Recent Posts

6 Smoke Odor Remediation Tips

9/15/2022 (Permalink)

Image of a person opening an oven with a turkey inside and the smell of smoke coming out of it. If your home has fire damage, exist some tips to remediate the odor.

Whether it's cigarette smoke, burnt food, or damage from a house fire, smoke odors are notoriously difficult to get rid of. These six tips can help you in your smoke cleaning efforts.

  1. Let Some Fresh Air in

If you are dealing with a lingering smoke odor, open your windows and doors. Place fans with the blades blowing outward in the largest windows. This will help remove smoky air from your home. Leave the fans running for 24 hours if you can. Remove smoky books, furniture, clothing, and other items from your home and place them outside in a sunny area for several hours. The UV rays from the sun can neutralize odors. However, sunlight can also damage some items, so delicate belongings may need to be moved to the shade.

  1. Clean With Vinegar

White vinegar can be a useful smoke cleaning tool. The low pH of vinegar alters the higher pH of smoke molecules, which reduces the potency of their smell. Fill some small bowls with white vinegar and place them in the area you are trying to clean. Let them sit overnight. You can also boil a pot of vinegar on the stove and then allow it to simmer for an hour or two. Clothing that smells like smoke can be washed in your washing machine with a half cup of white vinegar, instead of laundry detergent.

  1. Try Baking Soda

Baking soda is useful for absorbing a variety of odors, including smoke smells. You can use the same technique as with the vinegar by placing baking soda in small bowls and leaving the bowls in the area you are cleaning for 24 hours. You can also sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda onto upholstered furniture, carpets, and rugs. Leave it overnight and then vacuum. Baking soda can also be useful for cleaning books and other small items. Pour a half cup of baking soda into a plastic trash bag and then add the smoky items. Tie the bag shut and leave it overnight.

  1. Use Some Charcoal

The carbon molecules in charcoal are useful for trapping odors and removing them from the air. Activated charcoal works best. Place several bags of charcoal in the smoky area and leave it overnight. Make sure it stays in the bags because the charcoal can leave stains if it comes in direct contact with surfaces.

  1. Try Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning can be useful for floors, walls, and upholstery. The heat melts the tar and oils that trap smoke molecules, allowing you to wipe them away with a sponge or cloth. Mist affected surfaces lightly with steam and then wipe the steam away.

  1. Call a Restoration Company

If do-it-yourself methods are not effective or you have a large amount of smoke damage, consider contacting a fire restoration company in North Saint Paul, MN. These companies have professional training and equipment and can often remove stubborn odors that may be beyond the reach of do-it-yourself remedies.

Lingering smoke odors can seriously degrade your enjoyment of your home and possessions. Fortunately, there are methods of smoke cleaning that can effectively remove these odors.

4 Steps To Resolving Water In a Light Fixture

9/15/2022 (Permalink)

Image of a person trying to resolve a light fixture with water Water in light fixtures is not uncommon.

While finding water in light fixtures may be a weird site, it is not uncommon, especially in multiple-story homes. However, it is not safe to leave water dripping into fixtures, so it is essential to resolve the problem quickly by contacting water mitigation professionals in White Bear Lake, MN.

Here Are 4 Steps To Resolve Water In a Light Fixture

  • Shut off the breaker
  • Call a specialist
  • Resolve the issue
  • Restore the property

1. Shut Off the Breaker

Before you concern yourself with ceiling damage, shut off the breaker to the affected light fixture. Water and electricity do not mix, and if left unattended can cause significant safety risks. Your breaker panel is likely found in your home's mechanical closet or basement.

2. Call a Specialist

After you shut off the breaker for the affected fixture, you can address the water in the light. However, you may want to call in a water mitigation company to assess the problem. Your house likely has a leak above the light fixture, and you will not know how bad the leak is until someone inspects the area thoroughly.

3. Resolve the Issue

When the mitigation crew arrives, they will inspect the area and offer an estimate for their services. Once you agree to the terms, the team will disassemble the light fixture and cut access holes into the ceiling. They will find the underlying leak and resolve the problem.

4. Restore the Property

After fixing the leak, the mitigation company will restore your property. They will patch any holes and replace all insulation and drywall affected by the leak. Finally, they will replace the light fixture and make sure that everything works as intended.

Almost no one expects to find water in light fixtures in their home, but it does happen. If you happen upon this type of damage, then turn off the electricity and contact a mitigation company for help. After all, there is no need to risk your safety.

Tips for Cleaning Items After a Flood

8/17/2022 (Permalink)

Image of a flooded living room. Hire professionals to deal with flood damage.

A heavy storm or busted pipe can leave a lot of water in your home in White Bear Lake, MN. Flooding not only affects the structure itself but also many of the items in the house. Before you throw everything away, it's worth trying to see what you can salvage.

3 Tips to Cleanup Items After a Flood

1. Dry Items

Files, photo albums and certificates that are drenched from a broken pipe may seem like a total loss. It may be possible to save them, though. The key to doing so is often to remove as much of the water as possible. You don't want to harm the items, so it's important to let them air dry. Avoid rushing the process with excess heat or light sources:

  • Sunlight
  • Oven
  • Hair dryer
  • Iron

You may be surprised how many items make it through the flood without secondary damage just fine as long as you allow them to dry gently.

2. Remove Dirt

Excess water in your home often brings extra grime along with it. Sturdy items can usually be rinsed with clean water to flush away some of the debris. If your furniture or curtains have dried, you may be able to brush away the residual dirt with a coarse-haired brush. Getting the worst of the dirt off can help make the mitigation process go more smoothly.

3. Hire Professionals

The most important thing you can do after a flood is rely on the expertise of flood remediation specialists. These technicians can help you determine which items to keep and which to discard. They also employ various methods such as dry cleaning and gamma radiation to restore your treasures.

Just because you have a lot of water in your home, that doesn't mean you have to lose everything. You can probably salvage even some of the more fragile family heirlooms with the right care and help. Consult your remediation experts before you throw anything away.

Can I Save My Commercial Property After Water Damage?

7/31/2022 (Permalink)

Ceiling of commercial building suffered water damage. Water damage in St. Paul, MN.

Unfortunately, some type of water damage is always possible at your Saint Paul, MN, commercial building, no matter where it's located. From bad weather to a leaking pipe to a sewer backup, it's helpful to know what to do in a water disaster. Even a little moisture left to linger can become a significant loss. Therefore, it's essential to mitigate the damage as quickly as possible upon discovering the flood.

Water Cleanup and Restoration Tips for Your Commercial Property

1. Protect Yourself

Safety is the first factor to consider when dealing with a flood. It's essential to shut off the electricity before anyone goes into the affected area. If you can't safely navigate to the breaker box, call an electrician or the electric company to shut it off before you make another move because an electrical current could be flowing through the water. Depending on the type of flood you have on your hands, you may need to consider wearing personal protective equipment (e.g., safety glasses, facemask, rubber gloves) to clean.

2. Eliminate the Standing Water

Once the area is safe to enter, the best option, if you have it, is using a wet/dry vacuum. This is typically the safest and most efficient way to extract standing water. If you don't have a wet/dry vac accessible, grab a mop, bucket, and some towels.

3. Clear the Area

Next, it's time to clear out the affected area as much as possible. This will give you more room to clean, find the extent of damage, sort through your contents, and allow for more airflow for drying. If the outdoors is less humid than indoors, you can place the contents outside to begin drying in the fresh air and sun.

4. Inspect for Damage

Hiring water damage restoration professionals to perform a thorough inspection and remediation can be very beneficial. They have the expertise and equipment to ensure the building is returned to its pre-flood condition.

5. Determine What Is Salvageable

Sort through your property to determine what is salvageable and what isn't. Many of the porous materials will probably be ruined. However, professionals can sometimes use special techniques to restore these items, even books and photos.

6. Dispose of the Unsalvageable

If you've had standing water on hardwood, laminate or carpeted flooring, it probably won't be salvageable as it won't be possible to dry them quick enough to prevent significant damage, such as warping, buckling and mold growth. Some parts of your drywall will likely have to be cut out and replaced because drywall is porous and can soak water up like a sponge.

7. Clean and Sanitize Everything Thoroughly

Everything must be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly, especially if the flood results from broken pipes like sewer lines and contains harmful bacteria or other toxic substances. You will need to clean every surface that the water has touched.

8. Dry Everything Thoroughly

Finally, everything must be dried completely within 24 hours of its exposure to water. You can use fresh air, dehumidifiers, fans and heaters to help the process.

Water damage can take over immediately and do increasingly more damage every minute that passes. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare so you can start water cleanup immediately should the worst occur.

Fire Damage in Your Rental? Who Pays for Apartment Fire Losses?

7/26/2022 (Permalink)

Image of apartments on fire Apartments on fire.

An apartment fire starts and spreads quickly, harming the interior and exterior of your space. Once crews extinguish the blaze, you and your renters in Saint Paul, MN, are left to face the repairs and discuss the losses. Who is in charge of damage? All parties must understand their roles in gaining compensation and restoring the premises.

How To Seek Compensation for Apartment Fire Loss

Rental property claims differ from a standard home policy that handles structural and content loss. In apartment buildings, the roles become divided. The landlord has some obligations; the tenant has some as well. The building falls on the owner's shoulders. The contents belong to the renter. Therefore, there is a line breaking up the payment roles. Read more to learn who is responsible for the financial obligations of the repair process.

What Are the Landlord's Obligations?

When determining who pays for fire damage, it's essential to think of the property in two ways: the structure and personal items. The landlord owns the land, including the building on top. Therefore, it falls on the owner's plate to correctly handle the property. These tasks fall under ownership:

  • Opening an insurance claim for fire repairs
  • Working with a fire restoration company to assess physical conditions
  • Initiating remediation and restoration projects
  • Finding a suitable, habitable place for tenants to reside

Fire demands careful attention. The sparks result in multiple factors that require attention, such as water, smoke and odor. It's imperative to fix and test them before permitting people to return. Property insurance claims often cover the cost of rebuilding and cleaning, so owners should diligently work with their insurance agents to discuss policy coverage and how to receive financial compensation.

What Are the Tenant's Obligations?

In an apartment fire, the landlord likely didn't have personal property in the unit. The building's coverage doesn't extend to the tenant's items. Instead, the renters must seek financial aid from their own insurance policy, requesting payment for content damage.
Without renter's insurance, those living there cannot receive payment for lost goods or items. For those with the policy, it's essential to notify the agent, establishing a personal loss claim immediately. The agent assesses the situation and can cut a check. The fire remediation experts should snap pictures of the destruction, including furniture, electronics and personal items. Tenants can submit these images and the crew's report to the insurer to validate the request.

Are There Any Exceptions to These Rules?

Landlords often require tenants to sign a contract mandating certain safety precautions. For instance, renters shouldn't overload circuits or leave candles unattended. When the renters fail to follow those guidelines, the landlord's insurance could find the tenant at fault. Then, the fire cleanup costs turn to the tenant and not the landlord.
Most often, the landlord still files with the building's insurer. The agency pays for the repairs, but the group works with the tenant's party to reclaim the funds.

When your rental property in Saint Paul, MN, suffers an apartment fire, the landlord's responsibility is to provide tenants with a safe place to live and fix the building.

Driving Tips for Flooded Streets

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

Image of a car in a flooded street. Avoid driving in flooded streets.

Because of the risks involved, drivers should avoid driving on a flooded street whenever possible. However, the weather can change quickly. It is important to know what to do if you unexpectedly must deal with a flood while driving your car.

Dealing With Flooded Roads

There are multiple reasons why you should not drive through water:

  • Water may hide debris, dips or washed-out roads
  • Six inches of water can immobilize most cars
  • Hydroplaning, hidden debris and downed powerlines make roads dangerous
  • Your car could float off the road

Tips for Driving on Flooded Streets

If you can't avoid driving on a flooded street, these travel tips can help keep you safe:

  • Stay in the Center

The water is usually the shallowest in the center of the road. Unless there is another car on the road, don't worry about staying in your lane. Stick to the center of the road.

  • Only Cross Very Shallow Water

As little as a half-inch of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If the water is above the center of your wheels, do not attempt to drive through it.

  • Keep Your Car in Low Gear

To protect your car, stay in first or second gear. Drive with your foot on the gas and use the brake to regulate your speed. If you are driving a car with an automatic transmission, keep your speed low enough to stay in first or second gear.

  • Drive Single File

Passing other vehicles is a safety risk. Stay in a single line behind other cars. The other cars will move water out of the way which can help you maintain traction.

  • Drive Slowly

If you must drive through water, enter it at one to two miles per hour and exit at three to four miles per hour. This will help avoid flooding your engine.

  • Dry Your Brakes

Once you are out of the water, brake lightly while driving very slowly. This will dry your brakes and help you avoid spinning out.

  • Do Not Drive Through Moving Water

Less than a foot of water can float most vehicles and two feet can wash even a heavy pickup away. If you do drive into moving water and your wheels lose traction, open your car door to let water in. This will add weight to your vehicle and may bring it back in contact with the road.

  • If Your Engine Floods, Abandon Your Vehicle

Restarting your car after the engine floods can do severe damage to your engine. Leave your vehicle and move to higher ground. If you are trying to rush home to save your possessions, don't risk it. A flood restoration service in Saint Paul, MN, can help you restore your home. It isn't worth risking your life or your vehicle to try to save your stuff.

  • Do Not Drive Around Barricades

Barricades are there for a reason. There may be power lines down, debris or the road may be washed away.

If you encounter a flooded street, your best option is to take another route. If you must drive through standing water, follow these tips to keep yourself safe.

How Many Fire Alarms Should I Have in My Home?

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

Image of a smoke detector Proper fire alarm placement is essential to prevent fire and smoke damage.

When it comes to fires, you can never be too safe. It's essential for you and every member of your White Bear Lake, MN, family to understand the facts about fire safety and prevention. You must also have an emergency plan in place. Part of this preparation means ensuring your home is adequately supplied in terms of fire alarm and fire extinguisher numbers throughout the house, as well as proper placement. Where should smoke alarms be placed throughout a home?

6 Tips to Consider When Placing Smoke Alarms Throughout a Home

  1. Every Level of the Home

Fire detectors should be installed on every floor of your home. This includes your basement.

  1. Every Bedroom

Many fires begin at night when people are typically sleeping. Therefore, every bedroom should have its own smoke alarm.

  1. Outside Every Sleeping Area

In addition to every bedroom, a smoke alarm must be placed outside every sleeping area in your home.

  1. Up High

Just as important as having the correct number of fire alarms is proper placement. After all, if they're not where they should be, or in areas where they shouldn't be, it'll risk them not detecting a fire or giving a false alarm. Firefighters and fire damage restoration specialists advised that fire detectors need to be high on the walls or on the ceilings since smoke and heat rise. 

  1. Away From Cooking Appliances

The smoke alarm closest to the kitchen should be placed no closer than 10 feet from all cooking appliances. Otherwise, false alarms could happen regularly.

  1. Away From Drafty Areas

Smoke detectors should be placed away from potentially drafty areas. Common areas with more air circulation include spaces with windows, doors, vents and ceiling fans.

Proper fire alarm numbers and placement is essential to prevent fire damage and smoke damage. Begin today creating your fire plan to avoid being a victim of the unthinkable.

Ways To Mitigate Further Roof Damage After a Storm

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

Roof damaged with snow This roof suffered storm damage.

Residential storm damage encompasses many forms, from broken windows to floods. However, among the most common issues following severe weather is roof repair. Before a homeowner can receive funds from their insurer to repair the damage, they often need to ensure nothing else significant happens to the roof or the home, and there are at least three ways to do that.

4 Ways to Protect Your Roof After Storm Damage

  1. Plywood

Most roof damage following a storm will result in roof leaks. These leaks can stem from small or large holes in the roof. If the holes are not too large, a single sheet of plywood can be attached to the roof to limit any further water penetration into the home.

  1. Tarps

For holes requiring significant roof repair, a sheet of plywood might not be big enough. In these cases, you can opt for a tarp, weighing down the ends to ensure a secure fit. Tarps are lightweight and easier to manage than pieces or sheets of wood.

  1. Shingle Replacement

In some instances, wind damage will result in missing shingles. If you can find the shingles and replace them, you can potentially save yourself some money. However, when the shingles are blown from the roof, it is not uncommon for there to be more damage to the roof or the shingle.

  1. Call a Professional

Ultimately, the best way to resolve roof damage from a storm is to call a storm restoration company in North St. Paul, MN. These professionals have a working knowledge of insurer expectations and can help you mitigate further loss quickly.

It is not uncommon for a severe storm to lead to the need for roof repair. While the mitigation process sounds easy enough, using plywood and tarps to cover holes, it can be dangerous and is often best left to professionals. Residential storm damage is a complex issue, and every homeowner should familiarize themselves with the expectations of their insurance provider.

The Water Damage Timeline

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

Image of a flooded neighborhood A fast response is very important to avoid further damage.

When your home is damaged by water, a 24 hour response is crucial. Water begins to cause serious problems within minutes. You might be wondering how this happens and what you can do about it.

You must begin water damage restoration as soon as you notice water damage. There are a few things that can cause this damage. These are:

  • Storm flooding
  • Burst pipes
  • Sewage backups
  • Main breaks
  • Plumbing breaks

Calling a water damage restoration company  White Bear Lake, MN, is crucial in preventing the damage from getting any worse. You want a company with a fast response because water damage only grows.

Water Damage Timeline

  • Immediately After

After the water begins to inundate an area, porous surfaces start to soak it up. Things like porous stone, paper and even cloth quickly become saturated. This causes these surfaces to start to break down almost immediately. The more porous the surface, the faster it starts to break down. This does not simply stop at the 24 hour mark but keeps going until the water is cleaned up.

  • Within a Day

Within a day, everything becomes water-laden and soggy. Anything sitting in or soaked in water will begin to decay. Depending on what kind of water you are dealing with, metals will begin to tarnish and wood swell. Dyes and other colors will fade. Mold growth is already beginning. If your restoration company isn't always open, it could allow the damage to get worse.

  • Within Two Days

By the second day, mold has taken hold and continues to grow. At this point, many things are no longer salvageable. Textiles, furniture and clothing begin to deteriorate, and things like carpet and padding begin to rot. If you do not have a cleaning company working to rid your home of the water, this damage will continue to grow.

After two days, restoring it becomes even harder and more costly. It is always best to start restoration before the 24 hour mark to minimize the overall damage.

Maintain Your Gas Range To Prevent a Fire

6/23/2022 (Permalink)

A clean Stovetop. Learn more about Gas Range and Prevent Fire Damage in your Property.

Life gets busy in North St. Paul, MN, so you're not always thinking about cleaning as you go. However, when it comes to kitchen fires, taking a proactive approach can prevent a disaster. One helpful way to do this is to clean your gas range. 

Range Cleaning Tips

1. Gather the Supplies

First, gather all your cleaning supplies. You will need the following:

  • Dish Rags
  • Scrub Brush (e.g., a soft bristle toothbrush)
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap

2. Clean After Cooking

Cleaning your stovetop after each use will make things much easier long-term. Grease and other materials can build up over time, making them challenging to remove. Keeping your stove clean can also help prevent smoke smell during cooking.

3. Remove Grates

Fill your sink with hot water and grease-cutting dish soap. Remove the grates so that you can wash them and more easily access other parts of the stovetop. Then, soak the grates while working on the rest of the cleaning. 

4. Clear Crumbs

Clean the crumbs from the stovetop with a damp paper towel or dry brush. You can also use a vacuum. This is an essential step for preventing a cooking fire. A crumb catching on fire could get out of control fast and require the services of fire damage restoration professionals.

5. Clean Stove Top

Next, you can either get a store-bought cleaning solution or create your own mixture of one part vinegar to one part water. Spray the stovetop and let the solution sit for a couple of minutes. Then clean it with a sponge or rag. You may have to scrub parts of it where grease has built up. Be sure to use something that won't scratch your gas range. 

6. Clean Grease Stains

If you still have stubborn grease stains, you will probably need to use grease-cutting dish soap to completely remove them. Put a small amount of this soap directly on the stain and then use a soft toothbrush to brush in a small circular motion. Once you've removed the grease, wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

7. Remove and Wash Burner Caps and Heads

Next, remove the burner caps and place them in the soapy water with the grates. Also, remove the burner heads and clean them of grease and debris. 

8. Clean Under the Range

Many people forget one part of this process: cleaning under the range. Lift the range (check your owner's manual for instructions), and you will probably find a bunch of crumbs. Vacuum this area free of loose debris. Afterward, wipe it down with a damp rag, let it dry and close the top. 

9. Wash Grates and Burner Heads

Finally, wash the grates and burner heads that have been soaking in the warm, soapy water. Scrub the grease off with a soft toothbrush or another non-scratch cleaning tool. Then, rinse and dry them.

10. Replace Grates and Burner Heads

Now, it's time to place your grates and burner heads back on your stovetop. You are sure to notice a difference next time you cook. You can also be confident you have a lower fire risk by having a clean stovetop. 

Take time to thoroughly clean your gas range today. Remember to wipe it down after each use to enjoy cooking on a pristine surface.