Recent Posts

Fire Extinguisher Classes

2/14/2019 (Permalink)

The fire classification system is designed to categorize fires into groups based on the type of fuel involved. Each fire class is represented by a letter of the alphabet (with the electrical which are simply referred to as “electrical fires”) and an icon. This helps users to select an appropriate fire extinguisher in the event of a fire.

Class A Fires

  • Solid Combustibles
    • Fire involving solid combustible materials such as wood, textiles, straw, paper, coal etc.

Class B Fires

  • Flammable Liquids
    • Fire caused by combustion of liquids or materials that liquefy such as petrol, oils, fats, paints, tar, ether, alcohol, stearin, and paraffin.

Class C Fires

  • Flammable Gases
    • Fires caused by combustion of gases such as methane, propane, hydrogen, acetylene, natural gas and city gas.

Class D Fires

  • Flammable Fires
    • Fires involving combustibles metals such as magnesium, aluminum, lithium, sodium, potassium and their alloys. Combustible metal fires are unique industrial hazards which require special fire extinguishers.  

Class F Fires

  • Combustible Cooking Media
    • Fires involving particularly hot or deep oil and grease fires, such as deep fat fryers in commercial kitchens or overheated oil pan fires in homes. Normal water-based extinguishers with large droplets would cause an ‘explosion’ of stream and carry burning oils and fats from the container. Equally, a CO2 extinguishers jet would carry burning oil out of the container and also would have in-sufficient cooling effect to stop reigniting. Wet chemical extinguishers, on the other hand, lay a cooling foam layer on top of the burning fat/oil and react with the liquid, stopping air supply to the fire.

Electrical Fires

  • Electrical Appliances
    • Fires involving electrical appliances such as computers, electrical heaters, stereos, fuse boxes etc.

Call SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie Counties for any of your fire needs, 24/7 at (217) 359-0077. (LB)

What are Safe Moisture Levels?

2/13/2019 (Permalink)

One of the most common questions people have about moisture measurement is “What are safe moisture levels in walls, floors, etc.?’

The answer is: “It depends.”

Types of Wall Materials and Moisture.

What constitutes a “safe” level of moisture in a wall will change depending on what the wall is made of. In most modern construction interior walls tend to use a surface layer of gypsum (a.k.a. drywall) because it’s a relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and long-lasting material that’s easy to work with. However, old buildings may use other interior wall surfaces, such as wooden paneling or plaster.

Generally speaking, for drywall, safe moisture content (%MC) would be less than 1%MC. Anything above 1%MC in drywall would indicate a level of moisture that could compromise the integrity of the gypsum board.

Exterior walls may use a variety of materials, from wooden siding, in vinyl, aluminum, brick, and stone of these exterior wall materials, wood is generally the most susceptible to moisture – which is why wood siding is usually treated to resist rain. However, water repellent finishes can only prevent moisture from getting past the surfaces where the wood has been treated. If water reaches an untreated surface, such as the backside of the wood, then it can still be absorbed and can cause problems.

With wood, it can be harder to generalize what a safe amount of moisture is. This is because the humidity conditions can have an effect on what the ideal moisture content of wood can be – not to mention that “safe” moisture levels can vary from one species of wood to the next.

How humidity impacts “safe” moisture levels

The ambient humidity and temperature conditions where your walls are located can have an effect on what could constitute a “safe” amount of moisture in the wall when dealing with hygroscopic materials like wood. If wood wall materials aren’t in equilibrium with their surrounding environment, then they will absorb or let out moisture until they are – which can cause swelling or shrinkage that impacts the look and integrity of the wood.

So, knowing the relative humidity (RH) conditions is a must when trying to determine what  “safe” moisture content for wood wall is. For example, if the temperature in the room is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the RH is 50%, then a “safe” level of moisture in the wall would be about 9.1%MC.

Measure moisture in walls

So, how can you be sure if the walls in a structure have a safe level of moisture? One way to check is to use a moisture meter that is optimized for building inspection world like the BD-2100.

This particular moisture meter is ideal for checking the moisture content of walls because it has reading scales for both drywall and wood that allow for precise quantitative moisture measurements in these materials. A spate reference scale setting can be used for getting qualitative readings of moisture in other wall materials (like plaster).

The BD-2100’s drywall moisture meter readings are accurate in gypsum to moisture content percentages as low as 0.2% and as high as 50%. In the wood scale, the meter can detect moisture accurately over a range of 6%MC to 40%MC. The ability to detect moisture accurately in both wood and drywall makes this device particularly suited for building inspection work.

If you are worried about the moisture levels in your home, call SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie Counties anytime at (217) 359-0077.

How to Remove Mold from Basement Walls

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

When it comes to removing mold from a basement wall, there is no one answer. There are a lot of factors that go into determining if you can remove the mold and how to do it. But before we dive into determining if mold can be removed from a wall, we first must understand what mold is and how it grows.

What is Mold?

Mold is a living organism, or more precisely, it is a fungus. It tends to grow in dark and damp environments and it feeds on cellulose. Cellulose is an organic material that can be found abundantly in drywall, cardboard boxes, carpets, wood, clothes, and curtains. You won’t usually find mold on metals and plastics since they don’t contain cellulose. A quick look around your basement and you can see that there are many places where mold can grow if the conditions are right.

Can Mold Be Removed from Walls?

Now that we know what mold is and how it grows, can it be easily removed from your basement walls? Well, it depends on what your walls are made of and whether they are painted. If the mold is growing on painted drywall or painted concrete, then you may be able to wipe the mold off. You can use a household cleaner that is made to remove mold and spray it down, scrub it off, and wipe it clean.

If the mold is found growing on unfinished drywall, then you might have a problem. Due to the porous nature of the drywall, the mold may be embedded into the drywall and won’t be able to be wiped clean. It is usually best to remove the drywall with the mold and replace it with new drywall.

With unfinished concrete walls, you obviously can’t easily remove and replace the concrete walls like you can with drywall. With concrete walls, you will want to scrub off any mold you can see and then soak the area with a mold cleaner. The cleaner should soak into the concrete and kill off any mold or mold spores that are hiding out underneath the surface.

Household Cleaners May Not Be Good Enough

If you walk down the household cleaners aisle at the grocery store or look up DIY mold cleaning solutions on the web, you’ll notice there are a lot of solutions and recipes to clean/kill/remove mold. While these may seem to do the job at first, most do not re-mediate the mold problem. Weeks later, the mold can return. Even the mold that has been killed can be harmful to one’s health if not removed. A quick search on the Internet shows some recommend a bleach solution while others say that it isn’t effective or healthy. So what is one to do?

Other Problems That You Need to Be Aware before Cleaning Mold

If you do try to clean or remove mold from your walls, be sure to wear ventilation to protect yourself. Inhaling mold can possibly be dangerous to your health especially when you do not know what type of mold you are dealing with.

Another problem with trying to clean mold on your own is that by scrubbing and cleaning and removing it, you may be unknowingly spreading the mold spores elsewhere. If you are scrubbing mold off a wall, the mold spores can quickly and easily become airborne and travel to other parts of your basement and home. Think of mold like a cup of fine flour. If you throw that cup of flour in the air, the tiny bits of flour can travel easily through the air and spread everywhere. Mold spores are even tinier (can’t be seen by the human eye) and can spread even easier and farther.

What’s the Best Way to Remove Mold from Basement Walls?

If you discover mold growing on a wall or walls in your basement, the best thing might be to call a professional mold remediation team like the team at SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie Counties. The mold remediation team at SERVPRO take to contain the mold, remove the mold, clean the contents, and restore your basement. They will also identify the cause of the water or moisture and either stop it or provide a solution to stopping it so that it doesn’t cause mold growth in the future.  

One last piece of advice if you discover mold in your basement, is to leave it alone. If you disturb the area, the mold spores can become airborne and spread elsewhere. Give SERVPRO a call at (217) 359-0077 anytime if you find mold in your basement.

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

2/7/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie counties will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (217) 359-0077 

Frozen Pipes

2/7/2019 (Permalink)

Learn How to prevent water pipes from freezing and How to thaw them if they do freeze

Why pipes freezing are a problem

Water has a unique property in it that it expands as it freezes. The expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basement and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

How to protect pipes from freezing

Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturers or installers directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store used hoses outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape”, “heat cable”, or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspapers can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.

How to prevent frozen pipes

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to make any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nightline temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit

How to thaw frozen pipes

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a froze pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begin to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipes will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electrical hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze too.

Call SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie Counties for any of your fire needs, 24/7 at (217) 359-0077. (LB)

Build an Emergency Checklist

2/4/2019 (Permalink)

Are you prepared for when a storm hits near you? Use this checklist to build your emergency kit for your necessities during a storm.  

  • Water (one gallon per person per day)
  • Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Clothing
  • Dust masks or bandannas
  • Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Hygiene items
  • Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container

SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie Counties is locally owned and operated—so we’re a part of this community too. We are also part of a national network of over 1,700 franchises, which enables us to respond quicker with more resources. For major storms and disasters, we can call upon special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country.

Call SERVPRO at (217) 359-0077 for all your storm damage needs 24/7.

Emergency Water Removal for South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie County Residents

1/30/2019 (Permalink)

Water Removal in an Emergency

Water pipes are often not insulated in the home, particularly when traveling into cellar spaces or through garages. Plumbing systems are suitably robust. However, as they age, they become more susceptible to temperature changes or pressure. These elements cause the materials to expand and retract which, over time can loosen connections or split the pipes. When that happens, water can leak rapidly and require extraction. 


It is rare that homeowners own the type of equipment needed to perform extraction themselves. Water removal in  counties require industrial scale equipment to get the job down fast and reduce the likelihood of permanent damage. SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie Counties have an emergency call line that operates 24 hours a day and can send a trained technician to your property within four hours of notification of loss. 

Generally, when standing water is over two inches high, it needs to be pumped. We use gas-powered fully submersible pumps to help remove excess water before moving in with extraction wands to treat saturated carpets or floorboards. When water levels are below two inches, we may not need to use pumps and move straight onto extraction equipment. 

The primary technique for removing excess water is to extract. Extractors come in various sizes and can be scaled to depending on the extent of the spill. If the water is below five gallons, we can use portable extractors which are nimble and precise. Where there is extensive spillage, truck-mounted extractors can be brought in with storage tanks of more than one hundred gallons. A SERVPRO technician can access either type after inspecting the affected area. 

Extraction equipment uses a vacuum component to help lift water from saturated carpets or fabrics. These need to be managed carefully as aggressive usage can damage carpets which are up to 50% weaker when drenched in water. SERVPRO technicians are trained to perform light, repeated pass overs that reduce the pressure put on wet materials and mitigates against further damages. 

If you need rapid water extraction, contact SERVPRO  at (217) 359-0077.

Be Storm Smart. Be Storm Ready.

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

Severe weather can happen any time, and anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms:

  • 10,000 severe
  • thunderstorms
  • 5,000 floods or flash floods
  • 1,000 tornadoes
  • 2 land falling, deadly hurricanes

Approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.

Know Your Risk. The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

Take Action. Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home or business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.

Be an Example. Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.

Call SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie Counties for your Storm damage needs at (217)359-0077.

Dehu! What is it?

1/28/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Dehu! What is it? Call SERVPRO at (217)359-0077, for all your Dehu needs.

As water damage restoration professionals, we need professional-grade equipment that helps us tackle the toughest of jobs and deliver outstanding results for our clients. A powerful dehumidifier is a key component in our suite of tools. But what does a dehumidifier do? 

Conventional dehumidifiers are designed for most water-damage remediation projects, and they can easily be transported from job to job and loaded and unloaded from a vehicle. They condense water vapor by passing air over refrigerated coils, and a heat pipe prevents frost from forming. This type of Dehu can also be used in your home for moisture management. It helps to keep moisture levels more comfortable in humid environments, and helps ward off musty odors. 

We use machines called LGR Dehumidifiers. LGR stands for low-grain refrigerant, which is a fancy way of saying these dehumidifiers provide maximum power in removing moisture from the air. How do they work? LGR dehumidifiers feature a double cooling system that lowers the temperature of moisture-filled air once inside the machine. This leads to more condensation that forms on the coils inside the machine, which in turn leads to more moisture pumped out and less moisture in the air that is returned to the room.  

Now for my favorite Dehu! 

The Phoenix Dry Max! What is special about the Dry Max? It's tiny compared to its brothers and sisters, but it still packs the same punch! It has an integrated handle and wheels as well as on board storage for the power cord and condensate hose! 

What to Expect with a Commercial Fire Damage

1/24/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial What to Expect with a Commercial Fire Damage When an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we'll be there fast with the help you need.

Fire damage can be very overwhelming for a business or commercial property. At SERVPRO® we understand the importance of getting you back to your pre-fire condition quickly. Not only may you experience fire, smoke, and soot damage, water damage caused by firefighting efforts and fire suppression systems may occur, also.

Tasks to expect from the professionals:

  • Detailed Cleaning – to remove excess soot or other contaminants from impacted areas through HEPA vacuuming and dry sponging.
  • Selective Demolition – to remove unsalvageable materials or property.
  • Pack Outs – to remove salvageable personal property from the affected area for off-site cleaning and storage.
  • Air Flow Management – to remove airborne contaminants and soot and to reduce offensive odors
  • Deodorization – to remove or mask offensive odors and return the affected area to a usable space

SERVPRO® of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, and Moultrie Counties will respond quickly and manage the fire restoration project through to its completion. We have the training, experience, and equipment to manage your commercial fire damage and get your property business-ready.

We are here for you 24/7. Give us call at (217)359-0077 for all your commercial fire damage needs.