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10 Simple Steps to Protect Your Home Against Water Damage

2/14/2024 (Permalink)

Missing shingles on a roof. Regularly inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles.

Water damage poses a significant threat to the integrity and safety of your home. As a seasoned professional in the restoration industry, we've witnessed the impact of water damage firsthand and understand the importance of proactive measures in protecting your home. Here are 10 practical and straightforward ways to protect your home against water damage:

  1. Regular Maintenance Checks

Schedule routine inspections of your home's plumbing, roof, and gutters. Look for leaks, cracks, or signs of wear and tear. Promptly address any issues to prevent potential water intrusion.

  1. Maintain Gutters and Downspouts

Clear debris from gutters and downspouts regularly to ensure proper drainage. Clogged gutters can lead to water overflow and cause damage to your home's foundation.

  1. Proper Landscaping

Ensure the landscape around your home slopes away from the foundation. Proper grading helps direct water away from the house, preventing water accumulation around the foundation.

  1. Seal Cracks and Gaps

Seal any cracks or gaps in walls, windows, and doors to prevent water infiltration during heavy rains or storms. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal these vulnerable areas.

  1. Check Appliances Regularly

Inspect appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators for leaks or worn-out hoses. Replace hoses and connections if necessary and address any leaks promptly.

  1. Maintain Sump Pump

If your home has a sump pump, ensure it is in good working condition. Test it periodically to ensure proper functioning, especially before the rainy season.

  1. Install Water Detection Devices

Consider installing water detection devices or alarms in areas prone to water damage, such as basements or near water heaters. These devices can alert you to potential leaks or water accumulation.

  1. Monitor Water Pressure

Excessive water pressure can strain pipes, leading to leaks or bursts. Use a pressure gauge to monitor and regulate water pressure, keeping it within recommended levels.

  1. Inspect the Roof

Regularly inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles. Repair or replace damaged roofing materials to prevent water from seeping into your home.

  1. Protect Outdoor Faucets

If the temperature drops below freezing, remember to insulate outdoor faucets and pipes to prevent freezing and potential bursts during winter months. Disconnect and drain hoses before winter weather sets in.

By implementing these simple yet effective measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of water damage to your home. Regular maintenance, proactive inspections, and addressing issues promptly are key to protecting your home against potential water-related disasters. Remember, a little prevention goes a long way in protecting your home and preserving its integrity.

Mold Remediation After Storms: What You Need to Know

1/8/2024 (Permalink)

Mold growth behind baseboards. Mold remediation after storms and flooding requires immediate attention!

Storms and flooding can wreak havoc on homes and properties, often leading to the development of mold. Mold thrives in damp and humid environments, making post-storm situations ideal for its growth. At SERVPRO®, we understand the urgency and importance of addressing mold issues promptly after storms and flooding. In this blog, we'll discuss essential steps and tips for effective mold remediation to restore your property safely.

Understanding Mold After Storms and Flooding

Excessive moisture from storms and flooding creates favorable conditions for mold growth. It can appear within 24-48 hours in hidden or hard-to-reach areas, such as behind walls, under flooring, or within ceilings.

Steps for Mold Remediation After Storms and Flooding:

  1. Safety First

Prioritize safety by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, and masks before entering the affected area. Ensure proper ventilation to prevent exposure to mold spores.

  1. Assessment and Documentation

Thoroughly inspect the property for visible mold growth and document the extent of the damage. Take photographs or videos as evidence for insurance claims and restoration professionals.

  1. Professional Assistance

Engage certified mold remediation professionals like SERVPRO of Northwest Ventura County for a comprehensive assessment and remediation plan. Our trained technicians have the expertise and specialized equipment to handle mold remediation effectively.

  1. Containment and Removal

Contain the affected area to prevent the spread of mold spores. Professionals will use advanced techniques such as HEPA filtration and antimicrobial treatments to remove mold safely.

  1. Drying and Dehumidification

Proper drying and dehumidification of the area are crucial to prevent further mold growth. Our SERVPRO® team employs industrial-grade equipment for thorough drying to eliminate moisture.

  1. Cleaning and Restoration

Clean and sanitize affected surfaces and belongings using appropriate methods and antimicrobial solutions. Restoration professionals will also repair or replace damaged materials to restore your property.

Mold remediation after storms and flooding requires immediate attention and professional expertise to ensure a safe and thorough restoration process. If you're dealing with mold issues after storms or flooding, don't hesitate to contact our SERVPRO® team for immediate assistance. Our certified technicians are equipped to handle mold remediation and restore your property to a safe environment.

Unplugging for Safety: The Hazards of Leaving Appliances Plugged In and Unattended

12/5/2023 (Permalink)

In today's world, electrical appliances are an integral part of our daily lives. From coffee makers to computers, we use appliances to make life easier. However, leaving appliances plugged in and unattended can pose significant hazards that can lead to property damage, injuries, and even fatal accidents. In this blog, we will explore the many dangers associated with leaving appliances plugged in and unattended and highlight what you can do to avoid these electrical hazards.

Risk of Electrical Fires

Leaving appliances plugged in and unattended is a common cause of electrical fires. Faulty wiring, overheating, or electrical malfunctions can occur even in seemingly safe appliances, leading to fire outbreaks. In addition, unattended appliances can ignite flammable materials nearby, amplifying the severity of the fire and endangering lives. Therefore, it is crucial to unplug appliances not in use, especially when you are leaving the room or going to bed.

Potential for Electrical Surges

Leaving appliances plugged in without supervision increases the risk of electrical surges. Power surges can occur due to lightning strikes, utility company issues, or faulty wiring. These surges can cause extensive damage to appliances, lead to electrical fires, and even pose risks of electric shock or electrocution. It is essential to invest in surge protectors to protect your appliances or unplug them when not needed to prevent these hazards.

Increased Energy Consumption

Appliances that are left plugged in continue to draw a small amount of energy, even when not in use. This phenomenon, known as "vampire" or "phantom" power, can significantly contribute to energy wastage and increased utility bills over time. As part of energy conservation efforts, it is best to unplug appliances when not in use, not just to reduce energy consumption but also to reduce the risk of electrical hazards.

Accidental Activation and Child Safety

Unattended appliances, such as stoves or ovens, can pose dangers if accidentally activated by children or pets. Turning on an appliance when unattended can lead to burns, fires, or other accidents. It is essential to keep appliances out of reach of children, monitor electrically powered items, and ensure they are switched off and unplugged when not in use.

Wear and Tear on Appliances

Leaving appliances plugged in constantly can lead to accelerated wear and tear, reducing their lifespan. Continuous power supply and exposure to power fluctuations can stress the internal components of appliances, leading to premature breakdowns or malfunctions. Prevent these hazards by unplugging appliances when not needed.

Leaving appliances plugged in and unattended is a danger that is often overlooked. The risks of electrical fires, surges, energy wastage, and accidental activation underline the importance of being mindful of appliances and practicing electrical safety. By adopting simple but crucial habits like unplugging appliances when not in use or investing in surge protectors, we can prevent potential accidents, save energy, and protect both our property and well-being. Let's make it a priority to keep ourselves and our homes safe by being vigilant and responsible when it comes to leaving appliances plugged in and unattended.

Mold Removal vs. Mold Remediation: What's the Difference?

10/24/2023 (Permalink)

Mold infestation. When dealing with mold issues in your home or business, it's vital to choose the right approach.

Mold is a common problem for homeowners and business owners alike. When you discover mold in your property, it's crucial to understand the difference between mold removal and mold remediation. These terms may seem similar, but they encompass distinct processes with varying levels of effectiveness. In this blog, we will clarify the distinction to help you make informed decisions when dealing with mold issues.

What is Mold Removal?

Mold removal, often referred to as mold cleaning or mold mitigation, involves the physical removal of visible mold from surfaces. It typically includes cleaning and scrubbing the affected area to eliminate the visible mold growth. While this approach can make the mold disappear temporarily, it does not address the root cause of the issue, which is moisture. Mold can easily return if the moisture problem isn't resolved.

The Limitations of Mold Removal:

  1. Temporary Solution: Mold removal offers a short-term fix, as mold may reappear if the underlying moisture issue persists.

  2. Surface-Level: It primarily targets the visible mold growth on surfaces, neglecting hidden mold in walls, ceilings, or under flooring.

  3. Limited Prevention: Mold removal alone doesn't take proactive measures to prevent future mold growth.

What is Mold Remediation?

Mold remediation is a comprehensive process that goes beyond mold removal. It focuses on identifying and addressing the source of moisture that sustains mold growth, along with the removal of mold colonies. This approach ensures that mold is not only removed but also prevented from returning.

The Benefits of Mold Remediation:

  1. Effective Solution: Mold remediation offers a more effective and long-lasting solution by addressing the root cause – moisture.

  2. Thorough Inspection: It involves a thorough inspection of the property to locate hidden mold, allowing for complete removal.

  3. Preventive Measures: Mold remediation includes moisture control, ventilation improvements, and preventative actions to deter future mold growth.

Why Choose Mold Remediation Over Mold Removal?

Comprehensive Approach: Mold remediation is a holistic approach that provides a lasting solution by eliminating the conditions that promote mold growth.

Improved Indoor Air Quality: It helps to enhance indoor air quality by removing mold spores and contaminants.

Property Value: Proper mold remediation can maintain or even increase the value of your property, as it ensures a mold-free environment.

When dealing with mold issues in your home or business, it's vital to choose the right approach. Mold removal is a temporary fix that focuses solely on the visible mold, while mold remediation is a comprehensive solution that addresses the underlying moisture problem and prevents future mold growth. For effective and long-lasting results, it's advisable to opt for professional mold remediation services.

At SERVPRO® of Northwest Ventura County, we specialize in mold remediation, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for your property. If you have any mold-related concerns or require our expertise, don't hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Your property deserves the best care when it comes to mold issues.

Being Prepared for a Storm

10/4/2023 (Permalink)

Raining on House Rain Falling on a House

California Storm Preparedness

California may not be known for its stormy weather, but it can still experience flash floods, high winds, and excessive heat. It is important to be prepared for these events.

Flash Flood Warnings

Flash floods are sudden and severe rainstorms that can cause rivers to overflow and flood low-lying areas. If you see a flash flood warning, it is important to avoid driving into high water areas. Turn around, don't drown.

High Wind Advisories

High wind advisories are issued when sustained winds are expected to reach 30-35 mph with gusts of 40-45 mph or greater. High winds can damage roofs, uproot trees, and start wildfires.

Excessive Heat Warnings

Excessive heat warnings are issued when temperatures are expected to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for several days in a row. Extreme heat can be dangerous, especially for the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.

How to Prepare

You can prepare for stormy weather by:

  • Having a plan in place for what to do if there is a flash flood warning, high wind advisory, or excessive heat warning.
  • Signing up for local alerts so that you are notified of any warnings or advisories.
  • Having an emergency kit that includes food, water, first-aid supplies, and other essential items.
  • Making sure your home is in good repair and that your roof is in good condition.
  • Trimming trees around your home so that they are less likely to fall in high winds.

What to Do if You Have Damage

If you have damage due to a storm, it is important to call a professional restoration company like SERVPRO™. SERVPRO's trained and experienced professionals can help you repair your home and restore it to its preloss condition.

Call SERVPRO today at 805-507-5507 if you have any questions about storm preparedness or if you need help with storm damage repair.

When Storms or Floods hit Ventura, SERVPRO of NWVC is ready!

10/28/2022 (Permalink)

Photo of wind blowing and rain A photograph of a lot with wind, rain and trees blowing in the wind

SERVPRO of Northwest Ventura County specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Ventura, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across North America and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the Country.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 805-507-5507.

SERVPRO, Faster to Any Disaster. Storm Plans

10/28/2022 (Permalink)

Lightning off the coast of Ventura beach A Lightning storm captured in Ventura off the Boardwalk.

Hurricane season has begun so we're sharing tips to help you get ready.

1. Create a plan.

Start by creating an emergency plan for your family that includes emergency meeting places in your home, neighborhood, and outside your neighborhood. Create a plan here-> https://bddy.me/2SBwVQp

2. Build an emergency kit.

Have an emergency kit at work, in your car, and at home so you're ready any time, anywhere. This kit could include a backpack, water, non-perishable food, a blanket, and more. See the full list here-> https://bddy.me/3y0hrWq

3. Review your insurance.

Look at your policies ahead of time to see what's covered and if flood insurance is available to you since it's the leading cause of damage from tropical systems. For more insurance tips visit https://bddy.me/3uH6hE5

4. Have an evacuation plan.

Plan your route and have an alternate. Remember, you may not have to drive hundreds of miles to evacuate, only far enough away from the evacuation area.

5. Get your home ready.

Trim your trees to prevent damage from snapped branches and board up your windows to protect them from flying debris. Here are more ways to strengthen your home-> https://bddy.me/3tMHgWH

Remember, if a massive flood happens in your community, SERVPRO has storm teams all over the country that will be sent in to help. Our SERVPRO national coverage allows us to dispatch resources from all over the nation to support our local community. That's one of the reasons we are a top choice restoration company - Faster to any size disaster!

Call SERVPRO of Northwest Ventura County Today! 805-507-5507

Water Damage in Your Walls? We’re Here to Help.

9/21/2022 (Permalink)

Blue tape marking an area affected by water SERVPRO marked the Floor with blue tape, where water had intruded their kitchen.

Water damage can come in many forms, and range in severity from a burst pipe or leaking sink to a flooded basement or extreme hurricane damage. If you’ve been struck by water damage in your walls, it’s best to check for signs and try to confirm the severity and scope of damage to best determine a course of action. Ultimately, larger water damage situations will require the assistance of a professional cleanup and restoration company, like SERVPRO®, but smaller jobs can often be just as time-sensitive and shouldn’t be ignored. Even if you’re not certain your water-damaged walls are severe enough to contact us, it’s best to get a professional opinion in case the damage is worse than you think or may be able to see.

Here are some signs of water-damaged walls to look for as you determine the next steps:

  • Mold growth, which can occur in as little as 24 to 48 hours after the initial water damage
  • Damp air and musty odors in the surrounding area. Mold can often occur in basements, laundry rooms, or areas near older appliances, like water heaters. It can also grow near fountains, on rooftops, and in underground spaces, like basements, thriving in dimly lit areas with minimal air circulation
  • Peeling paint and wallpaper, due to loss of adhesion as water builds up within walls
  • Discolored, warped, cracked, bubbling, softened, and/or crumbling walls
  • Squishy, wet carpet around the walls you suspect have water damage
  • Sudden rise in utility bills
  • Rotted wood in or near walls and surrounding area
  • White, chalk-like stains on walls, otherwise known as efflorescence

When it comes to deciding whether to call a professional, if you’re ever in doubt, it’s best to contact a cleanup and restoration company like SERVPRO before you attempt to clean up water damage yourself. Even if you have the best intentions, like saving money or thinking the damage is easy to handle, there are several reasons it’s best to get another opinion. First, SERVPRO has the training, expertise, and industry-backed equipment to remove any hazards safely and efficiently as we proceed through the process. Additionally, it’s possible your water-damaged walls could be infiltrated by sewage and contamination, posing a potential health hazard; the associated bacteria could become airborne if not properly remediated, putting the health and safety of yourself, family, and/or employees at risk. Another reason you shouldn’t try to clean up water-damaged walls yourself is that you risk running into mold, which can cause further damage and health effects if not properly remediated with the correct equipment, like our industrial-grade HVAC units and fans.

Furthermore, even if you’re not certain you have water damage, to begin with, it’s still a safe bet to call SERVPRO and let our experienced technicians assess your space and provide a professional recommendation. Hidden water damage could be disastrous if you try to clean it yourself, due to internal structural dangers that may turn out to be beyond the scope of what you’re able to handle. If you opt to clean it yourself, you may find you need a professional only once you’re in a dangerous situation. Ultimately, it’s important further structural damage isn’t caused by improper repairs or inadvertently missing the water source, which must be stopped as soon as safely possible. SERVPRO’s proven system of professionals has decades of experience and is committed to remediating and fully cleaning the water damage, stopping it in its tracks, and helping to prevent further headaches and expenditures down the road.

Even if you routinely inspect your property, water damage can strike without warning, so you should call SERVPRO when you’re ready. There’s always a local SERVPRO nearby that’s available 24/7/365. The average process from inspection to completion is around 3-5 days, but this can vary greatly depending upon the severity and scope of the damage, the amount of contents affected, any demolition that may be required, and the presence of any hazardous materials.

Our franchise professionals have over 50 years of experience, so it’s no wonder SERVPRO is the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration. If you believe you’ve suffered from water damage in your walls or may not be sure and would like another opinion, your local SERVPRO is ready and committed to answering your questions and providing cleanup and restoration experience. With both the local, personalized touch of an individual franchise, we also have teams across the U.S. and Canada prepared to respond to commercial and larger damage disasters. We understand the importance of getting you back to normal as quickly and safely as possible and are committed to helping return your water-damaged walls to preloss condition “Like it never even happened.”®

What to Do After a House Fire

9/21/2022 (Permalink)

A House Fire in Ventura CA Here we can see a room with many items melted, burned, and covered in soot from a house fire in Ventura Calif

Your first priority after a house fire is to make sure all family members (pets included) are safe and accounted for. In some cases, you may need to find temporary housing until it is safe to return to your home. 

1. Don’t re-enter your fire-damaged home. 

You might think it is safe to return home once the fire is extinguished, but you must wait until the fire department gives you the all-clear. The following are numerous potential hazards in a fire-damaged structure, therefore it is recommended that before entering a fire structure one should wear at least an N-95 safety mask:

  • Fumes and particles from smoke and soot
  • Mold and water damage
  • Structural issues, like a waterlogged ceiling, or a weak floor or ceiling joist system
  • Gas leaks
  • Electrical hazards in standing water (note: depending on the severity of the fire, the local Fire Department may have pulled the electrical meter and cut off the gas)

If you re-enter a space too early, you may become exposed to any of these items and risk your health and safety. 

2. Call your insurance agent. 

Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover the cost of a hotel, short-term rental, or food if your home is damaged due to a fire. You’ll also need to begin the claims process to cover home repairs and the replacement of damaged belongings. 

3. Reach out to local organizations for extra support.  

Suppose you don’t have homeowners' insurance. In that case, other community resources (like programs, charities, or benefits) may be available to assist you after a fire. These additional resources can help fire victims get back on their feet faster. Some of these organizations that can help after a house fire include: 

  • Salvation Army
  • American Red Cross
  • Public agencies such as the health department
  • Religious organizations
  • State or municipal emergency services office

 If you’re unsure where to start, connect with your community’s town or city office for guidance. 

4. Get an inspection and damage assessment. 

Our seven-step fire damage restoration process begins with a call to our emergency service center. The SERVPRO® team will send an inspector to your home to assess the extent of the fire and create an effective remediation plan. 

With more than 50 years of experience in cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO® has preferred vendor status with many insurance companies. We’ll manage the homeowners' insurance claims process for a faster, more accessible experience.  

SERVPRO Fire Damage Soot

9/16/2022 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO Tech on a ladder cleaning SOOT off wall A Certified SERVPRO Technician On a ladder cleaning Soot Damage from a Fire in Ventura, Calif

What is soot? (and other common questions) 

Let’s get down to the soot basics. In order to both recognize and appropriately remove soot, it’s good to have a foundational knowledge of how it’s caused and what it looks like. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our clients: 

What causes black soot on walls and materials? 

Simply put, soot is the tiny particle that comes from incomplete combustion; it’s the black substance that comes from burning wood or other materials. While you might be most familiar with large-scale cinders and residue from fires, have you ever noticed those small black smudges near a burning candle? That’s soot, too! You don’t need to have a fire disaster to see the damage. 

What does soot look like? 

Most commonly, soot appears as black streaks on surfaces near a fire. It might be easy to confuse soot with mold; the similarities in color and patterns make them similar. Both can come out of nowhere, and both can do a lot of damage! Before touching the damaged area (which can be dangerous), you can make smart assumptions based on the black streak’s location. Ask yourself: 

  • Is this damage near an electrical outlet or appliance?
  • Is this damage near space in my property where I have candles, a fireplace, or other combustible materials?
  • Is this damage at the bottom of a door where carpet may be filtering soot from the air?
  • Is this damage near a part of the wall that could be affected by the heating system?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with soot and not mold. In contrast, mold will grow in areas with excess moisture, such as in between shower tiles or on a bathroom wall. 

Can I remove soot? 

The simple answer is yes—but that doesn’t mean you should tackle every soot damage project. A small smudge from a candle is likely cleanable with a small cloth dampened in rubbing alcohol. More significant soot damage from a fire should be handled by professionals. Agitating the soot with incorrect substances can make the damage worse. 

Is there any way to prevent soot? 

Yes! It all comes down to preparation. For large-scale damage, make sure that your home or commercial space has a fire emergency plan and a fully functioning fire sprinkler system. Regular maintenance and upkeep of your fire prevention tools will help reduce damage in an emergency. 

For more small-scale prevention, use high-quality candles with short wicks on the candle stand to reduce excess heat. Schedule regular maintenance of your kitchen appliances to help ensure that they’re in good working condition as well.