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 that attracts a thief to vacant buildings are copper piping or other valuable fixtures inside. If the property is not well maintained it becomes easy for people to break in and use the place for parties or more illicit means. Vacant properties can also become dwelling places for the homeless or squatters. The threat of a catastrophic fire is another problem for vacant properties. Each year over 30,000 fires are started in vacant buildings, causing over $640 million dollars in property damage.
Here are just a few things that property owners can do to protect any vacancies from being destroyed:
- Clear 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 good condition.
- Any and all toxic substances that may cause contamination to surrounding areas or might harm people or emergency personnel should be removed safely and immediately from the building.
- Put up obstacles to ensure that all pedestrians and vehicles 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 during the night time hours.
- Make sure that fire exit signs and emergency lighting are always on.
- Keep the heat on and drain the plumbing system to avoid any burst pipes.
- Turn off all utilities except when needed and to power alarm systems and lighting.
- Fire detection devices should be linked to a central monitoring service and kept in working order. This can not only save your building but neighboring buildings as well
The majority of businesses that have to close due to a loss, such as water damage or a fire, will not reopen. This makes it vitally important to find the right people to get your business back on it's feet as quickly as possible. If your business suffers a loss, don’t panic! Call SERVPRO of East Riverside City and we can quickly arrive to handle any size loss.
Are You Prepared for Flash Flooding
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Flash flooding typically occurs around summer time in Riverside, CA. Though these flash floods don't happen too often, any homeowner would really benefit from being prepared in case one does occur in your area. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind that may help prevent flooding on your property:
- Watch current weather forecasts on TV or the internet
- Listen to weather reports on the radio or a NOAA weather radio
- Subscribe to lightning and severe weather notification services
- Scan the skies 360 degrees around and overhead before leaving a safe location
Tips For Your Property
- If you live in a flood prone area have an evacuation plan.
- Store materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber for protection from floodwaters and to make quick repairs after a severe storm.
- Store materials above flood levels.
- Secure wanted objects to prevent them from floating away.
- Learn where to find high ground, which is safe from flooding. In a flash flood seek high ground quickly.
- Contact an insurance agent to discuss flood insurance coverage. Flood losses are not covered under normal homeowners' insurance policies. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program. Get coverage early-there is a waiting period before it takes effect.
Keeping on the watch for a flash flood is best way to avoid a headache when one does occur. Despite your best efforts, however, a water loss is still possible for anyone's home. If you experience flooding, whether from a flash flood or some other cause, please call us at SERVPRO of East Riverside City. We will promptly get a technician out to begin restoring your property to it's pre-flood conditions.
Blazing Sun = Lights Out
Be prepared in the event of a power outage!
Southern California is no stranger to power outages that have been dubbed "Rolling-Blackouts". As the days begin to get warmer and warmer, you can be certain that your energy use will rise. A surge in energy usage for a given area can give way to these rolling blackouts.
To avoid being caught off guard and left scrambling to not be left in the dark, here are a few things to keep in mind and to have available on during those sweltering summer months.
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 to avoid a fire. To save time, it would be wise to have extra batteries and matches in the same location.
TVs, computers and gaming systems should be unplugged to prevent damage in the event of a power surge. These occur after a power outage when the power is switched back on and can cause permanent damage to electronics. If you have Surge Protectors connected to your outlets, it is not necessary to unplug your electronics. A surge protector will mitigate the voltage amount that comes from an outlet to a safe level so that your electronics will remain unharmed. Have portable battery's on hand to keep your cell phone or tablets charged in case of a prolonged outage.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed! This prevents the cold air from escaping and spoiling your food. If a prolonged outage occurs then you should move frozen foods, dairy and meats to a cooler filled with 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 because even though the power in your area is out, the cell towers should remain on and will provide you with a cell signal. If the outage is weather related, be cautious about your surroundings and stay indoors. If the temperatures really begin to soar, then 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
Why Use Professionals When Getting Rid Of Mold?
Got Mold? Call SERVPRO of East Riverside City at
An old saying states that "where there is smoke, there is fire." This principal can be applied to water and mold. If you suspect that your home or structure may have a water leak, then give SERVPRO of East Riverside City a call!
If not treated quickly, standing water inside of a structure can begin to grow mold within 24-48 hours. The EPA recommends that you begin to dry all the affected areas within this time limit to prevent any mold growth (https://iaq.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/211432848-What-is-mold-). SERVPRO of East Riverside City has the proper equipment and training to mitigate water and mold damage. Our technicians will be at your location promptly to perform the proper inspections required to determine what work needs to be done. In the mean time, here are a few tips to keep in mind that can help you prevent any possible mold growth from spreading:
- Stay out of all affected areas
- Turn off HVAC system and turn off all fans
- Contact SERVPRO of East Riverside City
- DO NOT touch or disturb areas with mold or water damage.
- DO NOT blow any air across affected surfaces
- DO NOT attempt to dry the areas yourself.
- DO NOT pour bleach on or utilize any other disinfectants onto the mold.
If you have any concerns at all, please contact the professionals at SERVPRO of East Riverside City to come and assist you in a timely manner. Their skills and training will begin the process to full restoration of the damage in your home. They will make it "Like it never even happened."
Tips For Controlling In-Home Water Levels
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Moisture levels within a home can elevate the risk for mold growth. Whether the water comes from a leak, high humidity or the varying temperatures that can be found in different areas of the house, your best solution is to reduce these moisture levels as much as possible. If things are not taken care of in a timely manner then it could spell disaster for those in your household who suffer from allergies, asthma or other health related issues. SERVPRO of East Riverside City is here to help with just a few tips for you to keep in mind when dealing with any water-related issues in your home:
Dry Up All Moisture You Find
Unfortunately, even the smallest water leaks can turn into a major mold problem if they are not dealt with immediately. Make sure to check the pipes under all of your sinks for a leak. It is also good to check the water lines that connect the washing machines and refrigerators to the wall. Any leaks should be fixed right away.
Also keep in mind that water can spill from a pot when watering an indoor plant. Make sure to add a dish underneath any pots containing plants in case of a leak. It is also advisable to never leave a plant pot on a carpet, rug or other household item that contains fabric. These fabrics can be perfect for mold growth if moisture seeps into them
Monitor Hot-Water Heater & Moisture Levels of Below Ground Areas
Monitoring your hot-water heater and the area around it on a regular basis can save you from a major headache in the event of a leak. One way that this can be done is with a floor-water alarm that can be purchased and installed near your hot-water heater or can be tied in with your home's central alarm system if it has one.
Make sure to monitor areas that are below ground, such as basements and crawl spaces, for their relative humidity (RH). Not all mold growth requires standing water so use a thermo-hygrometer to measure the RH of these areas. You want the RH to be between 50-60%. It may also be a good idea to buy a dehumidifier for the less-dry months. This can help prevent mold growth and keep the RH at a consistent and safe level.
Keep Warm While Controlling Humidity
Don't allow humidity levels to climb for any above-ground areas. This can be especially true during the colder months when windows are less likely to be opened. Turing on the exhaust fan above a cooking area can help mitigate RH levels. After showering or bathing, make sure to use the exhaust fan to draw out the moisture in the air. Leaving the bathroom door open afterwards can also reduce RH levels.
Make sure to also keep any closets that have walls facing the exterior of a structure warm. These walls can develop mold growth. Also, make sure not to over stuff your closet with personal goods as this can prevent the heat from penetrating into the closet. Also make sure that the closet does not contain any carpeting as carpet can capture biodegradable dust and matter which can further encourage mold growth.
Keep All Rooms Warm During Winter
Though Southern California only experiences a brief time where it is cold, it is still advisable to keep all of the rooms at a comfortably warm temperature. Yes, it may make economical sense to only heat those rooms that are in use more often, but with colder temperatures comes higher RH levels even for those rooms that are above ground! This can lead to serious mold growth so keep your house warm.
Isolate Crawl Spaces & Monitor Moisture Levels in Attached Garages
Any crawl space should be isolated from the outside and should regularly be dehumidified. If your home contains a crawl space then it should be covered with a mesh-reinforced vapor barrier or even be completely cemented over. This will limit the evaporation from the underlying soil.
The moisture levels within an attached garage should also be closely monitored. Make sure not to introduce any unnecessary moisture. Though rare for Southern California, monitoring should be done especially for humid or inclement weather as the RH levels can rise. Keeping these levels of an attached garage under 70% should be sufficient.
These are only a few tips to help you keep your house safe from mold growth and should only be applied to small amounts of water. If your home experiences a major water loss, such as burst pipes, toilet or dishwasher overflow or any other major water source then make sure to give SERVPRO of East Riverside City a call. We will help navigate you through any of your major water loss needs!
Fire Weather Watch
Wildfires move quickly!
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
Know Your Mold
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?
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
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.