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

Exposing Fire Sprinkler Myths

 

 

There’s no denying a fire could cause terrible damage to your Chicagoland commercial property. And without a way to extinguish the flames quickly, your employees and customers could be critically injured or killed. That’s why installing a commercial fire sprinkler system is so important.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), when sprinklers are present, the chances of dying in a fire are diminished by 80 percent and the typical property loss due to fire is reduced by 50 to 66 percent, compared to fires where sprinklers do not exist.

But although there’s undisputable evidence that sprinklers are a necessary line of defense against fires, many myths still live on about the way sprinklers truthfully work. So, lets touch on 4 myths surrounding commercial fire sprinkler systems and the reasons they’re wrong.

 

Myth 1: Water Damage From Fire Sprinklers Cost More Than Fire Damage

 

FACT:  Sprinkler systems are more economical when contrasted to the damage caused by other firefighting efforts. Since sprinklers can keep a fire limited to one room rather than allowing flames and smoke to spread through a building, most fire damage cleaning is confined to one area. Furthermore, water damage caused by fire hoses usually costs more to restore; a sprinkler discharges only 8-24 gallons of water per minute, but a fire hose releases 50-125 gallons per minute.

 

Myth 2: All Sprinkler Heads Activate During a Fire

 

FACT: Sprinkler heads are constructed to respond to temperatures only above 155 °F. A temperature-sensitive glass bulb with a liquid or metal alloy inside keeps the fire sprinkler head in position. The bulb directs pressure to a pipe cap, stopping water from discharging through the system. So, only the sprinkler heads close to the fire will trigger, leaving unaffected areas dry.

 

Myth 3: Sprinklers Are Too Sensitive

 

FACT: Although sprinkler systems are sensitive to fire, that doesn’t mean they’ll be touched off by someone burning their lunch or smoking a cigarette. Only 1 in 16 million sprinkler heads activate accidentally, so their benefits far outweigh any extremely minimal risks. And the most common reason why a sprinkler fails to operate is that the system was shut off at some point before the fire.

 

Myth 4: Smoke Alarms Set Off Sprinkler Systems

 

FACT: Fire sprinkler systems and smoke alarms operate independently. Smoke alarms perceive smoke particles which cause them to sound a warning, which is very important because you need a warning before a fire has had time to spread too far. But fire sprinkler heads are only heat activated. One won’t set off the other.

 

As a Chicagoland business owner, safety is required to keep your operations running smoothly. To help guarantee your company will be more secure from fire damage, it’s a sound idea to install commercial fire sprinklers and affix fire extinguishers throughout your establishment.

But if the unexpected does occur, help is nearby. At ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, we’re both fire damage and water damage clean up professionals. We offer 24-Hour Emergency Recovery Services and are dedicated to getting your business back up and running as quickly 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

Water Damage Invites Termites Into Your Chicagoland Property

You’re probably already aware that water damage is more than a nuisance. It may also elicit severe damage to your Chicagoland home or business. But there’s another side effect of water damage you might not know about. It also attracts insects – both the kind that can cause disease and those that can destroy your home.

The types of bugs that are drawn to water damage include carpenter ants, termites, silverfish, beetles, roaches, etc. They enter a building when its walls and foundation are weakened by water damage, using electrical wires as superhighways throughout a structure. The insects that can cause the most destruction are termites. But what attracts them to a water damaged structure?           

Termites, like other insects, need to be surrounded by moisture to survive. Normally they live underground in cool, damp environments, so water soaked wood makes a perfect replacement home for them while supplying them with an almost endless buffet. That’s why water damage that’s ignored can promote termite infestation in any structure.                     

Termite infestations are extremely destructive to a property and expensive to fix. Usually they call for a whole-house treatment. The problem can start unnoticeably and often an owner won’t even be aware of the damage until he hires a professional restoration service like Chicago’s own ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons to do a water damage inspection.

 

 

The Experts Chime In

The University of Kentucky’s College of Food and Agriculture wrote a highly informative Q&A article on termite infestations. In it they talk about what and how much damage termites can do to a home, what a homeowner can do if there’s an infestation, and how difficult it can be for homeowners to ascertain if termites have infested their home or business at the early stage of infestation: 

“Oftentimes, there will be no clear indication of infestation. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can even progress undetected in exposed wood because the outer surface usually remains intact. Confirmation of termites often requires the keen eye of a professional — however, even the most experienced inspector can overlook signs that are hidden.”

As previously mentioned, termites love moisture and humidity. If a home or business isn’t adequately ventilated or has unrepaired leaks, a termite infestation can take place. That’s why the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns against not repairing leaks and water damage sources immediately. On the EPA official website, they discuss how to prevent these pests from invading your home.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) also emphasizes the termite’s love for wet weather, moisture, and humidity. It indicates that pests, including termites, could swarm during wet and warm weather. Pestworld.org published this NPMA warning:

“Residual winter moisture will create ideal conditions for mosquito larval habitats to form in standing water and will allow termite populations to flourish. With [rainy weather], expect increased cockroach and ant pressure as they move indoors for shelter.”

The bottom line to all this information is simple; never, ever, allow water damage that’s occurred to your Chicago area home or business go unrepaired. It must be addressed immediately to avoid an infestation of termites and other damage from wreaking havoc to property. Call the water damage cleanup professionals at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons immediately whenever water damage occurs. Whether the destruction is large or small, we can take care of it.

 

 

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

How Environmental Hygienists Find Mold You Can’t See

Once upon a time if you couldn’t see something you generally weren’t worried about it. Today, with the advances in science and technology, we now understand that gases and micro-pollutants in the air – even those that can’t be seen or smelled – can affect our health and well-being. So, air quality can no longer be judged by our senses alone, especially indoors. And one of those invisible micro-pollutants that can affect the quality of inside air is mold.

 

How Mold Enters the Airstream

Molds are fungi often hidden away in warm, humid corners of your Chicagoland home. Although they look stationary, molds have ways of getting into the air and thus into your lungs. To reproduce, they release spores into the air. And if the mold dries out, fragments will break off and attach to existing dust in your air where they can harm both the air quality and your health. Molds can stimulate allergic reactions, and some toxic molds might even weaken your immune system.

 

How Technology Helps Find Mold

During mold remediation, environmental hygienists test the air during and after mold cleanup to determine how effectively the contaminants are being removed or contained. This is done by using a laser particle counter to determine the number of airborne particles. This device draws in a sample of air, shines a laser light across the air stream inside of it and electronically counts the particles that cross the path of the beam. In contaminated environments, the amount of particles will be very high, but after a thorough cleaning, they’ll be significantly lower.

Laser particle counter measurements show over 99% of the particles floating in indoor air that are one micron (1/1,000,000 of a meter) or smaller. The EPA calls these lung-damaging particles because they can lodge deep in the lungs when inhaled. Although a particle counter can’t differentiate between spores, skin fragments or cotton fibers, using one can help determine if the property is experiencing a mold problem and can be used for additional quality-control and post-remediation checking. 

Certain websites allow mold testing companies to enter data from a particle counter and get prompt online results so that you’ll have an answer quickly, instead of having to wait days or weeks for results.

 

ServiceMaster By Simons Works With Environmental Hygienists

Many of our customers who research mold cleanup, mold removal, or mold remediation services may be surprised to discover ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides professional mold remediation, cleanup and removal in Chicago and its suburbs. After an independent environmental hygienist has tested and observed the air in your home or business and a positive report is received, our licensed technicians identify the problem and possible causes, such as water leaks or moisture issues. 

Our IICRC Certified technicians follow a systematic and well-planned mold abatement and remediation process to clean up mold and repair your property to your satisfaction. Contact ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons today for free on-site estimates for mold removal and remediation in the Chicagoland area.

 

 

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

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

How HEPA Filters Protect You

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Why Only Professionals Should Tackle Raw Sewage Cleanup

Whether you’ve smelled it as you’ve drove by a spill or you’ve had it backed up in your Chicagoland home or business, the nauseating odor of raw sewage is difficult to forget. Sadly, the terrible odor isn’t the worst of it.

What is raw sewage?

Raw sewage is waste that has not been cleaned and treated and originates from residential, institutional, or business buildings. It isn’t simply liquid; it may also contain toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and additional human wastes. It’s also called black water, which is swarming with deadly bacteria and viruses that can turn previously clean and safe indoor living areas into contaminated danger zones.

What are the health risks?

Raw sewage is a mixture of foul material. It’s the perfect breeding ground for nearly all kinds of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms. Raw sewage consists of an almost endless list of toxic pathogens and contact with them can cause you to be violently ill or perhaps kill you.

How do professionals protect themselves?

It’s vital that raw sewage is kept from touching your skin, especially where there are cuts, sores and any mucus membrane related to the eyes, ears and nose. That’s why disaster restoration professionals like ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons cover up entirely in PPE (personal protective equipment) which comprises of full body suits, full face respirators, gloves, rubber boots, etc. They additionally keep a complete stock of respirator and sanitizer wipes, as well as access to an eye wash station and a change of clothes.

What can I do to protect my family?

Keep animals, kids, and the elderly away from the area that’s been contaminated as they’re typically more vulnerable to germs and bacteria. Carefully wash all items touched by sewage immediately. Though it’s not always possible to avoid raw sewage backups, you can decrease the odds of one happening by having your drain lines examined at least twice annually. Also, make sure you repair slow drains immediately, don’t pour grease down drains and have your pipes flushed frequently.

Can sewage damaged contents be saved?

If some contents of your Chicagoland home or business were soiled by sewage, your first thought might be to quickly dispose of them. But though they may have been saturated in the worst sludge imaginable, many can be meticulously cleaned and sanitized so that you can securely use them again. But there are exceptions:

  • Absorbent materials or items that soaked up any sewage water are non-salvageable and must be discarded. These include carpeting and padding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, curtains, books, etc. Clothes, towels, and linens can generally be safely laundered and disinfected.
  • Porous structural objects such as saturated drywall, baseboard trim, paneling, insulation, and comparable materials that have absorbed wastewater cannot be disinfected and also have to be removed. If black water has seeped below the flooring, the flooring material might also need removal.

If you have questions about whether some of the contents in your home or business are salvageable or not, contact ServiceMaster By Simons immediately for your health and peace of mind.

As dangerous as they are, it’s important that you not attempt to clean up sewage spills yourself. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons has the experience, equipment and disinfectants needed to safely clean them up, protecting you, your family or your employees from becoming deathly ill.

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

How Your Businesses Can Survive a Storm

Does it seem that powerful and violent storms are becoming more common? Well, they are. There has been an astounding increase in the quantity of life-threatening weather events worldwide over the past 20 years, propelled largely by intensifying global temperatures and additional climatic changes.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has published a report showing that from 2000 to 2019, there were 7,348 major natural disasters worldwide, killing 1.23 million people and resulting in $2.97 trillion in global economic losses. In contrast, the previous 20-year period, 1980-1999, had 4,212 natural disasters that claimed 1.19 million lives and caused $1.63 trillion in economic losses.

A recent U.S. government report clarifies the overwhelming effects of climate change. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, a team of 13 federal agencies, was assembled with the help of 300 top scientists. It discovered that if greenhouse emissions are not reduced, the yearly average global temperature could surge to 90°F or more by the end of this century. This will create more frequent fire and flooding.

Additionally, a recent study published in the journal Science showed that the prevalence of significant tornado outbreaks (events lasting 1-3 days, containing numerous thunderstorms and including six or more tornadoes in close succession) have been rising in the U.S., nearly doubling in the previous half century.

“These are all things we should expect to see more and more of as climate change takes a deeper hold on our climate and on the extremities that it creates in our weather,” Jeff Schlegelmilch, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told weather.com in a recent interview.

How Storm Damage Can Affect Your Business

As seen in the above information, the odds of storm damage affecting your business are ever increasing. And having storm damage take down your company is more than an inconvenience. It’s your livelihood. Disasters also hurt your employees because of loss earnings due to downtime. They may not be able to afford to stick around until your business reopens, especially if it’s closed for days, weeks, or even months. So, as a property manager or owner, you need to not only contemplate what steps to take to clean up and repair the damage, but you’re also concerned with the health and safety of your staff and/or occupants. And time is of the essence.

Storm damage can potentially close a business forever. Here are a few sobering statistics from the Association of Small Business Development Centers:

  • More than one out of four businesses will undergo a significant crisis in any given year.
  • Of those businesses that suffer a disaster but have no emergency plan, 43% NEVER reopen.
  • Of those that do survive, only 29% are still operational two years later.

Considering these statistics, it’s vital to get your company on its feet again ASAP so that you may live to do business another day.

Don’t Go Radio Silent

If you own a business that’s forced to temporarily close due to storm damage, don’t just hang a “Reopening Soon” sign on your door. Rather, immediately and continually inform your clients as to what has occurred by posting up-to-date information on your website and social media accounts, through phone calls, direct emails and/or a customer newsletter. Doing so may soften the blow and motivate your customers to return once you reopen.

If a client is in need of your goods or services immediately, is there a comparable company that you could refer them to? You may be afraid of losing some regulars by doing so, but in reality you’ll be inspiring loyalty while spreading goodwill among customers and competitors. You might even be able to formulate a deal with a trusted competitor that pleases you both, like a finder’s fee or commission on your clients, money that can be earmarked for marketing when you’re able to reopen.

Create a Plan

Get informed ahead of time for what you need to know if a major storm or tornado hits your business. Most areas have a local emergency management office and/or a Red Cross Chapter. These organizations can provide you with information about local emergency response plans, evacuation plans and emergency shelters. It’s also a good idea for your company to invest in a NOAA Weather Radio that will alert you and your employees any time of the day or night for when possible dangerous conditions materialize.

But a recent survey by Office Depot found that that over 60% of small businesses not only don’t have a plan, they argue, “we don’t need it”.  Fooling yourself by pretending storm damage could never happen to your business is a huge mistake. You must prepare by creating a detailed disaster plan that includes:

  • Locations suitable for employee evacuation
  • Emergency contact info for every employee
  • Strategies to protect and access critical business records
  • Possible off-site locations that employees can temporarily work from
  • Your business’s insurance company contact info
  • A pre-emergency plan with a trusted disaster restoration company

Disaster restoration companies like ServiceMaster By Simons will, at no charge, create a prequalified emergency restoration plan for your company. This inclusive document contains vital information about your business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations, the general layout of your building and other areas of import. Keeping this documentation on hand helps business owners and restoration firms to react to unforeseen events quickly and effectively, which helps to minimize business interruption.

There are numerous reasons why a business needs an emergency restoration plan. The benefits of a having one simplifies and accelerates the restoration process by:

  • Receiving a priority response from your commercial restoration company
  • Reducing costs due to quick response time and prior planning
  • Decreasing any downtime you may experience
  • Cleaning and restoring vital documents and property
  • Reducing stress because important decisions are already made
  • Having an experienced and fully-equipped restoration service at the ready 24/7

Your ultimate objective as a business that’s had storm damage is to be able to operate again. The function of a commercial emergency restoration plan is to ensure you’re able to do so with as little time and money lost as possible.

You May Not Need to Shut Down

If the damage to your building is serious enough to need repairs, but not catastrophic, your concern may be: Can I run my business while the damage restoration process is ongoing? You’ll be happy to know that respected restoration companies like ServiceMaster By Simons, while working with countless businesses and property owners over the years, have nearly always found ways to keep those businesses operating as efficiently as possible while the restoration process is ongoing.

This is done when the restoration company keeps a clear channel of communication open with business owners. They work out what the owners’ requirements are and how the restorer can operate around them in ways that are the least intrusive. For instance, a good restoration company can schedule for the dirtiest work to be completed when your personnel and customers aren’t there. They’ll also cordon off the damaged areas so as not to endanger your staff or hinder your business. That way restoration cleanup can move forward while allowing your business to stay open.

So as serious as storm damage can be, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. By meticulous planning and partnering with the help you’ll need, there’s no reason why you should have to shut your doors permanently.

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

 

How 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