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Mold Signs

2/24/2020 (Permalink)



This page describes some common signs that you might have mold in your home.



Signs of mold can mean you need a mold inspection. If mold is hidden then you will only find out about it by noticing mold signs.

By noticing mold signs you can find mold early. This can save you a lot of money and a lot of trouble, since you can stop mold before it becomes a much bigger problem.

Mold Smell

Another sign of hidden mold is a moldy smell. If the smell is worse in certain rooms then the mold is probably growing near that area.



If the mold smell gets worse when the air conditioning or heating is on then there could be a mold problem in the HVAC, or in your air conditioner or heater.

Seeing Mold

Sometimes people see mold without realizing. You might have to look closely to identify mold. People often have mold growing in their bathroom, on the grout between tiles. However they do not realize it is mold.



People also might ignore small amounts of mold, even though they can see it. However small amounts of mold means there is enough moisture for mold to grow. It can mean there is more mold in the home.

For example, mold hidden behind a wall eventually grows through. This leads to small spots of mold on the inside wall.

Humidity

Another potential mold sign is humidity. High humidity can lead to condensation and water accumulation. Things also take longer to dry out when the air is humid. Some molds can live off humidity in the air.



A humidity level above 60% can lead to mold growth. It's best to keep humidity between 30% and 60%. You can buy humidity monitors to keep an eye on the humidity in your home.

If you live near water, such as the coast or a lake, the humidity may be high. Using air conditioning and HVAC can also change the humidity levels indoors.

Condensation

Condensation may create moisture problems, because the water from condensation can build up. Condensation is also a sign of humidity.



Condensation often occurs on cold surfaces, such as windows and metal pipes. This is because when water vapour in the air touches a cold surface, it cools and becomes liquid.

If you often see condensation, it could be a sign of a moisture problem, and perhaps a mold problem.

Water Leaks

Water leaks can be a sign of mold. Leaks in pipes and roofs are the most common. Cracks in walls can also let in moisture. Leaking taps can also create moisture problems.



Leaks are often hidden (for example inside wall cavities or in the attic). If a leak is undetected for a long time, it is very likely to cause mold. If you discover a leak then you should check for mold.

Leaking Roof or Attic

Signs of a leaking roof are water damage on the ceiling below the attic. There will also be signs of water damage in the attic.



Cracks and splits in the roof are another sign. Beams that have gotten moisture in them become weakened. This can lead to the roof sagging.

Flooding

Another sign you could have mold is if your house has been flooded in the past. Flooding that left materials, like drywall, wet for more than 24 hours probably caused mold.



Past flooding can be a sign you have hidden mold (eg inside wall cavities). It can also be a sign of mold problems in the basement.

Damp Basement

The basement is one room which usually doesn't get much ventilation. It is usually cold too, which can lead to condensation. Water can end up running down into the basement, also. If it floods, the basement is usually the worst affected room.



If you notice your basement is often damp, this could be a sign of a mold problem.

Water Stains

Another sign of a water problem is water stains on walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Often stains will be yellowish. If there is mold growing the stain might be darker.



Ceiling leaks often cause water stains in the walls and ceiling. Stains around windows can also be a sign of water intrusion.

Paint

When there is a lot of moisture, paint may start to come off surfaces. Paint, or wallpaper, may be peeling, cracked, bulging or bubbling, if moisture is building up behind it.



Rust

Rust in the home is a sign of a moisture problem. You might see rust on nails or metal pipes. This could mean you have high humidity, condensation, a water leak, or some other water problem.



Warping

When moisture gets into wood, drywall and other materials it can cause bowing. If you see warped walls, or other surfaces, you probably have a moisture problem.



Deterioration

Water problems can deteriorate materials in your home. Seeing building materials which have deteriorated from moisture can be another sign of mold.



Blocked Gutters

When it rains, you may see water building up on the ground near your house. This is usually caused by blocked gutters, or ground sloping towards your house.



It can be a sign of indoor moisture problems, because the water can seep into the walls or the foundation. Blocked gutters can also cause water to run down into the roof, or down the walls.

Poor Ventilation

Look out for rooms with poor air flow. This can be a sign of moisture problems. Ventilation helps to dry out moisture. A lack of ventilation allows moisture to remain much longer.



Standing Water

You might often see water building up, or pools of water around your home. This can lead to mold problems. Sometimes you might be able to see moisture on walls and other surfaces too.



There is often a lot of standing water in the bathroom or kitchen. Steam in these rooms can also create problems.

History of Water Problems

A history of water problems can also be a sign of mold. If your home has previously been flooded, or has had water leaks, then you could have mold.



Dust

A dirty or dusty home is more likely to have mold. Mold grows on dust. Dust can also transport mold spores around the home.



Mold Inspection, Testing and Removing

If you notice signs of mold in your home then you should consider having a 

Mold Inspection

Mold Testing also helps to locate mold, especially hidden mold.

If you find mold in your home then you will need to remove it. See the Mold Remediation page for a guide to removing mold

Commercial Mold Damage

1/31/2020 (Permalink)

COMMERCIAL MOLD DETECTION & REMOVAL SERVICES
Mold contamination is a growing concern for businesses of all sizes. Mold, a fungus that is found in damp places, can grow almost anywhere moist conditions exist. Left unattended, it can cause serious structural damage to your facility. As your go-to experts in mold remediation, we take a methodical and systematic approach to carefully identify the source of the mold growth and help eliminate mold from your working environment.

What are the signs to look for in your building?
*A recent flood or water damage
*Leaks in or around the building either from burst pipes or air conditioning systems
*Musty odors in the building
*Discoloration or water stains on the walls or ceilings

STRUCTURAL DAMAGE
Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on and can grow anywhere:

Foundation
Roof
HVAC system
Drywall
Gutters
Furnishings and more

LET US TAKE CARE OF YOUR MOLD PROBLEM
Regardless of mold, your work must go on. Trust SERVPRO Of Tustin, the experts in mold remediation to take care of the problem so you can focus on your business. We take a methodical and systematic approach to carefully identify the source of mold growth and help eliminate mold from your working environment as soon as possible.

If you suspect mold in your business, count on SERVPRO Of Tustin to quickly remediate the issue and let you get back to business as soon as possible. Once we assess the damage, we’ll work with you to create a comprehensive remediation plan unique to your needs. Then, we’ll keep you informed every step of the way to ensure we’re always on the same page and providing the best work. With our guided expertise, innovative tools and technologies, we’ll get your business up and running again as soon as possible. 

Storm Damage In Southern California

1/29/2020 (Permalink)

Here in Southern California, it is rare but not impossible to have a severe storm blow through or storm enhanced tidal surges occur. It is part of living in this state. But some storms/flooding are a touch too much for even the most stalwart of homeowners. It doesn’t have to be a tornado to cause immense property damage. Even a thunderstorm that is severe enough, when paired with a bit of wind, can have long-lasting consequences. Thankfully, you have resources available to you. A local restoration company can provide emergency response At a moment’s notice!

First and Foremost, Stay Safe

Following any type of severe weather – thunderstorms, hailstorms, or tornadoes – the key takeaway to remember is to remain safe. Before you go about inspecting any storm damage to your property, consider the following:

  • Keep a close eye out for hazards from the storm, including broken glass, exposed nails, sharp metal, or weakened roofing.
  • If you spot a downed power line, assume it is live and dangerous – because it probably is. You’ll want to remain at least 35 feet from the downed line and alert authorities and the utility company promptly.
  • If you must inspect your home during the night, use a battery-operated flashlight instead of a candle. You do not want to risk an open flame causing a fire or explosion due to a damaged gas line.

If you notice the smell of gas, turn off the main gas line immediately, open as many windows as possible, and leave the house. You can then notify the gas company from a safe distance away.

Review and Assess Storm Damage

When it comes to storm damage, your roof is liable to take the brunt of the storm. If a tree limb were to collapse or severe winds were to lift up the shingles, your entire home may suffer from serious structural damage. If you intend on climbing up on the roof, know that the entire structure can be weakened. Take each step extremely carefully. It’s usually best to forgo the long climb up the ladder and to hire a local restoration company to handle such a task.

If you are intent on examining the roof, you’ll notice a few signs that are common with roofing damage caused by a storm, such as:

  • Noticeable holes in the roof
  • Split seams
  • Missing shingles
  • Bruised or dented asphalt shingles
  • Leaks in the roof or ceiling
  • Dents to the vents, gutter system, or flashing

Contact Your Insurance

You’ll want to file a property damage claim with your insurance company sooner rather than later. It’s best to call your insurance agent, who will then guide you through the claims process. The insurance company may ask if you have a preferred emergency restoration company you are working with for the damages.  They may send an insurance adjustor to inspect the damage and determine how much your claim is worth. Or they may use a qualified restoration company to document, assess and begin the cleanup of the damage. 

For 24/7 storm damage recovery in Orange County or the surrounding area, SERVPRO of Tustin. You can reach us at 714-480-1340!

WILDFIRE PREPARATION

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

Southern California is infamous for its wildfire seasons. With high temperatures and winds, fires can spring up and can spread very quickly. It is important to take the time to prepare for evacuation should an emergency situation arise.

Below is a checklist that can help you with this:

1. Pack an emergency bag for you and your family (basically act like you’re going on a weekend camping trip):


    • Water and nonperishable food (3 day supply per person). If you have animals, ensure you include their food.

    • A first aid kit, including any absolutely needed medications or medical items.

    • Emergency tools including flashlights, batteries, radio, etc.

    • Sanitation and hygiene items, including any items needed for any infants such as diapers.

    • Cellphone chargers.

    • Extra clothes and footwear for each person.

    • One blanket or sleeping bag per person.

    • Some cash and emergency credit cards (if you have them).

2. Put a plan together:


    • Plan two ways out of your neighborhood in case a usual road is blocked

    • Select a meeting place for your family members in case you are evacuated, can’t get home, etc. Also select one person who is out of the area to be a central contact point in case you are not able to meet up or get a hold of one another.

    • Figure out what documents you should take with you. Make sure the documents are all in one location that is easy for you to access. You can also make copies of all of them and keep them specifically with your emergency bag.

    • Figure out any cherished (irreplaceable) items you would want to take (jewelry, artwork, etc.). Make a list ahead of time so that if you do HAVE TIME to pack, you can quickly gather up these items (NOTE: These are the LAST things you would gather up, the first being your family and pets, the second being your emergency supplies, the 3rd being your documents and this being the LAST. If there is something so important to you that you must take it with you, put it with your emergency bag).

    • Don’t let your vehicle get to empty on gas. You don’t want to have to evacuate and be out of gas, that would be bad. Try to keep at least 1/2 a tank of gas throughout the fire season.

3. Prepare your home:


    • Clear dead brush, dead or dry plants and pine needles from around your home

    • Keep your roof and rain gutters clean and clear of all pine needles, dry leaves, etc.

    • Keep trees and bushes trimmed and not hanging over your roof

    • There are many other steps you can take, including using fire resistant material for your roof and fence, but the above 4 are things you can do immediately. For longer term fire proofing of your home, here are some great tips.

If and once you’re told to evacuate, do so immediately, don’t wait. Don’t panic. Take your emergency kit, family and pets and then anything else you have time for, lock your home and go to your emergency meet up location.

3 Ways To Prepare For Commercial Water Damage

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

When you own a business, you have a bit of pressure on your shoulders to protect your assets as well as the assets and information of your clients. Customers need to be able to trust you and to know that you are taking every precaution to keep them safe. Though you might not consider water damage a major threat to your company, SERVPRO OF TUSTIN knows that it can be very devastating when it happens. Here are some ways to protect yourself and your company against the effects of commercial water damage in Los Angeles. 

Computer BackUps

One of the most necessary things you need to do as a company owner is making sure that you run backups regularly on your computers in your office. There are many companies that specialize in handling this for you if you are a large company. You can use an encrypted cloud account or an external hard drive, but you will likely want to use both. If technology is not your specialty, consider hiring a professional to help you figure out the best way to store information, especially is the information needs to be protected for your clients. 

Plastic And Metal Fillings

Not every piece of information is stored on a computer. Many companies have several filing cabinets filled with scans and personal information that can be difficult to replicate. When you have hard copies in your office, the best way to protect them against flood or commercial water damage is to store them in plastic or metal filing cabinets. These can be difficult to move, so store them on a second floor if possible and keep them away from basements in case there could be flooding from the outside of the building. If paperwork can be scanned into a computer, then that could be a good course of action to limit the amount of damage that could be done. 

Dehumidifier And Ventilation

Many new and large office buildings are equipped with state of the art climate control, but if you are in an older or smaller commercial building, you might not have this in your business. If the air in your commercial office space is a bit damp, then you should consider investing in a good dehumidifier. Mold can be just as big of a problem as a pipe leak, and sometimes more extensive. Lots of commercial water damage can be avoided if you have a dehumidifier and good ventilation in your building.

There are no guarantees that you can prevent commercial water damage completely, but if you are prepared for it when it comes, the whole experience won’t be as devastating as it could be. The best way to prevent serious damage is to protect your and your clients’ information with backups, protect physical copies with waterproof storage, and invest in a dehumidifier. Even with these precautions, you may suffer from some commercial water damage, and if you do, don’t hesitate to call us and we will make it like it never even happened.

Protect Your Home From Storm Damage  

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

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.

  1. 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 puddle of you-know-what. You may want to consider installing an interior or exterior backflow valve. Backflow valves prevent your water system from being contaminated from water flowing backwards into your supply lines.
  2. 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.
  3. Cover air vents. One of the most common ways water finds 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.
  4. 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.

College Campus Fire Safety Tips

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

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.

Did You Have A Recent Fire?

1/15/2020 (Permalink)

Was your home recently damaged by a kitchen or other source of fire/smoke? Are you searching the web for DIY tips on how to clean up the damage yourself? Here are three reasons why you may want to hire a professional restoration company.

Specialized Equipment, Products and Know-How


Cleaning solutions and a dust mask are not nearly enough to adequately clean up fire and smoke damage.  Common household products and cleaning techniques are not always sufficient to clean up the soot and odor. A thorough cleaning of the structure and contents in the home eliminates the residual odors and removes the lingering health threats of fire residue.  Professional tools and the knowledge of proper cleaning techniques – are at the heart of a thorough, safe fire restoration.


Also, be aware that laundering smoke-damaged clothing in your washer could deepen the damage and leave undesired odors in the washing machine. Fabric/Garment Restoration professionals have the techniques to clean and salvage contents damaged in a fire.

Salvageable Furniture and Other Household Goods


Experienced restoration professionals can assess what can be restored and what is damaged beyond repair/restore. With advanced recovery techniques, a fire restoration contractor can help minimize your losses and restore your treasures.  But, if an item is beyond repair and are truly unrecoverable a restoration professional will inventory the items and then and dispose of them properly.

Restoration Professionals Expedite the Process


Restoring your home back to its pre-fire damage condition is not a straightforward task. There are belongings to salvage, cleanup to do, and the home’s structure to repair. Then, there is working with the insurance company and their claim’s process. The entire process is a headache to attempt yourself.


In fact, your efforts to save money with DIY fire restoration could easily backfire if you throw out salvageable belongings and don’t complete insurance claims correctly. The time it takes to perform the cleanup without help could also be detrimental. More damage can occur if soot is not cleaned up promptly. Relying on a fire restoration contractor who’s familiar with every aspect of the disaster recovery process is a much better option.

Schedule Professional Fire Restoration Services


SERVPRO of Tustin’s team is ready to respond and provide affordable, convenient fire and smoke damage restoration services. We make the recovery process as quick and painless as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our fire restoration services.

Everything You Need To Know About Slab Leaks

1/15/2020 (Permalink)

According to the National Association of Home Builders, nearly 96% of Californian residents live in homes that were built on a concrete slab of foundation. This slab of concrete is the support and main structure for your entire home, so as you can imagine, it is imperative that it is kept in good shape. This is one reason understanding what a slab leak is and knowing how to spot one is so important, especially for residents of California.

We’ve created a fact sheet about slab leaks so that you can keep your home in tip-top shape. Keep reading for a list of everything you’ll ever need to know about slab leaks!

What Are Slab Leaks?

A slab leak is the shorthand term professionals’ use when referring to leaking water pipes underneath a house. Typically, these copper pipers are buried beneath slabs of concrete located underneath the foundations of your house. Unfortunately, this means that they can go unnoticed for an extended period of time. However, as the water damage builds up, soaking away at the under structure of your home, these slab leaks can do considerable damage to the exterior over time. Obviously, this is not a good situation for any homeowner.

What Causes Slab Leaks?

Water pipes often use copper because it is resistant to water erosion. However, nothing lasts forever, and resistant does not mean invulnerable. As time goes on the copper in the pipes becomes increasingly corroded. Eventually, cracks and holes start to develop. When these appear in above ground pipes, they are called pinhole leaks, but underground where they can go undetected for months they cause much more damage.

Alternative Causes

Other causes include things like earthquake damage or less severe forms of ground shifts, both of which are very common in California. When the surrounding soil shifts erratically, it can put pressure on the pipes from multiple different directions, leading to stress fractures and warping of the metal.

Damage could also be caused by natural abrasion as the pipes shift and grind against exposed surfaces. This is a common issue if pipes were buried too close to the concrete above, or even one another.

Another alternative is that the pipes were simply installed improperly, or suffered damage during the installation process. Minor gaps or dents may seem like nothing but can become significant as time and pressure work on them.

Slab Leak Indicators

These leaks typically start small and, because the leaking pipes are buried under thick concrete, are not always easy to detect. However, there are a couple of signals homeowners should know so they can more easily spot a slab leak before it becomes a bigger problem. These signs include:

  • Mold or mildew growth or a general musty smell
  • Moisture under the carpets
  • Low water pressure
  • Puddles of water in your yard or near the base of your house
  • Pipes or water meters active when not in use
  • Sudden jump up in your water bill

Understanding these indicators and knowing what to look out for can save you a massive headache and significant repair bills in the future, so keep this list as a reference.

If you notice any of the above factors or have noticed any weird occurrences with your plumbing, then don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for help. At SERVPRO Of Tustin, we understand the stress of having to deal with major home issues, so we do our best to make it easy for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us for an appointment 714-480-1340

What Causes Residential Water Damage?

1/15/2020 (Permalink)

The last thing any of us want is water damage in our homes, and often times we take for granted the protection from the elements that our homes provide. When any kind of damage is spotted, it’s best to act as quickly as possible to stop it from causing more issues. Proactively addressing the problem can not only save the home’s appearance but can also save you a lot of money. It is also essential that homeowners know what can cause residential water damage so that precautionary measures may be taken.

Common Causes Of Water Damage

  • Wind, rainstorms and other natural disasters, such as flooding
  • Leaks from a damaged roof
  • Water draining onto the home’s structure from clogged gutters
  • Broken or old windows that aren’t properly sealed leading to potential leaks
  • Leaky faucets, burst pipes, slab leaks & other plumbing issues

Roof Damage

The signs that there is damage to the roof are often visible, but the cause of the damage isn't always evident to an untrained eye. Strong winds can loosen shingles in the roof, causing the under material to be exposed, which can cause a leak. Additionally, hail can cause abrasions and holes in the roof that may be too small to see, but that can cause significant damage or even shatter the shingles altogether.

Clogged Gutters

Not taking the time to clean the gutters can be a costly mistake. When gutters are clogged water sits against the roof and can cause the roof to rot. If the damage is severe enough, the entire roof may need to be replaced. Water from clogged gutters can spill over the sides of the gutters and lead to foundation damage, landscape erosion, and internal damage to the walls.

Outdated Or Faulty Windows

Older homes containing wooden window frames are prone to leaks and can be a safety issue. As water continues to batter the frame, the structural integrity is degraded. A leaky window in modern homes may be a sign of faulty installation. Upgrading your windows would have a number of additional benefits, including improved energy efficiency.

Plumbing Problems

Whether you’re dealing with a leaky faucet, a burst pipe or a dreaded slab leak, plumbing problems are a common cause of water damage in homes. Unlike weather caused damage, you might not notice the problem until it’s far too late. The best course of action to prevent significant water damage is to check on your plumbing often and install leak detectors so that you’ll know when something goes wrong.

How We Can Help

If you discover that your home has fallen victim to water damage, you’ll need to act quickly to prevent the spread of the water. Calling a professional water damage restoration company, like SERVPRO Of Tustin, will save you from spending thousands of dollars on salvaging your home and will ensure that your home remains a healthy place for you to live.