Recent Posts

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!

Causes of Water Damage in Your Home or Business

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

This is a helicopter view of the city landscape, above Navy Pier, during the 2019 Polar Vortex. We can weather the storm!

If your home or business experiences water damage, it can cause a number of problems. These problems can be minor or severe, depending on how long it goes untreated. While water damage is a serious issue, not many people realize how many things can cause it. Flooding feels like an obvious answer, but other factors that exist inside your home or business can also cause this problem. Keep in mind, that water damage is preventable most of the time. Knowing what causes it can help you to be proactive.


Weather is a big cause of water damage. Many people think this means rain, but snow can be just as disastrous. A big snow storm devastation may harm your walls, ceilings, and roof. Ice dams can also be a problem. They form on your roof because of poor attic insulation, and can cause water to build on your roof. This water build up will likely leak into your home, causing damage to your roof and ceilings. To prevent this, make sure your attic is properly insulated. You should also have your roof inspected every year to make sure it is not damaged in any way. 


Plumbing issues are one of the top causes of water damage. It may actually be the number one cause. Plumbing pipes may have long-life spans, but they can still crack, leak, and burst. This is why you should have them inspected at least once a year. A number of things could lead to early deterioration. There are signs of pipes leaking to look out for. For one, if your water bill is starting to cost more for no apparent reason. A leaky pipe will raise your water bill. You can install a sensor for your pipes. It will alert you to any leaks and in doing so, help prevent future water damage.

Washing Machine

A washing machine is a pretty essential household appliance, but many people don’t think about it until laundry time. However, a malfunctioning washing machine can cause some serious issues. If the supply hose leaks at all, around six hundred gallons of water could spill out within an hour. A leak like this could come from a bad connection to the machine, or damaged house. This type of flooding could cause extensive water damage. The damage will be even worse if your washing machine is on the top floor. It is important to replace your supply hose at least once every five years. In addition, overloading your machine can lead to problems with the hose. Those problems could eventually cause a leak.

While knowing the top causes of water damage can help you be proactive, it won’t always work. Freak accidents can happen and leave your home in pretty bad shape. However, in the case of water damage, SERVPRO of Ravenswood is there to help. The have trained technicians ready to completely dry out your house, and one of the fastest response times in the industry. SERVPRO of Ravenswood is there to do the job right the first time.

Lollapalooza Misfire!

8/12/2019 (Permalink)

The culprit

What started as a touring music festival in 1991 by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, Lollapalooza has become a definitively unique music experience. Today, Lollapalooza takes place every summer in historic Grant Park, Chicago, between the iconic Chicago skyline and the shores of Lake Michigan with 4 fun-filled days of music festivities!

Unfortunately mishaps arise, especially in scenarios when you are far from home.  In this blog we tell a tale of a couple music-goers who came to hear live music, but left with the clothes on their backs.  They are safe - not to worry.  

On day 1 of the LaLa festival they entered their hotel room with excitement, as expected by any person going to hear their favorite bands play live.  After primping and preparing they locked up their belongings, turned off their devices and hit the fair!  One thing went wrong though.  As anyone would suspect, turning off your laptop means it's off, right? Sadly, not in this case.  The laptop was turned off, however it was place on top of a refrigerator.  Then some clothes had been draped over the computer.  This caused overheating.  The laptop literally ignited a fire - causing havoc.  The fire spread throughout their room.  The sprinkler systems went into effect and efficiently watered down the room.  Though smoke and water damage endured from there.  By the time the guests returned to their rooms there was nothing left but singe and darkness.  

SERVPRO of Ravenswood was quickly on the scene once they received the call from the building Engineer.  First responders gave us the go-ahead and we were off to clean up the damage.  2 floors and mulitple rooms were uninhabitable temporarily.  We worked quickly to remove the smoke odor and dry all the hallways and rooms, so that all other guests can carry on with their vacation or business plans.  The hotel accommodated the guests graciously and in the end Lollapalooza went on as planned!  

This is a teachable moment where we encourage everyone to keep their laptops in cool areas and away from heat intensive environments.  If a fire should ignite, call SERVPRO of Ravenswood to get things back to "Like it never even happened." 773-878-5200

Soot Cleaning Chicago Northside

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

If you look closely you will see that the writing IS on wall!

This is a story about a very smart and attentive lady.  We will call her Nancy, like Nancy Drew! Nancy decided it was time to give her home a thorough deep clean.  She began with the basics; dusting, washing, vacuuming, etc.  She took her drapes down and noticed that there was discoloration in certain areas of the material.  She thought it strange, but figured it must have been sun damage from the beautiful rays that shine each day through here bedroom window.  Then she began dusting her picture hangings on her living room walls.  Being the thorough cleaner that she is, she took them down to give them a real good wipe down.  Here she noticed dark spots on the walls that were perfectly shaped around the location where the pictures hung.  This too was bazaar and she did not have an answer for that.  She looked up at her vents that were located along the ceiling, near the pictures.  With a closer glance, she saw that the vents too were changing color from a bright white to a yellowish-brown tone.  Now she knew something was not right!

Nancy was very smart and called a HVAC (heating and air conditioning) company to schedule a routine maintenance check.  The HVAC company performed their analysis for the home’s ventilation system.  He quickly discovered that the furnace was releasing small amounts of soot into the air ducts.  This malfunction in their furnace released so little of an amount into the air that naked eye or nose would not be able to see or smell what was happening.  Fortunately, Nancy’s keen instinct caught the issue before it turned to something worse (fire). 

Nancy contacted her insurance agent, who for her was State Farm.  They recommended she have the HVAC system maintenanced, as well as contact a local restoration company to help with soot damage cleanup and odor eliminationSERVPRO of Ravenswood was the vendor she chose.  (Another good call on Nancy’s part)!  In a matter of 3 days, SERVPRO of Ravenswood’s team cleaned the entire house from the top, down.  This soot cleaning process included; content manipulation, soft & hard surface item wipe ups, walls/ceilings/floors cleaning.  SERVPRO of Ravenswood also used hydroxyl equipment to pull out any contaminated odor throughout the house, and air scrubbers were systematically placed throughout to properly pull out any bad particles floating around the breathable air.  When we were done doing our part, Nancy was able to bring in contractors to repaint her home.  Nancy’s insurance policy covered all costs.  Thank goodness for insurance!

It is worth noting this story as there is always a lesson to be learned.  Pay attention to your home.  If you have a doubt contact a professional and ask your questions.  It this case it was indeed better to be safe than sorry.  Call SERVPRO of Ravenswood for your soot cleaning or odor removal service today!


Water Damage Chicago Northside

7/12/2019 (Permalink)

In this photo you will notice the crowning floor. Our technician is taping the area that will be pulled out during the demolition process.

When a hard wood floor starts to buckle without any sign of damage, it’s safe to assume that something is wrong.  This week we had such an incident occur at one of our local schools.  A gym floor began to buckle out of the blue.  Allow me to preface with a couple of definitions.  The term “buckle” usually refers to a wooden floor which is either crowning or cupping.  (And when I write wooden floor, I am speaking of hard wood, not engineered or vinyl flooring).

Cupping (too wet) – A condition that develops on wood plank flooring materials when the joints between planks absorb moisture and swell, causing expansion and raising of the edges of each plank.  The edges rise up higher than the center of the plank forming a cup appearance.

Crowning (too dry) – A condition that develops when wood flooring materials are sanded and refinished before they are fully dried.  As drying progresses, the edges of wood planks continue to shrink, dropping them below the center of the plank, creating a crown effect.

When we received the call from the engineer of the school this week, his concern was in regard to a hardwood gym floor that was “coming up along the edges”.  He was baffled about the cause of this, as there had not been any flood or any signs of water damage.  Of course our first instinct at SERVPRO of Ravenswood was that there must be an issue from under the gym floor.  We scheduled a free inspection immediately.  Timing is critical when it comes to wet wood floor, as the sooner we mitigate that water damage Chicago northside, the better the chances of saving those floors! 

When Eduardo arrived he quickly took measurements, performed his meter readings and located the wettest points on the floor.  Discussions of where the source of the moisture began.  Flooding was eliminated, nearby water fountains and bathrooms were eliminated, leaks from above where eliminated, leaving us with questioning “what is going on underneath the planks?”  SERVPRO of Ravenswood knows that is it not sensible to begin drying anything until we first finding the source and correcting the issue that is causing the floors to buckle.

Upon facility approval a plan was devised to pull up some planks – not all - in two spots; the area that had the most moisture and the area that had the least.  Again, our experience shows us that water travels from its sources and ends up in an entirely different area leaving the wettest spot.  Sure enough after a small demolition process it was discovered that the floor boards underneath were rotting due to concrete deterioration in the first area we worked.  Water was coming up from the foundation and damaging the gym floor above.  The resolution was to reseal the concrete areas and replace flooring to its proper home. 

In 1 day SERVPRO of Ravenswood was able to demo, discover, dry, decontaminate and essentially save the remaining gym floor.  The lesson here is to always call SERVPRO of Ravenswood, a reputable mitigation specialist who deals with such scenarios on a daily basis.  Time, money and stress will be lessened when appropriate protocols are followed. 

Call SERVPRO of Ravenswood for your water damage or mold remediation service today!


Why Immediate Damage Restoration is Important after a Fire

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Dealing with the aftermath of a commercial fire loss is overwhelming and stressful. Getting production back on track, employees back to work and making decisions on rebuild are all priorities to any facility manager. Starting the fire restoration process should be immediate. For one, the sooner you start the sooner you can get your work life back to normal. The longer you wait the bigger the risk of long-term issues developing. Smoke damage can also cause irreversible repairs and health issues if not dealt with quick enough. SERVPRO of Ravenswood can help with all of this!

Start The Cleanup

While you are still going to need to contact a professional restoration company (SERVPRO of Ravenswood) to clean up after a fire, there are a few things you can do on your own. Of course, make sure that it is safe to enter the facility before attempting to cleanup on your own. Even if it is safe, make sure to wear proper clothing, like gloves, long sleeve shirts, and a mask to keep from exposing yourself to soot. Make sure to open up all of the windows first thing. It is key to getting the polluted air out of your house. Of course, we will come in with industrial equipment to get rid of unsafe air.

Caring for your Belongings:  After opening the windows, make sure to scrub what you can with soap and water. This includes counters, cabinets, tables, and other surfaces. After scrubbing down surfaces, you can start to wash clothes and anything else that can be machine-washed. Keep in mind, more delicate items should be sent to a dry cleaner, and anything you wash at home may need more than one cycle to get the odor out.

What We Do

SERVPRO of Ravenswood will come with industrial equipment to clean up fire and smoke damage. Doing what you can to clean your home can help speed up the process. Just make sure that it is safe enough to enter you house for cleaning, and always wear protective clothes. Even if you do not see any evidence of smoke damage, make sure to wear a mask anyway. Smoke damage may not appear for up to a few days, but it can be extremely harmful to your health. After cleaning what you can, make sure to call a professional to come and restore the damage.

SERVPRO of Ravenswood provides 24/7 emergency services and is a trusted vendor. Many insurance companies actually prefer them for cleaning up fire damage. They have the training, experience, and equipment to clean your house from top to bottom. In doing so, they will bring your home back to normal and get you back in your house in no time. With over 1,700 franchises across the nation they are able to help hundreds of thousands of people. If your home was struck with a house fire, be sure to call 773-878-5200 to come and help you out. Our fast service will take care of all the fire and smoke damage in no time.

The Benefits of Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

7/2/2019 (Permalink)

Before and after photo of a filthy air duct tunnel

If you own commercial property in north Chicago, it is your responsibility to keep it well maintained. This includes many commercial cleaning services that SERVPRO of Ravenswood can provide; such as, air duct cleaning - 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, north Chicago property owners. 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. Moldy 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 almost any commercial cleaning job. This includes office buildings, restaurants, retail stores, schools, banks, factories and more. Call 773-878-5200 for your free assessment!

What To Do After A Flood Ravenswood

6/27/2019 (Permalink)

A flood can be a devastating event. If your Ravenswood home has been flooded you may have no idea what to do, especially if you never thought it would happen. Water may be standing in your house, and you will be right there having no idea what steps to take. A flood can be traumatic, but it is important to know what to do after one strikes. Try to remain calm, and take note of the following steps.

Don’t Risk It

Some floods are worse than others. It may be that you had to evacuate your home just to stay safe. If this is the case, be cautious when you try to go back. Before going back into your house, check for obvious structural damage. This includes warping, cracks, holes, and loosened areas of the foundation. There could also be damage to water, gas, and electric lines. Make sure to look out for that, and contact companies to have them shut off if needed. If you believe you water and electric lines are fine, have them cut off before reentering a house with standing water anyway. Damage could still be there, even if it isn’t obvious. Since the lights will be shut off, make sure to bring a flashlight so you can see.

Document and Protect

It is important to document all of the damage by taking pictures. Do this before removing water or making repairs. Documenting first will help when it comes time for your insurance to cover costs. Repairing any damage or removing water could lower your coverage. Pictures on your phone are the best option, as they can be easily stored and shared. No matter how clear your house appears to be, you should also wear protective gear when returning. Chemicals could have contaminated the water, even if you can’t see them. You should wear waders and waterproof boots that reach your waist or hips. If you plan on moving anything that has been water damaged, wear rubber gloves. This will help keep you safe from contaminants that you can’t see. In addition, throw out food that was touched by water and refrain from using the water system until it has been cleared.

Call Your Insurance and Clean

Once you have inspected your home, cleaned what you can, and documented the damage, it is time for the final steps. You should call your insurance company as soon as possible. If the flood reached your entire community, it may take a while to get your agent on the phone. Once you do, you will discuss the extent of their coverage. In some cases, insurance companies won’t cover flooding. This depends on what caused it and how extensive the damage is.

Whether or not your insurance company will cover the flooding, you still have to have it cleaned up. To do this, a professional service company will have to get involved. SERVPRO of Ravenswood operates twenty four hours a day, and has an extremely fast response time. They will get your house up and running again in no time.

The Importance of Renters Insurance

5/10/2019 (Permalink)

We deal direct with insurance claims, so that you won't have to!

Recent natural disasters from tornadoes to wildfires have left hundreds of thousands of people with lost or damaged belongings. This devastation is awful, but those who rent their homes are too at great financial risk.

Most home owners are able to protect their property and belongings thanks to policies that were put into place when they purchased their homes. However, less than half of renters in America lack the insurance that can protect them in the same way. If this describes you, then it might be time to rethink if you should purchase renters insurance. It can be an important way to protect your belongings and finances in a time of devastation, because cleanup and restoration can be costly.

What It Covers

When you think about renters insurance, it is possible that you are imagining it as financial burden, something that will ask you to fork over more money than it could save you. However, that is not the case. On average, renters insurance costs less than two hundred dollars a year, and the benefits it offers can be a lifesaver.

In the event of a fire or water disaster renters insurance can cover the cost of lost belongings and arrange accommodations for you if your home becomes uninhabitable. It even offers liability if there is ever an accident that happens on your rented property. It is important to keep in mind that this type of insurance does not cover earthquakes or floods, usually, so a separate policy might be needed if those are natural disasters that present a risk in the area of which you reside.

Business Coverage

While renters insurance will typically cover any of your lost belongings, it does not extend to anything business related. Anything work related that you store at home is not covered, and if someone visits you for business reasons and gets hurt, your renters insurance will not offer liability. It is suggested that if your rented property is a place where you conduct business or store business items you should get a different type of insurance policy in addition to your renters insurance.

Standard policies tend to be pretty similar across the board, no matter what company you turn to, but the amount of coverage you get is up to you. When it comes to renters insurance, your policy will cover the actual-value of your items, or the replacement value. Actual-value coverage will cover the cost of your belongings, even if those belongings lost or gained value over time. With replacement value, your policy will cover the cost of you buying new belongings. Deciding on actual-value coverage might save you on premium cost, but replacement value will help you out more in the long run.

Policies tend to limit what insurers will pay you for some valuable items, but you can up your policy to increase coverage on them. If you own a lot of valuable items, it may be in your best interest to add more coverage on them, though it will cost more.

Not all landlords require you to have renters insurance, but it is good coverage to take advantage of. You never know when it might help lessen the financial burden that comes with fire or water damage Chicago.  

If your home has been impacted by a disaster such as a house fire restoration, water damage, mold mitigation, or large storm events, you can reach out to SERVPRO of Ravenswood. We are there to help and we work with ALL insurance companies! Contact us today with questions; 773-878-5200.