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

 

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

 

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

 

Preventing Serious Illnesses After a Chicagoland Disaster

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

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

 

Animal and Insect-Related Threats

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

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

 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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

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

 

Flood Borne Diseases

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

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

 

Food and Drinking Water Dangers

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

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

 

Take Extra Precautions to Keep Yourself Healthy

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

 

Contact Us and Worry Less

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

 

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

 

How to Avoid Water Damage From Your Water Heater

Although most Chicagoland homeowners rarely think about it, the fact remains: your water heater will eventually fail. And when it does, you may experience catastrophic water damage.

The average tank-style water heater has a typical lifespan of about eight to 12 years. Like any appliance, wear and tear and the inevitable effects of time break down the connections or even the tank itself until something gives. So, you might want to imagine your water heater as a ticking time bomb as it nears the 10-year mark.

Keep a lookout for these typical signs of a failing water heater:

      • Leaking around the base or on top of the unit
      • Your tap water becoming discolored or rusty water looking (indicating corrosion)
      • A decrease in your hot water temperature

But the most disastrous water heater failure is a complete rupture resulting in the release of hundreds of gallons of water onto your property because the water supply to burst tanks continues to flow. This is usually due to corrosion within the tank or if too much pressure builds up inside your water heater. The long-term stress of contracting and expanding with constant temperature variations can also lead to a sudden rupture of the tank, without warning.

This situation is even more devastating when water heaters are situated within the interior of your Chicago area home, like in a hallway closet or finished basement. One average-sized water heater tank rupturing in the middle of the night can flood your whole home with an inch or two of water.

 

Ways to prevent water damage from your water heater

 

So, what steps can you take to prevent such devastating water damage?

  1. The first and best action to take is to regularly inspect and monitor your water heater. Periodically check for moisture around the plumbing connections and pooling water on the top of the tank and in the catch pan that it sits in.

 

  1. If you do notice any water leaks, don’t hesitate to call your local plumber or HVAC technician to come out and inspect the unit before the damage gets worse. Rapid response is the key to avoiding long-term and expensive water or mold damage.

 

  1. If you’re renovating your house, relocate the water heater to the garage where the potential for damage is lessened. Also, check with the Chicago or your local plumbing codes whether a specially designed metal stand is required for your water heater. 

 

  1. Consider purchasing a tankless system that doesn’t use a storage tank like typical water heaters. Instead, they produce hot water on demand.

 

In case of emergency

 

If the worst happens and your water heater suddenly bursts, flooding your home, immediately call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. We’re the water damage clean-up and removal experts in the Chicagoland area. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons uses state-of-the-art extraction pumping equipment to speedily remove standing water, then dry and dehumidify to minimize further damage to your home or business. 

Whether the damage is minor or severe, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons will be there for you every step of the way and can work directly with your insurance carrier on your behalf, keeping your best interests in mind.

 

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