How to Stay Safe While Shoveling
I know, personally, I asked for winter weather for the holidays and of course, we received very little. I could’ve worn shorts on Christmas! It snowed on Halloween, but we couldn’t get a white Christmas? Come on, Mother Earth! All my wishes for winter weather have now been granted way too late, and we’ve been receiving snow and ice these last few weeks with more on its way.
After all the snow and ice, we have to worry about removing it from our driveways and sidewalks, but it’s very possible to injure yourself while shoveling snow, because it can be very heavy and it is a lot of work! I’ve compiled a few tips from multiple sources about how to stay safe while shoveling. First of all, the most common injury when it comes shoveling is injuring your back. The way a lot of people hurt their back is by lifting the snow while shoveling instead of just pushing the snow to the side. Once again, snow is heavy! You should also take breaks as needed. At the end of the day, there really is no rush. No need to hurt yourself because you’re rushing something with no finish line.
But you can also prepare yourself before you even get to the point of actually shoveling, consider salting before the snow arrives to lessen the load once it actually arrives. Also, if you know you’re going to be shoveling, prepare yourself by warming up your body, by doing jumping jacks or another exercise to get blood pumping.
While we’ve covered snow, you should also be careful with ice, especially black ice. Black ice is ice that takes on the color of the surface it is on, which makes it very hard to see. When thinking about how to be safe when it comes to ice, footwear is very important. I have many pairs of older shoes that I still love to wear, but there is little to no traction. I can’t count how many times I’ve almost fallen because my shoewear choice was poor. Wear shoes with traction that can have a little more grip on the surface you’re walking on. Also, take smaller steps with feet smaller apart to increase balance.
At the end of the day, the winter weather is coming whether we are ready or not, so why not be prepared and do everything possible to protect yourself?
What Should Be Thrown Away After a Fire?
House fires happen more often than you think and can cause immense damage. After a fire, you may feel like you want to save as many things as you can to save money, but after a fire, certain things should be thrown away for your safety.
After a house fire, you may discover certain articles of clothing have been burnt or been affected by the extinguishment process. If the article of clothing is completely burnt, it should be thrown away. With clothing that has been affected by the extinguishment process or was affected by smoke damage, you may choose to keep these items, but they should be properly cleaned before being worn again.
Cosmetics and Toiletries
These items have to be stored at a proper temperature and the heat of a fire can affect the items. It can actually separate the materials in the products, which can make things, like sunscreen, less effective. While some cosmetics and toiletries can be expensive, it would be more beneficial to repurchase products instead of using products affected by the fire.
It’s important to throw away most food after a fire. The high heat from the fire can activate bacteria in the food. Also, while extinguishing a fire, either water or chemicals from the fire extinguisher can contaminate the food, which makes it no longer safe for consumption.
If bedding has been burnt or affected after using a fire extinguisher, it should be properly cleaned and if it is unable to be cleaned, it should be thrown away.
Any medication that has soot, smoke discoloration or fire extinguisher dust should be thrown out. The chemicals that are found within these things should not be consumed.
Holiday Cleaning Tips
We love hosting for the holidays, but before we host, we like to do a deep clean of our house to make sure it looks the best it can look. Below we listed a few tips on how to achieve that deep clean.
-Clean baseboards of your house with a drying sheet- Not only will this collect dirt easily, but it will also make your house smell nice.
-Freshen your garbage disposal- Run a few lemon rinds, followed by cold water, through your garbage disposal to eliminate any unpleasant smells.
-Clean your showerhead with vinegar- Place a sandwich bag full of vinegar around your shower head and secure it with a rubber band. Leave it on overnight and experience a much cleaner, disinfected showerhead in the morning.
-Use coffee filters to clean your mirrors- Using paper towels causes streaks, but coffee filters are streak-free for the cleanest, clearest mirror.
-Clean and fluff feather pillows- Put two feather pillows in the washing machine with a small amount of detergent and dry them in a dryer with a few clean tennis balls.
These are just a few tips to make sure your house is guest-ready for the holidays. After all, the holidays are about being around friends and family. Happy Holidays!
December Monthly Updates!
Happy Holidays! We’re excited about the upcoming holidays and have begun decorating our home and office. With the different kinds of decor come risks. Check out our newest video, which contains statistics referring to decor and possible fire threats. It can be found on Youtube or on our website.
We still have a carpet cleaning deal going on, with 25% off all carpet cleaning services offered until December 15th. Please take advantage of this awesome deal! We look forward to hearing from you!
The weather is getting colder and colder, and with colder weather comes frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can lead to a burst pipe and water damage. We’ve written about how to avoid frozen pipes on our blog. Check it out here! If you have water damage from a frozen or burst pipe, please give us a call!
We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!
SERVPRO Tips-Let's Get The House Ready for Winter
On this blog in the past weeks, we’ve been focused on winter tips, as winter is swiftly approaching. We talked about how to avoid frozen pipes and winter fire safety tips, but we’ll end our winter tips with getting the rest of the house ready for winter, while touching upon some of our past tips. Winter weather causes $1 billion in insured losses every year. With these tips, SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights hopes to help you avoid these losses.
- Protect indoor pipes- There is an entire blog post about this, but I wanted to touch upon it again, because it’s very important. A burst pipe can cause $5,000 or more in damage. Protect your pipes by insulating them with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves. Consider focusing on areas like the basement, where 37% of burst pipes occur.
- Insulate your attic or crawl space- A lot of heat can escape through these locations if there is no insulation. There are many different sources online that can inform exactly which kind of insulation to use and how much is appropriate for the location.
- Service your chimney or furnace- The biggest cause of house fires are heating equipment, such as space heaters, chimneys and fireplaces. They should be serviced and inspected annually before use to guarantee their safety.
- Repair loose roofing shingles- Have a contractor do inspections and repairs before the first snow. Without these repairs, the moisture from the snow could leak into the house causing water damage.
- Inspect and clean gutters- Clogged gutters can cause backups and then freeze once temperatures drop. This can cause issues with water drainage, which can lead to water damage in the home.
- Secure outdoor water sources- Drain and store hoses before the first frost to prevent the water inside the hose freezing. Also, shut off the water supply to the hose bibs to avoid any water leakage.
SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights reminds you to take care of any home issues before winter to be able to enjoy a nice, safe winter.
All About Frozen Pipes
Winter is right around the corner, which means dropping temperatures. In this area, they can drop well below zero, as we saw a few too many times last winter. With these below freezing temperatures, it’s important to think about frozen pipes, why they freeze, the signs of a frozen pipe, how to thaw a pipe, and how to avoid them all together.
Why Water Pipes Freeze
During the winter, the temperature drops significantly and our water pipes can easily be frozen. The pipes that are most likely to freeze are ones that don’t receive any heating. Pipes located in basements, crawl spaces or outside are the most common victims. When the water in these pipes freezes, it expands by 9% and the pressure increases which cause the pipes to burst.
First Signs of A Frozen Pipe
The first signs that you have a frozen water pipe is reduced flow in your faucets. There may also be frost on the pipe or the water may not be coming out at the correct temperature.If you notice any of these things, you should begin trying to thaw the pipe, if applicable.
How to Thaw a Pipe
If you have noticed the reduced water flow and have come to the conclusion that your pipe is frozen, you can try to thaw the pipe, if the pipe is accessible. First, you can turn up the heat in your home, if the pipe is inside. This could slowly raise the temperature. If you want to heat it quicker, you can use a heating pad or a hair dryer on the affected pipe. While applying the heat with either the hair dryer or the heating pad, make sure to keep the faucet running.
How to Avoid a Frozen Pipe
A burst pipe can be very costly and the best way to avoid this, is to prepare your pipes for winter. First of all, you should keep the heat on in your home. The lowest temperature you should put it at is 55° Fahrenheit, even when you leave your home for an extended period. The cost of the heating will be much lower than the cost of the repair and cleanup of a burst pipe. If you open cabinets to expose pipes in lesser heated areas, you can help prevent them from freezing by letting warmer air circulate around them. You can also allow your faucet to drip slightly, which can relieve the pressure in the pipe and can prevent any backups. You may also want to consider adding extra insulation to pipes that can be more vulnerable to freezing, like pipes in the basement or attic. There are multiple types of insulation like foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves, which you can buy at most hardware stores.
If you experienced a frozen pipe that is not accessible, call a professional plumber to help you locate the pipe. If you have experienced a burst water pipe and need water cleanup, call SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights to come clean up any water.
25% Off All Carpet Cleaning
Throughout the winter, family and friends will visit our homes to spend holidays together. Here at SERVPRO®, we're excited about the upcoming holidays. Although, sometimes holidays can be stressful, with all the cleaning and preparation that needs to be done before our guests visit.
We're here to help! SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights is offering 25% off all carpet cleaning services in order to help you get ready for the holidays. Simply mention that you saw this ad, either through the website or on our official Facebook page.
Hope your holidays are wonderful!
Happy November! We wanted to update our followers about what you can expect from SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights this month.
Holiday Carpet Cleaning
The holidays are coming quick and we are excited to host family at our homes, but before they arrive, we want our house to look clean and beautiful. We know we aren’t alone with these thoughts, which is why we decided to offer 25% off carpet cleaning services through December 15. To get this deal, just call us at 708-453-3655 and mention that you saw either this blog post or our Facebook post.
Village of Norridge Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting
On November 30, The Village of Norridge is hosting their 7th annual Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting and SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights is proud to be a sponsor of this event. At this event, you can expect a visit from santa, face painting, hot chocolate, etc. We’re excited to see everyone at this exciting holiday event!
Norridge Village Hall
4000 N. Olcott Avenue
With Thanksgiving this month, we want to let our customers know that we are thankful for their support all throughout the year, but especially this month. We know there are many choices when it comes to restoration and we’re happy that you chose us!
Winter Fire Safety Tips
While winter doesn’t officially start until December 21st, you can already the chill in the air. Winter comes at you fast and hard in this area. Once you feel that chill, you want to relax by the fireplace and drink hot cocoa. You know about certain risks during winter, like frostbite and blizzards, but you should also prepare for winter by following these winter fire safety tips and thinking about other ways you could pose risks to your home and family during the winter.
- Clean your chimney- Before you go about drinking that hot cocoa and using your fireplace, clear any build-up in your chimney, especially if you use wood or pellets in your fireplace. This build-up can cause fires.
- Don’t leave your fire unattended. The desire to light the fireplace is high in the winter months, but don’t leave with the fireplace lit. Make sure to put out the fireplace being leaving the room or house.
- When using your fireplace, make sure it is covered with a screen or tempered glass- Without these barriers, sparks could fly out and catch nearby things on fire, which is why it is also important to keep flammable things away from the fireplace. Also, keep kids and pets at least three feet away.
- Beware of space heaters- In order to use space heaters properly, they need a lot of space cleared out from around them. If you truly need a space heater, consider getting one with an auto shutoff in case of excessive heat.
- Use candles carefully- I love a good candle in the winter, especially one with a holiday scent, but when using these candles, they shouldn’t be near anything they could light on fire. Nor should you leave the room before blowing them out. Also, watch kids and pets near them, as they could be very dangerous.
- Test your smoke alarms- Double check the batteries in your smoke alarms so they are always ready in case you need them. Make sure they are located in the kitchen, bedrooms and laundry rooms, as these rooms can be the most likely to be the start of a fire.
- Have your furnace professionally checked- It is better to use a professional than doing it yourself, because they are properly trained and can assure everything is running smoothly.
And lastly, if you are driving around and see smoke in the air that seems to be coming from a home, take a second look and make sure before you call an emergency service. In the beginning of the cold season, people use their furnaces and fireplaces for the first time and it can create a dark smoke, which can be perceived as smoke from a house fire. However, if you are truly doubting, call 911 to confirm.
SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights wishes you a safe and happy winter!
Fire Safety Tips for Pets
This is one of our dogs, Penny.
Our pets are very important to our family, because they are members of the family. While thinking of possible emergencies, it’s crucial to remember our pets in any contingency plans. While preparing for a possible house fire, there are ways to make it easier and faster to keep your pets and your family safe. Below are pet safety tips relating to a house fire:
- Know where your leashes are- In a fire, you need to get out of the house quickly, and the easiest way to do this with pets is to put them on their leash. We recommend keeping the leashes near the front door so they can be accessed quickly to make evacuation easier.
- Always keep collars on your pets (both dogs and cats)- If you have to evacuate without your pets for any reason, having a collar on your pets will make it easier for a firefighter to grab them to take them out of the house.
- Do not go back into your house to save your pets- Animals are much smarter than we give them credit for. They will see smoke and fire and know that it is a sign of danger. They will save themselves and leave the house. They are also much lower to the ground, which means they will inhale a lot less smoke and the temperature will be lower.
- Microchip your pets- If your pet has escaped by itself from your home, it can easily be located and identified with a microchip. Most vet offices can microchip your pets.
- Buy stickers to indicate that your home has pets- Most pet stores will sell these stickers that can be placed on or near your front door that will alert firefighters that you have pets in the home in case a fire breaks out when you are not home.
SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights knows how important pets are and wants to make sure that pets are safe from the possibility of fire. Please follow these tips above and use best judgment.