Why Dirty HVAC Filters Are Costly and Unhealthy

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There is a list of items in your Chicago home that need regular maintenance, such as cleaning out your gutters, replacing the battery in your smoke alarm, cutting the grass, etc. But there’s one item on that list that’s often ignored for too long. That’s replacing the filter in your HVAC system.

Is it such a big deal if it’s not done regularly? Most Chicagoland homeowners aren’t aware of the harmful effects of a dirty HVAC filter on their unit. A clean filter performs two functions: it helps keep your home comfortable and increases the HVAC’s efficiency. So homeowners should make replacing their HVAC filter a top priority.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that most of us spend about 90 percent of our time indoors. They also say that inside air is nearly 5 times dirtier than outside air. So for the majority of our lives, we’re breathing air that’s been circulating through an HVAC system. But regularly replacing its filter will mean cleaner air for your family to breathe. That’s a major benefit. But what other plusses are there to a clean air filter?

Why You Should Regularly Change Your Filter

  • A dirty air filter can cause air ducts to become home to dust, allergens, and mold that can invade your breathing space.
  • Air filters in homes with pets or smokers can become blocked with fur, dander, smoke particulate matter, and secondhand smoke.
  • A clogged air filter can diminish a humidifier’s effectiveness.
  • Dirty air filters make your system work harder by reducing the airflow within the system. The harder it has to work, the less energy efficient it is, shortening its life span and causing higher utility bills.
  • During the summer, a clogged air filter can cause the evaporator or cooling coil to freeze up.
  • Clogs during cold weather can lead to ineffective operation of the entire system, meaning you may experience hot and cold spots in your home, making it difficult to reach your chosen indoor temperature levels.

Can you remember the last time you changed your air filter?

How Do I Change My Filters?

First of all, set a reminder on your phone or a notation on a calendar for the first day of every third month to remind you to change it out. The actual process is very simple. If you don’t know how to do it, have a friend or family member show you. Or just look it up online.

Be aware that it’s possible to install them backward. But each filter will have an arrow somewhere on its side indicating the direction of airflow. Be sure that the arrow is pointing into your system, not out.

Can I Clean Dirty Air Filters?

Some air filters — permanent and semipermanent models — can be cleaned as part of regular HVAC system maintenance. But even washable filters have a life span — usually just a few years.

But most homes in Chicago have HVAC systems that use disposable filters. You might be tempted to try and clean yours instead of swapping it out with a new one. However, this simply won’t work for these reasons:

  • Disposable air filters are manufactured from soft mesh and other flexible materials that can’t survive the wear and tear of washing. It won’t completely dry after washing either, creating a moist breeding ground for mold and mildew.
  • Vacuuming an air filter does remove some of the buildups on the outside, but it can’t get to all the dust, pollen, and dirt that collects on the inside of the filter which blocks it from doing its job and causes wear and tear on your HVAC system.

Do My HVAC Filters Remove Odors?

HVAC air filters are designed to improve your home’s air quality and protect your unit. But if you have a serious odor problem caused by smoke from a fire or another pungent source, they are not designed for that. For those types of issues, you’ll need professional help to remove the source of the odor, along with high-tech equipment to permanently remove those smells. Be sure to contact ServiceMaster By Simons for any odor problems you may be experiencing.

 

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

 

Tips for Teaching Children About Disasters

 

 

Disasters are scary—for both children and adults. But teaching children about natural disasters when they’re young helps them recognize what’s happening and how they should respond when one occurs. Knowing what to do during a disaster could not only save a child’s life but having accurate information can also lessen their fear and help them to avoid panicking during the event. The following are a few tips from Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons for talking to your little ones about disasters:

Explain Why. For example, you can say “Today, we’re going to talk about emergencies so we can get ready and practice. Then, if an emergency happens, we know what to do to stay safe.” Repeat this theme of safety and security through the discussion, staying positive and keeping it age-appropriate. Doing so will give them a better grasp of the situation and allow them to process the information, leading to deeper comprehension and a higher retention level.

Be Honest. Disasters are dangerous and people can die, but don’t focus on death or destruction. Don’t go into details or explicit examples that can confuse or upset your child. You want to provide accurate information but use tact. Don’t sugarcoat it or scare them to death either.

Listen. Before starting any discussion, ask what they know and understand about different disasters. That way you can build on what they understand while dispelling any inaccurate beliefs. Listen carefully to their thoughts and answers. Let them express their feelings in an atmosphere where they feel safe and secure.

Be Reassuring. Tell your children that disasters can be scary and it’s okay to feel afraid. Let them know the reason you’re talking to them about disasters is so that they’ll know what to do in the event of one happening and it’ll be less frightening. Reassure them that during an emergency, many caring adults including parents, teachers, and other caregivers will be working to keep them safe.

Limit Graphic Images. When showing images of different types of disasters, avoid using graphic pictures or videos showing destruction or people getting hurt. For younger kids, use animated images that may be less scary. During or following a disaster or emergency, the media is usually saturated with pictures and videos of the event, along with disturbing sounds. So limit your children’s exposure to the TV and internet. The media rehashing of the event can scare or confuse them as it can seem like the disaster is happening over and over again.

Focus on the Learning. Children are curious and love to learn new things through play, activities, and reading. Instead of focusing on the destructive nature of disasters, teach your children what disasters are from an educational, exploratory perspective. Find ways to make it fun, like crawling on the ground to practice your fire escape. The internet also has many free resources and games for children to learn about disasters and how to prepare for them. Here are a few of them:

 

  • On the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) site, the game, Play and Learn to Stop Disasters!
  • The American Red Cross has videos and activities: Coping with Disasters: Free Resources for Kids.
  • gov, an official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has games that will test kids’ know-how in a wide range of emergencies and teach them how to build an emergency kit.
  • The National Fire Protection Association website has Sparky the Fire Dog videos, games, and activities to teach kids about fire safety.

 

Recognize Helpers. When disasters strike, let your little ones know that many helpers will appear—first responders, firefighters, police, and emergency medical technicians who will work to keep them safe. Help them get familiar with their uniforms so they can easily identify helpers.

Say “I Don’t Know”. Children may ask questions you might not know the answers to. Don’t make up an answer. It’s okay to say that you don’t know and then tell them you’ll find an answer for them. And don’t forget! Your children certainly won’t.

If you do experience a disaster that affects your Chicagoland home, ServiceMaster By Simons will do all we can to alleviate your child’s worries. We can help explain to them how we’ll do our best to return their home to normal. And if some of their cherished possessions were harmed due to water damage or fire damage, or another disaster, we have the know-how to save much of it, helping to return peace of mind to your child.

 

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

 

Disaster Restoration for the Special Needs Family

 

If there’s one thing ServiceMaster By Simons of Chicago has learned is that disasters are like snowflakes – there are no two alike.  Each occurrence creates its own exclusive set of problems that need to be tackled, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. That’s why we’ve established a customized set of procedures to be used for diverse water, fire, mold, and other disastrous events.

And just as no two disasters are alike, the same can be said for families. We use the term “special needs” to cover a wide range of conditions that make it tougher for a family to bounce back after a stressful event. This list can include conditions like allergies and chemical sensitivities, but also considers those with autism, mobility challenges, developmental delays, behavior disorders, and more. ServiceMaster By Simons believes that just as a personalized approach is required to fully restore a property after a disaster, a customized approach is needed to help all types of families achieve a healthy, happy home once again.

That process begins during the initial consultation stage. If your family includes those with special needs who will need to be assisted during the course of disaster restoration, we want to know about them. We will ask you about what will work best for your family and then review our procedures to see what changes need to be made to meet your needs in the most sufficient way possible. Here are two examples:

 

  • Those with autism often wrestle with sensory overload. They also have a tendency to dislike physical changes to their environment such as any alterations to their schedule and routine. This could mean that we’d schedule our disaster restoration services on a timetable that won’t disrupt a child’s routine.
  • People with asthma, COPD, cancer, and other medical conditions can be unfavorably impacted when certain cleaning chemicals that are used in the home or workplace. But by using a particular line of green cleaning products it may be possible to avoid generating chemical sensitivity issues.

 

We don’t consider caring for special needs families a burden. Doing all we can to take care of our customers, especially families, is what we do every day. Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons was created on the principle that every family deserves a happy, healthy home. We’ll ensure your life gets back to normal as quickly as possible by cleaning and restoring your property using the appropriate and very best cleaning products and expert restoration methods while taking your family’s wishes into account.

Don’t postpone receiving needed help because you’re unsure if the restoration company you hire will understand why you need things done in a specific way or at a specific time. We’ve been there. We get it. And we’re here to help.

 

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

 

Is Moldy Food Safe to Eat?

 

One day you’re ready for lunch and open a package of bread. But after pulling out a couple of slices, you see a green fuzz along the edges. At this point, people usually have one of two reactions:

1. they lose their appetite and toss the loaf

2. they cut off the offending growth and make a sandwich

But is the second option safe?

It depends. For instance, molds grow in threadlike shapes with roots that branch out. So, in softer foods (such as bread) and those with a higher moisture content (such as yogurt and jarred or canned goods), it spreads faster since it’s easier for mold to penetrate more deeply into soft foods versus harder foods. The same is true for meat and poultry. In those cases, the food should be discarded.

Some foods, such as firm fruits and veggies (think: carrots and cabbage), hard cheeses, salamis, etc., can be salvaged by cutting “at least 1 inch around and below the mold spot,” according to the USDA. Just be sure to keep the knife out of the mold so you don’t spread the yuck.

 

What Happens if You Accidentally Eat Mold?

 

Don’t panic, you’re probably okay. Although mold is a tricky organism with the potential to cause disease, “You’re not going to die from eating mold,” says Dr. Bedford, MD, a gastroenterologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. As long as your immune system is healthy, you can digest it like other foods.

After all, molds are meant to be on certain foods—including dry-cured country hams and cheeses such as blue cheese, Gorgonzola, Brie, and Camembert. In many of these cases, mold is safe to eat, the USDA says. But if you’ve ingested mold and you have a weak immune system or a history of asthma or allergies, you may want to call your doctor and seek treatment. Even then, Dr. Bedford recommends waiting to see if your symptoms escalate beyond nausea before rushing to call the doctor. “The stomach is a harsh environment, so, for the most part, most bacteria and fungus won’t survive,” he explains.

 

How to Prevent Mold from Forming in the First Place

 

Since warm, humid conditions encourage mold growth—and dry mold spores float through the air searching for new places in which to grow—the USDA recommends a few best practices for keeping mold from messing with your food:

  • Inspect foods for mold before purchasing
  • Buy food in small amounts so mold doesn’t have time to grow
  • Cover food with plastic wrap
  • Store food in the refrigerator quickly
  • Eat leftovers within three or four days
  • Clean your refrigerator frequently
  • Keep your home’s humidity level below 40 percent

Of course, molds can still grow in the refrigerator (though much more slowly) but following these guidelines can help keep your food fresh and fuzz-free for as long as possible.

 

What Mold Should I Be Concerned About?

 

There are over one hundred thousand species of mold. Some molds produce compounds known as “mycotoxins”.  Some mycotoxins, such as penicillin, are useful to mankind. Others can be deadly. Also, you can’t go by the color of mold (i.e., black mold) as many species are the same color, some of which do not develop mycotoxins.

There’s no way of knowing by sight whether a mold is safe or harmful. “You don’t know what mold you actually might be eating,” says dietitian Lillian Craggs-Dino, DHA, RDN, LDN. “Some molds can actually be very, very toxic to human beings. They can also cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems.” The same can be said for mold that’s growing in your basement.

That’s why if you see an infestation of mold growing elsewhere than on food in your Chicagoland home or business, you must have it remediated immediately. Call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. Our experienced mold removal restoration technicians along with our advanced industry technology will assess the extent of your mold removal needs and get to work.

 

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

 

Preventing Serious Illnesses After a Chicagoland Disaster

When it comes to disasters, many articles advise you on how to take preventative safety steps to either avoid them or ways to deal with them. But once a disaster is ended, some dangers still exist. They include numerous ways you could become ill due to the aftereffects of a catastrophe to your Chicagoland home and/or neighborhood.

The following are some disaster-related factors you need to know about to keep yourself safe from illness:

 

Animal and Insect-Related Threats

Stray animals and insects often seek shelter in places they normally don’t during natural disasters, especially after a flooding event. This can bring wildlife and people closer together and increase the risk of animals spreading diseases like leptospirosis and rabies. Never interact with stray or wild animals to avoid catching their illnesses and getting bitten.

If you come across a dead or sick stray animal, don’t try to capture or care for it on your own. Call the local authorities to handle the situation.

 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a dangerous gas that may cause serious illness and even death if breathed in. CO is impossible to detect without proper equipment as it’s colorless and odorless. So be sure you install a CO detector because natural disasters sometimes rupture gas lines on your property, releasing carbon monoxide.

If you even suspect your gas lines have been disrupted, don’t use a gas oven or furnace because they could add more carbon dioxide to the air. Don’t use generators, grills, propane, gasoline, or gas-burning devices inside or near your home. If you want to cook food or adjust the thermostat, don’t risk it. Instead, evacuate your home and look to family, friends, or a community shelter for help.

 

Flood Borne Diseases

Floodwaters carry with them a host of dangers. One of them is bacterial contamination. Many floods cause sewer overflows, releasing dangerous chemical waste and harmful microbes. These can make you very ill, especially if you swallow any of it, or if it comes in contact with your eyes, nose, or open sores.

Leave flood damage cleanup to the professionals. If you’re forced to have physical contact with floodwaters, wear protective clothing, and where your skin or clothing touches the water, wash as soon as possible.

 

Food and Drinking Water Dangers

During a disaster, electricity and water lines may be disrupted and tap water can become tainted. Be wary of food and water after a fire or flood because some of it might no longer be safe for consumption. Lack of electricity can spoil food and water can be contaminated with microorganisms, chemicals, and sewage waste, which makes it unsafe for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

Once a disaster passes, only consume food and water from a trusted source. Listen for public announcements to find out when it’s safe to use the local water supply. Meanwhile, use bottled water or boil water to disinfect it. Follow the link below to see directions and exceptions to disinfecting your water.

 

Take Extra Precautions to Keep Yourself Healthy

Illnesses and diseases can quickly spread after a disaster. Be sure to wash your hands often. Use disinfectant wipes or soap and warm, clean water to eliminate the germs off your hands. Disinfect your water source by boiling it or mixing in bleach and allowing it to sit for half an hour. If you don’t have access to clean water so you can wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer if available.

 

Contact Us and Worry Less

A disaster is already difficult to deal with without also worrying about the aftermath and its effects. Call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons to properly clean and restore your Chicago area property so you can concentrate on the health and safety of you and your family. We’ll work conscientiously to return your property to its original condition as soon as possible.

 

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

 

Concentrating on Cleaning Products Can Save You Money

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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

 

How HEPA Filters Protect You

 

During World War II, the Atomic Energy Commission needed a filter that would remove and trap radio-active dust particles that would pose a health hazard to scientists working on the Manhattan Project, the classified U.S. government venture that developed the atomic bomb. That’s when and why the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter was created.

The HEPA filter was specifically designed to protect the human respiratory system. Because it’s made of ultra-fine, glass-fiber materials, it captures microscopic particles that can pass through other filters easily. It will filter out 99.97% of the 0.3-micron particles in the air. Particles that size are nearly 300 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and 25 to 50 times tinier than the human eye can see. But to a HEPA filter, catching a one-micron particle (1/1,000,000 of a meter) is comparable to stopping a cotton ball with a door screen.

HEPA filters are viewed as the highest form of air filtration. Hospitals, laboratories, and even NASA spend thousands to millions of dollars to create contamination free environments termed clean rooms that aid in eliminating nearly all foreign elements, infectious agents, heavy metal particles, and other undesirable impurities. For those reasons and more, HEPA filters are extensively used.

We at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons regularly use air scrubbers that employ HEPA filters to aid in removing contaminants in the air of a structure. These powerful, high performance, heavy-duty units are completely safe air purifying devices. 

Several times each hour, an air scrubber sucks in contaminated and dusty air from a space, draws it through several filters, including a HEPA filter, and then pumps out fresh air that’s free of dust, chemicals and odors. The HEPA filter captures small particles such as mold, bacteria, asbestos, lead, dust, and many other floating contaminants. Air scrubbers continuously scour the air and provide a clean, healthy and productive environment. That’s why ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons utilizes them on jobs such as:

Don’t confuse heavy duty air scrubbers with simple air purifiers. Purifiers are intended to be used inside a home or business when it’s occupied. So, they’re engineered to run quietly and to fit in with their surroundings. Although some contain HEPA or other high efficiency filters, they are much weaker than air scrubbers and are only effective in small areas.

Having over 20 years of experience and the right equipment goes a long way towards getting a job completed quickly and thoroughly. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons prides itself on possessing both. If your Chicago area home or business suffers a disaster, our professional team of certified and experienced industry experts will diagnose your repair needs, explore your best options, and work with you to design the best possible solution to resolve your property recovery issues.

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 Will The COVID-19 Delta Variant Affect My Business?

 

As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread throughout communities in the United States and throughout the world at large, ServiceMaster Clean wants to continue to be your partner in keeping your business as healthy and safe as possible. While we may not know how or for how long the strain will impact the day-to-day of your business, we do know that there are ways to continue to protect yourself, your employees, and your customers.

By understanding the severity of the Delta variant and taking the proper precautions to avoid transmission, we can protect each other from continued spread and avoid further impacts to businesses.

Why Is The Delta Variant More Dangerous?

The COVID-19 Delta variant is currently the predominant strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta variant is significantly more infectious than previous strains of the coronavirus. It may cause more than two times as many infections as previous strains of COVID-19 as it is more easily transmitted from infected individuals to others.

Unfortunately, recent data suggests that this variant may even cause more serious side effects and illness than previous strains, specifically among unvaccinated individuals. Because there is still a large percentage of Americans who are unvaccinated, those individuals are left extremely vulnerable in contracting and fighting this particular strain of the virus. Thus far, virtually all hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated.

While COVID-19 vaccinations are effective at protecting individuals from getting sick, the CDC still recommends vaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors in public—especially if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Fully vaccinated people can still spread the virus to others, but seem to be infectious for a shorter period of time.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the Delta variant of the virus as the CDC releases more information. Additionally, we will proactively monitor other possible variants that may be of concern to do everything possible to ensure that your business continues to operate in a healthy environment.

How To Protect Your Business From A COVID-19 Delta Outbreak

The best way you can protect your business from a COVID-19 Delta outbreak is to be as proactive as possible. Given what we know today about the Delta variant, there are a series of steps you can take to ensure that your business is prepared and doing everything possible to mitigate potential outbreaks. These include:

  • Asking customers and staff to wear a mask. The CDC recommends wearing masks indoors to help stop transmission. Where permitted, implementing and/or encouraging mask mandates in the workplace can provide greater protection for yourself, your employees, and customers.
  • Setting up a sanitation station when entering a business or workplace can be an effective way to encourage a clean environment. For example, providing face masks for those without, hand sanitizer to eliminate bacteria, and thermometers to ensure no one on-site is unknowingly running a fever.
  • Encouraging employees to get the vaccine. The Delta variant causes more severe side effects among the unvaccinated population. Encouraging individuals who are eligible to get the vaccine can help protect their health while also helping others who may be at risk or are unable to get the vaccine.
  • Encourage employees who feel sick to stay at home or work remotely. Unvaccinated people who have been exposed or come in close contact to someone infected with COVID-19 are encouraged to quarantine for 14 days. Fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are to be tested 3-5 days after exposure in addition to wearing a face mask indoors for 2 weeks until they receive a negative test result.
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces will help reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading throughout your facility. These surfaces will vary from facility to facility, but usually include:
    • Light switches
    • Doorknobs
    • Faucet handles
    • Refrigerator door handles
    • Handrails
    • Tables
    • Counters
    • Shared computer keyboards or touch screens
    • Work tools that may get shared from person to person
    • Surfaces that come into contact with customers, such as gym equipment, or furniture in a dining or waiting room
  • Hire commercial cleaning experts. In addition to mask use and vaccinations, you can also schedule regular commercial cleaning services specific to COVID-19 prevention. These cleaning and disinfection services will help you better maintain a clean and healthy environment no matter if you work in healthcareeducationoffices, or industrial environments.

By establishing and keeping open communications and policies, you will be able to better empower your employees to make smart decisions that positively impact those they work with and serve.

ServiceMaster By Simons Is Here To Help! We care about your business and the people within it. While you can continue to operate in the rapidly changing COVID-19 environment, ServiceMaster Clean can help your business stay clean and operate in a healthy environment by providing commercial cleaning services for your business. Our nationwide network of cleaning experts has been staying up to date on the guidelines from regulators including the CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By following the latest guidance from public health agencies, we train our team on infection control best practices to provide effective cleaning and disinfection services against COVID-19.

Give us a call at (773) 376-1110 to speak to a customer representative or email us at info@servicemaster-rbs.com

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