Commercial Restroom Water Damage
I manage a mainstream electronics megastore in the San Diego area. Never had I imagined or expected a bathroom to cause a flood not only in the bathroom alone, but also the carpeted hallway that was angled at a slope upwards. The entire store had a disgusting stench and smell of sewage, right when the sliding entrance doors opened. I knew I had to take care of this immediately. I called SERVPRO Rancho Penasquitos/Mira Mesa/Scripps Ranch and they sent out three people within 45 minutes of my call. The project manager explained what needed to be done in order to bring the store back to its original dry and clean condition. The techs unloaded all of their equipment and were very cautious with regard to safety, especially with all of the cords on the floor. They extracted, removed what needed to be removed, sanitized and completely dried the affected area. They really defined their slogan - "Like it never even happened." It actually came out cleaner than the pre-flood condition!
How to help protect your home from Water Damage
Along with warmer weather and greener scenery, spring can also bring severe storms, heavy rain, and flooding which can result in costly water damage to your home and the loss of valuable possessions. Here are seven tips to help protect your home from flooding and water damage.
Tip #1: Inspect and Repair Your Roof
A leaky roof can cause a lot more damage to your house than unsightly water stains on the ceiling. Roof leaks keep attic insulation wet, which can lead to rot and mold.
The unseen damage caused by roof leaks is often worse than what meets the eye, so it’s important to have it fixed as soon as possible. Having a reputable roofing contractor inspect your roof, check for undetected leaks, and make any needed repairs can prevent more costly damage down the road.
Document Your Possessions
Compiling a detailed home inventory of your personal possessions, backed up with photos and/or video, can be invaluable when processing an insurance claim in the aftermath of a flood or storm damage.
Keep the documentation in a waterproof container stored as high as possible away from rising water, and put a backup copy in a safe deposit box or other secure remote location.
It’s also a good idea to scan and maintain digital copies of all important records and keep them in a waterproof safe or a safety deposit box away from the house. That way, you’ll have more than enough evidence to support an insurance claim for damage caused by water or severe weather.
Trim Your Trees
To help prevent storm damage to your home, it’s important to trim tree branches that are growing near or hanging over your home to prevent them from breaking and crashing through the roof or damaging your siding during a storm.
Check to make sure all trees and large shrubs are alive and well, and remove any dead limbs or unhealthy plants. A dead plant may not seem like a threat, but it is more likely to be broken by strong winds during severe weather.
Tip #4: Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
It’s also important to make sure to keep your gutters clean, repair any gutter leaks and check regularly to see that they drain properly.
In addition, inspect your downspouts, remove any downspout clogs, and use splash blocks or downspout extension pipes to make sure the water is directed well away from your house foundation.
Call our team of professionals at SERVPRO Scripps Ranch Mira Mesa Rancho Penasquitos if you are in need of water remediation. We are here to help!!
Second Floor Bathroom Leak
House was recently flooded... From the top floor bathroom, leaked through the entire house. It's been a hard couple of days since we are expecting a newborn baby any day now. I contacted SERVPRO based on the reviews and was fortunate to get a hold of the ACTUAL owner! Angela assured me that the house will be back to normal, walls would be tested for mold and they have contents removal which will save me the headache of having my stuff moved from a different company. Megan came out the next day and has been working directly with our adjuster since my husband and I have been in and out of the hospital. So far, it's been an amazing and seamless experience and happy we decided to give them a call! Thank you SERVPRO Scripps Ranch Mira Mesa Rancho Penasquitos!
Ways to Keep Mold Out of the House
Mold. The very word is enough to make a person cringe.
Yes, mold can be good — it's essential in making brie and penicillin, for example, and necessary for the decomposition of organic matter in nature — but it can also be very, very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home.
Mold spores spread easily and cannot be completely eradicated.
Mold can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper, and even in places you can't see, such as the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, and above ceiling tiles.
Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and, rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health.
So what can you do if you're concerned about mold growing in your home?
The best approach is preventing mold before it becomes a problem. The key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control.
Here are ways to curb moisture indoors, and the mold that thrives on it.
1. Identify problem areas in your home and correct them. You can't mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.
2. Dry wet areas immediately. Mold can't grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you've experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can't be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don't leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower. Don't leave wet clothes in the washing machine, where mold can spread quickly. Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.
3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn't invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.
4. Equip your home with mold-resistant products. Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless — the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive. Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available; the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.
5. Monitor humidity indoors. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store. You'll also be able to detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture (for example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows).
6. Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn't sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.
7. Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.
8. Improve air flow in your home. According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.
9. Keep mold off household plants. They're beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean — and mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants. The oil of this tree, which withstands fungi even in rain forests, helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.
Finally, educate yourself on your region's climate — be it the cold and wet Northeast, the hot and wet South, the hot and dry Southwest, or the cold and dry West — and how it responds to moisture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mold prevention. Knowing what works for your climate and your home is an important first step.
Call our team of highly trained professionals at SERVPRO Scripps Ranch Mira Mesa Rancho Penasquitos for your mold remediation needs. 858.270.5234
Tips on Keeping Your Washing Machine Clean
Step 1: Clean the seal
Your first step in decontaminating your washer is checking the seal around the door.
The seal catches lint, coins, paperclips and all manner of pocket fodder. If you don't clean it out, that junk can mold or, even worse, it can make its way down to the trap. Just swipe your hand around the seal and remove any junk. Then, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Step 2: Clean the trap
When items don't get caught in the washer door seal they go to a place inside the washer ominously called "the trap." (It's also called a filter.) These items languish and mildew until you either remove them or the washer stops draining water.
My washer had to stop draining water before I even learned that the trap was a thing. My husband deftly took apart the washer and found that our washer trap was full of Legos and about $5 worth of change.
Here is how you can clean your own trap:
- Unplug your washer.
- On the front or back of the washer there should be a little door.
- Place a small bowl by the little door to catch drips.
- Pry open the door using a flathead screwdriver or a coin.
- There will be a black tube inside the door. Gently pull the top end of the hose out and pull off the plastic cap.
- Drain the hose in the bowl.
- Place a towel in front of the door.
- Beside the black hose will be the trap cap, also called the filter cap. Twist it to the left and pull it forward.
- Clean out the trap and replace the trap and hose.
- Close the little door and you're done.
These directions may vary depending on the year and model of your washer. Be sure to check your owner's manual before attempting to clean your washer's trap.
March A Fairweather Friend As Serious Storms Hit East And West Coasts
No matter the adage or that the calendar tells us spring has sprung, March is still roaring like a lion on both sides of the country. On Wednesday, the West Coast braced for potential mudslides and flooding following heavy rain, and much of the East Coast dealt with a major snowstorm.
Southern California was on alert Wednesday as thousands of people evacuated their homes. Heavy rain combined with denuded land and loosened soil from recent wildfires made for a dangerous mix.
A flash flood watch was in effect for the region into Thursday, and forecasters called for several inches of rain from "a large and powerful storm system," with warnings that debris flow was likely.
Officials said a portion of State Route 33 in Ventura County was closed Wednesday because mud and debris flows.
In Los Angeles, the fire department was offering free sandbags and urging residents to remain alert. Officials called for evacuations beginning 6 p.m. local time for burn areas from recent fires.
Ways to Handle Stress in the Workplace
The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. And four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainly about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.
"People are asking me for answers," says Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of just released Success Under Stress. "Everyone feels overwhelmed and overly busy."
Is there a way to maintain steady focus throughout the day? Is it possible to do everything that needs to get done and still have energy left over after work? How do you keep cool under so many demands? Informed by 10 years of Harvard research and field-tested by more than 6,000 clients and trainees, Melnick offers the following strategies to take your work stress down a peg, before it takes over your life.
Act Rather Than React
"We experience stress when we feel that situations are out of our control," says Melnick. It activates the stress hormone and, if chronic, wears down confidence, concentration and well-being. She advises that you identify the aspects of the situation you can control and aspects you can't. Typically, you're in control of your actions and responses, but not in control of macro forces or someone else's tone, for example. "Be impeccable for your 50%," she advises. And try to let go of the rest.
Take A Deep Breath
If you're feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance, says Melnick. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose. "It's like getting the calm and focus of a 90-minute yoga class in three minutes or less at your desk," she says.
"Most of us are bombarded during the day," says Melnick. Emails, phone calls, pop ins, instant messages and sudden, urgent deadlines conspire to make today's workers more distracted than ever. While you may not have control over the interrupters, you can control your response. Melnick advises responding in one of three ways: Accept the interruption, cut it off, or diagnosis its importance and make a plan. Many interruptions are recurring and can be anticipated. "You want to have preset criteria for which response you want to make," she says. You can also train those around you by answering email during certain windows, setting up office hours to talk in person or closing the door when you need to focus.
Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus
Most of us go through the day using a "push, push, push" approach, thinking if we work the full eight to 10 hours, we'll get more done. Instead, productivity goes down, stress levels go up and you have very little energy left over for your family, Melnick says. She advises scheduling breaks throughout the day to walk, stretch at your desk or do a breathing exercise. "Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project has shown that if we have intense concentration for about 90 minutes, followed by a brief period of recovery, we can clear the buildup of stress and rejuvenate ourselves," she says.
Eat Right And Sleep Well
"Eating badly will stress your system," says Melnick, who advises eating a low-sugar, high-protein diet. "And when you're not sleeping well, you're not getting the rejuvenating effects." According to the CDC, an estimated 60 million Americans do not get sufficient sleep, which is a critical recovery period for the body. If racing thoughts keep you from falling asleep or you wake up in the night and can't get back to sleep, Melnick suggests a simple breathing trick that will knock you out fast: Cover your right nostril and breathe through your left for three to five minutes.
What is Mold?
Most people are keen on the idea that there are a few types of fungi that are worth appreciating — mushrooms, anyone? However, if you were to ask most homeowners about the most common type of fungus they would like to never see again, then the resonating answer would most likely be, "Mold!"
Mold is a type of fungus that sprouts form tiny spores that float about in the air. Unfortunately for homeowners, there is not a pilot sitting in the cockpit of these spores. Instead, the spores do the choosing of where they should land. Pair that with the fact that they often choose to make their home in moist places and you are bound to see mold spring up in that area.
Mildew is a common type of mold that sits on the surface of damp walls, doors, shower grouting and more. This type of mold looks like tiny black spots, and it can easily be scrubbed away with a cleaning brush and store-bought mold killer.
Other types of mold can be a bit more damaging to a home, depending on the size of an infestation. 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.
Fire and Smoke Restoration
In the wake of a fire that has covered homes with smoke and ash, it’s important to begin clean up as soon as possible in order to prevent permanent damage or discoloration from soot residue. The IICRC provides the following tips for fire victims facing clean up:
- Practice safety first. Use a dust mask (like painters use) and gloves as you work.
- Ventilate the home. Place a box fan in an open window to draw the air and dust out.
- Clean from top to bottom. Start with the ceilings, walls and fixtures, and work your way down to the contents of the room, then to the floor.
- Vacuum floors and upholstery. Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a high efficiency filter. Otherwise, you risk blowing soot back into the air.
- Some draperies, clothing and machine-washable items may be laundered. Use a mild alkaline cleaner to neutralize the acid in the soot. Fine clothing should be dry cleaned.
- Most exterior walls (brick, stone, wood, paint, siding) and eaves can be cleaned by spraying with a detergent, agitating soot with a soft-bristled brush, pressure washing from bottom to top, then rinsing from top to bottom.
- If the damage and residue are heavy, it may be best to hire a professional to thoroughly restore your home and belongings.
- Check with your insurance company to see if smoke damage from outdoor sources is covered by your policy.
- If the fire has warped or distorted the structure, consult a licensed general contractor.
Professional restoration technicians know that damage increases and restoration costs escalate the longer neutralization, corrosion control and cleaning is delayed. When homeowners prolong the restoration of their home, they extend the effects brought on by the smoke exposure. The following is a timeline of the effects of fire and smoke on a home.
Commercial Fire Insurance
Most businesses that own property need insurance to protect themselves against damage caused by fire. Fire insurance for businesses is widely available. Many insurers offer this type of coverage.
Need for Coverage
Fire is a major cause of property damage. In 2015, 1,345,000 fires were reported in the United States according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires killed 3,280 people (excluding firefighters) and caused about $14.3 billion in property damage. Most of the fire-related deaths occurred in residential structures, which include one-or-two-family homes, apartment buildings, hotels, and motels.
A fire can devastate a small business. Fires generate flames, smoke, and heat, any of which can damage buildings and their contents. Water, foam and other materials used by firefighters to extinguish a blaze can also damage property. A business that has no fire insurance will have to pay for repairs or reconstruction out of pocket. It may also have to reimburse the fire department for the cost of extinguishing a fire if the local fire department charges for its services.
If a company lacks the funds to pay these costs, it may be forced to cease operations. By purchasing adequate fire insurance, a company can significantly improve its chances of surviving a large fire loss.
Hostile Versus Friendly Fire
In the insurance industry, fires are classified as friendly or hostile. A friendly fire is one that is set on purpose and that remains in the place intended, such as a fireplace or stove. A fire becomes hostile when it escapes from its intended location. For example, flames from a gas burner ignite grease spilled on a restaurant stove. The fire travels up a wall and burns the roof of the building. Property insurance covers damage caused by hostile fires.
Commercial Property Policies
Until the mid-twentieth century, businesses protected themselves against fire damage to buildings and personal property by purchasing a fire insurance policy In the 1960s, insurers began offering commercial multi-peril policies.
ACV Versus Replacement Cost
Many property policies pay losses based on the actual cash value (ACV) of the damaged property. Actual cash value is typically calculated by subtracting a property's accumulated depreciation from its replacement cost.
For example, suppose that your building is insured for its actual cash value. The building will cost $3 million to replace. It is ten years old and has depreciated by $500,000. The building's actual cash value is $2.5 million. If you insure the building based on its ACV, your insurer will not pay more than $2.5 million if the building is completely destroyed.
You will need to come up with an additional $500,000 to rebuild the structure.
Business personal property includes items like machinery, equipment, and office furniture. Such property can be costly to replace. You can protect your business against a large out-of-pocket expense by insuring your personal property on a replacement cost basis.
Replacement cost coverage pays the cost of repairing damaged property or replacing it with similar property. This coverage costs more than coverage based on actual cash value.
Don't Underinsure Your Property!
Like many business owners, you may think your insurance premiums are too high. Perhaps you've considered saving money on property insurance by insuring your property for less than its full value. This is a bad idea!
For one thing, your policy won't cover the entire cost of repairing or replacing property that is destroyed by a fire or other peril.
For example, suppose your property policy includes a coinsurance requirement of 80 percent. Assume that your policy covers losses on a replacement cost basis. If the replacement cost of your building is $2 million, you must insure your building for at least $1.6 million (80 percent of $2 million). If a loss occurs and you have failed to purchase the required amount of insurance, your insurer will not pay the full amount of the loss. You will be stuck paying a portion of it yourself.
You can avoid penalties for underinsurance by taking these steps:
- Insure your property for 100% of its value.
- Hire an experienced appraiser to reassess the value of your property every year or so. The best time to do this is before your policy's renewal date.
- Don't insure your property based on property tax evaluations or estimates provided by your insurance agent or broker.
Property policies contain exclusions and limitations that apply to certain types of property. For example, most policies exclude loss or damage to land, building foundations, and money and securities. Many provide a small amount of coverage for valuable jewelry, and outdoor plants.
Business Income Coverage
When its property has been severely damaged, a company may be forced to reduce its operations or to shut down its business altogether. A full or partial shutdown may cause the business to lose income or incur extra expenses. Income losses and extra expenses are not covered by basic fire insurance. To protect itself, the business can purchase business income insurance.
Many businesses operate in older structures that do not meet current building codes. Building laws vary from state to state and city to city. Generally, existing buildings need not meet current codes unless they are refurbished or rebuilt. If a building is severely damaged by a fire or other peril and is repaired or reconstructed, the structure may be subject to current codes. The required upgrades can be costly. The extra costs imposed by building codes aren't covered under a typical property policy. Coverage for such costs is available under building ordinance coverage.
Here are some tips for maintaining your fire insurance policy.
- Review your policy annually. Make sure it includes all of your buildings and all of your locations. Check the addresses listed in the policy ensure they are accurate.
- If you own multiple buildings, consider insuring them under a single policy with a blanket limit. One policy will be cheaper than several individual policies.
- Draft and maintain a fire prevention plan. Train your workers on the steps they should take if a fire occurs. Your insurer may provide a discount for an active fire prevention program.