Recent Posts

MOLD: Do vs. Don't

9/18/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation MOLD: Do vs. Don't Mold Remediation

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • DO stay out of affected areas.
  • DO turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • DO contact SERVPRO of McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Do NOT touch or disturb the mold.
  • Do NOT blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Do NOT attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Do NOT spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

We are prepared to help you face this issue when it arises.  Our team is prepared to deal with microbial growth and will help you take care of this issue quickly.  If you have any questions about microbial growth or have any concerns about your home or business, let SERVPRO of McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties put your mind at ease.  Call us today at (423) 745-4165 for any mold or mildew issues you are dealing with in your home or business! 

Source: SERVPRO of Jackson

National Preparedness Month

9/11/2017 (Permalink)

General National Preparedness Month American Red Cross

Create a Family Game Plan

In an emergency, every second counts- that’s why it’s crucial to have a game plan, and why this year’s National Preparedness Month theme is “Don’t Wait Communicate.”

 This September, as part of National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross encourages all Americans to develop a family game plan. Get started using the steps below!

Check with your local chapter for trainings and events in your community.

Steps to Create a Family Game Plan

  1. Download Apps

  2. Make a Plan

  3. Get a Kit

How Red Cross Supports National Preparedness Month

Different types of disasters and emergencies happen in communities across the country, but there are key steps that every household can take to be better prepared for them. If you do nothing else this month, take time to create a disaster plan including a home fire escape plan.

All Red Cross regions are celebrating National Preparedness Month by implementing programs in communities throughout the county. Some examples of our work include:

  • Conducting in-home visits to test and install smoke alarms and provide fire safety and disaster education
  • Presenting The Pillowcase Project, a youth preparedness program sponsored by Disney, to thousands of 3rd-5th grade children across the country.
  • Participating in America’s PrepareAthon! by working collaboratively with local government entities to support community-specific initiatives, like registrations for emergency notification systems
  • Encouraging households with children to download the free Monster Guard app, which teaches youth about preparedness through a fun game
  • Serving as a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation AmbassadorTM
  • Collaborating with United States Fire Administration on the Fire Is Everyone’s FightTMcampaign, and planning smoke alarm installation events during Fire Prevention Week

Source: American Red Cross

Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

9/4/2017 (Permalink)

General Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day? Happy Labor Day

For a lot of people, Labor Day means two things: a day off and the end of summer. But why is it called Labor Day? Labor Day is a day set aside to pay tribute to working men and women. It has been celebrated as a national holiday in the United States and Canada since 1894.

Labor unions themselves celebrated the first labor days in the United States, although there's some speculation as to exactly who came up with the idea. Most historians credit Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, with the original idea of a day for workers to show their solidarity. Others credit Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J.

The first Labor Day parade occurred Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. The workers' unions chose the first Monday in September because it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. The idea spread across the country, and some states designated Labor Day as a holiday before the federal holiday was created.

President Grover Cleveland signed a law designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day nationwide. This is interesting because Cleveland was not a labor union supporter. In fact, he was trying to repair some political damage that he suffered earlier that year when he sent federal troops to put down a strike by the American Railway Union at the Pullman Co. in Chicago, IL. That action resulted in the deaths of 34 workers.

In European countries, China and other parts of the world, May Day, the first day in May, is a holiday to celebrate workers and labor unions. Before it became an international workers holiday, May Day was a celebration of spring and the promise of summer.

Membership in labor unions in the United States reached an all-time high in the 1950s when about 40 percent of the work force belonged to unions. Today, union membership is about 14 percent of the working population. Labor Day now carries less significance as a celebration of working people and more as the end of summer. Schools, government offices and businesses are closed on Labor Day so people can get in one last trip to the beach or have one last cookout before the weather starts to turn colder.

Source: HowStuffWorks

Love Thy Neighbor Project

8/28/2017 (Permalink)

Back Sacks

About the Program

The Back Sacks Program serves to eliminate food insecurity by providing weekend meals to students in need at McMinn County High School and Etowah City School. Back Sacks are prepared by volunteers and members of Education Angels, our partnering student organization. The Back Sacks are then delivered to the guidance office at McMinn County High School and the principal's office at Etowah City School, who oversee the distribution process. The weekend meals typically include a canned protein, vegetable, fruit, grain, juice or breakfast drink, and a few snacks.

The Love Thy Neighbor Project is working to expand this program both within McMinn County High School, Etowah City School and other schools in need. If you’re a parent of a student who needs a Back Sack, please contact us at 423-746-5273.

Fighting Childhood Hunger

How can a child focus on solving a math problem or memorizing a new word when she or he is trying to ignore the persistent pangs of hunger?

Across the country, teachers and school nurses have found that in some instances, Monday morning comes and they are forced to compete against hunger for the attention of their students. More than 18 million children qualify for free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program, the fuel that they need to get them through the week (via Feeding America). Over 70 percent of students in the Athens City School System and 62 percent of students in the McMinn County School System received free or reduced lunch during the 2013-14 academic year.

What happens to these children when they go home over the weekend? Many students who are on these free and reduced lunch lists go home every weekend and have very little to eat until the beginning of the next school week. Childhood hunger impacts one’s ability to cognitively process new information, stay attentive during class, and is a significant predictor of chronic illness (Weinreb et al., 2002). Studies show that students who go hungry are not able to focus as much on school work, and when students are not able to focus on school, they do not perform well in the classroom. When these students reach high school, it's tempting to drop out of school, in order to help support their families. This continues the cycle of poverty on to the next generation. The Back Sacks Program offers assistance to break this cycle and keep students in school.

Credit: Tennessee Wesleyan University

School Emergency Plans

8/21/2017 (Permalink)

School Emergency Plans

Like individuals and families, schools, daycare providers, workplaces, neighborhoods and apartment buildings should all have site-specific emergency plans.

Ask about plans at the places where your family spends the most time: work, school and other places you frequent. If none exist, consider volunteering to help develop one. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead, and communicate with others in advance.

For more information on working together, visit Citizen Corps.

Schools and Daycare

If you are a parent, or guardian of an elderly or disabled adult, make sure schools and daycare providers have emergency response plans.

Visit Ready Kids for more information.

  • Ask how they will communicate with families during a crisis.
  • Ask if they store adequate food, water and other basic supplies.
  • Find out if they are prepared to "shelter-in-place" if need be, and where they plan to go if they must get away.

For more information on developing emergency preparedness plans for schools, please visit the U.S. Department of Education:


How To Clean Your Home in One Weekend

8/7/2017 (Permalink)

Sparkling in no time. 

When the clock springs forward, it signals a time for renewal, rejuvenation, and refreshing. Along with brighter weather and blossoming buds, spring gives us an opportunity to hit the reset button, and that includes some spring cleaning. Let’s be honest, though, even Southern women dread cleaning the entire house. But, fortunately, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or an intense scrubbing session. With a little spring in your step, you can easily put that extra hour of daylight to good use with this simple three-day cleaning guide. The benefits of cleaning on the weekend allow you to entertain guests for a late Sunday night dinner or free up your time on weekdays. So, get ready to roll up your sleeve, and wake up to a clean home when the alarm sounds on Monday.

Friday Evening: Get Ready

If you’ve had a long day at work or running errands, don’t worry. You won’t actually start cleaning until Saturday. Friday should be reserved for setting a plan in motion, buying the necessary supplies, and finding a place or organization where you can donate all the clothes and personal items you want to give a

Saturday: Get Set

  • Using a durable pair of cleaning gloves and wash cloths, wipe up the grease on the stovetop and in the bottom of the oven. You can spray the oven lightly with water and wipe it down with a damp rag.

  • Next, head to the bedroom. First, remove bed linens, mattress pads, and curtains that need to be washed. In addition to washing the sheets, curtains, and comforters, you’ll want to flip the mattresses and put clean, fresh linens on the beds.

  • Sweep the floors or vacuum carpets in each bedroom. Cobwebs can be found everywhere, from corners and baseboards to ceilings and corners, so make sure you vacuum and clean those hot spot areas thoroughly.

  • Dust and polish any nightstands, wood furniture, desks, or bookshelves in each room. If your bedroom has mirrors or glass tabletops, clean those too!

  • Then make your way to the bathrooms, and begin by removing the shower liners. If they’re washable, wash them on delicate cycle to get mold and mildew off the curtains, and hang to dry.

  • Reorganize bathroom cabinets and your closet. This includes donating items you don’t plan on wearing again to charity and tossing those barely-used tubes and expired makeup in the garbage.

  • Lastly, spray the shower, tub, and toilet with cleaner. Once the cleaning solution has set, wipe them down and rinse clean. Finish up by sweeping or mopping the bathroom floor. You can place or plug in a few air fresheners in the bedroom or bathroom to really freshen up your home.

Sunday: Go Full Steam Ahead

On Sunday, try to focus on the kitchen, entertaining areas, and living room.

way. Cleaning will be much easier and efficient when dividing the home into four sections: bedrooms, kitchen, living area, and bathrooms. But, you’ll want to spray the oven with cleaner on Friday night so it can soak overnight.

  • The stove should still be clean from the previous day’s wipe down, but if there are any stubborn stains remaining, use baking soda and a little elbow grease to clean the stove completely. Replace drip pans.

  • If necessary, defrost the freezer and wipe down shelves and the vegetable crisper.

  • Deep clean the microwave, removing grime, splatters, and food remnants from last night’s meal.

  • Wipe down all surfaces, kitchen counters, and center islands.

  • Next, mop the kitchen floor to clean any sticky spots. Don’t forget the area behind the fridge!

  • Make sure to tidy up the pet areas (if any) by cleaning up bowls and discarding puppy pads or litter boxes.

  • Vacuum the living area, moving furniture around to get to those hard-to-reach spots. Using the attachment, vacuum cushions, blinds, and curtains for dust bunnies, crumbs, and pet hair.

  • Lastly, take out the trash and wipe down the waste bins before inserting a new bag. Give your home a good once-over to make sure you didn’t miss any spots or forget to put something away.

When the cleaning is done on Sunday, kick up your feet, open up the windows for some fresh air, and congratulate yourself on a job well done. You’ve earned it!

Credit: Michelle Darrisaw, Southern Living 

Everybody Clean-Up! Tips for Keeping Your Classroom Clean

7/20/2017 (Permalink)

Are classroom messes making you miserable?  Get students in on the act and straighten your classroom in no time at all.  The ideas below are teacher-tested with excellent cleaning results!

Classroom Clean-Up Ideas

Magic Helpers

Linda, who teaches 1st Grade in Pacific, MO, adds a bit of magic to her clean-up routine.  “I found that my little ones will be more willing to help clean up our classroom if we have some fun with it,” she explains.  “I tell them that it is time to ‘call in the elves’ to help with the cleanup. Of course, the elves only come out and help with my students, so I turn my back and count to 30 (or more, depending on how messy the room is…) and when I turn around the kids are in their seats, the room is spotless, and the elves have magically disappeared! They love the idea that only they can get the elves to come out and help, and it works every time ! They even beg to “call in the elves” when it looks like the room needs tidying. This has never failed to get the class motivated for some cleanup.”

Mystery Trash

Keep your floors clean with this idea by Sarah, who teaches 3rd grade, in Kentucky.  “I always had problems keeping my floor clean throughout the day and by the end of the day it was always messy. In order to get the students motivated to clean up the floor, I pick a mystery piece of trash. Sometimes I plant it in a place that is hard to find, or I pick something that is obvious. As soon as I announce that there is a mystery piece, the students race to pick up as much trash as they can find. If they find the mystery piece, they get a piece of candy. They are happy and I am happy because my floor is spotless!”

Stuck on You

Get students stuck on cleaning with this inexpensive and fun idea by Laurie, a 2nd Grade teacher, from Shannock, Rhode Island.  “Clean up after messy cutting projects or even at the end of the day can go quicker when you give each child a masking tape bracelet. The children delight in cleaning up when picking up scraps with their bracelets!”

What are some of your favorite ways to motivate students to help you clean the classroom?  Share them with us below!

Credit: Brandi Jordan, Really Good Stuff

What To Do After Smoke Damage Has Happened

9/21/2016 (Permalink)

Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to personal property and structures. Quick action is the only way to minimize the destruction. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, IICRC, is a globally recognized organization whose mission is to establish higher industry standards. As a referral source for consumers, IICRC  certified firms are more likely to provide a faster, better service  than non-certified competitors.

Restoration costs increase and damages escalate when the cleaning process is extended. By hastening the hiring process and using an IICRC certified technician, owners  will be rewarded by having the damage stopped so repairs can begin.

What happens only minutes after the disaster?

Immediately after a fire, soot residue settles onto the property. Discoloration of porous materials is permanent, but other surfaces may be properly cleaned to remove the discoloration. Acidic soot begins staining other surfaces if not treated quickly.

Within hours all surfaces begin to suffer from fire and smoke damage. Wooden furniture may require refinishing. Metal begins to rust, pit and corrode. Painted walls begin to yellow. Clothing  can become permanently stained. And finally, flooring may require refinishing or replacement.

If left untreated, within weeks the restoration process will take longer and cost more.  Prolonged soot exposure permanently harms all surfaces and embeds in fibers. Replacement of property may be the best option at this point. The structure may continue deteriorating if not properly restored.

IICRC suggests the following steps after the incident:

  • Remember safety comes first. Do not enter the property without proper work gloves and  appropriate respiratory protection. Exposure to soot residue causes respiratory distress and other medical emergencies.
  • Bring along a few box fans. Upon entering the property open the windows and place the box fans in the windows to force out the contaminated air and dust. Proper ventilation helps to prevent further smoke damage and reduces potential injury to people.
  • Remove loose smoke contamination with a professional dry cleaning soot sponge.
  • Clean every surface with soap and water. Begin at the top and work down to the floor. Be sure to get inside cabinets and cupboards.
  • Using a high efficiency vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filter, vacuum upholstery and carpet. A good filtration system on a high efficiency vacuum prevents the soot from being blown back into the cleaned space. Clean or change the filter regularly.
  • Launder bedding, clothes, curtains, and other washable materials. An alkaline cleaner neutralizes the acid found in the soot. Fine materials should be professionally dry-cleaned by a dry-cleaner who is experienced in smoke damaged articles.
  • Clean the exterior walls and eaves using a water hose attached to the proper cleaner. Agitate and loosen stuck-on soot. The smoke damage to the outside of the property will continue until the soot is removed.

Though heavy residues require the assistance of professional restoration technicians, a certified technician may be contacted for any amount of smoke damage. Improper processes can further harm the property or belongings.

IICRC certified technicians have training and experience in the techniques needed to restore the property. If structural distortion or warping has occurred, it may be necessary to consult a general contractor. Luckily, most insurance companies will cover the cost of the restoration, less your deductible, so get started today to get the property back into original condition.

Article By:

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a certification and standard-setting nonprofit organization for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. The IICRC serves the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Japan, in partnership with regional and international trade associations.

Mold Growth, Assessment, and Remediation

9/21/2016 (Permalink)

Hidden mold

Mold is detectable by smell and signs of water damage on walls or ceiling, and can grow in places invisible to the human eye. It may be found behind wallpaper or paneling, on the inside of ceiling tiles, the back of drywall, or the underside of carpets or carpet padding. Piping in walls may also be a source of mold, since they may leak (causing moisture and condensation).[8]

Spores need three things to grow into mold:

  • Nutrients: Cellulose (the cell wall of green plants) is a common food for indoor spores.
  • Moisture: To begin the decaying process caused by mold
  • Time: Mold growth begins from 24 hours to 10 days after the provision of growing conditions.

Mold colonies can grow inside buildings, and the chief hazard is the inhalation of mycotoxins. After a flood or major leak, mycotoxin levels are higher even after a building has dried out.[7]

Food sources for mold in buildings include cellulose-based materials such as wood, cardboard and the paper facing on drywall and organic matter such as soap, fabrics and dust-containing skin cells. If a house has mold, the moisture may originate in the basement or crawl space, a leaking roof or a leak in plumbing pipes. Insufficient ventilation may accelerate moisture buildup. Visible mold colonies may form where ventilation is poorest and on perimeter walls (because they are nearest the dew point).

If there are mold problems in a house only during certain times of the year, the house is probably too airtight or too drafty. Mold problems occur in airtight homes more frequently in the warmer months (when humidity is high inside the house, and moisture is trapped), and occur in drafty homes more frequently in the colder months (when warm air escapes from the living area and condenses). If a house is artificially humidified during the winter, this can create conditions favorable to mold. Moving air may prevent mold from growing, since it has the same desiccating effect as low humidity. Molds grow best in warm temperatures, 77 to 86 °F (25 to 30 °C), although growth may occur between 32 and 95 °F (0 and 35 °C).[9]

Removing one of the three requirements for mold reduces (or eliminates) new mold growth:

  • Moisture
  • Food for the mold spores (for example, dust or dander)
  • Warmth; mold generally does not grow in cold environments.

HVAC systems can produce all three requirements for mold growth. The air conditioning system creates a difference in temperature, encouraging condensation. The high rate of dusty air movement through an HVAC system may furnish ample food for mold. Since the air-conditioning system is not always running, warm conditions are the final component for mold growth.,_assessment,_and_remediation

    Jump up ^ Indoor Environmental Quality Dampness and Mold in Buildings. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. August 1, 2008.Jump up ^ Minnesota Department of Health. "Mold and Moisture in Homes". Minnesota North Star. Retrieved 22 November 2011. Jump up ^ Gent, Janneane. "Levels of Household Mold Associated with Respiratory Symptoms in the First Year of Life in a Cohort at Risk for Asthma" (PDF). Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University. Retrieved 18 November 2011. Jump up ^ Cohen, Aaron. "WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould" (PDF). World Health Organization. Retrieved 18 November 2011. Jump up ^ "Warm Air is a Moisture Conduit". by Robert Wewer. FSI Restorations. Retrieved 1 January 2014. Jump up ^ "The Doormat Test". by Robert Wewer. FSI Restorations. Retrieved 1 January 2014. ^ Jump up to: a b Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation^ Jump up to: a b c d e "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home. EPA 402-K-02-003". U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. September 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2013. Jump up ^ "Controlling Mold Growth in the Home" (PDF). Kansas State University. Jump up ^ Niemeier, R. Todd, Sivasubramani, Satheesh K., Reponen, Tiina and Grinshpun, Sergey A., (2006) "Assessment of Fungal Contamination in Moldy Homes: Comparison of Different Methods", Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 3:5, 262-273 [1]Jump up ^ "Mold Resources". United States Environmental Agency. Archived from the original on February 18, 2004. Retrieved July 12, 2015. Jump up ^ "List A: Antimicrobial Products Registered with the EPA as Sterilizers" (PDF). US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs. February 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2015.  |archive-url= is malformed: flag (help)Jump up ^ "Mold Cleanup & Abatement, Removal Service Company - Victoria, BC". Retrieved 2016-07-06. ^ Jump up to: a b "Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments" (PDF). New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. November 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2013. Jump up ^ NIOSH. "Recommendations for the cleaning and remediation of flood-contaminated hvac system: A guide for building ovwners and managers". Center For Disease Control. Retrieved 18 November 2011. Jump up ^ "Chapter 6 - Containment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)". EPA. Retrieved 29 June 2014. Jump up ^ "Mold Removal Protection Levels". Environmental Protective Solutions. Retrieved 29 June 2014.

Cozy Up to Colder Weather: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall and Winter

9/20/2016 (Permalink)


All the leaves and grime that you neglected while you were out swimming, hiking, or riding your bicycle this summer have built up in your gutters. If left full of debris, clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems from working properly. This can lead to water seeping into your home, which—as seen in the Conquering Moisture blog—can lead to all sorts of issues and extra energy costs. Save yourself the hassle of repairing a leak by simply cleaning your gutters and drains now. When you do, run water through the gutters to check for misalignments that could also cause water damage.


We talk about this a lot, but it is hugely important for your energy savings to ensure there are no air leaks in your home. Warm air will escape out of any cracks and can make your heating system work harder and cost you more to heat your home.  Use caulk to seal cracks and openings between stationary house components like a door frame and weatherstripping to seal components that move like an operable window.


Your furnace may be a distant memory since you last powered it on, but before the cold weather descends and you must reluctantly switch it on, give it some TLC. Clean your furnace  annually each autumn. Sediment build-up can cause your system to work less efficiently or potentially become a fire-hazard. Cleaning your system and getting it inspected will reduce the risks.

During the winter try to change your filter regularly; a dirty filter will decrease air flow and energy-efficiency. And if your furnace is ready to be replaced, buy an energy-efficient model. It will save you money and energy each month!


Your ducts are often times out of sight, out of mind, tucked away in the attic or basement, but a home with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system. Make sure your ducts are in order by properly sealing and insulating them. Tightly sealed and insulated ducts can potentially reduce your annual energy bills by $120 or more!


The fall and winter months mean less daylight. I know we are all keen on saving energy, but we don't want any falls while you carry in your groceries. Luckily, you can still use your outdoor lights without wasting money and energy. Because outdoor lights are typically left on for long periods of time, buying ENERGY SAVER products and bulbs to light your outdoor pathways or porches can save a lot of energy. ENERGY STAR even makes CFL and LED flood lights that can withstand snow and rain. As an extra energy-saving effort, look for ENERGY STAR products that come with automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors. And be sure to decorate with LED holiday lights to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.

Colder weather is on its way, and using these tips will help you stay warm and cozy, while saving energy and money in your home. Stay tuned for part two with five more tips for getting your home ready for fall and winter!

Terlip, Paige. "Cozy Up to Colder Weather: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall and Winter (Part 1)." Energy.Gov Energy Saver. U.S. Department Of Energy. September 24, 1014.