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Rental Safety 101: Stop Mold in Its Tracks

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth starting to spread from the bottom moving up on a wall Mold growth in Lake Balboa, CA property.

Stop Mold in Its Tracks with Rental Safety 101

There are few household problems that set off more alarm bells than the discovery of mold. The best way to deal with mold growth in your Lake Balboa, CA, rental home is to stop it from ever happening by practicing safe mold prevention techniques. There are many reasons to monitor your rental for signs of mold:

  • You can avoid the unpleasant sights and smells of a mold growth
  • You want to minimize exposure to side effects of mold
  • You may be found liable for repair costs, depending on the cause of the mold and the structure of your lease

By carefully checking your rental home regularly and creating an environment that is not mold-friendly, you can save yourself the headaches of a mold outbreak.

Find Potential Sources Immediately

Mold growth flourishes in damp environments, so the most common source of the fungus is water damage from leaks and spills. Be sure to clean up any spills in your rental home immediately before they have a chance to seep into the baseboards where mold can develop. If you see signs of a leak in your ceiling or walls, such as damp or soft spots, you should find the source and address it immediately. Shut off water at your main line and locate the leak yourself or contact a service professional to prevent it from spreading.

Eliminate the Climate Mold Needs

With the leak stopped, you should focus on making your place as inhospitable to mold as possible. Dry air is key to mold prevention, so you want to remove as much moisture from the air as possible. An air conditioner in the summer will help to suck moisture out of the air while running your heater in cold months will inject fresh, dry air into the rooms.

Although it can be a scary proposition, mold prevention is easy with preventative measures. Stay vigilant about identifying possible sources of mold, then fight them as soon as you find any. You’ll be glad you did when your rental stays fresh and healthy year-round.

The Homeowner's Guide to Life After a Fire

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Inside of house burned Professionals can help you set up a cleanup plan and start restoring your house.

Life After a Fire: A Guide for Homeowners

Has your Lake Balboa,CA home recently been affected by a fire? If so, you may wonder what you can do yourself to start returning things to normal. Fire restoration requires a professional touch, so most homeowners don't understand what their role in the cleanup should be. Use this guide to help you better understand what you should and should not do.

• Make Calls: As soon as you are safely out of the building, you can start reaching out to people who can help you return your life to normal. Your first call may be to emergency responder. Next, you'll want to call your insurance provider. Your fire insurance policy may help cover the costs of the fire damage cleanup. Soon after this call, you need to get in touch with a residential restoration specialist. This professional can help you set up a cleanup plan and start restoring your house.
• Avoid Damage: As you look at the smoke and fire damage in your house, you may be tempted to start the cleanup on your own. After all, anyone can use a rag to wipe down walls, right? The truth is smoke cleaning takes a lot of know how. It's better to leave the damage untouched than to try to fix it yourself. You may end up making the problem worse for the professionals.
• Secure Property: Fire can leave your house susceptible to the elements and intruders. Part of the fire restoration process may be boarding up your home, getting a tarp over your roof and fencing off your property. Some restoration teams also do boarding-up services. Make sure someone is going to get this job done for you as it can help reduce the amount of repairs needed.

After a fire, there's not a lot of action for you to take. You need to call in the fire restoration specialists, and then let them get the work done.

Caring for Water-Damaged Possessions

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Book shelf covered with plastic. We will take care of your items like they are our own.

How Do You Clean Items Damaged By Water?

Water leaks and flooding can quickly harm your home as well as some of your most prized possessions. It is imperative to act quickly as you remove your items from any excess water in a home and begin to dry them. If you live in Valley Glen, CA, and have had any damage, the following four suggestions can help restore these objects to their original glory.

1. Rinse soiled items with clean water. Dab off any debris from the surface with a clean dry cloth. Make sure you are careful not to grind any particles further into the material. Dry cleaning can also help to remove any light residues that are visible on certain fabrics and materials. Place the drying objects away from any remaining water in the home.

2. Remove pictures, paintings, and paper from casings or holders. For example, take photographs out of frames and let both sides of the paper dry. Take books off of shelves and open them up, switching to different pages every couple of hours. Keep paper and paintings away from direct sunlight, as it might damage them further.

3. Hang or prop objects so they can dry completely on all sides. Soiled furniture should be propped on stable blocks. Allow fans and air conditioning to blow directly onto the items. Opening windows can also help reduce the amount of humidity in a wet room. Avoid attempting to repair or restore anything while it may still be damp on the inside.

4. Carefully handle electronics. Do not try to run any electronics that you think may have been exposed to moisture. Unplug the electronics if necessary, dry their external frames, and contact a professional restoration company. Qualified electronic technicians can tell you which pieces are still in working condition and which others might be salvageable.

Damage from excess water in a home can result from many different sources such as a leaking roof, a broken pipe, a faulty sink or toilet leak, or another natural flooding. Regardless of the water source, however, time is always of the essence when it comes to properly caring for these wet items.

Freeze Up a Grease Fire With These Unusual (but Effective) Tips

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Pot on flames A grease fire can get out of hand very quickly.

Ways To Put Out Grease Fire

A grease fire is probably one of the worst-case fire scenarios you can encounter in your own kitchen, as grease fires aren’t combatted like normal fires. Instead of snuffing them out, water can aggravate a fat fire and cause a small stovetop flare-up to quickly turn into a raging inferno. If you ever encounter a fire caused by grease, it is important that you know what to do to put it out, and quickly. The fire cleanup experts in Van Nuys South, CA, provide these tips for you to implement in the event of a stovetop fire caused by animal fat:

  • Do NOT throw water on the fire.
  • Turn off the heat source ASAP.
  • Remove all the oxygen from the flame, which you can do by covering the flame with a pot or pot lid.
  • If covering it up is not an option, dump baking soda on it, and lot of it!

Salt Works, Too

If you don’t have an abundance of baking soda on hand (because let’s face it, not many people do), salt works too. Depending on the size of the grease fire, you may need to dump a cup or more of salt over the inferno to squelch it. Salt works by sucking the heat out of the grease so that it simply cannot sustain its combustion anymore. In fact, it is so effective that experts recommend keeping a tub of salt on hand whenever you plan to cook with grease.

Do Not Pour Any Other Baking Ingredient on the Flame

Flour, sugar, salt, baking soda…they’re all white powders, so they should work the same, right? Wrong. Baking soda is effective for small fires, while salt is best for larger ones. Accidentally (or purposefully) dousing the flames in flour or sugar could spark an inferno.

A grease fire can get out of hand very quickly, especially if you don’t know the best way to put one out and accidentally use the wrong methods. Use the tips from the National Fire Protection Association to freeze up a kitchen fire fast and before it causes too much damage.

3 Tips for Performing an Emergency Drill at Your Business

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

People escape to fire exit door Conducting a fire drill means protecting your employees.

How Do You Prepare For A Fire Drill At Work

Safety is probably a big priority for you as a Lake Balboa, CA, business owner. Proper safety practices can protect your customers, employees and property in case of a crisis, including knowing how to evacuate your building when necessary. Whether you want to conduct a fire drill or teach your employees how to leave the building in case of a power outage, there are several planning strategies that may help you do so.

1. Talk About Different Disaster Scenarios

Before you conduct an emergency drill, get together with your employees and talk about different scenarios and how likely they are to happen inside or near your building. Consider exit strategies for a gas leak, a tornado warning or severe flooding. Each plan may be different depending on the number of exits in your building, as well as their location.

2. Tour the Building Together

Give your employees a tour of the building, even if they have worked there for some time. Refresh them on where the emergency exits are, whether they should use the elevator in a given situation, and how to avoid getting trapped on an upper floor. This can be especially important during a fire, as smoke and heat tend to rise quickly. Include a flood and fire damage technician from a storm cleanup and renovation service in on the tour if possible so he or she can point out possible problems that may prevent people from exiting.

3. Perform the Drill

On the day of the fire drill, make sure everyone participates. Have someone time how quickly everyone leaves the building and whether they follow the appropriate plans. If you are not happy with the results you can always repeat the process in a few weeks until you feel positive everyone can leave the building safely in the event of a disaster.

Conducting a fire drill at your Lake Balboa, CA, business can give you peace of mind that you are doing everything possible to protect your employees. Remember to repeat the drill every so often to keep everyone up to speed on evacuation plans.

Seeking Financial Assistance for a Commercial Fire? Here's How To File A Fire Claim

6/18/2021 (Permalink)

Visible damage to a commercial building following a structure fire Commercial fire damage in Van Nuys South, CA.

Here's How To File A Fire Claim

Sparks start small, but those tiny embers can cause severe devastation. Commercial owners in Van Nuys South, CA, are likely to face high bills during restoration efforts. Owners rarely have ten to twenty thousand dollars set aside for repairs. By filing a fire claim with your insurance company, proprietors can seek coverage to alleviate the burden.

1. Seek Help ASAP
Insurers have two purposes: to assist clients and to evaluate the accuracy of claims. It's imperative to seek compensation quickly, showing good faith and solid effort. Be clear about the date and time for the fire. Provide report information, and ask about insurance policies for how to proceed.

2. Focus on Mitigating Secondary Conditions
Don't wait for a check to arrive in the mail. Your agent appreciates proactive approaches that keep the overall costs low. Your property demands immediate action to prevent additional damage. Work with a fire restoration company to mitigate further concerns and secure the location. The team should begin assessing moisture problems, working to avoid mold development. They may also tear out structural pieces that pose a hazard.

3. Secure the Facility
The agency desires responsibility. This goes a long way to backing your fire claim. Safeguard the building. The fire burnt holes in the walls and ceiling. These should be tarped and boarded up to avoid unwanted visitors. Animals and humans often find fire-ravaged spaces intriguing. Trespassers are a significant issue. If someone gets hurt, the injured party could sue.

3. Create an Effective Organizational System
The next few months are going to be busy, and the paperwork is going to build. Maintain clear communication with the insurance company and provide thorough documentation of fire damage. Think about how you plan to store receipts and photos.
Capture images of everything, and write out an inventory list of anything replaced. Share records for lost income as well as the price of temporarily relocating. Some policies offer help in these areas too.
A fire claim is a lifeline for many business owners, creating an opportunity to rise from the ashes and begin again without having to face expensive loans and long-time bills. Be sure to get organized and document as much as possible.

FAQs About Diesel Engine Generators' Life Expectancies

6/18/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial power generator Commercial power generator

FAQs About Diesel Engine Generators' Life Expectancies

Every business needs a generator that is going to work when it matters. With climate change bringing in more storms, it is necessary to be prepared. After all, you don't want your business to be without power after a storm hits. Therefore, you need to learn more about this important machine's life expectancy, setting you up to keep producing during disasters.

Does Maintenance Prolong Their Life?
Any piece of equipment needs maintenance. This crucial machine is no exception. If you want it to last longer, then you need to maintain it. This includes:

  • Performing routine maintenance
  • Exercising your machine regularly

Do They Last Longer Than Natural Gas Alternatives?
While diesel is the primary choice, a natural gas generator also has unique benefits. Diesel has traditionally been popular because these machines are more readily available. Meanwhile, natural gas machines are growing in popularity because they make it easier to store fuel and work in various conditions. However, diesel will still outlast natural gas, giving you an edge while you are waiting for the storm response professionals to get your power back on.

How Long Do They Last?
Because many factors impact life expectancy, there is no single answer. However, there are several trusted approximations. Since a diesel generator is cooled by water and runs at lower RPMs, it will last longer than a standard or natural gas option. If you maintain them properly, they can run for more than 20,000 hours before needing an overhaul. This is a fairly long time. Most commercial models last about 15 years before they need to be replaced or overhauled.

Does Size Matter?
Since diesel engines work at approximately 80% to 90% of their capacity, size does matter. You need to pick the right size machine for your business in Lake Balboa, CA if you want it to last longer and avoid problems.
Choosing the right machine is one way to avoid generator problems and improve the life expectancy of your equipment. Knowing these basic facts about them can give you an edge and help your business stay alive after a disaster.

Everything You Need To Know About Mold In Your House

6/18/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on ceiling Mold is everywhere.

Mold is an unwanted guest in any home. It's often a surprise when a homeowner finds or smells it, and then it takes time to remove it. Although mold cleanup in Valley Glen, CA, isn't too complicated, you can do what you can to prevent mold (especially black mold) from thriving in your home.

What Is Mold?

In reality, mold is everywhere. Mold has microscopic spores that float around both outside and inside. Mold is a very natural thing, especially because most of it is simply recycling dead organic matter. What isn't good is when it begins to grow in your home.

What Causes Mold?
Mold only needs moisture to start thriving. Here are a few places where it is most often found in the home:

  • The bathroom
  • Roofs and ceilings
  • Dark, damp areas of the basement
  • Areas with water damage

A moisture problem can lead to a mold problem. If you have any area of your home that has been exposed to water, be sure to contact professional clean-up and restoration services to address any of these areas to prevent black mold. Once a colony emerges, you can tell where it is by its black, blue or green colors.

How Do You Prevent Mold?
Knowing where you might have potential places for mold colonies is your first defense. Keep in mind that humidity, leaking pipes, poor ventilation and home flooding can all create damp places where mold colonies can form.
Be sure to address any potential moisture issues when they occur. Otherwise, keep humidity levels low by ventilating and improving airflow. Also, clean and disinfect humid areas of your home often. This is a great way to eliminate any forming colonies while also giving you the opportunity to inspect problem areas.
Knowing what mold is can help you recognize it and prevent it from occurring in your home. All types of mold colonies, including colonies containing black mold, should never be a permanent resident in your house.

What Are Some Signs That My Basement Has Water Damage? | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

5/25/2021 (Permalink)

a grey basement showing signs of water damage SERVPRO of Van Nuys South is a full restoration company. Our team of experts are on call and ready to help you determine the best course of action.

Basements can be a great, versatile space for your family home. They can provide anything from simple storage space to a music studio, from a movie room to an extra living room. And they’re so helpful as a storm and earthquake shelter that many homes in the greater Los Angeles area are being retrofitted with basements.

The downside of basements is that they carry the inherent risk of being both the lowest point in your home and a part of your home that is dug into the earth, making them a prime place for you to have to deal with water damage at some point.

While this is not a certainty, it is at the very least a likelihood. You would do well to keep abreast of the potential risks in your home for water damage, and to know the telltale signs that portend them.

Let’s take a look at the most likely water damage scenarios and how you can hopefully see them coming before they result in something major.

First Signs of Basement Water Damage

Unpleasant, musky odors. Water gets into the basement by leaking in from outside soil or rain, or by indoor plumbing or appliance issues. Once it comes in, it soaks into surfaces and begins to allow bacteria to grow, causing a familiar musty odor that you could probably make yourself smell even as you read this. Many people have grown to believe this is simply the way basements and underground rooms smell, but that shouldn’t be the case. This smell will only arise when mold and mildew are present in the environment, and though you may not yet see them on walls or floors, the smell should tip you off that there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

Flaking paint on masonry or walls. If your paint is bubbling or cracking, you can almost be sure there’s a water issue behind it somewhere that needs to be searched out. Even waterproof paints that kill mold and mildew can’t prevent water from coming through, and in fact they may merely mask a greater problem. If you see flaking and bubbling, water is almost certainly the culprit.

Foundational cracks. While homes have been known to shift over a period of years, a legitimate crack in the foundation requires immediate attention, and may be a sign of a significant water leak or loss under the house. Foundation cracks may manifest themselves inside the home as well: Cracks can show up in the floor, the ceiling or in your walls, a sign that a foundation crack is putting strain and lopsided pressure on the rest of your home’s structure. Hairline cracks inside are no cause for immediate alarm, but keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t increase in number or size.

If you notice any of these signs in your basement, let us take a look. Our expert water restoration technicians can help you determine what is causing these issues and how to treat it properly. Contact us today to learn more.

What is asbestos?

5/14/2021 (Permalink)

Environmental Hygienist Technician pulling sample of ceiling texture for asbestos testing Have building materials tested for asbestos in buildings constructed prior to 1986.

What is asbestos? 

Asbestos is a natural mineral product that's resistant to heat and corrosion. It was used extensively in the past in products such as insulation, cement and some floor tiles.  Most peoples homes with asbestosis acquired it on the job before the federal government began regulating the use of asbestos and asbestos products in the 1970s. Today, its handling is strictly regulated. Although in most cases, materials containing asbestos are fairly inert and won't release asbestos fibers into the air unless disturbed, during reconstruction or renovation this will happen.  So it’s crucial to test for asbestos prior to any demolition. The materials containing asbestos will need to be removed by a specialist. Otherwise, the microscopic fibrils in asbestos are so abrasive once broken down that, if inhaled, they can cause health effects.

Testing for asbestos 

Because asbestos can’t be seen with the naked eye, materials must be submitted to laboratory certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for testing prior to a remodel. Even removing a sample to send to the EPA requires stringent precautions, and in many states it’s illegal to do sample removal yourself.  To test building materials for asbestos, different methods are employed. Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) is the most frequently used technique for this category of materials. This technique uses the unique properties of polarized light to analyze mineral-specific properties in fibers, allowing researchers to: 

  • Identify asbestos particles as well as the various species of asbestos particles that exist.
  • PLM tests show the percentage of asbestos within a certain material after analysis.

Companies such as Dynamic Environmental Services, Inc are certified asbestos consultants (CAC) who can aid in the prevention, control, or can act as your governmental agency liason.

Safe Removal & Transport of Environmental Contaminants 

Asbestos abatement removal, repair and encapsulation of materials or products in a structure is handled by a professional asbestos abatement company in alignment with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) licensing.  

SITE PREPARATIONS

  •  Work area established
  •  HVAC and electrical systems disabled.
  •  New electrical system installed to power negative air pressure units that avoid contamination of air outside work area.
  •  Decontamination enclosure systems installed.
  •  Seal openings with plastic sheeting and duct tape.
  •  Wet wipe or use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter on non-movable objects to keep asbestos from becoming airborne.
  •  Seal immobile items with plastic sheeting and duct tape.
  •  Cover surface not getting abated with plastic sheeting.
  •  Clean up using a HEPA vacuum.
  •  Disposal requires asbestos-containing waste be sealed in leak-tight containers while still wet, then labeled clearly and taken to qualified landfills that have specific requirements for securing the waste and preventing fibers from escaping into the air.
  •  Vehicles that transport the waste to the landfill have specific requirements and labeling instructions.

Companies such as Burns Environmental Services offers a comprehensive range of asbestos removal services, to meet abatement and regulatory obligations in the most efficient and cost effective manner.