Guide to Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has arrived in America — and it’s spreading quickly. As the virus reaches pandemic levels, we know how important it is to stop the spread of coronavirus in your office or home. Helping you, your family and employees stay safe and healthy is our number one priority, so we’ve assembled some top tips for cleaning your spaces to prevent germs from spreading. Keep reading this Guide to Avoiding the Coronavirus to find out more.

how to prevent spread of coronavirus - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - Chicago - Oak Park/River Forest - North ShoreCOVID-19 – Coronavirus Prevention & Disinfection – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons – Chicago – Oak Park/River Forest – North Shore IL

 

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has arrived in America — and it’s spreading quickly. As the virus reaches pandemic levels, we know how important it is to stop the spread of coronavirus in your office or home. Helping you, your family, and employees stay safe and healthy is our number one priority, so we’ve assembled some top tips for Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection, and cleaning your spaces to prevent germs from spreading. Keep reading this Guide to Avoiding the Coronavirus to find out more.

 

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus 2019 is the name of the newest flu strain to concern health officials. The outbreak of the virus began in Wuhan, China in December of last year. Though it is thought to have begun spreading at an animal market, we now know it can also be spread from person to person. Still early in its discovery, it has proven to be deadly, with a 3.4% mortality rate in those it affects. It causes severe illness and respiratory symptoms.

 

Who is at risk?

Anybody who comes into close proximity with another person who is carrying the virus is at risk of catching Coronavirus. That risk increases during international or domestic travel to places where Coronavirus has been especially prevalent. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing.

 

How do I know if I have a Coronavirus? 

One way to assess if you have Coronavirus is by your symptoms. Fever, tiredness, and dry cough are the three most common symptoms. According to the World Health Organization, some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. Other patients may never experience symptoms, but still, be carrying the virus around — making it hard to eradicate. A doctor can confirm the diagnosis with a laboratory test. If you have symptoms or are feeling unwell, head to your nearest medical professional as soon as possible.

 

How is Coronavirus treated?

As of now, there is no official cure for Coronavirus Prevention. Treatment measures tend to be supportive in nature to alleviate the symptoms, rather than the virus itself. About 80% of people who get Coronavirus will recover normally without complications; the most at-risk for severe illness and death are older-aged people and those with health complications or pre-existing medical conditions.

 

How can I protect myself and my family?

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, some health preventative measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus to your family and home are:

 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Wear a facemask when caring for or interacting with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Stay home when you are sick, keep kids out of school if they are displaying respiratory symptoms
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for more than 20 seconds each time

 

Aside from these preventative measures, you can also protect yourself by staying educated — keep up with the latest news for developments about the virus, and check out these government resources to learn more and stay on top of Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection. 

 

How do I prevent the spread of Coronavirus in my facility?

 

Encourage employees to stay home when sick, and be sure to disinfect surfaces and frequently-touched items in the office each day. Promote employee wellness by allowing them to work from home in the event of mild symptoms. Ensure you are providing adequate hand sanitizer, hand soap, and disinfecting wipes or sprays for employee use. Call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons for immediate Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection services.

 

What do I do if Coronavirus spreads to my facility?

 

If you find that Coronavirus has infected your facility, stay calm, and remember that the situation must be handled with the utmost precaution. Close your building (if the industry allows, you can maintain operations by allowing work from home) to avoid contamination. Call your local restoration or biological cleanup company who will be able to disinfect the building with hospital-grade equipment and solutions.

 

How does ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons disinfect my facility?

 

Our professional team has developed a comprehensive process for Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection with the proper precautions and hospital-grade disinfectants. We begin with a professional analysis of the contamination and determine a protocol based on your facility’s needs. Our highly trained technicians come equipped with decades of biological hazard cleanup knowledge and hospital-graded EPS-registered disinfectants.

 

The Coronavirus is a serious public health concern, and we urge all of our customers to do their best to follow precautionary health care measures and stay as safe and healthy as possible. We know that business can’t stop for anything: If you believe your office has been infected by the virus, give us a call today to begin the disinfection process. We are standing by to help you.

 

 

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.

Top Items for Tornado Disaster Kits

Tornado season is here! Are you ready? Increase your tornado preparedness this spring with these items for your tornado disaster kits.

Spring is upon us — and with it, comes tornado season. Are you prepared? Is your family? How about your home? Without tornado preparedness, they can cost homeowners huge sums of money in losses. And even worse, they cause dozens of human casualties each year. If there’s anything we can take away from the this week’s tornado tragedy in the southern US, it’s that the best time to prepare for a tornado was yesterday. You are always better to be better safe than sorry — which is why you need to be sure you have some very important items in your tornado disaster kit. 

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, our number one priority has always been to help homeowners be ready for the unthinkable and practice tornado preparedness. Our experts have lived through many tornado seasons and helped clean up their brutal destruction. We’ve seen just how unpredictable tornadoes can be, and we understand the biggest challenges homeowners, residents and victims face in their immediate aftermath. W

Based on our experience, we’ve put together a list of 7 life safety items that are essential for homeowners in their tornado disaster kit this tornado season. Proven to increase tornado preparedness, these are crucial for survival during and after a tornado, especially if one hits unexpectedly without time for evacuation. Store these items somewhere easily accessible in your home for immediate use:

Water

Of course, keeping hydrated is the most important thing you can do for your body in the event of a disaster. That’s a no-brainer. But what people forget to plan out is where that water will come from. If water lines are down or contaminated, or pipes are broken, or the power goes out, you won’t have access to your tap water. Make sure you keep some bottled water or a few gallons of water in an allocated shelter space in case you are stranded after a tornado. You never know how long you may have to wait.

Non-Perishable Food

In addition to water, stock up on non-perishable food items that will keep stomachs full – especially those of young children. Keep an eye on the expiration dates and replenish your supply as needed. We recommend having at least 5 days worth of food on hand for all members of the household.

A Radio

Keep a portable radio with extra spare batteries near your designated shelter space. In a weather event like a tornado, you can use it to listen for any updates or changes to the expected trajectory of the storm.

First-Aid Kit

We cannot stress how much of a difference a well-stocked first-aid kit can make after an emergency, especially one that is from a survival company. You never know what injuries, minor or major, will occur during a storm.

Medications

Not many people think of this one before the storm hits which can cause a huge problem for those taking life-sustaining medication. Have extra amounts of any necessary prescription medications stored away for use during an emergency. Keep a few bottles of cold medication, over-the-counter pain medication and allergy meds on hand too.

Cell Phones and Chargers

You probably don’t have to take our word for it that in the event of an emergency, you are going to want a fully-charged cell phone in your tornado disaster kit so you can stay in contact with family, friends and emergency personnel. If possible, keep a backup phone and a portable, solar-powered charger ready to go in case the power goes out.

Copies of Personal Documents

Of all the tornado preparedness items we’ve listed, this is probably one of the most important. Because there is never any certainty when it comes to tornadoes and other storms, you should keep copies of birth certificates, social security cards, house deeds, insurance cards, passports, and other important documents packed in a safe place that you can easily transport with you to your secure shelter.

Tornadoes are costly and sometimes lethal, but with these essential items for your tornado disaster kit, you’ll weather the storm more easily. 

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, we know weather emergencies like the backs of our hands. We pride ourselves on our emergency restoration services and storm damage restoration expertise. We will help you begin rebuilding so you can move forward after a life-uprooting natural disaster.  Our experts are standing by to serve you in the ways you need: From more tornado preparedness tips, to dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, to restoration services and cleanup, give us a call today!

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 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 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.

Residential Water Damage: What Do I Do If I’ve Got a Faulty Water Line?

Faulty Water Supply Line - Water Damage Restoration - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - Chicago - Oak Park - River Forest - North Shore IL

Faulty Water Supply Lines – Stabilization & Recovery – Residential Water Damage – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons – Chicago

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, Chicagoland’s Trusted Name In Water Damage Restoration and Fire Damage Restoration, has compiled this checklist of things that you can do to help stabilize your property after the discovery of a Faulty Water Supply Line.

 

 

I’ve got a faulty water line! Now what?

 

Even though it is now spring, it looks like the chilly weather might be sticking around in Chicago for a little while longer. As the frost from the latest storms melts and soil surrounding your property corrodes, it is possible that holes or cracks may develop in your water main. If left untreated, these cracks and holes can cause extensive damage in office buildings, churches, schools, multi-family residential buildings, and standard homes, leaving property owners inconvenienced and with a hazard on their hands.

 

Why should I care about my waterline?

 

On another property, the main water line is the primary pipe that brings water into the building. This pipe is typically located underground and connects your property to your community’s water source. Your water line is not the same as your private sewer lateral, which removes used water and sewage from your property. Since water lines remain underground and under constant pressure, it is easy for them to break and cause water to flow to surface levels. Though this may seem like something fairly easy to deal with, faulty water lines can lead to contaminated water entering your property, presenting significant health hazards to those in the building.

 

What steps should I take if my waterline is faulty?

 

When you discover or even suspect that your water line is faulty, it’s crucial that you shut off all appliances in the building and avoid drinking or using tap water. There should almost always be a shutoff valve somewhere on the property that will allow you to cut off the flow of water through the primary pipe in the event of an emergency or it is being faulty. Sometimes your public utility service will shut off the water before you even notice there is a problem, but if this does not occur you can always find the property-owner shutoff valve and turn off the water yourself. You will need a water meter key to do this. After you manage to get the water to stop flowing, be sure to call a plumber ASAP so they can fix the problem before the water starts to damage your property beyond repair.

 

Why Choose ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons?

 

As an IICRC Certified Firm, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons follows IICRC S500 Standards for professional water damage restoration. Our IICRC certified technicians will assess the water damage on-site and determine the best course of action to restore your damaged property. For example, clean water damage from a faulty water line pipe on your property is considerably different than water damage from a sewer backup. As leading experts in the field, we will quickly determine the best course of action so your family or business can get back to normal as soon as possible.

 

The different water damage restoration services we perform include:

 

 

What is our Water Damage Restoration process for a  faulty water line?

 

Upon ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons’s arrival to your property, our trained IICRC Certified project manager will begin the assessment of any damage and will plan the mitigation of the water’s damage to the property.

 

Some of the faulty water line assessments we perform include:

 

  • Identifying the specific location of the waterline and the subsequent water damage to your property.
  • Determining the water’s path throughout the property using thermal imaging equipment.
  • Determining areas in the property affected by the water damage, such as ceilings, walls, flooring, fixtures, and mechanical damage.
  • Determining the best plan of attack. We will determine the best way to dry your property and what equipment we’ll use to do it.

 

D.I.Y. – Can I handle cleaning up any water damage or faulty water lines myself?

 

Simple drying techniques are often not enough when drying water in the aftermath of a leak, spill or flood. Carpets, walls, paneling, baseboards, and floor coverings are porous, which means extensive water damage cleaning is required. Surface cleaning only removes visible contamination, but microorganisms are often left behind, which can potentially cause health problems, unpleasant odors or, worst of all, mold growth! All surfaces affected by water damage must be thoroughly cleaned, dried, disinfected and deodorized by a trained professional like the ones at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons in order to properly eliminate disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

 

What are the 3 basic categories of water found when water damage strikes?

 

Category 1: Known as “clean water,” this type of water originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal exposure, ingestion, or inhalation. However, it may not always remain clean after it comes into contact with other surfaces or materials. Some examples of “clean water” are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involve water supply lines.

Category 2: Known as “grey water,” this type of water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. It may contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological). Examples of this category of water include toilet bowls filled with urine (but no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure, and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.

Category 3: Known as “black water,” this water is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Such water sources may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances. A sewage back-up will typically include category 3 water. Other examples of this type of are toilet bowl water (with feces), sewer back-up, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water.

 

What kind of equipment will we use?

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons uses state-of-the-art equipment and technology to get your properties’ structure dry. Our advanced technology is necessary for the efficacy and efficiency of the drying and restoration process of your property.

 

Some of the equipment used for structural drying includes:

 

  • Dehumidifiers
  • Air Movers
  • Negative Air Fans
  • Thermal Imaging Cameras
  • Moisture Meters
  • Wood Floor Drying Systems
  • Desiccants
  • Anti-Microbial Solutions
  • Truck-mounted Water Extraction Units
  • Portable Water Extraction Units

 

How much does water damage clean-up cost?

 

The average cost of drying out your property, performing restoration services from a “clean” water leak (not grey or black water) can be costly and average anywhere between $3,000 and up. Reconstruction work to correct the damage done to areas like drywall, baseboards, paneling, carpeting, and padding range from $5,000 and up, depending on the size of the affected area.

 

Will ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons guide me through the insurance process?

 

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 properly restored after water damage, bringing your home or property back to its pre-loss conditions.

 

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 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.

 

 

Nasutsa Mabwa
Nasutsa Mabwa
Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, an MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2018 Chicago Business Journal Influential Women in Business Honoree, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She serves on the board for the Civic Federation, sits on the Board of Directors-Executive Committee of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, and the serves on Advisory Board for Roosevelt University’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.

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.

 

 

 

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons’ Ultimate Guide to Frozen and Burst Pipes

Man, has it been cold outside recently. With temperatures dropping well below zero in the past few weeks, residents in the Chicagoland area are facing major threats to home safety with frozen and burst pipes. When temperatures fall below zero degrees, pipes are incredibly vulnerable and cause incredible home damage. Since they can quickly turn into a very expensive problem for homeowners, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have created this guide to give you a crash course in Pipe Freezing 101. Read on to learn how to prevent pipes from freezing, how to thaw pipes if they do freeze, and what to do if frozen pipes end up bursting and causing vast water damage to your home.

 

Frozen & Burst Pipe Damage Restoration-Burst Or leaking pipes-ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons Chicago

Frozen & Burst Pipe Damage Restoration – Guide To Frozen & Burst Pipes – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons Chicago

 

Chicagoland Is a Climate Zone 5b where minimum temperatures range from -10 to -15° F.  You need to be concerned about pipe freezes.

 

Man, has it been cold outside recently? With temperatures dropping well below zero recently, residents in the Chicagoland area are facing significant threats to home safety with frozen and burst pipes. When temperatures fall below zero degrees, pipes are incredibly vulnerable and cause incredible home damage. Since they can quickly turn into a very expensive problem for homeowners, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have created this guide to give you a crash course in Pipe Freezing 101. Read on to learn how to prevent pipes from freezing, how to thaw pipes if they do freeze, and what to do if frozen pipes end up bursting and causing vast water damage to your home.  But if you already have a frozen & burst pipe, stop reading and call us for Frozen & Burst Pipe Damage Restoration

 

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

 

While you might think that Chicagoland homes would be built to withstand the cold, many do a poor job surviving the winter without significant damage. Within homes, there are areas where pipes are more likely to incur damage due to freezing temperatures. Some of these places include:

 

  • Outdoor areas (hose bibs, water lines to irrigation systems, wells or pools)
  • Unheated areas (garage, attic, crawl space or basement)
  • Cabinets, where pipes cannot get enough heat when cabinet doors are closed (under the kitchen or bathroom sink)
  • Uninsulated exterior walls

 

Once you’ve determined what pipes may be susceptible to freezing, you will want to take action to protect those pipes when temperatures plummet:

 

  • Open cabinets. This allows the warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • If there are pipes in the attic, open the door to allow warm air to move upwards
  • Let water trickle from faucets. The constantly flowing water will prevent pipes from freezing. The small amount of water you waste is much less than the cost of a plumbing repair or the amount of water that will escape if a pipe bursts.

 

These tips may get you through a handful of cold nights, but in general, we recommend preemptively insulating pipes during your home winterizing process.

 

How to Insulate Pipes

 

Insulating pipes is by far the best way to prevent pipes from freezing. Here’s how:

 

After you’ve identified what pipes need insulation, visit the hardware store and pick up your insulating material of choice. You can use:

 

  • Tubular sleeve insulation
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Duct tape
  • Foil insulation tape
  • Heating blanket tape
  • In a pinch, use newspaper and duct tape

 

Prepare the pipes. A simple wipe down with soapy water will do the trick.

 

Wrap the pipes with the material you’ve chosen. Be sure to cover all exposed surfaces. Secure the edges and corners with duct tape. If you use fiberglass insulation, wrap the insulation with sheets of plastic or duct tape as well.

 

Other Ways to Prevent Pipe Freezing

 

If you have pipes in your crawl space, you may want to:

 

  • Insulate the outer walls of your crawl space with foam board
  • Close the vents (just during the freeze; crawl spaces need to breathe)
  • Run a very low-temp space heater on the lowest setting in the crawl space (away from all flammable materials)

 

If you have a well, you can:

 

  • Insulate the exposed pipes
  • Install a low-watt heat lamp designed for this purpose
  • Cover the well to keep heat inside and cold out (look for fiberglass rocks or well covers at the hardware store)

 

If you have an irrigation system or pool/pond lines, you should:

 

  • Drain the lines
  • Use the blow-out-method to remove the remaining water from the lines

 

If you don’t have time to insulate pipes, and you want to prevent Frozen & Burst Pipe Damage Restoration, consider using heat tape, a heat lamp or a low-watt bulb to heat the space where the pipes are located, but be mindful of fire hazards and install with care. Never use a blow torch or a heat gun when thawing pipes, and exercise care when using a heat lamp.

 

How to Tell If Your Pipes Are Frozen

 

Sometimes, you won’t be able to protect your pipes until it is too late, and other times, pipes will freeze even despite your best efforts. If you suspect your pipes are frozen, you’ll need to take action right away. But how do you know for sure? Here are four major tip-offs:

 

  • You don’t have any running water, or you turn on the water and only a trickle comes out of the faucet
  • You notice frost or condensation on your pipes
  • Pipes feel frozen to the touch
  • The pipe is visibly cracked or split in a place you never noticed before.

 

Once you’ve confirmed a pipe is frozen, you’ll need to figure out where the frozen section is located. Oftentimes, an entire pipe won’t freeze – instead, just a section of a pipe will freeze ranging from a few inches to one foot. Since pipes with greater exposure are more likely to freeze, first check under the sinks, in the crawl space or basement, in the attic, along the main pipeline to and from your yard, and any other exterior pipes.

 

If one faucet is fine and another in a different room on the same floor isn’t, the pipe is frozen somewhere between the mainline and that room’s piping. If the faucets work on one floor but not another, the frozen pipe is located where the floors separate. If no faucets work, a section of the pipe near the main water line may be frozen.

 

Can’t find the cold section of pipe? It’s probably hidden in the wall or yard. Outdoor water lines can be trickier to catch because you probably don’t use the pipes leading to a pool or hot tub, irrigation systems or outdoor hoses during the winter. Inspect outdoor lines once in a while if temps stay low.

 

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

 

Once you’ve found the section that’s frozen, you’ll need to carefully thaw the pipe without causing it to burst. Try the following:

 

  • Aim a hair dryer on low or medium (not high) heat at the section of pipe
  • Run a space heater on low—but be careful not to place it too close to the pipe
  • Wrap the pipe with towels dipped in warm water (you’ll need to replace them periodically)
  • Wrap the pipe with a heating pad on low or medium (not high)

 

Every once in a while, try running the faucet to see if you’ve been successful. When water is flowing once again, take steps (see above) to prevent the pipe from freezing again.

 

How to Tell if a Frozen Pipe Has Cracked

 

The danger of frozen pipes is cracking and bursting. Water expands when frozen, and pipes may crack under the pressure of the expansion.

 

Other signs of a leak include:

 

  • A heavy flow of water, puddles on the floor and/or obvious water damage in the home
  • The sound of rushing water inside your wall or floor
  • Hot or cold spots inside the wall or floor
  • Water stains on the wall or ceiling

 

Unfortunately, a lot of cracked pipes happen in hidden places where you can’t see evidence of the leak. After thawing your pipes, you will want to keep an eye on your water bill. If you see a water bill spike, there’s a very good chance you’ve got a hidden leak. A restoration professional will use leak detection equipment to locate the leak.

 

What to Do If You Have a Burst Pipe

 

When frozen pipes burst, you have an urgent and costly emergency on your hands. You’ll need to spring into action quickly after you notice a burst pipe in your home. Your priorities are first, to stop and/or minimize the potential water damage and then, to facilitate clean up. Here are three things we recommend doing immediately after a pipe burst:

 

  1. Shut off your main water valve and, if necessary your electricity
  2. Call a restoration company and plumber immediately
  3. Start removing water as best you can with towels to mitigate the growth and spread of mold or mildew
  4. Call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons for emergency Frozen & Burst Pipe Damage Restoration

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest.  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. 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.

 

 

 

Commercial Water Damage: What Do I Do If My Business Has a Sewer Back Up?

As the weather finally starts to warm up, the last thing you want to deal with is a sewer backup in your business. The unexpected event can cause a significant amount of stress on your company and ruin your business if not properly cared for — plus dealing with it prevents you from attending to your clients! If you ever experience a sewer backup, contact the professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons for quick and stress-free service. Not sure if you’re dealing with a sewer backup? Read below for more information.