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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Ways to reduce water damage!

3/5/2019 (Permalink)

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. 

Helping out the Bay Area!!

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Downtown San Jose, helping out local business.

Many of our customers know that we do residential water mitigation work, but not as many know we serve businesses both large and small.  Last year was supposed to be the El Nino year, but this season we've received a record number of water and mold damage phone calls for residential & commercial buildings alike.

We are located conveniently off Capitol Expressway and Highway 87, making it easy to serve your downtown business.  In particular with water damage, a quick response is critical.  The longer water is allowed to dwell, the more damage it can cause and the longer your business could be inoperable.

SERVPRO offers an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) that can be a part of your company's overall Disaster Plan, something both FEMA and the Red Cross recommend every business have.

If you have questions about how SERVPRO can help you with your company's ERP, contact Nancy Penaloza at SERVPRO of SW San Jose.

Bathroom mold in Los Gatos, Ca

1/17/2019 (Permalink)

We do it all!!

Working to help a customer in Los Gatos deal with a leaking wax ring from a toilet.  They saw a gradual widening of discoloration in a ring pattern in the vinyl up their upstairs bathroom - then one day this nasty spot appeared on their hallway ceiling below!  Luckily for them the amount of sewage was small and we were able to catch it in the initial stages.  We performed their water damage cleanup and sanitized the affected areas.

Customers often ask us if there is anything they can do to help prevent this type of damage.  The best advice in this instance would have been to investigate the vinyl discoloration in the upstairs bathroom at the very beginning.  Frequent inspections are often a good way to prevent leaks.

Kitchen Fire in Campbell, Ca

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Storm and Rain in San Jose, ca

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

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 in San Jose, Ca

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

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! 

Reduce Water Damage

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

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. 

Mold on floor in San Jose, Ca

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

We can take care of your floor.

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! 

Fire in San Jose, Ca

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Also clean your rang-hood.

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 contamination exactly as we would treat a smoke damage cleanup.  It required 100% wipe down 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.

Water damaged from an AC in San Jose, Ca

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

We can help clean up the water damaged.

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 storm is here Bay Area.

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

We have clean up after the storm.

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.

101 on Fire, mold and water damaged.

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Giving classes to the Realtors.

SERVPRO of SW San Jose welcome opportunities to educate our community about fire, water, and mold damage restoration topics.  Recently our marketing manager, spoke to real estate agent members of the Independent Broker's meeting at the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors (SCCAOR). SERVPRO also gives classes to property managers. SERVPRO gives real estate agent and property manages the tools to help them and educate them to know more about water, fire and mold damage. SERVPRO of SW San Jose takes care and helps out a lot of property managers in the area with water damaged as well as mold and fire damaged. Selling a house is a hard thing but when the real estate needs help taking care of a mold damaged we are here to help them out. 

IICRC classes in San Jose, Ca

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Who should you call after you suffer a water damage?  Do you go with who your insurance company recommends?  How about your neighbor?

Make sure whoever you hire is holds their water damage certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC). 

SERVPRO of SW San Jose proudly holds certification from the IICRC.

IICRC Certified Firms have earned the right to display the IICRC logo as a symbol of quality. In order to achieve IICRC-certified status, firms must meet a rigorous list of standards in business ethics and expertise. All IICRC Certified Firms must:

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC actively has relationships with fiber producers, carpet and fabric mills, furnishing manufacturers and retailers, and others affiliated with the industry. The use of IICRC service professionals is specified in leading manufacturers’ maintenance brochures and warranties.

When it comes to cleaning, restoration and inspection, the IICRC writes the books

As an ANSI-accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO), the IICRC has led the way in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, upholstery and fabric cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation.

Each IICRC standard takes years to develop and the coordination of several experts in the field, including allied tradespersons; manufacturers; international, national and regional trade associations; individual or franchise professionals; cleaning, inspection and restoration industry organizations; insurance industry; training schools; contractors; and public health professionals.

These standards are reviewed and updated at least every five years. Many of these fields, such as the water damage restoration field, change rapidly and those who are certified keep up with the advancement of the science and generally accepted practices of the industry.

The IICRC helps keep homes and businesses healthful

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person spends 90 percent or more of their time indoors, where levels of pollutants may be two to five times (and occasionally more than 100 times) higher than outdoor levels.

This makes it extremely important to perform regular maintenance inside your home or business. In addition to vacuuming, cleaning and checking for water damage on a regular basis, using a certified technician for cleaning will help extend the life of your flooring and upholstery and ensure that your home or business is healthful for those who live and work there.

IICRC Benefit

The IICRC is a nonprofit certification and Standards Developing Organization (SDO) for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. Serving the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, in partnership with regional and international trade associations, the IICRC represents the entire industry. The IICRC is recognized internationally as a knowledgeable industry voice and resource.

http://www.IICRC.org/IICRC-benefit/for-consumers/

Rain is coming Bay Area.

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

We can help!!

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

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

"Like it Never Even Happened"

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 enough coverage to account for unforeseen 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".

Bathroom mold in Los Gatos, Ca

12/26/2018 (Permalink)

We remove the mold and help you from beginning to end.

Working to help a customer in Los Gatos deal with a leaking wax ring from a toilet.  They saw a gradual widening of discoloration in a ring pattern in the vinyl up their upstairs bathroom - then one day this nasty spot appeared on their hallway ceiling below!  Luckily for them the amount of sewage was small and we were able to catch it in the initial stages.  We performed their water damage cleanup and sanitized the affected areas.

Customers often ask us if there is anything they can do to help prevent this type of damage.  The best advice in this instance would have been to investigate the vinyl discoloration in the upstairs bathroom at the very beginning.  Frequent inspections are often a good way to prevent leaks.

Serving Bay Area Businesses!!

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

Helping people out!!

Many of our customers know that we do residential water mitigation work, but not as many know we serve businesses both large and small.  Last year was supposed to be the El Nino year, but this season we've received a record number of water and mold damage phone calls for residential & commercial buildings alike.

We are located conveniently off Capitol Expressway and Highway 87, making it easy to serve your downtown business.  In particular with water damage, a quick response is critical.  The longer water is allowed to dwell, the more damage it can cause and the longer your business could be inoperable.

SERVPRO offers an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) that can be a part of your company's overall Disaster Plan, something both FEMA and the Red Cross recommend every business have.

If you have questions about how SERVPRO can help you with your company's ERP, contact Nancy Penaloza at SERVPRO of SW San Jose.

Mold in Bathroom in San Jose, Ca

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

We do it all!!

With all the rain we've had this season, it's no wonder clients are calling SERVPRO of SW San Jose this winter about mold issues with their properties.  In this case, a tenant phoned her landlord complaining of mold growing on her contents being stored in her bedroom closet.

The landlord contacted SERVPRO of SW San Jose for a moisture inspection of the property.  When we inspected it we found no active water sources, but the humidity in the house measured around 74%.

To avoid mold issues, the EPA recommends you keep humidity levels below 60%, preferably between 30% - 50%. 

In the case of old homes that may not contain insulation in the walls, running a dehumidifier can go a long way as a temporarily measure to prevent mold. 

Check out the EPA website for more info:  https://www.epa.gov/mold/brief-guide-mold-moisture-and-your-home

Raining = Roof damaged!! In San Jose, Ca

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

We will take care of it all..

With all the rain we've been experiencing in the San Francisco Bay Area it's no wonder the number of roof leak calls into our office has been skyrocketing.  Water damage can affect all family members, human or not. 

The roof in question was only a few years old, but the wind of the last storm was too much.  If you experience a roof leak, here are some suggestions about how to go about fixing it:

Step 1:  Stop the water.  Hire a roofing company to either fix the leak or to install a temporary roof tarp to keep more water from entering the structure.  If you suspect the water intrusion is gutter related, contact a gutter cleaning company.

Step 2:  Perform water remediation:  Open affected areas to perform drying and to prevent mold.  Install drying equipment and apply anti-microbial to discourage mold growth.  Caution:  If you are unsure about your property's lead paint or asbestos status, test first before any demolition.

Step 3:  Perform repairs to affected areas.  Always research your contractors make sure they hold valid licensing.

Winter is here!!

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

water came in from the light.

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.

Indoor Humidity!

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Bathroom with mold from humidity. We can do all the work.

With all the rain we've had this season, it's no wonder clients are calling SERVPRO of SW San Jose this winter about mold issues with their properties.  In this case, a tenant phoned her landlord complaining of mold growing on her contents being stored in her bedroom closet.

The landlord contacted SERVPRO of SW San Jose for a moisture inspection of the property.  When we inspected it we found no active water sources, but the humidity in the house measured around 74%.

To avoid mold issues, the EPA recommends you keep humidity levels below 60%, preferably between 30% - 50%. 

In the case of old homes that may not contain insulation in the walls, running a dehumidifier can go a long way as a temporarily measure to prevent mold. 

Check out the EPA website for more info:  https://www.epa.gov/mold/brief-guide-mold-moisture-and-your-home

Rain=Roof leaks

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Check your roof before the rain starts. Rain is here let us help you.

With all the rain we've been experiencing in the San Francisco Bay Area it's no wonder the number of roof leak calls into our office has been skyrocketing.  Water damage can affect all family members, human or not. 

The roof in question was only a few years old, but the wind of the last storm was too much.  If you experience a roof leak, here are some suggestions about how to go about fixing it:

Step 1:  Stop the water.  Hire a roofing company to either fix the leak or to install a temporary roof tarp to keep more water from entering the structure.  If you suspect the water intrusion is gutter related, contact a gutter cleaning company.

Step 2:  Perform water remediation:  Open affected areas to perform drying and to prevent mold.  Install drying equipment and apply anti-microbial to discourage mold growth.  Caution:  If you are unsure about your property's lead paint or asbestos status, test first before any demolition.

Step 3:  Perform repairs to affected areas.  Always research your contractors make sure they hold valid licensing.

Vandalism!!

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Vandalized windows!!

One of our customers who is a property manager contacted us this week because he was dealing with some disgruntled tenants that abruptly moved out of one of his rental houses and trashed the place.  They allowed their pets to urinate on the floors without cleaning it up, wrote graffiti on the walls, and even broke out the front windows.

SERVPRO of SW San Jose provides emergency board-up and vandalism cleanup services.  We sent out a crew immediately to the home in order to board up the broken windows to keep out thieves and squatters.

The interior cleanup was very extensive, it required removing the most heavily affected flooring, then cleaning and sanitizing the subfloor. 

Once finished, our customer told us he was very pleased with the outcome and the quick turnaround time so that he could begin renting the property again.

CE Courser

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Mold growth in commercial structures!! We can help out

Property Managers & Real Estate Agents:  Ever run into a mold problem at one of your properties?  Do you want to learn more about how to prevent a mold problem and how to handle one if it already exists?

Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry is a 3-hour CE course taught by SERVPRO and designed for Real Estate Professionals.  The purpose of this course is to educate Real Estate professionals on the real effects of mold growth in residential & commercial structures.  Mold growth requirements will be reviewed so the real estate professional can recognize potential mold dangers in real property.

SERVPRO gives CE classes about restoration every year. SERVPRO of SW San Jose can help Real Estate and Property Managers with mold or water damaged. 

Be save on Thanksgiving...

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Turkey Fryer Blazing Up

Did you know that there are about 4,300 Thanksgiving Day fires annually in the United States?   The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year.  Cooking is often a relaxing and fun task that brings family and friends together, and it provides a great way to showcase your creativity and love of good food.   Safety in the kitchen is always important even more so when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

Here are some important tips on how you can prevent having to use the extinguisher in the first place:

  1. Stay in your kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on your food.
  2. Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  3. Keep children away from the stove – at least 3 feet.
  4. 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.
  5. Keep the floor clean so you don’t trip over any toys, purses, or bags.
  6. Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Make sure your smoke alarms are working.  Test them by pushing the test button.

Chimney Fire

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Chimney on fire clean out chimney ones a year.

Did you feel the chill in the air this past weekend?  For many of us, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a crackling fire to chase away the cold weather.  You’re sitting in your living room with your family enjoying the warm glow of the flames, and suddenly you hear a roaring noise.  It almost sounds like a jet plane is flying right over your home!  Huge amounts of dark smoke billow out of the top of your chimney – what is happening?!?

This is a scenario that plays out almost 25,000 times per year in the US:  Chimney Fires.  These fires can be very dramatic, or they may burn silently, but their silence holds no indication of the harm they may cause as they burn slowly at incredibly high temperatures.  Regardless of the type, all chimney fires can cause substantial damage and risk to you and your family.

So what causes chimney fires?  The build-up of creosote along the chimney lining walls can facilitate the start of a chimney fire. This build-up is caused by the unburned materials in the smoke accumulating along the chimney walls and creating a sticky substance that can easily catch fire. The smoke from the fire contains a substance similar to tar and when the temperatures within the chimney are below 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance will condense along the chimney surface. When the temperature drops below 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance turns into a dark, sticky substance that is also highly flammable.

The Good News:  Chimney fires are almost entirely preventable!

Chimney fires are a dangerous and serious problem to have, but the good news is that they are also almost entirely preventable.  You must be careful to only burn materials that are ready and meant to be burned.  For example, only use seasoned, dry wood, newspapers, and dry kindling.  Burning cardboard boxes, trash, or wrapping paper can cause the creation of excess creosote and put your home and family in danger.  While using the correct fuel is important, a chimney fire can still occur even after taking these precautions.  This is why annual chimney inspections and cleanings are a critical part of home maintenance.  Most creosote is removed during annual chimney cleaning performed by chimney sweeps.

A clean chimney reduces the risk of a fire; so before you strike the first match for a fire this winter, consider scheduling a chimney inspection and cleaning.   Some simple precautions can help you have a safe and happy winter season.

(Statistics Courtesy of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC))

Bathroom leak in Los Gatos, Ca

9/28/2018 (Permalink)

Ceiling downstairs.

Working to help a customer in Los Gatos deal with a leaking wax ring from a toilet.  They saw a gradual widening of discoloration in a ring pattern in the vinyl up their upstairs bathroom - then one day this nasty spot appeared on their hallway ceiling below!  Luckily for them the amount of sewage was small and we were able to catch it in the initial stages.  We performed their water damage cleanup and sanitized the affected areas.

Customers often ask us if there is anything they can do to help prevent this type of damage.  The best advice in this instance would have been to investigate the vinyl discoloration in the upstairs bathroom at the very beginning.  Frequent inspections are often a good way to prevent leaks.

Kitchen Fire in San Jose, Ca

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire in San Jose, Ca

A fire started in San Jose apartment at 3:30 pm. San Jose fire dependent was call and so was the property insurances company Sate Farm. State Farm agent gave a call to SERVPRO of SW San Jose to go out and help their customer with a fire they had in San Jose, Ca. SERVPRO was there with in an hour to help broad up the place and do a little bit of clean up till the insurances adjuster want out to take a look at damaged. SERVPRO of SW San Jose will be taking care of this project from beginning to end. Customers are happy that they are only talking to one company that is going to take care of it all. SERVPRO of SW San Jose is here to  help with all the big and small project.   

A Discovery Store flood In Los Gatos

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

Stores ceiling on the floor

An office in Los Gatos, Ca flooded an downstairs store over the weekend. The store manager got to the store to see water coming down from the ceilling like rained. Store manager called SERVPRO of SW San Jose to come help them take care of the water. SERVPRO was there to help and dry up the upstairs and downstairs units. SERVPRO of SW San Jose also helped the upstairs tenants to move  to a different store till SERVPRO fixed the unit. SERVPRO of SW San Jose was called out on a Sunday, SERVPRO was out on a Sunday to help the store owner to set equipment and help clean up the mess. SERVPRO was there to help and take care of all the damaged that happen to the building. The owner was thrilled that we came in and helped in anything they needed help. 

March Madness 2018

3/5/2018 (Permalink)

Good Luck!!!!

It's that time of year again, time for March Madness!

Grand Prize:  2 tickets to your choice of the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders, Giants, A’s, Warriors, or Earthquakes

2nd Prize:  $75 Gift Card to your choice of The Cheesecake Factory

3rd Prize:   $25 Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee Gift Card

Consolation Prize:  4th place and up receive $5 Starbucks or Peet’s Card

Eligibility:  Must be a SERVPRO of SW San Jose Partner (owner, agent, agent staff, property mgr, realtor, broker, or employee).

How to Enter:  Visit: http://SERVPROswsj.mayhem.cbssports.com. If you wish, you may have the computer choose your bracket for you – no basketball knowledge or experience required!  J 

ENTRIES MUST BE COMPLETED BY THE TOURNAMENT 9AM PST 3/1/16.  THERE IS NO COST OR OBLIGATION TO ENTER.  One entry per person.  Contest rules are listed on the website.

Questions?  Please contact Nancy Penaloza at 408-679-9468 or nancy.SERVPRO@gmail.com

Good luck from your Fire, Water, and Mold Cleanup & Restoration Experts……  SERVPRO OF SOUTHWEST SAN JOSE!!  

San Jose Floods

2/22/2018 (Permalink)

Rescuers chest-deep in water steered boats full of people, some with babies and pets, on Tuesday from a San Jose neighborhood inundated by water from an overflowing creek. 

At least 225 residents were taken to dry land and rinsed with soap and water to prevent them from being sickened by floodwaters that had traveled through engine fuel, garbage, debris and over sewer lines,

"Coyote Creek is rising because of water coming out of Anderson (Reservoir)," Matlow said. "We have a neighborhood that's basically underwater."   

Water rescue teams are using boats and other vehicles to go door-to-door and pull residents to safety, Matlow said.

Anyone who has come into contact with the murky brown water is being decontaminated because of fears about overflowing sewage lines, oil and gas from vehicles trapped in the water or household chemicals that might have leaked into the flood waters.

Serving Downtown San Jose Businesses

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of SW San Jose can help you!!

Many of our customers know that we do residential water mitigation work, but not as many know we serve businesses both large and small.  Last year was supposed to be the El Nino year, but this season we've received a record number of water and mold damage phone calls for residential & commercial buildings alike.

We are located conveniently off Capitol Expressway and Highway 87, making it easy to serve your downtown business.  In particular with water damage, a quick response is critical.  The longer water is allowed to dwell, the more damage it can cause and the longer your business could be inoperable.

SERVPRO offers an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) that can be a part of your company's overall Disaster Plan, something both FEMA and the Red Cross recommend every business have.

If you have questions about how SERVPRO can help you with your company's ERP, contact Nancy Penaloza at SERVPRO of SW San Jose.

Storm in the Bay Area.

1/12/2018 (Permalink)

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 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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".

Is your water mitigation provider IICRC Certified?

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Who should you call after you suffer a water damage?  Do you go with who your insurance company recommends?  How about your neighbor?

Make sure whoever you hire is holds their water damage certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC). 

SERVPRO of SW San Jose proudly holds certification from the IICRC.

IICRC Certified Firms have earned the right to display the IICRC logo as a symbol of quality. In order to achieve IICRC-certified status, firms must meet a rigorous list of standards in business ethics and expertise. All IICRC Certified Firms must:

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC actively has relationships with fiber producers, carpet and fabric mills, furnishing manufacturers and retailers, and others affiliated with the industry. The use of IICRC service professionals is specified in leading manufacturers’ maintenance brochures and warranties.

When it comes to cleaning, restoration and inspection, the IICRC writes the books

As an ANSI-accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO), the IICRC has led the way in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, upholstery and fabric cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation.

Each IICRC standard takes years to develop and the coordination of several experts in the field, including allied tradespersons; manufacturers; international, national and regional trade associations; individual or franchise professionals; cleaning, inspection and restoration industry organizations; insurance industry; training schools; contractors; and public health professionals.

These standards are reviewed and updated at least every five years. Many of these fields, such as the water damage restoration field, change rapidly and those who are certified keep up with the advancement of the science and generally accepted practices of the industry.

The IICRC helps keep homes and businesses healthful

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person spends 90 percent or more of their time indoors, where levels of pollutants may be two to five times (and occasionally more than 100 times) higher than outdoor levels.

This makes it extremely important to perform regular maintenance inside your home or business. In addition to vacuuming, cleaning and checking for water damage on a regular basis, using a certified technician for cleaning will help extend the life of your flooring and upholstery and ensure that your home or business is healthful for those who live and work there.

IICRC Benefit

The IICRC is a nonprofit certification and Standards Developing Organization (SDO) for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. Serving the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, in partnership with regional and international trade associations, the IICRC represents the entire industry. The IICRC is recognized internationally as a knowledgeable industry voice and resource.

http://www.IICRC.org/IICRC-benefit/for-consumers/

Fire, Water, and Mold 101 in San Jose, Ca

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Realtors Class

SERVPRO of SW San Jose welcome opportunities to educate our community about fire, water, and mold damage restoration topics.  Recently our marketing manager, spoke to real estate agent members of the Independent Broker's meeting at the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors (SCCAOR). SERVPRO also gives classes to property managers. SERVPRO gives real estate agent and property manages the tools to help them and educate them to know more about water, fire and mold damage. SERVPRO of SW San Jose takes care and helps out a lot of property managers in the area with water damaged as well as mold and fire damaged. Selling a house is a hard thing but when the real estate needs help taking care of a mold damaged we are here to help them out. 

Mold under hardwood floor in San Jose, Ca

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Stain darkening on hardwood floor

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! 

Mold in bathroom

12/22/2017 (Permalink)

Staining in ceiling below source room.

Working to help a customer in Los Gatos deal with a leaking wax ring from a toilet.  They saw a gradual widening of discoloration in a ring pattern in the vinyl up their upstairs bathroom - then one day this nasty spot appeared on their hallway ceiling below!  Luckily for them the amount of sewage was small and we were able to catch it in the initial stages.  We performed their water damage cleanup and sanitized the affected areas.

Customers often ask us if there is anything they can do to help prevent this type of damage.  The best advice in this instance would have been to investigate the vinyl discoloration in the upstairs bathroom at the very beginning.  Frequent inspections are often a good way to prevent leaks.

Mold after water damage!!

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Leak from drain pipe inside wall cavity - cavity and floor water damage

We received a call last week from a customer who was noticing some discoloration in his wall.  He wasn't sure if it was water damage and requested an inspection. He wanted SERVPRO to come out before they got mold. 

Primarily we use non-intrusive moisture meters to detect water damage.  The advantage of this type of moisture meter is that it does not physically damage the materials that it is testing.  This is compared to some moisture meters that use metal probes that pierce the object being tested.

Our inspection revealed that not only was his wall cavity affected, but a fair sized amount of flooring.  Look in the photo how we found another layer of tile below the floating floor. Customers are often surprised to find one, two, or sometimes even three old floors under a laminate floor.  

Lightning Strikes

12/7/2017 (Permalink)

All that remains of the tree!!

SAN MATEO, Calif. - A San Mateo homeowner had a close call Monday morning after lightning struck a large tree in her backyard, blasting it to smithereens.

Massive chunks of a 100-year-old tree -- believed to be a redwood -- were scattered everywhere. Debris even landing on the roof. Homeowner Simone Nguyen said it's all because of the lightning strike.


Nguyen said just before just before 8 a.m., her dog Coco woke her up early to go to the bathroom outside. When she was in the backyard, in the corner of her eye, she saw lightning and then heard an explosion.

She escaped inside and saw a big piece of the tree went through her bedroom window landing right on her bed, sending shattered glass everywhere. It's estimated the tree stood more than 100 feet tall. The impact was so strong the wood pierced the lawn.  She had been sleeping in bed just a few minutes before.

The debris wasn't confined to her own backyard. Pieces of the tree can be found throughout the neighborhood including across the street.


By  from abc 7 now new

http://abc7news.com/weather/lightning-almost-kills-san-mateo-woman-and-her-dog/1076717/

March Madness 2018!!

12/7/2017 (Permalink)

March Madness this here.

It's that time of year again, time for March Madness!

Grand Prize:  2 tickets to your choice of the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders, Giants, A’s, Warriors, or Earthquakes

2nd Prize:  $75 Gift Card to your choice of The Cheesecake Factory, Chili's, or BJ's Brewhouse                

3rd Prize:   $25 Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee Gift Card

Consolation Prize:  4th place and up receive $5 Starbucks or Peet’s Card

Eligibility:  Must be a SERVPRO of SW San Jose Partner (owner, agent, agent staff, property mgr, realtor, broker, or employee).

THERE IS NO COST OR OBLIGATION TO ENTER.  One entry per person.  Contest rules are listed on the website.

Good luck from your Fire, Water, and Mold Cleanup & Restoration Experts……  SERVPRO of SW San Jose!!  

Indoor Humidity?

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Mold growing on shoes after being stored under elevated humidity.

With all the rain we've had this season, it's no wonder clients are calling SERVPRO of SW San Jose this winter about mold issues with their properties.  In this case, a tenant phoned her landlord complaining of mold growing on her contents being stored in her bedroom closet.

The landlord contacted SERVPRO of SW San Jose for a moisture inspection of the property.  When we inspected it we found no active water sources, but the humidity in the house measured around 74%.

To avoid mold issues, the EPA recommends you keep humidity levels below 60%, preferably between 30% - 50%. 

In the case of old homes that may not contain insulation in the walls, running a dehumidifier can go a long way as a temporarily measure to prevent mold. 

Check out the EPA website for more info:  https://www.epa.gov/mold/brief-guide-mold-moisture-and-your-home

Vandalism By Tenants!!

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Vandalized windows

One of our customers who is a property manager contacted us this week because he was dealing with some disgruntled tenants that abruptly moved out of one of his rental houses and trashed the place.  They allowed their pets to urinate on the floors without cleaning it up, wrote graffiti on the walls, and even broke out the front windows.

SERVPRO of SW San Jose provides emergency board-up and vandalism cleanup services.  We sent out a crew immediately to the home in order to board up the broken windows to keep out thieves and squatters.

The interior cleanup was very extensive, it required removing the most heavily affected flooring, then cleaning and sanitizing the subfloor. 

Once finished, our customer told us he was very pleased with the outcome and the quick turnaround time so that he could begin renting the property again.

Maintain a healthy septic system

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Cross section of a septic system drain field.

We don't run into too many septic system overflows in this part of the Bay Area, but if you happen to live or have a property in a rural area, for sure you have an idea about how septic tanks and the septic systems work. One way you’ll know if it’s maintained properly is if you don’t smell anything unpleasant coming from it. Now, there are a number of crucial do’s and don’ts to live by to ensure that your septic tank will last for as long as possible and that your septic system works the way it should. Here they are.

DO use high-quality toilet tissue only.

When shopping for toiletries, pick a toilet tissue that’s been proven to break up easily when wet. This way, it won’t cause any trouble when it’s already in your septic tank.

DO keep trees away from the septic system.

There are trees which have roots that grow and extend aggressively. They should be kept far from the septic system to avoid any damage. You can plant grass instead in the drainfield area to prevent and minimize the instances of soil erosion.

DO divert rainwater away from the drainfield.

When the drainfield is soggy, it would have challenges in absorbing liquid wastes. To prevent this, landscaping and foundation drains should be planned and executed accurately. Consult a professional regarding this matter.

DO perform regular maintenance.

Make sure your septic tank is maintained every one to three years by a professional. Now, the frequency of having your septic tank pumped will depend on its size, the amount of solids that go into it, and the volume of wastewater. It’s best to consult a professional again to know how often you should have your septic tank maintenance done.

DON’T allow an excessive amount of water to be discharged into the septic system.

It will cause the system to back up and will also affect the biological balance within the septic tank.

DON’T dump grease down the drain.

Grease can build up in the septic tank and plug the sewer pipes. So be sure it doesn’t find its way on the drain by having a separate container for it.

Rain= Roof Leak!!

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Replace your roof!!

With all the rain we've been experiencing in the San Francisco Bay Area it's no wonder the number of roof leak calls into our office has been skyrocketing.  Water damage can affect all family members, human or not. 

The roof in question was only a few years old, but the wind of the last storm was too much.  If you experience a roof leak, here are some suggestions about how to go about fixing it:

Step 1:  Stop the water.  Hire a roofing company to either fix the leak or to install a temporary roof tarp to keep more water from entering the structure.  If you suspect the water intrusion is gutter related, contact a gutter cleaning company.

Step 2:  Perform water remediation:  Open affected areas to perform drying and to prevent mold.  Install drying equipment and apply anti-microbial to discourage mold growth.  Caution:  If you are unsure about your property's lead paint or asbestos status, test first before any demolition.

Step 3:  Perform repairs to affected areas.  Always research your contractors make sure they hold valid licensing.

Winter Season!

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Various water alarm sensors

Water sensors are small devices that can alert you whenever water is present around the refrigerator, the washing machine, sinks, and toilets—even in the basement. If you've got a leaky basement or appliances of a certain age, a smart water sensor makes for a strategic addition to your home.

Some smart water sensors work alone via Wi-Fi, and others connect to a smart-home hub; when wetness occurs, both can send a message to your phone so you can respond with a towel or a plumber. The units we're talking about here can't actually shut off the water; they simply alert you to the danger so you can respond quickly.

Though you can get a leak sensor that will set off an eardrum-piercing tone for as little as $10, if you want to get alerts and remote access, be prepared to pay a bit more. But the money is well worth it - an average water damage claim can easily cost $2500.

Be save on Thanksgiving

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Turkey Fryer Blazing Up

Did you know that there are about 4,300 Thanksgiving Day fires annually in the United States?   The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year.  Cooking is often a relaxing and fun task that brings family and friends together, and it provides a great way to showcase your creativity and love of good food.   Safety in the kitchen is always important even more so when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

Here are some important tips on how you can prevent having to use the extinguisher in the first place:

  1. Stay in your kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on your food.
  2. Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  3. Keep children away from the stove – at least 3 feet.
  4. 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.
  5. Keep the floor clean so you don’t trip over any toys, purses, or bags.
  6. Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Make sure your smoke alarms are working.  Test them by pushing the test button.

This your Chimney at ricks for a fire..

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

Chimney Fire Damaged.

Did you feel the chill in the air this past weekend?  For many of us, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a crackling fire to chase away the cold weather.  You’re sitting in your living room with your family enjoying the warm glow of the flames, and suddenly you hear a roaring noise.  It almost sounds like a jet plane is flying right over your home!  Huge amounts of dark smoke billow out of the top of your chimney – what is happening?!?

This is a scenario that plays out almost 25,000 times per year in the US:  Chimney Fires.  These fires can be very dramatic, or they may burn silently, but their silence holds no indication of the harm they may cause as they burn slowly at incredibly high temperatures.  Regardless of the type, all chimney fires can cause substantial damage and risk to you and your family.

So what causes chimney fires?  The build-up of creosote along the chimney lining walls can facilitate the start of a chimney fire. This build-up is caused by the unburned materials in the smoke accumulating along the chimney walls and creating a sticky substance that can easily catch fire. The smoke from the fire contains a substance similar to tar and when the temperatures within the chimney are below 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance will condense along the chimney surface. When the temperature drops below 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance turns into a dark, sticky substance that is also highly flammable.

The Good News:  Chimney fires are almost entirely preventable!

Chimney fires are a dangerous and serious problem to have, but the good news is that they are also almost entirely preventable.  You must be careful to only burn materials that are ready and meant to be burned.  For example, only use seasoned, dry wood, newspapers, and dry kindling.  Burning cardboard boxes, trash, or wrapping paper can cause the creation of excess creosote and put your home and family in danger.  While using the correct fuel is important, a chimney fire can still occur even after taking these precautions.  This is why annual chimney inspections and cleanings are a critical part of home maintenance.  Most creosote is removed during annual chimney cleaning performed by chimney sweeps.

A clean chimney reduces the risk of a fire; so before you strike the first match for a fire this winter, consider scheduling a chimney inspection and cleaning.   Some simple precautions can help you have a safe and happy winter season.

(Statistics Courtesy of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC))

CE course on mold

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

Mold growing on sheet rock inside a home

Property Managers & Real Estate Agents:  Ever run into a mold problem at one of your properties?  Do you want to learn more about how to prevent a mold problem and how to handle one if it already exists?

Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry is a 3-hour CE course taught by SERVPRO and designed for Real Estate Professionals.  The purpose of this course is to educate Real Estate professionals on the real effects of mold growth in residential & commercial structures.  Mold growth requirements will be reviewed so the real estate professional can recognize potential mold dangers in real property.

SERVPRO gives CE classes about restoration every year. SERVPRO of SW San Jose can help Real Estate and Property Managers with mold or water damaged. 

What homeowner should know about rebuilding

9/26/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO will be there to help you out.

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."

Small leak in Milpitas, Ca = Big $$

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

A large amount of mold grows inside this wall cavity

Unfortunately for this customer in Milpitas, Ca they let a water leak go for too long. When they called  SERVPRO of SW San Jose they told them they knew they had a chip in their tile grout around the bathtub but didn't fill it. 

They ignored the problem and water continued to drip into the cavity.

About a year later the called SERVPRO of SW San Jose, because their wall in their adjacent hallway was bowing and showed discoloration.  We performed a complementary inspection and detected water inside the wall using a moisture meter.

Once we opened the wall we found out the total extent of their damage. What could have been fixed with a tube of sealant will now cost thousands to repair.

Real Estate Agents

6/7/2017 (Permalink)

Marketing Manager Dave Kraszewski with John Shaw

SERVPRO of SW San Jose is celebrating its second year as an affiliate member of NHORA, the National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Agents.  They help create and support opportunities for responsible and sustainable home ownership. 

Our franchise was honored in our first year as "Affiliate of the Year", an achievement we feel very proud of.  In this photo, our marketing manager Dave Kraszewski poses with John Shaw from PCDSI, a fellow attendee of April's business luncheon held at Maggiano's in Santana Row.

We feel it is important develop relationships with real estate agents because in the event of a fire, water, or mold problem, buyers and sellers may turn to them for help. 

If you are a real estate agent, consider SERVPRO for your next restoration project.

Ever wonder how we clean up water damage?

5/30/2017 (Permalink)

Investigating water damage after the Coyote Creek downtown San Jose flood

Ever wonder what the steps are in handling water damage in a building?  Check out our video at https://youtu.be/f0ECT3JFr2g for a minute-long crash course!

In the video we begin with our initial survey of the water damaged property, in the case a single family home.  A water supply line in the kitchen burst while the family was away on vacation causing large amounts of water damage to the flooring. 

After the inspection we come up with a drying strategy that will dry your property as fast as possible with as little demo as possible. 

Once the demo and dryout are finished, you don't have to hunt for a new contractor, let us perform your repairs.  We value every client we work with, let us help you with your loss from beginning to end.

2nd Prize Delivered: $100 Cheesecake Factory Card

5/8/2017 (Permalink)

Dave presents Randy with his $100 Cheesecake Factory Card

Marketing Manager Dave Kraszewski presents State Farm Agent Randy Chang with his second place prize:  $100 Cheesecake Factory Gift Card.

When I asked him how he manages to place so well year after year, Randy told me he's an avid sports fan and has his own "system" for picking his NCAA bracket.  The secret is actually between his he and his dad, State Farm agent Harry Chang.

And if you still can't understand why your pick didn't make the cut, you can relive the agony of every loss in the tournament at:  http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2017-03-14/heres-some-help-your-march-madness-predictions-every-region

All kidding aside, we are proud to congratulate Randy Chang of Randy Chang State Farm for taking our 2nd place spot in our contest.  Stop by and visit him sometime, his office is located off El Camino in Mountain View near the Google HQ.

3rd Prize Delivered - NCAA Contest

5/4/2017 (Permalink)

Dave congratulates Gerri on her 3rd place winnings

As the marketing manager for SERVPRO of SW San Jose, one of my favorite visits I have the pleasure of making is to deliver prizes following our contests.  3rd prize winner for this year's contest was Gerri Ferrari of Mike Klein State Farm in Mountain View.

Like many of our players, Gerri has been participating in our contests regularly since the beginning.  We really appreciate everyone who returns to play year after year.

Traditionally our franchise holds two contests per year, the NCAA in the Spring and an online trivia type contest in the Fall.  All contests are free and no obligation, we enjoy putting them on to add a bit of fun into office life.  :-) 

If you would like to be invited to participate in future contests, contact marketing manager Dave Kraszewski at SERVPROdave@gmail.com.

Winner Announcement - March Madness Contest 2017

4/10/2017 (Permalink)

UNC denies Gonzaga's last second attempt in the 2nd half

The block that ended it all!  Yesterday night North Carolina halted Gonzaga’s quest for their first ever NCAA championship, 71 – 65.  Let’s not forget that it was North Carolina who lost last year’s title game in a final second loss to Villanova – some are already saying Gonzaga may be back for revenge next tournament.

And now our winner announcement!  We would like to congratulate:

GRAND PRIZE:  Dave Tofig from David Tofig Allstate in San Jose.  He will be choosing from among the game tickets.

 Second Prize:  Randy Chang of Randy Chang State Farm in Mountain View.  He will be choosing among the restaurant gift cards.

 Third Prize:  Gerri Ferrari of Mike Klein State Farm in Sunnyvale.  She has chosen the $25 Starbucks prize.

Honorable mention goes to Nick Klein who came in only two points behind Gerri.  Everyone placing 4th and up will receive a $5 Starbucks card – I’ll will be delivering or mailing these within the next month.

Thank you all for playing this year!  Hope you enjoyed it and we’ll see you in our next contest.

March Madness Contest 2017

3/20/2017 (Permalink)

Which pre-tournament favorites will avoid the upset bug?

We are pleased to announce our 7th annual NCAA March Madness Contest! 

Grand Prize:  2 Tickets of your choice to your choice of the Sharks, 49ers, A's, Raiders, Warriors, Giants, or Earthquakes

Second Prize:  $100 Gift Card to Cheesecake Factory, Fogo De Chao Brazilian Steakhouse, or Buca di Beppo

Third Prize:  $25 Gift card to Starbucks or Peet's.

Consolation Prize:  All players receive $5 Starbucks or Peet's card, you can't lose!

Don't have time or don't know basketball?  Use the easy "auto-fill" button and let the computer pick for you.

Eligibility:  Must be a SERVPRO of SW San Jose Partner (owner, agent, agent staff, property mgr, real estate agent, broker, or employee).

How to Enter:  Visit: http://SERVPROswsj.mayhem.cbssports.com/e?ttag=BPM17_cpy_invite_returning

There should be no pool password this year.  If you have trouble please contact me directly.

ENTRIES MUST BE COMPLETED BY 11:59PM PDT 3/15/17.  THERE IS NO COST OR OBLIGATION TO PLAY.  One entry per person.  Contest rules are listed on the website.

Questions?  Please contact Dave Kraszewski at 408-966-2409 or SERVPROdave@gmail.com

Good luck from your Fire, Water, and Mold Cleanup & Restoration Experts……  SERVPRO OF SOUTHWEST SAN JOSE!! 

San Jose Brookwood Neighborhood Flood

2/23/2017 (Permalink)

Muddy debris still remains on the streets on Woodvale Ct in downtown San Jose.

Out assessing damage in the Brookwood neighborhood of downtown San Jose today near 20th and E Williams Street.  This area of the city experienced heavy flooding from Coyote Creek.

Even though Brookwood was built to be above the century high water mark, this flood surpassed this level.

Many residents are dealing with flooded crawlspaces, surface water intrusions, and roof leaks. 

Flooding also affected the William Street Park area of San Jose. In the city, floodwaters submerged some residents’ cars and homes, and forced evacuations. And officials have warned residents of dangerously polluted floodwaters.

Floodwaters along Coyote Creek have continued to recede, but about 3,800 San Jose residents were still affected by mandatory evacuations early Thursday, according to officials.

If you have experienced damage related to the flood, we are here to help, give us a call at 408-288-9977.

Pest Control DISASTER

1/13/2017 (Permalink)

One of our property management clients called SERVPRO of SW San Jose  because he was evicting a problem tenant who caused his apartment to become overwhelmed with roaches.  The pest control company had already treated the unit on a few occasions, but now they have a serious bio-hazard cleanup on their hands. 

He told us he contacted a few janitorial companies for quotes but they would not even attempt to bid the project because of the potential health hazards.

SERVPRO of SW San Jose crews has the expertise and materials to handle just about any bio-hazard cleanup project.  Should you run into such a situation, give SERVPRO of San Jose a call for your free estimate today. We will take care of the job from beginning to end. SERVPRO of SW San Jose take care of the dirty work for you. Just call us and we will help out, and leave it "Like it never even happened."

Winter Storm January 2017

1/11/2017 (Permalink)

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.

Hardwood Floor Darkening Mystery

10/25/2016 (Permalink)

Stain darkening on kitchen hardwood floor

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! 

Broken Refrigerator Water Supply Line

8/26/2016 (Permalink)

Our technician Jeremy drills holes for cavity drying

This week one of our customers is dealing with one of our top 5 worst offenders when it comes to causes of water damage.  Most new refrigerators come with plastic water supply lines that hook up to the wall.  We highly encourage everyone to replace this line with a copper one that can be purchased at any hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowe's. 

Often there is no warning that damage is happening until the flooring begins buckling or walls become soft.  Luckily in this case we were able to catch the damage early.  It was necessary to remove the floating laminate floor drill holes in the cabinet toe-kicks to allow for air circulation under the cabinets.

After we are finished with the drying we apply an anti-microbial agent to discourage mold growth.

What homeowners should know about rebuilding cost

8/16/2016 (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".

Leaking Drain Line Inside Wall

8/11/2016 (Permalink)

Leak from drain pipe inside wall cavity - cavity and floor water damage

We received a call last week from a customer who was noticiing some discoloration in his wall.  He wasn't sure if it was water damage and requested an inspection.

Primarily we use non-intrusive moisture meters to detect water damage.  The advantage of this type of moisture meter is that it does not physically damage the materials that it is testing.  This is compared to some moisture meters that use metal probes that pierce the object being tested.

Our inspection revealed that not only was his wall cavity affected, but a fair sized amount of flooring.  Look in the photo how we found another layer of tile below the floating floor. Customers are often surprised to find one, two, or sometimes even three old floors under a laminate floor.  

Leaking Toilet Wax Ring

8/8/2016 (Permalink)

Sewage staining in ceiling below source room

Working to help a customer in Los Gatos deal with a leaking wax ring from a toilet.  They saw a gradual widening of discoloration in a ring pattern in the vinyl up their upstairs bathroom - then one day this nasty spot appeared on their hallway ceiling below!  Luckily for them the amount of sewage was small and we were able to catch it in the initial stages.  We perfomed their water damage cleanup and sanitized the affected areas.

Customers often ask us if there is anything they can do to help prevent this type of damage.  The best advice in this instance would have been to investigate the vinyl discoloration in the upstairs bathroom at the very beginning.  Frequent inspections are often a good way to prevent leaks.

Remember to change your furnace filter!

8/5/2016 (Permalink)

You definitely don't want to eat off this silverware right now

In April we 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 indeal tenant yes?

In April, 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.

Your property is our priority

8/3/2016 (Permalink)

Contents & structure protection

Here at SERVPRO of SW San Jose we treat your belongings with concern and care.  During our work we take measures to minimize the impact to unaffected property.

In this case, water was leaking from the bathroom above and it was necessary to demolish part of the ceiling.  In order to protect the structure and contents of the room to be demolished, we typically use 6 mil plastic.

Demolition can be a messy business.  When considering a contractor, ask them specifically what measures they will take to protect the rest of your home while they are at work.  If reconstruction is needed, we at SERVPRO of SW San Jose can provide post-construction cleanup assistance.  Whether or not we help you with your repairs, you can count on us to make it "Like It Never Even Happened".

What a mess - refrigerator water line leak

5/27/2016 (Permalink)

Replace your refrigerator supply line every 5 years

This week we helped one of our customers who discovered their refrigerator water line had been leaking for months without their knowledge.  By the time they discovered it, their floor was coming up and their sheetrock was drenched!

NCAA March Madness 2016 is here!

3/7/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of SW San Jose 6th Annual NCAA March Madness Bracket Contest

It's that time of year again, time for March Madness!

Grand Prize:  2 tickets to your choice of the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders, Giants, A’s, Warriors, or Earthquakes

2nd Prize:  $100 Gift Card to your choice of The Cheesecake Factory, Chili's, or BJ's Brewhouse                

3rd Prize:   $25 Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee Gift Card

Consolation Prize:  4th place and up receive $5 Starbucks or Peet’s Card

Eligibility:  Must be a SERVPRO of SW San Jose Partner (owner, agent, agent staff, property mgr, realtor, broker, or employee).

How to Enter:  Visit: http://SERVPROswsj.mayhem.cbssports.com. If you wish, you may have the computer choose your bracket for you – no basketball knowledge or experience required!  J 

ENTRIES MUST BE COMPLETED BY THE TOURNAMENT 9AM PST 3/17/16.  THERE IS NO COST OR OBLIGATION TO ENTER.  One entry per person.  Contest rules are listed on the website.

Questions?  Please contact Dave Kraszewski at 408-966-2409 or SERVPROdave@gmail.com

Good luck from your Fire, Water, and Mold Cleanup & Restoration Experts……  SERVPRO OF SOUTHWEST SAN JOSE!!  

Building Relationships with our Community

2/18/2016 (Permalink)

Marketing Manger Dave Kraszewski and other new members are recognized at the February NHORA luncheon at the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown San Jose

We are proud to announce our new membership with the National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Associates!  (NHORA - www.nhora.org)

Congrats to our Warriors Tickets Winner!

1/4/2016 (Permalink)

Dave Kraszewski & Julie Collins from Cal-West / HMS Property Management in San Jose, CA

Our marketing manager Dave Kraszewski congratulates Julie Collins of Cal-West / HMS Property Management for winning Warriors tickets from SERVPRO of SW San Jose at the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) Holiday Party in December!  She will be going to the Warriors / Pacers game on January 22nd. Have fun Julie. 

Honorable mention goes to Nick Klein who came in only two points behind Gerri.  Everyone placing 4th and up will receive a $5 Starbucks card – I’ll will be delivering or mailing these within the next month.

Thank you from SERVPRO of SW San Jose, to all for playing this year!  Hope you enjoyed it and we’ll see you in our next contests. 

Good luck next year. Lets see who wins in 2018 contest. 

Property Owners Brace for Worst with El Nino

12/29/2015 (Permalink)

December 2014 flood along El Camino Real in Redwood City, CA

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - People across the Bay Area are already preparing for the possibility of a very wet winter with the forecast of a powerful El Niño. Rain was sparse in 2015 from January through October. In fact, we experienced more record heat than days of rain. Now with a powerful El Niño in the forecast this winter, many Northern Californians are hoping for some relief.

Homeowners are hiring roofers, fencers, and repairmen to shore up their homes in case El Niño delivers some powerful storms. Some contractors say they are already booked solid.

"This year has been more than the last 10 years," said Frank Chavez, the owner of Skyview Tree Service. "People worry about trees falling into their houses."

Property owners prepare for the worst to brace for powerful El Niño

Chavez says his phone has been ringing non-stop with customers looking to get limbs trimmed and trees pruned before the next storm hits.

“Anything can happen with El Niño," Chavez said.

Some contractors are so busy preparing homes and yards for El Niño-powered storms that they can't accept every job.

"The issue is, during the El Niño when the heavy weather is here and it's very wet, we can't do work those days. So we have so much work packed into the days its clear and pushes it even further and further back," said Justin Lena with A&J Fencing.

Lena says homeowners need to plan ahead before the wet weather arrives. Nothing is guaranteed with Mother Nature, but the early November rains have already prompted some homeowners to take precautions.

PG&E has been preparing for potential flooding, and downed trees and power lines for months. They've already held disaster preparedness exercises in anticipation of power outages and mudslides from winter storms. 

"I can say we're more honestly prepared for this El Niño than we have been for any El Niño in our past history," said Kevin Clifford, senior meteorologist with PG&E.

PG&E is predicting a higher frequency of storm activity in the southern part of their service territory. 

Normal rainfall for San Francisco averages about 23.5 inches. But the last two very strong El Niño years had nearly double that amount. In 1982-83 more than 46 inches fell. And in 1997 San Francisco saw more than 47 inches of rainfall.

There are several things you can do to prepare your home for the possibility of heavy rains. For starters, clean out your gutters, fix leaky roofs, and repair your windows and decks. You may also want to think about investing in a sump pump for basements and garages, or a generator if your neighborhood is susceptible to power outages. Also, don't forget about your car—replace wiper blades and give your tires a check-up.

Happy Thanksgiving!

11/16/2015 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO we are here to serve you 24/7, even on Thanksgiving!

We at SERVPRO of SW San Jose wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

El Nino 2015 -- Are you prepared?

10/29/2015 (Permalink)

Image: This image by the (NOAA) compares the warm Pacific waters of the El Niño 1997-98 event with conditions this summer.

You may have heard on the news that the El Nino is strong this year, but how strong?  The article below is a quick read but provides useful tips on how everyone should prepare for this winter.  - Dave K

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW TO PREPARE FOR EL NINO

Statewide, 17 people died.

Big waves and mudslides alike washed away roads and indiscriminately submerged Malibu mansions and hillside apartments buildings.

Rivers overflowed, seven inches of rain fell in a single day, and the damage cost California more than $400 million. It was California’s wettest winter on record. It was the El Niño 1997-98.

While climate models hint that the coming El Niño can rival or surpass the 1997-98 El Niño, most experts admit the weather phenomenon is as truly temperamental as a toddler. The coming rainfall may be unpredictable, but one thing is not: a decade of drought and catastrophic wildfires have left the parched landscape as ill-prepared for torrential rain as it is in need of it.

Experts at FEMA say now is the time to prepare for El Niño.

“Flooding is the most expensive natural disaster in the United States,” said Olivia Humilde, FEMA’s Mitigation Outreach Specialist. “We all know that mother nature will do her thing, and you can’t really control it.”

But you can prepare for it.

The first step, says Humilde, is to know your risk. Residents living in low-lying beachfront homes such as those in Seal Beach are aware of their flood risks, but folks living in drought-stricken or fire-ravaged canyons may not be aware that conditions are uniquely aligned for mudslides.

 “If you are in a wildfire area and the area around you has burned, the land can’t absorb that water,” Humilde said.

Residents can identify their flood risk by entering their addresses at the government’s floodsmart website.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover flooding. If you think your home is at risk of flooding this winter, now is the time to buy flood insurance, said Humilde. Policies take 30 days to go into effect, she added. Policies that cover building and contents cost less than $500 a year, she said. The floodsmart website includes information about flood insurance and links to insurance agents.

Even more important than insuring your home is preparing your family for an emergency.

Humilde advises families to put together a disaster supply kit and to practice a family communication plan. A basic disaster supply kit, should include a clear gallon tub filled with:

  • a battery powered hand crank radio to listen to evacuation routes,
  • a flashlight,
  • batteries,
  • a first aid kit,
  • a whistle,
  • water,
  • canned food and can opener,
  • a cell phone with external chargers or solar powered chargers from stores such as REI, prescription medications,
  • eye glasses,
  • formula and diapers for babies,
  • and pet food and water for animals
  • A family communication plan should prepare everyone in the family for the possibility of an emergency during the day when children may be at school or parents at work. Families should designate a first point of contact to check in with and a place to evacuate to. Social media can be a very efficient way to communicate with one another, said Humilde. A communication plan could include an emergency family twitter hashtag.

    “An emergency is stressful enough,” said Humilde. “Knowing you have plan in place is really helpful.”

    Article by Paige Austin, Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch

    Thank you Tressa Williams State Farm!

    9/14/2015 (Permalink)

    Thank you letter from Tressa Williams State Farm in Santa Clara

    We'd like to express our appreciation to Tressa Williams State Farm for inviting us to participate in their customer appreciation bbq again this year!  We are always proud to support our State Farm partners.

    Is your water mitigation provider IICRC Certified?

    7/27/2015 (Permalink)

    Who should you call after you suffer a water damage?  Do you go with who your insurance company recommends?  How about your neighbor?

    Make sure whoever you hire is holds their water damage certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC). 

    SERVPRO of SW San Jose proudly holds certification from the IICRC.

    IICRC Certified Firms have earned the right to display the IICRC logo as a symbol of quality. In order to achieve IICRC-certified status, firms must meet a rigorous list of standards in business ethics and expertise. All IICRC Certified Firms must:

    • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
    • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
    • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
    • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
    • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

    The IICRC actively has relationships with fiber producers, carpet and fabric mills, furnishing manufacturers and retailers, and others affiliated with the industry. The use of IICRC service professionals is specified in leading manufacturers’ maintenance brochures and warranties.

    When it comes to cleaning, restoration and inspection, the IICRC writes the books

    As an ANSI-accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO), the IICRC has led the way in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, upholstery and fabric cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation.

    Each IICRC standard takes years to develop and the coordination of several experts in the field, including allied tradespersons; manufacturers; international, national and regional trade associations; individual or franchise professionals; cleaning, inspection and restoration industry organizations; insurance industry; training schools; contractors; and public health professionals.

    These standards are reviewed and updated at least every five years. Many of these fields, such as the water damage restoration field, change rapidly and those who are certified keep up with the advancement of the science and generally accepted practices of the industry.

    The IICRC helps keep homes and businesses healthful

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person spends 90 percent or more of their time indoors, where levels of pollutants may be two to five times (and occasionally more than 100 times) higher than outdoor levels.

    This makes it extremely important to perform regular maintenance inside your home or business. In addition to vacuuming, cleaning and checking for water damage on a regular basis, using a certified technician for cleaning will help extend the life of your flooring and upholstery and ensure that your home or business is healthful for those who live and work there.

    IICRC Benefit

    The IICRC is a nonprofit certification and Standards Developing Organization (SDO) for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. Serving the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, in partnership with regional and international trade associations, the IICRC represents the entire industry. The IICRC is recognized internationally as a knowledgeable industry voice and resource.

    http://www.iicrc.org/iicrc-benefit/for-consumers/

    How can I prevent water damage in my home?

    6/3/2015 (Permalink)

    Cracked Water Supply Line

    Want to learn more about how to prevent water damage in your home? What are the most common causes of water losses? Listen to our May radio interview on the Your Homes Today radio program on KLIV AM 1590!

    http://media.kliv.com/p/2015_05_16_YourHomesToday.mp3

    2015 NARPM Charity Golf & Bocce Tournament

    5/20/2015 (Permalink)

    Golf / Bocce / Dinner Signup Flyer

    Like to play golf or bocce?  Want to support a worthy cause at the same time?  Most of all, want to have some fun??  Join us for our annual 2015 NARPM charity golf and bocce tournament on July 17th.  It's a great way to network with property managers too.  Contact Dave Kraszewski for more information.

    National Association of Residential Property Managers Website:  http://santaclara.narpm.org/

    Golf & Bocce Signup Page:
    https://cornerstonepm.wufoo.com/forms/narpm-santa-clara-2015-golf-bocce-tournament/

    Thank you Your Homes Today!

    5/18/2015 (Permalink)

    A big thank you to Tranh Trinh and Lupe Silva for inviting us on their KLIV AM 1590 radio program Your Homes Today! They help connect people with local contractors and discounts all in once place. Check them out at https://yourhomestoday.com/

    SERVPRO of SW San Jose NCAA Bracket Contest 2015 Results

    4/13/2015 (Permalink)

    NCAA Basketball 2015 Bracket Results

    Led by freshman sensations Tyus Jones and Jahilil Okafor, Duke outscored Wisconsin by 14 points over the final 13 minutes Monday night to take a 68-63 victory in the NCAA tournament.  We hope you all enjoyed playing, we had a record 68 players in our contest.  Without further ado, we’d like to congratulate our winners:

    1.  Mike Klein of Mike Klein State Farm Insurance – He has selected the Giants tickets

    2.  Joe Leonard of Leonard & Leonard Insurance – He has selected the $75 gift card to BJ’s Steak and Brewhouse

    3.  Darlene Fitzgerald of State Farm – She will receive a $25 Starbucks coffee card

    Some honorable mentions who tied for 3rd place and we had to use the championship game tiebreaker score to determine the 3rd place winner:

    Rebecca Lowe – Don Sanders Farmers

    Lidia Garcia – Paul Nietert Farmers

    David Tofig – David Tofig Allstate –> the only player besides Mike Klein who picked Duke as the championship winner

    Claudia Sabioncello – Mike Murillo State Farm

    The complete standings are below.  If you weren’t one of the top three don’t worry, everyone else who played will receive a $5 Starbucks card consolation prize.  Thanks for playing and stay tuned for our next contest coming this Fall!

    Rank

    Team Name

    Score

    Correct

    Best Score

    Best Correct

    Champion

    1

    Mike Klein

    312

    48

    312

    48

    Duke (143)

    2

    joe leonard

    273

    44

    273

    44

    Kentucky (128)

    3

    Darlene Fitzgerald

    264

    46

    264

    46

    Kentucky (132)

    4

    Rebecca lowe

    264

    46

    264

    46

    Kentucky (145)

    5

    Lidia Garcia

    264

    46

    264

    46

    Kentucky (102)

    6

    David Tofig

    264

    42

    264

    42

    Duke (185)

    7

    claudia sabioncello

    264

    46

    264

    46

    Kentucky (20)

    8

    Garrett Wood

    261

    41

    261

    41

    Wisconsin (129)

    9

    Jim Fiorentino

    260

    43

    260

    43

    Wisconsin (145)

    10

    Dave Molinari

    259

    44

    259

    44

    Villanova (147)

    11

    Randy Chang

    258

    42

    258

    42

    Wisconsin (115)

    12

    Ken Williams

    256

    43

    256

    43

    Villanova (148)

    13

    Dina Figone

    255

    45

    255

    45

    Kentucky (180)

    14

    Roy Kellett

    253

    45

    253

    45

    Kentucky (145)

    15

    David Sawyer

    251

    45

    251

    45

    Kentucky (135)

    16

    Chris Cossitor

    251

    42

    251

    42

    Villanova (114)

    17

    Bob Moore

    249

    43

    249

    43

    Kentucky (163)

    18

    Marc Wood

    247

    45

    247

    45

    Gonzaga (101)

    19

    John Pham

    246

    44

    246

    44

    Kentucky (188)

    20

    Timothy Blackmore

    244

    42

    244

    42

    Kentucky (138)

    21

    Kathy Barber

    239

    44

    239

    44

    Kentucky (140)

    22

    Roberto Gomez

    239

    41

    239

    41

    Kentucky (143)

    23

    Gabrielle Perez

    239

    44

    239

    44

    Kentucky (112)

    24

    Serena Rojas

    237

    38

    237

    38

    Kansas (149)

    25

    Stephen Lassman

    235

    39

    235

    39

    NC State (177)

    26

    lampai vongmany

    231

    41

    231

    41

    Kentucky (133)

    27

    curtis cahill

    231

    40

    231

    40

    Kentucky (175)

    28

    david zacher

    229

    39

    229

    39

    Michigan St. (129)

    29

    Ninna Chugh

    227

    36

    227

    36

    NC State (137)

    30

    Derek Alota

    224

    41

    224

    41

    Kentucky (136)

    31

    Tuyen Phan

    224

    38

    224

    38

    Wisconsin (142)

    32

    noelia alcazar

    224

    40

    224

    40

    Kentucky (96)

    33

    Melissa Riqueros

    222

    40

    222

    40

    Kentucky (168)

    34

    Barbara Lawrence

    220

    37

    220

    37

    Kentucky (132)

    35

    Lori Wojton

    220

    37

    220

    37

    Kentucky (113)

    36

    Alyssa Spinelli

    220

    37

    220

    37

    Kentucky (168)

    37

    Lori Paulsen

    218

    39

    218

    39

    Kentucky (123)

    38

    MARIA ABINA

    218

    39

    218

    39

    Kentucky (116)

    39

    elias barocio

    218

    38

    218

    38

    Kentucky (152)

    40

    Vicky Chambers

    218

    39

    218

    39

    Kentucky (172)

    41

    Erin Burton

    218

    39

    218

    39

    Kentucky (65)

    42

    Corenna Braun

    218

    39

    218

    39

    Kentucky (44)

    43

    lillian moore

    216

    38

    216

    38

    Kentucky (167)

    44

    Beth Whitmore

    215

    36

    215

    36

    Kentucky (132)

    45

    Emilia Merz

    215

    38

    215

    38

    LSU (119)

    46

    Dennis Bane

    212

    36

    212

    36

    Villanova (122)

    47

    JOHN LORENZ

    210

    38

    210

    38

    Kentucky (181)

    48

    Ryan Boyd

    207

    36

    207

    36

    Wisconsin (139)

    49

     Dave Kraszewski

    203

    37

    203

    37

    Kansas (130)

    50

    Mario & Beatriz Quezada

    203

    36

    203

    36

    Notre Dame (150)

    51

    Bob Basso

    198

    34

    198

    34

    Oklahoma (121)

    52

    Jill Erickson

    197

    37

    197

    37

    Arizona (142)

    53

    Alex Arredondo

    193

    37

    193

    37

    Villanova (256)

    54

    Desiree Carreiro

    189

    35

    189

    35

    Kentucky (107)

    55

    carlo brusaschetti

    189

    35

    189

    35

    Kentucky (189)

    56

    joan fulcher

    189

    35

    189

    35

    Kentucky (16)

    57

    Jeffrey Vail

    188

    36

    188

    36

    Louisville (162)

    58

    J. Richard Garcia

    184

    35

    184

    35

    Kentucky (143)

    59

    Barbara Pereira

    181

    33

    181

    33

    Kentucky (87)

    60

    Connie Stewart

    181

    33

    181

    33

    Maryland (317)

    61

    Bob Pandio

    177

    34

    177

    34

    Ohio St. (135)

    62

    Danielle Rose

    176

    33

    176

    33

    Baylor (92)

    63

    harold anderson

    171

    28

    171

    28

    Gonzaga (189)

    64

    Lacretia Ellis

    163

    33

    163

    33

    Villanova (167)

    65

    Gerri Ferrari

    162

    32

    162

    32

    Gonzaga (135)

    66

    Natalie McNany

    152

    31

    152

    31

    Kansas (92)

    67

    phil ruth

    151

    29

    151

    29

    Villanova (143)

    68

    Cheryl Zappetta

    140

    29

    140

    29

    Villanova (201)

    5th Annual NCAA March Madness Bracket Contest Begins 3/15

    3/11/2015 (Permalink)

    It’s that time of year again… time for March Madness!  Don’t miss your chance to get in on the action:

    First Prize:  2 Tickets to Your Choice of the San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, or SJ Earthquakes at all new Avaya Stadium

    Alternate First Prize:  2 Any-Day Adult Passes to 6 Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo or Great America Amusement Park

    Second Prize:  $75 Gift Card to Your Choice of The Cheesecake Factory, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, or Chili’s

    Third Prize:  $25 Gift Card to Your Choice of Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee

    Consolation Prize:  All players placing 4th and up receive their choice of a $5 Starbucks or Peet’s card -- you can’t lose!

    Brackets are completed and tracked using CBS sports.com.  To receive your contest invitation, please email Dave Kraszewski at SERVPROdave@gmail.com.  There is no cost or obligation when playing.

    2015 NCAA March Madness Bracket Contest Starting Soon!

    3/2/2015 (Permalink)

    NCAA March Madness 2015 - Final Four Indianapolis

    Hey everyone, it's that time of year again, time for our 5th NCAA March Madness bracket contest!  In celebration of our 5 year milestone, we're adding more prizes and ways to win. 

    "Selection Sunday" is March 15th with the first round starting March 17-18.  Stay tuned for more details on how to sign up and get in on this year's action!

    Scavenger Hunt Contest Results

    12/1/2014 (Permalink)

    Hello Scavenger Hunt Players, your entries have been counted and now it’s time to announce the winners.  We had 86 players hunting this season.

    Grand Prize Winner:  David Sawyer of David Sawyer State Farm in Sunnyvale

    Choice of Tickets to San Jose Sharks, Golden State Warriors, or Walking with Dinosaurs Live at SAP Center

    Second Prize Winner:  Mike Klein at Mike Klein State Farm in Sunnyvale

    Choice of $100 Macy’s Shopping Spree OR Dinner at The Cheesecake Factory

    Third Prize Winner:  Dave Zacher at David Zacher Farmers Insurance In San Jose

    $25 Starbucks Gift Card

    Week 8 “Near Miss” Winner ($10 Subway Card):  Samantha Harper at Ken Williams State Farm in Morgan Hill

    The correct answer to Week 8’s question was “A” – you should keep all lit candles at least 1’ away from any combustible substance.

    If you were not a major prize or weekly prize winner, don’t despair!  Over the next few weeks I will stopping by your office with a $5 Starbucks Card consolation prize or you may receive it by mail.  Thank you for playing and stay tuned for our next contest coming in the Spring.

    Happy Holidays from your fire, water, mold, and construction experts - SERVPRO of SW San Jose!

    Week 8 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

    11/23/2014 (Permalink)

    Frozen turkey dropped into fryer

    Did you know that there are about 4,300 Thanksgiving Day fires annually in the United States? The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year. Thanksgiving can be a fun and relaxing holiday that brings family and friends together; and taking some precautions can help you make sure your Thanksgiving is safe and enjoyable.

    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.

    Week 7 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

    11/17/2014 (Permalink)

    A hungry family member

    Don't Let Stains Ruin Your Holiday! We’re getting into the time of year when many of us host holiday parties and family gatherings. With this inevitably comes accidental food and drink spills onto carpet and furniture. There are primarily five major categories of stains. 

    When Uncle Bob spills eggnog onto your carpet, it results in which of the following types of stain?

    A.  Combination Stain
    B.  Chemical Stain
    C.  Water Soluble Stain
    D.  Non-Water Soluble Stain
    E.  Insoluble Stain

    Click on the link above to select your answer.  Once the pop-up window opens, hit "send" on your email to select your answer.  If the pop-up does not work for you, please email your answer directly to SERVPROdave@gmail.com.  You have until 11:59PM on Sunday, 11/23 to submit your answer.

    Need a hint?  "Hunt" in our article below!

    Even the most careful adult will suffer a food or beverage spill on a carpet from time to time. Sometimes the culprit can be your pet.  In a worst case scenario, your home has suffered fire, water, or mold damage which can stain your carpet.  Professional carpet cleaning is the best way to maintain your carpet’s looks over time.  However, calling in a pro for every day-to-day spill is simply not practical. Learning a little about the different types of household stains you are most likely to encounter can help you head off any long-term carpet damage with ordinary household products. Before blotting, though, familiarize yourself with best practice methods to use when cleaning carpet stains.

    There are five major categories of stains:

    • Water Soluble Stains can be removed with water based cleaning products. Most stains are considered water soluble.  Common examples are soda, alcoholic beverages, latex paint, jelly, and fruit.
    • Non-water Soluble Stains do not respond to water based cleaning solutions and can include oils, greases, gravy, gum, tar, and paint. To be removed with a water-based cleaner, they must be converted to a water soluble form.
    • Combination Stains contain both water and non-water soluble stains. Successful removal requires treatment of both water based and non-water based cleaning solutions. Examples include chocolate, dairy products, meat juices
    • Insoluble Stains do not respond to either water based or non-water based cleaning products. Copy-machine toner is an example.
    • Chemical Stains must undergo a chemical reaction before treating with a water based or non-water based cleaning agent. Examples include urine and rust stains. 
    The longer stains sit on a fabric, the more difficult they may be to remove.  According to the American Cleaning Institute, here are some tips for removing some common holiday stains:
    1.  Time is of the essence! Immediately blot up as much of the spill as possible.  The longer a stain sets the more stubborn it becomes to remove. Use a clean white bleach-free cloth to remove a stain as the color from the cloth could transfer to the fabric or surface you are cleaning.How to Blot: Push your index finger knuckle into a white bleach-free cloth. Work your knuckle forward and backward then left to right across the carpet stain. Twist your wrist in a clockwise direction. Carpet fibers are twisted clockwise. This motion removes stains from between the fibers without causing the carpet to fuzz. Remember to frequently move the towel to prevent the stain from spreading.

    2.  Water-Soluble Stains --  Substances that are water based are usually the least complicated to clean, particularly if the spill is addressed when it is fresh. After removing any solids, plain water can be used to clean up the stain, blotting gently from the edge of the stain and moving inward with a clean white towel or white paper towel. If the stain is a little more set, a mixture of eight ounces of water and about one-quarter teaspoon of clear dishwashing liquid will usually bring up the stain.

    3.  Combination Stains -- Some stains, though water soluble, are protein based, which makes them more difficult to treat. The enzymes in these stains will become darker if exposed to heat or anything acidic and will grab on to the carpet fibers more stubbornly. Blood or vomit on carpet should be flushed with cold water immediately after any solids are removed. If plain water fails to remove the stain, it should then be treated with only mild solutions—water and clear dishwashing liquid for wool or wool-blends, and a tablespoon of ammonia mixed in one cup of water for other types of carpet. Hydrogen peroxide can be used on white fabrics only.  Examples of combination stains:blood, dairy products, bodily fluids, meat juices.4.  Non Water-Soluble Stains – Fat and oil-based stains pose a problem because they naturally stick to other oils, such as the petroleum used to make synthetic carpet. In recognition of this, some carpet manufacturers add special treatments and coatings to their synthetic fibers to create some stain resistance. For carpets with these coatings, water with mild soap is still the best place to begin in cleaning the stain. For carpets that are untreated, use a CRI-certified dry carpet cleaner. Blot the stain until it is removed, and then blot the area again with water to pick up any leftover cleaning product. Allow the area to dry completely, and then vacuum.  Examples of Non-Soluble stains: cooking grease, lipstick, salad dressing, petroleum jelly.

    5.  Wax and Gum -- Particularly in carpet with a medium to deep pile, wax and gum must not be ground into the carpet or allowed to set, as they will bind the fibers together. Even attempting to peel them up can damage the carpet. The trick to removal is patience and ice. Cover the wax or gum with ice, and allow it to freeze—this will take at least 20 minutes. Starting at the edges, you can then gently pick away the hardened substance without tugging at the carpet strands. For any wax residue, cover the area with brown paper and paper towels, and use an iron on medium heat to pick up the wax. For gum residue, blot the area with a dry carpet cleaner, and then use a damp cloth to soak up the cleaning residue. Always vacuum the area after the carpet has thoroughly dried.

    While various stains can be hard on carpet, the worst damage results from rough cleaning by the homeowner. Scrubbing, using stiff brushes, or vigorous rubbing in a circular motion may clean the spot, but it will definitely untwist and rough up the carpet’s fibers, giving it an uneven appearance and hastening wear. For stain removal and spot cleaning, the method should always be blotting from the outside of the stain to its center to prevent spreading. The most important part of spot carpet cleaning is to be persistent but very, very gentle.
    For more specific questions, talk with SERVPRO or a carpet cleaning professional.

    Week 6 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

    11/10/2014 (Permalink)

    Kitchen pan fire

    Did you know that according to FEMA, 1 out of 4 households in the US have no fire extinguisher at home?  Used at the right time, on the right fire, and in the right way, an extinguisher can limit flame and smoke damage, and can even save your home.

    There are five primary types of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out different kinds of fires.  To put out a potential grease fire that may occur in your kitchen at home, you want to make sure your fire extinguisher is effective on which class of fire?

    A.  Class A fires
    B.  Class B fires
    C.  Class C fires
    D.  Class D fires
    E.  Class K fires

    Click on the link above to select your answer.  Once the pop-up window opens, hit "send" on your email to select your answer.  If the pop-up does not work for you, please email your answer directly to SERVPROdave@gmail.com.  You have until 11:59PM on Sunday, 11/16 to submit your answer.

    Need a hint?  "Hunt" in our article below!

    With so many fire extinguishers to choose from, selecting the proper one for your home can be a daunting task. Everyone should have at least one fire extinguisher at home, but it's just as important to ensure you have the proper type of fire extinguisher. Fire protection experts recommend one for the kitchen, the garage, and workshop.

    There are five primary types of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out different kinds of fires.  Each fire extinguisher also has a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can handle. The higher the number, the more fire-fighting power. The following is a quick guide to help choose the right type of extinguisher: 

    For use with ordinary materials like cloth, wood and paper.

    Often found in homes and businesses

    For use with combustible and flammable liquids like grease, cooking oil, gasoline, and oil-based paints.

    Often found in homes and businesses 

    For use with electrical equipment like appliances, tools, or other equipment that is plugged in.

    Often found in homes and businesses For use with flammable metals Often found in factories

    For use with vegetable oils, animal oils and fats in cooking appliances.

    Often found in commercial kitchens (restaurants, cafeterias, catering businesses)

    Water extinguishers or APW extinguishers (air-pressurized water) are suitable for class A fires only. Never use a water extinguisher on grease fires, electrical fires or class D fires - the flames will spread and make the fire bigger! Water extinguishers are filled with water and are typically pressurized with air. Again - water extinguishers can be very dangerous in the wrong type of situation. Only fight the fire if you're certain it contains ordinary combustible materials only.  

    Dry chemical extinguishers come in a variety of types and are suitable for a combination of class A, B and C fires. These are filled with foam or powder and pressurized with nitrogen.Dry chemical extinguishers have an advantage over CO2 extinguishers since they leave a non-flammable substance on the extinguished material, reducing the likelihood of re-ignition.

    • BC - This is the regular type of dry chemical extinguisher. It is filled with sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate. The BC variety leaves a mildly corrosive residue which must be cleaned immediately to prevent any damage to materials.
    • ABC - This is the multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher. The ABC type is filled with monoammonium phosphate, a yellow powder that leaves a sticky residue that may be damaging to electrical appliances such as a computer. 

    Carbon Dioxide (CO2).  CO2 extinguishers contain carbon dioxide, a non-flammable gas, and are highly pressurized. The pressure is so great that it is not uncommon for bits of dry ice to shoot out the nozzle. They don't work very well on class A fires because they may not be able to displace enough oxygen to put the fire out, causing it to re-ignite.

    These are only the common types of fire extinguishers. There are many others to choose from. Base your selection on the classification and the extinguisher's compatibility with the items you wish to protect.

    It is vital to know what type of extinguisher you are using. Using the wrong type of extinguisher for the wrong type of fire can be life-threatening.

    When operating a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

    • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
    • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

    Week 5 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

    11/3/2014 (Permalink)

    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. 

    Week 4 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

    10/27/2014 (Permalink)

    Have you felt the chill in the night air lately?  Most of us know that our homes are insulated and that insulation makes homes more energy efficient.  The efficiency of insulation is measured in what is called an "R Value".  The higher the value, the more it will protect against heat loss.  But what does the "R" stand for?

    A.  Reflection
    B.  Reduction
    C.  Redirection
    D.  Resoluteness
    E.  Resistance

    Need a hint?  "Hunt" for the answer in the article below!

    We all know that insulation makes our homes more energy efficient. But how much should you have?

    If the cost to heat and cool your home seems to be out of control, don't worry. You can take control of your energy bills by air sealing and insulating your home. Beefing up the insulating power of your walls, floors and ceilings is well within your grasp, but before you start tearing your house apart, let's cover a few insulation basics.

    What is insulation?  Insulation in its most basic form is just a means of trapping air, more specifically a gas, in little pockets or bubbles. Insulation works by dividing the space in our walls, floors and ceilings into billions of these tiny air pockets or bubbles. As heat tries to move through the insulation towards the cold, it must warm each bubble independently before moving on to the next bubble or air pocket. This slows down the transfer of heat through your home making it more comfortable and energy efficient.

    What kinds of insulation are available?  There are basically four types:

    1.  Blankets of Insulation - This is the most common type fiberglass or rockwood insulation sold in home improvement stores.  This cotton candy like insulation earns its R-value by trapping air in between tiny fibers.

    2.  Blown-in Insulation -  Made of cellulose or fiberglass, this type of insulation is sold in compressed blocks which are broken down into tiny pieces by a powerful machine known as an insulation blower. The blower forces the insulation through a large hose. As the insulation flies out of the hose, the installer directs the flow of insulation into place.

    3.  Spray Foam Insulation - Spray foam insulation is a combination of chemicals which are heated and sprayed out of a machine through a hose. The spray foam chemicals mix together at the tip of the hose creating a thick paint-like goo that sticks to anything it touches including wires, pipes and ducts.

    4.  Foam Board Insulation - Perhaps the least understood insulation product on the market is known as foam board or rigid insulation. It comes in sheets like plywood or drywall and in thicknesses from 1/2" to 2". Foam board is typically installed on the outside of your home during a major renovation or underneath a concrete floor before its poured.

    Insulation is rated by R-Value, or resistance, to heat flow.  The higher the R-Value, the greater the resistance to heat transfer.  The key to insulation is that it stops convective air flow and therefore stops heat flow. Stop the air flow and you stop the heat flow.

    The other key to understanding insulation is that every time you double the thickness of the insulation, you cut heat flow in half.  This means, with 3" of insulation, you have about R-9 and a big heat loss.  Double that to 6" and you are R-19, cutting your heat loss in half!  Double it again to 12", and your R-Value is about 38, and your heat loss cut in half again.  But once you get to R-38, you quickly approach the area of diminishing returns; you would have to double the R-Falue again to 76 to cut the heat loss in half -- and at this point there is already very little heat loss.

    According to the US Dept of Energy website, the San Francisco Bay area falls into Zone 3, which recommends R-30 to R-60 in the attic.

    When considering adding insulation to your home, you'll want to do a little research to locate a contractor who wants to discuss air leakage, bypass, and the thermal envelope.  If a contractor doesn't bring up these items, find a better contractor.

    Our homes are complicated systems.  Spraying a little insulation into an attic may not solve your heat loss and energy cost problems -- it may even cause more problems than it solves.  Proper thought and planning are essential in getting the job done right.

    Week 3 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

    10/20/2014 (Permalink)

    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?

    1. No Containment  /  No PPE needed
    2. No Containment  /  Minimum PPE needed
    3. Limited Containment /  Limited PPE - Half-Face Air Purifying Respirator (APR) with HEPA Filter
    4. Limited Containment / Minimum PPE needed
    5. Full Containment with Decon Chamber / Full PPE - Full-Face APR with HEPA Filter

    Need a hint?  "Hunt" below in our mold article!

    If you have any trouble answering the question or run into submission problems please contact me.  Good luck!

    Dave Kraszewski / SERVPROdave@gmail.com -- Email

    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.

     Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among people exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.

    If mold is a problem in your home, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.  Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.  Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

     Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through floors. Showers or cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. The amount of moisture that the air in your home can hold depends on the temperature of the air. As the temperature goes down, the air is able to hold less moisture. This is why, in cold weather, moisture condenses on cold surfaces (for example, drops of water form on the inside of a window). This moisture can encourage biological pollutants to grow.

    When remediating mold, the goal of containment is to limit the spread of mold throughout the building and minimize the exposure to technicians and building occupants.  The larger the contaminated area, and the greater the possibility that someone will be exposed to mold, the greater the need for containment.  An exception could be heavy mold growth in a small area.  It could release more mold spores than lighter growth in a relatively large area.  In this case, the smaller moldy area may warrant a higher level of containment.

    Two types of containment are described in the EPA's mold remediation guidelines: limited and full.  Limited containmentis generally used for areas involving 10 and 100 sq ft of mold contamination.  Full containment is used when areas larger than 100 sq ft are to be remediated.  Containment for jobs under 10 sq ft usually is not necessary.

    Types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • Minimum: Gloves, N-95 respirator, goggles/eye protection.  Used for jobs under 10 sq ft.
  • Limited: Gloves, Half-face Air Purifying Respirator (APR) with HEPA filter, disposable overalls, goggles/eye protection.  Used for jobs 10-100 sq ft.
  • Full: Gloves, disposable full body clothing, head gear, foot coverings, full-face respirator (APR) with HEPA filter.  Used on jobs larger than 100 sq ft.
  • The easiest way to solve mold problems is to prevent mold growth in the first place.  Here are some tips to follow:

  • MOISTURE CONTROL IS KEY
  • Keep the building clean and dry. Dry wet or damp areas within 48 hours.
  • Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible.
  • Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix the 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 air, repair leaks and 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, to the outside where possible.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60 percent relative humidity (RH), ideally 30 percent to 50 percent, if possible.
  • Perform regular building and HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
  • Don't let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.
  • If you are not experienced with home/building repairs you may want to consult a professional when making repairs, or for assistance with mold-prevention-related changes to your home/building.
  • Week 2 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

    10/13/2014 (Permalink)

    TRUE STORIES FROM THE FIELD

    Imagine this, you're ready for bed and you walk into your kitchen to plug your cell phone into the charger for the night.  Just a few minutes later, the smoke alarm is blaring, there's a fire in your kitchen!

    This customer managed to put out the fire quickly but made a very common mistake afterwards that made the situation worse.  Look carefully, can you name the mistake?

    A.  Called the Fire Department

    B.  Opened windows for ventilation

    C.  Turned off HVAC system (Furnace / Air Conditioning)

    D.  Used soap and water to wipe down walls to prevent soot from setting

    E.   Ate canned food being stored on other side of the kitchen

    Need a hint?  "Hunt" for the answer below!

    (If the links above do not work for you, you mail email your answer directly to SERVPROdave@gmail.com.)

    Smoke/Soot Removal

    Soot/Smoke is the product of incomplete combustion made visible by the presence of small particles of carbon.  Remember, fire is indiscriminatory.  Any substance which can burn, will burn!  The more substances which burn, the more complex the odor. (See below)

    Smoke odors normally may be classified into three categories:

    1) Protein Odors:  Result from burned meat, flesh, or poultry.  The residue is brown/yellow in color.  The residues has a greasy texture.  Thorough cleaning is often required for complete deodorizing.

    2) Natural Substance Odors:  Result from burned wood, paper, cotton, wool, jute, cork, feathers, etc.  The residue isgray/black in color and of a dry, powdered consistency.

    3) Synthetic Substance Odors:  Result from burned plastics, synthetic textiles, etc.  The residue is black in color and smudges easily.  Smoke webs are often visiblein upper corners and smoke “streamers” and are often found hanging from curtain rods, etc.

    Smoke is influenced by…

    1) Heat:  Warmed or heated air rises and migrates to cold areas (outside walls, closets, etc.)  Heat causes pores to expand.

    2) Pressure: The energy created by the fire produces heat and pressure which enables the smoke to penetrate into minute cracks and crevices.

    3) Impingement:  Means splatter, when a substance hits a surface with sufficient velocity it will impinge (or splatter) and remain upon that surface.

    4) Magnetism:  Attraction of smoke to metal surfaces.  (Plumbing pipes, nail heads, metal coat hangers).

    5) Ionization:  Opposite charges attract, forming smoke webs on structural surfaces.  Plastic bags originating at the dry-cleaner’s retain static electrical charges which attract smoke.  In fact, in many fire situations, more smoke residues will be found on garments protected by plastic bags, than found on unprotected garments.

    After fire damage, it is natural to want to clean a home and its contents. Timely action can be a great help, but incorrect or delayed action can jeopardize or seriously impede satisfactory restoration.

    DO:

    • Call the fire department if there are any doubts the fire may not be completely extinguished.
    • Clean and protect chrome trim on kitchen appliances with a light coating of Vaseline or other oil.
    • Blow off or brush-vacuum loose smoke particles from upholstery, drapery and carpet.
    • Open windows for ventilation.
    • Turn off HVAC unit - blowing air through the ducts can spread ash and soot to unaffected areas
    • Empty freezer and refrigerator completely if electricity is off, and prop doors open with a rolled towel or newspaper.
    • Clean and protect smoked bathroom faucets, tub fittings and towel bars with light coating of oil.
    • Wash plants with water on both sides of leaves (water softener helps).
    • Remove children & pets (especially birds) to clean environments.

    DON’T:

    • Use upholstered furniture if it can be avoided.
    • Use exposed food items, or canned goods which have been subjected to excessive heat.
    • Use TV’s, stereos, or electrical appliances until cleaned and checked.
    • Wipe or attempt to wash walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces.
    • Send smoked garments to an ordinary dry cleaner.  Improper cleaning may set smoke and odor.

    Smoke residues from fires of natural origin are generally easier to clean up than fires of synthetic or protein origin.  For example, it would be easier to clean up the residue from a wood or paper fire than it would to clean up the residue from a fire of synthetic or protein origin.

    And remember, if water was used to put out your fire, sometimes the water damage can be worse than the fire itself!  When the fire is over, most of the time the damage won’t substantially increase much over time.  But if the residence is not dried out completely, the water leftover from the fire department or sprinkler will cause progressive damage increasing over time.  

    Week 1 Question -- Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

    10/1/2014 (Permalink)

    You arrive home to find the water line to your refrigerator has ruptured.  Your kitchen and living room are flooded and your living room carpet is soaking wet!  Which of the following things should you NOT do?

    A. Remove excess water by mopping & blotting

    B. Leave area rugs in-place on your carpeting

    C. Turn on your air-conditioning

    D. Place aluminum foil strips under furniture legs in living room

    E. Gather loose items up from floors

    Need a hint?  Check out http://www.servproswsanjose.com/water-damage-tips

    Instructions:  Click on the correct answer; a pop-up window should open asking to send an email.  Hit "Send" to submit  your answer.  If a window does not appear (because you have a pop-up blocker) - you may email your answer directly to Dave Kraszewski at servprodave@gmail.com.

    Answers must be submitted by 11:59PM on 10/12 to be eligible.  Limit 1 submission per person per week. 

    SERVPRO of SW San Jose Scavenger Hunt 2014!

    10/1/2014 (Permalink)

    As Fall is upon us once again, we’d like to invite you to participate in our final online contest of the year:

      SERVPRO of SW San Jose Scavenger Hunt!

     “Big Game” Hunting (Grand Prize):  Tickets to San Jose Sharks, Golden State Warriors, or Walking with Dinosaurs Live at SAP Center

    “Medium Game” Hunting (Second Prize):  $100 Macy’s Shopping Spree OR Dinner at The Cheesecake Factory

    “Small Game” Hunting (Third Prize):  $25 Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee Gift Card

     Consolation Prize:  All Players placing 4th and up receive their choice of $5 Starbucks or Peet’s card – you can’t lose!

    How to Join The Hunt:

    Send us an email by clicking here.  Each Monday from 10/6 – 11/24 you will receive an email with a multiple-choice quiz question with a link to our website.  “Hunt” for the correct answer to the question on our website reply back to the email, it’s that easy!

    Chance to win every week!  Each week one player with a correct answer will win a “near miss” bonus prize lunch at Subway.  Limit:  1 entry per person per week.  There is no cost or obligation when playing.  If you have any questions or have trouble submitting your answer, please contact Dave Kraszewski at servprodave@gmail.com.

    Major Prize drawings will occur the week of 12/1 and will be randomly drawn from all entries received – the more weeks you play the greater your chances are to win.  Have fun and good luck!

    Annual Fall Contest - Coming Soon!

    9/19/2014 (Permalink)

    Hey everyone, welcome to the new location of our SERVPRO of SW San Jose blog!  Our Annual Fall Contest will be coming soon, if you have played in previous contests you will be receiving an invitation email.  And of course, new players are always welcome!

    Stay tuned, more info coming soon.

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