You Often Get What You Pay For

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When you need a fire or water damage restoration company, time is of the essence. If you do a quick internet search, you’ll find many in Chicago to choose from. And since it’s an emergency, you may just pick the one that’s closest to you. That’s why you should do your research before a disaster ever strikes to find a company you know you can trust.

With the economy the way it is, many may be tempted to go with the company that offers the lowest prices. That would seem to make your decision easier. Yet, the cost isn’t the only aspect you should consider. A cheap disaster restoration contractor may underestimate the cost of a project, or worse, add hidden fees after the job is completed. So that low-cost company could cost you more.

 

Problems With Hiring Cheap Disaster Restoration Contractors

 

Here are some reasons you may want to avoid a low bidder:

  • They give you a killer price to lock you into a deal and then the costs start to rise.
  • They’re not insured. This puts you and your property at risk.
  • They’re disorganized. This means that the job of putting your Chicagoland home or business back together will take much longer and will be of lower quality.
  • The estimated time of completion gets longer and longer. This is not just due to disorganization but in their ability to hire enough qualified workers.
  • A high-quality restoration contractor has methods of removing dust, garbage, and dirt during the job to keep your home cleaner. They’ll also completely clean up after the job is finished. Low-budget contractors will leave you with a mess to deal with.
  • To cut costs, they use inferior products when rebuilding. These can not only be unsafe but will lower the value of your property.

So, low prices aren’t always the best deal. As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”

 

Choosing the Right Disaster Restoration Contractor

 

Now that you know the reasons to avoid a low-cost contractor, the following lists qualities to look for in a reputable one:

  • Comfort Level – do you feel at ease with them, or are they pushy and put down their competition? Do you feel a high level of trust?
  • Transparency – are they open and honest about the restoration process? Is there a clear point of contact you’ll be able to rely on throughout the job?
  • Experience – have they shown you their portfolio of other similar types of jobs they’ve completed? How long have they been in business?
  • References – a reliable contractor will offer you references from their past customers. Also, check out the BBB and other customer review sites online like HomeAdvisor and Angi to see if people who used their services were happy or not.
  • Price – if their price is lower than others, ask them directly why and have them lay out a detailed plan to keep that price low.

At Chicago’s own ServiceMaster By Simons, we understand that sometimes price has to be your first consideration. That’s why we let you know upfront what you can expect. But we refuse to substitute quality work and materials for a price, because a cheaply and poorly done restoration is unsafe and will always cost you more in the long run.

 

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

 

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

 

Not All Fires Are Alike

 

Visualize this scenario: You experience a fire in your kitchen. It’s small and you’re able to quickly extinguish it. But the horrible smoke odor is overpowering! You clean and you clean, but the smell won’t go away. It seems to have permeated the whole house! So that’s when homeowners in the Chicagoland area call the expert smoke damage restoration specialists at ServiceMaster By Simons. But why can’t you get rid of that smoke smell?

All fires are different, with characteristics and obstacles that can try even the most experienced fire disaster restoration companies. These include the materials burned, the size of the fire, its strength, burn rate, and the floor plan of the building.

When a fire has enough combustible materials and oxygen, it becomes all-consuming. The more explosive the fuel supply, the more completely it incinerates materials. Products of Incomplete Combustion (PICs) are sometimes known as soot tags. These are deposits and what’s left of materials that weren’t burned up completely by fire. Several characteristics of soot impact the amount of it, how far it reached, and how concentrated it is.

How Heat Affects Smoke Damage Restoration

The hotter the fire, the faster materials burn. These fires also usually have a high oxygen level. Fire and smoke damage professionals allude to these conflagrations as “dry” fires. They consume materials almost totally and the severe heat changes a solid mass to energy—hot gasses. They alter materials into dry soot (primarily the element “carbon”) that’s easier to clean up than other fire deposits.

These PICs are thereafter cleaned up by a fire restoration tech using dry soot elimination methods, like vacuuming and scrubbing hard surfaces with natural rubber sponges.

Air Circulation Means Widespread Soot

Smoke and soot don’t need an HVAC unit to move through a structure. Fires produce high vapor pressure that propels soot residue into areas that you may think of as sealed, such as inside a refrigerator.

As air flows, it distributes PICs and odor-saturated molecules. That’s the reason cleaning and deodorizing also needs to be done away from the fire. As petroleum/synthetic-based sources burn, the soot particles follow the air into colder areas with low circulation and are able to concentrate. Some who have witnessed the aftermath of a fire believe that soot bonded itself to spider webs. That’s how it looks! But actually, soot tags are chains of soot that have gathered together.

The Amount of Oxygen Affects Fire Consumption

Fires that are starved of oxygen, like in a closed room, start to subside. When this happens, a high percentage of PICs are generated. But those PICs are “oilier” and more difficult to clean up. If the burned material isn’t a natural product, the quantity of PICs multiplies, causing an elevated intensity of soot. Fire remediation experts designate these as “wet fires.”

Odors Also Vary

When materials burn, odors link up with oxygen molecules. Undeniably, PICs generate odors, but at times the smell is extremely intense, even when PICs can’t be found.

For instance, if a fire started because a turkey was left in an oven for too long, the odor of burnt turkey could permeate a home, but there wouldn’t be much soot, though the 16-pound bird is now a pile of ash. The reason for that is it was a protein fire and they’re some of the most difficult to mitigate because their odors are inescapable and carry all over a home, even into closets and drawers!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons can get into and clean every nook and cranny of a fire-damaged home in the Chicagoland area. We ensure that smoke particles and soot are removed and will afterward clean and deodorize all surfaces. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons has qualified technicians, high-tech specialized equipment, and the appropriate EPA products to provide outstanding cleaning and odor control.

 

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 Rebuild Your Life After a House Fire

 

A fire in your Chicagoland home can turn your life upside down. Depending on the degree of damage, you may be forced to rebuild your life from the ground up. Usually, the toughest part is knowing what to do immediately afterward and who to call. Contingent on the size of the damage, you may not be able to stay in your home. If staying with friends or family isn’t possible, talk to a local disaster relief agency such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or FEMA. With the help of those organizations and others, you will survive and rebuild your life again. The following are some steps that can help.

 

Guide Your Kids

For children, losing nearly everything in a fire can be tremendously upsetting. It’s not just the loss of physical possessions that can traumatize children; the reality that the whole property, everything they’re familiar with, may now be gone is something that should be explained to them thoroughly but sensitively.

Psychotherapist Resa Hayes says, “Our children, just like us, wonder about safety, belongings, animals, and friends. We can help our kids by giving them a better understanding of fires…and how this disaster, in particular, is being handled.”

Unlike adults who may have a financial investment in the lost property, a child’s main worry will probably be about their toys, their bedroom, or other objects they were attached to. It could help to buy them a similar favorite toy. It may be a temporary solution, but with the right direction and counseling, children can get over this unpleasant incident.

 

Prepare for the Long Term

Because house fires are so destructive, you usually won’t be able to return to your Chicago area home right away, even after the embers are cold. Rebuilding your life and home doesn’t happen in just a week or two. It can be a long and strenuous process, emotionally and physically, that may take months or even years. So be prepared for the long haul. Give yourself and your family plenty of time to recover and see a counselor if necessary.

Allow yourself to feel both positive and negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, and frustration. While it’s normal and essential to grieve, try to concentrate on positive emotions. Consider things to be grateful for, from surviving the fire to experiencing the support of your family and community.

 

Be Proactive

The longer you do nothing, the worse the damage gets. So make sure you take these actions immediately:

  • Call your insurance agent to start a claim and attend to your immediate needs. Your insurance policy may cover living and daily expenses.
  • Contact ServiceMaster By Simons to restore your home if repairable and return it to pre-loss condition. We work with insurance companies to get your life back in order

 

Keep Important Contact Information on Your Phone

The last thing you need to be doing after a fire is scrambling to find the phone numbers of vital contacts. So always keep in multiple family members’ phones (in case you lose yours in the fire) a record of your insurance agent’s number as well as the number of ServiceMaster By Simons. We offer 24-Hour Emergency Fire Disaster Recovery Services for Chicagoland residential and commercial properties and will immediately respond so as to minimize additional losses.

Before you know it, our recovery team will be on-site to assess your damage and immediately provide the required services to keep your property safe and protected. We also work hard to save any of your contents that are salvageable so that your life can return to normal as soon as possible.

 

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

 

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

 

The 4 Elements of Fire and Ways to Snuff it Out

When you see a fire raging, it seems like it’s an almost uncontrollable force, consuming all that gets in its way and inflicting fire damage on every item it touches. And the bigger it gets, the more difficult it is to manage. But every fire does have its Achilles’ heel.

Enter the fire tetrahedron. This triangular pyramid represents the four equal components that every fire must include. Without just one, a fire falls apart. Knowing this can help you kill a fire before it gets out of control and causes fire damage to your Chicago area property, necessitating a call to ServiceMaster By Simons for assistance.

 

The 4 Things Fire Needs to Exist

  1. Fuel.  A fire must have something to feed on, to consume. Just like living things, it has to have something to eat to survive. The fuel can be anything flammable such as paper, wood, fabric, chemicals, or combustible materials.

 

  1. Heat. A heat source is needed for the initial ignition of fire and to maintain a fire and enable it to spread. Heat allows a fire to spread by drying out and preheating nearby fuel and warming the surrounding air. Some objects’ flashpoints are lower than others, so they combust more easily, resulting in massive fire damage.

 

  1. Oxygen. Air contains about 21 percent oxygen, and most fires require at least 16 percent oxygen content to burn. Oxygen supports the chemical processes that occur during a fire. When fuel burns, it reacts with oxygen from the surrounding air, releasing heat and generating combustion products (gases, smoke, embers, etc.). This process is known as oxidation.

 

  1. Chemical Chain Reaction. While the three components above are still needed, an actual chemical reaction must take place for a fire to ignite. Once a fire has started, the resulting exothermic chain reaction sustains the fire and allows it to continue until at least one of the elements of the fire is blocked

 

The 4 Ways to Stop a Fire

  1. Cool it. If a fuel source can be cooled by, say, pouring water on it, a fire can’t continue because you’ve removed some of the heat energy. Water simultaneously cools and suffocates the fire. It cools it so much that it can’t burn anymore, and it smothers it so that it can’t burn any more of the oxygen in the air. But never use water on grease or electrical fires! Those need the correct fire extinguisher.

 

  1. Smother it. If the oxygen supply to a fire can be sufficiently decreased, burning will cease. By preventing fresh air from reaching a fire, you reduce the oxygen content in a confined atmosphere until it extinguishes itself. Some examples of this are:

 

  • smothering a pan fire with a lid
  • wrapping a person in a fire blanket
  • applying a blanket of foam over a burning surface, thus separating the fuel from the air

 

  1. Starve it. Sometimes, a fire can be extinguished simply by removing the fuel source. Ways this may be achieved are by:

 

  • stopping the flow of liquid or gaseous fuel
  • removing solid fuel from the path of a fire
  • allowing a fire to burn until all fuel is consumed

 

  1. Interrupt the chain reaction. There are certain compounds that, when introduced into a fire’s atmosphere, disturb the chemical chain reaction, causing a fire to delay and ultimately stop. Dry powder, Bromochlorodifluoromethane (BCF), and other halon extinguishers do the trick.

 

If the fire tetrahedron ends up being the cause of fire damage to your Chicago area home or business, we’re ready 24/7 to help you recover. Contact ServiceMaster By Simons anytime for fast, thorough cleanup and recovery of any fire damage.

 

 

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

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Fire Damage Cleanup

Residential Fire Damage Restoration - Smoke & Odor removal - content cleaning - restoration laundry and dry cleaning - Chicago il - servicemaster restoration simons

Experiencing a fire in your Chicagoland home or business can be overwhelming, to say the least. But it’s vital that fire damage cleanup and the restoration process is begun as quickly as possible to get your life back to normal.

But do not attempt to do this on your own! You’ll need to rely on fire damage experts to handle the situation. There are specific steps the professionals know and will follow to restore your Chicago area property and contents to their pre-loss condition.

Because of the seriousness of these situations, here is a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to fire damage restoration and smoke cleanup:

Do

  • Make safety the priority. Even if the situation looks safe and clear to you, don’t enter a burned structure until a professional has informed you it’s safe to do so. Not only may the building be unstable, but fires can start again — even after they seem to be extinguished.
  • Document, document, document. Take photos of the fire damage, save receipts, take notes of conversations and keep all email correspondence. These actions help when dealing with your insurance company.
  • Call your insurance agent to initiate a fire damage assessment.
  • Call your Chicago restoration company, ServiceMaster By Simons, to help with fire damage cleanup and repair.
  • Limit movements inside the structure to keep soot particles from spreading.
  • Change furnace filters.
  • Cover dry furniture and upholstery with sheets until they are assessed or until they are cleaned.
  • Weather permitting, open windows and doors for ventilation.
  • Remove clothing and soft contents from the property and have it cleaned by ServiceMaster By Simons professional fire damage restoration cleaners, not just a dry cleaner.
  • Throw away all food and drink left after the fire.

Don’t

  • Enter a building before the fire department gives you the green light, even if it looks safe.
  • Start cleaning residue from walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. Everything needs to be assessed by your insurer first.
  • Walk on carpets or touch furnishings impacted by smoke residues or debris until they’re professionally cleaned.
  • Eat food, including canned goods, that were exposed to heat or fire.
  • Turn on utilities until professionally checked.
  • Turn on, clean, or use any electronic equipment until professionally checked.

Smoke and soot residue left behind after fire damage can cause severe health problems if not handled correctly. Only trained experts with professional equipment that understand the complicated chemical interactions involved with soot and fire can ensure your fire damage restoration is done safely and thoroughly.

The best thing to do is get in touch with ServiceMaster By Simons as soon as possible. We will assess your Chicagoland property and come up with a fire damage cleanup plan that includes:

  • Securing your property to prevent further damage
  • Removing damaged and unsalvageable items
  • Cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing of your property and belongings
  • Repairing or replacing all fire and smoke damaged areas of the structure

Our main goal at ServiceMaster By Simons is to restore your fire-damaged property and return it to its pre-loss condition or better. As a locally owned and operated company, providing the best possible customer service is our business.

 

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

 

Don’t Become a Victim of Assault by Battery

At times, the most innocent of actions can have dire consequences. For instance, pouring kitchen grease down your drain can cause your pipes to clog and lead to water damage. And you know that 9-volt battery you tossed into your junk drawer to one day use in your smoke detector? Well, it can become the cause of smoke – and fire!

While AAA, AA, D, and C batteries have their positive and negative posts positioned at opposite ends, 9-volt battery posts are set next to each other. When both posts touch metal that may be in your junk drawer (such as paper clips, steel wool, aluminum foil, nails, scissors, etc.), it can cause that metal to heat up. If that metal is touching a combustible source like paper or steel wool, it can start a fire. (Watch video)

Although these fires don’t happen every day, fires caused by loose 9-volt batteries have been reported countrywide, from New Hampshire to Kansas and Colorado. This problem has caused some homeowners to launch public awareness campaigns about it. (While we’re at it, this is a good time to remind you to always have fully-charged fire extinguishers in your home and business.)

How to Protect Yourself From This Danger

To help allay your fears, a study conducted by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) concluded that fires started by batteries did not make the “Most Common Causes of House Fires” list. But ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons thinks that even one fire is too many. So, practicing fire prevention is important to ensure this situation doesn’t happen to you.

To keep your property safe, the NFPA has set these guidelines for safely storing 9-volt batteries:

  • Don’t store them loosely in a drawer or container with metal objects or other batteries.
  • Keep them in their original package until ready for use.
  • If the original package is gone, cover both positive and negative posts with electrical or another non-conductive tape.
  • Don’t put batteries in your pocket along with keys, loose change, or other metal objects.
  • Keep 9-volt batteries stored standing up in a safe place where they won’t be knocked around.

How to Safely Dispose of Household Batteries

Single-use, non-chargeable batteries made before 1996 contained mercury and were considered hazardous waste. But now they’re constructed with common metals that the federal government deems non-hazardous and can be thrown away with your regular garbage – except in California, where it’s illegal to throw in your trash any type of battery. (Tip: Reduce your need for disposing of single-use batteries by purchasing rechargeable batteries instead. These can be used more than 1,000 times and recycled.)

But the exceptions are lithium-ion batteries, button cell batteries (found in items like watches and hearing aids), and any rechargeable batteries. All contain hazardous metals. These types of batteries need to be recycled.

It is important not to place lithium-ion batteries in curbside recycling carts as recycling facilities and truck fires have been reported due to batteries being damaged during sorting or when heavy equipment crushed them. To help prevent battery fires and improve workers’ safety, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed a law that prohibits residents and businesses from placing rechargeable or lead-acid batteries into recycling carts beginning January 1, 2020.

Here’s how you can recycle lithium-ion, button, and rechargeable batteries:

  • Call your Cook County municipal household hazardous waste program on how to recycle these batteries correctly.
  • Search the Chicagoland area for recycling centers that accept single-use batteries using Earth911’s Recycling Search.
  • Find a mail-in recycling program that accepts batteries. Most of these programs will sell you a container to store used batteries that can be mailed when filled.

If your Chicagoland property has been affected by smoke or fire from any source, ServiceMaster By Simons can assist you by handling your property and contents restoration. We work with our customers as a team to guarantee your property will be returned to its pre-loss condition as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 

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

 

How to Prevent Puff Backs From Your Fireplace

A frosty Chicago winter evening spent next to a roaring fireplace can be very enjoyable. But that occasion can become a disaster if your fireplace begins spewing smoke into your home’s interior. When that occurs, it may be the result of a puff back. This could occur only once per season or it may happen every time you start a fire.

The results of puff backs are terrible. The smoke can damage all surfaces it touches. A foul odor permeates the environment while the air becomes dangerously contaminated with carcinogens and carbon monoxide. Additionally, smoke particles lodge in curtains, clothing and carpeting.

The good news is that fireplace back puffs are preventable. But what causes them?

Back Puff Causes and Cures

 

Cause: Creosote buildup

Creosote is a byproduct of fireplace smoke. It builds up inside a fireplace flue every time the fireplace is lit, growing thicker and thicker. The creosote causes your chimney to generate more smoke then can be exhausted, allowing the smoke to travel the path of least resistance – back into your home.

Cure: Hire a chimney sweep

A CSIA-certified chimney sweep can inspect and identify creosote accumulation. If it’s a problem, you’ll need to have your chimney swept, which will remove creosote buildup and restore your chimney to its peak working condition.

 

Cause: Lack of air supply

While a well-insulated home is more energy efficient, a tightly-sealed home could actually “suffocate” your stove or fireplace, resulting in negative air pressure inside. This could cause the fireplace to release smoke into your home. Fire needs oxygen to burn and a tightly sealed home will limit the flow of air into the fireplace.

Cure: Introduce air flow

Before lighting your next fire, simply open a window. Back puffing should discontinue if the issue was caused by an inadequate air supply.

 

Problem: Obstructions

If your chimney is blocked, it’ll restrict airflow and smoke will build up in the flue until it’s exhausted through your fireplace or stove. Bird and wasp nests built inside a chimney can restrict its airflow, along with balls and tree branches.

Cure: Clean the chimney

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have your chimney, fireplace, and vents inspected and cleaned annually, regardless of whether back puffs occur or not.

 

Problem: Unsuitable firewood

You may be trying to burn wet wood which can produce more smoke than usual. To burn efficiently, the fire needs to first burn off any excess moisture within the wood. The higher the moisture content of the wood, the harder it’ll be to burn.

Cure: Use seasoned wood

Wood needs to be dry to burn efficiently. Wood that’s freshly cut is high in moisture content, which is why wood needs to be dried out (known as seasoning) for 12 to 18 months before it’s ready to be used on a fire without causing smoke issues.

 

Sometimes, a badly built fireplace can cause smoke problems. All aspects of a fireplace, such as its opening size, smoke chamber, smoke shelf, damper size and chimney height, must be built without design and construction flaws in order to prevent smoke buildup.

When your fireplace pours smoke into your home, the resulting damage can be significant. Rather than replace fouled up belongings that have been contaminated with smoke particles, consult your Chicagoland smoke damage cleanup company, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. Our fire and smoke damage restoration technicians will remove all traces of smoke from your property.

 

 

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