Recent Posts

How to Prevent Water from Damaging Your Foundation

6/26/2019 (Permalink)

The foundation of your home is an important structural element.  Without a good foundation, your home will be in big trouble.  The house could shift dramatically, causing damage to the building. Thus, proper maintenance of your home’s foundation is essential.

Water damage is the number one culprit that weakens your home’s foundation. It can damage your home’s foundation in a variety of ways such as:

  • Pooling – Water pooling on the surface around the perimeter of the house eventually degrades concrete and mortar foundations.  Causes of pooling include:
    • Downspouts that are too short, which allow discharged water to flow back toward the house.
    • Overflowing rain gutters that allow cascading water to the ground.
    • Poor landscaping that may cause water to stagnate.
  • Groundwater – This is where hydrostatic pressure pushes against the underside of the foundation. This causes water to infiltrate the basement through cracks and joints.
  • External pressure – This occurs when loosely packed soil adjacent to the foundation absorbs a large volume of water.

Repairing foundation damage can be expensive. Most homeowners will pay around $5,000 to repair foundation issues or more if the repairs are serious.

With that in mind, here’s how to prevent water from damaging your foundation. 

1. Utilize berms or swales.

If properly built, berms can greatly reduce storm runoff. Berms are raised areas of ground that encourage water to drain downward, away from your home.

Swales are drainage ditches. They help prevent the foundation from becoming wet. Like ditches, swales collect storm water from roads, driveways, parking lots and other hard surfaces.

2. Install a French drain.

French drains provide an easy channel for water to flow through. The drain includes a perforated or slotted pipe that helps direct groundwater or surface water away from a certain area, such as your home’s foundation.

Before installing a French drain, there are many factors you should take into account. For example, the drain flow, drain pipe length, drain aggregate, and the drain depth.

To site a French drain, look for areas where water pools for long periods of time. For example, areas like a basement, on the outdoor patio, and in the backyard.

3. Make sure the flower beds around your foundation have borders with openings.

If you don’t do this, water may pool around your home’s foundation. On the other hand, if your flowerbeds have borders with openings, water can run out of the beds and down into the yard.

For the bushes and hedges near your foundation, allow for sufficient air flow between them. This way, you’ll prevent the soil from retaining moisture and enable water to evaporate more quickly.

4. Install gutters with downspout extensions.

Rain gutters are designed to pull water away from your foundation. They are critical to protecting your home’s structural integrity.  Downspouts are designed to move water away from your home.

Without gutters and downspouts, rainwater will flow off to the edges of your roof and onto the ground around the perimeter of your home. Also, if the downspouts are short, they may fail to carry water far away. This may cause disaster.

To solve this issue, install gutters with downspout extensions. The following are ways to extend downspouts:

  • Install a hinged elbow. Extending the downspout using a hinged elbow allows for better drainage and freedom of movement.
  • Attach a roll-up sleeve. Roll-up sleeves are perfect for those areas that need to remain uncluttered. A roll-up sleeve placed at the end of your existing downspout will sufficiently extend it to allow for drainage away from the home.
  • Use a splash block. Splash blocks help to direct the water onto the lawn and away from the house. If you end up using it, simply place it underneath the downspout.
  • Use a drainage pipe. This is a DIY project that any homeowner can perform.  Simply dig a trench, lay the pipe and back-fill it with soil. Besides the drainage pipe, you’ll also need adapters, couplings, T-fittings, elbows and other PVC specialty fittings.

5. Make sure that your lawn is sloped away from your home’s foundation.

Does your lawn slope toward your home?  If so, it’s a recipe for foundation damage. Adjust it!

A lawn with an improper slope can result in serious damage to your home’s foundation. Besides causing potentially expensive foundation problems, an improper slope can cause other issues. For example, this can cause damage to sidewalks.

To keep water away from your foundation, your yard should slope at least six inches over a 10-foot span. This should give you at least a 2% grade. This way, any excess rainwater will drain away from your foundation.

Preventing water damage is a lot cheaper than paying for repairs. If you follow these five tips, you’ll not only reduce maintenance costs but you’ll also add years to your home.

Testing Your Smoke Alarms

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

it's recommended to check your homes smoke alarms every month

Despite the efforts you make to ensure your home is safe, no home is completely fireproof. A working smoke alarm system is a vital part of an adequate emergency preparedness system. Older smoke alarms need replacement batteries once a year, but the rules change as you upgrade your detectors. Following these inspection tips can help keep your system in top form.

Power Check

First, you want to make sure all your detectors have power. The power source depends on the type of smoke detector you have in your system:

  • Battery-operated detectors (9-volt batteries) should have the batteries replaced every year.
  • Battery-operated detectors (lithium batteries) should be completely replaced every ten years.
  • Hardwired systems should have the backup battery replaced yearly, and the detectors replaced every ten years.

Regardless of the replacement for the battery or detector, fire remediation experts recommend that you test each smoke alarm every month to make sure it's working. Don't rely strictly on a schedule. Replace faulty alarms whenever necessary. 

Age Check

No matter where your detectors get their power, all of them must be replaced every ten years to keep the system in shape for detecting fire damage. Checking the age of the devices in your system is easy. Remove each detector from the ceiling or wall and turn it over. The date of manufacture should be printed on the back. As long as the date is within the last ten years and the device is still working, it does not need to be replaced. Return it to its designated spot and make sure that it is linked with the rest of the system.

Testing your smoke alarm system once a month is a crucial part of home maintenance. If you have outdated detectors or your power source is not properly supporting the system, prompt maintenance can help keep you safe during a home fire.

Landlords need to require Renters Insurance

6/24/2019 (Permalink)

Requiring your tenants to have renters insurance will help you save money and help provide some protection from lawsuits. Why should landlords require tenants to have insurance?

  • Living expenses are covered with Renters Insurance

Many policies will offer relocation assistance if the renters are not able to stay in their homes due to a loss. Also a friendly relationship is sometimes established between landlord and tenant and there could be a feeling of obligation to provide housing on top of dealing with the loss of property. The renters insurance would alleviate that extra responsibility.

  • The risk of a lawsuit is lowered

If the property is damaged or an individual is injured because of the tenants carelessness, more than likely the landlord's liability policy will not cover the tenant. Renters insurance protects the tenants property against damage or loss and covers personal liability if an individual is injured while on the property. Also if there is an incident such as fire damage, flooding, pipe breaks, sprinkler system break, sewage back-up or any other potential event that is not the tenants fault, them having renters insurance will give the tenant the ability to recover losses on their policy and not try to pursue litigation against the landlord.

These are two major reasons for  tenants to have renters insurance. You will save money,time and stress by having this policy in place. The tenants will be able to focus on getting their personal belongings replaced with their policy and the landlord can get the property back to preloss condition. Call us here at SERVPRO of Gurnee we can provide the remediation, mitigation, fire and smoke clean-up, pack out or any other services the landlord or tenant might need with a water or fire event.

When Floods or Storms hit, SERVPRO is Ready!

6/14/2019 (Permalink)

Our highly trained crews are "ready for whatever happens."

SERVPRO of Gurnee specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Lake County, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 847-557-1080

How can an ERP help Landlords

6/12/2019 (Permalink)

Be "ready for whatever happens" with an ERP

SERVPRO's new Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) system allows business owners to easily keep track of all properties and locations during a loss or emergency, and respond appropriately. Using the tool, you can create multiple individualized profiles and information sets for each property you own, and with just a few clicks after an emergency, our technicians will have all the information they need to get to work on the damage. As a result, they can save owners of multiple properties, such as landlords, thousands in repair costs after a disaster by responding quickly to each location. 

Generally, the information you submit to the ERP system is the same information that we will ask for during the emergency. The main difference is that instead of having to operate under heavy time constraints and rely on you to be available to provide that information, we can access the information digitally and before we even arrive. When a disaster hits, you can log onto our website or open up the app and have us responding with all the info we need in seconds. For apartments and rental properties, this can include relevant information and contact routes for tenants, ensuring that they make it through the process unscathed as well. 

Being prepared is key when disaster strikes. Call SERVPRO of Gurnee to schedule your ERP 847-557-1080.

How to prepare for a Hail storm

6/12/2019 (Permalink)

Be prepared to weather the storm

Reduce Hail Damage

If you haven’t taken a look at your roof in a while, now’s the time. Spring often means storms and occasional severe weather that can include high winds and hail. Roof repairs today can help you avoid extensive, time-consuming cleanup later.

  • Repair or replace worn, curled or missing shingles.
  • If your roof is aging, consider replacing it before hail season begins.

During a Hailstorm

Protect Yourself and Your Car
In severe storms, a hail stone can be as big as a softball and fall at 50 to 100 miles per hour.

  • Stay indoors.
  • Stay away from skylights and glass doors to avoid broken glass.
  • If it is safe, close drapes, blinds or shades to prevent debris from blowing inside.
  • If you can, park your car in the garage or other covered area.

After a Hailstorm

If you have experienced damage from a hailstorm, report it as soon as possible. We’re "Here to Help" 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SERVPRO of Gurnee can work with your insurance to get your home back to new. Tarping your roof, and removing the water damage that can occur from holes made by hail in your roof. 

Have Storm or Flood Damage?
Call Us Today 847-557-1080

3 ways to prevent Mold Growth in your bathrrom

6/4/2019 (Permalink)

Removing excess water after you shower can help prevent Mold

3 Ways to Prevent Mold Growth in Your Bathroom

Bathrooms are one of the most common places for mold to grow in the home. Bathroom mildew usually grows due to the intense amount of humidity that most bathrooms let off. It is nearly impossible to prevent moisture from entering most bathrooms, but there are some ways to help prevent mold from growing in these environments. 

1. Use a Swamp Cooler

Mold loves moisture, and bathrooms are typically the moistest room in a home. Swamp coolers can help you control a humidity problem to prevent any mildew from growing. They help dry out the air in your bathroom to prevent mold or mildew from growing. That being said, they are not completely effective, so other measures should be taken. Keeping your bathroom clean and doing a regular check for mold or mildew growth can help prevent expensive and costly issues. 

2. Wash Your Shower Curtain

Shower curtains are one of the most prominent places for mold to grow. Often times people do not think about washing their shower curtains. When you shower, moisture gets on the curtain and can often stay there for hours. Pulling the curtain out straight can help the moisture dry faster. Also make sure to wash towels, washcloths and bath mats on a regular basis as these can also attract mold. If you notice any mold on your towels or mats, be sure to call a mold remediation specialist right away. 

3. Keep it Clean

The bathroom is one of the most dreaded places to clean but is also one of the most necessary. Because of the excessive moisture in bathrooms, mildew and mold can grow quickly in these areas. Using a squeegee after each shower is a pain but very effective in preventive bathroom mildew. Use the proper cleaning supplies each time and try to clean your bathroom at least once a week. 

Cleaning your bathroom properly can go a long way but may not always prevent bathroom mildew. It is important to check your bathroom for mildew or mold on a regular basis, and you should call a professional if you notice any signs of mold growth.

April showers can't beat May

5/28/2019 (Permalink)

Rain, rain GO AWAY!

Lake County has seen a lot of rain this month. May is for enjoying the bloom from Aprils' showers but it seems Mother Nature has different plans this year. It's almost like everything is behind a month. The steady rain has been falling and falling saturating everything. The water table has risen and we don't know what areas will be over saturated and begin flooding soon. Almost the whole area has been on constant flood warning. Low lying areas will show signs of flooding first but sometimes flooding occurs when we least expect it.

When a flooding incident or water damage strikes, it is never a planned event. We can make preparations for heavy rain events or take precautions with our homes plumbing but it is impossible to know when water will flood and damage our home or business.

Here at SERVPRO of Gurnee we provide 24/7 emergency response and our equipment and highly trained techs have the experience to handle the unpredictability of these events. We have an emergency response crew on-call after business hours just in case of an emergency. Our on-call hours are everyday of the year including holidays.You can expect an immediate response day or night. We are “ Faster to any disaster.”

So if this rainy May has caused you to have water issues, don't wait and give SERVPRO of Gurnee a call today 847-557-1080.

Fire Pit Safety

5/28/2019 (Permalink)

It's time to hang around the fire pit

The outdoors are calling as the weather begins to warm up. Lawns are gardens are returning back to their vivid spring colors and neighbors are coming out of hibernation. The sounds of lawn mowers and weed wackers are abundant. The smell of freshly mowed grass and Bbq's permeate the air. Spring is here to awaken all of our senses. With the arrival of spring and heading into summer, more and more people are coming outside to enjoy the fresh air.

When night falls, fire pits are being lit to extend the day and conversations with friends and family carry on into the wee hours of the night. Even through conversations with friends and family around the fire pit in the backyard are great ways to build memories, remembering fire safety and responsibility will ensure those times continue.  

  1. When lighting your fire pit ,do not use highly flammable ignition sources such as gasoline or lighting fluid. Build a pyramid with three pieces of seasoned wood (seasoned at least 6 months) stand them end to end like a rooftop and then fill in the gaps with crumpled up newspaper and some small dry kindling sticks.
  2. Make sure your pit is 10-20 ft away from any building, plant ,trees and overhanging branches. Since hot embers can travel, be cautious and keep a bucket of sand, pail of water or working garden hose close by in case an ember goes astray. Having a Class B or C fire extinguisher nearby would be good too.
  3. When extinguishing the fire make sure the fire is completely out, if you purchased a fire pit kit, most manufacturers include a safety guide to explain the proper procedure to extinguish the fire in the pit. If you use your garden hose to extinguish the fire, use the wide pray selection to keep from spreading hot embers with a direct, heavy stream of water. Thoroughly drench the fire pit to ensure it is out. If the fire is just hot embers and no flames a decent coating of sand should keep any fires from occurring. A coating of sand and a decent soaking should eliminate the threat of any fire re-igniting.

These are just a couple of quick tips to ensure you and your family have a great backyard season. Safety first and if a fire does occur that becomes to large please call your local fire company immediately and evacuate the area.

Air Quality and Houseplants

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

Over 26 species of plants can clean the air in your home

Sure, that potted fern is pretty, but can it really help with the air quality in your home?

Plants are notoriously adept at absorbing gases through pores on the surface of their leaves. It's this skill that facilitates photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy and carbon dioxide into chemical energy to fuel growth. Indoor plants help with removing harmful compounds from the air.

Scientists studying the air-purification capacities of indoor plants have found that plants can absorb many other gases in addition to carbon dioxide, including a long list of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Benzene (found in some plastics, fabrics, pesticides and cigarette smoke) and formaldehyde (found in some cosmetics, dish detergent, fabric softener and carpet cleaner) are examples of common indoor VOCs that plants help eliminate. These VOCs and other indoor air pollutants (such as ozone) have been linked to numerous acute conditions, including asthma and nausea, as well as chronic diseases such as cancer and respiratory illnesses.

An indoor plant's ability to remove these harmful compounds from the air is an example of phytoremediation, which is the use of any plant — indoors or out — to mitigate pollution in air, soil or water.

Some of the plants that scientists have found most useful in removing VOCs include Japanese royal ferns, spider plants, Boston ferns, purple waffle plants, English ivy, areca palms, golden pothos, aloe vera, snake plants and peace lilies.

Clean Air is important when it comes to your home and since winter is still keeping everyone indoors, clean indoor air is a must.