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ServiceMaster Restore in St. Cloud, MN, Predicts Polar Vortex Damage May Get Worse As Temperatures Rise


February 17, 2021


An image that states "Don't let damage soak your business". It shows freezing cycles can damage pipes which lead to mold issues later when the weather thaws.
(Graphic: Business Wire)

MEMPHIS, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Most of America is shivering this week. Disaster restoration companies across the country are working at full capacity, dealing with burst pipes, ice dams and other damage from the polar vortex currently draped across the nation. In St. Cloud, Minnesota, restoration workers at ServiceMaster Professional Services are bracing for the storm after the storm.

“Our teams have a tremendous capacity to get a lot of work done quickly because they are all well-trained and experienced” 

 The temperature in St. Cloud was a frosty -27F on Monday, but Tim Arens and his staff predict the worst is yet to come. In Minnesota and other upper Midwestern states, the bulk of restoration work will come as temperatures rise 

from subzero to merely cold. Frozen pipes will thaw just a bit, then refreeze and expand creating leaks that damage ceilings, walls, floors and furniture. Likewise, rooftop snow melts, then refreezes creating “ice dams,” blockages that cause water from snowmelt to collect and seep through roofs. 

“When this polar vortex passes and temperatures warm just a bit, that’s when most of the damage around here occurs,” explained Arens, vice president for operations at ServiceMaster Professional Services. “Our team is gearing up now, ready for the calls we know will be coming in as temperatures rise.” 

The current forecast calls for a high of 37 degrees next Monday. 

Arens noted that on a normal day the company may get 20 calls for restoration work. On the busiest of days that number can skyrocket to 300 or more. How do they handle such a volume of work? 

“Our teams have a tremendous capacity to get a lot of work done quickly because they are all well-trained and experienced,” said Arens. “When hundreds of calls come in, we are equipped to manage the workload. That means scheduling the work as our teams become available, usually within 24 hours or so. We also can call on support from our national network. Teams of restoration technicians from other ServiceMaster Restore locations can usually come on a moment’s notice to help us handle high volumes of restoration work.” 

Arens noted that water damage from burst pipes is by far the most common damage situation his team encounters. For commercial clients, water mains and fire suppression systems – fire sprinklers – are the likely culprit, as pipes in attics, stairwells and crawlspaces are often subjected to wide temperature fluctuations. They also see fire and smoke damage cause by supplemental heat sources. 

It’s smart to prepare for winter damage before it occurs. Remediation companies often provide consultative services that can help prevent some disasters. ServiceMaster Restore offers local businesses pre-loss agreements that include “disaster plans” that help businesses reduce losses that result from disasters and ensure rapid response when needed. 

“A lot of cold-weather problems can be averted with good planning. It’s always a good idea to limit your risk to any potential disaster,” said Arens. Click here to find your nearest Servicemaster Restore and get help now.

About ServiceMaster Restore 

With more than 800 locations around the world, ServiceMaster Restore serves customers through a global network of franchises available 24/7/365 to provide residential and commercial restoration services resulting from damage caused by water, fire, smoke or mold. ServiceMaster Restore is a business unit of Memphis-based ServiceMaster Brands, a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. More information can be found at


Lucy Harrison
[email protected]