Recent Posts

How to Prevent Mold

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation How to Prevent Mold Mold Remediation in Palo Alto

We here at SERVPRO of Palo Alto know the kind of problems mold can cause to both people and property. Not only is it unsightly, but uncontrolled indoor mold can cause health problems ranging from mild to serious, depending on the extent of mold and on the health and/or ages of a home's occupants. If you have mold remediation needs, give us a call. SERVPRO of Palo Alto technicians are highly trained and certified in mold restoration, mold remediation, and mold cleanup. To help prevent mold in and around your house, read the tips below.

First, what is mold, exactly?

Mold is a type of fungi that lives everywhere. There are at least 300,000 mold species that can spread by disbursing spores that lie dormant until conditions are right for growth. As a homeowner, mold prevention means controlling the conditions that promote mold growth, which means keeping things dry. Mold multiplies where conditions are wet or damp, such as in a bathroom or after a flood or water leakage. If you control the moisture in your home, you hold the key to mold prevention.

How does mold affect your health?

People sensitive to mold, especially those with poor or underdeveloped immune systems (infants, the elderly, those with autoimmune disorders), may suffer minor to serious conditions such as: nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to mold. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses may develop mold infections in their lungs, requiring long-term medical care.

Mold thrives and grows where conditions are wet or damp, so as a homeowner, the key to mold prevention is controlling the moisture in your home. With a little effort, you can help prevent mold in your basement, crawlspace, or common areas like the kitchen or bathroom. Here are some tips to keep mold in and around your home at bay.

Start indoors

  • Control indoor humidity – the ideal relative humidity is at 30 to 50, but if you live in a high humidity area, you probably need a portable dehumidifier, which can remove up to nine gallons of water a day from the air of a basement or house. However, this can cost quite a bit in electricity, so look for models with an Energy Star seal.
  • Ventilate humidity-producing appliances such as your clothes dryer and stove to the outside. It’s obvious with the clothes dryer, but stoves also produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside. When buying a new stove or renovating your kitchen, a gas stove with a hood is preferable.
  • When you take a long, hot shower, keep the bathroom fan on or open the window. Use exhaust fans or open windows when cooking or washing dishes.
  • Insulate cold water pipes to prevent condensation that will add moisture to the environment.
  • Fix plumbing leaks as soon as possible and dry things like any flooring or carpeting thoroughly. Use a dehumidifier if necessary.
  • If you spot mold inside your house, clean it from hard surfaces with commercial mold removal products or a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. CAUTION: Never ever mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners because the toxic fumes will create a severe health hazard.
  • Keep mold prevention in mind when remodeling or decorating by avoiding the use of carpet in bathrooms and basements where they are likely to absorb moisture.

Go outside

  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water doesn’t seep into the basement or crawlspace. If water puddles around the foundation after a heavy rain, you may have a problem with leaks and potential mold formation.
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. Clean gutters at least every six months--more if you live in an especially rainy area. Make sure the gutter downspouts direct water away from the house.
  • Keep air conditioning drain lines flowing well and away from the house.

Do you still have problems with mold? SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help! SERVPRO of Palo Alto technicians are highly trained to properly clean and restore your house so that it feels like home again. We are experts at mold remediation. We can make it "Like it never even happened." Call us at (650) 800-3448 for a free estimate and fast service.

Northern California Wildfires

10/13/2017 (Permalink)

Northern California Wildfires

Northern California is currently experiencing the worst wildfires in California history. Over 160,000 acres of Napa and Sonoma counties, beloved wine regions of the state, have been assaulted by over 20 fires, including the Nuns-Norbbom, Atlas, Tubbs, Pressley, Partrick, Mendocino Lake Complex, and Pocket Fires for the past week, with very little containment. The cities of Santa Rosa and Calistoga have been particularly hard hit. Over 30 people have perished, with over 400 more missing as of Thursday, October 12th, and entire neighborhoods have gone up in flames. Though no one knows how these massive fires started, one thing everyone agrees on is that life will never be the same for these residents and businesses.

The rest of Northern California--from Fresno to the Bay Area to Sacramento--isn’t remaining unscathed. Palo Alto, Atherton, and Redwood City are also feeling the effects of California wine country wildfires. Though these cities aren’t experiencing the massive destruction wildfires can bring, they are experiencing the aftermath of fire, including falling ash and soot, in addition to hazardous fumes. This means unhealthy air quality. Strong and gusty winds continue to spread smoke throughout the Bay Area as the result of these massive wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties, and are expected to spread smoke and drive ash for multiple days on end.

With what some are calling 2017 the worst wildfire season in California history, the question remains: How do we recover? How can you and your home or business come back from fire damage, smoke damage, or soot damage?

After the Fire: Fire Restoration

Experts in fire restoration like those SERVPRO of Palo Alto have the answer. With years of experience in fire cleanup, smoke and soot cleanup, and fire damage restoration, SERVPRO of Palo Alto can make your home like new again, “Like it never even happened.”

After an economic and emotional loss such as that resulting from fire or smoke and soot damage, it’s important for individuals and businesses to turn to experts in fire restoration to restore their homes or structures quickly and efficiently.

What many don’t realize is that with fire damage also comes water damage from firefighting efforts, which is why SERVPRO experts count the following among its ranks:

  • Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician
  • Odor Control Technician
  • Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our SERVPRO of Palo Alto experts study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration services.

And SERVPRO of Palo Alto deals directly with your insurance company to ensure coverage for your fire loss or water loss. A 24-hour fire restoration company, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will come out at any hour for an estimate, and will work day and night to help restore your home or business to its previous condition.

Residents and businesses in Sonoma and Napa Valley will have a lot to deal with once these wildfires die down, and the business of getting back to normal starts. Because of the extent of these fires, particularly in Calistoga and Santa Rosa, calling on experts in fire restoration, smoke cleanup, and water mitigation to help restore structures after fire damage and water damage is especially important.

Preventative Steps to Protect your Property

If your home hasn’t been affected by wildfire, and you want to do what you can to help protect your property from future fires, check out the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) key steps to take:

  • Thin out and maintained the vegetation around your property, by creating safety zones around your house by reducing or replacing most of the flammable vegetation.
  • Remove all combustible materials away from your house, such as firewood, gas grills and propane tanks.
  • Make sure your roof is made of noncombustible and fire resistant materials such as single ply membranes, fiberglass shingles, slate, metal, clay, and concrete tile.
  • Enclose sundecks and porches enclosed, as well as eaves and overhangs. Clear leaves, trash and other fire hazards away from decks and porches.
  • Clean out gutters on a regular basis, since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers. If used, gutter covers should be noncombustible.
  • Cover house vents such as attic vents, soffit vents, or other openings with ¼ inch or smaller corrosion-resistant wire mesh. For chimneys and stovepipes, cover using 12-gauge spark arrestors or woven wire mesh.
  • Use fire resistant house siding such as stucco, metal, brick and cement, concrete and rock. Treat wood siding with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals (though these treatments are not permanent).
  • Treat windows to reduce fire risk. Recommended are dual or triple-paned thermal glass and fire resistant shutters or drapes. Tempered glass windows and noncombustible awnings can also help reduce your risk.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is standing by to assist homes and commercial buildings in Northern California affected by the current devastating fires. Call us at (650) 800-3448 for immediate assistance for residential and commercial fire and water restoration and fire and smoke cleaning services.

Planning Halloween the SERVPRO way!

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Planning Halloween the SERVPRO way! From all of us at SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we wish you a SPOOK-TACULAR and SAFE Halloween!

October is here, and department stores are stocking up on pumpkins, costumes, and candy to prepare for Halloween on October 31st. Halloween is an exciting holiday for most families—even pets join in for the clever costumes and trick-or-treating excitement. At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we urge our customers who celebrate this holiday to take the necessary precautions to make it safe. Every year, Halloween fires occur, affecting hundreds of home structures due to candles, decorations, or unsafe costumes, and causing fire damage and smoke damage, requiring extensive fire restoration. Most holiday fire hazards can be avoided by taking safety precautions, and by a little extra planning to ensure this year’s Halloween remains fire-free and enjoyable for all.

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) statistics show that from 2009-2013, an average of 860 home structure fires occurred, causing an average of one death, 41 injuries, and $13 million in direct property damage per year. These fires usually occur from flammable decoration being placed too close to a heat source. Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.

Below are some Halloween safety tips provided by the NFPA to ensure that this year’s trick-or-treating does not turn into a horror story.

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long, trailing fabric. If you’re making your own costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
  • Provide children with flashlights to light their paths, or give them glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a Jack-o-lantern. If you insist on using a real candle, practice extreme caution. Make sure children are supervised at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
  • Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
  • If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
  • Children should always go trick-or-treating with a responsible adult.
  • Remind children to stay together as a group when walking from house to house.
  • Review how to safely cross a street with your child. Look left, right, and left again to be sure no cars are approaching before crossing the street.
  • Make (and enforce) the rule that children not eat any treat until it has been brought home and examined by an adult.

Pre-planning

As part of your Halloween pre-planning, download our Emergency Ready APP to your phone or tablet to create a personalized plan in case of an emergency. The app is free and easy to use. If you have any questions or damage to your property, please feel free to call us at (650) 800-3448.

Download the app today! 

SERVPRO of Palo Alto

2625 Middlefield Road #557 Palo Alto, CA 94306(650) 800-3448

Select SERVPRO of Palo Alto as your preferred franchise.

https://ready.SERVPRO.com/home/mobileapp

Mexico Earthquake- Wake-up Call for Californians

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

On Tuesday, September 19, 2017, a powerful earthquake struck the south of Mexico in Puebla State, 123 kilometers from Mexico City. This earthquake should serve as a wake-up call to all Californians, as seismologists have been waiting for a possible devastating earthquake to occur in California. The San Andreas Fault and six other significant fault zones are present in the Bay Area: the Calaveras Fault, Concord-Green Valley Fault, Greenville Fault, Hayward Fault, Rodgers Creek Fault, and San Gregorio Fault.

If and when that big one hits us, a tsunami could also be a real threat to us, and might even come through the Bay side to impact Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and the surrounding areas. Once these waves enter your home, the waters are deemed Category 3 flood waters, and everything impacted by the waves would be deemed unsalvageable.

After a catastrophic situation has impacted our community, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the ability to rally equipment and crews to quickly respond to storm damage of any magnitude. Trust SERVPRO to restore the water damage your structure can suffer from a major storm. We can handle water damage restoration after flooding, thunderstorms, earthquakes, and any natural disaster. Our crew will take care of your restoration, water mitigation, and any mold remediation needed after a big storm. SERVPRO of Palo Alto would be one of the first responders in such a disaster, and would be there to help clean up and dry out your commercial or residential property if affected.

If you experience any kind of storm damage, be sure to call us first at SERVPRO of Palo Alto by dialing 650-800-3448.

Storms Can Cause Flooding to Your Palo Alto Home

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

After a storm or natural disaster, the aftermath can be detrimental to you both emotionally and financially.  Storm cleanup and water damage restoration to your property can be stressful without the help of qualified technicians leading the way. With storm season approaching us, rain and high winds can affect Palo Alto and other parts of the Bay Area. When these winter storms occur, there’s a possibly of power outages in your area due to winds knocking down electrical poles or other causes.

It is important for families to be prepared for a power outage that may last for several hours or days after a heavy storm. The National Public Service campaign, Ready Campaign, has shared the following tips regarding power outage:

Before a Power Outage:

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, casa, and first aid supplies.
  • Make sure you have alternate charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power.
  • Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door is located and know how to operate it.
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been establish in your community.

During a Power Outage:

  • Avoid using candles which can cause fires. Only use flashlight for emergency lighting.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.
  • Only use generators away from your home, and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home’s electrical system. Consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing a generator.

After a Power Outage:

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures of 40*F (4*C) for two hours or more. When in doubt, throw it away.
  • If food in freezer is colder than 40*F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medication having spoiled.
  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. 
  • Choose foods your family will eat.
  • Remember any special dietary needs.
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.

The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies. You may already have many of these on hand.

  • Salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods
  • Don’t forget to pack a can opener and other utensils needed!

For more information and tips on how to prepare for and respond to an emergency visit

 https://www.ready.gov/about-us

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. For your emergency restoration services call us 24/7 for prompt service. (650) 800-3448.

HVAC System Cleaning for Your Business

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

For business owners, it’s possible to overlook certain aspects of your building or office space such as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC system).  When these systems are not properly maintained, they can accumulate dust, pollen, and other debris. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.” It’s very important to maintain clean ducts in order to maintain a healthy environment for your business.

When these ducts are not given the maintenance that they require, the HVAC system may begin to fail and waste unnecessary energy that can cost you. Keeping your air ducts clean can save you and your business money. HVAC systems may also leak and cause water damage and mold damage that can weaken the structure of your property. These damages can produce odors throughout your business and can be unpleasant for the employees and guests.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. Remember that maintaining the HVAC system can extend the life of the equipment. Don’t wait to call our experts on commercial air ducts and HVAC cleaning at 650-800-3448.

Fire Damage to Commercial Properties? SERVPRO can Help!!

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

Fire damage on your commercial property can be emotionally and financially devastating.  At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we understand that every hour spent in the cleanup and fire restoration process of your business means lost revenue and productivity. This is why SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a trusted emergency restoration company that will walk you through the entire process by dealing with your insurance company as well as your preferences for your business restoration.

After a fire occurs, make sure to notify your insurance agent so you can begin itemizing your losses. You want to be sure to understand your options and go over your policy carefully in order to make the right decisions. We will help you through your insurance paperwork and manage your property’s fire restoration process from start to finish. Our goal at SERVPRO of Palo Alto is to have your business restored quickly and efficiently.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto gives you access to IICRC-industry certified technicians.  Our highly trained staff have several years of experience assisting business owners just like you with excellent service. Regardless of how the fire began, or what materials exist in the affected area, you want to have the right company for the job. Restoring your property after a fire damage, can be a lengthy and confusing process. For these events, you will need professionals that are on your side to walk you through the necessary steps to restore your property. We will treat your property as if it were ours, with respect and care.

To increase the chances of having your business restored successfully, trust SERVPRO of Palo Alto to cleanup and restore your commercial property. Our SERVPRO of Palo Alto professionals, have the resources to help you take control of your business again. We provide fire restoration & smoke restoration (remediating smoke damage or soot damage). Have questions about fire, smoke, or soot damage? Call us today at 650-800-3448.

Water Main Break Floods Several Homes in Menlo Park

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto was called to respond to a major water main break in Menlo Park that affected six homes on two adjacent streets close to downtown Menlo Park, causing major water damage, and requiring major water restoration. Within one hour, SERVPRO of Palo Alto responded to two homes that were severely damaged. Upon arrival, our SERVPRO team immediately started to pump out the groundwater that had seeped through the homes' foundations. It was a disaster! There was over two feet of water in the unfinished crawlspaces of two of the homes - basically a muddy mess. Our crews worked simultaneously at the homes to get the water out as quickly as possible. We arrived after 10pm and didn't leave till after 4:30AM!

The water was extracted and pumped out, and SERVPRO of Palo Alto made sure no other potential secondary damage could occur from the standing water.

Our teams came out the next day and installed the proper equipment to dry out the framing under the homes: dehumidifiers and air movers. Over the next several days, we worked with a total of six homes that needed our help with their flooding, damaged contents, damaged drywall and flooring. Our heroes are here to help rain or shine, night or day!

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your water damage emergency, regardless of the scope or size of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large-scale events and disasters.

Whether your water emergency occurs in a big-box store, a home, a condo, or a small office building, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the water restoration project through to its completion. Reach SERVPRO of Palo Alto by dialing 650-800-3448.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Provides 24-Hour Water Damage Restoration Service

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through both the crisis and the water restoration process. SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Call us at 650-800-3448.

Protect Your Home from a Wildfire

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

As Californians, we know the real threat of wildfires. California residents need to be more aware on how best to protect their homes from wildfires. Our wildfire risk is extremely high, especially with the severe drought conditions our state can face. According to the Federal Emergency  Management Agency (FEMA), here are some top ways to protect your property in Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks and other Bay Area cities:  

Have you thinned out and maintained the vegetation around the house?

 All vegetation is fuel for a wildfire, therefore the greater the distance between your home and the vegetation, the greater the protection. Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house, if possible. At a minimum, create a defensible space of 0-5 feet, and use noncombustible materials, such as gravel, brick, or concrete in this critical area adjacent to your home. Remove vines from the walls of the house, prune branches and shrubs within 15 feet of chimneys.

Create a second zone of 100 feet reducing or replacing as much of the most flammable vegetation as possible. If you live on a hill, you may need to extend the zone for several hundred feet. 

Are combustible materials away from the house? Identify all combustible materials outside the house, stack firewood 100 feet away and uphill from the house. Keep the gas grill and propane tank at least 15feet away from the house and place a mesh screen over the grill. 

Is the roof made of noncombustible materials? Materials that are fire resistant include single ply membranes, fiberglass shingles, slate, metal, clay, and concrete tile. Clean debris from roof since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers.

Are sundecks and porches enclosed underneath? Are eaves and overhangs enclosed? Clear leaves, trash and other fire hazards away from decks and porches, extend 1/2 inch mesh screen from all overhands down to the ground. Enclose all eaves to reduce the hazard.­

Clean out gutters regularly. Keep debris out of gutters, since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers. If used, gutter covers should be non-combustible.

Are house vents covered with wire mesh? Any attic vent, soffit vent, or other opening can allow embers and flaming debris to enter a home and ignite it. Cover all openings with a 1/4 inch or smaller corrosion-resistant wire mesh. Are chimneys and stovepipes covered with spark arrestors? Use 12-gauge spark arrestors or woven wire mesh to prevent this hazard.

Is the house siding fire resistant? Stucco, metal, brick and cement, concrete and rock are all fire resistant and should be used. You can treat wood siding with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals but these treatments are not permanent.

Have windows been treated to reduce the risk? Dual or triple-paned thermal glass and fire resistant shutters or drapes, help reduce wildfire risk. Tempered glass windows and noncombustible awnings can also help reduce your risk

Dealing with the aftermath of a fire event can be a frustrating journey. SERVPRO of Palo Alto stands by ready to help you make the fire restoration process as painless as possible. If you need us, dial 650-800-3448.