Recent Posts

Having a home inventory helps after a fire

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

Fire and smoke damaged bedroom Making sure you have all your possessions accounted for can be difficult after a fire.

Let's start with a question: Can you name everything that is on your nightstand in your bedroom?  You see that nightstand every day, probably several times a day.  If you had to write down everything that is on there, could you remember it all?

Now, imagine trying doing this after something as traumatic as a fire in your home.

Chances are, you'd probably forget something.  We all would.  

I use the example of a nightstand to highlight how easy it is to miss something.  What you may forget may be something insignificant, or it could be something very important of value to you.

The best thing you can do right now is to do a complete home inventory.  It doesn't take too long, and it could be very helpful if something as unthinkable as a fire happens to you.

Taking pictures is fine, but video works best.  Going room by room, scan the room from a corner from left to right, then move to the opposite corner and repeat the process.  Add commentary as you video, such as: "I bought this signed baseball jersey in 2021 for $600 at that charity auction."

When all the rooms are completed, email the video file and pictures to yourself.  This way, you'll have the date you performed the inventory (if it's several years old, you may want to update it), and you'll have access to it no matter where you are.

SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank has performed many fire/smoke mitigations.  We know the proper ways to clean structure and deodorize rooms.  A simple call to 708-430-3600 will start the process.

More frequent "once-in-a-lifetime" storms?

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

A woman, chest deep in floodwaters, carrying an umbrella Not sure how much protection this woman has from the rain.

Water.  It comes in the form of rain and melting snow/ice.  The oceans are large, but there are many lakes, rivers, and streams.  Question: Is there more fresh water or salt water on earth?  The answer later.

The earth is a closed system.  There is exactly the same amount of water around the planet as there was a year ago, ten years ago, a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago.

So far this century, there seems to be more extreme weather than before: more and longer droughts, more instances of excessive rains, and more violent storms.

What causes precipitation?  Water droplets collect in the clouds and mix together.  Once they are too heavy to hold in the clouds, they fall towards the earth.  

Clouds can hold moisture primarily based on temperature.  In winter, clouds can't hold much moisture, so snow and snow flurries are released.  In summer, the clouds can hold a lot of moisture, so it can be very humid just before a downpour happens.

Sometimes rain/snow tries to fall into very dry air, and the precipitation dries up before reaching the ground.  This is called "Virga".

The answer to the above question: The earth has 97.5% salt water, and only 2.5% fresh water.

If water has somehow invaded your home, call the water clean up experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600.  We have the proper equipment and protocols in place to quickly and efficiently dry your structure and contents.

Flooding has many causes

3/24/2021 (Permalink)

Flood waters covering a road SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank has seen terrible flooding issues such as this.

Flooding issues can generally be caused by a single one of the following, or a combination thereof:

  • Repeated, heavy rainfall.
  • Excessive rain rates.
  • Precipitation falling on frozen ground.
  • Rapid snow melt.
  • Any of the previous, upstream from your location.

Nobody today wants flooding.  Ancient farmers developed plans for their acreage to flood, because it nourished the soil.  But today's business and home owners are doing their best to PREVENT flooding from occurring.

Even the best intentions often go awry.  Huge storms still happen.  The ground still freezes.  Snow still falls.

If you can make every possible preventative measure, and your property still floods, are you prepared for the aftermath?

Some of the things you can do to minimize the flood's damages:

  • Major appliances in the basement (clothes washer, dryer, water softener, etc.)?  If you can do so safely, put them up on blocks.  It may not help if you get several feet of water in the basement, but it will help if you get several INCHES of water there.
  • Put all cardboard boxes up on a shelf and off the floor.
  • If you have one, make sure your generator is ready to go.
  • Outside, make sure the grade runs AWAY from your foundation, not towards it.
  • Keep gutters clean and debris free.

SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank has seen many types of flooding, from sewage backups to post-hurricane damages.  So, if you have suffered some type of flooding issue, call the experts at 708-430-3600 as soon as possible, so that the mitigation work can begin right away!

Emergency Ready Profile completed by local bank

3/11/2021 (Permalink)

The outside of a bank Another commercial entity has taken the steps to help safeguard property.

A local bank recently suffered from a water damage that disrupted service for a short time.  But, even a short time can be costly.  So, they decided to "go the extra mile" and complete a FREE Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) from SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank.

This ERP is different from a contingency plan, as it puts the wheels in motion if/when a disaster strikes the property.  It lists the proper protocols, the people who need to be contacted first, and highlights the safe egress and ingress to the property.

This program is a FREE service that SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank.  It takes a few minutes to walk through and take pictures and gather information.  That is brought back to our shop, where it is compiled and the final profile is sent over to the commercial property.

Attention property managers!  If you want to take advantage of this FREE service, and help safeguard our property, then call Rick at 708-430-3600 to set up a walk through.

We have performed this service for: churches, retail shops, business offices, auto service shops, salons, a school district, hotels, and now a bank.  Shouldn't your business get on board as well?

Perfect scenario of events causes ice damming

3/9/2021 (Permalink)

A 12' long icicle hangs from a gutter This icicle, more than 12' long, hangs from a gutter outside a bedroom window. This icicle, along with many others, caused extensive ice damming.

February, 2021 in the Chicago area saw a perfect set of circumstances that created a rash of ice damming issues, for homes, businesses, and apartments.

First, a January with above average temperatures and very little precipitation.  February hit us with much colder weather, with repeated snow storms (Chicago got more than a year's snowfall in less than three weeks).  The final week of February and into March saw above freezing temperatures during the day, with below freezing temperatures at night.  The constant freeze/thaw cycle, along with gutters already full of snow and ice, caused many, many homes and businesses with ice damming.

Ice damming occurs when water, with no where else to go,  literally backs up the roof and works its way under shingles and into the home.  Many times this does not damage the roof (especially younger roofs), but for the older roofs it may be the final straw.

Once the water gets inside the home or business, it's free to travel wherever it wants, soaking walls, floors, carpets, and furniture.

If this happens to you, call the water experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600.  We have the right technology and protocols to dry out your home or business, while saving structure that hasn't been compromised.

Are you ready for the Spring rains?

3/9/2021 (Permalink)

A moisture meter determining a wet ceiling This ceiling looks wet, but we have digital meters that will help us pinpoint exactly where the water is, and isn't.

The Chicago area was hit with more than a year's worth of snowfall in a three week period in February, 2021.  Also, we saw several consecutive days where the temperature never hit the freezing mark.

With the frozen ground, and a lot of potential snowmelt, are you ready if we get hit with a Spring thunderstorm?

If you can do it safely, check your gutters to ensure they are clean and debris free.  The heavy snowfall and ice storm may have loaded your gutters with lots of leaves and other debris that will clog if we get rain.

Check your basement (or lower level) for boxes or contents that would be damaged if they got wet, and move them to a place of safety.  Like the old adage goes: "Prepare for the worst and expect the best".

If your home or business does get hit with water damages, don't get too excited.  Call the water experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600.  We will not only handle the stress for you, but also dry your home out and we can even put it all back together again.  Remember our motto: we "Like it never even happened."

Using containment to help speed up drying

3/9/2021 (Permalink)

A large plastic wall, dividing a room in half Using this plastic wall will cut the drying time, as well as allow customers to use the other portion of this room.

You have a large basement, and you suffer a water damage, but only on one side of the basement.  We could put equipment in, but it may take a while for it to dry properly, unless there was a way you could make the room smaller.

Well, there is a way!  We can put up some containment, thereby cutting the room in half.  A smaller room will dry quicker.  It is much faster to dry a closet than it is to dry a gymnasium.

By putting up containment, held up by poles (as to not damage the walls or ceilings), it cuts the size of the room trying to be dried.  It also allows the family to live as near normal lives as possible, as they could utilize the other side of the basement (or any room made smaller by containment).

Containment is also used in mold remediation and fire clean up, as we are trying to keep cross contamination from happening from unaffected areas of the home.

So, you have a water damage?  You can relax and call the experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank, where we have the procedures and protocols in place to make the restoration as painless as possible.

Treat candles with extreme care

2/15/2021 (Permalink)

A candle burning This candle may look elegant, but you let your guard down, it can become deadly.

Candles.  They provide ambiance with subtle lighting in a dark room.  They give off a nice, romantic glow. 

But, we are talking about an open flame, in a room with lots of combustible items.  Care must be taken when using candles.

  1. Think about where you want to place the candle(s).  They should be greater than one foot from anything that can be combustible: drapes, bedding, towels, etc.  They should also be placed in a place where children nor pets can accidently knock it over.
  2. Use caution when lighting the candle.  Make sure loose clothing, hair, or combustibles are clear as you light the candle, whether you are using a match, lighter, or other starter.
  3. Do not burn the candle all the way down.  Many times, candles are in jars, and if you burn them all the way down, the candle heat may crack the jar.
  4. Don't leave a candle unattended.  Do not leave a room for an extended period of time while the candle is burning.  Also, do not fall asleep while a candle is burning.

You may notice, as the candle burns down, that the rim of the jar is turning black.  Then you notice that the closest wall and the ceiling directly above is getting black as well.  That is soot from the candle.  If you try and clean it yourself, you may end up setting the stain, whereby covering with paint is the only answer.

SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank is an expert at cleaning up smoke and soot residues, whether from a fire or from cigarette or candles.  Give us a call at: 708-430-3600.

Polar Vortex hits Chicago area

2/9/2021 (Permalink)

A frozen water pipe spraying water through a rip in the pipe. Cold air and water pipes don't mix very well. Take precautions now to prevent bursting pipes.

Generally, when you hear the word "storm", you think of heavy precipitation (rain or snow), and maybe you think of high winds that can accompany the precipitation.  But what about extreme cold?

In February 2021, a large polar vortex descended on the Midwest, dropping temperatures well below zero at night, and daytime highs in the single digits at best.

Now, polar vortices have hit the area before, the last in January 2019.  But this particular storm will last a couple of weeks, with persistent cold and periods of recurring snow.

Some ways to protect yourself and property during this cold wave:

To prevent water pipes from freezing:

  • Keep heat elevated enough in rooms where water pipes may be on exterior walls.
  • Keep a slight drip or trickle from the faucet.  Moving water cannot freeze.
  • Wrap water pipes in insulation.

Some cold weather DON'TS:

  • Do not use an oven as a primary heat source.
  • Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors.
  • Do not place space heaters within three feet of flammable materials (drapes, bedding, towels, etc)
  • Do not leave space heaters unattended.  Turn off when leaving the room.
  • Do not let children or pets play around space heaters.
  • Do not leave candles unattended.

Some DO'S:

  • Check on family or neighbors, especially if they are elderly or homebound.
  • Exercise.  Not only will it help take your mind off of being cold, but the body will generate some heat to make you feel warmer.
  • Close off unused rooms, unless that room has water pipes within.  Consider placing blankets as a second layer of insulation over drapes or blinds.
  • Compile a bag of clothes, medicines, etc, in case the power goes out and you have to leave in a hurry.

SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank hopes that everyone stays safe during this cold wave.

If the cold caused your water pipes to leak or burst, call the water experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600.

Water damages in the bathroom

2/1/2021 (Permalink)

Water stained walls inside a bathroom Easy to see that water has damaged this bathroom.

Outside of the basement, the bathroom has probably the most instances of water damage in the home.  Pipe leaks, tub overflows, toilet backups, drain backups, even excess moisture can cause water damages.

How can I identify possible water damages?

Starting at the top, look for water staining or mold on the ceiling.  This could be from: roof leak, pipe leaks hidden in the walls or ceiling, or even too much moisture from improper ventilation (like during showers). 

On the walls, look for more water staining, or paint that has bubbled up (from moisture trapped under the layer of paint).

On the floors, look for trim that has warped and is pulling away from the wall.  Hardwood floors may begin to buckle and cup when introduced from excess moisture.  Carpet in an adjoining room may be wet.

The floor below (if there is one) may show some water staining on the ceiling. 

And generally, if there is a musty smell, it could mean that mold could be hidden in the walls and/or ceiling. 

If you suspect that you may have water damage, call the experts in water damage mitigation.  SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank.  708-430-3600.  We are available 24/7/365 for your emergency needs!