Preventing Ice Dams on Homes

Here is some great info on preventing ice dams on your home from the Insurance Institute of Building and Home Safety.

During freezing weather, heat from your home or business can escape through your roof and melt snow on your roof. The snowmelt can then trickle down to the roof’s edge and refreeze, creating an ice dam that leaves additional snowmelt with no place to go but possibly under your roof. The following IBHS guidance will reduce your risk of ice dams.

  • Keep all drains, scuppers, gutters, and downspouts free of debris and vegetation that may restrict proper flow.
  • Remove or relocate heat sources that are installed in open attic areas directly under the roof, such as an attic.
  • Insulate light fixtures in the ceiling below an unheated attic space.
  • If you have penetrations into the attic, such as vents, seal and insulate them so that daylight cannot be seen and airflow is minimal.
  • If ice dams form around the drains, connect heating cables to the drains to prevent ice buildup. Heating cables can also be placed on the roof, connecting them to the drainage system so a path is created for the melting ice to follow.


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Summer Fire Safety

Perhaps the best part your summer is getting out to do some grilling, but fire prevention experts are warning, between 2009 and 2013, more than 350 fires were caused by home grilling units.

To keep you grilling experience from going up in flames, it’s best to leave at least three feet of space around your grill for safety, never let the flame burn without you nearby watching it, and if the flame goes out, turn the gas off and wait about 15 minutes before relighting it.

As the summer sun heats up, fire safety experts also warn that the mulch typically used around your home in gardens and flower beds dries out, making it flammable with something as small as ash from a bon fire, grill, or even cigarette ash. Certain fire extinguishers won’t be enough to put out the type of fire that starts in mulch, because it can smolder underneath for hours.  Even if you think you put the fire out, call your local fire department to be sure.

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And the Award goes to…

ServiceMaster Restoration Services of Oshkosh/Baraboo received an award for being in the top seven among 50 restoration franchises in the upper Midwest region for 2014.  ServiceMaster’s upper Midwest region includes portions of seven states and the metros of the Twin Cities of Minnesota, De Moines Iowa, Madison Wi and the Fox River Valley. Thanks to all our employees for a great 2014 and a job well done!!

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Mold You Know

Symptoms of Mold Exposure

The most common symptoms of mold exposure are runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and aggravation of asthma. Individuals with persistent health problems that appear to be related to mold or other types of air quality contaminant exposure should see their physicians for a referral to specialists who are trained in occupational/environmental medicine or related specialties and are knowledgeable about these types of exposures.

Decisions about removing individuals from an affected area must be based on the results of such medical evaluation. Mold is naturally present in outdoor environments and we share the same air between the indoor and outdoor, it is impossible to eliminate all mold spores indoors.

Ten Things You Should Know About Mold

1) Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory problems.

2) There is no practical way to completely eliminate mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

3) If mold is a problem in your home or building, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

4) To prevent mold growth any source of a water problem or leak must be repaired.

5) Indoor humidity must be reduced (generally below 60%) to reduce the chances of mold growth by: adequately venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning.

6) Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

7) Clean mold off of hard surfaces with water and detergent and dry completely.

8) Prevent condensation: reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (e.g., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.

9) In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem on the floor, do not install carpeting

10) Mold can be found almost anywhere. Mold can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods; almost anything can support some mold growth provided there is moisture, time to grow and food to eat.

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Municipalities in Focus

As you are probably aware or have read by now, ServiceMaster Restoration Services specializes in residential and commercial disaster response.  One of the other areas that we are building, is a strong foundation in serving municipalities. Municipal infrastructures are the key for many of us having reliable water and sewer service.  Sometimes things don’t go perfectly, such as in the event of a sewer backup caused by a wastewater system malfunction, or a water main break caused by cold weather that floods homes or businesses.  More and more municipalities are choosing to call ServiceMaster Restoration Services for our quick and professional response.  If you are involved with a municipality or serve on a municipal board and would like more information on how we can help, please contact ServiceMaster Restoration Services at (608)-356-8888 for further details.

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What to Do When Your Home is Damaged in a Winter Storm


  • Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information as soon as possible. Cooperate fully with the insurance company, and ask what documents, forms and data you will need.
  • Take photographs/video of the damage.
  • Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (i.e., cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
  • Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs covered by your insurance policy.
  • If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses incurred while repairs are being made. Save all receipts to document these costs.


* Information provided by NAIC

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When the Weather Outside is Frightful

Winter is right around the corner, and although beautiful, winter precipitation can knock out heat or power, sometimes for several days.

Make sure your policyholders are prepared, no matter what this winter season may hold, by sharing these home tips.

Prevent ice dams by periodically inspecting the roof drainage system for proper flow, including drains, gutters and down spouts.

Before turning on the furnace for the first time, clean or replace the filter, check the blower belt and motor, ensure the vents in the house are unobstructed and remove flammable objects from around the furnace and water heater.

Use caution with electric space heaters. Choose heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. And never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.

Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.

Know how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.

Insulate walls and attics, check caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows, install storm doors or windows and cover windows with plastic.

Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in the house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.

If a policyholder’s home is damaged as a result of winter weather, ServiceMaster Restoration Services is here to return their lives back to normal as quickly as possible. Whether it’s water, fire or smoke damage, our restoration experts are ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


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Continuing Education Classes

Servicemaster Restoration Services will be hosting Contunuing Education Classes on Tuesday, December 2nd 2014

Risk Management for Business # 69762 (3) Credits               9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

This course will review the Risk Management decision making process and discuss the goals of Risk Management as it pertains to the protection of assets of the business organization. The Steps in the Risk Management process will be reviewed and key words and terms will be defined. Included in our discussion will be a review of loss exposures that are inherent to Cyber Space in the 21st Century.

Professional Liability Insurance # 69860 (3) Credits                 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The class will discuss how Professional Liability Insurance helps protect advice and service-providing individuals and companies from alleged liability claims. We will discuss why you must distinguish between the traditional general liability type of claims and professional liability claims. Coverage reviews will focus on how Professional Liability Insurance policies defend alleged negligent claims made by clients and others for failure to perform under the terms of a professional services contract. We will take close look at a number of Professional Liability Insurance policies, with special emphasis on the Insurance Agents E&O Insurance policy.

*Instructor for these classes will be Jim Lane

The classes will be held at Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, 600 W. Chestnut Street, Baraboo, WI 53913

Tuition for each class is $10.00 or $20.00 for the day, with lunch provided.

To register, please email Name, Agency, Licence #, Phone # and the Address for certificate to be mailed, to or call (608) 356-8888. Please mail in payment to 600 South Boulevard Baraboo, WI 53913, if registering by phone a credit card may be used for payment.

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Fire Prevention Week

When was the last time you checked you smoke alarm?  Now is the time as October 5th – 11th is fire prevention week.

Did you know that almost 60% of reported home fire deaths in 2007 to 2011 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Cooking is the leading cause of fires in your home with 2 of every 5 fires starting in the kitchen.

In 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires caused $6.9 billion in direct damage.  If a fire does happen to your home it can cause injuries, damage and emotional stress.  Our team at ServiceMaster Restoration Services is certified, trained and equipped to take care of your home after a fire.

You can get more fire facts, info and even take a quiz on your fire prevention knowledge on the National Fire Protection Association website –

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Mold Prevention Month

September is Mold Prevention Month. Mold can introduce health risks ranging from skin rash to liver damage. Below is a list of  ten things you should know about mold.  If you are experiencing mold problems, contact the experts at ServiceMaster Restoration services today!

Ten Things You Should Know About Mold

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
    1. venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
    2. using air conditioners and de-humidifier
    3. increasing ventilation
    4. and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
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