You Often Get What You Pay For

Fire Damage Restoration - smoke odor and soot cleaning - Chicago - IL - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons

When you need a fire or water damage restoration company, time is of the essence. If you do a quick internet search, you’ll find many in Chicago to choose from. And since it’s an emergency, you may just pick the one that’s closest to you. That’s why you should do your research before a disaster ever strikes to find a company you know you can trust.

With the economy the way it is, many may be tempted to go with the company that offers the lowest prices. That would seem to make your decision easier. Yet, the cost isn’t the only aspect you should consider. A cheap disaster restoration contractor may underestimate the cost of a project, or worse, add hidden fees after the job is completed. So that low-cost company could cost you more.

 

Problems With Hiring Cheap Disaster Restoration Contractors

 

Here are some reasons you may want to avoid a low bidder:

  • They give you a killer price to lock you into a deal and then the costs start to rise.
  • They’re not insured. This puts you and your property at risk.
  • They’re disorganized. This means that the job of putting your Chicagoland home or business back together will take much longer and will be of lower quality.
  • The estimated time of completion gets longer and longer. This is not just due to disorganization but in their ability to hire enough qualified workers.
  • A high-quality restoration contractor has methods of removing dust, garbage, and dirt during the job to keep your home cleaner. They’ll also completely clean up after the job is finished. Low-budget contractors will leave you with a mess to deal with.
  • To cut costs, they use inferior products when rebuilding. These can not only be unsafe but will lower the value of your property.

So, low prices aren’t always the best deal. As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”

 

Choosing the Right Disaster Restoration Contractor

 

Now that you know the reasons to avoid a low-cost contractor, the following lists qualities to look for in a reputable one:

  • Comfort Level – do you feel at ease with them, or are they pushy and put down their competition? Do you feel a high level of trust?
  • Transparency – are they open and honest about the restoration process? Is there a clear point of contact you’ll be able to rely on throughout the job?
  • Experience – have they shown you their portfolio of other similar types of jobs they’ve completed? How long have they been in business?
  • References – a reliable contractor will offer you references from their past customers. Also, check out the BBB and other customer review sites online like HomeAdvisor and Angi to see if people who used their services were happy or not.
  • Price – if their price is lower than others, ask them directly why and have them lay out a detailed plan to keep that price low.

At Chicago’s own ServiceMaster By Simons, we understand that sometimes price has to be your first consideration. That’s why we let you know upfront what you can expect. But we refuse to substitute quality work and materials for a price, because a cheaply and poorly done restoration is unsafe and will always cost you more in the long run.

 

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

 

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

 

Wet Basement? Don’t Panic But Act Fast!

 

One day, as you head down into your basement with arms full of dirty laundry or a box to store, you reach the bottom of the stairs and step into…water! With a scream or a curse, you jump back to the steps with a feeling of dread, wondering what possibly could have happened. What do you do now?

 

First of all, don’t panic! Water seepage is one of the most commonplace issues related to basements. Statistics from insurance claims tell us that 98% of basements experience some sort of water damage eventually. But it must be handled immediately, otherwise, it can lead to a profusion of problems that can eventually damage your home’s foundation, create breeding areas for mold, and cost you a lot of money to repair.

 

How to Prevent a Wet Basement

Before water in your Chicagoland basement becomes a problem, you need to do what you can to preempt it from happening in the first place. So even if you’re only seeing a little seepage now and then, you need to call a waterproof sealant company that can handle the job of making a basement impervious to moisture. Here are some ways they do that:

 

  • Interior waterproofing – this includes sealing foundation cracks, covering walls with waterproof epoxy and paint, or installing French drains around the edges of the basement floor.
  • Exterior waterproofing – this can mean excavating and installing drainage along the outside walls, installing gutters, coating your foundation with a waterproof polyurethane membrane, and more.
  • Better waterproofing companies can also help you with dehumidification and sump pumps.

 

When Your Basement is Wet or Flooded

When you discover standing water in your basement, the first thing you need to do is shut off the power to that area. Otherwise, you may end up getting electrocuted when you go into your basement.

 

The cause of a wet basement could be anything from a sump pump problem to an appliance failure or even a broken pipe. So your next step is to immediately call a plumber because cutting off the source of the water is vital. But once that’s done, the standing water needs to be removed as quickly as possible to minimize structural damage and keep your home from becoming a breeding ground for mold.

 

Basement flooding can also be caused by extreme situations such as a sewer backup or localized flooding produced by heavy rainfalls we sometimes get in the Chicago area. Either situation means that the water is highly contaminated and should only be handled by professionals who have the equipment and know-how to safely remove it and can clean and sanitize your home afterward.

 

So whether the source of the water is a broken pipe or a local flood, your wet basement needs to be dried as soon as possible.  Smaller problems like water seepage will encourage mold growth and thus need mold remediation. Larger issues like standing water may mean that thousands of gallons of water will need to be removed before the drying process begins. In either case, the experts at Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons can handle it.

 

ServiceMaster By Simons uses extraction tools such as powerful truck-mounted vacuums, pumps, and wet/dry vacs to remove standing water. Afterward, we run powerful fans to circulate basement air to speed up the drying process. In the meantime, our industrial-grade dehumidifiers help pull moisture out of the air. All this is done to ensure that when we’re done your basement will be clean and dry once more.

 

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

 

Not All Fires Are Alike

 

Visualize this scenario: You experience a fire in your kitchen. It’s small and you’re able to quickly extinguish it. But the horrible smoke odor is overpowering! You clean and you clean, but the smell won’t go away. It seems to have permeated the whole house! So that’s when homeowners in the Chicagoland area call the expert smoke damage restoration specialists at ServiceMaster By Simons. But why can’t you get rid of that smoke smell?

All fires are different, with characteristics and obstacles that can try even the most experienced fire disaster restoration companies. These include the materials burned, the size of the fire, its strength, burn rate, and the floor plan of the building.

When a fire has enough combustible materials and oxygen, it becomes all-consuming. The more explosive the fuel supply, the more completely it incinerates materials. Products of Incomplete Combustion (PICs) are sometimes known as soot tags. These are deposits and what’s left of materials that weren’t burned up completely by fire. Several characteristics of soot impact the amount of it, how far it reached, and how concentrated it is.

How Heat Affects Smoke Damage Restoration

The hotter the fire, the faster materials burn. These fires also usually have a high oxygen level. Fire and smoke damage professionals allude to these conflagrations as “dry” fires. They consume materials almost totally and the severe heat changes a solid mass to energy—hot gasses. They alter materials into dry soot (primarily the element “carbon”) that’s easier to clean up than other fire deposits.

These PICs are thereafter cleaned up by a fire restoration tech using dry soot elimination methods, like vacuuming and scrubbing hard surfaces with natural rubber sponges.

Air Circulation Means Widespread Soot

Smoke and soot don’t need an HVAC unit to move through a structure. Fires produce high vapor pressure that propels soot residue into areas that you may think of as sealed, such as inside a refrigerator.

As air flows, it distributes PICs and odor-saturated molecules. That’s the reason cleaning and deodorizing also needs to be done away from the fire. As petroleum/synthetic-based sources burn, the soot particles follow the air into colder areas with low circulation and are able to concentrate. Some who have witnessed the aftermath of a fire believe that soot bonded itself to spider webs. That’s how it looks! But actually, soot tags are chains of soot that have gathered together.

The Amount of Oxygen Affects Fire Consumption

Fires that are starved of oxygen, like in a closed room, start to subside. When this happens, a high percentage of PICs are generated. But those PICs are “oilier” and more difficult to clean up. If the burned material isn’t a natural product, the quantity of PICs multiplies, causing an elevated intensity of soot. Fire remediation experts designate these as “wet fires.”

Odors Also Vary

When materials burn, odors link up with oxygen molecules. Undeniably, PICs generate odors, but at times the smell is extremely intense, even when PICs can’t be found.

For instance, if a fire started because a turkey was left in an oven for too long, the odor of burnt turkey could permeate a home, but there wouldn’t be much soot, though the 16-pound bird is now a pile of ash. The reason for that is it was a protein fire and they’re some of the most difficult to mitigate because their odors are inescapable and carry all over a home, even into closets and drawers!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons can get into and clean every nook and cranny of a fire-damaged home in the Chicagoland area. We ensure that smoke particles and soot are removed and will afterward clean and deodorize all surfaces. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons has qualified technicians, high-tech specialized equipment, and the appropriate EPA products to provide outstanding cleaning and odor control.

 

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

 

 

How to Rebuild Your Life After a House Fire

 

A fire in your Chicagoland home can turn your life upside down. Depending on the degree of damage, you may be forced to rebuild your life from the ground up. Usually, the toughest part is knowing what to do immediately afterward and who to call. Contingent on the size of the damage, you may not be able to stay in your home. If staying with friends or family isn’t possible, talk to a local disaster relief agency such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or FEMA. With the help of those organizations and others, you will survive and rebuild your life again. The following are some steps that can help.

 

Guide Your Kids

For children, losing nearly everything in a fire can be tremendously upsetting. It’s not just the loss of physical possessions that can traumatize children; the reality that the whole property, everything they’re familiar with, may now be gone is something that should be explained to them thoroughly but sensitively.

Psychotherapist Resa Hayes says, “Our children, just like us, wonder about safety, belongings, animals, and friends. We can help our kids by giving them a better understanding of fires…and how this disaster, in particular, is being handled.”

Unlike adults who may have a financial investment in the lost property, a child’s main worry will probably be about their toys, their bedroom, or other objects they were attached to. It could help to buy them a similar favorite toy. It may be a temporary solution, but with the right direction and counseling, children can get over this unpleasant incident.

 

Prepare for the Long Term

Because house fires are so destructive, you usually won’t be able to return to your Chicago area home right away, even after the embers are cold. Rebuilding your life and home doesn’t happen in just a week or two. It can be a long and strenuous process, emotionally and physically, that may take months or even years. So be prepared for the long haul. Give yourself and your family plenty of time to recover and see a counselor if necessary.

Allow yourself to feel both positive and negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, and frustration. While it’s normal and essential to grieve, try to concentrate on positive emotions. Consider things to be grateful for, from surviving the fire to experiencing the support of your family and community.

 

Be Proactive

The longer you do nothing, the worse the damage gets. So make sure you take these actions immediately:

  • Call your insurance agent to start a claim and attend to your immediate needs. Your insurance policy may cover living and daily expenses.
  • Contact ServiceMaster By Simons to restore your home if repairable and return it to pre-loss condition. We work with insurance companies to get your life back in order

 

Keep Important Contact Information on Your Phone

The last thing you need to be doing after a fire is scrambling to find the phone numbers of vital contacts. So always keep in multiple family members’ phones (in case you lose yours in the fire) a record of your insurance agent’s number as well as the number of ServiceMaster By Simons. We offer 24-Hour Emergency Fire Disaster Recovery Services for Chicagoland residential and commercial properties and will immediately respond so as to minimize additional losses.

Before you know it, our recovery team will be on-site to assess your damage and immediately provide the required services to keep your property safe and protected. We also work hard to save any of your contents that are salvageable so that your life can return to normal 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

 

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

 

Can Your Water Damaged Hardwood Floor be Saved?

 

Hardwood flooring is very popular in Chicago area homes as it adds a pleasing, visual touch to rooms. They also complement any home décor style, from country to modern to traditional. And while they seem to be virtually indestructible, there is one thing that hardwood floors don’t tolerate very well – water.

Major water damage from broken pipes or flooding will cause the most harm, especially if it goes on for an extended period. However, even a small moisture leak, if it’s continuous, can damage wood flooring. Just because a wood floor has a polyurethane coating doesn’t make it waterproof.

 

Signs of Water Damaged Hardwood Flooring

 

When water is allowed to seep into wood flooring, that causes the wood to expand. This results in several types of damage:

  • Cupping – this occurs when soaked wood expands and pushes against the other boards so that the edges become higher. If you looked at the end of such an affected board, you’d see it in the shape of a U. This can also be caused by a moisture imbalance between the top and bottom sections of the hardwood flooring.
  • Crowning – this is similar to cupping except that the moisture that has penetrated the wood causes an opposite effect. In this case, the center of the board becomes higher than the edges so that the board takes on the shape of an inverted U.
  • Buckling – floor buckling is a hardwood floor’s most extreme reaction to moisture. Buckling occurs when the wood flooring pulls up from the subfloor, lifting several inches in one or more places.

Other signs of water damage to a hardwood floor include cracking along the floors or the floorboards separating. Additionally, mildew and dangerous mold can grow in areas that are hard to see or access.

 

Can Hardwood Floors be Salvaged?

 

It used to be that once hardwood floors were damaged by water, they would have to be torn out and replaced. That would be very expensive, especially without insurance. But nowadays water restoration contractors like Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons have the technology to repair waterlogged wood floors and return them to normal. You can see this in this quick video.

 

What Happens when Engineered Wood Floors Get Wet?

 

Engineered wood flooring is not waterproof. It’s still made of wood after all, and wood absorbs moisture. Besides buckling and warping as happens to hardwood floors, water damage to engineered wood floors includes:

  • A cracked finish – sometimes the top layer can begin to split apart, causing large cracks in the flooring.
  • Delamination – this happens when the top layer of an engineered wood floor separates from the core underneath. When water gets between the two, it can erode or damage the adhesive that holds them together.
  • Bubbling – like delamination, bubbling happens when sections of the top layer of hardwood separate from the core underneath, except that bubbling will also cause uneven flooring.
  • Discoloration – water may leave visible stains or spots in the hardwood layer.

 

Can Soaked Engineered Wood Floors be Saved?

 

If the water is removed quickly there is a good chance you can save this type of flooring. If minor cupping does occur, the floor may be restorable.

But for the most part, the answer is, NO. (Depending on how much water has affected the floor.) Because of the way it’s made, the glue can dissolve, permanently separating the layers of flooring. Additionally, the flooring can be sanded only once or twice due to the thin surface layer of hardwood. But if the water-damaged engineered flooring is buckled, delaminated, or discolored, it’s not salvageable and should be removed and replaced.

If you need water damage repair or restoration on your hardwood, laminate, or engineered hardwood flooring, make sure to contact ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons to help dry your floors. We’ll work hard to return your floors to pre-loss conditions — FAST!

 

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