Recent Posts

Deerfield Flooding, Storms and Mold

7/18/2019 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO for water damage from storms

After a disaster or storm when a significant amount of homes and businesses have been affected by water damage many people have concerns and questions about mold indoors. Any material that is wet must get dried quickly. Mold growth can occur within 48-72 hours in a damp, high humidity environment.

With a water loss from a Category Three contamination, some material may need to be discarded. Water from a flood that comes in a home is filled with contaminants, pesticides, animal droppings, fuel, and silt. With water intrusion in the home, the relative humidity temperature indoors can raise giving mold the perfect climate to grow.

Our SERVPRO of Highland Park/ Deerfield technicians are Institute of Inspection and Cleaning Restoration (IICRC) trained to remove water and decrease the relative humidity in your home after water infiltration. If mold is visible, there are different methods of removal based on the material that mold resides. At the job completion, SERVPRO of Highland Park/ Deerfield also uses an antimicrobial solution to assure that no mold spores will grow in the present mitigation project.

Fire Pit Safety

7/18/2019 (Permalink)

Enjoy your firepit more after following these tips.

Relaxing around a fire pit is one of the best ways to spend a summer night. They are a perfect addition to your outdoor space, but they key to having fun is staying safe. Outdoor fire pit injuries have tripled in the last few years. 

Here are eight easy safety guidelines to follow to ensure you have fun without worry:

1. Choose the right location.

The first step to fire pit safety? Finding a level surface in an open area. Your fire pit should be at least 10 feet from your home, your neighbor’s yard and any plants. Overhanging branches, wooden decks, or fences are a big no-no. That means fire pits should never be beneath canopies, below covered patios or under trees.

2. Pick your fuel.

If you’re going for a nostalgic fire pit, a wood-burning pit is the way to go — enjoy the kindling and the crackling. Want fire on demand? Gas or propane pits offer a quick-lighting option. And, now, many store-bought fire pits allow you to switch between wood and gas.

3. Use the right wood.

Make sure to use seasoned hard woods. Construction materials like plywood can release toxic fumes, white soft woods can spark and pop excessively. Only use wood that’s short enough to fit entirely in your pit, so it doesn’t stick out.

4. Don’t use fuel accelerates.

Like with fireplaces, using fuel accelerates like lighter fluid is extremely unsafe. Not only can they release toxic fumes, but they can start an explosion or cause your fire to grow too quickly.

5. Buy and use a screen.

Fire pit screens are one of the best way to keep your fire in the pit. You’ll protect your guests from errant embers and sparks that could ignite dry material like clothing. Choose a screen of heat-resistant metal like cast iron or steel.

6. Always check the weather report and burn status.

Windy days are dangerous for fires, as it can unexpectedly spread. Before heading out to the fire pit, check with your county’s air quality department. When pollution levels are high, this government body may issue “no burn” restrictions to limit particulate matter and carbon dioxide levels.

7. Be smart around fire.

You wouldn’t leave your children around an unattended pool, right? Always have an adult present when the fire is burning. Don’t wear flowy clothing that could flutter into the flame. Don’t drink excessively when burning a fire. And never leave a fire pit burning overnight.

8. Alert your insurance agent.

You may need to disclose your fire pit for your homeowners insurance policy. Reach out to your Farm Bureau agent to make sure your yard and home are properly protected.

What is that Stain on the ceiling?

6/26/2019 (Permalink)

Big or small, water stains can lead to mold if not properly inspected.

You’ve likely seen a brown sport or a yellow stain on ceiling drywall somewhere, like a living room ceiling. These yellow stains with light brownish borders are water spots, which are often caused by a roof or pipe leak above the ceiling where the spot is located.

Many DIY websites advice you to find and fix the cause of the leak and then apply latex paint on the spot on the ceiling to cover up the stain.  

But you also need to check for moisture! If you have a water damage and don’t properly dry the area it affected, you are setting up an environment ready for mold growth.

Moisture Leads to Mold in Attic

Since we tend to see these water stains on a ceiling, we tend to spot the area of trouble coming from the attic. Some homeowners and commercial property managers that have called us have followed DIY advice websites but forgot to check for moisture. What this means is simply that they didn’t properly dry their attic after finding a water damage, which many times is caused by a roof leak. The result was an attic space that remained dark, warm, and humid. In other words, the attic became a prime spot for different types of mold growth.

The problem of indoor humidity is also common in places where hot water is used. For example, bathrooms where a hot shower is run at least once a day are prime spots for moisture problems. A simple solution is to turn on the exhaust fan after running hot water. This lets the humidity leave the room which will help with possible mold growth.

Underestimating the Water Damage Restoration Process

Many people underestimate the water damage restoration process, and we can understand why.  On the surface, it all looks simple enough. Extract the water, set down drying equipment, and you’re done. However, there is science behind the decisions made by professional water damage restoration companies.

For us at SERVPRO of Highland Park/Deerfield, every decision is data driven. Our technicians use a sophisticated program that uses psychometric measurements and principles to set just the right amount of drying equipment. We’re also trained to place that equipment in the correct places to maximize the efficiency of our professional machines. Finally, we visit every water damaged property every day to monitor atmospheric readings that tell us how well the drying process is going and if we need to make any changes.

What If I See a Water Spot on My Ceiling?

Don’t wait to get it taken care. Since the spot is a symptom of a problem in the space above it, delaying getting it fixed may result in further damage to your property.  

SERVPRO of Highland Park/Deerfield is a full service provider. If you find a water spot, we’ll do the following:

  1. Find the source of the leak and get it fixed.  

The leak will likely be from a slowly leaking pipe or small roof damage. In the case of roof damage, we will install an emergency roof tarp to prevent other types of weather from entering your home. Our reconstruction team can give you a bid to permanently fix your roof, or we can work directly with your insurance company to process your roof damage claim.

  1. Check for wet structure and materials in your attic.  

We will inspect your attic and find all the wet spots. Our team of technicians will set up the right professional equipment to start the drying process. We will monitor the equipment and atmospheric readings of your attic every day until we know its been dried to goal.

Any insulation that is wet will have to be removed. We will bag it and vacuum the area to get the space ready for new, dry insulation.

If we find that any material has been permanently damaged due to the water damage, it will be removed and replaced. It’s especially important to replace structural elements a home needs to stay stable like cross beams. Our reconstruction team will get involved if any rebuild needs to happen.

  1. Perform a mold inspection and, if needed, mold remediation.

If we find a mold problem in your attic,  we will begin mold remediation steps. Small or large, we have handled both situations hundreds of times for all kinds of mold, and we will walk you through it every step of the way.

  1. Inspect your ceiling.

If your ceiling is intact, dry, and safe, it’s okay to leave it as is. If you’d like it repainted to match the rest of your ceiling, this can easily be scheduled.  

If your ceiling has suffered permanent damage, we will cut out the damaged portion and dispose of it. A temporary ceiling cover will be placed to protect the room from the work happening in the attic. The damaged portion can be rebuilt by our reconstruction team and painted to look at like the rest of the ceiling.  

Filing an Insurance Claim

If you choose to file an insurance claim, we’ll be there to help. We routinely work with every insurance company to process our customer’s claims.  

Once you receive a claim number, the administrator assigned to your file will make contact with your insurance adjuster and begin the paperwork. We will send your adjuster daily updates and documentation of the work being performed. If you ever have any questions about your claim, your administrator will be ready to help.

Common Commercial Water Damage Problems

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

Whether your business has a broken pipe or another common issue that can lead to water damage, it’s often helpful to know how to react to prevent major damage from occurring. Knowing what problems commonly occur and how to react can help you prevent your business from sustaining water damage.

1. Sewer Backups

Sewer backups are often caused by blockages, and backups can result in costly repairs. However, knowing the signs of a sewer backup can help you prevent your business from flooding. If a sewer is backed up, you may notice that your sinks or toilets aren’t draining as quickly as they should. If you do have a backup, it can be helpful to have a plumber inspect your sewer lines, and regularly having your sewer lines cleaned can help to prevent future backups.

2. Pipe Issues

While a broken pipe can cause a building to flood, a leaky pipe can also cause damage to a business. Often, you can temporarily fix a leaky pipe by sealing it. However, because a leaky pipe could be an indicator of other issues, you may want to have your pipes examined to ensure there aren’t any hidden problems. In the case of a pipe that is broken, turning off the water in your building is often the best solution.

3. Faulty Appliances

In addition to sewer systems and pipes causing water damage, appliances can also be the cause of water damage. Frequently cleaning your appliances can help prevent them from malfunctioning. However, if you do notice that an appliance is leaking, backed up or is simply not working as it should, knowing how to safely and quickly shut off the appliance can be helpful.

Understanding what water damage issues commonly occur in businesses and knowing what to do if you notice these issues can help protect your business. If your business has been damaged from a broken pipe or other problems, it can help to work with water repair experts.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

6/24/2019 (Permalink)

Having access to a fire extinguisher in your  home at all times is important to home safety but do you know what type of extinguisher to have ? Did you know that there are different types of fire extinguishers for different types of fires? Fire extinguishers are sorted into  different categories based on the types of fire they are used on there is Class A,B, C and K fires and the fire extinguishers are labeled according to the type of fire the extinguish. Here are the types of extinguishers and the types of fires they extinguish:

Class A extinguishers are water extinguishers and are used on ordinary combustibles such as:

  • Paper
  • Cloth
  • Wood
  • Rubber
  • And many plastics

*** Never use water extinguishers to extinguish flammable liquid fires.

*** Never use water extinguishers to extinguish an electrical fire.

Class extinguishers are CO2 Extinguishers and are used on flammable liquids such as:

  • Fires in oils
  • Gasoline
  • Some paints
  • Lacquer
  • Grease
  • Solvents
  • And other flammable liquids

*** Never use CO2 extinguishers in a confined space, it can create a breathing hazard if proper respiratory equipment is not being used.

Class extinguishers are a Dry Chemical Extinguisher and are used on electrical equipment such as:

  • Fires in wiring
  • Fuse boxes
  • Energized electrical equipment
  • Computers
  • Other electrical sources

Class extinguishers are used for kitchen fires such as:

  • Fires involving combustible cooking fluids such as oils and fats

Multipurpose extinguishers combine Class A,B,and C  is a multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher and can be used on:

  • Class A,B and C fires.

Now that we have gone over the types of fire extinguishers in your home, what do you do in the event of a fire at your home?

  1. Call the Fire department immediately
  2. Make sure you have a safe exit strategy before approaching the fire. Do not allow the fire to come between you or your exit.
  3. Identify the proper fire extinguisher needed ( Having an A,B,C extinguisher would cover all possible scenarios)
  4. Use the P.A.S.S. technique to extinguish the fire . P.A.S.S. stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.
  5. Back away from the extinguished fire in case of a flare up.
  6. Evacuate immediately if the extinguisher is empty and /or the fire progresses past the initial stage.

If the fire is out of control or you doubt your ability to extinguish it ...EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY! The safety of you and your family is of the utmost importance, personal belongings and homes can be replaced, your life can not.

After the fire has been extinguished by you or the fire department give us a call here at SERVPRO of Highland Park/Deerfield. We have years of experience in fire and water damage. Our team of technicians is experienced and trained in dealing with fire and water clean up. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week , 365 days a year. Call us at 847-557-1080.

Don't let Severe Weather ruin your Summer

6/14/2019 (Permalink)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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.