Our office mutt Artie, a cross breed, between a Shih tzu and a Bichon Frise, often referred to as a Teddy Bear cross breed.
July 31st is Mutt’s Day. The term mutt is often used loosely to mean any dog that is a combination of different breeds, rather than one identifiable breed. Some people note a distinction for dogs who are intentionally bred to combine the characteristics of two or more recognized breeds, calling them crossbreeds, versus a true mutt whose breeding was accidental.
But regardless of whether your dog is a pure breed, a cross breed or a true mutt, he or she is most likely a beloved member of your family. And sometimes these furry members of our families make a mess in our homes. If your dog makes a mess you can’t clean up in your home, SERVPRO is always here to help!
After severe storms came through the area this past weekend, SERVPRO of Appleton is once again in Storm Mode. The National Weather Service confirmed nine tornadoes touched down in Wisconsin from Friday evening July 19th to Saturday morning, July 20th with several of them being in or near the Fox Valley. Luckily none of the tornadoes were above an EF 1 rating, but the strong winds and rain still inflicted a great deal of damage to many properties. We have received many calls from homeowners and businesses with fallen trees on their roofs and extensive water damage as a result. In addition, many homes and businesses still do not have power this morning. And without a back-up, no power means no working sump pump and many flooded basements as well.
Our crews are out diligently working to restore as many of these water damaged properties as possible. In addition, SERVPRO Corporate has a tree removal vendor from Texas working in the area to help customers remove fallen trees from their structures.
If we can help you restore your home or business give us a call! We are here to help!
Commercial Water Damage
Last week was very hot and humid in the valley. Many of us welcomed the heat as it was a far stretch from the long, cold winter we recently experienced. It was a difficult winter and many homes and businesses suffered water losses due to the extreme weather we had.
At the end of January, we were called to a Steinhafels Furniture store. They experienced a water loss when a pipe on an outside wall, associated with their sprinkler system, froze and burst. Almost 4,000 square feet of showroom became wet as a result. Floors, furniture, area rugs, some walls, all wet.
Our Project Manager Luke quickly arrived on site to assess the situation. In his preliminary investigation he determined that the pipe was still detached or broken, but the water had been shut off at the source. He also determined that power sources were limited. He arranged for an electrician to come in and set up 3 power panels so that our crews would have enough power to run all the equipment (air movers & dehumidifiers) that were necessary to dry out such a large affected space.
Our crews arrived shortly after Luke. While some team members began extracting water from the floors and furniture, other team members began blocking the furniture. This is where we get furniture up on Styrofoam blocks. This not only protects the furniture from sitting in water, but it also protects the flooring from any dyes that may leach out of the wet furniture.
Some drywall was also wet. To dry the drywall, we removed a couple hundred linear feet of baseboard. Approximately 300 holes were drilled in the wall behind the baseboard. This allowed air from our low-profile air movers to get up behind the drywall and properly dry it in place. This is a big savings for the customer versus removing and replacing the wet drywall. Once the walls are dry, the baseboard is put back up and the holes are covered leaving no evidence of the water damage.
In the end we placed approximately 53 air movers, 7 commercial size dehumidifiers, cleaned and saved approximately 400 pieces of furniture and took 28 area rugs back to our shop to be cleaned, deodorized and dried. We had the affected area mostly dried out and back open to customers in less than 3 days.
Ice Dams & Roof Leaks
Pictured is our very own Luke Snyder talking to the 4th graders about how he calculates area for his job.
This past winter/early spring was very difficult for many Wisconsin property owners. In March we had multiple storms pass through in a short amount of time that dumped a great deal of snow, rain and freezing rain, creating conditions that were perfect for ice damming on roofs. Many homes and businesses that don’t ordinarily have problems with ice damming were seeing it for the first time.
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. As snow melts from your roof, either by the heat of the sun, or by heat escaping from your home, it tends to refreeze at the edges and other juncture points of your roof. The refreezing of water has a damming effect creating an even bigger ice dam behind it. Continuous feeding of the ice dam by melting and refreezing snow melt can cause significant damage. As the water seeps under shingles it refreezes expanding and creating an even bigger gap for future drainage to fill and further the cycle. Your shingles are being raised and eventually the water that backs up behind the dam, and underneath the shingles, can leak into your home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and create a perfect environment for mold growth.
We had so many calls from homes and businesses experiencing water damage from ice damming that we had to activate our National Storm Team. We brought crews from other franchises throughout the country to assist as many customers as possible. We are the only restoration company in the business with the ability to do this.
One of our customers during this time was a private school in the Fox Valley area. To properly dry the structure, we had to suck wet insulation out of the ceiling. We then had to calculate how much insulation we needed to replace the wet insulation. As our Project Manager Luke was in a hallway calculating the area with his team, a teacher overheard their conversation and asked Luke if he would be willing to talk to the class about what they were doing as it related to their current lesson. Luke was thrilled to help and the school posted about it on their Facebook Page.
Valley Christian School
March 21 ·
Thankful for teachers who never miss an opportunity turn every experience (good or challenging) into an opportunity to learn. Exhibit 1- Here is Luke from SERVPRO of Appleton & SERVPRO of Winnebago County (in our building for a week taking care of water damage) giving 4th graders a lesson on AREA, and how he calculates and uses it in his job every day. Thank you Luke for going above and beyond and thank you Mrs. Wiedenhaupt and Mr. Gross for seizing the opportunity!
Kitchen fires are the number one cause of home fires, and a grease fire is the most common type of kitchen fire. Your home’s kitchen is where heat, electricity, water and grease all come together. A grease fire is extremely dangerous as it can get out of control quickly and spread from the stove throughout the kitchen and other rooms of the house.
There are two common types of grease fires in the kitchen. One is in the cooking pan itself and the other is under the burner in the drip pan. Often, drip pan fires result from previous cooking sessions. When something is spilled into the drip pan it cannot be cleaned until the burner and the stove has cooled. It’s not uncommon for people to forget to go back and clean the drip pan, setting themselves up for trouble the next time they cook.
Here are some tips for preventing kitchen grease fires:
- Before cooking anything, make sure the burner is cool and wipe up any spills in the drip pan and around the burner before turning on the heat.
- The most common reason for a grease fire is leaving a hot pan unattended. Keep your eye on all pans while cooking.
- Pay attention to heat ratings for cooking oil. Some oils can be heated more than others before catching fire. If you are cooking and the oil starts to smoke, it is too hot. The flash point of a grease fire is 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease will smoke furiously before it ignites, so if you notice smoke, turn down the heat immediately.
- Keep cookbooks, towels, paper towels and anything combustible away from the stove. A grease fire can quickly turn into a bigger fire if it catches onto other combustibles.
- Avoid heating grease before putting food into it. Food can fall quickly into the grease and make it splash out, causing grease burns to you or hitting the heat source and catching fire.
- When deep frying, use a pan or cooking container designed for deep frying that will allow equal space of the grease and food contents above what you are frying. For example, if you are cooking chicken and the grease and chicken are three inches deep, the pan sides should be at least six inches deep.
- Have a class ABC fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Experts recommend having at least three fire extinguishers in your home; in the kitchen, garage and main living area.
- If a pan does catch fire, the best thing to do is smoother it, by using an oven mitt and placing a lid on top of the pan or by using a fire extinguisher. NEVER throw water on the fire or try to run it to the sink or outside.
And if a kitchen grease fire does get out of control, resulting in damage or odor to your home, our experts at SERVPRO of Appleton are here to help. We can clean your home "Like it never even happened."
Insurance Awareness Day
Friday, June 28th is Insurance Awareness Day. Make an appointment today to sit down with your insurance agent to ensure you have the coverage you need should disaster ever strike your home or business. All too often we deal with customers who are disappointed to find that their Homeowners Insurance Policy does not adequately cover their losses. The two problems we see most often are:
- No Coverage for a Sump Pump Failure. In most cases, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not provide coverage for water damage caused by sump pump failure. However, this type of coverage can be very affordable and can easily be added on to your standard homeowner’s insurance policy in the form of what’s called an endorsement. When this type of endorsement is active, it provides for coverage of property damage caused by water that has managed to back up and into your home from pipes, sewer systems, drains, sump pumps, water service, or any additional system that transfers fluids to and from your home.
- A Low Emergency Services Limit. All too often we see homeowners with a $2,500 - $5,000 Emergency Services Limit. And unfortunately, this is not enough to cover the average water loss. It may be enough to dry your basement or home to prevent secondary damage from mold and rot. But it often leaves no money left over for rebuilding your basement or home and restoring it to its original state. In order to restore your home and make the loss "Like it never even happened." we recommend at least $20,000 for Emergency Service Limits.
Make an appointment today to talk to your insurance agent about these 2 important things.
It’s that time of year when you will hear your local meteorologist talk about dew points and relative humidity. Simply stated humidity is the amount of water vapor (the gaseous state of water) in the air. Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor the air is holding as a percentage of what it could be holding if it were saturated. For example, if the relative humidity is 30%, the air contains 30% of the water vapor it could hold at that temperature. Higher temperatures have the capacity to hold more water vapor than lower temperatures. So as temperatures rise in the summer months, so too does the capacity for water vapor in the air. And too much water vapor in the air makes us feel uncomfortable and can damage our homes.
When our body temperature rises, we begin to sweat. As the water in our sweat evaporates, it cools our skin. When the relative humidity is high, the air around us has less capacity to take in our evaporating sweat, making it more difficult for us to cool off, and making us feel uncomfortable.
In our homes, high humidity can cause condensation on walls and windows and it can cause mold. As discussed in earlier blog posts, mold is bad for our homes because it feeds on and decomposes any organic material. Organic materials are any type of materials that are found in nature or are made from items that are found in nature. Examples of organic materials in our homes and businesses include wood, textiles and paper.
It’s important during these summer months when humidity levels outdoors can spike, to reduce humidity in our homes and businesses to keep us comfortable and prevent damage. In general relative humidity levels below 50 are considered comfortable and will help prevent mold growth. The two easiest ways to do this are to run air conditioning or a dehumidifier.
Did you know that we are currently in the heart of tornado season? Tornadoes can occur anytime of the year but are most common between the months of March and September, peaking in May, June and July. This is because tornadoes form in particularly violent thunderstorms with sufficient instability and wind shear present in the lower atmosphere.
The Fujita Scale is a scale for rating tornado intensity.
While EF5 tornadoes are somewhat rare in Wisconsin, they have occurred at least 6 times. In recent history there was one in Oakfield in 1996 and Barneveld in 1984. But as you can see, with wind speeds between 72 & 260 miles per hour, even a lesser tornado can do significant damage. Always be aware of changing weather conditions and know the safest place to go should a tornado warning be issued.
And know that storms strong enough to produce tornadoes often knock out power to thousands of homes in an area. For many homeowners, no power means no running sump pump. And no running sump pump can mean a lot of water in your basement. Consider a battery back-up for our sump pump and talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have coverage should your sump pump fail.
Cleaning Mud on Carpets
It's been a particularly wet spring. Here's a little trick from Linda Cobb in "Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean" on how to remove mud from your carpet.
"Cover wet mud with salt or baking soda and let dry thoroughly before touching. Once it is dry, vacuum it using the attachment hose to concentrate the suction on the mud. Use a good carpet spotter, following the directions, to complete the process. For red dirt or mud, use a rust remover such as Whink or Rust Magic to remove any color residue. Make sure you test the rust remover in a small area first."
And of course if this doesn't work, you can always call the professionals at SERVPRO of Appleton. Our carpet cleaning expert, Brent, can tackle some of the toughest stains. He has been cleaning high profile commercial customers as well as residential customers for over 11 years.
Preparing Yourself in Case of Fire Damage
Linda Cobb, 15 year owner of a disaster restoration company in Michigan, and author of the book “Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean” also gives good advice in Chapter 29 “Turning Down the Heat on Fire Damage”.
“….in those first hours after a fire it’s all you can do to remember your name. The fire truck has just left and there you stand amid what once was your home and is now a smelly, wet, black mess that you hardly recognize. You want to sit down and have a good cry, but there isn’t any place clean to sit. What do you do now? Is everything ruined? This chapter will help you deal with the emotional turmoil and give you sound information about what you, as the homeowner, need to do.
Just in Case
First, as soon as you are done reading this, put your homeowner’s policy, along with your agent’s name and phone number in a fireproof box or bank safety deposit box. This enables you to easily find them and protects them from being destroyed in the fire. Make notes from this chapter and put them with your insurance information.
Get on the Phone
After the fire is out, call your insurance agent or the 800 number that is often provided on your policy to report claims.
Call immediately. It may seem like the damage couldn’t be worse, but it could. After a fire there can be ongoing damage from acid soot residue. Fire produces two main pollutants – nitrous oxide (from burning wood, food, etc.) and sulfur dioxide (from burning plastics and petroleum by products, etc.) When these pollutants combine with moisture and humidity, they form acid! Within hours this can cause substantial and continuing damage. Prompt attention from your local disaster restoration firm will eliminate the problem and prevent further damage to valuables.“
Our experts at SERVPRO of Appleton are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We will preserve, protect and secure your property with our board up service should it be necessary. And we will work with your insurance adjuster to estimate the damage and begin the clean up process.