Storm Damage Inspection Checklist
SERVPRO of North Hollywood can clean up and repair even the worst water damage and restore the drywall to make it look like new again.
Storms may be an infrequent threat to Los Angeles area homes and businesses, but it never hurts to prepare for the rainy season even while it's dry.
When the heavy rains and winds do come, be sure to review this storm inspection checklist to discover any water damaged areas before they become an even bigger problem.
High winds, rain and falling tree branches can dislodge shingles, gutters and other protective elements. Visually inspect your roof and look for anything that's loose or missing, as well as any remaining debris. If you have access to the attic, be sure to also check for leaks or other signs of water damage.
Foundation and Crawl Space
Heavy rains can cause water to pool near the base of your building and increase the pressure on your foundation. Look for cracks where water might seep into the foundation and escape into your crawl space or basement. Be sure to also inspect and keep gutters clean and in good working order to limit water soaking into the soil around the building, which can cause rapid foundation settling.
Outlets and Electrical Fixtures
Most people know that water and electricity are a bad combination. Water can cause an electrical outlet to spark and start a fire. And because water conducts electricity, there is risk of electric shock if your skin comes in contact with damp areas around electrical units.
Water damage can also cause electrical wires to become corroded over time, so proper drying and replacement of damaged wires is vital. If you discover moisture anywhere near an outlet or electrical fixture, cut the power to the area and call SERVPRO of North Hollywood ASAP.
Carpets and Flooring
If it goes unnoticed, storm water can seep into floorboards, discolor baseboards and rot and weaken the wood. Moisture can also collect between carpeting and floorboards, causing mold growth. So it's important to look for standing water or damp spots have them dried quickly and properly.
Walls and Ceiling
As with your floors, water leaking through your roof or between windows and trim can discolor ceilings and walls. Or worse, they can become weakened until the wear becomes holes in the drywall and plaster.
Unseen leaks can also cause mold to grow on or behind your walls. You should inspect for visible discoloration or damage, but if you suspect there may be leaks you cannot see, there are leak detection specialists who can help find problems before they cause major damage.
As with any damage to your property, the safety of you and your family should be your first priority. Beyond that, if you find signs of storm damage around your home or business, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. Our highly trained and experienced technicians are available 24/7/365 to clean up, repair and restore your property faster than you can say "but it never rains in Los Angeles."
What Damage Can Water Cause?
Items that may benefit from the use of a freeze drying vacuum chamber include books, legal documents, financial papers, parchment and more.
Because our work revolves around repairing damage caused by water (not to mention fire and mold), we at SERVPRO of North Hollywood sometimes forget that home and business owners don't always realize just how much damage a little water can cause to their property.
If ignored, water damage can grow more severe over time and become more difficult and expensive to repair. It can also cause additional problems, such as mold growth, so it's important to have the cause of water damage both quickly and properly assessed to prevent the damage from becoming worse.
Here are a few examples of the kind of damage even a little water can cause to your property if left unchecked.
Pipes and Plumbing Fixtures
Leaks from pipes and other plumbing fixtures such as faucets, shower heads and toilets are a common cause of water damage. So before the water has even spread, damage has likely already happened in the form of rust and corrosion to pipes, fittings or other metal that comes in contact with the water.
To mitigate further damage from plumbing leaks, be sure to have a licensed plumber inspect and repair or replace damaged plumbing systems as soon as possible.
Walls, Ceiling and Floor
Whether it is the slow drip from a leaky pipe or duct work or the rush of flood water from a storm or a sewage and toilet overflow, your walls, ceiling and floor are likely targets for water damage. Drenched plaster, soaked carpets and ceiling tiles weakened by the flow of water are obvious areas in need of repair and restoration, but don't overlook what you cannot see.
Water can also cause damage inside of walls and under carpet, risking rot to the wood frames and floors if not properly dried out. And, of course, perpetual dampness can also create the perfect conditions for mold to grow and spread, requiring professional mold remediation.
Furniture and Other Possessions
While repairing or replacing water damaged pipes and carpets can be aggravating, dealing with the loss of personal items can be heartbreaking. Once water seeps into furniture or worse, papers and treasured photographs, the clean up should only be handled by a highly-trained and certified team of professional restoration experts.
Before the worst water damage happens, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. With years of experience and advanced technology, we'll work to clean and restore your water damaged property and preserve your precious keepsakes.
What Do Fire Restoration Companies Do?
When your home suffers damage after a fire, SERVPRO of North Hollywood can clean and restore your property to its pre-fire condition.
When fire threatens your property, the first and most important thing is to ensure you and your family are safe. The second most important thing is to alert the local fire department so they can respond quickly and minimize the damage to your home and belongings.
Once the flames are out and the smoke clears, however, many homeowners are left with more questions than answers. Is it safe to re-enter your property? Which of your possessions can be recovered and restored? Will my insurance company cover the costs of repairing the damage?
To answer these questions, we recommend calling a professional fire restoration company such as SERVPRO of North Hollywood right away. Here's why.
We Inspect the Damage and Can Protect Your Property
Before you return to your home, an experienced team of technicians should carefully assess the damage caused by the water, fire, smoke and soot. Besides evaluating the extent of the damage for insurance purposes, it is important to also assess the risks for additional harm to the property.
Since fire damage can compromise windows, walls and roofs, our team will board up openings and place tarps to help protect your property from further loss.
We Remove and Dry Out Fire Hose Water
Sometimes the worst fire damage isn't caused by the flames themselves but from the large amount of water necessary to douse them.
Fire restoration companies such as SERVPRO of North Hollywood can also work to quickly mitigate water damage by extracting any standing water and drying and dehumidifying the remaining moisture in flooring, walls and furniture.
We Properly Clean up Smoke and Soot Damage
Even when a structure escapes the wrath of a fire's flames (such as with nearby wildfires), it can still bear the brunt of damage from smoke and soot. While less frightening then the fire itself, the damage caused by smoke and soot can still be extensive, especially if left untreated.
Porous surfaces, such as stone tile or countertops can become discolored from the acidic chemicals found in soot. Smoke, of course, can contain toxic gases which can then be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. In short, it is just as important for your health and safety to properly clean smoke and soot damage as it is to address damage cause by actual flames.
We Restore Your Property
Ultimately your goal is to return your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Because SERVPRO of North Hollywood is licensed in the state of California as a general building contractor, we can go beyond mitigation and clean up from water and fire damage to replace drywall, install new carpet or other construction services and restore your property "like it never even happened."
Where to Look for Mold in Your Home
If you find or suspect mold growth in your kitchen, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood right away.
According to the documentary film Moldy, more than half of U.S. homes have a mold problem. While homeowners often know they need mold remediation following flooding and water damage caused by water leaks, burst pipes, sewage backups or storms, many don't realize mold can still be found in your home without a precipitating disaster.
In fact, many homeowners are unaware that mold could be present even if there are no obvious signs such as visible staining or a musty odor. So here are a few places you should look for mold in your home, even when you don't see or smell it.
Window Sills and Trim
Aside from a dusting during spring cleaning, you probably don't pay much attention to your window sills and trim. They are, however, prime areas for capturing moisture, particularly if your home has central heating and air conditioning. When the temperature indoors is significantly higher or lower than it is outdoors, condensation can build up on your windows. Mold can grow on your window sills and trim if this moisture leaks on to or soaks into them.
While it might be tempting to try and resolve the problem yourself, say with bleach (don't), keep in mind that mold can also find its way into and behind wallpaper and walls, and the cracks around a window's trim present a golden opportunity for mold to spread to where it can't be easily wiped away.
If you discover mold around your windows, give SERVPRO of North Hollywood a call so we can inspect and assess the damage right away.
Washing Machines and Refrigerators
Both of these household appliances are notorious for providing the perfect conditions for mold growth. In particular, front-loading washers, especially older models, have a gasket around the door that gets wet when in use and then stays wet because the door is usually closed (and sealed) when not in use.
Likewise, refrigerators feature drip pans to collect condensation from the unit. If bits of food also drop into the pan, the underside of your refrigerator becomes an all-you-can eat buffet for mold spores.
While discovering mold in these specific areas may not require professional mold remediation, it is important the affected areas be properly cleaned and treated to prevent mold spores from spreading into other areas of your home.
Many Los Angeles area homes feature central heating and air conditioning and your HVAC system is another important place to inspect for signs of mold. If your air conditioning unit is not draining properly, not only can it cause water damage, it can also create the conditions for mold growth. Or if mold is present in your air ducts, use of your AC or heating system can then spread mold spores throughout your home.
Having your HVAC system routinely inspected and professionally cleaned can not only improve air quality and prevent the spread of mold but can also save you money by extending the life of the equipment.
In short, mold growth can be a serious concern for homeowners, even if you're unaware of its presence. If you discover mold or otherwise suspect mold growth in your home, don't wait for the problem to get worse.
Get help from SERVPRO of North Hollywood and let our certified restoration team take care of you. We specialize in water and mold damage remediation and have the training and expertise to safely handle any mold problem.
3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Water Damage Restoration Company
Dave the desiccant dehumidifier is standing by to dry out large water damaged areas.
Okay, so you've discovered water damage in your home or business. It might be tempting to type "water damage restoration company near me" into the old Google bot and call the first result you find.
But not all water damage restoration companies are the same and when it comes to protecting and restoring your valuable property, you shouldn't settle for less than the very best.
So here are a few quick questions you should always ask before hiring a water damage restoration company to clean up your water damaged property.
Are you licensed and certified?
SERVPRO of North Hollywood's water restoration team is not only highly-trained and experienced, but we're also Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certified (IICRC). IICRC technicians set themselves apart through training, experience and comprehensive examination. By training and following the certification's rigorous standards, our expert water damage restoration technicians ensure the job is done right the first time, every time.
Further, SERVPRO of North Hollywood is also California State Board Licensed as a general building contractor. Why is this important? Hiring a company that can handle both the initial water damage mitigation (placing tarps, removing water and debris etc) as well as the building reconstruction services (repairing drywall, flooring, plumbing and more) can simplify the restoration process and get your property back to preloss condition.
How quickly can you start working?
Flooding and water damage don't wait for business hours and neither should your emergency water damage restoration company. In fact, in many cleaning and restoration incidents, immediate action is needed.
Within minutes, water can quickly spread through your property, saturating and absorbing into walls, carpets, upholstery and more. If left unaddressed, water can swell and break down drywall, tarnish surfaces and provide the perfect conditions for the growth of mold and mildew.
You can expect an immediate response from SERVPRO of North Hollywood, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including all holidays. We not only serve North Hollywood, but also the surrounding areas of Toluca Lake, Universal City and Los Angeles. Our six-step water restoration process, from emergency response to restoration, ensures both quick and thorough action to address your water damage emergency.
What technology do you use?
Every water damage emergency presents unique challenges and SERVPRO of North Hollywood is proud to have state-of-the-art restoration technology available to address virtually every problem.
From our fleet of air movers to our power generators, we have the tools and technology to get you up and running again quickly. We even offer unique systems, such as our vacuum freeze drying chamber to restore water damaged documents and our desiccant dehumidifier (nicknamed Dave) which can start drying a water damaged area within 30 minutes of arrival on site.
In short, when choosing a water damage restoration company, be sure to ask about their experience, responsiveness and technology for quickly and thoroughly mitigating and restoring your home following a water damage emergency.
Or simply call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. Our goal, as always, is to minimize the disruption to your life and business to quickly restore your water damaged property "like it never even happened."
Two Sources of Water Damage That Are "So LA"
Heavy rains are few and far between in Southern California, so Los Angeles homeowners seldom worry about water damage caused by such storms. So while preparing for LA's rainy season even when it's dry is important, there are a couple of other sources of home water damage that property owners across North Hollywood and the surrounding areas should be concerned about, particularly during the hot, dry summer months.
With summer temperatures that reach the upper 90's and low 100's, San Fernando Valley homeowners often run their air conditioning units 24/7. Such heavy usage can create conditions that cause water damage to your property in a couple of ways.
First, as part of the cooling process, a working A/C unit draws water vapor from the air and condenses it into a liquid. That liquid needs to go somewhere. Usually it is piped out of your home by a drain line. However, if the drain line is clogged, water can accumulate into a drip pan which can then overflow. Over time, it is also possible that the drain line or drip pan could become damaged, allowing water to escape through gaps or cracks in the system.
If you depend on your A/C to keep you cool during LA's hottest months, be sure to have it and other elements of your property's HVAC systems inspected and cleaned by SERVPRO of North Hollywood. Regular service helps restore units to peak energy efficiency and reduces the risk of both water damage and mold growth.
One side effect of a lack of raindrops is the need for alternative water sources to keep lawns looking fresh and green. If you haven't yet transitioned to a more drought-tolerant landscape, you probably have lawn sprinklers running on a regular schedule providing much needed water to thirsty grass, shrubs and trees on your property. Because these systems are often set and forget, sometimes homeowners are unaware of problems until the damage is done.
For examples, water sprinklers can cause excess runoff to collect around your foundation. Over time, the water can seep through or even cause cracks in the foundation. Or if the water crests above the foundation line, it can soak into basement or crawl space walls and flooring. One way to proactively monitor this is to keep an eye on your water and sewer bills and look for any unusual spikes that might indicate excessive water usage.Of course if you do discover water damage in you home, SERVPRO of North Hollywood is here to help. For 24/7 service, call us now or send us a message online.
Commercial Property Inspection Checklist
Check the gauge on your fire extinguishers at least once a month. The needle should point in the green area. If not, it may need servicing.
Business owners wear many hats. In addition to being knowledgeable about your actual products and services, owners also often handle accounting, HR, marketing and other duties vital to growing a business. Further, if your business requires a physical location, be it a restaurant, office or retail store, you may also find yourself with some responsibility for the upkeep of the commercial property in which you reside. While building owners and property managers can and should handle maintenance and repairs, if you are considering moving into a new location or simply taking care of the one you already occupy, here is a short checklist of things to inspect to ensure minor issues don't become major disasters.
Visual Signs of Damage
Those water spots on the ceiling. That damp spot below the sink. The crack in the window out back. All minor eyesores and inconveniences that take a backseat to more pressing concerns. All, however, can also lead to bigger problems if left unaddressed. Determining the source of a potential leak now can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in water damage or mold remediation in the future.
Fire Safety Equipment
According to So-Cal State Fire Protection, businesses are required to have fire extinguishers on site and serviced annually. You should also check the pressure gauge monthly and slap a label on a new fire extinguisher so you don't have to guess when you might need to replace it. In addition, you should also test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and promptly replace discharged batteries. And if your commercial property has a sprinkler system, it should be tested annually. Maintaining a business' fire protection systems is vital to both ensuring the safety of the people occupying the building and mitigating property damage in the event of a fire.
Review Ventilation Systems
Unless something goes wrong, vital systems such as your air ducts or HVAC are often out of sight and mind. SERVPRO of North Hollywood professionals can inspect and clean your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to extend the life of your equipment, save you money in the long run and, of course, improve the quality of the air you and your customers breathe.
At the end of the day, business owners can do a lot to take care of your property if you are diligent in your regular inspection and maintenance routines. But if the worst should strike, remember that SERVPRO of North Hollywood is always just a phone call away.
Summer Storm Damage Risks
Storm floods can leave inches of water under your home. Stagnant water can collect bacteria, mosquito eggs and cause excess humidity
Summertime in Los Angeles brings beach days, barbecues and, usually, sunny, cloudless blue skies. Occasionally those skies darken with storm clouds and homeowners are at risk of property damage caused by a number of naturally occurring events. When the weatherman warns of impending summer storms, here are a few things So Cal homeowners should watch out for:
Summer rains often come down fast and hard, especially in the Valleys, leaving LA area properties at risk of flash floods. When your street seems more suited for transport by boat than automobile, keep a close eye on lower lying areas, especially if your house finds itself in the path of runoff from surrounding hills. Basement and crawlspace flooding is a common problem, but other disasters such a sewer backups or leaks from damaged roofs, windows and doors can create inhospitable conditions in your home.
Water damage isn't the only concern for homeowners during summer storms. High velocity wind gusts can join the rain and bring down power lines, sparking fires. Powerful storm winds can also tear shingles off roofs, rip large branches off trees and rattle old windows and doors. While you can prepare for potential water damage from storms even when it's dry, it's harder to prepare for when Mother Nature decides to cave in your roof. Fortunately, SERVPRO of North Hollywood has experience with such disasters and we can help make your home look as good as new.
While seemingly more rare than heavy rain and wind, summer storms also bring lightning and thunder. Indeed, in August, 2017 lightning struck 2,100 times across Southern California in just one week. So while the rumble of thunder might cause you to hide beneath your covers, it's the ensuing lightning strike that can cause bigger problems for homeowners. In particular, lightning strikes can spark fires, especially in the dry and heavily wooded areas of the hills and mountains in Los Angeles, creating wildfires that can rapidly spread and threaten residential and commercial property. While rare, lightning can also strike a home directly, such as one earlier this year in Whittier.
A rare occurrence, particularly in LA, hail can bring its own unique concerns for homeowners. Small hail in Los Angeles causes buzz on social media, but larger hail can actually put holes in your roof and break windows.
So should rain, wind, lightning or even hail damage your North Hollywood, Universal City, Toluca Lake or Los Angeles property, be sure to call SERVPRO of North Hollywood for a fast response, 24/7 and our highly trained restoration technicians will be on the scene to restore your residential or commercial property "like it never even happened."
What You Shouldn't Do When You Find Mold in Your Home
SERVPRO of North Hollywood is available to help if you have mold on your walls in your home or business.
Mold. Just the word can make a homeowner's skin crawl with the idea of the fungi growing in and around your home. Mold, of course, is not all bad. We eat some molds and fungi, such as mushrooms. Mold also helps fertilize soil by breaking down dead vegetation. It even helps cure illnesses with its role in the production of antibiotics, including penicillin.
But when left to grow unabated in your home, the CDC notes that exposure to dampness and mold can cause health effects.
So when you discover mold growing where it shouldn't, there's one thing you should do: call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. Our team of highly-trained and specialized restoration technicians will contain the infestation, remove the mold and contaminated materials, cleanse and restore your home "Like it never even happened."
Should you decide to DIY the problem, however, here are a few things you should not do to clean up mold in your home.
An outbreak of mold can spread quickly. Mold spores are carried throughout your home via heating, ventilation and cooling systems (HVAC). Once they land, staining and further spreading begins immediately. Within 24-48 hours, a small concern can become a huge problem if left untreated.
Don't Use Bleach
Bleach is a common treatment because it does, indeed, kill mold if it comes in contact with it. On non-porous surfaces such as a bathtubs or sinks, bleach may do an adequate job. However, bleach does not soak into porous materials such as wood or drywall. Because bleach kills mold by contact, any mold that takes root deeper beyond your seemingly clean surface will survive to spread another day.
Worse, because bleach is mostly water which is then usually further diluted, unless you use the kind of state-of-the-art dryers we have here at SERVPRO of North Hollywood to completely dry the treated area, you may be inviting a new infestation to grow in place of the old one. Remember, mold LOVES water.
Don't Cover Up the Problem
Given the plethora of mold resistant paints and primers on the market, it may be tempting to slap a coat over the offending area and just cover up the problem. First, there is a difference between a mold resistant coating and a mold killing one. Mold resistant paints and primers don't kill existing mold, but they can help prevent new mold outbreaks from taking root. And while mold killing primers may work on the mold residing on the outer wall, there may be an infestation within the walls that goes untouched. Most importantly, even a good coat of paint fails to address the underlying problems with moisture or water damage that caused the mold.
In short, while DIY options are available, SERVPRO of North Hollywood's seven step mold remediation process, certified technicians and specialized equipment can lessen the mold damage, limit further damage and reduce the remediation costs of a mold infestation. If you've got mold, don't wait, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood today.
How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfire Season
Wildfires are coming. Call us 24/7/365 if you experience fire, smoke or soot damage at your home or business.
Contrary to popular belief, Los Angeles is not actually a desert. But given we Angelinos enjoy roughly 15 inches of rain each year, and that most of it falls during the winter months, it is fair to say LA is a pretty dry place to call home. While that has its benefits (hey, Dodgers games are seldom at risk of a rain out), it also means we find ourselves at risk for property damage caused by wildfires, particularly during the dry summer months.
Like the Boy Scouts, however, Los Angeles area homeowners can "be prepared" for wildfire season and protect their homes from fire, smoke, soot and even damage caused by the water to put out fires.
Create a "defensible space" around your home
Cal Fire recommends two zones that together would slow or even stop the spread of a wildfire while protecting the firefighters defending your property.
Zone 1 is roughly a 30 foot radius around all structures where you should clear any and all dead vegetation while keeping other plants and trees well trimmed and separated from flammable objects such as furniture, play structures or wood piles.
Zone 2 extends to 100 feet out and likewise requires the regular maintenance of grass, shrubs and trees in an effort to mitigate the rapid advance of flames and reduce the fuel available to stray sparks floating on the wind.
Have an evacuation plan
Once fire threatens your home, you may have the option or even be mandated to evacuate the area. Having a wildfire evacuation plan can help ensure you and your family stay safe. In advance of wildfire season, create or review your plan by establishing an emergency meeting location, assembling a supply kit and learning how to shut off gas, electric and water mains.
Use fire resistant materials for home improvement projects
From insulation made with eco-friendly materials such as cellulose to decks built with composite or pressure-treated wood, there are many ways to improve your home that enhance both its value and its resistance to fire damage.
When facing the threat of wildfires, your safety and the safety of your family is paramount. But remember, should wildfires cause damage to your home, whether from the fire itself, the soot and smoke or even water damage from fighting the flames, SERVPRO of North Hollywood has highly-trained and certified technicians who can respond quickly, 24/7/365, to emergencies around the communities of North Hollywood, Universal City, Toluca Lake and Los Angeles.