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Bursting Pipes 101: Act Right Away and Call in Experts

10/11/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded office. Hire a professional team to clean after a flood to avoid water damage in your White Bear Lake, MN property.

After the initial rush of water from bursting pipes, you're left with soaking carpets, water-logged floors and walls, and a lot of situations that could cause lasting trouble for your White Bear Lake, MN, property. At this point, it is vital that you contact water damage cleaning professionals to mitigate ongoing damage.

The Destructive Nature of Water From Bursting Pipes

Water is both essential and problematic. You probably couldn't continue daily operations without a clean, steady supply of it. However, once that water bursts out of pipes and spreads throughout your buildings, a lot of destruction takes place and happens rapidly:

  • Wet carpets and padding
  • Stained furnishings
  • Soaked fabrics
  • Spread of contaminants

Unfortunately, this damage is just the beginning of the trouble you could face. Secondary damage happens after the bulk of the mess has been cleared away:

  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Wood rot and decay
  • Corrosion of metal structures and wiring
  • Weakened structures

Even a small area of trapped moisture can cause your drywall to rot or paint to peel. After a water emergency, your property must be completely cleaned and dried to prevent secondary damage.

Your Quick Response Matters

The action you take in the first few minutes of the bursting pipes has long-term effects on the welfare of your property. First, locate the source of the leak, so you can fix the broken pipe and shut off the water, either at the closest water shut-off valve or at the building's water main. At this point, it is also important to turn off the electricity to all exposed areas of the property. It only takes a little bit of water and electricity to pose an electrocution risk.

With these steps complete, gather as many hands as possible to soak up, mop, and remove water. Open doors and windows to allow for plenty of airflows and to let building humidity escape from buildings. If it is safe to use electricity, install powerful fans to dry the air and speed the rate of evaporation.

Remove water-logged furnishings to clean, sunny places outside or remove them to dry areas of your property. At this point, it is important to determine the role of professionals.

Professional Services Save Money

There are many factors that influence how well you can respond to water damage on your own. These include how fast you can remove water on your own, how susceptible your belongings are to water damage, and whether water is contaminated. Professionals generally have more people available to handle the work quickly. Valuable belongings, such as antiques, paperwork, carpeting and drapery, and appliances, require an expert response to prevent further damage. When you call in water damage cleanup and mitigation experts, you could save time, reduce the extent of the destruction, avoid cross-contamination, prevent mold growth, and steer clear of making mistakes, such as damaging electronics that haven't been appropriately cleaned and dried.

Prevent long-term secondary damage by the understanding of the destruction that bursting pipes can cause, the importance of your immediate response, and the expertise provided by professionals. The more you know, the better you can protect your property.

Tips for Keeping the Crawl Space Dry

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

Crawl space. Maintain your crawl space dry in your White Bear Lake, MN, home to avoid further damage.

As an adjuster, it is likely that you frequently assess damage due to a wet crawl space in your clients' homes. Many homeowners don't think about the common ways that water seeps into this area at the base of their houses or what they can do to prevent this type of damage. Here are five tips you can share with your clients in White Bear Lake, MN, to help them protect their homes from extensive water damage in the crawl space.

How to Keep The Crawl Space Dry

Mitigate Damage Quickly

Flooding in any area of a home has the potential to affect the crawl space. SERVPRO's water restoration specialists understand the importance of quick, thorough assessment. They arrive on-site within hours to conduct their initial investigation:

  • Locate the source of the water loss
  • Inspect the surrounding area and assess damage
  • Track the flow of the water into other areas of the home
  • Create a task list for every part of the home that needs mitigation.

The response team doesn't just stop at the most obvious damage. This fast and thorough approach is the reason many providers select SERVPRO as a preferred vendor for their clients.

Improve Drainage

Sometimes water damage comes from outside the home. Improper or poorly planned drainage can lead to a wet crawl space. Every homeowner should inspect gutters and downspouts on a regular basis to make sure that they are not clogged and that the bottom of the spout is pointed away from the base of the house. It's also important to pay attention to the grading of the lawn. The slope of the grading should direct water away from the foundation so that it doesn't seep inside.

Turn Off Water Hoses Near the House

Even something as simple as leaving a water hose or the sprinkler system on too long can cause water damage. A running hose left in the flowerbed by the house can fill it up faster than the ground can absorb the water. Broken sprinkler heads must be replaced as soon as possible to prevent a flood in one particular area when it's turned on. Homeowners benefit from paying close attention to the effects of lawn care on their homes.

Repair Broken Pipes

Broken pipes in any area of the house can cause water to trickle down into the crawl space. Even if the pipe is repaired quickly, such a large water loss can cause more problems than are immediately apparent. Any time you inspect the damage at a client's home that was caused by a pipe burst, it's a good idea to also check all the areas beneath its location.

Have a Solid Foundation

Advise your clients to have their foundations professionally inspected at least once a year. Visible cracks may not appear for a while, and in the meantime, small fissures leave their crawl spaces vulnerable to flooding. Rain, snow, ice, and groundwater can all cause issues if they find a way into the home through the foundation.

A wet crawl space can have an effect on the entire house. Unmitigated water damage can cause issues that cost you and your clients a lot of money. By sharing these tips, you can help them prevent most of these problems.

How To Properly Snake a Clogged Pipe

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

A person unclogging a drain with a plumbing snake. Use a plumbing snake to unclog the drain in your White Bear Lake, MN, home.

Whenever you have a clogged toilet or drain, plunging is usually the first thing you do to try to break up the clog. However, when plunging doesn't work, many people resort to chemical drain openers. Because these chemicals can damage your plumbing, it is better to first try clearing the clog with a plumbing snake.

How To Unclog a Drain or Toilet With a Plumbing Snake

Using a plumbing snake is not particularly complicated, but there are a few guidelines you should follow. If you don't already have a plumbing snake, you can purchase one from most hardware or home improvement stores.

1. Insert the Snake Into the Drain or Toilet

If you are dealing with a stopped toilet, you can insert the snake, which looks like a long thin wire with a coil on the end, into the opening in the toilet bowl. For sink or tub drains, insert it directly into the drain. If the snake won't fit through the drain cover, you may have to remove the cover or purchase a smaller snake.

2. Push the Snake Into the Drain Until You Feel Resistance

If you are using a manual snake, you will need to turn the handle to feed the snake into the drain. You may need to apply pressure to get past curved areas. If you are using an electric model, follow the operating instructions.

3. Rotate the Snake Until the Resistance Goes Away

Once you have reached the clogged area, rotate the snake to break up the clog. Once the clog is broken up, the snake should slide easily into the rest of the drain. However, if you don't seem to be making any progress, try pulling the snake out of the drain. If the head has embedded or entangled the material in the clog, it may pull the clog out with it.

4. Run the Water or Flush the Toilet

To make sure your drain is fully unclogged, run the water for a few minutes or flush the toilet a couple of times. If everything seems to be working properly, then you are probably done. If you still have a clogging problem, then repeat the process. If after trying again, you still have an issue, you may have a pipe break or other serious plumbing issue that needs professional attention. Call a plumber in White Bear Lake, MN, to assist you.

5. Clean Up Any Water

Water from an overflowing toilet, sink, or tub can damage your home and lead to mold growth if not dried out quickly. You can remove small amounts of water with a wet/dry vacuum or a mop and bucket. However, large amounts of water or water that may contain contaminants may be better handled by a professional water remediation company. Try to completely dry out your home within 24 to 48 hours. After this amount of time, mold growth may become a problem.

There are many options for tackling a clogged toilet or drain. It is best to start with the methods that involve the least expense and potential for property damage, rather than jumping straight to calling a plumber or using potentially harmful chemicals.

The Black Mold Remediation Process

9/17/2021 (Permalink)

Cleanup of black mold. Black mold remediation must be realized by a specialized team in your North Saint Paul, MN, commercial property.

Mold remediation is a time-consuming job that requires specialized training and equipment. Although many property owners assume that this can be done safely without involving experts, the truth is that mold spores move easily through the air and can quickly spread throughout your North Saint Paul, MN, commercial property. Once those spores find a place to land, it only takes a small amount of moisture and a food source for black mold or other types of fungi to support the growth of a colony. Certified mold cleanup and mitigation professionals are equipped to safely and effectively deal with this problem.

The Critical Steps of Black Mold Remediation

For lasting protection from mold-related damage, professionals move through several steps, beginning with mold assessment and ending with a final evaluation:

Assess and Identify the Moisture Source

Mold cannot grow without a source of moisture. The moisture source could be something as obvious as a leaking pipe or it could simply be the result of high humidity levels in a bathroom. In many cases, mold growth begins out of sight in hidden areas behind walls or under carpeting. This assessment includes samples from the air and surfaces and helps professionals determine the extent of the damage.

Remove the Source of Moisture

Getting rid of the moisture source is the first step of remediation. This includes repairing any broken pipes and fixing leaks. It could involve major tasks such as repairing a damaged ceiling or replacing an outdated plumbing system. This task is one of the most important areas of focus because doing it well is the best way to avoid future trouble.

Prevent Cross-Contamination and Spread

Tiny mold spores travel on moving air, clothing, hair, and skin. When property owners attempt to DIY mold cleanup, they inadvertently spread spores and create more trouble for themselves. One of the things professionals do before entering a mold-infected property is equipment themselves in personal protective gear:

  • Protective clothing
  • Helmets
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Goggles
  • Masks

Professional cleanup includes sealing off doors and windows between the affected area and unaffected areas. Contamination containment also involves dust suppression using special misting equipment.

Remove and Dispose of Waste

Anything that was contaminated by black mold or other fungi must be removed appropriately to prevent more contamination. This often involves double-bagging materials and treating the bags with a specialized detergent. Proper disposal of the containers is undertaken to ensure that spores aren't spread to other properties. During this step, mold remediation professionals use products and techniques approved by the EPA.

Disinfect and Dry All Surfaces

Properly disinfecting all surfaces in the affected area is another crucial step in the remediation process. A variety of techniques are used to clean porous and non-porous materials. Some of the supplies used during this step include wipes, wire brushes, HEPA vacuums, and polyethylene containment materials. Once all materials have been cleaned, technicians use sunlight, fans, heat sources, and dehumidifiers to make sure everything is completely dry.

Test and Evaluate Cleanup Results

Some mold remediation professionals complete this test, but many arrange for a third party to take air and surface samples. This testing is done to determine that the moisture source has been removed, all mold damage has been repaired, and air quality levels are appropriate.

Black mold remediation is a tedious task that requires a lot of specialized training and equipment. Leave this work to North Saint Paul, MN, professionals who have access to the necessary supplies.

Landscaping Tips for Flood Control

8/26/2021 (Permalink)

Cleaning rain gutter. Maintaining the rain gutter clean will prevent water damage in your White Bear Lake, MN, home.

A heavy storm in White Bear Lake, MN, can pose a threat to your home. If you live in an area prone to outside flooding, you know what a difference even small changes can make when it comes to protecting your property.

Here are a few ways your landscaping can help divert floodwater away from your home.

Driveway Update

One of the common culprits in flooding is a concrete driveway. Unless the original design includes proper drainage structures, water from a rainstorm is likely to either flood municipal drains or direct unwanted flow toward your house. A good alternative is to find material that works with your natural landscape and allows water to absorb into the soil beneath the drive:

  • Gravel
  • Spaced pavers
  • Grass

Rather than leave flood water with no place to go, these driveway materials allow it to soak into the soil where it belongs. This helps keep your home safe.

Heavy Mulch

Another problem with flooding is the debris that tends to spread everywhere. Mulch is great for your garden, but it's not something you want to end up in your living room. Instead of using wood chips or some type of material that can easily be washed away, choose a heavier mulch. Many synthetic mulches provide the same protection to the plants and still stay in place when excess water from a storm is present.

Rain Garden

If you want a low-maintenance landscaping idea, a rain garden is right up your alley. It can also help divert water away from your home during an outside flooding event. Choose native plants that have different moisture requirements. Plant the ones that can withstand a lot of water in the middle, a lower portion of the garden, and place the ones that don't need as much water around the perimeter. The rain will run down to the middle of the garden and pool there, giving all your plants exactly what they need and keeping the water away from your home.

Downspout Direction

Your gutters and downspouts are prominent factors in rain drainage around your home. Of course, you want to make sure that the gutters stay clean and free of debris. It doesn't do any good, however, to efficiently drain water off the roof if it just ends up gathering around your foundation. Flood damage experts recommend diverting rain spouts away from your home to prevent flooding.

Swales and Ditches

A swale is useful in residential neighborhoods to keep water from your yard out of your neighbor's property, and ditches keep runoff from flowing into the road or municipal drains. The water flows down the incline where it pools at the bottom. Many homeowners line the bottom of the swale with rocks and plant vegetation on the sides to slow the flow of the water.

You can't control the weather, but you can take specific steps to manage the effects it has on your home. By choosing landscaping options that use outside flooding to your advantage, you not only protect your house but also can sustain a beautiful lawn and garden

6 Smoke Odor Remediation Tips

8/21/2021 (Permalink)

A person who burned food. If your home has fire damage, exist some tips to remediate the odor.

Whether it's cigarette smoke, burnt food, or damage from a house fire, smoke odors are notoriously difficult to get rid of. These six tips can help you in your smoke cleaning efforts.

1. Let Some Fresh Air in

If you are dealing with a lingering smoke odor, open your windows and doors. Place fans with the blades blowing outward in the largest windows. This will help remove smoky air from your home. Leave the fans running for 24 hours if you can. Remove smoky books, furniture, clothing, and other items from your home and place them outside in a sunny area for several hours. The UV rays from the sun can neutralize odors. However, sunlight can also damage some items, so delicate belongings may need to be moved to the shade.

2. Clean With Vinegar

White vinegar can be a useful smoke cleaning tool. The low pH of vinegar alters the higher pH of smoke molecules, which reduces the potency of their smell. Fill some small bowls with white vinegar and place them in the area you are trying to clean. Let them sit overnight. You can also boil a pot of vinegar on the stove and then allow it to simmer for an hour or two. Clothing that smells like smoke can be washed in your washing machine with a half cup of white vinegar, instead of laundry detergent.

3. Try Baking Soda

Baking soda is useful for absorbing a variety of odors, including smoke smells. You can use the same technique as with the vinegar by placing baking soda in small bowls and leaving the bowls in the area you are cleaning for 24 hours. You can also sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda onto upholstered furniture, carpets, and rugs. Leave it overnight and then vacuum. Baking soda can also be useful for cleaning books and other small items. Pour a half cup of baking soda into a plastic trash bag and then add the smoky items. Tie the bag shut and leave it overnight.

4. Use Some Charcoal

The carbon molecules in charcoal are useful for trapping odors and removing them from the air. Activated charcoal works best. Place several bags of charcoal in the smoky area and leave it overnight. Make sure it stays in the bags because the charcoal can leave stains if it comes in direct contact with surfaces.

5. Try Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning can be useful for floors, walls, and upholstery. The heat melts the tar and oils that trap smoke molecules, allowing you to wipe them away with a sponge or cloth. Mist affected surfaces lightly with steam and then wipe the steam away.

6. Call a Restoration Company

If do-it-yourself methods are not effective or you have a large amount of smoke damage, consider contacting a fire restoration company in North Saint Paul, MN. These companies have professional training and equipment and can often remove stubborn odors that may be beyond the reach of do-it-yourself remedies.

Lingering smoke odors can seriously degrade your enjoyment of your home and possessions. Fortunately, there are methods of smoke cleaning that can effectively remove these odors.

Keep It or Toss It After a Fire

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

Image with the description "Smoke Damage?" After suffering fire and smoke damage you might be wondering what you can keep and what you should toss.

When the ash has settled after a home fire in North St. Paul, MN, there's still a lot of recovery work to do, and some of the most difficult work is still ahead. Sifting through the rubble and deciding what to keep and what to throw out is one of these troublesome steps. You may find several items that can be salvaged and repaired after suffering fire damage, such as furnishings and jewelry.

There are some items that must always be thrown away:

Food Items

Any foods that were stored in open containers or permeable packaging should be thrown out immediately. Foods that were sealed in cans, jars, and other containers may also be contaminated. The heat from the fire can cause food to spoil. Foods may absorb toxic chemicals and pollutants.

Food in the refrigerator may be safe unless

  • The fridge smells smoky.
  • Soot is visible inside the fridge.
  • The refrigerator lost power during or after the fire.
  • Food has an odd odor.
  • Frozen food isn't cold or hard.

If you have any doubts or concerns about your food, throw it out and replace it. Remember fire damage isn't limited to areas where flames were present; high levels of heat can also cause damage.

Medications and Cosmetic Products

Anything you plan to consume or put next to your skin should be carefully inspected after a fire. This includes any medications, vitamins, supplements, and similar products. If you don't think these items were close to the flames, inspect their storage area for soot, fire extinguisher dust, and similar damage. Watch out for warping on bottles and other containers. Any sign of these damages means that the products aren't safe to use.

When in Doubt, Throw Them Out

Even if these items were directly exposed to flames or smoke, the high temperatures in the vicinity of the fire can damage items. If you aren't sure, ask qualified fire restoration and cleanup professionals for help. Talk to your fire insurance representative to learn more about your fire damage coverage.

Mold Prevention After Flooding

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

Image with photo caption "Call a professional" Call a professional after flooding to clean up and to avoid further damage.

As storm season approaches, it is important to brush up on your damage prevention strategies. While no homeowner likes to think about what a bad storm in North St. Paul, MN, could do to the house, planning what to do if flooding does occur can help you prevent secondary damage such as mold growth. Here are several problems that can lead to a fungus infestation and what you can do to resolve them quickly before that happens.

Excess Water

A common problem after a storm is excess water. There are several places in your home where floodwater tends to pool:

  • Basement
  • Crawl spaces
  • Attic

The longer water remains in your home, the more damage it causes. One of the first things that water restoration specialists will do when they arrive at your home is pumped the standing water out of your house. Their industrial pumps can make this process go smoothly and quickly. To minimize flooding, it is smart to have a sump pump installed in areas of your home that are most likely to flood during a storm.

Saturated Structure

One of the issues that causes the most storm damage is the saturation of parts of the structure itself. Porous materials such as drywall and floor tiles don't stop water from seeping in. If the damaged wall isn't torn out and replaced, mold growth can occur. The fungus can start to grow in as little as 24 hours after a high level of moisture settles in, so it's important to mitigate water damage in a timely manner.

Damaged Items

Bacteria in flood water can aid the growth of mold and cause unpleasant odors. It's important, therefore, to include every item in your home in the mitigation process. Anything in your home that is touched by contaminated water needs to be cleaned or thrown out.

Mold growth and other secondary damage don't take long to take root in your home after it floods. Quick, professional remediation is the key to avoiding these problems.

4 Steps To Resolving Water In a Light Fixture

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

Water mitigation professional. Water in light fixtures is not uncommon.

While finding water in light fixtures may be a weird site, it is not uncommon, especially in multiple-story homes. However, it is not safe to leave water dripping into fixtures, so it is essential to resolve the problem quickly by contacting water mitigation professionals in White Bear Lake, MN.

There are four steps you can take.

  • Shut off the breaker
  • Call a specialist
  • Resolve the issue
  • Restore the property

Shut Off the Breaker

Before you concern yourself with ceiling damage, shut off the breaker to the affected light fixture. Water and electricity do not mix, and if left unattended can cause significant safety risks. Your breaker panel is likely found in your home's mechanical closet or basement.

Call a Specialist

After you shut off the breaker for the affected fixture, you can address the water in the light. However, you may want to call in a water mitigation company to assess the problem. Your house likely has a leak above the light fixture, and you will not know how bad the leak is until someone inspects the area thoroughly.

Resolve the Issue

When the mitigation crew arrives, they will inspect the area and offer an estimate for their services. Once you agree to the terms, the team will disassemble the light fixture and cut access holes into the ceiling. They will find the underlying leak and resolve the problem.

Restore the Property

After fixing the leak, the mitigation company will restore your property. They will patch any holes and replace all insulation and drywall affected by the leak. Finally, they will replace the light fixture and make sure that everything works as intended.

Almost no one expects to find water in light fixtures in their home, but it does happen. If you happen upon this type of damage, then turn off the electricity and contact a mitigation company for help. After all, there is no need to risk your safety.

Bathrub Overflow Water Damage

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

Paint coming off the wall because of the water leak in the upstairs bathroom. Water damage caused by an overflowing bathtub in Saint Paul, MN.

Water damage causes the most home insurance claims. Torrential rains, bursting pipes, and bathtub overflows are just a few potential causes of water damage. In fact, water damage is often caused by an overflowing bathtub. There are several reasons why this can happen, but no matter the cause, a professional water remediation company will need to step in to help you with the mitigation process.

No matter the cause of your bathtub overflow and water damage, you should know the six major reasons why this event can cause damage to your home in Saint Paul, MN.

Leaky Ceilings

If your bathtub is on the second floor, even if the overflow is quickly caught it could make small bubbles in your downstairs ceiling. Water could begin leaking, and you can have discoloration. If the amount of water is large, it could make your ceiling sag. Avoid entering the room if this happens, since more water or debris could fall and hurt you. Keep everyone out of the area until you have it fixed by an experienced technician.

Wet Drywall

An overflowing tub can easily damage drywall. It can weaken so badly when wet that you cannot fix it, and must be replaced. If there is a significant amount of water running down the walls, you should shut off the electricity. An electrician and plumber will need to check out the damage in this case along with SERVPRO professionals to ensure the leak is fixed and your home is safe and restored.

Ruined Flooring

Your floors can be ruined as well, especially wood or linoleum.

Damp Carpets And Furniture

Water coming through the ceiling can damage appliances and furniture. Mold can start to grow in your furniture and carpeting and can create a bad smell.

Bacteria Growth

Even if the water is clean, it can still cause bacteria to grow that could be harmful. This threat can develop when a significant amount of time passes before you get it cleaned up. The bacteria can grow with warm temperatures and time.

If your bathtub overflows, shut the source of the water off right away and give SERVPRO. We understand how damaging water can be and will be out to your property as quickly as possible to prevent more damage.