Recent Water Damage Posts
When does Water Damage Cause Mold?
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.
What Needs Replaced After Water Damage?
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
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.
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.
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."
Which Appliances are Most Likely to Leak.
Although any appliance that uses water is susceptible to a leak, here are the ones you need to be most aware of, to prevent a wet disaster in your home.
Hot Water Heater
Most water heaters will last 10 – 15 years, but leaks can happen at any time. The seals going into the water heater can break down quickly because of the constant pressure from heating and cooling. With hot water heaters also being tucked away into closets, leaks can go unnoticed until they become a major problem.
A dishwasher’s water lines are typically made from a soft plastic that can easily fail, so checking for leaks under the dishwasher as part of your annual home maintenance is wise. If you notice dishes not being clean, strange noises, or your dishwasher just not working right, inspect for a leak.
Washing machine hoses are some of the most common sources of leaks. Because they are notorious for this, it is recommended that they are inspected at least once a month by homeowners so you can be sure no issues have arisen. In addition to these regular checks, they should be fully replaced every five years in order to prevent hidden deterioration.
The drain in your HVAC unit is designed to keep condensation from pooling in and around the unit, but if this drain malfunctions, water damage can quickly be caused. Reference your manufacturer’s manual to determine how often your unit should be inspected and serviced—having a professional technician evaluate your machine is the best defense against HVAC-created water damage.
While not as likely to create as big of a mess, window air conditioners can also create leaks from condensation buildup, pump failures, and a number of parts issues. Most of the time these leaks can be cleaned up with towels and the unit repaired, but improper use over a period of time can create a leak and cause a mold problem as well.
What causes a sewer back up?
One of the most common homeowner insurance claims is because of sewer backups. This ends up being a nasty, messy catastrophe in your home, but what is the cause of it? There are a multitude of reasons why you could experience a sewage back up, but here are a couple of the most common.
Clogged drains are one of the most common reasons for a sewer backup. Improper use of toilets and sinks can cause a main sewer line to become clogged. Flushing cleaning wipes, diapers, napkins, and many other hygiene items can cause a sewer line to become clogged over time. Sewer lines are filled with a volatile combination of hair, soap, and dirty water, adding things such as grease or excess kitchen waste can clog the drain and lead to a sewer backup.
Sewer lines often run under front lawns and nearby tree roots can grow into and around the pipes. Trees have expansive root systems and even if the pipe itself is not near a tree, the roots can spread out and around the pipe.
Once a tree root has grown into a sewer line, the line will need to be replaced and often times the tree roots removed or trimmed down. This will be a big project involving digging into the ground and replacing the existing sewer lines.
Our Six-Step Drying Process
When North Dakotans are confronted with water damage, SERVPRO is the most trusted cleaning and restoration company in the state. This is due, in part, to our Six-Step Recovery Process used to ensure a property is completely dried and restored after suffering from water damage. Whether it is from broken pipes, sewer backups, or appliance leaks, we use the same process to ensure quality results.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
The first step is when we get the call. Whether it is directly from the property owner or from an Insurance professional, we get all of the details needed to begin our response. This includes details about the loss, contact and address information, and what has been affected by the damage. This gives our team the best idea of what equipment and specially trained technicians to send to begin response.
Step 2: Inspection and Damage Assessment
Once the call has been received, an inspection will be scheduled and SERVPRO technicians will be sent to assess the damage and begin work if approved by the property owner and their insurance. In most cases, a property owners insurance policy will cover initial services to mitigate damage, such as water extraction and removal, this means that technicians can begin work immediately without needing to get an estimate approved by the insurance provider.
Step 3: Water Removal/Water Extraction
The water process begins with packing out any materials to prevent further damage. This could be furniture or boxed items, or anything that can be moved to help our technicians best begin water removal.
Once items have been removed, powerful pumps and truck-mounted extraction wands are used to remove any existing water. This powerful suction technology will remove most of the moisture from affected flooring, making the drying process go quicker and smoother.
Step 4: Drying and Dehumidification
Once the excess water has been removed, the floors and walls may appear dry, but a quick inspection will reveal they are wet to the touch. Nearly all building materials, like wood, drywall, and flooring materials, are porous and therefore retain water. This retained water can cause the materials to break down, warp, or cause mold damage.
Using commercial grade dehumidifiers and high-volume air movers, we begin drying out the area while monitoring the progress with handheld moisture meters. For most jobs, the drying process will be complete within 1-3 days, depending on size and amount of moisture in the materials. After drying is complete, the final repairs can be scheduled and made.
Step 5: Cleaning and Repair
After drying is finished, cleaning and repair takes place. This varies from job to job but could involve cleaning off affected contents such as clothes, furniture, or other belongings. Additionally, for water damage, the area is cleaned and sanitized with special anti-microbial agents to prevent mold growth. Additionally, deodorizing might take place if there is a smell left over from the damage.
When stopping water damage, this can mean cutting into walls to stop further damage or to remove wet materials. After the area has been dried out, any left-over debris is removed and documented for the restoration repairs.
Step 6: Restoration
The final step in our recovery process is the restoration. While we try to save as much of the existing property as possible, oftentimes some things are unsalvageable. In these cases, our build-back department works with your insurance provider to restore the property to the condition it was in prior to the loss.
This can be as simple as replacing damage carpet or as extensive as a complete tear down and reconstruction of the damaged area. Whether it is a complete bathroom reconstruction or a simple wall replacement, we work with the insurance provider every step of the way to get approvals based on existing policies to get a seamless restoration completed.
What to do if you have frozen pipes.
This is the time of year where harsh North Dakota winters pose the biggest threat of frozen pipes to your home. When water freezes in your home’s pipes, the water molecules expand into an ice blockage preventing water from passing through. This creates a pressure buildup in the pipe which can lead to a burst and a wet mess throughout your home or business. With North Dakota’s long stretches in negative degree temperatures, your home’s water pipes can quickly freeze if not taken care of. Here are some ways to know if your pipes are frozen and some remedies for how to fix them if you discover one is frozen.
Most of the time, a frozen pipe is not obvious. This can cause a problem as you will not even know it is frozen until too late. Signs of a frozen pipe include:
- No running water or only a trickle. In these cases, the pipe leading to the tap may be frozen.
- Frosted over pipes . If you can see frost on a visible pipe, there’s a good chance that it’s frozen. Of course, this is more difficult to check on pipes that are not in visible areas.
- Odd smells. If a pipe is blocked because of freezing, you or your tenants may notice an unpleasant smell coming from the taps or drains.
If you suspect a pipe is frozen, you should immediately shut off your main water line to prevent further water from flowing into the pipe. Next, you should attempt to slowly thaw out the pipe, if possible. DO NOT use open flames to thaw it out but other heat sources such as a hairdryer or towels soaked in hot water or increasing the temperature of the room by bringing in warm air.
If you suspect your pipes are at risk of bursting, immediately call a plumber and have extra towels ready to soak up a spill. Additionally, find a water mitigation company (such as SERVPRO of Minot) and be ready to call them to cleanup any mess that may occur if the pipe bursts. The sooner a technician can arrive, the more damage can be prevented.
While frozen pipes can be a dangerous situation, if discovered soon enough, you can take steps to protect your home and avoid a costly cleanup charge.
Secure your Home before your Summer Vacation
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
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.
What is a Sump Pump?
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.
Why Your Water Bill is so High
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.
Tips to Prevent Water Damage
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.
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 email@example.com.
The Effects of a Sump Pump Failure on a Finished Basement
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.”
Water Damage Restoration Certification
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.
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.
McKenzie County Maintenance
Flooded Basement in Minot June 2015 /After
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
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
Commercial Water Loss
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.