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Find the Source of Musty, Moldy Smells

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Wall covered with mold Mold damage in Whittier, CA

While some damage to your commercial building in Whittier, CA, is visibly noticeable, hidden damage can take a while to detect. Even if you don’t see mold or mildew, once a strong mold smell starts, it’s important to take quick action.

What Causes the Smell?

When a potent fungus smell begins to permeate your business, many people assume it is caused by the mold spores. The smell is actually a result of chemicals produced as part of the various biological processes the fungus goes through, such as reproduction and digestion. Once it can be smelled, it means mold has found a home and is repopulating. Key areas to check for hidden growth include:

  • Water leaks from plumbing and weather
  • HVAC systems and drain lines
  • Window or wall condensation
  • Window flashing and seals
  • Drip pans under freezers and refrigerators
  • Houseplants
  • Neglected trash cans
  • Empty food and beverage containers, including recycling
  • Organic materials that have been wet, such as books, carpet and cardboard

Innovative Expertise

When a mold smell or mildew smell is detected but not visible, property owners don’t have to tackle the problem themselves. A trusted mold remediation expert will have the tools and know-how to find, clean and prevent mold growth. For hidden problems, the latest innovation is the use of infrared cameras to detect moisture levels. These devices detect light not visible to humans. Since moisture is cooler than most materials within a building, they are an optimal diagnostic tool to find hidden areas that can be prone to mold growth.
Once hidden water levels are detected, the cleanup and remediation process can begin. While the cleanup may require some materials to be removed, professionals have the means to salvage whatever is possible and replace damaged areas to keep mold from coming back.
While a mold smell indicates a problem that requires immediate attention, it doesn’t have to mean a long-term problem. Professional help can make it “Like it never even happened.”

How SERVPRO Technicians Are Trained

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

A man speaking to other people in an office. Concept Training employees Our technicians undergo extensive water restoration training

Making sure your staff is prepared for whatever issues come their way is vital to building and maintaining a good reputation. When a business owner opens a SERVPRO franchise in West Whittier, CA, the company can provide training for all technicians and employees. Its training school is certified by the IICRC, so you can be confident that what your technicians are learning is the latest in remediation technology and procedures.

Topics Offered

The company offers in-house training on a variety of topics for owners and their employees. Different jobs require different skills, so SERVPRO offers a mitigation certificate in five main areas:

  • Water Cleanup
  • Fire Damage Mitigation
  • Carpet and Upholstery Restoration
  • Mold Remediation
  • Applied Structural Drying (in specialized ASD facility)

After technicians complete the coursework and get some hands-on training, they become certified remediation specialists who know how to handle tough mitigation problems. They return from their 15-day program ready to join your team.

Online Training

Employees may also benefit from online training modules. Online learning is a great way to complete certification according to the schedule and pace that is best for the employee. The modules are IICRC certified and offer a test at the end of each one to verify that the student has a solid grasp on the material.

Educational Opportunities

The initial certification program is not the only way that SERVPRO staff are trained. The company wants everyone involved in the mitigation process to have a broad understanding of the tasks required to complete it. Continuing education courses are offered for not only SERVPRO employees but the people with whom they partner to take care of customers, including insurance and real estate professionals.
The IICRC backs SERVPRO's training school with third-party certification. When you own a SERVPRO franchise, there is a wealth of training opportunities to ensure that your staff offers the best possible service to your customers.

How To Reduce a Business Interruption From Water Damage

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Laundry room, blue tape on floor as an X showing where water affected Water damage in a laundry room

Water can wreak havoc for a business in the form of flooding, leaking pipes, failed appliances and sewage backups. At times, the problem is so bad that a company may need to shut down for anywhere from a day or two to a week or even much longer. That's why business interruption insurance is available, to pay for the times a business is closed down and is unable to sell a product or serve its customers. Even for those who have this type of insurance, it pays to make sure the interruption from water damage is minimized in terms of duration and expenses. A rapid response from a water remediation team can limit expenses and speed up the recovery process.

The Water Restoration Process

Though a water problem can occur from such events as a broken pipe or a major storm, a proven process led by trained technicians avoids delays and missteps. It all begins with water mitigation workers reaching the company quickly and assessing the level of water damage. From there, the following steps are taken:

  • Water removal and extraction
  • Drying out of affected areas with large fans and dehumidifiers
  • Reducing the level of moisture in the rooms with specialized techniques and equipment
  • Cleaning and sanitizing with antimicrobial agents, air scrubbers and fogging equipment
  • Restoration

Since flooding can affect flooring, walls, and furnishings, the restoration process may involve replacing certain materials. When possible, though, restoring items that can be saved will reduce expenses and speed up recovery.

The Water Restoration Philosophy

A lot hinges on a fast response for large water damage. The longer water seeps into wood floors and electrical systems, the harder it is to remedy. Flooding requires a rapid response from a crew in Friendly Hills,CA, that is trained in the latest methods and has access to the most effective equipment. It's hard to know exactly what the situation will demand, but an experienced crew is the safest bet to avoid a long business interruption.

Fire Disaster: Mitigating Both Fire and Water Damage

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Living room walls are damaged by soot and smoke Fire loss in a South Whittier, CA property

Fire Disaster: Mitigating Both Fire and Water Damage

A fire disaster consists of more than flames. A property may also experience flooding during rescue efforts as well as toxicity in soot and smoke remnants. Therefore, such a disaster is three-fold and, depending on the extent of the damage, you may wish to call in an expert to assist you in the fire and water cleanup of your building. Fire mitigation companies in South Whittier, CA, clean disasters by performing a minimum of three tasks.

  • Reducing exposure
  • Drying the premises
  • Removing fire and smoke damage

Reducing Exposure

The first objective of any fire cleanup effort is to reduce exposure to the elements and possible trespassers. Therefore, the company you hire will typically suggest boarding up any damaged windows and doors. They may also suggest placing tarps over any large holes in the roofline. By taking advantage of these services, you know that your facility is protected.

Drying the Premises

Next, while water cleanup might sound a little out of place in fire restoration, you need to remember the rescue efforts and possibly suppression systems in use in your building. Fire hoses produce gallons of water per minute, which collects on your floor when attempting to put out the flames. Therefore, a mitigation crew will spend some time using pumps, fans, shop vacs and dehumidifiers to dry out your property.

Removing Fire and Smoke Damage

Once the premises are dry, the crew will begin the fire and smoke cleanup phase. At this point, the team will remove damaged structure and clean the remainder of the building, ensuring that they have a sanitary foundation for restoration work.
Fire, smoke and water cleanup are all a part of the fire restoration and mitigation process. While minor blazes may be manageable on your own, for more significant disasters, you may require the assistance of a qualified mitigation expert. Don't hesitate to call when disaster strikes.

The 4 Stages of Storm Damage Repairs

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Has your business in Whittier, CA, suffered from the high winds and rising water of a recent storm? If so, prepare yourself to tear out the impacted structure. This liquid holds possible bacteria, turning your store into an environmental hazard. Over the next few months, you'll need the assistance of a water remediation company. The crew can diligently work to remove toxins, leaving your place in good condition. Here are four things to expect as you take this journey.


1. Have Property Inspected


At the first sight of water damage, contact experts to test your property. They'll identify the contaminated areas and take samples from the space, determining the presence of microbes and spores. In addition, moisture levels may be tested. Fungus loves fluid; therefore, they adore flooding. If the flooring and drywall are damp, they are a potential issue. With all of this knowledge, the professionals can design a plan to clean the premises properly.


2. Remove Damaged Pieces


While the lab looks at the specimens, crewmen may begin to tear out certain structures. Anything that polluted water touched should go. That means pulling up baseboards and carpeting. Dry wall, if soaked, could come out as well.


3. Dry Up the Room


Remove as much humidity as possible. This hinders mold growth. For example, dehumidifiers work to extract water; thus, they are ideal to assist in cleanup. Several of the devices may be needed, and they'll run around the clock for several days. Don't have them removed until instruments show normal levels.


4. Put It Back Together


With everything dried up, it's time to get back to normal. Storm restoration, therefore, begins. At this time, the focus turns on giving you back your company. Each case is a bit different. The foreman may meet with you discuss the best procedures. Structures are repaired, and painting is done. Then, the doors can reopen.


Inclement weather could harm your establishment. To get it back up and running, remediation may need to happen; allow the specialists to tear out the ruined sections. They'll replace it, having it look as good as new.

3 Facts About Fire Damage at a Rental Property

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Residential house on fire, fully involved Fire damage in West Whittier, CA

3 Facts About Fire Damage at a Rental Property

Rental property owners and tenants may be unsure about the limits of their responsibilities for fire damage. Here are three helpful facts about liability and insurance coverage in the event of an apartment fire in West Whittier, CA.

1. Property Owners Are Responsible For Structural Damage

A landlord is responsible for covering damage caused by fire to the property itself. This includes building materials, systems, and provided contents, such as carpeting. A homeowners insurance policy should cover the cost of cleaning, restoring, or replacing damaged materials and items.

2. Tenants Are Responsible For Their Contents

Tenants are responsible for restoring or replacing their own possessions following an apartment fire. These contents may include clothing, furniture, electronic devices, and personal effects. This is likely to be the case regardless of the cause of a fire. Renters insurance can help to offset costs that accrue due to a fire at a rented residence. Tenants should make sure that that the policy they choose will cover replacement costs and not actual value with depreciation.

3. Renters Insurance Can Cover Additional Costs

Renters insurance policies may also provide a limited amount of liability coverage for negligence as well as injuries or property damage suffered by third parties. These policies may also help to offset a variety of expenses associated with loss of a use of a residence, such as additional living costs or the cost of temporary relocation for the duration of the mitigation and restoration process.

After an apartment fire has been extinguished, renters should document damage to contents and make a list of items in need of restoration, repair, or replacement. Try to locate proof of purchase if possible. Property owners should also document structural damage to support a separate homeowners insurance claim. Renters and landlords can both benefit from the expertise of a fire damage cleanup and restoration company in West Whittier, CA.

How To Maintain a Commercial Roof

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Man's hand cutting brunches with a garden pruner Have your maintenance supervisor trim overhanging trees

Commercial building owners or maintenance supervisors should schedule inspections and perform upkeep. The maintenance required may vary depending on the type of roof on a structure in West Whittier,CA. Cleaning and repairing a roof can prolong its life and resolve wear or wind damage before a roof leak causes a major problem.

Schedule Regular Inspections

Inspections should take place at least twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. This can help owners and maintenance supervisors ensure that winter weather or summer storms have not damaged the roof. Each inspection should involve looking for defects while checking the condition of

  • Drainage systems
  • Flashing
  • Penetrations
  • Edges
  • Expansion joints
  • Parapets
  • Seams
  • Sealing around vents and equipment
  • Surface area
  • Terminations
  • Wear

Unless the owner or maintenance supervisor has experience working on roofing, these inspections should be performed by qualified professionals. A roofing expert that specializes in the style of roof on a commercial property may be better able to point out when repairs are necessary.

Follow a Maintenance Plan

In addition to inspections, a building owner or maintenance supervisor can also take measures to maintain the condition of a roof and prevent a roof leak. On a regular basis, a property owner or maintenance supervisor should

  • Check for signs of storm or wind damage
  • Clean drainage systems
  • Eliminate standing water on flat roofs
  • Fix lifted seams
  • Have overhanging trees trimmed
  • Reattach or replace flashing
  • Tighten or replace mechanical fasteners

All of these measures may prevent a leak, limit the extent of repairs, and prolong the life of a roof.

Work with a roofing company or have an owner or maintenance supervisor perform regular maintenance or inspections. Be sure to call a roofer or perform repairs as soon as any signs of damage become apparent. If a roof leak leads to interior water damage, contact a commercial damage restoration service in West Whittier, CA.

Will Mold Disappear If I Do Nothing?

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Girl found mold in the corner of her bathroom Mold damage in a West Whittier, CA home

No one in West Whittier, CA, wants to find out they have mold growing somewhere at home. The very word alone can give one anxiety. If you discover black mold or any other type of mold in your house, you want to do all you can do eliminate it so you can once again have peace of mind. But what happens if you do nothing at all? Will mold simply go away on its own? Consider how this fungus develops and how to get rid of it.

Causes

You may find mold at home in your drywall, under the carpet, in cabinets or cupboards, or in just about any other place you can think of. Usually, it develops due to a moisture problem in some of the following ways:

  • Humidity
  • Leaky pipes
  • Roof leaf
  • Condensation (such as in showers and basements)
  • Flooding

Remediation

The best way to get rid of mold is to call a mold removal specialist. You can find a qualified, experienced team of professionals that have the right equipment and techniques to safely and thoroughly remove mold from your house. These experts can come to your place promptly, address the severity of the mold growth and formulate a plan to get rid of it with as few disruptions to your life as possible. The team will typically be especially mindful of black mold.

DYI

There are some home remedies you can explore to eliminate mold. You could try a mixture of bleach and water or of laundry detergent and water. You would then apply the solution to the affected area. However, your safest bet is to call a professional who is certified and experienced in mold cleanup.

Nothing

If you remove the factors that encourage mold growth, such as moisture and condensation, you should be able to slow the growth of mold. However, this won’t make the mold vanish. The spores will still be there.

Make sure you actively do your part to get rid of black mold and other mold growth. Enlist the help of an expert right away.

How You Can Create a Fire Escape Plan at Work

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

People walking down on the evacuation stairs - Text on image that says PRACTICE OFTEN Be sure that you have a fire escape plan and practice it often in your West Whittier,CA office

Remember back to your school years when you’d have to participate in regular fire drills? You may have disliked these experiences, but if the time comes when you need to put the drill into practice, you’re grateful. What would happen if a fire broke out in your West Whittier,CA, workplace? Do you have a fire escape plan? If you don’t, it’s time to develop one. Even if you do have one, you should review it to ensure it’s effective.

The Rundown

If a fire started in your office right now, would chaos ensue, or would you and your staff know how and where to exit safely and orderly? You can develop a good emergency escape plan by following these simple guidelines:

  • Inspect the building.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities
  • Draw a map of escape routes
  • Practice, practice, practice

Inspect the Building

You can’t have a very effective fire escape plan if you don’t know the layout of your own office space. Conduct a walk-through of every square foot of the building. Identify all exits and how close they are to each office and cubicle. Identify fire alarms as well as potential hazards.

Assign Roles and Responsibilities

Communication is critical during these events. Every floor in your building needs some to guide others to the exits. You also need other roles such as floor monitors to ensure everyone has left as well as wardens to help gather everyone.

Draw a Map of Escape Routes

Your employees to a visual representation of the escape plan. Draw a clear picture of where all exits are in relation to each floor. Make sure you clearly mark the meeting place.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Everyone must know the plan well enough that if the real event occurs, there will be no hesitation. Practice your escape a minimum of once a year.

If you need help with your fire escape plan, the Red Cross has some excellent resources. You can also rely on the expertise of fire cleanup and restoration companies.

3 Tips for Filing a Water Damage Claim

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Electronic insurance claim These three tips can help you successfully file a claim

The Following Tips Can Help You File a Claim

Water damage from a sudden event, such as bursting pipes, is one of the most common reasons people file a homeowners insurance claim. Not all types of water damage are covered by a standard homeowners policy. These three tips can help you successfully file a claim.

1. Know Your Policy

Standard homeowners policies cover damage that results from a sudden and accidental discharge of water. Examples of sudden and accidental discharges include bursting pipes, a clogged toilet that overflows or a water line that suddenly breaks on an appliance. However, standard policies usually do not cover damage that results from an ongoing issue, such as a toilet or a roof that has been leaking for months. Homeowners policies also usually exclude flood damage that occurs from water sources outside the home, such as a flooded creek.

2. Gather Your Records

It is a good idea to keep your receipts any time you fix broken pipe or have other work done on your home. You may also want to keep a written record of when the last time you had the major systems of your home inspected was. This can help you make the case that your damage resulted from a sudden, accidental discharge and not from poor maintenance.

3. Mitigate Your Damages

Most insurance policies require the insured to make an effort to mitigate their damages. This means that if you discover a broken pipe you are required to take steps, such as shutting off the water and drying out your property to avoid damage from standing water. If you spend money on supplies or hire a water remediation professional, take photos first and keep your receipts.
If bursting pipes or some other sudden event has caused water damage in your home, these three tips can help you successfully file a claim. However, if you are ever unsure, it can be a good idea to check with your insurance professional in Friendly Hills, CA, before you make repairs or spend any money.