Flood Damage – How, Why, and What Do I Do Now?

Posted on June 17, 2019.

Flood Damage

home flooding

Today we’re talking flood damage. Flood damage is something that has many occurrences and can affect both residential and commercial properties all the same. There are generally two main types of flood damage, basement flooding, or severe weather flooding, both of which can result in a large amount of clean up. The team at ServiceMaster Minneapolis is here to provide friendly and effective service and help you get back on track.

Basement Flooding

Basements are already the place in your home most prone to flooding. They are the lowest point of the house or building since they are partly or completely underground, leaving it susceptible to many flooding precursors. Flooding can occur in your basement by water seeping or flowing through the walls or cracks in the foundation floor, from surface water sources, or even sewer backups.

Though uncommon, there are some reasons flooding can occur during dry weather.

  • A sanitary lateral blockage or failure, which is something that can degrade over time, just like other parts of your home; any licensed plumber can help with an assessment of your sanitary lateral.
  • Foundation drainage failure which, if you are in a situation where the groundwater level is getting higher than your basement floor, a sump pump can help prevent any flooding.
  • Break in the water supply line or hot water tank failure due to old plumbing or plumbing equipment, damaged pipes, or freezing of pipes.

Flooding during wet weather is much more common than the flooding in dry weather. A few reasons why are:

  • Surface or overland flooding due to heavy rain or a major snow melt. The water can pool near the house and flow into the basement. Proximity to ditches or improper grading near the home can put you at risk.
  • Foundation drainage failure which can include seepage, sump pump failure, and weeping tile failure.
  • Sewer backup from either the sewers being too full or full or partial sewer blockage.

Severe Weather Flooding

The National Severe Storms Laboratory says that flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other severe weather-related event, an average of $5 billion a year. Flooding can occur in any of the 50 states or U.S. territories at any time of the year, yikes!

When it comes to rivers rising and causing flooding, the National Weather Service uses three basic flood severity categories to define potential threat and damage.

Minor – Minor flooding is likely to cause very minimal to zero property damage but may inconvenience some folks when it comes to potentially flooded alleyways, neighborhood sidewalks, basements, etc.

Moderate – Moderate flooding will likely cause flooding of structures and roads near natural streams. There may be evacuations of people and/or suggestions to move people and property to higher elevations if necessary.

Major – Major flooding is the greatest possibility of a threat to people and property. It includes extensive inundation of roads and structures, and major evacuations of people and property outside the area and/or to higher elevations.

Post-Flood Steps

What should you do after your house or basement floods? There are a few first steps you can do in the initial 24-48 hours to ensure health, safety, and salvaging of items. You must act fast after a flood as it does not take long for mold to grow. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends discarding materials that haven’t been thoroughly cleaned and dried within 48 hours of water damage.

First things first, make sure it is safe to enter the home or basement. Check for warping, cracked foundation, or damage to gas or electrical lines. If the water is deep enough to potentially spark outlets, turn off the electrical if you can before entering the area.

Make sure you take pictures of all flooding to cover potential damages. Give your insurance provider a call as soon as possible post-flood and get an assessment.

In the meantime, get started clearing out items that have been wet or damaged. Depending on how the flood occurred, the water could be contaminated by sewage or chemicals. Make sure to take proper precautions with waders or waterproof boots. Rugs can be wrung out and hung to dry, and carpet can be pulled up and discarded fairly easily. Unfortunately, large furniture items like sofas, and wooden cabinetry likely won’t be able to be dried thoroughly, and have to be discarded as well.

As soon as you can, get to work on removing all the water, brooms can be used to push out minor flooding to a door or your floor drain. Sump pumps or wet vacs will quickly and efficiently suck up deeper water. Keep in mind; the water will have to be dumped, so be careful in transporting it as it can be heavy. Lastly, fans and dehumidifiers can help dry out the area quickly as well.

What ServiceMaster Can Do For You

ServiceMaster covers all kinds of services that can help you through the minor to the most intrusive water damage to your home. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our experts respond to a disaster, such as flooding, quickly and will give you an honest assessment of the work that needs to be done in order to get your home or workplace back to where you started. Give us a call anytime for help with water damage restoration, mold removal and remediation, and more!

Below is a sampling of the water damage services we provide:

  • Water Extraction
  • Pack Out and Storage
  • Drying and Dehumidification
  • Mold Remediation
  • Demolition and Debris Removal
  • Drywall Repair and Contracting
  • Anti-Microbial Applications
  • HVAC Duct Cleaning
  • Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning
  • Electronic Equipment Restoration
  • Data and Document Recovery
  • Furniture Refinishing
  • Antique and Fine Art Restoration






Flooded Basement: What to do During and the Aftermath

Posted on March 31, 2019.

*header image courtesy of Jeff Covey*

For those who have had the unfortunate of experience of dealing with a flooded basement, you know it’s not fun.

It’s a stressful situation, and repairing the damage can be costly.

If you ever find yourself with a basement that is flooding, make sure you follow these tips and tricks to limit the damage.

But before we get to those, let’s first discuss some common causes of basement floodings.

Location, Location, Location

In many instances, a home constructed on property that is sloped may see some basement flooding. The sloped terrain will invite water to drain towards the bottom of the slant, so if your home is built lower down on the slope, it can flood frequently.

Over the course of time, these slopes will be smoothed out and leveled by the elements, which will effectively solve this problem.

Gutter System is Blocked

A blocked gutter system is never good, especially when it comes to basements flooding. If the manifold is connected to your home and the sewer system becomes backed up, then flooding of your property is a likely result.

If you notice that this has occurred, then call the local authorities ASAP. Otherwise, the water levels will rise fast, and the likelihood of a disaster in your basement is more likely.

Improper Wall and Floor Sealing

As with many issues that plague homes — like flooding — they can be deterred through smart and quality home construction. If the basement tiles and walls are not properly sealed, then all it might take is a heavy rain to see some flooding. If this is what is causing your basement to flood, contact a contractor to fix it.

Drainage System Installed Poorly

Another problem that is easily avoidable by constructing the home well. If the drainage system is not installed correctly, however, it can cause serious flooding. The downspouts of your drainage system should be far away from your home so that the water can’t sneak it’s way back towards your home. But, it should also be far away from your neighbors home as well.

If your drainage system wasn’t put in right the first time, you might have to pay a large amount to fix it.

What to do if Your Basement is Flooding

If you walk down your steps and find that your basement is starting to fill with water, do the following:

Shut Off the Power

Your first act should be turning off all the power in the flood-affected area, as you should never walk into a flooded basement before shutting the power off.

Identify the Cause of the Flooding

If the water is from rain or flooding, then you should wait until the storm has passed before you try and remedy the situation. If the cause is something else, then start working immediately. Wear boots and gloves for protection and a wader if possible.

Determine the Source of the Water

Start investigating the flooded area and see if you can find out where the water is entering the basement. Shut off the water in the basement if you find it is a burst pipe. Otherwise, things may get a whole lot worse…and fast. Also, if you have a floor drain in your basement, check to ensure it isn’t backed up and clogged. A functioning drain will help get rid of the water.

Start Removing the Water

When it comes to your weapon of choice for getting rid of the standing water, you can use a pool pump, wet/dry vacuum, mop, and bucket, or a sump pump. How much water you have in your basement will ultimately decide which tool you’ll use to remove it. After removing most of the water, you can get whatever is left with sponges. Take any damaged items and place them in a well-ventilated area to dry. Avoid contact with lamps, televisions, or anything else that uses electricity until you have disconnected the power.

Take Care of Any Carpet You Have

Unfortunately, you may have to rip out carpeting if the flooding is too extensive. If you leave your carpet, it can keep the floor underneath from drying. A restoration specialist can actually help with drying your carpet. Contact ServiceMaster today for all your home restoration needs. If you don’t dry out the carpet properly, you’ll risk the buildup of mold and mildew.

Let Your Basement Air Out

You’ll need to allow several days for your basement to dry. To create ventilation, open doors and windows (weather permitting), and use as many fans as possible to increase the drying time. A dehumidifier will also help here. When the floor and walls are dry, use an anti-mildew spray to avoid mold from developing.

ServiceMaster is Here to Help When You Need it Most

Here at ServiceMaster, we are committed to helping you regain your sense of normalcy after a flooded basement. When unfortunate incidents like flooding occur, the only thing you want is to get things back to normal. That’s where we come in. Our team of expert restorationists will have your home back to the way it used to be in no time. Call 612-354-5466 to reach our Emergency Service team.

Can Snow Cause A Roof Collapse (Keeping Your Roof Safe in the Winter)

Posted on March 22, 2019.

*header image courtesy of Richard Allaway*

Can you imagine coming home to a collapsed roof? Talk about a day ruiner.

What would be even worse is if you were home during the collapse.

No matter what the size of a building is, whether it’s a larger structure or a smaller home, roof collapses are possible. However, can snow cause a roof collapse on its own? Or are there other factors that can contribute to a collapse?

Today, we talk about the signs to look for in your roof to determine if it is at risk of collapsing, as we look at what exactly causes them, and finally, how to make sure you don’t become a victim of a roof collapse.

Signs to Look for

During winters of heavy snowfall, you should always be on the lookout for signs that your roof is under too much stress. For commercial buildings, check for the following:

Sprinkler heads are protruding from the ceiling — this is a telltale sign that something may be wrong with your roof. Because sprinkler heads are usually attached to the roof in a lot of commercial buildings, if they are looking a little off, then it’s likely a result of too much pressure on the roof.

For residential buildings, look for:

Look for water damage through the ceiling or cracks in the drywall. However, this sign will be most common in situations with warm weather. If you are worried about a potential roof collapse, check your attic for cracks in your roof. If you hear any cracking sounds while in your home, then get out if immediately and call a professional roofer to assess the potential for a collapse.

Common Causes of Roof Collapses

Roofs collapse for a multitude of reasons, and usually is attributed to one of the following or combination of:

Poor design – Just like a sloppily designed gingerbread house, an improperly constructed roof is at high risk of collapsing.

Poor construction – Even a good design can’t make up for construction that cuts corners.

No maintenance – Always be on the lookout for structural damage to your roof and fix it immediately.

Older homes – Construction codes are always being updated, and old homes may have roofs that were designed with seriously outdated requirements.

Is Snow a Problem?

So, what about snow? Can it directly lead to a roof collapse?

The answer: Not exactly.

In most instances, snow is involved when it comes to a roof collapse — but often one of the previous factors we just listed accompanies it. For a roof to collapse because of snow on a home that is newer and was designed and constructed properly is extremely rare. However, combine heavy snow with any of them, and you may be in trouble.

To understand just how much stress snow can put on your roof, check out the following IBHS snow roof guidelines:

Fresh snow: 10-12 inches of new snow equates to 5 lb per square foot of roof space. So, about 4 feet of fresh snow would have to be on your roof for it to become stressed.

Packed snow: Packed snow is a little different. Only 3-5 inches of old snow is needed to reach that 5 lb of per square foot of roof space, so over 2 feet of packed snow may be too much stress for your roof.

Ice: 1 inch of ice equals 1 foot of fresh snow.

Remove Snowing – Best Way to Keep Your Home Safe

The best way to keep your home safe during the winter is to remove snow from your roof during the winter regularly. A snow rake is your best bet, but if you have a serious amount of ice on your roof (or an ice dam), then calling a professional to come in and get rid of the ice is the smartest option. Don’t try and remove snow on your own by attempting to chisel it off; this will only damage your roof. Professional ice dam removers use steam to safely remove the ice, which will keep your roof looking great while eliminating the source of the danger.

For All Your Home Disaster Needs – Call ServiceMaster

Whether at your home or your business, fire, flooding or a mold outbreak can be one of the most disruptive events imaginable. We’ll help you get everything back to normal ASAP, so you can resume living in your home worry-free. That’s the promise of the disaster restoration team at ServiceMaster.

To reach our Emergency Service team, call (612) 354-5466.


A Water Pipe Bursts In your Home – What Do You Do Now? (Immediate Damage Control Measures)

Posted on January 31, 2019.

Water Pipe Bursts

You’re sitting at home on a nice afternoon, and suddenly your spouse yells at you from upstairs “THERES WATER EVERYWHERE! WE GOTTA SHUT OFF THE WATER!”

You drop what you’re doing, run upstairs to find a watery disaster that is threatening to severely damage your house. You finally get the water shut off, and dont even know where to start because the mess is so massive.

While this narrative may sound dramatic – it happens. Knowing what you should do next can help mitigate the damage to your home when a water pipe bursts.

One of the worst things you can come across in your home is a burst pipe. For the most part, homeowners are aware that pipes freezing and busting open are a threat. Not many homeowners know both how to prevent this from happening, as well as what to do if you ever find out a pipe has in fact burst. For preemptive measures, check out this blog post, which offers helpful tips and tricks that will decrease the likelihood of your home becoming a victim to a burst pipe. For immediate damage control measures for a pipe that has burst, keep reading.

What to Do if You Find a Pipe Has Burst in Your Home

Shut Off Water

The first action you should take if you notice a burst pipe in your home is to turn off the water in your home immediately. This will help limit the damage done by the pipe. Next, turn off the electricity in that section of the home, especially if you think the leak from the pipe burst may have reached an electrical socket. These two steps are extremely important, so make sure that you do each of them before you start working on other solutions to limit the initial damage.

If you live in an apartment complex or don’t have access to the building’s water supply and electricity, then contact the building manager or landlord for assistance.

Open a Faucet and Drain the Taps

Opening a faucet is also a step you can take to avoid a pipe bursting, especially if you notice a pipe in your home that looks like it is on the verge of freezing. However, this can also help in the cleanup process and flushing out your pipes. Opening your faucets and letting the remaining cold water out from the system will help reduce the chance of leftover water freezing inside the pipes (which could potentially cause more damage). On top of this, opening your faucets, with the cold taps first and then the hot water will relieve the pent up pressure within the pipe too. While no one likes wasting water, this is a necessary step to limit the scope of the damage.

Call a Plumberwater pipe bursts plumber

Now, you can always take the route of repairing a pipe that has burst on your own, and if you’re a skilled handyman and want to save on the costs of outsourcing the work, then go for it. You can read about how to fix a burst pipe here.

However, we recommend you hire a professional and experienced plumber who has repaired many pipes like this before and will do an excellent job. When it comes to deciding whether or not to repair something on your own, it’s a risk-reward scenario. In other words, is the risk of having your pipe break again from faulty repairs worth saving the extra money on hiring a plumber? That’s up to you. But we always recommend you bring in a pro to assist in the repairs.

Cleaning Tips on Your Own

Similar to repairing the pipes, in terms of cleaning up the mess it has caused, it is wise to call in an expert restoration services provider who can handle water damage. However, there are steps you can take while waiting for them to arrive to help make the cleanup process go faster.

First, use everything and anything you own that can help soak up the moisture. Mops, towels, wet/dry vacuums. Whatever you have, use it. Check thoroughly and make sure that you have all wet spots covered on the ground: every half hour or so, swap out the wet towels for new ones.

Next, turn up the heat (only do this after you’ve drained the remaining taps) or use a hair dryer on the area where the pipe broke. On top of this, open any cabinet doors or other doors where your pipes are located to help warm air continue to ciculate throughout the house.

Call a Restoration Services Provider

While these cleaning steps you do on your own will help limit the damage, only using fans and towels will likely lead to mold, mildew, and other side effects that could cause illnesses for those within the home. That’s why, if the water from your busted pipe spread on the walls, ceilings, and floors, a professional disaster restoration service provider is a must.

At ServiceMaster, our experienced disaster restoration experts are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This is because disasters don’t usually happen at convenient times, and we want to make sure we can mitigate the damage to your home. Whether you’re at home or your business, fire, flooding and mold outbreak can cause quite the headache when it comes to cleaning up the damage. That’s where we come in. Our fast-responding technicians have the training and equipment to start making a difference right away, and we always hit the ground running.

We’re proud to be certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the world’s leading restoration Standards Developing Organization (SDO). We’re also certified as a Lead-Safe Certified Firm by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There’s no disaster too big or too small for our experts to handle. We’ve seen disasters of all shapes and sizes, so whether it’s just a single room or the whole house, we can help in restoring your home.

How to Make Sure Your Pipes Don’t Freeze in the Winter

Posted on January 22, 2019.

In case you weren’t aware, it’s been pretty cold this winter. Like, bone-chilling cold. On January 30th, temperatures reached as low as -50 in some parts of the midwest. Ufda.

Not only is this cold a threat to give you frostbite in a matter of minutes, but it can also cause real serious damage to your home. One of the possible side-effects of a particularly cold winter on your home is your pipes freezing, which can be a real problem.

Today, we’re going to discuss the necessary steps you should take to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze in the winter.

Tips for Making Sure Your Pipes Don’t Freeze

If some of your pipes are accessible through a door or are located in a cabinet, it is wise to open the doors up every once in a while to let the rest of the house heat the pipes as well. This strategy will also help the heat in your house spread through the home.

Seal Up Any Cracks

If you notice any cracks, holes, or gaps in your home near where your pipes are, make sure that you seal them up tight. You should do this before winter settles in, as it will not only help your pipes stay unfrozen, but you can also eliminate defects in your home’s insulation before the snow starts falling.

Use Heating Tape

Hey, if you get to use a blanket during the winter, then so should your pipes! Heating tape is very similar to how an electric blanket works. The heat tape will supply heat to the pipe and counteract any extreme cold weather that may be hitting your home. An alternative is a heating cable, but heat tape works automatically and will turn on and off when it senses that heat is needed. However, keep in mind that these products can be dangerous, so please follow the instructions and safety procedures or work with a professional handyman to assist you.

Don’t Turn the Heat Off

While it is hard to justify leaving the heat on when you’re not home, due to fear of higher utility bills, you can save yourself the headache of dealing with frozen pipes. No, you don’t have to leave the heat as high as you normally have it, but if you’re away on vacation or even a weekend and leave the heat on just a bit, you will reduce the likelihood of your pipes freezing.

Make Sure Your Home is Well-Insulated

This is another spring or fall item for your “to do” list. Have a home repairman, handyman or roofer come by and check out your attics and basement insulation to make sure that it is up to par. Especially in older homes, these areas of the house are not typically properly insulated. Adding extra insulation to these areas is a possible quick fix to this problem. Once again, you’d much rather catch this before the chilly weather comes. Luckily, it can be easy to fit a pipe with foam rubber sleeves to help decrease the chance they freeze.

Allow the Faucet to Drip

You may think that letting your faucet drip wouldn’t be beneficial for your home in any way, but you’d be wrong! Surprisingly, allowing your faucet to drip relieves pressure in your piping system. So, if you get a pipe burst, it’s because of the pressure buildup created between the blockage in the pipe and the faucet opening. Eventually, the pressure becomes too much and the pipe will burst. So, while you may be wasting a little bit of water, you can avoid the disaster of a pipe bursting.

Burst or Leaky Pipes? Call Service Master

We offer disaster restoration services at ServiceMaster, so if you have sustained water damage that was caused by a frozen pipe that has burst, then call us today at (612) 324-491. Our professional restoration experts have seen it all, and they’ll have your home looking good as new in no time.

7 Tips for Cleaning Your Home after Water Damage

Posted on August 19, 2018.

This post has been updated.  Visit the newer version, published on September 26, 2020, here.


After your home has experienced water damage, you may find yourself cleaning up the mess. Whether it’s ripping up carpet, tearing down drywall and replacing furnishings, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you to get your home back in order.

When taking on the work yourself, follow these tips for cleaning up after water damage affects your home.

Disconnect the Power and Gas Before Entering the Home’s Premises
Before anything can be done, you need to shut down the electrical supply and shut off the gas. Turning off power leading into the affected area, especially if water rises above electrical outlets, will help reduce the risk of electrical shock while turning off the gas will prevent harmful fumes from building up.

1. Remove Important Items

Remove electronics, furniture, and any other important items immediately. The quicker you can get items out of the water, the better chance you’ll have of saving them. You can also try pulling up your carpets and underpadding to see what you can salvage.

2. Prepare for Water Damage Insurance Claims

Many homeowners insurance policies cover unexpected water damage. Contact your insurance adjuster immediately and take the following steps to prepare for the claim. It’s important to note, water damage to your home is generally covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy if it is considered sudden internal water damage. However, it does not cover damage done by lack of maintenance or neglect, nor damage resulting from a flood.

To prepare for your insurance claim, take the following steps:

  • Take photos to keep track of household items and home condition.
  • Keep damaged materials for proof of loss.
  • Be present if an adjuster needs to visit your home.
  • The adjuster will assess the damage to the house, providing you with a proof of loss statement to sign.
  • Additional damage can be added when properly identified.

3. Remove Excess Water

Removing excess water is the challenging part. If there’s enough water that you need to turn off power, you’ll have to take the manual approach – gather buckets, towels and mops to try and get rid of as much water as possible. If you have a way to supply power, or a backup generator, you can hook up an automatic pump or a wet-vac to remove the water.

4. Dry Out the Damaged Area

When you’ve finished removing excess water, move on to the drying stage as soon as possible. Use fans, a dehumidifier and open any windows (as long as it isn’t raining, of course) to improve air circulation and help dry out the damaged area.

5. Clean and Disinfect the Damaged Area

After the damaged area has had time to dry, use a good disinfectant to remove any bacteria that might have come up through sewers, plumbing or from outside. Various affordable and accessible cleaning solutions can help clean the area, including bleach, ammonia, borax, vinegar and baking soda.

6. Take Preventative Steps to Stop Mold Growth

Once the damaged area has been dried and cleaned, it’s time to take preventative steps to stop mold from growing. Apply a mold control spray, like Concrobium, over the affected area according to directions on the bottle. Once the spray dries overnight, it will destroy any mold spores and provide continued blockage moving forward.

7. Dispose of Damaged Items in a Responsible Way

You’ll undoubtedly have damaged material or furnishings to get rid of – make sure to do it in a responsible way. You may be tempted to just throw everything into a dumpster or the trash and send it off, but many water-damaged materials can actually be sorted out and recycled. This way, you’ll do your part to prevent unnecessary waste and protect the environment.

Contact ServiceMaster Today for All of Your Water Cleanup Needs
For the best water cleanup services in the greater Twin Cities area, get in touch with the expert technicians at ServiceMaster. We do everything we can to help you get your home back to normal as quickly as we can, offering 24/7 availability every single day of the year.

When we partner with you, we apply our expertise, training, and equipment to fix any water damage your home is facing. Whether you need help with water cleanup, mold remediation and removal or anything else, ServiceMaster will help get your property back to its normal form and your life back on track.

Get in Touch! Contact ServiceMaster of Minneapolis today by calling (612) 354-5466 or filling out a form on our contact page. We’re here whenever disaster strikes – get in touch now!

The Best Ways to Remove Mold from Your Home

Posted on August 12, 2018.

This blog has been updated.  To read the current version, click here.


Mold infestations are one of the most common problems a homeowner can face. Whenever excess moisture infiltrates your home, in a damp basement or attic for example, it can cause mold growth leading to musty odors and serious damage. Plus, mold can be harmful to the health of the home’s occupants. If you’re curious how to avoid this, here are the best ways to remove mold from your home.

1) Get Rid of Excess Moisture

First, try to get rid of any excess moisture in your home. The initial step in removing it is to keep places in a home where it’s most likely to show up, and keep them dry. Mold growth is especially prone in warm, humid areas. For example, bathrooms, basements and attics have high potential for mold growth.

Installing an air conditioner is a good idea, since it takes in warm air, which holds more moisture, and circulates it out into the home as cool, dry air. Using a dehumidifier is another useful way to reduce humidity. At times when the air outside is dry, open your windows and use fans to circulate new air into your home and carry the old air out.

2) Remove Large Infestations

Beyond damp bathrooms, basements and attics, mold can grow in unseen places, like behind drywall, leaving you with a problem that you may not be aware of. If you notice a musty smell or stains on the walls, floors or ceilings, it will need to be cut out, removed and replaced.

First, put on some old clothing that you can throw away once you’re done, and the appropriate safety equipment, including gloves, goggles and a respirator. Turn off power to the room, including your HVAC system, and seal off the room with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Probe stained or soft spots with a screwdriver to pinpoint mold. Use a drywall saw or utility knife to cut out the infested area. Mist with the pump sprayer to control spores, then double-bag the material in heavy plastic bags and tie the bags off. Put in new insulation and drywall, replace the trim, and repaint using paint that contains mildewcide.

3) Use Cleaning Solutions

Sometimes, using simple cleaning solutions on mold will help remove the problem from your home. Many are inexpensive and can be found at your local grocery or hardware store. Try one of the following cleaning solutions to remove harmful mold growth.

  • Ammonia – cannot be used on porous surfaces like wood and drywall and also contains harmful fumes.
  • Bleach – very effective when used on moldy surfaces. Similar to ammonia, bleach is ineffective on porous materials.
  • Baking soda – both mild and safe while also acting as a deodorizer. Unlike the other solutions mentioned here, baking soda can be used on porous surfaces.
  • Borax – unless swallowed, borax is safe and doesn’t give off dangerous fumes. Use it on nonporous surfaces. To prevent future growth, do not wipe it off when finished cleaning.
  • Vinegar – while not quite as effective as bleach or ammonia, vinegar safe and doesn’t give off harmful fumes. Use vinegar only on nonporous surfaces.

4) Hire Mold Remediation Specialists

If you’re experiencing mold growth in your home, it may be time to contact a mold remediation professional. With their high-tech, specialized equipment, extensive experience and unique skills, these professionals can identify and take care of the problem quickly and effectively. Of course, you can always hire a specialist to conduct an inspection of your home, having them provide you with the right recommendations so you can take care of the problem yourself. However, sometimes it’s easier, faster and safer to have a professional tackle the mold issues facing your home.

Contact ServiceMaster Today for All Your Mold Remediation Needs

For the best mold remediation services in the Twin Cities, get in touch with ServiceMaster today. We use our expertise and experience to help you get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. With our commitment to exceeding client expectations, we’re prepared to fulfill your unique water damage restoration needs.

From mold remediation, removal and prevention, our team will provide you with an affordable solution. No matter what type of damage your home is facing, the home restoration technicians at ServiceMaster will help get your property back to its normal form and your life back on track.

Get in Touch! Contact ServiceMaster today by calling (612) 354-5466 or filling out a form on our contact page. We’re here whenever disaster strikes – get in touch now!

What to Do if Your Basement Has Flooded

Posted on January 25, 2017.

This blog has been updated.  To read the updated version, click here.


Many people are under the false assumption that basement flooding is a normal, almost inevitable part of owning a home and that it’s something they’ll just have to “deal with” if it happens to them. As a result of this assumption, homeowners often ignore signs of basement leaking/flooding in hopes that the issue will resolve itself in a matter of days or weeks.


This may not sound like a bad call (after all, it’s just a small leak, right?), but this nonchalant mindset can have serious consequences. First, ignoring water damage can lead to much larger, costlier repairs down the road. Second, water damage can also pose a serious health risk to you and your loved ones, as moist places like a flooded basement are the perfect breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and bacteria – all of which can be dangerous to your family’s health.

If your basement experiences even the smallest of floods, it’s crucial you have the problem addressed right away. In order to do so effectively, you should be familiar with the common causes of basement flooding as well as the steps you can take to keep you and your family safe while ensuring the issue doesn’t continue to worsen.

Common Causes of Basement Flooding

  • Heavy rains
  • Home plumbing failures
  • Groundwater flooding
  • Insufficient flooring and wall sealing
  • Obstructed gutter system
  • Overfilled eaves troughs
  • Inefficient or improperly installed drainage system
  • Unfavorable construction site (e.g. built on a bad slope)
  • Water seeping from the ground into the basement

Stay Safe and Minimize Damage by Following These Steps

  1. Call the experts at ServiceMaster to request emergency water extraction and/or mold remediation service. We’re available 24/7 and will be out to your property as quickly as possible.
  2. Double check that all power around your basement (including gas and electricity) is turned off. Do not under any circumstances enter the basement until you’ve double-checked that the power is off, as failing to do so could result in electrocution. Continue to refrain from touching electrical appliances in the basement even after you’ve shut off the electricity.
    1. If you’re unsure whether or not the power has been turned off, contact a local electrician before you enter the flooded area.
  3. Wear boots, gloves and long-sleeved clothing to protect yourself from potentially harmful contaminants in the water, and walk carefully at all times to avoid slipping.
  4. If you’re able to pinpoint the source of water (e.g. a burst pipe), shut off the water to the basement right away.
  5. Direct children and pets to a safe area outside the home. Do not allow them to go near the flooded basement.
  6. Move personal belongings and damaged items out of the basement to a safe, dry and well-ventilated area to prevent further damage.
  7. If your flood is fairly minor in scope you can try to start removing some of the water by using a sump pump, wet/dry vacuum, pool pump or a good old-fashioned mop and bucket. This will take quite a bit of time and you likely won’t be able to remove all the moisture yourself, meaning it’s still a welcoming environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Therefore, we recommend you wait for our experts to arrive so they can put their state-of-the-art water extraction equipment to work for you. It’s faster, far more thorough and we’ll utilize our extensive mold remediation experience to ensure any and all traces of mold and mildew are completely eliminated.

ServiceMaster Is Here to Help 24/7

If you’ve noticed a leak or flood in your basement, call ServiceMaster to request emergency water damage restoration service right away. No disaster – be it water, fire, smoke, mold or anything else – is too big or too small for our experienced, certified restoration team to handle. To learn more about our comprehensive disaster restoration services or to speak with one of our friendly experts about a potential water problem in your basement or any other room of your home, contact us online today.

Mild Winter For Us, But Not For All, Water Damage

Posted on February 28, 2015.

This winter has been a mild one for Minnesota, and we have not had to deal with the frigid cold temperatures, and snow like winters past.

However, that is not the case for everyone this winter, especially for the east coast folk. They are approaching record breaking snow totals, and Boston, MA will most likely surpass their record snowfall of 107.6 inches set the winter of 1995-1996.

With record breaking snow totals come, record destruction caused either by water primarily from ice dams and melting snow, or the sheer weight of the snow on the roofs can causing havoc on a structures.

So anytime there is an overwhelming number of catastrophic water damage like the kind cause by this such as: record snow totals, hurricane Sandy in 2012, or the flooding in Michigan last year; ServiceMasters across the Nation are asked to help with the mitigation.

This year to help with ice, water, and snow damage of Massachusetts we teamed up with ServiceMaster of St. Cloud and sent a team of five technicians and two vans from our own twin cities location along with a team from St. Cloud. The main focus of these teams has been helping clean off snow covered roofs to prevent future ice dams or structural damage, along with any other water damage caused by these storms.

This coming Friday will mark 2 weeks since the first team was sent and when they finish, the second team of technicians will make their long trek to MA in an effort to prevent future water damage and assist with current damages.

We don’t expect to prevent all the damage, but we just hope to make a difference in the end. Having said that I am sure we will have an ongoing presence in Massachusetts area the coming weeks to help with the thaw, and all that is associated with rapid melting. Everything from drain backups, failing sump pumps causing wet basements, seepage, and everything in-between.

To be continued…

ServiceMaster of Minneapolis proudly serves those in need regardless of geographic location!  Main focus helping the twin cities and surrounding areas we specialize in water damage, fire damage, smoke  damage, mold removal, trauma cleanup, vandalism cleanup, carpet cleaning, window cleaning, and duct cleaning.

Ice Dams- Cause and Prevention

Posted on November 13, 2014.

What Causes Ice Dams

ServiceMaster™ proudly serves Minneapolis, St Paul, Burnsville, Eagan, Chaska, Shakopee, Hudson, Stillwater and surrounding areas.

Every winter, ServiceMaster is flooded with calls concerning water damage caused by ice dams. Many homeowners are confused about what ice dams are and how they happen.

Ice dams form through a melt-freeze process. First, warm air from inside your home seeps up into your attic and warms the roof. Next, if there is a layer of snow, the warm roof melts the snow. The warmed water runs down the slope of the roof. When the water comes to the eaves, it refreezes and forms a dam. The dam traps all subsequent melt water on the roof. As the water builds up it can back up underneath shingles and leak into the house. Once water house found its way into the house secondary damages, like mold and mildew, become likely.  So, the best thing you can do is take steps to prevent ice dams and the water damage they cause.

Using a roof rake, remove the first three feet of snow from the edges of your roof after every storm

Keep your downspouts clear of debris and ice.

Make sure your attic is well insulated to keep heat escape to a minimum

Seal any air leaks you find in the attic.

Have your energy company do an energy audit of your home. Many of the things that keep your energy bills down also prevent ice dams. The energy auditor will be able to suggest improvements to make your home more efficient and heat tight.

If you have water damage in your home, the experts at ServiceMaster of Minneapolis are more than happy to walk you through the entire water mitigation process. Give us a call today at 612- 213-3712. We’re here for you 24/7.

Get in touch