4 Tips To Flood-Proof Your Home
Making sure downspouts and drains are not clogged can help with water runoff in the event of a flood
Safety Tips For Homeowners To Protect Their Homes
As a homeowner, safeguarding your home against natural disasters is paramount, and flood safety should be a priority. Flooding is not only the most common natural disaster in the U.S., it’s also one of the costliest weather-related disasters. Flooding is estimated to have caused over $260 billion in damage between 1980 and 2013. Homeowners in Arlington Heights, IL, will especially benefit from these safety tips to protect their homes.
1. Reconsider renovations. For example, if your driveway needs to be repaved, consider installing porous paving to help slow down water runoff. If you’re springing for a new lawn, make sure to grade it away from the house so as to direct water flow into the street gutter and not your home.
2. Maintain upkeep. You can flood proof your home by doing simple maintenance upkeep such as checking pipe valves and ensuring gutters are clear to prevent ice dams. Making sure downspouts and drains are not clogged can help with water runoff in the event of a flood, or even heavy rainfall.
3. Prioritize cleanup. Almost as important as protecting your home for flood safety is post-flood follow-up. To avoid water damage and mold, seek water-damage repair experts immediately. You won’t be the only one seeking help after such a natural disaster, so be sure to act early.
4. Reorganize clutter. Move any electronics, expensive rugs and furniture to upper levels if possible. If it’s not, simply raise them off the floor. Elevating major appliances onto sturdy materials such as concrete blocks can be helpful as well. Make sure things such as sockets and switches, as well as circuit breakers, are at least a foot above the estimated flood level for the area.
Make flood safety a key priority when you purchase or renovate a home. Being better prepared for such natural disasters ahead of time will often be more effective than trying to belatedly deal with the aftermath.
The Aftermath of Bursting Pipes
Burst pipe in a Prospect Height, IL home
Dealing with water damage in Prospect Heights, IL, can be a homeowner’s nightmare. When it’s cold outside, water can freeze and expand, leading to bursting pipes and a flooded home. Cleanup can be expensive. Thankfully, homeowner’s insurance can help with the financial burden, and there are a few things you can do to help make the process easier.
In general, you want to wait for your homeowner’s insurance company to approve your claim before you start the main cleanup process or attempt to fix the broken pipe. However, there are a few simple things you can do to help prevent further damage:
- Remove excessive water.
- Turn off the water supply to your home.
- Take valuable items that have not been damaged and move them to a safer location.
Check Your Policy
Homeowner’s insurance policies can vary widely when it comes to what is covered. For example, your policy may include damage from bursting pipes but not from a washing machine that malfunctioned. Your best bet is to read your policy yourself so you are aware of what your coverage is.
Have Proper Documentation
Documentation is a crucial step when you are making a water claim. Consider taking photographs and video when necessary to show the extent of the damage. A photo of the room from before the damage occurred can also be helpful if you have one handy. Be sure to include any receipts you have for items that have been damaged or destroyed. If, during your emergency repairs, you had to rent equipment or buy any supplies, keep track of your receipts so you can be reimbursed for them. Any documentation you can provide will likely help with the claim process.
These things can help make the process of your water damage repair from bursting pipes go more smoothly. Emergency repairs can prevent further damage, knowledge of your policy prevents misunderstandings, and documentation should help with the claim process. Hopefully, you will be able to have the damage repaired quickly and have life return to normal.
Types of Tax Deductible Storm Losses
Storm damage in Arlington Heights, IL
Four Fundamental Areas of Storm Loss
Commercial properties are expensive to maintain and even more expensive to repair. When seasonal storms kick up and create significant losses for businesses, it can leave many owners looking for relief. Thankfully, when tax season rolls around, storm damage might actually be tax deductible. However, that depends on a couple of factors. First, do you have commercial insurance? Second, did you use your policy to make a claim? If you didn't, then you will not be able to make a deduction for losses accrued, but if you did, then you should have no problem come tax time. However, you will still need to understand the four fundamental areas of storm loss to record and claim everything properly.
Wind damage can account for a lot of property loss, especially when tied to significant storms, like hurricanes and tornadoes. This type of damage can account for many losses, such as broken windows, lost shingles and sheathing as well as damages to property landscaping.
The most common form of storm damage tends to relate to water losses. Flooding and excessive rainfall can lead to significant issues, from foundational problems to roof leaks and more. While not every area requires flood insurance, it is a wise purchase for those businesses at risk to help offset potential recovery expenses.
While it may seem unlikely, storms can lead to building fires. For example, flooding can lead to electrical disturbances, which can spark a fire. Also, and more commonly, lightning strikes can cause sudden rooftop blazes.
After storms have settled and the damages assessed, you will need to contact your insurer and a storm restoration specialist in the Arlington Heights, IL, area. While you may not want to make an insurance claim for the losses you incurred during the storm, the only way to file for deductions is to use your insurance policy first. Then, you can file deductions for the percentage of the recovery and restoration you actually paid for.
Storm damage can be expansive and costly to mitigate. However, if you file a claim and call for assistance, you can recover some losses through deductions.
What You Should Know About Burn First Aid
Though many business owners in Prospect Heights, IL, believe that is important to prepare for the effects of fire damage, learning about burn first aid can be intimidating. However, it's often wise to learn about basic aid when preparing for a fire.
What Are Common Causes of Burns?
People can acquire burns on any part of their bodies, though minor burns often occur on a person's hands, arms, legs or feet, especially if a person's skin is exposed. Common causes of burns in businesses include:
- Grease or oil splashing on the skin
- Fire touching the skin
- Steam or hot liquid making contact with the skin
- Touching hot pans, pots or other materials
What Are the Symptoms of a Minor Burn?
In addition to knowing the causes of a minor burn, it can also be useful to know what symptoms of burns to look out for after fire damage has affected your property. A minor burn is considered to be a burn that covers only a small area of the skin. Common symptoms of a minor burn can include:
- Small blisters
- Redness on the skin that is similar to redness that appears after a sunburn
- Slight swelling
How Are Burns Treated?
After a fire, it can be helpful to know how to appropriately provide first aid to someone with a minor burn. Running cool water, not cold water, over a burn is often useful. Covering a minor burn with a clean bandage can also help to treat the burn. If you are in your building when there is an active fire, it's also helpful to remember that your business can be restored by emergency restoration services, and it's usually best to leave your building quickly and help to treat others once you are outside of the building in order to prevent further injuries.
In addition to taking steps to protect your business from fire damage, it can be useful to learn about burn first aid. Knowing common causes of burns, symptoms of minor burns and how to treat minor burns can help you feel more confident in your ability to help yourself and others if a fire occurs in your business.
Vulnerable Areas of Your Property in a Winter Storm
Winter storm in Prospect Heights, IL
Vulnerable Areas of Your Property in a Winter Storm
The damage that can occur due to a winter storm can be obvious at times, but at other times, it can be subtle. You may not notice it at first unless you are specifically looking for it. If you do have storm damage, you have only a limited time to file an insurance claim, so it is best to inspect your residential property in Prospect Heights, IL, and file any necessary claims as soon as you can.
Specific areas of vulnerability around your property include the following:
- Gutters and siding
You should inspect these areas carefully as soon as possible after a storm.
Overgrown tree limbs can break due to the high winds, heavy snows, and ice buildup that often accompany a blizzard. A fallen tree limb can cause damage to your roof, your vehicle, and anyone who happens to be standing underneath at the time that it falls. Keep in mind, however, that a tree limb may break off during a storm but not fall for some months afterward. Therefore, it is best to be proactive in inspecting trees for damage and having broken limbs removed.
Gutters and Siding
The exterior of your home is built to stand up to a lot of punishment from the weather. Nevertheless, factors present during a winter storm, such as ice, moisture, and high winds, can strip the siding or gutters from your home. Be sure to inspect any possible damage, and be sure to have any missing structures replaced as soon as possible. Missing gutters or siding leave your home vulnerable to water damage.
Roof damage from a storm can be dramatic, such as a cave-in from a broken tree limb, or subtle, such as missing shingles or roof tiles. Either way, the damage needs to be assessed and repaired as soon as possible.
It can be tempting to put off dealing with damage from a winter storm until spring, but that may only make matters worse. If you feel overwhelmed, don't hesitate to enlist the help of a storm damage restoration company.
What You Need To Know About Mold in the HVAC Unit
Clean ducts are mold-free ducts
If you’ve been noticing the smell of mold in your building, but can’t seem to find evidence of black mold anywhere, your HVAC unit could be the culprit. Mold spores naturally exist indoors and out, but in closed office spaces, where the windows rarely open, the spores may collect in the HVAC unit and emit the smell throughout the space.
The Cause of Mold Infestation
Many people may not think of air ducts as the ideal place for mold to hang out, because it shoots out a lot of cold air during the warmer months. However, condensation may form in the unit as it pushes out cold air, which creates a haven for black mold. The mold then gets nutrients from particles in the air that cycle through the HVAC from the office. These include:
- Animal dander
- Indoor dust
Signs of Mold in the HVAC Unit
Because you may not be able to see the mold in the HVAC unit, it may be difficult to tell if mold is the problem without a professional mold inspection. Even so, you may be able to detect mold by the strong mildew smell. People who are sensitive to mold may also suddenly find that they feel most comfortable outside or when windows are open.
Cleaning the Ducts
Clean ducts are mold-free ducts, even though you may need to do this routinely to maintain it. When professionals clean air ducts, they use a biocide that is safe for people to breathe in. Even so, it may be best to schedule a cleaning during days when business is not in operation as the air may need to be turned off during cleaning.
Black mold is a stubborn problem faced by many buildings in Arlington Heights, IL. While there is no foolproof way to prevent in, many property managers and business owners remedy the problem through routine air duct cleanings and using HEPA filters.
Cleaning Your Commercial Air Ducts is Important
Call SERVPRO of Arlington Height/ Prospect Heights for Air Ducts and HVAC Cleaning.
3 Reasons To Clean Your Commecial Air Ducts.
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 SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights a call at 847-637-3445, and let us help save your company money.
Storm Safety For Your Commercial Property
SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/ Prospect Heights can help you with commercial storm safety.
Severe weather is a serious threat and one that can often happen with little warning. It’s important to be thorough and proactive to ensure your business is protected.
Commercial Storm Safety
As we start to enter storm season, it is important to take some time and inspect your commercial property to assess and identify any maintenance that can be performed to further reduce the risk of damage in the case of a storm.
Some of these maintenance items may be:
- Cutting all tree branches away from the building
- Weather proofing windows
- Making sure that all your emergency signs are visible and in good working order.
Another way to ensure your property is storm ready is to check your generators for the building. This is exceptionally important for medical facilities, rehab facilities, and nursing homes who rely on the generator for life saving medication dispensing and to operate machines. Making sure you have enough power to maintain the facility for at least a minimum of three days is what FEMA recommends.
Communicate with tenants
It is also essential to communicate with your tenants of the property. Making sure that you and your tenants have an emergency readiness plan in the event of an emergency is vital not only to assist keeping your tenant up and running, but for the safety of the building.
Nearly 40% of small businesses close after a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 52% of small businesses say it would take at least three months to recovery from a disaster, according to a 2015 survey of 500 small business owners conducted by Nationwide. Only 25% of businesses that close due to a major disaster ever reopen, according to the Institute for Business & Home Safety.
SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights offers a free Emergency Ready Plan that we can assist all of the tenants of your commercial property where one call to our office and we have all the necessary information to begin a quick clean up and get your building back to full working order. To get more information on our Emergency Readiness Plan, give us a call at (847) 637-3445.
How To Properly Clean a Lint Trap
Cleaning a lint trap
Tips on Cleaning Your Dryer Vent and Lint Trap
Many homeowners in Arlington Heights, IL, would be surprised to know easily a dryer lint trap can be clogged and turn into a lint fire. Almost three thousand homes a year experience fire damage caused by such a buildup. Here are some tips to properly clean your dryer vent and lint trap.
1. Clean It Every Time
You have probably been told to clean the lint trap before every load, but you may not know why. Lint is highly combustible. Therefore, if a dryer overheats from improper ventilation, a small spark can turn into a lint fire with major damage and a need to call a fire restoration company.
2. Remove All Debris
When cleaning the lint trap, make sure you get each small piece of debris left behind. Every few weeks, it’s a good idea to also run it under water and even use a bit of hand soap on the screen. Be gentle so that you don’t damage the screen or change its shape, and always dry it fully before putting it back.
3. Check the Dryer
It’s important to fully clean the dryer vent as well while the lint trap is out. Particularly if you notice any debris, it’s a good idea to periodically take a vacuum hose and suck out any loose material. This helps clear out clogs and can be done from the outside vent as well.
4. Determine Whether a Deeper Clean is Warranted
If you have signs of a clog, such as clothes no longer drying fully or a very hot dryer when running, you should do a deeper clean to prevent a dryer fire. You can buy a vent cleaning rod at a hardware store to feed it entirely through the vent and push out any excess lint.
Routine maintenance and cleaning will prevent a lint fire from occurring in your dryer. Make sure you clean the lint trap during each load and perform a deeper vent clean every few months. You will have peace of mind knowing that your dryer is running safely.
Smoke and Soot Facts
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 Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights 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