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

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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.

What is Fire Content Cleaning and How We Do It

House fires are one of the biggest causes of property loss in America. But while some property is left in ashes after a fire, not all property is completely ruined. Instead, after a house fire, property is most often partially damaged — oftentimes by smoke. If you are facing the aftermath of a house fire and your belongings have incurred smoke damage, ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons has you covered with our guide to fire content cleaning. 

fire content cleaning in home

Fire Content Cleaning – Smoke and Soot Cleaning – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons

 

Learn About Our Content Cleaning Process After A Fire, Smoke or Soot Damage in the Chicagoland Area

 

House fires are one of the biggest causes of property loss in America. But while some property is left in ashes after a fire, not all property is completely ruined. Instead, after a house fire, the property is most often partially damaged — oftentimes by smoke. If you are facing the aftermath of a house fire and your belongings have incurred smoke damage, ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons has you covered with our guide to fire content cleaning. 

Smoke damage is one of the worst side effects of a house fire. When a fire occurs and smoke rises from the flames, its microscopic particles are suspended in the air until they settle on surfaces and items around the house. The soot that covers your belongings is what causes the awful smokey smell and black residue that a fire leaves behind. And, while the stain and smell are frustrating, the real concern is that they are toxic and expose house residents to unwanted chemicals. 

It’s important to work quickly to mitigate the smoke damage and restore your belongings. Any content recovery that involves removing smoke/fire damage from the fibers of an item (clothes, furniture, photos, housewares, etc.) is called fire content cleaning. While some people choose to go the DIY route for cleanup after a fire, we must recommend that you hire a professional restoration company, such as ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, an IICRC Certified Master Fire and Smoke Restorer, to ensure the fire content cleaning process provides your belongings the highest chance of full recovery. 

When we provide expert fire content cleaning services to Chicagoland residents, we follow these steps to get their belongings back in healthy, pristine shape: 

Establish Safety

When ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons professionals are called in for a fire/smoke damage restoration project, the first step we take is to establish safety — for residents, our workers and anyone who enters the fire-damaged structure. Above all else, our first concern in every fire damage cleanup situation is safety. Our team will make sure everyone stays safe during the restoration process. 

An essential part of this safety is understanding the state of indoor air quality. After a fire, indoor air contains floating smoke and soot particles, which are carcinogens and could be both toxic and dangerous. Our team comes equipped with respirators and other safety equipment and clothing to protect against soot exposure. We’ll also increase ventilation to help toxic contaminants exit the indoor air naturally. The presence of unsafe air and the need for expert safety measures is why it’s so important to call in a professional restoration crew to handle fire content cleaning and fire/smoke damage. 

Evaluate the Damaged Items

Net, we’ll begin to determine which items should be cleaned and where, as well as which items are unsalvageable and will need to be discarded. We’ll take into account item material, cost, cost of restoration, antique value and homeowner desires when we evaluate items for their repairability. Our team will assess affected items quickly to minimize the soot damage that can be incurred in just a few hours or days after the initial fire. 

Our team will leave no item untouched: From textile goods (draperies and bedding) to furniture and food, we evaluate every item that could have been in the vicinity of the fire. Even if a belonging doesn’t necessarily look smoke damaged, we’ll restore your peace of mind by thoroughly inspecting it and confirming its safety and cleanliness. 

Create an Inventory

After we determine which items should undergo fire content cleaning, we’ll decide on a cleaning process for each item. There are three options we utilize for fire content cleaning: Cleaning items onsite in the home, taking items to our warehouse cleaning facility or taking items to be dry cleaned. If we determine any items that need to be taken to a facility or a dry cleaner, we call that a “pack out” and our technicians will carefully pack up items to be cleaned. You can trust that everything is in good hands! We’ll keep a detailed inventory of the items we remove from your home, including information about the condition and location of the items. 

If we determine there are items that can be cleaned onsite, we’ll take care of moving them to the cleaning area — usually the garage or basement. It’s important to leave the transporting of smoke damaged items to a professional crew to because items could be more fragile or likely to tear or break. Additionally, if we determine any items are not salvageable by a fire content cleaning and should be discarded, we’ll record everything we throw away. An inventory of all discarded items is essential to receiving compensation when filing an insurance claim.

Clean the Affected Items

Once the items are evaluated and recorded, our team will begin the fire content cleaning process. We have a variety of advanced products and systems we take advantage of to professionally clean and restore smoke or fire damaged items. We’ll perform testing to determine the appropriate product and cleaning solutions to use on each item. You can rest assured that our professionals use best-in-industry, eco-friendly products. 

Whether we’re onsite at your home or in our warehouse cleaning facility, our team will gently remove soot and smoke damage from each restorable item. We provide fire content cleaning services of all types, such as: 

  • Cleaning of all soft goods including garments, drapes, bedding, carpet & upholstery
  • Cleaning of all electronics, appliances
  • Drying and restoration of documents
  • Art Restoration
  • Cleaning of bookshelves, shelving, furnishings and light fixtures

The type of cleaning method and products we use depends on the item in question. Some of the cleaning methods we take advantage of to remove stains and smell include: 

  • Hand Washing and Drying: Items are carefully cleaned by hand. Care is taken to use dry methods with water-sensitive items.
  • Ultrasonic Cleaning: Ultrasonic tanks are used to clean certain items. Some items that might be cleaned ultrasonically are blinds, collectibles, and other smaller contents.
  • Furniture and Upholstery Cleaning: This requires specialty equipment, products and technicians trained and certified in furniture restoration.

Our team knows that dealing with fire and smoke damage can be daunting, time-consuming and stressful — especially when it comes to a tragic or unexpected fire. Your family’s life may be displaced and disrupted, and we understand how painful that can be. We’ll work quickly and efficiently to ensure that you can step right back into your daily routine. We’ll also work with insurance agents to help you file claims and restore items within your budget You can count on us to perform fire content cleaning in an ethical and professional manner, restoring your loss while also restoring your peace of mind. 

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.

Avoid Fire Damage From Holiday Lights and Decorations This December

ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons wants to help your family prevent the need for fire restoration services this winter with our top tips for fire safety.

Christmas fire restoration safety

Wintertime in Chicago is magical indoors and out. Lights go up, carolers roam the streets, and people are generally a little nicer than usual. Unfortunately, the risk of fire damage and the demand for fire restoration services also increases during the holiday season with the use of lights, Christmas trees and additional electrical stress. In addition to potential damage and disaster in the home, bodily injuries involving holiday decorations have been steadily increasing over the past few years.

The last thing anybody wants is a holiday emergency that turns into a tragedy. Luckily, the experts at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have a few tips for avoiding the need for fire restoration in Chicago so you can keep your home safe and enjoy the splendor of the season:

Check each set of lights for damage. Make sure your decorative lights are free of broken sockets, bare or frayed wires, and that all connections are tight and well-fitted. Also make sure that your lights have passed the strict requirements of and have been tested by nationally-recognized laboratories.

Use the appropriate extension cord.  Indoor extension cords are not meant to hold up to the weather and elements they are exposed to outside. Lights and extension cord will both be marked with labels that specify whether or not they can be used outside. Be sure to use the appropriate outlet as well to avoid the need for fire restoration services.

Keep burning candles within sight. This tip applies to everyday use as well as during the holidays. Keep a close eye on candles, and make sure to extinguish them before you go to bed or leave the house. Only burn candles on stable surfaces that are heat-resistant and clear of other items that may catch fire, such as trees, curtains, furniture, and paper decorations.

Buy the freshest tree you can find. Dry, old trees are much more likely to catch fire, especially with the added heat from all the decorative lights placed on it. When buying a live tree, make sure the needles bend instead of breaking, and that they don’t fall easily from the branches. To elongate the life of your tree, distance the evergreen from fireplaces, and heat vents so that the tree doesn’t dry out too quickly. Keep an eye on the water levels in the tree stand and don’t block any exits or doorways with the tree.

Do not burn wrapping paper. The large amount of paper and the mixture of materials used in wrapping paper may cause fires to take off quickly and burn intensely. The last thing you want is fire damage in your home from out-of-control flames caused by wrapping paper! Check with your local recycling company to see when and where wrapping paper can be recycled, or reuse it for various craft projects in the home.

Remember, just because a label on an item says that it is fire-resistant does not mean that it is not able to catch on fire. The label “fire resistant” just means that it will take longer to become fully engulfed. Be especially careful with items that have fringe, such as the rug placed under a Christmas tree.

Even if you were to follow all these tips to the letter, there is always a risk of a fire disaster in your home because of the additional heat sources and the extra flammable items. If fire damage does occur in your Chicago home this holiday season, know that ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons is here to help combat damage with fire restoration services.  Call ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons to get back to normal as soon as possible.

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.

Odor Removal – Clearing the Air of Pesky Odors

Odor Removal Services from the Professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. Benjamin Franklin said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Although you probably will likely not experience odor problems from guests, there may be odors from fire, smoke, water damage or biological concerns that are hard to remove from your home or

Lemon Carpet CleaningOdor Removal Services from the Professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Although you probably will likely not experience odor problems from guests, there may be odors from fire, smoke, water damage or biological concerns that are hard to remove from your home or business. At ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons 855-9-SIMONS, we are experts at removing unpleasant odors that can affect your home.

Our trained and certified technicians understand how to remove and eliminate persistent odors by using a combination of professional products, systems and odor removal technologies. Many commonly used deodorizing products only mask the smells temporarily, but properly removing the odor will ensure the disagreeable scent does not resurface later.

At ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, we use a four-step odor removal process:

1. Identify and eliminate the source of the odor.
2. Clean the affected area to properly remove odor residue.
3. Select the necessary deodorization process.
4. Seal the surface if necessary.

While it may be necessary to perform multiple treatments to eliminate severe odors, the use of neutralizing agents included in our extensive line of OdorGo® deodorizing products, coupled with advanced technologies such as nano-particle air cartridges in our air filters, gives us the ability to quickly knock down odors. This effective combination can help to reduce additional living expenses by allowing you to remain in your home.

With our advanced technologies, extensive training and years of experience, there is no odor too strong for our team to handle.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is a Woman-Owned and Family Operated Cleaning & Restoration Company. With three locations to serve our customers, ServiceMaster By Simons serves Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, Elmwood Park, Cleaning Services in Chicago’s North Shore and the North Shore of Lake County to Wisconsin’s State Line.

For immediate service or a free consultation and quote, call us at 773-376-1110 or toll free at 855-9-SIMONS.

Choosing a Water Damage Restoration Company

Choosing a Water Damage Restoration Company can be a daunting task.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides tips to choosing the right one. Most home-owners and business-owners will only experience a water damage or fire loss once in their life. Because the frequency is low and your knowledge of how to choose a restoration professional is limited, you’ll […]

water damage restoration chicagoChoosing a Water Damage Restoration Company can be a daunting task.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides tips to choosing the right one.

Most home-owners and business-owners will only experience a water damage or fire loss once in their life. Because the frequency is low and your knowledge of how to choose a restoration professional is limited, you’ll require a professional opinion for direction and/or help on the topic. While choosing a restoration professional may seem like a daunting task for you, your knowledge of the industry will be invaluable. At ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, 855-9-SIMONS, it is our goal to be a trusted partner to you, the property owner. To arm you with the right tools to make the most informed decision possible, here are 10 questions that can help you through the process:

  1. How quickly can the restoration company respond to a crisis situation, and what is their track record?
  2. Have they gone through a certified training program for water remediation, fire remediation and policyholder communication?
  3. Do they follow IICRC guidelines and protocols?
  4. Do they focus on restoration or replacement?
  5. Do they conduct regular meetings with me, the insured, to review program costs/satisfaction levels?
  6. Are they up-to-date on latest information and technology in the industry?
  7. Do they ask me the right questions?
  8. Do they have a procedure for communicating with the agent, adjuster and policyholder?
  9. Do they make make me feel more at ease with the loss, explain the process and answer all questions?
  10. Do they have a system for asking and measuring customer satisfaction and feedback on a job?

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is a Woman-Owned and Family Run company in the Chicagoland area.  We provide professional Water & Fire Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and Specialty Cleaning Services including Post-Construction Cleanup, Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning and Air Duct Cleaning.

For immediate response, Call Us at 773-376-1110 or toll free at 855-9-SIMONS.