep the humidity level under 60 percent.
  2. Dry up wet materials quickly. It only takes mold two days to grow.
  3. Clean, disinfect, and dry surfaces prone to mold growth.
  4. Repair leaks. Replace dilapidated old pipes. Fix leaks on the roof, walls, and foundation of the house. Unclog HVAC units drain regularly.
  5. Improve airflow at home. Start with opening closet doors more frequently and moving furniture far from walls to providing better ventilation to confined spaces. The more windows you can open, the better.

Benefits of a Professional Cleaning Service - For Helping Stop the Spread of COVID-19

4/16/2020 (Permalink)

As we live through unprecedented times, SERVPRO of Minot is doing what we can to help mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. Workplaces are areas that are highly susceptible to spreading the disease due to the amount of time we spend at our workplaces, the flow of visitors coming in and out, and the large amount of available surface area. By cleaning and disinfecting these spaces, you have the peace of mind that your facility has been sanitized to protect against diseases like COVID-19. Many businesses are taking proactive measures to clean and disinfect their facilities using resources available to them, this is a great initiative for stopping the spread of the disease. Everyone has the ability to get a cleaning agent and scrub high touch areas such as keyboards, doorknobs, and tables, but here are some reasons why it may be worth considering using a professional cleaning service to do this for you.

High grade products.

A professional cleaning company will use high grade disinfectants usually not available to average consumers. While there are a number of household disinfectants available for use today, there are benefits to using a high-grade disinfectant. COVID-19 is a brand-new virus and therefore, no disinfectants have had scientific testing on their effectiveness against COVID-19. This means that while many household brands may work against COVID-19, there is no guarantee. However, using a high-grade disinfectant puts you in the best position to be ensured of complete disinfection.

Trained Technicians

Having professional technicians clean your business provides many benefits that you would not normally have with your regular janitorial staff, other employees, or yourself.

  • Trained technicians know where the high touch areas are. Having technicians go over every detailed area of your business will ensure complete coverage where others may miss. Technicians are able to get every nook and cranny that could have been exposed to harmful pathogens and sanitize those spots using high-grade products.
  • Technicians know how to use proper PPE. By using PPE (personal protective equipment) technicians keep themselves safe from any potential exposure. This minimizes risk that your regular janitorial staff or other employees would have to infection while trying to sanitize the area. Trained technicians know proper procedures for how to put on, operate in, and take off the masks, gloves, and protective suits, in order to prevent exposure. According to CDC guidelines, workers should never be sent in to clean areas where there was a confirmed COVID-19 case without using PPE.
  • At SERVPRO of Minot we have proper insurance policies for protecting our staff against COVID-19 exposure. As stated above, our technicians have been trained to use all proper PPE to prevent exposure, however on the chance that they are exposed, we have insurance to cover the costs that would come from that event. By sending someone into clean a COVID-19 exposed area, you risk the chance of legal liability as well as the health of your workers, your customers and yourself. You have a lot on your mind right now and the last thing you need to worry about is risking exposure while trying to disinfect an area.

Peace of Mind

Customers and employees are the backbone of every business. You want to protect them and ensure they are not at risk while at your facilities. Having a professional service ensure you have been thoroughly disinfected is one of the things you can control for stopping the spread of this disease. Being able to tell your employees and customers that they are entering a space that has been completely sanitized from top to bottom is a relieving feeling and one which SERVPRO of Minot would love to provide.

Now is the perfect time to invest in a professional cleaning. With the continued government shutdown, your building is empty, or for essential businesses, very low traffic. Having a SERVPRO of Minot team come in now will avoid the usual disruption of a top to bottom cleaning and will allow your employees and customers to come back to work in a fresh and sanitary environment. Being proactive during these stressful times is a way to ease your mind and everyone else who enters your facilities.

Why Your Water Bill is so High

4/15/2020 (Permalink)

How much water does your home use? Every month you might look at your water bill and think, “We went through THAT much water?” From your sink, to the dishwasher, toilet, washing machine, drinking water, and garden hose, you might be shocked about how much water you go through. After a while, your water bill will begin to set into a pattern, and you will know your usual consumption. However, if one month it is an oddly high bill however, these could be the causes.

 The biggest concern with a high-water bill is that there is an unknown leak in your house. Check the suspect areas first. Toilets are the first place you should check. A toilet that is in a continuous state of flushing can go through almost 200 gallons of water a day. If you hear a toilet running, that is an obvious sign, but by looking into the tank, you can often find the source of your problem.  Once you have inspected all of the toilets, look at sinks and faucets for leaks to see if they have loose handles, pipes, or cracks that could be dripping water out. Next, check appliances that use water such as refrigerators, freezers, and hot water heaters. The connections may be loose or have worn down over time and this may be the source the leak. If you do not find a leak at any of these spots, then maybe there is no leak and it could be one of these other causes for your high-water bill.

You may have forgotten about large sources of water use. Water usage is not fixed and fluctuates throughout the year. During the summer, you could be using a garden sprinkler or filling up a pool or you have more people staying with you, such as kids home for summer break. During the winter, you may have family staying for the holidays or if your heating system is powered through the use of hot water, this could lead to an increase in use. As the season changes, so does our use of water, make sure to account for this when you look at your bill.

If neither of these seem to be the cause of your high-water bill, then it might be time to look at the way you are measuring your consumption. Water meters are used to measure the amount of water you use each year, while there are ways to read this on your property, today, it is done remotely by the water authority. You can request to have your meter checked for accuracy to confirm your previous bill. While uncommon, it is always smart to confirm your bill is accurate.

If you still are not sure of the cause for your high-water bill, you may have an underground leak. This can be a costly problem to solve and will likely require either bringing in an expert or purchasing detection equipment. There will often be an underground hissing sound that will give away the leak. If you have checked all of the above possibilities for finding the cause of your high-water bill, it may be worth considering an underground leak. If you believe this is the case, you should contact a professional inspector to look for the cause and confirm if this is true.

Monitoring your monthly water bill is the best way to make sure you don’t have further problems in the future due to water damage. A tiny leak, if left unchecked, can cause thousands of dollars in water, mold, and sewer damage, and you will be left on the hook for the water bill as well. Make sure to monitor your monthly water bill closely and look for any unknown peaks.

Where to Place your Fire Extinguishers

4/13/2020 (Permalink)

Blog post photo Did you know 44% of home fires originate in the kitchen?

Fires are chaotic, unexpected, and costly emergencies that impact millions of people each year. In 2018, a US fire department responded to a call every 24 seconds. While we never expect to have a fire, it is an event that impacts 1 in 3,000 households across the country. Hopefully, you will never have to be a victim of a house fire, but you should always be prepared. One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself is to have fire extinguishers available in your house and make sure they are placed  in optimal areas to combat any flames.

Before you begin positioning your fire extinguishers, first make sure they are in good working order. Make sure the locking pin, located on the handle, is intact and the seal is unbroken. Check the pressure gauge to see if it is still at full capacity and then look for any leaks or damage on the body, handle, or nozzle. Having a certified fire extinguisher inspector look over your units once a year is always recommended. Once you are sure that your fire extinguishers are fully operational you can begin to place them in areas for best use.

The Kitchen is the most common place for home fires to start. With the stove, microwave and other appliances all clustered in this room, cooking is the cause for 44% of home fires. You should place your fire extinguisher in an unblocked area of the kitchen that is not next to the stove or other appliances, the last thing you want to do is try and reach through the flames to get your fire extinguisher. If possible, place it near the center of the room and by a hallway or door so that those entering the room can access it.

Another great place to have an extinguisher is your shop or garage. This is an area where you likely have stored flammable materials such as gasoline, oils, and painting materials. This in combination with power tools that can be used make the garage or shop a mandatory area for having a fire extinguisher. Again, make sure it is stored in a highly visible area that is not blocked or covered.

 Now that we are moving into the summer months, you should have a fire extinguisher available at all of your recreational areas. If you are grilling or using a firepit in your backyard, having a fire extinguisher available is a must. In addition, having a fire extinguisher in your vehicle for going to the lake, park, or camping trip is a smart move in ensuring everyone can have fun and be safe as well.

While you can have a fire extinguisher in almost every room of your house, these areas should be prioritized immediately. Making sure you are able to reach a fire extinguisher in under 10 seconds can allow you to contain the damage and save lives. Take a look at your home, or business, today and see where you are vulnerable to a fire and take action to prevent a catastrophe from happening

Preparing for Summer Storms

4/12/2020 (Permalink)

As we get out of winter and inch closer to summer, it is important to remember another season that is coming up, tornado season. Every year tornadoes cost about $400 million in damage across the United States every year, with an average cost of $8,179 per house. Just one category F5 tornado, the strongest on the Fujita scale, can cause over $1 billion in damage by itself. To avoid having your entire year ruined by being unprepared for spring storm damage, here are some tips for saving time and money.

  • The best way to be prepared for storm damage is to have an insurance policy that covers storm-related damage. Check with your insurance provider to make sure damage from wind, lightning and falling tree branches. You should make sure you are covered now, before the storm comes through. While you can take measures to reduce damage, a powerful storm can destroy any safety measures you take, so being covered is your best bet.
  • Once you know you are covered for after the storm, there are steps you can take to reduce the possible damage inflicted. One is to reduce the amount of debris available around your house that could be blown into your walls and windows. Dead trees and branches should be trimmed or removed so that they will not be a potential hazard for a violent storm. Also, you should remove items in your yard such as grills, furniture, and children’s play equipment and store them inside when a storm alert has issued.
  • While protecting your property is important, your first thought should be of those living in your home. Making sure you are set up to withstand the storm is a crucial step in keeping you and your family safe. You should have a designated shelter area that is in the basement or ground level. This area should have no windows and enough room for your entire family to stay in for a few hours until the storm is over. In this area you should have essentials such as: includes flashlights, a first aid kit, and blankets for if the power goes out. You can customize your shelter area to fit your needs as space allows.
  • Make sure to have a generator prepared as well. A severe storm can knock out power for days and you will be without electricity for your refrigerator, lights, and electric heaters. While power lines are down, generators are one of the first things sold out in stores, so getting one today is a smart, proactive move.

Storms can be frightening; they can be even worse if you are unprepared. Take these steps to ensure you are ready this summer for any kind of weather.

3 Tips to Prevent Spring Water Damage

4/8/2020 (Permalink)

Even as the snow continues to accumulate, it is important to remember that we will soon be in the spring months. With the warm weather on the way (hopefully) it is important to remember that with all the snow melting, the water left in its place can cause problems if you aren't prepared. 

Here are three quick tips for protecting yourself from any damage that the melting spring snow could bring.

1) It is important to make sure your sump pump is operating at 100%. Inspecting it for any built up ice, dirt, or other debris and clearing that out now, will prevent pump failure in the future. Once you have cleared it of any debris, turn it off and then on, making sure it start afterwards to ensure it is operating at full capacity.

2) An easy way to prevent loss of valuable items is to do some spring cleaning. By going into your basement and cleaning out any unnecessary items that have been stored over the winter and moving valuable ones to safe areas, you can prevent those items from being destroyed in the event of a flooded basement. While cleaning your basement, you can inspect for cracks in the foundation or any other weak spots at risk of letting in water.

3) The North Dakota snow is brutal, and while it is hard enough to clear driveways, sideways, and walking paths, it is important to clear as much around your house as possible. Once the snow melts it can pool underground next to your house and seep in through cracks causing thousands of dollars in damage. By using a snow blower, skid steer, or even just shoveling it away, creating a 3-5 ft. perimeter around your house will prevent a large loss of time and money in the future. 

As the warm spring weather approaches it is important to take steps now to make sure you are not at risk of having unnecessary damage to your home.  

What to do while your business is Shutdown

4/6/2020 (Permalink)

Across the nation, we are all doing our best to work through the coronavirus pandemic. As we try and contain the spread of the virus, millions have had their normal work routine shifted. This has caused chaos for many in the workforce. A survey by the U.S. Chamber of commerce found that 54% of small businesses have temporarily closed or will close within the next few weeks. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce) While we can all hope that this emergency will pass soon, there are steps that business owners and managers can be taking now, to prepare for the reopening of the economy.

Continue Cash Flow

The first is to apply for loans and grants. By now, you have seen the federal stimulus package and the provision for loans and grants for business. This economic relief is supposed to help with the burden that the shutdown has caused for businesses across the country. If you haven’t already applied for this, you should consider it and act quickly to make sure you are prepared. Likewise, local banks and credit unions have been working with businesses to give out low-interest loans to pay for operations until they are ready to reopen.

During this shutdown it is important to do what you are able. While operations have been severely impacted for many businesses, doing what little is possible will help until full operations can resume. As an example, many local restaurants have offered curbside and take out options to maintain a source of cash flow. Although you will likely not maintain your regular cash flow, doing what you can, will help to get you through.

Stay Connected

Another option is to utilize your social media channels to connect with your customers. Although they can not be at your location physically, you can still connect digitally. This shows your commitment to your customers and your appreciation for their business. Making sure your brand is still in your customers mind will make sure they return once able. Showing what you are doing to improve or change about your location during this closure is a great move.

Clean While the Building is Empty

At SERVPRO of Minot we are helping businesses during this COVID-19 shutdown by providing proactive bio-remediation cleanings. By going into offices, dealerships, restaurants, gyms, banks, and all other kinds of businesses, we are providing sanitation and disinfection of viral hazards giving those facilities peace of mind for when customers and employees return. Our hospital-grade disinfectants have been found to work against similar viruses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Following CDC guidelines and using the correct personal protective equipment, our technicians are prepared to completely sanitize any workspace without exposing themselves or other members of that organization. By completely sanitizing a space, it ensures that your facilities are not at risk of causing sickness to anyone who enters. The efficiency of our trained technicians allows us to cover a large space quickly, making it ideal for companies with large office spaces or facilities.

Even if you do not have a large space, cleaning your building during this shutdown with proven disinfectants and washing your hands afterwards will go a long way in stopping the spread of the disease, as well as giving your customers peace of mind once they return.

Even though your operations may be shut down or limited, there are still steps you can take during this time to make sure you are being productive and proactive. Be sure you are ready to bring your customers back in once it is safe and sanitary for you to do so.

US Chamber of Commerce (https://www.uschamber.com/report/special-report-coronavirus-and-small-business

How to Get Ready to Go Back to the Office

3/25/2020 (Permalink)

Blog post photo Make sure you are ready for when you have to go back to the office

As we work through unprecedented times, it is important to remember we will get through these times. States across the nation have either suggested or enforced work from home guidelines while others have completely shut down non-essential businesses. Once these orders have been lifted and workers are allowed to return, having a plan in place will help to get back into normal operations.

As workers have been adapting to their new schedule, developing a plan for re-integrating them to get back up to their maximum productivity levels.

Make A Plan

The first thing to do is to set a date for the return to normal working conditions. As we are in the midst of the current situation, it is hard to predict when workers and businesses will be able to return to their regular workspaces. When the governmental levels lift their work from home orders, the individual organizations will have to determine when they will reopen. This may involve immediate reopening, setting it for the following Monday, or maintaining the work from home orders to further protect workers and visitors from potential exposure.

Once a reopen date has been set, each individual should be contacted and informed of the date with their confirmation that they can return. Some may have other priorities such as watching over their children or elderly family members and will be unable to return immediately. Others may just not feel comfortable leaving their house if there is still a threat of infection and should receive the best possible accommodations. This may involve continuing work from home or instituting safety measures.

Expect a Readjustment Period

It will be hard for workers to jump right back into their regular workflow. By the time of their return, many will have been working from home, or not working, for weeks and possibly months. It will take time to readjust to their normal morning routine, duties, and eating habits. For as long as that employee was gone, it will be equally as long, or longer, before they are able adjust back. There should be an expectation of a lag in productivity from those individuals. 

Ways to help those workers readjust include being flexible with start times, one-on-one human support, and having a clear re-integration plan. Consulting with each employee and establishing a clear plan of what is expected upon their return will allow them to have clear tasks to focus as they get back into their regular routine.

While workers return, allowing those who are anxious or in a high-risk category, to stay at home may be the best choice. Even though the return to work order may go into effect, coronavirus will still be in the news headlines and many may not want to expose themselves by being in a populated workspace. 

Proactive Cleaning

To calm fears, it may be worth considering a professional cleaning before they return. Having a completely sanitized space to return to, will do a lot to ease concerns. As school buildings, offices, and other community organizations are currently empty, now is the perfect time to do it, to clear any standing contamination and to avoid disruption.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 SERVPRO of Minot has been doing proactive cleanings. By doing a proactive cleaning, workers reduce the risk of exposure from unwanted pathogens. A proactive cleaning also allows employees to be in a space that will not impact the quality of their health. 

Although there are not currently any products tested against this strain of coronavirus, the products our technicians use have shown effectiveness against similar strains to this new virus. Following CDC recommended products and cleaning guidelines, SERVPRO technicians have been using hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize workspaces during this time.

As a locally owned franchise, SERVPRO of Minot wants to help organizations stay healthy and get back to work soon. Asking your supervisor, facilities manager, or business owner to consider a professional cleaning would allow us to help get your organization back to normal. 

Tips to Prevent Water Damage

3/24/2020 (Permalink)

One of the great things about living in the modern world, is our access to usable water. In much of the 3rd world, having water for drinking, cleaning, and plumbing is not possible. With this wonderful access we have to be careful. If not monitored carefully, the damage can be catastrophic, and expensive. 

Here are some SERVPRO safety tips for preventing water damage.

Most water damage claims do not come from storms, floods, or heavy rain but rather from neglect in monitoring and replacing minor parts. An easy way to prevent damage is to replace and upgrade hosing, pipes, and other small parts that can easily break. 

Make sure all of your drains are working properly. If a sink or bath tub isn't draining properly, it could lead to future problems. Ways to keep your drains in good condition are:

  • Avoid pouring grease down drains.
  • Keep drains clear with a regular cleaning schedule.
  • Always keep a strainer in place on sink and shower/tub drains.
  • Frequently clean out the strainer and deposit the debris in the trash, not back down the drain or in the toilet.

Prevent Ice Dams from forming. In the cold North Dakota winter, an ice dam forms when warm air from the attic melts the snow on the roof which freezes in the cold air. If left unchecked, the ice can build up and push into cracks between the walls and roof. Leading to leaks which can cause water damage throughout your home. Prevention of this includes:

  • Have your gutters and downspouts cleaned, inspected, and repaired during the fall to ensure clear passage of water. 
  • Insulate your attic properly — heat in the home should not reach the attic. Warm air can melt the snow on the roof, which refreezes, forming ice dams. Make sure the attic floor is airtight by sealing any openings.
  • Provide enough ventilation to the attic to keep the roof cool. Warm air should escape through vents near the top of the attic. Cold air should flow in through vents near the eaves. The temperature in the attic should be 5 to 10 °F warmer than the outside temperature.
  • Remove the snow on your roof when it’s about six inches deep. Use a roof rake or a long-handled brush to remove the snow without a ladder.

The best way to prevent water damage is to maintain and upkeep the quality of your home. These small, affordable home projects can prevent large, expensive calls down the road. 

How SERVPRO Helped a local non-profit in their time of need.

3/19/2020 (Permalink)

Operating in Minot for 105 years, the YWCA has been a shining light for generations of women within our community. The organization, which last year provided over 4,000 nights of shelter, suffered a devastating problem in November 2019 when a backed-up toilet caused flooding throughout the entire 3-story facility, leaving a wave of damage throughout the building.

Upon inspection, it was discovered that multiple walls would need repairs, vinyl flooring replaced, and flooring dried. With the scope of the repairs building up and the estimated bills doing the same, the organization was not sure what to do. A large community push was made to donate time and money to repair the damaged building. That was when Ryan Conklin, the owner of SERVPRO® of Minot, showed up and generously donated the time, effort, and materials to repair the building. The next day, there was a crew on site ripping out the vinyl flooring to dry the wet tile underneath and immediately tending to the restoration.

Within a week the damage was undone, and the YWCA could continue as normal with their daily operations. Meghan von Behren, Executive Director of the YWCA, said she was most impressed with the professionalism of the crew on site. She stated, “They took steps to make the space clean, safe, and livable.” The SERVPRO staff was able to clearly explain what steps had to be taken and demonstrate safe techniques for repairing the damage. Now the YWCA is back to being a first-class facility that can accommodate all women, safely, without the risk of disease caused by untreated water damage.

At SERVPRO we pride ourselves on being a contributing member of the community and want to help out whenever we can.

The YWCA expresses extreme gratitude towards SERVPRO of Minot for their professionalism, the respect they displayed, and the quick turnaround time it took to get the facility back to new.

The YWCA serves women from all backgrounds whether they are suffering from domestic violence, human trafficking or any other situation. To learn more about how to help, visit the YWCA on Facebook @YWCAMinotND or contact the shelter at 701-838-1812 or ywcaminoted@gmail.com.

Meet Our Team: Ryan and Lance

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

meet the team graphic Ryan and Lance, Owners

In 2018, Ryan Conklin and Lance Larson were given an opportunity to purchase the SERVPRO of Minot franchise and took over operations in September of 2019.

Ryan was born in Minot and graduated from Garrison High School in 1999. He attained a degree in Applied Science in 2002 from Bismarck State College. He worked for MDU from 2005-2009 where he met Lance and they decided to start Absolute Comfort. In 2019 the pair bought the SERVPRO of Minot franchise and Ryan has been operating it since.

Ryan enjoys hunting and fishing, spending time with his wife Marci, and his two kids Logan and Hailee.

Lance was born in Minot, graduated from Minot High in 1994. He became a Master Plumber and started Absolute Comfort with Ryan in 2009. Lance enjoys being outdoors, golfing, and spending time with his three kids.

As owners of Absolute Comfort in Minot, their business model aligned similarly with SERVPRO services and they saw an opportunity to extend their management philosophy to a new field in their industry. Their commitment to quality, honesty, and bringing peace of mind to those facing emergency home problems has now been combined with the SERVPRO brand. 

Being local owners, Ryan and Lance want to contribute to the community. They do this by not only offering 24/7 service, but by giving back through youth sporting activities. This includes sponsoring programs such as: Minot Hockey Boosters, Minot youth baseball, Minot youth basketball, Bishop Ryan Girls Basketball team, and a variety of other youth sports. They believe in improving the quality of life within our community and helping out whenever a homeowner is in crisis.

What do I do if there is a fire?

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

As the local leader in restoration from fire damage, SERVPRO of Minot want to keep you informed of ways to prevent fire from having a devastating impact on your life.

The Red Cross gives some excellent tips here:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. 
  • Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

"Who should I contact if a fire happens?"

  • Immediately dial 9-1-1 and have first responders there as soon as possible.
  • Make sure anyone who was in the house is out, DO NOT go back into a burning building for any people, pets, or belongings, nothing is as important as your safety.
  • Once the fire has been extinguished, contact your insurance provider and see what your policy covers
  • Have them contact us, SERVPRO of Minot, and we will work with them for you, to make sure everything is restored to the perfect condition.

Two tips for managing your commercial property

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

Two tips for commercial property management Tips for Managing Commercial Property

In today's world, oftentimes the people who are managing commercial properties, are not the owners. Think of a retail setting, there is probably a manger who is in charge of overseeing the operations, including the management of the property. This manager is most likely concerned with the variety of other tasks like promoting sales or managing staff. This means you shouldn't assume that they are handling the property management as well.

Two things you can do to make sure your properties are, make sure you have the best available technology and to have staff trained in correct management. 

Technology could include: upgraded security systems, energy efficient lights and heating systems, and upgraded windows and doors for efficiency and security. 

Another step would be to develop a plan and inform staff of that plan. This could range from a simple daily checklist, to a full emergency response plan in the event of disaster. 

Emergency response plans are great for directing staff on what to do if there is an emergency. Things to include in this plan are contact numbers for contractors to come in and stop any further damage, meet up locations in case the building needs to be evacuated and business continuity plans for what will happen if the building can not be occupied for a period of time.

At SERVPRO of Minot we assist companies with putting together these plans and take pride in our attention to detail and planning when preparing these. 

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your business is managed properly and safely.

Meet our Team: Brandi Kraft

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

Meet the team graphic Brandi Kraft, Administrative Assistant

Brandi is the Administrative Assistant and joined our team in December 2019. Her daily duties consist of helping Jess with administrative duties and helping the Production crew to achieve their goals.

Brandi was born in Minot and graduated from Minot High School in 2005. 

Brandi enjoys all the traditional hobbies of a North Dakotan including being outside, camping, hunting, and playing with her two dogs.

Brandi's favorite part of working at SERVPRO of Minot is the people she works with and helping the community. Brandi plays an important role in helping to deliver on SERVPRO of Minot's mission to be the best restoration company in North Dakota. 

Here at SERVPRO of Minot we take pride in all of our work and Brandi is an integral part of our team in our success. 

How SERVPRO can help stop the spread of Coronavirus for you

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO corporate here to help graphic We are HERE TO HELP you with any solutions we can provide

Coronavirus has dominated the news headlines for the past few weeks. There has been a lot of fear and misinformation put out there and as the leader in cleaning of biological contamination in the Minot area, SERVPRO® of Minot wants to relay some accurate information as well as clarify our services which can be used to help the spread of disease.

The best way to prevent infection is to take personal steps to protect yourself

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently throughout the day.
  • Stay home if you feel sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wipe and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as your steering wheel or keyboard, often

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Wiping high-touch surfaces can be done on a personal scale at home as well as on a commercial scale.

SERVPRO technicians are trained to be able to safely clean and disinfect buildings, offices, and other high-traffic areas against a wide variety of germs. Using proper procedures, as well as advanced personal protection equipment, we can disinfect one of these areas while minimizing the chance of further spreading germs

A few things to note: 

  • There is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the Coronavirus. Although our technicians do use a medical grade cleaning product which has shown effectiveness against similar strains to COVID-19.
  • Proactive cleaning will not prevent or protect the building from future contamination if an infected person was to enter and occupy the building.

With the current state of affairs, it is worth considering a professional cleaning to reduce the possible spread of disease carrying germs through your organization. This also gives a peace of mind to those who visit and work in your facility, knowing that we have thoroughly cleaned and disinfected that area. Being able to tell anyone who enters the area that it was recently professionally cleaned and disinfected can put an ease to a lot of worries that have surrounded COVID-19.

Why we use PPE

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO® of Minot we take pride in being able to test for, mitigate, and clean up properties that have been invested with hazardous materials, most commonly mold.

This is why we make sure to train our staff in all safety measures to handle the problem. One of the most important measures to take is the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

The use of PPE is important for a few reasons most notably, the safety of our staff and the safety and sanitation of the property.

Making sure that our staff is trained in proper use and knowledge of PPE is a main priority. This allows them to be safe and focus on the job at end, rather than worry about exposure to possibly toxic materials. When our staff knows they are safe, they can focus on providing a superior service to our customers.

We take pride in upholding the highest quality standards of safety and this is just one of the ways in which we do it.

Minot Restaurants Rely on the Fast Response of SERVPRO to Mitigate Water Loss Emergencies

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

One of the most rewarding things about running a Minot restaurant is giving your customers a positive experience every time that they step through your doors. Small disasters can sometimes pose a significant threat to this positive experience, however, and you need to get the mess cleaned up quickly and thoroughly to prevent lasting damages to the building.

Every business owner focuses on cutting out the extra spending, even when it comes to approaching water damage in their Minot eatery. Most believe that these situations can get taken care of without professional intervention, but this is rarely the case. There are effects and lingering damages that can continue to affect your restaurant long after the initial mess has gotten seemingly cleaned up. 

One of the things that you need to consider when it comes to cleaning up a mess like this is the far-reaching effects of water spreading throughout areas of your restaurant. With various flooring materials and drywall, saturation can occur in a brief period which puts a timeline on when the damage must get restored before the material becomes unsalvageable. Our SERVPRO team can say that We’re Faster To Any Size Disaster because that is the commitment that we have made to the clients we serve throughout the area. 

Another reason that you should consider our SERVPRO restoration services for the water damage in your facility are adverse secondary effects. Lingering water and moisture can allow mold spores present in the environment to seat and colonize. When running a restaurant, mold damage is one of the situations that could stop your business in its tracks and prove costly to remediate and verify that the health hazard of mold exposure has gotten successfully removed. 

Operating a restaurant has many rewarding aspects, but when you sustain water damages in your facility, you need to act quickly to ensure that the problem does not get worse. Our SERVPRO of Minot water restoration technicians are standing by 24/7 at (701) 852-7378

What is air duct cleaning and why should we have it done?

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

What is lurking in your vents?

Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.

If not properly installed, maintained and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the air of your commercial business. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them.

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. Make it a priority to inspect the ductwork of your business.

If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating one or more of the following:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Odors
  • Dirt and debris
  • Other contaminants

The benefits of servicing your HVAC unit include:

  • Helps to restore peak energy efficiency.
  • May help to eliminate offensive odors.
  • Helps reduce the potential for mold growth.

For more information on air duct cleaning, call us at SERVPRO today, (701) 852-7378

Ceiling Tile Discoloration: Culprits and Causes

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage on ceiling tile can indicate a bigger problem.

Imagine it, you’ve found the perfect home for your business, with just one or two pesky discolored ceiling tiles. It’s not a big deal, right? Not quite. Beyond being unsightly, ceiling tile discoloration can have serious causes, from water damage to tile mold. Before you overlook a stain or two, learn some of their top causes in Minot ND.

About Ceiling Tiles

Dropped tile ceilings are a common go-to for many commercial buildings across the country. Reasons include:

  • Affordability
  • Easy removal for access to HVAC and electrical system
  • Clean, simple appearance

Drop tiles can create a pleasant, conservative look but can quickly take on a downright ugly appearance when they become stained. Here are some of the reasons that happens.

Age
Dropped tile ceilings have been popular for decades and in some buildings, have been in place for that long. The older the tiles the more likely they’ve been exposed to cigarette smoke and other pollutants. The result can be a darker color that may be impossible to get rid of.

Water Damage
Brown spots are often the biggest giveaway to a leak somewhere above the tile. They often start small and radiate outward over time. Beyond being an eyesore, these spots often signal bigger problems like tile mold, and should never be ignored.

Lighting
The ultraviolet light so common in offices is not great for ceiling tiles. Over time, tiles exposed to UV rays can take on a sickly hue that isn’t very attractive. 

From water leaks and tile mold to harsh light, there are lots of things that can trigger tile discoloration. When you see tile discoloration, it’s worth the time and money to replace the tile. Because tile mold can spread, if you suspect water damage is the culprit, make sure you consult a mold remediation company like SERVPRO. It could save you expense and headaches in the long run.

Tips for Finding a Contractor in Minot to repair Storm Damage

6/4/2019 (Permalink)


Unfortunately, an increase in the number of storm-related claims may lead to an increase in the number of unscrupulous roofers and contractors who are willing to take advantage of homeowners. It is very important for you to be cautious when dealing with contractors who offer to repair your home.

Some tips:


• Only do business with licensed contractors with good references.


• Always request a written, detailed estimate.


• Never pay for work up front, nor make any payments in cash.


• Never sign a contract with spaces left blank.


• What is their business address? If the company has a PO Box or doesn't have a local address, they probably aren't a local company.


• Ask about some references for work they have done in this area. Local companies should have plenty of projects you can see in the area.


• If in doubt about anything you are being asked to sign by a contractor, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t feel pressured into signing anything. Take time to do your research, and if you are unsure about anything in the agreement, WAIT until you’ve had an opportunity to look it over more carefully and discuss it with your insurance agent or adjuster.

The Effects of a Sump Pump Failure on a Finished Basement

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Sump pumps have an average lifespan of 3 to 5 years, which means if you own a home with a sump pump you can anticipate it failing at some point. Sump pumps are used to prevent water from outside seeping into your house, which is particularly common during heavy rainfalls. It is important to ensure you sump pump is operating correctly.

To test your sump pump fill a five-gallon bucket with water and pour it slowly around the sump pump. The pump should kick on once the water level reaches a predetermined level below the basement floor. If the pump doesn’t turn on, it may be either clogged or damaged.


When sump pumps fail, water comes into your home that can be significantly contaminated. SERVPRO of Minot’s' technicians are trained to evaluate your home's building materials to determine which materials can be saved, and which must be removed.


Building materials that are not salvageable that are not removed can support microbial growth. Salvageable building materials that are exposed to the water for too long can also be destroyed.

If you have any questions, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Minot for your water emergency. With our trained professionals and specialized equipment, we will make it “Like it never even happened.”

Bleach Does Not Kill Mold

5/12/2019 (Permalink)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not recommend using bleach to kill or remove mold. The idea that bleach can kill mold is a myth!


The chemical structure of bleach makes it unable to penetrate porous surfaces like drywall or wood, which means that mold membranes will simply retreat deeper into whatever surface they're on to avoid the chemical. Once first exposed to bleach, the mold recognizes it as a threat and can actually use it as a fungal food to grow more rapidly.

That's right – using bleach to kill mold can actually feed the problem, and depending on the amount of bleach and concentration may actually damage materials and structures.


Mold can grow anywhere inside of your home where moisture is present and there is a food source. Mold flourishes in moist environments, so from a small leak in a wall or improper attic ventilation can lead to mold growth. If you notice any signs of excess moisture such as water spots, floors buckling or bubbling, make sure to have a professional come out to inspect it.

If your basement has either flooded or has ongoing excess moisture, make sure to have that evaluated as well. These preventative measures can help save you money, prior to mold growth occurring.

If mold is discovered, do not try to clean it yourself. Sprays and chemicals can often worsen the issue. Remember, there is no one solution to kill mold. The cause must be treated, then the mold is to be professionally mitigated so all mold can be removed.

Water Damage Restoration Certification

5/3/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know an 800 square foot basement with 12 inches of water contains approximately 6000 gallons?

SERVPRO of Minot’s staff recently completed the Water Damage Restoration Certification with the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning & Remediation).

The Water Damage Restoration Technician course is designed to teach our restoration personnel who perform remediation work a better concept of water damage, it’s effects on all materials, and techniques for the drying of structures. This course has given our residential and commercial maintenance personnel the background to understand the procedures necessary to deal with water losses, sewer backflows, and contamination such as mold. 

Our emergency services personnel can inspect materials for restorability, cleanability and start the appropriate extraction and drying procedures as soon as possible to minimize disruptions in your home or business.  We also work directly with your insurance!

SERVPRO of Minot’s staff is currently certified in Applied Microbial Remediation, Fire and Soot Remediation and Water Damage Restoration.

SERVPRO Mission Statement

3/21/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Logo on wall with mission statement and vision SERVPRO of Minot Mission Statement

As new owners, Ryan Conklin and Lance Larson pride themselves on striving to be the best restoration company in North Dakota.

To develop a team of quality people who focus on excellent service, fairness and mutual respect.

With every water, fire, or flood comes a flood of emotions. There is a certain amount of uncertainty, and a loss of control. It can be your home, business or your belongings that have  become damaged you don't just want things to be clean. You want your life back, as well. You look to us, SERVPRO of Minot, to handle the situation.

And that is where SERVPRO of Minot comes in. We are a franchise system with over 40years of leadership in the cleanup and restoration industry. 

Our team takes to the streets, every hour of every day. Proving that wherever there's a house full of water, or an office filled with smoke, there is also a van full of clean. SERVPRO of Minot can make it "Like it never even happened." 

Pesticide Certification

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know that businesses that apply EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) disinfectants are required to have a pesticide certification  in the state of North Dakota? SERVPRO of Minot's Commercial Number is 10066709.This certification must be renewed every three years to remain active. SERVPRO of Minot follows guidelines set by the state for use and record keeping of the products we use, store and transport. When we use products that are registered we record the time, quantity and how it was applied to your home or business. We also send to the homeowner or business a letter stating these services. All documentation is kept for three years. All of us at SERVPRO of Minot feel these practices are a valuable aspect to our company. Following these guidelines is important for our ecosystem. These guidelines help us to remain conscience of our environment and help in its preservation. 

Renters Insurance

7/6/2017 (Permalink)

Grease fire on stove tenant was cooking and fell asleep. Grease fire on stove tenant was cooking and fell asleep.

Fire is always a frightening event, but after the flames are extinguished, it can still be scary if you don't have renter's insurance.

The number of renters has grown dramatically in some of the most populous—and disaster-prone—U.S. cities, yet few renters actually purchase insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)

Indeed, only 37 percent of renters have renters insurance whereas 95 percent of homeowners have a homeowners insurance policy, according to a 2014 I.I.I. poll conducted by ORC International.

“Renters insurance provides a very important financial safety net when there is a disaster,” points out Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the I.I.I. “And, renters insurance is relatively inexpensive—the average cost of a renter’s policy is only $187 per year, or less than four dollars per week.”

If you own expensive jewelry, collectibles, musical instruments or even high-end sports equipment, you may want to add a floater or endorsement to your renters policy. This would provide broader coverage for risks such as “mysterious disappearance.” So even if you lose the item, you would be covered.

No Renters Insurance

7/6/2017 (Permalink)

Severe interior damage to House

SERVPRO Employees scoping fire loss that did severe damaged to main level of the house.  The tenant that lived hear had no renters insurance.  All of their belongings (TV's, childrens toys, beds, clothing, furniture and food) were destroyed due to soot and high heat damage or burned by the fire.  The cost to demo, clean and rebuild the structure to pre loss condition will be around $50,000.00

According to Insurance Information Institute

“Many renters are under the misconception that their landlord’s insurance policy will reimburse them if their personal property is damaged or destroyed, but that’s just not the case,” says Salvatore. “Fortunately, renters have a range of insurance options to choose from.”

Renters insurance provides financial protection against damage to or loss of personal possessions due to hurricanes, fire, lightning, theft, explosion and other disasters listed in the policy. There is even coverage for water damage caused by burst pipes or a neighbor who forgets to shut off the water in the tub. Coverage is available on either an actual cash value basis (depreciated value) or for its replacement cost (no deduction for depreciation). Renters insurance does NOT cover flooding and earthquake, but separate policies can be purchased for these events.

Sewage backup

7/6/2017 (Permalink)

Sewer back up flowed into haulway.

To whom it may concern,

                I am the maintenance man for McKenzie county and am responsible for repairs to our Hillside Court apartment complex.  Hillside court is a facility for the disabled and seniors 62 and over with a meals on wheels program on site.  I want to inform you that your employees have performed in a very professional and courteous manner.  This goes to show what quality of demeanor and character your company seeks to employ.

Yesterday 10/4/16 around 4:30 we had a large sewage backup at our McKenzie County Courthouse building while a commissioners meeting and public hearing were taking place.  At this time your company had a single staff member in town working at Hillside Court.  I am unable to express how impressed I am with your employee’s ability to remobilize and begin extracting sewage in less than 10 minutes of asking for help!  If this is not a SERVPRO record than it is in the running for second place.  

If I knew the address in which to have mailed this letter to I would have used pen, paper, envelop, and stamp to express my thanks.  Too often in the service industry  do we only here the bad things rare is it when you hear about a job well done.  Your staff on site is putting long hours doing knuckle busting demo work.  It is my wishes that you will be able to express thanks and gratitude to your staff on behave of the tax payers of McKenzie County for going above and beyond our expectations.

Thank you for your time on this matter.

Jon Manning

McKenzie County Maintenance

Continuing Education Course

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Minot hosted a continuing education course on May 15, 2017for insurance agents to earn credits towards their license. Dan Luttrell was brought to Minot from the Gallatin TN corporate office. He taught in regards to Fire Restoration and also in Water Restoration. Each class was two hours. This is a free course provided each year in the Spring. 

SERVPRO Christmas party 2015

12/10/2015 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Christmas Party 2015

The SERVPRO of Minot Christmas party was help December 4, 2015 at Badlands bar and grill. Almost the whole team was able to take part in the festivities.

Taube Museum of Art Birthday Bash

10/28/2015 (Permalink)

Taube Museum of Art Birthday Bash

Staff of SERVPRO of Minot was proud to support the Taube Museum of Art with their annual birthday bash, and 1970's costume party on October 16 & 17, 2015.

Red Cross Minot, Rural Fire Department & SERVPRO of Minot

10/28/2015 (Permalink)

Red Cross Minot, Rural Fire Department, and SERVPRO of Minot

The Red Cross Minot, The Rural Fire Department and SERVPRO of Minot helped homeowners in the Minot area with Home Fire Safety Preparedness by checking and installing smoke detectors.

Added to our Fleet

9/24/2015 (Permalink)

2015 Dodge Pro Master

Added to our SERVPRO fleet this summer a 2015 Dodge Promaster to assist our customers in Fire and Water Damage Restoration.

Flooded Basement in Minot June 2015 /After

7/30/2015 (Permalink)

Flooded Basement in Minot June 2015/After

Here is the after picture of the June 2015 flooded basment that our Crew responded to.

Flooded Basement in Minot June/2015 Before

7/30/2015 (Permalink)

This picture shows a flooded basement in Minot ND after the water had receded. SERVPRO of Minot was called to clean up the aftermath!

Flooded Basement June 2015 in Minot ND

"Like it Never Even Happened."

3/26/2015 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Minot's trailers are stocked and ready to help make it, "Like it never even happened."

The SERVPRO of Minot crew is cleaning and loading equipment. They are ready to respond to the next emergency water damage. 

Commercial Water Loss

3/16/2015 (Permalink)

Equipment placed on site!

An early morning call on March 9, 2015 had SERVPRO of Minot responding to a commercial water loss with 6,000 square feet affected. Over 110 pieces of equipment was placed and we had them back up and running within a week. 

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