Dealing with Sewage backup and how SERVPRO can help.
sewage loss coming of from drain hole
A sewage backup is one of the most troublesome and foul incidents that can occur in a home – it can cause extensive property damage and severe health problems and, on top of that, it is extremely difficult and unpleasant to deal with. Cleaning up sewer backup requires a lot of time and effort, as well as specialized disinfecting products and purification techniques. Raw sewage cleanup, in particular, is especially laborious and risky as it not only causes a lot of hassle and inconveniences, but also presents a variety of health hazards (sewage spills contain contaminants that can cause serious diseases) and sanitation issues. Professional help is your best option in such situations, but you can do a few things to limit the extent of the damage before the experts arrive (or even deal with the problem yourself if the damage is not too severe).
What to Do After Sewage Backup
There are certain important precautionary measures to take after a sewage backup in order to prevent the damage from spreading:
- Keep children and pets away from the affected area;
- Put on appropriate protective equipment – rubber gloves, rubber boots, impervious coveralls, protective eyewear, and a face mask;
- Switch off the electrical power to your home (only if the distribution panel is safely above water). Wear rubber gloves and use a dry wooden stick to shut off the main switch;
- Turn off any running water and don’t use the water supply system in your home (it may even be a good idea to turn off the water supply to the building);
- Open doors and windows to allow fresh air inside (do not use the central air conditioning system to ventilate your home as sewage-contaminated dust and water droplets can enter the HVAC system and contaminate it);
- Take any dry, un-contaminated items away from the affected area;
- Add small amounts of chlorine bleach to standing water to ensure some disinfection;
- Notify your insurance company that there has been a sewage spill in your home;
- Contact your municipal authority or sewage department (if your home is connected to a public sewer) or your local health department (if your home is connected to a private septic system) and ask for advice;
- Call a professional water damage restoration company. The quick and efficient intervention of the experienced technicians will save you a lot of time and effort and will provide the most appropriate, safest, and cost-effective solution to the problem. Besides, most sewage cleanup companies offer not only water extraction, but also quality repair works, odor removal, and content cleanup, so you will have all the aspects of the restoration process taken care of when using professional sewage cleanup services.
Good to remember:
- Take pictures of the sewage spill and the water-damaged items and structural materials before removing them or having anything cleaned up (the photographs will serve as proof for your insurance claim). Keep all the receipts for materials and replacements, as well as for the repair and cleaning works performed in your home;
- Do not use harsh chemicals to unclog the draining system as they can cause severe damage to the pipes and sewer lines. Opt for treatment methods that use enzymes instead of chemicals or call a plumber to fix the source of the problem;
- Take appropriate measures to prevent cross-contamination (keep the doors between the contaminated area and the other rooms in your home closed, do not use the central air conditioning system until the problem has been solved, keep air pressure in the contaminated area lower than in the rest of the building, etc.) to ensure that sewage contaminated soil won’t be tracked into unaffected areas of your property and airborne sewage-contaminated dust (or mold spores) won’t be blown to other spaces.
Good to remember: The longer the contaminated waters remain in your home or on your items, the greater the chance of spreading disease and causing a mold problem. You need to take quick and efficient measures in order to prevent greater damage and more serious troubles. Using professional sewage cleanup services is your best bet as the experts will respond to your situation in the quickest, safest, and most appropriate manner possible. The pros will use specialized cleaning products, advanced equipment, and proven techniques to remove water from your home and restore it to a safe and good condition. Their quality services include:
- Removing sewage water and solid waste in a safe and appropriate manner;
- Removing contaminated content;
- Cleaning and sanitizing the area;
- Using professional grade air movers to ventilate and dry the area;
- Performing any necessary repair and restoration works;
- Restoring salvageable content to its original good condition;
- Performing mold mitigation services (if necessary) and/or taking efficient measures to prevent mold growth.
Proper sewage cleaning will ensure your peace of mind and allow you to get your life back on track soon after the disaster.
Once the problem has been solved, however, make sure you take the necessary precautions to reduce the chance of sewage backup in the future.
How to Prevent Sewage Backup
- Regularly inspect the pipes and valves on your property and keep them in good repair;
- Do not allow large amounts of harsh chemicals into the sewer system;
- Avoid disposing of grease down the kitchen drain as it can harden within the plumbing and collect debris to create a clog;
- Don’t flush napkins, tissues, diapers, and other waste down the toilet;
- Don’t plant trees or large shrubs directly above or near sewer lines as the roots can grow too large and break the pipes.
These simple measures will help you avoid sewage problems in the first place and will save you a lot of time, money, and nerves. However, if a disaster happens despite your best efforts, make sure you identify and fix the problem that caused the sewage backup and call reliable water damage restoration professionals like SERVPRO of Antioch 925-706-0106 to handle the sewage backup cleanup and ensure the excellent condition of your property.
Why is spring cleaning so important?
Winter has finally faded away and spring colors are in bloom. While it might look restorative outside your home, the interior may still be dealing with a gloomy, cold weather hangover. A good spring cleaning is an opportunity to refresh your home and enable you to enjoy all the benefits of California's seasonal change.
Here are a few reasons why spring cleaning is important:
Breathing – Seems like a simple issue considering it is a necessity of life. But when your home is closed off and insulated during the winter months, dust settles, air becomes stagnant, and your respiratory health suffers. A solid spring cleaning improves the air quality of your home and makes you feel better. With a clean house, your mood will improve, and you’ll be open to welcoming visitors.
Less Mess – Clutter wears you down. When you have stuff taking up space and gathering dust in your home without purpose, it can impact your emotional health as well as your physical well-being. We are not saying it’s time to purge, but a comprehensive spring cleaning can help lift the veil from the winter doldrums. You will find you can concentrate better and feel less stressed. As the saying goes, less is more.
Trouble Spots – When items in your house or apartment remain in the same place for long periods of time, pockets of dirt and dust build up – so much so that you often won’t even notice the pattern. A thorough spring cleaning digs out all the collected muck and helps you see your home in a new light. Maybe the layout of your family room suddenly seems inefficient and uncomfortable? A spring cleaning can open new possibilities for your home.
Schedule a Spring Home Cleaning Today
Is your home ready to be refreshed and rejuvenated? SERVPRO of Antioch today to schedule your spring cleaning.
Why SERVPRO of Antioch
SERVPRO of Antioch is a locally owned and operated company that has been providing professional, trusted house and apartment cleaning services in Contra Costa for over 10 years.
Preventing Damage during high wind storms
fallen tree branches from heavy wind storm
SERVPRO of Antioch wants to remind everyone in the Contra Costa county and surrounding areas of the possibility for high winds to be entering this area any time of year. With this wind, comes the possibility for damage which could jeopardize your safety and could leave to an insurmountable about of repairs and restoration. Our community has seen its fair share of weather-related damages and it never hurts to be prepared for even the worst conditions. Prevention is easy with the following three simple steps:
1) Keep outdoor items from becoming harmful weapons!
High winds may come with other hazards such as hail, heavy rain, and flooding. These hazards can make something as simple as a trashcan or a child’s toy to becoming a safety hazard! When you receive a warning for wind and storms, make sure to bring anything that could be a danger in these conditions inside to avoid damage. This will prevent broken windows, damaged siding, and decrease the chance for personal injury. Outdoor buildings, such as storage sheds, should also be anchored properly to avoid damage.
2) Reinforce susceptible areas.
Garage doors are particularly susceptible to wind damage. High winds can damage or create a high-pressure situation which can damage your roof as well. Reinforce the door by using braces across the back and tracks. Modifications to any door should be done by an installer to avoid damage.
3) Pay attention to your trees and landscaping.
In this area, trees are a particularly dangerous combination with high winds and heavy storms. Trees can cause debris that may damage your home in a windstorm. Taking care to make sure your landscaping is done properly and safely is one of the highest ways to avoid these types of damages. Be aware of weak, or dying, trees to have them removed or reinforced before a storm.
If winds damage does occur, remember to trust your local professionals. SERVPRO of Antioch will work hard for you to bring your home back to the preloss condition the right way!
Call us today for more information 27/7
What to do after you have a water loss in your home
water damage in kitchen area, air movers placed to start drying process
No one ever wants to find water damage in their home, but reality is that most home owners will have to deal with it at some point. How the issue is handled is extremely important. Water damage can be caused by a broken pipe in the wall or toilet overflow or even a major storm.
Whatever the situation a fast response time is always key to handling your water damage and minimizing the chance of mold growth. There are a few steps that should take place when water damage is discovered.
Determine source and stop
When water damage is caused by a broken pipe or supply line in the home, you should turn off the water to the home. You may be able to shut it off at the main if not you may have to contact a plumber for assistance. In some cases, like when dealing with storm intrusion there is no main to turn off and really no way to stop the water from affecting the home.
In order to perform mitigation, which is the process of drying out the property the source of water should be off. Professional remediation services are available to help you dry out the property faster than a home owner could do on their own. The dry out process includes extraction of bulk water, removal of affected materials that can’t be dried and drying of remainder materials that can be dried.
Nobody wants to deal with water damage in their home, but when it does happen there are companies that can assist with the process and make the experience a little more bearable. SERVPRO of Antioch is the company to call to help you overcome the situation. We are a local company that offers immediate response to any size disaster. Call us at 925-706-0106
How to spot water damage in your home
water damage to a crown molding in a home
You may think a water leak or a busted pipe would be easy to detect and definitely something you’d notice right away. The truth is, sometimes the signs of water damage are hidden – behind your walls, under your floor boards, or even on the exterior of your house. Whether the situation happened an hour ago or a month ago, there are a number of ways to remedy the problem with water damage repair and a reputable restoration company. First and foremost is finding the source.
What to Look For
Water damage can take on different colors, textures, and even smells, depending on the type of location of the damage. For instance, ceiling water damage is usually easier to spot than water damage in a basement because you will see stains and discoloration on a ceiling, but may not know that a musty odor can be a sign that there is a problem on the lower level of your home. Learn these telltale signs so that you can identify an existing problem and be prepared to spot it in the future.
The most obvious sign that you’ve got water damage on your hands (or that it will become a bigger problem) is areas of standing or pooling water. These can result from old or malfunctioning appliances including washers, water heaters and toilets. A puddle could also occur from a leaking roof, or from drainage pipes if the water is on the outside of your home.
With ceiling water damage, look for water spots and stains. The area may appear wet or dry and can be a yellow, brown or copper color. Walls may also have bubbling, cracking or peeling paint or wallpaper in addition to staining.
Changes in Texture
While flooring can also show discoloration like ceilings and walls do, the main sign of water damage in floors is detected by changes in texture. This is a result of water seeping into the floorboards and areas underneath them. Some common texture variations include:
- Warping – caused by changes in humidity and temperature, resulting in gaps between floorboards or curling at the edges. (Ceilings may also become warped from water damage.)
- Buckling/bp – Occurs in wood floors when one side of the wood becomes detached from the substrate and “tents,” or faces upward.
- Sagging/Sinking – You may notice soft spots in hardwood floors due to rotten wood, which feels spongy compared to normal wood. Water can seep into subflooring of all types of flooring material and cause sagging.
- Expansion – Wood and laminate floors will “expand” when they absorb too much water because the material swells and then separates.
Odors caused by mold and mildew could implicate a water damage problem. The smell may come from basements, walls, or other areas where water has been accumulating for a while. Certain drywall materials can act like a sponge and become full of moisture because there is low air circulation. This is the perfect conditions for mold to develop, which will eventually result in visual discoloration (usually black spots) and a detectable odor.
Water damage can occur in any part of your home; however, there are some areas that are more high-risk than others. Make a checklist and inspect each area in your home to know where and what to look for when it comes to identifying water damage.
Ceiling water damage can come from a few sources. If the room is on the top story of a home, it could be from a leaky roof caused by rain or melting ice/snow in the winter months. If there is a bathroom above the ceiling with wall damage, it could be from a burst pipe or cracks in the floorboards.
One of the easiest ways to spot water damage is water stains on walls (and ceilings). Make sure to also check around door and window frames. An unusual stain could be a sign of a leaky pipe or drain inside the wall.
There are many things that can cause water damage to floors – overflowing sinks/bathtubs, flooding from faulty appliances and bad pipes. Hiring a water damage restoration company is the best way to pinpoint the exact cause of flooring water damage.
The exterior of your home can also experience water damage. If there isn’t proper drainage in the yard or if the gutter spouts don’t carry runoff water far away from the house (or if the gutters leak), water can pool next to the house and if left untreated, cause even more damage to your home’s structure.
Stains, mold and wet or swollen installation are signs of a leak in the attic. If your roof has cracked, curled, or missing shingles, damaged flashing or signs of wind/rain damage, it could be vulnerable to leaks, which could result in water damage. Weather in colder climates can cause ice dams to develop on the roof, which can leak into the attic when snow and ice melts. Pay attention to possible problem areas including around roof vents and chimneys, the flashing (where the roof connects with the walls) and the valleys (where two roof planes connect) to help prevent water damage.
Check behind refrigerators, washers/dryers, hot water heaters and toilets/sinks for any sign of pooling or leaking water. An appliance or bathroom component (toilet/sink/shower) will most likely cause water damage because of a faulty piece of equipment that isn’t easily seen. For example, a cracked hose or loose connection means that these parts may fail soon and could cause leaking in your home – which could lead to water damage.
What to Do If You Find It
If your home has water damage or even if you suspect that you may have a problem, SERVPRO of Antioch is here to help . Call into our office 24/7 and schedule an inspection. Our highly knowledgeable and trained inspector will help possible locate the source and guide you into the next steps to take. Many times your homeowners insurance will be able to help. SERVPRO of Antioch works with all major insurance companies and we can help you navigate your loss.
Holidays are peak fire danger season
Contra Costa Fire Department helping in a fire situation
Local SERVPRO® restoration specialist cites statistics on escalated cooking and candle fire risk that can turn festivities into a fire drill
As the holiday season approaches and families gear up for decorating their homes and hosting large gatherings of friends and family, Michael Borders of SERVPRO® of Antioch reminds homeowners to take note of some sobering statistics about home fire safety from the National Fire Prevention Association:
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires. The three peak days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
- Candle fires peak in December. The top three days for candle fires are Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
“These statistics are a serious reminder of how the excitement of holiday entertaining can quickly turn into a life-altering fire or even a tragic injury or death,” says Borders. “While glowing candles and elaborate meals set the stage for a great holiday get-together, homeowners need to exercise extra care in controlling the dangerous potential for fires.”
According to the NFPA3, unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of home cooking fires, with frying posing the greatest fire risk and electric ranges posing a higher risk than gas ranges. Range top cooking in general started the majority of home cooking fires and caused 86 percent of related civilian deaths for the reporting period.
While incidents of candle fires peaked in 2001 and has been falling since, candles are still one of the top 10 causes of U.S. home fires, according to the NFPA. As with cooking fires, unattended or abandoned candles account for a large portion of candle fires–almost 20 percent–but the most frequent cause of candle fires is placing the candle too close to something that can burn, like curtains, decorations or furniture.
“It’s easy to see why cooking and candle fires both peak during the holiday season,” says Borders, “and it’s also easy to see why homeowners need to take extra care when decorating their homes or entertaining. A moment’s inattention at the stove or a guest re-positioning a candle on a tabletop may be all it takes to turn the festivities into a fight to save property and lives. While our business is fire and water damage restoration and we stand ready to help at a moment’s notice if disaster does strike, our sincere hope is that our friends and neighbors will enjoy a fire-free and festive holiday season.”
Please take all necessary precautions to help keep your family and home safe during these holiday seasons.
If you need any services, remember SERVPRO of Antioch is a 24/7 business 925-706-0106
The scare with Fire damage
fire damage inside home
Fires in your home or even in offices are always an unexpected scare that can destroy structures and damage your personal property as well. Depending on insurance policy purchased, policies will theoretically the insurance company will pay to rebuild or replace fire damaged structural materials. When structural materials or personal property is damaged by fire and can’t be restored to preexisting conditions that is called “total loss or non-salvageable items”.
SERVPRO of Antioch specializes in the process of fire damage evaluation, fire damage cleaning and deodorization. The insurance companies rely on restoration companies to help determine what can be cleaned or repaired and what cannot be salvaged. If its uncertain if an item can be restored the insurance company will direct the restoration company to attempt to clean the fire damage materials. SERVPRO is not just a cleaning company but are also trained to produce full detail inventory for the insured of their total loss. The total loss inventory usually contains photos with notes of makes, models and serial numbers in a full report provided to insurance carriers and insureds. With the full report provided by SERVPRO both parties can come to a final cost settlement for reimbursement.
If your property suffers the scare of fire damage, we are here to help 24/7 just give us a call at 925-706-0106.
Installing an Attic Fan can save you money
Installing an Attic Fan can save you money
Another Life Lesson I learned recently. I know attics are HOT, we spend a lot of time in attics. I know they can reach 120 degrees or more. But I never really thought about how a hot attic affected my electricity bill and how much I use my air conditioner. Recently I have been trying to figure out why I was not benefiting from my solar system that was supposed to be a net zero on my electricity and now I am facing a true up of almost $2000. This journey took me through two main eye openers for me, which in reality should have been no brainers. One is the ash on the panels, separate story. But the other is the impact of keeping the attic cool and the amount that it can impact the electricity bill, and the amount of air conditioning that is needed to cool the house. They say that keeping the attic from reaching these really high temperatures can have an impact as much as 15% on your electricity and the amount of time you run your A/C. The idea is simple, install a fan that blows the super hot air out of the attic, the air that is evacuated is made up by the outside air being pulled in from outside. The outside air, while still possibly 100 degrees is still cooler than the 120 + temperature air. Wow what a simple concept. So I did it, I installed an attic fan. Cost me $139 from Home Depot and took less than 30 minutes to install. It is Bluetooth enabled so I can see the temperature in the attic and the speed of the fan, as well as adjust it and operate it without having to go inside the attic. The last several days I have been monitoring the attic temperature and it has consistently been within a degree of the outside air. Even when the temperatures reached 100 degrees outside. The house feels cooler and we aren't running the A/C as much. Who knew? Again, sounds basic, and common sense, but yet something we don't necessarily really think about.
Ash Covering your Solar Panels is costing you a lot of Extra PGE
Ash covered solar panels don't produce electricity well, costing you more money
ASH had covered my Solar Panels and my True Up was going through the roof. Every month I watch my PG&E bill and particularly my True Up as I have solar on my house. Usually my PGE Bill is a few dollars or a negative amount but last month, it was $206. When I looked at my True Up it was over $400 a month for the last two months, it more than doubled over the past 3 months. The True Up is something that a lot of people don't watch. This is the amount of electricity you ACTUALLY use each month. In theory, you use less in the winter and more in the summer. This gets averaged out and at the end of your True Up year, you have a negative amount or an amount owed. I usually trend to have a True Up of about $1000 on top of my Solar cost and Monthly PGE cost. But, this past month I saw that my True UP was almost $1900 year to date. More than DOUBLED my average. I started looking into why my costs were going up so fast, and yes it is hotter and our air conditioning is running more, BUT I found out that the ASH from the wildfires has not only coated everything in my world, but had covered my solar panels and was reducing the amount they were producing. I was virtually paying for solar yet not producing any power and using PGE for my electricity. I contacted my Solar company and they said to get the production back up I needed to simply rinse them with water to get the ash off. They stated the panels are designed to clean simply with water. They said DO NOT scrub them, use soap and water, or pressure wash, just simply rinse them off. This made a huge impact and my production is back up to where it should be. As I look around my neighborhood I see most of the panels are white, and covered with ash. Are yours this way and are you being impacted by this ? Are you losing the advantage of your solar panels? Hopefully you will see this and learn what I learned. Hopefully this will help to stop the bleeding as we are paying for solar and we are paying more for PGE that we are losing in our production. Have you looked at your PGE bill and your NEM charges? Did you know you can call your Solar company and ask for a production report to see how much you may be losing? The fix is simple and necessary, simply rinse your panels to clean them. The rain will fix this also, but in the meanwhile we are paying for it in increased PGE costs. Hope this post finds you well and feel free to share your experiences.
What is a foundation and why should I care ?
Homes are the single biggest investment the average person will ever make
What is a Foundation?
The foundation is the component of construction that supports the entire home. There are two basic types of foundations, "Concrete" and "Raised".
A Concrete foundation is a concrete slab that is poured on top of a bed of prepared soil and rock. The house is then built upon this concrete slab. A concrete slab does not have a crawl space.
A Raised foundation is the oldest and most common foundation which consists of an outer wall made of wood, masonry or concrete with a series of pillars inside of the perimeter which support the home. The home is then built on top of these pillars and perimeter wall. This foundation has a crawl space.
Often times when we buy a pair of shoes, we look at the style of the shoe and the looks of the shoe. We don't always turn it over and inspect the sole of the shoe and seldomly do we buy the shoe based on the quality of the sole alone. The "sole" is much like the "Foundation" of a home. The foundation supports the home and has everything to do with how the home will stand up over the long term.
When buying a home, the foundation is always inspected as a part of the buying process, but we don't always give it the attention that we should, because we are looking a the looks of the home, the style and the fit of the home.
Redfin has recognized this and has created some information on what a new home buyer should be looking for when it comes to the foundation. This information was compiled by several experts in the field, including SERVPRO of Antioch.
Check out this very useful information that every home buyer should be aware of at