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Understanding Storm Damage and Flooding

8/20/2022 (Permalink)

Flood damage in Batavia, IL.

Storm Damage and Flooding

There are many types of emergencies or disasters that could affect your building in Batavia,IL. Water damage is one of the most destructive and concerning. This can happen in several ways, including via Mother Nature and from faulty plumbing in your facility. Both storms and flood damage can wreak havoc on your business. It's important to understand both of these — including their differences.

Storms and How They Can Cause Damage
Storm damage can send water into your building through the roof, the foundation, windows, doorways and other openings. They can also damage siding, windows, roof shingles and items inside your office. Common storms include:

  • Thunderstorms with heavy rains
  • Hurricanes and tornadoes with high winds
  • Hailstorms

Flooding can occur in your facility when torrential rain seeps through a weakened foundation. A damaged roof may not be able to hold in the water either. Hailstones can also break glass or dent siding on the building. Powerful winds can knock over trees onto the building or damage power lines, cutting off electricity.

Floods That Don't Come From Storms
Not all flood damage is a result of the weather. A common way in which floods start in the building is from plumbing issues. A backed-up sewer line can send black water into the office, posing harm to everyone inside. Overflowing toilets can damage flooring and drywall. Also, broken pipes can causes leaks, which gradually damage building materials and develop mold. A bursting pipe can send large amounts of water into the building, threatening personal belongings and office equipment.

Help Is Available
For floods and storms, you need the expertise of a disaster response company. These professionals have the training and equipment to clean up after any damage and restore your building so you can return to work safely.
Flood damage is nothing to take lightly. Either from a storm or plumbing problems, water damage can affect your office.

Can a Property Manager Be Sued for a Mold Claim?

8/15/2022 (Permalink)

Mold damage in Geneva, IL
Mold insurance claims are on the rise. In one major case, a Texas couple was awarded $4 million due to mold damages. Tenants are getting more litigious by the year, so it behooves property managers to know what their responsibilities are regarding mold remediation.

What Can Cause a Mold Claim?

A building owner in Geneva, IL, may be responsible for situations leading to property damage in the case of provable negligence. Most mold claims against property managers revolve around three issues:

  • Improper building materials
  • Improper repair techniques
  • Damage caused during repairs

Residential landlords are held to the highest standard and are strictly required to maintain a “habitable” dwelling. Business tenants are not typically held to the same standard since they’re assumed to have a higher level of sophistication and responsibility for their own fate.
Any of these three issues are the property manager’s responsibility, even if you used a contractor to do the work. You may be able to sue the contractor for damages, of course. If the mold damage is the result of a water leak, it may be covered by mold insurance claims, especially if you have a rider for mold.

What Is Your Liability?
For business tenants, your liability is typically described in your contract. However, even if your contract makes your tenants responsible for maintenance, some problems may still be considered your responsibility. Your attorney can help you determine where this sometimes-obscure line is.

How Can You Reduce Your Liability?
Since the building is your asset, you should arrange for a yearly mold inspection by a local mold restoration company. Black mold can eat away at construction materials and even weaken the structure if it’s made of wood. Don’t assume the tenants will care about your building!
You should also review your contract with your attorney. However, the best way to reduce liability and prevent the stress of making mold insurance claims is prevention. If you have a water leak, regardless of the source, get it fixed immediately to avoid future mold damage and claims.

4 Ways to Keep Mold From Spreading In Your Home

7/30/2022 (Permalink)

The aftermath of Mold damaging the ceiling after water damage.

Four Strategies to Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home

Mold is a common problem for many homeowners, but this fact doesn’t make it any less frustrating. If you have mold growth in your St. Charles, IL, home, there are several things that you can do to help keep it under control.

1. Reduce Moisture

Mold needs moisture to grow. This is why you will often find mold in places with water damage. However, your house doesn’t need to be flooded to enable this growth. Small leaks or high levels of humidity can contribute as well. Fixing damaged pipes or appliances quickly and using dehumidifiers can help prevent mold.

2. Limit Air Circulation

If you already have mold in your home, whether as a result of water damage or something else, movement in the air can spread it further. Limit the use of HVAC systems and fans until you are able to have the mold removed.

3. Clean Regularly

Because mold can grow in any location and you may not know that any spores are present before they have begun to spread, cleaning your home regularly is an important part of mold prevention. This is especially true if you have had mold problems in the past. In areas that mold has grown previously, you are more likely to find future growth.

4. Hire a Professional

Mold can be difficult to remove on your own and can easily be spread if you don’t know what you’re doing, so hiring a mold remediation company to remove it can help keep the problem from returning. They can find all instances of growth in the building and can perform cleanup and any needed repairs.
Even if mold keeps popping up in your house, there is no need to panic. In most instances, it will not cause serious problems. Just be sure to take care of any water damage when it occurs and keep moisture levels low. Recurring mold should be handled by a professional to get the best results.

4 Easy Steps To Flush a Water Heater

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

Conduct a water heater flush annually to ensure your water heater is working efficiently.

How to Flush a Water Heater in Four Simple Steps

Unless you love ice cold showers at your home in Elburn, IL, you depend on your water heater to reliably do its job. This household item requires annual maintenance to keep it working properly, as mineral deposits collect over time and build up inside. A water heater flush may seem like an intimating task because water, electricity and gas are involved. However, the job is less stressful than it first appears. There are 4 easy steps to improve the efficiency and extend the life of this important appliance.

1. Turn Off Power

First, turn the appliance off to avoid the risk of exposing yourself to gas or electrical shock. For gas, turn the knob at the bottom to the “off” position and shut off the valve on the gas pipe. For electric, shut off the power at the circuit breaker box.

2. Prepare

Before you begin flushing, collect a garden hose long enough to lead outside. The alternative is to bring a shorter hose and a large bucket to contain the water. Connect the hose to the drain spigot on your water heater.

3. Drain and Flush

Open the valve to drain the water out of the tank. Run hot water from elsewhere in the house to help it flow. Once the water runs clear, close the valve. Repeat the process if desired.

4. Turn On Water and Power

Turn on the water supply to the appliance with the valve closed. Now, turn the power back on. For gas, turn the knob at the bottom to the “on” position and restart the gas supply. For electric, turn the power on at the circuit box. Remember to turn off the water you left running in the other location. The water should heat up in about 20 minutes.

As a homeowner that loves hot showers in Elburn, IL, conduct a water heater flush on an annual basis to keep your water heater working efficiently. However, if this appliance reaches the end of its life and causes flooding or water damage, contact a water restoration specialist as soon as possible.

Ways To Flood-Proof Your Home

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

Laying down absorbent mulch can help to reduce potential flooding.

While you can’t totally protect your house in North Aurora, IL from every potential flood, there are some flood safety recommendations that can reduce the risk of damage.

How To Protect Your House From Flooding

For maximum flood safety, move all electrical sockets, switches, and circuit breakers so that they are at least one foot above your area’s flood level expectations.
Boilers, air conditioning units, and generators should be elevated on wooden platforms or cinder blocks above the flood level. Also, consider elevating your washer and dryer on blocks if they are located in the basement.
Install a backstop for sewage water. A licensed plumber should install gate valves to all pipes that lead into your house to reduce the risk of sewage backup into your home.

How to Minimize the Risk Outside Your Home
The following safety tips will help to reduce the risk of flooding from landscaping and other outside fixtures.

Keep all gutters and drains clear of debris. Clogged drains will increase the risk of floodwaters that cause damage.
Inspect your roof periodically to make sure the shingles are in good condition. Call a professional to replace any damaged materials before the first chance of rain.
Put a rain barrel under your gutter spouts to reduce the risk of flooding in your basement.
Evaluate the layout of your landscaping:

Outdoor surfaces that are porous, such as rocks with a bit of space between them, will encourage water to soak into the ground before it reaches the house.
You can also dig channels into the soil so that stormwater can drain away from the house.
If you have an asphalt or concrete driveway, consider changing it to brick or gravel. Also, laying down absorbent mulch can help to reduce potential flooding.

Even though you can’t totally flood-proof your house, you can implement these smart flood safety suggestions to reduce your risk.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Property Managers

6/26/2022 (Permalink)

Make a preparedness kit.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Property Managers

Going through a hurricane can bring untold stress. That’s even truer if you’re managing a property. With multiple renters come multiple potential problems, any of which could carry the risk of liability. Don’t wait until the last minute. Use these hurricane preparedness tips to prepare your Batavia, IL, property and enter storm season confident you’ll suffer little hurricane damage.

Hurricane Season Risks

A hurricane is best described as a storm on steroids. Defined by violent winds often in excess of 74 mph, these weather occurrences can cause property damage that takes months to repair. Damage can include:

• Floodwaters moving across the ground
• Mudslides due to excessive ground moisture
• Tornadoes triggered by the original storm

If your property is located in a hurricane-prone area, it’s important that you prepare for these potential impacts.

Make a Storm Plan

If you own a multi-family property, a comprehensive storm preparation plan is a must. Make sure your strategy covers evacuation plans, emergency contacts and hurricane damage relief information. Create a hurricane-preparedness team tasked with updating and communicating your plan to residents.

Secure Your Property

During high winds, just about anything can become a projectile. It’s important to secure items in advance to prevent serious damages. Survey the property in advance of the storm to identify items like large trash bins that could be lifted in a storm. If the item can’t be secured, store it inside.

Make a Preparedness Kit

Don’t forget your staff when preparing for a hurricane. Make and store kits in portable containers that can allow your staff to tend to emergencies that may occur just before or during a storm. Be sure to include staples like a flashlight, extra batteries, drinking water and a first aid kit.

Hurricane damage is nothing to sneeze at. The flooding and high winds can be a property management nightmare. Don’t risk it. Use these tips as a starting point for hurricane preparedness and enter the storm season secure.

4 Maintenance Tips for Fire Sprinkler Systems

6/18/2022 (Permalink)

Keep sprinkler heads clean.

Fire Sprinkler System Maintenance

Having a fire sprinkler system installed in your business can be imperative for safety should a flame break out. However, these systems can also malfunction, resulting in unnecessary water damage to the building. To ensure they function properly, routine sprinkler maintenance is key. Here are four tips to maintain the system in your Geneva, IL, property.

1. Keep Sprinkler Heads Clean
For proper function, sprinkler heads should be cleaned regularly. They can collect grease, dust, grime and more material that can obstruct the flow of water if needed. Use a solution aimed at removing grease to clean off any residue.

2. Check Water Pressure in Fire Sprinklers
In the event of a fire, there should be good water pressure within the sprinkler system. Have a fire or plumbing professional check the pressure regularly to make sure there is a good flow of water when needed.

3. Inspect Non-electric Control Valves
Inspecting the system's control valves is a key component of sprinkler maintenance to avoid water accidentally spilling out when no fire occurs. Non-electric valves should ideally be checked weekly to make sure they are open.

4. Perform Routine Inspection of the Entire System
Enlist a fire service professional to inspect the building's entire sprinkler system. This is the best way to ensure the sprinklers will perform properly when there is a fire and won't cause water damage to the building if not. An inspector can check for unseen issues, such as damaged pipes within the system and other concerns that building owners might miss.
Plan an all-system inspection to take place once every year. Neglecting this method of sprinkler maintenance could result in accidental activation and an immense water cleanup project only water damage restoration professionals can handle.
Keep your building's fire sprinkler system maintained by cleaning sprinkler heads, checking water pressure and control valves, plus having an annual inspection of the system.

3 Things To Know About Fire Extinguishers

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

Choosing a fire extinguisher is one of the most critical decisions to protect your family.

Fire Extinguishers: 3 Things You Should Know

Choosing a fire extinguisher is one of the most critical decisions to protect your family. When shopping for these life-saving devices in St. Charles, IL, it helps to consider whether you plan to use them in your home or vehicle and know the difference between the three types. Here are three things to know to help you buy a suitable extinguisher and be ready for a fire.

1. Size and Location
A fire extinguisher can range in size from two to tens pounds. The two-pound disposable models are ideal for keeping secured in the trunk of your car or the toolbox of your truck. The next most common size is five pounds, which you should keep near the stove or clothes dryer. The largest extinguishers designed for home use weigh ten pounds. Mount these near the garage or other spaces containing combustible materials.

2. Types
Manufacturers classify extinguishers according to the type of fires they can put out. For example, type A is for cloth, wood and paper. Type B is for liquids like grease and gasoline, and Type C is for electrical fires. In addition to the letter categories, Underwriter Laboratories ranks extinguishers from 1 to 4 according to how well they work. Manufacturers can also produce extinguishers worthy of multiple letters and numbers. Thus, you can buy a single extinguisher capable of putting out any home fire.

3. Fire Preparedness
In addition to buying the right kind of extinguishers, it is vital to check their pressure regularly to ensure they are ready when you need them. You also can purchase a battery-powered sensor to alert you when to refill an extinguisher. Finally, for the next level in fire protection, you can connect your extinguishers to your home security system that will automatically call 911 if you discharge an extinguisher. In case of a fire, hire a fire cleanup service.
Knowing how to buy and maintain a fire extinguisher will keep your family safe. When you prepare for the worst, you will have peace of mind.

3 Ways To Protect Your Home From a Fire

5/25/2022 (Permalink)

Never leave your home with a space heater or other heating appliance running.

Protect Your Home From a Fire

There are many residential fire causes, such as kitchen mishaps, heating equipment, faulty wiring and smoking. It's important to recognize possible dangers and take the proper precautions. Here are a few ways you can protect your home from a fire.

1. Cook Responsibly
Whether you're having a neighborhood barbeque in Elburn, IL, or baking a batch of cookies, it's important to always be aware of cooking equipment. A home fire can occur quickly, so it's best to be prepared for all situations. When cooking on a grill, make sure the coals are completely extinguished and the grill itself has cooled down before moving it into a garage or near something flammable. Don't leave food baking unattended for long periods of time and remember to turn off all appliances before going to bed.

2. Be Aware of Possible Combustibles
Your home is full of flammable items, so it's good to take precautions to protect yourself and your family. Never leave your home with a space heater or other heating appliance running. This is considered dangerous as combustibles like blankets, clothing and furniture can cause a home fire if they are too close to the heater. A fire can start from something as simple as stray ash from a cigarette. If you smoke, it's best to do it outside to reduce the risk of a fire.

3. Prepare for the Unexpected
Practicing fire safety is a great way to protect your family, but you should also be prepared for an emergency. Make sure your family knows what to do in case of a fire, including where to meet once you exit the home. While you may think about reaching for valuables, remember that your safety is of utmost importance. During the fire cleaning and restoration process afterward, trained professionals can preserve family photos and other keepsakes.
Much of the time, a home fire is preventable. Apply fire safety precautions in your home and create a safe environment for you and your family.

How To Prevent Fire Damage in Your Commercial Building

5/20/2022 (Permalink)

People need to know how to exit the building calmly and safely.

Steps To Create a Fire Prevention Plan

The safety of not only your commercial building but also everyone in it is likely one of your key concerns as a business owner. Certified mitigation experts in North Aurora, IL, can repair and restore your building to its former state, but it's better to prevent the problem in the first place. Here are some tips for creating a solid fire prevention plan.

Teach Good Fire Safety Habits
It's not enough for you to know how to prevent a fire. Everyone who works there must be trained on general fire safety as well as specific issues that may arise with their jobs. There are several topics this training should cover:

  • Combustible items
  • Storage of flammable liquids
  • Electrical outlet usage
  • Appliance and equipment care

Additionally, everyone should know how to use a fire extinguisher. Ensure that you have enough canisters stashed throughout the building so that one is always within easy reach when needed.

Install and Maintain a Business Fire Suppression System
Most commercial buildings have sprinkler systems that are connected to a central control panel. Consult the fire marshal to find out the type of fire prevention system that works best for your structure. Make sure the system undergoes regular maintenance, and report any malfunctions as soon as you discover them.

Practice and Post Evacuation Plans
Finally, if a fire does break out, everyone needs to know how to exit the building calmly and safely. Post signs showing the fastest evacuation routes from multiple points in the building. Stage fire drills so that everyone who works there understands their role in case of a fire. You may not always be able to prevent fire damage to the building, but you can at least keep your people safe.
It is of utmost importance to have a strong fire prevention plan when you own a business. Make the safety of your people a priority.