Recent Posts

Steps for Dealing With Windows That Have Been Broken During Severe Weather

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips on how to address a broken window that has been damaged by severe weather, as well as how to deal with the resulting water damage.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers advice for homeowners on how to deal with a broken window resulting from storm damage in Sunnyvale, CA. The team of professionals offers storm damage and flood restoration services for large and small property damage disasters. The goal is to restore the damaged property and return life to normal as soon as possible.

Severe weather can damage or break windows, which are vital for privacy, security, and comfort. When a window is damaged, it needs to be repaired or replaced immediately. The failure to quickly resolve the breach can lead to higher energy bills, advanced water damage, including mold, and a greater vulnerability to intrusion from unwanted guests. Some window damage is difficult to detect. If left unrepaired, structural damage and damage to the home’s foundation can occur.

Assessing window damage while staying safe

Make sure the storm has passed before inspecting the outside of the home. Stay away from pooled water in case of a lightning strike or a downed powerline. If power lines are down, notify the utility company for repairs and the appropriate authorities so the area can be cordoned off and made safe.

Potential hazards and structural damage may be hidden or out of sight. Loose roofing materials or tree limbs and branches may fall from the roof, injuring bystanders. Check for trip-and-fall hazards, such as fallen trees, heavy sheeting, or loose or broken shingles, around the home’s perimeter.

Identifying signs of hail damage

Hail damage is easily identifiable, and signs include dents in the siding and on the roof. If vehicles in the driveway have sustained hail damage, it is likely that the roof, siding, and windows have suffered damage.

Hail is hard to miss. It makes a distinctive sound when impacting the roof, vehicles, and deck. In just a few minutes, the landscape can be white as snow. Hail damage to windows includes:

  • Broken or shattered panes or entire glass panels
  • Dented, torn, or broken window screens
  • Dented flashing above windows or frames
  • Cracked glazing

Identifying signs of wind damage

High winds have the power to topple trees, snap branches and limbs, send lawn furniture airborne, and cause severe roof damage. High winds can shatter windows, if not from the sheer force of the wind, then from the impact of a wind-born projectile. In the event of a strong windstorm, visually inspect the home’s exterior for the following:

  • Dents, holes, or cracks in the glass
  • Dented frames
  • Shattered or broken panes
  • Chipped paint
  • Cracked or split siding or wood

Spotting signs of water damage

Hail and wind damage is easy to identify because the evidence is readily visible: ripped or torn screens, shattered glass in the floor, and dents in the siding. On the other hand, water damage is not as obvious. Lingering water damage and unrepaired leaks can promote mold growth, which can compromise the foundation and structure of the house. It is important for the homeowner to enlist the services of a competent, reliable water damage restoration service to mitigate the water intrusion and repair the damaged structure.

Where to look for flooding and leaks from storm damage

Moisture buildup between the panes of a window indicates the structure of the window may have been compromised during the severe weather. Brown, copper, or yellow stains or water spots on the ceiling may signal a roof leak. Walls suffering from water damage will display bubbling, peeling, or cracking in the wallpaper or paint; these signs often manifest in the wall area along the sides of and just under the window. Soft flooring under the window signals that the window has sustained damage and is leaking.

What to do in the case of water intrusion through a broken window

A broken window that affords little or no protection from the elements needs to be repaired or replaced immediately. The damage needs to be inspected, assessed, and mitigated by a reputable restoration company. A delay in taking action can have two consequences. First, the water damage can escalate with each episode of wet weather. This unresolved water intrusion can result in advanced secondary damage, including a mold infestation.

Second, most homeowner’s insurance policies require the homeowner to promptly exercise due diligence in the event of storm damage, water damage, or fire damage. Negligence to address the issue in a timely fashion may limit or altogether void policy coverage for the damage disaster.

When Sunnyvale, CA, homeowners need flood restoration services, they can trust the knowledgeable, experienced, and certified professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto. They have industry-leading equipment, advanced moisture-detecting technology, and the latest cleaning techniques and EPA-approved cleaning solutions for the job. SERVPRO of Palo Alto can handle the insurance claims process from start to finish, with no headaches or stress for the customer.

For more information about Sunnyvale, CA, flood damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 or email

How to Teach Children Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Tips

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers age-appropriate tips to help children understand and practice proper fire prevention and fire safety.

The fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto understand the crucial importance of teaching age-appropriate fire safety principles to children. Children need to know how to prevent fires and what to do if a fire starts in the home. Over 358,000 house fires occur each year.  Every 87 seconds, or nearly one thousand times a day, a home experiences a fire. This experience can be very frightening for children, but with age-appropriate instruction, regular review, and frequent drills, they can be prepared in the event of a fire emergency. Children are already learning fire safety at school and in daycare. Fire safety in the home will not be a surprise to them and can save their lives.

Age-Appropriate Fire Prevention Tips

Children are responsible for nearly 20,000 house fires each year. Half of these fires are started by children under the age of six years old. These age-appropriate fire prevention tips can help keep children safe and avoid fire damage in the home.

Tip #1: Have conversations with children about the dangers of fire.

The goal is to instill a healthy respect for the power of fire to start a wildfire, damage a home, or cause serious injury.

Tip #2: Store matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach of children.

A locked cabinet is the safest place to store matches and lighters.

Tip #3: Only purchase and use child-resistant lighters.

Keep in mind that “child-resistant” does not mean “childproof.”

Tip #4: Never allow a child to play with matches or a lighter, even with adult supervision.

Fire is a tool and not a toy. Do not allow children to play with lighters that look like toys.

Tip #5: Instruct children to inform an adult if they find matches or lighters.

Tip #6: Do not leave children unsupervised when fire, matches, or lighters are in use around the house or on a family outing.

Tip #7: Develop a fire escape plan and practice it regularly.

Age-Appropriate House Fire Survival Tips

The following fire safety survival tips are helpful for younger children:

Tip #1: Talk about fire safety technology.

Talk to children about the technology of smoke detectors. Explain the purpose of the installation of the devices installed around the home. Involve children in the annual activity of changing the batteries in the smoke detectors.

Tip #2: Teach two ways out.

Teach children to try the door first and then the window. When the smoke detectors function properly, there should be ample time to escape through a door or window.

Rooms without windows can create fire entrapment situations. Establish a designated meeting place such as the end of the driveway, the mailbox, or a landscape feature in the front or back yard. A child’s normal reaction is to hide when they are frightened. Help them overcome their fear by teaching them to say or sing out loud, “Don’t hide, go outside.” Emphasize that once the child is outside the burning home, they should stay out.

Tip #3: Practice opening windows and removing screens.

Make sure the windows open smoothly, especially in the bedrooms. Screens need to be kept in working order, as well. Let children know it is acceptable to damage screens in order to escape through the window.

Tip #4: Utilize escape ladders for high windows and second-story escapes.

The use of escape ladders is unavoidable in homes with high windows or multiple stories. Ladders should be placed near second-floor bedroom windows. Drills involving the use of the ladders may frighten children. Have siblings work together and encourage each other during the ladder practice. Practice on a first-floor window exit to familiarize younger children with using a ladder. Instruct children to only practice this drill under parental supervision.

Tip #5: Feel first, then open the door.

Teach children to first feel the door before opening it. If the door is warm to the touch, the children should know that they need to try the window or other alternate escape route.

Tip #6: Emphasize stop, drop, and roll.

Reinforce what children are learning from their teachers in school and at daycare about what to do if clothing catches on fire. Help children practice this technique so that they are prepared to stop, drop, and roll.

Tip #7: Practice makes perfect.

Fire drills are a part of school activities. Make instruction times, practice sessions, and fire drills a normal part of life at home. Drilling instills discipline. Training and discipline can overcome the paralysis of fear.

In the event of a fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24/7/365 to help homeowners and businesses quickly begin the fire damage restoration process. Crews can arrive at the client’s home within an hour with the right equipment, the latest technology, and advanced cleaning techniques. The SERVPRO team can manage the entire restoration project, including handling the insurance claims process.

To learn more about fire damage restoration services in Atherton, CA, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or by email at

The Importance of Considering IICRC Certification When Qualifying a Restoration Company

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains the value of hiring a commercial damage restoration and cleaning company that has been certified by the IICRC.

A rapid response and prompt water damage restoration services are needed when a burst pipe, sewage backup, or flooding disrupts normal business operations in a commercial setting. Professional water damage restoration enables the wheels of production to resume turning and the revenue to start flowing. In some instances, a delay in the provision of services at a commercial location can have serious consequences if the entity is a bank or a doctor’s office. In these situations, hiring property damage restoration technicians with certifications in cleaning and restoration is crucial.

A business owner needing property damage restoration services can expect technicians with proper certification to have a high level of industry expertise. In addition, the commercial client can expect technicians to exhibit reliability and integrity in every facet of the cleanup and restoration.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) holds technicians to the highest certification standards in the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industry. The certification bar is set high to ensure technicians provide services using the best procedures in the industry. When a business owner is qualifying a property damage restoration company, IICRC certification should factor heavily in the decision-making process.

IICRC certification is meaningful. Decision-makers should heavily weigh property damage cleanup and restoration companies with IICRC company certification and technicians certified by IICRC. The reasons are outlined below.

  1. Technicians have been trained and certified in the most advanced inspection, cleaning, and restoration procedures. The IICRC is an accredited part of ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, which oversees guidelines for best practices in use by private businesses, including the cleaning and property damage restoration industry.
  2. Continuing education and training, essential for keeping IICRC certification current, maintain the technician’s knowledge base and skill sets at the highest level. Continuing education credits are mandated every four years. As in other professional fields, keeping up with advancements in the cleaning and restoration industry is necessary to ensure the utilization of best practices when a disaster site is being cleaned up and restored.
  3. These certified professionals reliably and consistently perform their job in every situation, no matter how difficult the circumstances or challenging the environment. IICRC-certified technicians are thoroughly instructed in the latest safety protocols ensuring occupants, technicians, and other authorized personnel stay safe at all times.
  4. IICRC-certified companies demonstrate integrity in every aspect of the business relationship, from initial inspection to project completion. Industry competency is the cornerstone of IICRC certification. The foundation is business integrity. A business owner or homeowner that has been affected by a property damage disaster is vulnerable. Cleanup and restoration services must be quickly obtained and executed. An IICRC-certified damage restoration company adheres to a strict code of conduct regarding business ethics.
  5. IICRC companies and their certified technicians are committed to resolving complaints or grievances according to the highest standards of accountability in the industry. When issues arise between the service provider and the customer, policies and procedures are in place to ensure that the matter is resolved swiftly and fairly for the client. Third-party accountability communicates a solid message to the customer that the IICRC-certified company is unswerving in its commitment to reliability, integrity, and fairness.

Technicians with IICRC certification sharpen their expertise and skill in a specific area by completing required coursework. For instance, certification as a Commercial Drying Specialist (CDS) encompasses classwork and hands-on training in the procedures and technical application of drying commercial structures, fixtures, and equipment that have suffered water damage. Having earned several certifications, technicians are eligible for the advanced statuses of IICRC Journeyman or IICRC Master.

When a water damage disaster occurs in a commercial setting, trust the certified professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto. The experienced, knowledgeable team is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, to clean up and restore a business with fire, smoke, water, or flood damage. A quick response, rapid remediation process, and minimal or no disruption enable the company to resume normal business operations so that it can meet customers’ needs in a safe environment.

For more information about Redwood City, CA, commercial water damage restoration, call the team of restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be contacted by emailing

How to Handle the Insurance Claims Process after Residential Storm Damage

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: In addition to providing storm damage restoration services, SERVPRO of Palo Alto helps clients work through filing an insurance claim for the damage.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto knows the importance of providing a rapid response 24/7, 365 days a year when a storm damage disaster disrupts life in the home. Although modern advances in weather prediction technology have narrowed the risk hazard of severe storms, storms and the damage they can cause are still unpredictable. One house survives a passing cloud burst with barely a shingle missing, while the house next door suffers extensive storm and water damage from a toppled tree.

Roof damage is costly to repair. If the damage resulted in a water intrusion, the cost of roof and water damage repairs could be astronomical. Roof repair should be done immediately. To expedite the cleanup and restoration process, SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips for Redwood City, CA, homeowners filing insurance claims for storm damage.

Tips for dealing with storm damage

  1. From the safety of the ground, inspect the roof for visible signs of damage. Shingles strewn across the roof and lawn indicate trouble. The first sign of damage may have been water dripping from the ceiling.
  2. Enlist the services of a locally owned and operated storm and water damage restoration company to begin the cleanup and restoration. If needed, emergency tarping is immediately installed to mitigate the water intrusion at its source.
  3. Initiate contact with a local, reputable roofing contractor to conduct a structural inspection of the roofing system to determine the full extent of the damage.
  4. With the utmost safety and precaution, personally document the damage. Pictures, notes, and video allow the homeowner to be thorough and precise. This documentation will be instrumental in the insurance claims process.
  5. If contact has not already been initiated, reach out to the insurance company to report a claim. When SERVPRO of Palo Alto is involved in the cleanup and restoration process, they can handle the claims process from beginning to end.

Tips for dealing with insurance claims related to storm damage

The recovery and reconstruction process after storm damage can be as challenging as a new build project or a major renovation. Homeowners insurance is often the financial vehicle that makes storm damage cleanup and restoration possible. Listed below are tips to help homeowners who are filing an insurance claim for storm damage.

  1. A homeowners policy typically does not cover all types of water damage. The water damage must originate from a source inside the home or from an opening created by the storm. Examples of what may be covered include an overflow from a washing machine or a water intrusion from a roof damaged during a storm.
  2. Water damage caused from outside the home is usually not covered by home insurance. Damage from flood water or a broken water main falls outside the scope of a typical policy. Damage from water entering the home through a manufactured opening such as a skylight may not be covered.
  3. Consult with an insurance agent regarding any gaps in coverage and the benefits of adding flood insurance to the homeowner’s policy.
  4. A denied water or flood damage claim may qualify for government assistance through agencies such as FEMA. If the Federal government declares the area a federal disaster area, FEMA may provide disaster relief. Seek advice from an insurance professional to work through the FEMA application process.
  5. Save money with a common loss deductible when storm damage affects vehicles, clothes in the basement, or a boat in the yard. A common loss deductible reduces the amount the homeowner must satisfy on multiple claims as long as the damage arises from a single storm or disaster.
  6. A homeowner is responsible for storm damages to their own home even if the neighbor’s fallen tree caused the damage. If the neighbor’s tree was diseased, dying, or dead before the storm, the owner of the tree may be responsible for the damages caused by the fallen tree.
  7. To receive reimbursement for temporary living arrangements after storm damage, the damaged home must be “unfit to live in.” The house must be so damaged that it is unsafe for anyone to live in the structure. The insurance claims department usually makes these determinations on a case-by-case basis.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can handle the entire storm damage restoration process, including emergency tarping, water removal, mold mitigation, and restoration. The team can also navigate the complex insurance claims process from start to finish.

For more information about storm damage restoration in Redwood City, CA, and the surrounding area, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at or call (650) 800-3448.

How Professional Certification Through the IICRC Demonstrates Expertise in the Damage Restoration Industry

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto’s IICRC certifications benefit the home or business owner who needs property damage restoration services.

The team of property damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto has earned IICRC certifications in areas such as water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, and carpet and upholstery cleaning. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. The certifications are a sign of a technician’s skill, knowledge, and expertise. Certifications also benefit the customer.

How the Customer Benefits from IICRC Certification

Atherton, CA, home and business owners needing property damage cleanup and restoration services in Palo Alto want to enlist the services of a company with competent, qualified technicians they can trust. The situation may call for applied structural drying or smoke and soot cleanup after a housefire. Training, skill, and experience are essential when the job requires safe practices, thoroughness, and rapid execution. Life and business must return to normal without delay. IICRC certification assists the client in their quest for property damage cleanup and restoration services.

Listed below are six ways IICRC certification benefits the home or business owner needing industry-leading cleanup and restoration services.

1. Provides third-party validation of knowledge base and skill set acquisition

A damage restoration company can advertise that its technicians possess industry-specific skill sets and actual experience in the field cleaning and restoring damaged properties. IICRC certification credentials document the training and successful completion of performance criteria. IICRC-certified technicians have completed rigorous training and maintain their credentials with ongoing education. Restoration specialists receive instruction in and exposure to the latest advancements in equipment, technology, and techniques. For the customer seeking to qualify a property damage restoration company, certification through IICRC validates that employees have technical knowledge and skill competencies.

2. Helps customers match services to needs 24/7

When a property damage restoration company is listed in the IICRC’s referral database, customers can match services to specific, immediate needs 24/7. Homeowners, business owners, and property managers can select a service provider with the confidence that highly trained and experienced technicians are ready to respond.

IICRC certifications communicate to the client the range of credible services offered by the restoration company. A property damage disaster often entails a complex hazard matrix. For example, a fire damage restoration may require water removal, applied structural drying, smoke and soot cleanup, sewage cleanup, mold mitigation, and deodorization.

3. Assures high standards for safe practices

The high safety standards set by IICRC impact all aspects of the cleaning and restoration process. IICRC-certified cleanup and restoration companies such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto incorporate these safety protocols into every facet of the services they provide. Customers are confident that the services they receive are performed with the utmost caution to preserve the health and life of the technicians, the occupants of the home, and their pets. Safety-conscious technicians achieve results that ensure a healthy and safe restoration, especially on hazardous sites that require special equipment and procedures.

4. Elevates credibility across industries

IICRC has nurtured strong relationships with a wide array of industries, and these alliances enable an IICRC-certified company to enjoy important access to manufacturers of carpet, fabric, furnishings, and more. Certification also allows a company to be designated as a preferred service provider for product maintenance and warranties. In some instances, failure to have carpet or other floorcoverings cleaned and maintained by a preferred service provider can forfeit a warranty or guarantee.

5. Signals integrity and customer protection

The IICRC logo sends a clear message that stands for integrity and customer protection. To maintain IICRC certification, a property damage restoration company must deliver excellent service through a responsible, honest business model. When customers see the IICRC logo, they know they are dealing with a company that is bonded, licensed, and insured and has written complaint policies in place to resolve disputes.

6. Instills lasting customer trust

IICRC certification is a testament to a company’s unwavering commitment to the highest levels of professionalism, service performance, safety protocols, and customer satisfaction. This commitment to providing excellent customer care engenders a deep trust and establishes solid working relationships that endure.

In case of a property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available year-round to quickly begin the restoration process. A prompt response, a rapid remediation process, and a commitment to excellent customer care enable life to return to normal as soon as possible.

For more information about the Atherton, CA, damage restoration company, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email

How a House’s Plumbing Can Provide Clues About Leaks and Water Damage

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains how to identify signs of leakage that can be present on plumbing components.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto understands how disruptive and life-changing a water damage disaster caused by a plumbing problem in the home can be. Homeowners need to be aware of some common signs of water leaks in the plumbing system. A toilet supply line leaking one drop of water every 7 seconds adds up to about one gallon of water per week. If the supply line ruptures, the small leak can become a 200 gallon per hour flood. Imagine the surprise awaiting the family arriving home from a weeklong vacation to find their home flooded with thousands of gallons of water. An awareness of the common causes of plumbing leaks is the first step to avoiding water intrusion.

The primary cause of a plumbing leak stems from inadequate maintenance. Proper, timely upkeep will keep plumbing at peak performance. However, the homeowner needs to be aware of other causes of plumbing problems, including:

  • Product design flaws
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Improper installation
  • Exposure to harsh cleaning products

Regular inspections of exposed plumbing can detect a leak when it is small and no damage has occurred. If homeowners know the lifespan of a part or appliance, they can preemptively maintain or replace the item in order to prevent a water damage disaster.

Know the Signs of a Water Leak

Prevention of a plumbing leak starts with intentional inspections. Look for dripping water under the sink, around connections, or on the floor near plumbing. Feel exposed plumbing for slight leaks. Look for water damage in these areas:

  • Access panels to appliances, tubs, and showers
  • Under sinks and wash tubs
  • Connections and valves associated with the water heater, toilets, and appliances
  • Crawl spaces and basements

In general, cracking, corrosion, discoloration, and mineral deposits signal a problem. Below are specific examples to help the homeowner identify issues with various types of plumbing.

Copper tubing

Discoloration and the buildup of deposits are key indicators of a leak in copper plumbing. Discoloration and slight corrosion may not need to be addressed. Deposit buildup is a strong indication of an issue and needs immediate attention. Copper piping can develop pinhole corrosion, and small, localized crystals on the pipe signal a potential problem. A professional can take steps to mitigate the corrosion before more serious issues arise.

Streaks of white, blue, or green deposits on the copper pipe indicate a tiny amount of water is already seeping from a pinhole leak in the pipe. The corrosion may be a sign of a water chemistry problem that must be resolved, or it will continue to degrade the copper pipes. A water damage disaster can be avoided by taking the proper steps to remedy the hard water issues.

Braided stainless-steel supply lines

High-quality braided stainless-steel supply lines are the best way to connect appliances, toilets, and faucets to the main plumbing system. Stress corrosion cracking, a condition unique to braided steel supply lines, can develop. Rust, discoloration, and broken or frayed strands of steel hint at a problem. Quick action to replace the supply lines can prevent a massive flood. A ruptured washing machine supply line can spew five to seven gallons of water per minute.

Brass valves

Like copper tubing, brass valves are subject to the effects of corrosion. Deposits of a white, blue, or green crystal-like substance on or around the valve signal trouble. Exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals, water chemistry, design flaws, low-quality manufacturing, and improper installation factors into the failure of a brass valve.

PEX tubing and connecting parts

PEX parts are compromised by exposure to chlorinated hot water and household cleaning chemicals. Cracking and discoloration indicate potential problems. The metal fittings used to connect PEX can corrode. Regular visual inspections can identify these issues in their infancy before a water leak arises.

CPVC parts

CPVC pipes and connections are often used in home fire sprinkler systems. Exposure to chemicals and heat can compromise CPVC parts. Telltale signs of a potential problem include discoloration and cracking.


A toilet has many potential leak points. A hairline crack in the brittle ceramic tank can enlarge over time, resulting in rotted flooring, a wobbly toilet, and a mold infestation. Visually inspect the outside of the tank for stains and discoloration.  The flushing mechanism can malfunction, allowing large amounts of water to flood into a septic tank or the public sewer system. Frequently inspect the floor around the toilet for tank and supply line leaks. Replace the flapper valve at the first sign of an issue.

Plumbing Leak Prevention and Protection Strategies

  1. Incorporate an inspection of the plumbing into the cleaning routine. Check supply lines and flooring around toilets, tubs, and showers. Look for moisture under cabinets and do a smell test for mold and mildew.
  2. Immediately repair any plumbing issues that arise. Replace supply lines, connections, and valves before they become a water damage disaster.
  3. Install water sensors or an entire leak detection system. The system can be managed from a smartphone.
  4. Know what non-weather-related water damage the existing homeowners policy covers.
  5. Pre-qualify a reputable water damage restoration company with competencies and certifications in water damage restoration and mold remediation. The company should be able to handle the insurance claim process from beginning to end.

In case of a property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the restoration process.

For more details about Redwood City, CA, water damage restoration, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at The office can also be contacted by phone at (650) 800-3448.

How Children Can Create a Plumbing Disaster That Leads to Water Damage

11/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains some of the ways that young children can cause a water damage disaster in the home.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is dedicated to helping homeowners recover from a water damage disaster or sewage backup. The team of professionals is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to help homeowners and businesses recover and resume life as usual without the disruptions and inconvenience that accompany a property damage disaster.

Playing with Plumbing: A Potentially Risky Pairing

An article featured by the American Academy of Pediatrics points out that playing is how young children learn.??? “Play is how your toddler explores and learns about the world as they grow and develop. As a parent or caregiver, you can support and encourage this play. Allow your child lots of time to play and join in the fun when you can! Play is how young children start to get ready for school…TIP: Make the places in your home where you spend a lot of time safe places where your child can play and be supervised easily. Give your child lots of time to explore with things like water, sand, boxes, or any other safe item that your child finds interesting.”

Toddlers are very curious. They like to taste, touch, turn, pull, open, close, listen, smell, watch, and experiment. With loud noises, moving parts, and rushing water, toilets are a source of fascination for a young child. However, serious water damage can occur if an inquisitive young child experiments with the plumbing. Listed below are some ways toddlers and young children can cause damage to pipes and other plumbing fixtures.

#1. Foreign Objects Down the Toilet

The most common toddler-induced plumbing problem is the flushing of foreign objects down the toilet. The reasons for the frequency of this plumbing problem are easy to understand.

  • The toilet is easily accessible to toddlers and small children.
  • It has the largest drain in the home and can devour toys and action figures.
  • The swirling water can be fascinating for a child to watch.

The toilet can swallow countless toys, entire rolls of toilet paper, food, clothing, hats, socks, shoes, and even pets. One small object lodged in the drainpipe can create a clog that is so severe a plumber may need to dig into a wall or excavate a pipe to dislodge the stuck items.

#2. Climbing on Plumbing Fixtures

Many plumbing fixtures are set at heights that accommodate taller people. Children who need to grab something out of their reach may hoist themselves up by a faucet or showerhead or stand on the toilet seat or toilet tank. In the process, a child may fall and be injured, and the fixtures, plumbing connections, or toilet may break or collapse. Water flows out of a broken supply line or faucet at a rate of 5-7 gallons per minute. Over a period of an hour, hundreds of gallons of water can flood a bathroom. If the child is afraid to inform a parent or caregiver of the mishap, the delay can cause extensive water damage to ceilings, walls, baseboards, flooring, and furniture.

#3. Overfilling Sinks and Tubs

A tub or sink faucet has a flow rate of four to seven gallons a minute. A standard tub can hold forty-two gallons of water just below the overflow valve. If children start the water in the bathtub without the knowledge of parents or guardians, the tub can overflow, causing a flood damage disaster.

Quick Tips for Child-Proofing the Plumbing

Only so much can be done to child-proof the plumbing. Here are some tips on how to reduce the risk of a water damage disaster or sewage backup related to the actions of curious children:

  • Do not leave small children unattended in the bathroom. Vigilance will prevent most child-related water damage disasters.
  • Install locks on the toilet lid if necessary.
  • Purchase step stools to help children reach the sink or toilet without having to climb.

When a water damage disaster or sewage backup occurs, call professional water damage restoration specialists who have the equipment, training, and expertise to remediate the damage. Water damage disasters where gray water or black water are involved necessitate that the technicians wear special protective gear to ensure their safety. Gray water and black water are harmful to humans and pets, and areas, where these hazards are present, must be professionally cleaned, disinfected, sanitized, and deodorized immediately.

For more information about water damage restoration in Sunnyvale, CA, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. Staff can also be reached by email at

Typical Storm Activity in Palo Alto and the Property Damage Repercussions

11/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary:  SERVPRO of Palo Alto looks at storms and weather conditions that can lead to property damage in the Palo Alto, Atherton, and Redwood City areas of California.

Earthquakes can be devastating natural disasters that cause several types of property damage, including water damage from burst pipes. Even smaller magnitude seismic events that do not topple buildings can still crack pipes and cause destructive leaks. According to the United States Geological Survey, “California has more earthquakes that cause damage than any other state.” Because California is the epicenter of the United States’ seismically active locations, business owners in the Golden State need to be prepared for the possibility of water intrusion due to plumbing that has been damaged by an earthquake.

What Are the Property Damage Risks of Earthquakes in the Bay Area?

A 2017 article from a local news outlet highlighted a seismic risk assessment that had recently been conducted for the Palo Alto area. The article noted that an earthquake of up to a magnitude 7.4 “would likely cause around $2.4 billion in damage and devastate more than 200 buildings. The types of buildings in Palo Alto range from wood-frame homes to newer buildings with concrete shear walls. A major earthquake would completely wipe out the older homes in Palo Alto, most of which were built prior to 1970. However, an earthquake of 7.9 magnitude would also cause extensive damage to the new buildings. Despite more advanced materials, the newer buildings use a “tilt-up” construction method where concrete is poured into the ground, cured, and lifted. This method creates ground that is susceptible to earthquakes.”

How Can Seismic Activity Lead to Water Damage at a Bay Area Business?

After an earthquake and once it is safe enough to do so, business owners should make sure that the plumbing at their business or commercial facility has come through the seismic event unscathed.

While more modern structures can withstand the stresses of an earthquake better than older structures, both new and old buildings will be damaged by an earthquake of sizable enough magnitude. Furthermore, if the facility’s pipes are already structurally compromised, seismic activity can burst fractured pipes, spewing water and sewage across the building.

What Are the Signs That Pipes Have Been Damaged by an Earthquake?

The most obvious sign of damaged pipes is pools of water appearing in the facility. Damp areas are also a reliable indicator that the plumbing system has been compromised.

Hidden water damage is another concern and can cause damage that escalates over time. By listening for noises of dripping and gushing, the business owner or employees may be able to detect a leak that is concealed behind a wall. Also, watch for shifting water pressure at faucets and toilets, and check the water meter for abnormal increases in water usage.

Exterior water lines can also suffer damage from seismic activity. Look out for unusual areas of wetness or puddling that are not connected with rainfall, sprinkler usage, or other normal presence of water.

Another subtle indicator of an underground pipe failure is the improved growth of grass, plants, and shrubs surrounding the facility. If greenery is looking even greener without any corresponding rainfall or artificial watering, the plant life may be absorbing water from an underground leak.

If the sewer main has ruptured, a foul odor may be present. In addition, rodents and other pests can be attracted by the leakage.

What to Expect When SERVPRO Responds to a Water-Damaged Business

The water damage restoration process begins when the client makes the call to SERVPRO of Palo Alto. The team is available 24/7/365 to respond to large and small water damage emergencies and will deliver immediate action, which is essential to minimize the effect of secondary damage. As experts in remediating water damage, the technicians at SERVPRO of Palo Alto are able to guide the client through the chaos of a water damage disaster.

Once contact has been initiated, the SERVPRO representative will obtain relevant information from the client, including:

  • The client’s name and contact information
  • Any insurance information
  • The street address of the water-damaged business
  • The time at which the water damage occurred
  • The cause of the water damage
  • The status of available electricity on-site

This information helps SERVPRO of Palo Alto to mobilize the appropriate response to meet the challenges posed by the water damage emergency.

For more information about Redwood City, CA, commercial damage restoration, call the SERVPRO of Palo Alto office by phone at (650) 800-3448. Staff can also be reached by email at

A Guide to Inspecting Atherton, CA, Homes for Storm Damage after Severe Weather

11/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto shares five tips for identifying storm damage to homes in Redwood City and the surrounding communities.

The team of professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto is experienced and skilled at helping Atherton, CA, residents and business owners recover from storm damage. Technicians quickly and effectively implement structural drying techniques that halt any advanced secondary damage and prepare the site for the restoration and cleaning process.

When a thunderstorm or other severe weather strikes a home or business, storm damage, even on a small scale, can cause expensive long-term issues when repairs are not made quickly.

Causes of storm damage include large hailstones, heavy rain, flooding, high winds, and even lightning. A quick inspection and assessment of the home can reveal any damage that can be immediately repaired. Here is a checklist of potential damage points in the event of strong storms and severe weather. The weather event may appear to be minimal. Yet, minor damage, if left unresolved, can cause much damage over time.

The Storm Damage Inspection Guide

  1. Look for debris on the roof such as sticks, branches, boards, and large limbs.

A wind gust of 50 to 75 miles per hour is not unusual in turbulent weather, and updrafts can carry light furniture, toys, and garbage cans high into the air. Impact on a roof or awning can damage shingles and puncture the roof. The sharp point of a broken limb can create a sizable hole in the roof. The wind may then reposition the branch so that it does not appear that the impact with the roof caused any damage. A two-inch hole at the top of the roof may not be detectable from the ground.

  1. Search the roof and yard for damaged or missing shingles.

Shingles scattered around the yard or littering the shrubbery are a telltale sign of roof damage and a possible water intrusion. Check the shingle style and color to ensure any detached shingles are not from a neighbor’s roof but are from the roof being inspected.

According to the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC), wind can lift shingles, reducing their overall ability to protect the roof and prevent water damage. The IIBEC reports, “‘Wind-lifted’ or ‘wind-damaged’ shingles are not always visually apparent but are damaging to the roof. Any shingle with inadequate adhesion is a ‘wind-lifted’ or ‘wind-damaged’ shingle. Empirical (visual) tests can easily demonstrate the strength reduction of a shingle after a storm event.”

When shingles have been compromised by high winds and suffer wind-lifting, their ability to prevent water damage is reduced. If high winds were present in the severe weather, the best strategy is to call in a reputable roofing contractor to inspect the roof.

  1. Inspect the chimney flashing.

When the metal flashing around the chimney comes loose or becomes cracked during a storm, water can leak inside the attic at the contact point with the chimney. The moisture intrusion can cause structural damage. Mold grows well in a warm, moist attic.

  1. Check the gutters for potential storm damage.

If rainfall is heavy, gutters may not be able to efficiently evacuate the water from the roof. A gutter filled with water is very heavy and can pull away from the house. This situation allows water to run between the roof and the gutter, causing water damage to the eaves of the home.

  1. Look for storm damage to soffits and fascia.

Examine soffits and fascia for warping, separation, and rot. If damage is discovered, address the issues immediately. Moisture can work its way into the attic and walls, causing decay, mildew, and mold.

  1. Be aware of other signs and locations of potential damage points.
  • Pools of water in the crawl space
  • Broken window panes and peeling or bubbling paint around windows
  • Punctures, dents, and gaps in exterior walls
  • Water stains on interior and exterior walls
  • Outbuildings and fencing

When to Contact a Property Damage Restoration Company for Storm Damage

The best time to contact a property damage restoration company for storm damage is before the damage occurs. By prequalifying a restoration company before the disaster occurs, only one call is needed to have a crew on-site in about an hour to begin the inspection, assessment, cleanup, and restoration process.

For more information about Atherton, CA, storm damage restoration services, contact the SERVPRO of Palo Alto office by phone at (650) 800-3448. Staff can also be reached by email at

How to Safely Enjoy a Fire Pit without Causing a Fire Damage Disaster

10/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto shares ten safety rules to help homeowners enjoy time around the fire pit this fall and winter.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides fire damage restoration services to homeowners and businesses in Palo alto that have suffered a fire damage disaster. A fire damage disaster involves smoke damage and water damage. In many cases, the homeowner is not able to safely remain in the damaged structure. Cleanup, restoration, and repair are necessary for the family to return and resume life as normal. One of the joys of home life is relaxing and entertaining family and friends around the backyard fire pit. SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers these top ten fire pit safety rules to ensure the safest and best experience.

One of the most delightful pleasures of life is lounging by the fire pit, soaking up the soothing, relaxing warmth on a cool, crisp evening. Any activities that involve fire also require taking safety precautions to prevent the flames from getting out of control and causing fire damage to the patio, deck, and home.

Rule #1: Do not start a fire without having the tools to put it out.

Gather the tools to extinguish a fire before ever striking the first match. Have at close hand a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand or water, and a water hose with a spray nozzle to prevent wasting water. A fire blanket is a worthy investment if the fire pit is a regular event.

Rule #2: Observe the wind and weather conditions.

Before igniting the fire pit, make sure the weather conditions will provide a safe burning experience. Wind speed should be low or calm, and the wind should be blowing away from the home. The homeowner will want to prevent sparks from blowing onto the roof or damaging the siding.

Rule #3: Fuel the fire with hardwood debris or seasoned hardwood purchased from a supplier.

Seasoned hardwoods burn evenly while producing fewer sparks and less smoke. Softwoods such as pine can be used for kindling and firewood. The logs produce active sparks and much smoke, making the fire pit experience less enjoyable. Construction materials such as plywood, MDF, and pressure-treated lumber give off toxic fumes when burned, creating an unhealthy environment. Food grilled over these toxic flames is unhealthy.

Rule #4: Beware of overhead fire dangers.

Avoid building a fire under an overhang, tarp, vegetation, or power lines. Keep yard waste and other flammables away from the fire pit.

Rule #5: Stay a safe distance away from the flames.

Clothing, hair, and chairs can catch fire if they come too close to the flames. Natural fibers are less flammable than many artificial materials. When turning food or tending s’mores, the “safe” position for sleeves and hair is rolled up and tied back, respectively.

Rule #6: Never leave a fire unattended.

A fire is never totally safe until all the flames have been extinguished and the coals and ash are cool. The seconds needed to make a dash for that favorite beverage or to take a bathroom break are just enough for a fire to flame up and cause fire damage.

Rule #7: Drink responsibly.

Certain forms of spirits are highly flammable. Too much alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, which may result in injury or the inability to effectively extinguish a fire that gets out of hand.

Rule #8: Comply with no-burn alerts to promote personal safety and public health.

Emissions and weather conditions may compel a municipality to issue a fire advisory prohibiting any burning. Failure to comply can result in a greater fire risk, an elevated public health risk, and stiff fines.

Rule #9: Store firewood in a safe place.

Keep firewood away from the fire pit. Sparks can easily ignite firewood that has been stockpiled too close to the fire pit.

Rule #10: Be prepared by pre-qualifying a fire damage restoration company.

When these fire pit safety rules are followed, the risk of fire damage is low. In case of a fire damage disaster, the homeowner who has proactively pre-qualified a fire damage restoration company will need only to make one call. A reputable and responsive property damage restoration company will respond within an hour, 24/7, 365 days a year. No time is wasted frantically searching for companies, reading reviews, and talking to customer service representatives over and over. One call.  One company. One great solution. Pre-qualify SERVPRO of Palo Alto for any property damage disaster of any size or type and have peace of mind.

To learn more about Redwood City, CA, fire damage restoration and cleaning services in Palo Alto and the surrounding area, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email