Ice Dam diagram showing how the ice dams cause the damage. A picture of what an actual Ice Dam looks like, and the resulting interior water damage.
Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble. That's because the same conditions that allow icicles to form—snow-covered roofs and freezing weather—also lead to ice dams: thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves.
The problem occurs when the space inside an attic or the underside of the roof deck is above the freezing point. As the warm air beneath the roof heats the shingles and melts the snow on the roof, the water flows down the roofline until it reaches the overhanging eave structure, where the freezing temperatures cause the water to refreeze. Ice dams usually start or worsen after a heavy snow because of snow's insulating properties. The snow layer traps warm beneath the snow, which causes it to melt.
Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. When that happens, the results aren't pretty: peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. Not to mention soggy insulation in the attic, which loses R-value and becomes a magnet for mold and mildew.
If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, windowsills, cars, pets, and people. If the roof sheathing stays wet, it can form mildew and start to rot.
DEALING WITH EXISTING ICE DAMS
Use a roof rake after heavy snowfalls: Ice dams appear quickly after a heavy snow because of the insulating properties of snow. Using a long-handled roof rake to removing the snow from at least at lower 4 feet of roof edge can help prevent ice dams from forming. This is the only safe way to remove snow from a roof; never get onto a roof to remove snow in the winter. When using a roof rake, use light pressure to avoid scraping the shingles too hard.
Remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small chucks. Do NOT use an ax or other sharp tools! You’ll cut through the shingles. Instead, tap lightly with a blunt mallet. This is slow, dangerous work, so hire someone experienced at roofing. Even if you do it safely, the chunks of ice can take pieces of shingle with them.
Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice-melter. Do NOT use rock salt! It will damage paint, metals, and plants beneath the eave and wherever the salty water drains. A good trough-maker is a tube of cloth (a leg from an old pair of pantyhose works well). Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam. It will slowly melt its way down through the dam, clearing a path for the underlying water to flow freely.
Hire a professional: When ice dam buildup is too much for you to handle, the solution is to call in a firm specializing in this service. Some roofing contractors offer this service during the winter when there is little roofing work to do. Professionals are insured and will remove your ice dam using special equipment such as a high-temperature/low-pressure steamer to melt the ice and snow from your roof. While this service may cost a few hundred dollars, it can prevent significant damage to your home. Do not hire a contractor that uses a high-pressure power washer with a steam box, which can damage shingles.
When an ice dam gets big enough, melted water backs up behind it and seeps underneath the shingles. Eventually, it will drip into the insulation and down into the ceilings and exterior walls beneath the eave, ruining sheetrock and paint, and even baseboards and flooring.
Water damage from ice dams occurs when the water backs up and seeps under the shingles, finding a pathway through nail holes in the roof deck and down into your home causing interior water damage to insulation, sheetrock, drywall, flooring and, in the worst case, cause mold to grow.
What are some warning signs to watch for?
Recognize the signs of stress when too much snow and ice has accumulated on your roof or when you have too much condensation in your attic:
- Sagging Ridgeline
- Peeling paint.
- Water Leaks on Interior Walls and Ceilings
- Sagging Drooping Drywall and/or Plaster Ceilings/Walls
- Stains on Windows and Doors
- Jammed/Sticking Doors
- Cracked Interior Walls Near the Center of Your Home
- Creaking Sounds
- Warping Hardwood Floor
- Damp Carpeting
Once you have found some or all of these signs, call SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie 847-600-0102. We will make it "Like it never even happened." ®
Source(s): This Old House, home_partners.com and thespruce.com, Antoinette Ryan
Holiday Fire Safety
Cats thinking that they too are Christmas Tree decorations. Someone needs to inform the one on the right that he is no Angel.
THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE…BE SAFE!
Did you know that the top three days of the year for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day? Christmas decorations are beautiful, but consider the following during your holiday festivities;
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside bedrooms.
- Test all smoke alarms in your house once a month
- Replace smoke alarm batteries at the very least, annually.
- Have a fire escape plan
- Never leave a burning candle unattended. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.
- Check all holiday light cords to make sure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together—no more than three per extension cord.
- If you are buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat.
- If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and water daily to keep it fresh. Bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
- If using older decorations, check their labels. Some older tinsel is lead-based. If using angel hair, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Avoid breathing in artificial snow.
- When decorating outside, make sure decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.
- If using a ladder, be extra careful. Make sure to have good, stable placement and wear shoes that allow for good traction.
- Don’t use electric lights on metallic trees.
- Don’t forget to turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.
- Keep children, pets, and decorations away from candles.
- If hanging stockings on the fireplace mantel, don’t light the fireplace.
Oh, and just a side note, no matter what cats believe, they are not Christmas Tree decorations - please try to keep them out of your tree - good luck!
From all of us at SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie, we wish you a very merry and safe holiday season!
Sources: Red Cross and FEMA
GO SKOKIE BASHERS!
The Bashers' first-team photos! We are so proud of you and look forward to hanging another team placard on our wall.
In 2018, the Skokie Park District contacted us about sponsoring their first-ever youth football teams, the Bashers. We were surprised to hear that they didn’t already have one and jumped at the chance right away.
Children are our future and deserve a chance at playing sports. Football is a team sport. It teaches lessons that they will use throughout their lives. They learn teamwork, discipline, work ethics, and how to deal with success and failure. Someone who is gracious on the football field grows into a co-worker or supervisor who gains the respect of his work team as well as clients and customers. Both Basher teams have proven that they believe in teamwork.
Congratulations to our Varsity (7th/8th Grade) Team. They are UNDEFEATED 8-0. Also, congratulations to our Jr. Varsity (5th/6th Grade) Team. They are 4-4.
WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU AND GRATEFUL TO BE ONE OF YOUR SPONSORS!
See you in 2020!
After water damage, what happens to my carpet and padding?
Water damage to the carpet, pad, and subfloor occurred due to an ice-dam melting on the roof. In this case the carpet and pad were both disposed of.
No two water losses are alike and each situation must be treated based on the unique needs of the environment.
You cannot use the same padding if your carpet gets wet. Think of the carpet padding like a giant sponge. It soaks up the water and it won’t dry out. No matter how dry you get the carpet, the dampness in the padding will cause it to mildew and mold, which will cause an odor and unsafe conditions under the carpet.
Mold can grow on and under carpeting after water damage or flooding has occurred. This usually happens due to delamination, the process in which the water weakens and loosens the glue. This allows the carpet to separate and create a space for mold to grow. Initial mold growth may be small, but if not dealt with in a timely manner, can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Visible mold can take one to two weeks to show.
Carpet can be restored if it has been wet from clean water, Category 1, less than 48 hours The padding, however, will need to be removed. Category 1 water losses originate from a sanitary water source and do not pose substantial health risks. If the water loss was clean, the nature of the environment or the number of days that have passed since the damage occurred, can change the classification from Category 1 (clean water) to Category 2 (gray water) or even Category 3 (black water).
Examples include, but limited to: overflow of a bathtub, leaking from a supply line for an ice maker, and broken water pipes
Carpet that is saturated with Category 2 (gray water) may be cleaned by a professional using a biocide, allowing appropriate contact time, and using the hot water extraction cleaning method. However, the padding will need to be removed.
A Category 2 water loss refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological, or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when exposed or consumed. Known as "Gray Water," this type of water damage carries microorganisms and nutrients of microorganisms.
Examples include, but are not limited to: toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure, and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.
Category 3 (black water) water loss involves water that is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents. Such water may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances. With this type of loss, the carpet and pad must be disposed of.
Examples include, but are not limited to: sewage, toilet backflows that originate from beyond the toilet trap regardless of visible content or color, all forms of flooding from seawater, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams, and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment such as wind-driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms, or other weather-related events.
Remember, it is very important to call SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie 847-600-0102, as soon as possible.
We are always here to help.
Sources: Jon-Don, Green Clean, and Antoinette Ryan
Thanksgiving is on its way…and so is Fire Damage
For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.
Not only is Thanksgiving the biggest day for home cooking fires, but these types of fires make up a much larger proportion of all fires that happen on Thanksgiving. The positive news, if you can call it that, is the residential fires that occur at Thanksgiving tend to do less damage than home cooking fires do normally. In addition, they only lead to 11 injuries per 1,000 fires. Part of this is because the fires don’t tend to spread as far. Most home fires on Thanksgiving are limited to the object of the origin of the fire. Only a small percentage spreads beyond the room of origin.
There are three main methods of cooling on Thanksgiving; Stovetop, Oven, and Deep Fryer
Stovetop and Oven Quick Tips
Busy cooks can become distracted by preparing several dishes at once while also trying to entertain guests. Cooking fires can easily be prevented by following a few simple precautions:
- Start the holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven. Remove food and grease buildup from burners, stovetop, and oven.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking and don’t become distracted by guests.
- Stay in the home when cooking turkey, set a timer, and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. Preferably use the back burners.
- Keep a flame-resistant oven mitt, potholder or lid nearby to smother any flames.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- Have working smoke alarms in the home and have an escape plan that the entire family knows if there is a fire.
Deep Fry Quick Tips
Never use a turkey fryer indoors, in the garage or on a covered patio because of the fire hazard. Never overfill the oil in a turkey fryer. Many turkey fires occur while the oil is being heated. Units can easily tip over, spilling hot, scalding oil onto anyone or anything nearby, leading to fires, burns or other injuries. Since most units do not have automatic thermostatic controls, the oil may heat until it catches fire. The sides, lids, and handles get extremely hot and may cause burns.
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Completely thaw the turkey. A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter.
- Allow at least two feet of space between the liquid propane tank and the fryer burner.
- Only use the oil recommended by the manufacturer. Different types of oil have different ignition temperatures.
- Do not overfill the fryer with oil. Before dumping a few gallons of oil into the fryer, test it out with water. Place the turkey inside and then fill it with water until the bird is submerged. Mark the water line on the fryer and remove the turkey. Doing this will let you know how much oil to put in the fryer. An overfilled cooking pot will cause the oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot oil across a large area. The pot, lid, and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries.
- Keep children and pets well away from the fryer. Remember the oil will remain dangerously hot for hours.
In all types of cooking throughout the year
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts; wear safety goggles to protect eyes from oil splatter.
- If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn OFF the gas supply.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby.
- Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
Keep safe this holiday season. Just remember, if tragedy strikes, the professionals at SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie are here to help and make it like it never even happened
Sources: nfpa.org, cover.com, dhs.gov, and Antoinette Ryan
During heavy rains, multiple sewers backed up into the basement. The damage was throughout the basement affecting floors, walls, and contents.
Sewage backing up into a home, office or business, can happen to anyone at any time. Many things can cause a sewage backup, from a pipe clogging to a flood overfilling of the local sewer system, and toilets. A sewage loss can seem like a relatively easy cleanup to tackle alone, but it should not be handled by anyone other than specialists.
Sewage Water Contains Diseases and Bacteria and is Easily Spread
What is sewage? Primarily, sewage is contaminated water containing waste of any type. Sewage can be a mixture of waste from both household and industrial sources. The waste can contain anything as harmless as soap to more harmful things such as human or industrial waste. Sharing the same space as sewage, for any duration of time, often means coming in contact with many harmful bacteria and diseases.
Common ways for bacteria from sewage backup to enter your body is through hand-to-mouth contact, and a cut through skin contact. Coming in contact with bacteria can be as easy as not properly cleaning your hands after touching sewage and then eating, drinking. A disease present in sewage may even spread quicker when given easy entry to your body such as an unhealed cut.
Sewage contamination should be considered extremely dangerous. It can make not only whoever comes into direct contact with it very sick, but also anyone else with whom the exposed comes into contact, this includes family pets. There are many highly contagious bacteria and viruses commonly found in sewage.
What to Do…
- Call a qualified plumber immediately
- If you must enter the area, wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and a face mask
- Keep children and pets away from contaminated areas until they have been cleaned and disinfected
- Do not allow children or pets to play with contaminated toys until they have been disinfected
- Call SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie at 847-600-0102 to handle the cleanup, disinfecting, and removal of any contaminated contents and/or structural material such as drywall, baseboard, carpeting, etc. WE ARE HERE TO HELP!
Source: Clear Restoration, The Trenchless Co, and Antoinette Ryan
Smoke Odor & Soot Removal
A pot on the stove which eventually caught on fire damaging the entire kitchen. All of the appliances, cabinets, and walls had to be removed.
As with every property loss, SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie restoration professionals help brings the property back to a preloss condition. SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie restoration professionals are highly trained and skilled in procedures not only to remedy smoke odors and soot removal but also to return customers to their restored property cost-effectively and in the shortest time possible.
After fire burns in your home, the next critical step is to remove the soot from your property and possessions. Soot stains walls corrode metal objects and will embed themselves in the tiniest cracks of your home if it is not cleaned properly. One thing you’ll notice is a bunch of “dirty cobwebs” along the edges and corners of your ceiling. Soot webs are particles that stick together in chains. They tend to gather along the edges between your walls and ceiling because those areas tend to be cooler, which smoke likes to move to.
The “soft” things in a home such as upholstery, bedding, window coverings, clothes, etc. will need special attention. Because they absorb odors so well and are often easily damaged, they will be very difficult to successfully restore and may require outside specialists. Testing should be conducted to evaluate the success of such efforts. In many cases, the decision is made to simply replace these materials and items.
Smoke and soot cleanups are not a DIY job, as soot is considered to be carcinogenic. Our fire restoration professionals have the proper respiratory equipment and will safely remove toxins from your home.
We use professional cleaning and degreaser products that are specially made for SERVPRO®.The use of negative air scrubbers is part of our standard procedure. An air scrubber is a portable filtration system that removes particles, gasses, and/or chemicals from the air within a given area. These machines draw air in from the surrounding environment and pass it through a series of filters to remove contaminants.
Once our restoration professionals have finished the cleaning, it may be necessary to use specialized, professional equipment to help remove the very last of the odors. This will often involve ozone generators. This equipment creates molecules which can follow the smoke into tiny spaces, and both processes effectively destroy the malodorous particles.
As with every property loss, SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie will bring your property back to preloss condition.
Source: brightpink and A Ryan
September is Preparedness Month
Examples of Kits and Tools
Where you live, Mother Nature also lives.
Make a Kit
Why should you stockpile food, water, and other supplies? Because bad things happen. You never know when disaster will strike.
Whether it is a Snow Storm, Ice Storm, Hurricane, Wildfires, Tsunami, Tornado, Earthquake, Sand Storm or Flooding, you should always be prepared. This goes for humans and pets alike.
A first aid kit should always be available in all areas; Home, Car, Boat, etc.
Emergency kits should be kept at all times. If you wait until you need it, it is a sure bet others have beaten you to it. Grocery stores may be empty. The power grid, water/gas lines, transportation, fuel, and highways may all be broken or shut down. FEMA is NOT responsible for providing you food and supplies. It is your responsibility to provide food, water, and other supplies for at least the first three days of a disaster. In extreme cases, you could be on your own for up to several weeks or even months.
Basic 2-3 day stockpile for your home:
Food should not be a concern because most people typically have more than 2-3 days worth of food on hand, and could go that long without eating if necessary. The biggest need is having sufficient water on-hand. You will need 1 gallon of water per person per day. Use tap water in six-gallon water containers, and/or use buckets with lids. To purify, either boil the water, add 8 drops of bleach per gallon or water purification tablets.
6-8 week stockpile needs for more severe disasters:
Buy bulk items of food having a long shelf life. You could buy and store your own rice, beans, pasta, and other dry or canned goods. Another alternative if you do not want to have to worry about shelf life of the food, you can buy Freeze-dried & Dehydrated foods. The shelf life for this type is around 25 years.
- Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
- Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
- Replace expired items as needed
- Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as family's needs change
You can also purchase already prepared Emergency Kits. Costco, Amazon, Survival, and Sporting Goods stores, just to name a few. Do your research. Another alternative is to make your own.
These kits, based on the supplier, include food that has a shelf life between 15-25 years. Search for reviews with respect to the taste of the food. We do not think you want to eat cardboard. The food should taste good especially if you have children.
The typical survival kits include supplies such as matches, cord, space blankets, water pouches, compass, multi-tool, etc. Some also include a water filtration system, hand crank flashlight/radio/cell phone charger. These kits are great in case you have to evacuate your home. You may have to pack a can opener, toilet paper (I suggest wet wipes), towels, etc.
- Family Communication Plan: Who to call-Family/Friends in and out of state
Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing and/or programmed into their cell phones.
No Cell or Landline service? Purchase 2-way radios (a.k.a Walky-Talkies). We would suggest one that is long range.
- Utility Shut-Off: Where and how to shut off the water, power, and gas
- Escape Plan: When, where, and how to bug out to if your home or city becomes too dangerous. Choose two places to meet in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. Right outside your home outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
- Safety Skills: How to provide CPR, dress a wound, properly prepare water, set up temporary shelters, start a fire, etc.
What might other stuff be worth stockpiling?
- Fire: lighter; matches
- Fuel: extra propane tanks; kerosene; gasoline; wood
- Light:flashlights (hand crank?); candles; lantern; wicks
- Cooking: vegetable oil; cook stove; cast iron pans
- Flavoring: salt; sugar; honey
- Protein: tuna/chicken cans; boxes of oatmeal; dry milk
- Carb's: dry pasta w/cans of tomato sauce; crackers; dry cereal
- Toiletries: buy large Costco quantities for everyday use, always have spares
- First-Aid¹: band-aids, vitamins, iodine (f/radiation), rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide
- Drugs: aspirin, analgesics, antibiotics, antifungals, antihistamines, antivirals, and steroids
- Water:buckets w/lid; bleach; filter (Britta?); identify local source
- Power: batteries; rechargeable batteries; a solar recharger
- Weapons:(for defense) shotgun, pistol, rifle, ammo, bat, machete, sword, nun-chuks...
- Shelter: tarp; stakes; rope; twine; sleeping bag; blankets
- Seeds: if extreme TSHTF then start your own vegetable garden
- Help/Barter: buy more of the above than you need to help neighbors and for trading
Source: ready.gov, redcross.org, Fema.gov
Cigarette Smoke Damage
The entire first floor of this home had thick yellowish-brown, sticky residue throughout caused by years of heavy cigarette smoking.
SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie professionals are often asked if they are able to remove cigarette or tobacco smoke odors.
The EPA says that Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is the mixture of smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, plus the smoke exhaled by the smoker. It is a complex mixture of over 4,000 compounds, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals, and many of which are strong irritants. We normally refer to ETS as “secondhand smoke.”
The smoke from tobacco clouds the air and sticks to every surface of the area. People can also see, smell, and feel a yellowish-brown, sticky substance that is on all surfaces and furniture in areas where smoking has taken place. This extremely hard to remove residue discolors painted surfaces and plastics. It can permanently change the appearance of wallpaper, blinds, paint, and many other items in the area. The smoke can penetrate into furniture, carpets, walls, windows, and every other nook and cranny in the area. In addition, the building’s HVAC system will carry the smoke odor and the residues throughout the structure.
The result of long-term smoking in enclosed areas is much the same as that of an actual fire. Unfortunately, one difference is that the smoke from a fire is sometimes much easier to remove from walls or other surfaces than tobacco smoke. Removing tobacco residue can be challenging.
Cleaning all surfaces will be necessary to remove contaminants and odors. The cleaning process will always include deodorizing agents to help with that process. Even after thorough and successful cleaning, it is usually necessary to seal surfaces with a sealant designed to lock in the very last of the stains and odors. It is important to recognize that a normal “primer” is not sufficient, and a product designed to seal odors and smoke residue is required.
The “soft” items in a home such as upholstery, bedding, window coverings, clothes, etc. will need special attention. Fabric absorbs odors very well. They can be very difficult to restore successfully and may require outside specialists.
After SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie professionals have finished the cleaning, it may be necessary to use specialized, professional equipment to help remove the very last of the odors. This will often involve hydroxyl generators or ozone generators. Both are professional equipment that creates molecules, which can follow the smoke into tiny spaces, and both processes effectively destroy the malodorous particles.
As with every property loss, SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie will bring your property back to a preloss condition.
We are ready to help 24/7/365
SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today – (847) 600-0102
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
Your name and contact information
Your insurance information (if applicable)
The street address of the water-damaged home or business
When did the flooding or water damage occur?
What caused the water damage (if known)?
Is there electricity available (on-site)?
About SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie
SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the proper knowledge to restore your property. If you experience a water event in your home or business call SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie at (847)-600-0102 right away.