Recent Posts

Ice Dam Prevention

1/19/2021 (Permalink)

Icicles in sun light Stopping ice dams is simple, in principle.

Here’s how to prevent ice dams in 8 steps so you can enjoy a winter free of icicles and the damage they can do to your roof.

Dam Busters

Stopping ice dams is simple, in principle: Just keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. You do that by increasing ventilation, adding insulation, and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof, as shown in the illustration below. By taking care of these trouble spots, listed here in order of priority, you should enjoy a winter free of dams and use less energy to boot.

  1. Ventilate Eaves and Ridge

A ridge vent paired with continuous soffit vents circulates cold air under the entire roof. Both ridge and soffit vents should have the same size openings and provide at least 1 square foot of opening for every 300 square feet of attic floor. Place baffles at the eaves to maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.

  1. Cap the Hatch

An unsealed attic hatch or whole-house fan is a massive opening for heat to escape. Cover them with weather-stripped caps made from foil-faced foam board held together with aluminum tape.

  1. Exhaust to the Outside

Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls, but never through the soffit.

  1. Add Insulation

More insulation on the attic floor keeps the heat where it belongs. To find how much insulation your attic needs, check with your local building department.

  1. Install Sealed Can Lights

Old-style recessed lights give off great plumes of heat and can't be insulated without creating a fire hazard. Replace them with sealed "IC" fixtures, which can be covered with insulation.

  1. Flash Around Chimneys

Bridge the gap between chimney and house framing with L-shaped steel flashing held in place with unbroken beads of a fire-stop sealant. Using canned spray foam or insulation isn't fire safe.

  1. Seal and Insulate Ducts

Spread fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts. Cover them entirely with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.

  1. Caulk Penetrations

Seal around electrical cables and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant. Also, look for any spots where light shines up from below or the insulation is stained black by the dirt from passing air.

WHAT IS THE BEST TYPE OF PROFESSIONAL CARPET CLEANING?

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

Carpet cleaning There are several types of professional carpet cleaning out there, all of which are meant to get the dirt out of your carpet.

There are several types of professional carpet cleaning out there, all of which are meant to get the dirt out of your carpet. They all do the same thing in the end, but not all types of carpet cleaning are equal. Some work better on different types of carpeting, and others perform well in high-traffic areas. The best type depends on your home.

Carpet Shampooing

Most people don’t shampoo their carpets anymore, but this is still a viable option. It works like you would expect as you put a cleaning solution into the carpet in the form of a wet foam. The problem with this method is that the foam can leave behind a residue, and you do have to remember to rinse out the carpet after you’ve applied the shampoo. This reduces the sticky feeling in your carpeting.

This method can feel like a lot of work for some people, since you have to apply not only the solution, but you need to rinse it out too. Then again, it is less expensive than the machinery you’ll need for a steam cleaning.

Dry Carpet Cleaning

There are solutions that you can buy at the store that will help you with dry carpet cleaning. You only need to shake these powder solutions above your carpeting. The solution will work to absorb the dirt in your carpeting, so after 15 minutes, you can just vacuum it up. If you’re looking for a quick sort of clean, this is the perfect method. 

This is also a great method if you have jute, coir, or seagrass flooring, which are prone to damage and shrinkage if they get wet. For these types of carpeting, dry carpet cleaning is the best option.

This is a convenient method because there’s very little drying time and it’s easy to do. You may not like the harsh chemicals used in these solutions either, and you shouldn’t try to use this on plush pile carpeting, which can trap the powder mixture.

Foam Cleaning

You have the ability to clean with foam too. Just like the powder, a cleaning solution is distributed evenly across the surface of the carpet, but then it is whipped into a foam. The foam is then worked into your carpeting with a rotating brush. Once the foam sits for a little while, it can be removed with a vacuum cleaner, and since there’s so much foam and very little water, this works for water-sensitive carpets.

You will need about an hour to wait until the carpeting is dry and ready to use again, which is faster than other options. You won’t necessarily be able to get the dirt that’s deeply embedded into the carpeting though.

Hot Water Extraction

You’ve probably heard of this type of carpet cleaning since it’s more commonly referred to as steam cleaning. This is the type that we offer from a truck mounted motor. Steam cleaning works as the name suggests: using steam. The carpet is first pre-conditioned with a chemical emulsifier that is meant to lift dirt and anything else that may be stuck in your carpet fibers. 

Heated water is then pressurized to become steam before it is injected into the carpet. After around 15 minutes, all of this is sucked up with a vacuum.

Steam cleaning works best for the removal of ingrained dirt and deep stains, and doesn’t leave any residue or odors in your carpeting. Especially if you have pets, this is the best method for getting smelly stains out. Your only problem might be the cost, and the fact that you have to wait a while for the carpeting to dry.

Conclusion

In terms of the best carpet cleaning option, it really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to get the most amount of dirt possible, hot water extraction may be best. If you have carpeting that doesn’t work well with water, foam cleaning or dry carpet cleaning is better. There’s also carpet shampooing as a cheaper yet more time-consuming option. Which method you use just depends on what method will work best for your carpets. 

Please follow our page, as we continue to explore the benefits of mitigation, and how this approach helps both your clients and your business. Please call us with any questions you have, 715-381-2266. Visit our site: SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley

Why is it important to know where the water shut off is?

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

Water Valve As a homeowner, it's essential to know where the main water shut off valve is located.

The Importance of Main House Water Shut Off Valves

As a homeowner, it's essential to know where the main water shut off valve is located. Water leaks from running toilets, burst pipes, broken water heaters, and even leaky sinks can cause significant damage in a short amount of time. In order to prevent costly damage, turn off the water supply as soon as a leak, flood, or spill occurs.

When Do I Need to Shut Off My Main Water Line?

Typically, you won't have to go directly to the main water line to fix a leak. Instead, your first attempt at stopping your water supply should be straight at the source. Most local supply lines have valves located directly behind or above the fixture and can be turned clockwise to shut off the water supply.

To locate water valves next to specific fixtures in your home, use these tips:

  • For sinks, look under the cabinet on the supply lines leading to the faucet. There will likely be two shut-off valves to control both cold and hot water.
  • For toilets, look close to the ground behind or beside the toilet, along the flexible metal tubing leading to the tank.
  • For washing machines, look either directly above the washer or pull the machine away from the wall and check behind it.
  • For water heaters, the water valve should be located just above the heater itself.

If the leaky fixture's valves aren't working or break off, turn off your main water line right away. Acting fast could save you plenty in damages and repair costs.

How Do I Find My Main House Water Shut Off Valve?

The main water line valve to a house is usually located in the basement or in the crawlspace and enclosed behind an access panel. However, there isn't a standard location specified in any home.

If you don't know where to look for your water shut off valve, use these tips:

  • The valve will often be located on-grade, so you'll likely find it at floor-level in the basement or near the ground on the first floor.
  • Take a look at the property inspection report provided when you purchased your home. This report should note the location of the valve.

Maintaining Your Water Valves

At SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley, we know how terrifying it can be to try shutting off your supply lines just to see the valves stick in place – or worse, snap off in your hands. That's why we recommend periodically checking your shut off valves to ensure they're in good working condition.

At least twice a year, test all the valves in your home. Simply turn them completely off and on again to ensure they aren't stuck in place or include faulty parts. That way, if an emergency ever does occur, you can have peace of mind that you'll be able to fix the problem quickly and efficiently.

If the unexpected happens and you aren’t able to shut off your water valves in time, call on the experts at SERVPRO of THE SAINT CROIX VALLEY. Our water damage restoration services can help you get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. With the proper tools and knowledge, we'll work fast and efficiently to prevent additional water damage, cleanup costs, and overall stress.

We Had _________ Happen To Our Place of Business, What Now!

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

Question Marks Every business owner’s worst nightmare is something happening to the physical location of their company.

Every business owner’s worst nightmare is something happening to the physical location of their company.  The place where your inventory, records, or employees report for work each day.  In a digital age, the brick-and-mortar location is still an important element of many companies.  What happens when a sprinkler head breaks, or that bag of popcorn in the breakroom microwave catches on fire?  Most businesses need to be in their facilities to conduct business, what’s your plan to get back into your building after an accident.

70% of businesses that go through some sort of disaster do not reopen.  Of the 30% that do reopen, half had emergency readiness plans in place.  It is hard enough to reopen a business after a loss, have you improved your odds by having a plan in place.  If not, SERVPRO of the Saint Croix Valley can help put one in place.  Our complimentary program, compiles the emergency contacts, shut offs and service entrances throughout the building.  Along with any other information of value, to first responders or employees.  The information is kept both in a hard copy, as well as, a mobile app on key employees’ phones.  Faster response times are always critical in any emergency situation. 

For our commercial insurance partners, teaming with SERVPRO to provide this plan is a fantastic way to give additional value and protection to your clients.  Reach out today to schedule a time to put your plan into place.

Please follow our page, as we continue to explore the benefits of mitigation, and how this approach helps both your clients and your business. Please call us with any questions you have, 715-381-2266. Visit our site: SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley

Your Client Has A Property Lost – What Now? 1-4-8 Response Time

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

Person standing next to a question mark In last week’s article we discussed the potential cost benefits of using a remediation company, what that mean.

In last week’s article we discussed the potential cost benefits of using a remediation company, what that mean.  So, you have a client call in with a loss.  That’s when our 1-4-8 service guarantee kicks in.  Within 1 hour of receiving notice of loss your client will be contacted to determine scope of loss.  Within 4 hours of that notice, we will have boots on the ground to visual determine the scope and begin necessary work to mitigate further loss.  By the 8th hour, we will have spoken with you and your client to provide an update on how the course of action will proceed.  Response time in any loss, be it fire, water, etc. is critical, when trying to salvage both building and personal materials.  That’s why we are faster to any size disaster.   

Please follow our page, as we continue to explore the benefits of mitigation, and how this approach helps both your clients and your business. Please call us with any questions you have, 715-381-2266. Visit our site: SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley

Everything you need to know about frozen pipes

12/17/2020 (Permalink)

Frozen cracked pipe. If you live in an area of the country that gets cold winters, one of those things that can go wrong is a frozen pipe that bursts.

As a homeowner, you have a list of maintenance items and things that can go wrong in your home. If you live in an area of the country that gets cold winters, one of those things that can go wrong is a frozen pipe that bursts. Burst pipes can cause massive water damage in your home and become a very expensive mess to clean up. You need more information to keep your pipes from bursting.

What causes a water pipe to burst?

Of course, there is more than one reason that a water pipe in your home can burst. It's beneficial to be aware of the various causes of pipes bursting, including:

  • Corrosion: If your pipes are made from metal, over the years, they begin to rust and weaken. This weakness can cause your pipe to burst.
  • High water pressure: Your pipes can burst if the water pressure is too high. According to Energy.gov, your water pressure shouldn't exceed 60 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI). 
  • Tree roots: As the pipes wind through your yard to the house, tree roots may grow into them, and this causes the pipes to burst. 
  • Shifting soil: If construction is going on around your home, it's possible for the soil to shift and your water pipes to burst. 
  • Clogs: Excess toilet paper and hair can create clogs in your pipe, and if these clogs get large enough, it can cause the pipe to burst. 
  • Freezing temperatures: When the temperatures dip low enough, the water in your pipes can freeze. As ice builds up in a single location, it applies pressure to the pipe, leaving it vulnerable to bursting. 

After learning the common cause of burst water pipes, you can take steps to avoid problems. You don't want the expense and aggravation of dealing with a burst pipe. 

At what temperatures do pipes freeze? 

Is it enough that the temperature outside is freezing for my pipes to freeze? No, not really.

You need to remember that both the ground and the material of the pipe need to freeze before the water inside it will freeze. You need a few days and possibly weeks of freezing weather before the water inside freezes. In order for the water inside your pipe to freeze overnight the outside temperature needs to reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit. While you can't do anything about freezing temperatures, there are things that you can do to protect your pipes.

How can you protect your pipes from freezing and bursting?

You don't want to deal with the mess and expense that come from a burst pipe, no matter the cause. Fortunately for burst pipes due to freezing, there are some steps you can take to prevent them from freezing and to prevent them from bursting if they've become frozen. Here are some tips to avoid frozen pipes, including:

Leave the water on at a drip: While moving water can freeze, it's much less likely that water in your pipes will freeze if it's moving. It's beneficial when you hear that your area is experiencing or expected to experience a deep freeze that you turn on each of your faucets to a drip. It doesn't need to be a heavy flow. A slow drip is enough, and it shouldn't affect your water bill too drastically. It's certainly cheaper than replacing pipes, and the cost of repairs due to water damage. 

  • Keep your garage doors shut: If you have water pipes that wind their way through the garage, you want to keep the doors shut to keep the temperatures inside the garage warmer, and hopefully, above freezing. 
  • Open cabinet doors; You need to open the cabinet doors below any sinks or other water sources in your home. By opening the cabinet doors, you allow the warmed air in your home to reach part of the pipes inside the home. This keeps the pipes warmers so that they don't freeze. 
  • Maintain a constant temperature: Many people lower the temperature in their homes at night during the winter months to sleep more comfortably and to save money on utility bills. However, to protect your pipes, it's better to pay a little more on your utility bills and protect your pipes by not allowing your home to become too cool at night. 
  • Add insulation: To keep your attic, basement and crawl spaces warmer during hard freezes, add insulation to these areas. These are places where pipes are apt to freeze and burst due to the colder temperatures in these areas.
  • Remove hoses: If you have hoses attached to your home, remove and store them during the winter months. It's also a good idea to shut off the water running to the outdoor faucets while leaving them in an open position. The remaining water will flow out of the pipes.

If you've done all of this, and you still suspect that you have a frozen pipe, you can still keep the pipe from bursting. Follow these tips:

  • Turn the faucet on to a drip: If you suspect that you have a frozen pipe, you need to turn it on to a drip. As you attempt to melt the ice blocking the pipe, running helps the ice to melt faster. However, you don't want to turn the faucet on full, because the pressure of the water behind the pipe might cause it to burst. 
  • Apply heat to the blocked area: If you can locate the area of the pipe that has the frozen blockage, you can apply heat with a hairdryer, heating pad, a space heater or some other non-flammable source. This will melt the ice inside and allow the water to flow freely again. 
  • Call a professional: When you can't find the frozen section or it's behind a wall or under the floor, it's time to call a professional. 

Among other things, cold weather can cause a water pipe in your home to burst. However, the outside temperatures must reach around 20 degrees Fahrenheit and below for this to happen. By following our tips, you can avoid frozen pipes and pipes bursting due to freezing temperatures. 

How Can Wind Mitigation Protect Your Home and Family During Severe Winds?

12/10/2020 (Permalink)

How Can Wind Mitigation Protect Your Home and Family During Severe Winds?

Wind is an unpredictable element that can threaten your home and safety. During periods of high wind, air currents can fluctuate and change directions without warning, placing pressure on all parts of a structure and potentially pulling it apart or lifting it from its foundation. When wind speeds climb, pieces of debris can also become dangerous — crashing into your home with significant force and potentially breaking through it and endangering your loved ones. But there are steps you can take to increase your safety with wind mitigation.

Protect Your Home from Wind Storm Damage

Traditional Homes

  • Keep your home firmly anchored in high winds, have anchor bolts with heavy-gauge, square bolt washers installed to connect your floor to the foundation.
  • Reinforce the rest of the frame by connecting wall and floor components with properly installed plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), and attach roof trusses or rafters to the walls with metal connectors.
    • On existing homes, this can be done when replacing siding.

Manufactured Homes

  • Manufactured homes are more prone to damage from high winds as a result of non-permanent foundations.
  • Inspect all straps and tie-downs regularly for rust, weakness or wear, and have repairs made immediately.

Make Your Home Less Vulnerable to Wind Damage

Windows

  • Install windows rated for the wind speeds in your region.
  • For the best protection in hurricane-prone areas, install impact-resistant permanent shutters that meet applicable building code approved standards.

Doors

  • To better resist wind pressure and flying debris, make sure your entry doors are solid wood or hollow metal.
  • All entry doors should have three hinges and a dead bolt lock with at least a one-inch bolt throw length.
  • Door framing should be securely anchored to the wall structure using fasteners that are at least three inches long.
  • If you have double-entry doors, secure the inactive door with head and foot bolts that extend through the door header and into the subfloor.
  • Patio doors should be made of impact-resistant safety glass.
  • Shuttering doors offers extra protection.

Garage Doors

  • Install doors rated for the wind speeds in your region.
  • If building a new home in a hurricane-prone area, consider installing horizontally braced, single-wide garage doors instead of double-wide doors.
  • For existing homes, check with your garage door manufacturer for availability of retrofit bracing kits.
  • Be aware that your garage door panels, especially if double-wide, may require both horizontal and vertical bracing to ensure stability.
  • You can also protect your garage door with a shutter or screen rated for wind pressure and debris impact.

Roofing

  • Strong winds can cause shingles to peel off, especially if edge shingles are not well secured or the adhesive on their tabs has failed.
    • A roofing professional can evaluate your roof, and if needed, additional roofing cement can be added under each tab to help keep the shingles attached during a high-wind event.
  • The shingles should be attached to roof decking of solid 5/8' thick plywood.
  • The roof decking should be attached to the roof framing using 8d ring shank nails, and a secondary water barrier created by installing self-adhering flashing tape over the joints in the roof deck.
  • For greater resistance to wind uplift, apply a bead of construction adhesive along both sides of the intersection between the roof decking and the rafters or trusses; your roofing professional can provide you with information about additional safeguards.

Soffits

  • To help anchor the soffits, the exposed siding under your roof rafters to your home, have a professional apply a bead of polyurethane sealant between the wall and the trim into which the soffit panels are inserted.
  • You can also apply a dollop of caulk in the V-shaped hole where the joint between two soffit panels meets the trim.

Safe Rooms

  • Designate a place in your home that will protect your family from injuries caused by broken windows and flying debris.
  • The basement is often the best location for a safe room; otherwise, locate the room on the interior, ground floor of your home.
  • An experienced contractor can equip your safe room with reinforced floors, walls and ceilings, regardless of whether you have a new or existing home.

Landscaping

  • Avoid using gravel or rock landscaping materials, which can be hazardous when airborne. Shredded bark can be an attractive and less dangerous alternative.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To tune into these NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) broadcasts, you’ll need an NOAA Weather Radio Receiver. These are available at many retail outlets.

When preparing your home for seasonal winds, it's also important to review your insurance coverage.

Why Fire Safety Training Matters for Your Company

12/10/2020 (Permalink)

Even if your office is fully stocked with alarms, sprinklers, and extinguishers, these safety measures are less effective if your workforce doesn’t understand emergency procedures. By implementing routine fire drills and training from a professional, you’ll prepare all your employees to stay safe during an emergency. Here is more information about why fire safety maintenance is necessary.

How Should Your Employees Be Trained for Fire Safety?          

To contain small fires, such as microwave accidents, every employee should know how to use a fire extinguisher. A brief training demonstration could save your company from costly property damage and potential staff endangerment. For larger fires that can’t be eliminated with an extinguisher, everyone should know the quickest way to evacuate the building.

To prevent injuries, you must undergo fire drills, which will force your staff to act like an emergency is occurring in your building. Every employee should move quickly toward the nearest exit, helping those who may have limited mobility. By teaching your workforce to act calmly under pressure, you’ll minimize the chances of chaotic rushing that could lead to trampling.

Most importantly, having an evacuation plan is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and nearly all businesses should have regular fire drills as per the state of Wisconsin fire code. A professional will help you comply with the law.

How to Enjoy a Fire Free Christmas

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

A burning tree. Between 2013 and 2017, US fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires per year that started with Christmas trees.

Like a lot of people, you're probably not taking down your Christmas tree for a few months. So now's a good time to learn how to keep it from catching fire and burning your house down. Between 2013 and 2017, US fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires per year that started with Christmas trees, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Those fires caused an average of three deaths, 15 injuries and $10 million in direct property damage each year, according to the association. For anyone celebrating Christmas with a natural or artificial tree, here are some ways to keep it brightly lit while staying safe.

Keep trees away from heat to make sure a tree is far away from any heat source. This includes candles, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and open flames. Smokers should never light up near a Christmas tree.

Make sure you're using the right lights; A Christmas tree isn't complete without glittering lights. But always make sure the lights are labeled "UL" or "FM," meaning they've met current safety requirements. Tree lights should be examined for frayed wires and damaged plugs. While the more the merrier, it's important not to overload electrical outlets or run wires under carpets or rugs. When positioning the tree, try to put it close to an electrical outlet to minimize the use of extension cords.

If you're using an artificial metallic tree, only use remote spot or reflective lights, not electric lights. For candle fanatics, keep them somewhere else. Lighted candles should never be placed on trees. And before heading to bed or leaving the house, make sure you turn off those lights.

If you're using a natural Christmas tree, make sure it's a fresh one. Once it starts drying up and those needles start falling out, immediately dispose of the tree. Experts recommend that natural trees should be kept for no longer than two weeks.

For natural tree aficionados, it's important to cut "one inch from base of tree to allow water absorption" and always keep the water receptacle under the tree full.

Five Safety Tips for Deep Frying Turkey

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

Fire can quickly start if you are not prepared. Fried turkeys are delicious, but they come with a slew of safety issues

Fried turkeys are delicious, but they come with a slew of safety issues. Thousands of fires as well as many deaths and injuries happen each year due to turkey fryer fires. Before you set up your turkey fryer this Thanksgiving, remember these safety tips.

Get the Tips

  1. Stay Away from The House– Set up the turkey fryer more than 10 feet away from your home and keep children and pets away. Never leave it unattended.
  2. Find Flat Ground– The oil must be even and steady at all times to ensure safety. Place the fryer on a flat, level surface and carefully gauge the amount of oil needed.
  3. Use a Thawed and Dry Turkey– Make sure your Thanksgiving turkey is completely thawed and dry. Extra water will cause the oil to bubble furiously and spill over. If oil spills from the fryer onto the burner, it can cause a fire.
  4. Monitor the Temp– Use caution when touching the turkey fryer. The lid and handle can become very hot and could cause burns. Also be sure to keep track of the oil?s temperature as many fryers do not have their own thermostats.
  5. Be Prepared– Have a fire extinguisher (multipurpose, dry-powder) ready at all times in the event that the oil ignites.

And if you follow all of these tips, and still have an overly well done turkey and garage, we are here to help make it, Like it never even happened.

Please follow our page, as we continue to explore the benefits of mitigation, and how this approach helps both your clients and your business. Please call us with any questions you have, 715-381-2266. Visit our site: https://www.SERVPROthesaintcroixvalley.com/