When your home gets a case of mold, your first instinct might be to clean it yourself. Common types of mold which can grow out of control indoors are Stacybotrys chartarum and Stachybotrys chlorohalonata – also informally known as “black mold”. Trying to figure out how to clean up black mold on your own, however, is a dangerous idea for homeowners. You face a real possibility of not fully correcting the problem, and in the process you can expose yourself and others to a variety of health hazards.


At ServiceMaster of Calgary, we know who know how to remediate mold effectively and efficiently. As experts we, also, know what can go wrong when you try on your own. Read on as we break down why removing black mold is a job best left to the professionals.

Risks Associated with Removing Black Mold

First and foremost, it's important to realize that black mold can lead to health problems such as respiratory distress, headaches, eye irritation and other symptoms of mold sensitivity. Those with allergies, asthma and compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to health threats from black mold and the toxins it can create. It's no wonder why professional crews use respirators, full-body suits and other specialized equipment to limit their exposure.

In addition to taking into account the obvious health risks, a residential mold removal service knows exactly how to tackle a black mold outbreak and is able to completely eradicate your mold problem with equipment and proven techniques. They're experts in the multitude of scenarios and ways in which black mold can pose trouble to a homeowner intent on DIY mold cleanup. Here are just a few:

1. Mold that covers a large area. As Health Canada points out, the size of your mold infestation will influence the equipment and methods needed to properly contain it. The larger the contamination, the more complex a cleanup can be. An expert will know the best way to tackle the mold infestation based on its size, location, cause and other factors.

 Keep in mind that improper cleanup of a small outbreak can actually make things worse by releasing mold spores into the air, failing to address the root cause and other common mistakes that homeowners can make.  Let a pro handle the job right the first time.

2. Mold that develops after flooding. If you've experienced a flood in your home, from a burst pipe, faulty appliance or roof leak, you might assume that once you've cleaned up the standing water you're all set.  If any mold develops later it can appear and spread quickly even in small areas impacted by flooding. Without fully eradicating the black mold outbreak and completely eliminating its source of moisture, the problem won't go away. That's where the experience and know-how of a professional comes in handy.

3. Mold in your air system. If you see visible mold on your vent covers or air conditioning slats, you can try to wipe down those particular areas. However, this visible mold may be indicative of a system-wide infestation which may be circulating mold throughout your house. You need evaluation by a professional to find out if there’s a problem and take care of it from the inside out. A professional service provider knows how to detect and clean up black mold even when it's hiding inside those hard-to-reach areas.

4. Mold that's growing on wood. Sometimes moldy wood is salvageable, and other times it needs to be replaced. In many cases, moldy wood may be hiding in a part of your home that you can't see, such as inside walls or in your crawlspace. Do you know which scenario you're dealing with? An expert will.

Hopefully you never have an issue with mold in your home, but if you do, contact us for help. Our experts know exactly how to remediate mold problems of all sizes, thus helping to keep your home air quality safe for your family and your home spared from further damage. When it comes to something as tricky as removing black mold, this is one job you'll be glad you left to the professionals.


Here comes WINTER! Are you prepared?

Get ready Calgary!  Winter is arriving today.  The forecast calls for 15-25 cm of snow between today and Saturday.   If you are heading west of the City, the expected snowfall is closer to 40 cm.   Since most of us tend to procrastinate on getting ready for the arrival of winter (and secretly wish for warmer weather); here is some information to help prepare for those snowy commutes and winter driving conditions.

Nov 1st, 2017     TransCanada Highway near Canmore

Nov 1st, 2017     TransCanada Highway near Canmore

Do you have an emergency car kit in your vehicle?  The basic kit should include:

  • Blanket
  • Candle in a deep can and matches
  • Extra clothing and shoes
  • First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
  • Flashlight (crank or battery-powered). Replace batteries once a year.
  • Food that won't spoil (such as energy bars)
  • List of contact numbers
  • Radio (crank or battery-powered). Replace batteries once a year.
  • Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
  • Warning light or road flares
  • Water
  • Whistle

Recommended additional items to keep in your vehicle

  • Antifreeze, windshield washer fluid
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Road maps
  • Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
  • Tow rope and jumper cables

Environment Canada offers this advice on what to do during a severe storm.

If you are using transit or car-sharing,  make sure you are prepared to wait out any unexpected delays.  Drive safe; stay warm and welcome winter to Calgary!

#yycwinter #abstorm #SMCalgary25





Winterizing your home helps keep the heat in and the cold out, which can mean lower energy bills for you and increased spending money for all your holiday shopping. Learning how to winterize your home effectively can also help prevent damage to your property and belongings and reduce the risk of injury for you, your family and any guests who might stop by to visit. ServiceMaster Restore® wants everyone you love to stay safe and energy-efficient this winter, so we put together a checklist to help you winterize your home before the cold weather hits.


Winterize Your Home Checklist:


  • Drain A/C water lines to prevent freezing and turn off water directly from the shut-off valve.
  • Drain any outdoor water lines from swimming pools and sprinkler systems.
  • Detach garden hoses from spigots and drain the hoses before storing them in a protected area.
  • Insulate pipes in any unheated interior spaces like the attic, basement, crawl space, garage and under the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
  • If temperatures drop dramatically, let the faucet drip and keep cabinet doors open in the kitchen and bathroom sinks to keep your pipes from freezing.


  • Clean out your gutters to keep snow melt running freely and prevent the formation of ice dams.
  • Caulk around the outside of windows and doors to keep cold air out of your home. Leaks around windows and doors can increase your energy costs.


  • Add interior weather-stripping around windows and doors.
  • Apply insulation film to windows to cut down on heat loss through the glass.
  • Consider adding a storm door to entryways that lead outside.
  • Use draft guards in front of doors that lead to an attached garage, multi-season room or patio.
  • Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. In the winter, they should rotate clockwise to push warm air back down into the room.
  • Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned, if necessary.

Insulation and HVAC

  • Make sure your home has adequate insulation, including in the crawl space, above the garage, in the basement and in the attic. Proper attic insulation will help prevent ice dams on the roof.
  • Change your air filters and have your HVAC system professionally inspected before you turn on the heat this year. Deal with any ducts or vents that need cleaning to allow for maximum indoor air quality.


  • A must-do on every winterizing home checklist is to install and use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats let you store and repeat multiple daily settings or override any setting manually without changing the weekly program. It's that easy. According to the Department of Energy, turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for just eight hours can save you between 5 and 15 percent on your annual heating bill. That said, you should never set the thermostat lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid freezing the pipes.
  • If you're going to be away from home during winter for more than a day or two, don't forget to unplug your appliances, turn off all portable heaters, leave your ceiling fans running and open the doors to your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets to allow warm air to flow around the pipes.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a pipe breaks or our homes suffer some other kind of unforeseeable damage during winter. If that happens, the professionals at your local ServiceMaster® Restore are here to help – 24/7/365. We're always available with expert advice, training and equipment to help you get back to normal as soon as possible.

Flood Preparedness. Are you ready?


One of the most frequent and costly natural hazards in Canada is overland flooding.  If you aren’t aware of the term, it is when water flows overland and seeps into buildings through windows, doors and cracks. Floods have affected hundreds of thousands of Canadians and cause millions of dollars in damages each year. However, the bigger concern for many Canadian homeowners is that they aren't insured for overland flooding, and can be left to deal with expensive repairs and replacing valuables.

Climate change scientists report that severe rain storms are occurring more often in many parts of Canada, and they are expected to continue to increase in frequency and severity. Therefore, it has never been more important to make sure your home is flood ready. 

Here are just a few of the reasons to make sure you're prepared for overland flooding events.

  • If water got into your home before, it could get in again unless you take action.
  • Finished basements used as living space may have more furniture and expensive electronics, making it more important to protect your home.
  • Since overland flood damage is typically not covered by your home insurance policy, a small cost now can save you a lot of money after the flood.
  • Floods may have long-term health impacts on your family if they cause molds to grow.
  • Homes in older neighborhoods are usually more vulnerable than homes in newer neighbourhoods.

Being flood ready can save money, properties and lives. There are lots of things you can do to reduce potentially expensive damage from overland flooding. Some are relatively quick and easy.

  1. Put sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors.
  2. Install flood shields or barriers for basement windows and doors.
  3. Raise large appliances in the basement above the potential water level from a flood.
  4. Secure furnaces, water heaters, and/or oil tanks so they won’t tip over in a flood.
  5. Check that all basement flood drains are not blocked or covered up.
  6. Make sure your sump pump is working and install a battery-operated backup.
  7. Ensure your property is graded so that water runs away from your basement walls.
  8. Check that your roof and eavestroughs are draining properly in heavy rains.
  9. Make sure your downspouts extend at least 2 m (6 ft.) from your basement walls.
  10. Use a rain barrel to catch runoff from your roof.

ServiceMaster Restore has been helping home and business owners cope with water damage for more than 60 years. When your basement floods, call ServiceMaster Restore to handle the water extraction, drying and any necessary mold removal.

H2O No!

Water in your home is a significant problem, able to cause costly damage to your home’s structure and its contents. When a water leak occurs, your first step should be to shut off the water to minimize damage. In some cases, you might need to shut off water to a specific fixture that’s leaking. In more serious incidents, you’ll need to find the water shutoff valve for your entire house. In this post, we’ll help you understand the different types of water shutoff valves and how to use them to prevent or mitigate a flooding catastrophe.

Finding Your Water Shutoff Valves

Every plumbing fixture in your home has a water shutoff valve, and knowing the location of this valve is important should a leak occur. Generally, you can identify the valve by looking for a plastic or chrome-plated valve handle that connects to the water supply line. Look behind or under the toilet or sink, for example, to find this valve. Note that sinks usually have two shutoff valves: one for hot water and one for cold water.

Operating these valves can vary depending on their design. There may be a round or oval-shaped valve handle that you turn clockwise to close, and counterclockwise to reopen. Some modern plumbing shutoff valves may feature a flat knob that you pull out in order to close. Others may look like flat levers, which you can turn perpendicular to the supply line to reach the closed position. In many cases, operating instructions may be indicated directly on the valve.

For the best protection, you’ll want to identify where to find the water shutoff valve for your entire home.Locations vary from residence to residence, but many homes feature a main shutoff valve inside the building, and where this valve is located depends on your type of residence. If you have a basement, your main shutoff valve may be located by the front foundation wall. Although there is no standard location, homes on slabs may include the main water shutoff valve by the water heater or the kitchen sink.

If you can’t find the main water shutoff valve inside your home, head to your water meter. Your water meter will likely be located close to the street in an underground box. It may also be under a metal plate in your driveway, yard or sidewalk. Once you open the meter, you should see a top shutoff valve that can stop water flow to your house.

Tip: As with other types of shutoff valves, your main water valve can usually be turned clockwise or perpendicular to the line in order to turn off your entire water supply.


 Understanding When to Shut Off Water

Now that you know where to find water shutoff valves in your house and how to operate them, it’s important to be aware of the situations when you might want to shut off your water. To begin with, it’s a good idea to turn off the water as soon as you notice a leak, no matter how minor. If the leak is clearly coming from a specific plumbing fixture, you can shut off water to that fixture to stop the water flow. On the other hand, if leaking is significant or you can’t identify the source of the leak, you should use the main water shutoff valve for the entire house.

Make sure every family member knows where these shutoff valves are located so that a minor water incident doesn’t result in major damage. Consider writing out instructions so everyone in the household knows how to act if they spot a leak. Test these values at least twice a year to ensure proper operation. Finally, when you’re heading out of town, use these valves to shut off water flow so that you don’t come home to water damage or a flood.

Don’t wait for an emergency. Identify where and how to turn off your home’s water supply so you can minimize the potential damage to your home and possessions. If you notice signs of water damage inside your home, contact the experienced professionals at ServiceMaster Restore® to safely and effectively clean up the mess before dangerous mold or structural damage sets in.

Enjoy your BBQ by Following These Safety Tips

When the weather gets warmer, it’s always fun to gather with friends and family for an outdoor cookout. After all, nothing spells spring or summer like the smell of burgers, steaks, hot dogs and chopped veggies fresh off the grill – until something starts burning, that is. 

While gas and charcoal grills are an easy way to cook up large amounts of delicious food, they can also pose a fire danger to your property and family. By following a few simple BBQ safety tips, you can prevent injury while keeping your home and surrounding property safe. Learn the most important grill safety tips from the experts at ServiceMaster of Calgary Restore® to keep your property out of harm’s way the next time you smoke, sizzle or sauté outside.


Practice Good Grilling Habits

Whatever kind of grill you use, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk of fire or injury. Here are some basic grilling safety tips to follow:

•Set your grill up a safe distance away from structures and overhangs, including your main building, shed, garage, trees and other potentially flammable objects.

•Never use your grill inside, in a tent or under an outdoor awning or carport. Doing so can pose a serious fire hazard and potentially cause carbon monoxide poisoning if you’re using a gas grill.

•Light your gas or charcoal grill using special long-length lighters or long matches to avoid getting burned. Keep all ignition sources out of the reach of children.

•Never leave an actively burning grill unattended, and let your grill fully cool before you cover or store it.

•Clean your grill thoroughly and often to reduce flammable buildup inside.

Be Aware of Proper Charcoal Grill Safety

Many people swear by the taste of food cooked on a classic charcoal grill. This popular way of cooking is fun, but it also poses unique fire risks of its own. Keep these important BBQ safety tips in mind if you own or use a charcoal grill:

•Only add enough charcoal to cover the bottom of the grill. Don’t pile too much inside since it could cause ashes and sparks to become airborne, possibly catching nearby objects or even your home on fire.

•Store extra charcoal in a secure place away from other potential fire hazards, and preferably in an airtight metal container.

•Only use starter fluid specifically designed for charcoal. Apply it to cold coals only, and don’t add extra fluid once the grill is lit. Otherwise, the flames could get too high, resulting in possible burns or an uncontained fire.

•Empty your used ashes only when they have fully cooled. Never store or dispose of them in a garbage can or leave them on a deck. Even when cooled, ashes can still cause a fire. It’s best to dump them on garden soil or contain them in a metal receptacle for proper disposal.

Use your Gas Grill Wisely

Gas grills are convenient and easy to use, and require less refueling than charcoal grills. But gas grills are also susceptible to fire risks, so it’s important to be aware of how to properly operate your gas grill. Remember these safety tips if you own a gas grill:

•Open the lid before lighting the grill. This allows oxygen to escape and reduces the risk of fire or even explosion.

•Check your grill’s gas line and tank fittings regularly for leaks. You can do this by brushing soapy water around these areas. If you see bubbles emerge, there could be a leak somewhere. Replace any damaged/leaking parts and make any other needed repairs before using the grill.

•If you have spare gas cylinders, never store them under a stairway or the eaves of your home. Place them upright and outside, away from any structures to minimize fire risks.

•Turn off your grill using the controls first, then close off the gas line at the tank. This helps to ensure any excess gas can escape safely.

If you happen to experience a fire during BBQ season, the professionals at ServiceMaster of Calgary Restore® are always available to help. We hope you never need to make that call but if you do, we’re available 24/7/365 to  assist you.

Electrical Safety Before, During and After a Flood

Disaster response isn’t always straightforward. Among the less obvious risks to consider during a water emergency is the potential for damage or injury caused by compromised electrical systems and components. From electrical fires to electric shock and even death, the dangers associated with live electricity during and following a flood should be taken seriously.


While any disaster can introduce electrical safety hazards, the mixture of water and electricity is notoriously potent. Whether due to a natural flood event or a water leak in your home or commercial building, any flooding incident requires specific electrical safety precautions. Read the electrical safety tips from ServiceMaster Restore to protect your people and property before and after a flood.

Electrical Safety During a Flood

Among all the risks posed by flooding, the dangers associated with your electrical system are some of the most severe. It’s critically important to treat all electrical appliances, equipment, and outlets with caution. Keep these electrical safety tips in mind whenever you’re dealing with an active flooding situation:

  • Never step in standing water that covers electrical outlets or devices – the water could already be charged with a lethal amount of electric current.
  • If you see downed power lines, avoid them, and notify your local power provider immediately.
  • Avoid any areas where you see sparks or hear popping or buzzing noises.
  • Be on alert for an acrid or "burning plastic" smell, which could indicate an electrical fire.
  • Do not attempt to operate electrical equipment or appliances that have come into contact with water until a certified electrician says it’s safe.
  • Follow all the electrical safety precautions from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

Electrical Safety After a Flood

In addition to mold, bacteria and structural weaknesses that can result from prolonged exposure to lingering water, your electrical system and components remain vulnerable as long as moisture is present. Beyond the lingering risk of electric shock or electrical fires, rust and corrosion from excess water can damage these elements beyond repair.

After any flooding event, you should consult a certified electrician or inspector to determine the extent of damage to your electrical system. You may have to replace a number of components, such as:

  • Wiring, circuitry, switches and outlets
  • Fixtures
  • HVAC equipment and water heaters
  • Major appliances, especially anything with a motor
  • Electronics

Once the electrical hazards are contained, contact a team of water mitigation professionals who can safely assess the extent of the water damage and create a plan to restore your home or business to normal as soon as possible.

Electrical Fire Safety Inspections and Awareness

Of course, the need to observe safe practices around electrical systems isn’t limited to disaster situations. Watch our short video to learn how to reduce the electrical fire safety risks at your home or business right now.


The electrical systems and equipment in your building are complex, powerful and potentially dangerous. Although the risks increase with floods and other water disasters, electrical malfunctions and emergencies can occur at any time. Follow the electrical safety tips from ServiceMaster Restore to keep yourself and others safe.

ServiceMaster of Calgary is 25!!

25 years ago, it started with just one person, Rob Ordman.  Now, we have a team of over sixty.  To celebrate Service Master of Calgary's 25th birthday, owners Rob and Beth Ordman invited all of their staff to celebrate with them last Friday, May 12th at Wurst on 4th St SW.  Guests were greeted by photographer, Jeff Miles, for a photo on the red carpet before joining the rest of the festivities.  Everyone mingled, shared stories and enjoyed the tremendous appetizers served during the cocktail hour.  There was a small presentation in the middle of the evening where 2 people were presented with their Certificate of Appreciation for Long Service.  Rob Ordman presented Jim Bourlon with his 15-year award and ruby pin.  Then, Christina Schapansky (SM Calgary's longest serving employee) presented Rob Ordman with his 25-year award and diamond pin.  There was an amazing buffet dinner served of salads, spaetzle, salmon, roast beef and topped off with a dessert buffet. The evening was capped off with a group photo to commemorate the 25th anniversary! Thanks to Rob and Beth for a great evening!  Here's to another 25 years!

How to Form a Family Emergency Plan

Your family is your number one priority, especially in emergency situations. You may not be able to predict and plan for every possible scenario, but you can create a family emergency plan that will prepare your family and help keep you safe in a range of circumstances.

Family preparedness is about more than protection against actual emergencies. You’ll gain everyday peace of mind knowing that you and your family have a clear strategy in place to stay safe, calm and ready if disaster strikes.

Start a Discussion

Have a conversation with the members of your family about the importance of being safe and prepared in emergencies. Encourage kids to participate by asking them to brainstorm different kinds of emergency situations and natural disasters. Begin the planning process by exploring the most common disasters in your area.

Make Your Family Emergency Plan

Some emergencies, such as house fires, call for immediate evacuation. Others, like tornadoes and other unpredictable storms, often mean taking shelter in the safety of your home. Your family emergency plan should help prepare you for both.

Follow these steps to create a comprehensive family preparedness plan:

  1. Establish shelters and meeting places.

When choosing your shelter, pick a place away from windows and exposure to the outside. Basements and closets are generally the safest options, along with specially designed safe rooms. Your shelter should be equipped with emergency supplies, clear of obstacles and ready for use at all times.

In case you need to evacuate, identify at least two primary exits, and keep these areas clear of obstacles, too. Designate a neighbor’s front yard or another safe outdoor location nearby as the family meeting place.

  1. Collect essential information.

Make a list of emergency contacts, and make sure your family has access to the information. Use the Family Emergency Plan template from to get started. Keep records of important medical, insurance, and identification information in your shelter so they’re safe and easy to access. Make sure your kids know how to call 9-1-1, and help them memorize important emergency phone numbers in case of evacuation or separation.

  1. Create an emergency kit.

Start with a large plastic storage container, and clearly mark it as the family emergency kit. Inside, stash enough supplies to help you and your family survive for at least three days.

Your family’s emergency kit should include:

  • Non-perishable food
  • Bottled water
  • Blankets
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Important medications
  • And other emergency preparedness kit items

Ask your kids what items they think are important in an emergency, and discuss their suggestions so they can learn how to prioritize in a crisis. Have your kids help pack the kit so they see everything that goes in to emergency preparation and safety.

Don’t forget about Fido! Stash pet food, bowls, extra leashes, ID tags, medications, and carriers or crates for your four-legged family members, as well.

Put Your Plan into Action

Review your family emergency plan and safety procedures together regularly, and practice executing your plan at least twice a year. Imagine hypothetical situations that will help you respond to specific emergencies. Set a timer to continually work on improving how long it takes everyone to reach your designated shelter or meeting place. In home fire drills, you can practice crawling on the ground to avoid smoke or block off certain areas to focus on alternate escape routes. The more scenarios you practice, the better prepared you will be.

Family preparedness will help keep you and your loved ones safe in the event of a crisis. Make your family emergency plan today, and start practicing so you’re ready to respond if and when disaster strikes.


May 7 to 13th is Emergency Preparedness Week!

Do you have your 72 Hour Emergency Kit?  What about your Car Kit?  You should also have a Grab-and-Go bag.  If you have pets, you might need special items for them so consider an emergency bag for your pets.  



Visit for more resources to help you and your family prepare your 72 Hour emergency kits. You will also find lots of other information there to help your family face a range of emergencies.  

Remember, it is important to:

  • Know the risks - By knowing the risks specific to our community and region, it can help us be better prepared.
  • Make a plan - It will help us and our family know what to do.
  • Get an emergency kit - During an emergency - we all need some basic supplies.  We may need to get by without power or tap water.  Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in an emergency.

ServiceMaster of Calgary Sponsors NASA Race Bibs For Next 3 Years

ServiceMaster of Calgary has committed to supporting the Nakiska Alpine Ski Association for the next 3 years by sponsoring race bibs for their SARC program.  Our owners, Rob and Beth Ordman, also donate their time as part of NASA's team of race officials; even after their own kids have long been retired from racing. 

ServiceMaster of Calgary will proudly display the #1 Bib presented To Rob and Beth Ordman as a token of NASA's appreciation in our office.

ServiceMaster of Calgary will proudly display the #1 Bib presented To Rob and Beth Ordman as a token of NASA's appreciation in our office.

Check Smoke Detectors Before an Emergency

How to Inspect Your Smoke Alarms

Regularly checking smoke alarms is a basic part of home and building maintenance that will help keep your home or business safe. Smoke detector checks are a necessary and effective way to protect your building and the people in it from smoke and fire emergencies, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep yours working properly.

Use the tips below to ensure your smoke detectors are up to snuff. In a true fire emergency, working smoke detectors could mean the difference between life and death. Check your smoke detectors today to keep your home or business as safe as possible.

Why Check Smoke Detectors?

There aren’t many items in your home or office that can actually save lives in a fire emergency, but smoke alarms are one of them. In fact, residential fires are more than twice as likely to turn deadly in homes without working smoke detectors, according to the National Fire Prevention Association.

Providing as much time as possible to escape the premises is of paramount importance during a fire, whether it’s a large commercial facility that takes extra time to evacuate or a small family home full of people who are fast asleep. In a fire emergency, working smoke alarms offer a critical early warning that can directly impact the survival of the people you care about.

Tips on Checking Smoke Alarms

While smoke detector technology is more advanced and reliable than ever, it’s still important to inspect and test yours regularly. Follow these tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore to conduct a proper smoke detector check in your home or office. Enjoy everyday peace of mind knowing that you’ll have essential, life-saving support when you need it most.

  1. Test monthly. Check every smoke alarm in the building at least once a month using the integrated test button.
  2. Change the batteries. If your smoke detectors include a removable battery, replace it at least once a year. Don’t wait until your alarms start chirping to install fresh batteries. Set a reminder, and always stay protected.
  3. Replace alarms every 10 years. Replace the entire smoke detector apparatus every 10 years to ensure you have the latest technology and best protection available. Non-removable lithium batteries only have a 10-year guarantee, so even “long-life” smoke alarms need to be replaced after 10 years.
  4. Be in compliance. The NFPA maintains fire prevention codes and requirements for all types of occupancies. Explore the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code and the Life Safety Code from NFPA to ensure you have the latest information and are in compliance.
  5. Follow the instructions. The manufacturer of your smoke detectors will provide model-specific instructions for maintaining and checking the smoke alarms in your home or business. Keep all documentation so you can refer to it as needed.

A fire can wreak havoc on any home or business. While the remediation professionals at ServiceMaster Restore are here to help you recover from smoke or fire damage to your home or business, it’s up to you to ensure the proper safety procedures and equipment are in place to keep your family and co-workers safe in the midst of an emergency. Checking smoke alarms regularly and correctly is a critical, simple measure you can take to help save lives should the unexpected occur.

ServiceMaster Sponsors the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts!

The 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts starts this weekend.

We are gearing up as the Diamond sponsor and we’re thrilled to be a part of this great Canadian tradition that will take place February 18th – 26th in St. Catharines, Ontario. In recognition of our major sponsorship of the event, ServiceMaster Restore Day is being held on Thursday, February 23rd.

Be sure to tune into TSN throughout the nine days to watch the Tournament and to see the digital rink board that features the ServiceMaster Restore iconic van in with a 30 second animated piece.

There will be a special hospitality night on our sponsor day at the HeartStop Lounge and a Toque Toss at Saturday night’s draw during the final championship weekend. Staff members will be on the ice throwing ServiceMaster Restore hats into the audience between commercial breaks. We also have the honour of presenting a toque to Bill Hudgins - 90 years old, avid fan and competitive curler. Bill represented Northern Ontario in the 1956 Brier and was a repeat champion of competitive bonspiels.

We are looking forward to this special event in St. Catharines.  If you are watching on TV, keep your eye open for us - and if you are in St. Catharines, we hope you attend and catch one of our great toques next Saturday night!

Limiting Mould Growth in the Winter Months

Cold and wet winter months can create the perfect atmosphere for mold to grow. When water from rain, sleet and snow during the winter months gets tracked inside, the increased moisture can create more humid conditions inside your home, allowing mold to grow more quickly.

Luckily, there are a few easy ways to reduce and control mold growth in your home this season. Read these tips from ServiceMaster Restore® to as safe and mold-free as possible.

Tips to Control Mold Growth in Winter

  • Keep indoor humidity below 45%. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the best way to control indoor mold growth is to carefully monitor and maintain your home’s moisture level. If the humidity in your home rises, look for the sources of added moisture and address the problem as soon as possible. Place a dehumidifier in these rooms to lower the moisture level until a permanent solution is found.
  • Set ceiling fans in reverse. Your fans should turn counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. If you set your ceiling fans to turn clockwise during chilly winter months, you will pull cold air up and draw the warmer air downward, which can both save you money on energy bills and keep your home a bit warmer. Good air circulation will also keep condensation from building up on cold walls and windows, where it can be a potential source of mold growth.
  • Use exhaust fans in the bathroom, kitchen and other areas of the home that frequently accumulate excessive moisture. Good air circulation can help ensure that moisture doesn’t have a chance to sit and promote mold growth.
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly, especially if there is an abundance of dead leaves stuck in them. While you’re at it, make sure that the area around the downspouts is graded, so that any water coming off your roof flows away from your foundation, rather than sitting close to your home where it can pool and contribute to mold growth.

Call a professional. If you can’t readily see a moisture problem but you find traces of mold growing in your home, it may be time to seek professional help from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®. Our home restoration specialists have the training, experience and equipment to treat, reduce and control mold safely and effectively so your home can become your personal safe haven again. Let us use our proven expertise to create a comprehensive mould remediation plan that can prevent long-term damage to your home and health.

How to Remove & Prevent Mold in Your Basement

Mold, a type of fungi, needs moist conditions for growth. Homeowners often discover mold growing on shady areas of an outdoor deck and on the tile and grout in a bathroom. However, the discovery of mold in a basement is most common. Fortunately, mold can be prevented and removed by mold remediation experts at ServiceMaster Restore®.

Common Causes of Basement Mold

You know that smell. It’s damp, musty and unpleasant. A basement should not have that smell. That musty smell is from mold. Mold needs moisture and likes humid conditions where the air circulation is minimal. It can’t grow in freezing conditions or under ultraviolet light.

Mold does grow well in most basement conditions. The most common causes of basement mold include:

  • Foundation cracks leaking moisture into the space
  • A leaking pipe
  • Poorly sealed/insulated windows
  • Poor ventilation and high humidity
  • Inadequate drainage away from the foundation
  • Flood/water damage

How to Prevent Mold in Basement Spaces

The key to preventing mold is to eliminate the growing conditions it likes. Begin by increasing the basement’s ventilation and decreasing its humidity. This may require running fans and a dehumidifier. The next step is to determine the cause of the moisture.

Has a pipe leaked? Are there foundation cracks allowing in moisture? Is there condensation on the windows? Has the basement flooded recently during a storm?

Mold prevention requires finding the source of the moisture, repairing the issue to eliminate further water damage, reducing the basement’s humidity and inhibiting the growth of additional mold.

How to Remove Mold from Basement Spaces

Depending on the extent of the mold issue, its removal may be as simple as a thorough cleaning or more complex requiring the expertise of the ServiceMaster Restore® professionals. Mold growth limited to individual items such as cardboard storage boxes is simple. Transfer the items in the boxes to water-proof containers and dispose of the moldy cardboard. Locate and eliminate the source of the basement’s moisture, increase the ventilation and if needed run a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels low.

Safety Tip: Always wear protective gloves and goggles when working with bleach or other cleaners. Make sure the area is well-ventilated.

Remove mold from items like clothing, blankets and other fabrics by thoroughly washing and drying. It may require bleach or a non-chlorine bleach product to remove the moldy smell completely. Always check the manufacturer’s label before using bleach on a fabric.

Wet, moldy carpet/rugs and upholstered furniture requires professional cleaning or possibly removal. Professional cleaning teams like ServiceMaster Restore can safely and effectively clean and restore personal items affected by water damage and mold, including books, documents, artwork and more.

After any water damage, trust the clean-up and mold remediation to the experts. The technicians from ServiceMaster Restore know where mold hides, from behind drywall to lurking on insulation. Locating and removing all sources of mold as well as thorough drying is essential for mold removal. By using state-of-the-art technology and high-quality products, ServiceMaster Restore® performs full mold remediation so you can reclaim your basement.

How to Deal with Odors After a Flood

If you recently experienced any kind of water damage to your carpets, be cautious – a remaining musty odor could do more than simply stink. Lingering water damage smells could indicate the continued growth of mold or mildew, which thrives in damp conditions. Protect your carpets and your health by learning how to get rid of musty smells in your home safely, using these tips from ServiceMaster Restore®.

Getting Rid of Mildew Smells in Carpet

Getting rid of a mildew smell in your carpet may seem like a challenge, but it’s actually pretty simple to do. The first step is to make sure that the source of the water damage smell has been fully dealt with first so that any mold or mildew causing the issue doesn’t continue to spread. Consider calling mold remediation experts to inspect and address any lingering leaks or mold issues for you, since handling it on your own can be dangerous.

Once you have addressed the original water damage and mold issues to prevent regrowth after cleaning, follow these steps to get rid of or prevent a mildew smell in your carpet:

  • Completely dry the affected area. If the room has windows, keep them open for several hours to distribute fresh air and speed drying. Dehumidifiers help remove moisture from both the air and your carpet fibers. Floor fans also increase air circulation, and pointing the airflow directly on your carpet will accelerate drying time.
  • Treat the carpet with a cleaning solution. Mix one cup of vinegar and 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Gently spray the solution onto areas of the carpet that smell. Be sure not to oversaturate the area, since this can trigger more mold to grow.
  • Pour baking soda over the treated areas. Baking soda quickly absorbs odors and is safe to use around children and pets. Allow ample time for the baking soda to absorb any leftover moisture or odors, preferably overnight, and then vacuum it – and the smell – right up.

If you still sense a water damage smell after cleaning the carpets in your home, try freshening the air, as well. All three of these common household items help absorb bad smells in the home:

  • Vinegar: place bowls of white vinegar around the room to quickly lift the odor out of the area. In a couple days, your home will smell as good as new.
  • Cat litter: place small, open containers of clean cat litter throughout the room. Change the litter regularly, and it should absorb most of the odor over time. Tip: don’t try this method at home if you already live with cats – they’ll think they have extra places to go to the bathroom!
  • Baking soda: like cat litter, baking soda can quickly and easily absorb foul water damage odors when placed in open containers around the room and changed regularly.

Once you’ve taken care of the source of your water damage, prevented the spread of mold and mildew and thoroughly cleaned your carpets, you home should smell fresh and free of foul odors. If the smell returns or you think you need professional help to deal with the damage, contact the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®. We have advanced deodorization tools and techniques to eliminate odors from your home so you can breathe easy again, plus comprehensive mold remediation services that can help keep you and your family safe.

Winter Holiday Fire Safety Tips

holiday fire safety tips

According to the American Red Cross, winter holiday fires claim more than 500 lives each year and cause approximately $554 million in property damage. We put together some essential winter holiday fire safety tips to help reduce those numbers.

Follow these suggestions from our fire restoration experts, and keep your family, home, pets and belongings safe this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Winter Fire Causes

During the winter and all through the holidays, there are several seasonal factors that can increase the risk of fire in your home. These factors range from increased fireplace and candle usage to Christmas tree fire hazards. As beautiful as these light touches may be, it’s important to keep certain holiday fire safety tips in mind.

General holiday fire safety includes:

  • Never leave a room when a candle is burning. Candle fires are four times more likely to occur during the holidays.
  • Never burn wrapping paper, garbage or other debris in your fireplace.
  • Always supervise children around fireplaces, wood burning stoves and any open flames, even candles.
  • Check your space heater before using it. If it’s not operating correctly or the cord is damaged in any way, don’t use it.
  • Test every smoke detector in the house and make sure all of them have charged batteries. A September 2015 report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) stated that the death rate per 100 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms (1.18 deaths vs. 0.53 deaths per 100 fires).

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

The winter holidays can be the busiest time of year for many households. There are family activities, community events and parties to attend, and you may even be hosting a gathering or two in your own home. Kids are excited, the days are short and there seems to be a never-ending list of things to get done. However, now is not the time to ignore or forget about basic holiday fire safety, which includes Christmas tree fire safety.

Christmas Tree Fire Safety:

  • Live trees need to be fresh and stay fresh until removed from your home. Look for a tree with needles that pull back easily from the branches but don’t break. Tap your tree on the ground. If it sheds a ton of needles, it’s not fresh.
  • Keep a freshly cut tree watered so it doesn’t dry out and become a fire hazard. Or, use a potted live tree and plant a memory from this Christmas season to grow for years to come.
  • Never place your Christmas tree near a fireplace, wood burning stove or other open flame.
  • Never place real, burning candles on your Christmas tree as decorations.
  • Christmas trees should not block doorways or exit routes, in case of a fire.
  • Only buy fire-resistant artificial trees.
  • Inspect all strands of Christmas lights before placing them on your tree. Look for fraying wires and other damage.
  • Never use more than three sets of light strands per one extension cord.
  • Check all extension cords for damage or fraying; don’t overload a single electrical outlet.
  • If you’re going to be away from home, turn off the Christmas tree lights and consider unplugging all non-essential electronics and appliances.
  • Keep lit candle displays at least three feet away from the tree.
  • Only decorate a tree with non-combustible or flame-resistant decorations.

Outdoor Decoration Fire Safety

Just because your decorations are outside doesn’t mean you can ignore specific holiday fire safety precautions. Be sure that any extension cords you use outside are labeled for outdoor use. Look on the label and packaging to determine whether your cord is made for the outdoors.

All outdoor lights need to be fastened securely to your home’s porch, columns, gutters, surrounding trees or other supports that will stay secure, even in blustery conditions. Always plug outdoor lights and electric decorations into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet or use a surge protector for safety.

Visit ServiceMaster Restore's blog for more seasonal tips and all-around advice from the restoration professionals at your local ServiceMaster Restore®.