Sump Pumps: Maintenance and Utility
For some basements, a sump pump is mandatory, and even if your basement doesn’t necessarily need one, they can always come in handy during a flood. However, a mechanical failure could lead to disaster and it helps to know how to keep up maintenance in order to make the most of them.
As you may know, sump pumps collect water in a basin, and then pump it out in a place where it can be safely drained. They are most often installed in basements where flooding typically occurs, either because of issues in the foundation, the depth of the basement in relation to the water level, or other reasons. However, they can also be useful for homeowners who want an extra measure of safety in case of unexpected flooding. At the end of the day, a sump pump can prevent heartache, monetary loss, and water damage.
As useful as they are, sump pump failures can occur. It just takes a power outage or accumulated debris, and you’ll find yourself with a flooded basement. However, with regular maintenance you can better ensure safety. Power outages, which often happen during a storm, can end up turning off your sump pump. This is easily fixed with a back-up generator. Another issue that commonly occurs is a stuck switch. Debris, or even just a mechanical error, can cause the switch in the sump pump to get stuck. Sump pumps can also simply get old and stop working. Their lifespan can range from 5-30 years, depending on the type of pump, so you should begin to check on it during heavy storms or other events that could lead to flooding when it is at risk of failure. For regular maintenance, once a year, you can clean it out by disconnecting it and rinsing it out with running water, cleaning out all the pipes and valves.
Paying attention to your sump pump and cleaning it out every year or so can help prevent issues. However, unexpected problems can always come up, so if you have any questions, concerns, or need of assistance, please call us at SERVPRO of Northbrook / Wheeling / Glencoe, (847) 498-8889.
It's Getting Cold Outside! Some Tips if you have Water Damage.
What you can do until help arrives
After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:
- Is it safe to stay in the house?
- Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
- Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
Have A Water Damage Emergency?
What To Do After Flooding
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floors.
What NOT To Do After Flooding
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
- Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
- Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
- Don't use television or other household appliances.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
Preparing for Fire and Water Risks During Winter
With the winter coming in full force, it’s a good idea to start thinking about how you can lower the chance of events that often cause water or fire damage during the cold seasons. While pipes freezing, as we have mentioned in another blog post, is one of the leading causes of water damage in cold weather, there are other hazards that can lead to other catastrophes.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the second most common cause of home fire deaths is from heating equipment, just behind cooking fires (https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/US-Fire-Problem/Heating-equipment). Space heaters are especially risky, because they can often ignite flammable objects in their vicinity. Being mindful of the things around your space heater can prevent disaster; keep them away from flammable objects and make sure to turn them off before you go to bed. Also, dirty equipment can sometimes lead to fires. Make sure to regularly maintain chimneys and other heating systems in order to maintain a safe environment.
Often catching people unaware, icicles and snow can often fill up gutters and other areas of water flow and then freeze, making an ice dam. This can cause water to build up and damage the infrastructure of your home. Maintaining and cleaning gutters before they freeze can often help prevent this.
If you have any questions or concerns about house maintenance, fire, or water damage, please give us a call at SERVPRO of Northbrook / Wheeling / Glencoe, (847) 498-8889.
Saving Time and Money with SERVPRO’s Move-Out / Pack-Out Services
Flooding can end up causing lots of water damage not just to your home, but to your belongings as well. Sometimes, items that seem irreparable, like clothes and furniture, are in fact restorable with the right methods. At SERVPRO of Northbrook / Wheeling / Glencoe, we can help with damaged belongings as a part of our move-out / pack-out service. While we do what we can to fix items on-site, some things need to be taken out for professional cleaning (either at our location or in the hands of a specialist). This will not only give your belongings the best chance of being restored, but also prevents further damage caused by mold and mildew.
Moreover, it can be a hassle to get all your belongings outside of a high-risk area. Often, most things need to be out of the way so that our specialists can access areas of drywall, flooding, and other places of water damage for proper restoration services. We make this process easier by providing you with the means of moving and storing belongings for either simple storage or restoration (as mentioned above). This way, we cut both the costs and time involved in the process and make everything that much less stressful. If you have any questions about our move-out service, or anything else, please give us a call at (847) 498-8889.
Freaky Fire Stories: Strange Cases from the SERVPRO Files
At SERVPRO of Northbrook / Wheeling / Glencoe, we usually take care of fire damage caused by the usual: kitchen, electrical, accidents with fire hazards, etc.; however, there are some strange cases that illustrate that such disasters can be completely unpredictable. In the spirit of Halloween, we’re providing some scary stories about fire hazards.
The mystery of the rogue microwave: One of the fires we set out to clean up was caused by a microwave. This isn’t necessarily a rare occurrence, but this case was particularly strange. Often, fires start in microwaves because someone put aluminum or a metal utensil in it, or if it was turned on without anything inside it can combust. This wasn’t what happened here. Although it was plugged in, the microwave wasn’t in operation. For some reason (probably electrical) it just decided to flare up, but we’re getting some 2001: A Space Odyssey vibes anyway.
Spontaneous Combustion of Towels: Another case was caused by some towels that decided to combust on their own, with no initial fire involved. While this might sound strange, we actually know the reason for this one. These towels were used to treat stairs with wood stain, and when they were left in a pile, they began to catch on fire. Towels that are soaked in grease or other materials can, if heated up, combust. This is more common if they’re put in the drier, but it can happen on an especially warm day too.
Some other strange incidents are caused by things that otherwise seem harmless. Collected sawdust, air-spray deodorant, and non-dairy coffee creamer can occasionally be culprits for fires. According to PA Media on indpendent.ie, there were several peculiar incidents that occurred in London, including “A teenage boy on his first date sprayed a can of deodorant on himself, then inexplicably lit what remained in the can, causing an explosion,” “A dog hit the controls of a toaster as it leapt on to a worktop to reach food, setting fire to a bag,” and “A pigeon dropped a discarded lit cigarette down a chimney, starting a fire in a bird's nest” (https://www.independent.ie/world-news/and-finally/bizarre-causes-of-fires-revealed-29868711.html). As you can see, there are many weird ways that fires can start, but with knowledge, many of these are preventable. Of course, if you have any problem, question, or concern please give us a call at (847) 498-8889.
Water Damage in a crawlspace
Entrance to crawlspace.
Picture this: You just bought your first home, and you are absolutely in love with it. A month goes by and you start to smell something funky. You discover the source of the smell is coming from the crawlspace, which to date, you have not opened. You open the hatch door and discover that nearly half your crawlspace below your home is covered in sewage.
What do you do?
First and foremost, get in contact with your local plumber and have them discover, and fix the source of the water. Every situation is different, but it cant hurt to call your insurance company to see if you have sewage backup. Next step...CALL SERVPRO!!
Once we evaluate the situation and make sure it is safe to go into the crawlspace, crews will suit up and head down there to begin the cleanup. Many times, we have to remove the top layer of soil if the crawlspace is unfinished. Once that top layer is removed, crews will begin disinfecting anything that came into contact with this dirty water.
When its all said and done, crews will leave drying equipment for a slightly extended time, to dry the rest of the soil.
Who is going to clean this up?
A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall.
Basements are inherently 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 Northbrook/Wheeling/Glencoe basement could flood, including:
- A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
- Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
- Storm sewer backup
- Sanitary sewer backup
- Foundation drainage failure
- Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
Have Questions about Basement Flooding?
Call Today – 847-498- 8889
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. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Northbrook/Wheeling/Glencoe and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.
We are Flooded Basement Specialists:
- We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week
- We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
- We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
- Our Technicians are Highly-Trained in Water Restoration Techniques
- We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
- Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment
Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help!
How the SERVPRO READY Plan Can Help Your Business
A single disaster, including severe water damage or fire damage, can halt income for so long that businesses can close from the loss of profits and cost of repairs. The SERVPRO Ready Plan webpage includes a statement explaining that “As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.” Conveniently, we offer a READY Profile Advantage that can help you get together a plan based on your facility’s needs, and by connecting with a SERVPRO professional, you can be assured that your business will be open and running as soon as possible.
The steps are easy to follow, especially if you’re using a tablet (although there are instructions for designing a profile without one). We’ll access your property, making note of high-risk areas and preventative measures, while also having a plan ready so that you can contact us as soon as possible in an emergency. Because we’ll have all the information that would otherwise take time to gather, we’ll be able to get to on-site immediately. We’ll already know the layout of the property and the potential hazard zones to expedite the process of getting your business back up and running.
For starting a READY plan, visit https://ready.SERVPRO.com/ and follow the instructions there. You’ll see a link to our user-friendly app, as well as videos, information, and instructions on how to start your READY profile. Of course, you can always call us at SERVPRO of Northbrook / Wheeling / Glencoe, (847) 498-8889.
Preventing Frozen Pipes During Winter
Winter is coming, and in Chicago temperatures can drop to dangerous levels. In addition to all the other problems that come with snow and sub-zero temperatures, freezing pipes can cause massive, costly damage to your property. Frozen pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during the winter because they often fracture and break as they become ice-cold in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Ultimately, they can end up costing a lot of money depending the severity. Pipes can break and flood, and they can cause water damage in walls and foundations. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to prevent them from freezing in most cases.
- Let cold water drip from your faucet. This is a simple method that will help prevent exposed pipes from freezing by creating a flow. Although this is not a guaranteed method, it can often help.
- Always keep the thermostat on. Even if you leave the house, you should always leave it at least at 55 degrees. While it can be costly to leave the heat on, it is far less expensive than fixing your plumbing and/or cleaning up a flooded area of the property.
- Add insulation. Adding insulation to exposed pipes can help a lot. This is time consuming, but it doesn’t cost much and helps in the long run. Also, make sure to seal any cracks in drywall or any other place that has plumbing running through it.
If you find your pipes are already frozen and not fractured or broken, you can try running water through it or heating it up. These methods of prevention are affordable and pretty simple, so as long as you’re diligent, ideally you will not have to experience this issue. However, if a problem occurs, or if you just have any questions, give us a call at SERVPRO of Northbrook / Wheeling / Glencoe, (847) 498-8889.
Keeping your Pets Protected During Storms and Other Emergencies
It’s hard to know just how bad a storm will hit, and even harder to know what kind of damage it will cause to your home. Amid all the chaos that a leaking roof, a power outage, or a flooding basement can cause, it can be easy to forget your pets could be in danger.
Here are some simple and easy steps that you can follow to make sure your pet is as safe and secure as can be during emergency storms:
- Make sure that your pet is microchipped and has an ID. Of course, it’s important to keep pets indoors and in a safe environment, but sometimes loud noises can frighten them and, depending on the pet, lead them to attempt an escape.
- Keep extra food and clean water in a safe, water-proof area. It’s possible that your water supply could be shut off or contaminated, and so you should keep some handy just for your animal friend.
- Give your pet medication, a thunder vest, or whatever else they need to keep their anxiety down. Make sure you check in with a vet before you decide on any medications. If they have a space where they feel safe, make sure it’s available to them.
- Have a contingency plan for their bathroom needs. In extreme cold, rain, or storms, you won’t be able to take your pet out. If you have a cat, keep a clean box, and for dogs you can use sanitation pads in the bathroom or any other water-proof areas.
These guidelines can help you create a safe environment for your pet during emergency situations. Still, you know your pet and their needs best, and you can always adjust what you need to do based on the context. After a flood, it’s always a good idea to call a professional in case any dangerous molds (which are harmful to both pets and humans) might creep up. Feel free to ask any questions here at SERVPRO of Northbrook / Wheeling / Glencoe, (847) 498-8889.