Recent Posts

Preventing Water Damage from Frozen Pipes in Your Northern Lake County Home

1/25/2022 (Permalink)

iced and frozen outdoor spigot Frozen pipes are one of the biggest risks of property damage when the temperatures drop.

When temperatures dip during the winter, frozen pipes could be a concern for your home – but there are ways to prevent your property from disaster.  Here are some helpful facts from the American Red Cross:

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 temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly 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.

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 can not 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.

In the event you suffer water damage from frozen plumbing fixtures or ice damming, SERVPRO of Gurnee is here to help 24/7/365 at 847-838-2954.

Fire Safety Tips to Protect Your Northern Lake County Business

1/11/2022 (Permalink)

smoke and smoke detector If you own a business, make sure you take all of the steps necessary to mitigate the risk of and prepare for a fire emergency.

One fire can completely destroy a company’s finances and productivity.  In severe instances, this risk can lead to a closure.  In addition to ensuring you are compliant with all fire safety codes, here are some tips to mitigate the threat fires pose to your business.

Have the Right Equipment

Make sure you have functioning smoke alarms and extinguishers in the workplace at all times.  A fire suppression system is also recommended.

Minimize Flammable Materials in Storage

Packaging materials, paper files and batteries, as well as other common office items can be highly flammable.  Minimize the amount of these materials kept in the workplace, and safely store those that are kept.

Manage Electronics Safely

When leaving for the day, always turn off everything plugged into an outlet.  Make sure electrical cords are not damaged as broken wires can start fires, and never allow circuits to be overloaded.

Regularly Check Fire Alarms

Conduct monthly checks to ensure that all fire alarms, as well as the systems that monitor the building, are functioning properly.  Alert employees therein to give them ample time to evacuate in the event of a fire.

Have a Written Plan

Write out a plan that includes evacuation protocols, fire prevention policies, emergency phone numbers, and all other matters pertaining to procedures.  Make sure all employees have access to the plan.  SERVPRO of Gurnee can help create an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) to keep a digitally accessible record of your plan and important information.

In the event your business is affected by fire, smoke, or soot damage, don’t hesitate to call on the professionals at SERVPRO of Gurnee.  We are here to help 24/7/365.  We can be reached at 847-838-2954.

Christmas Tree Safety in Northern Lake County IL Homes

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

christmas tree and fireplace U.S. firefighters respond to roughly 200 Christmas tree fires per year. Follow these tips to stay safe this holiday season.

Don’t let a house fire disrupt your holidays.  The most common sources of winter holiday fires are live Christmas trees and holiday decorations that are too close to a heat source, candles, and cooking fires.  Although these fires are rare, they do occur, and they can be destructive and deadly.  The following are a few tips to help make your Holidays safe from fire.

When purchasing a live Christmas tree, safety starts before you even head to the tree lot.  If you live in a condo or apartment, there is likely a restriction against live Christmas trees.  Be sure to check with your HOA or management company for any rules or restrictions before choosing a tree.  At the tree lot, look for a fresh, green tree!

Checking Your Tree

  • Bend the needles.  If they break, the tree has probably already dried out.
  • Grip a branch and slide your fist down it.  Most of the needles should stay on the tree.
  • Check the trunk, especially at the bottom where it’s cut.  It should be covered in sap and sticky to the touch.
  • Shake the tree.  If green needles fall everywhere, it’s too dry.

Before bringing the tree inside, shake it to dislodge loose needles or other debris.  Prior to placing it in the tree holder, make a fresh cut off the bottom of the trunk.  A freshly cut trunk will absorb water more effectively.  Use a tree holder that’s wide and strong enough to keep the tree stable.  

It is also very important to take care of your tree once it is inside.  Fill the holder with water as soon as you set your tree up.  Then, check it every day.  It needs to stay full!

Additional Tips

  • Place your tree away from heat sources, especially open flame heat sources.
  • Don’t block exit routes with your tree.
  • Use only lighting approved by a nationally recognized laboratory such as UL.
  • Check all lighting for frayed wires.
  • Don’t leave the lights on when the tree is unattended.
  • When the tree dries out, discard it immediately.

With these safety tips, your holiday can be fun and enjoyable for your family and your guests.  Please contact your local fire department for questions about fire safety and make sure you have a working fire and carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home.

In the event you sustain fire or smoke damage from a decor mishap, please contact SERVPRO of Gurnee at 847-838-2954 for help.

Fall Fire Safety for Northern Lake County IL Homes and Businesses

11/24/2021 (Permalink)

smoke and smoke detector For more information on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, contact your local Fire Department or go to

With the fall time change, remember to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is an easy way to remember this task and to keep your detectors in working order, however this is not the only attention you need to give to these life saving devices.  The following are important facts regarding the use and installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Smoke Detectors

  1. Make sure smoke detectors are installed in every bedroom, outside sleeping area, and at least every floor of your home.
  2. Test your smoke detector every month.
  3. Have a plan when your smoke detector sounds to get out, account for everyone, and call 911.
  4. Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.  Many new smoke detectors have a 10 year sealed battery.  Make sure you test your detector to make sure it is working; if it is not, replace it.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  1. Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed outside each sleeping area and have at least one on every floor level.  The law requires a carbon monoxide detector to be installed within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
  2. Test your carbon monoxide detector every month. 
  3. Contact your local fire department when your carbon monoxide detector activates, move to fresh air outside, and make sure everyone in the home is accounted for.
  4. Replace carbon monoxide detectors every 10 years.


  1. Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths.
  2. Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  3. The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (25%) is failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

When purchasing smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, make sure they have been rated by an approved agency such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).  Homes built within the last 20 years will have hard-wired smoke detectors located on each floor of the home.  When replacing these smoke detectors, make sure you use a licensed electrician to assure the work is performed according to applicable codes.

In the event you sustain damage in your home or business from smoke or fire, please contact SERVPRO of Gurnee at 847-838-2954 for a no-cost assessment.  We are always here to help.

Simple Tips for Cooking Fire Prevention in Your Northern Lake County Home

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

pan with lid and fire Cooking is the #1 cause of fires in homes.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire related injury.  Here are a few steps from FEMA and the US Fire Administration to help keep your family safe while cooking:

Stand by your pan

If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off

Watch what you are cooking

Fires start when the heat is too high.  If there are signs of smoke or boiling grease, turn off the burner

Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove

This way, no one can bump them or pull them over accidentally

Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby

Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.  This should help smother the fire.

In the event your home does sustain damage from fire or smoke, SERVPRO of Gurnee is here to help.  Our experienced technicians are standing by to restore your home.  Call us today at 847-838-2954 for a free assessment of your property damage.

Water Damage in Northern Lake County: 3 Categories To Know

7/26/2021 (Permalink)

water dripping through ceiling tiles Often, water damage spreads to areas that cannot be seen. Call an expert for help to ensure all moisture has been removed.

At SERVPRO of Gurnee, we pride ourselves on being the experts in water damage remediation.  We ensure our technicians are educated by requiring them to become certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC) as Water Restoration Technicians.  This gives them the ability to classify and categorize the type of water damage a property may have.  With regard to infiltration, there are three categories of water.  Knowing what these are and how to properly mitigate their damage is paramount to restoring your home or business to a healthy, safe state.

Category 1

Water originates from a sanitary water source and does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.  Examples include but are not limited to:

Broken water supply lines; tub or sink overflows with no contaminants; appliance malfunctions involving water-supply lines; melting ice or snow; falling rainwater; broken toilet tanks, and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives.

Category 2

Water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. Category 2 water can contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological). Examples include but are not limited to:

Discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, overflows from washing machines, overflows from toilet bowls on the room side of the trap with some urine

Category 3

Water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents and can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. Examples include but are not limited to:

Sewage; waste line backflows that originate from beyond any trap regardless of visible content or color; all forms of flooding from seawater; rising water from rivers or streams; and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment, such as wind-driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms, or other weather-related events. 

Category 3 water can carry trace levels of regulated or hazardous materials (e.g., pesticides or toxic organic substances).

In the unfortunate event that you experience water damage, call the experts at SERVPRO of Gurnee to help.  We have the training and expertise to make sure your home or business is safe and clean.  We are available 24/7/365 for your emergencies at 847-838-2954. 

Types of Commercial Sprinkler Systems

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

red sprinkler on white background Choosing the right sprinkler system for your facility can save thousands of dollars in damage should you sustain a fire loss.

Commercial fire sprinkler systems are designed to expel water until they are shut down manually. Choosing the appropriate system for your property and occupancy can mitigate possible water damage.

Wet Pipe System

Most common

  • Pipes are filled with water
  • Heat from a fire triggers the system and opens the sprinklers closest to the fire
  • Usually, only one or two sprinklers open

Dry Pipe System

For areas with below freezing temperatures

  • Pipes are filled with pressurized air or gas used to hold water back in a heated space. 
  • Heat from a fire opens the sprinklers closest to the fire 
  • Air escapes and the dry pipe valve opens to allow water flow
  • Usually, more sprinklers open than with a wet pipe system

Deluge System

For use in hazardous environments prone to fast-spreading fires

  • Pipes are not filled with water or gas
  • All sprinklers stay open
  • A signal from a fire detection device opens the deluge valve
  • Water will flow from all sprinklers

Pre-Action System

For areas where concerns or water or fire damage to property are high

  • Pipes are filled with pressurized air or gas
  • Loss of air or gas pressure summons maintenance
  • A signal from a fire detection device opens the pre-action valve, filling the pipes with water
  • Because sprinkler heads are closed, heat from a fire opens the sprinklers closest to the fire
  • Usually only one or two sprinklers open (similar to the wet pipe system). However, ”double interlock” pre-action systems use more air or gas pressure in the pipes, delaying the water delivery and allowing more sprinklers to open at a time (similar to dry pipe systems)

In the event that your business or building sustains damage from water or fire, SERVPRO of Gurnee is Here to Help.  We have the advanced expertise and technology to minimize loss of use in your facility.  Call us for your emergencies 24/7/365 at 847-838-2954.

Water Damage from Sprinkler Systems: Cause and Effect

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

water leaking from sprinkler head Inspection, testing and maintenance of fire sprinkler systems, along with adequate building heat, can help reduce the risk of future water damage.

An automatic sprinkler system is a very valuable tool in fire suppression and prevention. Even so, by some uncontrollable event or if not properly maintained, these systems may fail.  This failure could result in disaster by fire or from serious water damage from the sprinklers if water is unexpectedly released.  

Common Causes for Sprinkler System Failures

  1. Freezing of water filled pipes
  2. Mechanical damage
  3. Installation defects
  4. Deliberate sabotage
  5. Overheating from excessive temperatures
  6. Corrosion of sprinklers, fittings, pipes, and other components
  7. Environmental stress cracking of PVC plastic sprinkler pipe and fittings
  8. Manufacturing defects, including recalled sprinklers

Potential Hazards of Water Damage

  1. Damage - Destruction to property 
  2. Disruption - Loss of use of property during repairs
  3. Health Effects - Mold can develop causing health hazards
  4. Costs - Repair and/or replacement of sprinkler system
  5. Reputation - Lost customers or tenants due to unusable space

Prevention Tips

  1. Maintain fire sprinklers in accordance with recognized standards
  2. Ensure installations are completed by experienced and licensed contractors
  3. Take action to reduce chances of system freezing
  4. Call SERVPRO of Gurnee if water damage is experienced in your facility.

SERVPRO of Gurnee has the experience and professional staff to bring your property back to its preloss condition quickly and efficiently.  Call 847-838-2954 today for a free assessment of your damage.

Fire Sprinkler Systems: Myths and Facts

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

sprinkler head A home fire sprinkler can control or put out a fire with a fraction of the water that would be used by fire department hoses.

Automatic sprinkler systems have a proven track record of protecting life and property for over 100 years. However, there are still some common misconceptions about the operation and effectiveness of automatic fire sprinkler systems.  Source: American Fire Sprinkler Association

Myth: “A smoke detector provides enough protection.”

Fact: Smoke detectors save lives by providing an early warning to a smoke or fire incident, but can do nothing to extinguish a growing fire or protect those physically unable to escape on their own, such as the elderly or small children. Too often, battery operated smoke detectors fail to function because the batteries are dead or have been removed. As the percent of homes in America that were “protected” with smoke detectors increased from zero to more than 70%, the number of fire deaths in homes did not significantly decrease.

Myth: “Water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage.”

Fact: Water damage from a building sprinkler system will be much less severe than the damage caused by water from fire fighting hose lines or smoke and fire damage if the fire is allowed to spread. Quick response sprinklers release 8-24 gallons of water per minute compared to 80-125 gallons per minute discharged by a fire hose.

Myth: “When a fire occurs, every sprinkler head goes off.”

Fact: Sprinkler heads are individually activated by fire temperatures in excess of 155°. Residential fires are usually controlled with one sprinkler head. 90% of all fires are controlled with six or fewer heads and a study conducted during 80 years of automatic sprinkler use found that 82% of the fires that have occurred were controlled by two or fewer sprinkler heads.

Myth: “Sprinklers are designed to protect property, but are not effective for life safety.”

Fact: Sprinklers provide a high level of life safety. Statistics reveal that there has never been any multiple loss of life in a fully sprinklered building. Property losses are 85% less in residences with fire sprinklers compared to those without sprinklers. The combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning systems in all buildings could reduce overall injuries, loss of life and property damage by at least 50%.

In the event that you do sustain fire or water damage, SERVPRO of Gurnee is Here to Help.  Call us today for a no-cost assessment of your property damage.  We are always available for your call at 847-838-2954.

Tornado Warning vs. Tornado Watch in Northern Lake County, IL

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

tornado The United States experiences an average of 1,000 or more tornadoes every year.

What’s the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado watch?

Both tornado watches and tornado warnings are issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/ National Weather Service. However, there are critical differences between the two alerts. 

Tornado Watch 

Conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. Be alert to changes in the weather, account for all family members, and listen to local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. Move cars inside and keep car and house keys with you. If time permits, move lawn furniture and equipment inside to minimize flying debris. If a tornado siren sounds, stay inside and take cover.

Tornado Warning

A tornado has actually been spotted or is indicated on weather radar in your area. This means danger is imminent and you may only have seconds to take cover.

In the event that your home or business sustains damage caused by the high winds of a tornado, SERVPRO of Gurnee can help!  24/7/365 emergency service is available for board up, tarp up, and water mitigation.  Call us for help at 847-838-2954.