The Importance of Storm “Four” Knowledge

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Throughout life, there are many things you plan for. You try to structure your education so you’ll have a fulfilling and well-paying job. You may plan for a vacation weeks or even months ahead. Maybe you designed the type of home you wanted, gathering blueprints, getting contractors lined up, choosing color swatches, etc.

But unfortunately, many of us don’t plan for disasters, natural or man-made. When they happen, people may say things like, “But I never saw it coming,” and “We didn’t have time to react.” Well, the time for action is long before a tragedy befalls you or your property!

The Chicagoland area is susceptible to a variety of storms – everything from blizzards to floods to tornados. So, what can you do? According to FEMA, there are four main ways to prepare for storms that you can and should undertake NOW:

Four Main Ways to Prepare For a Storm

1. Get Informed – Chicago has an emergency management office and a Red Cross Chapter. These organizations provide vital information concerning local emergency response arrangements, evacuation plans and emergency shelters. It’s also a good idea to invest in a NOAA Weather Radio that will alert you during any time of the day or night when possible destructive conditions materialize.

2. Make a Plan

  • Conduct a family meeting that will inform everyone what your emergency plans are.
  • Have an out-of-town contact that each one knows the number to. This is who you’ll call to inform where you are after a disaster strikes.
  • Teach your children how and when to call emergency numbers.
  • Have a prearranged location picked out as the place your family will meet in case you get separated from one another. Make sure everyone knows not only the best escape routes but the safe places to go inside your home if a tornado approaches.
  • Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity at the main switches or valves.
  • Have fire extinguishers ready and show everyone where they’re located and how to use them.
  • Inventory your possessions and keep that list along with important documents in a safe deposit box.
  • Keep your homeowners or renter’s insurance company’s telephone numbers readily available. (Also, be sure to keep ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons phone number close at hand!

3. Assemble a Kit – this is a collection of basic family needs you’ll need after a disaster. These should be stored in a portable container and enough to last you three days. It should include food, water, a battery powered radio, a flashlight, etc. You can find a full list of items for your survival kit at redcross.org

4. Maintain Your Plan – every six months, review your plans with your family, conduct evacuation drills and restock expiring food and perishables in your kit. Also, confirm your fire extinguisher is recharged and smoke alarm batteries are replaced.

 

Alan Lakein, an author on personal time management, once wrote, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” That’s very empowering when you think about it. It’s almost like time traveling without a DeLorean or having to mess with all that space-time continuum stuff. Planning ahead for emergencies can also bring you great peace of mind. Think of it as an insurance policy against future disasters without the pesky premiums.

If your Chicagoland home or business has been damaged by ANY type of storm or disaster, be sure to contact ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons immediately. They’re the trusted name that will return your property back to pre-loss conditions – FAST!

 

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Residential Water Damage: What do I do if a pipe bursts in my home?

During the Polar Vortex at the beginning of this year, many Chicagoans experienced pipe bursts in their homes due to the plunging sub-zero temperatures across the state and the rapid warm-up that followed. Water damage in office buildings, churches, schools, multi-family residential buildings and homes caused by burst pipes is an enormous inconvenience and hazard to homeowners, landlords, and property managers alike. 

Commercial Water Damage: What Do I Do If My Business Has a Faulty Water Line?

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.