Category Archives: Safety

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – especially when it comes to keeping your home and family safe. Learn where to go in case of a flood, what to do after a fire, and more.

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Tips for Cleaning Your Home After Water Damage

Tips for cleaning your home after water damage

Water in unwanted places can cause a lot of damage. Not only can it ruin your prized possessions, but also the house in which they are stored. If you’re able to act quickly, you can minimize the damage and possibly save some of your possessions. Some of your success depends on how long the water’s been around, there might be pieces of furniture that can be saved, and sometimes, even carpet, but any electronics hit by water are probably doomed.

Don’t treat flood water in unwanted places lightly: even if your basement only has an inch of water in it, or is even just damp, it is the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold growth not only ruins walls, furniture, carpets, flooring, etc., it can lead to poor indoor air quality causing respiratory problems including asthma, and can lead to severe illness. Preventing mold growth is key to keeping your home’s air clean and healthy. So in addition to calling your insurance company, here are a few tips to deal with your flooded basement and minimize the water damage. (Call your insurance company before you do anything, and tell them what you want to do.)

  1. Disconnect the power, unplug any electronics, and remove electronics, furniture and movable items immediately. The faster you get items out of water’s way, the more likely you’ll be able to save them. Definitely move all electrical items first, and if you can, turn off your power leading into the affected area, especially if water rises above electrical outlets. Pull up any carpets (wall to wall and area rugs) and underpadding. You may be able to save the carpet if you get it cleaned and disinfected, however, it may shrink and be better off as an area rug afterwards. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to save the underpadding, which acts like a sponge and absorbs a lot of water.
  2. Get rid of the water. There are several ways to get rid of the water. If you don’t have power, or are worried about loose wires, the old-fashioned, manual way will work. Use old towels, buckets and mops to soak up as much water as possible. As long as sewers in your neighbourhood aren’t backed up, you can pour the water down the drain, otherwise, pour onto your lawn or other permeable surface. A wet/dry vacuum can be used too, note: be very careful to plug it into outlets far away from water. Don’t use an extension cord as the connection could also short out and give you a nasty shock. Water and electricity don’t mix! If your basement or other flooded area is overwhelming and you have power, consider renting (if available) a sump pump from your local Rent-all or hardware stores. Getting rid of all the water and drying out the area is the most important thing you can do to prevent mold growth.

    drywall cutaway, after flood waters are mopped up

    drywall cutaway, after flood waters are mopped up

  3. Dry out the affected area. Once you’ve mopped up all the water, use fans and  a dehumidifier to help dry out the area. If it’s stopped raining, open windows to allow for air circulation and faster drying. You want to dry the area out as soon as possible. If you have a finished basement and the drywall was affected, you’ll probably have to cut away the areas that were touched by water as the drywall will crumble and the paper backing is a good source of food for mold. If you have baseboard trim, take it up first, and if it’s made from pressboard it will likely not be salvageable. If it was wood, you might be able to save it.
  4. Disinfect. After the area has dried out, including wood beams, insulation, drywall, etc., use a good disinfectant to get rid of any bacteria that might have come up through sewers, toilets, etc. Gloves Off Disinfectant, is a non-toxic but powerful disinfectant. Disinfect all areas affected by the flood waters including walls and wood and non-upholstered furniture that sat in flood water.
  5. Prevent mold growth. After you’ve disinfected and let the area thoroughly dry out, apply Concrobium throughout the affected area according to directions. I can’t say enough good things about this product; it is non-toxic, made with distilled water and inorganic salts. You can use it on furniture, walls, floors, basically anything that is susceptible to mold growth. Once a thin layer of Concrobium is applied, let it dry overnight. As Concrobium dries, it forms a thin layer over any mold that may be growing and actually crushes the roots of the spores. Wherever it’s sprayed will prevent any mold from growing, providing continued resistance. If you’re spraying an entire room, you might want to consider renting a mister from a hardware store such as Home Depot. It’s easy to use and very fast.
  6. Dispose of damaged items responsibly: you’ll be tempted to throw everything into a dumpster and send it all away and out of site. But if you can organize damaged goods into piles and take what you can to recycling centres, you will help alleviate the pressure on your local landfill site. Go to your city or town’s waste management website to find out where to recycle old paints, stains, adhesives and other toxic liquids, any damaged electronics from cell phones to TVs and computers, furniture, and even drywall. You can also look through Earth 911 to find recycling centres in your neighbourhood.
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What Is Water Damage Restoration?

water_7When you’re dealing with water damage it’s crucial that you act quickly in order to minimize the destruction. Your first port of call is to avoid further damage by plugging the leak or stopping the flooding. From there, you and your water damage restoration company can get to work undoing any damage and making repairs to your belongings and your property.

 

In this detailed overview, we’ll look at what water damage restoration services entail and how you can go about preventing further damage to your things.

What Is Water Damage Restoration?

 

Water damage restoration refers to the process of reversing the damage done to a property by water. This damage might be caused by a leak, by flooding or by another event. At any rate, a number of different procedures and tools can be used in order to minimize the cost of the water damage and to salvage belongings that may be financially or sentimentally valuable. When it comes to water damage restoration there are two large certifying bodies that oversee procedures and that ensure everything is handled as it should be. These are the IICRC and the RIA. The majority of water damage restoration companies will use the procedural standards laid out by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) which is called the ‘S500′. Looking for a service that adheres to these guidelines is a good way to ensure a certain quality of service and the best possible outcome. The S500 uses reliable and standardized restoration principles based on research and experience.

What Is Water Damage Restoration For?

If your business or residential property has been affected by flooding of any kind, then your belongings and property will be at risk.

Water can cause severe damage to a building and home. Common problems include water logging for your carpets and furniture, the destruction of electrical equipment, damp seeping into your building leading to subsequent mold, corrosion of other materials, degradation of documents, photos and other printed materials, discoloration of paints, damage to foods and much more. This can be highly traumatic if it results in the destruction of personal affects but it can also cost a huge amount of property damage – particularly for businesses that perhaps depend on certain tools and documents. In some cases, water damage restoration will be used in response to an obvious incident such as a burst pipe. In other cases, though, water damage can be more subtle and gradual. If you have a leak or mold, then water damage can be caused by moisture on a less noticeable scale. This can still be just as dangerous potentially even leading to the softening of building materials which could lead to issues with structural integrity. You might not see the signs of water damage in your home or business initially but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there and that it isn’t potentially a big threat. Sometimes, water damage can even come ‘from within’. This is the case when your bathroom doesn’t have enough ventilation for instance, in which case you can end up with a build-up of condensation and steam. Or, water damage might be very localized and specific to a certain set of documents or an item of furniture. If you drop a large bucket of water, this can cause a significant amount of destruction!

Water damage restoration services then can be used in any manner of situations – from large, dramatic flooding to subtle basement leaks. They can also be used by everyone from families, to landlords to businesses.

This is a crucial service that can save businesses, families, and individuals huge amounts of money and distress when used correctly.

How To Spot Water Damage

Water Damage Restoration Services
Water Damage

As water damage can sometimes be subtle, on occasion it is necessary to look for the signs and symptoms. The sooner you catch water damage, the more of your property can be saved and the less it will cost you – so be vigilant and ever on the look-out for these signs:

 

Water Drips and Puddles

This is an obvious sign that you have water in your property. If you notice puddles building up on your property, then this can be a clear indication of a leak or of seeping/lack of ventilation.

Smell

Sometimes you will be able to smell moisture or even mold in the air. This is again a sign that you may have a leak or a puddle. The amount of moisture in the air does vary, of course, depending on your location and your property. If you suspect you simply live in a very humid area, then you may choose to use a dehumidifier to address the problem without needing restoration services.

Discoloration

Water can cause paint to fade and can also drain the dye out of carpets and furniture. Alternatively, mold might lead to dark patches of green fur.

If your walls or furniture appear light this could also be caused by other things. Sunlight, for instance, can bleach carpet and furniture when it hits them directly for extended periods. This is a sign to be looked for in combination with other issues.

You may even notice water marks on your walls or windows where water has been running down the surface. This is particularly common where you have issues with eaves troughs overflowing or leaking – which commonly lead to other problems such as damage to the foundations or leaking basements.

Soft Patches and Peeling

If moisture has gotten into your walls or flooring, then it can gradually break down the fibers that hold it together. If you notice a dip around your toilet for instance, then you might have a leak. Similarly, if tiles are coming off of your wall, or the wall is soft and crumbling in certain patches, this can similarly indicate a moisture problem.

Cold

If you have a lot of moisture on your walls then this can make your property much harder to heat as it reaches ‘dew point temperature’. This also creates something of a ‘vicious cycle’ where the cold temperature of the walls attracts more moisture and condensation. If your heating bill has gone up inexplicably or the house feels constantly cold, this could again indicate moisture issues of some kind.

There are many other potential signs that you have moisture in your home. If you’re unsure, consult with a specialist who can let you know for certain and provide a quote for restoration services where necessary.

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Extensive Fire Damage and How Fire Damage Restoration Deals With It

Fire alone is incredibly formidable and can cause drastic destruction to any premises. If you have a blaze in your home that goes on long enough, then your belongings will be burned for fuel leaving only ash behind until the entire property is little more than a memory.

If that’s all that extensive fire damage represented then that would be bad enough. In fact though, fire damage is far more extensive and multi-faceted than that and it can impact on your home in ways that you might find almost entirely unexpected. Read on and we will look at the other types of damage caused by fires. To end on a positive note though, we’ll also look at how a good fire damage restoration company will go about undoing each one of these types of damage to get a property back to full health as quickly as possible.

Air Pressure and Shattered Windows

broken glass from extensive fire damage

You might at this point be wondering what’s so interesting and complicated about extensive fire damage. A good example to start off with then, is the way in which extensive fire damage can lead to shattered windows through the power of air pressure.

How does this work? Well essentially, when you have a fire raging in your property, this will be burning by using oxygen for fuel. Oxygen is reactive and when you see a fire, this is actually caused by that reaction.

Extensive fire damage then, removes the oxygen from the air in your home and this in turn creates a ‘vacuum’. That means that there are now fewer air particles in your home and around the fire than there are outside the property. This then causes the air in your other rooms to rush to the fire to feed it – this is due to something called ‘equalization’ which essentially is a fancy way of saying that gas particles in any container always spread out evenly (like a puddle). Remove the air from the living room and more air will rush in from upstairs to even things out.

Eventually though, all the air in your home will have been gobbled up by the fire which will create a massive difference in the air pressure in your home compared to outside. When this pressure difference becomes big enough, this is actually strong enough to cause the air from outside to burst in through the windows causing them to shatter inward. This then showers your property with glass and also causes a hot wind to blow in forcefully to your home!

Water Damage

It might seem like a contradiction but often times extensive fire damage will also lead to water damage. This is why most water damage repair companies also work as fire damage restoration companies.

There are many reasons that extensive fire damage can cause water damage. One is that the fire can burn pipes and cause them to boil and burst. Another is that it can burst water tanks. Less obvious perhaps is that it can burn holes in the roof (and break the windows as we’ve seen) thus causing rain water to come in and cause more damage.

In case you’re thinking that water damage ‘pales’ in comparison to the damage caused by the fire itself, bear in mind that much of this will be contaminated water that can lead to serious illness. Furthermore, this water can come into contact with sockets and extension cables causing electricity to run across your entire property.

Water damage also leads to mold. In as little as 24 hours, a wet surface can become a moldy surface and this means that long after the fire has gone, your home can continue to become more and more unlivable. Especially if the mold that grows is ‘toxic black’ mold.

Bear in mind too that this isn’t just water – it’s boiling water.

Explosions and Rubble

Similar to the way that burst pipes can lead to water damage, extensive fire damage can also burst gas lines and thereby cause gas leaks. This can be dangerous on its own but even more-so when it is in the presence of a huge naked flame likely to cause a massive explosion. It’s no exaggeration to say that an explosion caused by a gas leak in this way can be serious enough to potentially level an entire neighborhood!

At the very least, the explosions and the fire itself can cause severe structural damage to your property making it likely that your roof will collapse, that walls will give way or that the stairs will come away. All these things cause tons of destruction themselves as your property and belongings becomes crushed under the weight of the rubble. Even if it’s something as relatively ‘minor’ as a kitchen cabinet falling off the wall, this can destroy everything that was inside that cabinet and everything that was underneath it. And did you think about your soup and chopped tomatoes boiling inside their cans?

Smoke

Smoke itself is also a big part of fire damage restoration. Smoke is such a big problem because it can get everywhere and it can create a terrible odor and stain things black permanently. Smoke is also terrible for our lungs and quite often it’s the smoke that is actually first to cause serious personal harm rather than the fire.

Fire Damage Restoration Services

As you can see then, extensive fire damage is far more extensive than you might originally have imagined. It’s not just a case of things being burned, but of things being burned, crushed, flooded and blown up.

The good news is that as long as you’re away from your property at the time, you can undo all this damage with a fire damage restoration company. These companies specialize in all kinds of restoration which should include everything from water damage restoration, to mold remediation to home renovations. These companies can go about undoing all the damage caused to your home to the point where you’re able to move in again and get on with your life.

Mold in the corner of the white ceiling and yellow wall, with white heat pipe.

Why You Need To Hire a Mold Removal Professional

Mold is not something to mess around with. Lurking in dark spaces, destroying your hard-earned property—it’s a serious problem. Mold  will often go undetected and unseen. This fungal destroyer can be found in bathrooms, underneath tile, in laundry rooms, and even kitchens. Whether you smell it, spot it, or just reckon it’s there, here’s why you need to hire a mold removal professional.

    • Mold spreads fast. Even a little bit of mold is bad news. If the are is wet and dark, the mold will flourish.  Once this happens, it’s only a matter of time before the well-being of your home deteriorates. The earlier you call, the easier the restoration is.

  • Mold makes allergy symptoms even worse. If you have itchy eyes, a runny nose, a sore throat, and fatigue, you may think that your seasonal allergies are back. In some cases, though, it could be mold. Once mold is growing, it spreads quickly. The tiny spores can easily be blown around your home, exacerbating your allergies. Calling a mold professional is the easiest way to restore your health and get rid of the problem.
  • Mold is a huge health risk and can lead to many serious conditions.  When inhaled, the spores create respiratory infections and other ailments. If the mold isn’t completely eliminated, these health risks grow exponentially. Hire a professional company to secure your family’s health.
  • You may not have the professional equipment. Mold is difficult to kill completely. Companies have the equipment needed to eliminate mold from walls, wood, closets, clothes and any other place it may be hiding. With their professional tools, there isn’t a risk of damaging your belongings.
  • Professional companies know how to detect all molds. Don’t try to DIY when it comes to mold removal. Professional removal services can detect all visible, dormant, and hidden molds. Then, using proven techniques, they kill the mold, preventing regrowth.
Bradford water heater family

How to Handle a Leaking Water Heater

a leaking water heater can be changed with a new one from the Bradford White water heater familyHow to Handle a Leaking Water Heater

Your water heater is essential when it comes to keeping a comfortable, clean, and happy home or business. Sometimes, though, water heaters can malfunction and cause serious damage. A leaking water heater is no small issue, but it is one that can often go unnoticed for far too long. At that point, you have excessive water damage and your house is put in serious danger. Our pros at TSC Restoration are here to share with you some tips on how to spot a leaking water heater, and what to do in order to prevent further damage to your home. Continue reading

Flood Safety Means Knowing Where to Go

Where to go in a flood to stay safe

Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/au_tiger01/

When forming your flood safety plan, it’s important to know where to go in order to ensure your family’s safety. If your children are in school, know what to do should a flood occur during school hours. Come up with a designated meeting place for you and your children. Make arrangements with a family member or friend in a nearby town so you have a place to stay, and don’t forget to include your pets in your flood safety plans. Knowing where to go and what to do when a flood occurs is the most critical part of your flood safety agenda – prepare yourself today so you can remain safe. Continue reading

How to prepare for El Nino Flooding

How to Prepare for El Niño Flooding

How to prepare for El Nino Flooding

As the 2015 El Niño winter approaches, it’s important to prepare your home and family for possible flooding. Here are the absolute essentials that every household should cover going into the winter season.

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Preventing Water Damage in Your Home

Easily preventable mold damage in a home in Kearny MesaThe number one home owner insurance claim is not for fire, not for theft or storm damage, it’s for water damage. It’s not from major floods, huge thunderstorms or even leaks in the roof. The largest number of claims comes from indoor water damage. And the number one culprit is those weak hoses at the back of your washing machine. Continue reading