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Spring cleaning time is here again, and a great opportunity to clean and organize your living spaces.
Here are some great tips to freshen up your home and make is sparkle:
Wipe off a dirty faucet.
To get rid of lime buildup, make a paste of 1 teaspoon vinegar and 2 tablespoons salt. Apply to sink fixtures and rub with a cloth.
Tidy up a toilet.
Pour a cup or more of diluted white distilled vinegar into the bowl. Let sit several hours or overnight. Scrub well with a toilet brush and flush.
Swab plastic containers with a cloth dampened with vinegar.
Freshen up the fridge.
Clean the shelves and walls with a solution of half water and half vinegar.
Battle litter-box odor.
Cat litter can leave behind an unwelcome smell. Eliminate it by pouring a half-inch of white distilled vinegar into the empty litter box. Let stand for 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water.
Steam away a microwave mess.
Fill a small bowl with equal parts hot water and vinegar, and place it in the microwave on high for 5 minutes. As the steam fills the microwave, it loosens the mess, making clean up a breeze.
If you get melted candle wax on your wood furniture or floors, gently wipe it away with a cloth soaked in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water.
If your kids get crayon marks on the walls or floor, dip a toothbrush in white vinegar and gently scrub. The vinegar breaks down the wax, making for an inexpensive, nontoxic way to clean up after children.
Restore showerhead pressure.
If your shower-head gets clogged with mineral deposits, soak it for 15 minutes in a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and 1 quart water.
Another great do it at home cleaning solution is baking soda. Baking soda is great to freshen up stale and stinky smells in the home.
Here are some tips from Better Homes and Gardens for uses of baking soda around the house:
Soak these kitchen staples in baking soda and water to freshen them up so you can use them a little longer.
Musty upholstery and carpets
Deodorize the soft, cushy places around your house by sprinkling surfaces with baking soda, letting it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuuming it up.
Naturally fight the effects of your little one's grubby hands by wiping them with a sponge dipped in a baking soda and water solution.
A mildew-y bathroom
Scrub your tub, tile, sink and shower curtain with a damp sponge and baking soda. Rinse to reveal gleaming surfaces.
A messy grill
Combat a summer's worth of cookout grime by sprinkling some baking soda on your grill-cleaning brush before you scrub away.
Finally, one of my favorite non chemical cleaning items is to use lemon. Lemons are a natural, mild disinfectant, and a quick trip to the store and you have a powerful cleaning weapon with no worries about chemicals.
According to thekitchn.com, lemons are "nature's little hand scrubbers". Here are some of their useful tips on how to use lemon in your spring cleaning:
Clean Wood Cutting Boards
Apply salt: Sprinkle the cutting board with coarse salt.
Scour the surface: Using a lemon half with the cut side down, scour the surface, squeezing slightly to release the lemon juice as you go.
Let sit, then scrape off: Let sit for 5 minutes, and then scrape the gray, dirty liquid into a small bowl using a bench scraper, and discard.
Rinse: Give the surface a final rinse with a clean wet sponge.
What to expect with the unexpected
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SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside 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
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 LaGrange Park/North Riverside 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)?
Smoking in the home
Emergency Response Service 24/7
According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking materials that include cigarettes, pipes, and cigars started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires. This was reported from U.S. fire departments. Amongst these 17,200 estimated fires, these fires cause 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in direct property damage. It was also reported that smoking materials caused 5% of reported home fires, 21% of home fire deaths, 10% of home fire injuries, and 6% of the direct property damage. According to the NFPA, most deaths in home smoking-material fires were caused by fires that started in bedrooms or in living rooms, family rooms or dens. It is also a face that the risk of dying in a home structure fire caused by smoking materials rises with age.
With that being said, it is encouraged to use smoking materials outside of the home. Designate a "smoking area" such as the garage or outside. This will help eliminate the risk of a fire starting in the actual home.
Here are some tips!
As we begin to enter Spring season, the process of snow melting can cause water damage to homes and businesses. This will then lead to flooding. It could be minor or major, but still cause water damage problems. Here are some ways to help prevent water damage as we enter this spring thaw out season. Now, you may not be able to prevent water damage under ever circumstance, but you can prepare your home ahead of spring-thaw months to prevent common causes of damage.
1. Basement pumps- install a sump pump or sewer backflow value and keep a battery-operated backup in case of power failure. Also, make sure to consider installing a water alarm that warns when water is accumulating in your basement.
2. Basement storage- Make sure to keep valuable items out of your basement. Removing any electronics or stored valuables from your basement prior to spring-thaw warnings could prove to be an important ounce of prevention.
3. Debris removal- Be sure to remove debris from window wells, gutters and downspouts.
4. Doors and windows- Check for any leaks around doors and windows.
5. Exterior walls- Keep all exterior walls of your home well painted and sealed.
6. Flood drains- If you have flood drains, make sure they work properly.
7. Foundation cracks- Make sure to inspect your foundation for cracks that will allow water seepage and initiate repairs.
8. Fuel tanks- Permanently anchor any fuel tanks.
9. Grading- inspect the grading around your home and make any changes. Design the grading to encourage the water to flow away from your home.
10. landscaping- Make sure to trim trees and bushes away from your home and do not store wood or compost piles nearby.
11. Roof- Keep your roof in good repair. Unless a tree falls on your roof during a storm, most insurers expect you to maintain your roof to prevent water leaks caused by snow melting or torrential downspouts.
Whether you are able to control the situation or not, we here at SERVPRO are always here to help you get your home or business back to like the disaster never even happen. That is way we are always here to help!
Thawing a frozen pipe the correct way is crucial to minimizing the damage. In order to thaw a frozen pipe, you need to first determine which pipe or pipes are frozen. You can do this by turning on the faucets, and if no water comes out or only a slight trickles out, then you have a frozen pipe. Before you begin attempting to thaw a frozen pipe, you need to open the faucet that the pipe feeds water into. You need to make sure to open both the hot and cold handles. This then will help relieve pressure in the system, and then will allow the water to escape once you begin to thaw the pipe. When beginning to thaw the pipe, you should always start near the faucet then work your way down to the blockage. This will help ensure that the melting ice and steam is able to escape through the open faucet. If you start the thawing process closer to the blockage, the melting ice could get stuck behind the blockage, creating more pressure in the pipe and increasing the chances the pipe will burst. When it comes to thawing the frozen pipe, you could use a hair dryer, heat lamp or portable space heater, hot towels, or electrical heating tape. If the frozen pipe is enclosed, you will need to either turn the heat up in the property, infrared lamp, or cut out a section of the wall to thaw out the frozen pipe/pipes. Remember NEVER attempt to thaw a pipe using an open flame. This can not only damage the pipe, but it can also start a fire in your property. If the frozen water pipe does burst, the first thing you should do is shut off the main water line into your property. This then will prevent additional water from flowing and damaging your property. Then you will need to call a professional, like SERVPRO, to help fix the problem. Therefore, in order to help prevent frozen pipes make sure to keep the heat on in the home, allow faucets to drip slightly, keep all interior doors open, seal up holes and cracks, add extra insulation, and remove exterior hoses and shut off interior valves feeding those hoses.
Continuing Education Classes
Every year, SERVPRO of Elmhurst provides continuing education in the areas of water, fire and mold mitigation. Education increases the opportunity for the community of professionals responsible for helping you when disaster strikes: The more you informed the community of first responders, the better able to help limit damage, save important personal belongings and control costs during a time of crisis.
At SERVPRO of Elmhurst, we work with adjusters, insurance agents, real estate agents, brokers, home inspectors, and office professionals by providing state-sanctioned Ethics Classes. Raising the bar when it comes to how people are treated especially in the time of need to protect their homes and personal belongings is essential to the insurance claim process.
Our goal is to make it like it never happened. As a recent client said, "the whole clean up and insurance process was as painless as it could have been."
Check in with us on our upcoming classes. We are now offering virtual CE classes!
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is such a huge donation event that happens every year around Christmas time. The mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Program is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. The primary goal is to help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America's less fortunate children.
In order to better execute the program, in 1991 the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation was created at the behest of the Marine Corps. It is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity group. It is governed by a board of directors, all of whom are veteran Marines and successful business leaders from throughout the nation. The foundation's professional staff is headquartered in the Cooper Center, which is located just outside of the Main Gate of Marine Corps Bass about 35 miles south of Washington D.C..
The Marine Toys for Tots Program collected and distributed 19 million toys to 7.3 million less fortunate children in the past year allowing them to experience the joy of Christmas and receive a message of hope that otherwise would not have been there. This community action program took place in over 800 communities covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
We here at SERVPRO of Elmhurst, Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights, and Lagrange Park/N. Riverside, took part in helping donate over 30 toys to 15 different drop off locations this year. We want to help do our part in the community by giving children in need the feeling of joy on Christmas when it comes to unwrapping presents and seeing an awesome toy. This was such a humbling experience for our team, and cannot wait to take part again next year!
Lending a helping hand
Residential Fire Damage
We have a really great relationship with our local fire departments, and follow their social media pages. After scrolling through our daily feed, we came across the Addison Fire Department's post about a local fire. What stood out about this post was that our local fire department and other FDs went to help with this major residential fire that took place. The AFPD responded to a house fire, and the smoke detectors did their job by alerting the family of the fire. They were all able to escape safely. They were very thankful for the help from the Wood Dale FPD, Elmhurst FD, and Itasca FPD for coming out to help. The family had told the firefighters that there were two guinea pigs in the home, and they were able to find and save them. The guinea pigs received O2 therapy and vigorous rubbing, and both were successfully resuscitated. The fire started in the basement, and the heat and smoke rose up throughout the house. They enforced to make sure your smoke detectors are working, and the batteries are changed! They also stated to make sure you keep your bedroom doors closed when sleeping, and try not to risk your life to save a pet. That is what the firefighters are for, and they will do their best to rescue them.
The main take away from this message was to always make sure to test your smoke detectors at least once a month, and the batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year. Also, a huge shoutout to our local fire department for helping out a different fire department in order to get everyone out safely, along with the pets.
What can happen after an snow/ice storm
When looking at roofs this winter, icicles hanging along them may look beautiful but can be very dangerous. This is because the icicles forming and snow on the roof can lead to ice dams. This is thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into the building or home. In result, this can lead to peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. Also, soggy insulation in the attic, which loses R-value and becomes a magnet for mold and mildew.
Here are some ways in order to prevent ice dams. The first is to use heated cables. Attach these with clips along the roof's edge in a zigzag pattern, and the heated cables help prevent ice dams that lift shingles and cause leaks. This solution allows you to equalize your roof's temperature by heating it from the outside instead of blowing in cold air from the inside.
Next is to blow in cold air. Hacking away at ice dams with a hammer, chisel, or shovel is BAD for your roof. Also, throwing salt on them will do more harm to your plantings than the ice. Therefore, take a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is actively leaking in. This targeted dose of cold air will freeze the water in its tracks.
You can also rake it by pulling off snow with a long-handled aluminum roof rake while you stand safely on the ground. A rake with wheels will instantly change the exterior temperature of your roof without damaging shingles.
De-icing methods deal with diminishing the damage after the dam has formed. Fill the leg of a discarded pair of panty hose with a calcium chloride ice melter. Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. You can use a long-handled garden rake or hoe to push it into position. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof.
Lastly is a permanent fix for ice dams. Getting ride of ice dams for good is simple. Just keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. This is done by increasing the ventilation, adding insulation, and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof.
1. Ventilate Eaves and Ridge
- A ridge vent paired with continuous soffit vents circulates cold air under the entire roof. Both ridge and soffit vents should have the same size openings and proved at least 1 square foot of opening for every 300 square feet of attic floor. Place baffles at the eaves to maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.
2. Cap the Hatch
- An unsealed attic hatch or whole-house fan is a massive opening for heat to escape. Cover them with weather stripped caps made from foil-faced foam board held together aluminum tape.
3. Exhaust to the outside
- Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls, but never the soffit.
4. Add insulation
- More insulation on the attic floor keeps the heat where it belongs. To find how much insulation your attic needs, check with your local building department.
5. Install sealed can lights
- Old-style recessed lights give off great plumes of heat and can't be insulated without creating a fire hazard. Replace them with sealed "IC" fixtures, which can be covered with insulation.
6. Flash around chimneys
- Bridge the gap between chimney and house framing with L-shaped steel flashing held in place with unbroken beads of a fire-stop sealant. Using canned spray foam or insulation isn't fire safe.
7. Seal and insulate ducts
- Spread fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts. Cover them entirely with R-5 and R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.
8. Caulk penetrations
- Seal around electrical cables and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant. Also, look for any spots where light shines up from below or the insulation is stained black by the dirt from passing air.
Understanding the lifecycle of ice damming is key. It starts with the birth, and it is the breakdown of the conditions that lead to the formation of ice dams. First, heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except at the eaves. Next you move into the growth, and snow begins to melt on the warm roof and then freezes on the cold eaves. Finally is maturity, and ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam. Meltwater from the warm roof backs up behind it, flows under the shingles, and into the house.
You want your business to make as much profit as possible, but you may be losing money without even realizing it. Leaks from damaged pipes, as well as other areas, are a common source of trouble in many buildings. It is important to perform regular inspections to make sure everything is in top condition. Here are a few problems that might end up costing you money.
1. Damaged Roofing
Leaking pipes are not the only potential source of excess water. The roof is an important part of the structure of your business, as it protects you from severe weather and keeps the inside of the building dry. However, if you do not properly maintain your roof, you could end up with a lot of damage. In some cases, the structure of the building may weaken or a mold growth might develop. Make sure to regularly check the condition of your building and perform repairs as needed.
2. Broken Appliances
Another common source of water is from broken appliances. The damage here can range from a small leak to a lot of flooding. One way to prevent this is to test your equipment regularly to ensure it is in proper working condition. As items begin to age and break down, replace them to prevent any significant problems.
3. Pipes and Plumbing
Damaged pipes can sometimes be a hidden source of wasted water and money. If you are not performing regular maintenance, a persistent leak could end up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars in extra water bills. Leaks can also indicate aging pipes that could cause a lot of damage if not replaced.
Performing regular maintenance in your building is a great way to locate problems and prevent big issues from leaks or damaged pipes. If you do experience damage, however, a water restoration company can perform necessary repairs to your building and belongings.