Maintaining Your Vacant Properties
Vacant buildings can be a target for vandalism, especially if there is little security or poor maintenance.
One of the most common items thieves are after in vacant buildings is copper piping or other valuable fixtures inside. If the property is not well maintained it becomes easy for young people to break in and use the place for parties or drug use. These can also become homes for the homeless or squatters. One of the biggest worries is the threat of fire due to being poorly maintained and use by teens or the homeless. Each year over 30,000 fires are started in vacant buildings causing over $640 million dollars in property damage.
There are some things property owners can do to protect their vacant property from being destroyed.
- Clean the front of the building of cardboard, paper, brush and scrap wood.
- Stop by the property regularly, at least once a week or hire a property management company to care for the building.
- Keep parking areas and sidewalks in food condition.
- If there are any toxic substances that may cause contamination and might harm people or emergency responders, they should be removed from the building safely.
- Put up obstacles to ensure pedestrians’ and vehicle’s stay out of the parking area when the building is not in use.
- Keep exterior lights on at night; if possible hire a security guard to keep watch over the building at night.
- Make sure the electricity fire exit signs and emergency lighting is always on.
- Keep the heat on or drain the plumbing system to avoid bursting pipes.
- Turn off the utilities except when needed to power alarm systems and lighting.
- Fire detection devices should be linked to a central monitoring service and maintained well, this can not only save your building but neighboring buildings as well
We know that the majority of businesses that have to close due to a loss, such as water damage or a fire, will not reopen. So who you call to repair the damage matters. If your business suffers a loss don’t panic! Call SERVPRO, the team that is fast to any size disaster!
Facts on MOLD
Mold needs moisture and fuel to thrive and grow - #DontPanicCallSERVPRO
There are many misconceptions about mold growth, removal and especially cleanup. We are here to help sort of things out.
Who Should Do the Cleanup?
Taking on the task of mold removal and cleaup can be overwhelming. If you have a small area, less than 3 square feet, you may be able to deal with it yourself. Anything bigger is recommended to call a trained professional with IICRC licensing for Mold Removal.
When searching for the right company check reviews and experiance with mold removal. There are strick guidlines that need to be followed when it comes to mold removal so it's important to check the cradentials of any company hired to ensure these guidlines are followed. SERVPRO of East Riverside is certified by IICRC in mold removal and remediation. For more information on these guidlines go to www.epa.gov/mold or http://www.IICRC.org/standards/IICRC-s520/
Mold grows on wet surfaces so it's important to fix any water leaks and dry-out moist areas first before focusing on the mold, as the mold will come back if the water issues are not cared for properly.
- Do not paint or caulk moldly surfaces. This will only cover the problem. You must clean the mold and dry the surfaces before painting. Paint is likely to peel if the area is not properly treated.
- Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet are recommended to be destroyed. The mold can grow or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials thus making it very difficult or impossible to remove completely.
- The use of chemical or biocides that kills organisms is not recommended. This may disinfect the area but will leave mold spores behind. Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions and may reactivate if irritated, meaning touched or if the area on which the mold spores are living is moved or exposed. It MUST be removed.
How Do I Know the Remediation is Finished?
- There should be no visible mold or moldly odors present. Staining and cosmetic damage may remain on affected areas such as furniture or wood material. There are specialists that can restore items that cannot be replaced, although the process of restorying items like furniture or sentimental items can be expensive.
- You should be able to re-occupy the area without health complaints or phsical symptoms.
If you have any further questions regarding Mold Removal feel free to contact our helpful hero's at SERVPRO East Riverside either via email SERVPRO10102@gmail.com or directly at #951-222-2224
Blazing Sun = Lights Out
Southern California is no stranger to "Rolling-Blackouts" due to power outages especially during the summer. This summer is already a record braking one with temps already reaching the 100's!
To avoid being caught off guard and left scrambling to make ourselves comfortable or not left in the dark here are a few things to take in mind and on hand.
Have flashlights and lanterns in your home where they can easily be found. Candles are also good to keep on hand although caution needs to be followed when using candles as to avoid fire. To save time also have extra batteries and matches in the same location.
TV, computers and game systems should be unplugged to prevent damage in the even of a power outage. If you have Surge Protectors it is not necessary to unplug these items as it will protect these items for you. Have portable battery's on hand to keep your cell phone or tablets charged incase of prolonged outage.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed! This prevents the cold air from escaping and spoiling your food. If prolonged outage move frozen foods, dairy and meats to a cooler filled to ice to avoid spoilage.
Follow Edison on Twitter @SEC or check their website for updates on any outages in your area. Having your cell phone charged will be helpful in this area as Wi-Fi should still be available. If the outage is weather related be cautious about your surroundings and stay indoors - an outing to the mall or movie theater maybe a good idea to keep out of the extreme heat.
For more information about Power Outages or tips about prolonged Outages, visit SCE/poweroutage
Get Your Ducts in a Row
Need your DUCTS cleaned? Call SERVPRO of East Riverside #951-222-2224
Building owners and facility managers would agree that there are two very important, yet at times overlooked, appliances in any building; the toilet's and the HVAC system. Yet in the real world, the maintenance and upkeep of the HVAC system may take a backset to staying on budget.
The truth is when poorly maintained, duct boards can begin to break down and shed fibers into the air stream. Causing the air quality to deteriorate and may even become hazardous. Hospitals and other facilities with susceptible occupants should take special care when it comes to their air quality and performance of the HVAC system.
Routine maintenance is best, including having your HVAC system and ducts inspected annually. The Professionals at SERVPRO of East Riverside City can inspect the heating, ventilation and HVAC system in your home of office. Our trained technicians can then male recommendations about the best way to address any concerns, as duct cleaning is not always necessary.
Keeping your ducts clean can extend the life of the equipment. Which in turn saves your company money and gives your customers cleaner air to breathe.
Other benefits of servicing your HVAC unit include:
- Helps to restore peak energy efficiency.
- May help to eliminate offensive odors.
- Helps reduce the potential for mold growth.
For more information on duct cleaning contact call SERVPRO of East Riverside City today.
Fire Weather Watch
Not all storms are wet and windy. Extreme weather can cause wildfires, which is a deadly storm you do not what to risk playing with. Here in Riverside we are used to Red Flag Warning and Fire Weather Watches almost year round.
A Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions could exist in the next 12-72 hours. A Red Flag Warning is the highest alert. During these times extreme caution is urged by all residents, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire. A Fire Weather Watch is one level below a warning, but fire danger is still high.
The type of weather patterns that can cause a watch or warning include low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, the possibility of dry lightning strikes, or any combination of the above. Here are a few safety tips from CA.gov.
Equipment Use Safety
- Never mow or trim dry grass on a Red Flag Warning Day. (Mow before 10 a.m. on a day when it’s not hot and windy).
- Never use lawn mowers in dry vegetation.
- Spark arresters are required in wild land areas on all portable gasoline powered equipment.
- Before starting a campfire, make sure you have a campfire permit and that they are permitted on the land you are visiting.
- Afterwards, ensure that your campfire is properly extinguished.
- Residents should make sure they have 100 feet of defensible space around structures.
- Clear dead weeds and vegetation.
- Remove leaves and needles from gutters.
- Trim branches 6 feet from the ground.
- Never pull over in dry grass.
- Ensure trailer chains don't drag on the ground.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.
- Have proper tire pressure to avoid driving on wheel rim.
- Never let your brake pads wear too thin.
- Make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.
- Never burn landscape debris like leaves or branches on NO Burn Days or when it's windy or areas where not allowed.
- Target shoot only in approved areas, use lead ammunition only, and never at metal targets.
- Report any suspicious activities to prevent arson.
If your home or office is damaged by a wildfire don't panic call SERVPRO we will make it "Like it never even happened".
Identify Mold Types
Most of the population can identify the fuzzy growth on their bread or dark patches under the kitchen sink as mold. Before you attempt to remove that patch yourself it is important to identify what it is first.
Disturbing mold can release into the air thousands, if not millions of spores! Which may plant themselves and start to grown elsewhere or end up in the lungs of any one nearby. Knowing whether or not the mold growing is toxic or not is truly beneficial.
Once you know what you are dealing with you can take the needed precautions to protect yourself and the rest of your home. This is why the professionals at SERVPRO of East Riverside not only "suit-up" but will set up containment around the affected area to prevent these spores from spreading.
How To Test
It is highly recognized that both surface and air sampling is done to get an accurate evaluation of both the indoor air quality and the specific mold type.
This is done through first a visual inspection; looking at microbial activity, water stains, moisture intrusion, musty odors, from room to room. Checking suspect areas with a moisture meter or thermal imaging camera to detect further moisture in wall cavities. Where there is moisture there is likely mold.
Then samples are taken of both the air in the room as the surface area in question either with a swab or a tape lift. These samples are then set to a lab to be tested and identified.
So, if you suspect you have mold in your home what should you do? Don't panic, call SERVPRO and we can help you through the process. For more information on how to identify mold visit Identify Surface Mold Type
Are You Prepared for Power Outage?
With the heat comes power surges which brings the potential of power outages. We’re familiar with the suggestions to limit use of electrical appliance’s during peak hours, but what can you do to prepare for an outage? Here are a few things you can do before, during and even after a power outage to keep you and your family safe.
The lights are out, where is the flashlight? You know you have it somewhere. Is it in the emergency kit, where is the emergency kit? Having a preparedness kit is one thing, but keeping it in a location that easy to access, especially in the dark and keeping it stocked is another.
- Regularly restock your emergency kit with flashlights, batteries and first aid supplies.
- Have alternative charging methods for your phones or electronic devices. Go to https://www.ready.gov/get-tech-ready for more information.
- Know where the electrical box is located to re-set the power if needed.
- If you have a garage know where the manual release lever is and how to operate it.
- If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like medical device determine a back-up plan.
In California we have gotten accustom to rolling outage, some last just a few minutes but others can last hours or days. When the power is out for more than an hour the biggest fear is our food! Of course there are a few other things to keep in mind.
- An unopened fridge will keep food cold for about 4 hours. Freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours unopened.
- If its hot out keep yourself cool by leaving the house and going somewhere cool like the mall or movie theater. Some locations may have “cooling shelter”.
- If you have two store home move to the lowest level, drink plenty of water and wear lightweight light-colored clothing.
- Turn-off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power ‘surge’ that can damage your devices, especially if you do not have surge protectors set up.
- Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside the home or garage and do not connect a generator to your homes electrical system.
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 F (4 C) for 2 hours or more or that has an odor, unusual color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out.
- If the food in the freezer is colder than 40 F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
- Restock your emergency it with fresh batteries and any other supplies that were used.
For more helpful information check out the full list on https://www.ready.gov/power-outage
A Hidden Fungus Among Us
If you suspect Mold - call the experts at SERVPRO of East Riverside for an inspection # (951) 222-2224
What’s that smell?” A wife asks her husband after a long day of work. “Did you leave wet clothes out again?” She says as she checks the bathroom and hamper the source. The thought come’s to her mind, could it be mold? If you’ve experienced this scenario here are some places you can check.
There are two connections under each dishwasher that has potential for mold and mildew. 1st the water supply line, 2nd the discharge. The Water Supply line needs to be lubricated and properly tightened periodically. The discharge involves a rubber hose and clamp; the hose can wear out over time and the clamp can loosen. Check these if your dishwasher is over three years old or you notice an odd smell when opening the door.
Moving a fridge can weaken or break the water line connection to the ice maker causing leaks behind the fridge. Add checking this water line to your spring cleaning list.
Remember even the smallest amount of water creates the perfect environment for mold growth. The rubber washers need to be tight to prevent leaks. Also check the hose for cracks or leaks regularly.
Hot Water Heater
Most states have laws requiring overflow pans to be installed so that the water is drained outside. Check that your water heater is properly installed or if your water heater is an older model it might not have this type of overflow.
Under every sink in your home is a “P-Trap” which is almost always made of PVC pipe that expands and contracts. This process eventually loosens the connection allowing water to leak onto the base of the cabinet. Use Teflon tape to seal the P-Trap and check them periodically. Beware as overtightening can cause the PVC to crack.
The base is most common for mold. The grout around the base serves as a filter between the bowl and floor to keep it from rocking. Rocking bowls are the number one reason for the wax ring to be compromised and allowing mold to grow.
Mold growth at the base of the tub may be from leaking or improperly installed shower door. The door needs caulking on all three rails – the two side rails and the bottom rail to ensure water doesn’t leak out.
Cracks in caulking allows water to drip down under tub causing mold growth. If you have a slab floor there’s even more risk as holes in the concrete will hold onto moisture and can allow moisture come from the bottom up. These areas need (can be) filled with liquid tar or expandable foam to seal them.
Exterior Hose Base
Poor connection or missing rubber washer, loose hose can result in water spraying which will allow the water to enter the space between sidings or the wall. Make sure all holes, gaps or areas around every outdoor water connection are properly caulked and sealed.
Keep sprinklers away from the house and make sure they spray away from any structure. Also remind children or teens that may water the garden or use sprinklers to play in, not to sprat the house directly.
By taking proper precautions and being vigilant with upkeep, you can avoid mold or catch mold growth before it spreads. If you do suspect mold in your home or office call SERVPRO of East Riverside for a courtesy inspection.
Why Does Mold Grow?
See something suspicious? don't try to deal with it yourself. Call the professionals at SERVPRO we'll make it Like It Never Even Happened!
Mold and mold spores are a natural part of our environment both indoors and outdoors. Outside mold plays an important role in breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Mold spores cannot be seen to the naked eye and float through the air traveling inside and outside. Mold begins to grow when the spores land on wet surfaces. There are many different types of mold and none will grow without moisture.
Effects of Mold
Mold gradually destroys things that it grows on. The research on mold and health effects is ongoing. For information on health concerns consult your health care professional or your local health department.
What Can You Do?
Because mold spores are everywhere it is impossible to elliminate spores completely. The best way to control mold growth is to control moisture. If you see mold growing in yur home then you have a water problem. The water problem needs to be fixed along with the mold. If you clean the mold and do not fix the water issue the mold problem will come back.
- The key to mold control is moisture control.
- If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem.
- It is important to dry water-damage areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
For more inforamtion on how to clean mold see our blog on the topic Mold Cleanup.
Protect Your Business with an ERP
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25% fail within one year. The United States Small Business Administration shows similar statistics indicating that over 90% of businesses fail within 2 years after suffering a disaster.
Most business owner’s focus on protecting from earthquakes, floods and fires but the smaller incidents can be just as catastrophic like burglary or water damage; as these can result in immense losses of time and money to the business.
What can you do to survive?
To survive, business owners must prepare for emergencies and take steps to prevent, or minimize, the effect of disasters. The first step would to be aware of the condition of your building. Document existing problems, cracks in the walls or plumbing issues and when things are repaired. This allows you as the owner to keep up with necessary repairs and maintenance before it becomes a problem and will allow your employees to stay calm and productive knowing that the building is sound.
The second step is to have a disaster preparedness plan. Have copies of this plan in areas easily accessible to all employees with list of emergency contacts, shut-off valves for gas and water as well as any other important contacts or documents. SERVPRO of East Riverside can help you prepare an Emergency Ready Profile or ERP with this necessary information at no cost to you; see more information on our blog SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile.