What To Do Before a Winter Storm Hits
Winter storms can hit at any moment in the winter time here in Chicagoland. We all know the first thing we do is run to the local grocery store and stock up on the basics, but what else can you do to be prepared for a winter storm?
The American Red Cross gives some tips for you to consider before a winter storm hits.
* Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
* Be prepared to evacuate if you lose power or heat and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.
* Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications and medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
* Be sure you have ample heating fuel.
* If you have alternative heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood- or coal-burning stoves, or space heaters, be sure they are clean and in working order.
* Check that your fire extinguisher(s) is in good working order, and replace it if necessary.
* Bring your companion animals inside and ensure that your horses and livestock have blankets if appropriate and unimpeded access to shelter, food, and non-frozen water.
SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is always here to help. If you have damage to your home due to a winter storm, we are here to help. Call us at 708-240-4873.
Fire Safety for the Elderly
The National Fire Protection Agency, advises that at age 65, people are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fires compared to the population at large. Approximately 12% of our population is made up of individuals 65 and older.
The Center of Disease Control has listed several tips for elderly fire safety.
- Keep it low
If you don't live in an apartment building, consider sleeping in a room on the ground floor in order to make emergency escape easier. Make sure that smoke alarmsare installed in every sleeping room and outside any sleeping areas. Have a telephone installed where you sleep in case of emergency. When looking for an apartment or high-rise home, look for one with an automatic sprinkler system. Sprinklers can extinguish a home fire in less time that it takes for the fire department to arrive.
- Sound the alarm
The majority of fatal fires occur when people are sleeping, and because smoke can put you into a deeper sleep rather than waking you, it´s important to have a mechanical early warning of a fire to ensure that you wake up. If anyone in your household is deaf or if your own hearing is diminished, consider installing a smoke alarm that uses a flashing light or vibration to alert you to a fire emergency. View a list of product manufacturers.
- Do the drill
Conduct your own, or participate in, regular fire drills to make sure you know what to do in the event of a home fire. If you or someone you live with cannot escape alone, designate a member of the household to assist, and decide on backups in case the designee isn't home. Fire drills are also a good opportunity to make sure that everyone is able to hear and respond to smoke alarms.
- Open up
Make sure that you are able to open all doors and windows in your home. Locks and pins should open easily from inside. (Some apartment and high-rise buildings have windows designed not to open.) If you have security bars on doors or windows, they should have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened easily. These devices won't compromise your safety, but they will enable you to open the window from inside in the event of a fire. Check to be sure that windows haven't been sealed shut with paint or nailed shut; if they have, arrange for someone to break the seals all around your home or remove the nails.
- Stay connected
Keep a telephone nearby, along with emergency phone numbers so that you can communicate with emergency personnel if you're trapped in your room by fire or smoke.
If you or a loved one have fire damage in your home, please call SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside at 708-240-4873. Let us help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Dust that accumulates in your air ducts can lead to microbial growth
Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, and mold can easily exist in your ducts. You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:
- There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.
- Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).
- Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.
If you do decide to have your air ducts cleaned, give SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside a call at 708-240-4873, and we will be happy to come to your home or business to clean out the ducts for you.
Why cleaning your commercial air ducts is important
According to the NACDA—The HVAC Inspection, Maintenance, and Restoration Association, “if your ducts look dirty, they probably are.” By conducting routine air duct cleanings, you will be able to fully inspect your air ducts for leaks, HVAC effectiveness, and overall indoor air quality.
Air Duct Cleaning Improves the Quality of Indoor Air
By routinely having your air ducts cleaned you can significantly decrease the amount of airborne molecules in your office, all while avoiding weighty fees for other air purifying solutions. Air ducts, like everything else in our office, collect dirt and debris. While filters may catch a lot of streaming debris, there is still a considerable amount of dust that settles within the ducts.
Air Duct Cleaning Conserves Energy
Air duct cleaning provides a beginning in optimizing your duct function while providing the opportunity for other issues to be assessed. A properly and thoroughly cleaned HVAC system, not just the air ducts, can reduce the costs associated with running your HVAC system and increase the useful life of your air conditioner and furnace. EPA research suggests that cleaning dirty cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers can improve the efficiency of cooling and heating systems and lower the energy costs of running your heating and cooling system. In administering frequent commercial air duct cleanings, all parts of your HVAC system will be refreshed. This will allow your systems to work better, faster, and more efficiently, all while using less energy!
Air Duct Cleaning Will Save You Money
Having your air ducts regularly serviced lower your energy bill, but it will also prolong the life of your HVAC system. Energy Star estimates indicate that you can improve the efficiency of your HVAC system by 20 percent or more simply by cleaning your ducts.
If you are looking for commercial duct cleaning, please give us a call at 708-240-4873, and let us help save your company money.
Managing Winter Storm Damage to Your Home
Protecting your home is vital in the winter months. A frozen water pipe can burst and flood your house. An ice dam in your gutter can cause water to seep into and saturate an interior walls of your home. Here is a list from Nationwide insurance that they advise their homeowners on during the winter months to prepare their homes for the cold.
- Clean out the gutters, disconnect and drain all outside hoses. If possible, shut off outside water valves.
- Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Repair roof leaks and remove tree branches that could get weighed down with ice or snow and fall on your house – or your neighbor's. (Avoid liability for the latter.)
- Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
- Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
- If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you're not using it.
- Have a contractor check your roof to see if it would sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.
- Make sure your furniture isn't blocking your home’s heating vents.
- During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
- If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system.
- Avoid ice dams– where water from melted snow refreezes in the gutters and seeps in under the roof, soaking interior walls. Here’s how:
- Ventilate your attic.
- Insulate the attic floor well to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
- Consider having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof covering.
If you do find that you have damage to your home, the Insurance Information Institute has published some tips on what to do in the case of a winter storm and managing the damage to your home.
- Take pictures of the damage immediately. If you have "before" pictures, that's even better. Those pictures will help ensure that your insurer cannot claim that the problem was preexisting.
- Make temporary repairs to keep the damage from getting worse but hold on to all of your receipts.
- Don't make pricey repairs before the insurance adjuster arrives.
- Don't assume something is not covered. Take out your policy. Most weather-related damage like burst pipes, a collapsed roof and ice dams are covered.
- Call a reputable company to come and help with any damages to your home. Choose a company that will work with your insurance company.
SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is here to help in your time of need for all your winter storm damage needs. Give us a call at 708-240-4873. We work with your insurance companies to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Winter Fire Preventive Tips
According to the National Fire Protection Association, December, January, and February are the months that half the heating fires occur. Also in those same months, 1 and 7 fires heating equipment is reported as the cause of the fire. Space heaters are often the leading piece of equipment the source of the fires in this months. Almost 40% of the fires in December to February are space heater related.
Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Electrical Safety Foundation International has published several tips on safety while using a space heater.
- Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
- Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
- Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
- Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc to your home or commercial property. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.
If you experience a fire, SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is here to help. Give us a call at 708-240-4873 for all your fire, smoke, and soot damage related needs. We work with your insurance companies to make your home look “Like it never even happened.”
What mold damage does to your property
Moisture is always the cause of indoor mold growth. Mold doesn't just grow on construction materials all by itself, it requires moisture. Control moisture and you control mold growth. The source of moisture is typically one of three origins. Either:
- Direct water intrusion event such as a roof leak, plumbing leak, poorly sealed leaking windows, drain back-ups, water run-off from showers and bath tubs, etc.
- Indirect water intrusion from rising damp, such as moisture wicking up from the ground or damp concrete slabs into walls, carpet, cabinets, furniture, etc.
- Intermittent water intrusion from condensation caused by humidifiers, vaporizers, high steam, inadequate ventilation, faulty windows, and high humidity.
Mold can grow on any wet building materials, including stucco. Once it is discovered, it must be addressed quickly and properly. Delayed or improper treatment of mold issues can multiply repair costs exponentially.
When building materials such as wood siding, brick, concrete block and stucco are exposed to moisture, over time that moisture can penetrate exterior walls and enter the wall cavity, creating perfect conditions for mold growth in between exterior and interior walls.
Being pro-active is the key to limiting mold damage is being pro-active. If you suspect you have a mold problem, don't ignore it, address it immediately. A common mistake people make is to assume that only visible mold is a problem. In vain, they attempt to wash moldy areas with bleach or cover mold up with new paint, wallpaper, carpet or tile. None of which solves the problem. Unless all mold contaminated materials are removed or properly remediated, mold will keep coming back. The only way to correct indoor mold problems is to eliminate the cause, remove all mold growth and control moisture.
SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is here to help with all your mold damage needs. Please give us a call at 708-240-4873. We are always here to help!
The Facts About Frozen Pipes
Cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze. Frozen pipes are a problem because they prevent water flow, but even worse, frozen pipes can eventually burst, causing damage and potential flooding.
How do you spot frozen pipes? The first way to spot frozen pipes is frost on the pipes. This can serve as a warning sign that the pipe is frozen before you ever try to turn on the faucet. Examining the pipes under your kitchen sink and noticing frost is a sure sign that you have frozen pipes.
Another way to spot frozen pipes is that the water is not coming out of the faucet, or coming in a very small stream. When you turn on the faucet, and a slight trickle of water or no water at all comes out, the water pipe leading to the faucet may be frozen.
If you have water damage after noticing the frozen pipes give SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside a call and we will be happy to help assist with the water damage to your home. Leaving damaged water pipes can cause more problems in the future, so give us a call to help make it "Like it never even happened."
Winter Water Damage
For many in the US, the thought of getting home water damage from a cold snap does not even cross our minds, but the truth is, any home can be susceptible to cold. Here are some tips you will need to be aware of in order to protect your home from expensive water damage.
Ice Dams: Ice dams cause a significant amount of water damage each year to homes. There are essentially two ways in handling ice dams. You can do a temporary installation of heat cables on the overhang of your roof. These cables will heat the roof area and melt the snow not allowing it to form ice damn, however, this method can also cause damage to your shingles and shorten the life time of the shingles.
The most effective long-term solutions are to keep heat out of the attic and to promote ventilation under the roof deck to keep it as cold as possible. A soffit-and-ridge vent system usually requires insulation baffles installed at the lower side of the roof, above the exterior walls. The baffles hold back the insulation by a couple of inches, creating a channel for air to flow past the insulation.
Pipe Breaks: When winter temperatures plummet, water can easily freeze inside the piping, causing them to burst. If you are unaware or not home when this happens, massive amounts of flooding to your home can happen to your home, furniture, and rugs. The best way to avoid broken pipes is to wrap the uninsulated pipes with a blanket or foam.
Melting Snow: Melting snow can impact any home, whether it has a basement, crawlspace, or a slab foundation. If enough snow ends up piling up next to your foundation, it’s going to create a lot of water once it melts. If your lawn is not sloped away from your home, you are very likely to get gallons of water coming in from your foundation.
High Winds Roof Damage: Winter storms often bring very fast moving and strong winds with them. These strong winds are capable of tearing shingles off of your roof. Just a small amount of damaged or missing shingles can end up allowing a lot of water into your attic. When possible a roofing company can come and check your roof, but remember that if there is snow and ice on the roof it is not safe for anyone, including trained professionals to get on the roof.
If you experience water damage to your home this winter, SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside here to help. Give us a call at 708-240-4873 for all your water damage needs.
How To Prevent Water Damage From Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are a sure way to water damage in your home, but how do you prevent frozen pipes in the winter? Our friends at American Family Insurance share some great tips on keeping your pipes from freezing.
The best way to prevent your home’s pipes from freezing is to keep them from being exposed to the cold. Here’s how:
- Cover exposed pipes in crawl spaces or attics with insulation sleeves.
- Re-route pipes to an inside wall.
- Use caulking to seal cracks in the foundation or walls that let cold air in.
- Disconnect garden hoses and turn off the water supply to spigots.
- Keep cabinet doors open below your sinks to allow warm air in.
Other ways you can winterize your home from frozen pipes remove all the hoses from the outside water supply. Once you have drained and stored the hose away, open up the outside valve. This will allow the remaining water to drain and allows the pipe to expand without breaking. You should also consider a pipe sleeve to install over the outside water line to insulate and keep ice from forming.
The American Red Cross gives great ideas on preventative action during cold weather to consider to keep your pipes from freezing as well.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
There are many way to keep your home safe from winter pipe breaks. Please feel free to reach out to SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside at 708-240-4873 if you need any help with your home.