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What does a Property Inspector Check For, and What is Not Included

4/1/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage What does a Property Inspector Check For, and What is Not Included Areas for Inspection

What a Property Inspector Check For, and what is not included, water damage in your Southern McHenry County home.

A property is probably the biggest purchase you'll ever make, so when you buy a property it's important to be sure your potential new property has a proper inspection before you sign the papers. Getting a qualified home inspector can be an important first step.

A home inspector is a qualified professional who visually inspects the structure and components of a home and looks for any immediate or potential problems. They provide a written report to you with a description of problem areas and may also include recommendations for further evaluation.

You can go over the report with your real estate agent to decide how the results may affect the purchase of your potential home.

What they inspect

Home inspection requirements vary greatly from state to state, but the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has a Standards of Practice page that outlines minimum and uniform standards that you should expect from an inspection. They include the following:

  • Structural elements: Construction of visible foundation, evidence of sagging or bowing of the structure, and window alignment
  • Safety: Operating fire and carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, condition of stairs, hand and guardrails, and garage door openers.
  • Grounds: Leaks from septic tank, proper drainage, and condition of the house's driveways, fences, and sidewalks
  • Roof: Condition of shingles, any repairs/patches to flat roofs, clear vents, damage to chimneys, and properly working gutters
  • Exterior surfaces: Correct clearance between ground and siding material, condition of exterior paint or siding, and properly working lights and electrical outlets
  • Attic: Sufficient insulation, proper ventilation, and any sign of leaking or water damage
  • Interior plumbing: No damaged or leaking pipes, proper hot water temperature, as well as functioning toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers
  • Electrical system: Up-to-code condition and type of visible wiring, and proper function of circuit breakers, outlets, light fixtures, and fans
  • Appliances: Proper function of stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer, and all other appliances
  • Heating and cooling systems: Condition of furnace, air conditioning (temperature permitting), water heater, chimney, and fireplace
  • Basement: Solid foundation, walls, and floors, with no signs of water intrusion or damage
  • Garage: Solid foundation, windows, ceiling, framing, and roof; working garage door opener; up-to-code electrical system; and proper function of outlets

What they don't inspect

Again, while there is variation of what home inspectors look for, there are areas that are generally not covered by a home inspection. If you suspect any problems or concerns in the following areas, you may want to schedule an evaluation by a certified specialist:

  • Pest control
  • Swimming pools
  • Asbestos
  • Radon gas
  • Lead paint
  • Toxic mold

What will it cost?

The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of the house, its age and possible optional services such as septic, well or radon testing.

Do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. The sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspection is not necessarily a bargain. Use the inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, and compliance with your state’s regulations, if any, and professional affiliations as a guide.

Why can't I do it myself?

Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. An inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety. He or she knows how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail.

Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may have an effect on their judgment. For accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial, third-party opinion by a professional in the field of home inspection.

Finding a home inspector

Be sure you are comfortable with your choice of home inspector. They are extremely important and can help you detect and avoid major pitfalls in the home buying process.

  • Talk to your real estate professional. They may be able to recommend a home inspector that they have worked with in the past and trust.
  • Ask friends and family. If you know anyone who has recently gone through the home buying process, they may have a good recommendation.
  • Look for accredited affiliations. Consumers should look for an inspector who has an affiliation with groups such as the National Institute of Building Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors, and the International Society of Certified Home Inspectors. These are some of the most reputable inspector associations, and their Web sites have a 'find an inspector' service to locate a member in your area.

Sources:

American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)                                                                     National Institute of Building Inspectors                                                                           International Society of Certified Home Inspectors

Emergency Survival Kit

4/1/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Emergency Survival Kit SERVPRO survival kits in preparation for spring.

With spring approaching, Illinois weather can be extreme. Between major thunderstorms and wind storms it's important to have an emergency survival kit ready for when the power does go out! These kits can also be stored in cars, for when that thunderstorm or tornado approaches and requires you to take cover. 

Keep in mind, doubling up on essentials like flashlights and radios is a smart move in case something malfunctions. 

  • Clean water is a great start
  • Blankets, Sleeping Bag
  • Additional clothes
  • Non-perishable food that can be eaten warmed up or cold (if you pack anything that's perishable, make sure to regularly cycle it through to keep it fresh)
  • 1-2 Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Matches and small candles. Check to make sure there is a metal or some sort of containment for the wax!
  • Any necessary medicines (check expiration dates).
  • Medical supplies such as band-aides, gauze, Neosporin and rubbing alcohol. 
  • Lightweight tent
  • Personal hygiene items 
  • Paper goods (napkins, plates, paper towels)
  • Manual can opener
  • AM/FM radio.

There's always more a person can add to their survival kit. This is a great starting point. If you do lose power during a thunderstorm, tornado, high winds or other damage can occur throughout your home. If that is the case, keep SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County in mind to help you through! 

Commercial Restoration Services

4/1/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Commercial Restoration Services No Job is too Small. If your business suffers a loss CALL SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County 847-516-1600

There is never a good time for fire or water damage to strike your business. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity.  So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we'll be there fast ad with the help you need.

Your commercial properties appearance speaks volumes to your clients.  So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services, SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County professionals have the training and expertise to make it "Like it never even happened."

  • Retail Facilities
  • Education Facilities
  • Property Management
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Hospitalities Facilities
  • Food Service Facilities

Commercial Building Restoration Services

We are available 24 hours a day to get your business back up and running. Our expertise includes restoration services for fire and water damage.  We are also your businesses best resource for mold remediation.

Commercial Building Cleaning Services

Whether your need is removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring or carpets, you can depend on SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County get the job done right the first time.  They'll respond promptly and make your workspace look its very best.

Have Questions? Call Today 847-516-1600

Four Fire Damage Restoration Factors for your Southern McHenry County Homes

3/11/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Four Fire Damage Restoration Factors for your  Southern McHenry County Homes Never Leave a Flame Unattended Says SERVPRO

SERVPRO Steps to Restore Your Southern McHenry County Fire Damaged Home

A serious situation is a given with heavy Southern McHenry County fire damage. If you try to complete the remediation process on your own, you will often expose yourself to health and safety hazards that may lead to injury. For these reasons and more, calling a professional fire damage restoration team like SERVPRO is the most prudent course of action when disaster strikes your residential property. Learn more about how remediation experts can assist you with the property restoration process by reviewing this short outline: Fire Damage Remediation Techniques. There are many factors and services involved to restore your property following a fire. Some are drying the property, cleaning the HVAC system, rebuilding the damaged structures of the property, and removing unsalvageable goods. Drying Your Home. Drying your property following a fire is important. Typically, firefighters perform extinguishing work that leaves excessive water in your living space. This standing and hidden water create the perfect breeding ground for mold if left unattended. To prevent a mold infestation--starts with 48-72 hours after water intrusion--SERVPRO will extract volumes of water using powerful pumps, and water extractors. Now additional drying and moisture removal can begin using specialized equipment like air-moving machines and dehumidifiers. HVAC System. Residual particulates from a house fire coat the coils and filters of HVAC systems with debris and soot. Soot is not smoke, but an oily by-product of partially combusted materials like plastics and vinyl. The ductwork must also be cleaned and deodorized. Special techniques, along with IICRC and corporate training enable our technicians to complete successfully this wipe down and clean up stage. If this process is done properly, staining, painting, and replacement of drywall and ceilings are minimized, along with your costs. Structural Repair. When fire damage has compromised structural materials such as trusses, floor joists, drywall, and the electrical or plumbing systems, then the affected areas may have to be replaced. When feasible, repair is done before replacement. Our fire damage restoration experts can complete this work, or we can work and instruct your building contractors on your behalf. Removing Unsalvageable Materials. SERVPRO utilizes an industry developed technology called XactContents that inventories all household content. Categorizing of these items is then made as salvageable, non-salvageable, or questionable. The XactContents benefits you regarding the claims process with your insurance adjuster. We will help and cooperate with your okay. Fire damaged items beyond repair must be disposed of properly. If not, these items could contaminate other areas of the property.

Don't Delay-Get Great Fire Damage Remediation Services Today! In many cases, Southern McHenry County property fires send homeowners into a panic. Don't let this happen to you. Instead, recognize that hiring a top-notch fire damage restoration company is the key to restoring your property to preloss condition while maintaining your emotional equilibrium. SERVPRO works for you to keep costs down, treat you with empathy, and get you back home ASAP.

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County is locally owned and operated, so we are part of this Charlotte community too. When you have a smoke, soot or fire damage emergency, we’re already nearby and ready to help. We take pride in being a part of the Cary, Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Huntley, Marengo, Union, Fox River Grove and Woodstock communities and want to do our part in making it the best it can be. Call us for immediate assistance. (847) 516-1600

Condo Association and Insurance. Who Covers You?

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Condo Association and Insurance. Who Covers You? Condos

Condo Association and Insurance. Who Covers You?

Before filing an insurance claim, condo owners must determine who is liable for water damage.  Determining who is responsible or liable for condo water damage can be pretty tricky, and is dependent upon the cause of the damage. A Condo Association maintains insurance to cover common areas in the complex, and individual condo insurance policies cover the interiors of individual units, such as walls and floors.

When a water damage occurs in a condo, it does not matter where the water came from.  Keep in mind that each unit owner is responsible for their own unit.  The HOA is also responsible for the repairs and dry out or clean up.  Before filing an insurance claim, condo owners should contact a restoration company to perform an assessment.  A professional restoration company will be able to assist the homeowner and the association to coordinate the cleanup and repairs.  Condo owners should also review their individual condo coverage and determine what is covered by whom.  If the water damage was caused by a pipe that burst in the kitchen, the claim will most likely be covered by your own individual insurance.  If the water damage was caused by another unit, that will be a little tricky.  This is why it’s very important for every condo owner to be informed of their condo association’s master policy and their personal condo coverage, inside out!

Toxic mold growth can start within 48 hours of the water damage, if you notice any water damage either coming from your unit or another unit, notify us SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County and your condo association and inform them of what is going on.  When dealing with the condo association, be persistent and make sure you receive an immediate response, especially if the water damage has made your unit uninhabitable.

Contact SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County at 847-516-1600.

How to be ready for a thunderstorm

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage How to be ready for a thunderstorm Approaching lightingstorm

How to be ready for a thunderstorm

The American Red Cross created a great outline of how to prepare for severe thunderstorms.  In the case of an emergency it always helps to be prepared.

  • Learn about your local community’s emergency warning system for severe thunderstorms
  • Discuss thunderstorm safety and lightning safety with all members of your household
  • Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail
  • Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a severe thunderstorm
  • Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches
  • Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home
  • Consult your local fire department if you are considering installing lightning rods
  • Get trained in first aid and learn how to respond to emergencies
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit
  • Review the Be Red Cross Ready - Thunderstorm Safety Checklist

Please contact SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County if you have any questions or need emergency service at 847-516-1600.

-Source: American Red Cross

Presidents Day History Facts

2/17/2018 (Permalink)

General Presidents Day History Facts George Washington Statue

Originally established in 1885 in recognition Washington's Birthday, also known as Presidents' Day, is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of February.

Traditionally celebrated on February 22 Washington's Birthday officially traditionally celebrated honors the life and work of George Washington, the first president of the United States and honors other presidents of the United States. 

In the weeks or days leading up to the holiday, schools often organize events and lessons for students about the presidents of the United States and George Washington in particular. It is a popular day for stores to start their sales.

Many delivery services, except for the Post Office, have a regular service and many, but not all, public transit systems operate on regular schedules. Some schools close for the whole week for a mid-winter recess.

Damp Places Loves Mold

2/15/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Damp Places Loves Mold Mold in a Damp Crawlspace

What Does Mold Need to Grow?

According to Michael Pugliese, author of The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold, there are three main necessities that mold spores need to grow and thrive:

  • Moisture

Mold spores need moist or damp areas to grow and reproduce. Watch for flooding, leaky pipes or windows, etc. Also excess moisture in the bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms are prime areas for mold growth.

  • Food

Mold spores need food – in the literal sense as well as other materials (i.e. cotton, leather, wood, paper products and others). The most dangerous materials mold loves to grow on, are porous materials (beds, couches etc.). It’s often impossible to remove mold growth from these items.

  • Optimum Temperatures

Mold spores thrive in temperatures 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures from about 70 – 90 degrees are the most conducive for mold growth. Chances of mold growth are heightened greatly between those temperatures. You may be wondering why mold can grow in your freezer. Mold doesn’t die when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, they lay dormant until temperatures raise, or they are set out to warm up.

Favorable Conditions for Mold

Michael Pugliese, author of the same book previously mentioned, also offers 5 tips describing favorable or unfavorable conditions for mold growth:

  • A relative Humidity of roughly 50% or higher

A good preventative measure would be to purchase a hygrometer to measure humidity levels in your home.

  • Damp or Dusty Conditions

Avoid developing piles of rags, clothing or other mold food sources.

  • Stagnant air

This explains why overly “tight” homes designed for energy efficiency can have mold problems.

Unfavorable Conditions for Mold

  • Ventilation

Good circulation throughout the home is important to eliminate dampness or potential moisture; especially in attics, basements, crawlspaces, laundry rooms.

  • Dry Air Indoors

Make sure to keep your home’s relative humidity down below 50%.

-Source: Mold Blogger

Smoke Detector Safety

2/1/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke Detector Safety Smoke Detector and Sprinkler

Smoke Detectors Smoke detectors are devices that are mounted on the wall or ceiling and automatically sound a warning when they sense smoke or other products of combustion. When people are warned early enough about a fire, they can escape before it spreads. Prices start at about five dollars. Every year thousands of people die from fires in the home. Fire kills an estimated 4,000 Americans every year. Another 30,000 people are seriously injured by fire each year. Property damage from fire costs us at least $11.2 billion yearly. Most fire victims feel that fire would "never happen to them." Although we like to feel safe at home, about two-thirds of our nation's fire deaths happen in the victim's own home. The home is where we are at the greatest risk and where we must take the most precautions. Most deaths occur from inhaling smoke or poisonous gases, not from the flames. Most fatal fires occur in residential buildings between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. when occupants are more likely to be asleep. More than 90 percent of fire deaths in buildings occur in residential dwellings. A Johns Hopkins University study, funded by the United States Fire Administration, found that 75 percent of residential fire deaths and 84 percent of residential fire injuries could have been prevented by smoke detectors. There are Two Basic Types of Smoke Detectors 1. Ionization detectors - Ionization detectors contain radioactive material that ionizes the air, making an electrical path. When smoke enters, the smoke molecules attach themselves to the ions. The change in electric current flow triggers the alarm. The radioactive material is called americium. It's a radioactive metallic element produced by bombardment of plutonium with high-energy neutrons. The amount is very small and not harmful. An ionization detector responds satisfactorily to all types of fires, however it generally responds quicker to flaming fires. 2. Photoelectric detectors - These type of detectors contain a light source (usually a bulb) and a photocell, which is activated by light. Light from the bulb reflects off the smoke particles and is directed towards the photocell. The photocell then is activated to trigger the alarm. A photoelectric detector generally responds more quickly to smoldering fires. Choosing a Smoke Detector When choosing a smoke detector, there are several things to consider. Think about which areas of the house you want to protect, where fire would be most dangerous, how many you will need, etc. East Side Fire Department recommends that every home have a smoke detector outside each sleeping area (inside as well if members of the household sleep with the door closed) and on every level of the home, including the basement. On floors without bedrooms, detectors should be installed in or near living areas, such as dens, living rooms or family rooms. The safest bet is to have both types of detectors or a combination detector with a battery back up. Be sure to check for a testing laboratory label on the detector. It means that samples of that particular model have been tested under operating conditions. Check to see if it is easy to maintain and clean. Installation The placement of smoke detectors is very important. Sleeping areas need the most protection. One detector in a short hallway outside the bedroom area is usually adequate. Hallways longer than 30 feet should have one at each end. For maximum protection, install a detector in each bedroom. Be sure to keep the detector away from fireplaces and wood stoves to avoid false alarms. Place smoke detectors at the top of each stairwell and at the end of each long hallway. Smoke rises easily through stairwells. If you should put a smoke detector in your kitchen, be sure to keep it away from cooking fumes or smoking areas. Proper mounting of a smoke detector is also important. You can mount many detectors by yourself, but those connected directly to your household wiring should have their own separate circuit and be installed by a professional electrician. If you mount your detector on the ceiling be sure to keep it at least 18 inches away from dead air space near walls and corners. If you mount it on the wall, place it 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling and away from corners. Keep them high because smoke rises. Never place them any closer than three feet from an air register that might re-circulate smoke. Don't place them near doorways or windows where drafts could impair the detector operation. Don't place them on an uninsulated exterior wall or ceiling. Temperature extremes can affect the batteries. Maintenance Keeping smoke detectors in good condition is easy. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Be sure to replace the batteries at least once every year or as needed. East Side Fire Department recommends changing the batteries in your smoke detectors twice annually. Most models will make a chirping, popping or beeping sound when the battery is losing its charge. When this sound is heard, install a fresh battery, preferably an alkaline type. Keep extra batteries on hand. Check the smoke detector every 30 days by releasing smoke or pushing the test button. Clean the detector face and grillwork often to remove dust and grease. Never paint a smoke detector, as it will hamper its function. Check your detector if you've been away from home for an extended period of time. If you're looking for a unique gift for somebody, consider giving him or her a smoke detector. It's an interesting gift that can save lives and it shows that you care.

Commercial Buildings Southern McHenry County

2/1/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Commercial Buildings Southern McHenry County Ready to Help

Commercial restoration is a nuanced industry. That's why you can trust SERVPRO of Southern McHenry with your building and business. We care about your livelihood. SERVPRO of Southern McHenry has the experience necessary to handle any size commercial disaster, whether it is fire damage, water damage, mold damage, or a crime scene cleanup. Every commercial building is different, but SERVPRO of Southern McHenry knows how to handle them all.

Call us today with any commercial emergency and you can rest assured that our team will take great care of you and your business. SERVPRO of Southern McHenry is a diverse company with many specialties, but we are unsurpassed in our restoration ability. We know the ins and outs of the industry and are prepared to assist you in any way possible. We know that when disaster strikes, you can't afford to be out of business. We want to get you back in as quick as possible. Put your trust in SERVPRO of Southern McHenry and you won't be disappointed.

We serve Algonquin, Cary, Crystal Lake, Fox River Grove, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Marengo, Woodstock, and Union.     Have Questions? Call Today 847-516-1600