Recent Posts

Containment 101: How to Properly Contain Mold During Remediation

5/21/2023 (Permalink)

Person in PPE standing inside a contained area. By following these procedures, mold can be safely and effectively removed from the building.

Mold remediation is the process of removing mold from a building or home. During mold remediation, it is crucial to contain the mold to prevent it from spreading further. If mold is not contained properly, it can cause serious problems for the occupants and lead to more extensive damage to the building. In this blog, we will discuss how mold is contained during remediation.

Establish Containment Area

The first step in containing mold during remediation is to establish a containment area. This can be done using plastic sheeting or other materials to create a sealed area where the mold removal will take place. The containment area should be large enough to accommodate the workers, their equipment, and any debris that will be removed.

Negative Air Pressure

Once the containment area has been established, negative air pressure should be created. Negative air pressure means that air is being sucked out of the containment area, which prevents mold spores from escaping into other areas of the building. This is achieved using a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter that is placed inside the containment area and connected to an air duct that leads outside.

Seal Off HVAC System

The HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system should be sealed off to prevent mold spores from spreading through the ductwork. This can be done by blocking off the vents and covering the air intake with plastic sheeting.

Use Personal Protective Equipment

During mold remediation, workers should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from exposure to mold spores. This includes respirators, gloves, eye protection, and protective clothing.

Clean Containment Area

Once the mold removal is complete, the containment area should be thoroughly cleaned using a HEPA vacuum and damp cloths. The plastic sheeting should then be removed and disposed of properly.

In conclusion, containing mold during remediation is crucial to prevent it from spreading further and causing problems or additional damage to the building. Establishing a containment area, creating negative air pressure, sealing off the HVAC system, using PPE, wetting and bagging materials, and cleaning the containment area are all essential steps in containing mold during remediation. By following these procedures, mold can be safely and effectively removed from the building.

Safely Reap the Benefits of Using Candles in Your Home

4/27/2023 (Permalink)

Burned glass candle holders. Candles can be a beautiful addition to any home, but they must be used with caution.

Candles can add warmth, ambiance, and a pleasant scent to any room in your home. However, if not used properly, they can also pose a significant fire risk. In this blog, we will discuss how to safely reap the benefits of using candles in your home.

Types of Candles

Before we delve into safety tips, let's review the different types of candles. The most common types are paraffin, beeswax, and soy wax. Paraffin candles are made from petroleum and can be molded into any shape. Beeswax candles have a natural, pleasant scent and color but are also the most expensive. Soy wax candles are made from natural ingredients, making them an eco-friendly option.

Safety Precautions

Candles should always be used with caution to avoid starting a fire. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

Keep candles away from flammable objects. Make sure to keep candles at least 12 inches away from curtains, bedding, and other flammable objects.

Never leave a burning candle unattended. Always make sure to blow out candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

Keep out of reach of children, pets, and animals. Candles should be placed out of reach of curious children and pets who may accidentally knock them over.

Extinguishing Candles

Extinguishing candles properly is just as important as using them safely. Here are two methods to safely extinguish candles:

Snuff out the flame. Use a snuffer or a lid to snuff out the flame. This method is especially useful for candles that have been burning for a long time.

Blow out the candle. If you don't have a snuffer or lid, blowing out the candle is a simple and effective method. Be sure to blow gently to avoid hot wax splattering.

Cleaning Up Spilled Wax

Spilled candle wax is a common occurrence. Here are some tips on how to clean it up:

Remove any large pieces of wax. Use a scraper or the edge of a credit card to remove large pieces of wax.

Use a paper bag to remove the remaining wax. Place a paper bag over the remaining wax and use a warm iron to melt the wax. The wax will transfer to the paper bag.

Use hot, soapy water to clean up the residue. Use hot water and dish soap to clean any remaining residue. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly to avoid mold or mildew growth.

Types of Candle Holders

Candle holders not only add to the aesthetic of your candles but can also provide a layer of safety. Here are some common types of candle holders:

Tealight holders. These small holders are designed for small votive candles.

Pillar holders. These holders are designed for long, slender candles and have a flat bottom to keep them upright.

Candle Accessories

Candle accessories can help make using candles safer and more convenient. Here are some common accessories:

  • Candle snuffers. These are used to extinguish candles and come in various shapes and sizes.
  • Candle lighters. These devices look like small blowtorches and can safely extinguish any type of candle.
  • Wick trimmers. These tools can be used to trim wicks before lighting, making the candle burn more evenly.

Candles can be a beautiful addition to any home, but they must be used with caution. By following these safety tips and using the appropriate accessories, you can safely reap the benefits of using candles in your home.

Beyond the Surface: Understanding Secondary Damage from Water Damage

3/12/2023 (Permalink)

supply line break Preventing secondary damages by calling the professionals at SERVPRO

Water damage can be one of the most frustrating and costly problems for homeowners. While it’s important to address water damage as soon as possible to prevent further damage, there is another type of damage that can occur: secondary damage. In this blog, we’ll explore what secondary damage is, and how it can occur in relation to water damage.

What is Secondary Damage?

Secondary damage is any additional damage that occurs as a result of the primary damage. In the case of water damage, primary damage is the initial damage caused by water, such as the damage to the structure, floors, walls, and personal belongings. Secondary damage, on the other hand, is the damage that occurs as a result of not properly addressing the primary damage.

How Does Secondary Damage Occur with Water Damage?

Secondary damage can occur in various ways after water damage. Here are some common examples:

  1. Mold Growth: Mold can grow in damp areas, such as carpets, drywall, and furniture, within 24-48 hours of exposure to water. If not properly addressed, mold can spread quickly and cause significant damage to your home.
  2. Structural Damage: If the water damage is severe enough, it can weaken the structural integrity of your home. Over time, the moisture can cause the wood to rot, and the metal to corrode, which can lead to structural failure.
  3. Electrical Damage: Water can damage electrical systems and pose safety hazards. If water comes into contact with electrical outlets, appliances, or wiring, it can cause shorts or electrical fires.
  4. Odor Damage: If the water damage is not addressed promptly, it can lead to unpleasant odors that can be difficult to remove.

How to Prevent Secondary Damage

The best way to prevent secondary damage is to address water damage promptly and properly. Here are some tips:

  1. Remove Standing Water: If there is standing water in your home, it’s important to remove it as soon as possible. Use a wet/dry vacuum or hire a professional to do the job.
  2. Dry the Affected Areas: After removing the standing water, it’s important to dry the affected areas thoroughly using dehumidifiers, fans, and other drying equipment.
  3. Clean and Disinfect: Clean and disinfect the affected areas to prevent mold growth and remove any potential hazards.
  4. Inspect for Structural Damage: If you suspect structural damage, have your home inspected by a professional to identify any potential issues.

In conclusion, secondary damage can occur as a result of not properly addressing water damage. By addressing water damage promptly and properly, you can prevent secondary damage and avoid costly repairs. Remember to always consult with a professional water damage restoration company to ensure that your home is restored to its preloss condition.

What To Do If Your Toilet Overflows

2/16/2023 (Permalink)

water leaking from toilet. If you have a toilet that's overflowing, it can be a scary and stressful experience.

If you have a toilet that's overflowing, it can be a scary and stressful experience. However, there are steps that you can take to stop the water and clean up the mess. Here's what to do if your toilet overflows.

Do Not Flush Again

If your toilet is overflowing, the last thing you should do is flush it again. It's best not to let anyone get near that water until the situation has been dealt with.

If there are any other people in your home who aren't aware of what's happened yet, make sure they know about it immediately so they don't walk into their bathrooms and find themselves ankle-deep in toilet water!

Turn Off the Water to the Toilet

The next step in dealing with a toilet overflow is to turn off the water supply at the shut-off valve. This will prevent further flooding and damage. The toilet's water shut-off valve is usually located at the bottom of or behind your toilet. If you cannot locate the shut-off valve, try shutting off the main water valve to your home.

Typically, you'll find your house's main shut-off valve in either:

  • A basement
  • A garage
  • The laundry room

Make sure that you have turned off all water sources in your home before doing any cleaning or repairs.

Clean Up Water

Next, you need to clean up any excess water from the floor and remove any damaged items from your bathroom. Use a sponge, towel, or mop to soak up any remaining water on the floor and wipe down any surfaces that were splashed with water.

It is important to remove the water as quickly as possible in order to prevent more damage from occurring on your property.

Disinfect Surfaces

Next, wipe down any surfaces that came into contact with water disinfectant cleaner so that no harmful organisms are left behind when you're done cleaning up your mess.

Disinfection is important because it can prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. Make sure you disinfect all surfaces in your bathroom, including the toilet seat and lid, flooring around the toilet, and any other items that may have come into contact with the water.

Unclog The Toilet

Lastly, you need to unclog the toilet. Try plunging the toilet first. Be sure not to use too much force—you don't want to push any blockage further down into your pipes. If this doesn't work, you can try using a toilet snake to unclog the toilet. If this doesn't work or if you don't have any plumbing tools on hand, you'll need to call a professional plumber to fix the problem.

If This Fails, Call the Professionals for Help

If these steps didn't help, call a professional. If the damage is too extensive for you to handle on your own, it's time to call in reinforcements.

Hopefully, this article has given you more insight into the steps to take if you ever experience an overflowing toilet. SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties is always on standby and ready to help if your home or business has suffered from water damage due to a toilet overflow.

What are the Different Ways To Extinguish a Fire?

1/10/2023 (Permalink)

Man using fire extinguisher to stop fire It's important to know how to extinguish a fire in your home.

Extinguishing a Fire

Fire is one of the most destructive forces on earth. It can cause extensive damage to both property and human life, so it's important that you have a basic understanding of fire extinguishing methods. This article will highlight some common ways to put out fires and give you an idea of what form of fire-suppression equipment is best for different types of fires.


Water is the most common method of putting out a fire, and this is due to its effectiveness in extinguishing all kinds of flames. Water can be used to cool hot surfaces or even douse an open flame that has begun spreading to nearby combustible materials.

However, water should not be used against electrical fires; in fact, you should stay as far away from them as possible. Also do not use water on fires where hydrocarbons are burning (like gasoline). You’ll want to keep some distance between yourself and these as well—they tend to explode when they come into contact with water!


If you're unsure of what type of fire you're dealing with, the first step is to use foam. Foam is a chemical agent that can be used on class A and B fires. Class A fires are defined as combustible solids and include things like paper, wood and cloth; class B fires are flammable liquids or gasses such as gasoline, oil and natural gas. If your fire is electrical in nature—no matter what kind of wire it's connected to—you'll want to use foam as well.

Foam should always be applied with a hose because it can travel quickly over long distances. It can also coat large surfaces while remaining effective against most flames at all times during application (unlike water).

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a non-toxic and non-corrosive gas. It is heavier than air, so it will sink to the bottom of a room. This makes CO2 ideal for use in enclosed spaces such as offices and laboratories where it can be pumped in through vents or pipes.

Due to its effectiveness at extinguishing fires in enclosed spaces, CO2 is also one of the most commonly used fire suppression agents worldwide. However, because CO2 does not displace oxygen from open spaces (and therefore doesn't put out fires), it isn't as effective at putting out flames outdoors or in other large areas where there are plenty of available oxygen molecules for combustion.

Halogenated Agents

Halogenated agents are chemicals that contain bromine, chlorine, or fluorine. These chemicals are used to extinguish fires in flammable liquids. They are toxic and corrosive, so they must be handled carefully by trained firefighters. Halogenated agents should not be used on electrical fires because they can cause sparks that will spread the fire further.

Dry Powder

Dry powder extinguishers are used on fires that involve flammable liquids, such as gas and oil. They are not effective against electrical fires or fires that involve combustible metals.

Wet Chemical

The other type of extinguisher you may encounter is a wet chemical, also known as a "ABC" extinguisher. These are used on flammable liquids and are designed to put out fires made from oil, gasoline, paint, etc. It is important to note that not all fire extinguishers can be used on every type of fire; in fact, using the wrong type of extinguisher could make your situation worse! If you're unsure about what kind of damage your particular fire can cause, it's best to consult with someone who has experience in dealing with such instances before attempting to fight it yourself.

It's wise to have several different types of fire extinguishers throughout their house—especially for those who live alone. This will give everyone more options when faced with an emergency and allow them some peace of mind knowing that help is close by should harm come their way due to a blaze getting out-of-control too quickly. 

If you have fire damage, call SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties. We are available 24/7 and can be at your location quickly. Our team is certified and trained to handle all aspects of fire damage restoration. Additionally, we can help with your insurance claim so that you don't have to worry about anything other than getting back to living your life.

Fire damage can be devastating. If you’re in need of fire repair services in your Columbia, IL home or business, look no further than SERVPRO. We have the training and equipment to handle your smoke and water damage quickly and efficiently. Call us today!

Do you have a disaster plan for your pets?

4/30/2022 (Permalink)

Emergency plans aren't just for humans. Make sure your fur babies are protected as well.

The number one priority in any disaster is your safety. However, once you are secure, how will your pet be safe as well? Having a pet-preparedness plan along with a human-preparedness plan can be life-saving to you and your pet.

Store Important Items

To care for your pets during a disaster, it is good to store pet food, water, and animal first aid items in your home. Having a stash that can easily be retrieved is pertinent to keeping your pets safe during a crisis. 

Evacuation Plan

When you establish a plan for evacuation, include your pets so you know to take them with you. While not always possible, keeping your pets with you increases their chances of survival. 

ID Your Pets

It is important for your pets to have an ID on them at any given moment, but especially during a disaster. They can easily be traced if they are properly identified which can make finding them much easier. If an animal is lost, any found pet alerts will contain better information on your animal. Saying that, it is good practice to also check for found pet alerts, as most people in a community would help you find your pet. 

Keep Up With Vaccinations

Having your pets’ vaccinations up to date reduces the risk of them getting sick while a disaster occurs. 

Your safety is important, but so is your pets’. These practices will ensure that your pets stay happy and healthy during any ordeal. 

If your home or business suffers from fire, water, storm, or mold damage, contact your local SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties at (618) 464-0300.

Pretty Bird vs. Nasty Soot

4/25/2022 (Permalink)

Puff back - bird vs soot. Which would you prefer?

What Are Puff Backs?

Have you ever seen a cute little bird, the black-backed puff back, often found in wooded habitats? These birds are innocent and wonderful. They fly gracefully into the open air causing no trouble to anyone. On the other hand, have you ever seen an escape of nasty, soot-filled air into your home? This type of puff back is not innocent and wonderful. In fact, it causes massive black stains and bad odors in your home. This kind of puff back mostly occurs from oil-fueled furnaces if they are not properly maintained. 

Why Do They Happen?

Puff backs are small explosions in a furnace that cause soot to be pushed back into the home instead of through the ventilation system. They are usually caused by build-ups of dirt and soot in the ventilation, failing fans, and clogged filters.

How to Prevent Puff Backs

The only ways to prevent puff backs are to replace filters often and have a professional look at your furnace. As previously stated the largest cause of puff backs is the lack of maintenance on furnaces. It is good practice to have all of your heavily-used appliances routinely checked.

In this Waterloo, IL basement, a puff back left a significant amount of damage on the floor joist system. Our SERVPRO technicians arrived quickly and started the cleaning and deodorization process to return them back to normal. The incident provided an awakening for the residents, and they decided to have their furnace checked often. 

The Dangers of Dryer Vents

4/8/2022 (Permalink)

Trust the PROS at SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph and Washington Counties (618)464-0300

Do you want statistics? We have statistics! 

According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), failure to clean dryers causes 34% of home fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death. To reduce the risk of fires happening in your home, SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup.


  1. Keep your dryer ventilation unblocked, both inside and outside of the home
  2. Clear out lint inside flex ducting attached to your dryer
  3. Remove lint from the filter after every load
  4. Make sure the outdoor flap is open

With our HEPA duct cleaner vacuums, no amount of dust, dirt, or lint can stop us from protecting your home from fire damage. If your home needs dryer vent or HVAC cleaning, come to the professionals at SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties. Contact us today at (618) 464-0300.

What in the HAIL?? Time to call SERVPRO

4/7/2022 (Permalink)

For all you fire, water, mold, and storm needs call SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph, and Washington Counties at (618)464-0300

Hail storms are never a good thing to you and your property. They can put dents in cars and smash holes in homes and windows. Unfortunately, the damage does not stop there. While big chunks of ice can break things, the smaller, harder to detect pieces can cause as much if not more damage. 

As hail is coming down, the smaller pieces can put dents in your shingles, allowing water to flow in. Sometimes this water stays hidden until finally: boom! Your roof just caved in due to water damage. So, even the smaller chunks need to be monitored. 

Luckily, we at SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties are experts in water and storm cleanup. The first thing we do is seal off any holes created by the hail to stop water from flowing in. Next, we get to work drying any moist areas using our air movers and dehumidifiers. Your damaged belongings are cleaned and restored to pre-disaster condition as we close off your home from nature again. 

Let us ease your mind as we handle any disaster nature throws at you. Call your local SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties for your expert fire, water, mold, and storm cleanup needs. (618) 464-0300

How to Categorize Your Water Damage

4/7/2022 (Permalink)

Regardless of the category, SERVPRO can help. Give us a call today at (618)464-0300

There are different types of water damage, some more harmful than others. Knowing about the different kinds is essential to keeping yourself safe when a water disaster hits your home or business. While you may be thinking, “It’s not like I’m going to drink the flood water in my basement,” it is more than just ingesting the water that can cause harm.

Category 1 Water

Category 1 Water is the cleanest. It refers to water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and is classified as “clean water”. Examples include water supply lines, tub or sink overflows, or appliance malfunctions that involve a water supply line.

Category 2 Water

Category 2 Water is the kind you need to watch out for. Known as “grey water”, this kind refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological, or physical contaminants. This kind of water can cause discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to. Grey water carries microorganisms and nutrients of microorganisms. Examples are toilet bowls, sump pump failures, and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.

Category 3 Water

Category 3 Water is grossly unsanitary. It is known as “black water” and can contain unsanitary agents and harmful bacteria and fungi. Being exposed to or ingesting black water can cause health issues. Category 3 Water refers to water sources that affect the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water, or standing water. Category 2 Water that is not promptly removed form the structure and/or has remained stagnant may be reclassified as Category 3 Water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination.

SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties wants you to be informed of the dangers of water and the kind of damage it can cause. We can handle any kind of water damage your home or business has, making it “Like it never even happened.” If your home or business suffers from water damage, call the experts at (618) 464-0300.