Archived Blog Posts
Urban Flooding is a part of life. We live in a place where water can’t flow as nature intended. Concrete slows down the absorption of rain into the earth, sewers fill up, then floods happen.
According to FEMA, (Federal Emergency Management Agency), all of us have some exposure to flooding. During the last El Niño event, floods caused considerable damage to property. It’s not just the water that’s the problem, it’s what's in it.
Any water from a flood is considered Category 3 or Black Water. It contains bacteria, microorganisms and possibly raw sewage. If this happens in your home or business, get professionals to clean up the mess.
With three plus million of us living in affected areas, Urban Flooding is a real possibility. SERVPRO of Downey has the all equipment, manpower, and skill to get you thru the flood and make it, "Like it never even happened."
What is Category 3 Flooding?
It is a fact that life on this planet would not exist without water. We drink, cook, bathe, and wash with it. Water makes our food grow. Needless to say,We Need Water!
However, there is another aspect of water we need to consider…Too much of it in the wrong place.Too much rain in a short period of time will bring flooding, this can be devastating.
Flood waters contain Bacteria, Mircoorganisms, and possibly Raw Sewage. Water of this type is known as Category 3 or Black Water…It’s effects can be deadly.
It may surprise you, but large portions of L.A and Orange counties are in flood plains. It is possible we could be dealing with this problem. The procedures are outlined in this link, please read and review it with your staff or family.
Our business, hospital, municipality, school district or home could be affected. Consider the possibilities now and prepare. Understanding what water can do, will help us contend with its effects.
4 Steps to Minimize Your Water Damage
Unexpected things happen and we've all experienced something unexpected sometime or another. In the same vein, water damage happens. It's not a matter of If, but When. We all need to be prepared when it does strike. Follow these 4 steps and lessen the damage of water.
Cut Off the Source:
Take for example a toilet overflowing. You come home to find water all over the bathroom. The first thing you may want to do is clean it up, but we'll get to that part later. Shut the water off to the toilet first. Now, no more water can cause damage. If the source isn't an appliance like a toilet, find the shut off valve to the house and turn that off.
Preserve Your Home:
Now, if the extent of the water is small enough, you can proceed to clean up the water. Rags, mops, & buckets will be useful. You may need to move around furniture to prevent damage. Sewage water should be left alone to prevent further contamination to other parts of the home.
Contact Remediation Company:
Water often causes unseen problems like Mold. To the naked eye we may have dried and cleaned everything. However, under the surface various materials can still be wet. Whether the extent of the water was minor or major, contact a Water Remediation Company. The situation can be assessed by professionals and tested with specialized technology.
Do Not Panic:
Lastly, don't panic. It may be hardest thing to do on this list, which is understandable. Panicking may cause us to make decisions we might regret. We don't want to remove any flooring or carpeting. When all seems lost, professional restoration experts can restore items such as flooring and carpet. If walls are opened, possible exposure to lead and/or asbestos could result.
Water damage happens, don't be caught off guard when it does. Follow these 4 steps to help minimize the damage and help ease the restoration process.
Top 3 Causes for House Fires
There isn't a single person who wants to experience a house fire. Their home ends up getting damaged or destroyed, along with most of their belongings. Yet, even though no one wants to experience a home fire, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) notes more than 360,000 homes fires a year.
A majority of fires are preventable. Are you taking the proper steps to prevent a fire in your home? Note the 3 common causes of home fires:
3) Electrical Equipment & Lighting
Wires, Extension Cords, & Heaters are in almost every home. Malfunctions can cause this equipment to go up in flames. One of the most common is decorative Christmas lights. When left on or unattended for a long period of time, these lights can overheat and cause serious damage.
Keep in Mind...
Unplug electrical equipment that's not in use.
Check any decorative lights periodically to avoiding overheating.
Dryers are commonly known for starting fires, yet many don't take the time to properly maintain their dryer.
Keep in Mind...
Clean out the lint tray after every use.
Never run your dryer without the lint tray in place.
According to the NFPA, 46% of home fires start in the kitchen with cooking. Cooking can easily be distracting, especially when making large meals.
Keep in Mind...
Never leave your stove top unattended.
Keep children away from hot areas in the kitchen.
This information will help you to minimize your risks of a home fire like never before. Aside from this information, Smoke Alarms need to be replaced and tested to help keep your household aware of any potential fire danger. Review and share this information to keep you and your loved ones safe from a home fire.
Prepare for Winter Storms
We have been so long in this drought cycle that the idea of possible storms and flooding just doesn’t seem real.
Prepare now for that possibility. Contact your local DMA (Disaster Management Area), their purpose is to help you get ready and give you the type of information you’ll need in case of flooding from storms.
Look carefully at your sites and determine what the weaknesses are. Put your own disaster response team together and give them the tools they need to keep your operation going.
Lastly, think about who you will call if the worst happens. Do they have the manpower, equipment, and expertise available to make it "Like it never even happened." Ask those questions now, be prepared for the winter storms to come.
Mold is everywhere!!! That is not an overstatement, it quite simply surrounds us. Mold, as a rule, is not a problem, unless it’s indoors. Then, it’s something to be concerned about.
According to the EPA, when mold is found inside a building, it can cause health effects for the occupants. Here’s a link to a very interesting article about mold and your health
When you discover that you have a mold problem, the first thing that you have you have to do is remove the source….. Find the Water Leak and Dry the Area! You’ll need to get a professional mold remediation company involved. They will have the correct drying equipment and moisture meters to determine if the affected area is truly dry. There may even be some reconstruction needed, that’s why it’s vital to have an Honest Company.
As I mentioned, Mold is everywhere, however, it can’t be in your workplace. If you find that you do have a mold issue, call SERVPRO of Downey, we’re happy to be of assistance.
Is Your Home Breathing?
Today’s buildings are more energy efficient than ever before. The way they are designed means that gaps that allow for drafts are almost nonexistent, that’s good for your electric bill, not so great for people.
Buildings are like people, they need to breathe. When there is poor ventilation, problems can arise.
One of the many problems that poor ventilation causes is increasedMold Growth. Mold thrives in areas that have little air movement, so if you’ve had a water loss (even a small one) mold will begin to grow.
So make sure that the water is cleaned up and that the effected areas are really dry. This is especially true for carpets, drywall, or any other materials that are absorbent. According to EPA, "The best way to control mold growth is to control moisture."
The best way to determine dryness is with a Moisture Meter. You can pick them up online, or at big box store. SERVPRO® of Downey is ready to come out and test any possible effected areas.
The Best Way to Control Mold
The growing concern with mold in our environment is valid. Mold, in its various forms can pose a real health hazard. This is especially true in schools and commercial buildings. As Administrators or Facility/Risk Managers, you have to be pro-active when dealing with this issue.
There is no such thing as a mold free building, mold spores are everywhere. These spores are very small and will be set in motion by the slightest movement. Once they're air borne, they eventually can settle on any surface. What's the best way to control mold?
One primary way to keep mold under control is good ventilation. Second, repairing all water leaks as soon as possible. If wet spots were to occur, clean and dry within 48hrs. If you work in a school or large commercial building, this article by EPA, (Environmental Protection Agency) will be a helpful guideline in the mold remediation process.
If you find that there is a mold issue at one of your sites, SERVPRO® of Downey are experts in the field. We can provide the right advice to keep your schools & office buildings a healthy environment.
Always Be Prepared
That’s what I learned from the Boy Scouts, it’s something I still try and use today. It takes more time and requires more effort, but in the long run, it eliminates unwanted stress.
We know the amount of damage winter storms can do.Now is the time to Prepare. But how?
SERVPRO® of Downey has a few suggestions: (1) Clean Off your Roofs (2) Clear your Gutters and Downspouts. That doesn’t sound like much, but it can make a huge difference. Standing water on a flat roof is a formula for disaster.
Just in the past few months we’ve inspected and removed leaf and debris from over one million sq ft of roofs. Our inspection involves more than just climbing a ladder and telling you what we saw, documentation with photos and a report is what we provide. If further action is needed, you have the info in hand. As I mentioned earlier, this type of preparation requires more time and effort, but it saves so much stress and money. Call SERVPRO® of Downey and see the difference we make.
Earthquakes can happen anytime, without warning. The shaking usually lasts less than 1 minute, but that minute can cause great disaster as most of us saw in Mexico 2017. Aftershocks follow but are typically less severe then the initial shock. Are you prepared for when an earthquake happens?
What to do During an Earthquake:
If you're in a building or home, Drop, Cover, & Hold On. Best place to be is under a table sturdy desk. Stay away from windows, glass, or any objects that might fall or break.
If you're outside, move away from any buildings, streetlights, or electrical wires. And don't forget to Drop, Cover, & Hold until the shaking stops.
If you're driving, stop the car as soon and as safely as possible. Operating the car may be difficult with the shaking.
What to do After an Earthquake:
Assess the damage of your location. Clean up any glass or fallen items that may have broke during the earthquake.
If you're trapped somewhere, stay calm. Use your phone to get help. Knock on a pipe or wall so authorities can locate you.
Have your Go-Bag ready and prepare yourself for aftershocks.
Are Lead Contaminates in Your Home?
Lead is scary word for allot of people, much like Mold has become. But like Mold, Lead is everywhere. So how do we keep ourselves free from harm?
What Is Lead?
According to EPA, Lead is a naturally occurring element. While it has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals causing of health effects.
Lead has been found in a variety of products found in and around our homes, most notably is Paint. Lead in paint has many benefits. It drys faster, shines better, blocks sound & radiation, and prevents the growth of mildew. Along with paint, ceramics, plumbing materials, solders, gasoline, batteries, ammunition, cosmetics, and toys have been found to contain lead.
When Lead Becomes Toxic:
Lead enters the body through inhalation or consumption, those are the only ways. Lead becomes toxic when disrupted.
Ex. Lead paint in a home is not harmful, unless the paint is peeling or chipping. If the paint is disrupted, lead dust can spread in the air and into your lungs. Children may be tempted to eat paint chips or rub their hands on the walls where disrupted lead paint is present. This presents a serious health hazard to the child.
Both Adults and Children absorb lead at different rates. After the limit is reached, effects may be more harmful.
Identify Effects of Lead:
Lead attacks almost every part of your body, making you feel sick. It can also do damage to your brain, lower your IQ, cause stomach problems, hearing problems, birth/pregnancy defects, and kidney failure.
Lead effects can also be unnoticeable too. A BLL (Blood Lead Level) test will give an approximation of how much lead is in your blood.
Lead in Your Home:
Yes lead is probably in your home now, whether in the form of paint or household products.
Visit the EPA & CPSC websites for more information on Lead and certain items that can affect you and your family.
SERVPRO® Technology: Hydroxyl & Ozone Generators
What are Hydroxyl & Ozone Generators: These generators work hard at removing odors. Both use Ultra Violet light to break down odor molecules. Ozone generators though have to be set up in unoccupied areas, whereas Hydroxyl generators have more leisure. Because of this standard, Ozone usually is quicker and more effective. Hydroxyl may just take longer to work around everything in the occupied space.
Why are they important: Both of these machines do their job well at removing odors in the air as well as materials where odor is present. That's what makes them so effective and useful. Do you have a musty smell from a water damage or the smell of smoke from a fire? No worries, these machines can make your house smell like home again.
3 Things Every Customer Should Know About Mitigation Companies
This is interesting data from our SIU department we thought you readers would appreciate.
Unlike most mitigation companies, we have a Special Investigation Unit (SIU). From over 1500 investigations performed for Insurance Carriers, Property Managers, Cities, etc, we have aggregated & analyzed the data from the last couple years.
Here are 3 Things All Customers Should Know:
1. OVER 90% of the time the customer was OVERCHARGED an average of 40-60%.
2. Industry standard for drying is 3-5 days (per IICRC). In most cases mitigation companies are charging for 10 days or longer. Have you ever asked them “Why”?
3. 99% of the time mitigation companies cut the drywall, have you ever asked "Why"? In many instances, IICRC guidelines recommend “in-place drying” since it is safe and reduces cost.
We fully understand that mitigation and/or restoration companies stand to make a lot less money on each project. However, the benefits to you are reduced: Cost(s), Business Interruption, and Overall Collateral Spend.
Accidents happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a victim! - If you feel you have been overcharged, send us an old estimate and we’ll do a ‘quick review’ for free. Maybe you are one of the lucky 10%.
We hope one day we can work together…SERVPRO® of Downey puts its partners before its pocketbook.
National Preparedness Month; Why it Matters to You.
Scar from Lion King said it best,"Be preeeepaaaared!"It's September, National Preparedness Month. A month where all are reminded that we and our families must be ready to take action when a disaster strikes and be prepared.
This is not a month for 'doomsday prepping'. For gathering beans, building bomb shelters, or installing ham radios. Rather it's a time to Learn, to Listen, and to Prepare. The recent Wildfires of California remind us of the importance of disasters and how quick things can escalate.
Consider these questions with your family:
- Do we have enough supplies to last us before first responders arrive?
- Do we have skills such as CPR & First Aid?
- Do we know our insurance policies and coverage for disasters such as a flood, earthquake, or fire?
- Do we have emergency savings?
Consider your circumstances. What disaster is most likely to happen where I live? This #NationalPreparednessMonth get involved in the conversation. Follow the hashtag above along with #NatlPrep & #PrepareNow.
Disasters don't plan ahead, but you can. Don't risk the safety and welfare of your family. SERVPRO of Downey urges you, be prepared.
To find out more about #NationalPreparednessMonth visit here.
SERVPRO® Technology: Air Movers
What are Air Movers?: Air Movers are specialized fans, industrial fans. They come in different sizes for different drying system uses. One thing they all have in common is that they move or blow air around a job sight. The result of that moving air allows the wet areas to dry.
Why Are They Important?: Air Movers are crucial to the drying process of any job. More fans doesn't necessarily mean faster drying. These fans are placed strategically for optimal drying time. After 3-5 days of constant use, the wet area will be dry.
Though they don't work alone. Dehumidifiers carry a heavy responsibility on the job sight by removing any moisture in a room. A separate post will be available regarding dehumidifiers and their functions.
Cocktail of the Week: Old Fashioned
The term Cocktail first came into existence in 1806 for a drink that included Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters.
Welcome to our first installment of Cocktail of the Week! A new post will occur every Friday breaking down the common and not too common cocktails for your enjoyment.
1) But...Why cocktails? You guys are a SERVPRO?
Hey! Great question, well if there's something that we all here at SERVPRO like to do it's have a nice cocktail. We're guessing you enjoy the same.
The Old Fashioned
It's the OG, the grand-dad, the mecca of all drinks. Not only is it delicious to drink, but it's easy to make and easy to mess up.
Spirit: Whiskey (Rye preferably)
Sweet: Sugar (Simple Syrup preferably)
Bitter: Angostura Bitters
In a Whiskey glass combine:
1 TSP - Simple Syrup
3 Dashes - Bitters
2 oz - Whiskey
Place Big Ice Cube in glass and stir for 25s
Pro Tip: If using Rye, garnish with Lemon Twist. If using Bourbon, use Orange Twist.
For more information on the Old Fashioned check out this link.
Is Your Pet Lost? We'll Help!
We know how it feels when our furry friends run away, that's why SERVPRO of Downey wants to help.
If your pet is lost in the local Downey area:
1) Send us a photo of your pet with all the necessary info you want to include and we'll post it on our social media.
2) Post it on your social media and tag us @SERVPROdowney and we'll repost it.
It can be stressful when the family pet is missing, but it doesn't have to be. We'll help spread the word as best as we can. #HereToHelp
SERVPRO of Downey's Quest for the Holy Bourbon
Baudoinia growing on a whiskey barrel house.
If there's anything you should know about the South, it's that they pride themselves on their hospitality. And they certainly deliver on that. Visiting Tennessee (SERVPRO homeland) and Kentucky (Bourbon homeland) was a great adventure.
We tackled the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, visiting 13 distilleries, getting a booklet stamped at each.
On our quest we learned about Baudoinia.
What is Baudoinia?
Baudoinia is a phenomenon that takes place where ever whiskey is being made. It's a black fungus that occurs on buildings, signs, trees, and other things that might be in the area. Despite its appearance it's totally safe.
Airborne Ethanol + Moisture = Baudoinia.
Fun Fact: Authorities used to track down illegal Moonshine distillers by looking for black trees, a sign of Baudoinia.
Eliminate Excessive Dust
Dust are fine particles of matter, ranging from dirt, hair, pollen, and fibers.
Dust seems to be everywhere, always. At home and work, especially in the most complicated places.
Do you feel no matter how hard you clean, dust still keeps coming back? Here might be the reasons.
1) HVAC Filters
Your HVAC system is the prime suspect to sending dust about your home or business. Do you know the last time your ducts were cleaned? Ducts collect dust, debris, & fungus. This mess can end up wearing out your HVAC filters, which could potentially cause sickness.
Buy the proper HVAC filters with a High Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. The EPA recommends changing those filters every 2 months along with a regular duct cleaning service every 3-5yrs depending on use.
2) Leaking Ducts
Speaking of ducts...yours might be leaking. Leaking ducts are guaranteed to scatter dust. This can also effect your utility efficiency.
Hire a professional duct sealer to seal your ducts and prevent dust from escaping.
Dust doesn't have to take over your home or business. At SERVPRO®, we offer such services mentioned above. From water to fire even dust, we're here to help. (562) 392-3007
Home Fire Sprinkler Day
The great majority of fire deaths in America happen in a home. What's the solution to this nationwide problem?
NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition-Canada are initiating Home Fire Sprinkler Day.
The goal is to have safety advocates host at least one sprinkler-related event in all 50 states and in some Canadian provinces and territories.
These events will focus on the benefits of having home fire sprinkler systems. The results are amazing to see what sprinklers can do for you and how they work to save lives.
Taking action is easy. Join the conversation online by following the hashtag or attend one of these events nearest to you. Visit the NFPA's website for more info on #HomeFireSprinklerDay
Building Safety Month
Disasters are overwhelming....
We can't, however, stop them from happening. But we can prepare for them. Making sure your family is prepared before a disaster is crucial.
Have a Family Disaster PlanMake sure everyone has enough food and water. Have any important documents easily accessible. Review your evacuation route and meet up points with your family.
Review the plan when necessary to update any changes.
Building safetyCodes are put in place to make sure you're getting the upmost protection for your home or business. When those codes are followed and exceeded, you can be sure your home or business is ready to withstand any disaster.
To learn more about National Building Safety Month visit: https://www.iccsafe.org/about-icc/building-safety-month/2018-building-safety-month/
How to Clean Condenser Coils
Any sort of coiled equipment collects dust. Don't believe us? Go look under your refrigerator. All those coils that are used to keep your food cold collect dust. Some are good about regularly cleaning them, others...not so much. I'm sure the last thing we're all thinking is, "I need to clean the coils under my fridge!"
Fridges, A/C units, and heaters are all notorious for dust. The danger? Too much dust can cause your machine to overheat, and not function as effectively as it should.
How to Clean the Coils
- Have a vacuum handy, specifically one with an extension hose. Use the hose to suck up any dust the coils are collecting.
- You may not have a vacuum that fits where the coils are placed. Use a feather duster wand or hairdryer to get the dust. Simultaneously have the vacuum right there to collect any lose dust that might be floating around.
- If you want to do a more extensive cleaning, make the piece of equipment you're working with lighter. That may mean emptying out your fridge, unfasten an A/C unit, and tilt the machine for easy access.
Once you're done, your coils will be nice and clean and ready to work at full capacity.
Mold Remediation & Restoration Process
Our specialty here at SERVPRO is a little R&R... Remediation and Restoration.
How does mold play into situation?
Mold is most likely to grow where there is moisture and humidity. That means, after you've suffered a water damage the chance of mold growth is highly likely.
How is mold remediated?
First step is clear out any traces of the water damage if one occurred. Next, a containment will be set up so mold growth is contained. After that, a cleansing of the air must take place. Various air units will be placed to filter the air and mold spores that might be present throughout. Lastly all mold affected materials will be removed.
Don't let the media scare you. The mold removal process is easy. Call SERVPRO of Downey with any questions: (562) 392-3007
A Moldy Situation
What is Mold?
Mold is classified as an organism, yet it is neither a plant nor animal.
When you think of mold you probably think of that green fuzzy stuff you find on your bread when it's been in the pantry too long. Or maybe you think of the black dots you find in your shower or around your kitchen sink.
It's true, mold comes in various forms and different colors.
What Does it Matter?
Something you may or may not remember from science class is that mold travels through the air. Yes it's everywhere, but you can't see them. It's only when they attach themselves to other organic material that they become visible.
You may wonder..."Is there mold in my house or business?"
The answer is yes, since mold spores are airborne. Don't worry though, call SERVPRO of Downey when you can see it.
Standing Roof Water
Is standing water on a roof a real problem?? You might think... it'll evaporate and go away.
Water weighs over 8lbs per gallon. Imagine two or three inches of water on the roof…. That extra weight causes a real strain on the roof. This can lead to a collapse that will be very costly or worst yet injury or death.
This is a major problem with simple solution: Inspect the roof and clean off the debris. It’s just that easy…. Taking the time to do that now, will save you heartache and money in the future.
These are easy steps to implement : (1) Inspection (2) Remove debris and clear drains and downspouts . Follow this advice and keep the roof over your head and your hard earned money in your pocket.
You May Need a H.A.T.
Over the weekend, you get a water leak. By the time you get to work on Monday all the water is gone and the walls and carpets look and feel dry to the touch.
So, there’s nothing to be concerned about…. The walls and carpet are a little damp, but they’ll dry out in a few days right? How can you be sure that everything is really dry?
SERVPRO of Downey along with Science can answer that question. In order to properly dry out an area, you need a H.A.T (Humidity…. Air… Temperature). By using a simple formula, you can be certain of the drying process.
SERVPRO of Downey, uses the most modern equipment. Everything from Moisture Meters to Thermal Imaging Cameras. This type of technology and our expertise gives the assurance that what feels dry is really dry.
Focus, Focus, Focus
There are distinct advantages to being the Best in your Field. It’s good to have the respect of your peers and the resources to grow the company. As the man once said,“ It’s good to be the King."
One big disadvantage to being #1 is the loss of FOCUS. By definition, focus is “having something as the center of interest or activity." When a person, company, or organization losses focus, everything suffers.
The loss of focus can cause you to forget what the objective is. Some will begin to squander time, assets, and energies. They lose direction, go off course, and eventually all forward progress stops.
Think about how that effects you as an organization. To have dealings with a vendor or supplier who’s not focused on your needs is a little insulting. Basically, what they're saying is, “I’ll take your money, but you don’t matter."
In the remediation industry this happens all to often. Companies are called in an emergency, at that time you’re the priority. But, if a bigger job comes along you may have a hard time getting calls returned...That's not nice .
A 2nd definition of focus is, “pay particular attention to something or someone." This is how we, SERVPRO® of Downey, operate. We focus on you until the job is completed. Your needs will be our center of interest.
Being the type company of that pays attention to details is what's made us the best in our field. Our objective is not to waste your time, assets, or energies. When a Water, Fire, or Mold Emergency happens, call us. We'll be ready.
Prevent Home Fires: Dryer Vents
For most of us, convenience is everything. This is especially true in our homes. Imagine where we would be without the Air Conditioner, Dishwasher, or Microwave. You may remember the days of collecting all your quarters and going down to the Laundromat to do laundry. However, there was a benefit to that.
The benefit: not having to clean your Dryer Vents. Hardly any of us think about cleaning our vents or even know we should be. The fact of it is Lint accumulates in our dryer vents overtime. We can see a sample of this when we reload our dryer and clean out the small vent trap. Now imagine that on a larger scale. Say you've lived in the same home for 10-15 years+ and never had the vents cleaned...They'd be clogged!
The truth of the matter is we sometimes take convenience for granted. That mistake could cost us our home, or even our life. Around 2,900 Dryer Fires are reported each year. How can we bring this statistic down? Clean our Dryer Vents.
How do you know if you need your vents cleaned?
- Your laundry may take longer to dry.
- The dryer may be hotter to the touch than usual.
- A burning smell may be present when the dryer is running.
Where do you start? Professionals. Although DIY kits are sold, nothing beats the expertise and assured safety of a professional. Find out more Dryer Vent information here: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/clothes_dryers.html
How El Niño Has Disrupted Lives
"What El Niño?" That's a common sentence you may hear or even express yourself. "El No Rain-o," is how one friend put it to me. Sentiments like these are understandable. For one, El Niño storms are highly unpredictable & difficult to forecast. The weather report will say one thing, but then the storm takes a completely opposite turn. Then there's our location, Southern California. Certain aspects of the storm will effect us either more or less then other locations.
Frankly, we didn't see as much of El Niño as we all heard. But just because we may not have felt much of the effects, does it mean it was any less powerful? Does it mean that El Niño won't effect your life? Let's consider the facts.
Paraguay - A number of 130,000 had to flee their homes due to flooding. The country hadn't seen such flooding due to El Niño in 50 years. The country suffered the worst in Asuncion, where the country's main river is located.
Brazil - 40 towns were displaced and forced to leave their homes due to flooding. The local rivers overflowed as the heavy rains came down. In Uruguay thousands spent days homeless until the water levels subsided.
Consider the other side of the coin. In India, the drought is causing local farmers into day-labor jobs. Millions continue to struggle as they deal with the lack of rain. The main topic for concern though is the Sugar. Since the crops aren't getting the proper amount of rain, a sugar shortage is expected, meaning higher sugar prices.
South Africa is suffering a similar story. South Africa grows and exports Corn for themselves and neighboring country's. However, due to the lack of rain, crops are not growing like before. The cost of corn in South Africa has risen, much like the sugar in India. They've been forced to import it to deal with the demand.
El Niño effects humans in another way, the air we breath. The NOAA recently noted quite an increase in Carbon Dioxide the past year. Think about it... Plants grow and absorb the carbon dioxide in the air. But if it's not raining, plants can't grow, and if plants can't grow the carbon dioxide can't be absorbed.
It's evident El Niño is doing some damage. It caused major flooding, a drought, loss of homes, increased vegetation prices, & polluted air. We may not experience the full effects of all these things, but we can't deny the existence of El Niño & the lives it has disrupted. This weather phenomenon is very real.
Welcome La Niña
Welcome La Niña!
According to the NOAA, La Niña has arrived. We may have thought we were going to get through this season without seeing her, but it's official. Signs of her arrival were triggered by cooler sea temperatures over the Pacific. They are estimated to stay at a cooler temperature for several months.
Like her counterpart, El Niño, La Niña causes changes in atmospheric circulation or air movement. These changes affect global weather patterns from a minor to major degree. In and around the northern United States and Canada, La Niña expects to bring cooler weather patterns, which include rain and snowfall. Central and southern parts of the United States are expected to receive drought like conditions.
Weather patterns are ever changing. La Niña and her affects are possibilities and not set in stone. We can welcome La Niña and either look forward to her affects or not.
Water Remediation: Where Problems Arise
Having a water damage is a difficult thing to go through. The damage to your home & belongings can bring stress on any homeowner. You want your home back to normal as fast as possible, that's our job as a water remediation company. But when other water remediation companies don't effectivly perform their services, the worked can get prolonged.
Here's some examples of the most overlooked areas:
1. Moisture Mapping
Water can spread everywhere. Remediation companies come to track it to see where exactly they need to dry. However, when a company fails to locate all the wet areas, that moisture can still cause further damage. A thorough inspection and detailed moisture map will ensure all areas are documented for drying.
2. Drying Time
All areas can be documented, but if the area wasn't dried for the proper amount of time your water damage will continue to occur. Ensuring the area is completely dried can save damage to your home now and in the future.
3. Improper Drying
Even with all the moisture properly documented and dried for a certain amount of days, issues can still occur if improper drying methods are used. Examples include when drying equipment isn't properly placed or when common household fans are used.
SERVPRO® of Downey
The remediation and drying process is a real science. Ensure you hire a company that's properly trained and certified to provide you with the best services for you and your home.
Top 3 Places to Find Water Damage
Take this scenario: You come home from a long day at work. You make yourself some dinner, relax a bit, and enjoy the rest of the evening. It's now 10pm and you decide to go downstairs to get some water before bed.
Let me tell you...You got water alright.
You turn on the lights and your kitchen is soaked! The culprit? Your dishwasher. With all the water running from your sink and dishwasher your kitchen becomes a popular location for water damage. Where are other popular places to find water damage?
- Roof: Your roof is a huge protection to your home from the outside elements. The slightest damage to your roof can leave you exposed to internal damage. If you have multi-story home, damage can penetrate not only the 2nd floor but the 1st one too.
What can you do? Have your roof inspected by a professional on a regular basis. About every 3-5yrs depending on the age of your roof and the elements it's exposed to like, rain, hail, or snow.
2. Bathroom: This room, much like the kitchen, has allot of water running through it as well. You have your sink, toilet, and shower. But unlike the kitchen, Black Water aka Sewage Water, can be a real mess.
What can you do? Inspect around your shower & toilet. Look for leaks in the caulking or moisture spots. Under the sink, check the pipes. Make sure they are all tightened.
3. Kitchen: As was stated, Kitchens are notorious for water damage. Your Dishwasher, Sink, & Refrigerator can be time bombs waiting to burst.
What can you do? Check your pipes under the sink, much like your bathroom. If your refrigerator/freezer has a Water & Ice dispenser, check under the fridge for leaking water. As for your Dishwasher, check the escape valve that connects to your garbage disposal. When all the water leaves the dishwasher, it escapes to that valve.
Water Damage doesn't discriminate, it can happen to anyone & at anytime. In fact, the scenario mentioned at the outset happened to one of our own employees. If you find yourself in a similar scenario, SERVPRO® of Downey is just a phone call away from assisting you.
Notice the Unnoticeable
Water damage isn't always noticeable to the naked eye. In fact, it's usually quite sneaky and is found in the most innocent of places. Though sneaky and almost unnoticeable it may be, it can cause massive amounts of damage.
Make it a habit to check these trouble spots for leaks. These trouble spots tend to be hoses. These hoses are connected to your Washing Machine, Ice Maker, and Dishwasher.
Most hoses are rubber, which deteriorates with age. A crack in the hose or rupture can spill gallons of water in a very short time. Take time to inspect these hoses for wear signs.
Proper Maintenance includes:
- Making sure hoses are tightly secured.
- Use Teflon tape to ensure a water-sealed connection.
- Use a Zip-Tie or Duct Tape as extra security for your discharge hose.
- A Drip Pan might be installed under your Washing Machine to catch any leaks before it hits the ground.
Stop the water before it causes damage. Take the necessary action to prevent it as soon as possible. SERVPRO® of Downey is here to help if it's too late.
Enduring Seasonal Allergies
Tis' the season...for getting sick. Many this time of year experience the cold or flu. Such symptoms couldn't come at a more inconvenient time for people.
As much as we hate getting sick, we may bring it on ourselves. How so?
A recent study by a New York based Medical University showed that Christmas Trees could be affecting our allergies. These allergy symptoms could be due to mold spores found on Christmas Trees.
Don't be alarmed, mold spores are naturally found on organic materials like a tree. When those spores are aggravated due to temperatures or moisture, said symptoms can take effect.
Here's what we should remember about this Christmas Tree Syndrome:
- If we don't have any sensitive allergies, we probably don't have to worry about it.
- If we do have said allergies, use an air purifier, get rid of the tree as soon as you're done with it, or even better get an artificial one.
Most importantly, stay healthy this holiday season.
How to Get Rid of Common Household Stains
There's nothing more frustrating than getting a stain on a new rug or piece of furniture. Sadly, no matter how clean we may be it's not a matter of if it'll happen, but a matter of when.
The key to getting out any stain is treating it as soon as possible.
Here's some of the things you'll need:
- Paper Towels/Cloths
- Laundry/Dish Soap
- Hydrogen-Peroxide/Rubbing Alcohol
- Dab stain with paper towels and soak up as much liquid as possible.
- Generously spread salt on the stain.
- Use Club Soda to rinse the stain.
- Dry and Vacuum stain away.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide for tougher stains.
- Dab stain with paper towels and soak up as much liquid as possible.
- Pour cold water on stain to flush out coffee, continue dabbing stain to remove liquid.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap, 1 tablespoon of White Vinegar, and warm water.
- Soak sponge or cloth in solution and blot stain until removed.
Professional Tip: Always dab/blot a stain. Rubbing it in can make it harder to remove.
- Dab with Rubbing Alcohol and soak up as much as the ink as possible.
- Liberally spray with hairspray.
- Use warm sponge or cloth to finish up stain.
- Dab stain with paper towels or cloth to soak up liquid.
- Pour warm water on stain and continue to soak up liquid.
- Blot stain again to dry up.
Tomato Based Stain:
- Remove excess sauce and run cold water through stain.
- Use small amount of laundry detergent to clean stain.
- Cold water, Blot, and Dry.
Aside from the common methods above, retail Stain Removers can also be useful. Be sure to check the instructions so you will not damage any home furnishings.
National Preparedness Month
It's National Preparedness Month this September. It's a time to focus and to prepare for when a disaster may strike. This years theme is:
"Disasters Don't Plan Ahead. You Can."
How true that statement is. We usually have little to no warning when a disaster will strike, but that doesn't mean we're completely hopeless. With proper preparation, whether we're at work, school, or at home, we can be ready to act.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates and tips on how you can better prepare. Spread the word, share it with your family, co-workers, and school mates.
In line with National Preparedness Month we'd like to extend our thanks for all the volunteers who've gone out to help those in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. SERVPRO® is working hard out there to get people back in there homes.
SERVPRO® Technology: Moisture Meters
These Moisture Meters are considered Penetrating Meters due to the probing pins.
What Are Moisture Meters: Moisture Meters are relatively the same size as Thermo Hygrometers. These meters have pins for tapping and locating moisture on walls and ceilings.
Why Are They Important: These moisture levels that the meter taps allow our technicians to know exactly where water is hiding in your walls. This allows them to treat damaged areas and not compromise any undamaged section.
This meter is used each time a home is monitored. It allows us to know the section is drying properly and quickly.
SERVPRO® Technology: Thermo Hygrometers
What Are Thermo Hygrometers: Thermo Hygrometers are about the size of a TV remote. This tool is used to measure Humidity levels in the air. It also reads the temperature.
Why Are They Important: These Humidity levels are important when water damage has occurred. It allows us to see how severe the damage is. The higher the Humidity, the more likely the water in the air will penetrate the walls and ceiling. Humid air feels stuffy and musty.
These Humidity levels are checked each time we monitor a home. The lower the levels tells us it's drying properly.
Disasters can take allot from your home. Your belongings, family heirlooms, your furniture, piece of mind, and even your important documents. Our job is to make your house a home again and restore back to you what's possible.
Many don't realize just because their documents are water damaged doesn't mean they can't be restored. Aside from restoring your documents, we can help you prepare for a disaster by backing your documents up. Whether big or small, we help hospitals, schools, and government agencies to make sure they are protected no matter what disaster may come their way.
Contact SERVPRO® of Downey for more information.
Tip: Store all your important documents in a fire proof file cabinet. Doing so can save you allot headaches.
Can You Smell that Smell?
It's that time of year, the time when you turn on your heater. It doesn't happen too often, in fact hardly ever some years. When you do, though, it's for good reason. But have you ever noticed a funny smell when you turn your heater on?
If you have, you're not the only one. In fact, it's quite common. But you still shouldn't ignore it. Depending on the type of smell, there might be a fairly easy solution or a real situation. So what does your heater smell like?
Does it smell Damp or Dusty?
That's normal. Dust and dirt will collect in the ducts over time. When the heat kicks in, the dust can release a smell when it gets blown about the house. If the smell lingers after multiple uses a new filter may be needed.
Does it smell like Oil or Smoke?
This can be of serious concern. Oil may be leaking, that is if you have an oil furnace. Such a leak may put you at risk for fire damage.
Does it Smell Musty?
A musty smell could signify Mold, either in the unit or filter itself. Inspect, Clean, and Replace as needed to protect your home from Mold.
Does it Smell like Burning Plastic or Electrical?
An object may be in the duct that is overheating and causing the smell. It could entail something much more serious like the units motor overheating. Contact an experienced technician to inspect the electrical of your unit to insure it's working properly.
Next time you smell that "funny" smell, don't ignore it.
Cleaning Your Air Conditioner
Most of us don't give any attention to our Air Conditioner Unit until it goes out. Then, we give it all the TLC we can to get it back in action again. But our A/C Unit needs our attention, not just when it's not working. Especially during these hot summer weeks/months ahead, we need to give our A/C Unit the attention it deserves.
If you have a large HVAC system, refer to this article on how to check and properly clean it.
In this section we're going to briefly discuss cleaning Window Units. A quick clean every month will keep your portable A/C unit working effectively.
How to Clean:
- First, unplug the A/C Unit.
- Proceed to remove the front cover, or vent. This may need to be screwed off.
- Once the cover is off, the filter should be right behind it. Remove the filter from the unit.
- Take the front cover and filter and clean them with soap & water.
- Once every thing is completely dried, put the filter and cover back on.
You A/C Unit is now cleaner and will deliver the best possible results on any setting.
Flooding in Europe - 2016
Starting last week, Paris was struck with a heavy downpour. Such extreme rainfall caused concern for Flooding. So far, the deluge has caused massive damage. So much so that its taken 18 confirmed lives and almost a billion euros in damage. The Louvre, a museum housing some of the most historic pieces of art, was evacuated in order to avoid damaging any art pieces.
Paris wasn't the only place to fall victim to these heavy rains. Germany was also effected by the rain and deadly floods. Interestingly enough, this flooding took place in May. Past records show most cases of flooding in Paris took place in the Winter months. This was due to heavy rainfall and flooding of the nearest river basin, The Seine. This is the very same basin that flooded this past week.
Unfortunately, Europe isn't the only place where this is happening. Houston & Florida are currently experiencing the same problem. This is a problem that we at SERVPRO® are certainly aware of. The after effects of dealing with flood damage can be overwhelming for those involved. We all hope Europe fully recovers from the extensive damage.
RIP El Niño - 2016
The weather phenomenon known as El Niño has passed. As of this past week, climate indicators have returned back to more neutral levels. Which can mean only one thing... El Niño is gone. Some may dispute whether it was even here in the first place.*
Nonetheless, it had quite a reputation. Mostly from its 97-98 El Niño relative. But even with all the hype, it couldn't live up to its expectations. It certainly gave the best it had, delivering various storms and blizzards, and still leaving behind a drought.
We tip our hats to you El Niño as we make way and prepare for your counterpart La Niña.
*Read our past article discussing how El Niño has disrupted lives.
6 Tips to Survive the Summer Heat
Summer...the kids love it. It's a time for pool parties, BBQ's, beach day's, and just relaxing. But summer days can be grueling. The heat can be unbearable. No matter how much water you drink or how much ice cream you eat, you just can't seem to cool down.
Whether you have A/C or not, these tips can help you stay comfortable this summer.
Close Blinds/Curtains: Don't let the heat in. Give your home some shade by keeping the blinds or curtains closed.
Fans: Regular oscillating fans are life savers. Open a window and place the rear of the fan towards the window. Doing so will push hot air out.
Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans only circulate air, giving the impression that it's cooler then it really is. Set the fan to counter-clockwise mode will pull up all the hot air, so it's not lingering around you.
Bed Sheets: Throw your sheets in the freezer! It's the opposite of an Electric Blanket. But works wonders on those sleepless nights when the summer heat is keeping you up.
Limit Oven Use: Using the oven can heat up the kitchen and sometimes the entire house. Limiting your oven use can lower the temperatures in you house.
When all else fails, turn on the A/C. If you don't have A/C, using these tips can lower temperatures in your house. However, running the A/C all summer long can skyrocket your bill. These tips can limit your use of the A/C and keep you and your family comfortable this summer.
3 Things You're Forgetting to Clean
It's that time of year again...Spring Cleaning. It comes at a time when you're busy getting your Taxes done and trying to readjust your sleep schedule due to Daylight Savings time.
You may just put off your Spring Cleaning altogether or clean whenever you get the chance. But whether you clean in the Spring or some other time, these 3 things can make all the difference.
Dust is easily overlooked. We may think, "There's so little, nobody will notice it." But they do!
- Dust contains animal dander, insect waste, dirt, & human skin. -
The worst part is that it can be almost everywhere. Counter tops, picture frames, shelves, and glass are notorious for collecting dust.
So grab a few cloths and your choice of dust cleaner. Dust can make all the difference between clean and squeaky clean.
This one might seem scary, but we're not talking about the mold that grows from in your basement or that needs to be handled by a Mold Remediation Company.
- Mold Thrives on Moisture. -
Where is moisture found? Bathrooms for one. With all the water and steam, it creates a perfect environment for mold. Kitchens is another place, specifically around the sink and if you have grout tops. Dishwashers too make a great place for mold to hid.
Look between the cracks in your shower, if you see a black spec, it's probably mold. Check your kitchen area, around your sink and dishwasher, near where the steam comes out.
Did you find any mold? If you did, don't be alarmed. Grab a thick sponge/cloth and multi-purpose cleaner and wipe that mold away. Better to get rid of it now, then later.
3) Cleaning Supplies:
Most of us neglect to clean the tools we clean with. Ironic right? However, failure to clean our supplies can lead to the spread of more bacteria and germs.
Cleaning is as easy as letting your supplies soak for a few minutes. A bucket with hot water and OxiClean powder or Bleach, is all you need to soak your Broom Heads and Brushes.
When it comes to Sponges, you can soak those too. Another option is throwing them in the Dishwasher, just make sure there's no dishes in there.
Any type of Mop Pad or Cloth can be put in the Washer and Dryer. If you have a Vacuum with Bags or Filters, be sure those get changed out. Failure to do so can lead to a clog or malfunction.
It's important to be clean. These 3 things can bring on a new meaning to clean and can really impress your guests. Visit our cleaning services page if you're interested in a deeper cleaning for your home.
Are You Ready For Moving Day?
Tasks go much smoother when you have the proper tools. Moving is no different. A day of what would be full of stress and exhaustion can turn into a process of ease. Having the proper tools contributes to that ease. Here's a few Absolute Essentials that will help make your moving day easier.
- Boxes - This ones a no brainer, having plenty of boxes is a must. A variety of sizes is important too.
- Tape - You can never have enough tape. You'll mostly use Packing Tape. It's good to have Duct Tape too, you never know what you'll run into.
- Markers - It's always good to be organized and markers will help you do just that. Mark the boxes that correspond to a certain room and label them with any other information you may need.
- Packing Paper/Bubble Wrap - Nobody wants their dishes or other fragile items broken during the move. Having plenty of newspaper or bubble wrap can prevent such a disaster.
Those are the Absolute Essentials, the things you need to accomplish your move. But these next things can really impact the ease of it. This list is subjective to you and your move.
- Bungee Cords/Straps
- Blankets, Towels, Tarps
- Food & Water
If you have allot of boxes and fewer people, a Dolly would be great to have. Not only would it take the load off your helpers, but it would also cut down on time. If you have more furniture then boxes, a Furniture Dolly may suit you better then an upright one.
Gloves may come in handy if you need a little extra grip. Scissors/Blades can be of use when dealing with difficult tape. A Toolbox would prove useful too when certain furniture needs taken apart or doors need to come off.
If your transporting the items yourself, Bungee Cords & Straps are recommended. A supply of old Blankets, Towels, or Traps can provide protection for your furniture as well.
Last but not least, having enough Food & Water. All this work is going to get you and your helpers hungry & thirsty. Have enough nourishment to get you through the move.
Let's face it, Moving is tough, but it doesn't have to be. These tips can help you be prepared and enjoy the move into your new place with ease.
What Happens After El Niño?
"El Niño, El Niño, El Niño," it's all you have heard this past year. Your friends talk about it, your family, your co-workers, but the opinion always differs. Our last article about the topic helped explain what El Niño really is & cleared up some misconceptions. Now we'll see what the future has in store for El Niño.
Pre/During - El Niño:
El Niño has been at it since late November to early December. Locally, we've seen some rain, not as much as anticipated, but it definitely came. Other areas saw changes too. For instance, the weather in New York was tame this December. By tame, I mean while it was raining here, it was nice and sunny over there. The Northern States such as Washington & Oregon also saw a drier Winter.
Then there's the Drought. El Niño did help improve its conditions. The reality though is that this drought has been years in the making. One El Niño season isn't going to rid it. But we'll take all the help we can get.
Post - El Niño:
As El Niño storms are fading and walking out the door, La Niña is stepping in...supposedly. Why supposedly? Because it's not for certain, but it is typical. Past El Niño's were typcially followed by a La Niña. If & when La Niña does show, the forecasts will likely be on the drier side. But the real severity depends on what season it arrives.
Stay up to date with our Twitter & Facebook for more information regarding El Niño & La Niña. If your home or office has been effected by recent weather, feel free to contact us at SERVPRO® of Downey. (562) 392-3007
How Your HVAC System is Affecting Your Health
You no doubt cherish your HVAC system. You may use it everyday, especially the AC in the Summer and Heat in the Winter. But your HVAC System is affecting your health.
What You Need to Do:
Change your Air Filters. Air Filters keeps your air clean from Bacteria, Dust, Pollutants, Pet Dander, & Mold. A clogged Filter cannot combat against such things. It also puts strain on your energy bill and HVAC system. A clean Filter ensures your HVAC system operates efficiently.
When to Change Them:
Every 3 Months is typical. Yet, Pets, Children, & Allergies are all variables that may shorten that time to Once a Month.
How to Do It:
Your Air Filters are usually located:
- On Your HVAC System
- Your Ceilings
- Your Walls
Check these areas for Return Vents, these are where your Filters will be. Before removing Filters, make sure your HVAC system is OFF. Then, proceed to remove the Filters.
Take note of their Sizes, they're written on the side of the Filter. Pick up your new Filters at a Hardware Store or store that carries home supplies.
Proceed to install new Filters. Directional arrows on the Filter will help you to install it correctly.
(SERVPRO TIP: Mark the date you installed the Filters to help you remember when to change them out next.)