Recent Posts

Danger of a Leaky Roof

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

Storm Heavy rains can expose roof leaks

With all the different kinds of weather that we have had in the last month or so in the Saint Croix Valley, a durable roof is one of the most important infrastructures of a house, right after a strong, sturdy foundation. Just like it’s necessary to fix cracks in a foundation to ensure the rest of a house isn’t affected from the ground up, it’s important to fix leaks in a roof to protect a home from the top down, too. If you suspect you have a leaky roof, a roofing contractor can determine the cause and perform roof repairs, if necessary. To avoid any leaks or other issues from happening in the future, make sure to schedule regular inspections, perform general maintenance and upkeep, and have repairs completed as quickly as possible, since acting quickly could help you save time and money. 

Causes and Sources of Leaks

There are a number of reasons why a roof may develop leaks, from both natural and manmade causes. No matter the cause, it's imperative to seek the services of a reliable roofing contractor to get your roof back in its best shape so that your home is protected from the elements.

SHINGLES AND FLASHING

Something as small and simple as a broken shingle could be the culprit of a leak. Severe weather, hail and high winds can cause shingles to become loose, crack and break off, leaving your roof exposed. If the nails used to secure shingles aren't properly sealed with a durable coating like roofing cement, it can leave exposed holes which can allow water and moisture to get into the attic. Broken or cracked flashing—the pieces of material installed under shingles, on joints and around chimneys—can also cause leaks. Both damaged flashing and missing shingles can be easily identified, usually as different, discolored patches or exposed areas on a roof. You may even find pieces of them in your yard after a bad storm.

IMPROPER INSTALLATION/REPAIRS

If you've had previous roof repairs done but if a leak keeps coming back, you've either got a problem with the workmanship of the roofing contractor who did the work or the materials they used (or both). Improperly installing elements such as skylights and chimneys can also cause roof leaks - this can happen from incorrectly measuring and fitting fixtures and/or insulation that's started to decay or disintegrate. Leaks from this kind of problem are generally easy to spot. Just look for wet spots or small streams of water coming out of skylights or running down walls/chimneys when it rains.

PLUMBING AND PIPE PROBLEMS

Pipes run throughout the home including the roof, which means there are a number of areas that are common leak sources related to your home's plumbing and ventilation system. These include plumbing vent pipes, ventilation fan ducts, attic vents and exhaust pipes/flues (for appliances). Anytime there are worn or cracked rubber boots and/or broken flashing around the vent pipes that come out of the roof, it's likely you're in need of repairs.

CONDENSATION AND MOISTURE

Since the attic is usually the least insulated—and the highest elevated—place in your home, it is more prone to mold and mildew growth from excessive moisture that can accumulate when condensation becomes trapped. The cause of the moisture is from wet weather such as rain, sleet, and hail, but also ice dams melting and the fluctuation in temperatures when seasons change. You'll most likely notice a smell—before you see the mold—as a sign of a leak in your roof.

What Can Happen if You Don't Get Roof Repairs

Whether you’re dealing with issues associated with weather and moisture or improperly installed parts, it’s essential to perform any necessary roof leak repairs as soon as possible – not only to fix the problem, but also to prevent any future damage. For example, if you have a moisture issue causing a leak that goes untreated, it could result in mold and mildew growth, which could not only destroy the wood in the attic, but also negatively affect your health.

Every roof experiences some level of wear and tear from all types of weather (sun, rain, hail, extreme heat, wind, etc.). As a home's first line of defense from these elements, it's important to make sure you have a durable, weatherproof roof that's properly sealed and maintained in order to increase the lifecycle of the roof and decrease the risk of damage to it.

 The Importance of Roof Repairs

If you have a roof leak, repair it as soon as possible to avoid further damage and to help protect your home from bigger problems such as flooding. Contact a roofing contractor to have a thorough assessment of the roof completed and get advice on what steps you need to take to repair the damage. It’s best to work with a roofing contractor because their expertise is in roofing and they will be able to pinpoint and address your specific needs. Depending on the cause of the damage, your home insurance company may cover the costs of the roof repair, so make sure to contact your insurance company, too.

Lastly, if you should have a roof that leaks into the structure and need to begin the mitigation process, call SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley. Our team of professionals specialize in removal and mitigation of storm damaged material and have the experience of quickly drying out affected areas from storm and weather damage before it is made worse. We at SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley partner with all major insurance companies and vendors to make the transition back to “Like it never even happened,” as quickly as possible.

 Call us today and let us show you. 715-381-2266

Independent Franchises, But One National Team

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO Team While Franchises stand alone they serve under one umbrella.

by Lance Lueck, Business Development Manager

 As with anyone in sales, I get asked one question more than any other. What makes SERVPRO different then the next restoration company? It’s a great question to ask, and really struck me as I was at a vendor convention hosted by an insurance company. Sitting there at our booth I could see that the majority of vendors at this adjuster’s convention offered the same type of services we did. They all did water and fire damage restoration and mold mitigation. Some also did the same types of cleaning services we offer. Others included the mitigation and reconstruction of the structure as well. So what really does make us different?

 It really starts with the fact that we are a national company, with independent owner operators. Our partners at SERVPRO Headquarters in Tennessee, set the tone for how operations are carried out. Be it from a piece of equipment that is tested and put through the ringer to make sure it will hold up in the field for our techs. Or the fact that when a disaster strikes we can quickly mobilize and send resources from around the country to help. We truly are faster to any size disaster.

 None of this works though without the men and women at the franchise level. Be it the normal daytime routine, or reporting to the scene of a disaster in the middle of the night, SERVPRO techs answer the call knowing that they are walking into most people’s worst nightmare, and are the calming voice of reason and reassurance to our clients. They aren’t comic book heroes, but they do save the day on a regular basis.

 Finally, we answer the phone! When a franchise’s office is closed for the night, the weekend, or a holiday we are still on call and answering the phone. SERVPRO headquarters has a 24 hour call center that routes all calls to the appropriate franchise. Each franchise has a dedicated person answering the phone 24 hours a day, even in the middle of the night. And finally, our techs are on a rotating on-call schedule to make sure we can gets boots on the ground of any emergency when the calls come in.

 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 in WI, or 651-705-7028 in MN. Visit our sites: SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley and SERVPRO of Stillwater, Oakdale, Mahtomedi

Mold In The Attic

4/14/2020 (Permalink)

If you’re like most of us, you rarely if ever venture into your home’s attic. Why would you? It’s not usually a place you care to venture and for the most part if you do it’s because something isn’t going well. With warmer temps here for the summer, we start to see an increase in jobs where homeowners have discovered mold damage in their attic. In this blog post, we’ll talk through what we typically see when homes have considerable amounts of attic mold and help you understand ways you can make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

Why mold grows in attics

Mold damage in your attic space occurs for the same reasons it occurs anywhere else in a dwelling. It’s a combination of a few things:

() the right temperature – mold spores like warmer, ambient temps. In fact, it likes about the same temp range as we do, between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

() food – no, not crumbs from discarded food a home service technicians might have left while doing some work up in your attic long ago. Mold likes anything that is high in cellulose. Unfortunately for homeowners, that’s pretty much anything in your attic, like plywood, wood joists, roof decking, etc.

() elevated moisture – many homeowners don’t realize that moisture is found in every surface of their home, as it should be. If those surfaces were completely devoid of moisture they wouldn’t perform their duties properly. But if a surface gets too much moisture in it, that’s the trigger mold needs to start growing. Another thing most homeowners don’t realize is that mold spores are present in most environments, and certainly in every home or other type of dwelling. It exists naturally and in low levels and is completely harmless to humans and pets. But with the right conditions, it can grow quickly and spread, causing wide spread damage to your home and potentially cause health effects for the home’s inhabitants.

As you can see from the list above, 2 of those things are normal. It’s the 3rd thing, elevated moisture that is not normal and creates the right environment for a mold problem. So now let’s talk through how moisture gets into attics and what you can do to make sure it doesn’t get into yours.

Causes of attic mold growth

When we are called to a home and discover mold in the attic, the culprits are usually pretty easy to spot. There are only so many ways moisture finds its way into an attic. Here’s what we usually see:

Venting directly into the attic

Many bathrooms are equipped with vents that take the warm, wet air released when a shower is running and remove it from the bathroom. Unfortunately, sometimes a misguided homeowner or shoddy handyman will simply install the vent fan such that the air is pushed into the attic where it has nowhere to escape. Bathroom fans should be vented to the outside of the house. If you have an older home that is equipped with one or multiple of these types of exhaust fans, it’s probably worth you taking a look in the attic space to make sure it’s vented properly.

A leaky roof

One culprit we find when inspecting an attic with mold is a leaky roof. Just one damaged or misplaced shingle can allow rain water to slowly seep into your attic. While most people picture a deluge of water coming through their ceiling, more often than not, a roof leak will just allow a slow amount of rain water to enter the attic, usually soaking the roof deck and eventually dripping down onto the attic floor and/or your exterior walls. We recommend that you (safely) inspect your roof’s exterior each spring and it’s also a good idea to just crawl up into your attic and peer at the interior decking of the roof. If you start to see staining, it’s a sign you have some moisture intrusion that needs to be addressed!

Improper Ventilation

Your attic needs to breathe. When we have extended periods of extremely cold weather like we had this past winter, warm air leaks from the interior of your home into the attic. This warm wet air will condensate on the roof deck and possibly ice over the ventilation.   One it warms up, this frost will thaw causing the roof deck to get wet. One sign to look for is roofing nails that are rusty.   We recommend working with an insulating contractor to make sure your attic vents well so you can avoid this problem.

With a few simple steps and things to be mindful of your attic can remain trouble free. If you suspect you have a problem feel free to give us a call. 715-381-2266

Disaster Shut Down

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

Flooded office Don't get caught unprepared.

When you own a business, there’s never a convenient time for a disaster to strike. Fire, flooding, or destruction from a natural disaster can take time to mitigate and should be dealt with immediately before the damage spreads. Once the immediate danger is handled, cleanup and restoration of the damage can begin. In a world where time means money, any amount of downtime can put your business at risk of lost revenue and productivity. Remember, every hour spent cleaning up and repairing damage is an hour of opportunity lost for your business.

If you are a small business and have limited resources, it can be difficult to recover from a disaster, especially when it interrupts your daily operations. However, with the support of the right disaster commercial recovery team and a comprehensive recovery strategy, you can get back to business faster.

Be Prepared Before an Emergency Hits

According to FEMA, almost half of all small businesses affected by a disaster will never re-open their doors. For those that do, 90 percent will fail within a year if they don’t resume their operations within five days of the damage occurring. Why is that? Depending on the type and extent of damage, general operations may have to stop within the affected area. Meanwhile, life as usual goes on for customers and clients who are not directly impacted by the disaster. While some may be willing to wait for the business to reopen its doors, any long-term business disruption can send customers and clients looking elsewhere to get their needs met.

Businesses, large and small have a better chance of recovering from a disaster and successfully returning to business as usual if they have a plan before disaster strikes. Even when a disaster plan does exist, only 80 percent of companies spend time re-evaluating their plan each year. If you do not have one, it’s time to create one, so your business can go on as usual in the event of an emergency.

Creating a Emergency Response Plan (ERP)

If a fire, flood, or natural disaster were to occur, would you know who to contact to save your business? Regardless of the size of your business, having a ERP  for your business will give you a roadmap to recovery if an emergency occurs. This plan will help you save time and limit your property losses by saving as many assets as possible. It includes:

commercial services - commercial space with painters plastic hanging in windows

Compiling a list of emergency contacts, including phone numbers and addresses.

Phone calls

E-mails

What is Involved in Commercial Restoration?

SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley offers multiple restoration services to our commercial clients, including:

Emergency mitigation services to protect remaining business assets and building from secondary damage

Stabilization of building

Boarding-up your facility

Drying and dehumidifying your building

Recovering documents

Restoring electronics and wiring

Restoring your location to preloss condition

Reconstructing your building

What Should You Do if a Disaster Shuts Down Your Business?

When disaster strikes in the Saint Croix Valley and surrounding areas, SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley is ready to get to work. As a leader in property emergency services, we can help your business overcome the devastating setbacks of property damage caused by fire, water, or other natural disasters. We can assist our commercial clients in preloss planning and project management in helping create a solid business disaster recovery plan.

10 Tips to Keep Your Office Space Clean

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

Maintaining a clean work space means a healthy environment for your employees and a presentable establishment for clients. Avoid germ buildup and dirty spaces with these simple tips to keep your office space clean.

Desk Duty

All the hustle and bustle of a busy workday usually leads to a cluttered desk. Take some time at the end of your day to clean your desk area. Straighten out office documents and throw excess papers, food wrappers and other trash away.

Avoid Food Messes

When work gets busy, it’s easier to stay at your desk and have lunch while typing away on your computer. Eating at your desk, however, guarantees a messy workspace as crumbs and even liquids fall into the crevices of your keyboard or stick to the desktop. Over time, stains become harder to remove and bacteria begins to accumulate.

Kill the Germs

If eating at your desk is your thing, then make sure to maintain a healthy work environment. Dust and other particles accumulate overtime. Wipe those germs away at least once a week with a quick wipe down of your desktop with a multi-purpose cleaner.

Antibacterial is Your Best Friend

Germs spread fast in any environment. You’ll want to keep hand sanitizers in stock and easily available to avoid the spread of germs. The last thing you want is for the entire office to come down with a stomach bug, flu or cold.

Group Effort at Play

Break rooms or common areas should be cleaned regularly to avoid germ buildup. As a place where all workers spend time, don’t shy away from maintaining this area. Avoid leaving dishes in the sink, throw out old takeout from the refrigerator and sanitize the countertops.

Trash Duty

If your office doesn’t have a daily janitorial service, make sure to empty your trash every night or every other night so bacteria and odor don’t become a problem. Make this a group effort. Designate a different work associate to take care of the trash on certain days.

Get Those Hard to Reach Places

When it comes to a full office cleaning, make sure all spaces are accessible. You may consider rearranging office furniture to avoid hard-to-reach places, like large gaps behind filing cabinets or sofas.

Carpet and Tile Cleaning

With paperclips, staples and papers, office floors can get pretty dirty. Whether you need to vacuum or mop, keeping the office floors clean makes your workspace safe and presentable for clients and visitors.

Do Your Part

Your area is your responsibility. Take the time to ensure it is maintained on a day-to-day basis. Office cleanliness is a group effort that can be made easy when everyone participates.

If you need commercial cleaning, such as carpet cleaning or clean up after a fire or water loss, give the pros at SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley a call 715-381-2266.

Independent Franchises, But One National Team

3/28/2020 (Permalink)

As with anyone in sales, I get asked one question more than any other.  What’s makes SERVPRO different then the next restoration company?  It’s a great question to ask, and really struck me as I was at a vendor convention hosted by an insurance company.  Sitting there at our booth I could see that the majority of vendors at this adjusters convention offered the same type of services we did.  They all did water and fire damage restoration and mold mitigation.  Some also did the same types of cleaning services we offer.  Others included the mitigation and reconstruction of the structure as well.  So what really does make us different?

It really starts with the fact that we are a national company, with independent owner operators.  Our partners at SERVPRO Headquarters in Tennessee, set the tone for how operations are carried out.  Be it from a piece of equipment that is tested and put through the ringer to make sure it will hold up in the field for our techs.  Or the fact that when a disaster strikes we can quickly mobilize and send resources from around the country to help.  We truly are faster to any size disaster. 

None of this works though without the men and women at the franchise level.  Be it the normal daytime routine, or reporting to the scene of a disaster in the middle of the night, SERVPRO techs answer the call knowing that they are walking into most people’s worst nightmare, and are the calming voice of reason and reassurance to our clients.  They aren’t comic book heroes, but they do save the day on a regular basis. 

Finally, we answer the phone!  When a franchise’s office is closed for the night, the weekend, or a holiday we are still on call and answering the phone.  SERVPRO headquarters has a 24 hour call center that routes all calls to the appropriate franchise.  Each franchise has a dedicated person answering the phone 24 hours a day, even in the middle of the night.  And finally techs are on a rotating on call schedule to make sure we can gets boots on the ground of any emergency when the calls come in. 

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

4 FAQ on Flammable Gas Safety

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

Propane, hydrogen, butane, ethylene, and other flammable, compressed gases present hazards without the right precautions. While fire safety maintenance will help you avoid trouble, you should also understand how to handle and store gas cylinders. Here’s what to know to keep your facility safe.

Common Questions About Flammable Gases

Can I store containers outdoors?

Yes, as long as the manufacturer's instructions permit outdoor storage. Closely follow the guidelines on all cylinder labels. If a label is missing or damaged, you may need to call the manufacturer.

 Cylinders stored outdoors must remain upright on compacted, level surfaces. These should be far away from drainage areas, manholes, or other openings. Use an open-sided enclosure with a weatherproof roof to protect the cylinders from sunlight, snow, and other elements.

 What about indoor storage?

fire safety maintenanceIndoor storage is also possible as long as you follow all ventilation guidelines outlined by the manufacturers. Store the gases in a separate building that has noncombustible structural components that resist fire for at least 120 minutes. The area should also have lightweight roofing and explosion vents.

 Keep gases on the ground floor and place electrical wiring outside of the building to further limit the chances of fires and explosions.

What are the best materials for securing the cylinders?

Unrestrained cylinders could roll away or fall, so you must keep them secure. Use specialized chains, straps, and bungee cords. Refer to the label or manufacturer’s instructions for information on how to secure the units.

 How should I handle the cylinders?

Inspect all items before handling. Do not handle any cylinder that has dents, severe corrosion, or other visible signs of damage. Avoid contact if you notice grease, oil, solvent, or dirt, which could cause explosions.

Open cylinder valves only with the manufacturer-provided key, and ensure you are working away from all heat sources. You must also have fire safety equipment within reach and follow all other manufacturer’s guidelines, such as opening specific valves if you’re working with an irritating gas.

5 Quick Cleaning Tips That Can Boost Productivity At Work

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

It’s a well-known fact that a neat and tidy offices increase productivity. Not to mention, keeping your office clean of germs will encourage less employees to take off work. Giving your office a deep clean Spring Cleaning will help boost your productivity and give your office the look it needs to attract the best customers.

If you are looking to clean your office yourself, these are the top 5 things you can do to keep your office clean in order to ensure and increase productivity

Clean your phones!

Phones are a cesspool of germs. When your employees get sick, productivity declines. If they continue to do so, it becomes an even bigger problem. Cleaning your phones daily with an anti-bacterial wipe is the number one way to ensure phones are germ free and your employees are healthy enough to produce.

Get rid of that smell

Floors and carpets that are not properly cleaned will absorb bad smells. It’s proven that certain smells, such as orange, increase energy and productivity. Working In an environment that doesn’t smell good is a factor that declines worker morale. Cleaning and shampooing your carpets will guarantee this problem is corrected. You can rent a carpet vacuum and risk the chance of harboring mold under the damp carpets, or you can call a commercial cleaning service who may be better equipped to handle that kind of situation.

Keep desks dust free

Dust carries many allergies which cause a lot of people to get sick. Not to mention, working in a dirty space declines staff morale. Dusting your commercial space, as well as all of the desks every night is very important. It;s also important to move all the supplies off a desk and wipe the desks once a week.

Sweep that floor

Working in an office space that is cluttered or dirty does not help increase productivity. On the contrary, it decreases productivity. It is also something that may turn off prospect customers. Sweeping floors every night is imperative to having a clean and put-together office. First appearances are very important and if a customer sees a dirty floor, they may not trust your product or service

Empty the trash

Full trash cans attract little critters. Especially trash cans full of snack and lunch wrappers. Emptying the trash daily is very important when it comes to maintaining the productivity in an office. An employee working in an area that smells like a garbage bin won’t be as focused and productive as one working in an office with fresh air. Not to mention these little critters carry contaminants that may make you and your employees sick.

Fire Damage Restoration Process

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

Every fire damage event is a little different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage emergency.

Step 1: Emergency Contact

The restoration process begins when you call the SERVPRO Customer Care Center, which is staffed 24 hours a day. Our specialist will ask a series of questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us dispatch the nearest SERVPRO Franchise Professional with the appropriate equipment and resources.

Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

Our Professionals will carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action.

Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service

Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, the SERVPRO Franchise Professional can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs.

Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)

The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. They will then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process.

Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

The SERVPRO Franchise Professionals use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.

Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing

They will clean all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. They’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.

Step 7: Restoration

Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

Not So Pleasant Home Away From Home

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

For most people that are fortunate enough to own a cabin up north, or a second vacation home, the thought of getting away is filled with thoughts of unplugging, relaxing and family time.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for one of our recent clients.  When they arrived at their second property to enjoy a few days of quiet, they opened a door to a home full of water damage and mold.

What do you do?  You are far from home, and don’t really know the area.  Luckily for these clients we had been in the area a few months prior, and their neighbor we worked for gave our number to them.  We were able to coordinate with their insurance adjuster, and work out the cause of the damage and scope of the project.  It was discovered after we brought in a local HVAC provider that the heating core on the furnace had cracked, causing the temperature inside the house to drop, and allowed the water line to freeze and burst. 

Before we could stabilize the environment in the home we needed to get heat back into it.  That is where we helped the client coordinate with the HVAC company to bring in and install a new furnace.  Once in, we were able to stabilize the climate and coordinate with a mold testing vendor to determine the appropriate course of action to mitigate the mold.  Once the area was properly cleaned, including cleaning the duct system, and damaged areas removed a contractor was able to come in and start the rebuild.

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