If you have a fire or water emergency, please call us now at (949) 429-3188

To have the optimal experience while using this site, you will need to update your browser. You may want to try one of the following alternatives:

Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

What to know about Asbestos

7/25/2021 (Permalink)

Microscopic view of asbestos fibers. Microscopic view of asbestos fibers.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos refers to six naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the ability to resist heat, fire, and electricity. These microscopic fibers are also resistant to most chemical reactions and breakdowns, resulting in very versatile building material.

These properties resulted in asbestos being used for many years in a wide range of commercial and industrial settings, as well as in a large variety of consumer products. Although its use has diminished in recent decades, there are still many products that contain asbestos, especially in older homes, schools, and public buildings. 

Asbestos can still be found in many household items including drywall, flooring, ceiling tiles, etc. Since the late 1970s, the use of asbestos has almost stopped. However, homes and other buildings built before 1978 have a higher likelihood of testing positive for asbestos.

Why is Asbestos Hazardous?

The reason why asbestos is so hazardous is that when it becomes brittle, agitated, or destroyed, it breaks into microscopic fibers that become airborne and very easily inhaled. Because of the shape of these fibers, they cling to the lining of the lungs and may result in respiratory ailments. 

How Does SERVPRO Handle Asbestos?

When SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods is called to inspect a home, the technicians must know what year the home was built. If the home was built in the late 1980s or earlier, an asbestos testing company must be dispatched and test the affected areas for asbestos.

If asbestos is not found, then the SERVPRO team can continue with their work on the property. If the asbestos testing comes back positive, an abatement company will need to come out in order to remove the affected areas in a safe manner. Once the removal process is complete, then the SERVPRO team can begin their work. 

Handling a Leak From Faulty Kitchen or Bathroom Piping

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

One of the most common forms of damage we deal with here at SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods is water, be it from external sources like mudslides and accumulated water from a heavy storm, or internal flooding like pipe bursts and clogs. In previous blogs we have covered the steps you as a property owner can take to prevent such disasters, but beyond anyone’s control, the unexpected may occur regardless of your preparation efforts. So, what do you do when confronted with internal piping issues that lead to sudden water build up in your property?

Shut off the Main Water Valve

to cease the flow of water into unwanted areas. As a property owner, you should know the location of the water shut off. If not, call us at (949) 429-3188 and our technicians will guide you through the process of finding and understanding this paramount aspect of your home. We may also equip you with an Emergency Read Plan that denotes all energy supply shut offs on your property along with information on how to work them.

Clear The Area

of all valuable belongings to prevent them from being damaged by the escaping water. In some cases, grey or black water is released into the home introducing a severe level of damage. This type of liquid contains pollutants from your home’s sewage and waste systems that are potentially harmful if brought into close contact with anyone in the surrounding areas.  

Call a Restoration Company

like SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even holidays, to assist you with your damage needs. We understand that damage is in most instances extremely unexpected. We will guide you through the process and keep you informed on best practices for avoiding future disasters. It is important that you have the contact information to your home insurance for us to collaborate with adjustors, ensuring damage costs are at an all time low. 

Follow these steps to handle internal home flooding with grace, and don’t forget that SERVPRO is here “Faster to any disaster!”

The Reality of Water Damage

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

Are you a property owner with a keen understanding of water damage? It is okay if you cannot answer this question confidently, the typical homeowner is not equipped with an arsenal of information regarding the potential of natural disasters. That is why SERVPRO is here to chart the course for future property owners by providing the education necessary to carefully maintain all types of land and prevent every strain of natural disaster. 

Water damage is one of the most formidable and recurrent forms of natural calamity. The majority of our calls pertain to damage of the sort, so familiarizing yourself with the reality of this is paramount to being an efficient property owner. 

The most pressing issue on an owner’s mind after suffering from property damage is the monetary cost. Damage is an unforeseen obstacle, and often unaccounted for in one’s finances. This is what insurance is for, to act as a safety net for events that are known to likely happen, but never when, where or to what degree. 

The price tag to water damage is determined in the assessment phase, by the equipment needed for the job and the time it will take to completely mitigate the affected areas. A pipe leak that was caught early on causing damage to a fraction of the property will cost considerably less than if an entire house were to flood from a sudden and profuse pipe burst. Leaks in the water supply line tend to burst. This is why we push routine property inspection and damage preparation so potential hazards may be noticed sooner rather than later.  

Certain water damage jobs require occupants of the property to relocate during the mitigation process. Water damage is classified under three categories, clean water, greywater and black water. Grey and black water damage is handled with extra care by our technicians and will most likely necessitate temporary relocation from the property. This is for the safety of everyone involved in the process so that any and all damage is contained and properly handled. 

These features of water damage are something to think about as a property owner. Know the reality of what you are getting into and how to best prepare yourself to avoid a damaging situation. And if it happens anyways, don't worry, contact us here at SERVPRO using our 24 hour emergency service line (949) 429-3188.

Book a COVID-19 Clean-Up for Your Commercial Business Property

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO, we care about our clients and their well-being. It is obvious that COVID-19 has impacted every member of the community. We want to know how you are doing, and how we can help. As businesses slowly open up with proper health restrictions in place, maybe your business is in need of some inspection, cleaning, or restoration before starting up. Let us know, and we will be there to help.

To learn more about the services we provide, browse around the website or read our "Why SERVPRO" blogs. We have a wide range of services to meet the needs of the Torrance community.

We also have blogs informing you on how to maintain your business during COVID-19, with tips and pointers on what you can do to inspect your own property. Also, feel free to take a look at some other blogs unrelated to COVID-19 about what to do if your property faces any sort of natural disaster damage. 

We have the proper PPE and disinfecting equipment to clean your property before its opening. The customers of Torrance will be pleased to support local businesses and to see them clean and flourishing. Schedule an inspection through our 24-hour service line at (949)429-3188. Our services are still open during these times, and we want to make sure yours are too.

Why SERVPRO is Your Best Option for Damage Restoration Services

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Servpro technicians back to back in front of green servpro truck Let us make it "Like it never even happened." Call today for an inspection.

Many people stumble upon our website every day and see that we provide construction and restoration services for damaged homes. If you are one of these people, you might be thinking, “so what?” Why would I decide to choose this company over the sundry damage restoration services at my disposal in the Southern California area? Here is what sets us apart from other restoration companies in the business. 

The phones at SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/ Laguna Woods are on call 24/7. No matter the time of day, in the case of a home damage emergency we will respond quickly and execute a plan for repairs to get under way ASAP, “FAster to any disaster!” Even if it is not an immediate disaster, but an unexpected discovery of severe mold growth in the basement, we will gladly send a technician out to assess the problem and quickly shut off the source to prevent further damage. This is just one example of how SERVPRO can be a convenient source for help in an unprecedented situation.

SERVPRO’s services extend to both residential and commercial properties. We have the manpower and equipment for commercial buildings that need extra TLC and a good scrub down to get them back and running for employee and customer services in no time. 

Furthermore, the beauty of SERVPRO’s franchise system is that the owner is directly involved in all proceedings of work done to your property. Any question you have will be answered not by a machine, but by a person who is directly connected to the corporate office in addition to overseeing all of the work performed by our skilled technicians. 

SERVPRO franchises are run by caring, hard working people; SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/ Laguna Woods is no exception.  We understand navigating through a disaster is stressful, so we’ll make sure to guide you through the process and guarantee the best possible outcome with safety as a top priority. Call us for your restoration needs, we will make it “Like it never even happened.”

Common Causes of a Dishwasher Leak

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

leaking dishwasher in kitchen Don't let this happen to your kitchen, read our blogs to learn how to prevent a dishwasher leak!

What is the most common cause of a dishwasher leaking?

One of the most common reasons a dishwasher might leak is due to a damaged or deteriorated door seal. Also known as a tub gasket, water usually leaks from the lower sides of the door if there is a breach in the seal.

Wrong Dishwasher Detergent

Even if you're rinsing your dishes with soap prior to running them through the dishwasher, the solution on the dishes can bubble up and put pressure against the door seal, causing it to eventually leak. Avoid using dish soap when rinsing dishes to avoid this problem.

This are some of the materials that could be affected by a dishwasher leak:

  • Drywall
  • Carpet
  • Carpet pad
  • Insulation
  • Baseboards
  • Cabinets
  • Laminate

It's always better to know what could happen and be prepared for this situation. We hope this information is helpful to everyone. Remember "Like it never even happened."

Call SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna woods for your water damage at our 24 hour, 7 days a week emergency service line, 949-429-3188.

How Water and Flood Damage Differ

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Water damage and flood damage are two different things according to the insurance adjusters who handle the liability and coverage of whatever damage scenario is bought to their attention. The difference between them is where the water comes from. Water damage is caused by water entering from inside the home, from the pipes that back your running water outlets. Flood damage is when water comes from a natural source like mudslides, accumulated rain runoff, and overflow of tidal waters. Flood damage also includes two or more properties. The caliber of flood damage is much bigger than that of water damage, which is why insurance adjusters classify it as a different disaster. 

Flood damage is not covered by your home insurance, only water damage. Here in California it is less likely for you to experience flood damage, but that doesn't mean it’s impossible. If you live in an area vulnerable to flooding like near the beach or by a hill that is prone to mudslides, it’d be in your favor to discuss with the property owner filing for flood insurance. This can be done at www.floodsmart.gov.

Here at SERVPRO it is in our best interest to keep you updated and informed about how you can best prepare for natural disaster damage. For more information, feel free to give us a call at (949) 429-3188.

What Our Technicians Look For When Inspecting Fire Damage

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO, fire and water damage remediation is our specialty. So let’s talk about fire! Accidents happen and when they do we are here to clean it up. With over 50 years of experience in the disaster recovery business, we know how to make your property “Like it never even happened.” When confronting fire damage, there are a wide range on things to take account for in the inspection process. Here are some of the things we look for:

Soot and Ash

A fire produces heavy amounts of smoke from the burning of different materials that your home is made up of. The remnants of the smoke are soot and ash that can be left on the walls, ceiling, furniture, and floors. It visibly stains the areas, making your property look dirtied with fire damage! But, no need to worry, this can be fixed. Here at SERVPRO, we use special vacuums to suck up the ash and soot, but sometimes even after cleaning the smell remains. In these cases, the affected areas must be replaced to eliminate the odor in your property.

Burnt Areas

These are the most obvious places that need to be replaced. Once the supporting beams, walls, and ceiling of your house is touched by fire, the structural integrity of it is greatly compromised. You can see which areas of your house are affected because everything is burned visibly black. These areas are removed and reconstructed to keep your property safe and looking “Like it never even happened.” At SERVPRO, we have the certifications to remediate your damaged home AND reconstruct it. You can choose us or a separate construction company to proceed with the final rebuild of your property. Check out some of our construction before and after photos here.

Electrical Problems

A fire can directly damage the electrical outlets and wiring by melting and burning them, or indirectly through heat and smoke. They can also be damaged by water from firefighting efforts. We check for all of these things when inspecting your property after fire damage. It is usually light fixtures, outlets, and exposed electronics that must be completely replaced following a fire. But, we have seen cases where a property’s internal wiring is damaged and must be completely repaired. Our highly trained technicians have the certifications and experience to restore every range of damage that a fire has done to your property.

These are some of the key things we look for after fire damage, and we share so you know if your home is in need of damage restoration. If you are not sure, call our 24 hour emergency line to schedule an inspection, or even for any questions you may have about our services.

Maintain Your Property’s Water Heater to Avoid Severe Water Damage

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

Water heater component diagram An infographic denoting the various components of a water heater to guide you in the maintenance process

An essential part to being a homeowner is paying great care to the appliances which heat and cool your property’s vital resources. Naturally, heating and cooling units will wear over time or collect build up of some sort depending on the unit’s method of energy transfer. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the different types of water heaters most commonly seen in homes and how to properly maintain them. 

It is customary to have a tank water heater that ranges from 30-50 gallons in size, usually stored in the garage, a closet or bathroom. The unit may operate using gas or electricity, but both of these models will have a Temperature and Pressure Relief valve that maintains the movement of water from the unit to the parts of the home that require heated water. Pay heed to this valve; if it is jammed and the property’s tank does not have an emergency shut off valve, the unit will over pressurize causing it to burst or explode. This is the worst case scenario, and why we are here to inform you on the protocols to avoid such a disaster.

Check the valve to your water heater every six months by lifting and releasing the brass lever a few times, making sure that when you do this water is released from the drain pipe. If nothing is released or the stream is weak, consider calling a plumber to replace the valve. A malfunction in the Temperature and Pressure release valve could be due to corrosion or mineral build-up from years of unchecked use. 

Flush your water heater once a year to avoid sediment build up that could possibly lead to a Temperature and Pressure valve malfunction. This can be done on your own but forewarning that the water contained in the heater can reach scorching temperatures. If you are not comfortable performing this task, it is in your best interest to call a plumber. 

We look forward to helping our clients when given the opportunity, but we also understand what circumstances led you to call in the first place. It is always best to avoid damage, and to do that is with careful maintenance of your property. If you suspect a feature of your home is not functioning up to par, call us at (949) 429-3188 to schedule an inspection. For more property maintenance tips, read our blogs.

The True Costs of Fire Damage

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires play a major role in property damage, injuries, and loss of life in the U.S. According to their 2017 statistics, 72% of all resident fatalities were caused by home fires.

Other than cooking appliances, home fires are caused by many things such as faulty heating equipment, defective electrical equipment, burning candles, and irresponsible smoking inside the house. Fire alarms and smoke detectors can help in detecting when the fire starts, and it can reduce the amount of damage caused by fire by helping you call the fire brigade on time.

Home fires should not be taken lightly because they result in loss of property as well as precious human lives. Fire damage results in high restoration costs that homeowners find difficult to cope up with. Taking preventative measures to prevent fires is a good idea, but they don’t always work. Here are the major damages that homeowners have to bear when fire engulfs their precious belongings.

Damaged Furniture, Carpets, and Rugs

Fire can eat up your wooden furniture and destroy your expensive rugs and carpets. Dealing with these damages is not an easy task. In case of such a situation, you must call a professional fire damage restoration company to restore your expensive furnishings. The trained professionals will visit your house and inspect all of your furniture to see what can be restored and what needs to be replaced. If your furnishings have not been completely engulfed by the fire, the professionals will restore them back to their original condition. Otherwise, you will have to spend a lot of money on replacing those items with new ones.

Electrical Equipment

Electrical devices have made our lives easy and that’s why our homes are full of them. Home fires damage these expensive electrical devices and homeowners have to pay a huge price for it. If the damage is not severe, these devices can be fixed by an electrician. Otherwise, the only option left is to replace them with new devices and equipment.

Soot Deposits on Walls

Soot deposits are part of the damage caused by fire. It is a black powdery substance that is produced as a result of partial combustion of organic substances. It gets deposited on walls, windows, doors, roof, and furniture – basically everything. A professional fire restoration company can help you get rid of the sticky black soot. The trained professionals will inspect your house and decide which method of cleaning is suitable for soot removal. Through their expertise, they will restore everything in your house to their original condition.

Loss of Important Documents

One of the major fire damages is the loss of important documents. If your documents such as passports and social security cards get completely burned during a fire, they cannot be restored. All you can do is contact the respective authorities and discuss your situation with them. They will help you find a solution.

Fire damages are a menace for homeowners because they have to deal with the hectic process of restoration. Calling a professional company like SERVPRO to help you out is the best option. You can count on the professionals to assist you in aptly restoring fire damages.

How to Apply for A Building/Construction Permit in Laguna Woods, CA (Part 2)

6/21/2021 (Permalink)

To move forward with a building project in Laguna Woods, visit the city website pertaining to building permits. Here, the contact information for City Hall is provided to call and inquire about what building permits are required for the job. A calendar for scheduling building inspections is also under this link along with resources like a Building Permit Worksheet, Demolition Advisory for Those Considering Building Improvements, and a Fee Schedule and Study. Permits can be submitted and processed at the City Permit counter in City Hall.  

According to the city of Laguna Woods, any structural, functional or aesthetic change to the interior of a Unit, its mechanical systems or the structural integrity of the building; or any physical, structural or aesthetic change to the exterior of a Unit is considered an alteration. When proposing any construction and/or demolition job, it’s important to know how the city will classify it. Linked here is a brochure that lays out the process for submitting an application to alter a unit. If the job in question falls under this category, processing will be done through the Laguna Woods alterations department. 

As always, make sure the contractor you hire is licensed under the California Contractors State License Board. This link will guide you to the state license board webpage for verifying the license of your contractor. For the city to verify your building permits it is essential that the chosen contractor is properly certified. SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods has the resources and licenses to undertake any demolition or reconstruction job for your property.
Call us at (949)429-3188 to schedule an inspection of your home or a consultation for your construction plans.

Do Not “DIY” Damage Restoration! And Here’s Why...

6/16/2021 (Permalink)

Black and white photo of a fire damaged home Fire can be a formidable feat of nature, but SERVPRO is here to cleanup the mess and mitigate the aftermath.

Restoring your house after it catches fire is one of the dreadful things in life. Read on to know why you should always hire a professional for fire damage restoration instead of fixing the damage yourself.

What’s worse than thinking about catching a fire in your house? It puts you, your family, your pets, and all of your precious belongings in danger.

Your house can catch fire because of numerous reasons such as cooking disasters, electrical wiring faults, malfunctioning heating equipment and burning candles. The damage caused by fire depend on its intensity. A huge fire can eat up the whole family while a small one might only leave black burn marks on a wall.  

It’s best to call a professional company for fire damage restoration. They will help you get rid of burn marks, soot deposits and burning odor inside your house. Moreover, you would be in a state of shock after your house catches fire. It’s better to call a fire restoration company and allow them to handle the mess.

Here are the reasons why calling a professional fire damage restoration company is better than DIY.

  1. They Offer Emergency Services

Fire damage restoration services offer 24/7 emergency services. You can call them whenever there is a fire emergency and they’ll come in no time. Without a professional, you won’t be able to handle the aftermath of your house catching a fire. For instance, if your electric kettle catches a fire, you wouldn’t know how to deal with it because after the fire is put out now your looking at water damage to your home as well. Talk about a state of total shock and panic. All you can do at that time is call a professional fire damage restoration company to help you out.

  1. They Will Properly Inspect Your House

A professional fire restoration company will thoroughly inspect your house for fire damages. Along with the black burn spots and soot deposits, they will check if the fire has damaged any of your water pipes or drainage lines. If yes, then they will call the water restoration company to fix the problem. The water restoration company will clean the water, they will call a plumber out to fix pipes and dry your house to prevent mold damage. This wouldn’t happen if you tried handling the fire damage yourself.

  1. They Will Fix All The Damages

The fire damage restoration professionals will use special chemicals and equipment to remove soot deposits as well as clean the black burn spots on your walls and ceiling. They will use special deodorizers to make sure that your house gets rid of the pungent burning smell. Moreover, they will use special ventilators and pumps to get rid of all the harmful smoke present inside your house.

You can hurt yourself if you don’t call a fire damage restoration company. If fire smoke enters your respiratory system, it can cause breathing problems and also lead to a cardiac arrest. So, it’s your best interest to call a fire damage restoration service.

Damage caused by fire should not be taken lightly. Always call a professional fire damage restoration company if your house catches a fire.  There is more to cleaning up after a fire than you think.

CALL SERVPRO of Lake Forest/Laguna Woods for your Fire and Water Damage needs at (949) 429-3188

How to Classify the Different Types of Fire

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Fire can occur anywhere and at any time due to minor negligence. It can break out in your house due to misuse of electrical appliances or by smoking near combustible equipment. Similarly, the carelessness of managers and employees can cause fires in industrial and manufacturing units. If you want to save your home or office from such an incident, then you need to understand the different classes of fires.

Classes of Fire

There are five classes of fire based on their source of ignition.

Class A: Ordinary Combustibles

Class A fires are caused by the materials that reach their ignition temperature due to reasons such as a discarded lit cigarette. They keep burning as long as there is a supply of heat, fuel and oxygen. The items that produce these types of fires include textiles, paper, woods, some specific plastics, rubber and other 

organic carbon-containing compounds. You can install foam fire or water-based extinguishers to counter this type of fire.

Class B: Flammable Liquids

These fires are caused by liquids such as alcohol, petrol, kerosene, paints and solvents that burn easily at temperatures below 100° C. They ignite immediately if a flame is brought in their close vicinity. Class B fires produce thick black fumes and spread quickly, which makes it difficult to put them out. You can use a foam fire extinguisher to extinguish them.

Class C: Flammable Gases

Flammable gases such as petroleum gases and butane can explode and cause fires by a single spark. According to the lower explosive limit (LEL), a concentration of just 5% of these gases in the air can cause an explosion. Dry power extinguishers are the only ones that can counter them.

Class D: Combustible Metals

Ignition of metal shavings and powdered metals causes these fires. They usually take place in industrial and manufacturing units when alkali metals such as magnesium, potassium, sodium and aluminum come in contact with water and air. You can put out these fires in early stages by special class D extinguishers. Once they have spread out, they are usually left alone because they produce a lot of ash, which cuts off the fire’s oxygen supply.

Class K: Cooking Oils

These fires are caused by cooking oils and usually break out in homes, restaurants and professional kitchens. These fires are quite a challenge to extinguish; therefore, only special extinguishers can put them out.

Confused About the Water Damage Restoration Process? Read This...

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO alarm clock reading "24:07" SERVPRO's emergency service line is here for the community to ensure that natural disaster damage is "Like it never even happened."

HAVE AN EMERGENCY? CALL US 24/7 AT (949) 429-3188

Each SERVPRO uses a general step by step procedure when dealing with a water damage situation. This ensures that each emergency situation is dealt with safely. SERVPRO  of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods understands that each water damage emergency can vary, therefore some cases might be handled differently.

The following list details how the water damage restoration process works:

  1. 24 Hour Emergency Contact- when dealing with water damage, timing is crucial. The cleanup and restoration starts by calling SERVPRO's 24 hour emergency line, where a representative will determine the severity of the water damage before dispatching a nearby SERVPRO professional. 
  2. Inspection and Water Damage Assessment- in order to develop an appropriate plan of action, a SERVPRO professional must assess the scope of the damage. They must determine where the source of the water is coming from, check for contaminated water, and look for any safety concerns and share them with the property owner. The professional must also identify the classification and category of the water to restore the property to industry safety standards. Furniture or belongings at risk of being damaged are also moved out of the way.
  3. Water Removal and Extraction- SERVPRO's highly trained technicians will begin the water removal process almost immediately. Depending on the amount of water, industrial wet/dry vacuums may be used as well as submersible pumps. The technicians must also determine if the carpet and carpet pad need removal. 
  4. Drying and Dehumidification- after the water removal step, the floors and walls may very well still contain excess water. This water can cause the building materials to warp, swell, or deteriorate, and can possibly cause mold damage. Using specialized equipment, SERVPRO's technicians will use industrial air movers and dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the building materials. Moisture checks will be performed to monitor the drying progress. 
  5. Cleaning and Repair- SERVPRO professionals specialize in restoring contents damaged by water through various cleaning methods. Odor removal may also be performed since waterlogged objects tend to have an unpleasant odor. Depending on the scenario, antimicrobial and sanitizing treatments may be performed on the property. Damaged materials may also be disposed of at the property owner/insurance's discretion. 
  6. Restoration- restoration may involve minor repairs such as replacing drywall or carpet, or even consist of larger construction repairs. Damage caused by water or storm may cause technicians to put up special temporary protective measures in order to prevent additional damage. The overall goal is to restore the home to its pre-water damage condition. 

Many SERVPROs can assist the property owner by providing some or all of the restoration services, simplifying the procedure for them. Our SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods has the qualifications to not just restore your home, but also reconstruct it. Give us a call to learn more about what we can do for your property.

How to Apply for A Building/Construction Permit in Lake Forest, CA (Part 1)

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

Have you been thinking of remodeling your home after the long months of quarantine, stuck inside staring at the same walls, walking through the same doors? Or has your property suffered from any recent natural disaster damage and is in need of some serious reconstruction? Or perhaps you are a current or potential business owner unsure of how to move forward with plans for renovation and construction to ring in the post COVID era. Any of these undertakings will necessitate an inspection from your city’s Building department. SERVPRO of Lake Forest and Laguna Woods serves two cities, each with their own permit process; both will be covered in this blog.

To move forward with a building project in Lake Forest, visit the building and planning web pages to retrieve resources needed for planning. Following the building services link, under the “Building Forms'' tab you will find PDF files for building permit applications and the requirements needed for both commercial and residential developments. Each element of the job may require a permit and an accompanied inspection from the city. Building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing aspects will demand inspection, the form linked gives a guide on how to schedule these once the appropriate permit is secured. 

The city of Lake Forest classifies varying sectors of the city under “zones,” and these zones are subject to codes laid out in the Lake Forest Municipal Code Handbook. The requirements PDF from the website will tell you which developmental standards the work you intend may be liable to, but it is always best for yourself and/or hired construction planner to check for any special cases applicable to the project. These applications and permits can be processed through eLakeForest, a self service program for residents and contractors performing work in the area. 

The links provided should give you a fine basis for understanding what is essential to the building process in Lake Forest. Here at SERVPRO of Lake Forest/Laguna Woods, we have the certifications required under the CSLB, Contractors State License Board, to facilitate the planning and construction process for your residential and commercial property. Don’t hesitate to call us at (949) 429-3188 to schedule a consultation with our construction team.

Conquering the Restoration Business as a Woman in a Male-dominated Field

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

As a woman, have you ever come across someone who questioned you about the type of work you do, especially when it is in an industry that is dominated by men? The world is changing and today, you will find women in all work areas, whether we are talking about desk jobs or hard labor.

Bring Your Story to Life

Violand Management Associates launched a campaign in 2018 that was aimed at recognizing and awarding “Women in the Restoration Business”. These women enter a male-dominated industry through their husbands or hard work and then fall in love. Colleagues and fellow industry peers are the ones who nominate these women for the award and every year and above 40 women are appreciated for the hard work they put in.

Stereotypes Don’t Matter

The key to surviving in a male-dominated society is to not get caught up in the stereotypes. Yes, men are considered physically stronger, but they lack in various other areas where women excel. Don’t give into skeptical looks and throw in the towel. Many people don’t see women as the gender tackling mold remediation or water damage, and they might be taken by surprise when you show up at their door to do a home remodeling task. However by earning their respect with your performance, you will be able to become a strong leader.

Don’t Shy Away from Seeking Help

Every person, at one point or another in their life, needs help. Being real and accepting help when required is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it shows your logical thinking and makes people believe that you are not overconfident when it comes to your job.

Invest in Employees

Women know how to multi-task. When needed, they think objectively and, as the situation calls for, they can be subjective too. This trait allows them to run a business, as well as think about the welfare of their employees. Think of this way: for employee retention, the more you invest on them, the more success you will achieve in your business.

From time to time, Violand holds programs that instruct women on how to tell their stories and bring them to life. An advisory panel educates them on the restoration business and guides them how to focus, lead, and execute. To know more about how to register for their next program, visit Violand.

What To Look For in a Damage Restoration Business

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

Whether it be your home or business, man made structures will always be prone to wear, tear, and natural disasters. Unfortunately, there is no perfect formula to prevent these things, but that is why businesses like us are around, to make it “Like it never even happened.”

When confronting damage to your property, one may ask “What should I look for in a damage restoration company?” It is a hard question to answer, especially for one who isn't involved in the damage restoration business. Here are some things to keep note of when deciding which business to use for your property’s restoration needs.

Certifications

One thing that will instill confidence in your decision to move forward with a restoration company are the certifications and accreditations they have. Depending on the job, the company needs appropriate certifications to be qualified for it. Trusted restoration companies are usually IICRC certified, along with additional certifications like WRT (Water Damage Restoration Technician), AMRT (Applied Microbial Remediation Technician), and ASD (Applied Structural Drying Technician). They usually can be found on the business website. For example, SERVPRO of Lake Forest/Laguna Woods certifications are located on the company profile page. 

Proximity

Say you find the best restoration business with skyrocketing reviews. Everything looks promising, and when you called their customer service was great. But, one thing is wrong: they’re located 2 hours away! It is imperative that the business you choose is an accessible distance from your property, especially when working with mold jobs (mold grows over time). It is in everyone’s best interest to complete the job as fast as possible, so a restoration business far away, though promising, is not practical for this kind of work. 

Experience

Depending on the type of job, the company’s experience should be factored in the decision. For a bigger job requiring many workers and more complex restorations, it’d be in your favor to hire a company with more years of experience under their belt. But for a simple mold remediation job requiring only a small demo and wall replacement, the job will be done just fine from a local company looking to gain experience and expand their profile. 

Customer Satisfaction

With the age of technology, every business has some platform where customers can rate their experiences with them. Reading reviews is always a good idea when looking to buy or hire. Through reviews, you can also better understand the company’s morals and values. This is surprisingly important when choosing a business to hire for anything. No one wants to put their money and support into a company that does not align with their personal values. SERVPRO of  Lake Forest/Laguna Woods reviews can be found on yelp, google, and our website’s testimonial page. 

These are just a few key components to take note of when searching for the proper damage restoration business. If in doubt, feel free to call us, as our representatives here at SERVPRO would be happy to give you an unbiased opinion of the best restoration company for you considering your situation. 

Safety tips on smoke alarms

2/28/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke alarm already set up.

Properly Maintain Smoke Alarms

  • Test units monthly.
  • Install new batteries immediately when the low-battery warning alarm sounds or at least once a year.
  • Clean smoke alarms regularly by vacuuming them with a brush attachment.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years to achieve optimum performance.

Where should you not put smoke detectors?

Don't install the detector

  1. On windows or sliding doors as the winds and air may not pick up the heat of smoke or fire.
  2. In humid or moist areas including the bathroom.
  3. In areas that easily collect dust and dirt including unfinished attics.
  4. In cooler rooms such as sunrooms or porches.
  5. Near ceiling fans or air vents.

How does a smoke alarm increase fire safety?

A smoke alarm is a device that combines smoke detection and a loud alarm together in one unit. The alarm sounds if it detects smoke in large amounts, like in a fire. A smoke alarm, when properly installed, tested, and maintained gives you an early warning of a fire, which increases your chances of getting out.

For any questions don’t hesitate on calling us SERVPRO of Lake Forest/Laguna Woods it’s here 24 hours at day to serve you at any time. Call us at (949) 429-3188 here to help.

Tips to prevent fires

2/28/2020 (Permalink)

This is a photo of a house that got on fire.

Top 10 Tips to Prevent House Fires

  1. Test Your Smoke Alarms Regularly. The easiest way to avoid a house fire is by checking your smoke alarms regularly.
  2. Inspect All Your Heating Sources.
  3. Keep Your Stove and Oven Clean.
  4. Don't Leave Your Kitchen.
  5. Always Check Your Dryer.
  6. Maintain All Cords.
  7. Properly Store Flammable Products.
  8. Practice Caution with Candles.

How can we protect fire?

How To Prevent A Fire

  1. Install fire alarms and smoke detectors.
  2. Teach children the basics of fire safety and how to prevent, prepare for, and deal with a fire.
  3. Always keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  4. Keep flammable items at least three feet away from anything hot.

We also recommend you talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

Precautions when cooking with gas

2/7/2020 (Permalink)

Keep stove clean and clear for safety.

Tips on cooking (with Gas) safely:

  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Never get distracted.
  • Never allow a child to cook without adult supervision.
  • Keep the flame from extending past the pot sides.
  • Turn pot handles away from the stove edge.
  • Keep stoves and cook tops free of grease and fat build-up.

Gas Stove Safety Tips

  • Check the pilot light. Some older gas stoves are equipped with pilot lights which stay lit when the stove is not on.
  • Clean the burners regularly.
  • Keep handles to the side.
  • Inspect your smoke alarm.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close.

Basic Rules of Kitchen Safety

  • Store knives in a wooden block or in a drawer.
  • Never cook in loose clothes and keep long hair tied back.
  • Never cook while wearing dangling jewelry.
  • Keep potholders nearby and use them.
  • Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove.
  • Don't let temperature-sensitive foods sit out in the kitchen.

Signs of a Gas Leak

2/7/2020 (Permalink)

Let's take precautions to prevent a gas leak.

Gas leak signs in the home

  • the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs.
  • a hissing or whistling sound near a gas line.
  • a white cloud or dust cloud near a gas line.
  • bubbles in water.
  • a damaged gas pipe.
  • dead houseplants.

How do I know if I smell gas?

Signs of a Gas Leak inside Your Home or Business:

Rotten Egg-Like Smell. Natural gas gives off a garlic-like smell.

Hissing or Blowing Sound. Sometimes a gas leak can be located because of a hissing or blowing sound.

Dead or Discolored Vegetation.

Blowing Dirt.

Bubbles in Standing Water.

Very slight gas odor.

Who do I call if I smell gas?

If you smell a natural gas odor, hear the hissing sound of gas escaping or see other signs of a leak. Immediately evacuate the area, and from a safe location either call 911 or SoCalGas at 1-800-427-2200. Don’t smoke, or light a match, candle or other flames. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to call us at our 24-hour service line. SERVPRO is here to help.

Storm damage to a home

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

Home after a storm damage.

Storm damage can occur at any time and can cause an immense amount of harm to your home. Heavy rains can cause flooding and powerful winds can cause roof damage and downed trees on your property.

What should you do if a storm is damaged?

Staying Safe After a Storm

Do not venture outside until it has been declared safe to do so. Stay away from downed power lines and avoid standing water or metal objects near downed wires. Leave and do not enter buildings that have sustained structural damage. Stay away from damaged trees and dangling or broken limbs.

Here at SERVPRO of lake Forest South\Laguna Woods We are ready for any size of disaster big or small. Any questions you may have give a call at (949)-429-3188 always with a smile to help.

How do I prepare my house for a storm?

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

Tree felt after a storm damage.

What do you do in a storm at home?

Ensure you do the following during a severe storm:

  1. Stay indoors and away from windows.
  2. If outdoors, shelter away from drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.
  3. Be prepared for power outages.
  4. Floodwater is dangerous – never drive, walk or ride through floodwater.
  5. Floodwater is toxic – never play or swim in floodwater.

How to Prepare Your Home for a Storm

Clear limbs and trim trees. During a storm, dead tree limbs can get loose and cause damage to a home's exterior or even puncture a window

Secure fences

Secure furniture

Check gutters

Protect the critical areas

Protect your valuables

Stock a basic emergency kit

Create a family emergency plan

Just remember SERVPRO of Lake Forest/Laguna Woods its here 24 hours at day to serve you at any time. Call us at (949) 429-3188 here to help “Like it Never Even Happened”

Signs of a storm coming

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

After the rain storm.

How do you sign storm?

  1. A drop in temperature. Pay close attention to the temperature levels outside.
  2. Large, billowy clouds. Large, billowy clouds that continue to grow as the day heats up are known as cumulus clouds.
  3. A drop in atmospheric pressure
  4. Darkening of the clouds
  5. A weather program predicts it

Why do storms happen?

Why are there thunderstorms? Thunderstorms are a great way for the atmosphere to release energy. When warm moist air meets colder drier air, the warm air rises, the water vapor condenses in the air, and forms a cloud. As the water vapor condenses it releases heat, which is a form of energy.

Does a storm clear the air?

Thunderstorms along a cold front “clear the air” because the wind turns to the west or north-west behind them and that circulation is, if not cooler, usually much drier or less humid. Rain also washes dust particles from the sky.

Nature of storms

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

storms can be scary but also a great help.

What are the benefits of storms?

So, even though thunderstorms are dangerous, they can be a great help. They give summer water, cool the earth, and clean the air. Lightning balances the earth's electricity and helps fertilize the soil.

How does rain help the environment?

Rainwater systems counteract storm water run-off and thereby reduce flooding, erosion, and ground water contamination. Taking water out of our lakes, reservoirs, and rivers also affects ground water. On the other hand, irrigating with rainwater helps replenish groundwater supplies.

Are thunderstorms good for the Earth?

Thunderstorms are a great way for the atmosphere to release energy. When warm moist air meets colder drier air, the warm air rises, the water vapor condenses in the air, and forms a cloud. Thunderstorms also help keep the Earth in electrical balance.

Water damage problems

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

This is a ceiling with water damage.

Water Damage Causes

  • Bursting or leaking pipes.
  • Issues with the plumbing system.
  • Buildup in areas prone to collecting water, such as crawl spaces, attics and basements.
  • Faulty or malfunctioning household appliances.
  • HVAC (Heating, ventilating and air conditioning units) issues.
  • Natural disasters and other weather-related water problems.

How long does it take for water damage?

Within 1 to 24 hours – When water damage lasts for 1 to 24 hours, drywall begins to bulge and break, furniture begins to swell and crack, and metal surfaces begin to tarnish. Within 2 hours to 7 days – You will experience growth and spread of mold and mildew.

On a situation of water damage, we are here 24 hours a day to take care of any size of damage. Whether you simply have a question about something you're dealing with at your property or you require immediate assistance, SERVPRO of Lake forest South/Laguna Woods is always "here to help"

Tips to avoid water damage to your home

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

How can I protect my house from water damage?

  1. Disconnect Hoses

Standing water in a hose may freeze back into the pipe and create an ice block that – in a best-case scenario – stops your water flow and, worst case, may bust your pipes and create damage to walls, floor and foundation.

  1. Maintain Trees and Vegetation

Thriving shrubs can be a beautiful thing – except when their roots wrap around your pipes and break them.  That’s why it’s important to minimize landscaping near utility pipes or, if necessary, remove trees and shrubs that have become too big.

  1. Know your Water Main

Know the location of your water main and shut it off if you leave for an extended amount of time.  If no water goes into the house, chances are no faucet drips can wreak havoc on your home!

  1. Check Appliances Regularly

Check and maintain your appliances regularly for leaks according to manufacturer’s directions.

  1. Investigate Leaks Right Away and Fix Promptly

If you opt to ignore moisture damage, or postpone making the necessary repairs, be prepared to experience mold, mildew, dry rot, or even structural damage to your home.

  1. Upgrade Washing Machine Hoses

Old, brittle or leaky washing machine hoses are among the most frequent causes of water loss for homeowners.  Replace yours regularly to avoid a mighty mess and expensive damage.

  1. Install Water Detection Devices

A water detector is a small electronic device that sounds an alarm when its sensor is in contact with moisture.  Its main benefit is that it detects low moisture levels or slow leaks that often go unnoticed.  Install it near water heaters, sump pumps, washing machines, dishwashers and toilets to prevent extensive damage and mold growth.

  1. Monitor Your Water Bill

Sometimes, the only way you know that water is leaking is taking a closer look at your water bill.  If your usage jumps significantly from one month to the next without explanation, put your “water detective’s hat” on.  Is there a leak in your crawlspace? Or, is it a pipe in your front yard? Don’t leave mystery leaks unattended!

  Follow these tips to keep your home safe and well-maintained, call SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods for any type of inspection.

Water pipe leak

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

This is a water leak from a pipe.

Why do water pipes leak?

These temperature changes within the pipe might cause some pipes to burst or crack leading to leakages. Some pipes freeze during winter and contract, when water runs through them, the expansion causes crevices to form which in time lead to leaks.

What to do if water pipe is leaking?

For tiny leaks in pipes, use a compound stick available at most hardware stores. Simply rub the stick over the hole to stop the leak. The compound stick can even stop small leaks while the water is still running in the pipe. Epoxy paste can be applied only to dry pipes, and the water must be turned off.

Here at SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods our Technicians are knowledgeable and well trained to handle any situation. “Like it never even happened.”

Signs of mold

1/21/2020 (Permalink)

This is wall with visible mold.

Signs of mold in you home?

  1. Water Damage
    Unattended water damage can lead to mold, as moisture creates an ideal environment for mold spores to thrive.
  2. Leaks
    If there is a leak in your home, it can eventually lead to water damage as well as produce those prime, moist conditions mold requires.
  3. Humidity
    When a home has humid conditions, the moisture in the air is higher. High humidity can produce condensation and excess water, providing an ample food source for mold spores.
  4. Condensation
    A lot of condensation means that there is a lot of moisture and there could potentially be a mold problem. Mold can grow anywhere where there is condensation build up.
  5. Rust
    Condensation could cause rusting in the home. If you notice rust on pipes you may have a higher moisture level and mold problems.
  6. Warping
    Materials such as drywall and wood can warp if moisture is present. Warped walls may mean a mold problem is present.
  7. Deterioration
    Moisture issues can lead to paint chipping, wallpaper peeling, and other materials deteriorating, so keep an eye out for deterioration in your home.
  8. Strange odor
    You may smell a musty, moldy odor in your home. The worse the smell the higher the possibility of mold growing in that location.
  9. . Visible mold
    Obviously if you see mold, you have mold in your home. Be aware that even if there is visible mold that may not be the only affected area in your home.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold,Call Us Today – (949) 429-3188

What to do on a roof leak situation

1/17/2020 (Permalink)

This is roof leak with a tarp.

What Do You Do if Your Roof a spring Leak?

  1. Stop the water damage, once you discover an active leak in your roof, the first thing to do is minimize the water damage as much as possible.
  2. Contain the water
  3. Remove the water
  4. Call your insurance company
  5. Fix the roof leak

Is a leaking roof an emergency?

Roof leaks are a problem in any weather, but a roof that starts to leak during a heavy rainstorm can quickly turn into a major emergency. Unfortunately, rainy weather is when a roof leak is most likely to happen.

On a situation of water damage, we are here 24 hours a day to take care of any size of damage.Just remember SERVPRO, it’s here ready to help, "Like it never even happened."

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

Our mother nature is unpredictable, it’s hard to predict when a natural disaster will occur. All we can do is being prepared, it’s smart to have an emergency bag in an easily accessible place in your home. This emergency bag could save your life!

The question is, what items should I have in my emergency bag? Here are the basic items for your emergency bag:

  • Non-perishable food
  • Water
  • Flashlight
  • Battery radio
  • Batteries
  • Cell phone/Power bank
  • Basic tool set
  • Local maps
  • Whistle
  • First-aid kit
  • Medicines
  • Baby supplies
  • Blanket
  • Change of clothes/Shoes
  • Dust Mask
  • Trash bags
  • Cash and keys

Now other question could be where can I buy these items? All these items can be bought at stores or online. Once you have your emergency bag ready, placed it at home in an accessible area. You could also share this information with friends, family members its always smart to be prepared and stay safe.

Every family should have one of these emergency bags in case of any unexpected disaster, its always better to be prepared and safe. SERVPRO of Lake of Lake Forest South is here to help you!

What are the signs of water on walls?

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

The following are common signs of water leakage behind your walls.

  • Musty odors.
  • Visible mold growth on walls and baseboards.
  • Staining.
  • Peeling or bubbling paint and wallpaper.
  • Warped walls.
  • Buckled ceilings and floors.
  • High Utility Bills

What happens when water gets in your walls?

Excess water and moisture gets absorbed in wood, drywall, insulation, and wallpaper which can lead to warping, stains, bubbling, and deterioration. Hidden water leaks can also cause mold to grow and spread in areas behind walls and ceilings where it is not easily detected.

These are a few of the most common signs of water on walls that can affect your home in the case of water damage. For every job we inspect these things to get a thorough understating of your property’s water damage situation so we can create a plan to make your home/commercial property “Like it never even happened.”

Why do my windows leak when it rains?

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

Most often window leaks during rain are the result of faulty installation or improper construction. It could also be a lack of overhangs or improperly angled fascia that drain water and protect against wind-driven rain. Or leaks could be the result of poor maintenance or missing caulking.

How window leaks could affect your home?

Window leakage is more than just annoying—it can cause damage to your home, including mold and mildew growth, wood rot, or even foundation problems! Never ignore leaky windows. If you notice water around your windows after it rains, you should consider having your windows repaired or replaced. If you don’t notice right away water coming in, it could damage some of the following materials:

  • Drywall
  • Carpet
  • Carpet pad
  • Insulation
  • Baseboards
  • Cabinets
  • Laminate

Its always best to repaired before it gets worst and materials are affected. If your property has water damage, it’s best to call a water damage restoration company instead of fixing the mess yourself. The professionals will handle everything and leave your house as it was before the damage.

Call SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna woods for your water damage at 949-429-3188.

How common are slab leaks?

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

Perhaps the most common cause of slab leaks is improperly installed or poor-quality pipes. If your water pipes were kinked, bent, or dented in any way during installation, the affected areas could cause the pipes to leak and potentially burst because of the abrasive properties of water flowing by over time.

What happen when a slab leak occurs?

A slab leak occurs when the pipes inside or underneath a home's foundation begin to leak. If left unattended, slab leaks can saturate the soil under your home, making your floors uneven and slowly sinking the building into the ground.

How bad is a slab leak?

Slab leaks can and will cause: Damage to your home's foundationSlab leaks can weaken the structural integrity of the concrete and steel supports that comprise your foundation. Eventually, water pressure and leakage can cause you foundation to shift and move.

What are the signs of a slab leak?

  • A sudden, unexplained spike in water bills.
  • Water pooling where it shouldn't.
  • Damp carpet or warped hard flooring.
  • Mold or mildew (visible or just the smell)
  • A decrease in water pressure.
  • A hot water heater that's constantly running.
  • Areas of the floor that are suddenly hot.

Repining the whole home or line is the best solution for repairing the slab leak and preventing future slab leaks. The plumber can terminate the leaking line, or all lines, running underneath the slab foundation and put in all new copper water lines.

SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods always strives to make each customer happy with the service they receive. 

DO YOU HAVE A WATER EMERGENCY? CALL US AT 949-429-3188

12 Common Mold Types in Homes

4/26/2018 (Permalink)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. Aureobasidium- this mold is normally pink, brown, or black, and often grows behind wallpaper or on painted or wooden surfaces. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 
  7. 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.
  8. Mucor- this mold grows in thick greyish white patches, typically near areas that contain moisture due to condensation. 
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Trichoderma- this multi-colored mold has five different subspecies, commonly growing on wet surfaces like wallpaper, carpet, or other damp fabrics.
  12. 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

1/30/2018 (Permalink)

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
  • supermarkets
  • 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 Safely Store Christmas Decorations

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

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?

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

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:

MINIMUM SUPPLIES

  • 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)
  • flashlight
  • 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

ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES

  • whistle
  • surgical masks
  • matches
  • rain gear
  • towels
  • work gloves
  • tools/supplies for securing your home
  • extra clothing, hat, sturdy shoes
  • plastic sheeting
  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • 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

12/16/2017 (Permalink)

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

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

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. 

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

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

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.

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. Specialized equipment and techniques will be utilized to remove soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

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.

How to Protect Your Home from Wildfires

12/7/2017 (Permalink)

With a good portion of Southern California ablaze this week, many homes and buildings have either burnt down completely or have been damaged somehow. Here are some tips on how to help keep your home from being another wildfire statistic.

  1. Clear combustible debris from your property and home. This can include bushes, dry grass, firewood, and any other plant debris. In some cases, wooden fences or decks may need to be removed. 
  2. Secure your home's eaves and vent openings. Embers can very easily enter your home through unsecured eaves and vents. Keeping them properly screened and maintained will help prevent embers from entering. 
  3. Protect your home's roof. Roofs tend to be the most vulnerable area when it comes to wildfires. Replace any wood shingles if possible. Asphalt, tile, and steel are preferred options. Additionally, pay attention to wood siding, which tends to go up into flames much more easily than cement or stucco.
  4. Upgrade your windows and drapes. Sometimes the heat can get so intense that it goes straight through the windows and catch drapes and furniture on fire. To prevent this, start by using drapery fabric that is more heat resistant. Smaller tempered window units are also better than larger ones.
  5. Plan your home to be fire resistant from the ground up. Take the time to protect your dream home from the very beginning. Make sure there is room for emergency vehicles to access the property. Avoid oddly shaped architecture or bump outs as these can reduce the likelihood of embers entering into the home. Research the whatever building materials you intend on using to see if they have flame resistant properties.
  6. Select a fire resistant site. Keep in mind when either purchasing or building your home that ideally you want it placed in an area that is safe from any potential wildfires. Obviously sometimes a move to a fire prone area is necessary, but just make sure that the home isn't in a densely wooded area, on a hilltop, or overhanging on a rocky outcrop. Having your home in a position like this can make it vulnerable to disaster. 

Water Pipe Leak

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

DO YOU HAVE A WATER EMERGENCY SITUATION? CALL US 24/7 AT 1-800-SERVPRO

SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods responded to a home located in Mission Viejo. The caller was concerned about running water that they heard between a kitchen and a bathroom wall. Upon arriving at the site, the SERVPRO technicians were able to see water leaking into the kitchen area. 

Inspection revealed that there was mold present. When mold is discovered, containments are built to reduce the spread of mold spores in the home. Very specific procedures are completed when dealing with mold such as removal of drywall, sanitation of surrounding materials and air purification.

The customer was pleased with the service provided to her, citing her appreciation for the knowledgeable, well trained, and professional crew that handled her situation.

Winter Holiday Safety

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

The winter holidays are the perfect time of year to get together with family, but it is also a time where the risk of a house fire is greater. Here are some practical suggestions to help keep your holiday season safe and drama free. 

Holiday Decorating

  1. Choose holiday decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  2. Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
  3. Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  4. Some lights are only meant for outdoor use while some are only meant for indoor use. Make sure you know before you set up your lights.

Holiday Entertaining

  1. Inform your guests about your fire escape plan in the case of an emergency. 
  2. Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  3. Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  4. Ask smokers to smoke outside and remind them to keep their smoking materials with them to prevent any small children from getting a hold of them.

Dangers of Frying a Turkey

11/22/2017 (Permalink)

With Thanksgiving being the number one day of the year with the most fire incidents in the kitchen, it is important to address one of the top causes of these fires; and that is deep frying a turkey. 

Deep frying a turkey generally involves frying it in about 3 gallons of oil over a propane burner. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?

Here are some reasons on why frying a turkey can be dangerous:

  1. Cooking units can tip easily, spilling hot oil in a large area.
  2. Overfilling the cooking pot or inserting a partially thawed turkey will cause the oil to spill.
  3. Even a small amount of cooking oil making contact with a flame can cause a large fire.
  4. Most of the frying units come without temperature controls and can overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  5. The cooking pot itself along with the handles and the lids can become extremely hot, resulting in severe burns.

If you decide too proceed with frying a turkey, here are some tips to keep your cooking session safe:

  1. Place the fryer outdoors away from buildings or flammable materials.
  2. Never use the fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage, or in an enclosed space.
  3. Do not overfill the fryer
  4. Completely thaw the turkey before cooking.
  5. Never leave the fire unattended.
  6. Never let children or pets near the fire while cooking, or even afterwards, as the oil and pot can remain hot for hours.
  7. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  8. If a fire does take place, do not use water to extinguish it.
  9. Call 911 if a fire gets out of control.

Fire Safety Tips for Your Christmas Tree

11/22/2017 (Permalink)

Christmas and Christmas Eve are some of the top days of the year where fire emergencies happen the most. These can be caused by the tree catching on fire due to the dryness of the tree itself, poor electrical wiring on lighting decorations, and poorly located heating sources. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind to help keep your Christmas safe:

  • Tree sap combined with the dryness of the tree is what makes the tree flammable. Try to choose a freshly cut tree as they are the least likely to catch on fire. 
  • Everyone enjoys the ambiance of the Christmas Tree next to the cozy fireplace, however take caution! Keep the tree away from heating sources such as heaters, candles, fireplaces, etc., and keep the base hydrated with water to prevent the tree from drying out.
  • Throw out any damaged lighting that is intended to be hung on the tree and inspect the cords for any flaws.
  • Remember, Christmas lights are not night lights! When everyone goes to bed, turn the lights off on the Christmas tree to ease your mind when you and your family go to bed.  

SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods wishes everyone a great end of the year and hope that these tips help keep you and your family safe. 

Thanksgiving Fire Safety

11/21/2017 (Permalink)

Thanksgiving is the peak day for fire emergencies in the kitchen. Keeping fire safety in mind on this holiday is crucial, especially when dealing with a lot of activity and guests at home. As you start preparing for the holiday, please keep some of these tips in mind to keep your turkey day safe.

  • stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop to keep an eye on the food
  • stay at home when cooking your turkey
  • keep children away from the stove at all times
  • make sure your smoke alarms are functional
  • keep children away from hot liquids and foods
  • keep electrical cords from kitchen appliances safely out of the way 
  • keep matches and lighters out of reach of children
  • use extra caution when deep frying a turkey and keep the fryer far from any buildings or flammable material

Categories

Archived Posts