If you have a fire or water emergency, please call us now at (888) 863-1222

To have the optimal experience while using this site, you will need to update your browser. You may want to try one of the following alternatives:

Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Spring Break Home Safety Tips

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Getting away from the snow and cold is great this time of year! Just make sure your home is prepared for your absence.

With Northland schools starting their Spring Break, most of us are also starting our vacations. Going on vacation should be relaxing and worry-free which is why it is important to make sure your home is secure before you leave for your trip. Here at SERVPRO of The Twin Ports, we want you to be ready so you don’t come back to damages in your home.

Make Arrangements with an Emergency Contact

  • Entrust a close friend or family member with your trip itinerary and contact information so they can contact you if anything happens at your home.
  • Set various house lights on a timer to give the impression that someone is home.
  • Leave written directions for alarm codes, doors, or other information needed to properly care for your home.
  • Have a friend or family member collect your mail and paper for you daily. Full mailboxes and porches can tip potential burglars off.
  • Contact the US Post Office and your local newspaper and ask to have your mail held and services suspended if someone cannot collect them for you.

Take Plumbing and Electric Precautions

  • Prevent leaks and floods from damaging your home by shutting off gas and water at the meter, supply tank or appliances. Your local Duluth water company can help with this.
  • Turn off the water valves to washing machines, sinks, and the dishwasher.
  • Unplug electronics to cut down on any possible shortages which could potentially cause a disastrous fire.
  • Double check your smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly.
  • Adjust your thermostat for the season in the winter to 55-60 and in the summer to 75-80 to help control usage.

The Day of Departure

  • Let your security company know that you are leaving town, and leave them the name of an alternate contact in case of an emergency.
  • Take out all trash in the home and clear the fridge of anything that will perish while you are away.
  • Go on one last walk-through of your home to secure windows, blinds, fences, doors, and plugs. This will ensure all entries are safe from hazardous obstructions.

If you come back from vacation and do find damage within your home, call SERVPRO of The Twin Ports (218) 727-2575. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can make it “Like it never even happened.”

Frozen Ground + Rain = Flooded Basements

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Flooded basements can be costly to repair. The quicker action is taken to remove unwanted water, the lower the cost will be.

With February's record snowfall keeping the ground frozen and rain picking up throughout the rest of the week, the potential for flooding is exceptionally high. Below are some tips and tricks to dealing with this issue.

Proactive Tips

Keep water away from your house

Dig out trenches in the snow to direct water away from foundations and entry points *REMEMBER: Water flows downhill - make sure trenches are sloped accordingly*

Remove as much snow from your roof as possible

If you have ice dams, put ice melt on them to free up your gutters

Test your sump-pump - Pour 5 gallons of hot water into your sump pump pit; make sure it is clear on the outside and that water is flowing away from your home

If you have water inside ...

Mitigate as soon as possible! Quick action saves property and money!

  • Control the water that gets inside your house by directing the flow toward drains
  • Remove absorbent materials from the water path (clothing, rugs, carpets & padding, etc.)
  • Call your insurance agent and file a claim

*NOTE: Some water losses are covered, others are not -- your agent will be able to assist you in figuring that out

What You Can Do On Your Own

WATER EXTRACTION OPTIONS:

Shallow water sump pumps and Shop Vacs with auto pump-out units are available at local hardware and home-improvement stores for you to remove excess water on your own.

When to Call a Professional

  • If you are unable to remove all the water within 24-48 hours
  • If water has gotten into wall cavities
  • If insulation has gotten wet
  • If the standing water is excessive (6 inches or more)
  • If the affected basement area is finished and the water has flowed in through a finished wall
  • If there are high value items in the affected area
  • If you are overwhelmed and don't know where to begin
  • When structural drying is necessary (see notes below)

STRUCTURAL DRYING:

Once water is extracted, there is a brief window for drying before mold becomes a problem (typically 3-5 days.) It is extremely important to professionally control humidity and evaporation with the proper equipment.

When you find yourself in any of these situations, remember SERVPRO of The Twin Ports is always "Here to Help!" Call us at (218) 727-2575

Got Mold? (The Answer is Always ‘Yes’)

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Trying to deal with mold is always a big question mark. Leave it to the experts at SERVPRO of The Twin Ports to fully remediate the affected area.

Mold is everywhere! The weather conditions in the Northland are perfect for mold and mildew growth. Mold spores can lie dormant for months until the next change of seasons provides new conditions for different varieties to rapidly take over. If left untreated, mold may pose serious health issues. According to the Center for Disease Control, mold sensitivity can produce a range of symptoms from mild reactions, such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and itchy eyes or skin, to move severe reactions including fever, shortness of breath, or the development of asthma. People with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, or people taking medications that suppress the immune system, are at an increased risk of mold infections.

As experts in the field of mold remediation, SERVPRO of The Twin Ports has decided to extend a free service to Duluth-Superior area residents and business-owners. They have developed an online survey that allows the user to provide some basic information regarding the discovery of mold and about the affected property. Once the survey is submitted, the user is prompted to email pictures of the visible mold to a certified mold technician. The information will be reviewed to determine the best course of action. “Too often, when people discover mold, they try to self-treat it which doesn’t actually kill the mold spores and stop future growth,” owner Kevin Buck explains. “We want to offer our assistance to the community in identifying mold and recommend professional remediation options before the mold has a chance to impact the health of our neighbors and fellow business owners.”

For more information about utilizing the free service, contact SERVPRO of The Twin Ports at (218) 727-2575 or check them out online at www.SERVPROtwinports.com.

Why Pipes Freeze and Burst in the Winter

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Cast iron radiators were commonly found in homes and buildings built prior to the 1950s.

There are several types of water pipes in a typical home or commercial establishment.  Newer homes built within the past 20 years are more likely to have plastic freshwater supply lines.  The plastic material is moderately resistant to freezing, but once it does freeze, it bursts easily. Copper water supply lines were commonly used in the mid-twentieth century and are still frequently found in homes and businesses.  These supply lines are setup with either 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch piping.  The smaller the piping, the quicker it freezes. 

The OLDER homes in the area, pre-1900 to about 1950, have cast iron pipes. If you have an older home with a boiler heating system, you have radiators like the ones pictured. These radiators are supplied with hot water through cast iron piping that circles the perimeter of the house.  If the boiler ever fails, these pipes are vulnerable to freezing.  One remedy for this is the injection of glycol antifreeze into the system.  Check your system to make sure it is adequately protected.  

When pipes get cold, ice crystals can form inside the pipes, causing them to force a water blockage.  If the pipes freeze solid, also known as a “hard” freeze, the ice crystals will expand inside the pipe, causing a split or rupture.   It doesn't matter what kind of piping it is, if the water freezes completely inside the piping, it WILL burst.   

When the water supply is on, it is pressurized (which is why water comes out when you turn on a faucet.) Once a pipe bursts, water will gush out, causing damage to walls, insulation, flooring, and valuable personal property.  For every minute water is running through a fresh water pipe, it will spew out 3-5 gallons of water.   That is about 200 gallons an hour!  You can see how little time it takes water to do a tremendous amount of damage to your property.

If you do discover frozen pipes before a burst has occurred take the following precautions.

  1. Turn the water supply OFF.  It is usually a lever or knob coming up from a water supply pipe coming up into your home.
  2. Turn your furnace up to 75 degrees.
  3. Open all faucet valves, hot and cold.
  4. Put fans around the house to circulate warm air, directing the warm air into areas where the piping may be frozen.
  5. If necessary, place space heaters in the frozen areas.  

Turn on the water supply briefly for a few minutes - enough time to check the faucets to see if they are running.  If not, turn off the water supply and try again once an hour.

If you have a burst pipe, do NOT leave the water on.  Call SERVPRO of The Twin Ports to get immediate assistance in dealing with the residual moisture.

If you see water where it should not be, it IS an emergency situation. SERVPRO of The Twin Ports is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to any emergency in the Duluth-Superior area.

10 Tips to Prevent Electrical Fires

1/18/2019 (Permalink)

A common cause of house fires is faulty electrical wiring. The following tips should be followed to prevent electrical fires. When in doubt, call an electrician.

  1. Call an electrician to check the fuse box or breaker panel. Ask the electrician to correct any damaged components.
  2. Call an electrician to inspect the wiring. Replace any old wiring if the electrician suggests you to do so and have him wrap any damaged portions of wiring with electrical tape temporarily.
  3. Check for broken plugs or switches.
  4. Do not overload any circuits. Limit the amount of appliances you use and plug only into an appropriate outlet. Note that in most homes, the electrical load on a home is greatest during the evening when family members are consuming electricity using several appliances: cooking; running the dishwasher; watching television in the living room; browsing the internet; listening to the radio; etc.
  5. Avoid “octopus” connections, do not overload plugs.
  6. Unplug appliances when not in use.
  7. Use high quality and high standard electrical products when replacing wires or other components.
  8. Do not use damaged appliances.
  9. Install smoke and carbon dioxide alarms where required.
  10. Do not plug too many appliances into one extension cord. Use only high quality approved extension cords that can handle the load.

5 Ways to Fix and Prevent Frozen Pipes

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Bitterly cold temperatures wreaked havoc on much of the country last week. Unfortunately, not everyone made it through without experiencing frozen pipes—us included!

Here are 5 things that we’ve learned about fixing and preventing frozen pipes:

  1. Pipes don’t always freeze in the same spot. Just because a particular pipe hasn’t been prone to freezing in the past doesn’t mean that it won’t freeze this year, particularly after a week of sustained cold.

  2. A hairdryer doesn’t always do the trick. It’s a good starting point, but sometimes pipes are simply too frozen for this strategy to be effective.

  3. The biggest challenge is when pipes freeze behind a wall. Unlike exposed pipes, pipes that freeze behind a wall are difficult to treat. Try cranking the heat to warm the room. Otherwise, unless you want to start poking holes in the wall, you’ll probably need to call a plumber.

  4. A plumber with a thaw machine will be your savior. A thaw machine shoots electricity through frozen pipes to melt blockages in minutes—and many plumbers have them.

  5. Running the water will keep pipes from re-freezing. This isn’t just an old wives’ tale! Letting faucets drip during cold spells is the only effective way to prevent pipes from freezing.

Mold Testing Now Available

8/12/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Testing determines the extent of mold contamination and identifies the type of mold, which makes exploration and remediation more directed.

SERVPRO of the Twin Ports Now Provides Mold Testing Options to Determine if Remediation is Necessary 

How do you know if your home has mold?  Or how do you know if the stuff on your wall is mold or something else?  How much mold is there and what affect will it have on our family?

Now you can validate safe occupancy for any home or business with scientific testing for mold.

  • Air Samples: reveal the mold spore particulate count in living spaces.  Now you can know and understand which areas of your home are unaffected and which areas are affected by mold.  Know what kind is present, how much of it, and what concerns there may be about that particular variety.
  • Surface Samples: reveal if settled dust particles contain mold spores and what kind.   
  • Swab Tests: identifies the type of mold you can see on a surface.  

Call (218) 727-2575 today for a free mold testing estimate.  

Click Here for our free Consumer Guide to Mold  

How to Retain Your Carpet Warranty

4/18/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of The Twin Ports offers 24/7 Emergency Service

Five Quick Things You Should Know about Carpet Warranties

  1. When it comes to maintaining your carpet, one of the most critical areas of focus is the traffic areas. If ground-in soil is not removed on a regular basis, the traffic areas will wear excessively.  Carpet warranties have exclusions for replacement due to normal wear and tear and they ALSO exclude carpets that have not been properly cleaned, showing premature wear patterns!
  2.  Another carpet warranty area of focus is spot removal.   You must react to “danger” spots immediately. Red wine, colored beverages, urine, blood, etc. can cause a permanent stain if not treated immediately. Listed below are steps you can take to properly maintain your carpeting.  Copies of specific warranties on your carpet purchase are available from your carpet retailer. Stain resist warranties can vary from 5 to 20 years.
  3. Here's an excerpt from the Dupont Stainmaster Warranty.   CARE AND CLEANING OBLIGATIONS:   To maintain your warranty coverage you must do the following:  Clean stains or soiled areas promptly.  To qualify for coverage under all limited warranties outlined in this warranty brochure, you must have had hot water extraction cleaning performed by a trained, qualified carpet care professional, at least as frequently as every 18 months since the date of your carpet purchase. Failing to do so will void your warranty coverage.   SERVPRO of the Twin Ports has the most awesome carpet cleaning system ever built - called the VORTEX.  It has 3x the vacuum power of other truck mounted systems, so we are able to dry your carpets in 1/3 the time, it generates 250 degree + temperatures, allowing us to drop the amount of cleaning products used by 10x, we rinse with clear water - so there's no soil-attracting residues left behind.  Of course you would expect this level of technology to cost a little more...and it does, but the value lies in cleaner carpets that stay cleaner longer!  You save money in the long run and your carpets look fantastic.
  4. Frequent Vacuuming is A Key To Your Carpet’s Longevity.  Vacuum your carpet often. Vacuuming removes the sharp soil that can cut and slice the fiber causing premature wear. Much of this soil is not visible to the eye. Ground in dirt particles provide an extremely abrasive grinding action against  your carpet’s fibers as you walk back and forth on the carpet.  This action removes chunks of carpet fiber and rapidly degrades the new-looking appearance.  If you don't have a good vacuum, stay tuned for our vacuum recommendations.  
  5. Vacuum before the carpet "looks" soiled.  Remove any loose particles such as loose food, leaves, pieces of crayon, bugs, etc. as these items can cause a spot on the carpet. Adjust the brush to penetrate 1/8” to ¼” into the carpet pile. Change filter bags when they reach 2/3 full.   After that, they plug up and simply do not pick up any more dirt!

Your Vacuum Cleaner Makes or Breaks Your Carpet

Make certain your vacuum is of substantial quality to provide enough airflow and agitation to remove dry soils embedded in your carpet.  If your vacuum is not performing properly, your carpets will wear much faster.  

Not sure if your vacuum is up to snuff?  Bring it in to our office and we will do a free vacuum inspection to make sure it is working OK.  Most vacuums suffer from a lack of maintenance.  

It's simple, if your vacuum can't "breathe" it won't pick up dust and particles.   Need help with a new vacuum?  If you want a professional quality vacuum like the ones we use, you may contact us for a recommendation.   Which vacuum you need depends on what you will be using it for.  Canister models work best for detail and hard surface cleaning, and uprights are generally best for carpets.  

Warranties and Professional Cleaning

As a general rule, professional cleaning by an IICRC certified firm such as SERVPRO of The Twin Ports should take place at least once per year. For extremely heavy traffic areas, cleaning is required more often. Proper professional cleaning will not leave a sticky residue behind and can be done as often as needed.   MOST STAIN RESIST AND TEXTURE RETENTION WARRANTIES REQUIRE PROFESSIONAL CLEANING EVERY 12-24 MONTHS.

Professional cleaning removes the damaging soil from the traffic areas that vacuuming has not been able to remove. WARNING: UN-INFORMED CARPET CLEANERS MAY USE CLEANING PRODUCTS THAT MAY VOID THE WARRANTY. BE VERY SELECTIVE WITH WHICH COMPANY YOU HIRE.

SERVPRO of The Twin Ports has trained and certified technicians "Here to Help"

(218) 727-2575

Mold Removal in College of St. Scholastica

4/5/2016 (Permalink)

The College looks like 25 years ago!

Thank you @Mickey Fitch for the amazing review: "We (The College of St. Scholastica, Residential Life) had Kevin and his crew from SERVPRO Twin Ports come in to clean our brick stairwells in some of our residence halls. They were efficient, highly communicative, and excellent partners through the whole process. Now, because of the work that they did, the stairwells look like what they did when the buildings were built 25 years ago!"

ELECTRONICS RESTORATION

3/18/2016 (Permalink)

Computers, televisions, stereo equipment, DVD players, computer routers, oscilloscopes, electrical meters, flat bed scanners and industrial electronic

SERVPRO of the Twin Ports utilizes the Omegasonics 2300E® Electronic Cleaning Station effectively and safely restores sensitive electronics, including computers, televisions, stereo equipment, DVD players, computer routers, oscilloscopes, electrical meters, flat bed scanners and industrial electronics, removing all fire damage contaminants without saturating the items in water. Once cleaned, items are placed into the Omegasonics 6500E® Electronic Drying Chamber, a state-of-the-art system that thoroughly dries and deodorizes electronics using a low-temperature, high-volume updraft drying design.

Winter Ice Dams: Cause, Effects, and Prevention

2/5/2016 (Permalink)

What Causes Ice Dams?

What Causes Ice Dams?


Ice dams form when melting ice and snow refreeze above the eaves of your roof and subsequent melting backs up under the shingles. This causes interior leaks and water damage to interior walls and ceilings.


Preventing Ice Dams


Proper ventilation, drainage, clearing of leaves and debris

  • Check and seal places where warm air could leak from your house to the attic: vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches and light fixtures are all possibilities
  • Inspect, or have your roof and attic inspected for proper ventilation and insulation
  • Look for signs of inadequate ventilation: rust spots, rusty nails or a mildew smell are all signals that moisture has formed on the inside of your roof
  • If you have soffit vents in your eaves, make sure they are not blocked and insulation surrounding them is secured so that air can flow easily
  • Keep snow from accumulating on the lower three to six feet of your roof



Additional Steps

  • Install snow and ice slides to prevent ice and snow from "bonding" to the lower roof
  • Install a rubberized ice and water shield beneath the roof shingles for the first three to six feet from the eaves up
  • Install heating cable along the eaves to melt ice



Removing Ice Dams

  • Consult a roofing professional
  • Do not use a snow blower, shovel or blowtorch to try to chip, break or melt ice dams

Although SERVPRO of The Twin Ports does not have the proper equipment to remove ice dams, we do know how to dry out the interior structure if ice dams have caused internal water damage. 

Contact us at (218) 727-2575 for more information.

A Message from the Owner: A Consumer's Guide to Carpet Cleaning

5/23/2014 (Permalink)

Call us to find out more information about cleaning the carpets in your home or business.

CONSUMER GUIDE TO CARPET CARE

Six Costly Misconceptions

Hi! This Kevin Buck, owner of SERVPRO of The Twin Ports.  We're your locally owned and operated SERVPRO franchise serving the Duluth and Superior (Twin Ports) market.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to provide you with information about carpet cleaning and help you choose a carpet cleaning company.

I've been in the carpet cleaning business for over 30 years. In that time, I've learned that carpet cleaning is the subject of much confusion. In fact, people have so many misconceptions about carpet cleaning that I decided to offer this consumer education message so when you select a carpet cleaning company, you can make an informed decision.

Misconception #1: You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpet.

Dirt is abrasive like sandpaper. Every time you step on the carpet, you grind dirt into your carpet fibers. This cuts your carpet causing it to wear out faster. A dirty carpet will not last nearly as long as a clean carpet. While vacuuming helps, it's simply not enough. Then longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster it wears out.

Misconception #2: The only reason to clean carpets is to get out the dirt.

As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollen, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and hundreds of other chemicals. When you and your family members come into your home, you carry those various compounds with you, in your hair and on your skin, clothing, and shoes. Not surprisingly, all those pollutants wind up in your carpet.

If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems, one major source of your problem could be the pollen, fungus, and chemicals in your carpet.

In addition, tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemical compounds, 43 of which cause cancer. Even if you don't smoke, those chemicals get carried into your home simply by being out in public spaces. If you're sensitive to cigarette smoke, you might find that you'll breathe easier after you hire a professional to get those harmful chemicals out of your carpet.

In addition to getting rid of dirt, another important reason to clean your carpet is to get rid of pollen, fungus, bacteria, chemicals and the tars and residue from tobacco smoke.

Misconceptions #3: One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another.

Unfortunately, this is not true. You can choose from two primary methods: Dry cleaning or hot water extraction. 

DRY CLEANING METHODS

First, I'll explain dry cleaning. Many people believe that dry cleaning your carpet is like dry cleaning your clothing. This is not accurate. All carpet cleaning methods use water to clean.  Some methods use more water than others.   “Dry Cleaning” for carpets should really be called “Low Moisture Cleaning”.  Here are three methods of dry cleaning carpet.

Dry Foam

When a carpet cleaner uses dry foam, he applies shampoo to your carpet, allow it to dry, and then sucks the dried shampoo chunks into a vacuum. Can you imagine applying shampoo to your hair, allowing it to dry and then removing the shampoo from your head with a vacuum? This method can leave a residue in your carpet, which is one reason dry foam is not very effective, however a new spin on dry foam called ENCAPSULATION cleaning is quite effective.  It utilizes a crystallizing detergent to suspend and capture soil particles in an acrylic polymer which actually CAN be vacuumed out.  It is a cost effective maintenance method for commercial carpets.

Bonnet Cleaning

The Bonnet Cleaning method is similar to dry foam. The major difference is that when bonnet method is used, the company sets a large cotton bonnet on your carpet. Using a machine, the bonnet spins from side to side, absorbing the dirt that's in the carpet. After the bonnet is saturated with dirt, another cotton bonnet is applied. Bonnet cleaning is like trying to use a large towel to rub the dirt out of your carpet. It can, however, be effective on glue down or commercial carpets.

Dry Compound

The dry-compound method spreads an absorbent mixture made of recycled corn stalks.  It looks like wet sawdust all over your carpeting. Then the machine brushes the mixture into the carpet, which in theory causes dirt to absorb into the mixture. Once the mixture has dried, a vacuum cleaner sucks the residue out of the carpeting. However, vacuuming does not remove all the residue, which accumulates over time between the carpet and pad.  Because the carpet is not rinsed in any way, this method is not very effective.

HOT WATER EXTRACTION

The second carpet cleaning method is called “hot water extraction”. This is a fancy way of saying that a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure is forced into the carpet and then sucked out of the carpet. This method is also referred to as steam cleaning even though steam is not used.

Shaw Industries, the world's largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction and you can choose from two different types: Portable extraction, which is done with a small machine. Or truck mount extraction which means the large cleaning machine is mounted in a truck or van. 

SERVPRO of The Twin Ports has the largest, most powerful truck mounted cleaning unit ever made.  It's called "the VORTEX" .  The VORTEX generates 300+ degree heat, which dissolves oil and dirt with 10x less cleaning products used.  Plus, because it has a vacuum powerful enough to power 3 simultaneous users, your carpets are dry in 1/3 the time!  You will not believe the difference between other truck mounted units and the VORTEX system.

Misconception #4: Having the right equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpets properly.

Not true. Many companies own hot-water cleaners but a many company employees don't know how to use them. You probably know someone who bought the newest computer on the market, but didn't learn how to use it for a year or more. The same is true with carpet cleaning machines. The company you are considering may own good equipment, but the employees may not know how to use it correctly. This is why it's important that you choose your carpet cleaner carefully.

The best carpet cleaning companies are those that have been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, known as the IICRC.   A carpet cleaning company cannot buy this certification. The carpet cleaner must earn the certification through study, experience and the successful completion of formal, written examinations.

Cleaners who are certified by the IICRC have, in effect, earned a degree in carpet cleaning.  In addition to IICRC training all SERVPRO carpet techs are required to complete a proprietary SERVPRO course training in production and safety. 

The IICRC provides written credentials to the companies it certifies. So before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask to see written proof of the company's IICRC certification.  All certified technicians are required to carry an IICRC certification card with them. 

Misconception #5: The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire.

Maybe, but not always. Here are two important points to consider.

Point #1:

The price you see offered may not be for the services you want performed. Before you select a company, decide what you want to accomplish. If you want the carpet cleaner to remove only some of the dirt, you can choose from hundreds of companies that use small shampooers or other cleaning methods. Or, you can even rent a machine at the grocery store and do the job yourself.

On the other hand, if you want your carpet thoroughly cleaned, removing the harmful dirt, bacteria, pollen, chemicals and tobacco residues, then you need to hire a company that uses a hot water extraction unit mounted in a truck like the VORTEX. This is the only way to assure that your carpet remains healthy and free from dirt, disease-causing bacteria, and hurtful chemicals.

If you want the best, most powerful cleaning available, seek a company that utilizes a Vortex unit. SERVPRO of The Twin Ports has powerful portable extraction units that we use for high rises and the places the Vortex machine cannot be used.  We offer the same quality assurance, however.  It just takes us more time. 

So remember that the price you see offered may not be for the services you want performed.

Point #2:

The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have learned that the low price they saw advertised was not the amount they were charged. If you've ever hired a carpet cleaner, you too may have been the victim of false or misleading advertising. You probably learned the hard way that some carpet cleaners offer a cheap price and then pressure you into paying a lot more once they get inside your home. Some of them may even break the law by using illegal bait and switch tactics.

As in all businesses and professions, the carpet cleaning industry has its share of bad apples. I take no pleasure in telling you this, but some are unethical and, sadly, a few are dishonest. By their misleading advertising and false promises, they cast a dark shadow on our entire industry.

Then you'll find other carpet cleaners - professionals like us who work hard to earn your trust and respect.

As a way of improving our profession, I've dedicated my business to educating the public. The only way you can make an intelligent decision is to have all the facts you need. This is why I've written this consumer guide. And to help promote my efforts at consumer education, we offer ongoing classes at our facility in Duluth.

Misconception #6: Any honest carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the telephone.

I wish this were true, but it isn't. Consumers often think that if they want to clean four rooms and the price is $40 per room, then the price will be $160. But most often if it seems too good to be true it is.   

First, honest, most reputable carpet cleaning companies usually price carpet cleaning by the square foot. So if you'd like us to tell you the exact cost of cleaning your carpet, we need to know the exact number of square feet that you want cleaned. To get an accurate measurement, we use a Laser measuring device to calculate the exact size of the carpet area

You'll be glad to know that the carpet area to be cleaned is not nearly as great as most people think. For example, if you want your entire home cleaned and your home is 2000 square feet, the amount of carpeting to be cleaned might be only 1200 square feet. This is because most home measurements are outdoor measurements. Plus we deduct the area taken up by walls, room dividers and the like. The result is that the actual area to be cleaned is usually only about 60% of the square footage of the home. 

So even though we can't always give you an exact quote over the telephone, here are things we consider when quoting a price. 

First, we consider the type of carpet. Certain types of carpet are harder to clean than others. So before we can give you a quote, we need to know the type of carpet you want cleaned. 

Second, we factor in the amount of soiling. Carpet that hasn't been cleaned for ten years will take longer to clean than carpet that was cleaned within the last six months. 

Third, the amount of furniture that has to be moved is also considered. If we have to move your furniture, the bid must include that labor. But if you move your furniture, we have a 10% empty room discount.

To recap, we consider the type of carpet, the amount of soiling, and the amount of furniture that has to be moved. So, as you can now imagine, every quote is different. 

If you're thinking about having your carpets cleaned, I offer these four recommendations: 

Recommendation #1: Make a commitment to yourself to get your carpets cleaned. The longer they remain dirty, the sooner they'll wear out and the potential for adverse health effects rises.

Recommendation #2: Consider your objectives. Do you want only the dirt removed, something you could do with a rented machine. Or do you want the bacteria, fungus and chemicals removed, which will require a hot water truck mount cleaner, like I use.

Do you want to work with an honest, reputable company -- or are you willing to risk working with the company that offers you the lowest price -- knowing that company might not be in business tomorrow.

Recommendation #3: Ask questions. The way you learn about a company is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are the questions I suggest you ask: 

1. What method of carpet cleaning do you recommend?

2. What type of equipment do you use to clean carpet?

3. What does your equipment remove from my carpet?

4. How often should I get my carpets cleaned?

5. What training have you had in cleaning carpets?

6. Are you a member of any trade associations and, if so, which ones?

7. Are you certified by the IICRC and will you show me your certificate?

Recommendation #4: Once you're satisfied that you're working with an honest, competent professional, invite him into your home and ask for a specific quote in writing. A written quote gives you the assurance that you know exactly what your job will cost -- no surprises.

By following these four recommendations, you'll gain all the information you need to make an informed, intelligent decision. If you want a quick, cheap carpet cleaning job, many companies in the phone book can help you. Or you can rent a shampooer and do the job yourself. 

But if you want your carpeting to be completely and thoroughly cleaned, then I invite you to call SERVPRO of The Twin Ports.  In addition to 24/7 emergency services like water damage and fire cleanup, we are your local experts in carpet and floor care.

We’ll be happy to answer your questions and set up a time to come into your home or business and give you a free written quote, without obligation of any kind. To reach us, call (218) 727-2575.