Recent Posts

Advanced technology and techniques

9/26/2021 (Permalink)

Picture of Demo House Demolition at a Home


We, at SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County invest in the latest technology and equipment because it helps us restore your home or business more quickly and efficiently while minimizing cost. We invest in technology such as a thermal camera that allows us to detect moisture inside walls, technology like rescue mats that help to extract water from your hardwood floors and allow them to be dried in place. SERVPRO puts time and money into researching and developing the absolute best products to help to clean and restore your home or workplace to preloss condition.

Having advanced technology regarding restoration products can reduce the amount of demolition and damage to your home. Rather than having to cut a hole in a wall to read the moisture we can detect it with a state-of-the-art thermal camera. This saves time, money and prevents unneeded demolition or archaic restoration methods.

Types of Fires and How They Are Extinguished

9/19/2021 (Permalink)

Picture of Fire Extinguisher putting out fire Knowing the type of fire you are trying to extinguish is essential for safely attempting to put it out and can help avoid making the fire worse

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were approximately 1,345,500 fires nationwide in 2015. As a homeowner or property manager, being aware of the different types of fires and how they are extinguished can help you to quickly resolve a fire incident, avoid making it worse, and even determine when the risks are too high for any attempt at extinguishing the flames. In the event of any fire, your safety and health should be your number one priority at all times. If you are concerned about your safety at any point, vacate the property, keep a safe distance, and wait for your local fire department to arrive. The types of fires are generally split into the 5 classes listed below.

Class A - Ordinary Combustible Fires

This common type of fire happens when materials are heated to their ignition temperature. Heat, oxygen, and fuel will allow a combustible fire to continue burning. Rubber, plastic, textiles, wood, paper and organic carbon-based compounds are a few of the materials that can be involved in these types of fires.

Combustible fires are usually the most simple to extinguish since spraying with water will cool the flames and source material. By removing the supply of heat, the fire is left without the essentials needed to burn. A water-based or foam based fire extinguish is recommended for Class A fires.

Class B - Flammable Liquids

Any liquid substance that has an ignition temperature below 100°C is classified as a flammable liquid. These liquids burn easily due to having a low flashpoint ( the temperature of a substance where enough vapor to be ignited is released). If a spark, flame, or any other source of ignition is applied to a flammable liquid, they can burn at any temperature. Types of flammable liquids include, but are not limited to, petrol, kerosene, alcohol, solvents, and paints.

When attempting to extinguish a Class B fire, it is important that you DO NOT use water to put the fire out. Splashing water can cause the flammable liquid to spread, spreading the fire along with it. Instead, smother the flames using a foam extinguisher. It is also important to note that Class B fires produce a thick and black toxic smoke, so avoiding the fire and waiting for the professionals may be the best route.

Class C - Flammable Gases

Butane, propane, and petroleum are a few flammable gases that have the potential for creating explosions if triggered by a spark. These fires are amongst the most dangerous and only need about a 5% concentration of flammable gas in the air to burn.
These fires should always be left to your fire department. Once on scene, they will have to isolate the fire’s gas supply and then use dry powder extinguishers. Most other extinguishers are ineffective against Class C Fires.

Class D - Metal Fires

Metals are good conductors and most require a lot of heat to ignite. Certain types of metals can burn if ignited. Metal shavings and powders pose a higher fire risk than solid masses of metal. Alkali metals such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium can burn when in contact with air and water. Therefore, spraying water or foam onto metal fires will increase the intensity of the flames and can potentially cause explosive reactions sending pieces of burning metal in all directions.

When dealing with a Class D fire, the safest approach is usually to allow the fire to burn out on its own. These type of fires tend to occur in industrial properties with large amounts of burning metal and an increased chance of explosions. Class D fires have a tendency for producing large amounts of ash, which builds up and starves the fire’s supply of oxygen. For metal fires that are spotted early, special type D powder fire extinguishers can be effective. Just make sure to check that they are the specific dry powder type intended for use on metal fires.

Electrical Fires

Electrical fires do not have a class of their own and are designated to Class C in the United States. However, they have their own fire safety requirements and are important to mention. These fires can be caused by short circuits, overloaded switchboards, faulty equipment and damaged wiring.

Before attempting to extinguish an electrical fire, it is important to isolate its electrical supply as quickly as possible. Water and foam are both conductors for electricity, so even after isolation, it is not safe to use them as extinguishers. The only types of extinguishers recommended for safely addressing electrical fires are carbon dioxide and dry powder fire extinguishers.

Class F - Cooking Oil Fires

Fires that involve cooking oil and fats are classified as Class F. These fires are common in homes, businesses and professional kitchens. They pose a very difficult challenge to extinguish, due to the high temperatures involved. Simply trying to cool the fire with water will not work. In fact, using water on a burning pan is likely to cause a rapid spreading out of the flames, making the fire worse and potentially injuring anyone in its vicinity.

For this reason, special fire extinguishers have been developed to address Class F fires. Wet chemical extinguishers contain a formula which cools the fire and then mixes with the oil to seal the surface and prevent re-ignition.

Fire Damage Restoration

SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County does not extinguish fires. In case of a fire emergency, please contact your local emergency services and fire department for assistance. If you have suffered from fire damage to your property, give us a call at 847-516-1600. Our phone lines are open 24 hours to assist you and our skilled technicians can help you assess the extent of the damage to get the fire damage restoration process going.

SERVPRO Offers Content Pack Out, Pack Back, & Storage Services to Your Commercial Property

8/23/2021 (Permalink)

Truck Loaded With Boxes For more info & to verify that content cleaning and restoration services are offered in your area, contact SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County

If your business suffers water, fire, smoke or mold damage, the cleanup and restoration experts at SERVPRO are the premier choice for content restoration and pack-out.

Content Pack-Out

There are scenarios that require business content removal and relocation for prompt and thorough cleaning and restoration. If a business suffers fire and smoke damage, for example, it is often easier, more secure and cost-efficient to take certain contents to another location for restoration work.

SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County provides complete pack-out services. We will carefully and respectfully take the contents of your home or business to be restored, packed, and delivered to an off-site facility. The pack-out process involves meticulous documentation to ensure your items receive the best possible care, including photo documentation, identification numbers and detailed lists.

  • Artwork
  • Documents
  • Books
  • Photographs
  • VHS and DVD media
  • Clothing
  • Electronics (televisions, computers, stereos, etc.)
  • Furniture
  • Rugs
  • Retail Inventory


Meanwhile at a SERVPRO restoration location, your items are stored in a secure, climate-controlled environment. They remain there until the cleaning and restoration process is complete.

Content Pack Back

After content cleaning and restoration, items are returned to your business using the same inventory procedures and documentation employed in the pack-out process. Your items are loaded, transported and delivered with great care and then reconciled with original pack-out inventories.

Content cleaning and restoration is offered at SERVPRO locations and on select jobs and services performed. The availability and scope of content cleaning and restoration varies by location, job, insurance provider (if applicable) and other factors.

Prepare Your Home For A Wind Storm: Top 6 Ways To Protect Your Home!

8/22/2021 (Permalink)

Top 6 Ways To Protect Your Home From Wind Damage

Wind storms can be very damaging to your home or property if you are not prepared.  Unfortunately, we rarely get much warning before a large wind storm so it is critical to prepare your home ahead of time. Routinely checking, fixing or updating areas around your home can make the difference between a hundred dollars and thousands of dollars in damages.  

Here are six ways to prepare your home before the next storm hits:

  1. Is your roof in good shape?
    1. Your shingles should be nailed down properly and all secured together.
    2. Replace any missing shingles immediately.
  2. Make sure your garage door is secure.
    1. Sometimes this means hiring a company to inspect your garage door to ensure it is properly secured and functioning well.
  3. Secure all outdoor items.
    1. Grills, patio furniture, trampolines, etc. These items can cause a lot of damage if the wind is strong enough to pick them up.
  4. Ensure your gutters are properly secured and clean them out regularly.
    1. Clogged cutters can create water damage to your house. They are also more likely to break in a high wind storm if they are weakened by heavy debris.
  5. Are your windows storm proof?
    1. Installing storm proof windows can make a big difference in protecting your home from high winds and hail from a storm.
    2. If you don’t have storm proof windows, consider installing steel or aluminum shutters on your windows or sliding doors to protect them from flying debris.
  6. Remove or trim/maintain trees around your home.
    1. Trimming your trees of dead wood can help prevent large branches falling during a wind storm.

Be sure to routinely check and maintain your home so you are ready before the next storm hits.  However, if you do find yourself in need of help after a storm, call SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County we specialize in restoration and water damage repair in the McHenry County area.  Call us after a storm and let us take the stress off of your family! We will make sure it's "Like it never even happened." 

We can be reached 24/7 at 847-516-1600

Your Business After A Fire

8/20/2021 (Permalink)

Presentation is important for any business, and doubly so in the service sector. If you own or manage a store or restaurant, your customers will likely be discouraged or even scared off by obvious signs of damage and visual blemishes on your property. SERVPRO knows first-hand that some of the most thorough visual damages to a building can come from fires, whether through the burn itself or any associated events and factors. These blemishes and issues are commonly cleaned up by our restoration teams, to ensure that once a company's doors get back open, they stay open. 
Burn Marks 
Burns and char easily rank among the most visible types of commercial fire damage immediately giving away to any observer the fact that a fire has burned in the area. Blackened or darkened materials, even if they have no other major damage beyond discoloration, can still be resource and time-intensive to cover up, often requiring a wide cleaning and repainting job to make sure colors blend well and no burn material remains. 
Smoke and Ash 
smoke and ash leave a profound impact on a building, to both the sight and smell of anyone nearby. Smoke is a pervasive scent and easily noticeable in most cases, but can also leave behind a great deal of smearing and coat surfaces. Depending on the type of smoke and conditions of this fire, this may be a relatively easy cleanup job, or a more thorough repainting may be in order. 
Structural Damage 
SERVPRO can also help to restore mild structural damage caused by a fire, rebuilding walls, floors, supports, and other elements of a building if they have been burned through or collapsed on. We always aim to restore before replacing, and in this way can potentially save you thousands in reconstruction costs where they are not necessary. 
SERVPRO of Sothern McHenry County helps businesses to get back on track after a disaster. Give us a call at 847-516-1600.

Why Did My Basement Flood?

8/3/2021 (Permalink)

Foot on Wet Carpet Water will find the least path of resistance and it could be into your basement. Be prepared and know how to prevent a flooded home!

Why Did My Basement Flood?

Flooding of basements is one of the most common issues most homeowners face. Although flooding occurs during heavy rains or rapid snowmelts, it can also occur in dry weather.

There are many reasons for basement flooding including seepage, storm sewer backup, and improper grading among others. As the basement lies in the lowest level of a building, it is prone to flooding.

What causes basement flooding?

These are the most common causes of basement flooding:

Foundation Leaks: Water can seep into the foundation if there are cracks in itThe risk of flood in your foundation is more if your home is near groundwater. Cracks in the foundation can lead to significant water leakage into the basement.

Leaking basement windows: Windows in the basement can leak and let water creep in during rains. Whenever it rains, there could be a significant collection of water on the windowsills. Fixing the windowsill is the only option to prevent basement flooding.

Blocked sewer: If the manifold that connects the public sewer system to your house is blocked it can lead to floods in your basement. It is important to call local authorities immediately to address blocked gutters and SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County to mitigate the sewage and water damage.

Debris in gutters: The gutters play a critical role in preventing basement flooding as they carry away rain water from the home.  If they are clogged or damaged, they can overflow during rains and allow water to build up. If the ground near the basement soaks up too much water, it can seep into the basement as well.

Improper grading or sloping: If the yard does not slope away in the right manner, rain water does not drain effectively. If the sloping is towards your home rather than away, excess water can result in basement flooding. 

Improper downspouts: Downspouts channel water away from the foundation and should be at least 5 to 6 feet away from the wall of the basement. If the downspouts are missing or broken, water tends to pool near the house and slowly seeps into the basement.

SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County provides professional emergency clean up and restoration services on a 24/7 basis. Should you encounter water or sewage damage call our office directly at 847-516-1600.

Preventing water from entering through window wells

8/3/2021 (Permalink)

Branches Through Window Well Fixing (or preventing) a window well filling with water is all about two components of the window well system – the drain and the cover.

Window Well Drain – Every window well should have a drain to allow water to exit the window well and not build to a level that creates a basement seepage problem.  Drains can be connected to interior or exterior drain tile or can be run to daylight where a proper slope exists.  With a well-constructed and properly maintained drain, a window well should never fill with water.

Of course, some home builders will take short cuts with window wells and install them without drains.  More commonly, though, the drains are there but, because of lack of maintenance, they clog up.

So, one way to fix a window well that is filling with water is to find and unclog the drain.  Cleaning debris from the opening to the drain is usually a fairly easy task but, if the drain has become clogged below the surface it can be difficult to unclog.  The best way, of course to deal with a clogged window well drain is to prevent it from clogging in the first place by installing a proper window well cover.

Window Well Covers – The most important function of a window well cover is not keeping out water but keeping out the kind of debris – leaves, grass clippings, trash – that will clog the drain.  Many homeowners make the understandable mistake of installing flimsy plastic “bubble” covers from the hardware store thinking that they will keep out water.  While still intact these covers create a surprisingly efficient greenhouse for weeds but are easily cracked and broken, rendering them useless.

A steel grid cover is better but can still admit a lot of debris.

The best window well cover will be constructed of reinforced polycarbonate and will be custom-fitted to the window well to ensure that it covers it completely.  This type of cover, while incidentally preventing most water from entering, will do an excellent job of keeping out debris (and small animals) and keeping the window well drain open and working.

-Source: U.S. Waterproofing

Making the right choice for Water Mitigation

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

Wet drywall cut out from ceiling This home had a significant water issue, and as you can see, the line on the ceiling was cut evenly and is ready for an easy rebuild.

We agree water damage is not a great time in many of our customers' lives. At the moment you walk into your home and see water damage, you have many thoughts going through your head. 

  • Who is going to clean this up? 
  • How am I going to pay for this?
  • Why is this happening to me? 
  • How did this happen? 
  • Where is the water coming from? 

At this point, all of those questions need answers. We want to be that company that is top of mind to help you through the entire scenario. We can be that one person who can help answer all the questions above. 

You are also worried about the work being done correctly. SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County has highly trained staff to ensure each step of the process is done by the book. Each piece of equipment is placed where it needs to be so that the materials in your home dry properly. Each material that needs to come out is cut precisely or taken out with care. We come into your home and treat it like we are the guests there. We make sure contents are out of the area and ensure that no contents are damaged during the process. 

Sewer Backup in Southern McHenry County, IL

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

sewer back up in utility room This is the utility room where the sewer city line clogged and backed up into the utility room & bathroom.

Sewer Backups - We can help!

When people think water damage, they automatically think about flooding but there are several other types of damages that can occur. One of the worst types of water damages are sewer backups. You will see in the picture actual sewer that shows that it came up through the main drain pipe. This type of sewer backup was caused by a clog in the main city line. Unfortunately these homeowners were not aware this is something that could have happened in their home. 

This homeowner called SERVPRO after seeing the commercials on TV hoping we could help. We were able to go to the home, start the cleanup, help with the odor and give the homeowners their bathroom back. 

If it is clean water or sewer water, SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County can help you with any type of water damage. 

How to save the deductible after getting water damage

7/28/2021 (Permalink)

Water obeys the law of gravity. Therefore, look down when looking for water damage.

Water damage payment may include work you can do yourself

If you incur water damage and get reimbursed by your insurance company, you can avoid paying the deductible. Hire yourself as a contractor.

Unpleasant return home

Elmer and his family went on vacation for a week. When they returned, they saw the upstairs bathtub had overflown. This created water damage both upstairs and downstairs. Water soaked the floor and drained to the kitchen downstairs. Apparently someone left the drain closed and the faucet had a slow leak.

Elmer called SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County and his insurance company, which was the right thing to do. SERVPRO came out, assessed the water damage and presented Elmer with an estimate. $12,000. Elmer has a $1,000 deductible on his homeowners’ insurance.

Scope of work

The water damage remediation work includes removing soiled drywall, studs, flooring and ceiling materials. The project second phase involves removing airborne mold particles and getting mold counts down to a healthy level. The third phase involves installing new studs, drywall, flooring and ceiling materials. The fourth and final phase involves painting the new drywall.

SERVPRO did the water damage remediation work he and the SERVPRO Office Manager agreed they should do. This includes all work listed above, except for the painting. Elmer felt he could do that himself. Upon completion, Elmer’s insurance company paid him $12,000. He paid SERVPRO $11,000. The remaining $1,000, which is his deductible, covers his cost for painting the new drywall.

He does some of the work

Elmer is an honest man. He buys the paint and paints the new drywall. He is also a businessman. He wants to reduce spending every chance he can get. Pocketing the deductible and doing some work himself helps Elmer get his house back in order and save some cash.

If you incur water damage from a storm event, do not delay. Your top priority is finding and stopping the leak. You can work with the insurance company and water damage remediation experts to create the scope of work and arrange payment. You can save the deductible by doing some of the work yourself.