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Another tool to help solve difficult problems

1/19/2022 (Permalink)

Checking surface temps with an IR thermometer Using an IR thermometer to check surface temps

Winter can be a challenging time to try and determine what is causing problems within a building. We can have rain, snow or ice on the outside of the building and that might be getting moisture into the structure. Another issue can be very challenging to evaluate. Cold. 

When the outside temp gets very cold, any problems with insulation in the structure can start to show up. The inside temp may very well be 68 degrees or higher. However, if the insulation in the walls or ceiling is missing in spots, (which is more common than you might think) then the inside surface temperature of those walls may be colder than the surrounding air temp. Much colder. 

Having a very cold surface temp along with warm, moist air temps can cause condensation on those cold surfaces. (Think about taking a cold beverage out of your refrigerator) Having condensation on drywall can cause the surface to get wet or even possibly grow mold, if left wet for long periods of time.

Many restoration professionals have been left scratching their heads trying to find the source of a wet surface in these situations. 

An important tool in these situations is a laser thermometer. These tools can show surface temperatures which might be very different then the surrounding area. This may be the difference between solving a challenging problem and not.

Having experienced professionals available to help you solve your challenging problems is how SERVPRO of Elgin sets ourselves apart from the rest!

Storms can come in all forms!!

1/19/2022 (Permalink)

Picture of temp on wall thermostat Wall thermostat picture

Wind, rain, storms and flooding do a lot of damage every year in this country, Billions of dollars of damage. But recently we have had another type of disaster that has also caused billions of dollars of damage. Cold temperatures, or polar vortexes. 

When really cold temperatures affect an area, that can cause a strain on infrastructure, such as electricity. Without electricity, a building may loss its ability to keep the inside temperature high enough to prevent damage do to freezing pipes. These temperatures may not be sub-zero temps like those sometimes reached in the northern and midwestern states. Those temps only need to be below freezing to cause damage, especially in buildings that don't normally experiences temps that cold.

When temperatures are expected to really drop, we can take steps to help prevent pipes from freezing. 

A big help is keeping the overall inside temp warm. Some people go out of their homes or on vacation and they turn down the thermostat to the low 50's. That may seem warm, but there are areas within buildings where the temp may be much less than the thermostat setting, such as inside exterior walls, inside cabinets and vanities with water pipes and areas that might have cold air infiltration such as windows and doors. 

When the outside temps start to drop, take steps to protect your home. Open cabinets and vanities which have pipes. Let warm air get into those spaces; you could use a fan if needed. 

Let water drip, slowly out of pipes, especially if they are on exterior walls. Allowing water to drip will keep the water moving in a pipe and those pipes will be harder to freeze. And most importantly, keep the inside temps warm.

The damage caused by a burst pipe can be severe. Be aware during cold snaps to the inside conditions of your home. It may keep you from having to deal with a major water damage situation!

What are pipe breaks in a commercial building like??

1/11/2022 (Permalink)

Manufacturing floor flooded How many potential issues can you identify?

They are a mess, that is what they are; they are a mess!! 

Overhead pipes tend to soak suspended ceiling tiles and walls and those tend to fall to the ground pulling ceiling grids, florescent lights, sound systems, fire alarms, and security sensors to the ground as well.

It may just look like puddles but where is all of that wetness going as it evaporates into the air? Into anything that is dry. Floor stock, packing materials, dry structural material and also increasing the overall humidity in the environment. This can cause secondary damages that may far exceed the original damages caused by the primary water loss. 

A facilities manager may make the decision to just extract the water and just keep everyone working. She may think that is the best decision for the company but not thinking through all of the ramifications that can arise due to secondary damage can cause much worse damage. If they supply OEM with assembly parts, what if rust develops on those parts? What if the packaging starts to deform due to excessive moisture? What if manufacturing tolerances are very tight, and the equipment starts having "problems?"

At SERVPRO of Elgin/Northwest Kane County we will discuss the entire issue with the company representatives so that educated decisions can be made. 

Being late on a shipment can be really bad. Loosing a customer may close the doors forever. Use the professionals who can help you identify all of the problems and help you organize the issues and respond appropriately. 

Commercial water damages and the unique problems they pose

1/11/2022 (Permalink)

Water everywhere! Water on the floor here is not the biggest issue.

They can bring a robust business to stand still, instantly! 

Overhead pipes tend to soak suspended ceiling tiles and walls and those tend to fall to the ground pulling ceiling grids, florescent lights, sound systems, fire alarms, and security sensors to the ground as well.

It may just look like puddles but where is all of that wetness going as it evaporates into the air? Into anything that is dry. Floor stock, packing materials, dry structural material and also increasing the overall humidity in the environment. This can cause secondary damages that may far exceed the original damages caused by the primary water loss. 

A facilities manager may make the decision to just extract the water and just keep everyone working. She may think that is the best decision for the company but not thinking through all of the ramifications that can arise due to secondary damage can cause much worse damage. If they supply OEM with assembly parts, what if rust develops on those parts? What if the packaging starts to deform due to excessive moisture? What if manufacturing tolerances are very tight, and the equipment starts having "problems?"

At SERVPRO of DeKalb County we will discuss the entire issue with the company representatives so that educated decisions can be made. 

Being late on a shipment can be really bad. Loosing a customer may close the doors forever. Use the professionals who can help you identify all of the problems and help you organize the issues and respond appropriately. 

Fires before the paint even dries

1/11/2022 (Permalink)

Smoke goes everywhere Smoke on unfinished trim wood

You are enjoying the opportunity to design your own home. Picking the cabinets, colors, lights, fixtures, absolutely everything. As the deliveries are made, you can see the unmistakable progress marching on to completion. The biggest issue is, will we get done and moved in before _______. You fill in the blank. 

In your wildest nightmare you never imagined, what if we have a fire? What will need to be replaced, or reordered? What is salvageable? Can the mitigation vendor work with our construction team to try and keep the overall project moving? But these accidents do happen. Maybe due to an electrical issue. Maybe due to a careless placement of a cigarette or the placing of numerous wood staining rags into a pipe that spontaneously combusts into a fire. 

These fires can be even more difficult due to the unfinished and unpainted surfaces absorbing smoke smells and combustion residue.

A careful review of all surfaces needs to be performed to determine what can be cleaned, what can be encapsulated, and unfortunately what will need to be replaced. It can be sad to have to replace brand new items that were never used before. But our job is to get the structure back to "preloss" condition, how ever that needs to be done.

Mold cleanup from a flooded basement

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

Discovered mold How did that mold get there?

This time of year we seem to get heavy rains that just soak the ground. Sometimes that water makes its way into our basements and we might not notice. This can happen if our sump pumps are either not working or might not be able to keep up with a heavy rain. 

Another potential cause might be a crack in the foundation wall. These are harder to identify because the walls might be covered with insulation and drywall. 

If we don't go into our basements often, we might be surprised to find wet content, a mildew smell or even mold growth.

SERVPRO of Elgin provides the mold services you need to restore your basement. We have specialty tools such as water detection meters, infrared cameras, and decades of experience to provide you with the correct services you need. 

We have been serving our communities for going on 19 years and pride ourselves on giving homeowners and business professionals the truth of what we see is happening to your facility. We will also provide you with a solution that meets your needs. No hype, no scare tactics just clear well thought out solutions to get you back on track.

We are family owned and we plan on being here for generations to come providing the same educated, honest assistance we have for the past two decades.

SERVPRO of Elgin, making it "Like it never even happened."

Cozy up to fireplace Safety

11/12/2021 (Permalink)

Fireplace Keep your fireplace in good working order

Fireplaces can add the ambiance of warmth and tranquility to your Elgin home on a chilly Sunday morning. It is important to remember if you don’t take care of your fireplace, your warmth and tranquility, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. And it can all start with the cleanliness of your chimney.

One of the best ways to prevent a disaster is to keep your fireplace clean. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 30% of heating fires are a result of unclean chimneys and equipment. This is due to a substance called creosote. Creosote is a byproduct of wood combustion that consists mainly of tar. Traces of this substance are found in the smoke that rises from open flames. When smoke is rising to the top of your chimney, it will mix with cold air and water to solidify and stick to the chimney liner. Creosote is not something that fixes itself either. It grows in a self-perpetuating cycle since it accumulates when there is lack of ventilation. This is a huge hazard because creosote is extremely flammable and can cause a destructive, deadly house fire.

            Creosote forms naturally, so there is no way to completely avoid it while using your fireplace. Small amounts of presence of creosote is not the issues, it’s the buildup of this substance that is problematic. There are three stages of creosote buildup and here is how you can appropriately respond to each stage to get the best cleaning. When you decide it’s time to clean your chimney, ensure you use a trained professional.

  1. Stage One- A small amount of creosote is present and has a thin, flaky texture. At this stage, the coating can easily be brushed away by a technician using a specialized brush.
  2. Stage Two- A medium size amount of creosote is present which consents of more tar and soot. At this stage, it is a little tougher to remove the substance. To remove it, it would be most beneficial to use a rotary loop tool attached to a drill.
  3. Stage Three- A large amount of creosote is present which is very concentrated. It can feel either sticky and oily or hard and shiny depending if the coating is fresh. At this stage, it may actually be more cost-effective to simply replace the chimney liner than try to clean it.

Although there is no way to completely avoid creosote, you can take simple actions to slow the process of its buildup. Consider the following tips:

  • Only use dry, seasoned wood in your chimney. This is wood that has been left to dry for at least 6 months
  • Never burn artificial logs because they produce more combustion byproduct than regular wood
  • Make sure your fire has an adequate amount of air
  • Schedule an annual chimney cleaning and inspection

Unfortunately, sometimes disaster still happen despite taking the steps to prevent an accident. If your Elgin Home has experienced a fire due to creosote buildup, don’t feel you’re in this alone. We are the certified fire restoration experts and know how to bring your home back to preloss conditions. You can count on us to immediately assess the damages and begin the remediation and restoration process. For services or any questions, call our office (847) 697 8500.

Learn more about Elgin

Keep your home safe from fires this winter

11/12/2021 (Permalink)

Winter house fires Electrical outlet fire

Did you know there are several hazards that increase the risk for a fire during the Elgin winters? People don’t think their Elgin home could be at risk for fires during the colder months, but there are many hazards that you need to watch out for in the winter. It’s important to be aware of each risk and how to avoid having a winter fire. The top two causes for fires during the winter are electrical and heating. Let’s going into further detail why these factors pose a fire risk and how you can stay fire-free this winter:

  1. Electrical

Electricity is the leading cause of home fires in the United States. Roughly half of all electrical home fire involve electrical distribution or lighting equipment. The top risks include faulty outlets, light fixtures, extension cords, and wiring. Many of these items do not seem dangerous, but according to the U.S. Fire Administration, 43% of the electrical fires were caused by a malfunction. Consider the following tips to avoid electrical fires and stay safe this winter season:

  • Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they can get damaged
  • Have qualified electricians add more receptacle outlets in your home to reduce the use of extension cords
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. The maximum wattage is located on the lamp’s sticker
  • Keep electrical cords away from children and pets
  1. Heating

Heating is the second largest leading cause of United States home fires. December, January, and February are the peak months for heating fires. This is because we are trying to keep our Elgin homes warm during this time of year. Heating equipment includes wall furnaces, space heater, fireplace, and heat lamps. Most often, space heaters are the type of equipment involved in these types of fires. In fact, 86% of deaths from fires caused by heating are due to space heaters. Consider the following tips to avoid heating fires and how to stay safe this winter:

  • Keep anything that burns at least 3 feet away from heating equipment
  • Never use the oven to heat your home
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and professionally inspected every year
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters

SERVPRO of Elgin is your Elgin area fire restoration cleanup service. We are the certified technicians who can provide you peace of mind if a fire were to happen in your Elgin Home. You can always count on the fast response and the expertise of our SERVPRO of Elgin specialists to make you and your family feel “Like it never even happened.”

Learn more about Elgin

We have the tools and experience to handle it all!

11/12/2021 (Permalink)

Wood drying panels Drying out wood floors

Many disasters can take place inside your Elgin home or business when you least expect it. If a disaster were to happen, luckily SERVPRO of Elgin is always ready for whatever happens. When it comes to water damage, our trained technicians have an array of specialized equipment to bring your Elgin home back to preloss conditions. At SERVPRO of Elgin, we use the specialized equipment to help speed up the extraction and drying process. SERVPRO of Elgin is fully equipped with the following tools to restore any home and make it feel “Like it never even happened.”

  1. Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in your Elgin home’s carpets and paddings. This tool has sharp probes that penetrate through carpets and padding to determine if water has migrated on the subflooring. If there is moisture, the sensor will provide both blinking and beeping as a signal. The greater the amount of moisture, the faster the lights and beeping will become.
  2. Moisture Meters are utilized to measure the actual content or levels of various materials. This tool can be penetrative and non-penetrative depending on what needs to be measured. For example, penetrative meters will be used on carpet while non-penetrative meters will be used on drywall.
  3. Extractors are used to provide sufficient water removal in your Elgin home. There are several different types of extractors to use such as Truck-Mounted, Light Wands, or Stationary tools. Factors in each situation such as depth of water and available power will give the technicians a better idea of what to use.
  4. Air Movers are used in water damage restoration to enhance evaporation at the surface level and reduce drying time.
  5. Dehumidifiers are used to remove water vapor from the air. This reduces the amount of water vapor in the air which lowers the humidity ratio. This is important because lower humidity increases the rate of evaporation of moisture.

SERVPRO of Elgin is a recognized Institution of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) firm for the past 16 years. Every technician for SERVPRO of Elgin is certified and knows how to utilize our unique tools to bring your home back to preloss conditions. We are a 24-hour service and are here to help you with any water damage needs you face in your Elgin home. If you need to schedule service, please contact our office: (847) 697-8500.

Lean more about Elgin

Are you kidding me?!

11/12/2021 (Permalink)

Stripped out car Doing mold remediation in a car

Having a water damage in your house and the possibility of mold due to that is an upsetting thought. What about the possibility of mold within our vehicles?

The cars that are built and sold today are quality checked and inspected and interior problems are rare. 

However, how would you know if you had a problem? Well frankly, it is tough to determine. Our local climate is very wet in spring, we can have heavy rains in summer and fall, and winters are cold and we carry snow and ice into our cars from our shoes and boots.

The same rules apply to cars as with our homes, "you don't have a mold problem, you have a moisture problem."

Be aware of your car’s environment. Do a quick inspection, especially after heavy rains. Check for signs of wetness on carpeting, your dash, seats or headliner. Listen for signs of water accumulation in the duct work, (usually noticeable when you turn and you hear sloshing.) Finally, do you smell a musty odor in the car.

The mold damage professionals can handle any situation that you will encounter!

Learn more about Elgin!