How to Avoid Water Damage While on Vacation

  • Water Damage Restoration

After what has seemed eons of time, many will finally be able to enjoy a vacation away from home this year. While these are usually fun, happy, relaxing, and battery charging events, all that good could come crashing down the minute you get back home if when you open the door you step into standing water. Discovering water damage in your home is a nightmare you’ll never want to experience.

To avoid this type of scenario, Chicagoland homeowners must be aware of and put into place the following safeguards to prevent flooding emergencies and water damage while they’re away. The preparation and extra leg work can pay off in the form of thousands of dollars saved and peace of mind.

4 Steps to Take Before Leaving Home

  1. Shut Off the Main Water Valve – Before heading out of town, shut off the main water line to prevent any change of water damage while you’re away. Many water meter setups have two valves, one on the street side of the meter and one on the house side. In a colder climates, such as in the Chicagoland area, you’ll typically find the main shutoff in the basement near the front of the house. In warmer climates, it’ll be outside your home attached to an exterior wall or in an underground box with a removable lid.
  2. Shut Off Water Supply Valves – If you’re unable to shut off the main water supply because you have an automatic sprinkler system or someone is watering the plants while you’re gone, shut off the valves to the most common sources of water damage such as dishwashers, icemakers and washing machines, in case a hose cracks or lets go. Typical supply stops have a small round or oval handle that you turn clockwise to shut off the flow of water.
  3. Replace Water Supply Lines – To avoid water damage, especially when you’re away from home, be sure to install stainless steel braided water supply lines on your appliances, faucets and toilets. They’ll last longer than rubber or plastic hoses and are less likely to leak. They also prevent mice from gnawing through the lines. A pair of washing machine hoses costs less than $20 at home centers. Shorter versions for faucets or a toilet are also available.
  4. Check Your Gutters – A 1,000 sq. ft. roof will shed about 620 gallons of water during a 1 inch rainfall. That’s a lot of water dumped right next to your basement. So, before leaving on a vacation, check your gutters. Make sure leaves, sticks or other debris aren’t blocking the inlet of the downspout and preventing water from flowing down the spout. Also make certain your downspout extensions are discharging the water far from the foundation.

Water Damage is More Than a Nuisance

The reasons to take the previous precautions before going on vacation are many. Besides the headaches and expenses, you may also experience these other problems caused by water damage:

  • Structural Damage
  • Mold
  • Health Problems
  • Bad Smells
  • Stains
  • Electrical Damage

We’ve all been through a lot lately, so we hope that you’ll never experience water damage, especially after a relaxing vacation. But if the unexpected arises, let ServiceMaster By Simons ease your mind by removing all traces of such a horrible event. We’ll do the work while you sit back and enjoy your pictures, videos and memories.

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

 

What to Do If Caught in a House Fire

What to Do If Caught in a House Fire

Raging flames rip through your Chicagoland home – a terrifying sight we at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons hope you never have to experience! But the reality is that thousands of residential fires occur in the U.S. every year, over 326,000 last year alone! The causes vary from cooking accidents (#1) to heaters, cigarettes, washers and dryers, BBQ grills, candles and more. Here are tips to escape a fire if one ever occurs in your home:

  • Use a fire extinguisher – but only if it’s safe. Try to extinguish only small fires in their early stages. DO NOT attempt to put out any fire if it threatens your safety. Fires can increase in size and intensity in seconds, blocking exit routes and creating a toxic atmosphere.
  • Scream to alert others in the house. Don’t rely on smoke alarms alone to warn others. They can malfunction or have low batteries. Get yourself and your family members out as quickly as possible.
  • Follow your fire escape plan and fire drills you’ve practiced. Take the safest escape route and stay as low as possible to avoid inhaling smoke and deadly fumes. Cover your nose with a shirt or damp towel.
  • Don’t waste time picking up valuables. It usually takes less than 30 seconds for a fire to get out of control. A few seconds can be the difference between life and death. Most valuables are replaceable. You’re not.
  • If smoke is coming through cracks or under a door, don’t open it. Touch the door and doorknob with the back of your hand to check if it’s hot. If so, find another way out (door or window) to avoid flames and smoke on the other side. Never sleep in a room without more than one means of escape. A legal bedroom requires two exits, usually a door and a window.
  • If you’re able to open a door but heat and smoke pours into the room, stay in the room and close the door. If you can open it safely, stay low and follow your escape route. Close doors behind you to prevent the fire from spreading.
  • If there’s no safe exit (for example, from an upper story), stay in the room and seal the door and air vents with sheets or duct tape to prevent smoke from entering. Then call 911, open a window and yell for help. Wave a bright piece of cloth or use a light so that the firefighters notice you. Children should never hide under a bed or in a closet as that makes it harder for firefighters to find them.
  • If your clothes catch fire, remember to “stop, drop, and roll” to put out the flames. Cover your face with your hands while doing so.
  • Do not use elevators. If the power goes out, you could end up trapped inside the elevator, which in a fire could turn into an oven you can’t escape. Always use the stairs.
  • Once you’re out, go to the assigned meeting place and stay there! Never reenter a burning building under any circumstances. Let firefighters, who have the necessary training and equipment, save others and as much of your property as possible.

If you live in the Chicagoland area and you’re having to cope with fire, smoke or water damage from a recent fire, the experienced team at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons is ready to respond. We’re prepared for all the challenges a fire brings, and since we’re your neighbors we can act quickly.

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

 

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

 

5 “Facts” About Mold and Their Reality

mold remediation Chicago - mold removal - mold cleanup - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons

Much has been said on the subject of mold. But there’s a lot of misinformation about mold out there and sometimes it’s overdramatized. Mention the word “mold” and some people will flee in panic. In reality, mold in a Chicagoland home or business can be a serious problem, but with a little common sense and the right information, you can learn to discern myth from fact and make wise decisions in your dealings with mold. Here are five “facts” that aren’t exactly true:

“Fact” 1: All Mold is Bad

Not true! Products such as blue cheese (Yum!) and penicillin contain mold. If you have a garden, the presence of mold will help it grow by speeding up the decomposition of organic materials like leaves and branches to help keep the soil healthy and full of beneficial nutrients.

“Fact” 2: All Mold is Unhealthy

As seen in “Fact” 1, that’s incorrect. But even among questionable molds, their effect on people varies greatly. Molds produce allergens, and while some people will be allergic to those allergens, not everyone will have a reaction.

According to the CDC, if someone is highly sensitive to mold they may show symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a bloody nose, and itchy, watery eyes. Those with compromised immune symptoms are also at risk, and some studies suggest serious health effects can crop up from repeated exposure to mold.

“Fact” 3: There Shouldn’t Be Mold in Your Home

This would be nearly impossible. Mold is all around us and is natural. There are mold spores in the air you’re breathing right now and there’s really no way around it unless you decide to live in a bubble. Problems only arise when there’s a high concentration of mold indoors, which is usually caused by too much moisture or water damage in your home. It shouldn’t be visibly growing inside your home!

“Fact” 4: Bleach Kills Mold

Bleach can kill mold, BUT it depends on the surface the mold is on. Mold grows on both porous and non-porous materials. When dealing with mold on non-porous materials such as shower tiles, tubs, vinyl window trims, counter tops, etc. you can use bleach to kill the mold and disinfect. But using bleach to remove mold from porous materials like drywall and wood can actually accelerate mold growth rather than killing it!

When bleach is used on porous materials, the chlorine is left on the surface and only the water component of the bleach is absorbed into the material, aggravating the situation as this provides more moisture for the mold to feed on, where it may then produce allergens and irritants.

“Fact” 5: Anyone Can Clean Up Mold

While you may be able to clean up certain kinds of mold in small quantities, most people in the Chicagoland area aren’t equipped to do mold remediation. To properly “cleanup” a mold problem you must identify the cause, isolate the area to keep the mold from spreading, and clean and or remove the affected surfaces. Unless you’re trained, know how to setup a containment unit, own commercial sized HEPA air filtration units, protective gear, HEPA vacuums, and specialized cleaning agents, you should call the professionals at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons.

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

How to Shield Your Chicagoland Home from Moisture and Humidity

It’s always humid in Chicago, but it’s during the summer that we really feel it. Nothing new there. Some think it’s because we live so near Lake Michigan. But the lake makes little or no significant contribution to those processes.

According to Tom Skilling, chief meteorologist at WGN-TV, Chicago’s high humidity has three primary origins: humid air that arrives here from the Gulf of Mexico, moisture that’s released by growing plants and moisture that evaporates into the air from wet soil. Surprisingly, the lake actually removes moisture from humid summer air. Just as water vapor condenses out of humid air onto a cold glass of soda, so also does moisture from humid air condense onto the cool surface of Lake Michigan. And when that “dehumidified” air blows across Chicago, our air actually dries out.

But no matter the season, protecting your home from moisture and humidity is the key to living comfortably and preventing substantial damage. By maintaining the indoor humidity level of your home between 30 and 50 percent, you can experience significant benefits. Along with enjoying a preferred comfort level, a lower indoor humidity setting prevents excess moisture which has the destructive tendency to rot a home’s wood furniture, drywall and window frames. Other household items, such as musical instruments, likewise react adversely to dampness.

Maintaining low humidity also reduces the chances of mold getting a foothold and uncontrollably spreading throughout your home. Additionally, dust mites, some allergens and pest infestations have less of a chance to thrive in a properly humidified environment.

Steps to Take to Reduce Humidity

Each home handles humidity differently. Factors that influence how a house responds to humidity include the home’s construction and design, the airtightness of the home and if the builder installed vapor barriers. The following are some ways you can help reduce moisture and high humidity levels to protect your Chicagoland home:

Insulate Crawl Spaces –

Crawl spaces are notorious for containing excess moisture and high humidity levels. These damp environments are a breeding ground for mold colonies. Rotted joists and damage to the home’s structure can result. But before installing insulation in crawl spaces, any standing water will need to be removed and the ground dried before laying down a vapor barrier.

Insulate the Basement –

Many basements have problems with condensation which forms when moist air hits cold pipes, walls, and exposed duct work. Adding insulation to these problem areas prevents the humid air from reacting to cooler surfaces.

Run the Air Conditioner –

Did you know that air conditioning units help to dehumidify because the refrigeration process naturally gets rid of some of the moisture in the air? That’s why you see them dripping when running. If you don’t have an AC unit, then run a fan. It won’t directly remove moisture, but a few hours a day of steady air flow will help lessen minor dampness.

Run a Dehumidifier –

Installing a dehumidifier will efficiently reduce humidity in high-moisture spaces like the basement. Mold grows in environments with humidity levels above 60 percent, so it should be set significantly lower than that. Monitor the dehumidifier; if the unit never shuts off, it is a sign of an air leak.

Possible Underlying Problems

Possible factors contributing to moisture and high humidity in your home may be:

  • a leak in your plumbing system
  • water entering your home due to clogged gutters
  • cracked sealants around windows and drains
  • landscaping or pavement sloping toward the house

So, the most important thing that needs to be done is to identify and stop the water source before water damage can spread. This may be difficult for you to do, so call in the professionals from ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons to take care of it. Our skilled technicians have the tools needed to find water damage and its source. They’ll remove all excess moisture with advanced water extraction equipment and techniques, dry your Chicago area property, and repair the source of the damage. This will give you peace of mind so that you can enjoy your home in comfort again.

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

Cleaning Chemicals and Extreme Temperatures Don’t Mix

The recent cold and snow that permeated the Chicagoland area certainly has made winter feel longer. Some like it, while others agree with comedian Carl Reiner who once stated, “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”

Some inanimate items that don’t do well in freezing weather are many of the cleaning chemicals you use. Check the labels for any freeze warnings that they may post. When some non-aerosol products freeze, the solids within the solution will fall out and can’t be blended back into the mixture. When this happens, the product is basically useless and will need to be thrown out. But if water-based products freeze, you can thaw ’em and shake ’em and they should be good to go.

Aerosol Products

There are also aerosol products. These work best at room temperature or warmer. Many aerosols consist of a water-based product and a solvent-based propellant. When an aerosol can is very cold, it won’t dispense properly. Instead of a nice even spray, either nothing will come out (even though there’s still plenty of product inside) or it’ll just spit at you like an angry camel.

The reason for this is that when a water-based product gets cold, it gets thick and sluggish. So, when the nozzle is depressed, what dispenses is mostly the solvent-based propellant instead of product and you end up with a can full of a cleaning product that you’ll never be able to use. And there goes money in the trash. This problem is easily alleviated by running a cold can under hot water for about a minute or so before using. Your best bet is to store them inside a heated building and not somewhere like an unheated garage.

Problems with aerosols also exist on the other end of the temperature spectrum. Spray cans of cleaners, deodorant, hairspray, spray paint, etc., can explode at 120 degrees. It can get that hot inside an enclosed, uncooled building on a scorching day, even in Chicago. And the temperature inside a parked car can get up to 140 degrees on an extremely hot day, and that’s past what it takes for aerosol cans to explode. So, never store aerosols in any place that gets hot, such as on top of a radiator, a fireplace mantle, a water heater or near furnaces, wood stoves or space heaters.

Hand Sanitizers

Many carry and store hand sanitizers in their vehicles these days. Although they’re unlikely to explode in high heat due to the fact that they’re usually hand pumped and not used in aerosol cans, they can lose their effectiveness if they sit in a hot car. Those products contain alcohol, which once hot, evaporates much more quickly than water. Once this happens, they lose their sanitizing properties.

Interestingly, most products sold in aerosol cans are more expensive by weight or volume than their non-aerosol counterparts. The propellant in an aerosol can may account for as much as 15 percent of the weight. Economically,  non-aerosol products are more cost-effective. And if you really want to save some cash, buy concentrated cleaning chemicals where you mix them yourself. By doing so, you can realize a savings from dollars per gallon to cents per gallon.

The welfare of your cleaning chemicals may not be the very first thing on your mind, but considering how much money you spend on them, they’re worth a little consideration on your part.

If your Chicagoland home or business is in need of deep cleaning due to Covid-19 or any other reason, contact ServiceMaster By Simons. We closely follow the guidelines of The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification to ensure each job is done correctly.

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

Why Hoarding Cleanup Should Only be Done by Professionals

With the popularity of reality TV shows in recent years like Hoarders and American Pickers, it’s easy to see that hoarding is a bigger problem than most of us ever thought about. When this is an issue with family or friends, we may feel the need to help them. But when cleaning up these homes, more is involved than just taking out the trash.

Most people who hoard on an extreme level have emotional and mental health problems. They are fiercely attached to their collections and may compromise their own safety and their relationships with others just to hold on to those items. But when the well-being of the home’s occupants is in danger, cleaning up a hoarded home is necessary. And when you do, it’s best to call in Chicagoland area professionals who handle such cases regularly.

Hoarding Dangers

Here’s a list of hazards that come with cleaning up a hoarder’s home and why you shouldn’t try to handle it yourself:

  • Fire – This is the main danger in a hoarded home because much of the clutter consists of flammable materials, such as boxes, magazines, old mail and paper trash. Fires may occur when these types of objects cover a heat vent or damaged wires. Moreover, clutter blocks residents from escaping from a fire and first responders may not be able to navigate a hoarded home to rescue the residents.
  • Injuries – These can occur due to falls or trips as there’s very little room to walk. Piles in a hoarded home can reach as high as ceilings and so can collapse and cause injury. Someone may even get trapped under falling debris and contents.
  • Diseases – Pests like rats and cockroaches can infest a hoarded home, increasing the chance of infecting people with diseases from their droppings or bites. With animal hoarders, the prospect of disease gets even worse as owners fail to pick up after their pets. Sometimes those animals die but their bodies are never removed, which intensifies the sanitation problem.
  • Mold – Due to  the lack of proper airflow in a home because of stacks of trash, mold may develop. Additionally, water damage from a clog or water leak – even a small one – mixed with organic material is the perfect recipe for mold growth. Hoarders also have difficulty throwing away food and plates of half-eaten food may sit out for days, weeks, or even months, resulting in more mold infestation. Mold can cause respiratory and other health problems, especially for those with allergies.
  • Air quality – All that clutter results in tons of dust, odors, and ammonia from decaying waste products. These can cause serious air quality issues in the hoarder’s home, producing respiratory problems in both people and pets.
  • Structural integrity – Over time, hoarding can cause structural damage to the building itself due to the great weight and uneven distribution of too much stuff. Floors and load-bearing parts of a house, meant to support only a certain amount of weight, may buckle or even collapse under the strain.

Hoarding Clean-up Procedures

Another reason for not trying to clean up after a hoarder is that you likely lack the experience, expertise and resources of a professional cleaning company that can perform the job efficiently and safely.  Here’s how ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons tackles this difficult task:

  • We ensure safety – Our workers must wear protective suits (PPE), which include disposable gloves and face masks, to protect themselves against bacteria and diseases. We also keep a fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit on hand.
  • We stock all needed cleaning supplies – Everything from heavy duty tools, trash bags, boxes, buckets, universal cleaning agents, heavy duty disinfectants, etc.
  • We set up a staging area and dumpster –An open space, such as a yard, is used to temporarily place contents pulled from the home. A large dumpster is brought in to dispose of the debris.
  • We strategically declutter the home – When the staging area is ready, we begin in the room nearest the closest exit to be able to escape quickly in case of emergency. The trash and clutter from each room is removed from top to bottom.
  • We sort the contents – Local Chicagoland regulations are followed when handling items that can’t go directly into the garbage (like paints or explosives). Then, trash and debris is bagged and placed in the dumpster. Salvageable items are sorted into items to keep and to donate.
  • We filter the air – Air filtration fans are set up through the job site to clean the air and reduce the amount of dust/allergens while the technicians are working.
  • We repair and clean the home – Once the entire structure is free of clutter, we assist with any needed repairs,  including water, fire and mold damage. Meanwhile, all salvageable contents are cleaned and disinfected.

Contact ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons immediately at 773-389-1805 if you or a loved one suffers from hoarding and/or you need assistance cleaning out a hoarder’s house. Using the latest cleaning and restoration tools and techniques, we’re standing by 24/7 to return any property to a safe, clean, and orderly condition.

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

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