4 Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning

Posted on April 30, 2021.

before and after of air duct after air duct cleaning, air duct cleaning minneapolis

Air ducts circulate airflow from heating and cooling equipment in your home maintaining temperature throughout the day creating your desired state. This system plays a crucial part in your health, as well as, the cleanliness of your living space. Removing contaminants from an air duct system will greatly reduce the effects of dust and mold accumulation. After air duct cleaning, you will experience these four benefits: 

A Cleaner Living Environment 

When dusting and cleaning your home, does the dust return the very next day?  

Just like your furniture, air ducts accumulate dust as well. Unfortunately, dust doesn’t stay in the ductwork. It will eventually spread to your living environment and settle on your furniture, bedding, flooring, etc. This is due to the continual circulation of dust and debris through your home and ducts before they are professionally cleaned. A professional air duct cleaner will typically remove around fifteen pounds of dust, dirt, and debris. Imagine fifteen pounds of dust circulating throughout your home every time your system turns on. Regular cleaning of air ducts provides cleaner, healthier air for you and your family throughout your home.  

Improved Efficiency and Longevity 

When air ducts are not properly maintained, the overall performance of heating and cooling appliances is reduced. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that spaces lose 25% to 40% of the heating or cooling energy that passes through them. 

Wasted energy means wasted money to a homeowner. What causes this energy loss? Loss of energy comes from dust, molds, rodent droppings, pet hair, and other miscellaneous items building in the duct, blocking airflow. This means your system is working harder than intended to move air around. HVAC systems require a large investment, the last thing you want to do is have to replace it. That is why the maintenance of your system is so important. It helps eliminate the unexpected expense of a new system and extends the life of the one you have.  

 Improved Health 

Keeping a clean home is important to good health and a clean home starts with having quality air to breathe. Harmful contaminants in the air are higher than you might think and severely affect people with asthma and allergy conditions. Regular air duct cleaning can improve these health problems. By having your air duct system professionally cleaned, you protect your family, and yourself from harmful dust, bacteria, and other contaminants.  It’s not uncommon to have immediate relief from allergies after cleaning your home’s air ducts. 

 Odor Reduction 

It seems every home has its own distinct smell that settles in overtime and that is not always a good thing. The origins of this smell come from food, pets, cleaning supplies, sports equipment, perfumes and colognes, dust, mold, and more. Instead of trying to mask that smell with candles and air fresheners, you may want to use a different, more impactful solution. A thorough cleaning of your air ducts will help remove (or at least reduce) the odor that is trapped inside giving you a cleaner, fresher-smelling home.  

 Time For Action 

The question you are probably asking right now is “How do I clean my air ducts?”  Air duct cleaning involves the use of powerful vacuums that pull dust and other debris from deep inside the duct. This cleaning allows you to prevent dust, mold, and dirt from circulating and moving throughout your home. Cleaning air ducts is something that you should get a professional to do, as a standard homeowner will not have the equipment necessary to do it effectively.  

 

Regular air duct cleaning is not only good for your health and those around you but also a great way to increase the life of your HVAC system potentially saving you cash in the long run.  

 

This is an updated blog.  The original can be found here.


Mold Growth Requires Immediate Attention

Posted on April 23, 2021.

Mold Growth Requires Immediate Attention

Mold grows anywhere moisture is present. You can find it inside HVAC ducts and inside cavities, in attics, and in basements. You can find it outdoors on siding and shingles, or inside in your grout. 

Mold can trigger allergies in humans. Some molds are toxic. Toxic molds are rare, usually incurring only in indoor environments that have been damaged, flooded, or closed up for long periods of time 

If you find yourself in need of mold remediation services, call ServiceMasterWe are mold remediation specialists, helping to restore your structures to their original condition in the quickest time frame possible, with the least amount of disruption. 

Taking care of mold has many easy fixes:  

 Showers –  

Small amounts of visible mold that buildup in the shower can be addressed by using an ammonia-based product to clean the surfacesRemoving moldy caulk and resealing the affected area with mold-resistant caulk will remedy the situation and prevent future mold growth. Install a ventilation fan in the bathroom to expel moisture during baths and showers. 

 Gutters- 

Clean out the gutters. This is a super easy fix for many water problemsStanding water in gutters can lead to leaks inside your home. The moisture is held close to the house and ultimately leaks to the interior walls and surfaces. Install gutter guard products to help keep your gutters clean to avoid the hassle and injury risk of cleaning them out every seasonLook at how the LeafGuard system keeps gutters clean and functioning properly year-round 

 Windows- 

Caulk leaking windows. Windows may show signs of mold growth or water penetration. Re-caulk those windows immediately and check windows every fall and spring for new leaks. 

 Fix leaks- 

Moisture and heat rise. Look in the attic for signs of leakage. If your roof is leaking, fix it. Also, look in the basement or crawlspace for signs of moisture against or behind walls.  You can learn all about fixing leaks and searching for leaks within your home with this blog post here. Look under cabinets and behind walls. All leaks should be fixed.  

 Reduce moisture- 

Keep the air moving throughout the house with fans and air conditioning throughout hot and humid summer months. Be sure to have a vent system in your kitchen. Reduce moisture levels in your shower and bathrooms by running a fan after you have showered. Keep windows and doors closed in the basement. A dehumidifier set to 55% will greatly reduce the ability for mold growth. 

 These easy fixes help keep mold out of your home. If you find mold, especially if it is black, call a professional. Contact us at ServiceMaster, we can promptly remediate your mold problem. 


Dealing with Heavy Rains

Posted on April 16, 2021.

Sump Pump Cleaning Guide during Heavy rain season

Summer brings barbecues, baseball, swimming, warm weather, and RAIN. Lots of rain which can flood basements if you do not take proper measures. Now, not EVERY basement has a sump pump, but if yours does, it is important to know what you should do to make sure when you need it, the sump pump works properly. Waking up to a failed sump pump and flooded basement after an overnight storm is a nightmare. 

 

 

In August of 2019, the total precipitation at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport reached 29.64 inches. That landed 2019 in second place for total precipitation recorded. First place still belongs to 1892 with a total of 31.75 inches recorded. No matter the year or measured rainfall, a properly working sump pump will save you time and money. Knowing how your pump works and providing regular maintenance is important. 

 

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

Sump Pump Meter 

In the lowest part of your basement is a perforated sump basin that collects and manages water levels from below your slab as they rise and fall during rainfall, flooding, and winter melt. Inside that basin is a sump pump that prevents your basement from flooding by pumping out any accumulated water once the attached floating indicator triggers the pump. The main purpose of a sump pump is to keep your basement dry and prevent standing water and mold growth. Sump pumps should last up to 10 years, with regular maintenance and upkeep. To maintain the quality, and to prevent failure, there are some steps you can take to test your sump pump throughout the year, before a chance of flood. 

 

Preventative Maintenance Tips 

 

Back-Up Battery – Sump pumps run off of regular home electricity like most other appliances and during a heavy storm you could lose power. Having a battery back up in place will ensure full functionality of your pump continues if water levels rise and need to be pumped out. Most battery backups come with a power indicator and or alarm so confirming function is simple. It is best to have a professional install them but this can be done by the homeowner as well. 

 

Water Sensor – Purchase a water sensor! There are water sensor alarm systems you can set up in or near your sump basin or on the basement floor that will sound an alarm when the water sensor detects water. There are now sensors that are app capable and will text right to your phone or email you that your basement floor is wet. One example is the SimpleSence water sensor. This device can help prevent flooded basements and failed sump pumps before you walk down into your basement and discover it yourself. Awareness of a small problem may give you the time to prevent a big one. 

 

Annual Test – By testing your sump pump every year, you can work at preventing any mishaps during a time when it needs to work. Make this your opportunity to do any preventative maintenance and repairs on the sump pump before it is an emergent situation. For those living in areas with high flood risk, you may want to consider bi-annual checkups on your sump pump. Make sure all drain hoses are connected correctly, tightly, and are fully intact. Check for leaks, float obstructions, and make sure the sump pump is working properly. Check your battery life and give it a run-through – turn off your power and make sure that backup power kicks in. Pour water into your sump basin and let it fill up to do the full test and ensure everything is in working order. Clean out settled silt and debris with a shop vac to avoid clogging and pump burnout. Find more tips to make sure your sump pump is working as it should here. 

 

If Your Pump Fails – If your pump does fail, do not panic. Keep in mind some tips for fast-acting flood control. You want to dry out your basement as quickly as you can, immediately removing all items that may have gotten wet. Mold begins growing within 48 hours, so it is important to get valuables, cardboard boxes, rugs, and furniture out and dried as soon as you can. Place fans and dehumidifiers in the basement to ensure the basement gets completely dry, and no dampness remains. If you have a moist basement to begin with, running a dehumidifier often can help alleviate dampness and prolong items stored down there.  

 

Contact ServiceMaster for a clean-up and/or damage assessment. 

If you do find yourself with a failed sump pump and a mess in your basement, give us a call for all your clean-up needs. We answer phones 24/7 and a prompt response will mitigate damage to your structure.  

 

This is an updated blog.  The original was posted on August 16, 2019, and can be found here. 


Statistics and Strategy for Siren Season

Posted on April 9, 2021.

lightning strike and storm clouds

On the first Wednesday of every month, emergency sirens sound. 

 In Minneapolis, CNN reporter Josh Campbell was questioning his safety when the tornado sirens blared at 1pm on the first Wednesday in April. The first Wednesday in April happened to also be having a significant rainstorm. The National Weather Service had to clarify that there was no immediate danger. The CNN reporter returned quickly after learning that, in Minnesota, sirens sound periodically for education and testing. 

 The sirens will sound again on Thursday, April 15 for severe weather awareness week. Two sirens will sound that day, one at 1:45 PM, and one in the evening at 6:45. The first drill is intended for institutions and businesses, and the evening drill is intended for second shift workers and families. Schools will hold their statewide tornado drills as well. 

 Severe weather awareness week is April 12 through the 16th, 2021. Each year, Hennepin County in collaboration with the National Weather Service, sponsors severe weather awareness week in Minnesota. The week is designed to refresh, remind, and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to avoid them. You can visit dps.minnesota.gov to find out more. 

 Tornados are most common from March through November but June has the highest average of tornado occurrences at 9.5 according to the Minnesota DNR. Tornados can occur at any time of the day or night with a higher chance between 2 PM and 9 PM. The uncertainty of these storms proves awareness and strategy are imperative. If severe weather is imminent, taking action could save your life. When you hear a storm siren during inclement weather, seek shelter immediately. The slogan for Ramsey County is: get inside and get information. Get to a lower level, or inside a bathtub in an inner bathroom with no windows. Tornadoes and severe weather in Minnesota are a serious threat. It’s not uncommon to experience 100 tornadoes in a season. 

 In Minnesota, sirens will also sound when wind speeds can excel 70 mph, or there is a danger of an attack.  The attack siren changes tone with increasing and decreasing sound.  This is not to be confused with volume, where some sirens spin around and become distant and increasingly louder.  An attack siren will have different tones for 3 minutes.   

 Prepare for tornados and severe weather events in advance. The sirens in Minnesota help people do that. Sirens are an immediate threat warning and should be taken seriously.  Use a NOAA radio for up-to-date information and stay in a shelter if you are tracking severe weather. If you find yourself in need of services after a tornado, call ServiceMaster for damage restoration. Our phones are answered 24/7 and we will come out as soon as possible to assess the damage and restore your property. 


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