A Pipe Burst? Bad News for Homeowners

Posted on January 29, 2021.

Burst pipes usually happen in the winter due to freezing water. So, keep your heat on and your water flowing. Do not reduce your heat in any area where pipes are located. If there is heat, pipes will not freeze. If you are leaving town for an extended period, have someone monitor your house. 


Tips to prevent freezing pipes. 


  • Set up a ventilation system like fans to keep warm air blowing into cold rooms. 
  •  Open your bathroom vanity doors or cabinet doors so that the pipes have access to warm air and will not freeze. 
  •  Opening doors is true for pantries and closets as well. If you have pipes hidden in pantries and closets, leave the doors open so that warm air has access, and the pipes will not freeze. 
  •  Disconnect hoses to outdoor faucets. They must not have hoses on them or they will freeze. This includes hoses graded for outdoor frosts as well.  Make sure you detach the hose, drain the water, and then close the faucets. Be sure to shut off the valve completely. 
  •  Keep your garage door closed. It seems simple enough but garage doors being left open on accident is a common cause of many pipe bursts. 
  •  Use a hairdryer if you recognize a freezing pipe. You can warm a freezing pipe and then run water through it to mitigate the damage.   

 A pipe bursts in your home, now what?   

 You will want to take quick steps to mitigate any damage if you find a burst pipe in your home. Call the plumber immediately.  It may take hours for them to get to you, depending on your location and their schedule. If safe to do so, shut off the water supply and electricity. Do not wade into the water for fear of electrocutionOpen faucets to relieve pressure from the main and any water in the pipes. Start bailing water with a mop and buckets or a shop vacuum.  The House Wire has a good blog on how to use a shop vac. Set up fans to increase ventilation. 

Call a restoration company like ServiceMaster.  We are water damage restoration experts. Check out our information here. 

If you have a burst pipe in your home, ServiceMaster technicians are the professionals to call after the plumber to help clean it up.  We deal with water damage on a regular basis.  You will not be disappointed by the service you receive from ServiceMaster.  Call us today. 

Damage to Your Home? 15 Questions to Ask

Posted on January 22, 2021.

Before Hiring Restoration Technicians to fix damage to your home, you should ask these 15 questions. 

If you are looking for a restoration technician, odds are you have had some bad luck with water, fire, mold or some other damage to your home. These are by no means an easy fix, which is why it is important to call in an experienced professional to help fix the damage to your home. 

To make sure that you find the right restoration technician for you, make sure to ask them these 15 questions before they get started. 

Will they work with your insurance? 

You will want someone who will work with your insurance if you intend to file a claim. Working with insurance is not always expected, but it’s sure nice if they do. 

What can I expect, start to finish? 

You will want to know exactly what the project is going to look like from start to finish, and who is responsible for what aspectsIf sheetrock needs to come down, are you responsible for finding someone to finish and tape it back up? 

How long have you been in business? 

It is important to understand the history of the technician before they begin. You are going to want an experienced technician who is well-versed in their field and has shown success during their time as a technician. 

Have you worked on similar projects in the past? 

You would not want a technician who has not worked on fire damage before, so ask about their previous experience and see if they have the experience and knowledge necessary to fix the damage. 

Do they have any before and after photos of previous work? 

Just like with a home remodeler or any other home project that you are outsourcing, asking to see some actual pictures of their previous work is a good way to find the right technician for you. 

What do you charge? 

While most restoration technicians will charge similar amounts across the board, it’s still a good idea to compare prices. A small price differential may be the difference in deciding between to similarly reviewed and experienced technicians. 

Do you have certifications? 

A technician with an impressive array of certifications will certainly be a better option than one who does not. 

Do you have references? 

Like seeing before and after photographs, speaking with a prior client or two will bring you a sense of peace about the job you are embarking upon. 

What tools and equipment will you be using? 

It is your home after all, and it is nice to know what exactly the process will look like and what types of equipment the technician will be using. 

What times are you available? 

If you prefer to be home when the technician is working on your home, then make sure their schedule allows for that. 

When will you be able to start? 

Is the damage to the point where it needs to be fixed ASAP? Then make sure that the technician can get to work soon to make your home right again. 

When will the restoration be finished? 

Do you need the restoration to be finished by a certain date? Like asking when they can start, make sure they’ll give you reasonable estimates for completion. 

Do you have any guarantees? What about a warranty? 

Home restoration can be tricky, so it stands to reason that you have a few safety nets available in case things go awry. 

Will they work with other contractors? 

Do they have all the necessary staff on their employment, or will they be subcontracting some of the work? You will want to know who is going to be in your home at any given time. 

Can they give you any suggestions on who to call for other problems in your home? 

If you have any other issues with your home, ask if they have some referrals for who might be able to fix that damage. If you liked their work, it’s likely that you’ll like their referral’s work as well. 

Call ServiceMaster for Your Home Restoration Needs 

Whatever the problem is in your home, ServiceMaster is the solution. We are proud to be certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the world’s leading restoration Standards Developing Organization (SDO). We have also been certified as a Lead-Safe Certified Firm by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is no disaster too big or too small for our experts to handle. Whether it is one room or a total loss, we are here to assist. 

We do not just work with homes either. If your office is in need of restoration, ServiceMaster has you covered there as well. Call us today or send us a message and we will be happy to get started on making your home or office good as new. Damage to your home needs to be repaired and you can count on us to do a good job. 


This is an updated blog.  You can read the original, published on October 16, 2018. Here. 

Prevent Water Damage by Preventing Ice Dams

Posted on January 15, 2021.

formation of an ice dam
Ice dams form easily when snow accumulates near gutters.


What are ice dams and how do ice dams form?

Usually, heat escapes through ceilings into the attic of your home and warms the wood and shingles directly above it. When the outdoor temperature dips below freezing, the snow melts over the warmed section of the roof. Then meltwater runs down your roof, hitting a cold edge not warmed by the attic, and there it freezes. This creates an ice edge or a rim of ice. That edge of ice can grow, trap more water behind it, and then you have a full-fledged ice dam. These can grow quite large throughout winter.  See the photo above. Note: it can be dangerous to climb on a roof, instead, call an expert, and if you’ve experienced any water damage from ice dams, call ServiceMaster.

You can prevent ice dams and thereby prevent water damage to your home by closing off your attic bypass and measuring your attic insulation level.  Also, you might consider adding soffit vents to your home if ice dams return year after year. You can also run a special ice dam prevention product and adhesive ice and water barrier from 3 to 6 feet up the roof from the edge the next time that you re-roof. The easiest way to prevent ice dams is to rake the snow off your roof.

Purchase a roof rake at any Home Depot and then after heavy snowfalls, pull the snow down 3 feet from the edge of your roof.

If you have treacherous ice dams that cannot be stopped using any of the above methods, there is always the option of installing heat cables, which is no fun, but they work.

Heat cables are high resistance wires that you mount on the roof edge in a zigzag pattern and plug into an outdoor GFCI receptacle.

Ice dams are dangerous.

Ice Dams are dangerous for a couple of reasons. The first is when they melt, refreeze can create slip and fall hazards on walkways. The second is they can damage the roof, gutters, and possibly the foundation of your home. Ice dams can block gutters, preventing ideal drainage for water which could penetrate the foundation and eventually penetrate the inside of your home creating interior water damage. There may be mold growth by the time the season is over.

If you find yourself with mold damage and you need mitigation services, you can call ServiceMaster.  We are water damage and disaster restoration specialists.

Keeping ice dams at bay.

Again, the easiest way to make sure that you do not have interior damage to your home from ice dams is to rake your roof.  You can purchase roof rakes at any Home Depot or hardware store.  A rake with telescoping poles is ideal to reach far up your roof to remove the snow that has fallen.  Preventing Ice Dams will prevent water damage to your home.

Electrical Fire Prevention

Posted on January 8, 2021.

electrical  outlet


There are signs of electrical fire before the fire breaks out. According to a new device that can help protect your home, Ting, there are five common signs before a fire would appear. Poor electrical wire services can cause electrical fires.  ServiceMaster in Minneapolis offers several different services. One of the more well-known services we offer is fire restoration. Some of the fire restoration cases we are involved in are caused by system failures, however, several are caused by messy electrical wiring issues. About half of all residential electrical fires involve electrical wiring so it is important to make sure circuits and extension cords are being properly used. Below are common causes of electrical fires and tips to help prevent them.

Common causes of electrical fires:

  • Most electrical fires result from problems with stationary or “fixed wiring.” These include faulty electrical outlets and old wiring. Problems with cords (extension and/or appliance cords), plugs, receptacles, and switches are some of the leading causes of electrical fires.
  • Older light fixtures, lamps, and incorrectly used light bulbs.
  • Overloaded circuits, poor maintenance, and cords ran under rugs or in high traffic areas.

Tips to help prevent electrical fires:

  • Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
  • Replace all worn, old, or damaged appliance cords immediately. Do not try to repair them.
  • Buy only appliances that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Major and small appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord. Unplug small appliances when not in use.
  • Replace any electrical tool if it causes any type of electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out, or gives off smoke/sparks.
  • Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection and have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture.
  • Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched by furniture, under rugs and carpets, or across doorways.
  • Extension cords are for temporary use only. Have a qualified electrician determine if additional circuits or wall outlets are needed.

ServiceMaster is always here to help you and your family. If you have any questions about our fire restoration or any other of our services, please feel free to call us. We would gladly answer any questions you might have.


This is an updated blog.  The original was published here, on October 3, 2013.


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