Is it Mold or Mildew?

 

Many people commonly refer to various building molds found in the Chicago area as “mildew”, and numerous mold cleanup products use the words “mildew” or “mildewcide” in their name and instructions. Although interchanging the words mold and mildew is acceptable by many, what’s the truth of the matter?

What is Mold?

According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), Mold is very common. It’s found both outdoors and indoors. No one knows exactly how many mold species exist, but it is estimated to exceed over 300,000 strains

Mold is a distinct species and genus within the fungi family. (Did you flashback to biology class?) It’s one of the main decomposition methods that nature utilizes. Molds or fungus feed upon dead and decaying organic matter, and so they enhance the decaying processes of nature on fallen trees, plants, dead animals, leaves, etc.

Without life forms like mold, your Chicagoland property would be buried under piles of dead stuff. So that’s great. But problems arise because mold doesn’t know the difference between dead trees in the forest and a wet wall stud in a home. And since mold spores are always floating around, they easily find what they need to grow and reproduce; food, moisture, and darkness.

Mold can also grow on many nonporous materials such as concrete and brick. And with the right temperature, moisture, and food, mold will grow almost anywhere. A rolling stone may gather no moss, but one sitting still sure can. Although it’s more prevalent and grows more quickly on porous surfaces like drywall and wood (because there’s more food), over time even a large area of concrete or brick can be covered by it. This is especially true in high humidity when the temperature between the surface and the air is slightly different.

What is Mildew?

Mildew is likewise a segment of the fungi family, but a different genus. Mycologists (those who study the branch of botany dealing with fungi) regard it as a parasite because it feeds only on living plants. They’re divided into two sub-groups:

  1. Oidium-Erysiphe, familiarly named Powdery Mildew
  2. Peronosporaceae, familiarly named Downy Mildew

These take the form of a white or gray powdery or splotchy deposit on plant leaves and stems and are often caused by poor air circulation within or around the plant, and dampness or high humidity. And that’s an important distinction because most buildings will never have a mildew infestation unless they’re growing a ton of plants inside. But since the majority don’t mildew is rarely an issue with indoor contamination.

Many times, the term mildew will be used generically to refer to mold growth that has a flat growth tendency. In other words, it doesn’t grow roots and thus it’s non-destructive and easily scrubbed away. It, too, will grow anywhere there’s enough moisture, such as bathroom sinks and showers, basement walls, or fabrics.

For these reasons, a mold expert or a home inspector should never lump mold and mildew together or say that they’ve found mildew growing in or on a building.

Get the Remediation Help You Need

If you have a Mold Growth — or suspect you do —contact Chicagoland’s premier mold remediation services company ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons. Our mold removal specialists have the knowledge, equipment, and products to get rid of this potentially dangerous invader.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

Don’t Become a Victim of Assault by Battery

At times, the most innocent of actions can have dire consequences. For instance, pouring kitchen grease down your drain can cause your pipes to clog and lead to water damage. And you know that 9-volt battery you tossed into your junk drawer to one day use in your smoke detector? Well, it can become the cause of smoke – and fire!

While AAA, AA, D, and C batteries have their positive and negative posts positioned at opposite ends, 9-volt battery posts are set next to each other. When both posts touch metal that may be in your junk drawer (such as paper clips, steel wool, aluminum foil, nails, scissors, etc.), it can cause that metal to heat up. If that metal is touching a combustible source like paper or steel wool, it can start a fire. (Watch video)

Although these fires don’t happen every day, fires caused by loose 9-volt batteries have been reported countrywide, from New Hampshire to Kansas and Colorado. This problem has caused some homeowners to launch public awareness campaigns about it. (While we’re at it, this is a good time to remind you to always have fully-charged fire extinguishers in your home and business.)

How to Protect Yourself From This Danger

To help allay your fears, a study conducted by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) concluded that fires started by batteries did not make the “Most Common Causes of House Fires” list. But ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons thinks that even one fire is too many. So, practicing fire prevention is important to ensure this situation doesn’t happen to you.

To keep your property safe, the NFPA has set these guidelines for safely storing 9-volt batteries:

  • Don’t store them loosely in a drawer or container with metal objects or other batteries.
  • Keep them in their original package until ready for use.
  • If the original package is gone, cover both positive and negative posts with electrical or another non-conductive tape.
  • Don’t put batteries in your pocket along with keys, loose change, or other metal objects.
  • Keep 9-volt batteries stored standing up in a safe place where they won’t be knocked around.

How to Safely Dispose of Household Batteries

Single-use, non-chargeable batteries made before 1996 contained mercury and were considered hazardous waste. But now they’re constructed with common metals that the federal government deems non-hazardous and can be thrown away with your regular garbage – except in California, where it’s illegal to throw in your trash any type of battery. (Tip: Reduce your need for disposing of single-use batteries by purchasing rechargeable batteries instead. These can be used more than 1,000 times and recycled.)

But the exceptions are lithium-ion batteries, button cell batteries (found in items like watches and hearing aids), and any rechargeable batteries. All contain hazardous metals. These types of batteries need to be recycled.

It is important not to place lithium-ion batteries in curbside recycling carts as recycling facilities and truck fires have been reported due to batteries being damaged during sorting or when heavy equipment crushed them. To help prevent battery fires and improve workers’ safety, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed a law that prohibits residents and businesses from placing rechargeable or lead-acid batteries into recycling carts beginning January 1, 2020.

Here’s how you can recycle lithium-ion, button, and rechargeable batteries:

  • Call your Cook County municipal household hazardous waste program on how to recycle these batteries correctly.
  • Search the Chicagoland area for recycling centers that accept single-use batteries using Earth911’s Recycling Search.
  • Find a mail-in recycling program that accepts batteries. Most of these programs will sell you a container to store used batteries that can be mailed when filled.

If your Chicagoland property has been affected by smoke or fire from any source, ServiceMaster By Simons can assist you by handling your property and contents restoration. We work with our customers as a team to guarantee your property will be returned to its pre-loss condition as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

Concentrating on Cleaning Products Can Save You Money

is-bleach-a-safe-disinfectant?

Riddle: When is a gallon of all-purpose cleaner not a gallon of all-purpose cleaner?

 

Answer: When it’s really 20 gallons.

 

Puzzled? Consider this: usually when you purchase a gallon of a product, that’s all you get. If you buy a gallon of gas, you get a gallon of gas; buy a gallon of milk and you’ll only get a gallon of milk. But many cleaners, disinfectants and deodorizers you use to clean your Chicago area home or office are sold as concentrates. If you buy those and mix them correctly, you’ll greatly increase the usable amount of product, making them very inexpensive. Depending on the product, sometimes one gallon of concentrate can produce up to a hundred gallons of a RTU (ready to use) cleaner. So that 99¢ jug of RTU glass cleaner at your local Chicagoland box store might not really be such a terrific deal after all.

It might be enticing to try to make the concentrated cleaning products you buy go even further by diluting them more than recommended. But the suggested concentration dilution rate is much more cost efficient than watering them down because weakened chemicals take longer to do the job and you would probably have to repeat the cleaning process to accomplish the desired results. Your time is valuable; add that to the additional aggravation and you wouldn’t be saving a dime.

 

Precise Mixing Makes a Difference

 

Clearly, concentrates necessitate adding water to dilute them according to the precise directions on the product labels. Most comprehend that, but the means of communicating the amount of water to mix with the concentrate can be a little more complicated and leaves room for error.

For instance, the common method for stating dilution rates is by using ratios, but occasionally you need more info. For example, which does a ratio of 1:8 mean? Is it:

  • one part concentrate mixed with seven parts water to produce eight parts of solution?
  • one part concentrate mixed with eight parts water to produce make nine parts solution?

You need to get it right because, in this particular example, an error adds up to a 12.5% variance! That means either your cleaning effectiveness will decrease 12.5% or your costs will increase 12.5%, neither of which is a desired result.

What’s confusing is that each way of describing the ratios shown above is defensible. So always examine product labels for a thorough explanation of its mixing ratio. If details aren’t included, then go to the source and contact the manufacturer. It’s worth a little extra effort.

 

Help for Deep Cleaning

 

When it comes to deep cleaning, sometimes you need a little help. And with Covid-19, using the required disinfectants is vital. Without question, virus cleaning, removal, and disinfection services are foremost in the thoughts of many homeowners and business owners throughout the Chicagoland area today. ServiceMaster By Simons uses an EPA hospital-grade disinfectant that fights 99.99% of bacteria so that you as a business or homeowner can have peace of mind whether you work inside or outside your home.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

Water Damage Invites Termites Into Your Chicagoland Property

You’re probably already aware that water damage is more than a nuisance. It may also elicit severe damage to your Chicagoland home or business. But there’s another side effect of water damage you might not know about. It also attracts insects – both the kind that can cause disease and those that can destroy your home.

The types of bugs that are drawn to water damage include carpenter ants, termites, silverfish, beetles, roaches, etc. They enter a building when its walls and foundation are weakened by water damage, using electrical wires as superhighways throughout a structure. The insects that can cause the most destruction are termites. But what attracts them to a water damaged structure?           

Termites, like other insects, need to be surrounded by moisture to survive. Normally they live underground in cool, damp environments, so water soaked wood makes a perfect replacement home for them while supplying them with an almost endless buffet. That’s why water damage that’s ignored can promote termite infestation in any structure.                     

Termite infestations are extremely destructive to a property and expensive to fix. Usually they call for a whole-house treatment. The problem can start unnoticeably and often an owner won’t even be aware of the damage until he hires a professional restoration service like Chicago’s own ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons to do a water damage inspection.

 

 

The Experts Chime In

The University of Kentucky’s College of Food and Agriculture wrote a highly informative Q&A article on termite infestations. In it they talk about what and how much damage termites can do to a home, what a homeowner can do if there’s an infestation, and how difficult it can be for homeowners to ascertain if termites have infested their home or business at the early stage of infestation: 

“Oftentimes, there will be no clear indication of infestation. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can even progress undetected in exposed wood because the outer surface usually remains intact. Confirmation of termites often requires the keen eye of a professional — however, even the most experienced inspector can overlook signs that are hidden.”

As previously mentioned, termites love moisture and humidity. If a home or business isn’t adequately ventilated or has unrepaired leaks, a termite infestation can take place. That’s why the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns against not repairing leaks and water damage sources immediately. On the EPA official website, they discuss how to prevent these pests from invading your home.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) also emphasizes the termite’s love for wet weather, moisture, and humidity. It indicates that pests, including termites, could swarm during wet and warm weather. Pestworld.org published this NPMA warning:

“Residual winter moisture will create ideal conditions for mosquito larval habitats to form in standing water and will allow termite populations to flourish. With [rainy weather], expect increased cockroach and ant pressure as they move indoors for shelter.”

The bottom line to all this information is simple; never, ever, allow water damage that’s occurred to your Chicago area home or business go unrepaired. It must be addressed immediately to avoid an infestation of termites and other damage from wreaking havoc to property. Call the water damage cleanup professionals at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons immediately whenever water damage occurs. Whether the destruction is large or small, we can take care of it.

 

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

How Environmental Hygienists Find Mold You Can’t See

Once upon a time if you couldn’t see something you generally weren’t worried about it. Today, with the advances in science and technology, we now understand that gases and micro-pollutants in the air – even those that can’t be seen or smelled – can affect our health and well-being. So, air quality can no longer be judged by our senses alone, especially indoors. And one of those invisible micro-pollutants that can affect the quality of inside air is mold.

 

How Mold Enters the Airstream

Molds are fungi often hidden away in warm, humid corners of your Chicagoland home. Although they look stationary, molds have ways of getting into the air and thus into your lungs. To reproduce, they release spores into the air. And if the mold dries out, fragments will break off and attach to existing dust in your air where they can harm both the air quality and your health. Molds can stimulate allergic reactions, and some toxic molds might even weaken your immune system.

 

How Technology Helps Find Mold

During mold remediation, environmental hygienists test the air during and after mold cleanup to determine how effectively the contaminants are being removed or contained. This is done by using a laser particle counter to determine the number of airborne particles. This device draws in a sample of air, shines a laser light across the air stream inside of it and electronically counts the particles that cross the path of the beam. In contaminated environments, the amount of particles will be very high, but after a thorough cleaning, they’ll be significantly lower.

Laser particle counter measurements show over 99% of the particles floating in indoor air that are one micron (1/1,000,000 of a meter) or smaller. The EPA calls these lung-damaging particles because they can lodge deep in the lungs when inhaled. Although a particle counter can’t differentiate between spores, skin fragments or cotton fibers, using one can help determine if the property is experiencing a mold problem and can be used for additional quality-control and post-remediation checking. 

Certain websites allow mold testing companies to enter data from a particle counter and get prompt online results so that you’ll have an answer quickly, instead of having to wait days or weeks for results.

 

ServiceMaster By Simons Works With Environmental Hygienists

Many of our customers who research mold cleanup, mold removal, or mold remediation services may be surprised to discover ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides professional mold remediation, cleanup and removal in Chicago and its suburbs. After an independent environmental hygienist has tested and observed the air in your home or business and a positive report is received, our licensed technicians identify the problem and possible causes, such as water leaks or moisture issues. 

Our IICRC Certified technicians follow a systematic and well-planned mold abatement and remediation process to clean up mold and repair your property to your satisfaction. Contact ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons today for free on-site estimates for mold removal and remediation in the Chicagoland area.

 

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

Bird and Bat Droppings – Destructive and Hazardous to Your Health

There are many cleaning tasks in your Chicagoland home or business that you or your employees can easily manage. After all, the majority of cleaning projects just require a little elbow grease and willpower which most can easily handle. But there are times when it’s necessary to call in a professional cleaning company.

When checking out areas such as attics, cupolas, ledges, barns or comparable spaces, you might have observed that they had become home to birds or bats. And where such animals live, their droppings often accumulate so considerably that it can become many inches thick. Cleaning these messes is more than just a nuisance. If not dispensed with immediately, the weight of their feces can cause lasting damage to the structure of your home or business, including balconies, roofs, fences, machinery, ventilation systems and more. It’s also toxic.

Why Bird and Bat Droppings are Lethal

Serious health risks are connected to disease organisms that can breed in the nutrient-rich buildups of bird droppings, feathers and their remains. Not only are bird and bat droppings a foul mess that are difficult to remove and can cause slip-and-fall accidents, but they’re also a haven for numerous human pathogens. This is hazardous waste!

Bird and bat droppings can contain a disease-causing fungus called histoplasmosis. Symptoms of this infection vary, but the disease mainly affects the lungs. If someone has a suppressed immune system brought on by disease or are taking an immunosuppressive medication, they are especially at risk.

For instance, one woman contracted histoplasmosis due to a rheumatoid arthritis drug she was on. She had to undergo a year’s worth of a very foul tasting drug to kill this thing (plus another medication so that she could keep it down). She developed the disease through normal outside activities (like planting flowers) as histoplasma fungus grows as a mold in the soil and infection can arise from breathing in their airborne particles. Those without autoimmune diseases aren’t generally impacted by those small amounts, but in heavily concentrated areas as those mentioned at the beginning of this article, anyone could be at risk.

The most dangerous variety of histoplasmosis occurs principally in infants and in people with compromised immune systems. Called disseminated histoplasmosis, it can affect most parts of your body, including your mouth, liver, central nervous system, skin and adrenal glands. If left untreated, disseminated histoplasmosis is usually fatal.

These are examples of other communicable bird diseases associated with pigeons, geese, starlings, bats and house sparrows:

  • Candidiasis is a yeast or fungus infection that affects the skin, mouth, respiratory system, intestines and the urogenital tract.
  • Cryptococcosis is triggered by yeast found in the intestinal tract of pigeons and starlings. The illness often begins as a lung disease and could later affect the central nervous system.
  • Louis Encephalitis, an inflammation of the nervous system, typically causes drowsiness, headaches and fever. It may even result in paralysis, coma or death.
  • Salmonellosis often occurs as food poisoning. The disease’s bacteria are found in bird droppings; dust from droppings can be sucked through ventilation shafts and air conditioners, contaminating food and cooking surfaces in your home
  • Coli infection: It is one of the common infections caused by guano. Symptoms range from stomach pains, cramps, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite or nausea, and vomiting.

How the Pros Handle It

Whether you’re a Chicago area homeowner, commercial property owner or manager, these are the reasons why a professional hazmat cleanup crew should be called in to handle these situations. The process of cleaning up these droppings is similar to coronavirus cleaning and disinfecting.

At ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons we have highly trained technicians who use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including respirators and professional cleaning machines and supplies. They will remove all bird and bat droppings quickly and efficiently and repair any damage it might have done. Once it’s eradicated, we then clean, disinfect and deodorize the affected areas to protect your health. All droppings are sanitarily removed from your property and disposed of with care.

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

 

When DIY is Not a Good Idea

DIY, or Do it Yourself isn’t new. People have been DIYing since, well, forever. And in recent years, the growth of the DIY industry has exploded, thanks to the popularity of an endless variety of TV shows on networks like DIY and HGTV. But when they’re not watched with a practical eye, shows that complete their projects in thirty minutes to an hour can trick people into thinking their project will also be easy.

For instance, some people in the Chicagoland area attempt to save money on the expense of water or mold damage restoration by skipping the process of hiring restoration professionals. Instead, they try to handle the tear-out and dry-out processes themselves. For many “minor” spills (those only involving a few gallons of water at most), this can be fine as long as the spill is cleaned up quickly and occurs well away from walls or other places where the moisture from the spill can reach a gap and seep into the subfloor. But for more serious water damage scenarios, DIY is usually NAGI (not a good idea).

Whenever there’s a major amount of moisture damage, it’s very important for a professional restoration service like ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons  to be brought in to manage the dry-out process. Without the help of a trained and experienced expert, someone who attempts DIY moisture removal may miss pockets of moisture in the building, leading to:

  • Damaged building infrastructure

Moisture can seep into the structural materials behind the walls and under the floor, causing damage. But with proper dry-out and moisture remediation, much of the damage can be mitigated or even avoided.

  • Warped flooring

When moisture seeps into subfloor materials, it can cause wooden boards to shift, bend, and cup. This creates an uneven floor and poses a safety risk to the building’s occupants. If they’re salvageable, only professional restoration equipment can return them to normal.

  • Mold growth

Left unchecked, moisture trapped in a building can promote the growth of mold, particularly in cool, dark places such as basements and in-between walls. As any IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Specialist can tell you, mold spores in the air pose a serious respiratory risk to children and people with respiratory conditions such as asthma.

As a rule of thumb, if the water or mold damage to your Chicago area home or business is severe enough to warrant an insurance claim, then you shouldn’t try to handle the restoration process on your own. Damage that occurs as a result of DIY restoration efforts is typically not covered by insurance. Furthermore, restoration work can be hazardous for those who haven’t been trained for the risks associated with working with dirty water, mold, and water-damaged structures.

As a character of Clint Eastwood once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” So, whether you’re a man or woman, if you don’t have the experience or equipment needed to remediate water or mold damage, give ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons a call immediately!

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

Cleaning Chemicals and Extreme Temperatures Don’t Mix

The recent cold and snow that permeated the Chicagoland area certainly has made winter feel longer. Some like it, while others agree with comedian Carl Reiner who once stated, “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”

Some inanimate items that don’t do well in freezing weather are many of the cleaning chemicals you use. Check the labels for any freeze warnings that they may post. When some non-aerosol products freeze, the solids within the solution will fall out and can’t be blended back into the mixture. When this happens, the product is basically useless and will need to be thrown out. But if water-based products freeze, you can thaw ’em and shake ’em and they should be good to go.

Aerosol Products

There are also aerosol products. These work best at room temperature or warmer. Many aerosols consist of a water-based product and a solvent-based propellant. When an aerosol can is very cold, it won’t dispense properly. Instead of a nice even spray, either nothing will come out (even though there’s still plenty of product inside) or it’ll just spit at you like an angry camel.

The reason for this is that when a water-based product gets cold, it gets thick and sluggish. So, when the nozzle is depressed, what dispenses is mostly the solvent-based propellant instead of product and you end up with a can full of a cleaning product that you’ll never be able to use. And there goes money in the trash. This problem is easily alleviated by running a cold can under hot water for about a minute or so before using. Your best bet is to store them inside a heated building and not somewhere like an unheated garage.

Problems with aerosols also exist on the other end of the temperature spectrum. Spray cans of cleaners, deodorant, hairspray, spray paint, etc., can explode at 120 degrees. It can get that hot inside an enclosed, uncooled building on a scorching day, even in Chicago. And the temperature inside a parked car can get up to 140 degrees on an extremely hot day, and that’s past what it takes for aerosol cans to explode. So, never store aerosols in any place that gets hot, such as on top of a radiator, a fireplace mantle, a water heater or near furnaces, wood stoves or space heaters.

Hand Sanitizers

Many carry and store hand sanitizers in their vehicles these days. Although they’re unlikely to explode in high heat due to the fact that they’re usually hand pumped and not used in aerosol cans, they can lose their effectiveness if they sit in a hot car. Those products contain alcohol, which once hot, evaporates much more quickly than water. Once this happens, they lose their sanitizing properties.

Interestingly, most products sold in aerosol cans are more expensive by weight or volume than their non-aerosol counterparts. The propellant in an aerosol can may account for as much as 15 percent of the weight. Economically,  non-aerosol products are more cost-effective. And if you really want to save some cash, buy concentrated cleaning chemicals where you mix them yourself. By doing so, you can realize a savings from dollars per gallon to cents per gallon.

The welfare of your cleaning chemicals may not be the very first thing on your mind, but considering how much money you spend on them, they’re worth a little consideration on your part.

If your Chicagoland home or business is in need of deep cleaning due to Covid-19 or any other reason, contact ServiceMaster By Simons. We closely follow the guidelines of The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification to ensure each job is done correctly.

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

Why Hoarding Cleanup Should Only be Done by Professionals

With the popularity of reality TV shows in recent years like Hoarders and American Pickers, it’s easy to see that hoarding is a bigger problem than most of us ever thought about. When this is an issue with family or friends, we may feel the need to help them. But when cleaning up these homes, more is involved than just taking out the trash.

Most people who hoard on an extreme level have emotional and mental health problems. They are fiercely attached to their collections and may compromise their own safety and their relationships with others just to hold on to those items. But when the well-being of the home’s occupants is in danger, cleaning up a hoarded home is necessary. And when you do, it’s best to call in Chicagoland area professionals who handle such cases regularly.

Hoarding Dangers

Here’s a list of hazards that come with cleaning up a hoarder’s home and why you shouldn’t try to handle it yourself:

  • Fire – This is the main danger in a hoarded home because much of the clutter consists of flammable materials, such as boxes, magazines, old mail and paper trash. Fires may occur when these types of objects cover a heat vent or damaged wires. Moreover, clutter blocks residents from escaping from a fire and first responders may not be able to navigate a hoarded home to rescue the residents.
  • Injuries – These can occur due to falls or trips as there’s very little room to walk. Piles in a hoarded home can reach as high as ceilings and so can collapse and cause injury. Someone may even get trapped under falling debris and contents.
  • Diseases – Pests like rats and cockroaches can infest a hoarded home, increasing the chance of infecting people with diseases from their droppings or bites. With animal hoarders, the prospect of disease gets even worse as owners fail to pick up after their pets. Sometimes those animals die but their bodies are never removed, which intensifies the sanitation problem.
  • Mold – Due to  the lack of proper airflow in a home because of stacks of trash, mold may develop. Additionally, water damage from a clog or water leak – even a small one – mixed with organic material is the perfect recipe for mold growth. Hoarders also have difficulty throwing away food and plates of half-eaten food may sit out for days, weeks, or even months, resulting in more mold infestation. Mold can cause respiratory and other health problems, especially for those with allergies.
  • Air quality – All that clutter results in tons of dust, odors, and ammonia from decaying waste products. These can cause serious air quality issues in the hoarder’s home, producing respiratory problems in both people and pets.
  • Structural integrity – Over time, hoarding can cause structural damage to the building itself due to the great weight and uneven distribution of too much stuff. Floors and load-bearing parts of a house, meant to support only a certain amount of weight, may buckle or even collapse under the strain.

Hoarding Clean-up Procedures

Another reason for not trying to clean up after a hoarder is that you likely lack the experience, expertise and resources of a professional cleaning company that can perform the job efficiently and safely.  Here’s how ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons tackles this difficult task:

  • We ensure safety – Our workers must wear protective suits (PPE), which include disposable gloves and face masks, to protect themselves against bacteria and diseases. We also keep a fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit on hand.
  • We stock all needed cleaning supplies – Everything from heavy duty tools, trash bags, boxes, buckets, universal cleaning agents, heavy duty disinfectants, etc.
  • We set up a staging area and dumpster –An open space, such as a yard, is used to temporarily place contents pulled from the home. A large dumpster is brought in to dispose of the debris.
  • We strategically declutter the home – When the staging area is ready, we begin in the room nearest the closest exit to be able to escape quickly in case of emergency. The trash and clutter from each room is removed from top to bottom.
  • We sort the contents – Local Chicagoland regulations are followed when handling items that can’t go directly into the garbage (like paints or explosives). Then, trash and debris is bagged and placed in the dumpster. Salvageable items are sorted into items to keep and to donate.
  • We filter the air – Air filtration fans are set up through the job site to clean the air and reduce the amount of dust/allergens while the technicians are working.
  • We repair and clean the home – Once the entire structure is free of clutter, we assist with any needed repairs,  including water, fire and mold damage. Meanwhile, all salvageable contents are cleaned and disinfected.

Contact ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons immediately at 773-389-1805 if you or a loved one suffers from hoarding and/or you need assistance cleaning out a hoarder’s house. Using the latest cleaning and restoration tools and techniques, we’re standing by 24/7 to return any property to a safe, clean, and orderly condition.

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com