Fire Dangers Don’t End When the Flames are Dowsed

 

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One of your worst nightmares has occurred. You’ve experienced a fire at your Chicagoland home or business. So, once the firemen leave, your first inclination may be to go inside the structure to see what you can salvage and start the cleaning process. But cleaning up after a fire is much more complicated than regular cleaning. It’s also very dangerous. Because once the last flame has been snuffed out, the dangers from a fire continue.

Soot Hazards

Since fire destroys all materials, the soot that covers everything you touch and that you kick up in the air after a blaze is full of toxic substances. That’s why the highly trained professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons wear heavy duty personal protection equipment (PPE) on fire mitigation jobs until all the soot is removed.

Here are some of the poisons found in the soot and ashes of a building fire:

  • Mesothelioma (cancer) causing asbestos fibers from building materials
  • Carbon materials can produce carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides
  • PVC can create hydrogen chloride, phosgene (used as a chemical weapon during World War I), dioxin, Refrigerant-40, bromomethane (a pesticide), etc.
  • Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide (poisonous gasses)
  • Petroleum based items can produce formaldehyde, acrolein, furfural, cresols, and other harmful chemicals
  • Even wood smoke releases more than 100 chemicals also found in cigarette smoke

Children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are predominantly at risk when exposed to smoke and soot. Its adverse effects have been known since the 19th century when the British Parliament passed the Chimney Sweepers Act 1875, partly in response to its association with cancer – the first ever occupational health legislation.

Professionals Not Immune

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health has found that firefighters have higher rates of cancer than the general population due to exposure to smoke and toxic soot because many did not wear the proper gear. In fact, The International Association of Firefighters says cancer is now the leading cause of death among firefighters.

“It was never really something we thought about when I first started 32 years ago. It was a badge of honor to come out with all your gear dirty,” said Peter Silva Jr., a former firefighter. “If you didn’t wear your mask in there you were a strong, aggressive firefighter, and if you went in with your mask on, you were kind of ridiculed at times.”

Because of these dangers, incident commanders are now ordering firefighters to keep their masks on until they’re away from the smoke and soot and washed down by decontamination teams on the scene. Once back at the station, they’re being told to change into a second set of turnout gear while industrial washing machines clean the dirty outfits.

If fire professionals take this issue seriously, shouldn’t you? The advice of Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn is priceless. He says, “I’ve buried way too many friends over my 33 years. Too many friends … so I tell them, ‘Think about your wife, your husband, your boyfriend, your girlfriend before you take that mask off your face.”

Because of these dangers, only fire remediation experts like those at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons should be in charge of cleaning up after a fire. We have the experience, knowledge, equipment and PPE needed to safely and thoroughly clean and repair your home or business. We also make sure there are no lingering odors. And since smoke and soot affects not only the structure of your Chicagoland home or business but also your belongings, we will ensure that those items that are salvageable will be returned only after being meticulously cleaned and sanitized.

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

How a Disaster May Add Value to Your Chicagoland Property

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Property damage from water, fire, mold, and storms can feel devastating. While experiencing a disaster, it’s hard to find an upside. But a disaster could increase your Chicagoland property value in the long run if you have the right homeowner’s coverage and restoration professionals working on the job. You see, when you file a homeowner’s claim, your contractor’s job is to get the home back to pre-loss condition. But oftentimes it turns out better, particularly if you live in an older home.

The Importance of Proper Restoration

When you experience damage to your home, it’s extremely important to have the loss inspected by ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. Proper restoration is the key to not only maintaining the value of your home, but potentially increasing its value. If damage is left unattended or is incorrectly restored or repaired by DIY efforts or a cut-rate contractor, you run the risk of additional and significant damage in the long run.

Insurance Terms to Understand

“Pre-loss condition” is an important insurance term and concept. The definition is: the condition property was in the moment before a damage occurred. Assuming your loss is covered under your policy, your insurance will pay to bring your property back to its pre-loss condition with your deductible being your only out of pocket cost.

Besides pre-loss condition, you may also hear the term “comparable materials and quality” when dealing with your insurance company. So, this means that any irreparably damaged materials resulting from the loss will be exchanged with the same or similar material of equal quality. For example, if the laminate flooring in your kitchen gets destroyed, it’ll be replaced with laminate flooring of like quality, even if the same flooring no longer exists.

In a home that’s relatively new, you probably won’t see much of an increase in value. But in an older Chicago area home, the damage to your property may turn out to be advantageous when decades old flooring, cabinets, carpets, etc., are replaced with brand new furnishings.

When to Upgrade

One thing many homeowners aren’t aware of is that they can choose to make upgrades in the event of an insurance claim. So, if you were planning a remodel but hadn’t saved up for it yet, you may be able to afford it now. This is the time to turn your damage into your benefit. Did you know that your insurance company will still only pay for comparable materials and quality less your deductible, but they certainly won’t complain if you decide to spend extra money out of your pocket to upgrade those materials. In fact, they’re happy if you do as they’re now insuring a higher quality home, and that’s a good thing in their book.

What your insurance will cover

As an example of how this would work, let’s say your kitchen cabinets and laminate counter were ruined by water damage. Your insurance will pop for replacement cabinets and a counter of comparable materials and quality, but you’ve already been thinking about a kitchen remodel and have been saving for a future project. So, you can now combine the money you’ve been saving and the money the insurance is paying to upgrade to much higher quality materials for a significantly lower out-of-pocket cost. By doing this, you vastly improve your Chicagoland property value, especially when upgrading areas of your home like the kitchen or bathroom that can be expensive to remodel but are extremely attractive to buyers.*

Whether you upgrade or not, having your home restored professionally should be your highest priority. Doing so not only increases the value of your home but will also ensure the damage is completely repaired and won’t come back to haunt you in the future.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is the Chicagoland company of choice for commercial and residential disaster restoration. Our expert staff handles large and small insurance losses and works closely with insurance adjusters, managers, building owners, developers, homeowners, and renters.

*Do not purposefully destroy areas of your home you want remodeled so you can save some money! Besides being unethical, your homeowner’s policy will not cover intentional acts in which you deliberately try to damage your property.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the Honorable Mentioned Award for 2020 Skokie Business of the Year. We are MBE/WBE certified, and family-operated.  We are an IICRC Certified and OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides 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.

After a Fire in Your Chicago Home: What to Save, What to Toss

Smoke and odor removal - servicemaster restoration by simons - chicago - north shore - oak park -il

One of the hardest tasks to deal with after a fire is deciding what you can keep and what to toss. Many objects are obvious losses but others may leave you unsure whether they’re salvageable or not. You want to save money yet you also need to stay safe. So, the following are some tips on how to handle some of the more questionable items that may have been exposed to fire and smoke.

Food

Throw out all food that’s been in contact with smoke and/or firefighting chemicals, including fresh produce, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, opened containers, food packaged in cardboard, foil, paper, plastic, cloth, screw-topped jars and canisters, and any foods stored outside the refrigerator that were exposed to smoke or fumes.

Some canned goods may still look good on the outside but heat damage can re-cook the ingredients in the can. This activates bacteria that causes food spoilage, making them unhealthy to eat.

But won’t foods that were in a refrigerator or freezer be safe?

Sometimes seals on those appliances aren’t air-tight and smoke can leak inside to damage food. If the electricity went out during the fire for more than 2 hours, then it’s likely spoilage occurred so all items should be discarded.

Medicines & Cosmetics                    

The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) says the effectiveness of drugs can be destroyed by high temperatures from a fire. If you think your medicines have been exposed to excessive heat, consider replacing them. The same is true if they’ve come into contact with firefighting extinguishing chemicals.

As to cosmetics, high heat can change their composition without showing any visible signs. They could end up damaging hair and skin. Plus, they can absorb the toxic fumes that go along with all fires, which is not anything you want to put on your skin.

Clothing

Clothes, bedding, and other fabrics can often be salvaged after a fire with proper cleaning and disinfecting. However, if anything is burned, throw it away. Use even stricter judgment when considering your child’s or baby’s clothing as they’re more susceptible to any leftover toxic residue.

Aren’t clothes safe from smoke residue and odor?

No. Rapidly expanding air during a fire easily penetrates clothing even when plastic covers are used to protect them. As the air inside the home cools down and fresh air begins to circulate, garments covered by plastic with the odor inside are not subject to the normal airing-out process. This allows the malodors to thoroughly penetrate the garment.

But what about clothes that were packed in plastic bags and stored inside of drawers and closed closets?

To add to the problem, the plastic itself will attract and retain odor to a considerable degree and so must be removed and disposed of ASAP.

Never try to salvage any possessions that could put your health at risk. When in doubt, throw it out! If you live in the Chicagoland area and have any other questions or concerns about what can be salvaged after a fire, or if you need to schedule fire restoration services, please contact ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons today.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, the 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, is MBE/WBE certified, and family-operated.  We are an IICRC Certified and OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides 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.

Thinking about ignoring water damage in your home? Here’s what can happen if you do.

Thinking about ignoring water damage in your home? Here are seven disastrous effects of choosing not to get it cleaned up now.

ignoring water damage in your Chicagoland home i

If your Chicagoland property experiences some water damage but it’s small — then it’s no big deal, right? Wrong. Even though it’s only a little bit of water, ignoring water damage in your home can lead to massive structural damage in the long run. 

If you’re thinking about ignoring water damage that seems minor, keep in mind: water is known as the universal solvent for a good reason – because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. That includes major structural parts of your home or business. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

In other words, ignoring water damage could leave you and your Chicagoland home vulnerable to structure integrity breakdowns that cost far more money to fix than simple water cleanup. Not yet convinced? Here are seven things that can happen if you go on ignoring water damage in your home: 

  • Devalued Property

The signs of water damage are difficult to hide. They’ll usually reveal themselves to any appraiser even if you attempt to paint over the stains. Also, when water’s left untreated, a repellent smell can linger which will probably turn buyers away.  Your home is likely one of your biggest financial assets — if this isn’t enough to make you stop ignoring water damage, then we don’t know what is!

  • Structural Damage  

Structural damage occurs depending on the amount of water surrounding the affected area. Drywall begins to deteriorate and the subfloor can easily warp or even split, meaning you’ll end up replacing and restoring the affected areas. Even solid materials that foundations are made of, whether masonry, concrete or stone, can soak up small amounts of water through their cracks and pores. Unless these pockets of water are removed, they can create defects in the building foundation that eventually weaken the entire structure.

  • Mold

If you continue on ignoring water damage in your home, the liquid build up can cause mold to begin growing in as quickly as 48 hours. Once mold is present, it can be very difficult and expensive to treat and remove. Also, if mold is left untreated it can spread and can cause health effects.

  • Electrical Damage

Once electrical systems are damaged by moisture, wiring, outlets, and electrical boxes become unsafe to use until they’re professionally inspected. Electrical water damage usually occurs to kitchen appliances, washing machines, dryers, hot water tanks, furnaces, and low mounted electrical outlets.

  • Health Hazards 

A home or business exposed to contaminated water from drain backups and floodwaters are susceptible to harmful bacteria and other microbes. If not treated correctly, toxins will linger on your affected furniture, carpets, and inside your HVAC system long after the water has dried. Those bacteria and microbes can cause serious respiratory issues and other health issues.

  • Lost Personal Items 

The same water that causes structural damage can destroy many personal items including, photographs, books, electronics, and personal documents, among other items. However, if you quit ignoring water damage and instead, act quickly and call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons — we can help save and restore many of your personal items.

  • And…Bugs!

Bugs love moisture and water damage creates the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, beetles, fleas, ticks, spiders, and more. And the hatching eggs and dying bugs will attract even more insects to the area as well as spread bacteria.

As you can see, when water damage occurs, immediate action is needed as it helps to minimize the damage and cleaning and restoration costs. This is why you should absolutely never plan on ignoring water damage — the best time to call in professionals for cleanup is immediately after you notice the problem! ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is strategically positioned to quickly help you restore your Chicagoland home or business. We’re here to help you rectify water damage so you nerve have to experience the wrath of its dangerous impact!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

ADA-Compliant Fire Safety for People with Disabilities

Make sure emergencies don’t turn to tragedies. Here are our top tips when it comes to ADA-compliant fire safety for people with disabilities.

ADA compliant fire safety for people with disabilities

More than 43 million Americans have a disability, over 520,000 in the Chicagoland area alone. This is an incredibly important stat when it comes to fire safety and evacuation. Every home and business should be aware of their occupants’ situation — and should work to increase well-being by implementing ADA-compliant fire safety tips for people with disabilities.

In order to understand the dangers at hand, we must first recognize the unique fire safety challenges that people with disabilities face. People living with mobility, physical, auditory, visual or mental impairments experience everyday difficulties navigating daily life. This is exactly why ADA-compliant fire safety tips for people with disabilities are crucial. For people with impairments, the risk of starting a fire or getting hurt in one due to:

  • Decreased mobility, health, sight, and hearing that may limit a person’s ability to take the quick actions necessary to escape during a fire.
  • Physical limitations. Many actions individuals can take to protect themselves from the dangers of fire may require help from a caretaker, neighbor or outside source.

To overcome their unique challenges in emergency situations, disabled ones, along with their caregivers, need to create a safety plan specific to their needs. Here are eight ADA-compliant fire safety tips for people with disabilities — whether they be physical, auditory, visual, or mental:

  1. Install ADA-compliant smoke alarms in every sleeping area and every level of your Chicagoland home. Test the alarms monthly by pressing the test button and replacing the batteries each year. If you can’t reach the test button, ask someone to test it for you. 
  2. For the hearing impaired, install smoke alarms and alert devices made specifically for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. This is, perhaps, the most important ADA-compliant fire safety tip for people with disabilities, and the best way to protect visually- or hearing-impaired residents against an already blazing fire. They detect the sound of smoke alarms and flash strobe lights to alert you. Those hard of hearing can also opt for smoke alarms that emit a loud, low-pitched sound alert. Additionally, use vibrating pillows and a bed shaker that wake you up when a fire alarm sounds. And keep a telecommunication device for the deaf (TTD) phone in your bedroom close to your bed.
  3. Always be vigilant when cooking. The kitchen is where most fires caused by people with disabilities start. Always supervise the oven or stove when cooking and use a timer. Have a fire extinguisher located nearby that’s reachable and be trained on how to use it.
  4. Live on the ground floor. Whether you live in an apartment building or a multistory home, you should arrange to live on the first floor. By doing so, you’ll be able to escape quickly and more easily in case of a fire.
  5. Discuss and practice your fire safety plan with your family, friends, building managers and/or neighbors. Practice your fire escape plan with your service animal if you have one. Be sure your fire safety plan accommodates impairments by ensuring its ADA-compliance for people with disabilities. 
  6. Let your local fire department know about your condition and explain your needs. They can perform a home fire safety inspection and suggest escape plan ideas at your request.
  7. If you use a walker or wheelchair, make sure you can easily get through your doorways. If possible, design your home around your disability. Widen the doorways and install exit ramps to make an emergency escape easier.
  8. Always keep a cell phone on or near you to call 911 if a fire or other emergency occurs. For best practice ADA-compliant fire safety for people with disabilities, make sure you let the operator know whether someone affected by the fire is impaired. 

Your Chicagoland home is where you should feel safe and secure. But often, danger occurs when we forget to pay attention to the simple things that could easily prevent a disaster. These risks are much more dangerous for people with disabilities, who have certain impairments and unique challenges in emergency situations. However, with the right planning and preparation, you’ll help keep yourself and loved ones safe when a crisis occurs. It all comes down to ensuring you’ve implemented measures that speak to ADA-compliant fire safety for people with disabilities. 

While nobody ever likes to think about disasters occurring, fires do happen in America each and every dya. It’s better to be well-prepared to make sure an emergency doesn’t turn into a tragedy. And, remember, if you do experience fire damage, call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons immediately to repair your home and return it to pre-loss or better condition.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Seven Negative Effects of Water Damage in Your Home

n’t let stray water go unchecked and save time and money on restoration. Learn about these seven negative effects of water damage in your home.

Negative effects of water damage in the home

If you experience water damage in the Chicagoland area, it can be tempting to believe it’s no big deal. Afterall, it’s only water — right? Wrong. Gone unchecked, stray H20 can bring about the negative effects of water damage in your home. 

One of the reasons why water damage in your home is so harmful is because water is known as the universal solvent — it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. And in your home, it can dissolve major structural parts and leave behind some really terrible effects of water damage. Here are seven of the most common negative effects of water damage in your home:

Devalued Property

The signs of water damage are difficult to hide. They’ll usually reveal themselves to any appraiser even if you attempt to patch affected areas or paint over the stains. Also, when water’s left untreated, a repellent smell can linger which will probably turn buyers away. 

Structural Damage  

Structural damage occurs depending on the amount of water surrounding the affected area. Drywall begins to deteriorate and the subfloor can easily warp or even split, meaning you’ll end up replacing and restoring the affected areas. Even solid materials that foundations are made of, whether masonry, concrete or stone, can soak up small amounts of water through their cracks and pores. Unless these pockets of water are removed, they can create defects in the building foundation that eventually weaken the entire structure.

Mold

If you’ve ever owned a home and experienced leaking or flooding, you already know that one of the worst effects of water damage is the growth of mold afterwards. Any presence of water with the right temperature can cause mold to begin growing in as quickly as 48 hours. Once mold is present, it can be very difficult and expensive to treat and remove. Also, if mold is left untreated it can spread and can cause adverse health effects. 

Electrical Damage

Once electrical systems are damaged by moisture, wiring, outlets, and electrical boxes become unsafe to use until they’re professionally inspected. Electrical water damage usually occurs to kitchen appliances, washing machines, dryers, hot water tanks, furnaces, and low mounted electrical outlets.

Health Hazards 

A home or business exposed to floodwaters are susceptible to harmful bacteria and other microbes. If not treated correctly, toxins will linger on your affected furniture, carpets, and inside your HVAC system long after the water has dried. Those bacteria and microbes can cause serious respiratory issues and other health issues. 

Damaged Personal Items 

The same water that causes structural damage can quickly destroy many personal items including photographs, books, electronics, and personal documents, among other items. However, if you act quickly and call in a water damage expert, you may be able to reverse this negative effect of water damage and save many of your personal items.

And…Bugs!

Bugs love moisture and water damaged areas of your home create the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, beetles, fleas, ticks, spiders and more. And, even worse, the hatching eggs and dying bugs will attract even more insects to the area. This is why bacteria is known as one of the worst effects of water damage in your home. 

As you can see, when water damage occurs in your home, immediate action is needed. That way, you can mitigate the negative effects of water damage and minimize cleaning and restoration costs. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is strategically positioned to respond quickly to any emergency, large or small. Don’t hesitate to call us when you don’t know what to do next: we’re here to help you clean up water damage and get your property back in top shape.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

How Hidden Water Can Damage Your Home

Do you know where hidden water could be lurking in your home? Learn how to find it fast and mitigate the water damage it can cause.

hidden water can damage your home

Have you ever witnessed the disappearing water trick, where a magician causes water poured into a cup to magically vanish, as if into thin air? (Spoiler alert: sodium polyacrylate, the stuff in disposable diapers, is first put in the bottom of the cup to soak up the water!)

But water will disappear even without any “magic” involved. It’s very adept at hiding and can be exceedingly difficult to find. In fact, it sometimes hides so effectively that it can’t be detected unless special meters that sense the presence of water are used. Why is this important to know? Because even though water is essential for life, it’s also one of nature’s most destructive elements. Water damage is no joke and can seriously affect the structure of your Chicagoland area home. Read on to learn how hidden water can damage your home. 

Where Can You Find Hidden Water in Your Home?

Water can be elusive because of the way that it moves. It spreads out like the letter “T” – moving out and downward from its source. Even if water looks to be sitting still, it really isn’t. Gravity continues to pull it down into the surface of the material it’s resting on. And as it moves, it spreads and soaks into whatever porous materials it comes into contact with. And after spreading out and down, it has another trick up its sleeve: It can also move upward. For example, because of capillary action in porous materials, water sitting at the base of drywall can wick up the wall at a rate of one inch per hour during a 24-hour period!

Because of water’s sneaky ways and the multiple causes for its infiltration in your home, you can find it hidden in a variety of places in the home. For example, water hides behind insulation, inside electrical boxes and outlets, behind walls and cabinets and in subfloors. Even if a surface feels dry, there may still be moisture hiding underneath or inside of it. What this can mean for your home or business is that secondary damage like mold or warping can occur. It can even ruin expensive hardwood floors. Of course, where water hides it also causes damage in your home. That’s why it’s important to act fast when you do find it. 

What Should You Do?

Water damage is a serious issue in most older Chicagoland homes. So, when you find water hidden in your home, don’t delay! The longer water is left sitting in your home, the more damage it creates. Hesitating to acknowledge the problem also increases the drying time, adding to the costs of remediation. 

When you find water hidden in your home, don’t DIY the cleanup. Instead, make sure you call in the professionals — or else you’ll risk not actually mitigating the water damage. The water damage restoration professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons  have been trusted by Chicagoland residents for over 65 years, and we have a track record of performing safe and effective water damage cleanup

We’ll be able to sniff out hidden water in your home with specialized moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras. With this equipment, we’ll be able to locate the confines of the affected area and show you the scope of the damage. Then our techs will go to work removing and drying up the moisture to ensure that no further damage occurs, bringing your property back to pre-loss condition.

Locating and cleaning hidden water in your home is no tall task for our crew. Water damage cannot hide from us! Check out our water damage restoration services, or call today to learn more.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Does Your Building Project Budget for Post Construction Cleaning Costs? Here’s Why It Should.

If you’re planning a residential or commercial construction project and you’re not already thinking about a plan for clean up afterwards, you should be. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have decades of experience in cleaning up after construction projects. You’d be surprised how often we find that customers have forgotten to budget for or schedule a post-construction cleaning until the very last minute.

Post-Construction Cleaning Chicago - Oak Park - River Forest - North Shore Illinois - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons

Budgeting For Post Construction Cleaning Costs – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons Chicago – Oak Park/River Forest – North Shore IL

 

If you’re planning a residential or commercial construction project in Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, or the North Shore, and you’re not already thinking about a plan for clean up afterward, you should be. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have decades of experience in cleaning up after construction projects. You’d be surprised how often we find that customers have forgotten to budget for or schedule a Post Construction Cleaning until the very last minute.

The problem is, customers, don’t realize that post-construction cleaning is an important part of any building project. They don’t understand that Post Construction Cleaning is some of the most important projects a restoration company will take on. These kinds of jobs usually require a company’s entire crew to be onsite for anywhere between a few days to a whole week depending on whether it is a residential or commercial project.

We like to make sure that customers understand the level of care and commitment that goes into each of our post-construction cleaning projects. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons are IICRC Certified and well-trained in providing unrivaled and thorough post-construction cleaning. We use products and equipment that meet the highest standards to remove all dust and debris properly. Some of the post-construction cleanup services we offer the Chicagoland area include:

  • Dusting air diffusers
  • Cleaning light fixtures within the construction area
  • Cleaning restroom fixtures
  • Wall washing or spot cleaning walls
  • Ceiling washing
  • Cleaning interior windows
  • HEPA Vacuuming
  • Cleaning carpet areas
  • Damp mopping hard-surface floors
  • Renewing hardwood floors
  • Roto buffing ceramic tile or linoleum

For larger jobs that need further cleaning after construction work has cleared, we often bundle the cleanup with these services:

Our process is one that maximizes efficiency while still delivering the highest level of service. Ideally, our process begins well before the construction project occurs — when a customer reaches out proactively for a quote. No worries if you’re one of the many who let post-construction fall by the wayside during the planning stages; if we can accommodate your dates, we will absolutely still offer quotes to contractors and homeowners who reach out during the construction project. After our professional quote is approved and we are hired for a Post Construction Cleaning, we begin to formulate a scope based on the job’s specific needs and we gather up the necessary personnel and equipment.

Sometimes, we are asked to begin our on-site cleaning for a mid-way cleaning while construction is still taking place. This is helpful for large construction projects that generate so much debris that it creates an unsafe environment and poor air quality for workers. We are available to come in and clean periodically during construction so that waste and dust are properly removed and workers can continue building and renovating on schedule.

Most of the time, though, our on-site cleaning starts immediately after construction concludes. We have two primary objectives during our cleanup: The first, to eradicate and control the dust generated by sanding and plastering before it ends up in the air ducts; and the second, to remove all dust and debris in a timely manner to restore safety to the job site. We do this in five steps:

  1. Schedule air duct cleaning
  2. Wipe down all hard surfaces, nooks and crannies, furniture, and items in renovation space
  3. HEPA vacuum carpet and upholstery
  4. Clean flooring with wet mopping, WoodGlo Renew, or roto tile buffing depending on the floor material
  5. Dispose of all construction debris on-site according to municipal guidelines and regulations in a safe manner

Because these jobs can be so large and costly, it’s important that customers budget for them in their initial construction project plan. Customers are sometimes floored to learn the cost of their site’s post-construction cleanup and are too late in the game to make room in the budget for it. Instead, they choose to DIY the cleanup or, worse, forego it altogether. We never recommend this and we would rather see customers reach out for a quote during the planning stages of a construction project so they can budget accordingly.

Though professional cleanup services are costly, they are always one hundred percent worth it. Here are three reasons why:

  • A professional cleaning increases safety

With construction projects, there will inevitably be debris left behind. From sawdust to nails and broken glass to stray wires, these debris present dangers to both the building crew and those responsible for a DIY cleanup. Accidents during cleanup happen more often than you might think. Hiring a professional crew trained to deal with hazardous materials will ensure the safety of everyone involved. A restoration company is equipped with better equipment than a broom and a dustpan.

  • Professional cleaning ensures debris is properly disposed of

Most municipalities have special rules for the disposal of residential and commercial construction waste, like paint and other chemicals. In general, they must be separated, sorted and eventually delivered to a special facility for lawful disposal. It is important to work with a professional restoration company like or you could face a fine.

  • A professional cleaning promotes efficiency and timeliness

We estimate that a professional cleaning crew will likely be able to complete a post-construction cleanup job four times faster than a DIY-er. Professional crews come with the necessary equipment it takes to clean thoroughly and efficiently. A quick cleanup allows you to move on to the final stages of your construction project. Plus, calling in the professionals for a quick turnaround can mean all the difference for contractors whose agreements include penalties for going overtime on the project.

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, we understand that every good construction project includes a professional and thorough post-construction cleanup. Our crews have decades of experience clearing construction job sites safely and quickly to ensure peace-of-mind for contractors, homeowners and business owners alike. For a professional quote, please give us a call as early as possible in your construction planning process. As always, your satisfaction is our number one priority!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the ServiceMaster Achiever Award and outstanding service in disaster restoration by Build Magazine. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers residing in Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Fire Prevention

Fire prevention shouldn’t be hard this Thanksgiving. Follow these top tips to keep your family, friends and belongings safe from the flames this holiday season.

home fire prevention

Halloween has come and gone, which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Soon, ovens will be busy tackling stuffing and turkey. While the holidays are a fun time to celebrate family and togetherness, they’re also a time of increased fire hazards that beg some mindfulness of fire prevention measures.

Cooking and reveling without the proper precautions can lead to a house fire, a tragedy that has caught many unsuspecting homeowners off guard during the holiday season. In fact, damaging fires happen every 24 seconds in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. While the number of fires and fire-related deaths has been trending down since the 1970s, they still continue to wreak havoc all across the country.

Residential properties are no exception to this reality. In fact, an average of 382,397 fires that occur in the United States happen on residential properties. These fires typically result in nearly 12,000 civilian injuries and over $7,298,475,292 in property damage. But ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons is here to help you increase your fire prevention and preparedness, as well as to react to fire disasters if they do occur.

What do I do if there’s a fire in my home this holiday season?

  • Act immediately but stay calm.
  • Alert everyone in the home and make sure to leave the property immediately. Use your pre-planned escape route if you have one, and consider developing one now if you don’t.
  • When everyone is evacuating the building, make sure everyone stays low and crawls since smoke rises.
  • Do not stop to retrieve any valuables or collectibles.
  • Do not stop to find your pets and help them out of the home.
  • If you can, close the door to the room the fire started in and close doors as you continue to exit the building.
  • Before opening any closed doors on your way out, touch it with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, then there is likely fire behind it and you must find an alternative route to exit the building.
  • Do not attempt to extinguish a fire unless you are trained to do so.
  • Do not go back into the building.
  • Call the fire department as soon as you safely have the opportunity to do so. If there is anyone remaining in the building, make sure to inform them of this.

What should I do after the fire department leaves?

Once the fire is extinguished and the dust settles, call a restoration company immediately to address the damage. Only those who are equipped to handle the water, smoke and fire damage your home has suffered should be entering the building and handling the situation.

How do I prevent my oven from catching on fire while I’m cooking?

  • Fire prevention starts by ensuring your oven is clean before using it
  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended
  • Put a cover on food that might splatter
  • Keep an eye on your timer

How do I prevent my mantel from catching on fire by holiday decorations and candles?

  • Consider using battery operated candles
  • Make sure you don’t hang paper ornaments over open flames
  • As long as flames are ignited, be sure to monitor your mantel
  • Increase fire prevention by keeping decorations far away from open flames

Why should I choose ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons?

We recognize that buildings in Chicago’s Gold Coast and Downtown have guidelines that set them apart from other properties and homes in the city. Occasionally, there are more than one insurance policy involved. It takes an experienced and knowledgeable company like ours to know how to navigate these situations.

We’ll work closely with your family and the various adjusters to make sure that the job is done right. We understand that your home needs to be cared for and respected during this difficult time. We pride ourselves on limiting our interruption into your lives. When possible, we will work around your schedule so that the day-to-day routine of your family is not disrupted further.

What steps do we take to handle fire damage restoration?

Though we always encourage adequate fire prevention before disaster strikes, sometimes the unthinkable finds a way to wreak havoc on plans anyways. In the event of a holiday fire emergency, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Structural Cleaning and Content Cleaning for Chicago & Suburban homes that have been affected by Smoke or Fire Damage. The following is a brief description of those services.

Structural Cleaning Services:

Structural cleaning involves the cleaning of the property itself. This covers soot sponging of walls & ceilings, including crown molding and baseboards. It also includes: Cleaning of floors, doors, and windows. Cleaning of all flat surfaces including countertops and windowsills. Cleaning of all ventilation and duct systems for HVAC.

Content Cleaning Services

Content cleaning includes the cleaning of all soft goods including garments, drapes, bedding, carpet & upholstery. It also includes: Cleaning of all electronics, appliances. Drying and restoration of documents.

Art Restoration

Cleaning of bookshelves, shelving, furnishings and light fixtures

What services do we provide?

  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Home-owners
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Business-owners
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Places of Worship
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Educational Institutions
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Multi-Family Properties
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Medical Facilities
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Manufacturing Facilities

What equipment do we use?

Air Scrubbers
Air scrubbers use High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration to remove these particles from the air, enhancing the efficiency for cleaning and clearing the air for safe breathing. Please do not move or turn off this equipment.
Thermal Fogging
This process neutralizes odor, using a strong deodorizer that penetrates everywhere the smoke traveled and will require the removal of pets, plants and humans occupants for a short period of time.
Ozone
Ozone is an oxidizing agent produced by a portable ozone generator. This process will require the removal of pets, plants and human occupants for a short period of time.
OdorKlenz Technology
This environmentally friendly deodorizing process removes odors and particulates using OdorKlenz air cartridges in traditional air scrubbers. Safe for people, pets and plants.

How much will it cost?

The costs of restoration depend on the insurance provider you have. Fortunately though, as a QRV or Quality Restoration Vendor, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is part of the elite group of national ServiceMaster franchises chosen to take part in the national contract agreements with most major insurance companies. Some of the insurance companies we work directly with include State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Hanover, Chubb, Asco, Progressive, Travelers, USAA, Farmers, Nationwide, AIC, Zurich, American Family, and Erie, among others. That means that we prescribe to the strict guidelines and to the required estimating software administered by these insurance companies and provide a direct pipeline to your insurance company. It also means that you don’t have to be the middle person in the process. We work and communicate directly with your insurance provider to ensure your property is correctly restored after water damage, bringing your property back to its pre-loss condition.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is a MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides  disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers residing in Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest and the North Shore. For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.