Recent Posts

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.