Recent Posts

LET’S GET READY FOR SUMMER!

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

Grilling Out This picture depicts yummy food being cooked outdoors on a grill. mmmmm

We all want a relaxing fun summer.  However, there are things that should be taken care of before the fun can begin.

  • Trim your trees. Clean up your yard by directing the growth of your branches
  • Clean your gutters and drains
  • Check your downspouts to make sure water is guided away from your property. If they are cracked or smashed, replace them.
  • Check your hose
  • Check out the deck and patio. 
  • Replace any broken and/or rotting wood, popped nails, and screws.
  • Sweep the deck and use a deck cleaner.  Now it is time to use a sealer or stain.  Always use sealers and stains that are meant for decks.
  • If you have pavers, replace, fix broken or missing ones.  Sweep and clean.
  • Wipe down exterior lights
  • Replace old weatherstripping
  • Wash your windows
  • Turn your ceiling fan counterclockwise
  • If your home needs new or additional insulation now is the time to do it.
  • Have your chimney cleaned 
  • Give your BBQ a deep clean. Give your outdoor grill a good clean before you begin using it regularly again.  LET'S EAT!

NOW IT’S TIME TO ENJOY SUMMER TO ITS FULLEST!!!

 Source: Google and ARyan

Cigarette Tar and Odor

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

Cigarette Tar on Walls This picture shows you the sticky discoloring tar that cigarette smoke has left on the walls. The white areas are where pictures hung.

We are often asked if they can remove cigarette or tobacco smoke odors. For instance, a home may need to be cleaned and deodorized when it is being sold; an apartment may need the service between tenants. Cigarette odors not only ruin the resale value of your property, but they're harmful to your health.

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 left on all surfaces and furniture in areas where smoking has taken place. It is extremely hard to remove residue discolors on 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 furniture, carpets, walls, windows, and every other nook and cranny in the area. And the home’s HVAC system will carry the smoke odor and the residues throughout the structure

The smoke from a fire is sometimes much easier to remove from walls or other surfaces than tobacco smoke. Removing tobacco residues can be a real challenge. It is very time-consuming, as residues are present throughout the entire home.

The only effective way to remove tobacco residue and the smell that comes along with it is through very thorough cleaning and then sealing with a sealant designed to lock in the very last of the stains and odors of all structural surfaces. Hydroxyl generators or ozone generators may be used. Both are professional equipment that creates molecules that can follow the smoke into tiny spaces, and both processes effectively destroy the malodorous particles.

SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie professionals will bring your property back to a preloss condition...

"Like it never even happened."®

MOLD AND HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

Mold on Drywall This picture shows mold growth that developed on the backside of the drywall. This normally occurs from an ongoing leak in the ceiling.

A question that we often are asked here at SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie is "Are there insurance plans that will cover you from the cost of a mold remediation project?"

So, does homeowners insurance cover mold? The answer is...Sometimes.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

Homeowners' insurance does not usually cover mold damage. Your insurance company sometimes has separate coverage for mold with a limit as to what is paid out.

That being said, there are some instances where the cost of mold remediation can be covered by the insurance carrier. These instances generally occur when the source of the mold is due to an incident that the homeowners' insurance policy does cover. For example, if mold has grown due to an accidental pipe break, sump pump failure, or water that's been used to put out a recent fire has caused mold to occur, your homeowners' insurance could cover the mold damages. On the other hand, if mold has grown due to improper maintenance practices such as ongoing high humidity content or a continuous leak (roof or foundation leak), homeowners insurance will likely not cover the damages.  

How To File a Homeowners Claim for Mold

The first step in filing a claim is to call your insurance carrier as soon as the suspected mold is discovered to inform them of the damages and the source of the issue. Once you speak with your insurance carrier they will advise you if you have coverage. If so, they will provide you with the next steps, you can begin to gather the evidence. You can do this by taking several pictures of the source of the issue, as well as any apparent mold growth. Keep in mind that mold only needs 72 hours to begin to grow.

Your insurance company most likely will require you to get the affected areas tested.  The test will determine if there is mold, how many mold spores, what type of mold, and a protocol of what should be done to remediate the mold. Once you receive the results, call SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie at 847-600-0102 for mold remediation services.  Our technicians are certified in mold remediation.

SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie will then come to your home to go over the scope of work, take pictures, and measurements.  We will then supply you and your insurance company with an estimate for the required work. We will also work with your insurance carrier to determine if the necessary coverages are available to you.

Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie at 847-600-0102 if you suspect mold growth in your home.

RENTERS INSURANCE

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

Water Damage to an Apartment In this caricature, there is a woman sitting on a seat in her kitchen with water sitting all around her.

We all know that we have to have homeowner’s insurance for our house or condo.  But what if you are a renter? Do you need insurance?  The answer is, yes. 

For example, if a pipe breaks, floods from storms, or there is an electrical fire, the home or building owner is responsible for the damages.  The owner’s insurance company will only cover the damages to the structure, not your contents.  However, if you cause damage to the property, such as a stove fire, you will be responsible for paying for those damages.

This is where the renter’s insurance comes in.  If something does happen, whether it be your fault or not, you will have insurance coverage to cover your contents and any damages that you may have caused.  Your insurance agent will help you pick the best plans for your needs.

Say “yes” to getting renter’s insurance! Don’t get caught without it.

Remember; Call SERVPRO® of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie at 847.600.0102 for your restoration and content needs.  We are always here to help!

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

AC Unit in Various Cleaning Stages This picture shows the AC unit with the fan removed, the vacuuming of the fins, and the water-hose cleaning method.

Now that spring has arrived, you should be thinking about getting your HVAC’s external unit (Condenser and Compressor) ready for our hot summer days.

Preventative maintenance for HVAC systems

Regular maintenance can help you save a substantial sum of money.   Properly maintained, an HVAC system, interior, and exterior can last over a decade without any need to replace major components.

Just like your interior HVAC system, the HVAC’s external unit (Condenser and Compressor), needs a regular air conditioning service schedule to keep it in top condition. The condenser is one of the most critical parts of the air conditioner system, and you need to keep an eye on it for faults and mishaps.  It is suggested to periodically hire a professional to have the AC inspected.  A well-trained technician will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system.

PROFESSIONAL PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE:

The technician should:

  • Check for the correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
  • Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it into the atmosphere
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
  • Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat.

DIY PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE:

You can do some maintenance of your own.  The following are some of them.  You can go beyond what is listed by googling DIY AC maintenance.  Here you will find many sites that will give you more maintenance suggestions.

Cleaning the external unit (Condenser and Compressor)

Step 1 – Power Off the Unit/Mains

Safety first. You need to make sure that power is not running through the unit when you are going to clean it. You can get this done either by removing the breaker/block or by moving the switch to the off position. If you think that is hard to do, you can also turn off power to the air conditioner condenser at the main electrical panel.

Step 2 – Clear debris and areas around the unit

Keep the area around the condenser free of plant growth.  Clean the surrounding area by removing all loose dirt, leaves, and other debris with at least a 2-foot radius around the unit.

The condenser fins are where most of the debris will get stuck, and you need to carefully clean this away. Ideally, you could use a rough paintbrush to remove the debris that is easy to dislodge. After this, you could clean the finer debris with your vacuum cleaner and the brush attachment.

Step 3 – Cleaning the Condenser Fan

This is also an area where a lot of dust and debris can accumulate over time and it needs to be cleaned at regular intervals. There are chances for leaves also to get stuck here. The easiest way to get it cleaned is by wiping it down with a damp cloth and then letting it dry in the sun.

Step 4 – Cleaning Fins Inside Out

Use the brush attachment on a powerful shop vacuum to remove all outside dirt. Then, using a gentle stream from a garden hose, spray through the fins from the inside out to remove any built-up dirt or debris from between them.  Never use a pressure washer, since the pressure can damage the fins.

If the fins are particularly dirty, use a commercially available fin cleaning spray available at home improvement centers.  Read and follow manufacturer directions.

How far you want to go with DIY maintenance is up to you.  It all depends on how handy you are.  If the unit is under warranty, verify that any maintenance you do is not going to cancel the warranty.

Now you can have a cool summer! Enjoy!

Source: Hgtv.com, Energy.gov, Acdesigns.net, and A Ryan

Mold Types and Classifications

1/8/2021 (Permalink)

Visual Look at Mold This picture gives you a view of the various common molds and where they can grow. It also shows what the spores look like under a microscope.

There are three- (3) classifications of mold and various types in our world. This is a listing of the most common molds that can be found in our homes.

MOLD CLASSIFICATIONS:

  • Allergenic 
  • Pathogenic 
  • Toxigenic

COMMON MOLD TYPES:

ACREMONIUM

  • Classification: Pathogenic and Toxigenic mold type that evolves in its appearance over time
  • Found: Typically grows in humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans, and window sealants

ALTERNARIA

  • Classification: Allergenic
  • Found: Carpets, wallpaper, window frames, and air conditioning systems

ASPERGILLUS (Fumigatus – Flavus – Terreus - Niger – Nidulans)

  • Classification: Allergenic and Toxigenic. There are over 185 species that appear in many different colors
  • Found: Common mold found in American households’ walls and surfaces

AUREOBASIDIUM

  • Classification: Allergenic
  • Found: Can sometimes be found growing behind wallpaper or on painted or wooden surfaces, grout and/or caulking

CHAETOMIUM

  • Classification: Allergenic or Pathogenic. Has a cotton-like texture and usually changes colors over time
  • Found: Commonly found in water-damaged homes and buildings.

CLADOSPORIUM

  • Classification: Allergenic or Pathogenic. Can grow in both warm and cold conditions
  • Found: Areas with no sunlight and poor ventilation. Often found thriving in indoor materials such as fabrics, upholsteries, and carpets

 MUCOR

  • Classification.: Allergenic form of mold that usually grows in thick patches
  • Found: Grows near air conditioning, HVAC systems. and ducting due to moisture from condensation, dust, carpets, and mattresses

PENICILLIUM

  • Classification: Allergenic form of mold that is easily recognizable by its blue or green colored surface with a velvety texture
  • Found: Often found in water-damaged buildings

STACHYBOTRYS

  • Classification: Toxigenic. Also known as the nefarious “black mold”
  • Found: Thrives in damp, wet areas with high humidity levels. Such as bathrooms, ceilings, wet carpets, laundry rooms, and basements

TRICHODERMA

  • Classification: Allergenic mold type that is generally white with green patches
  • Found: Commonly grows in the home on wet surfaces and moist areas. Such as Carpets, wallpaper, wooden furniture, and floors

ULOCLADIUM

  • Classification: Allergenic
  • Found: Thrives in the air and damp places. It is usually black.  Can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and around windows with high condensation levels

It is always best to have a professional to test the structure and air quality.  The professionals are called Environmental Hygienist.  They can determine which mold and will give you a protocol on how to proceed with the mitigation process.

We are SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie are the professionals that will mitigate the mold and make your home safe again.  We are here to put your mind at ease and walk you through the entire process. So call us at 847.600.0102. 

2020 IS ALMOST OVER! HIP-HIP HOORAY

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

Welcome in 2021! 2020 is nearly gone. With 2021 coming in, we will need to be vigilant in making it the best year ever!

2020 has been an extremely rough year for everyone.  COVID-19 has destroyed people's lives in more ways than one.  Sickness, death, lockdowns, civil unrest.  Small business owners are struggling and a majority of them have or are going out of business.  Most schools are shut down and replaced with eLearning.  Our children are no longer getting the education they so need.

HOWEVER, let’s hope that 2021, with the help of the vaccine, will be a better year.  We all must support our local small businesses so they can rebuild and become prosperous once again.  We can do it.  With love in our hearts, we can make anything happen.

Here’s to a New Year!  We will make it the best!

HAPPY 2021 EVERYONE!

Water Damage Categories – What do they mean?

12/22/2020 (Permalink)

Water Category Sources This picture shows three- (3) sources of water damage. CAT 1 - Bathtub and Sink, CAT 2 - Sump Pump, and CAT 3 - Waste Line Stack.

Water damage comes from various sources. From pipes and toilets to sewer backups.  According to IICRC standards, there are three- (3) types of water categories: Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3.

Category 1 is considered "Clean Water". This category is from a source that poses no substantial harm to peopleAs examples, these sources could be from an overflowed bathtub and/or sink a broken water supply line to your refrigerators’ ice maker, or a leaking dishwasher water supply line. 

  • After 48 hours, a Category 1 can become a Category 2.

Category 2 also known as "Grey Water" poses health risks due to significant levels of contamination of bacteria, mold, and/or chemicals. This includes dirty water from washing machines, as well as leaks from water beds, broken aquariums, and sump pumps.   

  • Due to rampant bacterial breeding and mold growth, Category 2 becomes a Category 3 situation if left untreated for 2 days or more.

Category 3 is considered "Black Water".  Black Water contains disease-causing organisms, toxins, and is grossly unsanitary. It may also contain 100s of bacteria and virus types, including HIV. Typical black water conditions occur from a sewer backup, a broken waste line stack, and rising floodwaters. Tetanus and other serious diseases are likely to be present in rising floodwaters.

 With any of these categories, it is best to contact your professionals at SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie 847.600.0102.  We are always here to help and our goal is to make it "Like it never even happened!"

Winter is Coming and so are Frozen Pipes

12/16/2020 (Permalink)

Frozen Pop Can and Pipe This photo shows what happens to a pop can that is left in the freezer, and a household pipe that is exposed to freezing temperatures too long.

Have you ever left a can of pop in the freezer too long?  If so, you have a good idea as to what happens when your pipes freeze.  

Typically, your home's pipes begin to freeze when the outside temperature is at least 20° F, and the pipes are exposed to that temperature for a prolonged period of time.  Once the water freezes, it expands in volume.  If this is allowed to go on for too long, the pipe will burst.

When a water pipe bursts, water will come pouring out and will not stop until the water is shut off at the water main.  This should be down as quickly as possible. Be mindful of any nearby electronics or electrical wiring that may have gotten wet and be sure to steer clear of them.  It is suggested that you attach a tag to your water main so you can always find it in an emergency.

Once the water has been shut off, call a plumber to have it repaired.  And contact SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie at 847-600-0102 to start the clean-up and drying process.  Time is of the essence.  The longer the water sits, the more damage will occur to your walls, ceilings, floors, and contents.  We at SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie are here to make it "Like it never even happened."

Got Sewage?

12/11/2020 (Permalink)

Sewage Damage to Crawlspace This photo a before/after of sewage in a crawlspace. The Entry is through the Laundry Room floor. The sewage is to the top of the entrance.

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, broken drain stack to a flood overfilling a local sewer system. Sewage can be hazardous to your health and can cause extensive structural damage to both your property and your plumbing system. 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.

A sewage loss can seem like a relatively easy cleanup to tackle alone, but it should not be handled by anyone other than specialists. Due to the dangers and health risks of cleaning up a sewage loss, it is a much safer choice to leave the cleanup and restoration to the professionals. Sewage can release toxins or even infected dust, the risk of breathing in the toxins is very high. Once inhaled, the toxins can attack your upper respiratory system, causing asthma-like symptoms and shortness of breath. These fumes are often released into the air during the cleaning process, which is why it is especially important to hire specialists. Our highly-trained water/sewage damage restoration technicians will inspect your property to determine the extent of the damage. SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie trained technicians will create customized solutions to remove the sewage, damaged materials, such as baseboards and drywall, clean, and disinfect.

Do you need sewage cleaning services? Call SERVPRO of Winnetka/Wilmette/Skokie at 847-600-0102.  We provide fast, effective sewage cleanup services to get your property dry, sanitary, and looking, and smelling, fresh once again.  We work to make your home or office safe again.

Sources: Antoinette Ryan