Flood Waters Rising
Every year flooding damages residential and commercial properties in every community across the nation. Natural and manmade events including, broken plumbing, storms, and leaking appliances will account for thousands of flooded properties and tens of millions of dollars in insurance claims and costs to property owners.
When flood water begins saturating building materials, damages can be temporary, requiring only drying out or permanent, requiring replacement. Drying out floors, walls, and cabinetry as quickly as possible following a flood can help control for damage that comes from mold growth and structural damages.
The cost to recover from a flood is obviously associated with the size of the affected property, the type of building materials involved, the nature of the water (clean or contaminated), and the speed to begin cleanup operations.
SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park has been in business for many years and is expert at drying out and reconstructing properties damaged by water from any source. Also SERVPRO can represent a property owner to an insurance carrier to get the very best solution in place, returning the property back to pre-flood condition as quickly as possible.
Let SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park send an expert to your property for a free estimate to remedy a recent disaster, or one that may need our experience and recommendations.
What is Mold?
What is Mold?
We hear a lot in the media these days about the dangers of exposure to mold, but what is mold exactly, anyway? Mold is not a plant or an animal, but a type of fungi. We eat some types of fungi, like many kinds of mushrooms and the yeast we use to make bread rise. Some types of mold are even used to make medicine, like the type of mold that is used to make penicillin, a life-saving antibiotic.
There are hundreds of different kinds of mold found both indoors and outdoors. Mold grows in damp, dimly-lit areas. Indoors, it can often be found in places like attics, basements, crawl spaces, and bathrooms. Mold is also common in other areas if there is a leak in the roof, leaky windows, leaky pipes, or seasonal flooding. Some molds commonly found indoors include aspergillus, chaetomium, cladosporium, penicillium, and stachybotrys.
Mold growth requires moisture. The sources of moisture could be washing, cooking, air humidifiers, condensation or leaks from plumbing or from the outside. Poor ventilation contributes to higher humidity levels and leads to condensation, which also allows mold growth.
You may begin to notice a damp, must odor in a specific area of your home. This means you should check for damp walls, carpet, flooring and any other spaces that may be breeding grounds for mold. The key is to treat a mold problem immediately, before the infestation becomes worse or causes permanent damage.
What is Mold Remediation?
Mold remediation is the process of removing mold and repairing mold-related damage in the home. It’s a complicated process and must be done carefully in order to prevent further exposure to potentially harmful mold spores. Mold can be cleaned from some materials, like bathtubs and tile, and the surfaces disinfected. Some materials, though, like drywall, wood, and carpeting, are impossible to clean thoroughly and instead must be removed and replaced.
Mold remediation is challenging in part because mold can grow in so many out-of-sight places, including inside walls, under carpeting, above ceiling tiles, and inside heating and air conditioning ducts. Just locating all the mold can be difficult, and if you miss even a little bit, it will just continue to grow and spread. Soon you’ll have a full-blown mold problem on your hands again.
When it comes to mold in your home, leave it to the professionals and call SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
What is An Air Mover?
What’s an Air Mover?
Air movers (aka “industrial air blowers”, “commercial blower fans” or “floor drying fans”) are used in construction and water restoration projects, having a wide variety of industrial applications. Their primary use is to increase air circulation, which speeds up water evaporation and reduces drying time. Compressed air is also used to maximize airflow in a blower fan or air mover.
Air movers are an essential tool when mitigation services are needed due to water damage or restoring flood or disaster damage. Some advantages of drying a building with the use of air movers are:
- Low power draw
- High velocity, making them ideal for cooling and ventilation purposes
- Reduces water damage dry out time to carpets and floors, as well as wall cavities behind drywall
- Dries concrete and paint
- Removing fumes or gases from a workspace
TYPES OF AIR MOVER UNITS
The type of air blower affects the speed and direction of airflow and the amount of space that can be covered by the air mover. There are three major types of air blower units used in most commercial dry out scenarios:
- Axial: Axial blowers are designed to move large amounts of air across a wide space. These tend to be larger air movers that produce high airflow. Unlike centrifugal air movers, which can direct air in several directions, axial air movers only move air horizontally. They’re ideal for drying walls or top-down drying treatments on carpets. They’re sometimes used for ventilation and equipment cooling.
- Centrifugal: This type offers a more compact air mover designed for spot treatments. Centrifugal air movers draw air from several sources and direct it to a particular spot. They are often used in restoration work to dry hard to reach areas like under cabinets and in crawl spaces and closets. Most centrifugal air movers can be adjusted to provide airflow at a few different angles. Centrifugal blowers are heavy-duty air movers that produce lower CFM than axial air movers.
- Compact: Compact air movers are versatile enough to be used for both large floor areas and small spot drying. With 1/4 horsepower motors, they still have the power to quickly and effectively dry areas, while also being quieter than centrifugal air movers and taking up less space. Small and lightweight, compact air movers are the perfect solution for drying small, hard-to-reach spaces such as closets, corners or under counters.
We at SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park will always assess each water damage situation independently and if our highly trained IICRC certified technicians determine that air movers are a necessary step to speed up the drying process, we have all the resources needed to help make it “Like it never even happened®.”
We hope these unfortunate situations never happen, but if they do we are standing by 24/7 and can be reached at 626.337.3374.
Water Shutoff Valves
The worst time to learn where your water shut-off valve is when your home or business has an emergency. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the valves can help you avoid a disaster later.
The cause of a broken pipe can be from aging plumbing and fixtures, construction mishaps, and ground and buildings shifting from earthquakes common to Southern California. Certainly, the time to become familiar with the valve locations and function is not when there is an emergency.
Here are some common locations of valves:
The Meter: The Meter is located next to the street at the curb area. This is where the water branches off from the City and comes to your property. There is a shut-off located underneath the meter box lid. Shutting the water off here, will turn the water off to the entire house exterior and interior, including pools and irrigation.
Main Service: From the “meter box” a water line is ran up to the front of the house to a hose bib (water spigot). Usually where the hose is located (newer homes in garage). This shut-off valve turns the water off to the inside of the home, excluding irrigation.
The Water Heater: From the “main service” the plumbing lines then provide water to the water heater. The water heater shut-off valve is located at the top of the water heater next to the water flex lines.
Angle Stops: From the “water heater” hot and cold water lines split off to provide water to plumbing fixtures including those in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, etc. You may have heard of an angle stop before. A shiny oval piece behind the toilet or underneath the sink. Behind the toilet is 1 angle stop and underneath a sink there are 2.
It is important as home and business owners to know how to turn off your water supply in the case of an emergency. If water damage still occurs, SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park provides water remediation services for commercial and residential properties.
When weather becomes a problem..
In Southern California, atmospheric weather patterns are relatively mild and predictable. That’s why when you speak with people from states that really have four seasons, the joke is “Californian’s don’t know what weather is”.
However, there is a case to be made that California does have dramatic weather. The evidence starts piling up when you hear about the catastrophic fire seasons that have become more common as the weather patterns have become drier, hotter, and longer. Severe fire seasons have become much more common recently. Case in point, the 5 largest fires recorded in California have all occurred in the last 15 years.
Late in 2017, the fire season hit with such force, the largest fire in state history (over 273,000 acres) struck the West coast of California in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
The devastation and disruption from fires like these is a cycle that Californians have come to expect. When the fire season slows down and actually ends, there comes a high risk for mud slides from the loss of vegetation in fire damaged foothills.
If fire or water damage occurs to your property, SERVPRO of Glendora/San Dimas can be a helpful resource for restoration services, expert advice on unique situations, and emergency response when immediate help is needed.
What is Efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts that can form when water is present in or on brick, concrete, stone, stucco or other building surfaces. It has a white or greyish tint and consists of salt deposits left behind when water evaporates. In addition, efflorescence can appear as a powdery substance on floors and walls and requires special care to treat.
What Causes Efflorescence?
Three conditions must exist for efflorescence to occur:
- Water-soluble salts must be present.
- Moisture must be available to transform salts into a soluble solution.
- Salts must be able to move through a material to its surface. The moisture will then evaporate and cause the salts to crystallize, resulting in efflorescence.
Water, rain and snow are the primary sources of moisture and may impact the degree of efflorescence. Condensation, groundwater wicking and interior activities also may affect the degree of moisture generation.
Efflorescence can occur in natural as well as developed environments. The effect often looks cosmetic but what it’s communicating is that water intrusion has/is occurring and needs to be addressed. It is important to note that over time this process can weaken structures and also lead to additional damage if not taken care of properly. Efflorescence can be removed with the application of various phosphoric acids, followed by a thorough rinsing of water. However, if the source of the water penetration is not taken care of, efflorescence may continue to occur. Contact your local contractor to help seal and strengthen your structure by creating vapor-permeable barriers to your porous materials - often attained through applying hydro-phobic sealers to keep the water out of your porous materials
Hopefully, next time you spot efflorescence coming out of your home or office - you can help diagnose the problem and prevent further damage.
How to Beat the Heat in Los Angeles
Southern California has been sizzling in record-breaking heat from the desert to the sea this Summer. With high temperatures shattering all-time records across the region, it has been tough to beat the heat.
Here are some fun and practical things to do while staying safe and cool as LA’s temperatures top 110 degrees:
Visit an Indoor Museum
We love the outdoors so much in L.A., that even many of our museums have partially outside campuses. The Marciano and MOCA are both solely indoors, and the Natural History Museum has enough air-conditioned galleries to occupy hours of your time. LACMA and the Hammer Museum both have outdoor courtyards between some galleries, but we’ll make an exception since they’re both such short walks in the sun.
Go to the Library
Though we often take advantage of the online benefits of a library card, this weekend might be a great time to read a good ol’ hardcover book. Many libraries double as official cooling centers—which more or less means you’re welcome to laze there during operating hours.
Treat Yourself to Ice Cream
Will it melt the second you step into the sun? Probably. But will it make you feel better? Absolutely. Ice cream and classic frozen desserts are certainly in order for this sizzling summer heat.
Catch a Summer Movie
Put outdoor movie season on pause for a day or two and instead hole up at your favorite movie theater. Make a whole day of it if you’re really craving that sweet, sweet air-conditioning and catch a couple of this summer’s biggest movies in the same day.
Go to the Skating Rink
The skating rink — be it roller or ice — has always been a perfect place to spend a few hours cooling off and getting some exercise in the summertime.
Visit Your Local IKEA
The Scandinavian furniture and home goods store — with locations in Burbank, Carson, Covina and Costa Mesa, locally — is a monument to commerce so massive, we're relatively sure you could spend a day or several "testing" various ready-to-assemble sofas and beds and soaking up AC and no one would be the wiser.
Surviving a Heat Wave in the San Gabriel Valley
Heat waves have been striking the San Gabriel Valley all Summer. Just like any other natural disaster, heat waves can be very dangerous!
Here are some tips to survive a heat wave:
Before the Heat Wave Hits
- Properly install window air conditioners, sealing any cracks and insulating if necessary.
- Check A/C ducts for proper insulation and clean filters.
- Install awnings, blinds, or light-colored drapes and keep them closed to keep sunlight and heat out.
- Upgrade your windows and weather-strip doors to keep heat out and cool air in.
- Make sure your first aid kit is updated and get trained in first aid relief.
- Have a plan for wherever you (and your family members/pets) spend time during a heat wave—home, work, and school—and prepare for power outages. Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household.
- Check the contents of your emergency disaster kit in case a power outage occurs.
- Be aware of weather forecasts and the upcoming temperature changes.
- It’s not just the high temperature. The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. See our heat index chart.
- A backhome home generator is the safest and most reliable solution! Power outages are common during heatwaves because the need for A/C puts too much pressure on the power grids. A standby generator, however, automatically keeps the A/C running, the lights on, food and medicine from spoiling, and medical devices operating.
During the Heat Wave
- Use box fans and ceiling fans to promote air circulation throughout your home. Opening doors in the house and using box fans to push hot air outdoors can function as an "exhaust" system and draw cooler evening air into the house. In the cooler evenings, open all windows and promote as much air circulation as possible.
- Take advantage of the cooling power of water. Wet towels and bandannas can have a cooling effect when worn on the shoulders or head. Consider using a spray bottle filled with cold water for refreshing spritzes throughout the day.
- Head downstairs. Since hot air rises, the upper stories of a home will be warmer than the ground floor. A basement can be a cool refuge from the midday heat.
- Eliminate extra sources of heat. Incandescent light bulbs can generate unnecessary heat, as can computers or appliances left running. Eat fresh foods that do not require you to use the oven or stove to prepare.
- Remember to maintain an adequate level of hydration, which means you'll need to consume more water than you usually do when it's hot. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration; you should drink sufficient amounts of fluids before you feel thirsty in order to prevent dehydration
- For a homemade "air conditioning" system, sit in the path of a box fan that is aimed at an open cooler, or pan filled with ice.
Make Way for May Gray and June Gloom
In mid- Spring, as the sun gets higher and the days get longer, the land gets a lot hotter. Meanwhile, the waters off the Southern California coast remain relatively cold. This causes condensation, which creates a marine layer -- a thin layer of low lying clouds over the ocean, which forms overnight then creeps over the land in the morning. This calm before the summer heat storm is known as May Gray or June Gloom.
During these months, a layer of moisture lies over the Southern California region. This region can expect drizzles to light rain, and the foothill areas of L.A County mountains can expect measurable rainfall. Last year, we didn’t experience June Gloom thanks to the drought and El Nino. The Foothills should experience some rain with all of the moisture this year. Here are some helpful tips to protect your home or business from Spring Showers:
Tip #1: Check those gutters! This can be a simple but very effective way to prevent unwanted water from entering your home or business. Gutters that are clogged with debris from overhanging trees, trash, or roofing materials can easily clog the drain and shuffle unwanted water your way.
Tip #2: Tarp up any unfinished roofing projects. Going along with our first tip, small openings in the roof of your home and business can quickly become large openings with heavy rain, causing water damage inside your building. Make sure to give your local roofing company a call and get those potential problem areas patched up ASAP.
Tip #3: Examine your window glaze and compound. Often times, glazing compound can shrink during the warmer months, making windows more susceptible to unwanted rain water penetration. Your local contractor can help patch this up for you, ensuring that you are set and ready for even the heaviest of rains! Another helpful tip… make sure you close your windows before going to bed or leaving the home!
And finally, Tip #4 (the most important!): Should you find yourself in a situation where you do have a water damage emergency, call SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park. Our staff is prepped and ready to respond and help make your rain disaster,"Like it never even happened."
Is Your Irwindale Business Safe?
Keeping your commercial property safe can help you protect your employees, patrons, and business equipment. From keeping up on building maintenance to installing a security system, there are plenty of dangers lurking around your property. Check out these ways you can keep your commercial property safe and secure.
Conduct Maintenance Audits.
The more attention you pay to your building maintenance, the less likely you are to face any issues. Keep your property current and routinely check for any slippery surfaces, damaged floors, sharp objects, frayed or damaged wires, or blocked hallways. Staying vigilant helps you avoid problems before they become an issue.
Increase Lighting In & Around the Building.
When it comes to your building, it’s important to keep it well lit. Not only does it help to avoid trips and falls, but it can also help to avoid burglaries. Install extra lighting and make sure your building is well-lit.
Prepare for an Emergency.
Disasters are unpredictable, which means it’s important to be prepared. Take precautions to minimize potential damage from a disaster, and make emergency exits readily available. Check that all your fire alarms are working properly and that all the emergency exits are well marked.
Install Security to Protect the Property.
Businesses require a significant amount of expensive materials to operate, making it a prime target for burglaries. Take measures to increase security on the property. Install security cameras and alarms, and hire a security guard. Additionally, consult with local law enforcement to see what precautions they recommend.