5 Steps to Take After a Rain Storm
While Southern California isn't necessarily known for it's rainy season, we have gotten a couple heavy storms within the past several years. Powerful storms can dump inches, sometimes even feet, and can overwhelm your home even if you've properly waterproofed it.
Following a storm, here is what you can do to check for any possible water intrusion into the home:
- Check your crawlspace- excess water from heavy rain can infiltrate any cracks or weak points in your home's foundation. It is important to dry up the water as quickly as possible. If you are unable to remove the water, a specialist such as SERVPRO can assist.
- Check your flooring- water can seep through unsealed windows or pool under doorways, potentially soaking your carpet or wood flooring. If you find your carpet is wet, pull it up and remove any wet padding as that isn't salvageable. Wood/laminate floors soak up moisture, resulting in possible warping or damage that may require the flooring to be replaced. Try to mop up any standing water and open doors and windows for plenty of ventilation. If problems still arise, it would be a good time to contact a water restoration company.
- Inspect the attic- potential roof leaks can result in damage to the insulation and framing. Finished attics will have the same water damage issues as the rest of the home. Remove any wet materials if possible.
- Examine the walls- check the walls for stains or discoloring and bubbling or peeling paint. Sometimes baseboards will be swollen too. There could be a potential leak that a professional may need to inspect. Most of the time, wet drywall will need to be removed or replaced.
- Check your gutters and downspouts- standing water is your foundation's worst enemy. Check your gutters and make sure that they are clear of debris and that the openings to all downspouts are clear. Make sure that the water coming from the downspouts is directed away from the home and is not pooling at the base of the structure.
12 Common Mold Types in Homes
Mold is a living substance that grows in very specific conditions, primarily warm, dark, and damp areas. Mold often grows in areas that have experienced some form of water damage.
Here is a list of 12 common molds that are found accompanying water damage:
- Acremonium- this mold typically grows in areas such as condensation from humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans, and window sealants. It is often white, pink, or grey.
- Alternaria- this greenish brown mold is found wherever dampness occurs. These areas can include showers, bathtubs, and below leaking sinks. It typically accompanies areas that suffer from water damage.
- Aspergillus- this is a very common mold that consists of over 185 species, resulting in all sorts of color variations. It is found in damp areas, similar to alternaria.
- Aureobasidium- this mold is normally pink, brown, or black, and often grows behind wallpaper or on painted or wooden surfaces.
- Chaetomium- this greyish brown mold is found by the sources of water damage, and has a distinguishable musty odor. Because this mold grows in consistently moist conditions, it is important to either repair the cause of moisture or keep an eye out for any possible places that you might find it.
- Cladosporium- this mold is unique because it can grow in both hot and cold climates. It likes to thrive in fibrous materials like fabrics, upholstery, and carpet.
- Fusarium- this mold is also able to grow in colder temperatures. It grows in carpeting, wallpaper, and other soft materials. This mold spreads quickly so it is good to examine the rest of the home thoroughly for signs of it elsewhere.
- Mucor- this mold grows in thick greyish white patches, typically near areas that contain moisture due to condensation.
- Penicillin- another type of mold that is found in water damaged areas, it is green or blue in color. While it is responsible for creating antibiotics, prolonged exposure could cause health issues.
- Stachybotrys- also known as black mold, it hides in damp or wet areas with high humidity levels. It grows on cellulose material such as wood, cardboard, paper, etc.
- Trichoderma- this multi-colored mold has five different subspecies, commonly growing on wet surfaces like wallpaper, carpet, or other damp fabrics.
- Ulocladium- another mold that thrives in wet areas, this black colored mold can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and windows with high condensation levels.
Because some molds can pose health hazards, it is important to utilize the services of a specialist upon discovering any mold growing within the home. This results in a safe remediation process for both yourself and everyone else in the home.
For more detailed information regarding these 12 mold types, please visit this link here.
We Can Save Your Retail Business from Disaster
Time is crucial when disaster strikes your retail business. SERVPRO understands that every hour lost means losing potential customers and revenue. We encourage business owners to utilize our 24/7 emergency call center to make sure that not a moment is wasted in getting your business on track again.
SERVPRO of Lake Forest/Laguna Woods services all sorts of retail facilities, including:
- national chain stores
- shopping malls
- department stores
- specialty retailers
Apart from SERVPRO handling any water, fire, mold, or storm damage, SERVPRO of Lake Forest/Laguna Woods can also handle the repairs and cleanup after the mitigation work is complete. Repairs can include minor work such as repainting and repairing drywall to reconstruction. Cleanup can include removing residual odors or deep cleaning floors and carpets.
How to Protect Your Home from Rainwater Damage
It looks like the rainy season here in Southern California is beginning. Will your house be safe during a heavy downpour? Here is what you can do to help protect your home from rainwater damage.
1. Maintain your roof. Neglecting the care of your roof could lead to some serious damage when the rain comes. Inspect your roof for damaged, missing, or loose shingles. Keep in mind that roods have a lifespan of 20-30 years.
2. Seal windows and doors. If windows and doors are not properly sealed, water can seep in through the cracks. Inspect the exterior of your home for any cracks. They can be sealed with caulking or with sprayable insulating foam.
3. Maintain your homes's exterior finish. Water may be able to enter your home through holes in your exterior walls, resulting in mold, peeling paint, or discoloration. Repaint and repair exterior areas as needed.
4. Ensure proper drainage. If water isn't properly diverted away from the home, the foundation could possibly be at risk. Make sure that there is no standing water available.
5. Clean your gutters. They should be free of any debris. Blocked gutters cause the water to flow down the side of your house and collect at the base.
6. Check your downspout. Downspouts should extend to at least two or three feet from the house. If it doesn't extend far enough, then it could actually be channeling the water directly into a puddle at the base of your house.
How to Safely Store Christmas Decorations
Storing Christmas decorations requires some safety precautions in order to ensure the longevity of the lights and decorations. This can also preserve the decorations and prevent any potential fire dangers from occurring the following year.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while storing holiday decorations:
- Unplug electric decorations by gripping the plug directly. Never pull the cord to unplug a device. This can damage the wiring and insulation, which can lead to an electrical shock or fire.
- Take the time to inspect your light string for flaws. Throw out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets, or frayed/bared wires. Do not store a faulty lighting set for next year's use.
- Pack lights appropriately to prevent the need to untangle a mass of lights next year. Consider purchasing a light storage reel or use whatever system works best for you.
- Store electrical decorations in a dry place where they cannot be damaged by water or dampness. Keep them away from children and pets to ensure that nothing is damaged while in storage.
Do You Have Your Emergency Kit Ready?
SERVPRO is a proud sponsor of the American Red Cross. As disaster can strike at any time, the Red Cross has recommended that each family have an emergency kit prepared.
Here is what the Red Cross suggests for what to stock your emergency kit with:
- water: one gallon per person, per day (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- food: non-perishable, easy to prepare items (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- battery powered or hand crank radio
- extra batteries
- first aid kit
- 7 day supply of any medications
- multi-purpose tool
- sanitation and personal hygiene items
- copies of important personal documents
- cellphone with chargers
- family and emergency contact information
- extra cash
- emergency blanket
- maps of the area
ITEMS FAMILY MEMBERS MIGHT NEED
- medical supplies
- baby supplies
- games and activities for children
- pet supplies
- two-way radios
- extra set of car/house keys
- pet supplies
- two-way radios
- manual can opener
- surgical masks
- rain gear
- work gloves
- tools/supplies for securing your home
- extra clothing, hat, sturdy shoes
- plastic sheeting
- duct tape
- household liquid bleach
- entertainment items
- blankets or sleeping bags
The Red Cross sells a wide variety of emergency kits here. Additionally you can build your own based off of your family's needs.
Timeline of the Effects of Smoke and Fire in a Home
When homeowners prolong the restoration of their home after a fire, they increase the effects caused by the smoke exposure.
Within minutes acid soot residues cause plastics to yellow in color, appliances located by the source of the combustion discolor, and highly porous materials stain permanently.
Within hours acid soot residues stain the grout in flooring, counter tops may yellow, fiberglass bathroom fixtures may discolor, and furniture furnishes may discolor.
Within days painted walls yellow permanently, wood furniture requires refinishing, vinyl flooring requires refinishing or replacing, upholstery stains permanently, and clothing becomes soot stained.
Within weeks the restoration costs have increased tremendously. Synthetic carpet fibers may yellow or discolor permanently and silver plate may be damaged permanently. Any china, crystal, or glass may need to be replaced due to severe etching and pitting caused by prolonged soot exposure.
Smoke Alarms Safety Tips
Functional smoke alarms are key for any fire emergency at home as they provide you and your family an early warning of fire danger. Check out these safety tips.
- install smoke alarms in each bedroom, in each level of the home, outside of sleeping areas, and in the basement
- keep smoke alarms at least 10 feet from the stove/kitchen to avoid false alarms
- try to use interconnected smoke alarms where if one goes off, they all do
- larger homes may need more smoke alarms
- test each smoke alarm once a month to make sure they are functional
- people who are hard of hearing can use special alarms that strobe flashes of light or shake the bed
- replace smoke alarms after 10 years
SERVPRO's Fire Damage Restoration Process
After a fire, homes typically suffer from some extent of fire and smoke damage. Many will also suffer from extensive water damage due to the efforts to extinguish the fire. SERVPRO has the specialized training needed in order to restore your home to its pre-fire condition.
Below is the general process that each SERVPRO franchise performs for a typical fire emergency.
- The process starts by calling to SERVPRO's 24/7 emergency call center. Once the proper information has been provided, a local franchise will be dispatched to the fire emergency.
- Our highly trained technicians will arrive to the site and inspect the extent of fire, smoke, and soot damage. From there a plan of action will be made.
- In the event of exterior damage done to the home, SERVPRO professionals can board up missing walls and windows and place tarps on damaged roofs.
- The water removal process will begin as soon as possible. Once the majority of the water has been cleaned up, dehumidifiers and air movers will be placed in order to remove any of the remaining water and complete the drying process.
- Specialized equipment and techniques will be utilized to remove soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.
- Any restorable items and structures damaged by the fire will be cleaned to restore them to pre-fire conditions. Any lingering odors will be removed by air scrubbers and fogging equipment.
- Restoration involving minor repairs may also need to be done to restore the home to it's pre-fire condition. Repairs can include replacing drywall or flooring, repainting the damaged areas, or even reconstructing whole rooms.
How the Mold Remediation Process Works
SERVPRO of Lake Forest South found this huge area behind a kitchen counter that was completely consumed with mold.
MOLD PROBLEM? CALL US AT 949-429-3188
The following process down below describes the general process on how SERVPRO handles mold damage and remediation at a property. While each mold situation is different, the protective protocol remains relatively the same.
- following a property owner's call to our 24/7 emergency call center, a local SERVPRO will be dispatched to perform an inspection of the affected areas
- our technicians will use specialized equipment to detect hidden mold and water sources
- contaminated areas will be contained with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep mold spores from spreading
- powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums will be placed in order to prevent the spread of mold spores
- antimicrobial and antifungal treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies and to prevent new colonies from forming
- mold infested materials such as drywall and carpeting may need to be removed and disposed of in order to remediate mold growth
- any furniture, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold can be cleaned and disinfected
- depending on the level of damage done to building materials, restoration involving minor repairs may need to take place (replacing drywall, painting, new carpet installation.