Recent Posts

Water Restoration

8/7/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage occurs due to several different sources such as a broken dishwasher hose, a washing machine overflow, a dishwasher leakage, broken/leaking pipes, flood waters, or clogged toilets for example. When you see that an area has been affected in your home or business due to any of those things, we highly recommend that you get the area treated before it begins to really damage the affected area. Water damage can cause mold, rusting of steel, rotting of wood, or even de-laminate materials. But never fear, SERVPRO is here! We will get a crew on-site to begin the water restoration immediately. We are fully equipped with the equipment needed to make sure that affected area is dry and back to the way it was. "Like it never even happened."

The DEHU

8/2/2018 (Permalink)

Welcome back to the SERVPRO Benicia/ Martinez/SE Vallejo blog! Today we will be talking about a piece of equipment commonly used when treating water damaged areas.

Water damage can cause a large number of possible. Water intrudes into areas where it will attack  materials or systems by destructive processes such as humidity, rotting of wood, mold growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, and many others.

One piece of equipment used by SERVPRO when treating a water damaged area is a DEHU , short for Dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers reduce humidity levels, making your home less likely to produce allergens such as dust mites, mold, and mildew. When the air in your home is more humid, the A/C must do the function of cooling the air and removing moisture, which means it has to work harder. There are 3 types of DEHUs that we here at SERVPRO Benicia/ Martinez/SE Vallejo normally use.

  • 2000 LGR - This is the largest DEHU used. Normally used in larger spaces such as a garages and living rooms.
  • EVO LGR - A bit smaller than the 2000 LGR. Ideal for smaller spaced such as bedrooms and kitchens.
  • Drizair 1200 - also known as the conventional DEHU. This DEHU does not have a heater unlike the larger ones and is commonly used in bathrooms and closets.

In the event your home is ever affected by water damage whether it be a major flood or a small leak, we have the technicians and equipment to make it Like it Never Even Happened. So remember, SERVPRO is the way to go!

Fire Safety Tips

8/2/2018 (Permalink)

With all the wild fires California has had this year and continues to have, we here at SERVPRO Benicia/Martinez/SE Vallejo would like to offer some tips on how to keep safe from fires should it ever occur in your home, business, or area.

 Keeping Safe in Your House or Job

You should always react as soon as you hear your smoke alarm goes off due to a fire. Quickly notify everyone in your home or job building and get out. Don’t worry about grabbing any items such as valuables or important possessions, materials are replaceable, a life is not. Make sure everyone gets out safely. If possible, safely exit through doors, if the doors are hot, try to escape out of a window and be careful! Protect yourself from smoke inhalation. Many of us think running to an exit is the best thing to do but crouching or crawling to a safe exit is highly recommended. Inhaling smoke can cause you to become disoriented and could even make you unconscious. If you have time, you can also place a shirt or wet rag over your nose or mouth to help filter the toxins in the smoke before you get out. Stop, drop, and roll if your clothes catch fire. Once you are all out, call 911. If you can’t get out, call 911 if a phone is accessible to you or yell for help out of a window near you. Go into the safest room around you while you wait for help. Ward off smoke by closing the door and sealing all cracks and vents with cloth or tape. Most importantly, remain calm and try not to panic.

 Keeping Safe from Wildfires in Your Area

If advised to evacuate, do so immediately! Wear protective clothing if you have time to change into some. Avoid wearing synthetic fibers, they can melt and stick to skin causing severe burns. Lock your home and close all windows if possible to avoid smoke damaging the inside of your home. Make sure to let someone know that you left and where you will be going. Choose a safe route away from fire hazards. Be cautious of the changes in speed and direction of fire and smoke.

 Whether it is smoke or fire that damages your home and the contents inside, SERVPRO is here to help!

Air Scrubbers

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

Welcome to the SERVPRO Benicia/ Martinez/SE Vallejo blog! In this blog we will be going over a piece of equipment used by SERVPRO when treating mold.

The Air Scrubber also known as a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum or Negative Air Machine. An air scrubber is a portable filtration system that removes fine airborne particles that come from mold spores. An air scrubber can remove other airborne particles such as dust, pollen, particles in smoke, gasses, and/or chemicals from the air within a given area. Air scrubbers effectively reduce Allergy Symptoms, Chest Tightness, Coughs, Nausea, Sinus Problems, Dizziness, Eye/Nose/Throat Irritation, Fatigue, and Headaches.

These machines draw air in from the surrounding environment and pass it through a series of filters to remove contaminants. HEPA filters are best at removing particulate matter but they do not remove odors. For example, they can remove cigarette smoke particles but not the related gases and smells.

The air scrubbers need 1 of 3 filters:

  • HEPA filter (Can remove up to 99.7% of particulates in diameter)
  • Primary Filters (used to protect the HEPA filter)
  • Charcoal filters (Fire loss jobs)

SERVPRO uses air scrubbers not only when treating mold but also sewage damage, category 3 water loss such as floods, fire damage, or sometimes even if the owner has respiratory problems due to poor air conditions inside their home or business.

Mold Prevention

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Moisture control is the key to mold control. When water leaks or spills occur indoors - act promptly. Any initial water infiltration should be stopped and cleaned promptly. A prompt response (within 24-48 hours) and thorough clean- up, drying, and/or removal of water-damaged materials will prevent or limit mold growth.

Mold prevention tips include:

  •  Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
  • Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.
  • Preventing moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
  • Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
  • Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
  • Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 - 60%, if possible).
  • Venting moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
  • Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after discovery.
  • Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.
  • Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure that they do not reoccur.

Questions That May Assist in Determining Whether a Mold Problem Currently Exists

  •  Are building materials or furnishings visibly moisture damaged?
  • Have building materials been wet more than 48 hours?
  • Are there existing moisture problems in the building?
  • Are building occupants reporting musty or moldy odors?
  • Are building occupants reporting health problems that they think are related to mold in the indoor environment?
  • Has the building been recently remodeled or has the building use changed?
  • Has routine maintenance been delayed or the maintenance plan been altered?

Always consider consulting a health professional to address any employee health concerns.

Flood Basics

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flood Basics Floodwaters covering street in rural area.

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere.

 WHAT: Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.

 WHEN: Flooding can occur during any season, but some areas of the country are at greater risk at certain times of the year. Coastal areas are at greater risk for flooding during hurricane season (i.e., June to November), while the Midwest is more at risk in the spring and during heavy summer rains. Ice jams occur in the spring in the Northeast and Northwest. Even the deserts of the Southwest are at risk during the late summer monsoon season.

 WHERE: Flooding can happen in any U.S. state or territory. It is particularly important to be prepared for flooding if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee.

HOW: Flooding can occur in several ways, including the following.

- Rivers and lakes cannot contain excessive rain or snowmelt.

- Excessive rain or snowmelt cannot be fully absorbed into the ground.

- Waterways are blocked with debris or ice and overflow.

- Water containment systems break, such as levees, dams, or water or sewer

systems.

- Strong winds from tropical storms or hurricanes cause a storm surge by pushing

seawater onto land.

The speed and duration of flooding can vary significantly.

- Flooding can occur slowly as rain continues to fall for many days. This type of flooding, sometimes called a slow-onset flood, can take a week to develop and can last for months before floodwaters recede.

- Rapid-onset floods occur more quickly, typically developing within hours or days. These types of floods usually occur in smaller watersheds experiencing heavy rainfall, particularly in mountainous and urban areas, and the water usually recedes within a few days.

- Some rapid-onset floods known as flash floods occur very quickly with little or no warning, such as during periods of extremely heavy rain or when levees, dams, ice jams, or water systems break. Densely populated areas are at a high risk for flash floods. In urban areas, flash floods can fill underpasses, viaducts, parking structures, low roads, and basements.

- The strong winds of a tropical cyclone or hurricane can push large amounts of seawater up onto the land, causing a storm surge. A storm surge combines with the ocean’s tide to produce a storm-tide surge. Storm-tide surges have been registered as high as almost 35 feet above normal sea level and can cause significant flooding across a large area. This generally occurs over a short period, typically, 4 to 8 hours, but in some areas, it can take much longer for the water to recede to its pre-storm level.

IMPACT: The physical destruction caused by flooding depends on the speed and level of the water, the duration of the flood, terrain and soil conditions, and the built environment (e.g., buildings, roads, and bridges).

 - Flooding can cause fatalities and serious injuries for people who are trapped or swept away by wading in, driving through, or boating across floodwaters.

- Transportation routes, power, water, gas, and other services may be disrupted.

- Commercial supplies and government support systems may be temporarily unavailable.

- Drinking water supplies and wells may become polluted.

- Floodwaters can cause erosion, which can damage roads, bridge structures, levees, and buildings with weak foundations, causing their collapse without warning. The floodwaters may carry the worn-away mud, rocks, and other sediment.

- Landslides and mudslides can occur.

- Even a few inches of floodwater in a home can cause tens of thousands of dollarsin damage.

Causes and growing conditions of Mold

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Causes and growing conditions of Mold Mold Spore

Mold is found everywhere and can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. They reproduce by spores, which are carried by air currents. When spores land on a moist surface suitable for life, they begin to grow. Mold is normally found indoors at levels which do not affect most healthy individuals.

Because common building materials are capable of sustaining mold growth and mold spores are ubiquitous, mold growth in an indoor environment is typically related to water or moisture and may be caused by incomplete drying of flooring materials (such as concrete). Flooding, leaky roofs, building-maintenance or indoor-plumbing problems can lead to interior mold growth. Water vapor commonly condenses on surfaces cooler than the moisture-laden air, enabling mold to flourish. This moisture vapor passes through walls and ceilings, typically condensing during the winter in climates with a long heating season. Floors over crawl spaces and basements, without vapor barriers or with dirt floors, are mold-prone. The "doormat test" detects moisture from concrete slabs without a sub-slab vapor barrier. Some materials, such as polished concrete, do not support mold growth.

Significant mold growth requires moisture and food sources and a substrate capable of sustaining growth. Common building materials, such as plywood, drywall, furring strips, carpets, and carpet padding provide food for mold. In carpet, invisible dust and cellulose are food sources. After water damage to a building, mold grows in walls and then becomes dormant until subsequent high humidity; suitable conditions reactivate mold. Mycotoxin levels are higher in buildings which have had a water incident.

Volcanoes

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Volcanoes Volcano Eruption

  • A volcano is an opening in the Earth’s crust that allows molten rock, gases, and debris to escape to the surface. Alaska, Hawaii, California, and Oregon have the most active volcanoes, but other states and territories have active volcanoes, too. A volcanic eruption may involve lava and other debris that can flow up to 100 mph, destroying everything in their path. Volcanic ash can travel 100s of miles and cause severe health problems. A volcanic eruption can:
  • Contaminate water supplies.
  • Damage machinery.
  • Reduce visibility through smog and harmful gases that may threaten low-lying areas.
  • Make it hard to breathe and irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat.

IF YOU ARE UNDER A VOLCANO WARNING:

  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Follow evacuation or shelter orders. If advised to evacuate, then do so early.
  • Avoid areas downstream of the eruption.
  • Protect yourself from falling ash.
  • Do not drive in heavy ash fall.

 HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A VOLCANO THREATENS:

 WHAT TO DO NOW: Prepare

  • Know your area’s risk from volcanic eruption.
  • Ask local emergency management for evacuation and shelter plans, and for potential means of protection from ash.
  • Learn about community warning systems. The Volcano Notification Service (VNS) is a free service that sends notifications about volcanic activity. Sign up for alerts at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/.
  • Get necessary supplies in advance in case you have to evacuate immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets.
  • Consult your doctor if you have existing respiratory difficulties.
  • Practice a communication and evacuation plan with everyone in your family.
  • Have a shelter-in-place plan if your biggest risk is from ash.
  • Keep important documents in a safe place. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Find out what your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover when a volcano erupts.

WHAT TO DO DURING: Survive

  • Listen to alerts. The Volcano Notification Service provides up-to-date information about eruptions.
  • Follow evacuation orders from local authorities. Evacuate early.
  • Avoid areas downwind, and river valleys downstream, of the volcano. Rubble and ash will be carried by wind and gravity.
  • Take temporary shelter from volcanic ash where you are if you have enough supplies. Cover ventilation openings and seal doors and windows.
  • If outside, protect yourself from falling ash that can irritate skin and injure breathing passages, eyes, and open wounds. Use a well-fitting, certified facemask such as an N95. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of certified masks and the maker’s instructions on how to use the masks.
  • Avoid driving in heavy ash fall. If you must drive, then turn off your vehicle’s headlights.

WHAT TO DO AFTER: Be Safe

  • Listen to authorities to find out when it is safe to return after an eruption.
  • Send text messages or use social media to reach out to family and friends. Phone systems are often busy after a disaster. Only make emergency calls.
  • Avoid driving in heavy ash. Driving will stir up volcanic ash that can clog engines and stall vehicles.
  • If you have any breathing problems, avoid contact with ash. Stay indoors until authorities say it is safe to go outside.
  • Do not get on your roof to remove ash unless you have guidance or training. If you have to remove ash, then be very careful as ash makes surfaces slippery. Be careful not to contribute additional weight to an overloaded roof.

Hurricane Basics

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Basics Hurricane Before Landfall

What

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world.

Where

Each year, many parts of the United States experience heavy rains, strong winds, floods, and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. Affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas and areas over 100 miles inland, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific. A significant per cent of fatalities occur outside of landfall counties with causes due to inland flooding.

When

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.

Basic Preparedness Tips

Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.

Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate

If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.

Make a family emergency communication plan.

Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

Preparing Your Home

Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.

Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.

Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.

Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.

Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.

Pressure Washing

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Pressure Washing Make your deck look new again.

Commercial Properties:

We offer our commercial property owners comprehensive power washing solutions. No two businesses are alike. That’s why we provide the tailored commercial services that will fulfill your needs. Shopping malls, banks, restaurants and convenience stores typically require unique services at different times. We take pride in offering flexible service plans and scheduling to accommodate your needs.
Let us keep your business looking picture perfect. We always ensure that our work is implemented at a time that will minimize interference with your business operations. What’s more, our team will always come to your property with the specialized commercial services equipment needed to complete the task and provide professional results.

Call SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/Southeast Vallejo to schedule an appointment for us to take a look at your property and see what other services we can provide.