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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Air Duct Cleaning Improves Air Quality for Your Office

9/20/2022 (Permalink)

before and after pictures of an air duct cleaning Mold, dust, pollen and other allergens can build up in your HVAC system over time – just like they do on other surfaces in your office.

How Air Duct Cleaning Improves Air Quality

Except for the air you let into your office through windows or doors, most of the air in your office is distributed via HVAC ductwork. Without a clean path for this air to take, it picks up irritants and contaminants, circulating them through your home. No matter how much you vacuum or dust, they’ll return, piling-up on flat surfaces, and piling onto your list of cleaning duties, all-the-while collecting within your HVAC system, mucking-up your air filter, ductwork and coils. As time progresses, the contaminant buildup worsens, robbing your system of efficiency, and increasing maintenance needs.
(This is why after duct cleaning is performed, it is strongly recommended you let SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville clean dust buildup in your office.)

Importance of Clean Air Ducts

Clean ducts offer a number of benefits…

  • Reducing the Incidence of Allergies & Respiratory Ailments
    Mold, mildew, dust, dust mites, dirt, pollen, dander and other particles settle in ductwork over time, spreading through the air during HVAC operation. Ductwork cleaning can remove this buildup, reducing the levels of these irritating triggers in the office.
  • Fighting Mold & Microbial Growth
    The buildup of dust on ductwork surfaces offers a prime environment for the proliferation of mold, mildew, dust mites, bacteria and more. Regular duct cleaning reduces contaminant growth.
  • Decreasing Offensive Odors
    Duct cleaning can eliminate or reduce offensive odors due to mold, mildew, and microbial growth, as well as those resulting from pest infestation in ductwork.
  • Boosting HVAC Efficiency
    In cases of extreme dust buildup, cleaning ductwork has been shown to increase HVAC efficiency as much as 40%.
  • Prolonging HVAC System Life
    The less resistance in air ducts from dust and debris, the smoother the operation and greater the efficiency and longevity of your system.

Does Your Business Have A Flood Plan?

9/20/2022 (Permalink)

flooded board room Despite the prevalence of floods, most businesses remain unprepared.

Business Have Unique Flood Preparedness Needs

A flood emergency preparedness plan will be quite different for a construction zone than an office building or industrial facility. Each site and industry suffers unique risks. Industry-specific resources are essential to planning success, as is staff training. A well-informed staff can prevent confusion and added risks to employees and property in the event of disaster.

The Most Basic Flood Evacuation Plan Should Include:

  • The capacity for quick response.
    With personnel in-charge of monitoring man-made possibilities, and an NOAA Weather Radio or other news resource for natural events.
  • A basic disaster supply kit.
    This includes emergency and medical supplies, as well as enough food and water to last at least 72 hours. Preparedness training at work should likewise instruct employees on preparing their own mobile kit, for preparation to shelter-in-place for 24 hours in the event of emergency.
  • Plan development and training.
    All employees should know what to do in an emergency, including disaster-specific evacuation and emergency response procedures. Assign specific employees (and backup personnel) to key tasks, such as emergency shut-down of equipment and power sources, and performing a roll-call. Exercises and drills to cement skills and uncover potential issues should be regularly performed, and flood and other emergency action plans reviewed and updated regularly. Clearly post and provide employees with paper copies of plans.
  • Emergency contact information.
    Ensure all employees have a list of key telephone numbers. Blank business cards sheets from the local office supply are a convenient, easy way to provide a wallet-size list.

Basics of Board Up Services for Your Businesses

9/20/2022 (Permalink)

front of commercial building that is boarded up When disaster strikes your home, don't dwell on your loss and forget that you still have the power to reduce further losses with board up services.

What are Board Up Services?

Your windows are among the most vulnerable entry points in any business. After all, whether you're talking about vandals or high winds, glass is easier to break than solid wall.

Regardless of the reason your windows are damaged, you may not be able to replace them right away. In fact, if a natural disaster is the reason your windows are broken, local installers are probably already inundated with replacement requests. When your appointment is delayed, you should pursue board up services for peace of mind.

Reasons to Seek Board Up Services

Different situations may cause your windows to break, leaving your home exposed. Here are a few of the most common examples:

  • Storm damage: Windstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes pack a powerful punch. The pressure differential between the inside and outside is sometimes enough to shatter windows. Then there's the possibility of debris being hurtled at your windows while traveling hundreds of miles per hour, smashing the windows on impact.
  • Fire: Heat from a structural fire can cause a surprising amount of damage to your business, including shattering glass windows.
  • Property vacancy: Foreclosed and abandoned properties are often left with broken windows. Board up services play an important role in preserving the business from further damage or vandalism until someone new buys the property.
  • Preventative measure: It's wise to plan ahead with board up services when a big storm is in the forecast. This preventative measure can protect your windows from breaking in the first place. Then after the storm passes, you simply have the boards removed to restore your business to its former condition.

Tornado Warning Systems

9/20/2022 (Permalink)

tornado in a open field Tornadoes are among the deadliest forces found in nature.

History of Tornado Warning Systems

In the late 1800s, the US army started studying the science behind tornadoes and how to predict them. However, they decided it wasn’t wise to issue public warnings for fear of causing panic and chaos. Even mention of the word “tornado” was banned.

This thinking changed in 1948 when a tornado tore through Oklahoma’s Tinker Air Force base, causing millions of dollars worth of damage and killing several people. By this point, large outdoor sirens were already being used in Europe to warn civilians of air strikes during World War II. The concept came to America in 1950 when President Harry Truman responded to the threat of the Cold War by setting up sirens to warn of an atomic attack that never came.

In 1970, there were many functional sirens still in place – government officials began using sirens as a tornado warning system. Many of these sirens are still in place, but sometimes power loss and other issues prevent them from working when they’re needed most. 

That’s why newer technology – from TV to radio to text messaging – is used today to warn the public of approaching tornadoes. Utilizing multiple systems increases the chance that every citizen will hear about the storm and seek shelter.

How to Stay Informed of Severe Weather

Whether you live in Tornado Alley and have sirens in your town, or you live in a lower-risk state, follow these tips so you never miss the latest tornado warning:

Keep your cell phone on you

As long as your cell phone has a signal, you can receive a warning message from the Wireless Emergency Alert system. When a tornado warning is issued in a particular county, every cell tower in the area transmits a warning to all phones within range.

The incoming alert has a different sound than just a normal text message or ringtone to catch your attention. The alert also has a text message attached with a brief explanation of the warning and advice to take shelter immediately.

Storm alerts don’t work with older phones, so contact your wireless provider to make sure your cell is compatible. If not, consider upgrading. No fee is required to participate in and receive storm alerts.

Turn on the news or the radio

If you look outside and notice dark, swirling clouds, tune in to your local news station (on TV or the radio) for an update. If a bad storm is coming, normal coverage should be replaced by emergency storm updates and tornado warnings.

How to Detect Water Leaks Behind Walls

9/19/2022 (Permalink)

moisture meter on drywall Sometimes water damage can occur without you even knowing it.

Water Leaks Behind Walls Spell Disaster

Although a leak may seem like a minor problem, it can cause catastrophic damage to your home over time. This type of damage is progressive—the sooner it’s addressed, the more affordable the fix will be.

Water damage remediation costs vary based on the location of the leak and the amount of damage sustained. A leak of any size hidden behind a wall should be addressed immediately after it’s discovered by a SERVPRO  professional water damage remediation specialist technician.

Signs of Water Damage in Walls

It may take time for a small leak to make itself visible. Depending on the source, the water may have to travel a distance before reaching a surface that will show obvious signs of damage.

While water damage from a leak is most often discovered through staining, there are other signs of which you should be aware.

Be vigil. Keep an eye out for signs of damage, including:

  • Coughing and sneezing: While not always immediately visible, excess moisture behind a wall can create the perfect environment for mold growth. Mold thrives in damp, dark, and stagnant spaces—like the space between the exterior of your home and its interior walls.

  • Unexplained musty odors: A new persistent musty odor often accompanies water damage. Like a rise in allergy symptoms, the onset of a musty odor is a sign of hidden water damage.

  • Drips or unexplained noises: While some plumbing noises are common, a small but consistent drip or a new whooshing noise that originates from behind your walls may indicate a leak.

  • An unexpected increase in water or energy bills: An increase in your home’s water bill (for homes using municipal water systems) or energy bills (for homes with well water) may indicate a hidden leak.

  • Discoloration, peeling paint, or wallpaper: Water damage is often discovered as it seeps through the surface of a material, like drywall, and damages the finish. Water damage often manifests on walls or ceilings as a stain and may also cause paint or wallpaper to peel.

What to Do If a Tree Falls on Your House

9/19/2022 (Permalink)

large tree fell on house If you’re a homeowner with large trees on or near your property, it’s important to know what to do if one hits your house.

Evacuate the House

If a tree or one of its large limbs crashes through the roof, first make sure all the occupants are safe. Check in with everyone—including your pets—then get out of the house as quickly and safely as possible.  Make sure you have a “go bag” prepared or you take items you’ll need like cash, car keys, important documents and, if possible, a change of clothes. Once you know everyone is safe, call 911 so the fire department can help you secure your premises. Although it may be tempting, make sure you:

  • Don’t climb onto your roof.

  • Don’t climb onto the fallen tree.

  • Don’t touch downed power lines.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Most homeowner insurance policies will cover at least some of the damage caused by fallen trees—especially if the damage is weather related—including the cost of removing the tree and the damage to your property. The insurance adjuster will usually want to come out and make an assessment before any tree removal work is done, to see the full extent of the damage before filing a report or recommending any claim reimbursement.  

Contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville

Life is full of unexpected and unplanned events like, a tree falling on your house. If this happens to you SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville has all the services you’ll need to deal with the aftermath of a fallen tree. If your roof is damaged, we offer roof-tarping services until it can be fixed. If windows are broken, our board-up service gives you protection from the weather, safety from broken glass, and security from illegal entry. Our water damage restoration services can help lessen the chances of mold, warped wood, and stained walls. We can even help repair the damage. With SERVPRO you get full-spectrum, start-to-finish disaster restoration services, including debris removal and cleanup, water removal and drying, and home reconstruction. 

Roof Damage After a Storm

9/19/2022 (Permalink)

storm damage on a roof of a house After a storm, your first instinct may be to check your house for wind or hail damage, climbing up on the roof can be dangerous.

Indoor Inspections

Performing an indoor, room-by-room inspection after a storm is not only safer than getting on the roof but can detect many signs of roof damage or water leaks without having to climb a ladder. Start your inspection on the side of the house that received the brunt of the storm’s intensity—which is usually in the direction from where the storm approached—and work your way across the house. Check in the corners and around the bases of light fixtures and ceiling fans for signs of moisture. If the sun is shining, go up into the attic and look for sunlight passing through the plywood. If you see light, this may indicate damage to your roof’s deck, which could cause leaking and water damage. While up in the attic, use a flashlight to look for dark stains in the corners or streaks along the inclined edges. These marks could be caused by leaks coming from damaged areas or through the ventilation.

Outdoor Inspection

Even though it’s not safe to climb up on the roof, there are still several ways you can safely look for storm damage from the outside.

  1. Walk around the house to see if any shingles or other roof materials are on the ground.

  1. Look for tree limbs or other storm debris on the roof.

  1. Do a visual inspection of the roof from the ground with your eyes, binoculars, or even a camera drone.

  2. Does the flashing on your chimney or vents look bent or detached?

  3. Do you see any missing, curled, or cracked shingles?

  4. Are there any dark patches caused by granule fallout?

If you do see damage, call in the professionals at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago And Warrenville as soon as you can.

Other Dangers to Avoid

Using a ladder or walking around on your roof aren’t the only dangers you should avoid after a storm. To make sure you stay safe, keep away for these situations.

  • Don’t walk or drive through standing water. Not only could it be contaminated with harmful bacteria, but it might also be hiding debris or sinkholes.

  • Don’t touch downed power lines. Call the fire department or the utility company to deal with them.

  • Don’t clear debris without protective clothing. It could be riddled with rusty nails, broken glass, or other things that can be hazardous to your health.

  • Don’t climb trees to remove broken limbs—this could be even more dangerous than getting on the roof!

Mold Grow on Concrete and Cement

9/15/2022 (Permalink)

mold on concrete walls in a basement Unfortunately, concrete and cement surfaces are not mold-proof.

What Does Mold on Concrete Look Like?

On concrete or cement surfaces, mold will often appear as black, green, brown, or white. It may look like staining, or it might be fuzzy or raised. Sometimes, mold will look like algae or moss.

Over time, mold will break down the material it’s growing on. Assuming ideal mold-growing conditions are maintained, and the mold remains unmitigated, surfaces like concrete can quickly become compromised.

Efflorescence vs. Mold

Not all staining is caused by mold. For example, efflorescence is a white deposit left behind on surface materials when water evaporates and is often mistaken for a white mold. Efflorescence can be dissolved or wiped away while staining from mold would need to be scraped or scrubbed off the concrete.

How to Get Mold off Concrete

If you suspect mold on cement or concrete in your home, contact a professional remediation service provider. Mold is not only difficult to remove, but it can be a danger to your health. Further, without professional water damage restoration, you run the risk of repeat mold growth.

After you’ve discovered mold on a concrete surface, we recommend:

  • Sealing off the room (if possible).

  • Contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville

Once our team has arrived at your home, we’ll:

  • Inspect the area and confirm the presence of mold.

  • Contain the space and begin the mold removal process.

  • Ensure the space is completely dry and address the underlying cause of the mold (often plumbing, drainage, or high humidity).

  • Apply a penetrating concrete sealant to prevent a recurrence.

How to Prevent Mold on Concrete

Take steps to prevent mold growth on concrete and cement surfaces inside your home, including slab foundations and block walls. Common precautions include:

  • Preventing water seepage: Have your foundation inspected. If water is infiltrating your home through the basement floor or walls, consider professional sealants and fillings.

  • Directing roof runoff away from your home: Make sure your home is equipped with gutters. Keep them clear and make sure that they are effectively directing water away from the foundation of your home.

  • Redirecting water away from your foundation: Flooding and excessive rainfall can put pressure on your foundation. Consider landscaping that directs water away from the base of your home. If problems persist, consider measures like French drains.

  • Keeping surfaces clean: Clean surfaces are less likely to play host to mold spores. Keep the concrete surfaces in your home clean.

  • Monitoring your basement, crawlspace, and garage for signs of water damage: Mold can’t grow without a source of moisture. Be vigilant and engage in professional water damage restoration at the first sign of damage.

Why Is My Basement Ceiling Wet?

9/15/2022 (Permalink)

water damage on a ceiling Water damage to a basement ceiling can be caused by several different issues.

So, you’ve detected water damage on your basement ceiling, but where did it come from? The likely suspects include:

  • Pipe Leaks              

Faulty plumbing is often the root cause of water damage to a basement ceiling. Pipes can leak from high water pressure, corrosion, extreme temperature changes and faulty appliances. The culprit may also be a toilet with a poor or deteriorated wax gasket seal, a tub with a defective faucet, plumbing or aging caulk seals.

  • Broken or Improper Window Seals  

Another potential cause is improperly sealed windows. A settling foundation and varying temperatures over the years can cause window seals to deteriorate or the window itself to become misaligned. An incorrectly installed window could also be the origin of your water leaking woes. Moisture from window leaks can seep into the walls and floors above the basement, eventually working its way down.

  • Poor Water Drainage            

Water that is not adequately drained away from the dwelling has potential to leak into the basement from above. This could be caused by poorly aligned or debris-clogged downspouts, deficient grading of surrounding property or landscaping, or weak footing drains.

  • Sudden Spills and Accidents             

Life happens. Sudden spills, accidents or the overturning of a large quantity of water or liquid can work its way through the floors and result in a water-damaged basement ceiling. For those with pets in the home, that family companion could also be the culprit. Repeated pet accidents in the same location can result in a wet basement ceiling.

What Can I Do About a Wet Basement Ceiling?

Once you’ve discovered water damage, it’s time to remediate the damage and restore your home. Water damage should always be addressed by a water-damage specialist. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville are IICRC-certified and equipped with the tools and knowledge to identify the cause, restore your home and mitigate the risk of future water damage.

Keep Pipes from Freezing

9/15/2022 (Permalink)

frozen pipe A frozen pipe that is ignored and thaws out can be a disaster

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

With a few simple tips and tricks, frozen pipe prevention isn’t very difficult. First you must identify any pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. Any uninsulated pipes that run outside are at risk of freezing. Water supply lines that run through the garage, crawl spaces or attics are also vulnerable. Pipes under cabinets or pipes that run along exterior walls are also at risk. Hopefully, your home was built with freezing pipe prevention in mind. But sometimes a cold spell in warm climates puts many homes at risk.

First and foremost, the heat must be kept on in a home where you don’t want the pipes to freeze. A frozen pipe isn’t a disaster until it thaws out; after that, water flows endlessly until the water supply gets shut off. This is one reason many people shut off the main water supply when they leave town for vacation.

Exterior Water Supply

Any pipes that provide water outside the house should be drained and shut off during cold months. This includes outdoor showers or hose bibs that don’t have a frost-free spigot. Always disconnect and drain hoses on outdoor water bibs, even on freeze-proof bibs.

Leave the Faucet On

Moving water is much less likely to freeze and doesn’t allow pressure to build up in the pipe. For a temporary solution during a frigid cold spell, simply leave all the taps in your home lightly dripping. This will keep the water in the pipes moving and less likely to freeze. 

Encourage Circulation

Sometimes frozen pipes are a result of poor air circulation. You can encourage warm air circulation in your home by leaving all the doors open and using fans to direct warm air into neglected areas. Leaving the cabinet doors open under sinks also ensures there are no cold spots around exposed pipes. 

Insulate

Wrap pipes with pipe insulation to protect them against the cold. These come in many different shapes and sizes specific to the type of pipe. 

Heat Cable

Heat cable (heat tape) is specifically designed to wrap around pipes and use electric current to warm them. An outlet must be nearby to use heat cable, and the pipe must be exposed to allow easy wrapping access. These tapes come in different styles: one that turns on when it senses heat is needed and another that runs constantly. A GFCI-equipped outlet should be used for plugging in heat cable. Heat cable is effective, but it’s an expensive solution if you need to protect pipes for a long period of time. 

Provide a Heat Source

In areas outside the home like a well house or a garage with water pipes, heating can help prevent frozen pipes. Heating these areas can be cost prohibitive, so if you don’t need water in these areas, shut off the supplies to them. In a well house that supplies your home with water, light a kerosene lantern or keep a light bulb on if the structure has power. The heat from these appliances should hopefully be enough to keep the pipes from freezing, if the structure is small enough. If it’s not a small structure, you may want to consider a long-term solution like insulating the well house or moving the well pump inside. As always, take care when using these heating appliances; a kerosene lantern is a fire hazard.  

Get Smoke Damage Out of Clothes

9/15/2022 (Permalink)

a man standing in a smoked filled kitchen Smoke-damaged clothes don’t have to be sent to the dumpster.

How to Wash Smoke-Damaged Clothes

If the clothes are machine washable, laundering is the easiest solution. Any clothes with burn holes should be thrown away. To wash the smoke-damaged garments, begin by taking them outside and shaking them off to remove any loose soot particles. Leave them outside for at least 24 hours to let them air out. Even better if you can let them air out for a few days. If you stood too close to a campfire, this simple task can sometimes remove the smoke smell entirely.

If your wardrobe endured a house fire instead of a campfire, you’ll need to do more than air the garments out. After the clothes have aired out for 24 or more hours, spray them down with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Do this a few times if the clothing smells extremely smoky. Don’t allow the clothing to dry! Toss it in the washing machine while it’s still damp, and add a cup of vinegar and a cup of baking soda right on the clothes. Launder the clothes normally. Before you dry them, machine wash them again with your preferred detergent. If they come out smelling like vinegar, don’t worry; this will go away naturally. If the clothes still smell smoky, wash them once again; it may take up to five cycles to remove the smell entirely.

Remove Smoke Smell from Non-Washable Fabrics

Can’t toss your favorite jacket in the washing machine? For fabrics that are not machine-safe, we have a solution for you. Baking soda is an effective odor remover. To clean the garment, first bring it outside. Sprinkle the baking soda generously over all surfaces. Allow the baking soda to do its magic for at least a day, and then vacuum or shake it off. You may have to apply this method repeatedly before it takes full effect. Fresh air will help remove the smoke odor, so leave the item outside for as long as possible. Some commercial smoke-odor-removing products can be effective as well. However, be careful not to buy a product that just masks the scent with a stronger smell.

Smoke Damage Professionals

If you suffered a house fire, your clothes probably aren’t the only things that smell smoky. Learn how to remove smoke odors from a room with help from our IICRC-certified technicians at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville to remove that smoke odor and restore the indoor air quality in your home. To schedule an inspection call 630-554-2280 to speak to a representative. Available 24/7, 365 days a year.

What to Do After a Fire at Your Business

9/13/2022 (Permalink)

Commercial building on fire Fires cause serious damage to thousands of businesses in the United States and Canada every year.

What to Do After a Fire: Recover Your Business

The most important thing to do after a fire is to stay calm. The scene may be chaotic, but a level head will help you and your coworkers take control of an unpredictable situation.

Ascertain the safety of any people or animals present at the location. You can worry about property damage after everyone is safe. Resist the urge to enter the building until firefighters have told you it’s safe.

Surprisingly, as a side effect, firefighters’ efforts can cause extensive damage on top of the fire itself. Firefighters may have been forced to cut holes in the roof, smash windows or move equipment to put out the fire. There may also be extensive water damage from the firefighters’ hoses or your sprinkler system. If your business has succumbed to water damage as a result of fire fighting efforts, call SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville to repair and restore.

What to Do After a Fire at Your Business: Step-By-Step

There will be a lot to do after a fire at your business. To keep from becoming overwhelmed, utilize your custom Disaster Preparedness Plan and Business Continuity Plan (drafted in advance of a disaster and revisited annually) to make smaller task lists addressing each area of your business.

Here are ideas for what to do after a fire at your business:

  1. Keep a notebook with you to document everything.

Take special note of everyone you talk to, their contact information and your conversations. Note any expenses in the aftermath of the fire and keep all your receipts in one place.

  1. Photograph everything.

Before you begin to clean up, restore and remediate, it’s vital that you document the damage, as this may be pertinent to insurance claims or law enforcement investigations.

  1. Contact your insurance company ASAP.

The more prompt you are in contacting your insurance company, the more they can help you. Ask questions until you are sure you understand everything and take notes.

  1. Call SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville

Should Carpet be Replaced After Water Damage?

9/13/2022 (Permalink)

Carpet being cleaned with steam cleaner Water damage can happen to just about anyone

Act Quickly and Safely to Stop the Flow

First and foremost, safely stop the flow of water as soon as possible. Take extra caution before entering an area where electrical appliances, or other electrical equipment is present. If feasible, and to minimize risk, shut off the electric power before you enter a flooded room.

Next, move with purpose, but be aware that a wet floor can be very slippery—especially surfaces like tile. That last thing you need is to injure yourself while dealing with a flood situation. Carefully make your way to the source of the water and stop the flow. Once the flow of water has been stopped, take a quick assessment of the area. It’s important to deal with any standing water as soon as possible. The longer water sits in an area, the more extensive the damage.

Get towels, buckets, and/or a mop to remove as much standing water as possible. Also, try to minimize the flow of water from one area to another, use towels and blankets—while you continue to remove as much water as possible.

Identifying the Source

Determining the source of a flood can range from relatively easy to very difficult—burst pipe, clogged drain, leaky roof flashing. If you’re unable to pinpoint the source, call in an expert with experience in damage assessment. They can quickly identify the source, assess the damage, and help you get your home restored.

Once the standing water has been removed it’s time to assess the damage. Tile floors are the most forgiving when it comes to flooding, wood and carpet, not so much. But what about carpet?

Assessing Carpet Damage

When dealing with carpet that has been exposed to a flood there are a few things to consider before making a final decision on whether to keep or discard it. One of the biggest factors is the age of the carpet. Indoor/outdoor carpet, which is designed to withstand the elements will hold up pretty well to water. Plush, or deep shag carpet on the other hand is very difficult for the average homeowner to dry and may require SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlet, West Chicago and Warrenville to sufficiently dry the carpet. Once the carpet is completely dry the damage can be properly assessed. Does the carpet have an odor? Is it discolored or permanently stained? If not, it may be worth saving.

Don’t Forget to Check the Sub-Floor

Before making a final decision the padding and subfloor—what’s under the carpet—will have to be evaluated. Any water damage must be repaired, not just covered up. If the damage is not properly addressed mold could develop and create a serious health threat. Even if the sub-floor appears intact, it’s always a good idea to have SERVPRO check for structural damage. If no permanent damage is detected, and the carpet and padding are dried completely, leaving the carpet in place is an option.

Does Wet Drywall Always Need to Be Replaced?

9/13/2022 (Permalink)

wet drywall We do not recommend that homeowners attempt to self-diagnose water or mold damage.

How to Tell if Drywall Is Water Damaged

If your home has water damage, the building material and contents will need to be evaluated by a professional who has experience with water damage. We recommend working with us at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville to determine the extent of the damage and the best path towards recovery.

You can begin to understand the extent of the damage to your property by:

  • Looking for watermarks: Water will stain affected areas, leaving a high-water mark on walls or round, pooling shapes on the ceiling. Any drywall with visible signs of water damage will need to be replaced.

  • Feeling for moisture and texture: Drywall should always dry. Any walls or ceilings that feel wet to the touch will require replacement.

  • Looking for hidden signs of moisture: Hidden leaks or water damage that has been given time to dry can be especially difficult to diagnose. For example, the evidence of small floods may be seen under the carpet or behind baseboards. If it’s easy to pry up or remove a section of material, you may do so to check for signs of current or pre-existing damage.

We do not recommend that homeowners attempt to self-diagnose water or mold damage. You may put yourself in harm’s way or inadvertently create a bigger problem.

Does Wet Drywall Need to be Replaced?

Whether wet drywall needs to be replaced depends on the source of water and the amount of time it has been wet. An experienced restoration professional at SERVPRO will evaluate the drywall and determine if it needs to be removed or can be dried and returned to its normal condition.

What to Do If You Find Water-Damaged Drywall in Your Home or Business

  • Identify the source of the damage: The cause of the damage may be obvious (storm flooding) or more difficult to diagnose. If you know the leak originates with your plumbing or appliance, turn off the water at the unit or at the water shut-off valve. 

If you’re unsure where the water or leak originated, don’t fret. Contact a remediation professional, like us at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville. We can assist you in mitigating the damage and taking the steps necessary to prevent future damage.

Remember, it may not just be you flooring that is affected—materials like drywall, cabinets, and behind drywall (beams, joists, insulation, and more) are often damaged, too. Any materials damaged beyond repair (like wet insulation) will need to be removed, disposed of, and replaced.

  • Dry the space: Some materials (like carpeting) may be dried using the principles of rapid structural drying.

Ensure Proper Drywall Replacement

After a water damage event, trust SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville for professional water remediation, rapid structural drying, and, if needed, full-service reconstruction. Utilizing the experience and expertise of your local pros at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville can save you considerable time and help ensure you and your family stay safe when it comes to mold.

How Smoke Damage Affects Electronics

9/13/2022 (Permalink)

smoke coming from a laptop computer Electronics are delicate items, as there are various factors that cause them to quit working properly.

How Smoke Causes Damage

  • When electronics are covered in smoke, they become prone to extreme overheating, which leads to premature failure. When smoke reaches the inside components of electronics, a black film develops causing insulation on the heat-producing parts. The magnetic charge of smoke causes the circuits to short, leading to overheating.
  • Soot is pushed by smoke, causing contact everywhere in its path. Smoke travels to cooler temperatures and continues until the energy runs out. The main cause of damage is the acidity in soot. Acidity destroys metals, which causes discoloration and disintegration.

Restoration for Electronics

  • After a fire, damaged electronics are a safety hazard. To prevent exposure, do not turn on any of the items before consulting with a professional. The smoke’s corroding acids will immediately cause failure to the device.
  • If you choose to clean the items without turning them on, wipe off the residue with a cloth. Taking immediate action will improve the likelihood of your devices surviving.

Helpful Tips

  • When recovering a computer, the most important part is the hard drive. Every bit of information is located on this, so removing these files as quickly as possible is crucial.
  • If you want to attempt saving the hard drive yourself, you will need a SATA to USB adaptor.
  • Replacing the computer’s battery is the next step in the recovery process. If it’s not replaced, the combustion of batteries can be dangerous.
  • To prevent your computer’s data being damaged from a fire or smoke, consider investing in a backup program that stores the information somewhere else. This is useful for just about any disaster.

Plan Your Fire Escape

9/13/2022 (Permalink)

a home fire escape plan If a fire breaks out, every second counts when making your escape.

If a fire breaks out, every second counts when making your escape. In just two minutes, a fire can become life threatening. With this in mind, the following are helpful tips on what you can do to be prepared in case fire disaster happens and what to do.

Before Emergency Strikes

  • Be sure you have a working smoke alarms so all household members are clearly alerted in the event of a fire. Set a reminder in your cell phone or on your computer to check each smoke alarm at the start of each month to make sure they are working properly. Then, replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Perform a walk-through of your home and develop a map of each room with a plan for at least two ways to escape from every room as well as a meeting spot that each family member knows. Then, practice your plan so that everyone in the household knows what to do to safely escape the burning structure. Be sure to accommodate for the needs of everyone in the family, including small children, elderly, or physically challenged.
  • Place a fire extinguisher on every level of your home. Make sure it has the ABC rating so that it’s usable for all types of fires. Read the instructions on how to use it so you can act quickly if needed. Test the fire extinguishers to make sure they are working properly.
  • Put a sticker on windows to alert firefighters that pets are in a home. Firefighters have the obligation of protecting people and property first, but will save pets if possible.
  • Consider installing escape ladders if you have multiple floors on your home. Make sure everyone knows how to use them if installed.
  • Limit the use of open-flame candles in your home. If you light candles in your home, never leave them unattended.
  • Place a telephone or cell phone beside your bed at night. Call for help if a fire emergency occurs.
  • Educate everyone in the family on what to do if their clothes catch on fire. Knowing how to stop, drop and roll can save their life. Practice the steps with children in the home. Attend a fire safety seminar to learn about ways to protect your family against fire.
  • Ask for expert advice from your local fire department, insurance company, or the experts at Rainbow International.  Many fire departments will inspect a home and offer fire safety and preventions tips.

In the Midst of a Fire Emergency

  • As soon as the smoke alarm sounds, make your way out of the home. Don’t hesitate to grab items to take with you. Also, never re-enter the home. A fire can spread very quickly and your safety is most important.
  • Beware of hot doors. Hot doors mean that the fire is nearby and the door should not be opened. The best way to check for heat is to feel the top of the door with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, don’t open it. If you can’t get out through the door, find a way to signal your presence in a window, with nearby items such as a flashlight or white sheet.
  • As you move through the burning structure, stay low to the ground. Crawl out of the burning home to prevent breathing harmful smoke and poisonous gases.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, stop immediately and drop and roll to smother the flames. Continue to make your escape and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Go to the pre-arranged meeting spot immediately and call for help.

Can You Clean Biohazards Yourself?

9/12/2022 (Permalink)

Man holding a biohazard sign Disposing of biohazards is also a minefield for people who aren’t familiar with local and national rules and regulations.

Many property owners are tempted to try cleaning biohazards on their own in order to avoid the large accompanying expense, but we really cannot recommend a DIY approach to this cleaning task. Biohazards are nationally and internationally designated and monitored because they pose a risk to human health, and improper cleaning could put anyone who enters the premises in danger of sickness, and even death.

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville have access to the right cleaning solutions to neutralize biohazards and eliminate risk. While vinegar might be great for cleaning your drains or making your kitchen surfaces sparkle, it isn’t very effective on human remains or chemical spills. Forensic cleaners know the right solution to use on each particular biohazard, how to apply it, and how to ensure effectiveness. Many people fail to use household cleaners properly, meaning they think surfaces are sanitized when they are not. With biohazards, that’s a chance property owners can’t afford to take.

Disposing of biohazards is also a minefield for people who aren’t familiar with local and national rules and regulations. Most hazardous material cannot be thrown out with the trash, but needs to go to a specialist facility to be incinerated. You must also use appropriate warning labels and red trash bags to warn anyone who might handle the material that it contains biohazards. Failure to identify biohazards in general waste can be a criminal matter in some jurisdictions, so it’s always a good idea to bring in expert cleaners, who know how and where to properly dispose of biohazards in order to protect yourself and your property from legal repercussions.

Home Fire Sprinkler System

9/12/2022 (Permalink)

residential sprinkler head Do you need a sprinkler system in your home?

Do I Need a Home Fire Sprinkler System?

Yes, we believe everyone should have a home fire sprinkler system in their home. Why? The answer is simple: safety.

While the best option for installing a home fire suppression system is during new home construction, it is possible to retrofit the system to your home.

Benefits of a Home Fire Suppression System

Having a fire suppression system in your home is just as important, if not more important, than having a home security system. Ultimately, a home sprinkler system is a safety feature worth investing in.

Below are some benefits you can expect when you add a home fire sprinkler system in your home:

  • Adding a home fire sprinkler system increases the safety of each room.
  • Fire sprinklers can extinguish or contain fires in less than two minutes.
  • Homes with a fire sprinkler system incur nine-times less damage in the event of a fire.
  • Having a sprinkler increases your chances of surviving a fire from around 50 percent to 97 percent

Cons of Home Fire Suppression Systems

Overall, there are many more positives than negatives to adding a home fire sprinkler system to your home. But there are also two issues you should be aware of:

  • Adding a home fire suppression system is expensive.
  • These systems require ongoing maintenance, testing and annual inspections to ensure the sprinklers in your home will function properly in the event of a fire.

Why Are Most Homes Today Still Built Without Fire Suppression Systems?

When building a new home there are a few reasons it may not include a fire suppression system. First, new homes with a new home fire suppression system can cost up to $5,000 more than homes without systems. Second, with many states not requiring fire suppression systems, they can often be overlooked.

When you have the choice to choose to install a fire suppression system, we recommend adding one, as it is a lifesaving and long-term investment. Depending on the type of system, they can last up to 25 years without needing to be replaced and add significant value to a home.

Prevent Spontaneous Combustion Fires in Your Building

9/2/2022 (Permalink)

fire in a house Sometimes spontaneous combustion is to blame for destructive fires.

What is Spontaneous Combustion?

Most people experience combustion on a daily basis, especially in the winter. Combustion, which is a process that combines fuel with oxygen to produce heat and light, is the way natural gas- and oil-fired furnaces heat your home. It’s the way most water heaters work, as well.

However, spontaneous combustion is when combustion occurs without an apparent ignition source. Seeming to have sprung up spontaneously, fires resulting from spontaneous combustion are often the result of long-term chemical reactions. For instance, phosphorus self-ignites at room temperature without any heat applied.

What is a Chemical Reaction?

Spontaneous combustion is a chemical reaction, which occurs when bonds between molecules are formed or broken. These bonds come in various forms; generally, the more closely each molecule’s electron shell overlaps, the stronger the bond is.

Chemical reactions most often result from the introduction of heat, radiation or other chemicals. These disturb the equilibrium and cause breakage and formation of the existing chemical bonds.

Spontaneous Combustion, Chemical Reactions and Fire

The results of chemical reactions that occur during spontaneous combustion are light and heat. Assuming a fuel is present, the heat is often enough to start a fire. Consider these examples:

  • Spontaneous coal combustion: Coal can spontaneously combust if there’s enough oxygen available and the heat produced by the coal is not dissipated fast enough. The vicious cycle causes thermal runaway and a fire starts.
  • Spontaneous hay combustion: It seems counter intuitive, but hay is more likely to spontaneously combust if it becomes too wet. Wet hay stimulates microbe growth. As the microbes grow, they produce heat that dries out the surrounding hay. When the hay reaches about 150 degrees, heat-resistant bacteria start a chemical reaction that rapidly increases the temperature until the hay lights on fire.
  • Spontaneous linseed oil combustion: A common wood protector and tool cleaner, linseed oil is often used to soak rags to make the application easier. However, linseed oil evaporates very quickly, causing an increase in exothermic reach. When the accumulating heat exceeds the rate of heat dissipation, the temperature increases more rapidly and may become hot enough to make a linseed oil-soaked rag spontaneously combust.
  • Spontaneous combustion of decomposing material: Instances of bread spontaneously combusting have been reported in warm climates when large piles of festering bread sodden with water are stored in places with atmospheric humidity higher than 40 percent. Other decomposing materials can spontaneously combust as well. Fireplace ashes, discarded matches, cigarette butts, used rags and yard waste can all spontaneously combust if placed in an area with limited air movement. Heat produced from the decomposition process can’t escape, and that in turn can trigger a fire.

Smoke Damage Protocol

9/1/2022 (Permalink)

Smoke coming out of a house Fire or smoke damage is one of the worst types of structural damage

Understand material damage. Why smoke damage? Soot exposure will sink itself into the fibers and surfaces of your structure. How to recover contents after a wildfire.

Fire or smoke damage is one of the worst types of structural damage. Smoke damage is both of smoke and soot. It can destroy prized belongings and ruin the home’s living environment. Fire can blaze instantly without warning and rage on, destroying everything in its path. It can damage any structure within the area. The flames and heat in the fire, along with smoke, can badly damage your property. This is because most combustible items like carpets, wood products and fabrics do not burn completely. They have considerable chemical levels that become dangerous due to off-gassing.

Smoke Related Health Risks

Smoke particles put your health at risk because of its toxicity levels. Microscopic particles are suspended in air and later settle as soot. The soot and particles that settle on clothes and furnishings severely irritate the skin. Breathing in these toxins over time will lead to health complications. It will affect the respiratory system making breathing difficult. It causes coughing, nausea, and sleepiness. It can lead to death resulting from increased carbon monoxide in the lungs that hinder oxygen circulation in the body. It can also cause irreversible brain damage.

Smoke damage may not seem obvious, it is still a threat to your health. Focus on your safety by having SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West chicago, And Warrenville cleanup and decontaminate your property professionally. 

Toxic Building Materials Post Fire

In addition to unsightly damage and unpleasant odors, fire and smoke leave behind residues that can pose serious health risks. Building materials can release toxic chemicals when burned, and those chemicals can contaminate surrounding materials. It’s important to make sure any of the below damaged and affected materials are cleaned or removed:

  • Plastics
  • Carpets
  • Upholstery
  • Wood products
  • Insulation
  • Wool
  • Foams
  • All materials containing asbestos or lead

Toxic Chemicals Post Fire

After a fire, odors and discoloration can indicate that the environment has likely been contaminated with hazardous chemicals that were released during the fire. These chemicals pose significant health risks. Products that can release toxins when burned are common building materials and household items.

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)

PVC is the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer— over 40 million tons are produced each year. It’s used in flooring, plumbing, roofing, siding, protective clothing, and more. When burned, PVC releases a number of chemicals, all of which can be harmful to humans, including:

  • Hydrogen chloride
  • dioxin chloromethane
  • Halocarbons
  • Phosgene
  • Bromomethane
  • Carbon Materials

Since carbon building materials are readily available and used in abundance, they can pose a serious health risk after a fire if not properly restored or removed. When burned, these materials can release:

  • Ammonia
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Tar
  • Hydrogen
  • Carbon monoxide

What are the Different Types of Mold?

9/1/2022 (Permalink)

mold on wall Homeowners should address any mold issues as soon as possible.

You might assume that all mold is the same. But mold, like all life forms, is incredibly diverse and comes in many different shapes and colors. Like birds, bugs, fish, and mammals, there is a diverse range of life in the mold family tree.

Here are a few types that are a particular concern for homeowners.

Stachybotrys

This type of mold grows extremely well on wood, hay, paper, and cardboard. This is the type that is commonly called “black mold” or “toxic mold” although these are unofficial terms that are often used to describe different molds. Stachybotrys mold usually requires extremely damp conditions with days or even weeks to fully grow.

Toxic molds, also known as mycotoxins, can also be found in office buildings. We see this in offices with poor ventilation and indoor water source like a fountain. While water indoors may look pretty, if there is not proper ventilation as well as temperature and humidity control, it can be a breeding ground for black toxic mold.

Aspergillus

Aspergillus mold is one of the most common forms of household mold. It has 185 different sub-species with 22 sub-species known to cause illness.

Cladosporium

This is also a common form of mold that has a pretty ugly reputation. Cladosporium a genus of fungi including some of the most common indoor and outdoor molds. Species produce olive-green to brown or black colonies, and have dark-pigmented conidia that are formed in simple or branching chains. Many species of Cladosporium are commonly found on living and dead plant material. 

Mucor

This type of mold is actually common in soils, but it can work its way into homes. Mucor mold is often found in duct work and inside air conditioning systems. It grows fast, has a whitish or grey color, and can grow quite thick.

Penicillium Mold

Anyone who’s studied medicine knows that penicillin is commonly used as an antibiotic against various types of infections. It can grow on walls and many types of food, and it’s actually used quite often in food processing.


Acremonium

Acremonium is a group of molds that can frequently be found indoors and several of its species are known human pathogens.

Fusarium

This is another common soil mold that usually affects humidifiers and plants. It can produce toxins that could be harmful to circulatory and nervous systems. If this mold does affect someone, it’s usually through ingestion (such as eating contaminated grains), but it is not unheard of for people to inhale the spores.

5 Ways to Prevent a Soggy Basement

9/1/2022 (Permalink)

water in a basement Prevent basement flooding. These 5 tips will help.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), floods are the No. 1 disaster in America. But did you also know that melting snow and ice poses a chilling risk for basement or other property-related flooding? Commonly known as winter thaw, rapidly melting snow and ice can quickly become a property owner’s worst nightmare, leaking into basements or other areas of home, leaving behind extensive water damage and destruction.

Other causes of basement flooding, or flooding in any area of a home or office, include flash flooding, burst pipes, cracks in foundation, poor lot grading, sewer back-up, and overfilled eaves, troughs and downspouts. What can homeowners do to lessen the risk? Prevention is the best approach to reduce the risk of flooding.

These tips on preventing basement flooding will help:

Fill and Seal Cracks

Look for cracks or gaps in walls, floors, windows and foundations that water can come through. Seal cracks as well as window wells. Use epoxy on foundation cracks and masonry sealer indoors. If the problem looks serious, call SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Clean out gutters and downspouts of all debris and position downspouts away from your home’s foundation. Make sure downspouts are draining properly at least six and a half feet away.

Place Plants or Shrubs Around your Home

Plant shrubs, flowers or plants around your home and install porous pavement to help absorb as much excess water as possible.

Have a Plumber Install a Sump Pump

Have a plumber ensure your plumbing is in good condition and fix if it is not. If not already installed, have a plumber install a sump pump. It pumps water from sump basin and redirects it outdoors. Place it in the lowest part of the basement and regularly check to make sure it is clean. Also, sump pumps need power to work so think about having a back-up power source. 

Avoid Blocking your Drains and Pipes

Don’t dispose cooking oil and grease down your drains as it can cause drain blockage. Try to avoid flushing objects down the toilet that could potentially block the sanitary pipe.

Bonus winter weather tip: When shoveling the snow from your driveway or sidewalk, toss it away from your home. Piles of snow next to your home often lead to water disaster.

Water mitigation is needed after plumbing failures or storms cause water to rush into your home, whether it’s the basement or another area of the home. Soaked rugs, damaged walls, warped flooring, and ruined furniture are only the beginning of the damages property owners will experience. It’s important to act quickly in the face of an emergency such as flooding from plumbing failure or storm water backup.

Crucial Steps to be Followed When Dealing with the Biohazard Cleaning Process

9/1/2022 (Permalink)

Man in bio hazard suit cleaning Cleaning a biohazard is far more intensive than a regular cleaning

Step 1: Wear appropriate PPE, including liquid/airtight clothing, goggles, respirator, gloves

Step 2: Create a clean space or control room to manage entry/exit from contaminated area

Step 3: Identify primary biohazards and area of contamination

Step 4: Remove any unsalvageable items and clean visible damage

Step 5: Continue to clean under and around damaged area, stripping back each layer of floor or wall and testing beneath

Step 6: Use UV light sources such as hydroxyl generators to sanitize and deodorize air

Step 7: Dispose of all biohazard material according to state and local regulations 

Because of this, the biohazard cleanup process can be unavoidably destructive. While enzyme cleaners that react with bodily fluids or other contaminants can be used to identify areas that need to be cleaned, often a full inspection requires the removal of drywall and floorboards to check places that can’t be checked visually.

In addition to being a difficult and labor-intensive task, cleaning crime or death scenes comes with the added consideration of the human element of the people who live in or own the property. A trauma cleaner may find they need as many people skills as cleaning skills in order to handle the sensitive nature of their job. As such, the professional and job requirements for biohazard company cleaning staff are multifaceted: cleaners need to be trained in recognizing and decontaminating hazards, compassionate with property owners, and physically fit enough to put in many hours of manual work while wearing hot and restrictive clothing.

Carrying out this kind of intensive, full-property cleaning is difficult under ideal circumstances, but most hazmat cleaning is undertaken in everyday environments that were not designed to facilitate sterile cleaning. That might mean working in small or cramped quarters, navigating additional cut or trip risks such as broken glass and clutter, and having a variety of different surfaces and materials to clean.

While there is no specific governing body for biohazard cleaning, forensic cleaning companies follow state and national regulations for cleaning and disposing of each individual biohazard they encounter using guidelines from OSHA, EPA, CDC, and more. 

STEPS TO RESTORING A COMMERCIAL BUILDING AFTER WATER DAMAGE

5/3/2022 (Permalink)

buildings on a flooded street Water damage can be a catastrophic event but when the building is a commercial enterprise it can be debilitating if not handled properly.

Step 1: Determine the Risks

Electrical Hazards

Electrical Hazards can include power strips in offices getting wet, water from above impacting junction boxes, lights, fire alarm systems etc. All power to impacted areas where electrical systems could be impacted should be immediately shut off at the circuit breaker panel if safe to do so. A qualified electrician should be hired to assess any damages and to ensure all areas are safe from shock hazards. 

Slip and Fall Hazards

Slip and fall hazards are some of the most common hazards in any water damage event. Every effort should be made to reduce risks to include water removal, proper warning signs and restricting access to damaged areas. 

HVAC System Contaminations

HVAC systems should be assessed to determine if any moisture has impacted the system. Contaminated water poses an imminent risk to occupants in the building due to the risk of bacteria, and other microorganisms becoming airborne. Even clean water when stagnant in the HVAC system for an extended period (typically over 48 hours) rapidly degrades and can result in deteriorated air quality and potential exposure risks. After water damage events impacting a mechanical system, a qualified HVAC expert should assess the system and the associated ductwork should be cleaned by a NADCA certified firm. 

Bacterial Contamination

Category 1 or “clean” water damage situations are much less of a risk in terms of immediate health risks to occupant health and safety. Category 2 (contaminated water with potential risk of harm such as groundwater) and category 3 (significant contamination such as sewage) water damage disasters pose a much greater risk to occupant health due to potential viruses, bacteria, chemicals, and disease-causing pathogens typically present in this type of water. Immediate evacuation of occupants is often prudent in category 2 water damage events and is almost always required in category 3 water damage events. 

Step 2: Mitigate Commercial Water Damage

Proper mitigation during water damage is a critical step in restoring a building–but what exactly does mitigation mean with respect to restoring a building? Mitigation involves removing all excess water, quickly identifying salvageable vs non-salvageable building materials/contents, quickly identifying class 4 areas of damage which are difficult/technical drying challenges with bound moisture and establishing a restoration plan for demolition and drying. The ultimate goal of mitigation in commercial settings is to dry the structure with as little demolition as possible and to limit downtime of the operation. 

The Key to Success is Having a Water Damage Clean up Process in Place

Good communication throughout the entire process is key to a successful outcome. This includes communication with facilities management, subcontractors, water mitigation techs, etc. Every step should be thoroughly documented, including photos, notes, and moisture mapping. A pre-set disaster emergency response plan is the best way to ensure a rapid response and timely building restoration. Most progressive companies have some type of plan in place which should include all of the building’s mechanical information, electrical layouts/shut-offs, water shutoffs, location of critical documents, staging areas and contact information for key employees/contractors. 

No one ever wishes for a water damage event to strike their building, but chances are that at some point you’ll be the victim of a water damage disaster. When disaster does strike have a plan already in place and more importantly ensure you call in a qualified expert, such as SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville to perform the required mitigation. With a well thought out and well-executed mitigation/drying plan you’ll be up and running in no time.

Types of Fire Doors for Your Commercial Business

5/3/2022 (Permalink)

fire door exit outside a building Choosing the correct fire doors for your business could be crucial.

In the case of a fire, fire doors are necessary. They can buy valuable time, allowing residents to safely flee a structure. In the event of an emergency, they are critical not only for providing a clear and secure escape route but also for reducing the spread of flames and smoke. Because fire doors have the potential to save lives and reduce long-term damage, they must adhere to the building's strict health and safety rules.

The effectiveness of a fire door, as well as the type required, are determined by its location in the building and the types of fire dangers it faces. There are many various types of fire doors, ranging from different materials to different fire ratings and levels of protection.

Fire doors made of glass

It's hard to think that glass is a fire-resistant material, yet thanks to sophisticated fire technology, it's just as excellent as any other. It's crucial to understand that glass fire doors must be built of fire-resistant glass. This indicates that the glass has undergone the necessary fire testing and has been certified as fire-resistant.

The E certification denotes that the fire door glazing will remain transparent when exposed to fire or heat, allowing for maximum visibility and light transmission. It also implies that the glass will only impede the spread of fire and smoke, but not heat transmission. The number following the E classification grade indicates how long it will take for fire-rated glass to properly segregate regions and prevent fire and smoke from spreading.

Toughened fire glass can resist temperatures of over 1600°F, whilst normal glazing can only withstand temperatures of 250°F. Glass fire screens, and doors can also provide up to 120 minutes of fire protection. Following are the classes and classification of glass fire rated doors and screens :

  • Class E: This is the most basic form of fire-resistant glass available. It can contain flames and smoke for a long period, but it can't stop heat from radiating from the source from being transmitted or transferred.
  • Class EW: This is the second type of fire-resistant glass that can effectively contain flames and smoke for an extended period. It does, however, provide some insulation or resistance to the heat radiating from the source.
  • Class EI: This is likely the benchmark in terms of fire-resistant glass, as it provides a broad range of protection. It protects individuals not only from fire and smoke but also from the heat radiated by the fire source.
  • Fire doors E30: A glass door or screen with an E30 rating can defend against the spread of smoke and flames for 30 minutes in the case of a fire, providing a half-hour opportunity for anyone in the building to locate a safe escape path.
  • Fire doors E60: E60 is a higher grade for glass fire screens and doors, indicating that it can endure heat and smoke for 60 minutes without losing its integrity and stability.
  • Fire doors E120: The highest-rated fire-resistant glass is given an E120 rating, indicating that it can withstand the pressure of fire and smoke for up to 120 minutes before losing its effectiveness.

Fire doors made of wood

The British Woodworking Federation assigns an FD rating to timber fire doors to indicate their level of protection. Another prominent organization that supplies fire door ratings is the British Woodworking Federation (BWF). The BWF fire ratings for fire door assemblies are expressed in minutes and preceded by the initials FD: for example, FD30 stands for a 30-minute fire door or fire door set, which means it provides at least 30 minutes of fire protection.

The following are the most regularly used integrity levels:

  • FD30 is for 30 minutes,
  • FD60 is for 60 minutes,
  • FD90 is for 90 minutes, and
  • FD120 is for 120 minutes.

The current FD20 rating is no longer available as part of the BWF's efforts to simplify fire door identification and avoid specification misunderstanding.

Certified Fire Doors

Fire door sets can be certified by manufacturers for recognition and to ensure their functionality in a fire situation. The manufacturer's initial step is to build a fire door set to a specification that, in their opinion, will withstand a fire for a defined period.

BWF has its Certified Fire Door Scheme, in which they collaborate with FIRAS installers to ensure that the doors are installed according to their specifications. All fire doors that have completed the British Woodworking Federation's tests will be granted a BWF-CERTIFICATE, which will state the door's rating and ensure that it has been properly tested and is safe to use.

How to create a fire protection and prevention plan for businesses

5/3/2022 (Permalink)

fire fighter extinghing a fire Commercial businesses need to create a fire protection and prevention plan.

As one of the greatest hazards that a business can experience, fire rates near the top. Each year, several thousand lives are lost to fires, tens of thousands of people are seriously injured, and billions of dollars in property is destroyed or damaged by fires. Commercial businesses guard against this risk by sharing these best practices for a fire protection and prevention plan as part of their risk management plan.

Most fires can be prevented by using proper building materials, plus identification and protection of special hazards. The use of detection and suppression equipment, along with education and involvement of the organization’s senior management are also key prevention considerations on which we’ll take a closer look.

Before a fire: Prepare and launch your fire protection and prevention plan

Establish an Emergency plan that takes prevention, emergency response, and disaster recovery into consideration. If a plan is already in place, review and update it as needed for fire readiness.

Before you create your pre-fire plan, you’ll need a solid understanding of your building’s construction, floorplan and occupancy. This helps firefighters and other emergency response personnel to more effectively resolve a crisis.

Observe not only the building’s layout and construction materials, but also parking lot entrances, hydrant locations and nearby structures. Include a floorplan of each level that shows elevators, fire escape stairwells, heating and air conditioning equipment, smoke detectors, fire alarms, sprinkler systems and controls, and utility shutoffs.

Your commercial business should also conduct a hazard assessment and safety appraisal of the facility and its operations.

In launching a fire protection and prevention plan, be sure to include the following:

  • Smoking regulations that are supported and enforced by management.
  • Safe procedures for handling and storing flammable gases and liquids.
  • Safe means of performing hot work (e.g., welding).
  • A thorough description of good housekeeping methods such as not allowing rubbish to accumulate or aisles to be blocked.

In developing the plan, your business may discover they need to install or upgrade various fire prevention features. They may need to upgrade their facility to meet current fire codes. If so, remind them to use noncombustible and fire-resistant building materials. Additionally, encourage them to follow these safety tips:

  • Ensure the preventive maintenance program for operational equipment (building utilities, processing equipment and material handling equipment) meets manufacturer’s specifications and industry standards.
  • Install fire detection systems (e.g., fire alarm systems) and fire suppression systems (e.g., fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, and carbon dioxide) in the building, particularly in hazardous locations.
  • Keep an adequate number of appropriate fire extinguishers in strategic locations (such as near loading docks and waste collection areas). Maintain them properly and train staff on their use.
  • Test all fire and life safety detection and suppression equipment per local and national fire codes.
  • Consider maintaining a water supply at the facility to control small fires until emergency personnel can arrive.
  • Ensure there’s an adequate water supply for the sprinkler system. Evaluate the water supply’s volume, pressure, and duration (e.g., pressure, suction, or gravity/elevated tanks).
  • When reservoirs, ponds, rivers, and other similar bodies of water are used to supply the sprinkler system,  evaluate how any unusual weather conditions such as winter freezes or extremely hot weather may affect supply.
  • Have available appropriate tools such as rakes, axes, saws, buckets and shovels to help control small fires while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
  • Meet with the local fire department to familiarize them with special hazards and emergency procedures.
  • Develop mutual aid agreements with other companies.
  • Keep a list of all vendors’ and key customers’ telephone numbers and other important contact information available and secured.
  • Provide a warning system for all personnel on the premises.

Protect employees

  • Train employees in general fire safety, especially for tasks with a high fire risk such as welding and cutting, fueling vehicles or working with flammable liquids.
  • Teach employees about the importance of good housekeeping and grounds maintenance in preventing and controlling fires.
  • Train key employees in when and how to use fire extinguishers.
  • Consider when and how to evacuate employees if needed.
  • Establish an evacuation plan and keep it up to date.
  • Hold evacuation drills regularly so all employees are familiar with evacuation routes and routines and know who’s in charge.
  • Make sure all employees can get out of the building and communicate with a responsible person.
  • Plan primary and secondary exits from your buildings. Consider how employees will escape if doors or windows are blocked by an exterior fire.

Once your business' emergency fire plan is in place, they’ll need to provide it to local fire officials and update it on a regular basis.

During a fire: Enact your fire protection plan

  • Identify the affected area and sound the alarm.
  • Call the public fire department.
  • Evacuate all visitors and employees.
  • Position security staff at the front entrance of the building (or wherever appropriate) to meet, brief, and escort the fire department.
  • When directed by the fire department, notify the electric company to cut off electric power to the facility.

After a fire: Begin recovery

  • Conduct a roll call of all personnel, including visitors.
  • Assess the structure for damage.
  • If there is no power, check to make sure the main breaker is on. Fires may cause breakers to trip. If the breakers are on and power is still not available, contact the utility company.
  • Inspect all other utilities and turn off those that are damaged.
  • ALWAYS contact 911 if any danger is perceived upon re-entry and contact local experts before finally moving back in.
  • Protect equipment and inventory against further damage from water or exposure to the elements.
  • Restore fire detection and suppression systems.
  • Arrange for security at the scene.
  • Call your insurance company to begin a claim.
  • Photograph and document the damage.
  • Begin salvage operations.

How To Know It’s Time To Call A Storm Damage Restoration Company

4/5/2022 (Permalink)

a tree fell on a house from results of a storm Storms can happen in a flash. Let SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville help when storm damage is severe.

The weather conditions in Illinois can easily result in storms. As a result, your home or property may receive damage. One example of damage after stormy weather is roof damage. This may result in roof leaks and further damage.

Here are some signs that you should call SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville.

1. Wind damage

Winds that accompany a storm can be devastating. This type of damage is what you should first look for after a storm. Here are some signs of wind damage to let you know that it is time to call. 

  • Missing shingles: Missing shingles is one obvious sign of wind damage. Already peeling or cracked shingles are even more susceptible. New and well-maintained roofs are less at-risk. Some roofing manufacturers also have warranties that cover severe wind damage.
  • Visible loss of granules: Commonly, brand new roofs suffer some granule loss. The loss of granules is found in characteristic horizontal lines with storm damage. This is a sign of a broken shingle seal. As shingles flap in the wind, granules rub off.
  • Visible water infiltration: Leaks that penetrate through the ceilings are obvious signs of wind damage. This is true if you see a water stain on your ceiling. If this happens, it means that both the roof underlayment and shingles are compromised.
  • Loose debris: Loose debris after a storm can also be an indication of wind damage. If your roof is struck by elements because of the high winds, you will likely find debris in and around your home. Ensure that you clear all debris to reduce the safety risk.

2. Snow and hail damage

Hail forms at the same range of temperature at which snow is possible. Hail consists of compact-sized balls of ice. They are capable of denting or punching through solid objects when they fall at full force. Here are some signs of hail and snow to let you know that the service of a storm damage restoration company is needed:

  • Damaged or missing shingles: Hail can cause the immediate loss of shingles even if they were intact before a storm. Look for dents and cracks to find the location of the impact. The shingles may need replacement because of the damage, even if they are still present.
  • Broken or clogged gutters: Clogged gutters should be cleaned immediately after a storm. This is to allow water to drain properly away from the foot of the building. If it does not, the foundation of your house can get eroded, making the structure unsafe. Ensure that all downspouts and gutters are not broken or clogged. If they are, call a restoration company.
  • Ice dams: Shingles become vulnerable to ice dams when not properly maintained. Ice dams form due to the freezing of melted snow on the eaves of your roof. Ice dams can prevent the proper flow of water off your roof, encouraging leaks. An ice dam is an issue you can easily notice.

3. Water damage

Water damage is unlike wind and hail damage. Sometimes, it takes a while before water damage gets noticed. However, it can still lead to serious damage to your health and home if not addressed. You should call a storm damage restoration company if you notice any of these signs:

  • Damage to roof accents or supports: Damage to the supporting structures of your home may not be obvious. Your shingles may also appear to be intact. However, ensure that you look for areas where there is heavy pooling of water after or during heavy rain. You should also check the chimney, flashing around vent pipes and other areas susceptible to pooling of water.
  • Visible attic issue: The attic of your house is part of your home’s ecosystem. A sign of leaks you can see in your attic is moisture penetration. You may need to replace the insulation and inundated surfaces to prevent the growth of mildew and mold.
  • Odd smell: You may not notice water even if there is a minor leak somewhere in the wall of your home. However, you may notice some type of smell. You will notice more serious signs of water damage if you can locate the source of the smell. 
  • Discoloration on the walls: Whenever there is water damage, and it is not visible, there is a high chance that the problem is going into the walls of your home. You may not easily notice dripping water as a result of small leaks. However, you will start noticing discoloration on your walls as time goes on. It is a sign of excess moisture in your home.
  • Warped flooring: Warped flooring is another sign that there is unseen water in your home. The result of water getting between the floorboards is buckling and uneven flooring. To be sure of this, ensure that you check your baseboards. There could also be mold beneath them.

Steps to Take Immediately After a Storm Damage

4/5/2022 (Permalink)

uprooted tree on a house from a storm Some post-storm damage can create safety and health hazards as well, so having a strategy to deal with damage will help you to be ready to take steps

Storm damage can occur at any time and can cause an immense amount of harm to your home. Heavy rains can cause flooding and powerful winds can cause roof damage and downed trees on your property. Some post-storm damage can create safety and health hazards as well, so having a strategy to deal with damage will help you to be ready to take steps immediately after the storm.

Take Safety Precautions

Heavy winds and rain can create physical hazards such as collapsed roofing materials, window damage, collapsed walls or standing water in the basement or home interior. In addition, moisture can soak into furniture, carpeting, and building materials making the perfect environment for mold growth that can cause health issues. Shut off the main gas line if you smell gas. Beware of broken glass, exposed nails, and other sharp objects on the property. Contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville to help do basic tasks to secure your property and make it safe to use. If necessary, arrange for an alternative place for you and your family to live while your property is being restored to safe living condition.

Photograph the Damage

If it is safe to move around your property, use your cellphone or a camera to photograph the damage so that you will have a record for your insurance company. This action will ensure that you are fully compensated.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance agent to notify them about the damage to your home immediately. The company will send out an adjustor to determine the extent of the damage so that payment for repairs can be made.

4 Main Causes Of Roof Storm Damage

4/5/2022 (Permalink)

storm damaged roof After a storm there are 4 main reasons your home could be damaged.

Here are four main suspects of storm damage to your roof: wind, water, hail, and debris.

Wind Damage

During thunderstorms, wind gusts can be gale-force (40-60mph) or even hurricane force (75+ mph) which can cause severe damage to your roof’s shingles. A wind that speed can easily tear off shingles or just lift and curl them, both revealing the protective underlayment beneath your shingles. When that underlayment is exposed, your roof is immediately at risk of leaks as water can leak underneath the nearby shingles and seep into your home.

Water Damage

There are a couple of ways extensive rainfall can cause pooling and water damage after the storm settles down. First, if your roof does not have proper drainage or has previously weakened spots, that heavy rainfall will simply sit on your roof and cause sunken spots or leak through any damaged shingles very easily. Also, if you have clogged gutters, that rainwater cannot run off the roof properly and will pool at your gutters which can lead to it seeping into those weak spots at the edge of your roof.

Hail Damage

Hail large enough to damage your roof is not super common, but it can happen. And even small hail paired with strong gale winds can be enough to throw that hail into your shingles hard enough to dent them and slough off those vital granules that are the first protective layer of your shingles. Hail can also crack and peel up the edges of your shingles.

Damage From Debris

During severe thunderstorms, all kinds of debris like sticks and branches can snap off and blow onto your roof. If you’re especially unlucky, you could have an overhanging tree branch or tree fall on your roof, causing catastrophic damage. But even the small branches, twigs, and other trash debris that flies around and lands on your roof can cause damage. Imagine a gale-force wind carrying with it large branches headed straight for your roof.

Minimize Water Damage From a Sink

3/3/2022 (Permalink)

bathroom sink overflowing If your sink is flooding it can damage your home

When it comes to water damage from a sink flood there are some ways in which you could minimize the damage. This article offers you tips on how to minimize the water damage from a sink flood. The one main thing that is important for you to do in order to minimize damage from a sink flood is to get the water to your house shut off immediately.

Key Takeaways:

  • If your sink is flooding it can damage your home
  • Make sure to shut off the water immediately
  • Use any fabric you can find to create a barrier to isolate the water

A sink overflowing with water is a common cause of water damage and have the potential to cause much more than just a wet mess in your home. If the water gets out of control, it may result in flooding and serious interior water damage to your property.  It can also create serious health hazards as it can develop eventual bacterial growth.

When dealing with an overflowing sink, your best line of defense is always to do your best to prevent it from happening.  Thankfully, avoiding a sink flooding isn’t hard to do; you just have to keep in mind that most overflows happen due to a clogged drain. If you easily maintain it by keeping your drain clear, water should be able to flow to the sewers as intended. If not, you may end up dealing with some sink flooding.

Preventing Sink Flooding

One way to prevent sink flooding is by following these tips to keep your drain line clear:

  • Don’t dispose of food scraps through your sink. As particles accumulate, they can form a solid clog that restricts water movement.
  • Just because fat, oil and grease look fluid doesn’t mean they’ll go right along with water to the sewers. These substances can deposit and solidify in your drainage pipe and cause a clog.
  • Avoid getting hair into your sink. Hair can create a barrier that prevents the escape of water into the sewage system.
  • Always have a drain cover to filter out large, solid objects that may fall into your sink’s drainage pipe. Dispose of these particles in the trash.

HOW WATER DAMAGE CAN AFFECT YOUR WALLS

3/3/2022 (Permalink)

wet drywall Water can wick up through the drywall and cause issues and leave hidden damage.
We know just how difficult a broken water pipe or an emergency storm can be. But are you aware of just how terrible water damage can be to your walls? We think naturally of the floors, as the forces of nature that we’re all familiar with tend to drag the water down there. However, the walls are just as important—and, if there’s drywall on your ceiling, you’ll need to be concerned about that too. It’s not just mold and aesthetic damage, either—too much water can lead to a collapse!

WHAT CAN WATER DO TO YOUR DRYWALL?

Well, the first thing that you need to know is that water can wick up through the drywall and cause issues. Even if the waternever touched the wall in an emergency, your walls can have plenty of water in them anyway, which can lead to appearance damage and structural issues with the drywall. The water can wick up the walls by 1 inch an hour, meaning that if the water sits for a day without any treatment, the water can be as far up on the wall as two feet.

Once the water is in the drywall, one of two things can happen. The first and most destructive end to the water damage is that of buckling and warping. You might not be familiar with this kind of wall water damage, but it’s definitely worth looking into. If the water saturates the drywall, it will collapse under its own weight. Gypsum (or plaster), being drywall’s main ingredient, is well known to absorb water and get much heavier as a result. The same can happen to your ceiling if it’s made of drywall, as well, with far more disastrous results. 

Another big issue is that of mold and mildew. Gypsum is porous, as you might have guessed from its ability to absorb water. Well, because it’s porous and holds water, it can provide a great medium for mold growth both on the outside and the inside. If you start to see or smell the signs of mold, you may end up replacing that portion of the drywall (or the whole thing, if the problem gets too far out of hand). 

WHAT IF I HAVE WOOD PANELING?

You’re still not safe from water damage if you have wood paneling. Buckling is not as big an issue for wood paneling, but damage can definitely occur. While the wood should be treated to prevent rotting, there’s always the chance that it’s not, especially if it’s particularly decorative (as treated lumber doesn’t look nearly as nice as untreated). There are also major issues of aesthetic damage, as lumber is extremely susceptible to discoloration and other issues with its appearance. Depending on the lacquer, the wood can lose that as well, meaning that while there’s fewer structural issues with wet wood wall damage, there are more issues of appearance which can cost just as much to fix as the drywall. 

Tips For Drying Wet Carpet And Preventing Mold Growth

3/3/2022 (Permalink)

wet carpet Wet carpet can cause damage to your home beyond just the flooring.

Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a flood or leaky pipe, coping with a soaked carpet is no laughing matter. Wet carpet can cause damage to your home beyond just the flooring – a problem that’s incredibly unpleasant.

If you have wet carpet, there’s no time to lose. Follow these steps for drying your carpet properly and preventing the spread of moisture and mildew.

1. Remove The Moisture

The most important part is first stopping water from flowing into the problem area. The easiest way to get the moisture or water out of your carpet is by removing it with a wet vacuum. Wet vacs are the perfect tool for getting rid of water in your carpet. They’re relatively inexpensive, and you can easily rent one if you think you may need a wet vac just once.

2. Assess Your Furniture

If you have furniture and fixtures in the room, check to see whether the moisture impacted those items. While you can remove, dry, and replace some objects, others – like upholstered furniture – may require more special attention. Unfortunately, you may have to dispose of items that have severe water damage.

3. Create Air Flow

Create as much airflow as possible in the wet area to help clear the odor and moisture from the room. Open windows, turn on fans and put a fan on the floor to help dry things out.

High-powered fans are best for this job. However, if you only have standard fans, a little airflow is better than none. Consider using a dehumidifier to remove even more moisture from the atmosphere.

4. Replace Carpet Padding

In most cases where water has saturated your carpet, your carpet padding is a goner. Replace it to prevent the main carpet from becoming saturated with mold.

5. Steam Clean

Steam cleaning wet carpet removes any toxins and deodorizes it. You can do this yourself or call a professional for help. Steam has a high enough temperature to kill any toxins, and also removes the toxins when the steam cleaner sucks up the dead mold spores.

6. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda works wonders when it comes to lifting and removing trapped moisture. Simply sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda over your wet carpet and allow it to sit for at least half an hour. Then, vacuum it up and enjoy fresh dry carpets.

7. Sanitize Other Room Surfaces

To further prevent the spread of mold and mildew, thoroughly clean the other surfaces in the room. Scrub the walls and baseboards to remove the remainder of water and any mildew from your room.

How to Prevent Chimney Fires this Winter

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Fire coming out the top of a chimney Chimney fires are dangerous, but they are preventable.

Chimney fires are dangerous, but they are preventable.

What causes chimney fires?

Creosote buildup in the flue that lines the chimney. Creosote is a highly flammable black or dark brown residue that is a by-product of combustion. This substance can be crusty, tar-like, sticky, or hardened. If there’s enough of it—and the internal flue temperature is high enough or sparks or flames reach it—a chimney fire can start.

How to prevent chimney fires:

  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year. If you’re using it daily, like a wood stove for heating, multiple cleanings will be needed each year. 
  • Burn “clean” fires. That means fires with more flame, less smoke. To get a clean fire, burn seasoned wood that has been drying for a year or more. Keep it undercover until use so it is dry when added to the firebox. Avoid burning evergreens—they tend to pop and spark more than hardwoods, creating a fire hazard.
  • Keep the damper fully open. Restricted air supply from a partially closed damper adds to creosote buildup.
  • Be smart about what you're burning. Some people start their fires with rolled-up newspaper logs. Avoid burning glossy pages, wrapping paper, or cardboard, which may release nasty chemicals. Never put the paper on top of a fire; feed it under the grate so burning fragments don’t rise up the flue and cause a chimney fire.

Fireplace and Home Fire Safety

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Fire burning in a fireplace People use fireplaces, wood stoves, and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes. Learn how to use them safely.

Practice the following fire safety steps to keep those home fires safely burning. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility.  

Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations, and flammable materials.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise, you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
  • Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.

Safely Burn Fuels

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash, or debris in your fireplace or woodstove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a metal container outside your home.

Protect the Outside of Your Home

  • Stack firewood outdoors at least 30 feet away from your home.
  • Keep the roof clear of leaves, pine needles, and other debris.
  • Cover the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.
  • Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues, or vents.

Protect the Inside of Your Home

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Consider installing the new long-life smoke alarms.
  • Provide proper venting systems for all heating equipment.
  • Extend all vent pipes at least three feet above the roof.

Fire Pit Safety

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

backyard fire pit Playing with fire is no joke, and that is precisely what you are doing when you use a fire pit.

Are outdoor fire pits safe? They absolutely can be with these safety tips.

For owners and soon-to-be owners of these crowd-pleasing centers of warmth, here are some important tips that will keep you, your children and pets, and friends safe.

1. Fire Pit Clearance

How far does a fire pit have to be away from the house?

Before striking the match, never place a pit closer than 10 feet from anything flammable, including your house and overhead tree branches.

Unless the owner’s manual says it’s okay, don’t put the pit on a grassy surface, wood deck, or enclosed porch.

2. Fire Pit Fuel

Always burn dry, seasoned wood that was cut at least six months earlier. To keep sparks from flying, make sure logs are no longer than three-quarters of the pit’s diameter.

With gas pits, make sure all vents are clear to avoid smoky flare-ups. And only use the fuel that the pit is built to burn. For traditional wood-burning pits, that means using dry, well-seasoned sticks. Also, don’t load in so many that there’s a danger of some falling out. Once the pit is lit, keep the following close at hand, just in case your merry bonfire suddenly starts burning a little too bright.

3. Starting the Flames

Never use lighter fluid, gas, or kerosene to light a fire.

4. Putting Out a Fire Safely

Water or Sand

Extinguishing a flare-up might be as simple as keeping your garden hose nearby, with the water turned on and the nozzle set to "spray." (A focused stream of water could spread burning embers.)

Check ahead of time to see if your pit can withstand a dousing; water can crack ceramic pits and even some metal ones. If it can't get wet, or if you're not sure, keep a bucket of dry sand nearby to dump on the flames. For a gas or propane pit, turn off the supply before attempting to extinguish any fire.

Fire Extinguisher

It should be a dry-chemical extinguisher with a Class B and C or multipurpose rating, such as the one you have in your kitchen. Be ready to follow the PASS procedure: 1) Pull the pin; 2) Aim at the base of the fire; 3) Squeeze the trigger slowly; 4) Sweep the nozzle from side to side. Remember that most portable fire extinguishers have a range of just 6 to 10 feet and last for 8 to 10 seconds.

Cooking Fires And The Potential Damages

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

Cooking Fires Your stove and oven are two big potential fire sources.

Your kitchen is the heart of the home. Homework gets done, bills get paid, and pets get fed. So many great memories  get made cooking in the kitchen- the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies, late night hot cocoa, leftover pizza for breakfast…. 

One of the household’s most basic and repeated tasks can also be one of the most dangerous. Kitchen fires are the most common types of household blazes; half of all residential fires start in the kitchen. Of these, most are triggered by cooking. According to NFPA.ORG, cooking equipment is responsible for 1 in 5 blazes  and the leading cause of home fires. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

Cooking Appliances

Your stove and oven are two big potential fire sources; they generate heat with gas or electricity. Ranges or cook-tops are responsible for 58 percent of home cooking fires, ovens account for 16 percent. Grease is highly flammable, but so are paper, cloth, and wood–all often close to the cooking surfaces. 

Many kitchen fires come from burned and scorched food in the pan. A dirty oven or stove top with accumulated grease and residue is another fire safety hazard. 

Although they are convenient, microwaves can be dangerous if you heat flammable aluminum foil, Styrofoam or certain plastic containers.  Almost all foods can ‘catch fire’ when improperly heated in the microwave (for example 10 minutes instead of 1 minute.) Toasters and toaster ovens can gather crumbs and grease, sometimes causing a fire. 

Technical Malfunctions 

Ovens can malfunction and start a fire, especially if they are old, not maintained properly or damaged in some way. Electric ovens have heating elements that can spark a blaze; gas models may develop leaks that can lead to explosions. When the switches and thermostats age, the oven may not turn off completely.  Ensure that the appliance is serviced regularly, and immediately if the cooking temperature is erratic.

Lack of Cleaning

Of all the potential causes of an oven fire, this is perhaps the most avoidable; every year thousands of fires are triggered by greasy residue. A buildup of oils and other cooking byproducts, or even thick dust, can trigger an oven blaze. Clean your oven regularly, especially if you spill something or food boils over inside of it. Use only appropriate cleaning products. Check the internet for ideas using vinegar and baking soda for an eco-friendly option. 

Safety reminders

  • Unattended equipment is a factor in one-third (31%) of reported home cooking fires and over half (53%) of the associated deaths.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire. Instead of running with the pan, turn off the stove, put the lid on the pan and let the fire die out from lack of oxygen. If you don’t happen to have a lid for the frying pan, slide another lid or a metal cookie sheet over the pan, being careful not to get your hands near the flames.
  • If you see a fire in the oven, don’t whip open the oven door. Instead, turn off the oven and keep the door closed. If you can keep the fire from getting more oxygen, you’ve got the problem solved.
  • Don’t use your oven for storage.

Is The Exterior Of Your Home Ready For The Fall Weather?

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

Exterior Of Your Home Ready For The Fall Weather If the exterior of your home is damaged, it can cause interior problems to occur.

The exterior of your home is what protects you from the outdoor elements. It keeps you warm and dry from the sleet, snow, and rain. If the exterior of your home is damaged, it can cause interior problems to occur. Before Fall arrives, it is a good idea to check for any problems. You should check the interior and exterior of your property with the change of each season.

Roof and Gutter Checks

Your roof is one of the most vital areas to check. If you have a missing or broken shingle, you risk water damages to the interior of your home. You also should check that the structure of your roof is in good shape, as sleet and snow can become heavy, which could cause more damages. If your roof looks damaged, have it repaired as soon as possible. Your gutters should be cleaned of all debris. Debris in your gutters can cause water damages and even ice dams to occur.

Pipe Checks

If you have unprotected pipes on your property, it is important that they are protected. Colder weather can weaken pipes, causing them to splinter and burst. You may also end up with frozen pipe lines. Both problems can cause water damages and possible mold growth.

Window and Siding Checks

Always check that your windows are sealed and in good shape. You never want ice, rain, snow, or cold air to enter through cracks in your window. If you have damages to your siding, it could result in water damages to the interior of your home. Repair any damages to ensure you do not have water damages this Fall.

Tree Checks

If you have dead branches or trees, now is the time to remove them from your property. A severe storm can cause dead trees to fall, which could result in damages to your home and property. If you have low limbs above your roof, have them trimmed. You never want a heavy limb to fall and damage your roof.

If you do have water damages to your property, contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville immediately. Water damages are an emergency and can quickly cause lasting damages to your home.

Using Infrared To Detect Water Damage

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

 Infrared To Detect Water Damage An IR camera can detect moisture located behind interior walls under the right conditions.

At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville we use infrared cameras to detect moisture in your home or business.

Thermal imaging "sees" the infrared wavelengths of heat instead of the wavelengths of visible light, which normal cameras detect. The technology has been around since the 1960s, when militaries originally used it in war to spot active factories. Now, advances in thermal technology have made higher-resolution imaging available in the palm of our hands. According to FLIR, an infrared camera is a non-contact device that detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image or video, on which you can perform temperature calculations. Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be very precisely quantified, or measured, allowing you to not only monitor thermal performance, but also identify and evaluate the relative severity of heat-related problems.

The problem faced by most property owners is that moisture behind walls, over ceilings, and under floors is often impossible to detect until the problem is excessive and visible to the naked eye. Since the investigation and removal of infestations of not yet visible mold in structures is often difficult, technology is now being used to do what once was impossible.

The time saved using infrared, and the larger areas covered rapidly by an IR Camera, can save time and money by providing a faster, more efficient and more reliable survey. An IR camera can detect moisture located behind interior walls under the right conditions. The temperature difference created by the presence of moisture on the inside surface of a wall will appear differently than the surrounding area. IR and IT experts recommend that property inspectors or their insurers should use IR cameras and IT for moisture detection under the following circumstances.

  • After any water damage event like a flood, broken water lines, equipment failure, roof leaks, etc.
  • Before warranty expiration on new construction. (In many cases, those damp basement walls are explained away as "during construction" moisture. It pays to make sure before warranty expiration.)
  • Before acquiring real estate suspected of having hidden moisture damage. (Don't believe the story about the house has been vacant and closed up. Musty odors are caused by moisture.)
  • When basement walls are covered by finish materials, and the inspector cannot give a definitive answer on moisture issues.
  • When suspected plumbing leaks have occurred from in-slab water supply and/or waste lines.
  • When doors, windows, or other openings in the structure are suspected of leaking.
  • When performing an energy audit of the building to determine areas of infiltration and exfiltration.
  • To determine adequacy of insulation. Wet insulation is a poor insulator but is a great conductor of heat.
  • Infrared inspection of the roof can determine potential for ice dams, plugged drains, and water retention that may cause roof damage and/or leakage.
  • Locating hidden leakage and/or dampness under resilient flooring.
  • Locating wet areas in non-accessible crawlspaces.

Infrared technology is especially useful for inspecting flat roofing systems and synthetic stucco systems, which rarely give any visual clues as to their condition or the location of leaks and moisture retention.

Finding Hidden Problems

Finding and identifying the source of water damage can be a bit tricky. Water always travels the path of least resistance, which means water coming from an upstairs bathroom might show up along a wall in your living room. Or perhaps there is a roof leak, and water is entering your ceiling and traveling to the lowest point, often a light fixture or pooling in an area near the wall.

As a home inspector, we use infrared cameras in every room to search for any signs of moisture. Frequently there is no evidence of moisture infiltration until the problem has significantly progressed. If you can catch it early, it can save the homeowner money.

For instance, sometimes a small roof leak will trickle down the underside of the roof and into the walls, where it may be absorbed by the insulation. This can go on for years with no one being the wiser. However, with a moisture meter, you may be able to detect dampness inside the walls of a room. When the home inspector identifies a wet area on a ceiling, the next step is to find out what’s up above it. It may be a hole in the roof, or it may be a plumbing leak in the bathroom upstairs. If you see a wet area in a basement, water may be seeping through the floor, but it may also be trickling in through a window, door, or crack in the wall, a camera can help us trace the water back to its origin.

While IR cameras are useful for locating hidden pockets of moisture in your home, it is just one of many tools a properly trained and qualified home inspector can use. Moisture meters should be used in combination with IR cameras to confirm the presence of water.

When Should I Call A Restoration Company?

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

Should I Call A Restoration Company Sometimes it can be hard to know when you need to bring in the professionals.

When Should I Call A Restoration Company?

Knowing when to call  SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville after your home sustains severe damage can save you extra heartache. No matter the cause of your home’s damage, the wreckage can increase if problems are left too long. Because of this, it is essential to learn the early signs of problems in your home and report them to us as soon as possible. Plus, nobody wants to live in a damaged home longer than they have to. For these reasons, the experts at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville are quick to respond to your call. We have what it takes to efficiently provide your family with quality restoration services, from severe water damage to mold growth, and we provide deep cleaning services. 

How You Know It Is Time To Call An Expert

Sometimes it can be hard to know when you need to bring in the professionals. Some minor damage to your home might seem insignificant; perhaps you think you can fix the issues yourself and save your money for worse problems in the future. However, you should always call a professional for your restoration needs. A SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville expert has the skills and insight to fix the problems without creating larger issues. Furthermore, they might be able to catch other problems that you couldn’t see; home damage is usually more extensive than it first appears. Never jeopardize your family’s health or safety by trying to restore your home alone. If you are unsure of whether to call an expert, look into a home inspection to gather more information about the degree and severity of your home’s restoration needs. A SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville specialist can always give you the best advice about the safest way to proceed.  

Restoration Services We Offer

At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville, we know how to tackle a wide array of home damage with quick and efficient solutions proven to return your home to its former glory. These services include mold remediation and removal, water damage restoration, fire and smoke restoration, crime scene and trauma cleanup, crawl space cleaning.  . Remember that when your home sustains damage, one or more of these restoration services might be essential to fixing your home. If you are unsure of which services you need, a SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville expert can help you put together a plan of action. 

Benefits Of A Professional, Commercial Cleaning Service & Why Every Business Needs One

10/5/2021 (Permalink)

benefits of professional commercial cleaning Your employees are happier when the workspace is fresh, clean, and free from accumulated dust and dirt.

Americans spend most of their waking hours at work. While many businesses use a cleaning service, the actual cleaning performed is often minimal, with a quick vacuum and emptying of trash. Deeper dirt, dust, allergens, and pathogens remain in carpets, on blinds, and deep within the upholstery of office furniture. Read about the benefits of professional commercial cleaning, and why your business should consider investing in a high-quality cleaning from SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville.

Increased Employee Productivity

Your employees are happier when the workspace is fresh, clean, and free from accumulated dust and dirt. The air smells sweet and is healthier to breathe. While many businesses understand the need for ongoing employee training and recognize that healthy company culture is important, very little thought may be paid to the most important factor in productivity – pure, clean air. 

While it is well-established that polluted air is a risk to human health, many business owners may not realize the significant impact of unhealthy indoor air. Within the walls of a business, the air may be contaminated with particulate matter, all of which is continuously circulated by the HVAC system. Research reveals that polluted indoor air quality leads to a significant drop in productivity. It is believed that dirty, unhealthy indoor air diminishes human cognitive function. 

A Safer, Healtheir Work Environment

Employee health has become an issue of concern, more so now than ever. Many businesses are interested in a more environmentally-friendly operation. A professional commercial cleaning service can use safer, “green” products so that toxins do not linger in the air and the environment is not filled with perfumed cleaning products that can trigger a reaction in many people. If you want to provide a safe, healthy environment for your employees, clean, fresh air matters.

The air ducts in your business must be regularly cleaned to keep free from pathogens. The procedure used in duct cleaning can vary. To fully extract allergens, bacteria, dust, dirt, mold, and debris, a state-of-the-art, advanced extraction system should be used. Removing all harmful contaminants on a yearly basis can help keep business indoor air quality fresh, with the added benefit of reducing energy costs, as your HVAC system will perform more efficiently. 

Allergies affect many people and are one of the top three reasons employees miss work. At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville, we understand how to limit the spread of disease through a professional cleaning process. Employees carry allergens from home to work, including pet hair and dander, dust mite eggs, and other substances into the business. Frequent carpet and upholstery cleaning, along with standardized processes to fully remove dust and allergens from surfaces, goes a long way in keeping your employees functioning at their best. 

A Positive, Professional Appearance

Contrast two ideas: Walking into a business that has stained carpet, dusty desks, and trash overflowing with crumpled paper and takeout cartons or walking into a business that looks pristine, smells fresh, and is obviously clean. The image you project to customers is an important factor in the success of your operation. A shoddy appearance creates the impression that your business performs shoddy work. A smart, clean, sanitary appearance, with air that smells fresh and sweet, produces a subtle impact on customers, clients, and visitors to your enterprise – and higher confidence in your business goods or services. 

Good business “housekeeping” includes several critical steps. Some of the more obvious are reducing clutter accumulating in stairways, halls, and other walking areas, keeping trash bins clean, rather than just replacing bags, along with effective dust and dirt removal performed daily. Standard vacuums, even larger models often used by small commercial cleaning companies, do not offer the option of HEPA filters, which are needed in businesses that work with hazardous substances. No matter what industry, at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville, our team of professionals has the correct equipment for the job at hand.

Many areas must be thoroughly cleaned every day, while others will require periodical maintenance. 

Appliances Most Likely To Endanger Your Home With Water Damage

10/5/2021 (Permalink)

Appliances Most Likely To Cause Water Damage Water damage does happen due to malfunctions inside the home, like pipe bursts or leaks, and from appliance mishaps, and certain appliances.

Water damage often happens because of outside waters from flooding or heavy rains and storms. However, water damage does happen due to malfunctions inside the home, like pipe bursts or leaks, and from appliance mishaps, and certain appliances are more likely than others to cause damage. Here are the most common appliances to cause water damage issues for homeowners.

Hot Water Heater

A leak or break in your hot water heater is a huge risk to your home.  While yearly maintenance may seem like an inconvenience, it can help reduce the risk of flooding from the appliance. If you notice leaking from/around the heater,  contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville to repair any damage as quickly as possible to reduce the chances of mold growth.

Air Conditioners

Air conditioner units reach throughout your home. If the water becomes an issue, it can spread throughout the entire home. Attic air conditioners run a bigger risk of damage than AC units located in different areas of the home. Watch for moisture and leaks within the system. 

Washing Machine

Washing machines hold a large amount of water. There are also several types of complications a washing machine can have that could cause water to escape and damage the home. Hoses are one of the main concerns with washing machines. So are drains! Watch for clogged drains or worn-out hoses to help keep your washing machines running smoothly. 

Refrigerator

Leaky refrigerators are really a nuisance. Not just because of the water leaking out, but because a problem with the fridge could mean an issue for the food inside it as well. Water damage from refrigerators usually are caused by a freeze or clog in the defrost drain. When this happens, water builds up and escapes from the waterlines. Leaks from refrigerators can happen without notice for some time. Water often leaks toward the back wall or under other appliances like the stove. Be sure to check around your fridge often to inspect for water damage.

Dishwasher

Wherever water is in a home, there is a risk for water damage. The dishwasher is another appliance that can experience problems in the drain, hoses, and other plumbing connections.

The older your appliances are, the more likely they are to cause water damage. Be mindful of where water can turn up (or hide) and make sure to check for signs of water damage. Signs can include warped flooring or floorboards, discoloration of paint or wallpaper on nearby walls, musty mildew scents, and an increase in the water bill.

If any of these appliances cause an issue with water inside your home, do not wait to get help. The longer water is allowed to sit, the more time it has to spread and cause further damage. Water will quickly spread to other areas and, if not dried up immediately. 

Preventing Winter Fires In 5 Steps

10/5/2021 (Permalink)

Preventing Winter Fires There are many ways that you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fire.

According to the NFPA, U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated 358,500 house fires every year. 3/4 of all structure fires are home fires. Most of these are preventable if the homeowners took the necessary precautions to avoid the fire breaking out in their homes. Because of the alarming number of house fires that happen throughout the United States, the NFPA offers many resources, tools, and tips on how to prevent a fire from starting in your home and potentially destroying it. Taking the proper precautions doesn’t mean that you will never experience a house fire, but you most definitely can decrease the risk of experiencing one. If a house fire does break out in your area, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help.

There are many ways that you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fire, follow the tips below:

  1. Keep Up On Smoke Alarms – don’t put up smoke alarms and then forget about them all year. Your smoke detectors need to be tested regularly and the batteries replaced. Schedule a routine check-up of these so that you don’t forget about them. 
  2. Routine Maintenance Of Furnaces – Invest in your future and hire a professional to check your furnace at least once a year. If anything is wrong with the furnace, it will be caught early and decrease the risk of a fire starting there.
  3. Do Not Leave Candles Burning – Candles create a nice ambiance and can set a calm mood – but you don’t want to leave them going without supervision. Also, be extremely cautious about the location of the candle. It doesn’t have to be in direct contact with something to heat it up or send out sparks that could start a fire. Blow your candles out when you aren’t using them.
  4. Space Heaters Need Space – Do not clutter the area around a space heater. These are extremely hazardous if placed near blankets, curtains, and other fabrics. Do not allow anyone, including pets, to sit any closer than 3 feet to the heater. Also, do not leave a space heater on overnight. Put it on a schedule or make sure it has automatic shut-off controls so that it isn’t forgotten.
  5. Invest In A Fire Extinguisher – Everyone should have a fire extinguisher in the home and know how to use it. Don’t store the extinguisher away in a place that is difficult to get to. If a fire should break out – DO NOT be afraid to use the extinguisher.

Cleaning up after a house fire can be devastating for all involved. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville know how to properly repair and restore home properties to their clients.  Take some time and invest in protecting your home and family from house fires. 

Preventing & Removing Ice Dams

10/5/2021 (Permalink)

What Causes Ice Dams? Ice dams are formed when the snow on your roof starts to melt and runs down towards the colder eaves.

Mother Nature has been wreaking havoc on our homes all winter long, with ice dams being at the top of that list. With below-freezing temperatures and unexpected snowfall, this winter season will not be very fun for most homeowners. This winter, the water damage experts at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville have helped dozens of homeowners cleanup and repair water damage inside their homes from frozen pipes and ice dams. 

What Causes Ice Dams?

Ice dams are formed when the snow on your roof starts to melt and runs down towards the colder eaves. Poor attic/roof ventilation can cause your roof to become warmers than the eaves. When this happens the newly melted water refreezes when it reaches the eaves and then compounds.

Why is this a Problem?

It can be surprising to discover that your roof and gutter system have problems with supporting frozen water. When the ice starts to accumulate along the eaves and within the gutters, the weight of that ice starts to build…and build, causing some major stress on your roof and gutters. This additional weight can cause severe damage, and in some cases, can cause your gutter system to completely collapse potentially damaging shingles or siding on the way down. This can become a major safety hazard if someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Not to mention that when the water from an ice dam melts, it can start to seep into and under your roofing, causing significant water damage to your attic or crawlspace. More often than not, this type of water damage goes unnoticed until the water starts seeping through light fixtures, causes the ceiling to bubble and sag, or causing discoloration to the walls and ceiling.

Preventing Ice Dams

The great news is, with some proper preparation and a little elbow grease by you or a reputable contractor, ice dams can be prevented. The best ways to keep ice dams from forming are by having proper attic insulation and roof ventilation.

Additional ways to prevent ice dams from forming:

  • Maintain your gutters. Clearing your gutters from fallen debris and leaves will help any melting snow finds the right place to drain. Clogged gutters can slow down the flow of the melting water, allowing it to freeze in inconvenient places.
  • Reduce the heat in the attic or crawlspace. Did you know that uninsulated recessed lights in the room below your attic or crawlspace can allow a significant amount of heat into the attic or crawlspace creating ventilation problems? Make sure your lights are properly insulated.
  • Invest in a roof rake to keep your roof free of heavy snow.

If ice dams have caused water damage to your home contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville.

Commercial Water Damage

10/5/2021 (Permalink)

 reasons why commercial water damage can be specifically challenging When there’s a need for commercial water damage service, the scale and consequences of damage are often more extensive.

When there’s a need for commercial water damage service, the scale and consequences of damage are often more extensive than residential incidents. Potential losses may be greater, as well, as critical equipment and products may be endangered and a normal business interrupted. Company workers may also be facing a disruption in income because the affected building is not habitable.

Here are some other reasons why commercial water damage can be specifically challenging:

  • Higher water pressure.  Commercial buildings often utilize higher water pressure to service the larger structure plus specific needs relating to the company business. That means a greater volume of water may be released faster into the building in the event of a ruptured water supply line.
  • Larger roof area. Because of the typically larger square footage of a commercial building, the potential damage from roof leakage is also more likely. Since many commercial roofs are flat, leakage from deep standing water on the roof due to inadequate or blocked roof drainage is also more prevalent.
  • Hidden damage. Commercial buildings often incorporate more areas of the structure where water damage can occur without immediate notice. Plumbing pipes are often routed through unseen or seldom-visited areas.
  • Unoccupied premises. Because commercial buildings are often not occupied for long periods over weekends and holidays, water damage occurring in that time frame may be very advanced by the time it’s discovered.

Commercial Water Damage Service

Water damage in a commercial building can mean a substantial reduction of revenue as well as lost customers. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville takes into account the unique requirements of a business, including:

  • Rapid response—24/7/365—to return all company functions and services to normal operation, ASAP.
  • Site security while water damage recovery services are underway.
  • Techniques to isolate water-damaged areas of the building from unaffected areas in order to keep as much of the company operational as possible.
  • Attention to preventing ancillary issues such as excessively high indoor humidity that damages business paperwork and documents. 

Types of Damaging Winds

9/30/2021 (Permalink)

Damaging Winds There are different types of damaging winds that can affect properties and surrounding trees

Straight-line wind is a term used to define any thunderstorm wind that is not associated with rotation, and is used mainly to differentiate from tornadic winds.

downdraft is a small-scale column of air that rapidly sinks toward the ground.

macroburst is an outward burst of strong winds at or near the surface with horizontal dimensions larger than 4 km (2.5 mi) and occurs when a strong downdraft reaches the surface. To visualize this process, imagine the way water comes out of a faucet and hits the bottom of a sink. The column of water is the downdraft and the outward spray at the bottom of the sink is the macroburst. Macroburst winds may begin over a smaller area and then spread out over a wider area, sometimes producing damage similar to a tornado. Although usually associated with thunderstorms, macrobursts can occur with showers too weak to produce thunder.

A macroburst is an outward burst of strong winds at or near the surface with horizontal dimensions larger than 4 km (2.5 mi) and occurs when a strong downdraft reaches the surface. These trees were felled by straight-line winds in Minnesota in 2011. 

microburst is a small concentrated downburst that produces an outward burst of strong winds at or near the surface. Microbursts are small — less than 4 km across — and short-lived, lasting only five to 10 minutes, with maximum windspeeds sometimes exceeding 100 mph. There are two kinds of microbursts: wet and dry. A wet microburst is accompanied by heavy precipitation at the surface. Dry microbursts, common in places like the high plains and the intermountain west, occur with little or no precipitation reaching the ground.

A microburst is a small concentrated downburst that produces an outward burst of strong winds at the surface. Microbursts are generally small and short-lived.

downburst is the general term used to broadly describe macro and microbursts. Downburst is the general term for all localized strong wind events that are caused by a strong downdraft within a thunderstorm, while microburst simply refers to an especially small downburst that is less than 4 km across.

gust front is the leading edge of rain-cooled air that clashes with warmer thunderstorm inflow. Gust fronts are characterized by a wind shift, temperature drop, and gusty winds out ahead of a thunderstorm. Sometimes the winds push up air above them, forming a shelf cloud or detached roll cloud.

derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. A typical derecho consists of numerous microbursts, downbursts, and downburst clusters. By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles (about 400 kilometers) and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph (93 km/h) or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho.

haboob is a wall of dust that is pushed out along the ground from a thunderstorm downdraft at high speeds.

6 Types of Insurance Every Small Business Needs

9/29/2021 (Permalink)

Types of Insurance Every Small Business Needs Coverage you need as a small business owner to protect yourself, your business, your employees, and your customers.

Running a small business can be overwhelming — in the midst of wearing so many hats, things like finding the right business insurance coverage can sometimes be pushed aside. But it’s important to remember that without the necessary coverage, everything you’ve worked for can be lost in the blink of the eye, with one large claim you can’t recover from.

From customer slips and falls to your employee’s laptops to dropping a hammer while working on a house, there are so many things that business insurance protects you from. We’ve made it easy and quick for you by laying out the 6 types of coverage you need as a small business owner to protect yourself, your business, your employees, and your customers.

1. Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance is imperative to your small business, whether you own the building where your business is located or not. Here are the two basic parts: 1) If you own the building, you will have to insure the property to its replacement cost; 2) Whether you own the property or not, you will need to insure everything inside the property, which is also known as “Business Personal Property Insurance.” This insurance will ensure coverage of everything inside your office, from computers to phones to conference tables — even your desk!

Theft, vandalism, fire, malicious mischief and wind damage are other perils covered by property insurance. Property insurance is included in standard “BOPs” or Business Owner Policies.

2. General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance provides protection if you, your employees, your product, or your services are considered negligent and cause bodily injury or property damage. It protects your business against claims that occur while customers are on your premises. Say you own a restaurant — General Liability Insurance covers you if a customer were to trip and sprain their ankle in your restaurant. It also includes products coverage in case a patron gets food poisoning from your product.

If you are a contractor working on a home remodel and a neighbor walks by and trips over an extension cord you’ve accidentally left exposed on the sidewalk; General Liability Insurance covers “Bodily Injury to Others,” in this case, due to negligence. Say the contractor accidentally drops their hammer on a neighbor’s car — GLI also covers this “Property Damage to Others.”

3. Loss of Business Income Insurance

Loss of Business Income Insurance will cover your net profit, or the “Actual Loss Sustained” if you go out of business for a period of time. For example, if your business runs from a brick and mortar location and a fire puts you out of commission for three months, this policy will cover your net profit you would have made in those three months. It will give you the peace of mind necessary to make changes in order to recover!

4. Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ Compensation insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment. Did you know it also relinquishes the employee's right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence? By accepting workers’ compensation benefits, the employee gives up this right.

Small business employers can help control Workers’ Compensation costs by instituting a formal safety plan aimed at preventing claims from occurring and minimizing the loss when they do. Having a safety manual in place and giving proper workplace safety instructions to all of your employees is critical to keeping them safe and your costs down!

5. Cyber Liability Insurance

A data breach to your small business can be crippling. If your business stores private information about employees or clients, it is your responsibility to protect that information. Moreover, if a data breach occurs, you are obligated to notify all of your employees and customers, which can be an overwhelming and expensive task. Cyber liability insurance will cover the expenses incurred in doing so.

You should also know if the limits provided in your current Business Owner Policy are adequate in the event of a data breach loss. The average annual cost of cyber attacks to small and medium-sized businesses was nearly $200,000 in 2010. Business owners may not realize that cyber liability coverage included in Business Owner Policies will generally only provide lower limits. This means it’s important to talk to your insurance agent about a more robust, stand-alone cyber insurance policy for your business. In addition, it is important to know if your Umbrella Liability policy will provide coverage over and above the Cyber Liability limit.

6. Umbrella Policy

An Umbrella Policy extends the coverage of all of your policies — think of it as an actual umbrella protecting you from the rain. An umbrella policy will provide additional liability limits over and above those provided by your other policies in the event of a larger claim. For example, if your General Liability or Commercial Auto Insurance has a limit of $1 million, and you have a claim or lawsuit against you for $1.5 million, the umbrella policy will cover the extra $500,000. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where your General Liability Insurance isn’t enough coverage and you’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to make up for that mistake.

Small business insurance is equally important and complex. You worked hard to create your business. Don’t lose it by having inadequate insurance coverage!

Fire Sprinklers And Why Do You Need Them?

9/29/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial Fire Safety To minimize the damage, fire sprinkler services are the best way to protect your people and your assets from a fire.

Unfortunately, despite all the advancements in commercial fire protection, fires still happen all the time. Despite our best efforts to prevent them, they happen. And when they do, they can be devastating, especially if they are allowed to spread uncontrolled. To minimize the damage, fire sprinkler services are the best way to protect your people and your assets from a fire.

Yet even though these devices are ubiquitous in commercial buildings, most people have absolutely no idea how these devices really work. To answer questions you didn’t even know you had, keep reading for a beginner’s guide to commercial fire protection and modern fire sprinklers.

What Are Fire Sprinklers?
We’ve all seen them at schools, hospitals, hotels, etc. These sprinklers are an essential part of a fire protection service. Obviously they are designed to dispense water when a fire is detected; however, they are carefully designed to only dispense water when a fire is actually present. The fire sprinkler system design typically places the sprinklers in the ceiling of a building so that the water can reach every area of the room in order to put out a fire.

How Do Fire Sprinklers Prevent False Alarms?
When you consider the amount of electronic equipment in the average building and home, it’s clear that the effects of a false fire sprinkler activation would be extremely expensive. To prevent this, fire sprinklers are designed so that they can only be activated when a fire is actually present. To prevent false alarms, modern fire sprinklers contain some sort of obstruction, usually made from glass or wax, that prevents water flow. Only under extreme heat are these obstructions released, allowing water to flow only when it’s supposed to. While fire sprinklers can be easily set off in movies and TV shows, usually for comedic effect, this just doesn’t happen in real life. Of course, to ensure they work when you need them to, most cities require regular fire sprinkler inspections. 

Why Do You Need Them?
The first major reason that sprinklers are critical to install in any building is for safety. Sprinklers can literally save lives. Just as importantly, sprinklers prevent a fire from spreading. The sprinkler system not only controls the flames of a fire, it also helps control the smoke. The toxic fumes that can be inhaled from a fire’s smoke are the deadliest part of a fire; the smoke can harm or kill someone before the fire even gets to them. Sprinklers can help reduce this risk greatly.

Protecting your business is the second major function of sprinkler systems.  Structural damage is greatly reduced in a fire when sprinklers are present, saving a lot of potential money in repairs. Sprinkler systems only dispense the smallest amount of water necessary to turn potentially deadly flames into smaller ones, which means that you don’t have to worry about excessive water damage either.

Keep Your System Up and Running
Now that you know how important sprinklers are, you need to understand the equal importance of fire sprinkler repairs. If you have a system that is no longer functioning, then it is of zero use to you. Lives will not be saved and damages will not be prevented. Having regular fire sprinkler inspections can save you from some serious consequences in case of a fire. Plus, it will keep you compliant with local fire safety codes.

If you own a business or commercial property of any kind, remember the importance of having a working sprinkler system in your building. You can save lives and money down the road. Don’t forget the need for fire sprinkler repairs, either. Your system can not protect you if it does not work.

Lightning: Different types, how to stay safe

9/29/2021 (Permalink)

Different types of lightning There are three common types of lightning: cloud to ground, cloud to cloud and cloud to air.

WHAT IS LIGHTNING?

Lightning is a natural discharge where different areas of the atmosphere equalize in charge. This causes insane quick energy known as lightning which can be extremely dangerous. Thunder follows lightning as thunder is created from a shock-wave in lightning.

There are three common types of lightning: cloud to ground, cloud to cloud and cloud to air.

 CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING - NEGATIVE CHARGE

Cloud to ground lightning is the most dangerous. The ground is mainly consisted of positively charged particles while the bottom of violent storm clouds have negative charged particles. Opposites attract in this situation, and lightning goes after positively charged particles. The most common cloud to ground lightning strike is a negatively charged strike.

CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING - POSITIVE CHARGE

There are situations where lightning finds negatively charged particles on the ground level and positive charges in the upper portion of a cloud overcome negative charges in the bottom of a cloud. This is when a positive lightning strike happens. Positive lightning strikes are not as common but are more dangerous. They have to travel farther distances which mean they also are stronger. They also pack louder thunder to follow.

 CLOUD TO CLOUD LIGHTNING

Cloud to cloud lightning happens when a negatively charged cloud finds a positively charged cloud and opposites attract. These do not strike the ground obviously. They just travel from cloud to cloud.

CLOUD TO AIR LIGHTNING

Cloud to air lightning happens when negative charged air particles become attracted to positive charges within a cloud. These produce some loud boomers but do not hit the ground!

 RISKS WITH LIGHTNING

It is estimated that there are about 50 deaths per year due to lightning in the United States. Risky activities involved with lightning include camping, sailing, swimming, and golfing. Lightning searches for the highest structures but that might be you if you are in an open area. Also, if lightning hits open water and you are in the open water, you will likely get electrocuted as a charge carries through water.

HOW TO STAY SAFE

The best thing you can do when you hear thunder is to go indoors. When thunder roars go indoors! Do not take shelter under a tree. If lightning hits the said tree, it could still electrocute you. Take shelter if you can and if you can’t, stay as low to the ground as possible until 30 minutes after you hear the last boom of thunder.

Be Prepared for a Flash Flood

9/29/2021 (Permalink)

Flash Floods Floods are among the most common and devastating types of natural disasters.

Floods are among the most common and devastating types of natural disasters. They can happen in a wide variety of places and no two floods are exactly the same. Some happen gradually, during a long period of snow-melt or rain. Others, like flash floods, can occur extremely fast, seemingly without warning. Small creeks or dry stream beds can instantly overflow with water, acting as conduits for large floods. Although nearly everyone should prepare for floods, no matter where you live, it is especially important to be prepared if you live near water, dams, or in a low-lying areas.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for a flood:

  • Use check valves to keep floodwater from flowing backward into your home’s drains.
  • If you live in a high flood-risk area, elevate your furnace, electric panel, and water heater.
  • Consider getting flood insurance, since property insurance generally does not cover damage from floods.
  • Have water barriers prepared that you can deploy around your home to keep water from entering it.
  • Prepare a home emergency supply kit, including an emergency radio so you can get updates from authorities.
  • Use waterproofing compounds to seal your basement walls. Even if your house does not flood, the possibility exists that the ground around your house could become saturated, and this groundwater will likely attempt to enter your basement. Install a reliable battery back up sump pump or water powered sump pump to help keep your basement dry.

Be prepared to evacuate:

In the event of evacuation, how will you leave? 

  • Consider where you would go – family or friends’ houses in different towns, hotels, or public shelters. Learn multiple ways of getting to these places.
  • Have your family agree on places to meet in the event of an emergency. Chose a place in your neighborhood and another outside of it.
  • Plan on how to take care of pets in an emergency situation – you can take them with you, but plan ahead, since they may not be allowed in emergency shelters.
  • When you leave, lock your house, and bring your emergency kit.  .
  • As you evacuate, watch out for floodwater. If possible, avoid the water, since it could contain contaminants or the risk of electric shock from downed power lines. In general, stay away from damaged power lines to avoid risk of electrocution. If you encounter moving water, avoid walking through it if you can – moving water can be much more powerful than it appears. 
  • Don’t return home until the authorities have declared that it is safe, even if the flooding has receded, since roads and buildings could be damaged and drinking water unsafe. As a general rule – remain extra cautious even after the flood water has dissipated.
  • Stay informed as much as you can, via TV, radio, internet, or weather radio. Keep in mind that authorities may not necessarily provide continuous updates, but it is still a good idea to check regularly for information and instructions.

Why Choose SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville Cleaning Services?

9/29/2021 (Permalink)

Why Choose SERVPRO - SERVPRO collateral We are the vendor of choice for water restoration, fire and smoke damage clean up, sewage cleanup and mold removal.

More and more insurance agents and adjusters use SERVPRO as their disaster restoration contractor. We are the vendor of choice for water restoration, fire and smoke damage clean up, sewage cleanup and mold removal because we consistently deliver on what agents and adjusters need.

We understand that a credible estimate is critical in determining the proper amount to pay on a claim. If you start with a bad estimate, the indemnity and expense of the claim can be higher than necessary. At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville, we only use the Xactimate estimating platform.  The Xactimate estimating platform is utilized primarily by insurance companies, restoration contractors, independent adjusters, remodelers, and specialty service providers.

The purpose of the estimating platform, such as Xactimate is to provide a means to enter necessary elements of the repair process and derive a quantification of the value of the work. Successful end products depend on organized methods and approaches to inventorying the repair process necessary to return the structure to a preloss condition.

Pricing within the Xactimate program is researched and supplied by experts who gather and verify such data. These companies employ expert researchers who survey contractors and suppliers across the country to determine current market conditions. Through their research, a body of information about the costs of each line item is assembled and verified so that within the estimating engine accurate pricing is available across the country.

Commercial Agents

Our Large Loss expertise includes residential and commercial property losses that often require expert capabilities, exceptional coordination of recovery response and exact and focused vision to keep the process moving forward smoothly.

Given the magnitude of the type of events your business clients may be faced with, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville is able to handle the necessary resources and management needs to get the job done. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville is an expert, quick, on–scene, job scope and cost effective restoration partner that works with its clients to adopt and integrate organizational action plans and scope of work to match the complexities and demands of single, multiple or large scale incidents without being hindered by lack of equipment or management resources and expertise.
So whether you find yourself looking at a large one million square foot shopping mall or a local community hospital or a single family owned operation that was deluged with water or fire damage, you can partner with SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville to ensure your clients satisfaction.

One-Stop Shop - Removing Water, Repair and Restoration

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

One-Stop Shop - Removing Water Our one-stop water damage repair team

While water damage threatens your residential/commercial property’s structural strength, it also creates serious health and safety risks for you and your family or employees. Therefore, our water damage restorations specialists at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville work hard to make your property dry and safe.

Our one-stop water damage repair team can handle any major or minor water removal, repair, and restoration requirement.

At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville, we ensure unmatched quality in every water mitigation and water damage repair job by working with technicians who specialize in their respective fields. Our water mitigation specialists are experts in mitigation, while the water damage restoration specialists excel in reconstruction and restoration.
 
Trusting us with water damage restoration offers you all the advantages coming from being served by

   •    Qualified and well-trained water mitigation and restoration specialists

    •    Experienced water mitigation and restoration specialists

    •    Honest and hard-working water mitigation and restoration specialists

  • All our trained technicians are background checked and wear the SERVPRO logo so you the customer are comfortable knowing who in your home.

Our water mitigation and restoration specialists even work with do-it-yourselfers. For an affordable service fee, we can check out your water removal, repair, and restoration efforts to confirm whether you are handling the water damage situation right.

We also help you with the insurance process and offer direct billing to insurance companies for water damage losses that warrant it. To ensure your convenience and comfort, we have you serviced by the same professional throughout the water mitigation process.

Proactive or confirmed COVID cleaning?

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

COVID cleaning SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville offers services when dealing with COVID-19 for either proactive or reactive situations

We are being called on by numerous businesses and community leaders to perform the necessary bioremediation services to clean, disinfect and sanitize their properties. We use EPA-approved products and follow the CDC guidelines which include the usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant for cleanup practices. If you are interested in inquiring about the services we’re here to help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while life gets back to normal in the communities we all call home.

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville offers services when dealing with COVID-19 for either proactive or reactive situations. One option is fogging of a structure with a disinfectant, which utilizes a 100% natural product. A full deep clean is also offered, which includes both the physical cleaning and the fogging disinfectant. These services can take up to a few hours to perform

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville can respond quickly and effectively to help minimize business interruption to your company. We are uniquely prepared during this unprecedented time to clean and disinfect your home,  place of business, or restaurant according to the protocols set forth by the CDC. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff performs on a daily basis.

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville professionals are trained to perform a proactive and confirmed COVID cleanup that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for the cleanup process, and disposal of waste.

Watch vs. Warning: What's the Difference

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

Watch vs. Warning The differences between a tornado and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.

With the severe weather season underway, now is a great time to go over the differences between a tornado and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.

WATCH means that the potential exists for the development of severe thunderstorms or tornadoes, depending upon the specific type of watch issued.

- In a Tornado Watch, this DOES NOT mean a tornado has been seen or even indicated by radar...it just means that conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes in thunderstorms.

- A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that conditions are just conducive for the development of severe weather, and DOES NOT indicate that severe weather has been reported. While no immediate action on the part of the general public is required for the issuance of a watch, citizens should keep up to date on the current weather situation and be prepared to seek shelter if necessary.

WARNING, on the other hand, requires more immediate action and should be taken seriously.

- A Severe Thunderstorm Warning indicates that severe weather is imminent in your area or is already occurring (based on either human observation or doppler radar). The term severe refers to hail greater than or equal to 1.00" in diameter and/or wind gusts that meet or exceed 58 mph. Although these storms can also be associated with dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning or heavy rainfall that is capable of causing flash flooding, neither of these two items serve as criteria for a severe thunderstorm warning being issued. 

- A Tornado Warning can be thought of as a very specific severe thunderstorm warning, and means that a tornado has been either spotted by a human observer or indicated by a doppler radar. Similar to a severe thunderstorm warning, once a tornado warning is issued for your area, you should take cover immediately...as the likelihood of you being directly impacted by a tornado is at a heightened risk.

With this new profound knowledge, you'll be better prepared the next time severe weather threatens your area. But sometimes, watches and warnings are not enough to fit the specific needs of businesses and companies. 

Protect Your Commercial Building from Water Damage

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

5 Ways to Protect Your Commercial Property from Flood Damage Follow these steps to help safeguard your commercial building.

Follow these steps to help safeguard your commercial building and its tenants from flood and flood-related losses.

  1. Get covered. Typically commercial property insurance does not provide protection against floods and flood damage. As a result, evaluate your commercial building insurance coverage and consider adding flood insurance,

  2. Assess your situation. Commercial buildings in low-lying areas or flood plains may be at higher flood risk than those set high atop a hill. But location aside, all commercial properties possess their own vulnerabilities. Understand and address the risks of your building to shield against floods.

  3. Waterproof. Floodwaters don’t have to reach record numbers to negatively affect your commercial property. Even small amounts of water breaching the interior can lead to damage. Limit the destruction by sealing cracks and weaknesses, and adding a layer of waterproofing material to your commercial structure. 

  4. Make a plan. Flash flooding can happen in, well, a flash. To best protect your commercial property, as well as the tenants and possessions within, be sure to put an emergency action plan into place. Included in such a plan should be:

  5. Always be ready. Minimizing potential water damage to your commercial building may just start with routine maintenance. Ensure that gutters and drains are clean and clear and that sump pumps are in proper working order. Take steps to move valuable business items off floors if under a storm watch or warning. Only attempt this if personal safety isn’t at risk. Also, disconnect electrical, including appliances, computers, and other equipment.

The better prepared your commercial building is for an impending flood, the more control you might have to prevent water damage. But even the best of measures doesn’t always protect you completely. Should water cause disaster to your commercial property, our restoration and remediation specialists are here to help you respond to the aftermath and return your property to preloss conditions.

WATER DAMAGE DUE TO SPRINKLERS – CAUSES AND PREVENTION TIPS

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

WATER DAMAGE DUE TO SPRINKLERS Both the interior and exterior of your house could get damaged by water because of the ongoing sprinkler system.

In the summertime, homeowners always try to keep their lawns green and their bushes bright amid the intense heat. Sprinklers are an excellent way of keeping your lawn looking great with minimal work. However, the added water usage on your property may present damage to your home without you knowing. 

Both the interior and exterior of your house could get damaged by water because of the ongoing sprinkler system. To prevent that damage to your home, taking preventative measures is a must. 

The damage may be caused by many factors, from human error to mechanical mistakes. But generally, water damage caused by your sprinkler system can be rooted in three circumstances:

  • Improper Installation

The sprinkler system supplies water to all areas of your garden through the underground pipes. If it wasn’t properly installed, you risk getting chaos in and around your home. 

The pipes could run too close to your home’s foundation and leak underneath. Eventually, that may seep into your house and cause severe damage. 

  • Burst Pipes

Since your sprinkler system is connected to your house’s waterline, a burst pipe could lead to damage in your home. That damage could result in water easily flooding the inside of your home or even creating sinking areas across your yard. 

Either way, the damage can be massive and requires immediate attention. 

  • Overspray

Another common cause of water damage to homes is overspray. While more frequently seen in graffiti and commercial paint jobs, overspray may also happen with sprinkler systems. 

To prevent that, ensure that your sprinkler heads are fully functional and in order before setting them off on timers throughout the day and night.

How To Avoid Water Damage to Your House 

There are some precautions you can take to prevent water damage to your home. For instance, you can install a rain sensor that can help check water levels and notify your sprinkler to skip the next cycle. That way, your lawn won’t get overwatered, and the excess water won’t seep into your home structure.

When you don’t set a timer, you might find pools of water in your backyard that can damage your home’s foundation. The most important thing is that you monitor your sprinkler system’s schedule so you can control the amount of water around your home.

The Dangers of Water Damage

A water-damaged home is a perfect environment for mold and mildew. These can pose serious health effects to your family, from allergic reactions to respiratory concerns. It’s vital to keep moisture away from your home’s foundation, especially when you have children and pets.

Conclusion

Once you know the dangers of water damage to your home, you can establish the best preventative methods to save your home from the risks. Once you have these measures in place, you don’t need to worry about extensive damage to your home anymore. 

Emergency Water Extraction

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Professional Water Removal Services; technicians by van Our technicians are trained to seek out hidden water damage.

Our technicians are trained to seek out hidden water damage. Water can flow or be captured in seemingly unlikely places. Undetected, it can quickly turn into future problems. All wet materials are identified through moisture inspections involving:

  • Infrared Technology
  • Electronic Moisture Detection Instruments
  • Thermo-hygrometers

When determining what it will take to dry your property, we use a formula based on many different variables including:

  • Impacted square footage?
  • Impacted cubic footage?
  • What is wet?
  • Are materials saturated or damp?
  • How many air exchanges are required?
  • How many air movers are required?

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville also has the industry’s most extensive inventory of drying equipment – air movers, air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, moisture meters, thermal imaging cameras, thermo-hygrometers, and more. We have a  fleet of vehicles loaded with equipment and supplies that are strategically positioned around the country for rapid response.

Exact and reliable data is critical. Using moisture meters with exclusive proprietary software, technicians carefully measure moisture content and the extent of water damage. We also monitor and document the drying process on a daily basis until optimal drying standards are met. This means the use of professional water drying equipment plays an integral part in our water extraction and drying process.

Dehumidification removes moisture from the air and prevents secondary water damage from condensation. At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville, we use sophisticated dehumidification equipment. This means we can produce effective drying results and eliminate environmental concerns.

Once again, attempting water removal at home, even if you’re using professional or industrial dehumidifiers does not necessarily mean that all water will be effectively removed from the property. Having a fully trained professional team, from SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville, carrying out this work is the only way to guarantee the full removal of water.

Be Wary Of Fire Danger When Grilling, Cooking Outdoors

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Danger When Grilling While grilling and outdoor cooking are among the great pleasures of summer, they also pose fire dangers.

Taking a few precautions when cooking or grilling outdoors can prevent unwanted fires. Here is a list of fire safety tips for grilling/cooking outdoors. 

General

  • During periods of high fire danger, consider alternatives to outdoor cooking.
  • Check for burn bans prior to grilling/cooking outdoors.
  • Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors.
  • Place the grill away from your home, deck, eves, and overhead branches.
  • Never leave any fire unattended, including fires in barbecue pits.
  • Remove any buildup of fats or grease from grills.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Have a water source nearby when cooking/grilling.
  • Have a water hose connected to a faucet, uncoiled, and ready to turn on at a moment’s notice. Have a bucket of water near the grill. If no water is available, have a shovel ready to smother any escaped embers with sand/dirt.

Gas grills

  • Check for leaks on gas grills prior to use.
  • Make sure the gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • Turn the grill and gas off if the flame goes out and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal grills

  • Consider using a charcoal chimney starter that allows firing up charcoal without the use of starter fluid. There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire.
  • If using starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to an ongoing fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Let coals cool completely and dispose of them in a metal container.

Deep-frying a turkey on Thanksgiving? Avoid fires and keep safe with these tips

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Deep-frying a turkey on Thanksgiving? Burning turkey in the deep fryer can cause more damage than a ruined Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Burning turkey in the deep fryer can cause more damage than a ruined Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Across the country, deep fryers cause an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Keep safe (and don’t ruin Thanksgiving) by following these tips from Austin fire officials on how to deep-fry your turkeys:

1. Go easy on the oil: The turkey will displace the oil in a fryer pot, so if there’s too much, it will spill out and possibly catch fire on the burner. Follow the fryer’s manual and do a “dry run” with water in the pot to figure out how much oil you’ll need to use.

3. Easy does it: Slowly lower your thawed turkey into the pot to prevent oil from splashing out and possibly catching fire.

5. Keep an eye on it: Many frying pots do not have thermostat controls, and, if unattended, the oil will continue to heat until the point of combustion. Never leave an active fryer alone.

6. And just in case: Don’t use water to put out an oil fire; water will only spread it. Instead, use a fire extinguisher — so keep it nearby.

WHAT DOES MOLD NEED TO GROW?

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

LEARN MORE ABOUT MOLD Without the following six things, mold is unable to grow.

Without the following six things, mold is unable to grow. When reading this information, carefully consider the environment in your home and whether or not it’s ideal for mold growth.

We’ve also included steps you can take at each point to fix these problems so that mold can’t grow in your home.

1. MOISTURE

Mold is a living thing, which means it needs moisture to survive. In most cases, this is the biggest factor in determining whether or not mold grows in a home since many of the other items on this list are unavoidable.

In a home, moisture can come from a number of sources. Getting to the root of the problem is vital to solving it. For example, if you have a leaking pipe under your home, you need to have that fixed or the moisture is going to continue happening even if you replace the wet walls. If your home has been flooded, one of the first things you need to do is get it dry before mold starts to grow.

Something small you can do to avoid a buildup of moisture in your home is to squeegee and towel dry your sinks and shower after using them. This is one of the simplest steps you can take to prevent mold growth in your home.

2. OXYGEN

Another thing mold needs to grow is oxygen. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do to prevent your home from having oxygen in it. What you need to recognize, however, is that oxygen can fit through even the tiniest of spaces. You want to ensure your home is completely sealed from the outside. This means having high-quality insulation that keeps all air from getting into your walls where mold can grow unseen.

3. FOOD

Without a food source, mold can’t grow. Mold can feed on a number of things, including meat and vegetables, drywall, material, and wood. There are a couple of things you can do to avoid feeding the mold in your home.

First of all, maintaining a clean home free of food waste will prevent mold from growing on your kitchen counter, under your couch, and in your refrigerator. Limit eating to only areas of the home with hard flooring and clean them daily. 

4. DARKNESS

Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun kills most mold and spores, which is why you don’t see it growing outside in the open. That also means when you’re looking for mold, you’ll need to check dark nooks and crannies where it might be hiding.

This is something else that you can’t prevent unless you install UV bulbs in every part of your home to completely light it up all the time. But that would be expensive and impossible to maintain. Instead, use this as a warning to pay special attention to areas that are dark in your home. Those are the ones that need to be kept dry and free from mold food sources more than areas that get natural sunlight.

5. WARMTH

The last thing mold needs for an ideal environment is warmth. This just means temperatures above freezing, which is why you may see mold in your refrigerator but won’t see it in your freezer unless it’s not working.

Mold grows fastest in temperatures above 60 degrees. Since your home should always be above 60 degrees, it means that mold can grow inside year-round. We don’t recommend shutting off your furnace to prevent or stop mold growth since that can lead to some other serious problems, but we do recommend paying attention to those places where mold may grow even in the winter.

You’ll also want to be extra diligent in the summer months. As the temperature gets higher, mold can grow even faster. There are also more mold spores in the summer months because they’re thriving outside.

6. MOLD SPORES

Something you may not have thought about is the fact that for mold to grow, spores must be present. Mold is similar to a plant in that it sends seeds out into the world to reproduce. The truth is that mold spores are already floating around in the air outside and inside of your home. However, with nowhere ideal to latch onto, they quickly die and won’t grow.

Hard Water Can Cause Many Problems

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Dangers of Hard Water The more serious potential problems of hard water are more difficult to see.

Hidden Dangers of Hard Water

The more serious potential problems of hard water are more difficult to see.

Hard water can leave deposits of calcium carbonate and other mineral salts. In places where hard water is regularly heated or evaporates, these deposits can accumulate as a hard, flaky buildup commonly known as limescale (sometimes shortened to "scale").

If your home has hard water, limescale is likely to build up around the heating elements of a traditional storage water heater, and potentially in the heat exchanger of a tankless water heater. This can reduce the efficiency of your water heater.

Limescale can also build up inside the pipes and valves of water-using appliances. In an automatic coffee maker, this can be remedied with a little diluted white vinegar. But in appliances that are harder to clean, limescale can clog up and shorten the life of your appliances.

Hard Water in Your Pipes

That same limescale that builds up in your water heater and appliances can also accumulate inside your pipes. This can lead to a whole host of problems, including:

  • Decreased water pressure as the supply flow is restricted.
  • Leaks as water pressure build-up behind blockages.
  • Clogged, corroded, cracked, or burst pipes.

These problems are much more common with the galvanized pipes than with copper, PVC, or PEX pipe. If your home was built after 1975, it probably has copper, PVC, or PEX pipes. These modern materials are more resistant to hard water corrosion and scaling, so you're less likely to have issues with limescale causing low water pressure, leaks, clogs, or burst pipes. You might still want to address your home's hard water to protect your major appliances and speed up your showers. But unless your water is extremely hard, it likely isn't hurting your pipes.

If your home was built prior to the mid-1970s and hasn't been completely repiped, you probably have galvanized pipes. These pipes are made of steel, galvanized (coated with a thick layer of zinc) to prevent corrosion. High-quality, well-coated galvanized pipes can last for many decades. But much lower quality galvanized pipe was used in the post-World War II housing boom. The thinner zinc coating may wear off more quickly, particularly in hard water conditions. And once the underlying steel is exposed, hard water can corrode it quickly... then build up limescale on the pitted surfaces.

It may take years for limescale buildup to cause noticeable problems, but, if you have hard water and galvanized pipe, it may have been accumulating for many years, even decades. Maybe you've already noticed a slight decrease in your water pressure. Maybe there's already a slow leak hidden behind a wall.

Negative Effects of Water Damage in Your Home

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Water Damage in Your Home Gone unchecked, stray water can bring about the negative effects of water damage in your home.

One of the reasons why water damage in your home is so harmful is because water is known as a solvent — it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. And in your home, it can dissolve major structural parts and leave behind some really terrible effects. Here are six of the most common negative effects of water damage in your home:

Devalued Property

The signs of water damage are difficult to hide. They’ll usually reveal themselves to any appraiser even if you attempt to patch affected areas or paint over the stains. Also, when the water’s left untreated, a repellent smell can linger which will probably turn buyers away. 

Structural Damage  

Structural damage occurs depending on the amount of water surrounding the affected area. Drywall begins to deteriorate and the subfloor can easily warp or even split, meaning you’ll end up replacing and restoring the affected areas. Even solid materials that foundations are made of, whether masonry, concrete, or stone, can soak up small amounts of water through their cracks and pores. Unless these pockets of water are removed, they can create defects in the building foundation that eventually weaken the entire structure.

Mold

If you’ve ever owned a home and experienced leaking or flooding, you already know that one of the worst effects of water damage is the growth of mold afterward. Any presence of water with the right temperature can cause mold to begin growing in as quickly as 48 hours. Once the mold is present, it can be very difficult and expensive to treat and remove. Also, if mold is left untreated it can spread and can cause adverse health effects. 

Electrical Damage

Once electrical systems are damaged by moisture, wiring, outlets, and electrical boxes become unsafe to use until they’re professionally inspected. Electrical water damage usually occurs to kitchen appliances, washing machines, dryers, hot water tanks, furnaces, and low-mounted electrical outlets.

Health Hazards 

A home or business exposed to floodwater is susceptible to harmful bacteria and other microbes. If not treated correctly, toxins will linger on your affected furniture, carpets, and inside your HVAC system long after the water has dried. Those bacteria and microbes can cause serious respiratory issues and other health effects. 

Damaged Personal Items 

The same water that causes structural damage can quickly destroy many personal items including photographs, books, electronics, and personal documents, among other items. However, if you act quickly and call in a water damage expert, you may be able to reverse this negative effect of water damage and save many of your personal items.

As you can see, when water damage occurs in your home, immediate action is needed. That way, you can mitigate the negative effects of water damage and minimize cleaning and restoration costs. 

Equipment We Use To Get Your Job Done

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Emergency clean-up equipment Our team uses equipment designed specifically for the job at hand.

Disaster Restoration Equipment

To help your property completely recover from any disaster or emergency, the SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville team uses equipment designed specifically for the job at hand. Our emergency response vehicles come packed with generators, plywood, tarps, specialized drying equipment, and any other equipment we need to deal with your emergency. 

Inspection & Monitoring Tools

Advanced inspection tools allow us to determine the location and level of moisture, while our leading-edge monitoring tools let us keep track of the entire drying process.

Air Movers

Our air movers mitigate water damage by quickly drying surfaces like carpet, drywall, hardwood flooring, upholstery, or anything else. We set up our air movers to get the best results fast, reducing the chances of mold growth and helping your business recover quickly.

Dehumidifiers

We use one of three different types of dehumidifiers, based on the level of water damage at your property. Our dehumidifiers are highly efficient at removing moisture, working with our air movers and extractors to complete the drying system.

Extractors

Our top-of-the-line extraction tools speed up the drying process by directly removing water from affected areas of your property. Extractors work alongside our air movers and dehumidifiers to eliminate water damage faster.

Air Filtration Devices

Also known as air scrubbers and HEPA units, these devices are critical when drying structures with known contaminants. We use high-end air filtration devices that keep your air clean and your property safe.

8 TIPS FOR AVOIDING HOLIDAY FIRES THIS WINTER

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

TIPS FOR AVOIDING HOLIDAY FIRES Protect your family and property by following these eight holiday fire.

The winter holiday season is a time for family and togetherness. Unfortunately, many family holiday traditions increase the risk of house fires. Protect your family and property by following these eight holiday fire safety tips.

  1. Check your holiday lights for frayed cords or broken plugs. Don’t use any that appear damaged. Also, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for how many strands you can join together. Only use outdoor-rated lights when decorating the exterior, and turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed.
  2. Practice candle safety. Never leave candles burning unattended, monitor children and pets closely while a candle is lit, and blow out all candles before going to bed. For your peace of mind, consider using battery-operated candles for a realistic flicker and ambiance without the fire risk.
  3. Maintain your live Christmas tree by keeping it well-watered and checking it daily for signs of dehydration. Brown or fallen needles indicate a dangerously dried-out tree. Also, position the tree at least three feet from radiators, fireplaces, space heaters, or other heat sources. More than one-quarter of all Christmas tree fires occur in January, so once the holiday is over, dispose of your tree promptly.
  4. Use extension cords wisely. This includes never running electrical wires under carpets or rugs, which could cause overheating. Make sure your extension cords are in good condition before plugging them in, and only use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated versions for exterior lighting.
  5. Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned once a year to prevent a flammable creosote buildup, which can cause a flash fire in the chimney. A fireplace inspection also reveals masonry cracks, damaged spark arresters, and other problems you should address before using your fireplace this season.
  6. Run space heaters wisely. Keep them away from bedding, curtains, furniture, and other flammable objects. Avoid running space heaters while you sleep, and don’t operate them anywhere a child or pet could knock them over. Follow all other operating instructions from the manufacturer.
  7. Keep matches and lighters out of reach. The best place for these tools is in a high, locked kitchen cabinet. Don’t allow children under 12 to handle matches or lighters. Closely monitor older children if you ask them to light a candle.
  8. Prepare holiday meals safely to avoid a kitchen fire. Keep flammable objects away from the oven and stovetop. Never leave toasting, grilling, or broiling food unattended. Set a timer to remind yourself when the food is done. Keep little kids out of the kitchen.

UNDISCOVERED DEATH REMEDIATION

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

using professionals for an undiscovered death remediation; people holding hands Discovering an unattended death can be an emotionally wrenching experience.

An unattended death occurs in solitude. It often takes several days before somebody suspects that something is wrong. Sometimes it takes weeks, months and even years. When phone calls, text messages and emails go unanswered, friends, family members and landlords check in on the person at home, only to find that they’ve passed. If you’ve been in this position, you’re not alone. It happens more often than you might think.

Discovering an unattended death can be an emotionally wrenching experience. It’s even more traumatic when the victim is a loved one. Although you may feel obligated to clean up the remains yourself, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t do that.

For one, it’s dangerous. Body fluids from corpses release dangerous pathogens into the immediate area, creating a hazard for anyone without personal protective gear. To understand why this happens, you need to know how the decomposition process of the human body works. When someone dies, bacteria in the body lose the nutrients that keep them sustained. They look for other food sources to nourish themselves, and end up settling on the organs. These organs, which include the liver, the pancreas and the intestinal tract, are broken down with remarkable speed. To put this feeding process into perspective, there are trillions of bacteria in our bodies. That averages to about four pounds of bacteria for a 200-pound adult. Operating all at once, bacteria remove all the organs from the body within a 48-hour window.

Depending on the temperature and humidity of the room, the skin will begin to tear within this timeframe, allowing biohazardous materials to seep from the body. Rising pressure from the body’s gasses will quicken the process, releasing a terrible odor that’s often referred to as the stench of death. Sometimes, these gases will even cause the body to explode. As harmful pathogens pool on the floor, they release noxious gasses into the air, which can be inhaled through the nose and mouth. People who haven’t been trained to deal with biohazards should remove themselves from the scene to escape these fumes and other threats from the decomposing body. Although it may not be obvious, people who approach a body without safety equipment risk exposing themselves to disease. Proper precautions must be taken, which brings us to another reason you shouldn’t embark on this endeavor yourself.

You likely don’t have the training or equipment to safely dispose of human remains. Gloves, goggles, respirators and body suits are necessary to protect yourself against airborne and bloodborne pathogens. But they’re not enough to keep you safe. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett West Chicago & Warrenville follows a regimented process to sanitize the area safely and effectively. The chemicals allotted to clean decomposing bodies are regulated by the state. Thus, over-the-counter solutions simply aren’t powerful enough to remove and decontaminate body fluids soaked into the floor. While a surface may look clean, harmful pathogens will linger behind and pose a threat to others if the proper chemicals haven’t been used. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett West Chicago & Warrenville uses certified technicians that have the training and materials to thoroughly sanitize and disinfect an area contaminated by biohazardous waste. Moreover, they carry chemicals that can effectively deodorize the scene, which often proves difficult to do for death odors.

You also don’t want to clean up human remains if you’re connected to the deceased. If you do so, you will only exacerbate your trauma and prolong your grief. Asking SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett West Chicago & Warrenville to take care of the task will not only spare you additional anguish, it will leave you assured that the job is done right.

6 Fire Alarm Installation Mistakes to Avoid for Businesses

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Alarm Installation Mistakes Installing a fire alarm and ensuring it works properly are steps in the right direction to keeping your company safe.

Installing a fire alarm and ensuring it works properly are steps in the right direction to keeping your company safe.

Read on to learn about six fire alarm installation mistakes to avoid for businesses.

1. Setting False Alarms

Fire alarms can be life-saving, but they can also be annoying if they are constantly setting off false alarms. False alarms can lead people to believe that there is no threat when there is.

To prevent false alarms, fire alarm installation should be away from doors and ducts. Drafts are often the cause of false alarms.

2. Installing Near the Kitchen

There are certain locations for alarms that are necessary for proper installation. If your business has a kitchen area, it is important to keep your fire alarm away from it.

Fire alarm sensors can get triggered if they are close to appliances like ovens. A fire alarm should get installed about 20 feet away to avoid causing combustion particles.

3. Not Interconnecting Alarms

No matter the types of alarms you use, they need to interconnect. Smoke alarms work together to protect your entire business. No matter where the fire is, the system can warn you.

When one fire alarm sounds, they should all sound. This is especially important if you have a relatively large company. During fire alarm installation, ensure that each alarm is interconnected for maximum protection.

4. Installing One Fire Alarm Type

Because there are different types of alarms, they can detect different fires. For example, ionization alarms can detect actual flames while photoelectric alarms can respond to smoldering fires.

To make your business as safe as possible, install both types of fire alarms. Dual-sensor alarms are also available that works with both alarm types.

5. Forgetting to Test the Alarm

Fire alarm batteries can be tricky. You may think they are right when they are not. This is why it is important to test the alarm after the installation.

After testing it the first time, the maintenance does not stop there. Fire alarm maintenance includes testing your alarm once a month.

About every six months, the batteries should get replaced. This is not the case with newer alarms that have a long-lasting battery already.

Your fire alarm will usually let you know when the battery needs replacement. A chirping alarm means you have to replace the battery as soon as possible.

6. Incorrect Installation

A fire alarm installation should be done correctly. It can come with some difficulties like choosing the right rooms and deciding if drilling needs to be done.

Always read the instructions before installation or have an expert help you. These alarms should be at least 10 centimeters from the wall.

Fire Alarm Installation Made Easier

Fire alarm installation is now made easier when you avoid these common mistakes. To keep your business as safe as possible, alarms need to be installed the right way.

FIREPLACE MAINTENANCE TIPS TO AVOID FIRE HAZARDS

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

FIREPLACE MAINTENANCE TIPS Clean Up the Fireplace at the Start of the Season

Nothing compares to curling up by a crackling fire with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book in hand. While this inviting scene evokes feelings of peace and tranquility, operating a poorly maintained fireplace could have devastating results.

According to the Nation Fire Protection Agency(NFPA), nearly 17,000 home structure fires per year begin in the fireplace, chimney, or chimney connector. Many of these fires could be avoided if homeowners performed proper maintenance. Here’s how to care for and safely use your wood-burning fireplace.

Clean Up the Fireplace at the Start of the Season

Before using your fireplace for the first time this winter, it’s important to clear away any residual debris from the previous year. Creosote, a tar-like substance that clings to chimney walls, is particularly hazardous. Allowing this extremely flammable material to accumulate unchecked could increase your fire risk.

Exposure to creosote dust can be harmful to your health, so it’s recommended that you arrange professional cleaning once a year at the start of the heating season. In addition to removing creosote buildup, a fireplace technician will also thoroughly inspect the system to ensure safe, proper operation. Working with a chimney and fireplace professional reduces hazards and allows you to enjoy peace of mind as you keep warm all season long.

Clean Up Debris

Wood-burning fireplaces require routine cleaning throughout the season as well. Plan to remove ashes once they begin to smell or inhibit your ability to build a fire. Allow the ashes to cool completely before removing them, which takes about 72 hours.

If your fireplace has an ash dump, push the ashes through the metal plate in the floor of the firebox. Then, scoop or sweep up the remaining ashes. You can also vacuum them up with a special ash canister vacuum cleaner. Feel free to sprinkle the ashes over your flowerbeds to provide a natural source of nutrients come spring.

Inspect the Chimney Cap

If you’re comfortable getting on the roof, you can check the condition of your chimney cap yourself. Otherwise, leave this to a professional during your annual fireplace and chimney inspection. Make sure a cap is installed, has the proper spark arrester in place, and is not obstructed by animal nests.

Burn Clean Wood

One of the most important fireplace safety tips is to burn the right wood. Purchase cleaned and seasoned wood or manufactured logs to reduce creosote buildup. Avoid burning treated wood, plastic, rubber, garbage, and colored paper in your fireplace as these produce excessive smoke and toxic fumes.

How the Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration Process Works

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration The smoke and fire damage restoration process is a lengthy and thorough one that is best achieved by a systematic approach.

The smoke and fire damage restoration process is a lengthy and thorough one that is best achieved by a systematic approach. The experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville begin by completing a detailed assessment of your property to identify the nature, scope, and intensity of the damage. Fires often create a constellation of problems, including damage from water, moisture, heat, smoke, chemicals, and many other factors associated directly or indirectly with the fire itself. This analysis will help us to develop an effective strategy that will enable us to stop any additional damage, repair the damage to your property, dispose of all non-restorable materials and help you get your life back to normal.

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville uses the latest HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) scrubbers to restore air quality and extract contaminants from the damaged area. Our technicians are certified by the IICRC and will provide extensive documentation as well as photograph and manage the clean-up and restoration process from start to finish.

If water has damaged your furniture, clothing, or other property, United Restoration Services, Inc. will use advanced water extraction, drying, and cleaning methods to restore your valuable belongings to like preloss conditions. Homeowners must be prepared for the total loss of some items. Furniture and other property that was seared, charred, or burned may not be salvageable; but we can remove, clean, protect, pack and preserve valuables that survived the fire, such as equipment, electronics, and sensitive documents, and store them in a safe, secure location until you need them. We can also deodorize areas to eliminate ongoing odors during the restoration process. In addition, we can board up your business or house to protect the property against vandals and trespassers, and to secure it against bad weather and the elements.

Can Mold Come Back After Remediation?

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Mold can come back after remediation There are many important things to remember when it comes to mold removal.

Mold can only come back after remediation, if …

  1. There is a brand new water intrusion (roof leak, HVAC dripping, plumbing issues, standing water)
  2. Your AC is not cooling properly and at an acceptable temperature
  3. Relative humidity in the home is over 50%
  4. Wet towels or clothing is left balled up for long periods of time
  5. Air circulation is not adequate in small spaces
  6. Mold remediation was not performed properly or in its entirety
  7. You bring mold infected items into your clean environment

It is important to remember that mold needs 2 things to grow:

  1. A food source (drywall, insulation, wood, etc)
  2. Moisture (leak or lack of ventilation)

Good rules of thumb to keep mold from returning:

  1. Keep your AC running at 76 degrees or lower
  2. Refrain from hanging or balling up wet items
  3. Call SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville right away if you have a leak or smell mustiness
  4. Never turn your AC off when the home is not occupied
  5. Get on an AC maintenance plan
  6. Run ventilation fan or keep the bathroom dry during and after showering (temporarily)
  7. Run a dehumidifier daily if you have high humidity (living on the ocean or river)
  8. Limit or eliminate keeping live plants in your home

Word to the Wise: You cannot simply wipe down or paint over mold.

It is imperative that the mold is properly cleaned and that the area is dried out thoroughly. Make sure that all wet areas in your home are properly treated by a professional to avoid the return and regrowth of mold.

Spores can grow in just 48 hours, so make sure to address any needed home repairs immediately.

Mold loves leather, wicker, and wallpaper. These materials are some of the most challenging to rid of the mold due to what they are made of. Same with popcorn ceilings.

The more porous the material, the harder it is to clean. The more mold-affected items that you can dispose of, the better. If you can live without it, let it go.

Water Damage Cleanup Mistakes

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

most common mistakes property owners make in the face of unexpected water damage Experiencing water damage in your home or business can be extremely stressful.

Experiencing water damage in your home or business can be extremely stressful, and most people react by trying to jump to action to clean up the mess immediately.  While it’s crucial to begin mitigating the damage as soon as possible, certain mistakes could cause worse damage to your health, the structure, or both.  The following are some of the most common mistakes property owners make in the face of unexpected water damage.

Doing it Yourself – The Wrong Way

How many times have you spilled something and said, “no big deal, it’s just water!” And this is completely true for small spills.  The problem comes when this attitude attaches itself to larger water damage.  Some water damage truly can be cleaned up with a DIY effort, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for so you don’t miss anything.  Water is pervasive and can easily cause hidden damage if not properly dried.  Drying out and restoring water damage is a far more time-consuming and intensive process than many people realize, which makes it easy to skip steps.  Improper drying and cleanup can lead to more damage in the long run because it causes people to wait too long to complete the drying process.

Waiting Too Long

As mentioned, time is of the essence when dealing with water damage.  For something that seems to be small water damage, it can be tempting to try to DIY and put off hiring a professional and calling your insurance company.  A little bit of water doesn’t seem like that big of a problem.  Unfortunately, even a small amount of water can cause a lot of damage.  Water can seep into cracks and crevices where it will remain unseen, soaking into building materials and encouraging mold growth if it continues to go undetected and unmitigated.  While the damage may seem small initially, it can quickly snowball into a massive problem.

Taking Short Cuts

The unfortunate fact of water damage restoration is the work done must be exceptionally thorough.  There are no viable corners to be cut or shortcuts to take.  The appropriate drying equipment must be used and properly monitored, and the amount of time it takes for the water to completely dry is just how long it takes.  Properly drying, cleaning, and restoring water damage is an investment in both time and money if the job is done correctly.  The consequences of taking shortcuts can be severe – from mold growth to degradation of building materials.

Not Hiring a Professional

Truly, the biggest mistake that can be made when handling water damage is not involving SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville.  At the very least, a technician or project manager should come out and do readings with a moisture meter to assess the damage for you.  Many property owners are surprised to realize the extent of the damage that can’t be seen with the naked eye.  We have the equipment and knowledge to properly assess, dry, and restore water damage from any source, and it’s always best to involve an IICRC certified company such as SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville when you have water damage. The "small" water damage may be far more serious than you thought, and you may change your mind about filing an insurance claim. 

CRIME SCENE – CAN'T I TAKE CARE OF IT MYSELF?

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

 biohazard clean-up Cleaning up a crime scene.

If you find yourself looking at a crime scene, your initial reaction may be to clean it yourself. You may want it to be gone as soon as possible and that's completely understandable. Here are some reasons why you shouldn't do that. 

1. Fluids! Coming into contact with bodily fluids, especially blood, can be harmful. It can carry diseases and pathogens that you just don't want on or near your body!

2. Invisible to the eye! If you don't take care of all of it, you can still receive harmful effects. This means if you try and clean it and leave behind any traces of the scene (even germs and pathogens you can't see), your home won't be as sanitary as you think it is. You know how they say won't you don't know won't hurt you? Well, in this case, it can. 

3. Don't stress! While you may be worried that you can't afford crime scene cleaners, your insurance may take care of it! Don't let this detail keep you from getting the professionals atSERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville in the door!

Never try to clean a crime scene yourself! You'll be happier, more sanitary, and less stressed when you let the professionals come to take care of it. Please contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville if you need help with any type of biohazard clean-up job no matter how big or small you may think the job is.

What Causes Commercial Fires?

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

What Causes Commercial Fires? Avoid fires in your commercial business

Business owners and employees must be on guard for these common causes of workplace fires, according to the NFPA:

  • Cooking appliances and equipment. Cooking equipment remain as the leading cause of commercial fires, according to the NFPA. To prevent cooking fires, never leave appliances unattended, perform routine maintenance of kitchen and cooking equipment, and install sprinklers and smoke alarms.
  • Electrical distribution and lighting equipment. Frayed or damaged wiring and malfunctioning lighting equipment should be repaired or replaced by a licensed technician immediately.
  • Office or electronic equipment. Use electronic equipment correctly and never utilize defective or damaged electronic devices. Also, avoid overloading adapters and remove combustible materials near electronics.
  • Heating equipment. Heating fire deaths are most often caused by placing the heating equipment close to flammable materials, such as bedding, mattresses or upholstery.
  • Arson or intentional fires. This type of fire causes the most damage to commercial property and life. To prevent intentional fires, empty trash bins and dumpsters every day. Installing motion detector cameras can also help.
  • Smoking materials. Create a smoking policy for your workplace, such as smoking outside and using ashtrays, to prevent the risk of fire.
  • Exposure fires. If a fire is not contained, it could spread to other materials in its immediate surroundings and cause exposure fire. Protect objects from the heat spread to prevent them from igniting.

How to Prevent Commercial Fire Damage

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Prevent Commercial Fire Damage Prevent Commercial Fire Damage

Fire prevention is vital to avoid property losses. Here are some tips to protect against a commercial fire.

  • Create an emergency plan. Take time to prepare an emergency plan and discuss it with employees and building staff. 
 
  • Educate employees about fire safety. Since most commercial fires are caused by cooking equipment, office kitchen fire safety tips must be encouraged. Appliances must be unplugged after use. Employees must also be trained regarding the proper use of a fire extinguisher. Most importantly, employees must also familiarize emergency protocols and emergency routes and exits should a small fire go out of control.
  • Perform routine inspections of office equipment. Office equipment must be checked regularly to ensure that they are in good working condition. Frayed electrical cords, damaged electronics and appliances, and malfunctioning heating, electrical, and lighting systems must be attended to immediately.
  • Perform routine inspections of office equipment. Office equipment must be checked regularly to ensure that they are in good working condition. Frayed electrical cords, damaged electronics and appliances, and malfunctioning heating, electrical, and lighting systems must be attended to immediately.
  • Install smoke detectors and alarms. Smoke detectors are among the items that can actually save lives and are the most effective things you can install for fire prevention in the workplace. Install the best ones you can afford and inspect them regularly.
  • Check sprinklers. Automatic sprinklers can help mitigate the impacts of commercial fires. Utilize them in conjunction with a warning system, such as smoke detectors.

Why Commercial Water Damage Happens

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Why Commercial Water Damage Happens Different Reasons for Commercial Water Damage

When water damage impacts your business, the problem could cost a lot of money in repair costs as well as downtime for the company. What are the most common causes of water damage in commercial establishments? How can these be prevented?

Water damage sometimes occurs in businesses due to the lack of proper maintenance procedures. Although accidents also occur, it is best if all equipment in business be placed on a preventive maintenance plan to ensure that the possibility of breakdowns and subsequent water damage is kept to a minimum.

  • Sprinkler system malfunction – Older buildings with outdated sprinkler systems are more prone to sprinkler malfunctions than newer buildings with modern systems. If you are leasing space in an older building, be wary of potential malfunctions for fire safety reasons.
  • Malfunctioning appliances – Coffee shops, restaurants, and offices that have appliances in their break rooms, or water fountains in the hallway, can experience water damages when the appliances malfunction.
  • Broken and corroded pipes – Another problem that may trigger water damage is broken or corroded pipes that leak. This can also happen when pipes in your building are not properly winterized and burst after a particularly cold day.
  • Backed up sewer system – Improper items often are flushed down the toilet in company bathrooms, increasing the chance that your sewer system could get clogged and create a toilet overflow. 

Hail: Tips to prevent injury, reduce damage

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

PREPARING FOR HAIL General tips to reduce damage and prevent injury:

There are about 5,600 hailstorms in the United States every year, based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. Learning about this weather phenomenon and how to properly prepare for it can save lives and minimize damage.

HAIL CHARACTERISTICS

Hail forms when raindrops hit very cold temperatures and freeze into balls of ice. Depending on the size, hail can be extremely damaging to people, animals, property, and cars. And, if winds are strong enough, hail can fall with enough force to penetrate solid surfaces. Falling in paths known as hail swaths, hail storms can range in size from a few acres to an area 10 miles wide and 100 miles long. Some geographies are more susceptible to hailstorms because the elevations at which they form are much closer to the ground than for locations at or near sea level, where hail has time to melt before reaching the ground. This is historically the case in the high plains, but no area is immune from the risk of hailstorms.

PREPARING FOR HAIL

The first concern when preparing for a possible hail storm is life safety. After that, thoughts can turn to protect physical property. Much of the preparation for hail events resides in roofing systems, maintenance, and upkeep. With that in mind, consider taking action to protect lives and reduce property damage.

General tips to reduce damage and prevent injury:

  • Stay indoors and make sure all window covers are intact in case of window breakage.
  • Do not inspect property damage until the storm has passed. Hail damage may not be obvious so it’s important to examine all glass surfaces, building walls, and the roof.
  • Check HVAC equipment. Hail often damages condensing coils by denting the exchange fins.
  • Consider storing your fleet vehicles in more than one location to spread risk and explore the possibility of protected coverings or indoor garaging.

Roof-specific information that may reduce damage:

In terms of roof susceptibility and maintenance, the type and age of the roofing system, as well as its exposure to elements, play a role in how it performs against hail.

  • Concrete or clay tiles perform better in hailstorms than asphalt or wood shingles.
  • Built-up roofs with denser substrates and multiple base sheets perform better than those using lighter substrates or organic felts.
  • Coarse aggregate surfacing, such as ballast or gravel materials, increases the hail resistance of a roof.
  • Regular inspection and maintenance of roofing systems will increase the life and resistance to hail and wind events.

HVAC-specific tips, examples, and factors that may reduce damage:

Hailstorms can be hazardous to any and all rooftop equipment – but none more than HVAC units, condensers, and refrigeration units. Damage to these vulnerable systems can affect heating and cooling, cause water damage and result in loss of facility use.

Stay Safe In A Severe Thunderstorm

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

Watch The Weather Forecast Tips to Stay Safe During A Thunderstorm

Watch The Weather Forecast

  • Know the difference between a thunderstorm watch and a thunderstorm warning. A watch simply means conditions could lead to the development of a storm. A warning means a thunderstorm has already developed and been spotted nearby.
  • If you’ve just moved and are new to an area, learn the name of your county and surrounding ones, as well as cities and landmarks close by. The National Weather Service usually issues thunderstorm warnings by county, so this will help you understand if your home or workplace is in danger.
  • Get a battery-powered or hand-crank weather radio, so you can receive updates even if the power goes out.
 

Prep Your Home Before A Thunderstorm

  • With the spring thunderstorm season approaching, now’s a good time to go out and cut down any loose or rotting branches that could fall on your home during a strong wind.
  • If a thunderstorm is headed your way, bring in any outdoor furniture that could be blown around or damaged by hail, close and shutter windows (or close blinds and drapes), and unplug appliances and computers to protect them from power surges that could be caused by lightning. 
  • Charge all phone and electronic devices ahead of the thunderstorm in case the power goes out. Move computers and electronic devices off of the floor to avoid water damage if it floods.
  • Turn off circuit breakers to avoid power surges.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, make sure it’s installed by a qualified electrician. NEVER operate a portable generator inside your home or garage.
  • Bring pets inside if you can

During The Thunderstorm

  • Go inside and stay there, away from windows and doors. Avoid using corded phones (wireless handheld devices are ok, says the National Weather Service) and doing the dishes or laundry, since lightning can travel through metal plumbing fixtures. 
  • In severe thunderstorms with high winds or a tornado risk, head to a windowless interior room or the basement, but don’t lean against concrete walls or lie on concrete floors. Most are reinforced by metal bars or webbing, notes the CDC, and lightning could travel through the metal and injure you.

After The Thunderstorm

  • Stay inside at least 30 minutes after you last hear thunder to be sure the storm has passed.
  • Heavy rains during thunderstorms can flood low-lying areas, so don’t drive over flooded roadways or through puddles when you aren’t sure of their depth.
  • Watch out for downed power lines, fallen branches, and other potentially dangerous debris, and keep pets on a leash to help them avoid these hazards, too. Never touch a person or object (fences, tree limbs, water, etc.) that has come into contact (directly or indirectly) with a downed power line, but call 911 immediately.
  • Have a qualified electrician inspect any water-damaged electrical equipment, systems, or electronics.
  • Do not touch a circuit breaker or replace a fuse with wet hands or while standing on a wet surface.
  • If you smell gas, notify emergency authorities immediately. Do not turn on lights, light matches, use electrical equipment, or do anything that has the potential to create a spark.

Ways to Prevent Storm Damage to Your Home

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

Prevent Storm Damage to Your Home Prevent Storm Damage to Your Home

In any season, storms can be severe. There are ways to prepare your home for the inevitable storms that sooner or later come, however. Here are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of damage to your home when severe weather strikes. In some cases, taking these steps can mean the difference between costly home repairs and no storm damage to your home at all.

1. Remove Dead Wood.

Trimming your trees regularly will help fewer branches fall in heavy wind or other severe weather. For particularly tall trees, experts can do the trimming for you and can also tell you when trees are at risk of being blown over in a storm so they can be removed.

2. Secure Outdoor Items.

Loose items like grills, picnic tables, and lawn furniture should be brought inside to avoid becoming projectiles in storms with high winds. Decorations, even when they are securely attached to the home, could also cause damage or be destroyed in the storm.

3. Deal with Drainage Problems.

Having the gutters cleaned once leaves have fallen should be a given, but there can be other drainage problems around your home, including areas where water can drain onto the foundation and damage it. Landscaping professionals can help you identify the problems and find solutions so that you don’t have any issues when the storms come.


A little home maintenance can prevent storm damage.

4. Inspect the Roof Periodically.

A brand new roof should withstand the most severe weather, but if your roof is 5-10 years old or older, it should be checked for loose shingles, nails, and sheathing. Not only can shingles blow off in a storm, but loose nails and sheathing can cause chunks of roofing to be dislodged or create openings for rain and ice to penetrate.

If an inspection does turn up any possible leaks, getting them fixed right away will protect your home from damage in severe weather. Roofs that are over 15 years old risk sudden deterioration or failure in storm situations even if no problems are apparent.

5. Consider Impact-Rated Windows.

You may be able to protect your windows from damage by installing hurricane shutters, or just boarding up the windows if a severe storm is imminent. The fact is, though, that any new windows are likely to be more airtight and impervious to leaks and damage than older windows.

Preparing for Water Damage Disaster for Properties

3/22/2021 (Permalink)

Preparing for Water Damage Would you know what to do if emergency water damage happened at your property?

Would you know what to do if emergency water damage like a burst pipe or heavy rain intrusion happened at your property? Chances are you don’t have a disaster preparedness plan ready.

We believe it is our responsibility to educate our community about how to protect themselves and their properties. That includes informing our customers about the water damage restoration process so they know what to expect from a professional water damage expert.

Because we take our responsibility to you seriously, we also want our community to know what to do before we arrive at the job. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville is your partner when water damage strikes and we want you to have the right information so you can help us mitigate the damage before we arrive.

Emergency checklist

What should you have in a disaster management plan?

  • Contact information for parties you need to involve.
  • Where to locate and how to turn off natural gas.
  • Where to locate your emergency water shut-off valve.
  • Information about how to shut off fire sprinklers.
  • Know the safety features of your property & where to locate them.

Building & Emergency Contacts

The first part of disaster preparedness is knowing who to call and how to reach them before an emergency or disaster happens.
The obvious contact to have on hand is your insurance agent, but they won’t be much help in mitigating damage. Your obligation to them is to do your part in preventing more damage from happening when a pipe bursts. Therefore, you’ll need to know who to call to satisfy your insurance agent.

Which Contacts Do You Need When You Need Help?

1. Emergency Services
  • Fire Department
  • Police Department
  • Health Department
  • Department of Transportation (spill response)
  • Poison Control Center
2. Contractors
  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Locksmith
  • Security Service
3. Building Contacts (for rentals housing developments, HOAs, or commercial properties)
  • Building Owner
  • Onsite Management
  • Offsite Management

Hardwood Floor Water Damage Problems

3/22/2021 (Permalink)

Hardwood Floor Water Damage Hardwood flooring can be expensive. Know how to protect it.

It’s obvious that the longer a hardwood floor stays wet, the less chance it has at being saved, and the higher the chance that the floorboards will cup or warp even after proper drying. Some of the most common problems with hardwood floor water damage are:

  • Cupping: Cupping occurs when the sides of the flooring are higher than the center of the boards. This usually produces a concave shape. Both solid and engineered (made up of different woods) can cup when exposed to water damage. Hardwood floor cupping is usually a result of a change in the moisture content levels of the wood flooring. In many cases, you can reverse hardwood floor water damage with the use of a professional.
  • Warping: Warping is similar to cupping but is much more severe. This usually involves the floor buckling or even popping off the subfloor. This needs to be taken out immediately to prevent further damage. Warping is usually a result of humidity fluctuations and can impact all types of wood, whether brand new or old. Unfortunately, water does not have to be present to cause warped hardwood floors. Water vapors being present in the area surrounding the hardwood can warp your floors.  It can also be from environmental influences like quick humidity changes in the weather. Warping is most noticeable in the summer, where hardwood floors will expand with the humidity and sometimes buckle up.  Fortunately, professional hardwood floor drying equipment can prevent warping if caught early.
 
  • Mold: If hardwood floor water damage is not taken care of immediately, mold growth may occur. This usually happens due to pieces of paper that are normally installed directly underneath the floor during installation to prevent squeaking. Hardwood floor water damage can produce mold spores on furniture, clothing, and other areas of the house if not taken care of right away. If your floor has been wet for an extended amount of time without care, there is a chance that your floor is permanently damaged.

Water Damage Prevention While On Vacation

3/22/2021 (Permalink)

Water Damage Prevention While On Vacation - image of man on couch surrounded by water 6 Steps to Prevent Water Damage While Away From Your Home

It’s every homeowner’s nightmare: arriving home from a relaxing, wonderful vacation only to find that your house has been flooded with water, damaging everything it touches. The second most common homeowners insurance claim across the United States is water damage, usually coming from leaking pipes or appliances while the homeowner is away, especially on vacation. Floods, leaks, or any other water-related problem can go undetected for a matter of days or possibly even weeks if no one is home, potentially resulting in thousands of dollars of damage. 

Of course, this can all be avoided if the proper steps are taken before and during your vacation. Here are 6 steps to water damage prevention while on vacation, just in time for spring break!

Step 1: Check The House
Check your home for any signs of leaks. Make sure to look at all pipes underneath sinks in both the kitchen and bathroom. Look closely at the water heater for any cracks and/or rust. If you can, get on top of the roof and look for any damaged or dislodged shingles, making sure to fix them appropriately if they are damaged.

Step 2: Examine All Hoses
Examine all hoses that are connected to any major appliances, such as the washing machine, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Look for anything out of the ordinary to ensure they are functioning properly.

Step 3: Remove Blockages
Remove any and all blockages from rain gutters and downspouts. If your house has a sump pump, check to see that it is working properly by listening to the motor and checking to see that the water is going outside.

Step 4: Insulate
Insulate any exposed pipes to ensure that they do not freeze during the winter.  If the weather is particularly cold or continuously dropping below freezing, you may want to leave the heater on low while away.

Step 5: Ask A Friend 
One of the most effective ways to ensure water damage prevention while on vacation: ask a close friend or family member to check on the house periodically while you are away. They should know where the water main is located, in case of any floods, or pipe leaks.

Step 6: Turn Off Main Water Valve 
If no one is available to check on the house, turn off the main water valve during the trip. Drain pipes by continuously running the water until and it runs out and flushing the toilets after you’ve shut off the water. Doing this will eliminate the chances of a pipe leak or burst that could flood your home.

ELECTRICAL FIRE SAFETY TIPS

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

ELECTRICAL FIRE SAFETY TIPS Help Prevent Electrical Fire with These Safety Tips

One of the most common causes of fire in a home is electricity. Electrical malfunctions account for nearly 15% of all house fires in the United States and lead to personal and financial loss to thousands of home and business owners each year. Unlike other forms of natural disasters (such as severe weather, tornadoes, or floods), electrical fires can, for a large part, be prevented. Today we are going to discuss some electrical fire prevention tips that could save your home – and life.

HOW TO PREVENT ELECTRICAL FIRES

With more than 25,000 electrical fires being reported in the United States each year, the importance of fire safety cannot be understated. Fires started by electricity tend to be more costly from a financial perspective as well, dealing more property damage than their non-electrical counterpart. And unlike traditional home fires, those of the electrical nature can – in most instances – be prevented, with a little thought and action by the homeowner.

OVERLOADING ELECTRICAL OUTLETS

Perhaps the easiest cause of electrical fires to avoid is overloading. Overloading a socket or outlet occurs when a homeowner or employee (in the event of a business fire) plugs too many cords or utilities into an outlet, power strip, or extension cord. You have probably seen this happen a dozen times – a power strip full of tangled cords with another extension cord piggybacking off of it.

This is a big no-no in the fire prevention world. If you do have to rely upon extension cords or power strips for additional electrical outlets, make sure you purchase the kind that has built-in overload protection (it should say so on the product packaging). This ensures the power strip will shut off in the event that it does, indeed, become overloaded, possibly preventing a fire.

CHECK FOR DAMAGED PLUGS AND CORDS

Another cheap and simple way to protect your home from electrical fires is to inspect your appliances and electronics for any damage. Specifically, schedule a day to go through all of your electrical cords and plugs to look for frayed wires or damaged connectors. Doing this at the change of every season is a good way to keep on schedule and can prevent the outbreak of a serious fire in your home.

HIRE A HOME INSPECTOR

Old homes have old wiring, and the older the wiring, the more likely there is to be an issue with it. Even if you have a newer home, hiring an inspector to conduct a home inspection is not a bad idea, as some electrical contractors cut corners (or worse – do not know what they are doing), and you may have bad or outdated wiring in your home (think aluminum wiring or an insufficient electrical panel for instance).

The cost of a home inspection is much cheaper than the cost of fire and smoke damage that can result from a fire. As with any contractor, be sure to conduct your due diligence and research any home inspector before allowing them onto your property.

FIRE DAMAGE RESTORATION MADE EASY

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

Explanation of Fire Restoration Let SERVPRO make your fire restoration needs run as smooth as possible

Fires are one of the most devastating catastrophes a homeowner or business owner can face. In the aftermath of a fire, it is important to consult with a fire damage restoration service. But what, exactly, is fire damage restoration and what can you expect during the disaster recovery process?

Fire restoration and fire damage clean-up can be a complicated process for both residential and business fire victims. The loss of valuables and extensive property damage fires can cause is traumatizing, and the last thing a catastrophe survivor needs is more stress. Because of this – and because the fire recovery process can be so difficult – it is essential that you employ a fire damage restoration service to help you pick up the pieces after a devastating fire.

FIRE DAMAGE CLEAN-UP AND REMEDIATION

Once the emergency professionals have finished their rescue efforts and deemed your home or business safe to enter, the first thing you will want to do is begin to pick up the pieces. Part of the recovery process will inevitably involve contacting a disaster restoration service. These professionals are trained to clean-up any fire damage on your property and help prevent fire-associated damages from spreading through your home.

In addition to fire damage, you can also expect to have soot and smoke damage, water damage from the rescue effort, strong smells that will require odor removal, and, in some instances, mold and mildew damage.

When a fire recovery team arrives at your home, their first step will be to inspect your property and assess any fire damage that has occurred. They will check for structural integrity, broken windows, remaining fire hazards to ensure another fire does not break out, and look for other forms of property damage. Once this property damage assessment is completed, a plan of action will be put into place.

If there are any damaged windows, walls, doors, or roofs, the disaster recovery team will take steps to secure the area, which may include boarding up windows, strengthening walls, and, if need be, covering any holes in your roof with a tarp.

After your home’s structural integrity is ensured, the clean-up process can begin. Your home may need water removal or water extraction, as well as drying. Equipment such as air-movers and dehumidifiers will be placed in the home, in an effort to reduce upholstery and carpet damage, and to prevent the spread of mold and mildew damage.

In addition to water extraction and drying, the catastrophe recovery team will need to remove smoke and soot from your home and will need to clean your carpet and upholstery as well. They may also need to perform content restoration for any furniture or vital documents (paintings, photographs, and so forth) that were damaged during the fire or in the aftermath of rescue efforts.

Once the disaster clean-up is completed, your next step will be fire damage restoration. This is the process of returning your home (and life) back to normal. Any damaged walls will be fully repaired and painted, damaged drywall will be replaced, new carpet may be installed if need be, and any structural damage will be taken care of.

During the entire process, you will need to be in contact with your insurance company. One of the advantages of a disaster recovery service like SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville is the fact that we will work with you and help you through your insurance claims process to make sure it is as painless as possible.

Make Fire extinguishers part of your home safety plan

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

fire extinguisher safety plans Just don't have a fire extinguisher, know how to use it properly

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville encourages every household to have a home safety plan that focuses on both preventing fires and responding to a fire should one occur. Fire extinguishers are an important part of this plan. Fire extinguishers are your second line of defense behind a smoke detector and can be the difference between a small inconvenience and a life-changing event.

It is important to not just hang your extinguisher on the wall or in the cupboard. Plan ahead, read the instruction manual, and know your extinguisher’s capabilities before use. Portable extinguishers are useful for putting out small fires but recognize your limits and the limits of the extinguisher.

Doing a “quick check” is a brief inspection to determine that a fire extinguisher is available and will operate, when, and if it is needed. The purpose is to give you reasonable assurance that the fire extinguisher is fully charged and operable. This is done by verifying that the fire extinguisher is in its designated place, that it has not been discharged or tampered with, and that there is no obvious physical damage or condition to prevent its operation.

Take Carpet Drying and Cleanup Seriously

10/8/2020 (Permalink)

drying carpet Making sure your carpet is clean and dried properly is important

Wet carpet poses a health risk if it’s left untreated. It’s a breeding ground for mold and other contaminants and will begin to smell bad after just a few days. The good news is if you call in SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville, you’ll eventually have a safe place that’s as good as new.

The restoration process begins with carpet drying. In some cases, you might need to tear up the damaged carpet and replace it, but there are instances in which carpet affected by water damage can be fixed.

The first step our team of carpet drying professionals will take is to use professional extraction equipment to remove as much water from the carpet and padding as possible. These types of vacuums are designed to suck up water and the heavy-duty ones used by professionals do a great job of pulling moisture from your carpet.

If the water has seeped through to the padding it will likely need to be replaced. It’s not quite as durable as carpeting and since it’s sandwiched in between the floor and the carpet, there’s a greater risk for moisture getting trapped and mold to grow. To replace the padding, you’ll need to pull up your carpet, remove and dispose of the padding, and dry and sanitize the floor. Then new padding can be laid and your existing carpeting can be reinstalled once it’s completely dry.

Most homeowners opt to work with a professional team to help with the cleanup and drying phase after a flood. It’s possible to do the work on your own, but it’s time-consuming and can end up costing you more in the long-run.

Equipment for Drying Carpet

During the drying process, you’ll want to use specialized air movers and dehumidifiers to speed the time it takes to dry and to ensure all moisture is removed from the area. A professional water cleanup team will have these pieces of equipment and other devices designed to make the water removal process as efficient as possible.

In most cases, the complete drying time for carpeting will take about three to five days. You’ll want to begin the process as soon as possible after the carpet is exposed to water to prevent further damage and stop mold and any bacteria from starting to grow.

Contacting SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville after a flood is the most important thing you can do to prevent further damage and make sure the water removal and cleaning process is handled properly. If you’re dealing with water damage or need help after a flood.

Heavy Rains? Know How Your Sump Pump Operates.

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

sump pumps Sump pumps in your basement and how they work

How a Sump Pump Works

Typically, a sump pump is installed in a specially dug hole, known as the sump pit, which is located either in the basement or lowest level of your property. During heavy rainstorms or other scenarios that could cause potential flooding, the sump pump works by diverting all accumulating water outside your property. It’s important to ensure that the pump drains the water a safe distance away from your property’s foundation.

The majority of installed sump pumps are electric, meaning that they require a stable power source in order to work properly. However, there are some models that operate using your property’s pressurized water supply.

Common Causes of Sump Pump Failure

Much like any other plumbing device, it is important that you ensure that your sump pump is well maintained and free of any mechanical problems. Otherwise, you may be dealing with catastrophic damage to your property.

Some of the most common causes of sump pump failure include:

  • Power failure: Heavy rainstorms not only bring about excess water. The weather conditions can also cause power outages, which will render your sump pump unable to properly drain the quickly accumulating water.
  • A stuck switch: This is one of the most common mechanical issues that can occur with a sump pump. Caused either by debris jamming the float or a switch that has lodged itself against the side of the pump due to shifts within the basin, a stuck switch will cause the pump to be inoperable.
  • An overwhelmed pump: Much like the other devices you install in your home, it’s important that you have a properly sized sump pump that is just the right horsepower. A sump pump that is too large will result in it overworking, which can dramatically shorten its lifespan. Similarly, one that is too small will cause it to have to work harder to keep up with demands, which results in a decreased lifespan as well.
  • A frozen or clogged discharge pipe: Prince George’s County experiences its fair share of cold weather. If rainfall or excess water occurs during the winter, it has the potential to freeze over, rendering your sump pump ineffective. Similarly, it’s not uncommon for your sump pump’s discharge pipe to get clogged with debris, such as pebbles or loose gravel, dirt, sediment, or waste in the water. When the discharge pipe is no longer able to remove the excess water and divert it out of your property, it will, instead, allow the water to flow back down and into your basement or crawl space.
  • Lack of maintenance: It’s important that you uphold a maintenance schedule for your sump pump. We recommend having it cleaned and inspected at least once a year to ensure that it is free from any potential clogs or damaged components.
  • Old age: Sump pumps typically only last between 7 and 10 years. As it experiences wear and tear, it will become less and less effective at displacing rainwater. For maximum safety, we suggest investing in a new unit after 10 years.
  • Improper installation: It’s important that you hire skilled technicians to install your sump pump for you. An improperly installed sump pump can lead to it failing when you need it most. Improper installation can be anything from setting the pump in gravel or dirt, not creating an air relief hole in the discharge line, or failing to install a check valve on the discharge line.
  • A defective sump pump: Although rare, it could be that you received a defective unit and need to replace it. This is why we recommend testing the unit after installation.

The Dangerous Implications of Sump Pump Failure

The main purpose of a sump pump is to protect your property from any water damage due to flooding or a plumbing issue. Should your sump pump fail, you’re not only at risk for serious property damage, but your property is also susceptible to hazardous mold and mildew growth. Not only is the structural integrity of your property at risk, but so is your health and that of any other inhabitants, guests, employees, or customers. That's why it's important to have your water loss handled in the right way with our highly trained and certified technicians SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville. 

How to Prepare for a Snowstorm

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

snow storms Be prepared when old man winter comes

Before

Before a snowstorm, stock up on essentials and be prepared to be confined to your home for an extended period of time. It’s important to put your winter storm plan to use in advance to avoid a last-minute dash to an empty grocery store.

  • Create an emergency kit containing non-perishable food and water that will last you a few days. Also include a flashlight, battery-operated radio, and extra batteries. Don’t forget any medications or other personal necessities either you or your family members may need.
  • Subscribe to your local weather warning system.
  • Keep the cold air out by weather-stripping your doors and windows.
  • Fill your gas tank, keep blankets, and some emergency supplies in your car.
  • Gather extra coats, gloves, hats, and other warm clothes for your entire household.
  • Communicate with all of your family members about what to expect during a snowstorm.

During

Stay out of harm’s way and pay attention to snowstorm updates on your radio. Try not to wander outdoors until the storm warning is lifted.

  • Avoid driving or walking outside. Stay indoors if possible.
  • Pay attention to storm updates.
  • Check on neighbors. The elderly and young children may need extra help during severe weather.
  • Allow pets easy access to food, water, and warmth. Setting up extra pet beds, blankets or even dressing them in boots and sweaters may be a good idea.
  • Make sure you set up generators correctly and limit their use to essential appliances.
  • Keep a close eye on space heaters. They use a lot of power and are highly flammable.
  • Learn the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia. Take steps to prevent cold weather-related injuries by drinking plenty of water, taking breaks indoors, and staying active when you are outside.

After

Even though the snow has stopped falling, icy roads or melting snow can still be hazardous.

  • Use caution when venturing outside for the first time.
  • Use sand or ice melt on sidewalks and driveways.
  • Avoid driving until road conditions improve.
  • If you decide to shovel snow, do so with care. It’s easy to overexert yourself with a task you’re not used to.

How to React to Fire and Smoke

10/6/2020 (Permalink)

fire safety for your home Residential fire safety and preplanning are very important

Ensure Your Alarms Work

As they say in many sports, the best offense is a good defense. Setting your home up to be ready for a fire will make you better off than if you just blindly ignore the fact that a fire can happen in any home. Setting up a system of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors will allow you to know if there are fires in areas of the house that you can’t directly see.

Sure, it may be annoying to have fire alarms go off when you burn the dinner or they need new batteries, but that is all a minor inconvenience when a real fire occurs. Replacing their batteries regularly and putting them in multiple locations will allow you to be notified if there is a potential fire in the house.

Have an Escape Plan

Just like schools and businesses have dedicated fire plans and places to meet if a fire alarm goes off, the home should be no different. Even if you live alone, having your own fire plan to either deal with or evacuate from the fire is essential to responding effectively. If everyone is just running around and panicking, the situation will be much worse in the end.

Know the nearest exists for every room, establish a meeting location, and know what you absolutely need to get out of the house in your plan. Being able to react calmly in the event of a fire because everybody knows what to do reduces the risk of further accidents and allows you to deal with the problem more effectively.

Analyze the Scope of the Issue

Depending on the size and location of the fire, you may be able to analyze the situation and make a quick decision to deal with the fire safely. Obviously, if you are woken up by smoke and a room on fire that is not an appropriate time to become a detective and find what caused the fire.

If something in the kitchen caught on fire or a candle was just knocked over, you can take the time to quickly analyze the fire and make a decision as to how to act. If the fire is small and localized, grab your fire extinguisher and attempt to put it out yourself when everyone is safe. In cases where the fire is growing rapidly and can't be contained, fall back to your action plan mentioned in the last step and go from there.

This tip may vary greatly depending on your living situation, but the safety of yourself and others is worth more than whatever may be taken by the fire. Making sure you are able to find everyone and get them out of the house before even dealing with the smallest of fires is a great way to ensure maximum safety from the get-go.

If you are living in an apartment or multi-family unit, alerting other members is a great way to get people alert and informed about the situation. If you are living alone, making sure any pets are ok as well as yourself; that is really all you need to worry about in the immediate moment.

Call for Help

Even though this is a later step, this entire list of steps can occur in less than a minute if there is a real fire. Calling for help is one of the only ways you can be certain that the fire is dealt with to the greatest extent possible.

Calling the fire department is obviously your first step if the fire is large, as their services are needed to put out the fire. Even if you take care of the fire by the time they arrive, they would rather show up to an extinguished fire than not get a call at all. 

WHEN DO I NEED EMERGENCY TARPING?

10/6/2020 (Permalink)

emergency roof tarping If Your Roof is Leaking You May Need a Roof Tarp

Emergency tarping is needed when unwanted debris causes harm to your roof. For example, if a tree falls and causes a hole in your roof, it will cause a leak if it rains. This will create the need for a roof tarp to prevent further damage from taking place in the home. There also may be situations where we are able to find out that your ‘roof leak’ was actually an air conditioning unit leak or problem. If there is damage to the inside of your home, from a roof leak, or another kind of ceiling leak, you may need emergency services.

Another way to know if you need to contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville for a roof tarping is by checking ceilings for damage. If a ceiling is damaged from a leak, it will only get worse. If a continues to happen without being fixed, you’ll notice ceiling damage to get worse in your home. If you notice any staining, you can generally see where the staining has gotten worse through time because it will begin to look like rings on a tree. Just like you can tell how old a tree is by its rings, it’s possible to see how many times there have been leaks in the same area. Not only can this affect the home’s roof structure and ceiling. It may create secondary damage if moisture stays present and is never dried out properly.

Roof leaks are common, and also avoidable. They are most common where there are flashings. Flashing is simply where the surface of the roof may change. Like where a chimney or valley may be in the roof. It is important to focus on preventative measures in order to avoid damage to these areas and the rest of the roof.

Impacts of Commercial Property Fire

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

commercial fire Fire can have a severe impact on your commercial business

Fire damage is a common and dangerous disaster regardless of whether it is a commercial or residential property. Considering all the elements, fire in a commercial property like an office space can have a bigger impact than most, especially when taking into account the lives and careers of the employees in addition to the trading, which often comes to a standstill.

There are several critical impacts of fire on commercial property, which, if foreseen, can make a big difference when it comes to the smooth and productive functioning of your business.

Business incapacitation

The most observed effect of fire to a business is the damage and destruction of the property itself. As most businesses are self-contained, the business as usual, or the operational procedures ceases. This drains the potential of the business to be productive and reliable.

Moreover, the downtime is always exponential to the revenue loss. For every day, the business remains offline, the average revenue takes a fall, which in turn starts affecting the employees and other stakeholders. Any business that suffers such loss might take weeks or months to recover.

Data loss

Most large businesses have a centralized data storage structure to store all their data. However, small or medium businesses are usually vulnerable to data loss, when considering a potential fire threat. The data loss might be in the form of both digitally stored data and physical file formats.

Even a minor data loss like a small portion of a big project, it will still require the concerned stakeholders to perform research, spent time, and carry out several collaborations to put all the pieces back in place.

Loss of inventory

Depending on the type and size of the business, they might house some onsite inventory goods or products. A fire can inflict mass damage and destruction to these goods. These goods or products might be in the form of something that needs to be delivered or used within the business. Even though you have insurance coverage, you might end up paying an additional amount for replacing these products.

Impact on staff

The effect of office fires on employees is often overlooked when considering how devastating it can be for the business physical structure, products, and overall revenue. Employees risk lost wages and involuntary unpaid leaves.

Suffering any injury during a fire makes things further complicated and worse for them as they have to deal with some away time and hefty medical bills.

Furthermore, the severity of fir damage impact can force the business to make some drastic changes to the business structure after a considerable amount of time like making people redundant. This is usually done when the business finds it difficult to make up for the loss suffered due to fire.

Once affected by a fire, opening the doors and restoring the business as usual procedures are the priority of any business. This is where a SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville with some additional services like insurance documentation assistance can play a crucial role.

Fire Protection in Strip Malls

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

fire safety in strip malls Fire Safety for Strip mall businesses

Shopping centers are responsible for fire protection; however, there are certain boundaries and handling of the responsibilities that every shop owner or tenant must be aware of. For instance, if you enter the confines of an individual shop in a shopping mall, fire protection is the responsibility of the shop owner.

As a shop owner, you can expect such scenarios and policies penciled down on your lease agreement, so ensure to double-check the pertinent conditions before you put pen on paper. This post will feature some common things to be considered while ensuring fire protection in shopping centers.

Fire extinguisher maintenance

Fire extinguishers can vary from size to type. For instance, you have water, foam, powder, and Co2 fire extinguishers. You need to talk to a specialist when choosing the right one for your retail shop as your selection should be based on the type of store, the storage commodity, and more.

Service fire extinguishers on a regular basis and consider it mandatory to have them serviced annually to ensure that they are in compliance.

Fire alarm maintenance

Even though the shopping centers will have centrally controlled fire alarm systems, you are responsible for the ones that are within the confines of your shop.

Service and test these fire alarms as per your council’s requirements and ensure that you have the respective logbooks updated.

Fire signage

A fire and evacuation diagram can turn out to be a lifesaver. This together with other fire safety signage can be critical when the unexpected happens. Position the signage ideally to map out the escape routes for your customers, who might not have any idea about the compound layout in case of emergencies.

An ideal means to ensure that everything looks good is by checking whether you can see a fire exit sign wherever you are within your shop.

Emergency lighting

Emergency lighting is another important fire safety measure that should meet compliance. A fire breakout can easily sabotage the lighting circuits. As precautionary measures, the fire safety officers tend to disconnect the electric supply to any property under fire. Foresee such scenarios and ensure that you have proper and efficient lighting within your property which can guide yourself and the emergency service team.

Fire training

Fire training should be mandatory for staff in your outlet. Train yourself or at least one staff within your establishment about evacuation procedures and setups within the shop. Electing a fire warden can help you to alleviate stress and chaos in case of any emergencies.

Moreover, consider engaging in some fire mock drills to ensure that everything goes as planned in case of emergencies. You might be surprised to learn that most people are unaware of how to use a fire extinguisher in case of emergencies. Even with clear instructions marked on the product itself, the stress and the chaos that the situation creates can make it difficult for your function normally. This is where mock drills can come in handy.

Ensuring fire safety within your shop can be challenging and requires careful planning and thought processes. 

Smoke Damage Affects Contents in your house

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

smoke damage to contents Smoke can affect your hosehold contents in many ways

An uncontrollable fire within any residential property can cause serious damages in a matter of minutes.

Even small fires can damage your personal belongings and cause unforeseen structural damages. While cleaning up the ash and soot is the immediate concern, it is best to consider some preventive measures to ensure that you have covered such mishaps from all the possible angles.

This post features some consequences of smoke damage to the contents in your house:

Furniture:

Furniture, especially upholstered ones can behave differently based on the chemical composition involved. The fire spread on to furniture can progress through the following four stages:

  • Spread: Includes ignition to the complete burnout of the property’s seat, back, and arms
  • Burn through: The burn through the state is marked by elevated and steady heat release
  • Pool fire: the melting of the upholstery of seat marks the pool fire, where the melted fuel usually spills onto the floor and marks maximum heat release
  • Burn out: this is where the heat release reduces and the rate of burning drops marking the ending phase of the burning

Smoke from a fire if not serious damage, can cause discoloration to your furniture. The smoke particles combine with the atmospheric gases to trigger a reaction which results in discoloration. On most occasions, the stain marks the deposition of harmful chemicals on the furniture surface.

A careful and detailed analysis of the property as a whole is necessary to determine the type of cleaning agent to use. Using normal cleaning methods including vacuum can have driven the smoke particles and soot deeper into the furniture material causing adverse effects.  Using the wrong chemical for cleaning can result in the stripping or staining the varnish on wooden furniture.

Bedding and clothing:

Bedding and clothing commonly develop a musty burnt odor after exposure to smoke. The discoloration is visible in some cases depending on the type of fire and the atmospheric condition. Clothes and bedding can house chemicals from unburned substances. These are usually invisible and should be treated with proper chemicals to alleviate any odor concerns.

Industrial level detergents are needed to ensure that the soot and smoke particles are completely removed from bedding and clothing materials.

Floors walls and other surfaces:

A mixture of smoke, water, and ash can contribute towards a corrosive element. This conglomerate can eat away walls, floors, and ceilings.

If not attended to immediately, untreated smoke can start decolorizing your walls and other surfaces. A common scenario is the walls turning yellow and corrosion of metal surfaces.

One main factor to consider is fire smoke always creates Carbon Monoxide which can lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. This is why it is recommended to get the professionals to assess the situation in your house after the mishap prior to jumping headfirst into the act of cleaning.

Recover from a Pipe Burst

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

pipe burst Know what to do in case of a pipe burst in your Bartlett home

Burst pipes are one of the worst nightmares of a homeowner. A burst pipe might not flood or damage a whole area within your household. However, if left unsupervised, it can cause lead to structural issues in addition to health concerns for the residents.

On the flip side, a serious pipe burst can spill gallons of water to flood your house endangering your valuable belongings or properties. We always recommend homeowners to think ahead when it comes to residential water system maintenance or checkups.

A pipe burst can turn out to be an emergency situation in no time. Recovery from a pipe burst depends on how smart and efficiently you plan the whole process.

Safety first

The chaos of a pipe burst can compel you to take immediate action to save your valuable possessions within your house. Restrain yourself from caving in on all these impulse thoughts and think safety first.

A water leak near an electrical appliance or an outlet can second electrical conduction. Even the floor mat and walls can turn out to be an electrical conductor.

Ensure that you turn off the main water supply first and then the electricity to your house prior to rushing in to inspect or rescue.

Move your furniture

Bulky or upholstered furniture, especially couches can absorb water and remain waterlogged for longer durations. While carpets can be easily dried out, this furniture can continue causing issues.

Move all your upholstered furniture out prior to drying your carpets or flooring. If the weather is favorable, you can leave them outdoors to air dry.

Standing water check

Pipe burst often leads to standing water puddles. Attend to the situation quickly and get rid of water collected using a bucket and dry towel.

If the puddle forms over carpet insulated flooring, it is ideal not to try and lift the carpet as it can cause permanent damage.

Dehumidify

The next step is to dehumidify and ventilate the indoor area. If the weather permits, open windows and doors to let in the fresh air.

Using a dehumidifier is always recommended over using a household heater and a heater or dryer as a combination of moisture and warm conditions can trigger mold growth.

Seek professional help

On some occasions, you might not be able to contain a pipe burst completely. This is where you have to resort to the idea of calling a plumber.

Once the leak has been contained, you might need to seek the help of SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville. This step is highly recommended if the whole situation leaves you with soggy carpets, drywall, and insulation.

When seeking professional assistance, it is ideal to choose a company that offers the following additional services:

• Drying, dehumidification & water extraction
• Mold remediation
• Carpet, rug & upholstery cleaning

Recovering from a pipe burst can be slow and painful. We recommend you to consider these tips to act smart and quick. Invest some time and effort to residential water damage prevention tips to reduce the risk of encountering pipe burst related emergency situations.

The 3 Categories of Water Damage

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

Categories of Water Damage; pipe spewing black water Learn the 3 Categories of Water Damage

Flooding in your property can cause serious damage. Regardless of how well you are prepared, flooding or water damage can produce unforeseen scenarios and threats.

Minor property water damage incidents can be restored via the DIY checklist. However, severe water damage cleanup or restoration requires professional supervision and industrial grade tools & machinery.

Identifying the water damage category is the first step to water damage restoration. Water damage restoration professionals customize their restoration process based on this information for an effective and timely recovery.

This post features the three categories of water damage and the respective considerations.

Clean water or Category 1

Category 1 water damage is water damage from broken pipes, overflowing sink, or rainwater. Health risks associated with category 1 water damage is low, provided, you respond to the situation in less than 48 hours.

On most occasions, overlooking the fact that water damage can cause major headaches if left unattended escalates the situation.

Category 1 water damage if left untreated for more than 48 hours gets exposed to different contaminants which can turn it into category 2 water damage.

Greywater or Category 2

Some common sources of greywater are equipment discharges, chemical wastes like detergent, laundry, and soap. Category 2 water damage can pose mild to severe contamination risks. Greywater can promote microbial growth and the severity of the condition usually escalates with time. Both direct and indirect exposure to greywater damage can affect your personal health and property.

Blackwater or Category 3

Waters from sewers or water containing grease, oil, urine, etc. are ideal examples of black water. Presumably, this water type hoards bacteria, viruses, and other toxic allergens, which makes it contagious. 

It is mandatory to exercise special caution when dealing with black water.

Colder Temps are Coming: Be Prepared

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

ice dams Know How To Deal with Ice Dams

The wintertime presents some very unique challenges for your home, the most glaringly obvious being Ice Dams. An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of a roof, preventing water from properly draining. As a result, water can begin to back up under the shingles and eventually infiltrate the home. This can cause water damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and so much more. And if not dealt with in a timely manner, this water damage can even lead to mold and mildew, which can cause a number of health-related effects. 

Dealing with Ice Dams and the Resulting Water Damage

1. Remove Snow: Step 1 is to remove any excess snow from your roof. This will prevent water from building up and leaking into your home. And if water has already found its way into your home, it will help prevent further water damage.

2. Allow Proper Water Flow: If water has already built up behind an ice dam, chip away a channel through the ice dam to allow water to drain from your roof.

3. Call SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville: If water has found its way into your home as the result of an ice dam, let the SERVPRO water damage restoration professionals help. With over 15 years of experience, we know how to get the job done right!

CHOOSING THE RIGHT WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION COMPANY

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville Let SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville be the right team for You!

When you become the unfortunate victim of a flood, broken water pipe, backed up toilet, or other forms of water intrusion, you need to act fast. At the same time, you need to make sure you hire the right restoration company. And there are a lot of companies out there. Unfortunately, more than a few of them are less than reputable.

Hiring an inexperienced or bad water damage restoration company can actually make your already difficult situation even worse. Because of this, it is important to do your research.

  1. How long has the company been around? While we are not saying that newer companies cannot be trusted, there are just some things that can only be learned through experience.
  2. Act Fast: Before digging any deeper, it is important to see if the company is available when you need them. If not rectified quickly, water damage can spread and lead to other issues, including mold and mildew. This is why it is important to find a water damage restoration company that is available when you need them, not the other way around.
  3. Certifications: Look for a water damage restoration company with an IICRC certification.
  4. Insurance: It is important to find a company that is approved by your insurance agency. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying out-of-pocket, making a bad situation even worse.

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville: The Obvious Choice

When water damage strikes, you need to act fast. You do not have time to scour the Internet, weeding through the numerous unqualified water damage companies. You need a company you can trust. You need SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville!

  1. Over the past 15 years, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville has worked hard to become the leading water damage restoration company. Our technicians have expertise and knowledge of the most innovative solutions in the industry.
  2. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville is available 24/7/365 to provide certified licensed restoration professionals onsite within hours of your initial call. While we hope a disaster never occurs, we are ready to serve you and restore your home or business as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  3. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville has IICRC accredited field managers who are specialists in water mitigation.
  4. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville is an approved vendor for most major insurance companies, and we serve most local and regional insurance companies and claims offices.

Colder Temps are Coming: Be Prepared: Part II

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

ice storms Be prepared as colder tempatures near the Bartlett area

An ice storm can be one of the most devastating winter storms. Ice storms are caused when a winter event starts as snow in the upper atmosphere. As the snow travels into warmer air it melts into rain droplets. The rain then hits the frozen ground and refreezes. This ‘frozen rain’ can quickly accumulate and entomb everything in the landscape with a glaze of ice so heavy that it can split trees in half and turn roads and sidewalks into lethal sheets of thick, smooth ice. The results are fallen trees and branches, sagging or down power lines, treacherous, and driving conditions that can cause severe accidents. But the worst part of these storms is the massive power outages they can cause.

In preparation for what might be a rain/snow/ice event, there are several things you can do to prepare.

Always keep a supply of non-perishable food items and water (don’t forget a hand opener for canned goods).

Have extra blankets at the ready.

Always keep an extra supply of batteries on-hand.

Check flashlight to make sure they are operational and have a battery-powered radio.

To prevent water pipes from freezing, keep faucets turned on slightly to create a slow drip. Also, know where your main water valve is in your house in case you need to shut it off if a water pipe does burst.

Keep these supplies in a central location where everyone knows to find them in the dark.

Some other things to consider might be putting any prescription drugs, special items, and a first aid kit in a central location.  If you are going to use an alternate heat source, make sure to follow all manufacturer's safety guidelines.

HOW TO DISINFECT YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

cleaning your workspace Be safe at work. Disinfect your work area

We all have to do our part to stay healthy, safe, and protect each other right now, so keeping your work environment clean is more important than ever. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville has been working around the clock to protect businesses, homes, and people for over 10 years. Here are a few tips for keeping the work environment clean, disinfected, and what to do if someone is sick.

How to Clean Your Workspace

In addition to practicing respiratory etiquette and good hand hygiene, you can slow the spread of germs by simply cleaning your area regularly. Most workplaces have regular facility cleaning procedures conducted by a professional team. Cleaning refers to the physical removal of grime, dirt, and debris from surfaces using soap and water. High-touch surfaces like desks, keyboards, phones, door handles, elevator buttons, and light switches need to be cleaned regularly as part of a facility cleaning protocol.

Simply using a general household cleaner according to its instructions is all you need to effectively clean the area. Wipe down your desk, office items, chair armrests, and your immediate area until they are visibly clean. This prepares the area for effective disinfection.

In addition to daily cleaning, any surface that is visibly soiled needs to be cleaned immediately. It’s a good idea to wear gloves while cleaning to avoid coming into contact with the dirt. While cleaning doesn’t necessarily kill bacteria and viruses, it removes them to lower the number of microorganisms on the surface.

When to Disinfect the Workplace

Disinfecting is a method of removing bacteria and viruses by killing them with chemicals. To perform proper disinfection, clean the area to be disinfected with a general cleaner, then use an appropriate disinfecting product. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of registered disinfectants, but bleach or a cleaner with at least 70% alcohol will work if other products are not available.

There are no set rules about disinfecting the work environment, but it’s recommended to disinfect frequently used items in a public space, like a refrigerator door handle or break room light switches, after each use. Your own individual work area should be disinfected every day if you are the only one using it, but more often if multiple people are working in the area.

MINIMIZING BUSINESS INTERRUPTION

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

business interruption Minimize business interruption by being prepared

No one is immune to natural disasters, property damage, or business disruption. With SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville, you can feel confident that you have a partner in the restoration process bringing decades of experience and professionalism. Combined with our business continuity and disaster loss planning services and commercial restoration experience, we are here to help you plan for the unthinkable and mitigate losses.

Create a Business Continuity Plan

It’s impossible to predict the future, but there are ways to ensure you have a plan for any interruptions in your business. Almost half of all small businesses are permanently shuttered after a disaster, and knowing what to do ahead of time can make the difference in whether you’re able to get back up.

Continuity plans aren’t just for massive property damage caused by a natural disaster. A roof leak or mold problem requiring repair and clean-up can displace employees for days or even weeks.

Some key benefits of a continuity plan include:

  • Minimizes financial losses
  • Reduces operational down-time
  • Identifies opportunities for employees to continue working
  • Expediting the restoration process

If Disaster Strikes, Act Quickly

Minimizing business impact starts with a plan. In addition, to quickly enacting the plan when a loss occurs, it’s also important that your workforce is aware of it and knows what to do. Ensure policies and procedures are in place based on the continuity plan and train the workforce regularly. Communication is key!

In addition to notifying employees, you must also act quickly to minimize physical damage. Once the area is safe, work to preserve critical equipment and files. Remember that a scene that looks disastrous may not be as bad as you think, especially with professional restoration services.

PROTECTING YOUR HOME FROM STORM DAMAGE

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

tips to protect your home from storm damage With the rainy season approaching, protect your home from storm damage

We are quickly approaching fall, which means the potential for serious storms in September and October.  You don’t have to wait for the rainy season to start preparing your home.  There are a few simple tips you can follow so you can protect your home from storm damage.

Trim Trees

If you want to protect your home from storm damage, you want to start with your landscape.  One of the biggest threats towards your home during a storm is weak or dead tree branches. The last thing you want is for a branch to fly off a tree and right into one of your windows during a storm.  If that were to happen when no one was home, that could result in serious water damage. So, all you have to do is trim any branches that are hanging over or near your home, especially if they are dead.

Seal Windows and Doors

When it comes to protecting your home during a storm, you want to make sure every entryway in your home is tightly sealed.  Inspect each of your windows and doors in your home to make sure they are insulated properly. There are several ways to enhance your windows including install storm shutters and high-impact glass.  There are also double-paned models that are effective during storms, as well as, energy-efficient.

Don’t Forget Your Roof

It is essential that your roof is into exceptional conditional because it is one of the major protective layers of your home.  You want to check around your chimney and vent pipes to see if you need to apply a sealer. Make sure your gutters are clear of all leaves and debris, especially before a storm hits.  The last thing you want is for your gutters to clog and water to overflow damaging the foundation of your home.

How To Prevent Clogging Of Drains in Commercial Kitchens

9/22/2020 (Permalink)

prevent clogging drains Prevent clogging drains before they become a problem for your commercial kitchens

The drains are a significant part of the plumbing system and they are exposed to water in routine. The regular usage of sinks, washbasins, dishwashers, bathrooms, etc. leads to the flow of a large amount of dirt, debris, and other material into the drain pipes which may cause clogging of the drains. The situation can get worse than you can imagine when the blocked drain pipe obstructs the flow of water and it starts to move in the backward motion. This can damage your drainpipe, pipe joints, and maybe the hardware. 

Disposing of garbage: first of all, all the garbage must be disposed of properly. Either you have a particular location to get your garbage or you can have a garbage can at all the possible areas where the garbage could flow into the pipes causing clogging. Sometimes the vegetables and the other eating stuff could get into the drains causing blockage but if you have a garbage can around you, you can easily manage to separate the water into drains and the vegetables like stuff into the garbage can or trash bins.

Grease and oils: grease and oils are very common in the kitchen. Your dinner dishes which were served with chicken full of gravy may get difficult for you to remove from the dishes and hence the water containing oil and grease flow through the pipes increasing chances of clogging. You can put the leftover food into the disposable bags to avoid grease and oil clogging inside the pipes.

Drain screens: the next step which can be very beneficial to your kitchen and bathroom cleaning habits is to have drain screens or stoppers that could prevent the flow of debris or other stuff into the drain pipes. You can easily clean that kind of stuff by using a stopper and then you can release the water by plugging out the stopper.

Use boiling water: it is very familiar to all the women who work on their own in the kitchen for preparing food and cleaning dishes. Using boiling water once in a week or 10 days could avoid the deposition of oils and grease matter into the pipes that can cause clogging.

Hardware care: for making sure that all the pipes are working fine to drain the water and other liquids, you must ensure that the hardware must be in good condition such as pipes. Pipe fittings, tap, stopper, etc. suppose you have a damaged bend inside the drainage system, then the chances of blocking the dirty water flow outside the building reduce causing you trouble to deal with stinky smells and the clogged water that could only be worked by some professional plumbing service.

We're Here For You

9/22/2020 (Permalink)

Quick response to your restoration needs SERVPRO Will respond quickly to your restoration needs

Your disaster doesn’t have to be epic to call SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville. We hear things like, “My toilet overflowed and I need help!” all the time. Our recovery team acts quickly to any circumstances that put your property, and ultimately your potential health, at risk. We understand the appeal of “do-it-yourself” home repairs. Everyone wants to save money on labor costs, and many people even enjoy working on projects. The reality is some projects are better left to the experts. We are equipped to handle tasks that involve any form of water, mold, reconstruction, repairs, biohazard, or fire damage. Our commitment is to leave your property better than it was before we arrived. So, if you’re uncertain if we specialize in a need you have–don’t worry! Just call our 24/7 Response Line and we will let you know how we can help you. Your health, welfare, maintenance, and protection are our priority.

Removing Moisture Prevents Secondary Damage

9/22/2020 (Permalink)

prevent secondary damage If you have water damage it's important to call SERVPRO before secondary damage develops in your home or business

Drying a space after water damage requires more than a mop. You need the right equipment and measuring devices to ensure the fastest possible drying time because moisture can cause secondary damage. Effective water damage restoration begins with proper drying and dehumidification.  Dehumidification removes moisture from affected areas and reduces damage to property and contents that can be caused by mold and mildew.  Our dehumidification process dries out the excess moisture in rooms quickly to eliminate odors and stop mold from forming.

Dehumidification is essential in the cleaning process. Our certified technicians will be at your property within hours of your call to begin the drying process. Every moment that a floor or wall remains wet accelerates the possibility of mold growth. The quicker the response, the higher the probability of reducing damage to your facility, which will directly lower the overall cost of restoration.

Our team uses professional-grade equipment to dry out the entire structure of your affected rooms. We sanitize the environment to assure it remains safe for everyone who occupies it. If you are dealing with moisture or any type of mold or mildew, please contact us and we will make a plan to help you remove the moisture and prevent further damage.

Beware Of Water Damage Cleanup Caused By Sprinkler Systems

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

sprinkler systems Maintain your sprinkler systems to avoid water damage to your home.

We all know how important our sprinkler systems are to keep our yards from scorching in the summer sun. We also have to worry about blowing out sprinkler systems in the fall to prevent frozen pipes and we still need to take into consideration proper maintenance of our sprinkler systems to avoid any potential water damage. While most residential flooding is associated with heavy rains, broken water pipes, or overflowing appliances, sprinkler systems can be culprits also. Here are some things you should look for this fall to ensure your sprinkler system isn’t going to start watering inside your home.

Water Damage Cleanup 

Over-spray:

When sprinklers overshoot their intended watering targets and spray on or near your walls, water can seep into the foundation and possibly into your basement. Especially if it is happening every day. The longer water is targeted at a specific area of your home, the weaker and more susceptible that area will become to leaks. 

Improper Installation: 

Your sprinkler system delivers water to different zones via a series of underground rubber tubes or hoses that are connected to your home’s main water line. If these hoses get a leak in them near your foundation, water may find its way inside. 

Broken Pipes: 

Since the pipes that supply the water to your sprinkler system are connected to your water line, any build up in pressure in any of the pipes could cause them to burst and break inside or outside. Broken pipes lead to flooding water, so you want to make sure all the lines are clear and water pressure is normal so there is no extra strain on any of your water pipes.

User Error: 

Changing the setting on your system that is not recommended by the manufacturer may lead to problems or malfunctions in the system that could result in water damage to your home. It is recommended to have your sprinkler systems checked at least once a year by a professional, and it is also a good idea to have them blown out to ensure there are no clogs anywhere in your lines. 

Sprinkler systems are a great convenience to homeowners, but failure to maintain them properly may result in water damage and cleanup costs. 

3 Common Water Damage Myths

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

water damage myths, man in water Be sure to have the right information when it comes to water damage

Water damage in your home can come from many different sources and can strike at any time. When you are caught off guard, it is hard to know how to respond – especially with all the misleading information out there regarding water damage cleanup. When it comes to water damage, we at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville don’t want you to get caught believing these 3 common myths; or the damage to your home and belongings could actually get worse. 

  1. If you don’t see the water anymore, it must be dry and can just dry on its own.

If your home sustains water damage, the most important thing to guarantee proper restoration is to get it removed, cleaned, and dried completely. Water in your home will not dry completely on its own. Water hides in walls, in carpet, and even under floorboards. As porous materials are soaked with water, they begin to absorb it. Wood, drywall, insulation, carpet fibers, and carpet padding, will hold onto water even when it appears that it has all been dried. Hidden moisture trapped in unseen spaces causes more damage. Mold will grow anywhere moisture is present. Once materials have absorbed enough water, they can begin to swell, warp, bow, bend, and deteriorate. Just because you cannot see it, it does not mean that water is not there. Water will not dry itself and needs the proper drying and detection equipment to ensure no hidden moisture is left behind. 

  1. The smell will eventually go away.

When water is not dried quickly and completely, mold will begin to grow. Since mold is a type of fungus, it gives off a very strong odor wherever it grows. The musky and earthy smell that lingers around following water damage is not something that will just resolve itself. Dehumidification is required, along with complete drying, followed with antimicrobial treatment to stop mold from growing following water damage. If mold has already begun to grow (you will be able to tell by the smell), then mold remediation is required in order to safely remove the mold.  Do not wait around for the smell to just fade away, because it will not happen. 

  1. It is not a big deal if cleanup does not begin right away. 

Time is of the essence when dealing with water damage and mitigation of further damage. The longer water sits, the worse the damage gets. There is a very short window between water damage and mold growth, and the longer materials and belongings are exposed to water, the less the odds are of them being salvaged. To minimize losses and the risk for mold, you need an immediate response to water damage. Water damage cleanup cannot wait – it needs to begin as soon as possible. 

Fire vs Water

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

fire and water restoration Fire damage restoration and water damage restoration are two very different types of jobs

Fire damage restoration and water damage restoration are two very different types of jobs, so it’s no surprise that they need to be approached by the responding restorers accordingly.

Now that’s not to say that the two types of jobs don’t also have similarities. For instance, in a residential setting, there’s the issue of containment, inspection to determine the scope of the work about to be done, and treating with distraught homeowners and business owners with care and respect as they endure this difficult process. But here’s a look at some of the big differences between the two approaches:

Fire: When it comes to fire response, safety is crucial. One must first secure the property, then board it up so items can be packed and taken out of the affected site. This provides the opportunity for restoration professionals can clear the property of soot and smoke odors and thus begin the restoration process.

Water: Any area in the property holding excess standing must be the first to be treated by extraction whenever dealing with water/flood response. If water levels have dropped, then any personal/property items need to be removed from the affected area and drying equipment should be brought in. If water levels are high enough to be classified a Category 2 or 3, however, carpet and carpet padding integrity will be damaged and will most likely need to be removed and disposed of and any impacted drywall will also need to be cut out. Any carpet or drywall that’s come into contact with standing water for too long will have a receded foundation and potentially create mold.

With that being said, responses and measures taken for fire and water are different. Despite their differences, both have one important thing in common – and that’s caring for the home or business owner’s journey throughout the process. Anytime disaster strikes someone’s property, the experience takes a toll on them financially and emotionally as well. At SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett West Chicago, & Warrenville, we ensure to facilitate the process every step of the way and try to smooth out what is already a difficult ordeal. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett West Chicago, & Warrenville professionals work hard to ensure that not all is lost from fire or water damages. Whether it’s fire or water, our highly trained technicians always take our customers' needs for restoration to get their lives back to normal.

What to Do to Protect Your Home Before Storms Occur

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Home protection from Storms Protect your home and assests from potential storm damage

1. Update Insurance Policies

One of the easiest things a homeowner can do to prepare for seasonal storms is to look over current insurance policies to assure coverage of losses from storms or natural disasters. Earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes aren’t normally covered under homeowner policies but can be covered in other specific policies. Knowing your policies can help you make preparations to stay eligible for insurance claims.

2. Protect Windows

To avoid costly hail damage, keep the elements from penetrating windows, exterior cracks, entryways, and garage doors. Make sure windows and doors are sealed securely and, if needed, attach storm shutters to windows.

3. Install Steel Doors

For storm protection, installing steel doors can make a difference. Strong, tornadic winds can tear through the weak doors of a home, leaving little protection for your home interior from the storm’s effects. Steel doors with adequate support can stop that from happening.

4. Care for Roofing

Inspecting and maintaining your roof year-round is important for preventing storm damage. Remove ice and snow during the winter, and clear away fallen leaves and tree branches during autumn to keep your roof free from damaging debris. Have a professional roofing contractor check your roof before the storm season.

5. Inspect Foundation

Protecting your home’s foundation can make you better prepared to avoid storm damage. Notice cracks in ceilings or walls, gaps or separations, like windows no longer fitting their frame. Go through your basement or crawl space and see if there are any zigzag-patterned cracks along mortar lines. If you see any of these, contact a professional. A solid home foundation is of utmost importance during storms.

6. Trim Landscaping

A simple way to protect your home’s roof, windows, and doors from the need for hail damage repair is to attend to any loose or dead tree limbs or shrubbery. A strong wind combined with a heavy tree limb could cause damage to the home and even be life-threatening. Additionally, bushes that are not firmly planted can create destructive debris during a heavy storm.

7. Clear Gutters

Nobody likes cleaning gutters. It’s a pain to drag the ladder out, put on a pair of gloves, and start climbing. But the problem is that the gunk and grime filling up your gutters block hail and stormwater from running off your roof. When anything settles on your roof too long, it causes irreversible damage that could have easily been avoided with a clean gutter system.

8. Store Yard Furniture

Anything loose in your yard can be lifted into the air during a storm. Pick up any tree limbs lying on the ground. Secure lawn furniture and yard ornaments or store them when not in use. Even flowerpots can blow away if light enough. High-speed winds during a severe storm can cause damage to windows and other exterior features, like siding and garage doors, if everything isn’t solidly secured to the ground.

9. Plan for an Emergency

During a seasonal storm, it is important to plan for all possibilities. If your electricity fails, flashlights, extra batteries, a radio, or a backup generator can all be important things to have, especially during emergencies caused by storm damage. Stocking up with anything you might need when battening down the hatches, like blankets, non-perishable food items, and bottled water, can even prove lifesaving during the worst storms.

Water Damage Prevention Tips For Commercial Buildings

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

commercial water damage tips Know how to protect your commercial property from water damage

Water damage in commercial buildings can be a huge problem for a number of reasons. Beyond the damage from an actual flood, it can also put the health and wellbeing of your employees in jeopardy, and, depending on the industry, force you to shut down business for a while. Just adhering to the four simple tips listed below from our restoration experts at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville will significantly decrease the likelihood of a disaster in your commercial property. 

Install A Flood Monitoring System

An increasingly popular option for business owners is installing flood monitoring systems. Flood monitoring devices are one of the most effective ways to mitigate water damage in commercial properties. Flood monitoring systems work by sensing the water levels in the property. If the water level rises above a certain point, the system will immediately send you an alarm that a flood is ongoing. This is extremely valuable because the worst floods are those that go undetected for a long period of time. With a flood monitoring system, you will be notified immediately so you don’t have to worry about your property filling with flood water overnight or over the weekend. 

Inspect The Property For Water Damage Regularly

One of the best ways to prevent water damage is to look for signs of water damage in its infancy. Water damage takes time to develop into a major issue so if you put a stop to a leak as soon as it starts or removes the source of mold problem while the mold growth is still minor you should be able to avoid any major water damage issues. 

Invest In Facility Maintenance

A preventative maintenance plan should help keep your commercial building safe and secure and contribute to your water leak prevention efforts. Different parts of a commercial building should be inspected at different intervals. For example, doors, windows, and gates should be checked each year for weariness while the roof can be coated every five years or so to prevent damage.

Get Good Insurance Coverage For The Property

No matter the size and severity of a water damage event in your commercial property, you will need quality insurance coverage to cover the costs of the cleanup and restoration. You may also want to include flood damage insurance in your policy since most water damage insurance policies don’t actually cover damage caused by a flood.  

In a perfect world, these tips will help you avoid any water damage events from ever occurring in your commercial property. In the event of a mistake or freak accident that leads to a flood, however, you should be prepared to call for professional help without delay. 

Post Fire Cleaning

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

post fire cleaning The ins and outs for post fire cleaning in your home

Safety First, Then Assess

As soon as the SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville techs arrive at your home, the safety of your family and home are the top priority. The absolute first step of a remediation professional is checking that the property is safe to enter. The team will search for signs of structural damage and carefully inspect the property from the outside before opening the door.

Next, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville will assess the extent of the damage by exploring how far the fire, the smoke, and airborne soot have traveled. In order to create a precise plan of action and an accurate quote, we will document the damage to your walls, furniture, and possessions. At every step of the way, the technician will wear proper gear– to protect themselves and your possessions. 

Focus On Soot And Debris

Post-fire rooms are a mess. It is very important not to contaminate non-damaged rooms. Before any water or fire restoration processes can begin, all debris and soot must be removed from the home. The soot can cause more damage the longer it remains on a surface; it is abrasive and caustic. Any debris will be in the way during the restoration process so they will haul off trash to keep the worksite tidy.  Removing the soot and debris will also improve the air quality and reduces airborne odors. 

As soon as the team can begin work, protecting your home from additional damage will influence the workflow.  Soot can stain metals, plastics, grout, carpeting, textiles, and wood when it adheres to surfaces. Rust and corrosion is a risk whenever water touches metal. Components and conductors in electronics can corrode, and the risk of electrical shock is increased.

Sometimes it is necessary to remove items that don’t appear to be damaged in order to prevent cross-contamination. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville will help determine the best course of action in each situation. Often the professionals can clean these items offsite and return them once the home is restored. 

Now Deodorize And Clean

Professionals use specific cleaning products, equipment, and techniques on the various materials in your home.  Carpets, curtains, and other fragile fabrics need special attention, not all can be shampooed and washed with plain water.

During this fire damage restoration process, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville will also ensure to remove any odors that can linger after the smoke has been in the room. Commercial air scrubbers, ionizers, and dehumidifiers might be used to control humidity and clean the air. Perhaps your home would benefit from an ozone generator to destroy the smoke molecules that are left behind and are causing the odor.  

Restore What Is Necessary

After all the dirty, smelly burnt items are removed, odds are that your home will need some repairs. This restoration stage is both 1) repairing furnishings and 2) repairing the home.  To return your home to its best, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville team might repair wooden cabinets, replace baseboards, and restore floors. 

House Fire: How Fast It Can Happen

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

House fire timeline What can really happen in a house fire?

Few people understand the process that a house fire actually goes through from ignition to being extinguished. However, it is an important thing to know if you ever find yourself in a house fire or just to be better prepared to prevent future fires from occurring. Thus, we have included the progression of house fires below. If your home is ever ravaged by a fire, our team of professionals at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville is here for you to help you throughout the restoration process.

Ignition

Since the greatest proportion of house fires begin in the kitchen, we will use a kitchen example for this hypothetical fire. Imagine there is a pot boiling on a stovetop that boils over, spilling flammable, oil-laden contents onto the red-hot burner. In under a second, the substances in the oil will burst into flames. The flashpoint for fires like this is typically 600 degrees Fahrenheit but can be as high as 1000 F when the stove is on high.

First 30 Seconds

Within just seconds, the fire will easily spread to other parts of the home. The fire will begin to grow as it reaches other combustible materials like paper towels, cardboard, and dish towels. This is the crucial moment to extinguish the fire. Water won’t work on a grease fire so use what you can to deprive the fire of oxygen or use a fire extinguisher if you have one.

30 Seconds To 1 Minute

At this point, the fire will continue to grow larger and larger by engulfing larger objects like wooden cabinets and countertops. It will also be large enough to begin releasing large amounts of poisonous gases like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. Just two or three breaths of hydrogen cyanide are enough to cause one to pass out.

1-3 Minutes

At this point, the fire will rise above 400 F, high enough to kill people. After 2 minutes, it will continue to grow even hotter allowing the fire to spread through direct contact or auto-ignition. Auto-ignition occurs when an object becomes so hot that it will burst into flames even if it hasn’t been touched a fire.

3-6 Minutes

Throughout this time, the fire will continue to rise to tremendous temperatures. The fire will have risen into the ceiling and within the walls. It will be easily visible from the street. After just six minutes of burning, the roof can collapse in and the home may experience total devastation.

The Aftermath

The aftermath is never pretty. Rooms that had the fire in them will obviously be severely damaged. Even rooms that the fire never reached will still have significant damage from melting plastic and glass, blistered paint, and charred wood. Most appliances are probably ruined beyond repair.

As you can see, house fires should never be taken lightly. The damage they can do to a home is massive. Fortunately, you don’t have to endure this type of disaster on your own. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville.

Small Leaks Can Cause Big Problems

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

small leaks can harm your home Be on the lookout for small leaks, they can cause big problems

When serious flooding occurs, the catastrophic images of cars floating down the street dominate the local news cycle. Dramatic rains cause tens of millions of dollars in repair costs to homes and businesses. However, a simple, slow leak can also lead to substantial damage and reconstruction costs to your home.

Water damage is progressive; the longer that small water leak is allowed to drip, the more damage to your home. Here are just a few of the consequences of even a simple water leak:

Structural Damage

Waters weakens wood and corrodes metals. The most home construction relies on both materials along with concrete.  A compromised structure can also lead to buckling floors and collapsing walls and ceilings.

Sheetrock walls are also vulnerable to slow water leaks. Again, the gypsum base, faced by paper, creates a sponge that pulls water deeper into the core of your home. The walls will not only become weak but also harbor mold.

When the water has long sustained contact with unsealed bricks or concrete, cracks and erosion can result. If the moisture freezes and unfreezes, the damage is exponential. Cracks in the foundation can lead to expensive and complicated repairs to the destabilized foundation.

Damage To Floors And Fixtures

Water also weakens the backings of your carpets and rugs, making them more susceptible to wear and tear.  Carpet is durable but not designed to stay damp; this invites rot, decay, and insects.

Leaks can also cause damage to metal fixtures like sink taps and showerheads. Rubber gaskets decay and become debris in the line, reducing water pressure.

In the bathroom, a slow leak may loosen tiles near the tub or shower. In your kitchen, damage may progress to warped or discolored floorboards near the dishwasher, sink, and refrigerator.

Bugs, Fungus, And Mold

Standing water attracts insects and insects bring germs (and more insects!) Once a moist environment develops inside your home, airborne mold spores could flourish. 

Water Damage To Your Wallet

Any water damage will become an issue when you sell your home. Avoiding repairs in the present will create expenses in the future. For example,  the home inspector will spot and document water damage not properly addressed. Potential buyers will make a ‘low ball’ offer for less money or worse, infer that the home too much trouble to take on.

Ways To Reduce Fire Damage Risk

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

reduce fire damage Be aware of reducing fire hazards in your home

A house fire is a terrifying possibility for any homeowner. It’s such a scary prospect not just because of the destructive potential it has to destroy your home and possessions but because of the threat to your life and the lives of your family members. It’s impossible to live 100 percent stress-free about the threat of a house fire, but there are many ways to greatly diminish that possibility. Another factor that can help bring you peace of mind is that SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville is just one phone call away. With professionals working around the clock, you know who to call in the terrible possibility that you have a house fire. Here a few tips to keep your home fire-free.

Keep A Close Eye On Your Electrical Cords

There are a couple of ways that electrical cords could start a fire in your home. A couple of the most common are frayed wires and overloading a circuit with too many cords. This can be prevented by simply paying close attention to the wires around your house. If any of them look frayed or damaged, you know it is time to replace them. The same goes for overloading a circuit. Just don’t plug too many things in at one place where it could cause sparks or overload the circuit.

Be Careful In The Kitchen

Carelessness or accidents in the kitchen are a common cause of many house fires. Don’t leave burners or your oven on when you are done using them. Never leave your food unattended while you are cooking. Clean up any spilled grease that may have accumulated to prevent grease fires from occurring. It’s also wise to avoid wearing any loose or dangling clothes that could easily catch fire without your noticing. Essentially, preventing fires in your kitchen is just a matter of paying close attention to your surroundings and taking the time necessary to be safe.

Test Your Fire Alarms And Have Fire Extinguishers On Hand

This is another no-brainer. Make sure you’ve got working fire alarms on hand so a fire never catches you off guard. Taking the couple minutes necessary to occasionally test them is worth the time. Along those lines, keep a couple of fire extinguishers stored strategically throughout your house so you can quickly respond quickly to put out a fire if one occurs. This is especially useful in your kitchen since that is the most likely place for a fire to happen while you’re right there. 

When it comes to fires, you can never be careful enough. These are just a few of the simple things you can do to ensure that nothing short of a freak accident could ever cause a fire in your home. Unfortunately, freak accidents do happen, and if one happens to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville for any of your fire damage and restoration needs.

BLACK MOLD: How It Can Form

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

black mold Black mold can cause many different problems in your home and health.

Has the musty smell of decay ever hit you when you walked into a bathroom? Chances are that the bathroom had suffered water damage at some point and mold growing behind the walls caused the musty smell. In its natural environment, meaning outside, mold isn’t much of a problem. In nature, mold serves a useful purpose; specifically, it breaks down dead leaves and other organic matter. However, in your home, mold can damage your walls and sheetrock and can even be a danger to your health.

Any type of mold in your home is going to be bad for its structural integrity.

Mold can begin growing in your home in any environment that contains excessive moisture. This most frequently occurs when you have a leaking pipe. 

Once a pipe has begun to leak, it is essential to stop it as soon as possible to prevent your family from feeling any ill effects on their health from mold. One of the quickest ways to stop a very small leak while you wait for a plumber is to wrap duct or electrical tape around the leaky pipe. But that is no permanent fix. If you feel like doing a bit more thorough job, you can use a pipe clamp. You will want to select a clamp that is the correct size for the pipe. Then, clean the pipe and wrap it in a rubber pad. Secure the pipe clamp securely over the rubber and you have a quick fix!

HOME SAFETY CHECKLIST FOR HOME FIRE PREVENTION

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

fire prevention checklist Fire Prevention Checklist for Your Home.

CHECKLIST

  • Make sure your smoke alarm and batteries are working each month. 
  • Get interconnected smoke alarms so when one sounds, they’ll all sound. 
  • Create a home fire escape plan that shows two ways out of each room. 
  • Practice your family’s fire escape plan at least twice a year.

Making a Fire Evacuation Plan

    1. Find all of your home’s possible exits. Start by drawing your home’s floor plan. Spot at least two exits in each room. Make sure each exit is clear from clutter and easy to open in case of an emergency. 
    2. Install smoke detectors in your home. Alarms should be installed in hallways and inside of every bedroom on every level of your home so it’s easy to hear when sleeping. 
    3. Be prepared when you hear the alarm. If you hear your smoke alarm sound, leave immediately. When exiting, stay low to the ground to inhale less of the rising smoke. 
    4. Keep loved ones in mind. If you have elders or infants in the home, have a plan to get them to safety and assign one family member to help them ahead of time. 
    5. Stop, drop, and roll. If your clothes catch on fire during an evacuation, Stop, Drop, and Roll. Stop where you are, drop to the floor, and roll while covering your hands and eyes until the flames are gone. 
    6. Choose a place for everyone to meet safely. Make sure everyone knows how to get there. Call 9-1-1 once you’re in a safe place. Memorize phone numbers just in case you’re not at the meeting location to let family members know you’re safe.
    7. Don’t go back inside. If you left family members or valuables behind, don’t go back towards the fire. When you call, let the dispatcher know so firefighters can handle the rescue. Wait until firefighters say it’s safe to go back to the home.

Mold Prevention Tips for your Home

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

mold prevention Helpful hints to prevent mold growth in your home

1. Keep Healthy Humidity Levels

Mold and mildew thrive in a humid environment, so it is important to keep your humidity levels down. In areas that are prone to excessive moisture, make sure you ventilate. When using the kitchen, bathroom, or basement, turn on thevent fans. If there are no vent fans in these rooms, have them repaired or installed by an electrician. Also, consider installing whole-home humidification or plug-in dehumidifiers.

Attics fans can also help manage moisture and provide ventilation in the home. Ask your HVAC professional if attic fans are right for your home.

You can also take measures to control the humidity levels in your home with your HVAC system, which may or may not have a humidification system built-in. Regardless, running the air conditioner will help dry and circulate the air. A closed-up home in the summer without air conditioning and little air movement will create the humid, warm, and dark conditions necessary for mold growth.

2. Fresh Air

Open windows help increase the ventilation in your home – and are a good way to lower indoor carbon dioxide levels. High carbon dioxide levels can cause decreasing oxygen levels in the body, hampering the flow of oxygen to the brain. If your home has been closed up for several months, carbon dioxide can build up, especially in rooms where people spend the most time. Fresh air will also help dry out damp, musty areas and reduce odors and stuffiness. Every day, open up a window or two for 5-15 minutes to provide some free, natural ventilation to your home.

3. Use Green Cleaning Products

Cleaning products with an overwhelming odor are ironically the biggest sources ofvolatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the home. This is especially true of artificial pine and lemon products. When using these cleaners to rid areas of mold and other pollutants, you are essentially trading one contaminant for another. When dealing with mold (and cleaning your home in general), try to stick with cleaners that are water-based, non-toxic, and non-aerosol.

4. Dry Wet Areas

Although you should avoid toxic cleaners, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t regularly clean the surfaces in your home. Getting into the habit of cleaning and drying the surfaces in your bathroom and other moist areas is a great way to keep your bathroom clean and free of mold and mildew.

Mold can’t grow and thrive without moisture, so it’s important to dry wet areas in your home immediately. A leaky pipe, a damp basement, and even a spill on your carpet needs to be dried thoroughly and as quickly as possible (within 24 hours). Also, make sure you don’t leave wet clothing or bath towels out for too long. It is very difficult to completely clean material that has been compromised by mold.

Fix any plumbing leaks or water issues to remove the sources of moisture in your home. Some waterproofing solutions include:

  • Cleaning and repairing gutter and downspout systems
  • Installing and maintaining a basement sump pump.
  • Sealing window and foundation leaks
  • Improving drainage by repairing lots, unblocking sewers, and installing new drainage systems.
  • Repairing leaks as soon as you find them

Water Damage: What To Look For

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

Causes of water damage Being proactive can save you lots of money when it comes to water damage

Often times the damage from water is caused when a problem goes without being noticed. It may take weeks or even months before the damage shows up.

Time is of the essence when you are dealing with any type of water damage, and the key is to act fast!

Not only can the water ruin your carpets, ceiling, and furniture, but it can also destroy precious family possessions, important documents, and irreplaceable, personal items.

You may need to vacate your home during the repairs, and the disruption of your normal routine could really have a huge impact on your way of life. Having to stay in a hotel or at a friend’s home isn’t the way you want to spend your week, or sometimes, weeks.

Moving quickly increases the chance that your belongings can be saved or restored.

Common Water Damage Causes

Water damage can take many different forms and show up in your home or business in a number of different ways. If you suspect that you might have water damage, it’s important to know what the common causes are so that you know how to prevent minor water damage from turning into a huge problem.

Some common causes are:

  • A leaky roof from a passing rainstorm or melted snow from a snowstorm
  • A broken pipe from your garbage disposal
  • Condensation around your air conditioner
How Quickly Should I Address Water Damage?

Even if the issue is handled swiftly, water damage has been known to wreak havoc even months down the road. Often times the leak isn’t noticeable and may be behind a wall or in the ceiling.

The longer a leak goes unnoticed, the more money it can cost you to get fixed. Moving quickly also increases the chance that your personal belongings can be saved or restored.

Biohazard Handling Tips

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

tips for handling biohazards Know what to do if you think you have a biohazard situation.

There are certain rules and regulations surrounding biohazard cleanup. That’s why only certified and highly trained restoration technicians from SERVPRO of Kendall County should handle biological hazards. We use the most advanced restoration equipment to eliminate contamination and clean any such ordeal. SERVPRO of Kendall County excels at handling biohazard cleanup and restoration.

There is no situation in which biohazard contamination is not considered a risk. Even minor biological hazards pose a health risk – numerous diseases, viruses, and infections are passed through blood, bodily fluids, and waste. That’s why only certified restoration experts should handle the damage.

Before a SERVPRO biohazard cleanup crew can arrive, however, you’ll be left with the mess on your own. Here are a few biohazard safety tips to help in the interim.

After a contamanation 

Your primary focus, during any biohazard or sewage contamination event, should be the safety of both yourself and your family.

  • Remain clear of the affected area.
  • Call for emergency service is anyone is injured.
  • Treat all bodily fluids on the scene as if they were highly contaminated.
  • Shut off the HVAC system in case of airborne pollutants or sewage damage.

Commercial Water Loss

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

The weather has been very unpredictable the past few weeks in our area.  We have experience heavy rains in a short period of time causing the sewer systems to back up and streets to flood. 

If you see there is a flash flood watch, this means that a flash flood is possible.  A flash flood warning means that a flood is about to happen or already taking place.  If a flash flood occurs, you should make sure everyone gets to higher ground as quickly as possible. 

Your business can prepare for any potential disaster, including flash floods. Keep all essential equipment and documents elevated from the floor.  Ideally, they should be stored on the second floor of the building or higher.  Back-up electronic data daily to cloud storage or to an external drive so the files can still be accessed in the event of a disaster.  

It is a good idea to have a battery-powered radio available on-site or even some sand bags to help with water absorption.  In case of a power outage, you and your staff can keep updated on the current conditions.  (FEMA) The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides a list of recommended sites in the event of a disaster, such as a flashlight and first aid kit. 

You can also check with the National Weather Service to get more tips on safety during flooding.

SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City can help your business get back on track after flooding or other disasters. Call us today for more information or a free inspection 630-562-9212

Mold Remediation Appointment

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

We are available 24 hours per day. Before your appointment, be sure to:

  • Inventory damaged and missing goods for your insurance claim.
  • Throw away all sealed and unsealed food and beverage contacted by storm flood waters. 
  • Open windows and doors.
  • Refrain from using electrical devices until it is safe.
  • Remove standing water when possible.
  • Use dehumidifiers and fans to ventilate your home; SERVPRO of Kendall County can perform this task upon arrival.This list includes
  • Carpet, carpet padding, ceiling tiles, clothing, drywall, floor tiles, insulation, leather goods, paper, upholstery, wallpaper and wood items. When our mold remediation expert arrives, he will:
  • Our mold remediation technicians will also determine if any contents in your home are salvageable.  Porous items that are wet for over 48 hours and cannot be completely dried and cleaned must be disposed of.
  • Apply biocides.
  • Decide whether or not you can stay in your house during the mold remediation process.
  • Determine if additional ventilation and containment is needed.
  • Look for mold in the HVAC system and biological hazards in the home.
  • Test for any additional mold after the mold remediation process.
  • Use quick structural drying techniques.

Its Windy Out

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

Straight-line wind is a term used to define any thunderstorm wind that is not associated with rotation, and is used mainly to differentiate from tornado winds.

  •  Downdraft is a small-scale column of air that rapidly sinks toward the ground.
  •  Down burst is a result of a strong downdraft. A down burst is a strong downdraft with horizontal dimensions larger than 4 km (2.5 mi) resulting in an outward burst of damaging winds on or near the ground. (Imagine the way water comes out of a faucet and hits the bottom of the sink.) Down burst winds may begin as a micro burst and spread out over a wider area, sometimes producing damage similar to a strong tornado. Although usually associated with thunderstorms, down bursts can occur with showers too weak to produce thunder. 
  •  Microburst is a small concentrated down burst that produces an outward burst of damaging winds at the surface. Micro bursts are generally small (less than 4 km across) and short-lived, lasting only 5-10 minutes, with maximum wind speeds up to 168 mph. There are two kinds of micro bursts: wet and dry. A wet micro burst is accompanied by heavy precipitation at the surface. Dry micro bursts, common in places like the high plains and the inter-mountain west, occur with little or no precipitation reaching the ground. 
  • Gust front is the leading edge of rain-cooled air that clashes with warmer thunderstorm inflow. Gust fronts are characterized by a wind shift, temperature drop, and gusty winds out ahead of a thunderstorm. Sometimes the winds push up air above them, forming a shelf cloud or detached roll cloud.
  • Derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. A typical derecho consists of numerous micro bursts, down bursts, and down burst clusters. By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles (about 400 kilometers) and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph (93 km/h) or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho.

Flooding and Recovery

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

How can a roof leak and roof damage escape easy detection in this situation? Wind damage may loosen flashing, eventually causing another roof leak weeks after the storm. Even a subtle roof leak of this nature can produce damp, moldy conditions inside the home. Obtaining fast roof repair may prevent long term interior damage. A wind damage home restoration expert may assist clients in receiving comprehensive roof assessments and roof repair services when hurricane damage afflicts an area. Their expertise helps property owners address storm damage and roof damage more effectively. Flood water frequently poses a risk in coastal areas. Yet heavy rains may cause river flooding miles inland also. If the surrounding terrain cannot absorb ground water, runoff contributes to flood water. Even residents of mountainous areas sometimes sustain varying degrees of flood damage if frozen pipes rupture. Flood pump failures contribute to basement flooding and contaminated ground water in some locations, too. Flooding may disrupt municipal water systems. Experts need to assess ground water and evaluate the condition of pipes following flood damage. Hiring a storm restoration firm may allow you to begin your cleanup process even before water restoration occurs. (Cleaning before water restoration often proves essential yet challenging.) By relying upon a trained specialist, you'll usually obtain faster storm remediation. These experts may suggest ways to help mitigate flood water damage in the future, for instance, by requesting backup flood pump installation.

Insurance Coverage Tips

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

An insurance agent will open a claim and begin the process of collecting on flood damage. One of the first steps taken with water damage mitigation involves stopping further damage from happening. Flood damage mitigation starts with an emergency visit to the main water valve shutoff. The insurance company may also guide a person on a good water cleanup company. Nevertheless, the person doesn't have to call the flood damage mitigation company they recommended, and he can choose whoever he wants for property restoration.

Not All Water Cleanup Covered under Insurance

Before a person ever buys a policy on water in home, he should first review the policy. This goes the same for if he owns a business and has water in business. The vast majority of policies will cover restoration from after a terrible storm or a malfunctioning washing machine, but gradual leaks for water in home or water in business will not be covered.

Drying Water in Home

Whether people have water in home or water in business, one of the best policies even before calling a water cleanup company involves drying the water. To do this, turn on a fan and bring in some fans to blow on the water and help with drying. Always exercise caution around water and electrical outlets: Water and electricity do not mix. While drying near an electric outlet, people may be better off leaving it alone and calling in a professional water cleanup company.

Real mitigation can be summed up in two words: future prevention. If a person has water in business from a leaky roof, it does little good to repair the damage inside if he failed to fix the shingles on the roof first. The restoration process involves repairing the flood damage after identifying the cause and eliminating it. Water cleanup can stress a person out, but when they take these steps, it lowers the risk and makes it more tolerable.

Flooding Cleanup

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage in a basement can cost home owners thousands of dollars to fix. When water gets into a structure and it is dried incorrectly, rot, mold and mildew can form making the occupants extremely ill. Trained and certified to the highest standards in the industry, our professional production team responds immediately - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - to mitigate loss and meet every challenge with professionalism, reliability, compassion and respect. Our technicians identify the full extent of moisture damage, both obvious and unseen, by using sensors such as moisture detectors and state of the science technology.  Meanwhile, we help homeowners overcome their feeling of helplessness by explaining the process in a way that they can understand what is happening, what to expect, and what they can do. SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City commitment to customer excellence includes insurance professionals; which means that insurance agents and claims adjusters can expect effective, ongoing communication and reporting. We understand insurance industry requirements. Our professional production team will provide a complete estimate, including photos, to the agent or adjuster within 24-48 hours. Call SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City and get quality water damage restoration services, fire and smoke damage restoration, mold and mildew removal and if your home, business or insurance customer needs one of our large selection of biohazard removal services, we are ready, trained and equipped to provide you with any clean up, mitigation and restoration service. 

Call us today at 630-562-9212 

SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City is Ready

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett and West Chicago City specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hits Streamwood, Bartlett and West Chicago City, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 

Streamwood, Bartlett and West Chicago City 630-562-9212

Storm Emergency Services

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

Residential Services

Whether your Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City home needs emergency flood damage or roof tarping, you can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

    • Water Damage Restoration
    • Fire Damage Restoration
    • Mold Remediation
    • Storm Damage Restoration
    • Cleaning Services
    • Building/Reconstruction ServicesThere's never a good time for fire or Water damage to strike your Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City has the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. Learn more about our commercial services.
    • Commercial Services

Water Damage Breakdown

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

Thunderstorm Facts

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

Facts about Thunderstorms

  • They may occur individually, in clusters or in lines.
  • Some of the most severe occur when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.
  • Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable for thunderstorm development.
  • About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe – one that produces hail at least an inch or larger in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher or produces a tornado
  • Facts about Lightning
  • Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property.
  • Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.
  • “Heat lightning” is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away from thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction.
  • Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.
  • Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000 but could be reduced even further by following safety precautions.
  • Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a thunderstorm hazard:Severe Thunderstorm Watch- Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning- Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
  • Know the Terms

Soot Damage

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

You might think that the biggest danger a domestic fire is burning flames. After all, it is the most obvious, immediate indication that a major problem is developing. Yet, we know that this isn’t always the case because soot and smoke are far more insidious.

They move faster than flames and produce toxic debris that can enter the lungs and cause respiratory difficulties. For this reason, you’re advised to steer well clear of a house fire and let the professionals safely neutralize it. Fire damage is a stressful experience, but with help from the SERVPRO Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City team, you can turn things around quickly. 

This guide to dealing with fire damage will tell you a little bit about why soot residue is such a challenge and how it can be eliminated. 

What Is Soot? 
Soot is a by-product of incomplete combustion between a form of fuel (vinyl or plastic for example) and the oxygen in the air. It is a fine, black and greasy substance which clings to walls and ceilings after a fire. Soot can be tough to clean because it stains and smears surfaces. It usually produces a pretty unpleasant smell too. 

How Is Soot Removed from Fire Damaged Properties? 
SERVPRO has access to a range of cutting-edge tools and equipment. We have also developed a number of highly effective techniques for soot removal and restoration. The team will use a combination of brushes, cleaning detergents, and ozone deodorizers to lift the oily substance from furniture and prevent it from leaving stains. 

This is a delicate process, but it is important that high standards are adhered to, and the right methods are used. We follow the best practices of the IICRC. Just wiping at soot patches isn’t usually effective, especially when it comes to soft furnishings like sofas, mattresses, curtains, and carpets. Porous items will need the most attention and some objects may have to be removed from the site for additional cleaning.

Can You Get Rid of the Smell Too? 
As soot and smoke produce an acrid, lingering odor, deodorizing machines will be brought into the property to boost the circulation of fresh air and push denser, toxic particles towards special odor killing ‘ozone’ molecules. These molecules eliminate the unwanted smell on contact and then revert back to oxygen. This process requires vacating the premises until the ozone gas has dissipated or converted. 

Once complete, the deodorizing process leaves the home smelling fresh and clean. However, this is the final stage of the remediation project. First, a full inspection is carried out and then the home is cleaned as thoroughly as possible. 

If your home or business suffers fire damage, you need the best help and advice around. SERVPRO Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City is a locally based franchise so that we can respond to emergencies in this region at any time. Call us 24/7 at 630-562-9212.

Dryer Vent Maintenance

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Dryer vent cleaning prevents fires. You will want to make sure that your home or commercial property is completely safe. Whether by flooding, fire or some other mishap, there are plenty of ways that your property can be threatened. One of the best ways to ensure that you are prepared for a catastrophic emergency is always to have a local residential and commercial property cleanup and restoration service.

Dryer Vent Cleaning Prevents Fires 

Keep your property from sustaining irreversible fire damage. Making sure your dryer vents are clean and free from obstruction will help keep your property safe from the possibility of a fire. It's also an excellent precaution to take to keep the air in the building from getting choked up with dust, lint and other health hazards that can accumulate in a dryer vent. 

Get Help from a Local Cleanup and Restoration Service 

It's up to you to contact an expert local cleaning and fire restoration service to ensure that your vents get cleaned in a correct and timely fashion. When you are in doubt as to whether the vents or other areas in your home are functioning correctly, a good, thorough cleaning is never a bad idea. 

Even if it turns out that your property is not quite yet due for a full cleaning, a reputable local cleanup service can help such as removing any excess pollen or debris that has accumulated in the vents. This way, you can save a great deal of time, money and worry by taking timely preventative measures. Keeping the proper level of air quality in your home or commercial building will go a long way toward keeping the structure safe for your family or employees to inhabit. An expert local service will ultimately save you a great deal of time and stress.

Expert Help for Dryer Vent Cleaning Is Available 

At SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City, we know that dryer vent cleaning prevent fires. This is only one of the many services that we can provide for you to make sure that your home or commercial property will be safe against the event of an unforeseen mishap or emergency. If an emergency should befall your property, you'll want to call a service that can get to you in a prompt and timely manner. 

Commercial Restoration

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Large Loss Response Team and Disaster Recovery Teams are SERVPRO's elite franchises placed throughout the country to respond Faster to Any Sized Disaster.

The best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster is to plan for it NOW.

As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. 

By developing a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

Are You Ready?

Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, “Are you ready for whatever could happen?” 

The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile is a startup approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information. By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. 

SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile is a no cost assessment of your facility. It provides: 

  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency - a guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin. This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
  • Facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.  Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”

At SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City - we are committed to partnering with our commercial clients to reduce business interruption in the event of any type of disaster.  

 Call us at 630-562-9212 to get started - it costs you nothing to make the call.  Not making that call may be VERY costly.

Finding Mold

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

At times, mold is hard to find.  What usually happens is that mold grows in a place that never dried out.  A combination of moisture, a warm temperature and an organic food source create the perfect environment for mold to grow quickly, so Bartlett/ Streamwood area is a perfect spot for mold growth with the high humidity and warm spring and summer days.  Mold spores are everywhere and can easily get into homes and businesses.  Here are some tips to avoid mold growth in your home:

-Do not allow standing water in or around your home

-Leave the AC Unit running when you are not at home

-Use exhaust fans in your home, especially in the bathroom

-If you notice any strange smells, investigate immediately 

-Don't forget to call your local remediation, SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City, at 630-562-9212 if you think mold may be an issue you are facing in your home

Fire Prevention Tips

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Here are some of the top home fire starters with tips on the best way to prevent them: 

Cooking

Cooking is the main cause of home fires. Unattended cooking, and grease build-up, are the most frequent reasons for fires in the kitchen. Continuously supervise the range or stove when cooking and keep the kitchen surfaces free from grease to prevent fires.

Candles

Fires caused from candles are more frequent during holidays, such as Christmas and Halloween. Always keep candles far from draperies, embellishments and other combustibles, and ensure candle holders are steady. Utilizing battery-operated candles rather than real candles is a much safer option.

Children Playing with Fire

Some children play with fire just wondering, not understanding that it can be extremely dangerous. Keep lighters, matches and other flammables out of youngsters' sight and reach. Likewise, avoid as much as possible from using lighters and matches in front of them, as many children mimic what they see the adults do.

Heating Equipment

Amid the colder months, heating equipment, for example electric radiators or fireplaces, are major fire hazards in the home. Place radiators at a safe distance from combustible materials and always supervise them when they are operating. Check your smokestacks for creosote build-up on a regular basis and never utilize combustible fluids to begin a fire in the fireplace.

Electrical Causes

Obsolete wiring and breaker boxes, as well as old appliances, present a fire risk. Additionally, connecting excessively numerous machines to an extension cord can cause the cord or appliance to overheat and a fire to start. Watch for worn cords with exposed wires.

Smoking

Fires brought about by lit cigarettes can begin when a person nods off with a cigarette in hand or when the embers from a butt fall on ignitable materials. Smoke outside to avoid these dangers. On the off chance that you smoke inside, abstain from doing as such when tired, and use deep and large ashtrays.

Flammable Liquids

Liquids that can catch fire include gasoline, paints, cleaning agents, thinners, and much more. Keep these chemicals in approved compartments and far from electrical and heat sources. Store them outside, in a well-ventilated area. Always read the labels for temperature ranges. 

Christmas Trees

Amid the Christmas season, many home fires can begin because of the careless utilization of Christmas tree adornments. Electrical failures and candles are the fundamental offenders of Christmas tree fires. Use only lights that have the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Furthermore, replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. NEVER decorate your tree with lit candles. Water the tree on a daily basis to prevent the tree from drying out.

Finding Water Leaks

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

With all the rain, it’s very important to notice the signs of water damage and know what precautions to take to prevent it. Properties today are well built and insulated, however, they also have the unfortunate ability to trap excess moisture and condensation inside. Here are some tips for identifying problems before there is damage: 

 Signs to Recognize

  • Rust stains on the ceiling that appear around light fixtures.
  • Mildew along ceilings, walls and baseboard edges.
  • Condensation buildup along Windows and cold surfaces.
  • Musty odors.
  • Growth of mold and mildew in areas around your home.

Preventive Precautions

Keep proper circulation and ventilation throughout your home to avoid the buildup of condensation. Maintaining fixtures such as faucets and toilets is a great way to prevent leakage and dripping. To control humidity in your home, invest in a portable dehumidifier and keep it in areas such as the basement where it may be very damp. Storm windows are a great investment, as well, to keep condensation from building up on windows.

Other Signs

Listen up for any hissing sounds because this could possibly mean a leak in the water line. Check periodically around the water heater, under sinks, and behind clothes washers for signs of leaking. These places are usually hard-to-reach and are often forgotten about. The filter and ice maker lines to your refrigerator should also be monitored.

Discolored floor coverings usually indicate a sign of a leak. Loose or damaged plumbing fixtures are usually the causes of water stains and wetness. The wax ring at the base of the toilet may deteriorate because of moisture, but this can be easily replaced.  

If you find any of these signs in your home, don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City. For more information about cleaning up water damage in your home, please reach out to our office 630-562-9212

Water Mitigation in Commercial Buildings

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Many business owners forget that storms and severe weather aren't the only causes of floods and water damage. Here are some of the common causes of water damage to commercial buildings. 
 
1. Malfunctioning sprinkler systems. 
Some older office and retail buildings still have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While such sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty or in need of replacement. This could easily damage inventory and business assets.

2. Damaged appliances and equipment. 
This cause of commercial flood damage is more common in restaurants and catering facilities, as well as any business that have appliances and equipment that make use of water. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency. 
 
3. Broken pipes and plumbing. 
Just like in a residence, if the plumbing system in your workplace fails water damage could be the result. 
 
4. Backed up sewer lines. 
This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, the potential dangers of contaminated Black Water which can cause health effects and ruin products and office furnishings. 

Call SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City today. 630-562-9212

Mold is Everywhere

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Fact #1: Mold is everywhere, no matter what you try to do.

Bits of mold are part of the air you breathe everywhere you go. Molds grow on plants and in soil, float off into the air, and float in through your doors and windows. You’ve been dealing with it all your life and there is usually no way (except in very special circumstances) to create a space with no mold in the air.

Mold Fact #2: Large areas of mold should really be dealt with by a professional.

When mold areas get larger than about 10 square feet (about a square meter) or you don’t know the extent of the problem (for instance: mold can grow behind the walls) it is important to bring in a professional, like SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City, who is familiar with how to deal with mold properly. This sized area usually requires extra precautions when removing moldMuch larger areas of mold can require very complicated procedures and precautions.

Mold Fact #3: Stains and mysterious spots are not always mold.

Sometimes a black, brown, grey, or white spot isn’t actually mold. Efflorescence, for instance, is a whitish deposit, especially on concrete or rocks. That happens when water permeates the material and leaves behind a deposit of salts. Note, however, that in this case there is water permeation, which may mean there is mold growing where you don’t see it. Other spots can be caused by soot or soil deposits, giving a darker color. If you want to know what you’re looking at, you can collect samples yourselves and send them to mold laboratories that can test air samples or pieces of material and tell you whether you have mold or not.

Residential Fire Tips

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Small Fires can Pose High Risks 

While you should never pour water on a grease fire, nor on an electrical one, many times that is a person's first reaction anywhere. This can cause even more damage. Cooking fires and electrical shorts are common causes. It can also create physical risks to people standing nearby. With grease fires, baking soda should be poured into the skillet and any grease or oil that has caught fire outside of the cooking pan or skillet instead of water. 

With electrical fires, the appliance should be unplugged if it can be safely done, but not by pulling on the cord. This can cause the cord to snap, leaving the plug, without the cord, still in the outlet. The power to the area where this is happening should be shut off at the fuse box as quickly as possible to eliminate the hazard. 

After the Fire is Out, It's Time to Repair the Damage 

When there's been a localized fire, you should have someone assess the damages for you. This can often help with insurance documentation. Landlords, if you are renting, will need to be informed of the fire, and they can see the damage for themselves. It is every landlord's worst nightmare to have a fire or flood damage their properties. If they can see the amount of damage, they can rest easier knowing the extent of the repairs required.

Damage can range from blackened walls and countertops to heavily burned surfaces, electrical wires being damaged and requiring replacement, to floors suffering damage so severe they must be replaced to be safe again. Having experts conduct the repairs needed can greatly facilitate insurance claims being resolved, as well. 

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City 630-562-9212

Fire Loss in Commercial Buildings

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Fire, smoke, and soot can affect anything in your business or home, from the structure to personal belongings. After a fire, contacting a cleaning professional may be the best decision you can make.

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke:

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. 

  • Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs can be more difficult to clean.
    Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
  • Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme foul odor. 

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.

Call SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City

630-562-9212

Mold in your Home

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

It is not uncommon to discover mold in homes in the Streamwood/ Bartlett areas.  Mold tends to grow in damp or humid spots with poor air circulation such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, or attics and basements.  

Often times a small area of surface mold is a problem the homeowner can safely handle themselves with a diluted bleach solution of no more than 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. The Center for Disease Control has outlined a fairly comprehensive strategy for in-home mold remediation. However, their article recommends that homeowners should not attempt a mold remediation of more than 10 square feet by themselves.  Anything over that limit requires professional attention by IICRC Certified mold remediation technicians, like SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City. If you want to know what you’re looking at, you can collect samples yourselves and send them to mold laboratories that can test air samples or pieces of material and tell you whether you have mold or not. 

Our highly trained and certified technicians consider what the source of the moisture is - making sure to dry the affected area completely to prevent further mold growth in the future.  We take appropriate measures, such as plastic containment, negative air pressure, and High-Efficiency Particulate Air filtering to prevent further contamination of the home by mold spores that may become airborne during the remediation.

Summer Fun

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

There is nothing like firing up the grill during the summer months!  Did you know, July is the peak month for grill fires?  A backyard barbeque can become dangerous quickly if proper safety precautions aren’t considered.  Your local SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City Professionals want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer.  Consider the following tips to help ensure your summer celebrations are fun and disaster-free!

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only ever be used outdoors
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves, pergolas and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill often.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • When using a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
  • Each year fireworks are responsible for thousands of house fires with millions of dollars in property damage.
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.  Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.  Children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over as they may still be active and have explosive residue on them.

Mitigation Techniques

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City extracts out moisture under carpets and replaces carpet pads to reduce the risk of delamination and mold from forming.

The current storm season in Bartlett/ Streamwood area has hit our area with massive amounts of rainwater. Despite the millions of gallons of water that have fallen out of the sky, it is the hundreds of gallons from failed appliances, leaky pipes and failed sump pumps that cause the majority of damage to homes.

Water damage to Bartlett/ Streamwood homes primarily affects walls, carpets and floors. SERVPRO technicians train to remove any standing water, extract it out of surfaces, and take quick drying action to prevent secondary damage.

We start with removing water. Depending on the depth, we begin with commercial grade pumps to draw out the majority of it and then switch to water extraction wands. These two devices help us to not only get the water out but to draw moisture out of carpets and floorboards carefully.

Drawing out moisture helps lower the risk of delamination in carpets. It happens when the water softens the adhesive in the carpet which causes the layers to separate. That allows bubbles to form between the layers and carpet fibers to loosen and pull away when vacuumed. The risk of delamination is why we remove the pad from underneath every carpet. It is a source of water that soaks every inch of a carpet it touches.

Floorboards absorb standing water, and even pressure treated wood can start to twist and buckle after a single day under just an inch of it. The extraction wands allow SERVPRO restoration specialists to pull water from between the individual floorboards, reducing that risk of damage. Quickly removing the water also helps reduce the chance of mold infestation in floors, carpets and drywall.

To speed along the drying process, we use air movers to force warm, dry air over and under the carpets and floors. Our specialists can adjust both the temperature and speed of the airflow to dry out both types of flooring without splintering the wood or heating carpet adhesive too quickly and forming air pockets. Mold spores cannot expand and grow without a source of moisture, so this technique will help prevent any further damage.

If you have a leaking refrigerator, out dated sump pump, or a split water line leading to your washer machine, SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City is here to help you restore your home to its original, dry condition.

Call us at 630-562-9212

Water Damage Timeline

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Flooding and water emergencies don't wait for regular business hours and neither do we.  SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week-including all holidays.

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants

Commercial Loss Specialties

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Property owners and Property Managers are entrusted with keeping their businesses operational. When Disaster Strikes, SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.” Facilities Managers rely on us to be ready for Whatever Happens.

General Adjusters and Consulting firms from around the Chicago land area trust SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City with their most complex claims. Some of our specialties include:

  • Small Office Buildings
  • Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Commercial Reconstruction
  • Small Retail Stores
  • Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
  • High-Rise Residential
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Government/Military
  • Universities
  • Schools
  • Restaurants
  • Commercial Disaster Recovery Services 
  • We are available around the clock to get your business back up and running. Our expertise includes restoration services for fire and water damage, including electronics restoration and document drying.

Learn more about our commercial restoration services by calling SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City at 630-562-9212

What Can I Do to Prevent Mold From Growing in My Home?

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Since mold needs a food source, warmth and moisture to grow, the best thing you can do is to prevent moisture problems that allow mold to grow.

  • Maintain lower levels of humidity in your home (preferably between 30-50%) by: venting bathrooms and dryers to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation by adding crawlspace and attic vents; using exhaust fans when cooking, dishwashing, showering and cleaning, etc.
  • Add insulation to reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces such as windows, pipes, exterior walls, roofs, or floors.
  • Inspect your home regularly for indications and sources of indoor moisture such as leaking pipes, appliance hoses, showers, tubs, sinks and toilets. Replace plastic hoses with steel-reinforced hoses. Check windows, doors, attics and ceilings for leaks or evidence of water stains or odors, particularly after rains. Fix plumbing issues, and roof leaks right away.
  • Don't carpet bathrooms, basements, kitchens or other areas prone to moisture. Clean bathrooms often and keep surfaces dry.
  • Cover dirt in crawlspaces with a moisture barrier plastic sheeting.
  • Prevent water from entering basements and crawlspaces by repairing holes and cracks in walls and foundation. Use landscaping to direct water away from your foundation.
  • Clean and maintain your gutters and make sure drainpipes carry water several feet away from your home.
  • Watch your utility bills. An abnormally high water bill could signal a water leak.
  • Before you travel, turn off the water at the main valve. Have a trusted friend or neighbor check the inside and outside of your home periodically while you're away.

     If you think you may have a mold issue or signs of mold growth in your home call SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City at 630-562-9212

Commercial Loss Experts

5/30/2018 (Permalink)

Whether your business is a small retail store or a multi-building campus of buildings, SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City has the expertise and the equipment to handle any fire, water, or mold emergency.

Commercial Water Damage

Water damage can happen in many ways. A frozen pipe in a warehouse could burst and cause extensive damage. A burst pipe or a leaking roof in a manufacturing plant can shut down the production line causing huge losses. In apartment complexes, there could be an overflowing bathtub or toilet that causes damage in the complex. When any of these events happens, it’s important to call water damage professionals immediately in order to alleviate the damage. When hiring a water damage cleanup company, it’s important to make sure they have the expertise and equipment to such a large job.

Commercial Fire Damage

Even the smallest of fires can result in extensive damage to a building. While the fire itself can be isolated and extinguished quickly, the culprit of most damage after a fire is the smoke. Smoke can get into the duct work and quickly spread throughout the building. With fire and smoke damage, it’s important to hire fire restoration professionals that can quickly restore your business, your warehouse, your facility, or your residential complex.

Commercial Mold Remediation

Mold is the result of a moisture problem that has usually been neglected. This can be the result of a leaky pipe that is hidden behind a wall or in a ceiling. Mold can also grow quickly when there has been water damage from the contaminated water like a broken sewer pipe or flooding from a nearby river or stream. Contaminated water, also known as gray water or black water, can quickly promote mold growth in less than 24 hours. If not treated, it can quickly grow and cause not only property damage but potential health risks among inhabitants.

Commercial Storm Damage Cleanup

Storms can cause all types of damage to a building. They can cause flooding from rising rivers. They cause water leaks from damaged roofs. They can cause fires from lightning strikes. Tornadoes and high winds can break windows, tear down walls, rip off roofs, and in the worst cases they can level the entire building. A professional fire and water restoration company has the equipment, experience, and knowledge to handle any type of storm damage.

Damage to a business can come in many forms. From fire to water damage to storm damage and everything in between, SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City has the experience, equipment, and expertise to make it like it never happened. Whether you have a small store or a multi-building complex, call the commercial restoration, remediation, and cleaning experts at SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City at 630-562-9212.

IICRC Certified

5/30/2018 (Permalink)

Mold has been around forever because mold is a naturally occurring microscopic fungi that can be found almost anywhere.  However, you don't want it in your home or business. SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City is your local certified Mold Remediation Company.

Here are a few key years regarding the history of mold awareness.

  • 2001  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines for Schools and Commercial Buildings (www.epa.gov)
  • 2003  OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin
  • 2003  IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for         Professional Mold Remediation (S520)              (www.IICRC.org/s520info.shtml )
  • 2006  National Indoor Mold Society is formed            (http://afamerica.com/nims/)
  • 2008  IICRC Standard and Reference Guide (S520) 2nd Edition is released
  • 2009  EPA Designates September as National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month

Litigation Prior to 1993 Was Limited:

  • Initial cases were:
    • Landlord-tenant
    • Faulty construction
  • Lawsuits are in state and federal court
  • Regulatory Organizations such as State Health Agencies, State Attorney Generals and the outcome of litigation are defining the future of how we conduct mold mitigation and remediation and how mold liability is handled.

SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City requires that our technicians become certified through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).  The IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. 

Call SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City today for any and all mold questions or concerns. 630-562-9212

Fire Cleaning

5/30/2018 (Permalink)

When it comes to cleaning smoked-damaged contents after a residential or commercial fire here in Streamwood/ Bartlett /West Chicago City the variety of contents in a typical job requires restorers to utilize a variety of cleaning methods.

Here is a quick description of each method of content cleaning:

  • Dry Cleaning - Removes light to medium nongrease-based soils.
  • Wet Cleaning - Removes moderate to heavy residues. The process involves cleaning using water, with or without a cleaning agent.
  • Spray and Wipe - Apply a cleaning product using a spray bottle. After spraying, wipe the surface with a clean white towel. This method is effective for materials possibly damaged if saturated with cleaning product.
  • Foam Cleaning - Effective for light residues or delicate materials. Clean with the foam of a cleaning agent rather than the liquid
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Agitates the surface being cleaned. Apply a cleaning product containing abrasive ingredients
  • Immersion Cleaning - Dipping contents items into a bath of cleaning product. This bath is an ultrasonic tank filled with water and cleaning solution. High-frequency sound waves then create high temperatures and microscopic jet streams of fluid to agitate and scrub contents.

SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City recommends that you DO NOT attempt to clean smoke-damaged surfaces or contents yourself, and call the professionals here at SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City. Our office number is (630)562-9212

24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service

5/30/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett /West Chicago City is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - 630-562-9212

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City/ Warrenville

SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

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