Recent Posts

Should You Invest in Flood Insurance?

11/23/2021 (Permalink)

Flood insurance form on a table with a book. Purchase flood insurance for your commercial property.

Should You Buy Flood Insurance?

Natural disasters often happen without much advance notice, and the damage can be devastating. Fortunately, many types of damage caused by events, such as heavy winds or lightning strikes, are covered by your commercial property insurance, but what about problems such as:

  • Blocked drainage systems
  • Broken dams
  • Overflowing rivers
  • Heavy rains

Some types of disasters require special coverage. For example, you need a special insurance policy if you want protection from this type of water damage. Consider the following questions and answers to determine whether your business needs flood protection.

Q: Doesn't my existing policy cover floods?

A: No. Most commercial insurance policies do not coverage floods, even those caused by hurricanes and similar storms. You'll probably have to turn to a national flood insurance program to get the protection you need to recover after suffering extensive water damage. In many cases, you'll need to work closely with remediation specialists who understand the true depth and scope of flood damages.

Q: How can I determine whether I'm at risk for flooding?

A: There are many areas of the country that aren't at the same level of risk for flooding as others. Location is the top factor in determining whether your business is at high risk. Use an online flood map tool to measure the risk at your location. Consider other factors, such as which floor your business is on and where your inventory is stored.

Q: What does flood insurance cover?

A: It's important to understand that this type of coverage often doesn't protect you from all flood damages. This special insurance does typically cover damage to your building and the contents of your structure. The property outside of your building such as landscaping and business vehicles, may not be covered by this insurance. This insurance probably won't cover your losses due to business interruption.

If you live in a flood zone in Saratoga, CA, you may need the added protection of a flood insurance policy. Don't skimp when it comes to protecting your livelihood.

Post-Fire Checklist: 6 Things To Do Immediately

11/15/2021 (Permalink)

Brick wall home covered covered with smoke damage after a fire, house is empty, windows are broken When it comes to fire damage repair and restoration, SERVPRO of Campbell is your only option.

What To Do After a House Fire

House fires don’t only happen to other Campbell, CA, homeowners. If you find yourself dealing with a residential fire, you probably want to stare fire restoration as soon as possible. Still, jumping the gun can be disastrous. Here are six things you should do immediately after a house fire.

1. Find a Place To Stay
Staying safe after a fire must be your primary concern. If your house has sustained fire damage, look for a long-term solution. Remember, you must find housing that accommodates you, your family and your pets.

2. Board-Up Damaged Windows and Doors
Your post-fire home may not be weathertight. It may also attract criminals. To protect your home until you can begin fire restoration, board up damaged windows and doors.

3. Contact Your Insurance Company
Your insurance adjuster will probably want to inspect fire damage as soon as possible. Once you are your family members are safe, contact a representative from your fire insurance company.

4. Work With Law Enforcement
Police investigators and firefighters will likely prepare an incident report. This report identifies the cause of your house fire. It is also essential for collecting insurance payments.

5. Prepare a Damage List
For both insurance and remediation purposes, you need a list of damaged property. Before a fire, try to create a list of your personal belongings. Add and subtract items occasionally to keep your list current and accurate.

6. Contact a Restoration Service
Even if your house fire is minor, you may have extensive smoke damage. By working with a reputable restoration service for smoke cleaning and other remediation, you put specialized skills and equipment to work for you.
House fires can be devastating. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your home’s recovery to chance. By taking a few critical steps in the days following a fire, you increase your odds of having a successful fire restoration.

What to Do About Crawl Space Water

11/8/2021 (Permalink)

Water in a crawlspace If you find you have a wet crawl space you should contact a professional.

When you live in San Jose, CA, finding a wet crawl space in your home may not be something you immediately think can cause problems in your home. However, if left unattended water in the crawl space can lead to foundation damage and eventual mold growth.

Reasons Crawl Spaces Get Water

While it seems like a small area to worry about, discovering water in the crawlspace is not uncommon. Finding flooding in your crawl space can happen for several reasons.

  • Broken water lines
  • Subterranean water
  • Heavy storm rains
  • Improper drainage from downspouts and gutters
  • Improper sloping of landscaping
  • Over watering of landscaping

The first two in this list are perhaps what most people think crawl space water is from. However improper drainage from spouts and landscaping, and over watering can be equally culpable, and more preventable.

How to Deal With Crawl Space Water

If you find you have a wet crawl space or potential flooding issue it’s best to contact a professional to deal with the problem. They can assess the area containing flood water, and do what's needed to take care of the problem, find the water’s source, repair any damages, and further protect your home.

Tips for Preventing Water in the Crawl Space

There are a few things you can do to help prevent flood damage in your crawl space on your own. You can grade your landscaping so it slopes away from your home, and include irrigation or base layers into your gardens or flower beds to help direct water away as well. Also, ensure all hoses have been turned off after the watering is completed. Downspouts should include a back-splash and be angled away from the building, while regularly cleaning and maintaining gutters can help prevent water overflow that pools around the home’s foundation.

If you find you have a wet crawl space it’s best to quickly contact a professional to discover the root of the problem. Remember, there are things you can do to protect your home as well.

No Water Problem, No Mold Problem

10/30/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wooden structure Mold found in Santana Row, CA.

If you have a mold problem, it’s likely that you had a water problem first. Proper mold prevention involves taking care of any water leaks, flood damage, water damage, humidity, and condensation in your home to ensure mold spores never have a chance to become actual mold growth. When it comes to mold prevention, you need a quick response after water damage in your Santana Row, CA, home.

Tips for Damage Control

Whether your home was flooded by a natural disaster or by bursting pipes, the most important thing to do for mold prevention is mitigate the water damage immediately. You can do this by:

Shutting off the water. Cut the water off at the source and immediately ensure that any pipes and fittings are completely drained dry.

Drying up the water. Mop up the water as quickly as possible. The longer water stands and stagnates, the more likely it is mold spores will feed on it to grow into a mold infestation.

Throwing out anything waterlogged. Even if those are your favorite curtains, if they’re soaked in water they need to be taken out into the sun to dry out – or thrown out if they’re already starting to pick up that musty mold smell.

Doing a complete tear-out. Water-damaged carpet, drywall, and wood can rapidly fuel mold growth with trapped pockets of water and organic materials. They may need to be completely torn out both to repair the water damage and prevent mold.

Inspecting for mold. Even with a rapid response, you may have been too late. Do a thorough inspection for mold throughout the house.

Call a professional. Even if you inspect for mold, you may not be able to detect hidden mold or spores just starting to grow into a fungal contamination. A professional can help you track down those tricky hidden mold spots and eliminate them.

Be Ready To Fight Small Home Fires

10/30/2021 (Permalink)

vector fire smoke carbon monoxide detector alarm Types of fire extinguishers.

How To Prevent a Small Fire In Your Home

Defense against a home fire starts with you. Thanks to the notification by the smoke detectors, you will see it first. Having the proper tools and understanding how to use them will give you an excellent chance of preventing a small fire from turning into a major disaster. The primary tool of choice should be a suitable fire extinguisher.

Look for a Suitable Code Rating

• Code A describes the effectiveness against normal combustibles including burning wood, paper and trash.
• Code B describes the effectiveness against burning gasoline, oil and burnable gasses such as propane.
• Code C means that it the extinguisher is safe to use on burning electrical equipment.

Ratings Can Be Confusing

For example, code 1-A:10-B: C means that it is 10 times better at B fires than a code 1-A:1-B: C unit. The best thing you can do is to go to a retailer with a knowledgeable staff. Explain what you plan to protect and they will help you select the best one for the job. They can also give advice on placement and use.

Choosing the Correct Size

Fire extinguishers are sold by weight. Heavier ones have more fire-fighting capacity but are also more difficult to handle. Lighter ones are easier to handle but there is a risk that they will empty before the fire is completely suppressed. The size decision gets easier if the extinguisher you choose has a hose. A 10-pound unit with a hose will be much easier to handle than a 10-pound unit without a hose.

Now You Are Ready

Owning a suitable fire extinguisher and knowing how to use it are the two keys to fire preparedness in the home. If you and your extinguisher succeed in extinguishing a fire, congratulations on a job well done. To help with the cleanup you can call upon the services of restoration specialists in San Jose, CA. Also, don’t forget to have your extinguisher refilled.

Partial Loss Due to Fire

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

Visible damage to a commercial building following a structure fire Following a fire, the extent of loss must be determined.

Fire Caused a Partial Loss

After a fire, there needs to be a determination of the level of loss. For example, in many cases, one doesn’t need to be an expert to see that a fire caused a complete loss. Along the same lines, there are many cases where one doesn’t need to be an expert to see that the loss is only partial. The question of fire loss becomes more difficult to evaluate when the structure houses a business. Commercial structures are more complicated, and the level of loss is not necessarily obvious to the untrained eye.


Structural Considerations

One of the most difficult things to evaluate in a fire-damaged business structure is the effect of heat. Very hot fires can soften or distort iron or steel or other features of structures. Before deciding that a structure is a partial loss, it is critical that a qualified engineer be engaged to evaluate the structure and look for any structural damage. It may turn out that a structure looks visually sound when, in fact, it is a total loss due to hidden damage.

Water

Water damage is one of the most expensive components of fire loss. Hopefully, water damage is limited to a specific area. Of course, this cleanup gets more complicated if the water puts out the fire on upper floors. Water needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible because it can continue to spread or cause other problems.

Smoke and Soot

Unlike water damage that can be limited to specific areas, smoke damage can affect the entire structure. The same goes for soot. This damage will generally be more widespread than water damage and will require a massive cleaning effort. In open structures, the fire loss due to smoke and soot can be extensive.

Cleanup

Cleaning up water, smoke and soot requires specialists in fire restoration who have the proper equipment and training and pay close attention to detail. Fortunately, West Valley, CA, has such a team ready to start the process on a moment’s notice.

How To Prevent Water Damage During Construction

9/26/2021 (Permalink)

Kitchen flooding. A flooded site can derail the construction process.

Construction is generally a positive development for any business in Monte Sereno, CA. However, contractors must take proactive steps during the building process to protect the integrity of the site and avoid water damage and unexpected water pipe repairs.

1. Ensure Proper Drainage

Proper drainage is essential. Otherwise, water can pool and flood the work zone. For this reason, you must ensure the ground surrounding the building is properly graded, which will help divert rainwater away from the site.

2. Strategically Store Mechanical Equipment

To minimize the risk of damaging circuits and other vital components, avoid placing mechanical and electrical equipment is exposed, low-lying areas where water can easily collect.

3. Use a Protective Tarp

Without walls, doors, and windows, your building is susceptible to rain, snow, and other weather elements. Temporary building enclosure tarps create a barrier, helping to shield exposed internal components and building materials from potential damage.

4. Seal Windows and Doors

To prevent unintended water intrusion, you also need to ensure that all newly installed doors and windows are properly sealed and water-proofed.

5. Protect Pipes

Few contractors plan on a water pipe repair during the construction process. Protecting pipes is particularly important during the winter as temperatures drop around the freezing point. To safeguard against a broken pipe, you can insulate exposed pipes with rubber or fiberglass sleeves or direct a heat source toward them.

6. Keep Building Materials Dry

Plywood, drywall, and insulation are vulnerable to water damage. Wet plywood can warp, and saturated drywall is susceptible to mold contamination. Wet insulation loses its R-value, rendering it ineffective. To preserve these materials, find a location where they can be safely stored and protected from potential moisture exposure.

Staying on Schedule

A flooded site can derail the construction process. To minimize delays and the need for water pipe repairs, you should ensure that your team knows appropriate procedures to protect building materials and exposed pipes. If flooding does occur, professional cleanup specialists can assist you and help the project get back on track.

Three Ways FEMA Helps After a Flood

9/25/2021 (Permalink)

Flood defense Hopefully, these three facts will help you to understand FEMA and your local EMA branches.

If you live in a house that has experienced flood damage after a major disaster-level storm in the West Valley, CA, area, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will likely be on-site at some point. Here are three things that FEMA does to help homeowners like you after flooding has taken place.

1. Send Inspectors to the Site

Inspectors will be sent by this federal agency to storm-damaged homes such as yours for an overall evaluation of the destruction and how extensive it is. If an inspector comes to your house, expect them to take notes, fill out the paperwork with you, conduct interviews and survey each room. Photographs may be taken to document any loss. It is important to have proof of ownership for your property before the agent arrives in order for proper government documentation to take place.

2. Provide Shelter

This agency is well-known for helping increase the availability of shelter to flood and other storm victims, as well. It often works with state and local governments across the country to create and approve FEMA Compliant storm shelters in towns and cities across the United States. Your local Emergency Management Agency, or EMA, office can help you if you want to create a storm-safe area in your residential area.

3. Assist With Disaster Relief

Besides helping communities offer shelter to their residents, this agency helps such areas find funding for natural disasters such as flooding in order to provide for sufferers. Additionally, local EMA branches work with the federal office to get assistance in restoring their communities after storms and other similarly devastating disasters. For more information on how these agencies work together to help people rebuild their lives, talk to your local EMA office.

Hopefully, these three facts will help you to understand what FEMA and your local EMA branches do to help citizens like you after Mother Nature leaves tragedy in her wake. If you do find yourself in such a situation in the future, remember to stay calm and listen to what your local law enforcement says in order to stay as safe as possible.

Moldy Bread: In the Fridge, on the Counter

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

Close up of fuzzy mold. Bread mold is a common household problem.

Many people have had the experience of pulling out the peanut butter and jelly, knife and plate, and reaching for the loaf of bread in the cupboard bought a few days ago, only to find that it has white fuzz all over it. How did this happen? It hasn’t even been a week! Bread mold is quite common and happens in kitchens around the world, including kitchens in San Jose, CA.

What Is Mold?

The white, green, or black fuzz found on bread is mold. Mold is part of the fungi family, the most famous member being mushrooms. Fungi are different from plants because they do not use chlorophyll to transfer sunlight into energy. Thus, they must get their energy or food source elsewhere. Millions of mold spores travel through the air and can settle on food—in this case, bread—where they may rapidly reproduce if the conditions are right. Fungus growth on bread occurs for three reasons:

1. Desirable nutrients, e.g. yeast
2. Moist atmosphere
3. Warm environment

On the Counter or in the Fridge?

It is common to keep bread on the counter, in a breadbox, or in the cupboard. These places may attract bread mold more quickly than the fridge. They are often dark, humid environments that offer a perfect atmosphere for fungus growth. Fridge mold can occur, but it happens at a much slower pace because the inside of the fridge is colder and there is less moisture in the air. This means that mold can grow in both places, making the best choice for storing bread a matter of preference, atmosphere, and frequency.

A few of the best ways to ensure bread products do not go moldy quickly is to store them in the freezer and thaw them in a closed plastic bag when ready or to only keep amounts on hand for one to two days at a time.

Bread mold is a common household problem. Bread is often stored in warm, moist environments, which is the same environment mold needs to grow. In order to avoid mold growth, store bread in a cool, dry place, like the freezer.

How To Care for Water-Damaged Items After a Flood

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

ceiling collapsed from kitchen area, debris on counters of kitchen Water damage in San Jose, CA.

How to Handle Water-Damaged Items Following a Flood

Flooding in your San Jose, CA, home can happen for many reasons. Water in the home may be the result of a burst water pipe, a leaky sink or toilet, or a flood caused by nature. No matter the reason, water can seriously damage precious keepsakes, documents and other important items that you cannot replace. If you find yourself with waterlogged photo albums, toys or other important keepsakes after a flood, there are a few ways you can try to salvage them.

Gathering Items After a Flood

Flood waters can have a different affect on a variety of items. However, there are a few valuables that require special attention:

  • Artwork
  • Paper documents
  • Photo albums

If a broken pipe caused one room to flood and you know the water is not contaminated with sewage or dangerous chemicals, you can carefully gather these items from the water and start dry cleaning them indoors in an area with low humidity and away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can cause paper documents and artwork to fade or curl.

Determining Condition

You may not be able to salvage everything after a flood, but once water in your home recedes, taking stock of what remains can help you determine what is worth keeping. If some items have mud or silt on them, wash them away carefully with a low-pressure hose and set the items indoors to dry. A storm cleanup and restoration company can advise you on whether some objects affected by black water can be properly sanitized.

Handling Items With Severe Damage

If books, photos, or other fragile items are badly damaged, they might require special care. Try to air dry these items as much as possible, and then store them in plastic airtight cases until you can contact a paper goods restoration specialist.

When water in a home damages precious items, the effects can be devastating. However, knowing how to react and handle these items in case of a flood in your San Jose, CA, can help you act quickly and allow you to salvage as much as you can.