Wet Basement? Don’t Panic But Act Fast!

 

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

 

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

 

How to Prevent a Wet Basement

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

 

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

 

When Your Basement is Wet or Flooded

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Who’s Responsible for Water Damage in Chicagoland Apartments?

Regrettably, water damage is a familiar problem that both homeowners and renters may confront. The outcome can be destructive making the property unlivable and lasting damage could occur to personal possessions. When water damage happens in your Chicagoland apartment, you need to understand who’s accountable for the cost of damage. The property renter or owner?

Renter rights

Water damage can come at you from left field, so it’s imperative to understand both your renter rights and who’s responsible for what when it happens. Generally, a landlord is accountable for maintaining their property, confirming the apartment is habitable and up to Chicago Building Codes. If the landlord refuses to make repairs or fails to address them promptly, it could cause additional damage such as mold. In the U.S., basic codes on tenant rights exist and identify the person or persons responsible for damages. Rent details can differ so check with the Chicago Housing Authority.

Review your lease

You need to know what your lease says about property damage. Most properties have insurance that lists what sort of damage is covered and what’s not. The lease should have information about water damage that will answer the following questions:

  • If the damage is severe and the apartment is no longer habitable, is the tenant still required to pay the rent?
  • Can the landlord evict the renter or can the tenant cancel their lease with no penalty?

Usually, if the damage is negligible, the tenant can’t cancel the lease agreement. If the terms concerning property damage aren’t in the lease, talk to your landlord about who’s liable if water damage strikes.

Renters insurance

Accidents are unpredictable which is why renters’ insurance is essential. The majority of owners require you have it before letting you move into an apartment. Renter’s insurance coverages can vary from damages to the building to personal contents and might even cover the price of housing while repairs are being done. But make sure your plan includes replacement costs to get the most bang for your buck.

Landlord responsibilities

The landlord’s responsible for the maintenance of an apartment so that it’s livable. The repair of plumbing like sinks, toilets, and tubs falls on their shoulders. Failure to repair and maintain them may lead to property damage which the landlord would be liable for due to negligence.

Damage to property and personal belongings

Water damage to a building itself such as flooring, walls, and utilities should be part of a landlord’s property insurance. Personal property damages are paid for by the party at fault, which can be either the landlord or the tenant.

How we can help

Water damage necessitates a quick response to lessen loss to both property and belongings. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons are experts at water damage restoration in Chicagoland apartments of all sizes no matter how extreme the damage. Our team of experts will evaluate the damage and put together a plan to restore your property and contents. Contact us at 773-839-5542 to learn more about our water damage clean-up services

 

 

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

 

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

 

The 3 Warning Signs Indicating a Broken Pipe

 

Many times a plumbing problem is noticeable, like when it’s raining from the ceiling or a small river begins flowing from under your bathroom door. But sometimes, broken or damaged pipes aren’t that obvious in your Chicagoland home or business. But they may still let you know there’s a problem if you pay attention to the warning signs. By doing so, you can tackle the problem in its infancy and avoid the destruction and pricey repairs that are sometimes associated with water damage. So, here are three signs to watch out for:

 

          1. Strange Sounds

 

Do you ever notice a whistling sound in your home? You’re not doing it, no one else in the house is doing it and unfamiliar dogs are showing up at your door? Well, whistling or whining also happens when plumbing gets dented. The sound starts when water is no longer capable of flowing freely through a pipe. This problem intensifies water pressure and can eventually cause a pipe to burst.

Those sounds may also be the sign of a broken down pressure-reducing valve. Without being replaced, it could cause burst pipes, overflows, and other problems over time.

 

          2. Putrid Smells

 

Another sign of a broken pipe are odd or horrible odors. A common origin of these smells emanate from a p-trap. The p-trap is the U-shaped pipe under your sink or toilet that retains a small amount of water that acts as a preventative seal that keeps sewer gases from discharging into your home. If a break causes that water to seep out of the p-trap, then you will smell the odor of sewage in your Chicago area home.

Likewise, when pipes get broken or clogged, sewage can’t flow through the plumbing system properly. It’s vital that you deal with these problems promptly as sewage can pose a considerable health risk to your family and pets.

 

          3. Uncommon Sights

 

Are you blaming puddles in your home on your pets or kids? That may be one answer. But if they continually appear, particularly in the same area, then that could be a sign of broken or damaged plumbing.

Another strange (and frightening) sight that may indicate a broken pipe is an unusually high water bill. Elevated usage could be triggered by leaky toilets, faucets or plumbing. Or the problem may be that an underground pipe feeding water from your meter to your home has developed a crack or loose joint. This issue can be produced by aged pipes, seismic activity, tree roots, or animal actions.

Broken pipes aren’t unusual and can typically be quickly and easily fixed by a professional. But don’t put if off. The longer you do, the more damage will be created and the more expensive it’ll be to repair. If you suspect you have broken pipes in your Chicagoland home or business, call in a plumber first, then contact the water damage experts at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons.  We’ll dry out and restore your water damaged 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

Clogged Gutters Can Cause These 5 Problems

Ah, the pleasures of fall in the Chicagoland area. The cooler weather, the bonfires, watching the colorful leaves on the trees as they flutter into your gutters and clog them up…

Okay, so it’s not all pleasant. Having to totter on a ladder while digging rotting leaves and gunk out of your gutters is not a fun job. But if you’re a homeowner, it’s well worth the time and aggravation to do so. Why? Gutters and downspouts are designed to redirect water away from you home. But when they become clogged, gutters can cause a long list of water related problems that can be damaging to your home and expensive to fix.

So this year, don’t put off this needed chore. Need some inspiration? Then ponder over the following five problems often caused by clogged gutters.

What Can Happen if Gutters Aren’t Cleaned

 

  1. Weakened foundation: Depending on the size of your home, every inch of rainfall can translate to over 1000 gallons of water pouring down your roof! When gutters function properly, that water will flow through a downspout and away from your home. But when clogged, water will overflow gutters and pour down your walls. Pooling water around your foundation can cause erosion, leading to foundation cracks and settling which can weaken the structure of your home.
  2. Destroyed gutters: When your gutters are clogged and the water has no place to go, they can become very heavy. A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds and just one foot of gutter can hold up to 2 gallons. Add that to the mass of dead leaves and other gunk and you can see how all that extra weight can bend your gutters or tear them away from the roof.
  3. Wall and ceiling damage: Trapped water from clogged gutters can rot the wooden fascia boards your gutters are mounted to, allowing moisture to enter your home. And during our Chicago winters, clogged gutters can help create ice dams which can drive snow melt underneath your shingles. (See our article, “How to Prevent Ice Dams”.)
  4. Wet basement: If your basement hasn’t been waterproofed, the water pouring down your foundation due to clogged gutters can seep through your basement’s porous walls and floor, leading to a damp basement. And where it’s damp and dark, mold can easily begin to grow, quickly becoming a problem.
  5. Insect invasions: Nobody wants mosquitos buzzing around in their backyard. But pooling water in your gutters is a perfect breeding ground for them. Mud and damp leaves can also be a welcoming spot for bees and wasps to build their nests.

So now you know what can happen if you don’t clean your gutters. But the good news is that it’s not usually a difficult fix. But before you drag out your ladder, here are some tips for doing the job safely.

What You Need to Know Before Cleaning Your Gutters

 

  1. Ladder safety 101: Your ladder should be sturdy, safe and long enough for the job. The two hinged metal braces (spreaders) should be locked down and straight. Never set it on uneven ground and never sit or stand on the very top step of the ladder.
  2. Use the appropriate tools: Thick leather gloves, protective eyewear and long sleeves add an additional layer of protection against bacteria, cuts and pests. A scooping tool and bucket are helpful when cleaning out and disposing of debris. A garden hose is also useful in washing away mud and unclogging downspouts. 
  3. Know your limitations: If the job is too physically demanding, or you’re not comfortable in high places, or you just don’t want to deal with it yourself, contact a professional to clean your gutters. The cost will vary depending on the size of your home.

If clogged gutters have caused water damage issues in your Chicagoland home, contact ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons immediately. Water damage does not just go away. In fact, the longer it’s left unattended, the worse it’ll get – causing everything from structural damage to mold infestations. Our state-of-the-art equipment and technology will dry your home and we’ll also repair the damage!

 

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

Why Pipes Freeze and How to Stop it From Happening to You

 

About the only time you want to hear the sounds of snap, crackle and pop is from a fireplace or your breakfast cereal, but never from the water pipes in your Chicagoland home or business. And once one ruptures, it can release hundreds of gallons per hour, causing extensive water damage to your property. Unfortunately, we at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons see this happen all the time during the long Chicago winters when pipes are allowed to freeze. But why do they break?

Water’s Weird Quality

Water reacts very differently from most other elements. When water cools, it contracts until it reaches approximately 40°F. After that, it expands slightly until it reaches the freezing point, when it then swells by about 9%. Since that’s enough pressure to split open boulders, your pipes don’t stand a chance!

Recognize the Problem Areas

The pipes that are more likely to freeze are:

  • Those exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose spigots, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
  • Water pipes in unheated interior areas like basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets, especially those that aren’t insulated.
  • Pipes that run along outside walls that have little or no insulation.

Nip It in the Bud                  

Here are steps you can take before and after cold weather sets in to help keep your pipes from freezing and bursting:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines.
  • Close inside valves that supply outdoor spigots, then open the spigots to let any remaining water drain out. Keep outside valves open so that any water left in the pipe can expand without breaking it.
  • Install “pipe sleeves” or wrap UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials onto exposed water pipes.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there’s a water supply line inside.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to let warmer air circulate around the plumbing.
  • Once the temperature reaches 28°F outside, let water drip from both the cold and hot water faucets. This not only keeps water moving through the pipes but relieves built-up water pressure should they freeze.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature day and night. A slightly higher electric bill costs less than a repair job on a broken pipe and subsequent water damage.
  • If you’re a snowbird and will be gone for a while, leave the heat in your home set to no lower than 55°F.

Many times, a frozen pipe will burst in the middle of the night when it’s coldest. Unfortunately, that’s also the time you’re usually asleep, so you may not be aware of the problem until hours later, compounding the water damage and the cost to repair it. So, do all you can to ensure that it doesn’t happen to you. But if it does, call ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons any time of the day or night and we’ll ensure that your property will be dried properly, especially during the frigid temperatures that blanket the Chicagoland area in the wintertime.

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