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Home Heating Safety Tips

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

fire place The heat and beauty of a fireplace can be dangerous if not used correctly.

Winter is in full swing and temperatures are freezing in the tri-city area of St. Charles, Geneva, and Batavia, but home heater usage is rising –and so are the incidents of house fires! National studies and our professional fire damage restoration experience have shown that heating units are the number one cause of house fires during the winter months. Of course, there is no ideal time for a house fire, but in the holiday season, it seems especially bitter.

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and we at St. Charles SERVPRO couldn’t agree more. Enjoy a safe holiday season in the warmth of your home with these home heating fire safety tips.

Check The Unit

Always check your space heater, fireplace, or another heating device to make sure it is clean and in good working order. Heating units that have been in storage, or not used can accumulate a thick layer of lint and dust that can block ventilation, potentially causing the unit to overheat and ignite. Older units can also have worn or frayed wiring.

Poorly maintained fireplaces and chimneys are also to blame for many household fires. Broken chimney flues, layers of soot, and flying embers are all causes of fire damage in St.Charles homes. Have a professional clean and inspect your fireplace and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

The “3-Foot” Rule

Keep a 3-foot area around your home heating unit entirely clear. This true for flammable items such as furniture as well as for passers-by. Designate the 3-foot area as “walk-free” all the way around to avoid knocking over the unit or tripping over cords.

Watch Children

The 3-foot Rule should also be a kid-free zone. Do not allow children to sit or play near the heating unit. Also, never leave children unattended while the heating unit is in use.

Check Your Smoke Alarm

Test your smoke alarm at least once a month by pressing the test button and be sure to place them in areas where you use the heating unit. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) also recommends that you replace smoke alarms every 10 years.

Turn It Off Before Heading To Bed

Although it is tempting to keep household heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces on during the balmy nights, it’s safer to turn them off. The potential for fire damage and the risk of fatalities rises significantly with unattended heating sources.

The joys of chilly nights and family gatherings at home can suddenly be cut short by a house fire. Whether it originates from a heater or another household source, we make your fire damaged home merry and bright again. We are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ready to begin the smoke, water, and fire damage restoration in St. Charles and surrounding neighborhoods.

Explore our blog for more tips on how to keep your home smoke, water, mold, and fire damage-free. For additional information about our home and commercial fire damage restoration services, click on the fire damage tab on the menu above or call us at (630) 377-7062.

Commercial Property Damage Specialists

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

commercial loss SERVPRO of St. Charles/Geneva/Batavia is here to help after a commercial disaster.

When your property experiences a disaster from a commercial frozen pipe, commercial fire or commercial sewage you are in need of knowledgeable technicians fast. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small cleanup scenario or a large-scale event, we work quickly to assess each situation and isolate the damaged area. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. We seek to help your business be able to continue operations in a temporary space if necessary while we restore your facility. With 24/7 emergency service we are able to help get your business quickly and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints.

About SERVPRO of St. Charles/Geneva/Batavia

SERVPRO of St. Charles/Geneva/Batavia is a large loss provider that specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property. 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.

Restoration After a Fire

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Background of wood with the words DRY SMOKE Sources of dry smoke residue are wood and paper

The aftermath of a fire in you Geneva, IL, can run the gamut from minimal damage to a total loss. Even if the damage doesn’t fall on the extreme end, there could be hidden fire loss that will need to be taken care of to get your business back to looking “Like it never even happened”.

Types of Damage

Along with the obvious signs of fire damage, smoke damage is a main cause of long-term concern. While some may be visible, it sometimes just leaves a smoky smell behind without being seen. There are four main types of smoke damage.

Dry Smoke – The result of a paper or wood fire, this type leaves a powdery residue that is relatively easy to see and clean. Unfortunately, it contains tiny particles that can embed themselves in porous materials, creating the lingering scent of fire.

Protein Residue – Usually associated with low-heat cooking fires, it is difficult to visibly detect but permeates a consistent smoky odor if not treated.

Fuel/Oil Residue – Although uncommon, this is dense, sticky residue that is difficult to clean and leaves a strong, pungent smell.

Wet Smoke – If plastic and rubber catch on fire, the sticky smoke can quickly spread across an entire room. The smearable residue is tough to clean without special equipment.

The Cleanup Process

Whatever the level of your fire loss, fire restoration is available that can eliminate the lingering odors, as well as help you salvage a number of items. A restoration specialist has the expertise and equipment to remove soot, smoke damage and odors from furniture, documents, drapes, furniture and more. These professionals also have the know-how to replace and repair structural damage to get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
While dealing with fire loss can be overwhelming, getting the right can help ease the disaster. Count on a professional to help you restore things back to normal.

Preparing Your Business for a Disaster

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Hand completing Emergency Preparation List by Equipment Have an emergency supply kit available

Tips for Preparing Your Company For an Emergency Situation

Major floods have sadly become increasingly common in America. Storm damage doesn’t just affect residences, either. It can also destroy commercial buildings, especially if there is no disaster preparedness plan in place. Below are some tips for preparing your company for an emergency situation.

Protect Your Employees

Any business preparedness strategy should focus on your workers. Have an emergency supply kit available in case employees get trapped during the storm. You should also prepare an evacuation plan and practice it in advance.

Protect Your Assets

While keeping your employees safe should be the top priority, you need to protect your business assets, as well. If a storm is heading to St. Charles, IL, be sure to check that your insurance policy is still in effect. Find out if the insurance will cover the cost of storm cleanup services.
Any important insurance documents should be stored in a safe and waterproof place. Important equipment in your building should also be properly secured as part of your disaster preparedness plan.

Protect Your Company

Even just a few days out of commission can destroy a small business. You may not be able to wait until the flood cleanup process ends before getting back to work. Consider purchasing a generator that will keep electricity running if the power goes out.
You should also come up with a continuity plan to keep the company functioning. Talk to employees to find out what they need to do their jobs effectively. You should also proactively find ways to serve your most important customers during the disaster. Be sure that you have multiple suppliers and shippers in case your primary ones shut down during the storm.
By coming up with a disaster preparedness strategy, you can limit the flood damage to your commercial building. If an emergency does occur, your employees and customers will be glad that you planned ahead of time.

3 Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

12/12/2019 (Permalink)

Faucet and water drops Letting faucets drip warm water overnight can create a trickle that keeps your pipes just warm enough to fight off freezing

The winter season can bring many joys, but also headaches in the form of frozen pipes. A pipe freeze can trigger a catastrophic chain of events in your home that can end in big bills. Many homeowners don’t realize this can be avoided. Check out these tips for keeping your Elburn,IL, home’s pipes toasty as temperatures drop.

Why Do Pipes Freeze?

It may seem obvious why pipes freeze: They’re full of water, which forms ice when temperatures drop. But that’s not the top reason for frozen pipes. There are actually three main triggers. Those are:

  • Quick temperature drops
  • Poor insulation
  • Thermostats set too low

While you can’t change the temperature outside, you can definitely prepare your pipes and keep them from being negatively impacted.

Insulate Your Pipes

An exposed pipe is an at-risk pipe, even in parts of the country where freezing temperatures are rare. Fight back by insulating pipes during the warm season. Pipe insulation is available relatively cheaply at the average hardware store. Wrap pipes in your attic, crawl spaces and other areas where the temperature drops to prevent a freeze.

Seal House Leaks

Another threat to pipes comes from cold air that leaks into your home. Caulk up leaks around dryer vents, electrical outlets, and windows. These tiny openings can let in just the right amount of cold air to trigger a pipe freeze and all the headaches that come with it.

Drip Your Faucets

This may be an old trick, but it’s an effective one. Letting faucets drip warm water overnight can create a trickle that keeps your pipes just warm enough to fight off freezing.
Frozen pipes can trigger a pipe burst and with it, everything from flooding to household mold. Stop the problem before it starts. Use the above tips from your local water cleanup specialist to keep your home plumbing safe and secure through the season.

Candle Alternatives for a Safer Holiday Season

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

reed diffuser Use an alternative to candles during the holidays to prevent house fires

Whether hosting a large family gathering or snuggling under blankets sipping hot cocoa, lighting a candle is a sure way to get into the holiday spirit. While the ambient light and familiar scents candles emit make them a popular festive decoration, nothing is sure to dampen everyone’s mood faster than a fire in your home in St. Charles, IL. To avoid having to relocate during the holidays while a fire damage cleanup company restores your house, consider trying these three candle alternatives.

1. Essential Oil Diffuser

You won’t need to go without your favorite festive scent when you use an essential oil diffuser. There are around 100 different types of essential oils, including staple scents such as cinnamon, peppermint, nutmeg, evergreen, and vanilla. You can easily find diffusers to match your other decorations. There are even some that look just like a candle.

2. Battery-Powered Candles

If you’re really attached to the classic look of a candle, opt for flameless, battery-powered candle alternatives that come in countless sizes and designs. Some types are made from scented wax with a flickering light, so your guests will hardly tell the difference. Since you don’t need to worry about a flame, you can use these lights anywhere you like including on the Christmas tree, on top of the fireplace, or as a decorative centerpiece.

3. Simmer Pot

Use an electric simmer pot, crockpot, or a saucepan on the stove to fill your home with a variety of holiday smells. Simply fill the pot with water and ingredients of your choice. Popular options include apples, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and cloves. While you won’t need to worry about candle fire, make sure to stay close by the pot and keep all flammable objects a good distance away.
There’s no need to light a candle to enjoy this holiday season. Ditch the matches altogether and keep your home fire-free with these great candle alternatives.

3 Effective Ways To Reduce Mold Risk at Home

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Reducing Mold Risk

Mold needs an ample amount of moisture, warmth and oxygen to grow in St. Charles, IL homes. Therefore, it is most common in places where water damage goes untreated or when humidity is too high. Even though water particles are always around you, there are ways you can reduce moisture, which can decrease the risk of mold growth in the process. Continue reading to learn how you can prevent mold development in your house. 

1. Repair Any Leaks

Not every part of your home can function properly, and sooner or later, something will break. This extends to your plumbing system, roof and window. Leaks and cracks to these parts can bring unwanted water and humidity inside, which can encourage mold. It is important to actively look for pipe, roof and window damage and repair it as fast as possible. Mold can even warn you of damaged pipes behind a wall, for example.

2. Clean and Dry After Flooding

A flood can invade your home for a variety of reasons, from a pipe leak to excessive precipitation. Once the flooding stops and it is safe to move around, it is time to repair the water damage. Drain the contents and clean as much of the water as possible. Dry any affected surface and ventilate the area to expedite the process. Contact emergency restoration services to ensure the job is efficiently done with the right expertise and equipment.

3. Control the House's Humidity

Even if you are attentive to the house's faults and mitigate the damage, your mold prevention plan can go further. High humidity, coupled with oxygen, food and other elements, can be enough to result in mold. Use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner to keep humidity at 50% or less. Keep up with temperature changes to adjust these devices throughout the day.

Mold thrives in moist environments, such as places affected by water damage and excessive humidity. Control this moisture to stop mold growth in your home.

How To Prepare for Storm Season

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

A finger pointing to a digital screen that says Be Prepared Are you prepared for a potential storm emergency?

Ways to Prepare For a Potential Storm Emergency

Rising flood water during storm season in North Aurora,IL, can impact you and your family in several ways. It can cause significant damage to your home. It may even force you out of your home for a while. There are several ways to prepare for a potential storm emergency.

Protect Your Family

Your top priority during a storm is likely the safety of your family. You may have to leave your home with very little notice. In case this happens, each family member needs to have a bag with essential items:

  • Change of clothes
  • Basic toiletries
  • Necessary medications
  • Device chargers
  • Flashlight and batteries

If you have pets, don't forget to gather supplies for them, too. Keep emergency supplies in a specific location, and talk about the evacuation plan you will use if you need to flee your flooded building.

Protect Your Belongings

If your home floods, you may have to repair or replace a lot of items. Heirlooms and other valuable belongings should be stored in a watertight container so that they are less likely to get damaged by flood water. It's a good idea to do this with your important documents, too. Better yet, have your documents digitized so that you don't have to worry about them during a storm.

Protect Your Home

Anyone who owns a home in a flood zone needs flood insurance, but this policy is a good idea even if you don't live in an area prone to flooding. Water damage from a storm may not be covered by your homeowner's policy. As soon as you know you have damage, it's important to call both your insurance agent and water restoration specialists so that you can get the remediation process started as soon as possible.
Damage from flood water may be inevitable if you live in a flood-prone area. You can still protect your family and your property with the right preparation.

The Difference Between Flood Mitigation and Restoration

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

Hardwood floor flooded and some paper are floating in the water Hardwood floor flooded in Batavia, IL

The Difference Between Flood Mitigation and Restoration

Knowing what to do after a flood in Batavia,IL, is critical since time is of the essence. Mitigation and restoration processes are both important after a flood occurs, and knowing the difference between them is the first step toward ensuring the safety and preservation of your commercial building and assets. A flood cleanup company provides the necessary services needed for both of these processes so you don’t have to deal with the aftermath yourself.

Flood Mitigation

The mitigation process prevents additional water damage from occurring after a flood. This mainly includes the drying process, but the restoration company will also do other necessary tasks:

  • Removing all damaged items, drywall and flooring
  • Cleaning and disinfecting anything that is salvageable
  • Ensuring structural integrity, boarding up holes and putting tarps where needed

Mitigation does not repair any destruction. It just ensures there is no further damage done to the building, such as mold growth, theft or vandalism.

Flood Restoration

Flood restoration refers to the reconstruction or building repairs needed to bring your building back to the way it was before the damage occurred. A flood cleanup company undertakes renovations:

  • Replace water damaged drywall and flooring
  • Remove all mold
  • Conduct moisture testing if necessary

This process cannot commence until the mitigation process has been finished. This makes certain the building is not damaged further during the restoration process.

Business Restoration

Keep in mind that doing flood cleanup on your own can cost you valuable time. Without the specialized equipment used by a professional restoration company, there could be moisture left behind that can further damage structural integrity and create mold issues.
Flooding can be detrimental for a business, which is why having it thoroughly and efficiently cleaned and restored is vital. A professional flood cleanup company can come in, set up necessary mitigation equipment and proceed with restoration so you can have peace of mind without dealing with mold problems later.

The 3 Types of Wastewater in Your Home

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

Dripping shower head A dripping shower head is an example of clear water

The 3 Types of Wastewater in Your Home

Every homeowner should know the basics of contaminated water in Geneva,IL. It could mean the difference between using a bunch of towels or calling in a professional water damage remediation specialist.

Clear Water: Category 1

This lowest category is water that hasn't been used yet- it's clean water that has come into your home and escaped its confines before it's intended use. This means that it is safe for you to clean up, if the damage isn't too great and you know what you are doing. Keep in mind that if left sitting for too long, category 1 water can become category 2 water in about 48 hours, depending on temperature and setting. Some examples of clear water are:

  • Broken water supply line
  • Leaking faucet
  • Dripping shower head

Gray Water: Category 2

Category 2 is water that has been lightly used, and is only considered slightly contaminated water. It can cause slight discomfort to those who come into contact with it. Some common sources of gray water are dishwasher overflow, washing machine overflow or toilet overflow (with no feces). This type of water can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated, because there may be bacteria or viruses sitting in it.

Black Water: Category 3

The third category, black water, is the most dangerous to you and your family. You should avoid contact with this type of water at all costs. If you must interact with it, be sure to wear protective gear such as tall boots and long rubber gloves. This type of water usually comes from sewage backup, and can contain feces or microbial growth. River and stream overflow also fall into this category.
If you've discovered accumulated water in your home, do your best to identify the category of water before moving forward. When in doubt, avoid contact and call the professionals. Don't forget to take care of it as soon as possible to prevent the water from becoming more contaminated and more damage occurring.