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Why is Mold Growing in My House?

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Mold_7-2014Mold can be one of your toughest adversaries during home ownership. Keeping mold spores from entering your home can be a challenge, as mold finds its way indoors through ventilation shafts, roof leaks, pipes, open doors and windows, and A/C units. Mold also posses a health risk to your family, as many people suffer from mold sensitivity and allergens. To prevent invasive mold spores from growing in your home, you will need to  eliminate these indoor conditions that can cause mold thrive.


Poor Ventilation: A poorly ventilated home can create the perfect conditions for mold growth. Pockets of moist air lingering in your attic or basement form the necessary environment for mold to grow and thrive. Improve your indoor air quality by updating your home’s ventilation system, which should remove any damp and stagnant air. Adding insulation to your attic will prevent cold air from creating condensation in your home during the winter months. In addition to mitigating mold growth, a properly ventilated home will help remove allergens and pollen from your living space.


Moisture: In order for mold to grow, mold spores need a damp, moist environment. Humidity or pipe leaks are the main culprits in creating this dangerous climate. Any leaks or rotting wood should be examined and repaired before moisture buildup becomes a problem. To remove excessive moisture from the air in your home, consider purchasing a dehumidifier or using only A/C during the summer months.


Wood and Drywall: Mold acts as a natural decayer and breaks down organic matter, which unfortunately includes wood, drywall, and cotton. These elements provide food for growing mold spores in your home. It also makes it harder to identify a mold problem before its too late, as mold can grow inside your home’s walls and foundation. If you suspect mold growth, call a specialist right away and have your home’s structure inspected.


The Dark: While old can grow in both light and dark areas, you’re most likely to find the perfect conditions for mold growth in a darker, moist place in your home. Prevent mold from growing under your nose by making an effort to inspect these places often. If you find a trouble area in your home, you may need to contact a remediation service to help you remove any problem areas.

Posted in Fun Stuff!, Mold | No Comments »

High Cost of Flood Damage

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Flood damage can be a big expense, depending on how severe. It can permanently damage your home’s foundation, create mold growth problems, and destroy your property. How high is the overall cost of flood damage to your home. We went ahead and went to the National Flood Insurance Program’s Cost of Flooding page to find out.

Infographic_July 2014

Posted in Disaster Planning, Fun Stuff!, Residential, Water Damage | No Comments »

National Grill Month: Grill Safety Tips

Monday, July 21st, 2014

GrillingJuly is National Grill Month! And with a long streak of sunny weather around the corner, we can’t wait to get outside and grill a few burgers. However, grilling can be a dangerous endeavor. According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills caused an annual average of 7,200 home fires between 2007-2011, while charcoal and other types of grills caused an annual average of 1,400 home fires. Protect your family and your home from potential fire damage by following these grill safety tips.


  • You should NEVER grill indoors. Not only does grilling indoors create a dangerous fire hazard, but the smoke from your grill produces poisonous carbon monoxide fumes.
  • You should keep your grill away at least 15 feet away from any deck railings, low hanging branches, and your home. Between 2007-2011, United States fire departments responded to around 8,800 home and outside fires caused by grills.
  • Use caution when grilling on a windy day. If the wind blows out the flame on your gas grill, immediately shut off the propane and wait to re-light.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill and open flame.
  • NEVER pour gasoline or lighter fluid onto an already lit grill.
  • ALWAYS have an adult watching the grill. Never leave it unattended for any period of time.
  • Keep your grill clean. Remove any grease or fat buildup after cooking. Inspect your gas grill for any cracks or leaks.


If a grilling accident occurs and severely damages your home, feel free to call ServiceMaster by Ayotte. Our 24/7 emergency representatives will be waiting on the line to help. Call: (877) 945-0993.

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Word Search Anyone?

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

With all of the rain and recent flooding, we all need a break.  Why not take a break with a fun word search?  Especially when the word search can win you a prize.  Complete our attached puzzle, fill in your participation information and email it back to us at and we will, in return, deliver a custom prize to you!  Take a break, relax and have fun with our water mitigation word search!

Word Search

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Signs of a Messy Car and What You Can Do About It

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

CarWe’re going to run through a scenario to determine how dirty your car really is. If you have fond memories of moments like this… you might want to pull out the trash bags and get to cleaning.

SCENERIO: You’re driving to pick up your best friend for dinner. Once you’re in their driveway, you brush off the front seat to make some “room.” And, you secretly hope they won’t mind the sea of fast food wrappers and old magazine subscriptions littering the floor. But, when your friend hops into the front seat, their feet immediately sink into the giant trash pile (Crunch! Shuffle, shuffle.). Then, your friend turns to give you that look. But… your car isn’t super messy, you say to yourself.

Your car is thatmessy, and it’s time to start cleaning. But, why?

  1. Well, for one, having an unclean car can be distracting. Items gathered in your backseat can obstructyour view, making you more vulnerable to car accidents.
  1. Secondly, the stains and dirt you’ve gathered in your car by not cleaning properly can devalue your vehicle, ultimately costing you more money.
  2. Thirdly, collecting trash in your front seat like baseball cards probably means your car doesn’t smell that good. You may be used to the scent, but not everyone is used to driving around a mobile dumpster. That green fur-tree shaped car freshener is NOT doing your car any justice. Trust us.

Here are some things that’ll help:

STOP eating in your car. Crumbs fall everywhere. Sauce drips on your seatbelt, but usually on your only white shirt. Wrappers are tossed onto the floor or seats. There are napkins, fast food bags, ketchup packets… You get the picture. We’re willing to wager most of the trash generated in your car comes from eating in it. By eliminating the “eating” element, your car will remain cleaner for longer.

But, what if it’s an emergency? If you feed the kids before dropping them off at soccer practice, you might have to break your no eating rule. So, have a back up plan. Keep a trash bag or car trashcan in the back. Have your kids eat carefully, then stick their trash into the trash can. Empty the trashcan or trash bag as often as possible.

STOP throwing things in the back and leaving them there. Those things you forget will start piling up over time, and pretty soon your backseat will be SUPER messy. Make a point to grab everything out of your car before you go inside.

DON’T use your car for storage. If a box doesn’t fit in your storage closet, that does not mean you should put it in the back of your car. Take the time to make room in your house or apartment for items you need to store. If you don’t have any room, give some things away or rent a storage locker. Your car is not a permanent solution for all of your storage needs.

PRACTICE good habits. By making an effort to keep your car clean, you’ll end up having a very clean car. Clean it out thoroughly about every month (vacuuming, dusting, etc.). Then, you should get the interior professionally cleaned about twice a year. Keep the outside of your car clean as well. Taking you car through the carwash once a month can prevent paint from chipping or rusting.

For a mess that is completely out of your control – contact ServiceMaster by Ayotte. We can help restore your vehicle!!

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6 Packing and Storage Tips from ServiceMaster by Ayotte

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Storage TipsDid you know that 60% of people who move do so in the summer time? And, it’s no secret as to why. Moving in the middle of winter is the absolute worst. So whether you’re preparing to move this summer, or throwing some items into storage. These tips are for you.

Think High & Dry

I’ve heard many storage horror stories. An entire leather jacket collection was destroyed due to a basement’s hot, moist air. A box of books fell prey to a springtime basement flood. Let’s not even mention all of the damage rodents can cause. So, a good piece of advice? Think high and dry. Store your items off the ground, preferably on a shelf to avoid any potential water damage. Keep them dry and out of a moist environment by investing in plastic, air tight storage containers. They’ll cost you a little more than a cardboard box, but you’ll be thanking yourself later.

Dealing with Books

If you’re an avid reader, you know the pain of moving your entire book collection to a new location. You’ve also probably made the mistake of packing a lot of books into one, big box. I bet your friends were not too pleased when it took three of you just to move it into your new house. Our key tip? Store your books in smaller containers, laying them flat (spine should not be facing up) to avoid any damage.

Label, Label, Label

Whether you’re preparing for a move or throwing some pictures of the kids in the attic: label, label, label. There are several different labeling systems people like to use. You can write the contents on the box, or use different colored peel off labels. It’s whatever works best for you.

Think Small

Moving something big into your new house or into your basement? If you can, try to separate it into smaller parts. If you’re moving a couch or furniture, remove as many cushions or legs as possible. This will make the items easier to carry and will reduce their weight.

Lift with Your Legs & Dress Appropriate

Lift everything with your legs, not your back. You don’t want to injure yourself mid-move, or expose yourself to injury later on in your life. Also, remember to dress appropriate. Keep the loose clothing down to a minimum. You’ll want to wear clothes you feel comfortable getting a little dirty.

Load Essentials Last

Moving things into storage? Place the boxes you’ll most likely want to access towards the front. Same goes for moving. Load your essential items into your moving truck or car last. You’ll want those right away when you reach your new destination.

Posted in Fun Stuff!, Residential | No Comments »

SMbA Makes Local Donations c/o Carla Adamek Insurance Agency

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

ServiceMaster by Ayotte recently participated in the 2014 MIIAB (Minnesota Inependent Insurance Agents & Brokers) Convention.  During this event a drawing was held for each participant to register for a $200 charitable donation to be given to the organization of their choice by each participating franchisee.  ServiceMaster by Ayotte drew local agent Carla Adamek.  Today, SMbA owner, Beth Ayotte Naumann, and Sales Representative Paul Heppner presented Carla her check(s).

A big congrats not only to Carla but to the charitable organizations she chose to support – The Lonsdale Fire Department and The Jameson House.  We are honored to help support your mission of service to our local communities!

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Posted in Community Events, Fun Stuff! | No Comments »

Happy Craft Beer Week

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Craft-beerWhat does beer and cleaning have to do with one another?  Absolutely nothing!  But after a long hard day of work at ServiceMaster by Ayotte, we like to kick back and relax a bit.  And what better way, especially this week, than with a craft beer.  Thanks to all of our locally owned and operated Craft Breweries throughout MN for all your hard work and dedication to the working class who enjoy your hand crafted beverages.  Cheers to you – Happy Craft Beer Week!  Don’t forget – when you make a mess with that beverage, your personalized clean is just one phone call away – ServiceMaster by Ayotte  507-366-7149


Posted in Fun Stuff!, General | No Comments »

4 Easy Tips to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Backyard

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Mosquito Image_BlogIt happens every year. You’re out for a walk, enjoying the seventy degree weather with your family. The birds are chirping. Your child jumps into a giant puddle of mud. And, you’re thinking to yourself about how nice that afternoon sun feels on your skin after a long, hard winter.  You feel a sudden, slight pinch on your leg as you continue to walk down the street. You think nothing of it. It’s not until you’re at home, watching the game, that you find yourself unconsciously scratching. What the? You look down. A bright red, itchy lump appears on your ankle.

The first bug bite of the season always serves as a harsh reminder that with warm weather, comes mosquitoes. This year, be proactive. Keep mosquitoes out of your backyard with these tips. Your friends, family, and ankles will thank you.


Remove Stagnant Water Sources

According to Dr. Gaines at the Virginia Department of Health, “Mosquito larvae associated with permanent bodies of water generally live where the water is shallow (1 ft or less), and weeds, debris, emergent grasses or some sort of aquatic vegetation shelters the mosquito larvae from fish and other predators. Relatively few mosquito species actually breed in permanent bodies of water such as marshes or swamps. Most of the mosquito species associated with marshes or swamps actually breed in temporary pools along the margins of these habitats.”

In other words, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. The number one preventative measure you can take to eliminate mosquitoes or greatly reduce their numbers, will be to remove ALL stagnant water sources. Fill in large puddles or holes. Remove old tree stumps. Put away kiddie pools or any toys after use. Eliminate yard decorations that collect rainwater. Clear your gutters. Empty your pet dishes and bird bathes at least once a week.

Have a stagnant pond in your backyard? Consider adding a filtration system or adding tiny fish.


Change Your Backyard Lighting

What’s a summertime evening without the soft hum or subtle crack of Grandpa’s bug zapper? Well, he may be taking that zapper down when he learns that it attracts mosquitoes, but doesn’t necessarily kill them all. In fact, UV light emitted from bug zappers shines a giant beacon to all of the mosquitoes in the area, inviting them to come hang out at your place.

So, instead of attracting them, try installing bug lighting in your backyard.


Add Porch Screens and Fans

Add a protective barrier around your porch to keep mosquitoes and other bugs out. You can do this by installing a porch screen. You can also purchase fans. Mosquitoes are generally weak flyers and have trouble navigating around strong air currents. So, just drive down to your local hardware store and pick up a cheap box fan. Mosquito problem solved.


Keep Your Lawn Clean

In order to keep mosquitoes from breeding in your backyard, most expects recommend you cut your grass and dispose of yard clippings about once a week. Why once a week? Well, Dr. Gaines at the Virginia Department of Health tells us most mosquitoes have a life cycle that lasts about one to two weeks. Mowing your lawn and removing yard clippings disrupts this cycle and kills most mosquitoes before they can fully mature. So, when you don’t really feel like mowing the lawn this summer, just think about how many mosquitos you’ll kill. Ah, sweet revenge.


What to see what else Dr. Gaines has to say about mosquitoes here.





Posted in Fun Stuff!, Residential | No Comments »

ServiceMaster by Ayotte Provides Poison Prevention Tips

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

March 16, 2014 marked the official start of Poison Prevention Week! According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, they received over 3 million calls in 2012, 2.2 million of those calls were about poison exposure and consumption. That’s a lot of phone calls! So, we’d like to take a moment to provide you and your family with some great poison prevention tips. For more information, please visit the source links provided below.


Quick Tips:

  • Properly label ALL hazardous materials and medications.
  • Teach children to always ask an adult before touching, drinking, or eating anything.
  • DON’T refer to medication as candy.
  • Hang the Poison Control Center’s number in an easily accessible/visible place: 1-800-222-1222.



  • Keep all medication out of reach of children and animals. Keep all medication in child-proof containers.
  • NEVER mix medications without a physicians permission.
  • NEVER take expired medication. Expired medication can be harmful.
  • Heat can sometimes break down the proteins in certain medications. Make sure you follow the proper storage directions on the label.
  • NEVER take the label off of your medications.
  • Always give the correct dose and the required time. If you miss a dosage, consult your doctor. Do not double up on medication without a physicians consent.
  • Do not mix medication with food or drink without consulting your physician.


Laundry Room

  • Keep all laundry products out of reach of children and animals.
  • Always keep the product in it’s original container (i.e. DON’T put liquid detergent capsules in Tupperware). NEVER remove labels from containers.
  • Read product labels before use. Pay close attention to “Caution” or “Warning” statements.
  • Immediately clean up any spills.
  • Set aside a special time to do laundry to eliminate distractions.
  • Dispose of products properly. NEVER reuse laundry product containers for storage of other materials.


Kitchen & Garage

  • Keep all cleaning products, fertilizers, chlorine, pesticides, etc. out of reach of children and animals.
  • NEVER mix cleaning products together. A mixture of chemicals can produce harmful gases.
  • Store cleaning, fertilizers, and pesticides in their original containers. Do NOT remove labels.
  • Do not reuse containers. (i.e. don’t use a kitty litter container to store pet food).
  • Keep all drawers and closets property locked with child/pet proof safety devices. Or, store products above counter level.
  • Read and follow product labels.
  • Do NOT allow your children/animals into the yard or kitchen immediately after using unsafe cleaning/fertilizing products.
  • Do NOT store extra toxic chemicals in your household. Depose of them immediately.
  • Depose of cleaning products, fertilizer, pesticides, etc. properly.



Posted in Community Events, Fun Stuff!, General | No Comments »

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