Recent Posts

Frozen Pipe Water Damage In Oak Lawn

1/17/2018 (Permalink)

Winter is here! While we have been lucky to have mostly above average temperatures so far, this season, cold weather is predicted in our near forecast. This means it’s time to keep an eye on your pipes when the temperatures do drop below freezing. 

Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Check around your home or business for areas where water supply lines are in unheated areas. Wrap exposed pipes with foam, insulated materials or pipe heating cables. Watch these locations on a daily basis when temperatures is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you are going out of town, and you suspect that temperatures will drop, turn off the water to your home and open all the taps to drain the water system. Set your temperature no lower than 55° F.
  • Unhook the water hoses from the exterior of the home and bring them inside, to maintain their life.
  • Drip your faucets, to reduce the build-up of pressure in the pipes during an arctic blast weather advisory.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much costlier repair job if pipes freeze and burst
  • Open cabinet doors when temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The warm air can circulate around the pipes and prevent the water from freezing.

Popular Locations of Frozen Pipes:

  • Outside wall
  • Under a sink
  • Unheated crawlspace or basement
  • Outside water spigot
  • Swimming pool supply lines
  • Water sprinkler lines
  • Attics
  • Garages

Tips on Thawing Frozen Pipes:

  • If a pipe bursts before it is thawed, immediately shut off the water at the water main to prevent further damage!
  • Frozen but not ruptured? If you turn on the faucet and the water doesn’t come out or comes out in a trickle, your pipes are probably frozen. You need to act quickly to thaw the frozen pipe before it bursts.
  • Identify the frozen water supply pipe.
  • Open a faucet supplied by the frozen line, even if you have not found the frozen spot.
  • To find the blockage, follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas such as an exterior wall, unheated crawl space or in some cases an unheated basement if the pipe is near an outside wall.
  • Often the frozen area of the pipe will be frosted or have ice on it. If the situation is getting critical the pipe may be slightly bulged or look slightly fissured.

Frozen Pipe Behind a Wall:

  • Leave the main water valve near your water meter open when thawing the pipe.
  • If the frozen pipe is behind a wall or ceiling, you’ve got a challenge on your hands. You have three choices:
  • Turn up the heat in the house and wait.
  • Use an infrared lamp or lamps to heat the wall where you think the frozen area is located. Infrared lamps are better than regular heat lamps because the heat passes through the air without heating it, directing more energy to warming the wall and frozen pipe.
  • Tear out part of the wall or ceiling to get at the frozen section of pipe. Then thaw the pipe as an exposed pipe.

If Your Pipes Burst…

  • Turn off the water supply. Locate your water shut off valve and turn off the main water shut-off valve. You should find this in the basement or where the service pipe enters your home. Drain the system by turning on all your cold-water valves.

What You Can Do to Manage the Damage (until we get there):

  • Water Buckets. If you notice the leak quickly you can catch dripping water in buckets.
  • Make a hole in the ceiling to let water out.
  • Turn off electronics/appliances
  • Open Drawers, closets and cabinet doors to in enhance drying.

 Call us today (708) 239-1444

Save Money With These Tips

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Your home is likely your biggest investment, and requires routine maintenance to keep it in good shape. Some things can be tackled on an annual basis while others should be done monthly. Here is our suggested list to keep your home running smoothly though out the year. 

Monthly

Frequently used items require regular attention.  Clean out your garbage disposal and regularly replace air filters. You should also periodically check your roof for leaks.

Seasonally

A seasonal checklist is easiest during mild weather.  Commit to a few simple things like trimming trees and shrubs away from your home's exterior.  While you are out there, check our gutters and clean out any leaves or debris that can lead to water backup.

Also, take a moment to inspect the weatherstripping that is around windows and doors.  If you see cracks or broken seals, this is an easy replacement that will save money on heating and cooling costs. 

Annually

Inspect all your fire extinguishers and make sure they are up to date and fully pressurized.  Set aside one day a year to do things like schedule a chimney cleaning and have your HVAC system inspected. 

Organizing home maintenance tasks into a manageable schedule can help your prioritize prevention and save you money in the long run. 

Need a Holiday Gift Idea?

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

If you are stumped about what to get your family as a gift this holiday season, we may have the perfect idea.  New smoke detectors! Now, this might not be very exciting but it is important and can save lives and homes. 

SERVPRO knows that smoke detectors are crucial in early fire detection.  According to U.S Fire Statistics, in 2013 there were 1,240,000 fires which resulted in 3,240 deaths and 15,925 injuries.  Losses were recorded at $11.5 billion.  Of these statistics, 60% of them occur during fires in which no working smoke alarm is present.  

While we do not like to think of our family falling victim to a fire, but the truth is we never know when or how a fire can happen.  Most of the time, fires do not start in the most obvious ways and can start due to overheated outlets, old wires or extension cords and many other ways.  

During the busy holiday season, take a few minutes to review fire safety with your family. This is especially important if you are entertaining guests in your home. Be sure to test your current smoke detectors to make sure they are working to give you some peace of mind that you do have early detection warnings in place.

Have a safe and happy holiday from your friends at SERVPRO of Oak Lawn! 

Chicago Ridge Commercial Emergency Restoration

11/16/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Building Restoration Services

When flooding or fires happen, they may occur at your office or business. Who do you call? Being prepared is the first step and may score you brownie points with your boss if you know the right company to call in an emergency. 

SERVPRO of Oak Lawn is available 24 hours a day to restore your Oak Lawn commercial property and get you back to business. We have the expertise, equipment, and highly trained personnel to handle your commercial water, fire, or mold damage. We can also access the resources of our national network of 1,650 Franchises to handle large commercial projects and major storm events. Learn more about our commercial restoration services:

Winter Storm Preparations

11/7/2017 (Permalink)

More often than not, as homeowners, the last thing we want to do is home repairs.  Not only do they take time (and many of us don't have a lot to spare), but they can also be costly and sometimes tedious.  Small repairs such as changing a light bulb or fixing a leaky faucet can be put off until it is absolutely necessary to fix, but there are some repairs that should never be put off.  Unfortunately, many of these involve major things (and can come with an even more major price tag), but avoiding the two repairs listed below could actually cause bigger problems down the road when the cold freezing temperatures and snow hit us shortly.  

Roof Issues

Every home has a roof.  This is one of the most important parts of any building because it protects what is inside.  The roof is a major player when it comes to keeping up on repairs.  If you notice any leaks, missing or damaged shingles/tiles or any kind of sagging this should be fixed as soon as possible.  Leaks mean water will get into your home and then may lead to mold, structure damage and even possibly fire if it comes in contact with anything electrical.  Missing or damaged shingles can lead to a number of issues if not fixed and create weak spots in a roof  A sagging roof could signify moisture in the attic and could be a sign of poor ventilation, broken or cracked joists, rafters or the ridge line itself.  

Foundation Issues

The foundation of your home is extremely important-it holds up your home's entire structure.  Cracks in the foundation are definitely something not to overlook when it comes to repairs. The last thing you want as a homeowner is for a crack to spread.  Checking your home's foundation in the fall will help prevent water from thawing snow or ice getting into your home in the spring.  

Plumbing Issues

Water anywhere other than in a pipe or sink basin is bad, especially for your home.  Plumbing issues and leaks anywhere in your property should be addressed as soon as possible.  Winter in the Chicago area is known for its below freezing temperatures.  This can sometimes take a toll on the plumbing and pipes in your home.  Checking them now will be a great step towards prevention. 

Water Damage Advice For Oak Lawn

11/7/2017 (Permalink)

Although there is a variety of potential problems that property owners in Oak lawn dread, water damage typically tops the list. Oak Lawn water damage can result from different factors, including heavy rain, snow, natural disasters, a leaky pipe or appliance. Irrespective of the cause, water damage ramifications are issues that residential property owners need to understand thoroughly. To get a basic understanding of what water damage is and how it should be addressed, refer to the following quick reference guide:

Water damage: Identifying Some of The Causes from This Short List.

• leaky dishwashers
• broken pipes
• overflowing washing machines
• plumbing leaks
• foundation cracks or a damaged roof
• floods
• heavy rain

Categories of Water That Cause Water Damage

As water damage restoration specialists from SERVPRO know, there are several categories of water leading to water damage. The concern for the rate of water removal escalates as the Category number increases. Category 1 is clean water, and this is a type of water that poses no serious threat to people. This is drinking water (potable) that is in a place it should not be. Category 2 is gray water, and this type of water is contaminated and can cause illness when ingested. This may be soapy dishwater, standing water on a floor or waste water containing urine. Category 3 is black water. This type of water is unsanitary and dangerous because it contains bacteria that can cause sickness. Black water results from sewage issues and standing water that has been contaminated. This category of water requires immediate water removal.

Water Damage: The Restoration Process

Water damage restoration is an important process. When done expediently by expert technicians from SERVPRO, water restoration enables residential owners to minimize the adverse effects to their personal belongings and lessen or prevent structural damage. However, the efficacy of their efforts is typically contingent upon the amount of water that caused the damage as well as the severity of the damage. These water removal specialists will use special equipment and proven methodologies to control water damage and limit its debilitating effects.

Although water damage can be a difficult situation, securing the services of a professional water damage restoration company like SERVPRO takes the pressure off of you. It allows you to sit back and watch how your home in Hickory Hills is restored to its pre-water damaged condition. If you need our services, we are only minutes away from your property.

Flooded Basement Cleanup in Alsip IL

10/10/2017 (Permalink)

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Alsip basement could flood, including: 

  • A sewer pipe that is blocked or cracked
  • Surface water from heavy rains that can pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
  • And many more

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get. The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. 

If you have questions call us 24/7 (708) 239-1444.

Fire Extinguisher Importance For Your Home or Business

10/10/2017 (Permalink)

Office buildings need specific fire safety equipment to keep both employees and clients safe. This includes smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire alarms, and extinguishers.  

The first step in fire damage restoration is to put out the fire using the proper tools.  A first responder may use an approved portable fire extinguisher to prevent a small fire from growing and causing further damage.  

The National Fire Protection Agency publishes a series of standards and requirements for portable fire extinguishers called NFPA 10, available here.

No matter what the size of the fire, your first priority should be to get everyone out safely and call 911.  Once the fire has been put out, you can call SERVPRO of Oak Lawn (708) 239-1444 to assist with the fire damage restoration.  

Here is a link for another great resource on why you should buy a fire extinguisher for your home. 

Handling Water Damage and Leaks in Hickory Hills IL

10/10/2017 (Permalink)

How to Handle Water Leaks and Floods in Your Home

Hickory Hills water damage can be a real problem if there is a leak or flood in your home. Water can easily destroy the walls, floors and structure of your house. It can cause dangerous mold to grow. It can ruin personal possessions and appliances. You should know what to do when faced with a water leak or flood.


Try To Stop the Leak
The first step is to try to stop the leak. Find the source of the water. If there are shutoff valves nearby, then turn them off to stop the flow of water. Alternately, you could turn off the water mains to the entire house. If neither of these steps is an option, then you might be able to seal off the source of the leak with duct tape, rags or other materials. Attempt to do this only if you can walk safely through the water.


Stop the Water from Spreading
If your home is flooding, then try to stop the water from spreading. You can use sandbags, towels or other items to create a barrier that the water cannot pass through. This will help even if you can just slow the water down a little from flowing freely into your home. You could also attempt to put down towels if the water is very shallow. This will help to limit the amount of water damage.


Get Your Possessions off The Ground
If you have possessions on the ground where the water is leaking, then pick them up. Pick up rugs, furniture and anything else. You do not want the water to destroy those items. Additionally, porous items like paper, fabrics or wood can become sources of mold after the water stops leaking. Put your items somewhere high up so that they are not in danger. Hang up any wet or soaked items to dry if possible.


Contact a Restoration Service
You should contact a restoration service like SERVPRO as soon as you realize that there is a leak and have stabilized the situation. These professionals will come into your home, remove the water and start dealing with the damage. They can dry out you floors, walls, and some personal possessions. They can also remove damaged parts of the home that are not salvageable. Restoration services are critical for recovering from water, leaks or floods..


Take Preventative Action
You want to take some preventative action after the restoration company has finished. You want to inspect your plumbing regularly. Check and maintain your appliances. Have your roof checked for damage on an annual basis. Keep the number for the restoration company handy just in case. These steps will reduce the chance that you will have to deal with serious water damage again in the future.

Mold Remediation-After The Storm Is Over

10/10/2017 (Permalink)

Information on Mold Remediation in Alsip

Mold growth can begin anywhere from 2-3 days after a storm causes water damage.  The mold is a harmful issue, and it can negatively affect your health, house, and the contents within your home.  As the length of exposure to storm water damage increases, the chance for air spores that spread mold also escalates. Mold remediation becomes more challenging as the signs of mold growth that include musty odors, and discolored surfaces, become more apparent.

Act Fast

Our highly trained mold removal technicians use the latest technology and tools to quickly address your mold problem in a manner that effectively removes mold colonies. Unlike DIY techniques, our SERVPRO professional service does not carry the risk of improperly removing mold, in this way, expediting a more rapid return to a healthy home environment.  We are also trained and licensed to handle lead, asbestos and other dangerous materials that may show up during the mold removal process.

We are available 24 per day. Before your appointment, be sure to:

  • Inventory damaged and missing goods for your insurance claim.
  • Throw away all sealed and unsealed food and beverage contacted by storm flood waters. 
  • Open windows and doors.
  • Refrain from using electrical devices until it is safe.
  • Remove standing water when possible.
  • Use dehumidifiers and fans to ventilate your home; SERVPRO can perform this task upon arrival.

Our mold remediation technician will also determine if any contents in your home are salvageable.  Porous items that are wet for over 48 hours and cannot be completely dried and cleaned must be disposed of.

This list includes carpet, carpet padding, ceiling tiles, clothing, drywall, floor tiles, insulation, leather goods, paper, upholstery, wallpaper and wood items.

When our mold remediation expert arrives, he will:

  • Apply biocides.
  • Decide whether or not you can stay in your house during the mold remediation process.
  • Determine if additional ventilation and containment is needed.
  • Look for mold in the HVAC system and biological hazards in the home.
  • Test for any additional mold after the mold remediation process.
  • Use quick structural drying techniques.

Here are some more helpful links on mold:

EPA Mold Guide

IICRC 5 Principles to Mold Remediation