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The Rainbow After the Storm

3/15/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage The Rainbow After the Storm A beautiful rainbow

A storm is when air cools as it rises in the atmosphere.  Water vapor condenses and forms cumulus clouds. When condensation occurs, heat or energy is released and helps the thunderstorm grow. At some point, condensation high in the cloud (which is now in the form of water droplets and ice) fall to the ground as rain. After this occurs it is common to see a rainbow.

What causes the rainbow?

The rain droplets serve as a type of reflector of light. ... Without millions of rain droplets, a rainbow would not occur. If you only had a few rain droplets you would only see a few colors. This is typically why the rainbow appears after a rainstorm. It is truly miraculous and proves there is beauty after a devastating storm.

12 Weeks and Adorable

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 12 Weeks and Adorable Getting into Trouble

The babies now have full run of the house and it is interesting to watch them explore their surroundings.

They love playing hide and seek. They have a knack for scaring you when you least expect it. There have been several times in the last week that they hide somewhere and when you walk into the room they jump out of their hiding spot and make you scream. I am not ashamed to say they have scared me to the point of screaming and jumping back.

When they want you to hold them they climb up your legs causing a few shrieks and a little blood but then they are in your arms purring and nuzzling.  

The laughter that they bring to the house is infectious and I love watching their shenanigans and the deep sleep they fall into after.

They got their second set of shots and are healthy and happy. I look forward to the following months to come.

Do You Need An Mold Inspection or Actual Testing

3/6/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Do You Need An Mold Inspection or Actual Testing Hidden Mold

Once you see visible mold, as in you can see it on the walls, ceiling or floor, testing is a waste of money.

Why is it unnecessary if you already see mold? Because it will save most people a lot of money and time! Just because you see mold does not mean you need to test to find out what type it is. You may think we need to know what kind of mold it is especially if it is “toxic” but surprisingly, we do not.  Once you see visible mold, knowing what type it is, is usually irrelevant because at this point, you simply need to get rid of the mold following proper mold remediation as outlined in the IICRC guidelines.

When should a mold inspection and mold testing be considered?

  • When visible mold is not present, but the smell of mold is. Here a mold inspection and mold test can reveal whether there is indeed elevated mold, and where it is located.
  • There have been plumbing leaks or water issues and there is a suspicion that elevated mold may exist in the air and/or behind walls.
  • Post Mold Removal Clearance Testing to ensure that the previous mold issues has been resolved and mold counts have returned to levels found in normal environments of the same type.
  • Health Concerns: In some cases a doctor or the patient has a health issue that they cannot pinpoint the cause but seems to be related to mold symptoms (coughing, sneezing, headaches, etc). Here, a mold inspection and test may help to confirm whether the doctor’s or patient’s suspicions that a mold problem exists.
  • For real estate transactions for the protection of Buyers and Sellers.
  • Landlord/Tenant disputes as to whether there is a mold problem.
  • Someone thinks they see or smell mold but are not sure.
  • Someone is interested in a general Indoor Air Quality test of their environment.

Water Damage Not Treated Properly, Leads To Mold.

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Water Damage Not Treated Properly, Leads To Mold. Mold Caused by Incomplete Water Restoration

It is so common that when water damage occurs and it is not treated properly, leads to mold. 

Our crew inspected a 4000 square foot home that had an upstairs toilet overflow that they started cleaning up themselves but ended up hiring a handyman to finish the work. Because of the handyman, although great at his job, but not certified in water damage clean up, ended up causing more damage. The dry out was not done properly and ended up costing the homeowners thousands of dollars more because mold had grown throughout the upstairs leading down to the downstairs. This is a perfect example of water damage that had become a mold situation in a large home.

Work Performed: We provided complete service, contents moved out of rooms, protective barriers in place, protective covers over unaffected areas, careful removal of walls and ceilings in most of the entire downstairs. We set up filtration equipment for 6 days during the remediation process. We work closely with several licensed contractors who are able to provide all repairs needed and wood floor repair service as well to complete the job and make it look "Like it never even happened."

Result: On this water loss SERVPRO provided complete restoration services from beginning to end. Our client was pleased. 

When Cleaning Up Ash...

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage When Cleaning Up Ash... Wild Fire, Malibu Ca

California Department of Public Health advises residents of recent burn areas to use caution when cleaning up ash from wildfires. The ash from trees burned in forest fires is relatively nontoxic and similar to ash that might be found in your fireplace. However, ash from burned buildings, vehicles, and other similar items may contain many toxic substances, including arsenic, asbestos, lead, and fine particles that can aggravate asthma and other respiratory problems.

When evacuation orders are lifted, residents should be aware of potential health hazards during the clean-up and rebuilding process. It is important to limit the amount of ash that gets airborne. Leaf blowers and sweeping may seem like the smart way to clean it up, but this actually stirs the ash up so people may breathe it in, which can be dangerous.

In order to avoid potential health risks, CDPH recommends these safety tips for cleaning up ash:

  • Never use a leaf blower, as it will spread the ash and blow it back into the air.
  • Wear a close-fitting respirator that is rated N-95 or P-100 to block ash particles from being inhaled. Bandanas, surgical or cloth masks do not effectively block fine particles.
  • Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes to avoid skin contact with ash.
  • If you do get ash on your skin, wash it off as soon as possible.
  • Remove shoes before entering your home or use “sticky mats” in entryways and doors to remove dust and ash from your shoes. Sticky mats are sold at hardware stores.
  • Do not allow children to play in ash. Wash ash off toys before children play with them.
  • Clean ash off pets with either a damp cloth or bath.
  • If you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees, wash the fruits or vegetables before eating them.
  • The use of shop vacuums and other non-HEPA filter vacuums is not recommended. HEPA filter vacuums could be used, if available.

How Quickly Will Fire Damage Restoration Companies Begin Working?

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO How Quickly Will Fire Damage Restoration Companies Begin Working? Fire Board Up

Our professional restoration company will come and scope or estimate the damage looking for protein residues, natural substance residue, and synthetic residue to get an estimate of the damage. Project managers will show up at your property to come up with a game plan and you’ll find it’ll be emotionally reassuring to have a team in place to help begin picking up the pieces. They’ll take your building from a charred ruin to a working home again. 

They’ll begin the emergency board up process right away if needed. Once the fire marshal clears the area or says it is fine to be there, we will use plywood to board up your windows. Plywood is the cheapest option to board windows.

When our professionals are boarding your windows, they have options to secure it. They can use concrete screws, anchor screws, wingnuts or lag screws with anchors.

Our crew members will measure your windows and once the windows are measured the plywood will be cut according to the measurements. To board the windows in concrete, the technicians will use a masonry bit and screws and fasten the board to the house. If your house has aluminum or other sidings, we will use a stud finder to search for the window frame stud. The holes from the plywood will line up with the center of the studs. We will then pre-drill holes in the plywood and then drill through to secure it to the building. You may notice that these boards are doubled up for larger windows and doors.

Emergency board up is critical to your home. Not only does it protect your property from the weather, but it also discourages vandals from breaking into the property as well as helps with structural stabilization. Besides, it’s mandated by the insurance companies.

Mudflow in Malibu CA

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Mudflow in Malibu CA Mudflow in Malibu

Malibu has been hit hard these last few months. First, from the Woolsey Fire and now with these heavy rains causing mudflows and mudslides.  Don’t confuse mudflows with mudslides as there are distinct differences. Mudslides occur when a mass of earth or rock moves downhill, propelled by gravity. They typically don't contain enough liquid to seep into your home, and they aren't eligible for flood insurance coverage. In fact, mudslides are not covered by any policy as stated by the multiple insurance agents we work with.

Aside from the danger of flooding, heavy rainfall can also lead to mudflow, basically creating a river of mud; and landslides, which are caused by the movement of the destabilized land—due either to gradual erosion or an accumulation of water.

Mudflow is covered by flood insurance which is available from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Federal flood insurance is available for homeowners, renters, and business owners; policies cover overflow of inland or tidal waters and unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source. NFIP flood policies can be purchased directly from the federal government or through FEMA-authorized insurance companies and agents.

A Moldy Smell

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation A Moldy Smell Finding the Smell

For mold to grow in your house it needs a moisture source. It could be coming from the outdoors, indoors or both.

Outdoor sources include:

  • Water leaking caused by clogged gutters and drains. It might not be visible to your eye, but leaks can wet walls and attic spaces so that mold grows unseen.
  • Leaks from improperly flashed windows, doors, decks, and roofs. These areas can also allow water to seep into wall cavities.
  • If the ground around the house isn't sloped enough to drain surface water away, leakage can make the adjacent rooms damp and increase humidity levels in the house.

Indoor moisture sources include:

  • Plumbing leaks behind walls or under sinks.
  • Condensation. Over winter, moist indoor air can cause condensation and ice to form on cold window panes and can do the same, unseen, inside cold wall cavities. Moist air makes its way from the indoors into the wall cavity through a variety of routes, including electrical outlets and light fixtures.

Look for evidence of moisture or possible moisture sources in the areas where you smell mold.

  • Lift carpet and move furniture and drapes to look for signs of moisture or mold staining.
  • Check the attic and or basement for signs of leaks or mold.
  • Outdoors, look for warped, bulging siding, premature peeling of paint or stained and cracked stucco or brick. Pay particular attention to areas around windows, doors, and decks and under roof valleys

If you find evidence of water damage or leaks, determine the cause and rectify it so your remediation company can come and properly clean it.

Certified Water Restoration Contractors

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Certified Water Restoration Contractors Wet Walls

Certified water restoration contractors are required to meet a strict set of standards, dictated by insurance companies and industry organizations to restore the property to its preloss condition. If a restoration project is done improperly, it can result in mold growth or other toxic hazards that can cause serious health issues for the occupants, therefore, it is important to choose a company that knows the industry standards and has a stellar reputation in their community.

Before choosing the right restoration contractor, take these four tips into consideration:

Tip #1: Do Not Choose a Friend or Family Member in the Construction Business

We’ve all heard the horror stories about someone’s friend who had their savvy brother-in-law with a little construction experience fix something that's gone wrong at their home or business, and it turned out to be a disaster. It is never a good idea to try to save money and cut corners by hiring a friend or family member to make building repairs that are totally beyond their skills. It usually harms the relationships and costs you a lot more time and money!

Tip #2: Do Not Choose the Contractor Who Built Your Home or Building

General contractors and construction companies who mostly build new construction do not have adequate insurance restoration experience even though they think they do. They lack the proper equipment, correct experience and certified training required to perform water mitigation, smoke odor removal, content restorative cleaning, deodorizing and handling techniques. Also most of the time, they do not understand the proper methods for reconstruction and repairs under these unique conditions, not to mention how to identify and deal with the hazardous materials and dangerous structural conditions, after a disaster.

Tip #3: Do Not Choose a Contractor Who Has Little, or No Experience Working With Insurance Companies

As the insurance policyholder, it is your responsibility to disclose any loss to the insurance company and provide the necessary documentation required to process the claim. You will need an estimate from a restoration company that meets the strict insurance company requirements, created using specific estimating software. If the estimate format does not meet the insurance company standards, it may be rejected.

Tip #4: Do Not Choose a Cleaning Service

Carpet cleaners and house cleaning crews are great for every day, small-scale cleaning job. But when it comes to flooding, fire, and smoke damage, they don’t have the technical capabilities or knowledge to remove high levels of moisture that infiltrates the floors and walls. In not mitigating the damage properly, it can cause dangerous secondary damages to accumulate in a matter of days. Smoke and ash damage also goes far beyond the soot that is left on walls, ceilings, and furniture. If not cleaned and deodorized properly, it can leave behind microscopic toxins and fine particulates that can be hazardous to the health of the occupants.

Years of experience and extensive training are required to be a certified restoration contractor, and obviously, there are many good reasons for that. Give us a call with any questions.

Fire Damage Restoration Process Blog 2

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage Restoration Process Blog 2 Ash Debris

Call in your claim promptly to your insurance company but understand that you may face some frustrating situations. You may believe that because you’ve just had a major loss, you know your insurance agent, and you pay your premiums on time, that your insurance company will give you a top dollar amount right off the bat. It’s important to remember that insurance companies are a business and their goal is to be profitable. This means when you file a claim, don’t be surprised if the offer you first receive is lower than what you anticipated. That’s because their goal is to restore you to preloss condition. Their goal isn’t for you to profit from the tragedy. If you aren’t satisfied with the first offer, it is okay to push back. You pay your premiums. It’s the insurance company’s job to restore you to your preloss condition. You may feel fearful that your premiums will then increase, but it is still your responsibility to make sure their claims are paid in full.

To do so you can show receipts of your different items, warranties, owner’s manuals, appraisals, and boxes. It may be useful for you to provide a list of all the items that were damaged in the fire by listing it room-by-room. You can request to see if your claim covers temporary housing while your home is under renovation. You won’t be entitled to any wages lost during the time of the tragedy.

After you’ve filed your claim, it’s important to then call a fire damage restoration company fast. Most likely your insurance company will have a list of companies they recommend; otherwise, they will encourage you to seek your own.