Recent Posts

Time to Check your sump pump

3/15/2019 (Permalink)

Making sure your sump pump works now can prevent problems later.

Weather conditions have been dry for more than a year in parts Lake County, and sump pumps may not have run in a while.

However, with the heavy amount of snow still on the ground, the threat of flooding this spring means homeowners should check their sump pump now to make sure it works properly, North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural engineer Tom Scherer says.

Sump pumps are available in two basic models: upright (commonly called a pedestal) and submersible. Either works well with proper maintenance, according to Scherer.

This is how a sump pump works: The sump is the pit where the pump sits. The sump may be connected to tile that drains the footings of the house, the area under the entire basement or just the area where the sump is located. A sump pump removes the water that drains into the sump.

The pedestal pump's motor is on top of the pedestal and the pump is at the base, which sits on the bottom of the sump. The motor is not meant to get wet. A ball float turns the pump on and off. One advantage with this type of pump is that the on/off switch is visible, so you can see the ball float's action easily, Scherer says.

Submersible pumps are designed to be submerged in water and sit on the bottom of the sump. The on/off switch is attached to the pump.

Pumps have three main types of on/off controls. The first type uses a ball float attached to the pump and connected to an internal watertight switch. The second type is a sealed, tethered float switch with an on/off setting that is adjustable by changing the length of the tether. The third type uses a diaphragm to sense the water level and turn the pump on and off.

Both pump types should have a check valve on the water discharge pipe so water doesn't flow back into the sump when the pump shuts off. Backflow can cause the pump to turn on and off more frequently than necessary, which decreases the life of the pump.

Here is how to check the Sump Pump:

Make sure the discharge pipe on the side of the house is not frozen shut or plugged and it directs water away from the house.

Make sure the pump is plugged in.

Remove the lid (if the sump has one) and use a flashlight to check if the sump is clean and the pump inlet screens are not plugged.

Slowly pour water into the sump. Try to simulate the speed that water normally would flow into the sump. Watch the on/off switch's action and listen to the pump. Make sure the pump turns on and off at least twice. If something doesn't work or sound right, fix it as soon as possible.

If you have a battery-powered backup sump pump, make sure the battery is fully charged. Then shut off the power to the main sump pump and the battery charging system on the backup pump. Pour water into the sump until the backup pump comes on.

https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/news/newsreleases/2013/april-1-2013/time-to-check-your-sump-pump/

SERVPRO of Mundelein/North Wauconda can assist if your sump pump has failed, and left you with a mess!

Call us at 847-469-6982

Did you Know Water Damage can Cause Mold?

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

Water damages can cause mold growth in your home or business; therefore, it is important to have your water damage cleaned promptly and professionally.

Signs of the presences of excessive mold include:

  • Visible mold
  • Strong, musty odors
  • Excessive humidity in your home or office

Mold is most likely to occur in the following areas:

  • Dark spaces that receive very little light
  • Spaces already predisposed to high levels of humidity such as in your bathroom

If you have any of these signs of mold, then call us immediately so we can assess the damage. We are here to promptly clean-up any water damage that you may have from a leaking roof to a completely flooded home. Call us today at 847-469-6982 to prevent water from turning into mold growth

Water You Don't See!

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

It may not look like much water, but the cleanup could be way over your head!

A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for black water intrusions. Your local SERVPRO franchise professional is trained to safely clean and restore your customer's home, utilizing the following procedures:

  • Identify the source/type of water
  • Measure temperature and humidity for drying analysis
  • Survey the extent of damage and inspect the premises
  • Perform emergency water extraction
  • Move and block furniture
  • Provide floor service
  • Inspect carpet pad/carpet and provide necessary service
  • Apply necessary treatments such as deodorization
  • Utilize drying equipment and monitor drying
  • Dispose of refuse

Each SERVPRO franchise professional is trained and understands how to manage the drying process. By utilizing the proper equipment and moisture measuring devices, a structure is quickly and thoroughly dried, which helps prevent secondary water damages such as microbial growth and development.

No matter the size or type of damage, SERVPRO employees are constantly working together as a team to make water damages like they never even happened.

Lake County Residents: SERVPRO specializes in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

Lake County Residents: SERVPRO specializes in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

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 several reasons why your Lake County 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

•And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today -847-469-6982

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 Mundelein/North Wauconda 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 847-469-6982

The Water You Don't See

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

With any leak, it’s the water you don't see that can cause the most damage. When you experience a water damage, make the right choice. A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for the unseen water intrusions. While the surface may seem dry, the water you do not see can contain bacteria, or cause mold, rot and other unseen damage.

DID YOU KNOW...The insurance industry estimates that approximately 90 percent of household damages stem from water-related occurrences. The most commonly reported cause is leaky or broken pipes and plumbing fixtures.

AVOID WATER DAMAGE FROM APPLIANCES

Home appliances are considered a leading cause of preventable water damage. By implementing a simple inspection and maintenance program, homeowners can reduce their risk significantly:

  • Dishwasher - Periodically check around the base of the dishwasher, as well as the water supply line under the sink.
  • Refrigerator - For refrigerators with ice makers, periodically check the hose connection attached to the water supply.
  • Washing Machine - Hoses should be inspected regularly for wetness around hose ends, as well as for signs of bulging, cracking or fraying. Hoses should be replaced every three to five years.
  • Water Heater - While the service life of the standard water heater is 10 to 15 years, water heaters should be inspected routinely for signs of leaks or tank rust. Water heaters should be located next to a floor drain or placed inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.

So before risking the value of your home or further damage by attempting to clean and dry it yourself, or if you want to be sure that a past event is not creating problems today,

CALL SERVPRO of Mundelein/North Wauconda 847-469-6982. We have the tools and the knowledge to help you with your Water Damage needs.  

Renters Insurance

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

Renters Insurance

Why do so few renters have insurance? One explanation is that many people incorrectly assume they are covered by their landlord's policy. Another reason is that people underestimate the value of their belongings. If you add up the value of just your clothing and electronics, it probably wouldn't take long to get into the thousands of dollars. One more often overlooked reason is liability: If someone is injured in your house – a friend, neighbor, or the pizza delivery person – they could sue you. Even if you thought you didn't need insurance, here are six good reasons why you should get a renter's insurance policy.

  1. It's affordable.

The average renter's insurance policy costs $187 a year, according to 2011 figures reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2013. Your actual cost will depend on factors, including how much coverage you need, the type of coverage you choose, the amount of your deductible and where you live. If you're in Mississippi, for example, you'll pay the most (average $252 a year); if you live in North or South Dakota, you'll pay the least (average $117 a year).

  1. It covers losses to personal property.

A renter’s insurance policy protects against losses to your personal property, including clothes, jewelry, luggage, computers, furniture, and electronics. Even if you don't own much, it can quickly add up to a lot more than you realize – and a lot more than you'd want to pay to replace everything. According to esurance.com, the average renter owns about $20,000 worth of personal property. [L2]

Renter's policies protect against a surprisingly long list of perils. A standard HO-4 policy designed for renters, for example, covers losses to personal property from perils including:

Damage caused by aircraft

Damage caused by vehicles

Explosion

Falling objects

Fire or lightning

Riot or civil commotion

Smoke

Theft

Vandalism or malicious mischief

Volcanic eruption

Weight of ice, snow or sleet

Windstorm or hail

Damage from water or steam from sources including household appliances, plumbing, heating, air conditioning or fire-protective sprinkler systems

Note: Losses resulting from floods and earthquakes are not covered in standard policies. A separate policy or rider is required for these perils. In addition, a separate rider might be needed to cover wind damage in areas prone to hurricanes. And renter’s insurance policies don't cover losses caused by your own negligence or intentional acts. For example, if you fall asleep with a lit cigarette and cause a fire, the policy most likely will not cover the damage. To learn more, read Eight Financial Safeguards If Disaster Strikes and the Hurricane Insurance Deductible Fact Sheet.

  1. Your landlord might require it.

 Your landlord's insurance covers the structure itself and the grounds, but not your belongings. A growing number of landlords require tenants to purchase their own renter's insurance policies, and they'll expect to see proof. This could be the landlord's idea, or it could be an "order" from the landlord's insurance company – the idea being that if the tenants are covered themselves, some responsibility can be shifted away from the landlord. If you need assistance finding or obtaining coverage, your landlord may be able to help.

  1. It provides liability coverage.

 Liability coverage is also included in standard renter’s insurance policies. This provides protection if someone is injured while in your home or if you (or another covered person) accidently injure someone. It pays any court judgments as well as legal expenses, up to the policy limit.

Most policies provide at least $100,000 of liability coverage, and between $1,000 and $5,000 for medical-payments coverage. You can request (and pay for) higher coverage limits. If you need more than $300,000 of liability coverage, ask your insurance company about an umbrella policy, which can provide an additional $1 million worth of coverage for about $150 to $300 a year.

  1. It covers your belongings when you travel.

 Renter's insurance covers your personal belongings, whether they are in your home, car, or with you while you travel. Your possessions are covered from loss due to theft and other covered losses anywhere you travel in the world. Check your policy or ask your insurance agent for details on what constitutes "other covered losses."

  1. It may cover additional living expenses.

 If your home becomes uninhabitable due to one of the covered perils, your renter's insurance policy may cover “additional living expenses,” including the cost associated with living somewhere else temporarily, food and more. Check with your policy to find out how long it will cover additional living expenses, and if it caps the amount the company will pay.

The Bottom Line

 Renter's insurance provides coverage for your personal belongings, whether they are in your home, car or with you while you're on vacation. In addition, renter's insurance provides liability coverage in case someone is injured in your home or if you accidently cause injury to someone.

Be sure you understand what your policy covers, and ask your agent about available discounts, deductibles and coverage limits. For example, be sure you know whether your insurance provides replacement cost coverage (RCC) for your personal property or actual cash value (ACV). The first will pay to replace your 15-year-old carpet, say, with a new one, at current market rates, while the second will only reimburse you for the value of a carpet that's 15 years old. RCC costs more.

Source: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/082714/6-good-reasons-get-renters-insurance.asp

Winter Weather- Stay or Go

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Stay or Go

STAY:

  • If stuck on the road to avoid exposure and/or rescue is likely
  • If a safe location is neither nearby or visible
  • If you do not have appropriate clothing to go outside
  • If you do not have the ability to call for help

GO:

  • If the distance to call for help is accessible.
  • If you have visibility and outside conditions are safe.
  • If you have appropriate clothing.
  • Once the storm has passed, if you are not already home, follow instructions from your local transportation department and emergency management agency to determine which route will be safest for you to get home. Drive with extra caution.

Dress for the Weather

  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat. A hat will prevent loss of body heat.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

Stranded in a Vehicle

If a blizzard traps you in the car:

  • Pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window.
  • Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Be careful; distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close, but be too far to walk to in deep snow.
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
  • Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for rescue crews.
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids to avoid dehydration, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs - the use of lights, heat, and radio - with supply.
  • Turn on the inside light at night so work crews or rescuers can see you.
  • If stranded in a remote area, stomp large block letters in an open area spelling out HELP or SOS and line with rocks or tree limbs to attract the attention of rescue personnel who may be surveying the area by airplane.
  • Leave the car and proceed on foot - if necessary - once the blizzard passes.

Source: https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

Here Are Some Helpful Tips to Stay Toasty Warm This Winter season!

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

Here are some helpful tips to stay toasty warm this winter season!

  1. Dress in (up to 3) Layers

Layering insulates the body by creating pockets of warm air around it which ensures that it keeps a core temperature of 98.6 °F. According to proper layering etiquette, you should dress in as many as three layers depending on how cold it is, and what you'll be doing outside: a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer.

The base layer of clothing is the one that's worn next to your skin. It includes form-fitting clothing (like thermal underwear) that provides warmth and keeps you dry. Clothing made of synthetic materials that move moisture away from skin are best. Avoid wearing cotton when possible since it absorbs moisture and can trap wetness against your skin, making you colder.

The middle layer of clothing is meant to insulate the body by keeping heat in and cold out. Wool, fleece, and polyester sweaters, sweatshirts, pullovers, and long-sleeved tops do this job well.

The outer, or shell, layer of clothing includes pants and a jacket or coat. Ideally, this layer should be waterproof, yet breathable.

  1. Keep Dry

No matter how many layers of clothing you wear, they won't do you a bit of good unless they remain dry. An umbrella, weather-proof coat, and snow boots can help with this. (Once clothing gets wet, the moisture evaporates from its surface, causing it to cool and you to feel much colder.)

Not only can rain, freezing rain, or snow dampen clothing, but sweating can too. If you find you've layered so well that it's causing you to overheat, you'll want to remove that thermal top or layering tee.  

  1. Wear a Hat, Mittens, Sunglasses

It's said that as much as 70% of the body's heat is lost through the head. Whether or not you believe this cold weather lore, one thing is certain—wearing a hat will help keep you warmer, if for no other reason than you'll have less skin exposed to the elements.

As for the body's extremities (fingers, toes, and feet), take extra care to keep them warm. They're among the first to experience the effects of frostbite. When it comes to the question of gloves vs. mittens, go with the latter. True, mittens are bulkier, but they keep hands warmer by clustering the fingers together.

And don't forget your eyes! While they aren't necessarily in danger of getting cold, having snow on the ground (if there is any) can actually make the sun's UV rays stronger—so throw on some shades!

  1. Keep Hydrated

While you wouldn't think it, dehydration is a real concern during cold weather. Not only does cold air strip our bodies of moisture because it is drier, but winter winds carry moisture away from the skin's surface through the process of evaporation. What's more, people don't naturally feel as thirsty in winter as they do when the weather is hot.

Drink plenty of water and hot drinks (which offer both hydration and warmth), even if you don't feel thirsty. This will help you stay well hydrated, which makes it easier for you to stay warm. (Being dehydrated makes it harder for the body to concentrate on maintaining a safe core temperature.) One drink you'll want to avoid is alcohol. While a nip or two may give you a "warming" sensation, alcohol actually causes dehydration.

  1. Keep Moving

The more active you are in cold weather, the more heat your body will generate as a result.

If you do plan to sit or stand outside for long periods of time, wiggle your hands and toes every few minutes to keep the blood (and therefore, heat) circulating in these extremities.

Source: http://weather.about.com/od/wintersafety/tp/Cold-Weather-Safety.htm

Winter Safety Tips for your Pets!

1/8/2019 (Permalink)

Winter Safety Tips for your Pets!

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

Source: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/cold-weather-safety-tips

FROZEN PIPES

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.

Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.

Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

How to Protect Pipes from Freezing

Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations: Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.

Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.

Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.

Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold-water pipes in these areas should be insulated.

Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.

When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.

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.

If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.

Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.

Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.

Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Source: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm/frozen-pipes