Asbestos . . . Asbestos?
Asbestos containment in bathroom
In 1977 asbestos was banned from being used in any building material. So no home should have any traces of it, right? Unfortunately not. If your abode was built before 1977, there may still be harmful asbestos lurking behind your walls and ceilings. Side effects of asbestos inhalation include, but are not limited to, wheezing, weight loss, crackly sounds in the lungs, and chest pain. If any form of demo or home improvement is done to a home riddled with asbestos, even one-time exposure is enough to cause the above health effects. The picture shown is a containment of asbestos that was discovered in the ceiling of a shower in a building that was built back in 1973. And while other units may have been asbestos-free, the homeowner of this unit was surprised to discover the toxicity living rent-free behind his own walls. This is why hiring professionals like SERVPRO® to repair your home is so crucial. Otherwise, life-altering complications could arise.
Big or Small, It's All The Same
Picture this: You start filling your tub to prepare for a nice, relaxing bath when your mother-in-law calls you to express her worries over what to make for the potluck that's not happening for over a month. Wanting to alleviate her misplaced worry, you tell her that you'll look up some recipes for her on Pinterest and will get back to her. But before you're able to get off the phone, she starts asking about the weather where you are, your job, and the like. By the time you are finally able to considerately get off the phone, forty-five minutes have gone by . . . and now your tub water has overflowed onto the hardwood floor. What do you do? Do you A: Pile on all the towels you own and place a couple household fans in the hopes you handle it? Or, B: Call SERVPRO and have a team of professionals monitor the situation to ultimately meet IICRC standards? If you picked A, here is something to remember: Big or small, every water loss is different. And without the proper equipment and experience, something that started off small could become a huge headache in the future.
Mold discovered in the ceiling above homeowner's shower
Is your home mold-free? If you're unable to answer this question quickly, you should immediately check under sinks, around your dishwasher, showers, and anywhere that is prone to moisture. And if any of these areas look similar to the provided image of one of our most recent jobs, we urge you to call SERVPRO today. The image presented is a piece of sheetrock that was fixed above the homeowner's shower. Yikes, right? Luckily with our help, the issue has since been remedied and we are currently in the process of rebuilding her abode to safety standards. Symptoms of mold exposure can manifest similar to those of the common cold or flu, so it is quite easy to overlook. Especially if there are no immediate signs present, such as musty smell, discoloration, or staining. Your home should be your nest, which implies comfort and safety in all aspects. So, if you are ever unsure for any reason, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO for a site inspection.
Prevent Home Fires
Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.
Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.
Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
- Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.
- Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.
- Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
- Be alert - don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
Portable Space Heaters
- Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
- Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
- Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.
Fireplaces and Woodstoves
- Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
- Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
- Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.
More Prevention Tips
- Never use stove range or oven to heat your home.
- Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
- Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.
For more information on fire information and prevention, please visit - https://www.ready.gov/home-fires
Solve moisture problems before they become mold problems!
In as little as 48 hours, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business when there’s a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line. Mold can cause health effects and can also cause significant damage to your property. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem.
Mold Prevention Tips
- Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible.
- Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix sources of moisture problems as soon as possible.
- Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
- Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
- Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers or showers to the outside where possible.
- Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible by providing adequate ventilation.
- Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
- Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
- Don’t let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.
- Use exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning in food service areas.
- Inspect the building for signs of mold, moisture, leaks or spills:
- Check for moldy odors.
- Look for water stains or discoloration on the ceiling, walls, floors and window sills.
- Look around and under sinks for standing water, water stains or mold.
- Inspect bathrooms for standing water, water stains or mold.
- Do not let water stand in air conditioning or refrigerator drip pans.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely.
- Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
- Check the mechanical room and roof for unsanitary conditions, leaks or spills. v Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
Fourth of July Safety Tips
It’s that time again for 4th of July celebrations! Whatever you have planned; whether its just fireworks, a backyard barbecue, or maybe a quick trip to the beach, SERVPRO wants to make sure you take all safety precautions this holiday!
FIREWORKS SAFETY The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals, while maintaining a safe distance. While the majority of the states prohibit most fireworks- If you, or someone you know is setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:
- Never give fireworks to small children, and abide by the directions on the packaging.
- Keep a supply of water close by as a preventative measure.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
- Never toss or point a firework in the direction of people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
GRILLING SAFETY Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these safety tips to carefully grill up treats for the backyard barbecue:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Never grill indoors
- Make sure everyone (including the pets) stays away from the grill.
- Keep the grill out in the open, and away from anything that could potentially catch on fire.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.
BEACH SAFETY If someone’s visit to the shore includes swimming in the ocean, they should make sure they know how to swim, and stay by a lifeguard station.Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:
- Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted.
- Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
- Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose his or her footing, even in shallow water.
- If someone is caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, they should turn and swim toward shore. If they can't swim to the shore, they should float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
- Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
SUN PROTECTION Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., during the peak heat hours of the day. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15, and reapply sunscreen as often as needed. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Minimize drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight. During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke immediately call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
Happy Fourth of July!
The 4th of July – also known as Independence Day– has been a federal holiday in the US since 1941. The tradition of Independence Day celebrations however, date back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, Congress voted in favor of independence. Two days later representatives from the 13 colonies implemented the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until now, July 4th has been renowned as the birth of American independence, with celebrations varying from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
SERVPRO of Del Mar wants to wish everyone a wonderful, safe fourth of July!
Air Ducts & HVAC Cleaning
Concealed behind your walls and mostly ignored, your air ducts serve as vital pathways that deliver warm and cool air throughout your home during the year. While they may be unseen, your air ducts are working nearly year-round, whenever you have your air conditioner or heater running. Attached to your HVAC system, air ducts transfer the air from these systems throughout your home. What many homeowners do not realize, though, is that your air ducts, in nearly constant use, continually accumulate dust, grime, debris, pet dander and allergens throughout the year. In fact, according to National Air Duct Cleaners Association the average American home produces 40 pounds of dust per year!
While vacuuming and dusting may be a part of your weekly cleaning routine, these basic methods invariably leave dust and dirt behind, and no amount of regular cleaning can capture every dust mite your home produces. As such, much of that dust and dirt ends up in your air ducts. What’s worse is that this same dust continues to re-circulate over and over again, with the dust continuing to accumulate inside your ducts even while it’s redistributed throughout your home.
This constant cycle of dust accumulation and redistribution can have serious effects on your home’s cleanliness and your family’s health. Constantly re-circulated allergens will irritate allergy sufferers throughout the year, even when their allergies are not in season (like pollen and weed allergies). Additionally, people with compromised respiratory systems may experience difficulty breathing in homes with high dust quantities.
When you think of natural disaster mitigation, you might think of picking up tree limbs or dealing with excess water. Boarding up a structure is probably the last thing on your mind. If a tree damages the roof or breaks windows, or a car hits the side of the house, you’ll need board-up services right away to prevent further damage.
There are many reasons to board up a home or business after a disaster, but these three are the most important:
-Shelter from the elements. During a disaster, your home or business can take quite a beating from high winds, heavy rains and debris. Broken windows, damaged roofs and walls can let in rain, snow and wind to cause more damage to your interior and its contents. Water buildup can ruin flooring and carpet as well as damage electronics. Mold begins growing within just a few days, causing even more damage.
-Shelter from animals. A wild animal does not need much room to squeeze inside, so even a small broken window can let in unwanted guests. Dogs, raccoons, rats and other pests can wreak havoc inside a building. Not only will they track dirt everywhere, but they’ll tear up furnishings, urinate and defecate anywhere they can.
-Protection from vandals. One sad fact of human nature is that even after the worst storms, there are those who will take advantage and help themselves. At best, they’ll do more damage by breaking things and spray-painting walls. At worst, they will steal anything they can lay their hands on – electronics, money, and artwork to name a few. The building will be unoccupied at the time, and security equipment may be damaged, or the power can be out, so they may get away free and clear.
No matter the size - residential or commercial, you can count on SERVPRO to secure and protect the setting.
How hoarding can lead to Danger
People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have difficulty getting rid of possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.
Hoarding is not the same as collecting. Collectors look for specific items, such as model cars or stamps, and may organize or display them. People with hoarding disorder often save random items and store them.
Possible Dangers Related To Hoarding:
- Increased Risk of Fire – The more items around a home, the higher the chances a fire can ignite and the more fuel it has to spread, which can put you in a dangerous situation.
- Decreased Escape Routes – Rescue crews often have limited access to a home due to piles of stuff blocking windows and doors. Thus resulting in fatalities, when salvation could have been otherwise possible.
- Increased Indoor Air Pollutants – Mold, Mildew, Radon, Carbon Monoxide, Pollen, Dander and Cigarette Smoke are just some of the indoor serious air impurities and odors that hoarding can cause a contaminated house and the results can lead to adverse health effects.
- Tripping or Falling – Piles of items and stacks of belongings that start to consume a house make it harder to navigate through, and easier to stumble upon. The risks increase with age, falls can even be fatal in seniors that don’t have the strength to get back up.
- Structure Collapses – The more your home stores, the greater the weight becomes and if rooms are filled with possessions the load can and has led to structures collapsing.
- Biohazard Development – If items are growing at an alarming rate, there is probably a good portion of garbage, debris possibly pharmaceuticals and if animals and pets are present feces and urine. All of these are considered a biohazard and the health risks grow the longer they remain in your home. Serious toxins and diseases such as E. Coli, Staph Bacteria, and the Hanta Virus can thrive in your house.
Luckily for you – SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day—our highly trained technicians are standing by. We have the qualified trained professionals who are ready to respond to these incidents. We will always treat your property and the people involved with the greatest empathy and respect in the face of trying circumstances.