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

 

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

 

The 4 Elements of Fire and Ways to Snuff it Out

When you see a fire raging, it seems like it’s an almost uncontrollable force, consuming all that gets in its way and inflicting fire damage on every item it touches. And the bigger it gets, the more difficult it is to manage. But every fire does have its Achilles’ heel.

Enter the fire tetrahedron. This triangular pyramid represents the four equal components that every fire must include. Without just one, a fire falls apart. Knowing this can help you kill a fire before it gets out of control and causes fire damage to your Chicago area property, necessitating a call to ServiceMaster By Simons for assistance.

 

The 4 Things Fire Needs to Exist

  1. Fuel.  A fire must have something to feed on, to consume. Just like living things, it has to have something to eat to survive. The fuel can be anything flammable such as paper, wood, fabric, chemicals, or combustible materials.

 

  1. Heat. A heat source is needed for the initial ignition of fire and to maintain a fire and enable it to spread. Heat allows a fire to spread by drying out and preheating nearby fuel and warming the surrounding air. Some objects’ flashpoints are lower than others, so they combust more easily, resulting in massive fire damage.

 

  1. Oxygen. Air contains about 21 percent oxygen, and most fires require at least 16 percent oxygen content to burn. Oxygen supports the chemical processes that occur during a fire. When fuel burns, it reacts with oxygen from the surrounding air, releasing heat and generating combustion products (gases, smoke, embers, etc.). This process is known as oxidation.

 

  1. Chemical Chain Reaction. While the three components above are still needed, an actual chemical reaction must take place for a fire to ignite. Once a fire has started, the resulting exothermic chain reaction sustains the fire and allows it to continue until at least one of the elements of the fire is blocked

 

The 4 Ways to Stop a Fire

  1. Cool it. If a fuel source can be cooled by, say, pouring water on it, a fire can’t continue because you’ve removed some of the heat energy. Water simultaneously cools and suffocates the fire. It cools it so much that it can’t burn anymore, and it smothers it so that it can’t burn any more of the oxygen in the air. But never use water on grease or electrical fires! Those need the correct fire extinguisher.

 

  1. Smother it. If the oxygen supply to a fire can be sufficiently decreased, burning will cease. By preventing fresh air from reaching a fire, you reduce the oxygen content in a confined atmosphere until it extinguishes itself. Some examples of this are:

 

  • smothering a pan fire with a lid
  • wrapping a person in a fire blanket
  • applying a blanket of foam over a burning surface, thus separating the fuel from the air

 

  1. Starve it. Sometimes, a fire can be extinguished simply by removing the fuel source. Ways this may be achieved are by:

 

  • stopping the flow of liquid or gaseous fuel
  • removing solid fuel from the path of a fire
  • allowing a fire to burn until all fuel is consumed

 

  1. Interrupt the chain reaction. There are certain compounds that, when introduced into a fire’s atmosphere, disturb the chemical chain reaction, causing a fire to delay and ultimately stop. Dry powder, Bromochlorodifluoromethane (BCF), and other halon extinguishers do the trick.

 

If the fire tetrahedron ends up being the cause of fire damage to your Chicago area home or business, we’re ready 24/7 to help you recover. Contact ServiceMaster By Simons anytime for fast, thorough cleanup and recovery of any fire damage.

 

 

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

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Fire Damage Cleanup

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Experiencing a fire in your Chicagoland home or business can be overwhelming, to say the least. But it’s vital that fire damage cleanup and the restoration process is begun as quickly as possible to get your life back to normal.

But do not attempt to do this on your own! You’ll need to rely on fire damage experts to handle the situation. There are specific steps the professionals know and will follow to restore your Chicago area property and contents to their pre-loss condition.

Because of the seriousness of these situations, here is a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to fire damage restoration and smoke cleanup:

Do

  • Make safety the priority. Even if the situation looks safe and clear to you, don’t enter a burned structure until a professional has informed you it’s safe to do so. Not only may the building be unstable, but fires can start again — even after they seem to be extinguished.
  • Document, document, document. Take photos of the fire damage, save receipts, take notes of conversations and keep all email correspondence. These actions help when dealing with your insurance company.
  • Call your insurance agent to initiate a fire damage assessment.
  • Call your Chicago restoration company, ServiceMaster By Simons, to help with fire damage cleanup and repair.
  • Limit movements inside the structure to keep soot particles from spreading.
  • Change furnace filters.
  • Cover dry furniture and upholstery with sheets until they are assessed or until they are cleaned.
  • Weather permitting, open windows and doors for ventilation.
  • Remove clothing and soft contents from the property and have it cleaned by ServiceMaster By Simons professional fire damage restoration cleaners, not just a dry cleaner.
  • Throw away all food and drink left after the fire.

Don’t

  • Enter a building before the fire department gives you the green light, even if it looks safe.
  • Start cleaning residue from walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. Everything needs to be assessed by your insurer first.
  • Walk on carpets or touch furnishings impacted by smoke residues or debris until they’re professionally cleaned.
  • Eat food, including canned goods, that were exposed to heat or fire.
  • Turn on utilities until professionally checked.
  • Turn on, clean, or use any electronic equipment until professionally checked.

Smoke and soot residue left behind after fire damage can cause severe health problems if not handled correctly. Only trained experts with professional equipment that understand the complicated chemical interactions involved with soot and fire can ensure your fire damage restoration is done safely and thoroughly.

The best thing to do is get in touch with ServiceMaster By Simons as soon as possible. We will assess your Chicagoland property and come up with a fire damage cleanup plan that includes:

  • Securing your property to prevent further damage
  • Removing damaged and unsalvageable items
  • Cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing of your property and belongings
  • Repairing or replacing all fire and smoke damaged areas of the structure

Our main goal at ServiceMaster By Simons is to restore your fire-damaged property and return it to its pre-loss condition or better. As a locally owned and operated company, providing the best possible customer service is our business.

 

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

 

How to Prevent Puff Backs From Your Fireplace

A frosty Chicago winter evening spent next to a roaring fireplace can be very enjoyable. But that occasion can become a disaster if your fireplace begins spewing smoke into your home’s interior. When that occurs, it may be the result of a puff back. This could occur only once per season or it may happen every time you start a fire.

The results of puff backs are terrible. The smoke can damage all surfaces it touches. A foul odor permeates the environment while the air becomes dangerously contaminated with carcinogens and carbon monoxide. Additionally, smoke particles lodge in curtains, clothing and carpeting.

The good news is that fireplace back puffs are preventable. But what causes them?

Back Puff Causes and Cures

 

Cause: Creosote buildup

Creosote is a byproduct of fireplace smoke. It builds up inside a fireplace flue every time the fireplace is lit, growing thicker and thicker. The creosote causes your chimney to generate more smoke then can be exhausted, allowing the smoke to travel the path of least resistance – back into your home.

Cure: Hire a chimney sweep

A CSIA-certified chimney sweep can inspect and identify creosote accumulation. If it’s a problem, you’ll need to have your chimney swept, which will remove creosote buildup and restore your chimney to its peak working condition.

 

Cause: Lack of air supply

While a well-insulated home is more energy efficient, a tightly-sealed home could actually “suffocate” your stove or fireplace, resulting in negative air pressure inside. This could cause the fireplace to release smoke into your home. Fire needs oxygen to burn and a tightly sealed home will limit the flow of air into the fireplace.

Cure: Introduce air flow

Before lighting your next fire, simply open a window. Back puffing should discontinue if the issue was caused by an inadequate air supply.

 

Problem: Obstructions

If your chimney is blocked, it’ll restrict airflow and smoke will build up in the flue until it’s exhausted through your fireplace or stove. Bird and wasp nests built inside a chimney can restrict its airflow, along with balls and tree branches.

Cure: Clean the chimney

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have your chimney, fireplace, and vents inspected and cleaned annually, regardless of whether back puffs occur or not.

 

Problem: Unsuitable firewood

You may be trying to burn wet wood which can produce more smoke than usual. To burn efficiently, the fire needs to first burn off any excess moisture within the wood. The higher the moisture content of the wood, the harder it’ll be to burn.

Cure: Use seasoned wood

Wood needs to be dry to burn efficiently. Wood that’s freshly cut is high in moisture content, which is why wood needs to be dried out (known as seasoning) for 12 to 18 months before it’s ready to be used on a fire without causing smoke issues.

 

Sometimes, a badly built fireplace can cause smoke problems. All aspects of a fireplace, such as its opening size, smoke chamber, smoke shelf, damper size and chimney height, must be built without design and construction flaws in order to prevent smoke buildup.

When your fireplace pours smoke into your home, the resulting damage can be significant. Rather than replace fouled up belongings that have been contaminated with smoke particles, consult your Chicagoland smoke damage cleanup company, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. Our fire and smoke damage restoration technicians will remove all traces of smoke from your property.

 

 

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

Does Your Building Project Budget for Post Construction Cleaning Costs? Here’s Why It Should.

If you’re planning a residential or commercial construction project and you’re not already thinking about a plan for clean up afterwards, you should be. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have decades of experience in cleaning up after construction projects. You’d be surprised how often we find that customers have forgotten to budget for or schedule a post-construction cleaning until the very last minute.

Post-Construction Cleaning Chicago - Oak Park - River Forest - North Shore Illinois - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons

Budgeting For Post Construction Cleaning Costs – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons Chicago – Oak Park/River Forest – North Shore IL

 

If you’re planning a residential or commercial construction project in Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, or the North Shore, and you’re not already thinking about a plan for clean up afterward, you should be. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have decades of experience in cleaning up after construction projects. You’d be surprised how often we find that customers have forgotten to budget for or schedule a Post Construction Cleaning until the very last minute.

The problem is, customers, don’t realize that post-construction cleaning is an important part of any building project. They don’t understand that Post Construction Cleaning is some of the most important projects a restoration company will take on. These kinds of jobs usually require a company’s entire crew to be onsite for anywhere between a few days to a whole week depending on whether it is a residential or commercial project.

We like to make sure that customers understand the level of care and commitment that goes into each of our post-construction cleaning projects. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons are IICRC Certified and well-trained in providing unrivaled and thorough post-construction cleaning. We use products and equipment that meet the highest standards to remove all dust and debris properly. Some of the post-construction cleanup services we offer the Chicagoland area include:

  • Dusting air diffusers
  • Cleaning light fixtures within the construction area
  • Cleaning restroom fixtures
  • Wall washing or spot cleaning walls
  • Ceiling washing
  • Cleaning interior windows
  • HEPA Vacuuming
  • Cleaning carpet areas
  • Damp mopping hard-surface floors
  • Renewing hardwood floors
  • Roto buffing ceramic tile or linoleum

For larger jobs that need further cleaning after construction work has cleared, we often bundle the cleanup with these services:

Our process is one that maximizes efficiency while still delivering the highest level of service. Ideally, our process begins well before the construction project occurs — when a customer reaches out proactively for a quote. No worries if you’re one of the many who let post-construction fall by the wayside during the planning stages; if we can accommodate your dates, we will absolutely still offer quotes to contractors and homeowners who reach out during the construction project. After our professional quote is approved and we are hired for a Post Construction Cleaning, we begin to formulate a scope based on the job’s specific needs and we gather up the necessary personnel and equipment.

Sometimes, we are asked to begin our on-site cleaning for a mid-way cleaning while construction is still taking place. This is helpful for large construction projects that generate so much debris that it creates an unsafe environment and poor air quality for workers. We are available to come in and clean periodically during construction so that waste and dust are properly removed and workers can continue building and renovating on schedule.

Most of the time, though, our on-site cleaning starts immediately after construction concludes. We have two primary objectives during our cleanup: The first, to eradicate and control the dust generated by sanding and plastering before it ends up in the air ducts; and the second, to remove all dust and debris in a timely manner to restore safety to the job site. We do this in five steps:

  1. Schedule air duct cleaning
  2. Wipe down all hard surfaces, nooks and crannies, furniture, and items in renovation space
  3. HEPA vacuum carpet and upholstery
  4. Clean flooring with wet mopping, WoodGlo Renew, or roto tile buffing depending on the floor material
  5. Dispose of all construction debris on-site according to municipal guidelines and regulations in a safe manner

Because these jobs can be so large and costly, it’s important that customers budget for them in their initial construction project plan. Customers are sometimes floored to learn the cost of their site’s post-construction cleanup and are too late in the game to make room in the budget for it. Instead, they choose to DIY the cleanup or, worse, forego it altogether. We never recommend this and we would rather see customers reach out for a quote during the planning stages of a construction project so they can budget accordingly.

Though professional cleanup services are costly, they are always one hundred percent worth it. Here are three reasons why:

  • A professional cleaning increases safety

With construction projects, there will inevitably be debris left behind. From sawdust to nails and broken glass to stray wires, these debris present dangers to both the building crew and those responsible for a DIY cleanup. Accidents during cleanup happen more often than you might think. Hiring a professional crew trained to deal with hazardous materials will ensure the safety of everyone involved. A restoration company is equipped with better equipment than a broom and a dustpan.

  • Professional cleaning ensures debris is properly disposed of

Most municipalities have special rules for the disposal of residential and commercial construction waste, like paint and other chemicals. In general, they must be separated, sorted and eventually delivered to a special facility for lawful disposal. It is important to work with a professional restoration company like or you could face a fine.

  • A professional cleaning promotes efficiency and timeliness

We estimate that a professional cleaning crew will likely be able to complete a post-construction cleanup job four times faster than a DIY-er. Professional crews come with the necessary equipment it takes to clean thoroughly and efficiently. A quick cleanup allows you to move on to the final stages of your construction project. Plus, calling in the professionals for a quick turnaround can mean all the difference for contractors whose agreements include penalties for going overtime on the project.

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, we understand that every good construction project includes a professional and thorough post-construction cleanup. Our crews have decades of experience clearing construction job sites safely and quickly to ensure peace-of-mind for contractors, homeowners and business owners alike. For a professional quote, please give us a call as early as possible in your construction planning process. As always, your satisfaction is our number one priority!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the ServiceMaster Achiever Award and outstanding service in disaster restoration by Build Magazine. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers residing in Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

 

 

 

 

Chicago Fine Art Restoration and Antique Restoration- Experience Counts.

Chicago Fine Art Restoration and Antique Restoration by ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons Restoring a building and its contents after a fire or flood is a big job and one that takes time, professional training and attention to detail. And that’s just for the routine items such as carpets, furniture, walls and floors. However, many public […]

fine art restoration, antique restoration, servicemaster restoration by simonsChicago Fine Art Restoration and Antique Restoration

by ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons

Restoring a building and its contents after a fire or flood is a big job and one that takes time, professional training and attention to detail. And that’s just for the routine items such as carpets, furniture, walls and floors. However, many public and commercial buildings in Chicago may also contain valuable works of fine art such as paintings, sculptures, framed historical photos, wall hangings, maps, or mosaics, not to mention antiques or other collectibles. These items may be part of the décor in an office complex or hospital, pieces in an educational display at a school, or comprise a special collection of artifacts reflecting the long history of an institution or company. These expensive and perhaps irreplaceable items require special attention during the fine art restoration and antique restoration process.

Depending on the type of fire, the resulting smoke and soot can deposit a fine dust or an oily residue, leaving chemicals that will immediately begin to interact with the paint or surface of an object. Restoration of these items should begin as soon as possible before further damage occurs. In disasters involving water, moisture can easily seep into mats and framing materials, or the backing of paintings causing bubbles, bulges or bleed through. An immediate concern is mold, which can destroy or discolor any kind of paper-based material.

Antiques or sculptures can be a special problem. Given their age, some surfaces need to be restored but not cleaned. Thoroughly cleaning some items can remove their patina, the coating that accumulates over time, and lower their value considerably.

Training and experience count when it comes to fine art and antique restoration. If your facility includes these types of valuable items, consider a restoration service that goes beyond fire and smoke damage restoration or flood and water damage restoration. When you need professional fire, flood, or water damage restoration services in the greater Chicago area, ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons does it all. With the utmost care and efficiency, we provide you with confidence and peace of mind in the knowledge that your precious items are being professionally restored and properly returned to their appropriate pre-damaged condition.