Recent Posts

How Hail Damage Can Affect Your Roof

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

What is hail? "Hail is large, layered ice particles, often spherical in shape, which are produced by thunderstorms having strong, tilted updrafts. Hailstorms form within a unusually unstable air mass, that is, an air mass in which the temperature falloff with height is much greater than normal." (The Weather Channel)

How can hail damage your roof? "Basically, hailstones one inch in diameter begin causing damage to some of the older, thinner roof products. Therefore, from a roof damage perspective, we believe the hail size threshold for issuing a severe thunderstorm warning can be increased from ¾ of an inch to one inch in diameter." (Travelers Insurance) Hail larger than 0.75 inches is considered large enough to cause serious damage in the United States. Per NOAA, hailstones can fall at speeds up to 120 mph. The largest hailstone ever recorded in the United States was 8 inches in diameter, weighing nearly 2 pounds.

How do you know if you have roof damage from hail?  Set up a ladder to your roof to examine the top of the roof.  Check the ridge cap of the roof for dents. This area of the roof will receive the most damage from hail since it is flat and will take a direct hit in a storm.  Look at the shingles. Check the whole shingle, as well as the edges, for signs of damage. 

If climbing up a ladder is not your thing, call SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights at 847-637-3445, and we will take a look at your roof for hail and other roof damage for you. 

Tornado Safety Myths

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

According to the study done by The Weather Channel. Each year in the U.S., 1,200 tornadoes on average kill 60 people, injure 1,500, and cause roughly $400 million in damages, putting long-term average tornado losses on par with hurricanes.  With that being said, you need to know the difference between tornado fact and fiction.

  • Southwest corner of your home/building/shelter is the safest location - In 1887 John P. Finley wrote a book on his observations of his tornado research. While he published some ground breaking information on tornadoes he also helped created this tornadoes myth. John believed that tornadoes only traveled in a northeast direction and that derby they created would be carried in the direction of its propagation. The 1997 F5 Jarrell tornado is a prime example of his misconceptions since that tornado moved in a south-southwesterly direction. It's recommended that you always seek shelter in the lowest floor of a building, preferably under an I-beam or staircase, regardless of the type of building you're in.
  • Open all the windows in your home when a tornado warning is issued - This is an extremely dangerous myth because it takes away critical minutes that could be used to reach shelter. It used to be widely believed that you needed to open your windows during a tornado to equalize pressure and prevent your house from exploding. A violent tornado will only have a 10% drop in pressure which isn't anywhere near enough to cause your home to explode. Ignore your windows and seek shelter immediately when a tornado warning is issued.
  • A highway overpass is an excellent tornado shelter - This myth gained huge traction in 1991 when a TV crew survived a tornado unharmed by sheltering under a overpass in El Dorado, KS. This event had nationwide coverage with video of the event and that helped perpetuate this myth to a dangerously high status. The conclusion for scientific evidence from the Oklahoma outbreak in 1999 actual proved that overpasses are actually one of the worst places to seek shelter during a violent tornado; mostly due to the wind tunnel effect that can accelerate flying derby speed even during weak tornadoes.
  • You can outrun a tornado via a vehicle - The theory behind this myth is a vehicle can travel faster than the average tornado, but the key phrase is average. There is no way for someone to know the travel and wind speed of a tornado just by looking at it. Plus the flooding, hail, and flying derby from a tornado can put someone in a vehicle in danger. The official directive from the National Weather Service is if you spot a tornado nearby to abandon your vehicle and seek shelter in a nearby building, culvert or ditch.
  • A brick or stone building can protect me from a tornado - While a brick or stone building can provide better protection during tornado a violent only can easily turn a brick or stone building into a pile of rubble. It's recommended that you always seek shelter in the lowest floor of a building, preferably under an I-beam or staircase, regardless of the type of building you're in.
  • If a tornado isn't coming directly towards me I'm safe - In the past it was common belief that a tornado would only travel in a northeasterly direction. While it's true that most tornadoes will move northeast this is most due to the direction the storm is traveling. Tornadoes are erratic, unpredictable, and can come from any direction.

In the even a tornado strikes, SERVPRO is always here to help! 

Tips If You Expect Mold

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (847) 637-3445

Flood Safety Tips

5/23/2018 (Permalink)

Flood can happen anywhere, and without much of a notice.  According to ready.gov “Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 1 foot of water can sweep your vehicle away.” Flood Watches and Flood Warnings are available to let you know what the weather is doing in your area.  On average, more deaths occur due to flooding each year than from any other severe weather related hazard.

First of all flood watches and flood warnings are two separate alerts to warn about the weather in your area.  A flood watch is to make you aware that conditions are possible for flooding.  A flood warning means you need to take action to keep yourself and your family safe. 

Ready.gov has some safety tips in case you are in an area where there is a flood warning. 

  • Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground.
  • Evacuate if directed.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and 1 foot of water can sweep your vehicle away.

The water from a flood is only one of the risks.  Water and electricity do not mix.  In the event of a flood, downed power lines are also possible.  Stay away from all power lines.  Calling your local utility company is the only thing you should do in the event you see downed lines.  Your appliances, if they get wet, should also not be used until they have been inspected by a licenses electrician.  The fuse box in the house should be avoided as well as long as there is water in the home.

We may not be able to control weather conditions, but we can take all possible precautions to ensure our personal safety and protect our homes from severe damage. According to ready.gov the following tips can help prepare you for a flood:

  • Find out how vulnerable your home is to flooding by determining the elevation of your property.
  • Evaluate your insurance coverage once a year to make sure your home is fully covered. As new construction grows in certain areas, more flood-plains are sometimes created.
  • If your home is in a flood-prone area, contact the National Flood Insurance program to learn what mitigation measures you can take in advance.
  • Contact your local emergency management agency to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area, keep these materials on hand: sandbags, plywood, lumber, plastic sheeting, trash bags, shovels, work boots and gloves.
  • Purchase a weather radio. These special, battery-operated radios cost as little as $20 and are available at many hardware and appliance stores and other retail outlets.
  • Put together a disaster survival kit. Keep the following supplies near at hand and put them in a water-tight container: flashlight with extra batteries, battery-powered radio and weather radio, first aid kit, medicines, eyeglasses, drinking water, non-perishable foods, change of clothes, cash and credit cards, and copies of all important papers.
  • Plan two evacuation routes in advance. Don’t wait until threatening weather conditions occur before trying to determine your route to safety. Be aware of streams, drainage channels and low areas in your region that are prone to flooding, so that your evacuation routes are not cut off.
  • Do not park your vehicle near streams or rivers, especially during threatening weather conditions.

SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights wants you to stay safe first and foremost.  However, flooding happens, and we are here to help.  If you have flood damage in your home, call us at 847-637-3445 for all your water damage needs. 

Family Fire Safety

5/22/2018 (Permalink)

Would you know what to do if a fire started in your home? Would your kids?  According to NFPA, in 2013, 334 children died in home fires. Eighty-seven percent of all fire-related deaths are due to home fires, which spread rapidly and can leave families as little as two minutes to escape once an alarm sounds. Fires are not just a problem in the United States. In 2008, nearly 61,000 children around the world died due to a fire or burn.

Kids Health has some great tips for parents to review with their families about fire safety. 

  1. Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. They are a critical first step for staying safe, but in order to be effective, they have to be working properly. For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.
  2. Teach kids never to play with matches and lighters. Make a habit of placing these items up and away from young children.
  3. Create and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room in case of a fire. Get a stopwatch and time how fast your family can escape. The kids will love it. 
  4. Children should know how to respond to the sound of a smoke alarm. Teach them to get low and get out when they hear it. A child who is coached properly ahead of time will have a better chance to be safe.
  5. Use common sense in the kitchen. Limit distractions when cooking and don’t leave a hot oven or stove top unattended.
  6. Blow out candles before you leave the room or before you go to sleep.

In the event of a fire in your home, follow these safety tips to keep your family safe.  Then after all family members are taken care of, and the fire department has cleared your home, call SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights at 847-637-3445.  We are always here to help! 

Hurricane Preparedness

5/17/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that 88% of deaths from hurricanes and tropical storms are due to the water, not wind according to The Weather Channel?  According to the National Hurricane Center, storm surge, rainfall flooding, high surf, and deaths just offshore (within 50 nautical miles of the coast) combined for 88 percent of all deaths in the U.S. from hurricanes, tropical storms or tropical depressions from 1963 to 2012.  The storm surge, the rise in water levels from the tropical winds piling water toward the coast just before and during landfall.is considered the most deadly part of a hurricane.

Knowing that the water is the most dangerous part of the hurricane, we encourage you to create a plan and share the plan with your family. Here are some tips from ready.gov:

Prepare

  • Talk About Hurricanes —Spend time with your family discussing why hurricanes occur. Explain that a hurricane is a natural event and not anyone’s fault. Use simple words that even young children can understand.
  • Know Your Risk —Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area. Assess your risks from a storm surge, flooding or wind damage that may accompany a hurricane.
  • Practice Evacuation Drills — Practice your family evacuation plan so that, during an emergency, you can evacuate quickly and safely.
  • Learn Your Caregivers' Disaster Plan — If your child’s school or child care center is in an area at risk from hurricanes, find out how its emergency plans address hurricanes. Ask about evacuation plans and if you would be required to pick up your children from the site or from another location.
  • Stay Informed — Use a NOAA Weather Radio or listen to a local station on a portable, battery-powered radio or television. Be ready to act if a Hurricane Warning is issued.

During a Hurricane

  • Evacuate If Instructed To Do So —Evacuate if told to do so by local authorities or if you feel unsafe. If advised to evacuate, avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges. Local officials may close certain roads, especially near the coast, when effects of the hurricane reach the coast.
  • Stay Indoors, If Not Evacuated — If you are not advised to evacuate, or are unable to do so safely, stay indoors, away from windows, skylights and doors. Continue to monitor weather reports and do not go outside until the storm has passed.

After a Hurricane

  • Return Home Only When Authorities indicate It’s Safe — Listen for updates and instructions from local officials.
  • Avoid Flood Waters — Water may be electrically charged from downed or underground lines. Avoid walking and driving through flood waters as well due to the fact just 6 inches of moving water is enough to knock you down.  Fast moving water can also sweep your car away in the flow of the stream. 
  • Photograph The Damage To Your Property — By photographing your property, you can help assist with your insurance claim. This also helps assist the adjustor assigned to your claim to determine the coverage to your loss.

Hurricanes are a very serious, and can be deadly.  SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights would like to encourage you to make a family plan to keep your loved ones safe.

Smoke and Soot Facts

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights has  the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
(847) 637-3445

Facts About Mold

5/9/2018 (Permalink)

It is the water that you do not see that causes the most damage to your home and business. Water contains bacteria that can cause mold, rot, and other unseen damage.  According to the EPA the ten things you should know about mold:


1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
• Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
• Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
• Increasing ventilation
• Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dish washing and cleaning
6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

Allergic reaction to mold are common, however, asthma attacks, skin and eye irritation, and coughing attacks are also common. Those with special health concerns should consult their doctor if they are concerned about mold exposure. Symptoms that may seem to occur from mold exposure may be due to other causes, such as bacterial or viral infections or other allergies.

In order to control mold, you have to control the moisture in a building. Once you detect water, acting promptly is the key to controlling mold. You need to get the water infiltration stopped and cleaned within 24-48 hours. 
The IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) gives several good tips on how to prevent mold. 
• Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
• Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.
• Preventing moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
• Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
• Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
• Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 - 60%, if possible).
• Venting moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
• Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
• Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after discovery.
• Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.
• Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure that they do not reoccur.

It is impossible to rid your home or business of mold spores. Some mold spores can travel through the air and in dust, however if there is no moisture present, there can be no mold growth. Remember, if you clean up the mold, but do not fix the water problem, then the mold problem will continue to come back. That is where SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights is here to help. Should you suspect mold in your home or business, contact our office at (847) 637-3445.

Restoring Your Commercial Property After A Water Event

5/9/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights and the surrounding area commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights

SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a 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 knowledge to restore your property.

Some Tips on How to Make 2018 a More Productive One

1/12/2018 (Permalink)

Happy New Year!  I came across this article today and thought I should share it as it had some good and "to the point" tips on how to make this a more productive year.  It was written by Kirstin O'Donovan and the title of the article is "5 Productivity Shifts You Need to Make to Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet"

Everyone wants more time, that is something almost all of us share. Time is the most valuable resource and when you learn how to make your time work for you and how to get the most out of it – you experience life differently.  

Improving how you manage your time is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself – it’s a real game changer in your business and personal life. There are many ways that you can get more productive and get the right things done sooner; but not all of them are obvious or bring the same results.

Here are 5 productivity shifts you want to make if you are trying to make the most out of 2018:

  1. 1. Ditch your to do list

Productive people don’t keep to-do lists, they schedule everything they need to do in their calendar and work directly from their calendar!  To-Do lists are just ineffective and they are impeding your productivity. A never ending list of items only leaves you overwhelmed and with a false sense of ‘productivity’.  

If you schedule your To Do’s directly into your calendar at a time to get them done, you commit to it and you are more likely to get it done. Less is more – you don’t need a separate list to remind you what you need to do.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

  1. 2. Give up on motivation

Productive people don’t always have to be motivated before starting something. They balance discipline with motivation and do what they need to do, regardless of motivation. When we come up with resistance to take action on what we have planned, we might tell ourselves that we are not motivated and we believe that we need to be motivated to complete any task.

If you want to increase your productivity, you need to challenge yourself more in the moment to take action and give up on motivation sometimes. Do what you need to in order to get the results you want in the future. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel now, make them based on what result you are really after.

  1. 3. Master your mornings

Wake up early and get yourself into the productive mindset with your routine and diet! Productive people start the day with some sort of routine, whether it’s meditation, exercise or visualization, etc. AND they have a healthy breakfast to fuel them for the day. Your health is everything when it comes to productivity, what you eat directly affects your productivity.

We can just no longer ignore the direct connection any more. Get in the right mindset to start your day and fuel your mind and body to get the most out of it. Starting your day off in any other way undermines your success – there is no doubt.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferris

  1. 4. Schedule according to energy

Productive people know their energy cycles and they plan tasks around their energy levels. Why plan something at a time when you know it will be hard to rise to the challenge? Schedule tasks that require focus and concentration for those times of day that you feel the best and you will find it’s easier to follow through and you will be at your best to perform. Identify your filler tasks and complete those when your energy drops. Be more realistic when scheduling your tasks and set yourself up for wins.

  1. 5. Working backwards

Productive people always focus on those activities that will take them to the next level. They plan backwards, they look at their goals, then identify the tasks they need to do to support those goals. Those tasks get broken down into weekly actions. That’s how they plan.

Don’t only plan on tasks that come in or those which you ‘feel’ or ‘think’ you should be doing. Your day needs to consist of at least one activity that directly supports your longer term objectives, your big project. What sounds like common sense is definitely not common practice.