Vacation Proof Your Home!
It's almost summertime! Everyone is thinking of getting away while the kids are out of school, or traveling in this wonderful weather.
What ruins a vacation? Coming home to a disaster in your house! Maybe a pipe had burst, a storm had flooded your basement, or a fire had started while you were gone. Suddenly it seems your relaxing time away has just disappeared.
Here are a few tips to make sure that you have an enjoyable time ALL summer.
- Have a TRUSTED friend or family member either stay, or check your home while you are gone. You want to make sure you have someone that you know will take care of your home.
- If you don't have someone staying there, turn your water off! You won't be needing it.
- Double check that your furnace is running well. If your AC seems to be lacking in the heat, you might want to have someone check it out before you leave it to the smoldering hot summers here in the Midwest.
- Do a walk around your home and make sure your spigots are working! You don't want to leave them on, and you don't want them to leak.
- Check your stove! Make sure that all your appliances are working properly, and that your stove isn't left on.
- Unplug what you don't need. You might want to check and unplug the power strip to your entertainment center. Most people put it behind their TV's with different electronics plugged in, and then forget about them. If you have a power surge during a storm, that may cause a fire.
- If your basement is prone to flooding make sure that anything important is off the ground or in plastic tubs. A storm could hit anytime during the summer and you want to make sure your possessions are safe.
- Lastly, double or even triple check your home. There is no harm in being over-prepared for anything.
If you do come home to a disaster give us a call at SERVPRO of Rockford and we will ease your mind by making it "Like it never even happened."
Hurray! Winter is over and now you want to get some yard work done, but wait, as you turn on your outside spigot you realize that water is flowing INSIDE instead of OUTSIDE.
During the winter the spigot could have broken during the freezing temperatures. Immediately shut it off and call a plumber, or worst case, call and plumber and then call us at SERVPRO of Rockford!
This is the time of year where we get many calls concerning spigots, either ones that have been leaking awhile, or some that just decided to flood your basement right now.
If you do turn on your spigot and nothing goes wrong, don't forget to turn it back off again! It's alright to water your newly created garden, but you also don't want to water your newly finished basement as well!
Mold in Vehicles
Moldy Steering Wheel
No one likes to hear the word mold when describing their homes. Most people don't even want to think about it.
I hate to break it to you, but mold is found everywhere in the world. It is just the elevation you should be worried about.
One place you might not think about is your vehicle. In the picture you see a steering wheel with many colorful blotches covering it.
This vehicle was out in the rain with the windows down during a rainstorm. When it had been brought back into the garage they rolled the windows up and let it sit, causing a 'Petri-Dish' affect. Throughout the vehicle there was mold growth on the seats belts, seats, and of course the steering wheel.
If you do get water in your vehicle make sure that it is properly dried out, unless you like the furry colored splotches.
SERVPRO of Rockford's technicians were able to get this vehicle cleaned up and ready for use! So give us a call if anything like this happens to you!
Trucks at a commercial loss in the Rockford area.
What is an ERP?
An ERP is an acronym for 'Emergency Ready Plan'. SERVPRO provides a way to prepare yourself for when disaster strikes. Whether it is your home or business you can have an ERP on hand for free.
What does an ERP provide? It provides a place for important information to reside until you need it. For businesses, our marketers will come out and do a walk through in the building. We will help point out where your water, gas, and electric shut off is located. They will then be tagged and a photo will be taken.
We will also sit down with the business owner and go through sprinkler systems, alarm systems and companies that you will need to inform when disaster strikes.
An ERP is a way to provide information to your employees of what to do when a disaster happens to your business.
We put all this information, and photos, in a binder as well as online access to the business owner so they had can have all the needed information in one place.
If you are wanting to be ready for a disaster than give us a call at SERVPRO of Rockford!
Cute but Rancid
Recognize this furry little critter? They may look adorable and cuddly, but these little guys can pack a huge punch when it comes to smells. If you have ever been unlucky enough to get skunked, you know that it is one of the worst possible odors to remove.
It seeps into your skin, hair, clothes, anything you come into contact with, and burns your eyes.
Unfortunately, we don't have products for animals and people, so prepare your tomato bath, but we do have products that may be of help in your home.
Now that it is finally Spring, these little critters are waking up confused, hungry, and irritated. Sounds like someone you know in the morning?
They have been known to spray on the sides of homes. So if you sleep on the ground floor with windows open, you might want to be aware of what animals lurk around at night.
If your home does get skunked, give us a call at SERVPRO of Rockford!
Hooray! It is finally Spring! Even if the weather doesn't think so. Here we get the gross Midwest mush of rain, sleet, snow, and occasional hail. With all the different changes to weather, even all four in one day, we have to be aware of our structures.
Throughout the Spring, or all the time, basements should be checked to see if there is any seepage through the foundation or other various opportunities in the structure.
Be aware of your downspouts and gutters. The harsh cold winter may have either shifted the downspouts, or ruined the gutters. Making them ineffective at keeping water away from your home or business.
With the ground still being frozen there is little room for water to go. If it can't soak up into the dirt, it may be finding itself through basement foundation cracks, window wells, or in some cases, right through your doors!
It would also be wise to invest in a dehumidifier, especially one you can place in the basement. This can help with deterring mold growth and dialing down that icky mildew smell.
If you need any advice, or have a spring disaster you can't clean up, give us a call at SERVPRO of Rockford!
Romantic Candle Fires
It's February! Valentine's Day is coming up, and I know people either hate it, or love it!
There are multiple ways to woo your significant other, and one of those tends to be a romantic candlelit dinner.
Candles can smell nice, add a delicate glow for mood lighting, or can just be fun to decorate with. They can also be harmful to your home if you are not careful.
If you are someone who uses a candle daily, take a look at your walls or ceiling. Overuse of candles can cause smoke damage that darkens the areas near them. Usually, you will notice a dark circular spot on the ceiling, or a dark line up your wall.
Try to place candles away from the wall if you tend to use them more often. Make sure that any flammable material is nowhere near the flame, especially curtains or fabric. NEVER fall asleep with a candle lit. Our own office admin had a small house fire growing up when a family member had fallen asleep with a candle lit. The candle was also placed too close to the wall, so flames were able to reach up and stretch out over the room.
If you still decide to incorporate candles in your Valentine's festivities, just make it a point to extinguish them. Just remember, if your Valentine's Day doesn't go quite the way you expect, SERVPRO of Rockford can assist you in any fire disaster. Unfortunately, we can't make rejection "Like it never even happened."
Space Heaters and Winter
Fire in Commercial Building
Now that our chaotic winter season in the Midwest is starting to fester, it’s time to protect your home and business from fires. Yes, wintry conditions lead to frozen pipes, and everyone knows that there can always be a fair amount of water damage, but people also forget that with using more electricity, there is a higher risk for an electric fire.
Think about what you plug into your home in the winter. Phone chargers, computers, Christmas/seasonal lights, heated blankets/throws, humidifiers, and space heaters. Do you use many power strips? Do your plugs start to feel warm to the touch?
Be aware of what you are plugging in, and where you are plugging it in. A main culprit of winter fires are space heaters. Space heaters should not be plugged into a power strip, especially if there are other things utilizing it as well.
I love my space heater as much as the next person who wishes it to be warm, but I never leave it alone. Space heaters can be very fluctuating with their heat output. So constantly monitor it, and never leave the home with one on.
Make sure your space heater is a fair distance between it and anything else in the room. Especially any type of cloth or easily flammable material.
Do not place it on a plush carpeted floor. If it happens to be knocked over it could start a fire quickly, or even start to melt the synthetic fibers in the carpet.
Keep it away from pets and children. There’s a higher chance of it being knocked over, or burning a curious kitty, or toddler.
If the plug starts to feel uncomfortably warm, unplug it! There could be a short, and one quick spark can be all it takes for a fire to start.
Make sure the heater is clean of debris, dirt, dust, or dander. Any of those can be the kindling to your next insurance claim.
Be safe this winter, but just in case something does happen, give us a call at SERVPRO of Rockford, and we can make it “Like it never even happened.”
Ways to Prevent Water Damage & What to do if Water Does Intrude
Commercial Water Damage from burst pipe
It’s starting to become that time again. Those of you who enjoy the cold and snow, I’m happy for you. Those of you, like me, that do not enjoy it, will just have to think warm happy thoughts.
With the strange weather patterns in our Midwest area, we need to be prepared for burst pipes that may happen in our homes and businesses.
Most people believe that when the weather gets below freezing temperatures is when pipes tend to burst. Pipes actually burst when there happens to be a warmer winter day and anything that has been frozen starts to defrost.
To prevent burst pipes, you need to start with stopping them from freezing in the first place!
- Turn your water off if you are going to be gone for more than a day! - especially when you go on vacation to escape the freezing temperatures.
- Keep your pipes warm! Open up cabinets if you are going to be leaving, or if you know that a below-freezing day is upon you.
- Insulate any exposed piping! Again, keep your pipes warm. If your kitchen sink is on an outer wall, you might want to consider throwing in some extra insulation. Check your basements for any exposed piping that might need extra warmth.
- Keep the water moving. Let water drip steadily from faucets, the more the water is moving, the less chance it has of freezing.
- Caulk any holes or cracks near your pipes. You don’t want any more cold air getting in your home anyway!
- Turn off your outside spigots! One of the biggest water jobs can come from being forgetful. Many people forget about their spigots, and suddenly there’s a new indoor swimming pool where your basement used to be!
Well, what if you didn’t follow ANY of these tips? Oops! There is now water in your home! Oh no! What to do? (Hint: flip this page over)
UNTIL YOUR LOCAL SERVPRO ARRIVES
- Stop the source of water/Determine source. Shut. Your. Water. Off. Don’t just leave water spewing into your home. Make sure you know where the source is coming from so you can have it professionally fixed, but until then, turn off your water. Please.
- Remove as much excess water as possible. Shop vac, mop, even throwing towels down will help slow the spread of water.
- Wipe any wood furnishings, or any delicate surfaces. Think of what you have in your basement. Is it antique? One of a kind? Or just extremely important to you? Try to wipe it dry and remove it from the affected area.
- Be aware of electrical hazards. If your basement is filling up with water, and the water line is above your outlets, that water could now be electrified. DO NOT try and test the water. Have a professional, like us, come and pump it out.
- Or if water came from above, look up at your light fixtures. Do they seem damp, or dripping? Turn them off and inform your professional technician.
- Pad or block wood furniture. If you can remove them from the affected area, that’s even better. If you don’t have much room you can always use foil to wrap and protect wooden legs, if moving them isn’t an option.
- Remove contents from the affected area. I hope that is self-explanatory. The less that gets wet, the less that gets damaged.
- If you have any fans set them to blow air on the affected areas. If you have any dehumidifiers, that’s even better! Tip: Living in the Midwest with the humidity and rain, everyone should have a dehumidifier stashed somewhere! It wouldn’t hurt to have it on hand.
Hopefully you now feel prepared to tackle this winter weather! Keep your home and your possessions safe from disasters!
As you know, if something does happen to your home or business, give us a call! SERVPRO of Rockford, we make it “Like it never even happened.”
Spring Cleaning Ideas
Happy Spring everyone!
Some of us at SERVPRO Rockford have started going through our homes and decided it was time to clean and organize!
Our office manager has been using the KonMari Method. There is a book called The life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
It includes a step-by-step process of de-cluttering your home and puts you in a better mindset to be rid of things that you think you need. The book is to help the readers de-clutter, and stay de-cluttered. Most people will keep organizing the same rooms over and over, this method is to help you stop that pattern!
There are also many places you can take your slightly worn clothes and items to donate:
*Rockford Rescue Mission
*Rockford Habitat for Humanity
Many people also take this opportunity to take care of the outside of their home as well! Remember to double check your gutters and down spots! They may have been broken during the cold and ice over the winter, or clogged due to the fall leaves.
Also, check your outside spickets! We have already heard of a few of them causing water damage in basements!
If any water damage does happen, just give us a call and we can make it "Like it never even happened."