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How To Save Important Documents & Photos After Water Damage In 6 Easy Steps

3/8/2023 (Permalink)

Here are some tips for salvaging water-damaged documents, photographs, and books.

Water damage can be a devastating event, particularly when it affects important documents, photographs, and books that hold sentimental or monetary value. However, there are steps you can take to save these items and prevent further damage. Here are some tips for salvaging water-damaged documents, photographs, and books:

1. Act quickly

The first and most important step is to act quickly. The longer your documents, photographs, or books remain wet, the more damage they will sustain. As soon as possible, remove the items from the water and place them in a dry, well-ventilated area.

2. Separate and sort

Sort your damaged items into different categories based on the severity of the damage. Items that are only slightly damp can be air-dried, while those that are heavily saturated will require more advanced techniques.

3. Air-dry documents and photographs

Lay the documents and photographs out flat on a clean, dry surface. If possible, place a fan nearby to increase air circulation. Do not use a hair dryer or other heat source, as this can cause further damage.

4. Freeze books

If your books are water-damaged, the pages may stick together and become warped. To prevent further damage, place the books in a plastic bag and freeze them until they can be properly dried.

5. Contact a restoration specialist

If your items are heavily damaged or require specialized restoration techniques, contact a professional restoration specialist. These experts have the knowledge and tools to restore your items to their pre-damaged condition.

6. Take preventative measures

To prevent future water damage, store your important documents, photographs, and books in a safe, dry place. Consider using waterproof containers or placing them in a safe deposit box.

Vacuum Freezing

Vacuum freezing is a specialized technique used by restoration specialists to restore water-damaged documents and photographs. This method is particularly effective for items that are delicate or have been heavily saturated with water.

The vacuum freezing process involves placing the damaged items in a vacuum chamber and lowering the temperature to below freezing. This causes the water in the items to sublimate or turn from a solid to a gas, without passing through the liquid state. This process removes moisture from the items without causing further damage.

After the items have been vacuum-frozen, they are removed from the chamber and slowly thawed. This allows any remaining moisture to evaporate without causing additional damage. The items are then dried using specialized techniques such as air-drying or dehumidification.

One of the benefits of vacuum freezing is that it can be used to restore items that would otherwise be too delicate to be air-dried or dehumidified. It can also be used to restore items that have been damaged by mold or other types of contaminants, as the freezing process kills any microorganisms that may be present.

In conclusion, water damage can be a stressful and overwhelming event. However, by acting quickly and following these tips, you can salvage your important documents, photographs, and books and prevent further damage. Remember, if your items are heavily damaged, it is important to contact a restoration specialist to ensure the best possible outcome.

7 FAQ About Mold

2/14/2023 (Permalink)

If you think you have a mold problem, give us a call today!

The term mold is something that most people have heard before. However, not many actually know much about mold and mold damage. In this article, our SERVPRO of Woodbury, Cottage Grove team will answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about mold.

What is mold?

Mold is classified as a type of fungi that grows on living or decaying organic matter. The class of fungi is comprised of more than 100,000 individual species and includes some of the most common molds found in homes today. These small organisms can reproduce through tiny spores that are produced by their hyphae (think: root-like strands). These spores help disperse the mold to new areas where it can grow and flourish.

Mold spores are everywhere—in your house, on your clothes and pets; even in your food. They're everywhere!

Where does mold grow?

Mold grows best in damp areas or rooms that have high humidity, so you'll likely find it in your bathroom (especially the shower) and kitchen. If you have an unfinished basement, that's another place to watch out for mold. It's also common to see mold infestations appear after your property suffers from a water damage event.

How can I tell if I have a mold problem?

It’s important to know the signs of mold and moisture damage to prevent further problems. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may have a mold problem:

  • A musty odor in your home or workplace
  • Water stains or black spots on walls, floors, or ceilings
  • Mold growth on food
  • Spots on clothes
  • Warped flooring or walls

Why is mold growing in my home?

There are many reasons why mold can grow in your home. When there is a source of moisture present, molds begin to thrive and multiply. Mold spores float through the air and land on a damp surface where they will grow into colonies that can cause significant damage.

What does mold smell like?

Mold can emit an odor that resembles mushrooms when it is growing on dead organic matter such as wood or leaves. It can also smell like mildew, dampness, or dirt. Some molds produce spores that have no odor, but when they are present in large quantities they can be detected by their distinctive smell.

Does insurance cover mold damage and/or remediation?

Yes, insurance companies will likely cover mold damage caused by a water damage event. However, if the home was not properly maintained and the cause of the mold problem was negligence on your part, then your insurance company may not cover it.

Should I have the mold removed by a professional or clean it myself?

If you have a large amount of mold growing on the structure of your home such as the walls, ceilings, or other hard-to-reach areas, a professional should be called to remove it.

If the mold is not very extensive and can be removed by an individual with some basic cleaning skills, then removing it yourself may be a good choice. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to do this, hiring a professional is best.

Mold is something that can affect anyone, so it’s important to know how to prevent and handle it. We hope this article has helped you to better understand the different kinds of mold and what they mean for your home. If you think that you might have a mold problem in your home or workplace, contact us today! We offer residential and commercial mold remediation and repair services.

Fire vs. Smoke Damage

12/4/2022 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of Woodbury, Cottage Grove if you have soot damage.

Fire vs. Smoke Damage

You've just been through a fire. You're standing in the rubble that was once your Cottage Grove, MN home, and you're thinking "Is it smoke damage or fire damage?" It's natural to be confused. After all, both fire and smoke damage can ruin your property and make it unsafe to live in. But don't worry—we'll clear this up for you! In this article, we'll tell you what the difference is between smoke and fire damage so that when disaster strikes, you know exactly what needs cleaning up (and what doesn't).

Smoke and Fire Damage Sources

The difference between fire damage and smoke damage is that smoke damage results from the products of combustion. Fire damage is caused by the actual flames, while smoke can be produced without a flame present. The only requirement for smoke to be created is that there are hot embers or radiant heat sources (like open flames) available. This means that even if there's no fire if the right conditions exist in your home or building then you could still experience smoke damage.

Smoke vs. Soot

There is a difference between soot and smoke, even though they are sometimes used interchangeably or together. Both smoke and soot are products of combustion or the burning of fuel. The difference lies in how each forms:

  • Soot is a solid particle that comes from the incomplete combustion of gas or coal. It's usually black (or sometimes white) and looks like ash. It can be removed from your home using a vacuum cleaner or by wiping surfaces with wet cloths.
  • Smoke consists of tiny particles suspended in air; it contains both gases and solids, including carbon dioxide, water vapor, soot, ash, metals and organic compounds such as phenols produced by incomplete carbonization at high temperatures. Because it contains all these different things—both solids (ash) and gases (water vapor)—smoke requires professional cleaning because no device can remove everything at once—you'll need more than just one tool!

Getting Rid of Smoke or Fire Damage

If you have smoke or fire damage, it's important to contact a professional restoration company. The experts can help you remove any soot and debris from your home, as well as any smoke damage that may be present.

If the fire is still burning, it's important not to go into the area. A professional will be able to use specialized tools to extinguish a fire before beginning work on cleanup and restoration in your home or business.

Fire, smoke, and soot damage are not the same thing. While they can all be caused by a fire or smoke event, they each have their own unique causes and effects. Knowing the difference between them will help you better understand how to prevent it from happening in your home or business.

If your home or business is impacted by fire, smoke, and/or soot, give SERVPRO of Woodbury, Cottage Grove a call today!

How To Fix a Flooded Basement?

11/1/2022 (Permalink)

Basement cleanup after a flood

Help! My Basement is Flooded!

A bad storm can cause a lot of damage to your Woodbury, MN house. Water damage is one of the most common causes of home loss and can be very expensive to fix. If water from heavy rains or flooding enters your basement, there are several things that you can do in order to repair that damage quickly and easily.

1. Remove the Water

To begin recovering from a flooded basement, you'll have to remove as much water as possible. The first step is to get a sump pump and start running it. If you don't have one of these, there are other options—you can use a wet/dry vacuum or just mop up the floor with towels and lay down fans to dry out the area more quickly.

Once the water has been removed (or at least reduced), open doors and windows so that air can circulate through the space. This will help prevent mold growth in your basement which could cause health problems for both people living there and those who visit often!

2. Clean Up the Property

The next step is to clean up the property. This will also help you prevent mold growth and other problems, as well as make it more livable again.

You should also call a basement flooding expert for help with this task. The cleanup involves removing any damaged furniture or items in the affected area, cleaning walls and floors (with an eye toward getting rid of mold), drying out any wet areas and making sure they’re sealed off from moisture, putting away all belongings that were moved out of harm’s way during the flood event, clearing up excess water that's been pumped out or drained into buckets (and then disposing of it properly), removing any standing water in your yard or driveway if there was enough rain involved—and then sealing off punctures made by roots so they don't leak again.

3. Call a Basement Flooding Expert

Your first instinct might be to do it yourself and save some money, but there are several reasons why you should get an expert involved. First off, they're going to know exactly what's wrong with your basement and can help make sure the problem doesn't happen again in the future. They'll also have access to all of the tools that are required for making repairs, which means you won't have to worry about renting them yourself or running out of space in your tool shed if you try installing one yourself. In addition, many professionals offer warranties on their work so that it's unlikely anything will go wrong after they've completed their job for you!

Finally, it should be noted that hiring a professional is not always cheaper than doing repairs on your own—if someone isn't familiar with what needs fixing and how long it will take them (or even worse: if they don't know how much work needs doing at all), then this could end up costing more than actually having experienced professional take care of things right away. So don't let fear keep you from hiring someone who knows what they're doing--get peace of mind by calling SERVPRO of Woodbury, Cottage Grove today.

Preventing future basement floods will save you from the headaches of cleaning up after a flood. One way to do that is by installing a sump pump and drain tiles around the foundation of your home.

Once you've made sure everything is working properly, make sure that the battery backup for your sump pump is charged. Additionally, it's important that you keep an eye on how much water goes through your pipes each month and make changes if necessary so that they're not overflowing into the basement again.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to fix a flooded basement in your Woodbury, MN home, it’s time for you to get started. The most important thing to remember is that prevention is better than cure, so if you want to avoid all the hassle and expense of dealing with floods in the future then please take note of this article. We've looked at some solutions for how to fix a flooded basement. Give SERVPRO a call for your local water damage restoration experts!

What can expect after a partial loss?

10/9/2022 (Permalink)

Fire damage in a Cottage Grove, MN kitchen home

What can be expected following a partial loss?

It's one thing to have a fire in your Cottage Grove, MN home. It's another to have a partial loss that damages some of your property without taking everything. It can be challenging to get back on track after an event like this, but there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage and make sure things don't get worse than they already are. Here's what you should know about dealing with a partial loss:


If your furniture was damaged, there are a few things to consider. First, determine if any of your furniture is covered by insurance. If yes, then you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it will be restored or replaced. However, if no or part of it isn't covered by homeowner's insurance (usually anything over $10K), then you'll need to decide whether or not to get rid of the damaged items and purchase new ones instead. 

Some furniture can be restored; others cannot—and this includes antiques and more expensive pieces such as sofas and armchairs. The best way to know for sure is by contacting an appraiser who specializes in antique restoration work; however, here are some general guidelines:


The floor is a big part of the home and can be damaged by smoke, fire, or water. It may need to be cleaned and disinfected after a partial loss. If the flooring is not damaged, it can be left as is.

If you have any concerns about having your floors cleaned after a partial loss, contact us where we have years of experience cleaning up after fire and smoke damage.

Fire restoration can be a long process.

The process of fire restoration can be long, and it can be stressful to watch your home go through the process. In addition to being expensive, you may not know what to expect from this type of loss or how much time it will take for your home to be restored.

First, you should know that there are two types of fire restoration: partial and full. A partial loss means that only part of your home was destroyed by smoke damage, while a full loss means that everything in the house has been damaged by heat and smoke. If you have experienced a partial loss, then call an expert who specializes in this type of loss so they can help determine how much work needs done before moving forward with repairs or rebuilding plans (if necessary).

While the process of fire restoration can be long and complex, it’s important to remember that your home is worth it. You don't have to deal with this alone—we are here for you every step of the way. Give your local SERVPRO a call or contact us online today!

Can SERVPRO Offer Reliable Water Removal Services in Newport?

8/25/2022 (Permalink)

When a burst pipe happens in your church, SERVPRO is the company you contact. Our team is standing by 24/7 for your emergency call.

How the SERVPRO Team Restores A Water Damaged Church in Newport

A burst pipe or a leaking roof in your local church may lead to the need for water removal services in Newport, MN. If such incidents happen in a church that does not run regular activities, it may take a few days before they are noticed. To ensure that normal worship procedures do not come to an unprecedented halt, you need to work with a reputable restoration firm like SERVPRO.

What Newport Residents Should Expert from SERVPRO during the Water Damage Restoration Process

Our SERVPRO technicians start by doing a walk-through to inspect the extent of the water damage in your Newport church. It is when we check if the water has affected church electronics, soaked carpets at the auditorium, and whether it has affected the pews. If the benches are immersed in water for a long time, they may start to warp, and padded pews may provide conducive conditions for mold growth. Expect our team to do the following restoration process:

  • Fix the burst pipes or leaking roof to stop the water
  • We may advise you to reupholster soaked pews to prevent mold growth
  • Pump water out of the church and install fans and dehumidifiers to enhance dying
  • Clean contents and return them to their original positions

SERVPRO of Woodbury, Cottage Grove, uses advanced cleaning and restoration equipment when responding to all emergencies. Call (651) 314-4631 at any time of the day to have your emergency fixed.

How To Make Sure a Sump Pump Works

8/23/2022 (Permalink)

Give maintenance to your Sump pumps

How to Check a Sump Pump's Operation

Homeowners should regularly test sump pumps to make sure that this flood-prevention equipment is operational. Pump maintenance can reduce the frequency of sump pump repair or replacement. Find out how to prevent flooding by testing and maintaining a pump.

Periodically Test the Pump

It is not difficult to determine whether a pump is functioning properly. Take the following measures:

• Fill a bucket with water
• Dump the water into the basin and see if the pump activates
• Check the float and power source if water does not drain

A homeowner should test a pump several times a year, particularly before storms with heavy rain. Depending on the condition of the pump, maintenance or repairs may be necessary.

Maintain the Pump

Several pump maintenance methods can prolong the operational life of a sump pump. A homeowner can ensure that a pump will work properly by taking these steps:

• Clear debris from the grate, intake screen, pit, discharge pipe and vent hole
• Make sure the float functions
• Check the power cord condition
• Replace the backup battery every two to three years

Accumulated debris can put unnecessary stress on pump machinery and cause mechanisms to wear out faster. A pump should have backup power and may also have an alarm.

Provide Backup Power and Set Up Alarms

Plug a pump into a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI outlet. Backup power sources include a battery, car battery, deep cycle boat battery or a generator. Many pumps have battery-powered alarms triggered by high water levels. Homeowners can customize alarms, and some newer pump models send cell phone alerts.

All of these measures can ensure that a pump will function when water levels rise in a basement trap or floor drain. If a sump pump fails and results in a basement flood at a residence in Woodbury, MN, the homeowner should arrange for damage mitigation and restoration.

Does Minor Fire Damage in Woodbury Need Professional Cleanup?

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Yes, even minor fire damage needs attention from a professional team. Call SERVPRO of Woodbury, Cottage Grove today.

SERVPRO Provides Expert Fire Damage Restoration That Uncovers Hidden Problems in Woodbury Homes

Fires do not always destroy a home. One of the most frequent reasons for household fires is kitchen fires. These are often quickly contained. It may seem cost-effective to clean up yourself, but the best option is professional help.

Why Shouldn’t Homeowners Tackle the Fire Cleanup?

Many of the issues that come with fire damage are not readily seen. Our professional fire and smoke restoration technicians (FSRT) provide fire damage restoration in Woodbury, MN  that traces smoke and soot residue and removes it. Our techs look for things like:

  • Damage that is apparent – obvious and easily assessed
  • Secondary damage – this is not as easy to detect. 
  • Fire residue – this can spread throughout the entire house.
  • Water damage – can happen from firefighting efforts.

Fire Damaged Homes Count on SERVPRO

Restoring homes after a fire calls for immediate fire mitigation. Our IICRC-certified teams know exactly what to do to return your home to preloss condition whenever possible. Homeowners can trust that the procedures taken are precisely what is needed for their fire and smoke damage. We take care of the problem by:

  • Providing water removal if needed.
  • Using specialized techniques and equipment to remove smoke and soot.
  • Examining the HVAC system to determine if smoke has circulated.
  • Assessing the type of fire residue and using the appropriate cleaning methods.
  • Using air scrubbers and foggers to deodorize.
  • Clean, sanitize, and disinfect all items and structures that can be restored.
  • Completing the final steps in restoration.

Contact SERVPRO, we can expertly handle all your fire damage restoration needs.

Common Plumbing Issues

7/21/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking pipes can also cause severe water damage

Common Plumbing Problems

Water waste issues in a Newport, MN, building can stem from a simple problem such as a clogged toilet to a more complicated concern such as a burst water main. Regardless of the dilemma, it's essential to understand the most common issues so you can take the appropriate steps to quickly address the problem with the least amount of damage incurred. Learn more about the most common plumbing problems to look out for in your building. 

Plumbing Clogs

A clogged drain is one of the most common problems. Slow drains and stoppages need to be fixed. Flooding and the sewage backup can happen with a chronically clogged toilet. Other causes of clogs and slow drains include: 

  • Hair 
  • Waste 
  • Paper 
  • Minerals
  • Dirt
  • Grease
  • Objects 
  • Build-up

Pipe Leaks

Keep your eyes peeled for pipe leaks, as they could be costing you a significant amount of money. It is imperative to identify and fix your leak to prevent this from recurring. Leaking pipes can also cause severe water damage, so seeking a permanent solution will prevent you from spending too much on repairs.

Faucet Drips

The most common reason for drips in sinks is faulty or worn-out parts, including washers, gaskets, and O-rings. A corroded pipe inside the sink can also lead to a leak. If the leak is severe enough to damage your property, you might need a specialist in Newport, MN, to help with water damage restoration. 

Toilet Runs

In many cases, the problem with a running toilet is a stuck flapper or O-ring. When one of these components becomes worn or damaged, clean water can easily run out continuously without a stop mechanism and cause exponential water waste. Other reasons may include an improperly sized flapper or chain, or toilet handles that have build-up or corrosion.

By addressing commonly occurring problems and being aware of water usage to identify any potential leaks, you can prevent water damage from occurring and protect your business.

What Causes Burst Pipes? What Can I Do to Prevent It?

7/14/2022 (Permalink)

If you experience a burst pipe, the first step is to turn off the Water Main. Then, be sure to call a restoration company like SERVPRO

What Causes Pipe Bursts? What Can I Do to Avoid It?

Burst pipes are a common occurrence in Cottage Grove, MN as the colder months set in. Many residents and workers are in buildings where the pipes are potentially older than their grandparents! It sounds like a car backfiring, this loud pop sound when these water pipes burst. The result is major flooding in the home and structural damage problems for homeowners. SERVPRO of Northeast Minneapolis has compiled a list of the four main reasons why burst pipes occur:

  1. Frozen Pipes
  2. Moving Pipes
  3. Water Pressure
  4. Corrosion

Frozen Pipes

In the Winter months, serious issues arise for the water supply pipes in the home. Cold temperatures generally cause contraction to occur. Ice has more volume than water, so when water freezes inside a pipe it expands and increases pressure inside the pipe. The pressure builds and needing to escape it’s forced to burst out of the pipe. The burst will occur at the weakest point in the pipe, with pressure bursting right out of the side of the pipe wall.

To prevent frozen pipes, make sure that your home never goes below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Open your cabinet doors below the sink to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes as well.

Moving Pipes

Pipes can actually move around within the walls if they’re not properly secured AND the water is suddenly turned on or off. One way to know for sure is if you can hear your water pipes making noise inside the walls or floors. If your pipes sound like they’re clanging against each other, it’s called a water hammer. What you’re hearing is that the pipes are moving back and forth due to not being held into place properly. Gradually, these pipes become weakened in the joints until one pipe fails and pressurized water has a crevice to escape from. This causes the water pipe to break and flood an entire floor within a few moments!

Water Pressure

Water pressure must be kept at a normal setting in order for your water supply pipes to function properly. Any noticeable increase in the water pressure can translate to a burst pipe. It can also lead to a sink, toilet, or tub. As pressure increases, the pipes will cave in and separate, causing a rupture. Think your water pressure is getting too high? Here’s what to do!

  • Monitor it by attaching a pressure gauge to a sink spout and turning on the faucet. The pressure will move the needle on the gauge and display the water pressure in psi (pounds per square inch). 
  • The water pressure in most homes is between 30-50 psi to avoid damage to pipes and plumbing fixtures.
  • If your home’s water pressure is too high, a SERVPRO technician can install a pressure reducing valve to bring it down to safer levels.


Pipes are meant to last a long time and provide decades worth of reliable service, but they aren’t able to last indefinitely. Over time, buildings experience corrosion which can mean that pipes will show signs of failure or decay. Corrosion is caused by an imbalance of pH in the water. At first, this seems to be a minor issue, but it takes its tolls on the pipes over the years. 

Many water supply pipes are made of galvanized iron, the minerals inside the water slowly wear down the galvanized coating and expose the iron pipe beneath. In time, the iron turns to rust and gradually clogs the interior of the pipe which prevents water from getting through. As a result, your pipe may burst or the water flow may be stopped entirely.

What Should I Do Now?

If you experience a burst pipe, the first step is to turn off the Water Main. Then, be sure to call a professional from SERVPRO of Northeast Minneapolis to remediate the water damage and to determine the cause of the burst pipe. Why is it important? Early detection and annual checkups can help prevent this issue from happening again in the future. Our team of experienced water remediation technicians is able to assist in giving tips for preventing water damage in addition to offering cleanup services.

If this happens to your building, don’t worry. Our team will be on-site as soon as possible to start removing water and determining the source of damage to prevent future disasters. We know that burst pipes are unexpected and downright terrifying, but leave it to us to get it fixed promptly. We’re able to remove water quickly so you won’t have to replace everything and you can go back to your daily routine as soon as possible.