Prevent These Common Types of Water Damage in the Summer
Water damage occurs year round, but there are certain factors that come with every season that you'll want to be extra cautious of when that time of year rolls around. Now that Summer is here, be sure to keep these common types of water damage in mind:
- A/C Overflows - When the air conditioner is in use, a little bit of condensation on the drip pan is normal. If the day is particularly hot and humid however, the drip pan may collect more water/condensation than normal. If the condensation line clogs, the drip pan can overflow rapidly every time the A/C cycles on. Be sure to check on the drip pan every week during the summer. It is normal for it to be wet when A/C is operating, but if you notice standing water in the pan, you should turn off the unit and call a qualified HVAC technician.
- Many people travel during the summer and it is important that you prepare your home before you leave to prevent a water damage from occurring while you're away! The best way you can prevent water damage in your home while you're away is to locate your main water shutoff valve and turn off the water to the house before you go.
Of course there's never a good time for a water damage to occur in your home. If you should experience a water damage however, give SERVPRO of Tustin a call and we'll make it "Like it never even happened."
Does Your Tustin Home Have A Mold Problem?
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation. Call us anytime at (714) 480-1340
Precautions To Take When Decorating Your Home For The Holiday Season
This holiday season, make sure that the glow in your home's decorations is from twinkling lights and not from a costly and potentially deadly fire. SERVPRO of Tustin cautions Orange County home owners to follow some of these American Red Cross (ARC) guidelines for holiday decorating and entertaining.
- Place Christmas trees and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents, and candles.
- Purchase flame-retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren't easily broken. Keep live trees as moist a possible by giving them plenty of water.
- Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- If you are celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, keep flammable items, including curtains and holiday decorations, at least three feet away from your candles. Place your menorah or kinara on a non-flammable surface, such as a tray lined with aluminum foil, to catch the melting candles wax. Never leave lit candles unattended.
- Ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave and always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
We at SERVPRO of Tustin know that even the most diligent fire prevention planning can't prevent all home fires. That's why fire safety planning, like installing and maintaining smoke detectors and having a family escape plan, is also important. If a fire does break out in your home this holiday season, make sure all your family members follow this lifesaving advice from the ARC: Get Out, Stay Out, and Call for Help.
SERVPRO of Tustin is available 24/7 to assist you in a fire emergency. Call 714-480-1340.
How To Protect Your Home From Storm Damage
Flooding in your home can happen at any time, but your home can be even more exposed to water damage when it rains. As we move into the late fall and winter months, storm damage becomes more of a threat to your property. Follow these tips to help protect your home from water damage during the next rain storm.
- Modify your homes water valves. If the city's main sewer line gets backed up during a heavy rain storm, you could find yourself standing in a a puddle of you-know-what. You may want to consider installing a interior or exterior backflow valve. Backflow valves prevent your water system from being contaminated from water flowing backwards into your supply lines.
- Clear gutter, drains, and downspouts. Clogged gutters and downspouts can end up in a messy flood. Take the time to clean them and clear them of any and all debris before the rain comes.
- Cover air vents. One of the most common ways water fins its way into a home is through the home's air vents. If you know that heavy rain is in the forecast and that you are at risk of flooding, cover your air vents with thick plastic sheeting from both the outside and the inside.
- Check your sealant surrounding doors and windows. Make sure that any gaps or holes in the sealant surrounding the doors and windows are filled in. This will help stop rain water from finding its way into your home.
If water still manages to find a way into your home and you need assistance, give SERVPRO of Tustin a call at 714-480-1340! We're available 24/7 for emergency services.
Stay Safe This Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family and friends to come together and enjoy a delicious meal, but it can also be a potentially dangerous situation. Thanksgiving is the number one day for home fires involving cooking equipment, so be sure to practice these safety tips courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association:
• Remain in the kitchen while you’re cooking, and keep a close eye on what you fry! Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Regularly check on food that’s simmering, baking or roasting, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
• Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
• Keep any items that can catch fire such as oven mitts, recipes, towels, and food packaging away from the stove
• Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
• Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
• Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
• Keep knives out of the reach of children.
• Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
• Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
• Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
• Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
• If you’re cooking a turkey using a disposable aluminum pan, consider doubling up and using two pans to avoid a puncture, as dripping turkey juices can cause an oven fire.
• If you have a small (grease) cooking fire on the stovetop and decide to fight the fire: Smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
In the event of a serious fire at home, call 911 or your local fire department right away.
Call SERVPRO of Tustin at (714) 480-1340.
24/7 Emergency Services and our expert specialists are standing by to answer any questions you may have or to respond to your emergency.
Fire Prevention Week: Plan Two Ways Out
It's Fire Prevention Week! This year the National Fire Protection Association is reiterating the importance of planning at least two ways out when creating your fire escape plan.
About only half of Americans have developed a home fire escape plan - a quarter of those have never even practiced it. Planning (and practicing!) an escape route from your home can be the difference between life and death if there is ever a fire in your home. A regularly practiced fire escape plan can ensure that everyone in the home knows what to do and where to go when there's a fire.
Home fires can spread very quickly, and that is why it is so important to plan at least two ways out of every room. If the fire spreads and blocks your first path out, you need to be able to react quickly and move on to plan B.
Your home fire escape plan should include working smoke alarms on every level of the home, as well as in every bedroom. There should be two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window. The escape plan should also include a clear path to an outdoor meeting place (like a tree or mailbox) that is a safe distance from the home. Once you've created your home escape plan, be sure to practice it at least twice a year with all members of the household, including pets!
The Myths About Mold
When it comes to mold, there are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation that can lead to confusion for homeowners. Just the mention of the word "mold" can cause people to panic. While mold can be a very serious problem and should be taken seriously, it is important to have all the facts to be able to discern myth from fact so that you can make proper and informed decisions when necessary.
- "Bleach Kills Mold"
While bleach may be able to kill some types of mold on non-porous surfaces, it is unclear whether or not bleach can kill all types of mold, or if it can kill mold on porous surfaces like wood. Bleach is also a very corrosive agent and can pose its own health risks if used to kill mold. It's best to leave it to the professionals.
- "You Don't Have To Remove Mold If You Kill It"
Even if you are able to kill mold, you may not have removed the allergens that live in the mold. They can still be present even if the mold is killed. To fully protect yourself, removal of the affected areas is often necessary. You have to be careful not to spread the mold spores throughout your home when removing areas affected with mold. Professionals, like us, know how to set proper containment so that the mold allergens don't spread and further contaminate your home.
- "A Little Mold Is Nothing To Worry About"
If mold has become visible in your home, then chances are it has been growing for some time. Once mold becomes visible, it is important that you have the situation looked at, as there is more than likely more mold behind the surface.
- "Mold Remediation Is Easy To Do On Your Own"
This is usually not the case. Small areas of mold can sometimes be handled rather easily, but if the problem appears to be pervasive, it is best to call a professional. SERVPRO is always "Here to help!"
September Is National Preparedness Month: What Are You Doing To Be Prepared?
National Preparedness Month is officially here!
Now is the perfect time to start talking about all the ways in which you can be prepared!
Have you and your family sat down and discussed an emergency plan at home?
If not, you should plan a time this month to all sit down together and come up with an emergency plan! Plan out various escape routes in the event there is a fire or some other disaster in your home. This is especially important to do if you live in an area of Southern California where wildfires are common - September does bring the Santa Ana winds after all! When making plans for escape routes and for evacuations, don't forget to include your pets! If you do any practice escape drills, practice with your pets; You don't want to forget about your furry friends!
You should also be sure to create an emergency pack if you don't already have one. An emergency pack can be used if your home loses power or if you are forced to evacuate your home. Not sure what to put in your kit? We've already created a list for you here.
Know the facts.
Disasters can be pretty scary, especially when they're unexpected. Take some time this month to learn about various disasters that can happen where you live. Ready.gov has a list with information regarding most forms of disasters.The more you know, the more prepared you'll be. Being prepared can help you remain calm when disaster strikes!
College Campus: Dorm Safety Tips
For many college students, living in a dorm during their freshman year of college is the first time they’ve lived away from home and, subsequently, without the supervision of their parents/guardians. Before heading off for their first year of dorm living, new college students should read over this list of safety tips and take a few minutes to make sure that they are living in a fire-safe environment. It’s probably beneficial for returning college students to give this list a read through too; whether living in the dorms or off campus, safety tips should not be overlooked.
Learn the building’s evacuation plan.
If you’re living on campus, chances are your dorm will have an emergency evacuation plan. Once you’re all settled into your new home, take some time to familiarize yourself with the building and learn the evacuation routes. Practice multiple escape routes in the event that your first option is obstructed during an emergency. Most college campus buildings should have an evacuation plan posted on each floor. If you live off campus, have an escape plan of your own with at least two ways out of each room. Knowing what to do before an emergency happens can help you to protect yourself as well as others.
Don’t overload your room’s electrical outlets.
Most electrical outlets in dorms are designed to handle a specific amperage. It’s best not to try to push them to their capacity by using too many multi-plug devices. Your school may also have policies restricting the use/plug-in of certain appliances. These limitations are meant to limit the number of potential electrical and fire hazards in your dorm. If you ever notice any scorched marks or burning odors around an electrical outlet, stop using that outlet and inform someone of the problem right away.
Cook with care.
Be careful when cooking in your dorm or in the dorm’s community kitchen. Cooking equipment is involved in 86 percent of dormitory fires. If you do not have a kitchen in your dorm, then you should follow the school’s guidelines on what sort of plug-in cooking equipment is permitted for use in the dorms. Always be careful with electric frying pans, toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, etc. Never leave your dorm when cooking appliances are in use.
Respect open flame policies.
Most schools don’t allow you to smoke or burn candles or incense in the dorms. If you do smoke, be sure to do so in the designated areas on campus (most likely away from buildings). If your school does not allow smoking on campus, then you should follow that policy. Avoid burning candles or incense in your dorm room. If you burn them for the smell, try using essential oil diffusers to create a pleasant aroma in the dorm. You can also buy battery operated flame-less candles for the same flickering light/ambiance that a candle provides, but without the fire hazard. If you do still choose to burn candles or incense in your dorm, never leave them unattended and keep them away from flammable materials.
Don’t tamper with fire safety features in your dorm.
Most dorms should have smoke detectors. It is important that you do not cover them with any decorations in your dorm. Additionally, do not remove the batteries in your dorm’s smoke detector. It will send a signal to Public Safety to investigate the source of the problem. It is also important to have fresh batteries in your smoke detector so that it can properly do its job to keep you safe. If your dorm has a sprinkler system in place, don’t hang any decorations on it. Sprinklers are there to help put out a fire before firefighters can get there. They are especially important if your dorm is on an upper level as it can be more difficult for firefighters to get to the flames.
Be mindful of clutter and how you decorate your dorm.
While decorating your dorm is how you can display your personality or bring some of home to school with you, it can also become potential fuel for a fire. Every poster or tapestry you hang on the wall, or piece of decor you hang from the ceiling, can be considered a fire hazard. Some schools may limit the amount of wall space that can be covered in your dorm, or may prohibit hanging things from the ceiling. Even if there are no restrictions, it would be wise to limit the amount of decor you hang in your room as well as to keep clutter to a minimum. Additionally, avoid draping materials over hot items like lamps that could potentially cause ignition. Furniture should also be kept away from the room’s heat source to reduce the risk of fire.
What You Should Know About Thunderstorms
They may not happen often in Orange County, but they do occur from time to time and it’s important to be prepared in the event that they cause flooding in your home or business. Thunderstorms typically bring a lot more rain than a typical shower that we’ll see in Southern California. Because of this, many homes may experience flooding when thunderstorms do occur.
What to do:
We’ve been experiencing record breaking heat throughout Southern California this summer. If that heat is paired with high humidity, that could mean thunderstorms. Check that your home is prepared for heavy rainfall now, before rain hits. Maintain regular maintenance of your roof, gutters, downspouts, etc., and take care of any needed repairs right away. If and when there is a thunderstorm in your area, keep an eye on your home for any signs of a water leak. If you do experience a leak, call someone to come out and have it fixed right away, and give SERVPRO of Tustin a call to begin the dry-out process. Water damage left untreated can become an even bigger problem.
Another possible issue when there are thunderstorms is lightning. Your home may be out of harm’s way in terms of rain and water damage, but it could still be in range of a lightning strike. Though chances are low that lightning will strike your home, it is still a possibility. A lightning strike could unfortunately start a fire in your home. Be sure to have an emergency plan for your whole family in case there is a fire. SERVPRO of Tustin can also take care of restoration for fire damage should that be needed. There is not much to do to prevent a lightning strike to your home. If you want you can invest in a lightning rod or lightning protection for any tree that is taller than your home.
Hopefully if we do get any thunderstorms this summer, your home will be ready. We’re always here to help!