Recent Posts

The Benefits of Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a small crawl space in a school basement where air flows A Chicago school's air duct can be a small space, but our guys can and will go in there to clean it out.

If you own commercial property, it is your responsibility to keep it well maintained. This includes many things, and air duct cleaning is a big one. It might seem unnecessary, but dirty air ducts do not perform as well as clean ones. There are several benefits to having your air ducts cleaned, some of which have a bigger impact than others. Clogged air ducts may cause health issues, or damage to your building. Broken air ducts are costly to replace, so keeping them clean and maintained can save you a lot of money. There are even more benefits that cleaning can provide, and signs to indicate if cleaning is needed.

The Benefits

Having clean air ducts will help to keep your building dust free. This can make a big difference for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. Clean air ducts mean clean air, and this can make breathing much easier. This benefit is especially important in a building where children or senior citizens frequent. They are more susceptible to issues caused by contaminants in the air. In addition to clean air, clean ducts will help to get rid of unwanted odors. Mildew smells can come from dust, dirt, and mildew that has collected in the ducts. Cleaning out these built up substances will eradicate any musty smells.

There is another huge benefit of saving costs. Dirty air ducts burn more energy. They raise the heating bill, because the furnace will be working harder. You may have to replace your furnace filter more often if this happens. The dust will also cause strain on your furnace, which might lead to some costly repairs.

The Signs

It might be difficult to know if your air ducts should be cleaned. There are a few signs that you can look for in order to figure it out. Mold in your furnace or air conditioning system is a big sign. It can also lead to health problems down the road. If your building was just built, or renovated, you should have the air ducts cleaned out. Dust will get in the ducts, no matter how careful the workers are. Construction dust also poses some health problems, more so than regular dust, if breathed in for too long. If your building is always full of dust, even after numerous cleanings, it might be a sign of a bigger problem. Dusty air ducts will cause dust to collect all over the building. A rise in heating and cooling costs is also another sign. As mentioned above, dirty air ducts will make the furnace and cooling systems work overtime.

The Cleaning

If you want your commercial property to undergo this kind of cleaning, you will have to reach out to professionals. SERVPRO of Ravenswood is one such company that will make sure the job is done right. We are available for a multitude of commercial cleaning services. This includes office buildings, civics, schools, retail stores, and more. You can reach out to them at any time, day or night, for your free estimate; 773-878-5200.

Anticipated 2020 Polar Vortex

1/13/2020 (Permalink)

This is a map of the snowbelt area in the Midwest region of the USA The Snowbelt

This year the Farmers Almanac predicts another record-breaking year for winter storms.  The coldest outbreak of the season is predicted to arrive during the final week of January, and last through the beginning of February.  Temperatures could possibly drop to 40 below zero across the northern Plains! As the freezing air blows across the Great Lakes, intense bursts of heavy snow showers and squall could, in the most extreme cases, deposit 30-40 inches in a single day, especially in the snowbelt areas.  

With this information we can prepare ourselves for a very cold winter in the weeks ahead.  Leave a slow drip in your faucets, stay inside as much as possible, leave blankets and hats in vehicles, and brace yourselves for extreme cold.

Your local SERVPRO is here for you should you need help with water damage.  Plug in an emergency water cleanup contact in your phone and be ready to call us; 773-878-5200.  

How To Prevent Water Damage

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Drywall removed from powder room due to untreated water damage This powder room wall had to be removed due to not drying when the water damage occurred.

Water damage can completely ruin parts of your house if left untreated. Sometimes, flooding and busted pipes are inevitable. However, SERVPRO of Ravenswood has tips you can follow to try and prevent water damage. It can be an awful thing to happen to your house. If left untreated for too long, the entire thing may have to be gutted. It can also cause secondary damage in the future. For those reasons, it is smart to be proactive about water damage. Of course, you can’t guarantee it will never happen. If water damage does harm your home, there are ways to fix it.

Water Seepage in your Basement

Basements are a common place for water damage to start. Depending on how often you use your basement, it may take a while to notice. By the time you notice, the damage could be unfixable. To prevent water damage in your basement, reseal it. Cracks in the foundation or floor could lead to water getting into the basement during a storm. While this may not have been a problem before, walls and floors can deteriorate over time. Using water sealant can help.

Another reason for water collecting in your basement may have to do with draining. After a heavy storm, the water should drain away from your house. However, sometimes this doesn’t happen and rainwater will drain into your basement. If you notice a problem with drainage, try and get it resolved.

Indoor Plumbing Systems

Your indoor plumbing systems may be the cause of water damage at some point. This can come from pipes and appliances. You should make it a habit to check dishwashers, washers, and hoses every year. Cracks or leaks can quickly lead to water damage. There is also the option of putting in a leak-monitor, which would shut off your water system if a leak is detected. The seals around your shower or bathtub can also deteriorate. Make sure to check them regularly, and reseal if needed.

Whenever you go on vacation, make sure to get the water that runs to your washing machine cut off. It is common for this water supply to cause issues, and if you’re on vacation you won’t be there to notice it. In addition, make sure not to leave the house while your dishwasher or washing machine is running. If an issue arises, areas of your house can flood quite quickly. An emergency pressure release valve might also be a good idea. Any increased pressure on your pipes could make them burst, but installing a release valve will protect against it.

It is important to note that water damage can still happen. No matter how cautious and proactive you are, accidents come up. A bad storm or busted pipe could lead to flooding. In an event like that, SERVPRO of Ravenswood. You can call us at any time, day or night, and they will rush over to repair any water damage.

What is Smoke Damage?

12/20/2019 (Permalink)

Corner shot of a ceiling and wall with a wall clock, all effected by a fire. Before picture for soot damage in a residential home.

Everyone knows how devastating a house fire can be. It is possible that you will lose many loved belongings in the event of one. However, not many people realize that extinguishing the fire is just the first step in protecting your home. The smoke that fills your house in the event of a fire can be incredibly damaging, as well as leave behind a terrible odor. In some cases, it might even harm you and your house more than the actual flames. Not many people really know what smoke damage is or the negative impact it can have on your life.

Smoke Residue

Smoke residue will seep into your walls, carpet, and furniture, and it won’t go away on its own. The only way to truly get rid of smoke damage is by having professionals come out and clean it. The awful smell it produces is the main way to tell if smoke residue is in your home. In addition, it might cause portions of your walls to appear discolored. While smoke damage is an awful thing to deal with, it is always accompanied by soot, which can sometimes cause even more issues.


Just like smoke residue, soot will settle into your home after a fire. At times, it can be as easy to see as smoke damage. It is a substance that appears to look like black powder, and typically finds its way into furniture or walls. Soot is actually the byproduct of fossil fuels burning. It typically is comprised of acid, dust, and various chemicals. Smoke residue and soot will cause damage to your house, belongings, and even your health if not properly dealt with. Signs of soot and smoke damage in your house tend to present themselves within a few hours of a fire, but you may not notice anything awry for up to a few days.

The Damage

Smoke damage can cause an extensive list of issues that many people don’t even think about. For one, the damage to your home can be irreversible if left untreated for too long. Ceilings, walls, and floors can become discolored. This can start right after a fire, but discoloration might not appear for a couple of days. Metals appliances can become tarnished and start to rust. Material like marble and granite, which are typically found in countertops, might be permanently discolored.

In addition to interior damage, smoke residue and soot can have a serious impact on your health. This can present itself in skin irritation, respiratory issues, or eye irritation. All three of these problems may be more serious than they appear, and could require medical attention.

To minimize the impact that smoke damage can have on you and your home, reach out to SERVPRO of Ravenswood. Their fast response time and professional restoration process means that you can have smoke damage cleaned up before it becomes too serious. They will clean everything from your clothes to your furniture in order to get rid of any smoke residue. SERVPRO of Ravenswood can help out immensely after a house fire.

SERVPRO of RAVENSWOOD F1RST Responder Bowl Watch Event

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

Picture of football with sirens effect Get Fired Up logo

Join SERVPRO of Ravenswood as we celebrate and recognize the HEROES across our communities who protect and serve. The annual SERVPRO First Responder Bowl will feature the best in College Football.

Watch the game locally, enjoy a free lunch, taste samples from our neighborhood breweries, meet our team & tour the warehouse.

Doors open at 11AM, December 30th ~ 5401 N Wolcott Avenue, Chicago IL 60640 ~ Game begins at 11:30 AM

  • Lunch and drink will be served

  • Learn 911/311 Procedures

  • Watch CPR Demonstrations

  • Gain Insight on Community Policing

  • Raffle Prizes!

Can’t make the event? It’s okay! Donations are being accepted for the 100 Club Chicago – a wonderful nonprofit organized to provide for families of fallen first responders. Please select the SERVPRO F1rst Responder Bowl Watch Party in the Donation Category by clicking HERE.


Be Prepared

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

picture of frozen Lake Michigan during polar vortex Iced Lake Michigan

Farmers Almanac Predicts Polar Vortex in 2020.Last January SERVPRO serviced over $2.0mil in water damage claims when the record storm hit the Midwest. Restoration company's had 1-2 week waiting lists for help. SERVPRO's Storm Team waiting list was 24-48 hours - Go Green. Are you prepared for another polar storm? Call Donna today to schedule your Emergency Ready Profile, and don't get stuck on hold. - Be Alert and Stay Informed- Always Think Safety First- Stop the Source of Damage- Notify Emergency Contacts- Call SERVPRO of Ravenswood Emergency Cleanup Services; 773-878-5200- Notify Key Contacts- Secure Property- Take Photos of Damage- Document the Event

Sidewalk Snow Removal

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

Acceptable and unacceptable diagrams of snow clearing Right and Wrong Diagrams

Snow season is among us. Creating safe passage for your home or business is the right thing to do. Below is the City of Chicago's guide that outlines proper snow and ice removal procedures, reporting contact information and potential fine criteria. Be a good neighbor keep your surroundings safe and sound. Here is some helpful information provided by the city of Chicago. Who is responsible for clearing the sidewalks of snow and ice? According to the City of Chicago Municipal Code, “Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any building or lot of ground abutting upon any public way or public space shall remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk...”It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure the sidewalks are clear of snow and ice. If you do not own your residential or business property, consult your rental agreement, lease agreement, or management company to determine your shoveling obligation. When do I have to clear the sidewalks? Sidewalks must be shoveled 7 days a week. If the snow falls between 7 am and 7 pm: Clear the snow as soon as practicable, but no later than 10 pm on the day of the snowfall. If the snow falls overnight between 7 pm and 7 am: Clear the snow before 10 am on the next day. How can I report locations that do not clear their sidewalks?Make a “Snow - Uncleared Sidewalk” request to the City of Chicago 311 Service Request line. Dial 311 or request online at People who live outside the City of Chicago may call (312) 744-5000.

Post-Fire Next Steps – What Now?

11/20/2019 (Permalink)

Logo with description of services Logo with fire background

Often times the victims of a fire loss have lost all forms of identification and money. This blog will assist you with the means to understand how you can start putting their lives back together. SERVPRO of Ravenswood’s intention is to provide you with a reference tool to better assist you during such trying times.  We hope this helps!

Take Care of Yourself and Family

Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army.  They will help you find a place to stay and to find food, clothing and medicine.  Make sure that you have a safe place to live temporarily. Get plenty of rest and ask for help. Do no try to do it all alone.

Do Not! Eat, drink or breath in anything that has been near the flames, smoke, soot, or water used to put out the fire.

Help Your Pets

Try to leave pets with family members, friends or a veterinarian temporarily. Keep your pets out of the house until the cleanup is complete to keep them safe.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance agent right away. Your property will have immediate needs such as covering windows, doors and more.  Avoid signing any documents with strangers until after you have spoken to your trusted insurance agent.

Security and Safety

DO NOT enter a damaged property unless the fire department says it is safe to enter. Watch for damage caused by the incident. Roof and floors may be damaged and could fall.  The fire department will make sure the utility services (water, electricity and gas) are safe to use. If they are not safe, firefighters will have your utilities turned off or disconnected before they leave.  DO NOT try to turn them back on by yourself.  Contact your police department to let them know that you will be away from your property.


Get in touch with your landlord or mortgage lender ASAP. Contact your credit card company to report credit cards that were lost in the incident and request replacements. Save all of your receipts for any month you spend. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company. You will need the receipts to prove any losses claimed on your tax return.

Handling the Damage

SERVPRO of Ravenswood is a trusted expert in cleaning and restoring your personal items. Whether you or your insurer buys this type of service, be clear on who will pay for it. Be sure to ask for an estimate of cost for work and agree to in writing.


  • Contact your insurance agent right away – Don’t sign any papers until you’ve spoken to them first
  • Notify utility companies of incident
  • Contact your child(ren)’s school of temporary address awareness
  • Contact local police departments to let them know your property is temporarily vacant
  • Allow SERVPRO of Ravenswood to help you cleanup the mess and make it “Like it never even happened” Call 773-878-5200


  • Safely take pictures of the damage
  • Ensure your property is secured
  • If you rent, contact the owner or landlord right away
  • Contact family or friends to let them know you are okay
  • Secure emergency accommodations
  • Keep all your receipts (for insurance reimbursements)


Alfa, 800-964-2532

Allstate, 800-255-7828

American Family, 800-692-6326

Cincinnati, 877-242-2544

Famers, 800-435-7764

Hartford, 877-805-9918

State Farm, 800-732-5246

Nationwide, 800-421-3535

Travelers, 800-252-4633

Liberty Mutual, 844-339-5299

MetLife, 800-854-6011

Safeco, 800-332-3226

USAA, 800-531-8722

Replacing Documents and Records

Driver’s License ~ Birth/Marriage/Death Certificates ~ Debit/Credit Cards ~ Passports ~ Social Security/Medicare Cards ~ Banking Information ~ Titles/Deeds ~ Insurance Policies ~ Prepaid Burial Contract ~ Wills/Testaments ~ Mortgage Papers ~ Medical Records ~ Auto Registration ~ Military Papers (DD-214) ~ Investment Documents

Detecting Water Damage in Your Chicago Home

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

A water stain will appear on the surface of the wall or baseboard opposite of the affected area. Water-stained baseboard

Chicago water damage can cause severe issues in your home. Detecting water damage early can make all the difference when it comes to restoration. Not many people know what to look for, or even where to start looking. You may have no idea how water damage presents itself. This can make early detection nearly impossible. However, there are some steps that you can follow to find hidden signs of water damage. You must know what to look for, where to look, and who to call. After all, detecting water damage is just the first step to getting the problem taken care of.

What To Look For

Water damage presents itself in various different ways. The most obvious sign of water damage is pooled water that has collected in your house. Standing water might come from a leaking pipe or an appliance that malfunctioned. Another sign is discoloration. This typically occurs in ceilings, with the water damaged part appearing darker. Walls may also stain, and paint could bubble and crack. Floors can also show discoloration, but the main sign of water damage will be texture changes. These changes could be warping, buckling, sagging, or expansion. All four happen because of water in the floor boards, or collected around them. Another sign of water damage is an odor, which happens because of mold. If mold is starting to build up, the water damage has been around for too long.

Where To Look

Water damage can happen anywhere in your house, but some areas may be more susceptible. They present a higher-risk, and should be the first places you check. Ceiling water damage may come from a leaking roof, or tops floors in your house. A bathroom on the top floor of your house could damage the ceiling under it if a pipe bursts. Stains on your walls are one of the main signs of water damage. Any odd stain may be evidence of a leaking pipe inside your wall. When checking your walls, make sure to pay close attention to the area around your doors and windows. Many problems can cause water damage to your floors, and it is hard to pinpoint exactly where the damage has come from. Insulation in your attic may swell as a sign of water damage. This is why you should check your attic if you have one. It may also collect mold. Looking behind appliances, like your fridge and washer, is also a good idea when checking for water damage. Faulty pieces in these appliances are not easy to see without moving them around.

Who To Call

Once you have detected any sign of water damage, reach out to professionals for help. The smallest sign may be evidence of a bigger issue that will not go away on its own. SERVPRO of Ravenswood is a company that is available immediately to take care of water damage in your home. They are a trusted company in the water restoration company. Call 773-878-5200 today!

Fire strikes on its own!

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

Conduit piece that caused the damage The culprit!

Catastrophe has no regard when it comes to our long-awaited holiday weekends.  Let’s take for example what occurred earlier this month on Labor Day.  The Monday before school was supposed to open its doors for a brand new school year, an electrical conduit suddenly self-ignited a fire within the ceiling of a 3rd floor classroom overheated and burned straight through a wall.  Upon hitting the floor, the fire continued and caused much havoc.  No one was in the school at the time. Chicago’s very best fire-fighters received the alarm from the sprinkler system and arrived quickly to put out the aggressor.  Unfortunately the fire did cause smoke and water damage to several classrooms, hallways and the floors below. 

The school was properly prepared for such an emergency and the facility managers knew what to do and who to call for help.  This is because SERVPRO of Ravenswood had an emergency clean up plan in place and had been to this school prior to the incident.  Once our team received the notice, they left their holiday plans, suited up and went straight to work.  After a very long shift of cleanup duty, we are happy to state that the school was able to open up it’s doors for their first day.  The environment was safely secured and odor free. 

Having a contingency plan in place does help.  A SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) tool will allow facility personnel to map out important utility shut-off locations, provide quick reference for operational/emergency/non-emergency contacts, familiarize vendors (such as SERVPRO of Ravenswood) with access areas or parking restrictions, which effectively speeds up the cleanup process and puts everyone back into an environment where work can continue.  Fire or water damage is no joke.  Call for to make an appointment for your free customized ERP today!