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Don't let Severe Weather ruin your Summer

6/14/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Don't let Severe Weather ruin your Summer Be severe weather ready

Severe Weather can affect your property in multiple ways. With Summer in Illinois is full effect there’s always things to prepare for Thunderstorms to keep yourself safe. These tips listed below will help you know what to do to save your property and love ones from damage.

How to Prepare for Thunderstorms

  • Learn about your local community’s emergency warning system for severe thunderstorms
  • Discuss thunderstorm safety and lightning safety with all members of your household
  • Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail
  • Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a severe thunderstorm
  • Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches
  • Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home
  • Consult your local fire department if you are considering installing lightning rods
  • Get trained in first aid and learn how to respond to emergencies
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit
  • Review the Be Red Cross Ready - Thunderstorm Safety Checklist

We are here for any size Storm Damage situation 24 hours a day and 7 days a week! Call Today 847-557-1080.

Preventing Electrical Fires in your Home

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Preventing Electrical Fires in your Home Overloading circuits are a major cause of home fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 47,700 home fires in the U.S. are caused by electrical failures or malfunctions each year. These fires result in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage. Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. Help lower your risk of electrical fires by not overloading your electrical system.

Overloaded circuit warning signs:

  • Flickering, blinking, or dimming lights
  • Frequently tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses
  • Warm or discolored wall plates
  • Cracking, sizzling, or buzzing from receptacles
  • Burning order coming from receptacles or wall switches
  • Mild shock or tingle from appliances, receptacles, or switches

When choosing lighting for your home, it is important to understand that some light switches have more functions than simply turning on lights.  These added features such as timers and dimmers can make your home more convenient and efficient. If you are thinking of making a switch, contact a qualified electrician to make sure that the lighting you choose is compatible with your home.  And remember, all light switches should be installed by a professional.

Don't Take These Warning Signs Lightly:

  • The wall plate is hot to the touch.
  • There is discoloration of or around the switch plate.
  • Lights dim and/or flicker without cause.
  • You hear crackling, popping, or buzzing from your outlet.
  • Often Breakers trip or fuses blow when the switch is turned on.
  • You detect an odor when a switch is used.
  • The switch leans to one side or feels loose when operating.
  • You often experience a shock when operating the switch.
  • Lights get brighter or dimmer when other appliances turn on or off.
  • The home is over 40 years old and has aluminum wiring, but has not recently undergone a safety inspection by an electrician.  

If your lighting control points are characterized by any of the above, have your home's electrical system inspected by a qualified electrician as soon as possible.

How to prevent electrical overloads:

  • Never use extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliances
  • All major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Only plug one heat producing appliance into a receptacle outlet at a time
  • A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have a qualified electrician inspect your home and add new outlets
  • Power strips only add additional outlets; they do not change the amount of power being received from the outlet

Hopefully these tips can help keep your home safe and protected from fires caused by electrical malfunction, though accidents do occur. Our crews here at SERVPRO of Highland Park/Deerfield see a handful of electrical fires each year, especially during the summer when extra fans and a/c units are plugged in and in winter when plug in heaters are in use as well as holiday lights. 

Understanding Commercial Flood Insurance

6/12/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Understanding Commercial Flood Insurance Is your Business covered from a Flood?

Flood insurance is a coverage that is often overlooked by many businesses that are not located within a Special Hazard Flood Area (SHFA), aka the 100 year flood plain.  Contrary to popular belief, flood insurance can be purchased by just about anyone in the United States whether you are in a SHFA or not.

The federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the primary writer of flood insurance in the country; however they offer only limited property limits and limited coverage options. For a business, the NFIP will offer up to $500,000 of coverage on the building and $500,000 of coverage on the contents in the building, with deductible options up to $50,000.  However, unlike most property policies that will offer Replacement Cost coverage (no deduction for depreciation), the NFIP’s loss settlement structure is Actual Cash Value only, meaning they willdeduct for depreciation on both the building and the contents.  Also, the deductible applies separately to the building and contents (two deductibles).  Finally, the NFIP does NOT offer Business Interruption coverage.  So if your business is shut down for any period of time after a flood loss, there will be no compensation for your lost business income.

Fortunately, there are a few non-NFIP insurance markets that have recently begun writing flood insurance in competition with the NFIP, and some will offer Business Interruption coverage.  But non-NFIP markets don’t accept every risk like the NFIP does so they won’t write everyone.  Another possible way to get Business Interruption coverage is to purchase excess flood coverage above the NFIP policy.  This would give you additional flood property limits above the NFIP’s $500,000 and then you may be able to add Business Interruption coverage to the excess policy.  You would have to decide if the additional cost is worth the coverage, but most people who have suffered an uncovered loss usually wish they had paid the extra money after the fact.

Tips on protecting your vehicle during a hail storm

6/12/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Tips on protecting your vehicle during a hail storm Hail can do a lot of damage to your vehicle

A hail storm can do a lot of damage to the windows, metal, and paint of your car, but there are steps you can take to protect your car from damage, with the recent spring storms here in Northern IL scattering anything from pea sized to baseball sized hail it’s important to know what to do if and when a hail storm strikes. Here are some tips to help keep you safe during extreme weather.

  • Get covered parking—Covered parking can save you a lot of hassle and money, especially in the middle of the country. Make sure to listen to hourly weather reports and move your car into the garage before a storm hits. Don't wait till the last minute to have a space cleared out to properly store you're car. If you don't have room in your garage or a carport, seek alternative parking.
  • Ride out the storm—If you don’t have access to covered parking, try to find temporary shelter. Local malls, for example, usually have parking garages where you could park if you know a storm is brewing. If you don’t have a covered place to store your vehicle, find those options for the big storms. Use large buildings as hail shadows if you can’t find an area with covered parking. If a storm is coming from the east, for example, park on the west side of a large building. If the winds are strong enough, the building may be able to shield your car, causing hail to blow completely past it. If you do get stuck driving in hail, it's best to travel either toward or away from it. The reason is because windshields are better designed to withstand the impact of hail, whereas side windows may not be.
  • Use blankets or car covers—If you don’t have a shelter option, and you know a storm is coming, get something over your car. Some companies sell car covers specific to this purpose, but you can use your own blankets as well. Just make sure you duct tape them down—the winds can pick up pretty quickly during hail storms. The tape can leave a sticky residue on your car, but most likely won’t cause any damage to the paint. (Prepare in advance for this. Opt for personal safety and don’t do this if the storm is happening within a matter of minutes.) If you’re caught someplace where you don’t have the option to cover your car this way you can use your floor mats to place over your windshield to help prevent the hail from breaking it. It’s not the best option but at least it’s something

Always stay protected during a hail storm and do not leave your vehicle unless it’s necessary as hail can cause serious bodily damage. If you’re caught in a hail storm while driving and large sized hail is hitting your car, pull over, Make sure you pull completely off the highway, and cover up with a blanket, jacket or whatever you have available in your car to use to shield yourself just in case the hail were to break any glass in your vehicle. Get onto the floor face down, or lay down on the seat with your back to the windows if possible. Put very small children under you, and cover their eyes.

9 Tips for Safe Summer Grilling

6/11/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 9 Tips for Safe Summer Grilling These easy to follow tips will help you and your family enjoy safe summer BBQs.

As the weather gets warmer, more people use outdoor grills. Each year, outdoor grilling causes an average of 8,900 home fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 

Gas grills cause more home fires that charcoal grills, but regardless of the type you own here are 9 BBQ safety tips that will keep you and your home safe this summer.

  1. Grill outside and away from any structures

Charcoal and gas grills are designed for outdoor use only. However, NFPA reports that more than one-quarter (27%) of home fires started by outdoor grills began in a courtyard, terrace or patio, and 29% started on an exterior balcony or open porch. Pay attention to overhanging tree branches when you set up your grill.

  1. Make sure your grill is stable

Only set up your grill on a flat surface and make sure the grill can’t be tipped over. Consider using a grill pad or splatter mat underneath your grill to protect your deck or patio.

  1. Keep your grill clean

Remove grease or fat buildup from both the grill and the tray below the grill. If you are using a charcoal grill, allow the coals to completely cool off before disposing of them in a metal container.

  1. Check for propane leaks on your gas grill

Before you barbecue, check the gas tank hose for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose and then turning on the gas. If there is a propane leak, the solution will bubble. Other signs of a propane leak include the smell of gas near the barbecue or a flame that won’t light.

  1. If the flame goes out, wait to re-light

If you are using a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn the grill and the gas off, then wait at least five minutes to re-light it.

  1. Take care around the grill

Never leave a lit grill unattended. Don’t allow kids or pets to play near the grill. Never try to move a lit or hot grill, and remember the grill will stay hot for at least an hour after use.

  1. Be careful with charcoal starter fluid

If you use a charcoal grill, only use charcoal starter fluid. If the fire starts to go out, don’t add any starter fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. Consider using a charcoal chimney starter, which uses newspaper to start the fire instead of starter fluid.

  1. Wear the right clothing

Clothing can easily catch fire, so be sure your shirt tails, sleeves or apron strings don’t dangle over the grill.

  1. Be ready to put out the fire

Have baking soda on hand to control a grease fire and a fire extinguisher nearby for other fires. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand next to the grill. Never use water to put out grease fire.

We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration

5/29/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration Sump Pump damage can spread quickly

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe

  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home

  • Storm sewer backup

  • Sanitary sewer backup

  • Foundation drainage failure

  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure

  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today – 847-432-1222

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Highland Park/Deerfield and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week

  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies

  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About

  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques

  • We use S500 IICRC Restoration Standards

  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

How's the air quality inside your home?

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO How's the air quality inside your home? Could dirty air vents be making you sick?

Did you know that your ventilation system determines your indoor air quality? Dirty ducts can circulate contaminates such as mold or irritating dust as well as unwanted odors throughout your home or business. SERVPRO of Highland Park/Deerfield is a professional service that will inspect and clean your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit (HVAC).

How does our SERVPRO Duct Cleaning System work?

  1. Our patented equipment automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth prior to beginning vacuuming.
  2. A powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system that will transfer the debris from the duct to a 16-gallon container.
  3. Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the air stream. These HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
  4. Part of an optional process, a sealant or coating may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.

In addition, filters will need to be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.

Improve your indoor air quality today!

For more information or to schedule a residential or commercial duct cleaning appointment, contact us at 847-557-1080.

24/7 Water Damage Clean Up

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage 24/7 Water Damage Clean Up Call us 24/7 for your water damage needs

SERVPRO of Highland Park/Deerfield is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today – 847-557-1080

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Highland Park/Deerfield has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Highland Park/Deerfield

SERVPRO of Highland Park specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Cleaner Air with Houseplants?

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Cleaner Air with Houseplants? Over 26 different plants can clean the air for you

Sure, that potted fern is pretty, but can it really help with the air quality in your home?

Plants are notoriously adept at absorbing gases through pores on the surface of their leaves. It's this skill that facilitates photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy and carbon dioxide into chemical energy to fuel growth. Indoor plants help with removing harmful compounds from the air.

Scientists studying the air-purification capacities of indoor plants have found that plants can absorb many other gases in addition to carbon dioxide, including a long list of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Benzene (found in some plastics, fabrics, pesticides and cigarette smoke) and formaldehyde (found in some cosmetics, dish detergent, fabric softener and carpet cleaner) are examples of common indoor VOCs that plants help eliminate. These VOCs and other indoor air pollutants (such as ozone) have been linked to numerous acute conditions, including asthma and nausea, as well as chronic diseases such as cancer and respiratory illnesses.

An indoor plant's ability to remove these harmful compounds from the air is an example of phytoremediation, which is the use of any plant — indoors or out — to mitigate pollution in air, soil or water.

Some of the plants that scientists have found most useful in removing VOCs include Japanese royal ferns, spider plants, Boston ferns, purple waffle plants, English ivy, areca palms, golden pothos, aloe vera, snake plants and peace lilies.

Clean Air is important when it comes to your home and since winter is still keeping everyone indoors, clean indoor air is a must.

Importance of Reviewing your Insurance

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Importance of Reviewing your Insurance How long has it been since your last review?

When was the last time you evaluated your coverages with your agent? Your agent can do an annual check and make sure you are covered where you need it (and aren't paying for coverages you've outgrown). Life changes fast, make sure your insurance keeps up. If you have been wondering if you could bundle your policies, need a different life insurance policy, or bought a new boat, you could use an insurance check. Contact your agent and schedule a brief review today.

Update Home Inventory

Your home inventory is a tool that your agent can use to determine the right level of coverage for your homeowner insurance. Plus, if you have a claim, having an up-to-date inventory will benefit you and get your claim paid faster. If you haven't done an inventory on your home in a while, we have some tips on where to start. If you have completed an inventory, right after the holidays are and ideal time to update! Be sure to share the updated home inventory with your agent when you're done.

Right-Size Your Life Insurance

Life insurance is not one-size-fits-all. Your coverage needs to evolve over time. If you don't have a policy yet, now is a great time to talk to your agent about what type of policy would best suit your needs (and your budget.) We have six things to look for in a life insurance policy.

If you do already have life insurance, is it working hard for you? Could you get more benefit out of your policy while you are still living? Maybe. Talk to your agent about the ways you can make your existing policy work for you and your family.

Earn Discounts

Did you know that you can play a part in determining your auto insurance rates? Check with your agent to see if you qualify for a program that can help you earn discounts based on your good driving behavior. You can also monitor your vehicle health and environmental impact in the process.

If you have a teen driver in the house, you may be able to save even more with a Young Driver Safety program. With this program, drivers under the age of 25 can learn safe driving behaviors, and help you earn discounts on your auto policy premiums.

Prepare for the Unexpected

You try to be as prepared as possible, but you never know what is right around the corner. Prepare for unexpected risks with an umbrella policy. Umbrella earns its name because the coverage arches over your vehicle and homeowner's insurance to provide an extra layer of protection: it starts where vehicle and homeowner's insurance liability limits stop. You might be surprised by all the things umbrella policies cover for an affordable price.