Recent Posts

Renter's Insurance

5/21/2022 (Permalink)

Do you rent the property you live in?  If so, do you have renter’s insurance?  It’s not uncommon for renters to think they don’t need insurance, especially if the property owner has adequate coverage.  Unfortunately, this usually isn’t true, and renter’s find themselves wishing they would have gotten renter’s insurance.  Here’s why.

In general, the property owner’s insurance covers damage to the structure, while the renter’s insurance covers what we call “contents”, or the renter’s personal property, things like their furniture, clothing, shoes, electronics, accessories etc…

Let’s look at a specific example.  Let’s say you are renting an apartment, and the tenants in the unit above you forgot they left the water running in their tub, it overflows, and water pours into your unit destroying your big screen tv and getting your couch all wet and dirty.  The property owner’s insurance will cover the drying and repair of the structure itself, the carpet or flooring, the drywall, the light fixtures etc.. But it will not cover your big screen tv or couch.  Those items would be covered under renter’s insurance.

An added benefit of renter's insurance is that because the coverage is for your personal items and not the residence, your belongings are typically covered due to theft and other covered losses when you travel away from home. 

Renter’s insurance can also cover expenses like hotel and meals should your residence be uninhabitable from a loss.  And it can also provide liability coverage should someone other than you get hurt on your property and attempt to sue you. 

If you are a renter, and you don’t have this very important coverage, we highly recommend reaching out to your insurance agent today.  A renter’s insurance policy can be as little as $10-$15 a month and is well worth the investment. 

Commercial Construction Fire Hazards

5/18/2022 (Permalink)

Commercial properties often have fire safety and prevention systems in place.  An effective system will incorporate three main elements: detection, control, and extinguishing. Components of these three things can include but are not limited to:  fire & smoke alarms throughout the building, fire extinguishers throughout the building, sprinkler systems, fire/smoke curtains that drop down and contain smoke to certain areas and help hinder spread of the fire. 

However, when a commercial building is under construction, these things do not yet exist.  This means that commercial buildings under construction can be at increased risk of fire.  In addition, according to the U.S. fire Administration, “Buildings under construction or renovation are at their most vulnerable and weakest condition.  Accumulation of waste combustibles, limited access, minimal water supply and hazardous operations increase the challenge.  Add to this the effects of firefighting operations, increased water weight, weakened metal and support structures, and hidden hot spots, and you have a formula for disaster waiting to happen.”  For tips on fire prevention at buildings under renovation or construction visit: 

Fire prevention at buildings under renovation or construction (fema.gov)

IICRC Triple Master

4/29/2022 (Permalink)

Picture of our employee Beau Baumgartner IICRC Triple Master Beau Baumgartner

SERVPRO of Appleton is pleased to announce that our very own Beau Baumgartner is now a Triple Master, holding IICRC Master Certifications in all 3 available areas: 

  1. Fire & Smoke Restorer
  2. Water Restorer
  3. Textile Cleaner

IICRC stands for “Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification”.  The IICRC is a certification and standard setting non-profit organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries.  They develop health and safety related industry standards, as well as common, industry-accepted language and terminology. 

IICRC offers over 20 certifications.  Each certification requires candidates to successfully complete a course and get a passing grade on a standardized examination.  Becoming a Master in each category is a long and labor-intensive process.  It requires candidates to get all certifications related to that category in stages, as well as years of experience in the field and a final master exam. The first step is to get multiple certifications in the specific category as well as a minimum of 12 months working in the field for Journeyman status.  Once that is achieved there are more certifications and a minimum of 3 years in the field before qualifying for the Master Course and exam.  Only 3.7% of IICRC’s constituents have attained this prestigious designation. And we are fortunate to have one of them working for us!  

Commercial Disasters

4/29/2022 (Permalink)

“According to the Association of Records Manager and Administration, about 60% of businesses that experience a major disaster such as a fire close within two years.  According to Labor Department statistics, over 40% of all companies that experience a disaster never reopen and more than 25% of those that do reopen close within two years.

With numbers like this, it’s easy to see why hiring a good restoration company that can get your business back up and running as quickly as possible is vital.  We have the staff and resources to do that.  And we know exactly what you’re feeling and what you need.  In March of 2014 we experienced a fire at our own shop when one of our trucks started on fire after being towed back to the shop after hitting a pothole.  For over 2 months we operated our business from temporary rented space while our shop and office were being restored.  As a result, we truly appreciate what you are experiencing, and our top priority is getting you back to business as usual.  Your business depends on it. 

ERP's & Hotels

4/12/2022 (Permalink)

Due to their nature, having so many bathrooms per square foot, hotels are at greater risk for water damage than most commercial properties.  Each toilet, tub, and sink presents a risk of overflowing, a burst or leaky pipe etc… And when these water damages happen, the scope of the damage can be vast.  With many floors/stories, there are plenty of places for the water to travel.  As a result, a quick response is essential and can limit damage.  To that end, an ERP (Emergency Ready Plan) from SERVPRO can be helpful, especially when a water pipe has burst. 

What is an ERP?  An ERP is a quick reference of important building and contact information.  Information like where the water shut off valves are, the name and contact information for the building’s alarm system management company, and so much more.  And your ERP can be loaded as an app on a phone for anyone who might need it, making it conveniently accessible anywhere or anytime, day or night.  If your hotel or business would like a personalized ERP at no cost to you, call our office at (920) 832-1110 and ask for one of our sales representatives, Joe or Jamie.  They would love to help you out.              

Olympic Gold Medalist in the SERVPRO Extended Family

3/23/2022 (Permalink)

Growing up in the Michigan Upper Peninsula near a ski hill, our own Beau Baumgartner and his four siblings worked and spent a lot of their free time at the ski hill.  For brother Nick, that turned into a career in snowboarding, with gold & silver medals at 2 Winter X Games, and 4 trips to the Olympics, culminating in a gold medal at the recent Beijing Olympics in 2022.

At the age of 40, Nick competed in the Beijing Games as the oldest American Snowboarder in Olympic history.  But that distinction brought him gold.  Nick and his partner Lindsey Jacobellis, 36, won the first ever Winter Olympics mixed team snowboard cross event.  A mixed team snowboard cross consists of one man and one woman.  In each round the men go down the hill first in groups of four.  When the men cross the finish line, their times are transferred to their teammates.  The women then take off in a staggered format based on the time difference.  The first woman across the line wins.   

We here at SERVPRO of Appleton are lucky to have Nick’s older brother Beau working for us.  Beau joined us in the July of 2021 bringing with him 12 years of experience in the restoration industry with Service Master.  Beau has been a huge asset to us.  It is clear to us that Robert and Mary Baumgartner raised some very hard-working boys. 

Dehumidifier Fire Risk

3/23/2022 (Permalink)

According to Wikipedia, “A dehumidifier is an air conditioning device which reduces and maintains the level of humidity in the air.  This is done usually for health or comfort reasons, or to eliminate musty odor and to prevent the growth of mildew by extracting water from the air.  It can be used for household, commercial, or industrial applications.  Large dehumidifiers are used in commercial buildings such as indoor ice rinks and swimming pools, as well as manufacturing plants or storage warehouses.  Typical air conditioning systems combine dehumidification with cooling, by setting cooling coils below the dewpoint and collecting the condensate.”

In the restoration business we use large dehumidifiers on a regular basis when mitigating water damage.  Air movers or fans cause water to evaporate out of materials. But that moisture than evaporates into the air.  Too much moisture in the air, or humidity, can also cause mold.  Fans/air movers and dehumidifiers work together to get any water disaster properly dried. 

Many homeowners and small business owners also use small dehumidifiers in their homes and basements to keep humidity and mold away.  But did you know that dehumidifiers can also overheat and cause a fire?  We have seen our share of home fires caused y dehumidifiers that have overheated.  The US Consumer Product & Safety Commission issued its most recent recalls for dehumidifiers on August 4, 2021, indicating that the recalled dehumidifiers can overheat and catch fire, posing fire and burn hazards. The recall involves dehumidifiers manufactured before September 1, 2017, with the brand names including AeonAir, Amana, ArcticAire (Danby), Classic (Danby/Home Hareware Stores), Commercial Cool, Danby, Danby Designer, Danby Premiere, De’Longhi, Edgestar, Friedrich, Generations (Danby), Haier, Honeywell (JMATEK/AirTek) and Idylis to name a few.  For a complete list visit:

Two Million Dehumidifiers With Well-Known Brand Names Recalled Due to Fire and Burn Hazards; Manufactured by New Widetech | CPSC.gov

Tornado Safety

3/22/2022 (Permalink)

The internet is filled today with images of a red pickup truck being blown over by a tornado in Texas.  While tornadoes can occur anytime of the year, they are most common between the months of March and September, peaking in May, June and July.  So now is a good time to refresh ourselves about tornado safety. 

  • TORNADO WATCH means conditions are favorable for severe weather or a tornado to develop. People located in and around the watch area should keep an eye toward the sky and listen to your local tv or radio station, or weather radio, for further weather information. The watch is intended to give you time to prepare and review your safety rules.
  • TORNADO WARNING means that a tornado has been detected by the National Weather Service Doppler radar or a reliable report of a tornado has been reported from the field. A tornado warning is usually issued for portions of one or two counties for an hour or less. The storm could also produce large hail and destructive straight-line winds. If the tornado warning includes your neighborhood or workplace, you should seek safe shelter immediately.

While there is no place that is 100% safe from an incoming tornado, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends seeking shelter in the following areas of the home:

  • In the basement, if the building has one
  • An inside room on the lowest floor of the building, such as a bathroom or closet
  • Interior hallways

Entrepreneur Magazine Top 10 Franchise Company

3/18/2022 (Permalink)

“Entrepreneur is an American magazine and website that carries news stories about entrepreneurship, small business management, and business.  The magazine was first published in 1977.  It is published by Entrepreneur Media Inc., headquartered in Irvine, California.  The magazine publishes 10 issues annually, available through subscription and on newsstands.  It is published under license internationally in Mexico, Russia, India, Hungary, the Philippines, South Africa and others.”            

Every year since 1979 Entrepreneur has published a list of their Top 500 Franchise Companies. The Franchise 500 evaluation process is based on what the magazine calls “The Five Pillars of the Franchise 500”:  Costs and Fees; Size and Growth; Support; Brand Strength, and Financial Strength and Stability.   

SERVPRO has been consistently making the list since 1988. But for the first time since 2016, SERVPRO was named a Top 10 overall franchise opportunity in 2021, even ranking above McDonalds.  And we have held the #1 position in the cleaning and restoration industry for nearly 20 years in a row.

According to our CEO Rick Isaacson, “SERVPRO’s #10 overall ranking is a result of the hard work our franchises, their crews, and our dedicated headquarters team put in while many businesses were not so lucky.  So many businesses were negatively impacted, slowed, or closed due to the pandemic.  When COVID forced much of the world to slow down or step back, our team stepped up and did what it took, whether that was cleaning businesses so they could reopen safely or disinfecting first responders’ vehicles – man of those at no cost – to give back to those working every day to keep us safe.”  We here at SERVPRO of Appleton have been proud to play our part by disinfecting the COVID areas of a local hospital on a daily basis, as well as many businesses when cases arose in their staff. 

2021 Franchise 500 Ranking (entrepreneur.com)

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Kitchen Fires & Fire Extinguishers

3/10/2022 (Permalink)

The number one cause of home fires is cooking.  The kitchen is where the 3 things needed for a fire come together: heat, oxygen, and fuel.  Oxygen is always present.  Stoves provide heat.  And cooking oil or the oil in grease provide the fuel.  Almost 10% of cooking fires spread beyond the kitchen and cause significant damage to the house.  And truthfully it doesn’t have to spread beyond the kitchen to do significant damage.  The smoke can travel through out the house causing significant smoke damage.   

You should never throw water on a grease fire because it can make it worse.  You can douse a fire with baking soda or salt, but we often don’t have enough on hand to do the trick.  The other problem with baking soda and salt is in the panic of the moment they can easily be confused for flour or baking powder, both of which are highly flammable and will make the fire worse. 

Your best bet is to store a small fire extinguisher in the kitchen or very close by.  But did you know that there are different types of fire extinguishers? It’s based on what is sprayed from the fire extinguisher.  Some extinguishers use water, others use foam, others use chemicals.  Obviously for the kitchen you don’t want a water-based fire extinguisher.  Following is a great article on the different types of fire extinguishers to help you decide which one is right for you.

 Most Common 5 types of fire extinguishers and their uses (teamworkholding.com)