Preparing Your House For Winter Weather: 5 Things You Can Do Today
As fans of HBO already know, “winter is coming” – and with it comes a whole new set of weather-related challenges. If you’re not ready when the temperatures drop and the snow starts falling, you could be in for a rough (and possibly expensive) time. Fortunately, a little preventive action goes a long way.
Start winterizing your home today with these quick tips:
1. Clean Out Your Gutters/Drainpipes
Gutters and drainpipes are meant to gather water from your roof and route it safely away from your home’s foundation. Ideally, you should be cleaning these at least once or twice per year, and autumn is the perfect time to do so.
As trees start shedding leaves and twigs, they tend to collect in your gutters and drainpipes and cause blockages. This may result in water building up and seeping into your walls, attic, and/or basement – which can lead to expensive repairs. And the problem becomes even worse when cold weather rolls in and that water starts to freeze into pipe-blocking chunks of ice. Spend an hour or so on cleanup today, and save yourself a world of hassle later.
2. Check Your Smoke Alarms
When it gets cold outside, we tend to crank up the thermostat and pull the space heaters out of storage. As comfy as that can be, it means the risk of heating equipment fires does increase during winter.
Take a few minutes to go around your home and inspect your smoke and CO2 alarms, ensuring that they’re each functioning properly and replacing the batteries as needed. Continue checking these every month or so throughout the winter season, and remember that the U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing your smoke alarms entirely every 10 years.
3. Install a Door Sweep
A door sweep is a simple strip of flexible rubber or plastic that attaches to the lower edge of your (outside-facing) doors. For only a few dollars and a few minutes of your time, these can help seal the entrances to your home and stop cold-weather drafts from entering. They also provide a small amount of protection against minor winter flooding from outdoors, which is often caused by snowmelt and can be aggravated by road salt and other deicers (if you live in an area where these are present).
4. Set Up A Water Alarm
Another way to combat the risk of winter (or spring-thaw) flooding is by installing a water alarm in your home. These little-known devices are surprisingly inexpensive, and function much like a fire alarm: they quickly alert you to the presence of unwanted moisture and give you a chance to stop the problem before it spirals out of control. Place them in the most flood-prone areas of the house, especially ones where you don’t spend a lot of time and won’t necessarily see the water yourself – the basement and attic are perfect examples.
5. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Even if you prefer the warm summer months to the chill of winter, the chance to get cozy by your fireplace again is probably a silver lining. But before you do so, it’s important to run a quick check-up, especially if you haven’t used it for many months.
Shine a flashlight up the chimney and keep an eye out for any signs of cracking bricks, crumbling mortar, or built-up debris. Check it from the outside, too, ensuring that your roof’s flashing is secure and that there are no new tree branches or other fire hazards close to the home. If you’re unsure of anything, or if it’s tricky to get up on your roof safely, you can always call in a professional for a quick inspection and possible repairs.
When you need to repair damage caused by water, fire, storms, and more, SERVPRO of Fontana is the name Californians trust most. Call us today at (909) 357-4337 and let us know how we can help.
What is “Black Water”?
It’s true that flooding is a major risk for homeowners all over the US, but not all floodwaters are created equal. These waters may be loaded with biological waste that poses a serious health risk – even if it’s not immediately obvious. This is what flood damage repair specialists call “black water”.
Black water is particularly dangerous because the effects can linger long after the visible liquid has dried up. Here’s what you need to know as a homeowner:
Where Does Black Water Come From?
Not all flooding involves black water, but it’s more common than you might expect.
When speaking about water damage, flood cleanup professionals use three distinct categories:
- Category 1 Water: this refers to relatively clean water that is unlikely to pose any real threat – aside from annoyance – to you or other residents. Examples could include an overflowing tub, or a leaky supply pipe underneath the sink.
- Category 2 Water: aka “gray water”, this describes water with a significant amount of microorganisms and other contaminants – enough to cause illness if consumed or sometimes even just through exposure. Examples might include discharge from your washing machine, or small amounts of groundwater leaking through the basement foundation.
- Category 3 Water: aka “black water”, this is grossly unsanitary runoff that’s heavy with contaminants. Weather-related flooding is very likely to consist of black water, as sewage systems back up and combine with overflowing rivers/streams to shift around huge amounts of organic material. Gray water that’s been allowed to stand and pool can quickly turn into black water as well.
As a rule of thumb, any water entering your home directly from the outdoors is likely to contain some level of contaminant – and could either be classified as black water, or could quickly become black water without prompt attention. Any sewage/toilet backflow would also be considered black water, regardless of its visible color/content.
How to Get Rid of Black Water
Once black water has entered your house or apartment, these microscopic contaminants will settle and linger in affected areas – walls, floors, furniture, etc. Mopping up the mess simply isn’t enough to sterilize the home.
Your best bet, by far, is to call in the professionals. Safely cleaning up black water usually requires sections of walls and flooring to be replaced, while furniture may or may not be salvageable (depending mostly on what it’s made out of, and how long the water has been present). There’s no sense in delaying – it’s dangerous to even be inside a contaminated home without protective gear.
For black water removal and flood damage repair, SERVPRO of Fontana is the name Californians trust. Contact us today at (909) 357-4337 – we’re available 24/7 for emergency cleanup services.
What to Do If Your Basement Has Flooded
If a water spill or full-fledged flood in your basement has you panicked, you’re not alone. Despite the fact that nearly all basements are prone to flooding, many homeowners are caught off-guard when it actually happens.
Here’s what to do when disaster strikes:
1) Shut Off Power
When heading into any flooded area, the first step should be to shut off all power to the room, including electricity and gas. Ideally you’ll want to do this before even entering the room, but this isn’t always possible; in many homes, the breaker panel is located in the basement. In these cases, proceed only if there is little/no standing water remaining.
Note: if you have to stand in water at any point to access your breaker panel, DO NOT – instead, call an electrician for assistance.
2) Determine the Source of the Flooding
Your next steps will depend somewhat on where the excess water is coming from. If there has been a large-scale flood in your area, this should be pretty obvious, but a water spill can also be the result of burst pipes, radiator leaks, backed-up drains, etc. If the water appears to be coming from somewhere within your home, try to shut off the source – and call a plumber for assistance if needed.
3) Move Affected Items Out
Any personal possessions you want to save should be allowed to dry out in a warm and well-ventilated place – outdoors might be the best option, provided it’s relatively sunny out. Give your stuff a good 48 hours to thoroughly dry, but recognize that not everything can necessarily be recovered. A damp basement is very inviting to fungal growth, so don’t delay or you risk having to toss out moldy and mildewy items.
4) Call a Flood Damage Repair Specialist
Even if you’re able to clean up all of the standing water (and sometimes there’s just too much), indoor flooding poses some real long-term dangers. Excess water in your walls or under the carpet creates the perfect conditions for wild mold growth, which – combined with bacteria-rich flood waters – poses a serious health risk for you and your family. The safest course of action is to call in a water damage specialist to dry out the basement, replace rotted or compromised wall sections, and disinfect the area.
SERVPRO of Fontana is proud to be the leader in Southern California flood damage repair. We’re available 24/7 and can work with your home insurance provider – call us today at (909) 357-4337.
How to Tell if Your Home has a Mold Problem
Discover How to Detect Mold
It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare: a mold colony that quickly spreads throughout the house. Not only can mold cause structural damage and lower your home’s value, but exposure to this fungus can also be a serious health risk – especially for people who have a mold allergy.
If you suspect that there’s mold in your home, don’t delay. Some of the most common warning signs include:
Water leaks and condensation problems aren’t direct symptoms of a mold infestation, but they do create a very inviting environment for spores to grow. Mold flourishes in damp areas, and you’d be shocked at how quickly it can appear – we often see early signs of growth within 24-48 hours of a flood.
Since mold grows best in damp, dark spaces (ultraviolet light is harmful to it), it will often start to form within walls, behind major appliances, and in other out-of-the-way places. A pungent, musty smell is often one of the first indicators that it has entered your home. If this happens, you’ll definitely want to call a mold removal company before the problem spreads any further.
Visible Patches of Mold
Even visible areas can harbor mold growth, especially if they’re quite humid or the site of a recent water damage event. Spotting out-in-the-open mold usually isn’t too difficult. It tends to form scattered, fuzzy clumps on walls, floors, and ceilings. Household molds may range in color from white to gray-green to black (depending on species).
For mold removal services near Riverside, SERVPRO of Fontana is the name you can trust. Call us today at (909) 357-4337.
How to Fight Winter Mold Growth
How to Fight Winter Mold
Mold grows surprisingly well in the winter – at least indoors. As we insulate our homes and crank up the heat, we’re also trapping moisture and increasing the humidity. This creates the perfect environment for this nasty fungus to take root – but you don’t have to let it.
Here are a few of our top tips for fighting winter mold growth:
Keep Humidity in Check
If there’s enough moisture in the air, mold can thrive even without a clear source of liquid water. Humidity indoors often spikes in the winter months, but you can control things a bit by placing one or more dehumidifiers throughout the house. These are especially effective in kitchens and bathrooms, where there tend to be higher local humidity levels.
Inspect Your Roof, Gutters, and Downspouts
Your roof, gutters, and downspouts are an important drainage system. They do more than just keep the rain off your head – they’re designed to funnel that water away from your home’s foundation and basement.
Problem is, autumn and winter debris (like twigs, leaves, and chunks of ice) can block up your gutters and downspouts. This can cause rainwater and snowmelt to back up into your home, or to drip down and erode the foundation. Ensure your drainage systems work properly all winter long by checking for blockages and clearing them out.
Clean and Vacuum Regularly
Frequent vacuuming and quickly drying up spilled water becomes even more important in the winter months. Pay attention to your basement and bathrooms in particular, as well as the area around the doors to outside.
With winters often full of snow and mud, you and your family/houseguests are likely to accidentally track debris inside, so be sure to keep your entryways especially clean. Even small amounts can serve as food for mold, and a damp, poorly lit area might as well be a welcome mat (which, by the way, you’ll want to wash as well).
For mold removal and water damage restoration services, call SERVPRO of Fontana today at (909) 357-4337.
5 Tips to Keep Your Garage from Flooding
5 Tips to Keep Your Garage from Flooding
When stormy weather or snowmelts cause floods to approach your home, your garage is usually one of the first places at risk. Without preventative measures, a flooded garage can easily cause thousands of dollars in damage – or worse.
Check out a few of our top tips to keep floodwaters safely out of your garage:
1) Improve Drainage Around Your Home
While public streets are fitted with drains that usually handle any overflow, they can easily be overwhelmed in a serious flood, causing water to back up onto your property. You can take steps to improve drainage immediately around your home by installing low-key French drains that route water underground and away from the house.
2) Maintain Your Home’s Weather-Stripping
Those little strips of rubber or vinyl at the bottom of your garage door serve an important purpose: they form a seal strong enough hold against moderate water pressure, and can prevent minor floods from entering your home. But weather-stripping does wear down over time, especially as it’s exposed to the elements. Check it for cracks or other signs of damage, and be prepared to replace it regularly.
3) Have Your Foundation Inspected
Water doesn’t need a grand entryway to get into your home – even the smallest crack in a foundation will do. And a slow groundwater drip can cause real damage over time, not to mention the threat posed by a sudden flash flood. These cracks are often barely visible, so if you have any concerns about your foundation, it’s best to call in a professional to do the inspection and repairs.
4) Install Flood Vents
As tough as garage doors may look, they aren’t built to withstand pressure – and raging floodwaters pack a lot of force. Flood vents allow a controlled flow of water to pass below your home, relieving pressure and preventing serious damage from occurring. If you live in a particularly flood-prone area, these may be a smart investment.
5) Set Up Barriers
It may not be the prettiest solution, but if a flood is approaching there’s no time to waste in setting up physical bariers. Sandbags are commonly used due to their low cost and high effectiveness, but you can often find inflatable or constructed alternatives at home supply stores.
Don’t let a little bad weather ruin your garage. For water damage restoration and repair, call SERVPRO of Fontana today at (909) 357-4337.
5 Ways to Prevent Spring Thaw Flooding
5 Ways to Prevent Spring Thaw Flooding
We don’t usually think of springtime as being stormy and wild, but it can actually bring some pretty intense weather. Heavy rains, combined with thawing snow (even from nearby mountains), carry the risk of sudden and severe flooding.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect your home from springtime floods:
1) Check Your Drainage Systems
All modern homes are built with water drainage in mind – but if the water has nowhere to go, it’ll back up right into your house. Check the nearby flood drains for any signs of blockages, as well as any floor drains you may have indoors (in the garage or laundry room, for instance). If your home has rooftop drains, don’t forget to take a look at those too.
2) Clear Out Your Gutters & Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts are also important parts of your drainage system – they prevent water from collecting on the roof, and route it away from the house’s foundation. And although you should check them at least a couple of times each year, it’s after autumn and winter that most blockages occur. Fallen leaves, twigs, snow, and ice chunks can all cause water to pool and seep into your home if not removed.
3) Install a Sump Pump
When water enters your basement – whether through an obvious flood or through slow leaking underground – there’s no time to waste in getting rid of it. Sump pumps protect your home by automatically activating when water is detected, and pumping it safely out of the area.
If you already have a sump pump at home, this is a great time to make sure the intake valve is clear and that the pump is working properly. You can test it by removing the lid, pouring some water into the crock, and ensuring that the device turns on and begins pumping.
4) Set Up a Water Alarm / Flood Sensor
This isn’t something a lot of people think about, but any homeowner would do well to install a water alarm, sometimes also referred to as a flood sensor. They work much like a fire alarm, alerting you immediately when unwanted water is detected in your home and before the damage can spiral out of control. These devices usually start at a very affordable $10-15 – a small price to pay for peace of mind.
5) Purchase Flood Insurance
When it comes to water damage, an ounce of prevention is worth a gallon of cure. But everyone gets caught off-guard sometimes, and having sufficient insurance makes the cure a lot easier to swallow. Make sure your home insurance policy covers flooding, especially if your home is in a flood-prone area.
For all of your water damage repair and restoration needs, contact SERVPRO of Fontana today at (909) 357-4337.
Interview with SERVPRO General Manager
Daniel Sacco, General Manager SERVPRO Fontana
Today on the blog, we have Daniel, General Manager for SERVPRO, joining us to share more about what makes SERVPRO different from other leading fire/water damage repair companies. He's also sharing an insider view of his experience working for SERVPRO and why it's so rewarding!
What's your favorite part of the job?
Being able to help families and business that have been damaged. When things become so overwhelming for them it feels great to be able to take that stress away.
What's the most rewarding project you've been part of?
Hurricane Sandy in New York was probably the most rewarding project. We were doing jobs for families that had lost literally everything. It was such a reward to come in and help try to get them back to a normal state and put the tragedy of the storm behind them.
What does your day-to-day look like as the General Manager?
As the General Manager, I'm responsible for getting new jobs signed, inspection of the losses, and getting approvals for the work with the homeowner/business owner and the adjuster. I then dispatch the crew to begin the mitigation work and meet them onsite to dictate the work to be done on the loss. I'm responsible for communicating the activity and status with the homeowner/business owner. I then monitor the losses to see when they are ready for repairs. Lastly I write the estimates and send them to the responsible party for billing. I also handle the collections of the accounts as well.
What certificates do you hold?
I hold IICRC WRT, ASD, FSRT, blood borne pathogen / crime scene clean up, and lead supervisor cert. I also take a yearly OSHA class to stay compliant.
How did you get into the Cleanup/Restoration Business?
I had a friend at church that had a water damage company and offered me a job when I needed one. I worked for the company for 12 years starting out at the bottom and with hard work, was gradually was promoted to a top level position. I decided to leave to take on a new challenge outside of the original company.
What makes SERVPRO Stand Out from the Rest?
- We are more of a household name.
- SERVPRO has extensive insurance preferred contracts that help boost business with out any marketing involved.
- Our technology and training is superb.
- We train many insurance adjusters as well as our own employees.
- We are always striving to do better each and every day.
SERVPRO evolves with the industry instead of being left behind like our competition. The support we get for larger jobs is also amazing. No matter the size of the loss we have the ability to handle the project and do it correctly.
Thanks so much for joining us today Daniel! Are you interested in joining our team at SERVPRO Fontana?
Contact us today, we'd love to hear from you!
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Flood Damage Repair in Anaheim Hills
This shows how we stripped out the damaged carpeting and affected areas of the wall.
Remember all the rainfall Southern California got back in January? These storms were so severe that they caused flooding in some areas – which brought us out to Anaheim Hills for one of our latest jobs.
The customer called up SERVPRO of Fontana to report heavy water damage to their house. Time was of the essence on this job, as the property was in escrow and the homeowner was (understandably) dreading the prospect of delays.
Our team arrived on scene to survey the damage. The January rainstorms had left the backyard flooded, and the water had entered the home, where it pooled in the recessed family room.
Not only was the carpeting soaked through, but the walls had also absorbed a lot of moisture. Floodwater can carry all sorts of harmful contaminants, including deadly bacteria and viruses – and if it’s allowed to settle, it can cause structural damage and invites mold to take root. In order to make the home safe again, the affected wood and carpeting would need to be replaced, and fast.
We quickly got to work at the source of the issue, containing and draining the water remaining in the yard. Even though the rains had passed and further flooding was unlikely, standing water still poses a structural risk to the house, as it can infiltrate the foundation and sheetrock.
Once the scene was contained, we stripped out the damaged carpeting and affected areas of the wall, and began using heavy-duty air movers to dry out the area. While the home dried, our technicians inspected it for mold and other harmful microbes. We needed to treat these with disinfectants before the house would be safe to live in once again.
Thanks to fast action and our expert team of water cleanup professionals, SERVPRO saved the day. Within just 5 days, the loss work was completed and the home was ready for repairs – and the owner was able to complete the property sale without any delays.
For water damage cleanup and restoration from the name you can trust, turn to SERVPRO of Fontana. Contact us today and let us know how we can help.
Recognized as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider by hundreds of insurance companies nationwide, SERVPRO of Fontana offers fast, reliable biohazard and crime scene cleanup and restoration services to residential and commercial property owners.
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers and owners. A failure to properly handle and safely remove such hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous enviroments.
SERVPRO professionals are trained to safely and effectively remove biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA and state and local health regulations. Equiped with necesary safety equipment and cleaning products, SERVPRO professionals help turn unsafe environments into clean, safe homes and offices, SERVPRO of Fontana can help with:
- Bloodborne Pathogens
- Crime Scene Residues
- Sewage Backups
- Black water Intrusions
- Mold Mitigation and Remediation