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 can bring the potential for power outages. We’re familiar with the suggestions to limit use of electrical appliance’s during peak hours. However, what can you do to prepare for an outage? Here are a few things to keep in mind 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 located? Having a preparedness kit is one thing, but keeping it in a location that is easy to access, especially in the dark, and keeping it stocked is another. Here are just a few suggestions that will help you be prepared for a power outage:
- Regularly restock your emergency kit with flashlights, batteries and first aid supplies.
- Have alternative charging methods available 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 an automatic garage door, 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 a medical device, devise a back-up plan.
In California, we have become accustomed to rolling power outages. Some can last just a few minutes but others can last many hours. These outages can become a cause for concern when it comes to our refrigerated food. Here are a few things to keep in mind when faced with a prolonged power outage:
- An unopened fridge will keep food cold for about 4 hours. An unopened freezer will keep food at a safe temperature for about 48 hours.
- If it's hot outside, look for a place that is spacious and has sufficient air conditioning such as the mall, movie theater or other local business that is open to the public.
- If you have a two-story home, move to the lowest level, drink plenty of water and wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fit 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 them plugged into any surge protectors.
- Only use generators placed a safe distance away from your residence. Never run a generator inside the home or garage and do not connect it to your homes electrical system.
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 F (4 C) or higher 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 safely refreeze it.
- Restock your emergency kit 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 returning from a long day of work. “Did you leave wet clothes out again?”,she says as she checks the bathroom and hamper where the odor seems to be emanating from. The thought come’s to her mind: could it be mold? If you’ve experienced this scenario in the past, here are some places you may want to check.
There are two connections under each dishwasher that have the potential for mold and mildew growth. 1st the water supply line and 2nd the discharge hose. The Water Supply line needs to be lubricated and properly tightened periodically. The discharge hose involves a hose made of rubber and a 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. Check the connection periodically to ensure that no leak has formed.
Remember, even the smallest amount of water creates the perfect environment for mold growth. All rubber washers need to be tight to prevent leaks. Also, regularly check any hose that supplies or drains water from the washing machine for cracks or leaks.
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. If your home contains an older model water heater, make sure that an overflow pan has been properly added to decrease chances of mold growth.
Under every sink in your home is a “P-Trap” which prevents sewer gases from entering inside. They are often made out of PVC, which has a tendency to expand and contract while in use. This causes the P-Trap connection to eventually loosen over time, allowing water to leak onto the base of the cabinet. Use Teflon tape to seal the P-Trap and check them periodically. Take care to not over tighten the PVC pipe which can cause it to crack.
The most common place on a toilet where mold growth can be found is at its base. The grout around the base serves as a filter between the bowl and floor to keep it from rocking, thus preventing the the wax ring from being compromised and allowing mold to grow.
Mold growth at the base of the tub may be from a 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 does not leak out.
Cracks in the caulking allows for water to drip down underneath the tub, causing mold growth. If you have a slab floor, there is an even greater risk for mold growth as holes in the concrete will hold onto moisture and can allow moisture to come from the bottom up. These areas can be filled with liquid tar or expandable foam to seal them.
Exterior Hose Base
A poor connection, missing rubber washer or loose hose can result in water spraying out. This can cause the water to enter cracks or other inaccessible areas where mold can grow. Make sure all holes, gaps or areas around every outdoor water connection have been 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 they may water the garden or use sprinklers to play in, but not to spray the house directly.
By taking proper precautions and being vigilant with upkeep, you can avoid mold growth or catch it h 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 but 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 out. Outside mold plays an important role in breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. However, indoor mold growth should be avoided. Mold spores cannot be seen by the naked eye and float through the air, traveling inside and outside. Mold begins to grow when the spores land on a wet surface. There are many different types of mold and they cannot grow without moisture.
Effects of Mold
Mold gradually destroys things that it grows on. The research of mold on health 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 eliminate spores completely. The best way to control mold growth is to control moisture. If you see mold growing in your home then you can be certain that you have a water leak or moisture problem. The source of the water or moisture needs to be addressed along with the mold cleanup. If you clean the mold and do not fix the source, the mold problem will return.
- 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 damaged areas within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
For more information on how to clean mold see our blog on the topic Mold Cleanup.
Protect Your Business with an ERP
SERVPRO's ERP is available to download onto your mobile devices and desktop. Contact SERVPRO of East Riverside City at 951-222-2224!
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 owners focus on protecting their businesses from earthquakes, floods and fires. However, the smaller incidents can be just as catastrophic such as burglary or water damage. These can result in immense losses due to damage and lost business.
What can you do to survive?
To survive, business owners must prepare for emergencies and take steps to prevent or, at the very least, minimize the effect of disasters. The first step is to be aware of the condition of your building. Document existing problems such as any and all wall cracks or plumbing issues and when repairs are made. This allows you, as the owner, to keep up with necessary repairs and maintenance before it becomes a problem. This will allow your employees to stay calm and productive, knowing that the building is safe and sound.
The second step is to have a Disaster Preparedness Plan. Have copies of your Plan in areas easily accessible to all employees with a list of emergency contacts, shut-off valves for gas and water as well as any other important contacts or documents. SERVPRO of East Riverside City can help you prepare an Emergency Ready Program (ERP) which will contain all of your necessary information at no cost to you. See more information on our blog SERVPRO Emergency Ready Program.