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

 

Your Indoor Air Quality Can Be Adversely Affected Year Round

Each year as the northern hemisphere tilts toward the sun, trees and plants begin to bloom and the air smells fresher. Around that time we feel the need to throw open the windows and let that freshness in – and maybe vacuum under a rug or two. This “feeling” is part of a global occurrence known as spring cleaning.

Spring, of course, isn’t the only time of the year we clean. Otherwise, we’d be up to our armpits in dirt and garbage. But if you’re only performing a thorough cleaning once a year in your Chicagoland home, you’re doing yourself a disservice, especially if you suffer from allergies.

 

Seasonal Pollen and Mold Spores

Depending on where you live, allergies can affect you almost year-round. For example, some people are allergic to pollen from trees; others to pollen from grasses. Pollen mixes with household dust and may be the true cause of a dust allergy.

In the Chicago area, these are the allergies you’re most like to suffer from and their peak seasons:

  • Grass pollen – May to June
  • Tree pollen – March to May
  • Weed and Ragweed – Mid-August to the first freeze
  • Mold – spring and fall

But sometimes plants pollinate early as a result of mild winter temperatures. And a wet spring can boost rapid plant growth and add to an increase in mold, causing symptoms that may last far into the fall. So deep cleaning seasonally is the best way to improve the air quality in your home.

 

Don’t Kick Up the Dust

Allergy symptoms are usually worse during or immediately after you vacuum, sweep, and dust. The cleaning process can stir up dust particles, making them easier to breathe in. Therefore, the more frequently you clean, the fewer of these particles will be around to trigger allergies. Using a vacuum cleaner that contains a HEPA filter can keep those particles from escaping. And wet mopping after sweeping will pick up and trap pollen, allowing you to safely wash it down the drain.

When you dust, your best bet is to use a microfiber cloth. They’re made with a microscopically tiny weave that holds ten times more dirt per square inch than cotton cloths, so you’ll collect more dust and keep it from redepositing when you clean the next surface. If you don’t currently have any microfiber cloths, use a soft cloth dampened with water that also won’t release dust and pollen into the air.

 

Professionally Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

One way to improve your home’s indoor air quality is to have the air ducts cleaned. Indoor air pollutants like pollen are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated up to 5 to 7 times a day. Over time, this re-circulation produces a build-up of pollutants in the ductwork.

If you’re too busy or your health doesn’t allow strenuous activity, you may need help with seasonal cleaning. That’s why ServiceMaster By Simons offers House-Wide General Cleaning packages. Our team of professionals will give your home a thorough cleaning to your specifications to ensure that you experience fewer allergies and better indoor air quality.

 

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

 

Concentrating on Cleaning Products Can Save You Money

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Riddle: When is a gallon of all-purpose cleaner not a gallon of all-purpose cleaner?

 

Answer: When it’s really 20 gallons.

 

Puzzled? Consider this: usually when you purchase a gallon of a product, that’s all you get. If you buy a gallon of gas, you get a gallon of gas; buy a gallon of milk and you’ll only get a gallon of milk. But many cleaners, disinfectants and deodorizers you use to clean your Chicago area home or office are sold as concentrates. If you buy those and mix them correctly, you’ll greatly increase the usable amount of product, making them very inexpensive. Depending on the product, sometimes one gallon of concentrate can produce up to a hundred gallons of a RTU (ready to use) cleaner. So that 99¢ jug of RTU glass cleaner at your local Chicagoland box store might not really be such a terrific deal after all.

It might be enticing to try to make the concentrated cleaning products you buy go even further by diluting them more than recommended. But the suggested concentration dilution rate is much more cost efficient than watering them down because weakened chemicals take longer to do the job and you would probably have to repeat the cleaning process to accomplish the desired results. Your time is valuable; add that to the additional aggravation and you wouldn’t be saving a dime.

 

Precise Mixing Makes a Difference

 

Clearly, concentrates necessitate adding water to dilute them according to the precise directions on the product labels. Most comprehend that, but the means of communicating the amount of water to mix with the concentrate can be a little more complicated and leaves room for error.

For instance, the common method for stating dilution rates is by using ratios, but occasionally you need more info. For example, which does a ratio of 1:8 mean? Is it:

  • one part concentrate mixed with seven parts water to produce eight parts of solution?
  • one part concentrate mixed with eight parts water to produce make nine parts solution?

You need to get it right because, in this particular example, an error adds up to a 12.5% variance! That means either your cleaning effectiveness will decrease 12.5% or your costs will increase 12.5%, neither of which is a desired result.

What’s confusing is that each way of describing the ratios shown above is defensible. So always examine product labels for a thorough explanation of its mixing ratio. If details aren’t included, then go to the source and contact the manufacturer. It’s worth a little extra effort.

 

Help for Deep Cleaning

 

When it comes to deep cleaning, sometimes you need a little help. And with Covid-19, using the required disinfectants is vital. Without question, virus cleaning, removal, and disinfection services are foremost in the thoughts of many homeowners and business owners throughout the Chicagoland area today. ServiceMaster By Simons uses an EPA hospital-grade disinfectant that fights 99.99% of bacteria so that you as a business or homeowner can have peace of mind whether you work inside or outside your home.

 

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

 

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

How HEPA Filters Protect You

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Should GREEN Cleaning Products be Used to Disinfect?

Natural and eco-friendly cleaners that don’t harm people, animals or the environment have become important focusses for consumers worldwide. Consequently, many people are now choosing cleaning products that are categorized as green, non-toxic, or natural. While most of these products are acceptable for everyday cleaning, you should be aware that nearly all do not have the required disinfection abilities to kill harmful viruses and diseases like COVID-19.

Cleaners and Disinfectants—What’s the Difference?

When your objective is to disinfect surfaces in your Chicagoland property against infectious diseases, the best way to discern which cleaners are also disinfectants is to verify the product has an EPA registration number on the label. If one does not exist, then it isn’t a tested and registered disinfectant. It’ll be safe to use the product to clean up dirt and grime, but it won’t disinfect against viruses and disease.

What Does the EPA Recommend?

The EPA’s task is to safeguard human and environmental health. Based in Washington, D.C., the EPA is responsible for establishing standards and laws that promote exactly that.

The EPA is focused on the elimination of contagious viruses and diseases and has developed a searchable database of disinfection products available to the public. These have been laboratory tested and are confirmed effective against the coronavirus and other infectious diseases. These disinfectants typically use harsh synthetic chemicals like quaternary ammonium to kill germs. Therefore, this list contains few green cleaners, with the exception of citric acid.

Some research has revealed that citric acid, an organic compound that occurs naturally in citrus fruits, has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties–enough to eliminate some types of bacteria, mold, and mildew. Nonetheless, it’s primarily considered a cleaning agent or microbial at best. When it comes to disinfecting (killing) harmful viruses, most natural or “green” ingredients, such as citric acid, are not as effective as their EPA-registered counterparts. All except one.

Benefect is a “green” plant-based botanical disinfectant product, is EPA tested and proven 99.9% effective in killing the coronavirus without any risk to animal and human health or the environment. It’s now an EPA List N registered disinfectant. The downsides are that it is very expensive and can be hard to get during the pandemic.

If Benefect is not available and you want to use a natural cleaner that has been tested by the EPA that may have a lower risk of causing asthma, irritation, hormonal disruption, or carcinogenic effects and pose the least threat among chemicals in their class, you can pick a product from the EPA’s Safer Choice List. This list should not be confused with the EPA’s List N of coronavirus-killing disinfectants. The Safer Choice is a list of products that are fine for routine cleaning but aren’t disinfectants for coronaviruses.

Use Professionals to Clean COVID-19

If you’re a home or business owner in the Chicagoland area and are interested in having your property cleaned and disinfected against COVID-19 or other contagious diseases, contact ServiceMaster By Simons Disinfection Services. We use only EPA List N registered NISUS DSV™ Disinfectant, Sanitizer, Virucide (10324-80-64405), an EPA hospital-grade disinfectant that fights 99.99% of bacteria, while also using cleanup protocols approved by the CDC. We’ll clean your home or business to minimize the threat and boost your peace of mind.

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

When DIY is Not a Good Idea

DIY, or Do it Yourself isn’t new. People have been DIYing since, well, forever. And in recent years, the growth of the DIY industry has exploded, thanks to the popularity of an endless variety of TV shows on networks like DIY and HGTV. But when they’re not watched with a practical eye, shows that complete their projects in thirty minutes to an hour can trick people into thinking their project will also be easy.

For instance, some people in the Chicagoland area attempt to save money on the expense of water or mold damage restoration by skipping the process of hiring restoration professionals. Instead, they try to handle the tear-out and dry-out processes themselves. For many “minor” spills (those only involving a few gallons of water at most), this can be fine as long as the spill is cleaned up quickly and occurs well away from walls or other places where the moisture from the spill can reach a gap and seep into the subfloor. But for more serious water damage scenarios, DIY is usually NAGI (not a good idea).

Whenever there’s a major amount of moisture damage, it’s very important for a professional restoration service like ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons  to be brought in to manage the dry-out process. Without the help of a trained and experienced expert, someone who attempts DIY moisture removal may miss pockets of moisture in the building, leading to:

  • Damaged building infrastructure

Moisture can seep into the structural materials behind the walls and under the floor, causing damage. But with proper dry-out and moisture remediation, much of the damage can be mitigated or even avoided.

  • Warped flooring

When moisture seeps into subfloor materials, it can cause wooden boards to shift, bend, and cup. This creates an uneven floor and poses a safety risk to the building’s occupants. If they’re salvageable, only professional restoration equipment can return them to normal.

  • Mold growth

Left unchecked, moisture trapped in a building can promote the growth of mold, particularly in cool, dark places such as basements and in-between walls. As any IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Specialist can tell you, mold spores in the air pose a serious respiratory risk to children and people with respiratory conditions such as asthma.

As a rule of thumb, if the water or mold damage to your Chicago area home or business is severe enough to warrant an insurance claim, then you shouldn’t try to handle the restoration process on your own. Damage that occurs as a result of DIY restoration efforts is typically not covered by insurance. Furthermore, restoration work can be hazardous for those who haven’t been trained for the risks associated with working with dirty water, mold, and water-damaged structures.

As a character of Clint Eastwood once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” So, whether you’re a man or woman, if you don’t have the experience or equipment needed to remediate water or mold damage, give ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons a call immediately!

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 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

A Spring Cleaning Checklist For Property Managers

Winter will (hopefully) soon be over in the Chicagoland area. But with warmer weather comes a whole new set of concerns and projects for property managers. It’s spring cleaning time! Since there’s so much to do, this time of year can feel daunting. But by creating a checklist, you’ll have a better handle on what needs to be done.

The following tips will help you plan what needs to be taken care of in, on, and around your properties each spring. While some of these tips are not strictly seasonal, they are good reminders of the maintenance you should be doing on a regular schedule.

Reconnect with Your Tenants

If you don’t already publish one, now is a great time to start an email newsletter for your tenants that describes all of the things you’ll be doing for them as well as the actions they can take to make their spring and summer as cool and uneventful as possible.

When giving your tenants maintenance tips, do so in a helpful and considerate way. Don’t tell what to do. Rather, offer helpful spring cleaning tips, such as cleaning their windows and doors to remove soil buildup from over the winter.

A newsletter is also a great way to remind tenants about the things they’re responsible for maintaining. For instance, if you’re renting out a house and the tenant is responsible for cutting the grass, a gentle reminder can be included. It’s also a great place to remind your tenants that they can, and should, let you know about any issues that need to be taken care of.

General Maintenance – Outside

For properties where you’re responsible for maintaining the common areas, be sure to keep up with general maintenance tasks, such as cleaning up the landscaping as the effects of winter melt away. Those things should be done as quickly as possible. General maintenance jobs such as the following are especially important in springtime:

  • Maintaining landscaping
  • Cleaning and repairing drainage systems
  • Checking the roof for leaks or problems
  • Ensuring all doors lock properly
  • Checking for cracks in the caulk
  • Checking the fire system

These things should be done throughout the year, but it’s helpful to add them to your spring checklist.

General Maintenance – Inside

Now’s a good time to replace the batteries in smoke detectors as well as carbon monoxide sensors (if needed). These tasks should be done twice a year, so schedule them for the first day of spring and the first day of fall. You can also add to your list a reminder to change HVAC filters in your property HVAC systems. By doing so now you can verify that the air conditioning is working in every one of your rental units. But as a general rule, you’ll want to replace pleated air filters every 90 days. The longer the filter is in place, the more dirt, dust and allergens are trapped, clogging the filter and decreasing their efficiency and the life of the unit.

While doing those things, why not check that all included appliances at the property are being properly maintained and in working order. They need regular maintenance and cleaning to last as long as possible. Be sure you arrange all maintenance work according to what’s outlined in your lease agreement to prevent any problems or miscommunications.

Stock Up on Supplies

Many items turn up missing or damaged when you turn over a property. Others are often requested by tenants. So, stock up on critical supplies such as A/C filters, light bulbs of several wattages, various screws and fasteners, faucet aerators, water filters, shower heads, and water heater heating elements.

This is a great time of year to stockpile these as there are often sales on home improvement items during spring months when so many are concentrating on spring cleaning.

Revise Your Budget

People move most frequently during spring and early summer months, so set your budget and calendar for additional carpet cleaning appointments, painters, paint and supplies, as well as general maintenance on move-outs. Cleaning or replacing everything that needs to be turned over in your Chicagoland property can add up. Furthermore, the costs of supplies and services change each year. So, update your budget and operating costs appropriately. This should be done every year, so why not now?

Plan for the Future

You always want to provide for your tenants the safest possible environment. Part of ensuring their security is having a solid disaster preparedness plan in place. As a property owner or manager, it’s one of your biggest responsibilities.

Now is the time to contact ServiceMaster By Simons who will help you set one in place. They are your Chicago area go-to contact whether your property suffers water or fire damage, storm damage, sewage backup, mold infestation and more. Additionally, they have the tools and experience to clean and sanitize any property that needs disinfection due to COVID-19.

While the above list covers many aspects of your job, it’s important to personalize the checklists you use. Only you know exactly how your business works and what needs to be dealt with at any particular time. Make sure you adjust this checklist to include anything that’s unique or required for your properties.

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 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com