What Every Homeowner Should Know About Damage Caused by Melting Snow
The snow is melting! While we’re all enjoying the warmer weather, especially after the terrible cold we’ve had the last few weeks, the melting snow is leaving a mushy mess. While we’re all imagining flowers blooming and sunshine, we have to be vigilant to make sure this melting snow doesn’t end up in our homes.
The water can easily seep into cracks in your foundation that have grown throughout the winter and cause major damage in your home. To avoid this, make sure any cracks are sealed as soon as you discover them. Also, set up a good drainage system for any melting snow. Your gutters should be angled and clear to make sure any water drains away from your home into the street drains.
Also, checking your sump pump and water tanks is important. The excess water created by melting snow can put strain on your sump pump, so it's vital to make sure that it's functioning properly. Inspect your hot water tank as well, because the water can freeze, which can cause it to expand. This can cause cracks, leaks, or tank bursts.
If you have experienced water damage in your home, please call SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights at 1-708-453-3655.
4 Major Issues That Hoarding Can Cause
We’ve all seen the TV shows about hoarding, but we are unaware of all the different issues that can arise due to hoarding. So what exactly causes hoarding? The definition of compulsive hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of perceived need to save them. Because of the excess items in the home, there are many different problems that can occur in the home.
What issues can hoarding cause?
Air Quality Issues- Due to the decaying waste products, there usually is dust, odor and ammonia in these homes. These can cause air quality issues and be detrimental to one’s health.
Mildew and Fungus- Because people who suffer from compulsive hoarding have difficulty removing things from their homes, they also struggle to throw away food. This can lead to mildew and fungus. Breathing these things in can cause health effects, but they can also cause an odor.
Sanitation issues- People who suffer from compulsive hoarding also hoard animals, which can lead to an excess of animal feces in the home. This can contaminate pet or human food. Also, the animals may pass in the home, but never be removed, which isn’t sanitary.
Plumbing issues- Due to the large amounts of items in the house, there could be a leak in the house and it would be much harder to discover the source or even that the leak had occurred. This could lead to mold, which could cause health effects.
SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights is an expert when it comes to cleaning and deodorizing. If you or someone you know is recovering from compulsive hoarding disorder, you can trust us to remove any harmful materials and return the home to its original condition. You can focus on the emotional and mental recovery, and leave the restoration to us.
Top 5 Shoveling Tips!
As I write this blog post, the snow is falling...again! We've seen quite a few snow storms in the past few weeks and the snow has been accumulating. While the snow is nice to look at while inside the comfort of our homes, we do eventually have to go out in it.
I wanted to touch upon 5 tips relating to shoveling in this blog, because shoveling can be painful and dangerous if not done properly.
- Dress warm-This one is pretty obvious, but it's important to wear your gloves, hat, scarf and winter coat to stay warm while shoveling.
- Push, don't lift- Pushing the snow instead of lifting it will reduce the strain on your body. If you have to lift, use your legs, not your back.
- Keep up with snowfall- Shoveling when snow is first falling is easier, because the snow is lighter and fluffier. The longer it sits there, the heavier and wetter it will become.
- Take breaks- Pace yourself and take breaks, especially if the snow is wet.
- Stay hydrated- Drink plenty of water before and while shoveling.
Freezing Temperature Tips
We have had quite a few days well below freezing in the last week, and it looks like we’ll stay in this temperature range a little while longer. With this freezing cold weather, pipes can freeze and burst, causing a huge and expensive mess. I’ve compiled some tips for this below freezing weather to keep you ready and safe.
- Keep your home temperature at or above 65 degrees Fahrenheit- This can help the inside of walls, where pipes are located, warmer to help prevent pipes freezing.
- Check the location for the main water shutoff in your home- Review how it works in case you need to use it.
- Open faucets to let them drip slowly- Keeping the water moving in the pipes will help prevent freezing.
- Keep sidewalks free from ice and snow- This can help prevent slipping and falling.
- Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts- Ice dams can cause water to seep into your home and cause water damage. Clear gutters of leaves and debris to allow runoff from snow or ice to flow freely.
Winter Fire Safety
Winter in the Norridge/Harwood Heights area can be brutal. While we heat our houses to stay warm, we need to be careful and make sure we are being safe. Heating is the second leading cause of house fires after cooking. House fires due to heating peak in December, January and February. More than a quarter of home heating fires occur because the heat source was too close to things that are flammable. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, accounting for 44% of fires according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Some quick tips that can help prevent home fires:
- Keep anything flammable at least 3 feet away from heaters
- Never use your oven to heat your home
- Test smoke alarms once a month
- Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or when going to bed
All About Ice Dams
What is an Ice Dam?
-An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms on the edge of the roof and prevents any melting snow from draining properly off the roof. If the water cannot drain properly, it can back up into the house and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.
What happens if the water seeps into the house?
-It is likely the water will cause mold or mildew to grow, which can be damaging to your health.
Why do ice dams form?
-According to the University of Minnesota, nonuniform roof surface temperatures lead to ice dams. Heating from the house escapes through the roof, which causes the melting of snow on certain parts of the roof that are above 32F, but as it flows down, it reaches a place on the roof where the temperature is below 32F and freezes again. The water above the dam cannot flow down, thus it flows into cracks and openings into the home.
How do we prevent ice dams?
-Make sure your ceiling is airtight, so no warm, moist air can flow into the attic space and make its way to the roof. Consider increasing ceiling/roof insulation to cut down on heat loss by conduction. Insulate attic access doors and remove any attic heat sources.
How to Prepare For a Winter Storm
A winter storm can strike very quickly and, no matter where you are, you need to be ready. Today, we’re gonna list some important items to have in your house and your car in case a winter storm strikes.
In both your home and your car, you should have a flashlight. At your home, it can assist you if there is a power outage. While candles could also help light up your home, a flashlight or even an electric lantern is safer. If you do have candles, make sure you have matches on hand. If you’re in your car, a flashlight could be beneficial if you get stuck in snow or ice during nighttime. With having flashlights, it is also important to have batteries in case the current batteries die. It could also be helpful to have a hand crank or battery operated radio on hand to stay informed.
Also, in your car, keep a shovel, in case you need to shovel your way out of snow. It is also important to make sure your car always has a full tank of gas. Sand or kitty litter could also be beneficial in order to gain traction on the ground if there is ice. Additionally, keep extra blankets in your trunk in case you get stuck in your car. It also could be useful to have a hat and gloves.
In your home, have a three day supply of water and nonperishable food, like peanut butter, canned goods, etc. Also, if you use daily medication, make sure you have a week’s worth of your medication on hand just in case.
These things are pretty easy to compile and could be a major help if there is a winter storm.
First Responder Bowl
At SERVPRO, we’re huge supporters of our first responders, especially in a year like this. Police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, correctional officers, search and rescue, dispatchers, security guards, federal agents, border patrol agents and military personnel are essential to our country and SERVPRO honors them every year through the First Responder Bowl.
The First Responder Bowl first started in December 2014 to honor those who have specialized training and are the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency.
This year, the First Responder Bowl will take place on December 26, 2020 at the Gerald J. Ford Stadium on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas at 2:30 PM CT.
We know we’re looking forward to it!
For more information about the First Responder Bowl, please visit https://www.firstresponderbowl.com/
Time to Get Ready For Winter!
While we’ve had a few days with wonderful weather this week, winter is coming! At SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights, we’re ready for the colder weather, but are you? In order to get ready for the winter, SERVPRO has prepared a list of things to get done before the temperatures drop!
- Make sure any winter items, such as ice scrapers, shovels and salt are easily accessible.
- Clean and store any patio furniture
- Winterize your in ground sprinklers
- Check any/all weatherstripping around the house and replace/repair any that are damaged
- Check your roof and replace any shingles if needed
- Check your fireplace for any damage
- Check your smoke alarm/carbon monoxide alarm and change batteries if needed
- Clean your carpets (SERVPRO can help with this one!)
- Change air filters
Don’t forget to check these things off your list while the weather is still nice!
How to be Prepared for Water Damage
Happy National Preparedness Month!
We know things happen in a blink of an eye, which is why we’re available all day, every day. The best thing you can do in those situations is to have a plan in case a water emergency happens. I’ll be listing some important things you can add to your plan in case you experience a water emergency at your home or business.
- First things first, protect yourself and your possessions. Try to shut off any electricity to an affected area by switching off the circuit breaker or unplugging any devices. Also, rescue any important documents or electronics.
- Next, figure out the source of the water and try to stop the water from increasing any damage. The most likely source is a burst pipe or hot water tank leak. Use your shut off valve. If the leak is on the ceiling, call in a professional to locate the source. Also, look out for mold, which can be identified by a musty smell or discolored ceilings/walls.
- After trying to limit the damage, call your insurance provider and figure out any steps you need to take. You should also have a claims adjuster come out and document the damage and estimate the cost of repairs. Take photos of the damage and any affected valuables.
- Start the process of drying out your property. You could hang up rugs and move any furniture from the affected area. Also, use fans or dehumidifiers to dry wet areas.
Contact us today for your water damage restoration needs