Water Damage Prevention Checklist: Before You Go on Vacation
Vacation Water Damage
There's nothing worse than returning to your Palo Alto, Redwood City, Atherton, or Menlo Park home from a relaxing vacation to a water and mold. You may find soggy wood flooring, moldy drywall and carpets. It's the perfect way to ruin a vacation that you just took.
But if you just take a few precautions BEFORE you go, you can avert a potentially major catastrophe and save money in water damage restoration and mold remediation and removal. You simply turn off all the relevant water valves in your home, before you go away.
A good tip is to have a friend perform an occasional walk-through of your home in your absence.
Check out this water prevention checklist from your friends at SERVPRO of Palo Alto.
Water Damage Prevention Checklist
Inspect all the pipes in your home, especially those located under the sink(s) for evidence of leaks. If you find any leaks, no matter how small, call a plumber to quickly and efficiently rectify the problem. If there are no leaks, turn off any relevant water valves throughout the house such as those relevant to your sink(s), toilet(s) and bathtub(s).
It is imperative the every adult member of your household knows where the main water supply valve is located in your home, because water damage mishaps can occur at anytime, even when your home is occupied. Should that ever happen, knowing where the main water supply valve is will make the difference all the difference in the magnitude of potential water damage to your home.
Unplug electronic devices and household appliances
In an effort to prevent a short in the electric circuit of your home, (should there be water intrusion in your absence), unplug electronic devices like computers, printers, televisions as well as household appliances like washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Do not unplug the refrigerator unless you decide to empty it out.
Address any potential fire hazards, before you go! Don’t leave flammable items in your home, especially during the summer months, because if there should be a fire, your indoor sprinkler may become activated, thereby leading to water damage and subsequent mold infestation.
Put the water heater in vacation mode
When you put the water heater in vacation mode, the water inside the pipes is maintained at ambient temperature, thereby drastically minimizing the chance that the pipes might freeze and possibly burst.
Finally, be mindful of the fact that damaged roof shingles have the tendency to serve as a significant point of entry for water intrusion into your home. Therefore, if you spot any damage, arrange to have it repaired, before you go!
If you do happen to experience water damage, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. We will make it "Like it never even happened."
Fire Safety Facts & Prevention Tips for the Bay Area
Keep safe with these fire safety tips.
FIRE SAFETY FACTS
Each year, more than 4,000 Americans die in fires, more than 25,000 are injured in fires, and more than 100 firefighters are killed while on duty. Eighty three percent of all civilian fire deaths occurred in residences. Many of these fires could have been prevented.
Cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older.
Direct loss due to fires is estimated at nearly $8.6 billion annually. Intentionally set structure fires resulted in an estimated $664 million in property damage.
In order to protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire.
Fire is FAST. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Fire is DARK. Fire produces gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three- to- one ratio.
Fire is HOT. Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super- hot air can sear your lungs.
FIRE PREVENTION TIPS
BEFORE A FIRE
The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of a fire:
SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
Install smoke alarms. Properly working smoke alarms decrease your chances of dying in a fire by half.
Place smoke alarms on every level of your residence, including the basement.
Install a working carbon monoxide detector in the common area of the bedrooms.
Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year. Replace smoke
alarms once every 10 years.
Never leave cooking unattended.
Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.
Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames
Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
ESCAPING THE FIRE
• Have an escape plan. Review escape routes with your family.
Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut.
Teach family members to stay low to the floor, where the air is safer, when escaping from a fire.
In high-rise, never lock fire exits or doorways, halls or stairways. Never prop stairway or other fire
Place space heaters at least three feet away from flammable/combustible materials.
Use only the type of fuel designated for your space heater.
MATCHES/LIGHTERS AND SMOKING
Keep matches/lighters away from children.
Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated.
If you must smoke, do it responsibly.
Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs
Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring.
Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high traffic areas.
Do not overload extension cords or outlets.
ASK THE FIRE DEPARTMENT TO INSPECT YOUR HOME FOR FIRE SAFETY AND PREVENTION
DURING A FIRE
If your clothes catch on fire, you should:
• Stop, drop, and roll until the fire is extinguished.
DO NOT PANIC
• Do not assume someone else already called the fire department get out of the house then call the Fire Department.
ESCAPE A FIRE
Check closed doors with the back of your hand to feel for heat before you open them.
If the door is hot do not open it. Find a second way out, such as a window. If you cannot escape
through a window, hang a white sheet outside the window to alert firefighters to your presence.
Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding or tape and cover vents to keep smoke
If there is a phone in the room where you are trapped, call the fire department again and tell them
exactly where you are.
If the door is cold slowly open it and ensure that fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape
route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the door and use another escape route.
• If clear, leave immediately and close the door behind you. Be prepared to crawl.AFTER A FIRE
Once you are out of the building, STAY OUT! Do not go back inside for any reason.
If you are with a burn victim or are a burn victim yourself call 911, cool and cover your burns until
emergency units arrive.
If you are a tenant contact the landlord.
Tell the fire department if you know of anyone trapped in the building.
Only enter when the fire department tells you it is safe to do so.
SERVPRO's Commercial HVAC System Cleaning Services
SERVPRO can maintain your HVAC system.
If you own a business, you wear many hats and complete hundreds of tasks on a daily basis. t’s possible to overlook certain aspects of your building or office space such as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC system) when you're busy running your business. However, when these heating and cooling systems are not properly maintained, they can accumulate dust, pollen, and other debris, causing expensive problems down the line.
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. We can help you maintain your HVAC system, which can extend the life of your equipment.
Call our SERVPRO of Palo Alto experts on commercial air ducts and HVAC cleaning at (650) 800-3448 today!
Rainstorms in Bay Area Continue
Rain in Bay Area
Widespread rain in the Bay Area, including in Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Stanford, and Menlo Park, continues and is expected to continue through at least Friday, March 8th, bringing at least three inches of rain.
While no major flooding is expected in the Bay Area, the weather service warned that “minor nuisance flooding may occur Tuesday night and Wednesday” given the already saturated soils.
“Rivers, streams, and creeks will experience rises, but most should remain in their banks,” the weather service wrote in its daily forecast Tuesday.
Once the heaviest downpours clear, scattered showers are likely through Friday morning, Dykema said.
A storm system coming in from the northwest could bring more rain this weekend, but at this point most of the moisture is expected to remain offshore.
Early next week, a ridge if high pressure is expected to build, which will keep the Bay Area dry at least for a couple of days.
Rainfall totals across California for the water year that began Oct. 1 are mostly above average for this time of year, including Redding (28.17 inches, or 112 percent of its historical average), San Francisco (20.02 inches, 109 percent), Oakland (15.71 inches or 100 percent), and San Jose (12.63 inches, 108 percent).
When water damage occurs due to excessive rain and flooding like we've been experiencing, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 day or night. We'll make water damage "Like it never even happened."
Protect Against Rainstorm Damage
Santa Clara County Rainstorms
The heavy rains and horrific mudslides that devastated large swathes of Montecito in Santa Barbara County last January left death and destruction in their wake as mud and debris swept through the streets, leaving 21 people dead and thousands of homes and businesses damaged. Because all of California has experienced rain storms at one time or another (including the heavy rains last winter in Northern California, causing thousands in San Jose and surrounding areas to evacuate), water damage preparedness is essential to protecting what we hold dear.
What does this tell us, as residents of Santa Clara County, including those of us in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City? It tells us that we need to be prepared at all times for water damage that can occur due to heavy rains in Northern California by taking several key steps. In addition, we also need to have a reliable restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto to assist in damage restoration and water mitigation after the fact.
How can homeowners and business owners protect their property from water damage in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City? There are several steps to take to minimize water damage due to heavy rains and winds.
First, make sure to maintain clean gutters. Clear your gutters of leaves and twigs that may have accumulated throughout the year. Do this at least twice a year, if not more. If you don’t keep your gutters clean, debris build-up slows the flow of water to the drains and leads to overflowing.
Another important step to take when safeguarding your home or business against water damage is protecting against electricity issues. During heavy rainstorms, it’s imperative to make sure that all electrical appliances are stored or moved upstairs, where water is can’t reach them. Don’t go near the fuse box and ensure that all sockets are covered and turned off. Water and electricity can cause major problems.
Next, don’t forget to check your sealant. Make sure that any gaps or holes in the sealant surrounding your doors and windows are filled in, especially if you live in an area that gets hammered by heavy downpours. Otherwise, rain will seep into the building, causing all sorts of problems requiring water damage mitigation. Inspect your sealant regularly, because regular upkeep will greatly reduce the impact of sealant erosion.
Cover air vents. As you may have already experienced, air vents are one of the most common ways that water can get into a house or business. If the forecast calls for heavy rain, or if you’re at risk of flooding, make sure that you cover your air vents from both the outside and the inside with thick plastic sheeting.
What happens if you take these protective measures before heavy rains hit and you still have water damage? Sometimes, no matter what you do, Mother Nature can still cause water damage (or mold damage due to water damage) requiring water restoration, mold restoration and mold mitigation in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City. Not all is lost. First call a reputable damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto. SERVPRO of Palo Alto’s expertly trained restoration technicians are trained to take care of water damage and mold mitigation due to flash flooding and heavy rains. They serve the following areas of Santa Clara County: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, and have taken on water damage jobs both large and small. In addition, their customers give SERVPRO of Palo Alto excellent reviews for their quick, efficient, and high-quality water restoration work and mold mitigation work.
Here’s what one happy SERVPRO of Palo Alto customer has to say about her experience with water damage and subsequent water damage mitigation performed by SERVPRO:
“These guys are the best at what they do... I had major water damage in my house and they came in right away with a plan to address the issue. Jessie was my project manager, absolutely wonderful and professional. He was there for me every step of the way, answered all of my calls no matter the time, could not have asked for a better manager to handle my situation. I highly recommend Jessie and his team. Thank you guys, could not have gotten through my terrible situation without you!!” - Mary L., Newark, CA
Get your property ready for heavy rainstorms that inevitably occur in our area of Santa Clara County. Then, call us today for a quick, no-cost estimate for any water damage, large or small, that needs water restoration at (650) 800-3448.
Protect Your Bay Area Home from Rainstorm Flooding
Heavy rain in California
The entire state of California, including Northern California and the Bay Area, is experiencing historic rainfall this winter.
As you already know, if you’re a homeowner in Palo Alto, Atherton, Stanford, Menlo Park, or Redwood City, you have the responsibility to protect your home from both natural disasters like our current rainstorms in addition to made-made water damage issues. While you can’t predict natural disasters like flooding, you can help protect your home from water damage due to severe rains and floods. According to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, floods are the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the U.S., and no state is immune to the effects of flash flooding. Flash flooding happens everywhere, causing water damage requiring water restoration and mold mitigation services (because water leads to mold damage) including in places like Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, California.
Heavy rains have hit Santa Clara County, California hard this winter. Here are a few tips from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, or IBHS, that you, as a Bay Area homeowner, can help use to protect your home from flooding to help minimize water damage that can cause ruined carpets, wrecked appliances, and irreversibly damaged family heirlooms and keepsakes. Just one inch of water can cause significant damage. One inch!
Before taking any of the steps below, you need to first find out your home’s flood level, which is an official measure of how high floodwaters could rise where you live. You’ll find this information by checking the online flood maps on FEMA’s website or by asking your home insurance agent.
Safeguard in-home electrical and climate systems
It’s important to safeguard your electrical and climate systems. Make sure to raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level in your area. And don’t forget to modify your furnace and water heater so they sit above your property’s flood level instead of at or below it.
Anchor and raise outdoor power equipment
Again, you have to think of your property’s flood level. Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units, and power generators should be anchored and raised above your flood level. If not, unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines will contaminate surrounding ground, creating an even larger problem. Any electrical power units and generators should never sit on the ground. Water will render them useless.
Modify water valves
A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up into your home, which is both distressing and dangerous to your family’s health. Install an interior or exterior backflow valve to prevent the sewage from spreading all over your house. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, or FLASH, recommends gate valves that you have to operate by hand. Their benefit is that they provide stronger seals than flap or check valves, which open automatically to allow water to flow out and then close when water tries to get in.Install these valves on all pipes entering the house, advises FLASH.
Figure out how water flows around your house
The angle of the ground (called slope or grading) can direct water to or away from your house. Obviously, it’s best if the home was built so that water drains away from the building, but that’s not the case for all homes, particularly older ones. Just check it out during a regular rainstorm to see how the water flows around your house.
- Take on-the spot actions as soon as you anticipate flooding during a rainstorm
- Clear gutters, drains and downspouts (This should be done regularly at least twice a year.)
- Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings to upper floors, or at least raise them off a ground floor or out of a basement, if you have one.
- Shut off electricity at the breaker panel, and make sure everyone in the house knows how to do this!
- Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they’re potentially in harm’s way from flooding. You don’t want to have to repair or replace expensive appliances every time there’s a major rainstorm.
What happens if you take most of these actions during heavy rains and still have water damage? Don't fret. First call a reputable damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto. SERVPRO of Palo Alto’s expertly trained restoration technicians are trained to take care of water damage and mold mitigation due to flash flooding and heavy rains. They serve the following areas of Santa Clara County: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, and have taken on water damage jobs both large and small. In addition, their customers give SERVPRO of Palo Alto excellent reviews for their quick, efficient, and high-quality water restoration work and mold mitigation work. Call us today for a quick, no-cost estimate at (650) 800-3448!
Quality Fire Damage Restoration Services for Bay Area Homes & Businesses
Devastating California wildfires
2018 was a year of major firestorms in many parts of California -- from Southern California to Northern California. Some of these fires, particularly the Paradise Fire in California, have devastated entire communities.
Damage caused by a fire is life-changing for home and business owners. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need caring fire restoration experts to guide you through this crisis, from beginning to end. The professional restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Palo Alto will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always handle your home or business with great care. We can recover many of your belongings that you may have thought lost forever.
Home or business owners can be caught off guard with a sudden fire emergency. It’s important not to delay and discuss available coverage with your insurance company, in addition to taking the appropriate steps to limit the losses you might experience in case of an emergency situation. SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you deal with your insurance company, and assist you with the paperwork involved in your claim, making the process as stress-free as possible.
At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire damage to help you through this tough time. We can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition. SERVPRO uses the latest technology, including water extractors, moisture detectors, and air moving equipment to effectively dry areas affected by firefighting efforts.
Rely on SERVPRO of Palo Alto for fire damaging events to your property. We are available 24/7, including holidays. Call us at 650-800-3448 for fire restoration in the Bay Area today!
Commercial Rodent Droppings Cleanup
SERVPRO of Palo Alto cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized this property affected by rodent droppings.
Often times, SERVPRO of Palo Alto gets calls for rodent droppings cleanup after the rodents have been exterminated. Although the rodents might be gone, the bacteria, diseases and hazards from their droppings can still pose health issues if not taken care of properly. Offices, restaurant kitchens, HVAC systems, storage closets, warehouse shelving, can all be possible areas where rodents can infest with droppings. Customers, employees and visitors can pose serious health concerns if they are exposed to biological and chemical contaminants.
Failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments.SERVPRO of Palo Alto is equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products to treat these unhealthy environments. Our specialists are trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.
Proper cleaning and sanitation for businesses is necessary and SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help you clean this up. We provide cleanup and recovery services for any biohazard situation. Call us directly at 650-800-3448 to help you rid your business of droppings that can cost you money.
Holiday Fire Prevention Tips
Holiday Fire Hazard in Palo Alto, California
Holiday Safety Tips
It's the happiest time of the year! During this time of the year, there are carolers singing, egg nog, bright lights, tasty food, chilly weather, and shopping for presents.
With all these fun and festive things going on, it is easy to forget that this time of year lends itself to some very real fire hazards. Surprisingly, statistics show that residential fires are more costly and property loss is 34% greater during the holidays rather than any other time of the year. As a gift from your local neighborhood SERVPRO, here are a few tips to make sure your holiday is the merriest and safest it can be.
- Keep a multi-grade fire extinguisher handy for a variety of fires.
- Check the smoke detectors for operable batteries.
- If you are going to deep fry your turkey, make sure it is on a flat surface and at least 10 feet away outside from your home.
- If you are multitasking while you are cooking, make sure you have a cooking utensil in hand to remind you that something is on the stove.
- Maintain at least a foot between the candle and anything flammable in all directions.
- Before going to bed, make sure all candles are put out and never leave a flame unattended. However, if you prefer a low light setting, rather than use candles, switch to LED powered candles.
- Try to purchase a fresh cut tree with one that has all of its pine needles intact.
- Purchase a tree base that has room for you to water your tree every day.
- Watered trees will last longer and will typically dry out after 4 weeks.
- Remember to take your tree out as soon as possible after the holidays to prevent unwanted accidents. Dry trees are the easiest to catch on fire.
- Inspect light strings for cracks and/or fraying.
- Inspect light sockets for broken and exposed filaments.
- Do not run three strings from end to end, but instead, stack them because it is safer.
- Do not use nails or staples to hang your lights. Instead, use UL-Rated clips and hangers.
- Take lights down after the holidays to prevent squirrels from chewing on your cables and environmental damage.
- Have your chimney inspected for collected soot that hardens after every use of your fireplace. If it needs to be cleaned, do so before you use it.
- Do not start a fire for your fireplace with wrapping paper or liquids; only use seasonal firewood.
- Set a screen in front of your fireplace to prevent the embers from your cozy fire does not damage or spark a fire to your items such as a rug or other flammables.
- Set extinguished embers in a metal container outside for at least 24 hours before throwing away.
If you have any questions, concerns, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448!
Most importantly, we are available for emergency services of any accidents or inconvenient mishaps 24/7.
From our family here at SERVPRO of Palo Alto to yours, we wish you a safe happy holidays!
Mold Mitigation Before and After in Palo Alto
Let SERVPRO of Palo Alto take care of your mold mitigation needs!
Mold is no match for SERVPRO® of Palo Alto. Our damage restoration professionals use advanced water detection equipment to locate the source of the problem and remediate any mold or water damage using advanced proprietary equipment and products. Taking care of mold quickly is especially important, since mold can affect the health of your family.
SERVPRO® of Palo Alto has been serving the Palo Alto and surrounding community day in and day out. We are dedicated to helping our customers when disaster strikes and helping to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Are you concerned that your property might mold? We can help! We are ready 24/7, 365, call us at 650-800-3448 to help you today!
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