Recent Posts

Space Heater Safety

12/10/2018 (Permalink)

Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fires result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.

 Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in.

 Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:

  • Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
  • Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
  • Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
  • Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
  • Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.

Fire Prevention

11/14/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Prevention Fire can be a destructive force, but with a little prevention, you can cut down your risks.

As we are in to the season of turning on furnaces and starting space heaters, the chance of having a fire increase greatly. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames. Here are some steps to help if a fire should break out in your home or business.

During a Fire

  • Crawl low under any smoke to your exit - heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.
  • Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, or if there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out.
  • If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.
  • If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located.
  • If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.
  • If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out.  Call 9-1-1 or your fire department. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.
  • If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands.  Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out.  If you or someone else cannot stop, drop, and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel.  Use cool water to treat the burn immediately for 3 to 5 minutes.  Cover with a clean, dry cloth.  Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1 or the fire department.

Fire Escape Planning for Older Adults and People with Access or Functional Needs

  • Live near an exit. You'll be safest on the ground floor if you live in an apartment building. If you live in a multi-story home, arrange to sleep on the ground floor, and near an exit.
  • If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure you get through the doorways.
  • Make any necessary accommodations, such as providing exit ramps and widening doorways, to facilitate an emergency escape.
  • Speak to your family members, building manager, or neighbors about your fire safety plan and practice it with them.
  • Contact your local fire department's non-emergency line and explain your special needs. Ask emergency providers to keep your special needs information on file.
  • Keep a phone near your bed and be ready to call 911 or your local emergency number if a fire occurs.

After a Fire

The following checklist serves as a quick reference and guide for you to follow after a fire strikes.

  • Contact your local disaster relief service, such as The Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicines.
  • If you are insured, contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on protecting the property, conducting inventory and contacting fire damage restoration companies.  If you are not insured, try contacting private organizations for aid and assistance.
  • Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter. Be watchful of any structural damage caused by the fire.
  • The fire department should see that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site.  DO NOT attempt to reconnect utilities yourself.
  • Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items.  Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made.
  • Try to locate valuable documents and records.  Refer to information on contacts and the replacement process inside this brochure.
  • Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss.  The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on income tax.
  • Notify your mortgage company of the fire.

At SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley we have the ability to help start the recovery process of your property, your home, and your life after fire affects you. In the unfortunate event that you have a fire, please call us and let us show you how we can help you. 715-381-672.

OH THE DAMAGE A DISHWASHER CAN DO!

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage OH THE DAMAGE A DISHWASHER CAN DO! This isn't ever a pleasant sight to find but, with a little knowledge this won't have to put you through the "rinse cycle!"

Dishwashers are great, but also encompass great water damage potential. Imagine a dishwasher breaking down while working, all full of water. The amount of water flowing would be overwhelming, especially since in most cases the water keeps flowing as the dishwasher doesn't stop the water flow.

While in most cases a dishwasher failing causes only a small water flood, in more complex cases the damage goes far beyond just blotting the water. In some cases, that dishwasher will really be disruptive to your daily routine.

THE WORST CASE SCENARIO OF DISHWASHER WATER DAMAGE

You're getting ready for work. You put all the dishes in the dishwasher, hit the start button, pick up your keys from the counter, and you and the kids are out the door off to another regular day. Or at least the beginning of a regular day. With the workday behind you, you go home to get the house prepared for another afternoon of fun & kids. You open the door, walk to the kitchen, and see a big puddle of water next to the dishwasher. Uh oh. Bad sign #1.

You check the dishwasher, and see it's off now. The water isn't running anymore. But the water traveled around the kitchen. And all the way to the basement stairs. You walk over, only to see the water spilled down the stairs. How long has the water been standing there? And how are you going to handle the water now?

Steps of Water Damage Restoration

If you have water damage, either from a dishwasher or other water sources (leaky pipes, for example) the remediation process is quite similar - stop the water flow, call the experts, get the water out, dry the area and fix the damage.

The sooner you find out about the water leaks, the easier it is to restore your property and clean up the mess. If your dishwasher just broke, and you closed the water immediately, you may not have even suffered from minor water damage yet. But if your water heater broke sometime last night, and you only just found out - your water heater just caused a lot of water damage. Same goes for the case mentioned above - as one of our customers found out.

Dishwasher Breakage Taking Down the House. Almost.

The dishwasher leaked all the way to the basement. The basement ceiling got wet, the kitchen floor got soaked, and the basement's carpets got drenched as well. Getting the water out was not a simple task, but we got it done. We used professional water extraction machines to get all the excess water out of the kitchen and basement. After we got rid of the water, we started the drying process - removing all items that could not be restored to preloss condition and drying them, placing air movers and dehumidifiers to dry the floors and ceiling and eventually fixing the parts of the drywall that got removed as well.

It wasn't a simple job, but we had it done in 10 days. It was more than we thought it would take, but the water from that dishwasher went as far as it could and caused big damage. Never underestimate the power of water, especially when it comes to water damage and your home.

Top 3 Facts About Water Damage Restoration for The Saint Croix Valley

8/20/2018 (Permalink)

Fact #1: The First 24 to 48 Hours Are Critical

If your home is flooded, the first 24 to 48 hours are critical because this is all the time mold and other microorganisms needs to begin growing and thriving.

Five conditions are required by fungi and bacteria to germinate, grow, amplify, and disseminate:

  • Organic food source, especially cellulose (e.g., paper, wood), which are found in abundance in construction materials.
  • Moisture, even high humidity (60% RH plus)
  • Moderate temperature – 68-86°F/20-30°C
  • Stagnant air
  • Time – several hours to several days.

Water damage restoration has two main goals. First, to restore the home to preloss condition. Second, to prevent the onset of mold and other microorganisms.

In order to accomplish these goals, you need to take action immediately. These are the action steps.

  1. Contact a restoration contractor immediately to begin the removal of excess water. Once the excess water is removed, the restoration contractor can deploy drying equipment, dehumidifiers, and air movers, which will be effective at preventing mold growth.
  2. Contact your insurance company to begin the claims process.

Fact #2: Mold Growth Is Not the Only Concern

The other reason time is not on your side relates to the bio-hazard level of the water. There are three hazard levels.

Category 1 Water, also known as clean water, is not considered hazardous because it originated directly from a sanitary source such as a broker water supply line, melting ice or snow, rain water, and/or uncontaminated tub or sink water.

Category 2 Water, also known as gray water, is a health concern because the water originated from a contaminated source such as discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, toilet bowl overflows (urine, no feces), seepage due to hydrostatic pressure, and sump pump failures. Gray water has bacteria present that carry nutrients for microorganisms that cause sickness and discomfort when consumed.

Category 3 Water, also known as black water, is the worst level of water contamination because the water originated from sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, and ground surface water flowing horizontally into the home. Black water can cause death and sickness because it can be contaminated with E. coli; Acanthamoeba; Salmonella; Helicobacter pylori; Leptospira; Cryptosporidium; Giardia; Hepatitis A Virus; Clostridium Tetani; and Adenoviridae. Illnesses caused by black water include gastroenteritis; Weil’s disease also known as Leptospirosis; Hepatitis; acute respiratory illnesses; and tetanus.

The problem with standing flood water is that the risk of bio-hazard increases as time passes. In short, after two to three days, clean water can turn to gray water, and eventually black water as bacteria and pathogens begin to grow and proliferate.

Fact #3: Water Damage Restoration Should Be Done By Professionals

The immediate inclination of most property home owners is to begin the clean-up process themselves and if you do, please take precautions because micro-organisms enter the body through direct contact or by breathing in contaminants. For this reason, always wear protective clothing, rubber boots, gloves, eye, and respiratory protection.

In order to avoid long term health, structural, and mold concerns, we recommend the services of a professional restoration company that has the experience and training to restore your home to preloss condition.

Well trained professionals understand that not all water damage restoration projects are the same. When they are formulating their action plan also known as a scope of work, they will assess the hazard level of the water, but will also determine the extent of water damage to create a sensible plan of action.

There are four distinct classes of water damage:

  • Class 1 Water Damage: The lowest and easiest to deal with, this has a slow evaporation rate. Only part of a room or area was affected, there is little or no wet carpet, and the moisture has only affected materials with a low permeance rate, such as plywood or concrete.
  • Class 2 Water Damage: With a fast evaporation rate, this level affects an entire room, carpeting, or cushioning, the wetness has wicked up the walls at least 12”, and there is moisture remaining in structural materials.
  • Class 3 Water Damage: This class has the fastest evaporation rate, and ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet and sub-floors are all saturated. The liquid may have come from overhead.
  • Class 4 Water Damage: This class is labeled as a specialty drying situations, which means there has been enough liquid and time to saturate materials with very low permeance, such as hardwood, brick, or stone.

Other reasons you should hire a professional include the following:

  • Trained professionals have specialized equipment to pump out excess water, commercial grade dehumidifiers and air movers.
  • Experienced professionals have the knowledge to properly determine the class of water damage and category of water to put together a scope of work (ie. plan of action).
  • Ability to assess structural issues caused by the water damage, which could have long term safety and property value consequences if not fixed properly.
  • Advise you on what contents can be cleaned and what needs to be thrown out.
  • Create a drying and monitoring strategy using air movers and dehumidifiers.
  • Create a sanitizing plan to ensure a healthy living environment.

As a final note, in addition to using the services of a professional restoration company, we also recommend that you hire a third party environmental firm to perform post-remediation verification tests on the air quality to assess the mold spore count and sewage contamination tests if the flood water had category 3 water. These tests should be performed before any reconstruction occurs because it will provide you with verification that the water damage restoration was done properly. There is a cost to post-remediation verification, but it is well worth the investment for peace of mind that the work was done properly. Long term, this final step could save you thousands of dollars and future headaches because if any moisture or bacteria is present after the rebuild is complete, much of the reconstruction will eventually need to be torn down, particularly if there is mold.

Questions? We are here to help. Call us, 715-381-2266

What Is Water Mitigation In The Saint Croix Valley?

7/31/2018 (Permalink)

The simple answer is that, it is the prevention of further water damage by taking strict actions. Actions such as removal of unsalvageable contents and structures (dry wall, flooring, etc.), cleaning of the affected areas, application of disinfecting agents, deodorizing and drying the structure.

The actual water mitigation time of your property and valuables will be determined by the amount of the water damage endured. Our advanced equipment such as drying equipment and the use of testing equipment will ensure your property is being dried out. They will be removed only when the temperature, humidity and moisture testing confirm that the affected areas have been dried to approved standards. With that said, the equipment can be considered noisy and somewhat intrusive but, when you consider that every minute that the equipment is running is one more minute that you are closer to having the entire situation rectified, you will understand that it is a necessary process. Also, the timing of the process can be measured in 24 hour increments for insurance standards, not in minutes.

For the property that has been affected by mold spores it needs to be thoroughly cleaned, and any moisture must be removed completely from that area. This makes sure that the mold will not continue to grow further or return to the area to grow again.

WATER DAMAGE CAUSES AT HOME AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM

We all know we're surrounded by water. The ocean, lakes, rivers, ponds, and other natural water reserves. But we are also surrounded by human-made waterways - sewers, water mains and pipes, and gutters also fill up with water when it rains. All this water is great, but can also cause a lot of damage.

TYPES OF WATER DAMAGE CAUSES AT HOME

There are several types of water damage at home. Some can be prevented with simple maintenance, and some of them are just forces of nature doing their thing. Here are some of the water damages we helped people deal with over the years:

  • Pipes leaks / bursts (or toilets) - Common reason for water damage at home. Pipes are usually hidden. Either in the floors, walls or just running on the outer walls of your home, they're far out of sight. If they start leaking it may take a few days (or even weeks) before you notice anything is wrong. These leaks create more damage as time goes by, so if you have any suspicion you've got a leaky pipe - call a plumber or water damage experts and have it checked.
  • Broken appliances at home - some of our appliances are connected to water mains, use water, and when they break down - we are the ones who suffer. The usual suspects are dishwashers & washing machines, but refrigerators, freezers and aquariums can also be counted here. These causes usually cause less damage than pipe leaks, since they are usually visible almost instantly as they happen, and are not hidden in the walls. The most important thing to do when suffering such water damage is to extract the water as quickly as possible, before it gets absorbed in carpets or floors, and before the water damage becomes a health hazard and a mold growth bed which will be a lot harder (and way more expensive) to repair.
  • Sump pump failure and toilet clogs - These are less common, but they do happen. When your sump pump fails in your basement, it creates an overflow of the toilets or sump basin in your basement, which is also harder to get rid of without professional equipment and water damage professionals.
  • Sewage backup, or rising water from other water sources (seawater, lakes, rivers) - These reasons for water damage are in "Class 3" water damage, meaning the water contains lots of contaminants and unsanitary agents, causing a serious health hazard. These causes are usually accompanied by bad odors, and can cause discomfort and even sickness.
  • Floods - these are really rare in most areas, and more common in some areas. Floods are considered as substantially large amounts of water reaching places they don't usually reach, such as places which are usually dry land like town centers, bridges and of course - your home. Floods are the hardest to deal with when it comes to water damage, because floods create a lot more damage to homes, and affect also access roads and facilities. Moreover, floods usually affect more than one home, and can flow over a whole town and even a city.

WATER DAMAGE AT HOME

Imagine you're at home. Sitting on your sofa, enjoying a good movie on the TV, having some popcorn, when you suddenly look up and see a discoloration on the ceiling. Nothing much, just some bubbles in the paint and a brownish stain of what looks like humidity. Nothing to really worry about, but where is it coming from?

You head up to the attic, only to realize your roof just gave in a little, and water is dripping in from your skylight. A drop every few seconds on days of constant rain can accumulate to large amounts of water that really have nowhere to go. So they get absorbed in your carpet or hardwood floors. And that's a problem. A big problem.

If you suffered from any type of water damage, it's important to remember 3 things:

  1. Get your belongings far from water ASAP - the longer they are in water, the less chances you have of saving them.
  2. Get the water extracted - water standing in your home is a bad idea for so many reasons. Get water extraction services and dry your property.
  3. Make sure the water didn't go any deeper - have water damage experts visit your property, inspect it thoroughly and verify there is no hidden water or wetness that can evolve into something worse.

For many this can be one of the most frustration times of their lives. If nothing else know that there are people out there, like SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley, trained in getting you the help that you need to tackle these problems, backed with years of experience.

Why Hiring a Water Damage Restoration Company is the Best Option

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

Although it’s tempting to fix water damage yourself, it’s not a wise choice.  Here’s Why:

Safety & Health

If a massive flood flows through your home, two things happen. First, the structural integrity of your home is instantly compromised. Second, the water is filled with harmful bacteria, chemicals, and other toxic material that can affect your health or cause injury. If the water is still standing after several hours or days, there’s no way of knowing what’s in it. Water removal specialists have the skill and equipment necessary to remove the water safely without injury or exposure to whatever is in the water. There’s no need to put yourself or anyone else at risk when you can seek the aid of experienced water removal professionals.

Fast, Efficient Work

Water removal is a time-sensitive task that must be executed without delay. The condition of your home grows progressively worse in a short period once the flood strikes. The water must be removed before it permanently damages the internal structure. Plumbing and electrical systems must be inspected. The wood frame and flooring have to be treated, and everything must be dried fast.

This requires the experience of a certified, reputable water removal company that can complete the job in a fraction of the time it takes for a homeowner to do it. A response team can arrive on-site with all the tools and equipment necessary to go to work right away. They know the proper procedure for extracting the water and restoring the home. An entire team can complete the project within hours to save the property from further damage.

The Right Tools

While shop vacs, bathroom towels, Clorox, and open windows may seem like an effective method for flood cleanup, they neither treat the wood below the surface nor create an arid room that allows moisture to evaporate. In the end, the homeowner wastes time and energy only to get less than satisfactory results.

All equipment and tools used to remove water are specially designed to meet or exceed the highest industry standards when restoring a home after a flood. This includes the time it takes to complete the project. For example, air-moving machines can push 100 cubic feet of air around you home in just 60 seconds. By circulating the air, the machine speeds up evaporation time. An industrial grade dehumidifier does the same thing with water. It can extract 50+ gallons of water out of any building. Large-scale equipment likes the above mentioned can do the work of 10 people but at a faster rate.

Manpower

While this may not seem like a compelling reason to hire a professional water removal company, the alternative is, well, doing it yourself. Nothing is more encouraging, however than seeing an entire staff piling out of work vehicles for the purpose of saving your home. By working in teams, water removal companies have the capacity to take on the most challenging jobs and finish them in record time. If the 48-hour window presents a monumental challenge for a solo cleanup effort, additional help is the way to go if you want your house to survive that initial period before the onslaught mold, spores, and fungi take over your home.

Don’t Let Water & Storm Damage Sink Your Finances

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

Featured Article from IICRC Archives (www.IICRC.org)

In a Nutshell: Water damage can strike unexpectedly, causing costly damage to homes and businesses. Many people don’t face water damage in time, nor do they use proper equipment to get rid of the water or the subsequent mold that develops. The best course of action to ensure your family avoids health problems following water damage to your home is turning to an IICRC-certified professional. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets global standards and provides 27 certifications for people in the cleaning and restoration business. With a presence in more than 25 countries, the IICRC also provides consumers with educational resources on restoration — so they can repair water-related damage themselves — without breaking the bank, but also doing it the safest way possible.

Water damage from flooding and storms can wreak havoc on a family’s home and finances. The average cost of water removal alone is $2,700. Cleanup and restoration add thousands more to the bill, and a foot of flood damage repair can cost nearly $20,000. While the average water damage insurance claim is $7,500, uninsured people are looking at more staggering out-of-pocket costs.

So, people try to cut corners. One of the first mistakes they make is not facing the scope of the problem. When they procrastinate, the water damage can actually worsen, penetrating building materials, and ultimately also driving up the cost of restoration. When people do seek help, they don’t look for certified experts.

Instead, people should reach out to and rely on certified experts right away. The IICRC is an organization dedicated to setting industry standards — and training experts — in inspection, cleaning, and restoration of damaged properties. Its Clean Trust logo has become a symbol of confidence between certified technicians and customers.

For over 45 years, the organization has been helping people to train and certify experts to do the hands-on hard work that goes into cleaning up the mess left by water damage.

Jeff Bishop, a Director of IICRC, is a second-generation restoration expert. He sums up the genesis of the problem that the nonprofit IICRC helps resolve. “It happens frequently when there is wholesale flooding … people have hardly anywhere to turn but to rely on themselves, which can jeopardize the health and safety of their families,” Jeff said.

Although there are a few other organizations similar to IICRC, such as the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), IICRC sets the standard for the training and certification of experts.

“In the industry, there is no specific regulation that governs how restoration can be performed except ANSI/IICRC S500,” also known as the Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration, Jeff said.

Cleaning Air Ducts In The Saint Croix Valley.

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

In addition to normal accumulations of dust and dirt found in all homes with air ducts, there are several other factors that can increase the need for regular HVAC system cleaning:

  • pets
  • occupants with allergies or asthma
  • cigarette or cigar smoke
  • water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
  • home renovation or remodeling projects

Some occupants are more sensitive to these contaminants than others. Allergy and asthma sufferers, as well as young children and the elderly tend to be more susceptible to the types of poor indoor air quality that air duct cleaning can help address.

The rule of thumb for consumers is that “if your air ducts look dirty, they probably are,” and that dirty HVAC systems should be inspected by a reputable, certified HVAC professional. Below are some other reasons homeowners choose to have their air ducts cleaned.

Indoor air quality is one concern that homeowners have when they decide to investigate air duct cleaning. Your heating and cooling system is the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and breathes air out.

Through normal occupation in a home, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.

While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school or workplace, they may be contributing to larger health issues or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use.

When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

Cigarette Smoke Cleaning

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

While not as many people smoke now days we get this call from time to time. After years of smoking in a home, walls and contents become blemished and develop bad odors. And when the time comes to remove the smoke residue and odors, it will be very difficult to successfully complete the task. Professional cleanup is often necessary. This can be one of the toughest jobs a we come across.   Learn more about smoke removal below.

"How does smoke affect properties?"

Tobacco smoke is a complex mixture of over 4,000 compounds. Smoke sticks to every surface of the smoking area, such as walls, windows, furniture, and in every nook and cranny. It leaves a yellowish-brown sticky substance that you can see, smell, and feel. Cigarette smoke residue can permanently alter the appearance of every surface it sticks to. What’s worse, the HVAC system in the building will carry the smoke residue and odor throughout the structure. This residue is extremely hard to remove, much harder than the soot left over from a fire.

"How do you remove tobacco smoke from homes?"

As tobacco residue is present throughout the entire affected area, removing it is often very time- consuming. There is no magic formula that just whisks away residues and smells. The only effective way to remove tobacco residue and smell is through very thorough cleaning and then sealing all structural surfaces. Restoration specialists start tobacco smoke removal by cleaning all surfaces, which always includes deodorizing agents to help eliminate the very tiny particles of tobacco smoke. The residue is also filled with nicotine which during the cleaning process can be absorbed through the skin and give a person nicotine poisoning. Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a must!

Once the technicians finish cleaning the visible surfaces, using specialized equipment is often necessary to remove the very last of the odors that are not accessible (such as inside walls or joints). This will often involve Chlorine dioxide gas or ozone generators – professional equipment that effectively destroys the smelly particles that penetrated hard-to-reach areas.

The next step consists of sealing the surfaces with a sealant. A product designed to seal smoke residues is required – these can lock in the very last of the stains and odors. Finally, the surfaces will be ready to paint, refinish, or to apply new coverings.

"What about the soft items?"

The soft things in a home such as upholstery, bedding, draperies, and clothes absorb odors so well and are often easily damaged. Because of this, they are very difficult to successfully restore and may require outside specialists. In many cases though, the decision is made to simply replace these materials and items.

If you find yourself dealing with a cigarette smoke odor we’d love to help, call us at 715-381-2266

Don't Let Water And Storm Damage Sink Your Finances

5/30/2018 (Permalink)

Featured Article from IICRC Archives (www.IICRC.org)

In a Nutshell: Water damage can strike unexpectedly, causing costly damage to homes and businesses. Many people don’t face water damage in time, nor do they use proper equipment to get rid of the water or the subsequent mold that develops. The best course of action to ensure your family avoids health problems following water damage to your home is turning to an IICRC-certified professional. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets global standards and provides 27 certifications for people in the cleaning and restoration business. With a presence in more than 25 countries, the IICRC also provides consumers with educational resources on restoration — so they can repair water-related damage themselves — without breaking the bank, but also doing it the safest way possible.

Water damage from flooding and storms can wreak havoc on a family’s home and finances. The average cost of water removal alone is $2,700. Cleanup and restoration add thousands more to the bill, and a foot of flood damage repair can cost nearly $20,000. While the average water damage insurance claim is $7,500, uninsured people are looking at more staggering out-of-pocket costs.

So, people try to cut corners. One of the first mistakes they make is not facing the scope of the problem. When they procrastinate, the water damage can actually worsen, penetrating building materials, and ultimately also driving up the cost of restoration. When people do seek help, they don’t look for certified experts.

Instead, people should reach out to and rely on certified experts right away. The IICRC is an organization dedicated to setting industry standards — and training experts — in inspection, cleaning, and restoration of damaged properties. Its Clean Trust logo has become a symbol of confidence between certified technicians and customers.

For over 45 years, the organization has been helping people to train and certify experts to do the hands-on hard work that goes into cleaning up the mess left by water damage.

Jeff Bishop, a Director of IICRC, is a second-generation restoration expert. He sums up the genesis of the problem that the nonprofit IICRC helps resolve. “It happens frequently when there is wholesale flooding … people have hardly anywhere to turn but to rely on themselves, which can jeopardize the health and safety of their families,” Jeff said.

Although there are a few other organizations similar to IICRC, such as the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), IICRC sets the standard for the training and certification of experts.

“In the industry, there is no specific regulation that governs how restoration can be performed except ANSI/IICRC S500,” also known as the Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration, Jeff said.