Recent Posts

Storm in the Bay Area.

1/12/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Storm in the Bay Area. A ceiling collapses from rainwater in San Jose, CA

We at SERVPRO of SW San Jose are here to help the South Bay with cleanup from this week's storms.  Whether you suffer from a small roof leak to a complete house flood, we can help you.

Should you suffer water intrusion into your home, here are some important does and don't (apply for clean water situations such as rain intrusion)

1.  Catch water intrusion if possible in item such as a bucket.

2.  Remove excess water by mopping & blotting

3.  Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for drying

4.  Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs.

5.  Hang  furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.

6.  Remove Oriental or colored rugs from wet carpeting

7.  Do NOT use a regular vacuum to remove water.

8.  Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of wet areas where ceilings are sogging from retained water.

9.  Do not leave books, magazines, or colored items on wet carpeting.

Mold hardwood floor in San Jose, Ca

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Mold  hardwood floor in San Jose, Ca Mold under hardwood floor in living room.

This week a customer telephoned us to report that her kitchen hardwood has been gradually discoloring over several months, in particular over a high traffic area.  They were at a loss as to what was causing the discoloration.  They contacted their insurance agent and he suggested to call us for a no-obligation inspection.

We sent out a technician who performed a moisture mapping of their floor.  He determined not only was there water present under the floor, but also under the carpeting of the family room that is located adjacent to the kitchen.

Our tech carefully peeled back the carpeting to discover a crack in the customer's concrete foundation where water was emanating from. 

No customer ever wants to hear the news there is a crack in their foundation - but boy was she relieved to finally know the cause! 

Kitchen Fire

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Kitchen Fire  Stove fire

Last week we discussed how important the proper type fire extinguisher can be should a fire occur in your home; but here are some important tips on how you can prevent having to use the extinguisher in the first place:

Stay in your kitchen whenever you are cooking on the stovetop.

Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

Keep children away from the stove – at least 3 feet.

Make sure kids and pets stay away from hot food or liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee can cause serious burns.

Keep the floor clean so you don’t trip over any toys, purses, or bags.

Keep knives out of the reach of children.

Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer, or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child. 

Do not leave candles burning in rooms where you cannot observe them and make sure the flame is at least 1’ away from any combustible item.

Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Some people may look to vary the traditional turkey entrée by using a deep fryer. The deep-frying cooking process requires that up to 5 gallons of oil be heated before placing the turkey into the device. Tests have shown that a number of available fryers can tip over easily, allowing hot oil to spill and creating a fire or scald burn from contact. They can also overheat which causes hot oil to spill or splatter outside the fryer, a recipe for fire or serious injury.

Want to see what a turkey fryer disaster can look like? State Farm teamed up with William Shatner to make a short video of what a turkey fryer fire can do, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETBD0EqQGoU&feature=feedu

If a house fire does occur, quickly get yourself and loves ones out of the house and call 9-1-1. If you attempt to fight the fire, make sure that others are getting out of the home or have a clear way out. For small grease fires, you can use a Class B extinguisher or smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until the pan is completely cooled. If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keeps the doors closed.

Ways to Reduce Water Damage.

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Ways to Reduce Water Damage. Interior water damage from a clogged gutter.

Whether due to lack of attention or a freak accident, all homeowners at one point or another experience some type of water issue in their homes. And in many cases, the problems present themselves in subtle ways. The key is to be on the lookout for them so that they don't become a matter that requires a significant amount of time, money, and effort to fix.

With this in mind, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) chronicled the five leading causes of water damage based on property insurance claims. In addition, they outlined the potential indicators of a problem and tips on how homeowners can solve them.

1. PLUMBING SUPPLY SYSTEM FAILURE

The average cost of a plumbing supply system failure was more than $5,000 after the insurance deductible was paid, according to the IBHS study. 

Ways to Reduce Damage

  • Potential indicators of a plumbing problem include an increased monthly water bill, banging pipes, rust stains, and moisture in the walls or on floors, and signs of wet soil erosion near the foundation.
  • Setting the thermostat 60 degrees or higher in winter months, letting faucets drip and insulating pipes are all ways to reduce the risk of frozen pipes.
  • Consider installing water alarms or a whole-house automatic water shutoff system 

2. TOILET FAILURE

Toilet failures in the IBHS study cost more than $5,500 per incident after the deductible was paid. One-third of all toilet failures in the study resulted from an overflowing or clogged toilet.

Ways to Reduce Damage

  • After you flush, wait for the valve to completely finish refilling the tank and bowl. If an overflow looks imminent, turn off the supply valve.
  • Twice a year, inspect a toilet’s components, such as the fill, supply and flush valves and the supply line.
  • Consider upgrading the toilet’s supply line to a sturdier braided steel hose.

 3. WATER HEATER FAILURE

The most common causes of water heater failures in the IBHS study were a slow leak or a sudden burst in the tank, followed by supply line failures.  The average cost per incident was $4,444.

Ways to Reduce Damage

  • Check the life expectancy and warranty for the water heater and replace accordingly.
  • Proper maintenance, such as flushing sediments and inspecting the heater’s anode rod, can increase life expectancy.
  • Inspect valves to ensure proper operations, and use ball valves in place of gate valves whenever possible.

4. PLUMBING DRAIN SYSTEM FAILURE

The IBHS study found more than half of plumbing system failures were the result of sewer backups. The problem was more common in southern states and on average cost $4,000 per incident after the insurance deductible was paid.

Ways to Reduce Damage

  • If the home’s sewer system is connected to the city’s sewer system – a particular problem for older homes – or if you are located downhill or below street level, contact a plumbing professional to install a backflow prevention assembly into the home’s sewer system.
  • Plant trees away from lateral drain lines to prevent roots from damaging piping.
  • Never pour grease down the drain.

5. WASHING MACHINE FAILURE

More than half of the claims in the IBHS study were linked to washing machine hose failures. Washing machine claims in the study averaged more than $5,300 per incident after the deductible was paid.

Ways to Reduce Damage

  • One burst inlet hose, and your laundry room is flooded in a matter of minutes. Replace rubber hoses every three years and consider upgrading to sturdier braided steel hoses.
  • When leaving the house for an extended period of time, turn off the hot and cold water supply valve to reduce failure risks.

Nothing can completely prevent water damage incidents.  But you can reduce your risk by taking some precautions. 

Bathroom mold in San Jose, Ca

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Bathroom mold in San Jose, Ca Bathroom mold.

A mother of two young children contacted us because of a mold concern.  Here is her story:

“Mold is growing on the sheet rock in my bathroom.  I’ve sprayed it down with bleach and cleaning solution a number of times, but it always seems to grow right back”!  It measures about 25 sq ft in total.   My husband says  he can cut out the affected sheet rock and hang new sheet rock, but I’m afraid of he and my children getting sick.  What should we do?

According to EPA Guidelines, what type of Containment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are suggested to remediate 25 sq feet of mold?

There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.  Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present.  They can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods – this is why when you leave open bread on a counter, it begins to become moldy in a few days.  Mold is a part of our everyday environment.

Remember to change your furnace filter!

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Remember to change your furnace filter! You definitely don't want to eat off this silverware right now

In November SERVPRO of SW San Jose helped a customer dealing with a type of puff-back from his furnace.  It was a townhouse rental property with a long-term tenant, no maintenance emergencies in almost 10 years .... sounds like an in deal tenant yes?

In November, the tenant called to report ash streaming out of all the vents like an incinerator!  When I arrived for the inspection I found that the tenant had not changed the filter in 2 years!

We had to treat this type of contanimation exactly as we would treat a smoke damage cleanup.  It required 100% wipedown of structure and contents, HVAC cleaning, and then extensive floor cleaning.

Ash has a way of sneaking even into closed areas - have a look below at the ash around his silverware which was enclosed in the silverware drawer.

Protect yourself against water damage from Air Conditioning

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage  Protect yourself against water damage from Air Conditioning Leaking air conditioner causing water damage to wall and floors

Troubleshooting tips for your air conditioning system:

Evaluate your HVAC system’s air filter. If the filter is dirty or full, the system may not be able to function properly. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow. If the air coming out of your vents seems weak, start with a new air filter. If a clean air filter does not solve the problem, a service call might be in order.

Verify that the outdoor air conditioner unit is not covered in dirt or debris. Any type of dirt or debris that restricts the unit’s airflow can cause it to not function properly. If there is yard debris around the unit, make sure to clear it away.

Check to make sure your thermostat is set properly. At the beginning of the air conditioning season, it can be difficult to remember that your thermostat must be switched to the correct mode. If your thermostat is set incorrectly, your air conditioner will not turn on.

Schedule a tune up and maintenance appointment for your air conditioner. It’s a smart idea to have your air conditioning system tune up at least once a year. During the tune up, the system should be cleaned, lubricated and checked for any problems.

When in doubt, call your air conditioning repair company for a service call. If your air conditioning system does not seem to be working properly, make sure to call a repair company as soon as possible. Air conditioning repair companies can get very busy when the weather gets hot.

Our company handles air conditioning water damage on a routine basis during summer months.  If you suspect your air conditioning system has caused water damage, please contact SERVPRO of SW San Jose for a free evaluation. 

Winter = Roof Leak Season

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Here in the Bay area it seems the rains have arrived early this year!  While that is good news for the drought, it can mean bad news for property owners.  Just over the past weekend we received 6 calls for roof leak related water damage alone. 

In this example, flashing on the roof has failed causing water to leak into the ceiling cavity above the foyer.  When we performed a moisture inspection and found visible and hidden water damage in the foyer ceiling.  We recommend damage be handled in four steps:

  1. Apply a roof tarp to prevent water intrusion until roof repairs can be made
  2. Open affected ceiling and initiate drying
  3. Perform roof repairs and test repairs with foyer ceiling still open
  4. Close and repair foyer ceiling

If you should be so unlucky to have water intrusion this winter, we are here to help!  Give us a call to schedule your estimate.

Winter = Roof Leak Season

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Winter = Roof Leak Season Water runs along a seam in the foyer ceiling drywall

Here in the Bay area it seems the rains have arrived early this year!  While that is good news for the drought, it can mean bad news for property owners.  Just over the past weekend we received 6 calls for roof leak related water damage alone. 

In this example, flashing on the roof has failed causing water to leak into the ceiling cavity above the foyer.  When we performed a moisture inspection and found visible and hidden water damage in the foyer ceiling.  We recommend damage be handled in four steps:

  1. Apply a roof tarp to prevent water intrusion until roof repairs can be made
  2. Open affected ceiling and initiate drying
  3. Perform roof repairs and test repairs with foyer ceiling still open
  4. Close and repair foyer ceiling

If you should be so unlucky to have water intrusion this winter, we are here to help!  Give us a call to schedule your estimate.

Homeowners should know about rebuilding cost

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

For many people their home may be the biggest investment they will ever make.  Determining your home's estimated replacement cost is important because in the event of a loss the replacement cost will ultimately determine how much coverage your policy will provide.  Since it is impossible to predict today what the exact cost will be to replace your home in the future, it's important to have enoughcoverage to acount for unforseen circumstances.

The keys are:

1.  Understanding the difference between market value and replacement cost

2.  Making sure that your home is insured for at least 100% of its estimated replacement cost.

Market value is the amount a buyer would pay for a home, including the land, regardless of how much it would cost to rebuild the home.  Replacement cost for insurance purposes is the rebuilding cost necessary to repair or replace the entire home.

To determine the proper amount of homeowners coverage:

1.  Ask if a replacement cost estimate is available when you have your home appraised.

2  Consult with your local builder association or a reputable builder for an estimate.

Market conditions in your area may impact the amount it will cost to rebuild your home if you experience a loss.  Replacement cost estimates are influenced by factors such as supply of labor, the cost of labor, and the cost of construction materials.  If neither estimate is available, the following basic guidelines can be used for the San Francisco East & South Bay Areas:

Approximate Economy Home Rebuilding Cost:  $200 / sq ft

Approximate Standard Home Rebuilding Cost:  $250 / sq ft

Approximate Semi-Custom Home:  $350 / sq ft

Approximate Custom / Luxury Home:  $400 / sq ft and up

Should you experience a fire, water, or mold loss, you can count on SERVPRO to help.  Our goal is to help you regain control and make your damage "Like It Never Even Happened".