5 Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips You Should Know

If you own a home in the Chicagoland area, water is one of the major threats to its structure and its contents. After all, houses contain a complex web of plumbing that runs to faucets, showers, bathtubs, dishwashers, clothes washers, etc. So a burst pipe could be a major problem that can lead to expensive repair bills. Add to that the possibility of water damage from natural disasters.

Is it any wonder then that water damage is one of the most common and costly kinds of insurance claims? Each year, nearly 1 in 50 homeowners will file a water damage claim, which, according to the Insurance Information Institute, accounts for about 24% of all homeowner’s claims. The average water damage claim comes to about $10,900.

So the odds of water damage happening to a Chicago area homeowner are pretty high. If it does, the following are actions you’ll need to take:

 

  1. File a Claim Quickly

Although cleaning up the mess may be the first thing on your mind, you need to make filing a claim a priority. This is especially true if there’s been widespread damage as your adjuster will likely be helping clients on a first-come, first-served basis. The faster you file, the faster an adjuster can survey the damage, and so the faster you’ll receive a check for repairs. (Filing a claim may become your second action. See point 5.)

 

  1. DO NOT Start Cleaning Up

A mistake homeowners sometimes make right after a disaster is that they start throwing out damaged items and cleaning up. However, the insurance company needs detailed and documented proof of the disaster itself, so cleaning up without documenting can hurt your claim (or even get it denied). Your adjuster will first need to thoroughly examine all damaged items, assess whether they are salvageable, and calculate how much money you’ll receive to repair or replace your items.

 

  1. Document the Damages

After filing a claim, the three most important things you can do are document, document, and document. Documenting will include pictures and videos of all damaged items, including the standing water. Take as many pictures as possible. (Hint: It’s impossible to take too many!) Every pic or video you take is proof of any damage that may be unaccounted for during the claims process, helping to ensure you get paid for your losses.

 

  1. Protect Your Possessions

Assuming you’ve already found and stopped the water damage source, move as many of your undamaged possessions as you can to a dry area. This will protect those contents that would be destroyed by water and lower the costs of salvaging the others. Moving undamaged items out of harm’s way will also give you a pretty good idea as to what’s been damaged and what’s not.

 

  1. Bring in Water Damage Professionals

Although calling your insurance carrier is important, consider calling ServiceMaster By Simons first to get a professional analysis of the scope of work. If the cost of remediation and restoration isn’t much more than your deductible, you may elect to forego filing a claim.

 

ServiceMaster By Simons is the name Chicagoland insurance professionals trust to provide reliable water damage disaster restoration services. We partner with insurance representatives to ensure your home is effectively restored to its prior condition and provide you and your insurance provider with regular, clear communication throughout the restoration process.

 

 

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 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

 

 

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

 

Water Damage Invites Termites Into Your Chicagoland Property

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Experts Chime In

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

How Environmental Hygienists Find Mold You Can’t See

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

 

How Mold Enters the Airstream

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

 

How Technology Helps Find Mold

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

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

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

 

ServiceMaster By Simons Works With Environmental Hygienists

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

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

 

 

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

Bird and Bat Droppings – Destructive and Hazardous to Your Health

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

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

Why Bird and Bat Droppings are Lethal

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the Pros Handle It

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

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

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

 

 

Biohazard Cleanup – What, When and Why?

What Does Biohazard Mean?

When you hear the word “Biohazard”, what comes to mind? You may think of situations like the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, biohazards also emanate from traumatic events where blood, human or animal residues, chemical spills, and more are involved.

Biohazard Scenarios:

  • Crime or homicide scenes
  • Suicide or death
  • Blood and bodily fluid residues
  • Hoarding scenes
  • Animal waste or remains
  • Chemical/drug hazards
  • Virus contamination

Biohazard cleanup involves cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing areas where such traumatic events have occurred. Cleanup after these events is a serious business that not just anyone can handle. So, the threats involved posed by bacteria, viruses, and infectious diseases can put your health and safety at risk. Oftentimes, these pathogens are invisible, making cleanup an even more difficult task for the inexperienced.

You may think that if the police are involved, someone else will clean up the aftereffects. But the state of Illinois isn’t responsible for cleaning up crime scenes. After police investigators collect evidence from the scene, it’s up to the property owner to hire a biohazard remediation company. In any case, a professional cleanup team can arrive onsite only after the police have gathered enough evidence related to the crime.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is trained in the cleanup and remediation of all types of trauma situations. We have a team of highly professional experts in the Chicagoland area who have experience in these matters who follow proper training and safety procedures. We specialize in fast and thorough cleanup work to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved.

Does Biohazard Cleanup Require Certification?

To become a biohazard technician, obtaining certification is not required. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does require biohazard technicians to properly wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when dealing with bloodborne pathogens, because every time technicians handle potentially hazardous materials they’re put at significant risk.

The ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons team employs state-of-the-art protective equipment, along with cleanup and COVID-19 disinfection processes that follow strict safety protocols outlined by OSHA and EPA. Furthermore, we provide up-to-date bioremediation training for technicians that includes best practices, proprietary methods, and safety compliance.

The ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons Biohazard Cleanup Process

  • We start cleanup efforts as quickly as possible.
  • We remove all potentially infectious materials from the site.
  • Hazardous medical waste is handled in compliance with OSHA regulations. It’s then processed and sent to a licensed hazardous medical waste incinerator.
  • Technicians remove porous materials like fabric and carpeting following industry standards and Illinois state regulations.
  • Non-hazardous materials are either removed or decontaminated and sanitized if they are considered salvageable.
  • After cleanup and sanitization, affected areas are deodorized, and walls and flooring may be sealed to cover any remaining stains from the incident.

As with any type of property damage, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons ensure that our actions don’t worsen the sense of loss of a property owner. We strive to be exceptionally sensitive to these situations by showing extra care and compassion and do our best to understand that those involved may be emotionally vulnerable, and so treat grieving family members and other loved ones with respect and empathy.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

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

 

Don’t Be a Victim of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

servicemasterrestorationbysimonscarbonmonoxidepoisoning

Not very long ago, a couple made love in their car that was parked in their garage. Meanwhile, they not only left the vehicle running but were also operating a kerosene heater due to the extreme cold. Needless to say, they died due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Although that sounds like a sad and silly way to go, every year at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning and approximately 50,000 others are forced to visit the emergency room because of it. CO deaths regularly occur in Chicago and the stories are heartbreaking.

Why CO Is Dangerous

The reason why CO is dangerous is because it interferes with the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. Being colorless, odorless and tasteless, people can be overcome without any warning. So, symptoms caused by exposure to CO include low energy, headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, visual impairment, and (obviously) death.

CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, kerosene heaters, vehicles “warmed up” in garages, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, portable generators, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, poisoning people and animals.

When a storm knocks out power, many rely on portable generators to keep the lights on until electricity is restored. Fred Henretig, a senior toxicologist at the Poison Control Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says he and his colleagues have been attempting to raise awareness about proper portable generator use for years, but carbon monoxide poisoning cases unfailingly surge after each big storm.

“So what people tend to do — not always but it’s not unheard of — is just set it up like right next to the open garage door and they think, ‘OK, that’s going to work fine, it will blow out,’ ” Henretig explained. “The exhaust will blow out, but the trouble is, you can’t always account for different drafts and how things get vented around.”

Check The Facts

Research suggests that in natural disasters, carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators has the potential to take more lives than the disasters themselves. A study tracking confirmed deaths related to Hurricane Irma in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina in 2017 attributed 16 fatalities to carbon monoxide poisoning and 11 to the storm itself.

Here are ways you can you protect yourself from CO poisoning, whether a disaster has occurred or not:

  • Purchase and install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement.
  • Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months.
  • Have gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Keep vents and flues free of debris so as not to block ventilation lines.
  • Never leave a vehicle’s motor running while parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never run any gasoline-powered engine within 20 feet of an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can seep into an enclosed area, or inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.

If your CO detector goes off during or right after a disaster, leave your residence immediately and call 911. If you feel light-headed, dizzy, or nauseated and suspect you may have CO poisoning, seek immediate medical attention.

If you live in the Chicagoland area and have recently experienced water damage, fire damage, smoke damage, or storm damage, necessitating the use of a generator, call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons immediately! The sooner we can restore your home or business to pre-loss condition, the safer you’ll be.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

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

Can We Expect That Cooler Temperatures Will Affect COVID-19?

As the weather changes during Fall and Winter, we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here’s how cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19 and its spread.

cooler-temperatures-will-affect-COVID-19

It’s well known that the start of Spring signals the end of America’s flu season. As the temperature warms up, the number of people who catch the influenza drops dramatically. So it’s natural that, as the weather cools off and we’re in a global pandemic, people are asking: How will cooler temperatures affect COVID-19? 

When Covid-19 hit late last winter, hope reverberated around the country that it would dissipate with warmer and sunnier conditions. But as much as the weather affects the flu, it doesn’t do much for COVID-19. That’s why we still saw rising cases this summer — even with warmer weather, the end was not any more in sight. So what can we expect now that cold weather is once again on the way? The reality is this: the risks of a second wave are real, and we’re not quite sure yet exactly how cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19. 

Scientists remain divided on why winter is flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, but one of the most popular hypotheses is the increased time spent in sealed indoor environments. Another is a lack of sunlight, which compromises the immune system due to a lack of vitamin D. Similar to the flu, these are also factors in how rapidly COVID-19 may spread.

Cold Chicago weather makes people stay indoors where it’s more difficult to socially distance. And as the pandemic continues, people are beginning to get complacent about meeting in large groups, which has increased the reach of the virus. The upcoming holidays, where people enjoy getting together with family and friends, may well exacerbate the problem.

Another issue is that cold air typically means dry air, and to be comfortable, people tend to turn up the heat which further dries out their homes. Why is this a concern? In cold temperatures our mucous membrane dries out, making it much harder for the nose to filter pathogens. When airways are dry, it allows the virus to have easier access to the body.

A study published in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases found evidence of a potential way that cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19. Their results said that the number of COVID-19 cases increased as the air became drier and the humidity level dropped. “There is growing evidence that climatic factors could influence the evolution of the current COVID‐19 pandemic,” the authors stated. “Overall, a decrease in relative humidity of one per cent was associated with an increase in cases of seven to eight per cent.”

Temperature and relative humidity can affect coronavirus transmission as the virus can survive longer at lower temperatures, the authors said. The virus can also stay “suspended in the air” longer at lower humidity, they claimed.

For all of the reasons above, some experts predict a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic during the coming fall and winter months. In other words, cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19 by causing it to spread more rapidly.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself From the Effects of Cooler Temperatures on COVID-19? 

  • Get a seasonal flu shot because it’s possible to get COVID-19 and the flu at the same time
  • Get good sleep, don’t let your body get run down 
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat healthily
  • Keep stress in check
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Increase ventilation
  • Use a humidifier during cold months 
  • To help keep mucous membranes moist, regularly use a drug-free saline nasal spray
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing 

All of those things will probably have a much bigger impact on the virus than the actual temperature. In any case, adhering to them could help mitigate the negative ways that cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19 and its spread.

Keeping your home and work area disinfected will also greatly help you. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides decontamination services to commercial and residential properties across the Chicagoland area, including Oak Park and the North Shore of Cook and Lake County IL. Call  us at 773-376-1110  or contact us here to schedule a consultation.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, 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. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.