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Fireplace Safety: How to Heat Your Home Safely

13 Jan 2019 22:56

Fireplaces  can create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere in your home. If not  maintained properly, however, they can be dangerous. In fact, according  to the National Fire Protection Association  (NFPA), 31 percent of home fires between 2011 and 2015 were caused by  fireplaces and chimneys, resulting in an estimated 262 million dollars  in direct property damage each year.
At such a high cost, it’s  crucial that homeowners with fireplaces know how to use them safely. Use  these fireplace maintenance and safety tips from the experts at  ServiceMaster Restore® to learn how you can safely heat your home all  season.
Fireplace safety tips
Use these safety tips to help prevent a fire from getting out of control:
Only burn hardwood and approved manufactured logs
Burning items that are unsafe can cause soot and creosote to build up in your chimney, which can combust and ignite a chimney fire.  At the same time, using unapproved materials like wet wood, trash,  paper, lighter fuel or other dangerous items, a fire that once began in  your fireplace could spread through your entire home. To stay safe, only  use dry or seasoned wood and approved fire logs and starter logs in  your fireplace.
Always use a fire screen
Fire  screens can help keep embers in the fireplace, preventing them from  flying out into your room. For extra safety, keep flammable items away  from the immediate vicinity. This includes holiday decorations, wrapping  paper, furniture, carpet, people and pets.
Maintain your fireplace
Have  your fireplace and chimney inspected before you use it for the first  time this year. That way, professionals can clean out any creosote  build-up, detect any chimney leaks and ensure that the structure is safe for use all season long.
Practice basic fire safety
Use these essential fire safety tips to help prevent a fire in your home:
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by to douse small flames.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly to ensure they will alert the household if a fire breaks out.
Then, use these fireplace-specific safety tips to help prevent a fire from spreading:
  • Always open the damper before lighting a fire to avoid trapping poisonous gasses in your home.
  • Never leave your fireplace unattended.
  • Never overload the fireplace.
With  these tips in mind, you can help keep your home cozy and safe this  season. For more fireplace safety precautions, read the recommendations  provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Contact the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore
Despite  our best efforts to protect our homes, fires still happen. When they  occur, they can cause serious damage to your home. Even if you get the  fire out quickly, soot damage can still lurk throughout your home and cause significant destruction.
In  the unfortunate event that you’ve experienced fire damage this season,  know that you don’t have to go through the clean-up process alone.  Contact the experts at ServiceMaster Restore to get your house back to  normal as quickly as possible. Our fire and smoke damage removal services  act fast to guide you through crisis to resolution, all while keeping  you informed of the process. With the equipment, experience and  expertise required to get the job done right, our professionals are  available 24/7 every day of the year to help restore your home after a  disaster.


13 Aug 2018 04:52

Residential floods and fires are disasters that plague homeowners across the United States every year. But the good news is, today's technology has made protecting your home easier than ever. . “Smart” devices, or devices which connect to home or cellular data networks via Bluetooth or other wireless network technology, have many uses in today’s home.
The best smart home devices can minimize your risk of costly water and fire disasters, allowing you to monitor your home for dangerous conditions whether you're across the room, across town or across the country. Discover how turning your home into a smart home can protect your property and your family.
Water Leak Monitoring
When it comes to home floods, the faster you can stop leaking water, the better. Water leak detectors can make a huge difference. These small, battery-operated detectors, which look similar to smoke detectors, can be placed near toilets, sinks, water heaters and anywhere else water damage tends to occur. If a leak is detected, these smart sensors will alert your phone and can even sound an alarm in your home.
To further protect your property, you can invest in a complete flood-monitoring system. Some with multiple detectors, automatic shutoff valves and a central hub, these systems give you added control and valuable peace of mind. Look for smart flood sensors available at a variety of price points to customize your monitoring system and better protect your home from water damage.
Fire Detection and Prevention Devices
Household fires are one of the most significant disaster risks that homeowners face. TheNational Fire Protection Associationreported a whopping 365,500 home fires in 2015 alone, resulting in property damage totaling $7 billion. Luckily, today's smart home features and technology take your fire protection a step beyond your classic smoke detector.
Smart smoke detectors can notify you of smoke and a potential fire even if you're away from home, thanks to updates sent directly to your mobile device. These detectors can even minimize the spread of fire by shutting down other home devices, such as your HVAC, when smoke is detected to. If you aren't ready to replace every smoke detector in your home, try using a smart battery in your existing smoke detectors to receive these real-time smartphone updates.
Other smart home devices rely on temperature readings to alert you of a potential fire. Some models set off an alarm and send you an alert when your home reaches a certain temperature, while others activate when a rapid rise in temperature is detected.
Finally, you can reduce the risk of electrical fires by using smart plugs. If you're afraid you left the clothes iron or coffeemaker on, these plugs can come to your rescue. Simply use your smartphone to cut off electricity to any devices plugged into the smart plugs, and you're all set.
Equipping your living space with smart home features is a simple and effective way to get real-time updates on dangerous conditions in your home, which can help you avert disasters such as fires and floods. What's more, making an investment in this smart technology can save you money in the long run by preventing costly damage. Be sure to keep your eye on the ServiceMaster Restore® blog for more tips onhow to prevent flood damageandhow to prevent fires in your home.

Create a Disaster Plan for Your Pets

23 Jul 2018 00:44

When a disaster strikes, your furry family members are going to need your help to stay safe. Once you’ve made a family emergency plan to prepare for the unexpected, use these tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore® to protect your pets, too.
Pet disaster preparedness: What you can do to keep them safe
In the event of a fire, flood, hurricane, or another natural disaster, we know just how important it is to keep our families safe. Luckily, many disasters are suspected before they strike, and warnings and evacuation measures are issued by authorities in advance of terrible storms. If you have enough time to bring your beloved pets with you while you seek shelter, it could mean all the difference between life and death. Use these steps to keep your animals safe from danger in the event that a disaster hits your community.
1. Microchip your pet.
A microchip is an easy, affordable way to keep your pet's identification on him or her at all times. Even if an ID tag is lost or forgotten, it only takes a quick swipe with a microchip reader to determine your pet's name and your contact information. After your pet is microchipped, make sure to keep your phone number, address, and other chip information updated.
2. Keep a collar and ID tags on your pets at all times.
If you get separated from your animals, a collar or harness with appropriate ID tags can help reunite you after the worst happens. As with microchips, keep your pet’s ID tags updated with the correct information.
3. Identify pet-friendly shelters.
Before disaster strikes, it’s important to seek adequate shelter and possible escape routes that can get you and your family there safely. If you have pets, look for shelters that may take animals, too. Unfortunately, during emergencies, many shelters are unable to accept pets for public health reasons. Research your area to determine boarding shelters or animal shelters that can take your pets while the storm passes, or identify pet-friendly hotels that allow you to take your furry friends with you. If these options don’t work for you, ask a friend or relative who lives out of town to watch your pets until life can get back to normal.
4. Create an emergency kit specifically for your pet.
When prepping for disaster, it’s essential that you have the proper supplies to stay safe if you have to leave home. After you assemble your own emergency preparedness kit, make one for each furry member of the family. A pet emergency preparedness kit should include at least the following items:
  • Food and water to last a minimum of three days
  • Food and water bowls
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Extra collars or harnesses, leashes, and ID tags
  • Pet carriers
  • Photos of your pet for identification
  • Copies of vaccination records stored in a waterproof container
  • Any medications needed
  • Toys and other pet favorites for stress relief
  • Litter supplies for cats
5. Have an evacuation plan.
An evacuation plan will help the whole family feel confident about what they should do if disaster strikes. In your plan, include details about who should be responsible for transporting the pets and grabbing the preparedness kits.
6. Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
Rescue Alert Stickers are available from the ASPCA that you can put on or near your front door. These stickers are meant to alert rescue workers that animals may be stuck inside. You can include information such as the types and number of animals, the name and number of your veterinarian, and your contact information. Once you finish filling it out, place it out front well in advance of an approaching storm. In the fortunate event that you are able to evacuate with your pets later on, you can simply write “EVACUATED” across the sticker so rescue workers know they’re safe.
Remember that if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets, either. If authorities require you to evacuate, you may not know when you can return home and check on your animals. Pets that are left to fare for themselves can easily be injured, lost, or worse. That’s why it’s so crucial to prepare well in advance of a storm to keep yourself, your family, and your beloved pets safe from harm. For more disaster preparedness tips, visit the ServiceMaster Restore blog today.

Chicago Fire Prevention Week

10 Oct 2017 12:46

Fire Prevention Week
10/10/2017 fire damage cleanup
In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.
Every October, we observe Fire Prevention Month as an opportunity to highlight the ways you and your family can stay safe from fires. As we kick off this important annual event, let's take a brief look at the history of Fire Prevention Month and how you can participate in your own household. With a few basic steps, this October can be your chance to do what it takes to help ensure that a fire never harms you, your loved ones, or your property.
What Is Fire Prevention Week?
The history of Fire Prevention Month begins with the infamous Great Chicago Fire of October 1871. In the wake of this citywide blaze, over 250 people had been killed and more than 100,000 were left homeless. As a result, people soon began creating fire awareness campaigns and sharing fire prevention tips during October, in remembrance of the fire that nearly destroyed an entire city.
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson declared National Fire Prevention Day, and five years later he declared Fire Prevention Week as a national observance. Over the years, this grew to encompass the entire month of October, with the National Fire Protection Association taking a leading role in organizing and sponsoring a month's worth of fire prevention tips for schools, families and individuals.
How Do Fires Start at Home? the great chicago fire 1871
Legend claims that the Great Chicago Fire started in a barn when a cow kicked over a lantern. A barn isn't exactly a house and the cow's owner, Catherine O'Leary, refuted the story, but it just goes to show that mundane occurrences can lead to severe fires. The seasonally dry weather and a city full of wooden buildings conspired for disaster, too, and the real start of the fire was never determined for sure.
Fire Prevention Month is about making sure that you stay aware of how easily fires can start. Take a look at our fire safety and prevention checklist for common risk factors and how you can avoid them. Whether it's a cow kicking over a lantern or kitchen towel left too close to a stovetop, you don't want to risk losing everything over carelessness.
What Fire Prevention Tips Work for Families?
Practicing fire safety at home involves the right mix of prevention, planning and action. Take the opportunity this October to get everyone in your household involved in being better prepared to avoid and react to fires. Here are a few tips to get your family started:
  • Teach kids to stay away from fire at home. You have more fire sources in your home than you might realize. Stoves, grills, candles, lighters and matches – to name just a few – can all cause trouble if mishandled. Make sure everyone knows that flame sources are for adults only.
  • Encourage talking about fire. Explain in age-appropriate terms what might happen if little ones break the rules. Encourage them to calmly and immediately tell you if someone breaks fire safety rules. It's important for everyone to know how serious a danger fire is.
  • Check your alarms, sprinklers, and extinguishers. Older kids can help test smoke alarms and use fire extinguishers. Make sure everyone knows where fire extinguishers are located, and keep their storage spaces clear of debris. Be sure they're stored within reach and will be visible and accessible if a fire breaks out.
Preventing fires at home is important year-round, but Fire Prevention Month serves as a great reminder that simple steps can make a big difference in keeping your family safe. Use these tips to make sure everyone knows the importance of fire safety at home, and don't hesitate to contact ServiceMaster Restore® if your home is affected by fire or smoke damage. Have a safe October!

When Harvey moves out, ServiceMaster Restore moves in

29 Aug 2017 23:47

When Harvey moves out, Restore moves in
Rain continues to pelt southeast Texas while ServiceMaster Restore is staged and ready when waters recede. The focus now is on  determining which commercial areas are safe to enter.
Safety remains a concern, especially as the water recede. Fire ants, snakes and alligators, as well as other displaced wildlife, will seek more habitable conditions, which may be close to residential and commercial areas. Heat and humidity are also factors.
Franchise Services President on CNBC's Squawk Box Today
Franchise Services Group President Mary Kay Wegner appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box Tuesday morning to talk about ServiceMaster Restore and recovery and restoration after Hurricane Harvey. See it here.

Holiday Cleaning Tips - ServiceMaster DCS

31 Oct 2016 21:25

Tips for a Guest-Ready Home:
How deep do you go when cleaning for holiday guests? There are some who take it to the extreme — but you can have a clean home without going overboard.
If you think wiping down countertops and fluffing a few pillows in advance of the guest onslaught will land you on Santa’s “nice” list this   holiday season, check that list twice.
But you can bring your home to sparkling guest-readiness without going overboard. A few tips from the ServiceMaster DCS will keep your home merry, bright, and clean:
  • Scrub your entryway. Wipe down your front door, give the doormat a good shake, and make sure dust and dirt haven’t collected on floors and furniture legs. These are the first things guests will see when they arrive, so keeping them clean will guarantee a good first impression.
  • Sniff out bad smells.If you clean your home and something still doesn’t smell quite right, brew some coffee. The aroma will cover it up.
  • Focus on the kitchen. People tend to gather around the food during the holidays, so make sure your kitchen looks and smells nice. Don’t forget to dust the light fixtures and flush sink drains with boiling water.
  • Whatever you do, don’t neglect the loo. Don’t just wipe surfaces; break out the stiff-bristled brush and scouring powder to really scrub things clean.
ServiceMaster DCS also has a few cost-conscious cleaning tips to get your home holiday ready:
  • Give your garbage disposal some love, considering how much it will “consume” this season. To cut down on odors, chop up a whole lemon — rind and all — and let the disposal gobble it up. Throw in ice cubes to sharpen the blades.
  • How about one soap for everything? If you’ve got a bottle of castile soap, you’re ready for anything. It can be laundry detergent, mopping solution, and shampoo, just to name a few.
  • Make sure you can see the guests coming.Keep windows clean and streak-free on the cheap with an easy mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Wipe down windows with a reusable microfiber cloth.
  • With all your holiday cooking, stovetops and ovens are bound to get dirty. Baking soda and water make a simple scouring solution that can scrub off that baked-on gunk.
  • To save money, make your own bathroom cleaning products. For example, to unclog a drain for pennies, pour half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar down the drain. Cover the drain for at least 30 minutes, then flush it with boiling water.
What are your tips for keeping your home guest-ready during the holiday season?
Happy Holidays from ServiceMaster DCS Staff.

Everyone Can Help Control Mosquitoes.

31 Aug 2016 03:36

You, your neighbors, and the community can also take steps to reduce mosquitoes in and around your home and in your neighborhood.

Conduct mosquito surveillance
Mosquito control plans include steps that are taken before control efforts begin and before people start getting sick with a virus spread by mosquitoes. Professionals need to understand what types and numbers of mosquitoes are in an area. In order to find out this information, mosquito control experts conduct surveillance. Surveillance activities can include:
  • Monitoring places where adult mosquitoes lay eggs and where young mosquitoes can be found
  • Tracking mosquito populations and the viruses they may be carrying
  • Determining if EPA-registered insecticides will be effective
These activities help professionals determine if, when, and where control activities are needed to manage mosquito populations before people start getting sick. If professionals discover that local mosquitoes are carrying viruses (like dengue, Zika, or others), they start implementing other activities identified in their mosquito control plans.
Remove places where mosquitoes lay eggs
Removing places where mosquitoes lay eggs is an important step. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water because young mosquitoes need water to survive. Professionals and the public can remove standing water.
  • Professionals at local government agencies and mosquito control districts may collect and dispose of illegally dumped tires, clean up and maintain public spaces like parks and greenways, and clean up illegal dumps and roadside trash.
  • You, your neighbors, and community can remove standing water. Once a week, items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools birdbaths, flower pot saucers, and trash containers should be emptied and scrubbed, turned over, covered, or thrown away.
  • If needed, a community clean up event can be held to remove large items like tires that collect water.
Control young mosquitoes
Once mosquito eggs hatch, they become larvae and then pupae. Both larvae and pupae live in standing water. Dumping or removing standing water in and around your home is one way to control young mosquitoes. For standing water that cannot be dumped or drained, a larvicide can be used to kill larvae. Larvicides are products used to kill young mosquitoes before they become biting adults.
The public and professionals can use US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered larvicides according to label instructions.
  • Professionals treat water-holding structures and containers in public places, like storm drains or urns in cemeteries. They may also treat standing water on private property as part of a neighborhood cleanup campaign.
  • People can treat fountains, septic tanks, and pool covers that hold water with larvicides.
Controlling young mosquitoes before they become adults, can minimize widespread use of insecticides that kill adult mosquitoes.
Control adult mosquitoes
Adult mosquitoes can spread viruses (like dengue, Zika, or others) that make you sick. When surveillance activities show that adult mosquito populations are increasing or that they are spreading viruses, professionals may decide to apply adulticides to kill adult mosquitoes. Adulticides help to reduce the number of mosquitoes in an area and reduce the risk that people will get sick. The public and professionals can use US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered adulticides according to label instructions.
  • If mosquitoes are spreading viruses over larger areas, professionals spray adulticides by using backpack sprayers, trucks , or airplanes
  • People can buy adulticides and use them inside and outside their homes.
Help Control Mosquitoes that Spread Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika Viruses
Monitor control programs
To make sure that mosquito control activities are working, professionals monitor the effectiveness of their efforts to control both young and adult mosquitoes. For example, if an insecticide didn’t work as well as predicted, then professionals may conduct additional studies on insecticide resistance or evaluate the equipment used to apply insecticides..

Beat The Heat this summer with these heat safety tips

11 Jul 2016 23:26

Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness
It's hot outside so make sure and #BeatTheHeat this summer with these heat safety tips:
  • Hot Pets? Not cool! Even with the windows rolled down, only minutes in a hot car can be deadly for your pet.
  • Make sure you drink LOTS of water to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration, heat stroke & more.
  • During extreme heat drink plenty of water, even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
    • Infants and young children
    • People aged 65 or older
    • People who have a mental illness
    • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
If you must be out in the heat:
  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

Easy Tips to Prevent Water Damage

5 Jun 2016 12:57

Most Homeowners insurance policies cover basic water damage claims up to the purchased limit.
But you know what’s a lot easier than going through the claims process? Preventing the water damage in the first place!

Check out these 5 ServiceMaster DCS suggestions for preventing water damage:
1. Be careful where you plant
Some plants and trees, like weeping willows, have pretty invasive roots. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.
2. Clean out roof gutters
You know it’s on your to-do list anyway, so if you can, take a safe climb up to your roof next Sunday and check out your gutters. If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and whatnot up there, your gutters may not be doing the job you hired them for. And on a rainy day, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. That could cause some serious water damage! So next time you’re doing some seasonal cleaning, make sure those gutters are clean. And if your gutters are too high, be safe and get a professional to check them.
3.  Keep an eye on your water bill
With so many water pipes hidden behind walls and in the floors in your house, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is done. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your monthly water bill. If you see it starting to creep up, or get one that’s uncommonly high, it’s a pretty good sign that you may have a leak somewhere.
4. Use a drain snake instead of unclogging chemicals
No matter how crazy clean you are, from your shower to your kitchen sink, clogs are going to happen. And chances are at some point in your life you’ve used one of those powerful chemical drain cleaners to get things moving again. But as convenient as they may be, most folks don’t realize those caustic chemicals are also eating away at their pipes (and they might not be too good for you either). If you rely on them a lot, you could be setting yourself up for leaks. That’s why owning a drain snake is a good solution to clear away clogs. They’re pretty inexpensive, you can get them at your local hardware store, and they can cut through most any clog you’ll have without damaging pipes or making your eyes red and teary.
5. Never pour grease down your sink
You’ve probably heard this before, but you should definitely avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. It doesn’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. It can still congeal and cling to your pipes, and could still cause some serious damage and blockage.
Some people use detergent to break up grease before pouring it down the drain…and that may help sometimes. But there’s no guarantee that it’ll keep the grease from sticking to your pipes, so why take the risk?
The safest thing to do is just to pour your grease in an empty can, and either let it sit or put it in the refrigerator. Once it hardens you can toss it in the trash and get rid of it. Done and done.

READY FOR WINTER BREAK? Our specialized cleaning services can help.

8 Nov 2015 04:19

If you’ve had a busy semester and are looking forward to some much needed time off, imagine how your floors feel. Floors,
carpet, and upholstery can become matted, dirty and stained through normal wear and traffic. Let ServiceMaster Clean®
put the bounce back into your floors and carpets this winter break by performing a restorative cleaning.
ServiceMaster Clean offers a wide variety of cleaning
services for campuses of any size, including hardsurface
floor cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery
cleaning and other specialty cleaning services.
ServiceMaster Clean offers our customers flexible
scheduling, 24 hours a day, based on your
campus’ needs.
We can also serve your everyday janitorial needs and
can assist with dorm room and classroom cleaning.
Our Green For® products have reduced environmental
impact and contain no volatile organic compounds
(VOCs), which have been known to aggravate health
problems such as asthma.
From annual maintenance to regular carpet cleanings
and everything in between, we’re dedicated to
exceeding your expectations.
ESTIMATE, CALL US TODAY:                          

Leave Fire Damage Restoration to the Pros

5 Aug 2015 04:53

Fire Damage: Trust the Experts
Even after a fire is out, the damage to a home and its contents continues. Much of the material found in furniture and flooring is synthetic and, when burned, can result in complex chemical reactions. In just a few days, those items can go from cleanable to unsalvageable.
The professionals of ServiceMaster DCS are experts at understanding the chemical combinations that can effectively clean and salvage belongings. We can remove soot from at-risk items such as brass, aluminum, chrome, marble, tile and porcelain, as well as in fabrics such as upholstery and carpets, thus helping to avoid additional expenses.
The ServiceMaster Restore fire and smoke restoration process includes:
  1. Emergency pre-cleaning
  2. Content cleaning
  3. Content packout
  4. Wall and ceiling cleaning
  5. Deodorization
Act Fast After Fire Damage
When a fire damages your property, contact ServiceMaster DCS as soon as the fire department gives the all-clear to return to the building. You can help minimize additional damage and costs by following this advice:
  • Do not attempt to wash any papered or flat painted walls without consulting a professional cleaner. Incorrect cleaning procedures could compound the soot residue problem.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture. Again, incorrect procedures could increase damage.
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked. They could malfunction.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result.
  • Do not touch anything. Soot on your hands can permeate upholstery, walls and woodwork, causing further damage.
The Dos and Don'ts of Dealing with Fire Damage
When fire unexpectedly damages your home, the first steps you take could mean the difference between a small clean-up and a more severe and costly problem.
Before ServiceMaster DCS arrives on the scene, follow these steps to help keep the damage to a minimum.
  • If the temperature is above 60 degrees, air out the building to reduce smoke odor.
  • Coat formica, chrome, porcelain and aluminum fixtures with vegetable oil to prevent permanent tarnishing or etching.
  • Change the air filter on the furnace if it uses forced hot air.
  • Tape damp cheesecloth over returns and supply registers to capture loose soot in the air.
  • Do not touch anything with bare hands. Oil from hands can permeate upholstery, walls and woodwork, causing additional damage.
  • Do not wash walls. Incorrect cleaning could compound the soot residue.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
  • Do not use electrical appliances.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet.
Leave Fire Damage Restoration to the Pros
If you experience fire damage, you may be tempted to handle the problem yourself, but don't. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the certification and standard-setting nonprofit organization for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. The IICRC recommends always seeking professional help after fire damage.

What happens once the fire is out?
Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, can cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem. There are many companies that claim to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered.

Why does a fast response matter?
Professionals must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days, the ash will cause walls and upholstery to discolor permanently. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

Is professional help expensive?
Fire damage is one clean-up project that is best left to the professionals. The complexities of synthetic materials combined with the high heat of a fire, smoke and ash create a volatile environment where further damage can occur if clean-up is handled improperly. Potentially, metals may need to be replaced, carpet permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will require replacement. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause. The costs of using a professional restoration company may be far less than the skyrocketing costs of improperly handled clean-up.

This restoration process is very detailed, and it should only be trusted to professional restoration experts like those at ServiceMaster DCS.
If you experience fire damage, contact us at ServiceMaster DCS. We are ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Hoarding Solutions. Restore. Restart.

31 May 2015 14:14

Awareness of hoarding has continued to grow since the American Psychiatric Association designated the disorder as a distinct mental illness in 2013. Most recently, Lifetime Television debuted Hoarders: Family Secrets, a new series featuring Matt Paxton and individuals afflicted with the hoarding disorder.
As the only national provider of hoarding recovery clean out services, ServiceMaster Restore® has partnered with Matt Paxton to  develop an exclusive program for helping individuals struggling with the hoarding disorder clean out their home in a compassionate and effective manner. Our specially trained franchisees learn about the hoarding disorder, how to identify potential hoarding triggers, how to properly communicate with hoarders and their family members and ultimately how to manage the clean out process to help obtain successful results. This holistic training program and operational protocol developed by Matt Paxton for ServiceMaster Restore helps hoarders reclaim their lives while making their homes safer to inhabit.
Hoarders are defined as people who "excessively save items that others may view as worthless and have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces," according to the American Psychiatric Association website.
The website continues, "Hoarding is not the same as collecting; collectors look for specific items, such as model cars or stamps, and may organize or display them.  People with hoarding disorder often save random items and store them haphazardly."
Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2 to 5 percent of the population, the American Psychiatric Association website says. Paxton's aunt and grandmother had the disorder. "Everybody has somebody (who is a hoarder)," he said.
You can find a list of local and national resources for hoarding disorder in an accompanying story on this blog.
Hoarding first was recognized as a mental disorder about five years ago. "We like to think that ("Hoarders") helped bring awareness," Paxton said. The official designation as a mental disorder means that more resources, such as education and health insurance reimbursement for therapy, are available for sufferers.
"The only way to fix hoarding is through therapy," Paxton said.
Usually an episode of grief or trauma triggers hoarding, even if the sad events happened decades ago, he said. Hoarders hang onto possessions out of a need for love and compassion. The sad irony is that the self-destructive behavior pushes loved ones away.
There are other factors at work as well. Some hoarders grew up with a "waste not, want not" ethic. Hoarders in their 30s and 40s tend to collect new items purchased on home shopping networks or the Internet. Whether it's newspapers, craft supplies, purses or shoes, the piles have purpose and give the hoarder something to focus on.
Paxton met an extreme coupon clipper whose hobby allowed her to buy discounted items for her family, but her kids couldn't sleep in their bedrooms because the rooms were full of the stuff Mom bought with coupons. "The items became more important than the actual relationship," Paxton said.
Frustrated and angry family members want to swoop in with a Dumpster and a shovel, but that's exactly the wrong approach, Paxton said. Hoarders often become angry at well-meaning efforts to fix the problem.
Appeals to logic don't work, such as pointing out that the mess is unhealthy, grandchildren can't have sleepovers in the affected home, workmen can't make repairs and emergency workers couldn't get in case of fire. "The bad word there is logic. Hoarding is not a logical situation," Paxton said.
"The hoarder needs to be in control," he said. "The hoarder will fight hard for what's left."
The right approach is backing off and bringing in a professional cleaner who specializes in working with hoarders. A professional doesn't have the emotional ties and will be able with gain the hoarder's trust and cooperation.
Paxton became involved with the original show "Hoarders" when an independent production company asked him to become its host. After production ended, he stayed in touch with many of the crew members. About four months ago, he got a text from the production company: "We're on Lifetime. Are you in?" He texted back yes. "We started filming two weeks later," he said.
Does the show exploit troubled people? Paxton asks himself that question, too. He finds the answer in the thousands of emails he gets from hoarders and hoarders' families saying that they or a loved one joined a support group or met with a therapist after seeing the show.
The families profiled on "Hoarders" and "Hoarders" Family Secrets" receive on-going therapy, provided by the show. "That's what makes it OK," Paxton said.
At ServiceMaster DCS, we are here in Chicago Land to assist you in your work with hoarders and their families. Please contact us to receive more details on how we can help.

Plumbing Emergencies

29 Mar 2015 14:47

In a plumbing emergency, you'll need to stop the flow of water quickly. To do this, you and each member of your family needs to know the location of the shutoff valve for every fixture and appliance, as well as the main shutoff valve for the house, and how they operate.
  • If the emergency involves a specific fixture or appliance, first look for its shutoff valve and turn it clockwise to shut off the water to that fixture or appliance only.
  • The valve is usually located underneath a fixture such as a sink or a toilet, or behind an appliance, such as a clothes washer, at the point where the water supply pipe (or pipes) connects to it.
  • If the problem is not with a particular fixture or appliance, or if there's no shutoff valve for the fixture or appliance, use the main shutoff valve to turn off the water supply to the entire house.
  • You'll find the main shutoff valve on the inside or outside of your house where the main water supply pipe enters.
  • In cold climates, look just inside the foundation wall in the basement or crawl space.
  • Turn the valve clockwise to shut it off.
  • Professional Tip If you need a wrench to turn the valve, keep one, specially labeled near the valve so it's handy.
  • If the main shutoff valve itself is defective and needs to be repaired, call your water company; they can send someone out with the special tool that's required to shut off the water at the street before it reaches the valve.
A Leaking or Broken Pipe 
  • Turn off the main shutoff valve to prevent water damage.
  • Make temporary repairs to stop the leak.
  • The pipe will have to be replaced as soon as it's convenient to do so.
A Stopped-Up Sink
  • Shut off any faucet or appliance (such as dishwasher) that's draining into the sink.
  • Unclog the sink using a plunger or snake.
  • DON'T use a chemical drain cleaner if the blockage is total.
A Faucet That Won't Shut Off
  • Immediately turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valve underneath the sink.
  • If there's no valve there, turn off the main shutoff valve.
  • Repair the faucet or, if necessary, replace it.
A Steaming Hot Water Faucet
  • Open all the hot water faucets to relieve the overheated hot water heater.
  • Turn off the gas or electric supply to the heater.
  • Let the faucets run until cold water flows from them (this indicates the water in the heater is no longer overheated).
  • Close them.
  • Call in a professional to make any necessary repairs to the heater's thermostat and pressure relief valve.

Celebrate Valentine's Day All Year Long

3 Feb 2015 00:20

Celebrate Valentine's Day All Year Long 
Valentine’s Day is an occasion to appreciate the ones you love, but what about the other 364 days each year? Here are 8 simple, free ways to appreciate your loved ones throughout the year.
  1. Use sticky notes to leave a sweet note for a family member. You can also put one of these in your kids’ lunch bags.
  2. Compliment them on something people may not often acknowledge.
  3. Ask them if you can take care of their responsibilities for the day.
  4. Send them a text that reads, “Thought of you today and it made me smile.”
  5. Make it their day. They get to choose breakfast, lunch, dinner snacks and all activities (within reason).
  6. Really listen to them when they talk, even if it may not interest you.
  7. Praise them in front of others.
  8. Watch their favorite TV show or movie together.
Say I Love You With Chocolate 
Chocolate lovers rejoice. More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day. Curl up on the couch with your box and don’t fret if some of it falls on the carpet.
Follow this technique recommended by Stainmaster® carpet manufacturer for removing tricky chocolate stains:
  1. Scoop up and blot as much of the stain as possible. Vacuum dry particles.
  2. Prepare a vinegar solution of 2 tablespoons vinegar to 4 cups warm water.
  3. Test the cleaning solution on a small spot of carpet to make sure it doesn’t discolor or damage the carpet. If this occurs, you should call a professional at ServiceMaster Clean to remove the stain.
  4. Apply cleaning solution to cloth and use cloth to apply to carpet. Work from outside of stain toward center.
  5. Leave the cleaning solution on the carpet for at least five minutes.
  6. Blot with a white cloth until no more stain transfers to the cloth.
  7. Rinse with cold water.
  8. If you still see the stain, repeat blotting process until the stain is gone.
  9. If the stain remains, call ServiceMaster Clean for help.
Stainmaster® is a registered trademark of Invista North America S.A.R.L. Corporation.


19 Nov 2014 05:46

Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees.
Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer.
Here are some helpful safety tips:
Picking the tree
  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Placing the tree
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1” - 2” from the base of the trunk. 
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
Lighting the tree 
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree. 
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
After Christmas
  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
The ServiceMaster Restore fire and smoke restoration process includes:
  • Emergency pre-cleaning
  • Content cleaning
  • Content packout
  • Wall and ceiling cleaning
  • Deodorization 
ServiceMaster DCS
ServiceMasterDCS is here to provide Peace of Mind® amidst the disruption. We are trained, equipped, and ready to restore your home after any disaster, from water in the basement to fire and smoke damage in the kitchen. We"ll dry and clean everything from documents to carpets to help you avoid mold problems later. We handle jobs as large as your entire home or as small as a single room. 

Cleaning Up After Pets

26 Oct 2014 03:29

Animal antics
As much as we love our household pets, they can create cleaning headaches. Between muddy paws, fur on upholstered furniture, odors and occasional accidents, we could spend quite a bit of time cleaning up after our furry friends. Since pets will never be able to clean up after themselves, the experts at ServiceMaster Clean offer some suggestions for undoing the most common pet damage. 
Minimize the mess 
Cleaner pets mean a cleaner house. Bathe and brush your pets regularly to minimize the amount of pet hair and pet dander, and to help with odors. Keep a lint brush or damp sponge handy to quickly pick up loose pet hair. Unless your pet has dietary restrictions, a light mist of spray-on cooking oil on your pet's dishes will make them easier to wash out and will add shine to his or her coat.
Removing pet hair
On carpeting, use a vacuum with a good beater brush or brush roll. Plain vacuums don't generate sufficient lift to pick up all the pet hair from the floor.
Speed removal of pet hair from fabrics and upholstery with a pet rake, a brush with crimped nylon bristles. Use light, even strokes to remove the hair. Velour brushes, tape rollers and even tape wrapped around your hand also will work. Both pet supply and home stores sell "pet sponges," which are used dry on both upholstery and carpets. They can be an especially good option for hard-to-reach corners and edges where hair tends to collect. As long as dampness won't harm the fabric, you can also use a slightly dampened sponge or even the rubber bottom of a clean tennis shoe.
Lifting stains
To remove a pet urine stain, dilute the spot using a cloth dampened with water. Then, clean the area with an acid solution consisting of one quart water mixed with one teaspoon white vinegar.
If necessary, you can apply a pet bacteria/enzyme digester according to the directions. You can find these products at any pet store; they effectively counter both the stain and the odor. Even if the stain has disappeared or our human noses can no longer smell anything, a pet will repeatedly return to the same spot if he can still smell his own odor. Here are some other hints:
  • Be sure to use enough bacteria/enzyme digester to penetrate the
  • carpet and pad. •Keep in mind that digesters work well but slowly. Leave the solution on as long as indicated.
  • After applying the solution, cover with plastic and step on the spot several times until the area is well saturated.
  • Keep the plastic on the entire time the digester is working to make sure the spot doesn't dry out.
Older stains
If the stain is older, it may be nearly impossible to remove, but try the digester. If the site has seen multiple accidents, the bacteria breaking down the stain may actually create a superalkaline state that interferes with the digester's intended action. In this case, follow these steps:
  • After the bacteria digester has been working for about four hours, neutralize the spot by mixing a solution of one cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water.
  • Rinse the area with the vinegar solution.
  • Apply a fresh batch of bacteria/enzyme digester solution.
You might also try buying a hypodermic needle from your local pharmacy and filling it with your favorite perfume or potpourri. You'll need to inject both the carpet and the pad for it to work. If you still have a problem, have the carpet cleaned by extraction. It may even be necessary to replace the pad underneath.
Stomach trouble
If your pet has an upset stomach on your carpet, cleanup may be trickier. The extremely acidic nature of vomit can cause the acid dyes in the carpet to move, permanently damaging the carpet. Dyes in your pet's food or medicine may also combine with the strong stomach acid to stain your flooring. That's why it's essential to neutralize or at least dilute the acid as quickly as possible to minimize damage. To bring the carpet back to a neutral pH:
  • Treat the affected area using a professional carpet detergent.
  • Rinse the area with clean hot water.
  • Extract the soiled solutions away from the carpet.
If the stains cannot be removed, carpet dyeing may be a good option. While not as permanent as factory dyeing, spot dyeing will solve the problem of bleached carpet.

Lightning Safety for You and Your Family

26 Jun 2014 21:47

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
Each year in the United States, more than 400 people are struck by lightning. On average, between 55 and 60 people are killed; hundreds of others suffer permanent neurological disabilities. Most of these tragedies can be avoided with a few simple precautions. When thunderstorms threaten, get to a safe place. Lightning safety is an inconvenience that can save your life.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) collect information on weather-related deaths to learn how to prevent these tragedies. Many lightning victims say they were “caught” outside in the storm and couldn’t get to a safe place. With proper planning, these tragedies could be prevented.

Other victims waited too long before seeking shelter. By heading to a safe place 5 to 10 minutes sooner, they could have avoided being struck by lightning. Some people were struck because they went back outside too soon. Stay inside a safe building or vehicle for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder clap.

Finally, some victims were struck inside homes or buildings while they were using electrical equipment or corded phones. Others were in contact with plumbing, a metal door or a window frame. Avoid contact with these electrical conductors when a thunderstorm is nearby!

What You Might Not Know About Lightning

All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. In the United States, in an average year, lightning kills about the same number of people as tornadoes and more people than hurricanes.

Lightning often strikes outside the area of heavy rain and may strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall. Many lightning deaths occur ahead of storms or after storms have seemingly passed.

If you can hear thunder, you are in danger. Don’t be fooled by blue skies. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat. Lightning leaves many victims with permanent disabilities. While a small percentage of lightning strike victims die, many survivors must learn to live with very serious lifelong pain and neurological disabilities.

Avoid the Lightning Threat

  • Have a lightning safety plan. Know where you’ll go for safety and how much time it will take to get there. Make sure your plan allows enough time to reach safety.

  • Postpone activities. Before going outdoors, check the forecast for thunderstorms. Consider postponing activities to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation.

  • Monitor the weather. Look for signs of a developing thunderstorm such as darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing wind.

  • Get to a safe place. If you hear thunder, even a distant rumble, immediately move to a safe place. Fully enclosed buildings with wiring and plumbing provide the best protection. Sheds, picnic shelters, tents or covered porches do NOT protect you from lightning. If a sturdy building is not nearby, get into a hard-topped metal vehicle and close all the windows. Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.

  • If you hear thunder, don’t use a corded phone except in an emergency. Cordless phones and cell phones are safe to use.

  • Keep away from electrical equipment and wiring.

  • Water pipes conduct electricity. Don’t take a bath or shower or use other plumbing during a storm.

Organized Outdoor Activities
Many people enjoy outdoor activities. It’s essential for the people in charge of these activities to understand the dangers of lightning, have a lightning safety plan in place, and follow the plan once thunder is heard or lightning is seen. Many outdoor activities rely on volunteer leaders, coaches or sports officials to make safety decisions. Make sure the leaders of these activities follow a lightning safety plan. Don’t be afraid to ask, and don’t be afraid to speak out during an event if conditions

Disaster Restoration Specialists Stress the Importance of Hurricane Preparedness

10 May 2014 13:30

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Imad Achmar
ServiceMaster DCS
(800) 843-8415

Disaster Restoration Specialists Stress the Importance of Hurricane Preparedness:
ServiceMaster Clean says advanced planning can save you, your family and your property.

Wheeling, IL May 10, 2014 - As area residents brace themselves for Hurricane season, ServiceMaster DCS in Wheeling, IL stand ready to assist storm victims contain and reduce water damage.

“Before a hurricane strikes, it’s important to carefully map out a response,” says Pete Duncanson, director of training and tecahnical support for ServiceMaster Clean. “Because the amount of planning you do upfront is going to play a significant role in the post-storm clean-up.”

As the experts in disaster restoration, the professionals from ServiceMaster Clean make the following recommendations in anticipation of a hurricane or tropical storm:


Secure a community hurricane preparedness plan through your local emergency management office or Red Cross chapter and make sure to fill your gas tanks, as you may have to travel long distances inland to find a hotel or shelter.


Identify an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the official family contact, and be sure all family members have this person’s contact information.


In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (for example, when adults are at work and children are at school), identify two places to meet: one right outside your home and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of your second meeting place.


Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate. Understand that most shelters and hotels will not allow them on the property, so it is critical to determine early on where to house them during a pending storm. Photograph them and make sure they are wearing identification collars in case you lose them during the storm.


Photograph and/or video both the interior and exterior of your home for a record of all valuables. Make sure to store originals of important documents, including birth certificates, banking and credit card information and medical records in a waterproof container as well.


Purchase a battery-operated AM/FM radio and/or battery-operated television to keep updated on events. Since most telephones will be out of order when the storm hits, weather radio will be your best source of information. However, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and have a phone charger in the car in case land lines are out for an extended period.


These items include the following:
• Three days worth of non-perishable, ready-to-eat canned food items and a manual can opener
• One gallon of water per person per day for three days
• First aid kit that includes pre-moistened antibacterial wipes and insect repellant
• List of medications and prescriptions for each member of the household
• Flashlights and plenty of fresh batteries
• Disposable flash camera to take pictures of post-storm damage to home and/or vehicles
• Pen and paper
• Extra blankets and clothing
• Alternate cooking source
• Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members, including one-week supply of medications and foods for infants or those with special diets
• Crescent or pipe wrench to turn off gas and water
• One quart of unscented bleach or iodine tablets (for disinfecting water if ordered to do so by health officials) and an eyedropper (for adding bleach to water)
• Personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes
• Fire extinguisher


Close and board up windows with ½ inch marine plywood and make sure to remove all outside antennas. Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood and clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts. You should keep extra plywood and plastic for repairs you may need to make after the storm. Be sure to hold onto all receipts to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.


In the event that electricity is lost, be sure to turn the main switches in the circuit breaker box to the off position. Make sure all household appliances are turned off, as no one may be home when power is restored. Appliances left on could cause a fire.


It is important to understand what deductibles in your policy are in place for hurricane damage. You will need to investigate flood insurance, as homeowners policies do not cover water damage that results from a hurricane. Check out the National Flood Insurance Program, which is designed to provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves when catastrophe strikes.

ServiceMaster Restore is not only prepared to respond to disasters when Mother Nature strikes, but it is also ready to help when there’s a fire, water leak or other mechanical malfunction in your home or business. The company’s local service operations throughout the country are trained, equipped and ready to restore your property after any disaster, from water in the basement to fire and smoke damage in the lobby. The company will dry and clean everything from documents to carpet, to help you avoid mold problems later. And ServiceMaster Restore handles jobs as large as your entire office building or as small as a single room in your home.

  • About ServiceMaster Restore

With a network of more than 5,000 company-owned and franchise locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world’s largest residential and commercial service networks. The company’s high profile brands are TruGreen, Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 24,000 corporate employees and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands serves more than 8.2 million customers every year and hold market-leading positions in residential and commercial lawn, tree and shrub care, termite and pest control, home service contracts, furniture repair, home inspections, residential and commercial cleaning and disaster restoration. Go to or for more information about ServiceMaster.

How to Get Crayon off the Wall:

10 Apr 2014 23:15

How to Get Crayon off the Wall: 7 Speedy Solutions
Did your young artist mistake your home's walls for canvas? These quick fixes will show you how to remove crayon from walls in no time.

Baking Soda
Have your walls been redecorated with some original crayon masterpieces? Don’t lose your cool. Just grab a damp rag, dip it in some baking soda, and lightly scrub the marks. They should come off with a minimal amount of effort.

Did the kids use your wall as if it was a big coloring book? Spray some WD-40 onto the marks and wipe with a clean rag. WD-40 will not damage the paint or most wallpaper (test fabric or other fancy wall coverings first). It will also remove marker and crayon marks from furniture and appliances.

Roll up your sleeves and grab a tube of non-gel toothpaste and a rag or—better yet—a scrub brush. Squirt the toothpaste on the wall and start scrubbing. The fine abrasive in the toothpaste will rub away the crayon every time. Rinse the wall with water.

Here’s a simple way to remove crayon from a painted wall that requires hardly any elbow grease: Simply rub some mayonnaise on the crayon marks and let it soak in for several minutes. Then wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth.

Pencil Erasers
Try “erasing” the crayon marks to get the wall back to a clean slate.

Steel Wool
Your toddler just created a work of crayon art on paper. Unfortunately, it’s on your wallpaper. Use a bit of steel wool soap pad to just skim the surface, making strokes in one direction instead of scrubbing in a circle, and your wall will be a fresh “canvas” in no time.

Kids often manage to get crayon marks on their clothing as well as the walls. You can easily get these stains off by rubbing them with a recycled toothbrush soaked in undiluted vinegar before washing them.

Avoid A Water Damage Disaster - Plumbing Emergency

10 Feb 2014 03:51

Avoid A Water Damage Disaster Plumbing Emergency
In a plumbing emergency, you'll need to stop the flow of water quickly. To do this, you
and each member of your family needs to know the location of the shutoff valve for every fixture and appliance, as well as the main shutoff valve for the house, and how they operate.

  • If the emergency involves a specific fixture or appliance, first look for its shutoff valve and turn it clockwise to shut off the water to that fixture or appliance only.

  • The valve is usually located underneath a fixture such as a sink or a toilet, or behind an appliance, such as a clothes washer, at the point where the water supply pipe (or pipes) connects to it.

  • If the problem is not with a particular fixture or appliance, or if there's no shutoff valve for the fixture or appliance, use the main shutoff valve to turn off the water supply to the entire house.

  • You'll find the main shutoff valve on the inside or outside of your house where the main water supply pipe enters.

  • In cold climates, look just inside the foundation wall in the basement or crawl space.

  • Turn the valve clockwise to shut it off.

  • Professional Tip If you need a wrench to turn the valve, keep one, specially labeled near the valve so it's handy.

  • If the main shutoff valve itself is defective and needs to be repaired, call your water company; they can send someone out with the special tool that's required to shut off the water at the street before it reaches the valve.

 A Leaking or Broken Pipe

  • Turn off the main shutoff valve to prevent water damage.

  • Make temporary repairs to stop the leak.

  • The pipe will have to be replaced as soon as it's convenient to do so.

 A Stopped-Up Sink

  • Shut off any faucet or appliance (such as dishwasher) that's draining into the sink.

  • Unclog the sink using a plunger or snake.

  • DON'T use a chemical drain cleaner if the blockage is total.

A Faucet That Won't Shut Off

  • Immediately turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valve underneath the sink.

  • If there's no valve there, turn off the main shutoff valve.

  • Repair the faucet or, if necessary, replace it.

A Steaming Hot Water Faucet

  • Open all the hot water faucets to relieve the overheated hot water heater.

  • Turn off the gas or electric supply to the heater.

  • Let the faucets run until cold water flows from them (this indicates the water in the heater is no longer overheated).

  • Close them.

  • Call in a professional to make any necessary repairs to the heater's thermostat and pressure relief valve.

Frozen Pipes

31 Dec 2013 14:51

Frozen Pipes
A faucet that won't yield water is the first sign of frozen pipes. If a severe cold snap hits, prevent freezing and subsequent bursting of pipes by following the suggestions below. Even if the pipes do freeze, you can thaw them before they burst if you act quickly. When temperatures fall very low, here's how to keep your pipes from freezing:

  • Keep a trickle of water running from the faucets.

  • Beam a heat lamp or small heater at exposed pipes.

  • Wrap uninsulated pipes with newspapers, heating wires, foam, or self-adhesive insulating tape.

  • Keep doors ajar between heated and unheated rooms.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

If a pipe freezes:

  • Shut off the water at the main shutoff valve and open the faucet nearest to the frozen pipe so it can drain as it thaws.

  • Waterproof the area with containers and plastic drop clothes in case leaks occur.

  • Use one of the following methods to gradually warm the frozen pipe. Be sure to work from the faucet toward the iced-up area.

  • Propane Torch With a flame-spreading-nozzle, the torch will quickly thaw a frozen pipe.

  • Safety Tip Shield flammable areas with a fireproof sheet, don't let the pipe get too hot to touch.

  • Hair Dryer Used like the torch, a dryer will gently defrost the pipe.

  • Heating Pad Wrap a length of pipe with a heating pad.

  • Heat Lamp For pipes behind walls, floors, or ceilings, beam a heat lamp 8 or more inches from the surface.

  • Hot Water If no other method is available, wrap the pipe (except plastic) in rags and pour boiling water on it.

Professional Tip for Frozen Pipes

When loosening frozen connections, instead of using a wrench to force nuts and couplings frozen in place, douse the connection with penetrating oil. Wait half an hour; then loosen with a wrench.

At ServiceMaster DCS we are always prepared and can get to you quickly to offer sound, rational evaluations and advice in times when your emotions are running high. And because we're ServiceMaster Restore, we never lose sight of the impact disaster has on every family member. You can count on us in case of burst pipe or water leak from a crack in foundation. We are open 24/7 For Emergency Water Damage Restoration Services


28 Nov 2013 00:46

Contact: Imad Achmar
       ServiceMaster DCS
       (800) 843-8415

Chicago, IL, 11/27/2013– As the seasons begin to change, it’s a good idea to begin preparing for flu season. There a number of things you can do to create a healthier home, including several cleaning methods and techniques as listed below.

A good cleaning begins with traditional cleaning like mopping, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the kitchen and the bathroom, etc.  In addition to the traditional cleaning, there are a few things in your home that may need a little more attention.  ServiceMaster Clean, a national provider of carpet, upholstery and other floor cleaning, recommends deep cleaning the following:

Preventing and ridding your home of clutter can also help create a healthier home this year.  A few rules of thumb are:

  • When you clean, carry a garbage bag or wastebasket with you so you don’t have to go far to throw things away.

  • Sort mail immediately, and discard the “junk” mail.

  • If you haven’t used it, worn it, etc., in a year, you probably don’t need it.  Give it away or throw it out.

  • Organize bedroom, bathroom and hall closets by placing plastic crates on their sides for storage of things like sweaters, shoes, handbags, toiletries, and other items you use often.

  • Keep your utility room or garage neat by hanging a pegboard with nails or hooks for items like tools, electrical cords or other items that may be taking up space on a flat surface or floor.

For more information regarding your healthy home, please contact ServiceMaster DCS at (800) 843-8415 and take another step toward a healthy home.

About ServiceMaster Clean
ServiceMaster Clean is a member of the ServiceMaster Family of Brands.  ServiceMaster currently serves residential and commercial customers through a network of more than 4,500 company-owned locations and franchised licenses. The Company’s brands include Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Restore, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. The core services of the Company include lawn care, termite and pest control, home warranties, disaster response and reconstruction, cleaning and disaster restoration, maid service, furniture repair and restoration, and home inspection.

Salute to Peanut Butter

13 Nov 2013 06:28

Salute to Peanut Butter

November is Peanut Butter Lovers month—a time for Jif, Skippy and Peter Pan fans to celebrate. In November alone, Americans will eat more than 65 million pounds of peanut butter.*
Because it’s a favorite snack, peanut butter could easily end up on your carpet instead of on your plate. The ServiceMaster carpet cleaning experts recommend these steps to remove a peanut butter spot from carpet.
• Scrape off excess peanut butter with a spoon or knife.
• Mix one teaspoon of non-bleach laundry detergent with three cups of warm water and place in an empty spray bottle.
• Spray the spot and let it set for three minutes.
• Using a clean white cloth, blot the area until all of the spot is removed.
• To remove any residue left behind, pour a glass of water on the area and then blot dry it using clean towels.

Jif is a trademark of The J.M. Smucker Company.  Skippy is a trademark of Hormel Foods, LLC.  Peter Pan is a registered trademark of Conagra Foods RDM, Inc.

ServiceMaster to Recognize First Responders During the ServiceMaster 200 at Phoenix International Raceway

6 Nov 2013 22:22

ServiceMaster to Recognize First Responders During the ServiceMaster 200 at Phoenix International Raceway

ServiceMaster Clean and ServiceMaster Restore will recognize first responders at the ServiceMaster 200 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).
Memphis, TN (PRWEB) November 05, 2013

ServiceMaster Clean and ServiceMaster Restore will recognize first responders at the ServiceMaster 200 at Phoenix
International Raceway (PIR).

As the race entitlement sponsor of the Nov. 9 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, ServiceMaster will honor the Prescott Firefighter’s Charities and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Each worthy charity will receive a $10,000 donation to directly benefit the families of the 19 firefighters who were tragically killed in the line of duty June 30 in Yarnell, Ariz. The check presentation will take place during the ServiceMaster 200 opening ceremonies. In addition, family members and fellow firefighters will attend the ServiceMaster 200 as guests of ServiceMaster.

With more than 60 years of providing disaster relief to homes and businesses, ServiceMaster often works closely with first responders and wants to recognize the sacrifice and loss of these public servants.

“We are thrilled about ServiceMaster’s dedication to our local firefighters,” said Dan Hutchison, a Prescott Firefighter’s Charities board member. “The donation will make a huge impact on our community and the local families who lost their loved ones in June’s tragic event.”

“Working hand in hand with firefighters, ServiceMaster has a true appreciation for the danger of a firefighter’s job,” said Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. “We applaud them for their commitment to public servants nationwide through this generous donation.”

President of ServiceMaster Clean and ServiceMaster Restore Tom Coba said, “ServiceMaster has an immense amount of respect and appreciation for first responders nationwide who are willing to risk their lives and sacrifice so much for our nation’s safety. The ServiceMaster 200 will serve as a unique opportunity for ServiceMaster Clean and Restore to recognize and honor the men and women that our team works with closely week in and week out to restore peace of mind during disaster situations.”

As the official sponsor of the yellow flag caution period for International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and PIR, track personnel and the track-drying equipment display the ServiceMaster Clean brand which can be seen frequently cleaning the race track, removing debris, and drying the track quickly and professionally to quickly get back to racing action.

Tune in to the ServiceMaster 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on your local ESPN 2 channel. Tickets to the Service Master 200 are available for purchase at or by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223).

About ServiceMaster

With a global network of more than 7,300 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world’s largest residential and commercial service networks. The company’s high-profile brands are Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, ServiceMaster Restore, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 20,000 corporate associates and a franchise network that independently employs an estimated 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands provided services and products to approximately 8 million customers during the last 12 months. The company’s market-leading brands provide a range of residential and commercial services including termite and pest control; lawn, tree and shrub care; home warranties and preventative maintenance contracts; furniture repair; home inspections; home cleaning; janitorial services; and disaster restoration. Go to for more information about ServiceMaster or follow the company at or

About Phoenix International Raceway

Since 1964, Phoenix International Raceway has served race fans as the premier motorsports venue in the Southwest. The green flag drops for the Service Master 200 at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9. Tickets for the entire November 8-10 NASCAR event weekend at Phoenix International Raceway can be purchased online at or by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223). For more information,, and

Remove Furniture Impressions in Your Carpet

3 Nov 2013 03:35

Remove Furniture Impressions in Your Carpet

As you try to make room in your home to accommodate your holiday decorations, you may find yourself moving and rearranging heavy pieces of furniture. The imprints that furniture can leave behind on carpet are unsightly and will not completely disappear unless you take action.

Our technical experts at ServiceMaster Clean recommend using a clothes steamer to remove the furniture dents. If you do not have a clothes steamer handy, you can use a kitchen towel and an iron. Place a damp towel over the carpet dent. Heat the iron to a medium heat setting then set the iron on the damp towel. You can use the steam button on the iron periodically. Remove the iron and towel to check the carpet. If it is to your liking, use your fingers to fluff the carpet. If the dent still needs work, place the warm iron on the damp towel and repeat.*

Another helpful tip to remove an impression is to place an ice cube in the dent and allow it to melt. The melted ice will revive the carpet fibers. Then use a toothbrush to remove the impression by brushing it in a backward-and-forward motion. Allow the carpet to dry naturally.**

*This process is not suitable for carpets made of olefin fiber.

Chocolate on Your Carpet?

27 Oct 2013 21:37

It’s Halloween again, and did you know that the average American eats 24 pounds of candy each year, most of which is chocolate?
If some of that chocolate ends up on your carpet, follow this technique recommended by Stainmaster® carpet manufacturer for removing the tricky stain:
1. Scoop up and blot as much of the stain as possible. Vacuum dry particles.
2. Prepare a vinegar solution of 2 tablespoons vinegar to 4 cups warm water.
3. Test the cleaning solution on a small spot of carpet to make sure it doesn’t discolor or damage the carpet. If this occurs, you should call a professional at ServiceMaster Clean to remove the stain
4. Apply cleaning solution to cloth and use cloth to apply to carpet. Work from outside of stain toward center.
5. Leave the cleaning solution on the carpet for at least five minutes.
6. Blot with a white cloth until no more stain transfers to the cloth.
7. Rinse with cold water.
8. If you still see the stain, repeat blotting process until the stain is gone.
9. If the stain remains, call us for help.

Stainmaster® is a registered trademark of Invista North America S.A.R.L Corporation.


Prepare Your Home for Cold Winter

27 Oct 2013 14:26

Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather

Temperatures are falling, and cold weather is just around the corner. Follow these tips to prepare your home.
• Place floor mats at all doors to keep dirt and grime from damaging your wood floors.
• Caulk around windows and doors, install weather-stripping and check for cracks around electrical outlets and pipes.
• Install storm windows and doors.
• Have the heating system checked by a professional.
• Clean gutters. Clogged gutters can result in basement flooding when snow melts.
• Replace missing or damaged roof shingles.
• Have chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional.
• Trim trees that hang over your home.
• Drain and shut off outdoor water faucets.
• Insulate water pipes that are exposed to the cold.
• Replace the batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
• Check fire extinguishers.

Does Your Family Have a Fire Plan?

27 Oct 2013 00:11

Do You Have a Plan?
Your family needs to be prepared and ready in case of a fire. Children especially need to fully understand what to do and should practice these rules often. Otherwise, they will naturally run and hide from a fire instead of getting out of the house safely. Get a family fire-escape plan ready and have fire drills at least once a month. You can even print out the drill and tape it to the refrigerator so the whole family is reminded often of the plan.

• Make sure that everyone knows two ways out of every room.
• Teach children to crawl on their hands and knees to get low under smoke.
• Teach children how to close door behind them to slow the spread of fire and smoke.
• Plan alternate escape routes.
• Teach children to lay low and shout their names out if they are trapped in a smoke-filled room.
• Plan a meeting spot outside the house, at a neighbor's or in a special place in the yard a good distance from the house.
• Teach kids that once they get outside, they should stay outside.
• Make a sketch of the layout of each floor of your house, including windows, doors and stairways. Mark escape routes from each room on the sketch.
• Hold frequent fire drills, including some at night. Make sure everyone is following the plan perfectly.
• Assign a member of the family to be responsible for the younger and older members of the family. Get a "buddy" system going so everyone is taken care of.
• Assign a responsible adult to look after house pets in case of fire.
• Assign someone to call 911.
• And if there is a fire, remember, COUNT HEADS, STAY TOGETHER and DON'T GO BACK into the house for personal belongings.
By:  ServiceMasterDisaster Cleanup Service

ServiceMaster Clean Introduces a New Brand Name for Disaster Restoration Services

25 Mar 2013 16:35

ServiceMaster Restore: A New Face with a 60-Year Heritage

Chicago, IL (03/25/2013) - ServiceMaster Clean announces a restoration effort of its own.  ServiceMaster Restore will become the new face of a 60-year heritage of providing comprehensive disaster restoration services to residences and commercial businesses nationwide.
"ServiceMaster Restore differentiates our business in the competitive marketplace and clearly communicates disaster restoration work completed for residences and commercial businesses," said Tom Coba, president of ServiceMaster Franchise Brands. "By clarifying our services, we are making it easier on customers to quickly identify ServiceMaster Restore as a premier restoration vendor."
As ServiceMaster Restore is introduced to Chicago Land the quality services that customers have relied on for 22 years will remain the same. The ServiceMaster team is equipped to restore a home or business after any disaster, helping to get life "back to normal" while instilling peace of mind during a difficult time.
As before, the local franchise will continue to provide two great services to consumers: ServiceMaster Restore, for disaster restoration services, and ServiceMaster Clean, for residential and commercial cleaning services.
"As one of North America's leading restoration companies, we have tremendous equity in the ServiceMaster Clean brand," said Eric Eurich, vice president of marketing for ServiceMaster Clean. "However, by renaming these core services and including the Restore brand, we best convey the peace of mind our experts bring when a disaster strikes."
"We are excited to introduce ServiceMaster Restore while continuing to offer the same incredible service we have become known for," said Imad Achmar, local ServiceMaster Clean franchise owner. "The new name clearly communicates our services to consumers and we look forward to continuing to service customers across Cook County, IL."
The new logo and look will begin to appear in March, 2013 in various marketing and advertising efforts.

For more information, visit our web site at: You can also check us out on facebook at:

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