Water damage waits for no man

Than horrible day has arrived. You’ve come home to find your house flooded, your belongings destroyed, your floors and carpets are a wreck and your day is thoroughly ruined. What you do first? Do you ask your neighbor if they’ve had flooding as well or call your parents and tell them what’s happened? The first thing you should do is call quality water damage Restoration Company. The longer you wait the more damage will have to deal with later because it’s certain that the damage in your home is not slowing down.

Water damage can grow exponentially worse and the longer it’s left the worse it gets. Often it’s within a matter of hours that these effects start to appear.

  • mold& mildew get a foothold in your carpets, furnishings and inside the wall
  • standing water breeds microorganisms that cause rot
  • odor grows more noxious and permanent
  • drywall is soaked, warped and rendered useless
  • wood swells and becomes malformed
  • metal tarnishes and rusts.

The damage gets worse the longer you leave it. Wallpaper will start to peel off the walls and floors start to buckle and twist. Fabrics and carpet sustained beyond all recognition and they start to smell like mildew and rotten for the worse thing is that once moles started to form anyone your home with a weakened immune system can suffer major medical problems.

Don’t leave it too long! Immediately after contacting a water damage restoration company you will have that sense of control returned to you. They will take the matter in hand and start the repairs and begin to set your house in order.

Breath easy: Six tips for cleaning mold out of your air conditioning unit

Mold grows in dark humid places, which qualifies your air conditioning unit as a prime location for mold to grow. Black mold has been known to cause many significant health issues and of course any type of mold can cause allergies to flare-up. Regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit can help you get rid of old.

 

Here are six and cleaning tips to help you get rid of that mold:

 

  1. Wear protective clothing
    Respiratory mask and long sleeves are a must when dealing with mold especially if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it.

 

  1. Cleanup the dust
    Either by hand or by using a vacuum cleaner or a dusting cloth, clean out the inside and outside of the A/C unit. The more clean it is the more likely you’re able to see that you’ve got the entire mold.

 

  1. Clean the vent cover
    If you’re able to remove the vent cover for your A/C unit taken it off and soak it in a solution of water and laundry detergent from that 50 minutes. After this be sure to let it dry thoroughly.

 

  1. Replace the filter
    If you know that you have mold in your A/C unit it’s not even worth your time to time clean the filter. Throw it  way and purchase a new one.

 

  1. Clean the blades
    A solution of 1 gallon of bleach and 1 cup of water sprayed on to the blades will disinfect the area. Clean all the blades thoroughly and let them dry before their next use.

 

  1. Discard anything that has mold on it
    If the dust cloth’s and tools you been using to clean the A/C unit now have mold on them it’s best to throw them away. You may be able to clean them but perhaps it’s not worth the risk. If you are going to throw them away put them inside of some container such as a plastic bag so as to prevent the spread of mold.

10 easy home repairs that in the long run can help you save money

After a few years your home can start to show signs of wear and tear. Doors start to squeak, floorboards start to rise and the windows don’t close like they used to. Here is a list of some repairs that you can carry out to avoid more serious and costly repairs later on. The more well prepared your house is for the unexpected and natural disasters the better prepared you are to deal with them as well.

 

  • Basement

The basement is susceptible to water damage and mold. If you begin to see peeling paint on walls, that is a sign of potential trouble. To avoid this, clean the down spouts regularly. While cleaning in a basement it is advisable to wear a face mask so you do not breathe into many mold spores.

  • Roof/Attic

Water leaking into your home can cause mold and mildew, among other things. To avoid serious damage to your roof/attic, inspect it every half a year.

  • Gutters

Damaged gutters can cause wet or flooded basements. To avoid problems, clean your gutters at least twice a year.

  • Windows

Window damage can cause higher heating and cooling costs, as well as an increased risk of burglary. To avoid problems, get rid of any damaged caulk. It is a costly solution but you may want to consider tinting your Windows. This will in the end lower your air conditioning bill as tinted windows let less heat into your house.

  • Bathrooms

Leaks, dripping faucets, and running toilets are all bad signs. If there are signs of trouble, you can tighten pipe connections and/or get rid of bad pipes.

  • Fireplace

Fireplace damage can cause serious problems, including carbon monoxide. One way to avoid issued would be to install carbon monoxide detectors near the fireplace.

  • HVAC

To avoid problems with your HVAC system, be sure to replace your air filters every few months. That will also improve its performance. If you wish to save money you can purchase filters that only need to be cleaned rather than replaced.

  • Sewer

If you are starting to notice that the drains are clogged, or running slowly, rent a sewer snake at the first sign of problems and clean the outlet pipe. Be aware that hair is often the culprit and gloves should be worn.

  • Electrical System

To avoid any problem, replace two pronged outlets and make sure the light bulbs aren’t loose. If you suspect any water damage be sure to call a professional electrician.

  • Exterior Walls

Be sure to scrape, patch, and repaint problem areas. The exterior paint of the house is your house is first line of defense against the weather.

The statewide wildfires in California continue to blaze

As of August 10, 10,000 firefighters continued to battle 17 individual fires throughout California. The continuing heatwave and in Northern California thunder strikes continue to make their job difficult. There have been brief moments of relief firefighters. At night temperatures have cooled down slightly and high humidity in Northern California has aided their efforts but so far the fires are only about one quarter contained.

 

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The risk of dry thunderstorms and dry lightning continues to elevate the fire danger. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for parts of California due to potential dry lightning and gusty winds.

 

Over the weekend there have been several thousand lightning strikes, especially across the Sierra and Central Coast. The sparks from a lightning strike can smolder for several hours or days before they get enough heat and energy to spread into a wildfire. This means the risk for wildfires continues even after the storms have passed. Everyone is encouraged to report a potential blaze as soon as it is sighted.

 

With fire activity remaining high, CAL FIRE is asking all residents and visitors to California to be extra cautious in the outdoors. Nearly 95 percent of all wildfires that CAL FIRE responds to are caused by the activity of people. One Less Spark this week means One Less wildfire. Learn more at www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

Tips for Finding the Best Contractor

Whether you’re working with your insurance company in the wake of house damage, or just wanting some upgrades, finding a good contractor is an important part in ensuring that the project is done well. We’re not just talking about repairs or upgrades, but a long-term investment in a home you may be occupying for years to come. Luckily, the folks at This Old Househave a few recommendations:

Start Local

“Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. You can also talk with a building inspector, who’ll know which contractors routinely meet code requirements, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, or pay a visit to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time.”

Interview Candidates

“Once you’ve assembled a list, Tom recommends that you make a quick call to each of your prospects and ask them the following questions:

  • Do they take on projects of your size?
  • Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks?
  • Can they give you a list of previous clients?
  • How many other projects would they have going at the same time?
  • How long have they worked with their subcontractors?

The answers to these questions will reveal the company’s availability, reliability, how much attention they’ll be able to give your project and how smoothly the work will go.

Based on the phone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further discussion. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. Tom says that it’s crucial that you two communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours at a time. On the other hand, don’t let personality fool you. Check in with your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau to make sure contractors don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.”

Get Bids

“You have your short list of contractors whose track records seem clean and whose work ethic looks responsible. Now it’s time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project. A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints but also a sense of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses. Generally materials account for 40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent.”

Wildfire Blazes Across 15 Freeway

A blaze around the Cajon Pass in San Bernardino, dubbed the “North Fire”, has joined the list of wildfires to ravage Southern California with fire damage this year. Over 4000 acres have burned and multiple properties have been lost to fire damage, but the firefighters reached 75% containment by the time this article was written. San Bernardino resident Esther Eblen shares her ordeal with the Press Enterprise on Sunday:  “I had to drive through flames to get out,” said Eblen, 65. “I thought I was going to die.” She thought she knew how quickly fire moved across the landscape, dotted with Joshua Trees and sage brush, after living on a remote dirt road for 21 years. With the fire appearing a few miles away, she said she was watering trees outside her house just down the road from her brother Friday afternoon to keep fire from spreading to the grass and reaching the house She turned around to check the fire and found it blazing to the top of a ravine across the road near her house. She grabbed her two dogs and jumped in the car while land around her burned. Flames and smoke pouring across the road disoriented her, briefly sending her off the roadway. Her house wasn’t touched by the fire. The fire burned her brother’s house “to the ground” and damaged a collection of antique cars, trucks, railroad cars and engines that sat on property just down El Centro Road, said Esther Eblen, who went there to close front gates following a neighbors’ report someone may have been there stealing. Luckily, Paul Eblen and his wife were on vacation in Arizona at the time. “He lost everything — 30 years’ worth of stuff,” she said Sunday. His collection of cars and trucks includes a Model A Ford and narrow-gage railroad cars and engines. At least some were decimated. “This moved so fast. If they’d have been here, they wouldn’t have been able to get out,” she said.

Hidden, Common Causes of Household Fire Damage

With summer in Southern California comes the media’s latest coverage of this year’s massive wildfire. In spite of the supposed prevalence of wildfires, the source that ultimately threatens your home might not come from the dry sagebrush in the hills. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, wildfires aren’t even among the top 3 sources of house fire damage. To single out the most likely sources of house fire damage, you must look inward and assess the threats that are lurking within your own walls. These are the NFPA’s most common house fire sources.

A family home after a house fire
A family home after a house fire

Arson

The #3 spot belongs to the category of “intentional” fires, or arson. Such fires are usually done with either destructive intent or the intent to collect on insurance money. Just in the days preceding this article, two separate major arson incidents occurred in the Los Angeles area: a church was set on fire in Echo Park and a major fire along a North Hollywood freeway. It’s far more frequent than we might realizing, earning its spot on the NFPA’s list.

Heating Equipment

Heaters, fireplaces, electric blankets, and other such items keep us warm in the winter, but that same source of heat can also set flammable objects aflame. It’s important to minimize contact of loose clothing, rugs, and other objects with heat sources in the house. The ease at which such loose items can catch fire on our sources of warmth puts Heating Equipment at the NFPA’s #2 spot.

Cooking Equipment

Coming in at the #1 spot is cooking equipment. Nearly half of all household fires originate from the kitchen and appliances in the kitchen, which makes sense given how prevalent heat sources are inthere: stoves, ovens, even toasters. Kitchen based fires are also the leading cause of fire-based injuries.

Don’t act shocked, toaster. We’re onto you!
Don’t act shocked, toaster. We’re onto you!

Just like with heat sources, it’s important to make sure that loose objects such as kitchen towels or curtains aren’t too close to stovetops, toasters, and other heat sources. Additionally, minimize the amount of time you leave operating heat sources unattended. If you must leave to do something else while something cooks, ensure that the heat source is on an automatic shutoff timer to prevent overcooking of food and additional fire risk.

Not-So-Wild Fire

While wildfires are often considered the most newsworthy to Southern Californians, the sources they should be concerned the most about are inside their own homes. Now that you have this knowledge, however, you can prepare yourself and your household by looking around your house for areas of risk. There isn’t much you can do about arson besides having a fire extinguisher handy, but the #2 and #1 causes of household fires are easily preventable by being cautious with how we use our heating and cooking equipment.

What Corona Residents Should Know About Contents Restoration

Imagine,if you will, that the worst has happened and disaster has descended upon your home. Fortunately, you’re a homeowner with insuranceagainst the type of disaster that occurred. After observing the damage, your insurance company calls in a restoration company to begin renovation on your damaged property. A contractor may rebuild the home itself, but what happens to your damaged possessions inside? “Contents restoration” refers to the process of moving, restoring and replacing the damaged possessions inside your home. This is how it’s done.

Taking Inventory

The first and most obvious step is to take out all of the possessions to be restored from the premises. These items are then inventoried and secured safely off-site, where they are assessed for damage and service.

To Replace or Repair

The restoration company only has a certain amount of resources at their disposal, so they must pick their battles and decide what can be restored and what should be tossed. Some cheaper items, such as a plastic patio side-table, might be more cheaply and easily replaced than more substantial items. Whereas your grandma’s antique mahogany armoire might be something that might be less easily replaced.

To Refinish and Restore

After your possessions are assessed, the real work begins. Objects are cleansed of odors and stains, whether they came from smoke, fire, mold, or water. Wooden furniture pieces are then refinished, and fabric furniture pieces are sometimes reupholstered. Specific techniques might be used for artwork, electronics, or other specialty possessions.

To Have and to Hold

The restoration of your personal possessions is usually complete before the home repairs are. In that case, the contents restoration service will take the restored items back into their storage facilities and keep them there until home repairs are complete.

The Return Journey

Once construction is complete and the home is livable again, the restoration team goes to work removing all the restored items from storage and putting them back into the house. Your possessions are set up for you and your family to move back in.

Content with Restoration

Contents restoration is, simply put, the restoration of the contents of your home. If disaster occurs, and your home is damaged, team up with your insurance company to find the contractor and content restoration service that serves the Corona area and is right for you. Many restoration services, such as Superior Restoration, are capable of providing both services to clients affected by disaster. Regardless of what course of action you take, content restoration service helps get your life back to normal.

Unlicensed Contractors Gone Wild: The Two Most Common Risks

 

California residents have been warned this year, last year, and will be warned again: not working with a licensed contractor is simply a bad move. Whether it’s a cosmetic renovation or major restoration after a disaster, your state’s Licensing Board is there to ensure that the licensed contractor conducting the repairs is held accountable for their business practices and craftsmanship. Without this guarantee in place, homeowners are often left to the mercy of shady contractors that often have less-than-scrupulous business practices, leaving the client exposed in a variety of ways. Here are two of the most common risks associated with not using licensed contractors.

Take the Money and Run

By law, the down payment given to a contractor must not exceed 10% or $1,000, whichever is less. Some unlicensed contractors, seeking to make a quick buck, might try and charge an excessive down payment. Once they have the money, work might slow to a slog in cease entirely. Such was the case in a prominent scenario covered by the New York Times, where an unscrupulous, unlicensed contractor charged a down payment of 50% and then never showed up to do the contracted work. With no license, holding such contractors accountable is extremely difficult. The family in the New York Times story never got their money back, and had to pay a different contractor to start the job.

An Unassuring Lack of Insurance

By law, licensed contractors in California are expected to cover injuries of their employees and be bonded in case of unfinished work.  Some contractors don’t pursue licensing because they don’t want to pay for such insurance, but that decision ultimately hurts the consumer. In multiple cases in California legal history, it has been ruled that the homeowner is responsible for medical expenses if an unlicensed, uninsured contractor or a member of the work crew is injured over the course of a job. This means that you could be on the dole for tens of thousands of dollars or more if someone in the unlicensed contracting crew is injured while working on your project. Such a financial risk is not something you want to take.

Worth the Risk?

When money is tight, the cost of hiring a fully licensed and insured contractor can be daunting when compared side-by-side with the quoted cost of an uninsured, fly-by-night operation. However, when you compare those costs with the hefty financial risks that come with unlicensed contractor work, the possibility of being outright robbed or picking up the tab for outrageous medical expenses, it’s important to ask yourself a single question:  Is it really worth it?

Water damage prevention: pipes that burst after freezing temperatures

Many of us learned as far back as grade school that when water freezes it turns to ice and expands. Yet so many continue to neglect plumbing lines in the home by not thinking about a simple scientific principle we first learned as children. What many fail to realize is that plumbing lines located within uninsulated walls or under the property where heating systems don’t reach are at risk. When temperature plummets below freezing, water in the pipes will freeze…and expand.

Water pipes are not made of rubber. They are typically made of metal or plastic and aren’t designed to be flexible. When water contained in pipes freeze, the pressure inside is similar to inflating a balloon or tire with too much air. Naturally, the object can’t continue taking more pressure and bursts.

Even before a weather or news alert informs us about oncoming freezing temperatures, there are measures that should be taken to begin prevention of damage to water pipes. The first is to check all areas of the property where lines will be exposed to severe cold. This includes the basement, attic, garage, and crawlspace. All water lines should be wrapped in insulation. Also, if possible, block any openings in the area where cold air can enter.

When extreme drops in temperature is approaching, start by maintaining a warm temperature throughout the home. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under the sinks to allow the warm air in where water lines are exposed. Also, place portable heaters in areas containing pipes where the home’s heating system cannot reach. Don’t worry about the higher cost of heating, because you will end up saving a substantially larger amount by avoiding water damage in your home if a pipe bursts.

Lastly, be sure to run a slow drip from all faucets and shower heads. Water moving through the pipes, even at a very slow rate, will help prevent freezing.