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Top 5 Leading Causes of Home Fires

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

Electricity short circuit / Electrical failure resulting in electricity wire burnt Malfunctioning appliances can spark, resulting in a dangerous fire

Leading Home Fire Causes

Fire is extremely volatile and can spread quickly, consuming your entire home, if not responded to appropriately. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments in the United States must respond to home fires every 24 seconds. Don't let your home in St. Charles, IL, become part of that statistic. Study the following leading home fire causes to help protect your property.

1. Cooking Fires
Cooktops generate open flames that can quickly spread out of control if they aren't watched carefully. Home cooking fires account for approximately $1 billion in property damage, 550 deaths and 4,820 injuries every year. 

2. Electrical Fires
Malfunctioning appliances can spark, resulting in a dangerous fire. These fires account for 13% of all residential fires, including 18% of all civilian fire deaths. These fires are most likely to occur in the colder months. 

3. Candle Fires
Candles may generate a small flame, but that doesn't mean that they're completely harmless. Most candle fires occur when other household items, such as furniture and curtains, are kept too close to the flame. It only takes a few seconds for them to catch fire and consume the house.

4. Careless Children
Children playing with fire are responsible for $172 million in property damages every year. 83% of these fires are caused by young boys, half of which are under the age of six. Properly fire safety education is vital when it comes to preventing these accidents.

5. Smoking
Smoking is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths. These are often caused when someone carelessly smokes a cigarette, cigar or other product too close to combustible materials.
While the dangers listed above do account for the largest amount of home fire causes, they are nowhere near the only dangers you have to watch out for. Educate yourself on other common fire dangers and make the proper preventative measures. Contact fire remediation experts for more information, or if you need assistance with fire cleaning following an incident.

Key Steps To Take After a Fire in Your Building

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Being in the middle of a disaster can be a helpless feeling. Your first priority is to get out safely and make sure everyone in your building is all right. Once everyone is out of harm’s way, though, you need to act quickly to start the cleanup and rebuilding effort. This can be a complex process. Fortunately, you can rely on the expertise of fire restoration specialists to get things back to normal.

Call Your Insurance Company

Once crews have put out the fire, you need to call your insurance agent right away and report the incident. The fire insurance company will work closely with the restoration team, but it’s important to have some information for the agent:

Describe the extent of any smoke damage or other issues.
Describe what was damaged.
Report if there were any injuries or fatalities.
Give the insurance company the name of the restoration team you are working with.

Stay Out

It may be tempting to enter your St. Charles, IL, building to inspect the damage or salvage personal items. Leave this to the firefighters, cleanup and rebuild crews, and other professionals. The fire damage will create an unsafe environment. To avoid additional damage to your building, materials and to yourself, do not enter your building until you are told to do so.

Board-Up Work

The board-up effort is one of the first things that will happen in the fire restoration process. Before crews start smoke cleaning or addressing water damage, they’ll usually place plywood or tarps over the roof and over any exposed areas of the building. This will keep out the elements as well as vandals. This is an effective way to secure your facility to allow for a safe and thorough cleanup.
Fire restoration can handle even the biggest fire mitigation projects. If you take the proper steps after a fire, you should be able to resume your regular work more quickly.

5 Steps for Mold Remediation at Your Business

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

Walls covered with plastic barriers, mold containment Mold containment in North Aurora, IL

Mold Remediation Process

If you’ve found black mold at your North Aurora, IL, business it’s best to contact a local mold remediation service as quickly as possible. These professionals can contain the problem, remove the mold, and clean the space. Here’s what you can expect to see during this process.

1. Damage Assessment

The first thing you will often see a remediation service do is to perform a damage assessment. This will involve testing for mold to determine where it is and what type they are dealing with, as well as making plans for remediation.

2. Mold Containment

Containment is an important part of mold remediation as it’s a step that helps prevent further contamination of the space. This step usually involves sectioning off the affected area with plastic sheeting and using a ventilation system to control airflow.

3. Mold Removal

The next step should be the removal of the black mold. In this part of the process, the professionals doing the remediation may remove any surface the mold has contaminated including portions of walls and flooring if necessary. Once the affected materials are out of the area the space can be thoroughly cleaned.

4. Item Cleaning

During the mold cleanup, office items will also need to be cleaned. Each item may have a different cleaning process depending on the size and material type. They will then be moved to content storage until it is safe to return them to the space.

5. Restoration

Once the mold is removed and the space cleaned, the restoration process can begin. This step involved replacing any removed components with new material to return your business property to pre-mold conditions.

When removing black mold from a business, the remediation professionals will often start with a damage assessment. The nest steps include containing the affected area, removing the mold, cleaning any affected items, and making repairs. With a little effort, they can have your business looking “Like it never even happened.”

Choosing Business Insurance for Water Damage: 3 Tips

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage inside a warehouse building Water damage at a warehouse building in Elburn, IL

Keep In Mind The Following Three Tips

Protecting your Elburn, IL, business from the ravages of water damage due to both indoor and outdoor flooding can help you avoid financial stress and safeguard your investment. Business insurance offers protection against many different types of flooding, but before you sign a policy, there are a few tips you may want to keep in mind to make an informed choice about the kind of protection you choose.

1. Coverage May Vary
While business insurance may cover certain types of flooding, it may not offer an all-encompassing blanket of protection. For example, your insurance might cover flooding from broken pipes, but if your business suffers damage from outdoor flooding or a sewer backup, you may have to pay out of pocket for it. Asking your insurance representative about these exceptions may help keep you in the know and give you peace of mind if flooding does occur.

2. You May Need Additional Coverage
A single business insurance policy may not offer you the kind of coverage you need because of the many ways water damage might occur. Ask your insurance representative if you require any addendums to your policy and if your commercial property has any features that might make it at higher risk for flooding, such as its location

3. Ask About Cleanup Coverage
If a flood occurs at your business, you might need a water cleanup and restoration service to remove standing water and remove and replace damaged building materials. As you create a flood insurance policy with your insurance representative, you may want to inquire about whether the policy you choose covers this cost. Because flooding can cause such widespread damage, this type of coverage may help you minimize the cost of flood recovery.
Water damage can have a serious impact on your Elburn, IL, business. While investing in business insurance can protect your investment, keeping the previous tips in mind may help you create a policy that offers a wide range of flood coverage.

How Long Will My Commercial Generator Last?

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial power generator A commercial generator can be a part of a solution for your business

During a severe snowstorm, rainstorm, or other weather events in St. Charles, IL, it is possible for the power to go out in your building. You must be prepared for this event in advance so that you are able to keep your employees productive while you keep the business running at full capacity. When you develop your emergency action plan, it is important to include a discussion of how best to address unwanted power outages. There are many problems to consider, but a commercial generator should be a part of the solution. It provides the necessary electricity your business requires to keep it running smoothly until the power is restored.

What Energy Source Is Best for Running This Equipment?

These machines can operate on a number of energy sources:

  • Natural gas
  • Liquid propane
  • Solar power
  • Diesel

While each energy source has its pros and cons, diesel is often considered to be the most reliable and cost-efficient.

How Long Do Commercial Units Last?
The typical commercial generator lasts approximately 3,000 hours, while more expensive units can last as much as 5,000 hours. If you consider that most units are shut off in the evening and will likely only be used a few times a year, that means the machine may last 20 years. Always remember that if the equipment stops working and flooding has occurred, call a water damage expert right away.

What Can You Do to Make Your Equipment Last Longer?
Regularly scheduled maintenance is the key to the longevity of any equipment. Routine inspections can spot generator problems before they become serious, and many issues can be completely prevented if they are addressed head-on. Parts can also become clogged with dirt that prevents them from operating at full capacity. Routing cleaning and replacing of worn parts help your equipment last longer.
Purchasing a commercial generator should be part of the solution to reduce the risks of business interruption during a weather event.

Top 3 Sewage Flooding Causes

8/13/2020 (Permalink)

Man Cleaning a rain gutter in Close up Make sure to routinely clean the gunk out from your gutters

Most Common Flood Sources

A flooded basement is a huge problem on its own. Unfortunately, the residual water damage can lead to even more issues down the road. If your home in Batavia, IL, is suffering from sewer backups and flooding, your first course of action needs to be unearthing the source of the flood. The following are the most common flood sources:

1. Sewer Line Clogs: Check to see whether the water is rising from the drains in your basement. If this is the case, you might have to deal with a clog. The clog could be either in your home line or the municipal line. If the problem is municipal, there's, unfortunately, very little you can do. Your best course of action to prevent your drains from backing up is to install back flow preventers.

2. Surface Water Flood: There are several ways that surface water can leak into your basement. An overflowing gutter is often the culprit, so you'll want to make sure to routinely clean the gunk out from your gutters to help prevent basement flooding. Your property's landscape slope could also be an issue. The land in and around your yard should always slope away from your home to redirect water flow.

3. Subsurface Ground Water Leak: This problem is harder to detect and fix. If you can't find any evidence of surface water contributing to your flooded basement, then the source is likely underground. Hydrostatic pressure can force water into your basement, resulting in damage. The best way to prevent this from happening is to install a perimeter drain system to help alleviate the pressure. The two main types of perimeter drain systems are below-slab systems and above-slab systems.
A flooded basement is no laughing matter and needs to be taken care of quickly to prevent further issues. It's best to contact storm remediation experts if you believe that your home may be at risk of a sewage flood.

When Mold Damage Is Covered Under a Homeowners' Insurance Policy

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on ceiling Mold damage to ceiling in a Geneva, IL home

When Is Mold Damage Covered?

If you have a hidden moisture issue in your home, you could soon end up with a bigger problem: fungus growth. Mold, in particular, spreads quickly in wet areas. By the time you discover the mold, it may already be widespread throughout your Geneva, IL, house.
Attempting to clean the mold yourself can make the problem worse. However, mold remediation professionals can remove the spores and help prevent them from coming back. Your homeowners' insurance may even pay for this cleanup.

Checking Your Insurance
Most insurance policies do not directly include mold coverage. Still, your insurer should pay for mold-related expenses if the mold resulted from a covered peril such as:

  • Vandalism
  • Lightning
  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Frozen pipes
  • Accidental discharge of water from appliances, sprinklers or plumbing

Even if the fungus growth did not result from a covered peril, you may still have some limited coverage in your homeowners' policy. The insurer may only cover certain services or just pay a portion of your expenses.
You can also purchase mold insurance as an endorsement, or add-on, to your homeowners' policy. Keep in mind, however, that the insurer may reject your endorsement request if your home has a history of mold problems.

Filing a Claim
If you do think your mold damage is covered by your insurance, you need to file a claim as soon as possible. You should also take steps to mitigate further harm to your home. Otherwise, the insurer may decline your claim.
You should avoid getting too close to the mold. However, you should open doors and windows to dry out the wet areas. You should also stop any active leaks that may be fueling the mold growth.
Mold that results from a sudden peril such as fire or lightning may be covered by homeowners' insurance. You can also purchase a separate mold endorsement to your policy. To ensure that your insurance claim is accepted, take steps to reduce the fungus growth before the mold cleanup experts arrive.

3 Ways Office Items Can Be Restored After a Fire

7/7/2020 (Permalink)

Man cleaning wood burning stove. Cleaning a stove for central heating Cleaning content after fire damage

Three Methods The Professionals Might Use

After a fire at your St. Charles, IL, business you may be worried about the possibility of restoring your office items. Fortunately, your local fire damage restoration service can offer a number of services, including dry-cleaning and content storage, which may help. Here are three methods you may see them use.

1. Washing

The most common type of content cleaning is washing items with special cleaners. Large items can be cleaned with a rag and bucket, while smaller items may be soaked in they are not mechanical. Upholstery cleaners may even be available for furniture. The exact washing method may depend on the item size, as well as the material it is composed of. After the items are washed they will be dried and moved to storage until building repairs can be completed.

2. Dry-Cleaning

This method is usually reserved as a preparatory step before washing, or used on items that may be sensitive to liquid cleaners. This can include sensitive fabrics as well as mechanical items, such as staplers, and electronics. Cleaning with a dry method may involve powders than can lay over a surface to trap smoke odors and they be wiped away, and the use of a fine scrub brush.

3. Freeze Drying

Freeze drying is part of the process for salvaging documentation that may have been damaged by fire suppression methods. This step can help remove the water from the paperwork without exposing it to the possibility of further damage. In many cases, your restoration service may also offer to help make a digital copy of any documents they restore as well

Washing the items with a cleaning solution can be used for most items, however, dry-cleaning and freeze drying methods can be used for sensitive fabrics, paper documentation, and other items that may not react well to liquid cleaners. After the office items are restored they can be moved to content storage until repairs on the property can be completed.

The Importance of Qualifications for an Insurance Company

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

Air movers placed in a room. Drying equipment Water Damage Cleanup

The Importance of Qualifications for an Insurance Company

As an insurance agent, you know it helps to partner with the best remediation company in Elburn, IL. Therefore, you look for a company that has high standards and meets your qualifications. In a word, it is all about professionalism. That's why SERVPRO is the preferred vendor for many local and national insurance companies in the U.S. and Canada. Not only is the company Faster to Any Size Disaster, it also embraces a higher standard of cleaning and restoration. Each of the 1700 franchises have the training and knowledge to deal with the following situations:

  • Water damage
  • Fire damage
  • Mold mitigation
  • Storm damage
  • Commercial and residential services

An established vendor program makes sure you get qualified workers to help your clients in times of trouble. A fast response and quality work are the hallmarks of a professional disaster remediation company.

High Qualifications
A reputable restoration company goes beyond the normal methods of a typical cleaning or janitorial service. Trained technicians use advanced techniques and a variety of cleaning methods to make sure a business is completely restored. Highly-trained professionals are experienced in biohazard decontamination, chemical spills, and other challenging circumstances. They adhere to the standards of the Centers for Disease Control and other advisory agencies such as the IICRC. All of this helps an insurance agent reassure customers that everything is being done to restore a business to its condition before a fire or flood.

Best Practices
Every insurance agent will appreciate the effort to keep costs low and to reduce expenses. When possible, damaged items should be restored instead of replaced. This can be accomplished through pretesting of items and the proper cleaning techniques for materials. Methods such as dry cleaning, deep cleaning, and immersion cleaning can restore damaged items such as clothing, carpeting, upholstery, and personal belongings. It always pays to work with a trusted leader in the cleaning and restoration field.

How Long Do Supply Lines and Other Household Pipes Last?

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Copper pipe on white with connector Copper, brass, and steel pipes can each be expected to last at least 70 years

How Long Do Supply Lines and Other Household Pipes Last?

Supply line damage can occur in older houses. This, in turn, can lead to a variety of water problems. You could end up with a bathroom leak or a large flood.
Supply lines face constant pressure from flowing water. They can be made of several types of materials, including:

  • Brass
  • Steel
  • Copper

Thankfully, while these supply lines can experience wear and tear, you likely won't have to replace them completely. That's because they typically have long life expectancies. Copper, brass, and steel pipes can each be expected to last at least 70 years.
If you do discover standing water in your Batavia, IL, home following a supply line leak, your warranty may cover the cost of replacing the pipe. The length of your warranty also depends on the material used to make the pipes. Plastic pipes typically have a warranty that lasts five to eight years. Steel-braided pipes, however, often feature lifetime warranties. 
While supply line damage may be rare, other pipes in your home are not quite as durable. Below are the life expectancies of various water lines.

Drain Lines
Drain lines can easily be damaged by weather or tree roots. While cast-iron pipes can last up to 80 years, plastic ones are less durable. They could break down in just 25 years.

Faucets
Most people replace faucets for purely cosmetic reasons. However, if you have frequent problems with your sinks, you may want to purchase new faucets.

Washing Machine Hoses
Washing machine hoses get damaged easily and should thus be replaced every three years. You should also regularly check the hoses for cracks or bubbles. These could be signs that a repair is needed.
Supply line damage is primarily an issue in older homes. However, harm to other pipes is more common. Any small cracks or holes in your pipes should be fixed immediately before they cause a major flood that necessitates water damage repair services.