Fix A Leak, Save Money

Posted on March 26, 2021.


Did you know that a leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3000 gallons per year? A shower leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. Together we can save 1,000,000,000,000 gallons of wasted water each year. It is easy! Just by checking for leaky faucets in our homes, we can be part of a water solution. We can find and fix a leak. Homeowners should care about this because it means dollars out of your pocket are wasted on leaking water. We do not know a single homeowner that would waste money needlessly. Let’s learn how to check for leaks in our homes. 

The most common leaks in your home come from toilets, faucets, and showerheads. There are outdoor leaks as well to check for. 

How do I check for leaks? 

First, identify whether you are wasting water? Then second, identify the leak. 

According to the EPA, if a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons of water usage per month, there are serious leaks. Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when water is not being used. If the water meter changes at all, you probably have a leak. It is easiest to do this if you don’t use the toilet at night. Record the meter before bed, and first thing upon waking check the meter. Otherwise, you can set aside two hours to do a check specifically for leaking water. Your pocketbook will thank you. 

You can identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank, turning the color of the water a different color. If any of that color shows up in the bowl after just 10 minutes, you have a leak! (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining your toilet bowl and/or tank.) 

The EPA has an easy-to-use checklist to keep track of and search for your leaks: detect and chase down leaks at home checklist. It is simple and will take about ten minutes of your time. 

Water Sense partners have guides and videos that you might find helpful in finding and fixing leaks. Most leaks are easy to fix, requiring just a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings. Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10% on their water bills. Now that is worth checking on! Let’s go fix a leak.

If you find a leak and are concerned about mold and water damage, ServiceMaster can help.  Contact us immediately.



Fake A Clean House in 30 Minutes

Posted on March 20, 2021.

bottle of Windex and paper towels

We are all about clean here at ServiceMaster, but everyone has panic moments when a deep cleaning is just not an option. Maybe you just got a text that your in-laws are dropping by. Surprise! They will be at your house in 30 minutes. Do not panic! Your house does not have to be clean. It just needs to seem clean. Here are some tips on how to fake a clean house when the clock is ticking. 


Before you do anything else, light a scented candle. The pleasing aroma will fill the house as you clean and cover any tell-tale smells of leftovers or dirty laundry. If your house smells nice, people will assume it is nice. And nice is pretty clean. 

5 Minutes. 

Now, grab a bag for trash or recycling. Start in your main living area. Toss or recycle school papers, newspapers, ads, and any other paper clutter. Put important papers on the coffee table for now. Move without stopping from room to room covering the whole house. Gather the important papers and shove them into a drawer to be filed or otherwise dealt with later.  

5 minutes. 

Next, grab a laundry basket. Start back in your main living area and pick up toys and shoes and anything else that does not belong in that room, or you just don’t know where to put it. Throw it in the basket. Again, do not stop moving! You can put everything where it goes later. Move briskly around the house in this fashion removing all clutter from the floor and flat surfaces. Stash the basket in your bedroom closet.  

5 minutes. 

Now, grab a damp cloth. Spritz it with a multi-purpose cleaner and swiftly wipe down all flat surfaces. Make sure you cover your coffee table, dining room table, and kitchen counters. These surfaces are what people notice.  

5 minutes. 

After the flat surfaces are clean, head to the bathroom with a couple of paper towels and a bottle of Windex. Toss any counter clutter into a box or basket under the sink. Spray Windex directly onto the paper towel and spot clean the mirror. Wipe down the counter and faucet. Then using the same paper towel hit up the toilet. Wipe the handle, tank, seat, and lid. If you have little boys, grab another paper towel and clean around the base using the Windex. Close the shower curtain to hide toys, shampoos, razors, etc. All of this should take less than 5 minutes. 

5 minutes. 

If you have a sink full of dishes quickly throw them into the dishwasher if it is already empty. If not, stack the dishes onto a sheet pan and hide them in the oven. Or, if you only have a sink full, plug up the sink and fill with enough sudsy water to cover the dishes. Not to wash them; you do not have the time for that now. Just to cover the smell and crusted on food so when company shows up it looks like you were in the middle of washing them.  

5 minutes. 

Vacuum or sweep the main living area without bothering to move any furniture. Fluff up the sofa pillows and arrange them in a pleasing way. Fold the throw neatly and drape it over the back of the couch!  


Ta Da! Your dirty house can pass for clean! Total 30 minutes. 


At ServiceMaster, we do deep cleaning. If you find yourself in need of help in the deep cleaning department, be it one-time cleanouts, hoarder cleanouts, or vandalism cleanups, we are here for you, 24/7. Contact us when you are ready and we will be there to help.  



How To Avoid a Wet Basement This Spring

Posted on March 12, 2021.

a sump pump with the cover removed

Winter snowmelt is upon us.  Check your sump pump to be sure it is functioning.  Get yourself a battery back up for when the power fails if you do not have one. 

The winter snowmelt comes fast and furious.  Within days, your foundation can take on several inches of water, depending on the snowmelt and conditions near you. 

Massive snowfalls happen in the Twin Cities Metro area in March and April and then melt within a day or two.  According to Current Results, the average snowfall for March in Minneapolis is over 10 inches.  These snowfalls contribute to a snowmelt effect that can take your sump pump by surprise because it has been sitting idle for long periods of time. Snowmelt and rain contribute to shocked homeowners whose sump pumps were not ready. This happens when snow freezes overnight and then melts again during the day and the rain comes fast and furious, melting snow in its path.   

Inside Your Home 

If you stay on top of sump pump maintenance, your equipment will be ready when you need it. Your sump pump may sit concealed in the basement, in a corner in a covered basin, and is out of sight and out of mind.  It operates only when needed, and that likely has not occurred all winter. 

Test your sump pump frequently to ensure it is functioning properly. A defective sump pump otherwise will not present itself until it is needed, and then it would be too late to remedy. You will have a flooded basement.  

In the spring, you will want to remove the cover to your sump pump, fill the basin with water, and be sure that the float rises and the water is ejected through the discharge tube. 

Outside Your Home 

It is best to clear snow away from your house to avoid it melting directly into your foundation. Inspect landscaping near the home for low spots that may attract water pooling. Fill these spots with dirt, rock, or foliage. Check to make sure your gutters are clean and extensions are used to divert spring rains and snow melts away from your foundation. Inspect the sum pump drainage tube connection outside. Remove any obstruction of snow and ice. 

 Enjoy Spring 

These preparations protect your home as the melt continues and you will know if you need to have any professionals come and service your sump pump.  The average working lifespan of a sump pump is 5-10 years.  If your sump pump is older than 10 years, it would be best to have a professional plumber come and evaluate it. 


If you find yourself with a wet basement, call ServiceMaster right away.  We work with water damage and answer our phones 24/7.

3 Reasons to Test for Radon Now

Posted on March 5, 2021.


Radon causes cancer. 

According to the EPA, 21,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year. This number is second only to smoking-related lung cancer deaths. Radon is an odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that is created by the decomposition of uranium found in most soil. This dangerous gas is everywhere, all the time, but is more prevalent in certain parts of the country like the Midwest. It poses the greatest risk in homes, where it can be the most concentrated and people spend most of their time. 

It is inexpensive and easy to test. 

Home testing kits can be purchased online or from hardware stores like The Home Depot. You can also have your home tested professionally. The EPA recommends the following steps: 


Step 1) Administer a short-term test. Make sure to follow instructions carefully to get the most accurate reading. If your result is lower than four picocuries per liter of air (pCI/L), then your home does not have unreasonably high levels of radon. No further action is needed at this time. 


Step 2) If your result is four pCI/L or higher, follow up with another long-term test to learn more about your home’s average annual radon level. Or, for faster results, administer another short-term test. If your results are still high, you need radon mitigation. 


Radon mitigation provides peace of mind. 

If your home tests high, you should call or visit your state EPA office’s website right away. They will provide a list of qualified, licensed mitigation contractors in your area. Radon mitigation is not a do-it-yourself project. To ensure the radon does not enter your home, a contractor will insert a sealed pipe with fan into your concrete and up through your roof to reroute the radon. The solution may or may not be a simple one depending on the unique structure of your home and other variables. The average cost for Radon mitigation is $1200. This can vary depending on the design and location of your home. Installation of a radon mitigation system typically takes 5 to 8 hours.  It starts working immediately upon completion. 


Call 612-213-3712 or visit ServiceMaster of the Twin Cities for all your restoration and cleaning needs. 

ServiceMaster proudly provides cleaning and restoration services to the Twin Cities and Stillwater area, including Minneapolis, St Paul, Burnsville, Eagan, St Louis Park, Chaska, Shakopee, Stillwater, and Hudson. 

This is an updated blog.  The original was published on November 7, 2014 and can be found here.   

Get in touch