Early Signs of Water Damage

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Does your Wet Drywall look like this? Bubbling paint is an early sign of water damage within a wall or ceiling.

Water damage can wreak havoc on homes and businesses rapidly, often striking silently and leaving destructive consequences in its wake. In this guide, we’ll empower you with the knowledge to recognize early signs of water damage, identify its sources, and take decisive actions. The stakes are high – neglecting signs of water damage is like inviting a wrecking ball company to your property for practice swings. Let’s dive into the crucial signs and actions that can save your home from potential disaster or costly repairs.

An example of a home that had no signs of water damage having a massive flood from above.

This homeowner had no signs of water damage, they simply experienced a flood from above that we were able to fully remediate and complete restoration for their home. This before and after photo actually shows after our remediation on the left, and after our full restoration on the right side.

Why Taking Action on Water Damage is Important

First, note that signs of water damage should be addressed immediately. This content is to help those who may have only discovered the evidence of the damage. Often water damage accumulates silently, and will burst out of hiding without warning. Still after the flood, there may only be clues to the water source. For these water damages, we hope to help you to know the signs of the damage, discover the source, and know what actions are needed.

When you invest in your home, failure to act on early signs of water damage is like parking a demolition truck out front with the wrecking ball weight just waiting to fall upon your family. If you can take action to prevent water damage or remove it, do so immediately or call professionals.

Even if the water damage is minimal on the surface, the root of the problem can be costly water waste, wood rot formation, and also a cause for mold formations that will impact your health. Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome-Water Damaged Building (CIRS-WDB) is a severe respiratory health concern that can develop from water damage in a home or building.

Some signs of water damage or mold damage are obvious.

Before and after photo of a water damaged property that was neglected to let mold to grow.

Water Damage Experts

If you need help with a large water damage problem in your home or business, reach out! Orange Restoration has over 20 years of experience with water damage restoration. We can help with flood mitigation, water damage remediation, and also the reconstruction and restoration of your home. Our team has experience from international projects, so we have seen it all! Here are some tips prepared by our expert mold and water damage technicians.


Visual Signs of Water Damage

Often when we have water damage there are warning signs. Even if the water damage source is from a small plumbing leak or natural rain leakage. Looking for water damage can seem redundant, but it is not really about seeking the water damage, but about knowing the signs of water damage. Knowing the signs of water damage means, you will probably notice the water damage without putting effort into searching for it.

  • Recurring Puddles or Moisture: Often near the kitchen sink, puddles will form due to use, but could it be you are excusing the puddle that has been coming from a deeper problem? Yes. Often a leak’s symptoms will be dismissed in areas where there is regular moisture due to normal usage. A recurring puddle in the bathroom or kitchen should be investigated to ensure it is not coming from plumbing. 

  • A Deeper Slow Leak: A slow leak can be overlooked and allow for deeper structural damage to occur. Be sure to check under the kitchen sink and around fixtures in the bathroom every time you find a puddle near by these plumbing fixtures. If you find moisture on the fixture above a puddle, better call a plumber! Or call us to resolve the whole problem, investigate any deeper issues, and restore the water damages. 

  • Bubbling Paint on Walls: The paint of your walls should never bubble! This is always a sign of some deeper problem. If you see the paint on your walls begin to bubble, this probably means you have water pressure impacting the walls of your home. You might see the walls bowing as there may also be water inside the wall! This will require a professional to detect the leak and may require going into the walls to check for mold growth. In addition to the visual inspection, you might also smell a musty odor if there is mold or mildew formations. 

  • Buckling Wooden Floors: Before buckling, wooden floors may exhibit signs like curling at the edges or cupping, where the center of the board is higher than the edges. These changes indicate water absorption. Also, because the floors are lower than all other visual surfaces, other areas may show signs of damage leading to the floors. For example, materials around the flooring like drywall, baseboards, or door frames may swell or warp when exposed to prolonged moisture. Check for irregularities in the shape and alignment of these wooden elements. 

  • Discoloration of Walls: Usually water will leave a color of light brown or yellow on white paint or drywalls. Signs of water damage can also be discoloring of painted walls or wallpaper and create natural water stains that last long after the water dries up. Often wall paper will flake and the texture will change due to the water damage. There may or may not be bubbling of paint, only some paint will bubble. 


What does Water Damage on a Ceiling Look Like?

Often with water coming from above the water comes fast and heavy, but occasionally, it is a slow leak. When you are dealing with a slow leak, you may have the water permeate the structural elements of your ceiling, causing light brown or yellow water rings. 

Painted Ceiling: On the other hand, you may have painted ceilings that may bubble, flake or allow the weight of the water to increase till the ceiling sags or bows down. Also, mold growth could be forming around the affected areas including drywall leading up to the ceiling.  

Mold growth and other signs of water damage

Here is an example of Mold growth, one of many signs of water damage. The after photo shows full mold remediation.

Causes of Water Damage in your Home 

Signs of water damage can have unpredictable sources for some water damage issues. Here are some insights into the hidden issues causing these problems.

  • Slow Leak Hidden in Walls: An in wall leak will usually be attributed to plumbing. In the case of an in wall plumbing leak, chances are some mold will develop and spread within the walls of your home. 

  • You might be able to notice the musty smell, or feel the wall is moist from outside. All leaks in the wall will need to be handled. If you need repiping, we have Pro Plumber San Diego available to help with all the plumbing needs.  

  • Leak in Neighbors Unit or Attic (Water from the Ceiling): As you read, about the visual signs of water damage, the ceiling will often appear the same with water damages. Still, often water from above crashes down on us. 

  • When you have a leak coming from above, call a professional immediately. The implications of water damage from above puts all your possessions and your family at risk! You may want to coordinate with your landlord or neighbors to get this solved promptly and provide access to the professionals.

  • Plumbing Fixtures: Maintaining and inspecting plumbing fixtures is a good practice, but often when plumbing fixtures go bad, they become a significant source of water. Plumbing fixture failures will rapidly lead to flooding.

  • Broken Seals, Aged Weather Stripping and Roof Leaks: Inspecting your appliances, plumbing and windows is important to do at least annually. Also should be considered checking weather stripping before the rainy season. 

  • HVAC, Appliances, and Sprinkler Systems: Water is used in the home, around the home and within systems like the HVAC. These resources work well to help provide automation, comfort and consistency to the home, but when they malfunction, they can produce moisture, small leaks, or even flooding. 

  • Having an HVAC professional inspect the system and having a landscaping professional address these issues or turn off the systems for temporary stop to the leak source. If there is damage, you may still need to call a professional to avoid mold or further damages from the water. 


How Likely is Mold After Water Damage?

If left moist for 24 hours, mold will begin forming. Even though the mold spores may not be visible to the eye, microbial growth will begin to form. At this time, you will need to fight 2 battles, one to remove the water damage and another to fight the mold. Mold formations on the surface are not as serious as the implication of the mold spores releasing into the air to spread and also, when airborne, this begins to impact your health for the negative. We can handle your flood or water damages, but also deal with full mold remediation and restoration.


Orange Restoration Wrap-up on Water Damage

Safeguarding your home from the silent threat of water damage requires vigilance, prompt action, and a keen understanding of the red flags. Whether it’s the subtle discoloration of walls, the ominous bubbling of paint, or the more overt signs like buckling wooden floors, each visual cue demands attention. 

Remember, signs of water damage are not just a cosmetic concerns; it’s a potential catalyst for wood rot, mold growth, and even severe health issues. By recognizing these signs of water damage and mold early on and addressing the root causes, you can protect your home’s structural integrity and the well-being of its occupants.

Don’t underestimate the power of prevention, and should the need arise, our team at Orange Restoration stands ready to bring over two decades of expertise to mitigate and restore your property. Stay proactive, stay informed, and let’s keep our homes resilient against the stealthy negative impact of water damage.



Preparing for 1st Rain in San Diego

Mission Valley Flooding is a popular flood spot in San Diego County as it is near the San Diego River.

Preparing for Rainy Season

San Diego news is reporting rain this week, most likely starting tomorrow. The storm is expected to dump about an inch of rain across San Diego County. Which is not enough to really cause a Flood Watch, but this could dampen the fire risks associated with the Santa Ana winds we have been experiencing.



Flood Prevention and Mold Prevention Tips

Recently San Diego homeowners have been a little more prepared due to Hurricane Hilary hitting our shores. There can be many tips that might be applicable for the prevention during a hurricane watch that can also help you prevent flooding of your home or business. For example, if you know you will need barriers to keep water away from your home, we provided great examples for sandbag placement. In addition, after the rain has passed us, we also have tips for helping to prevent mold


Preparing for First Rain of the Season

Considering San Diego County weather has been mostly sunny, many homeowners may not be ready for this wet season to begin. Here are some tips on how to make sure your home is prepared for the incoming rains.


French Drain example from a La Jolla home's back yard pool area.

Clear French Drains

The areas around your home can be properly engineered for water and still fail. Often around homes with pools or lots of landscaping mixed with pavement areas French drains. These drains will be positioned to ensure water runoff leaves the proximity of the home as efficiently as possible. Still, these drains need to be free from blockages and may need to be unclogged with professional tools. 


Home Perimeter Check 

Clear clutter around the exterior of the home, anything too close to the home can hold water and cause issues. Storing exterior lawn furniture or equipment properly might be a good idea too. After the rainfall, you will need to monitor any areas that will allow for standing water. If you find any trapped water, remove it by dumping it or draining it. If you need, you can dig a trench to remove it or hose for siphoning, moving the water to a lower ground level away from your home.

Rian Gutters should be free flowing without clogging or water backed up due to blockages or barriers. make sure water flows to a new location away from the home.

Clean Rain Gutters 

As leaves and debris build up in rain gutters throughout the year, it is important to make sure they are ready for serving their purpose. Often gutters being clogged can cause water to run down the exterior walls of the home, rain gutter breakage, and can lead to mold development overtime. Rain gutters can also contribute to flooding, erosion of landscaping, and water getting into the home. 


Trees and Landscaping Maintenance 

Anything touching the home should be pruned to where it will not cause damage to the home but also, to prevent water accumulation or water to be aided in accessing the home. A tree branch could be resting on the roof of the home impacting the rain gutter to pour out along the exterior of the home and into a window frame. Making sure the exterior plants, trees and dirt around your home do not negatively impact the home is part of the best practices for home maintenance.  


Check for Leaks 

As the rain begins to fall, check all rooms to see if you detect any ceiling leaks. Ceiling leaks can look different depending on the paint, ceiling materials, and the proximity to wall conduits. Be sure to look for water rings, paint bubbling, rust stains, paint discoloration, or mold formations. If you have any serious paint bubbling or otherwise cracks in your ceiling, you will want to call a water damage professional to properly evaluate it and check for sources and extent of the damage. Often, if there has been a slow leak, there will also be some mold development too.


Weather Stripping

When water is leaking into the home, coming from around the window edges, you might want to consider getting weather stripping inspected closer. Testing all doors and windows for proper weather stripping can be easy, still, if you are not sure, contact a professional about getting them re-stripped for leak prevention.


Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit

While most San Diego rains do not bring the most serious emergencies to the entire community, your home can still experience an isolated emergency. Preparing basics to help in the case of an emergency flood, fire or earthquake can be a good practice for your home. 

Often the suggestions for this include flashlight, first aid basics, bottled water and other essentials. The most important detail about this emergency pack is that your family knows its location. You may want to use this time to communicate a safe evacuation plan and the plan for what to do in household emergencies. Also, you can plan what emergency services you plan to use for any flood emergencies that require water mitigation or fire emergencies that require fire fighting professionals.


Flood Mitigation After Hurricane Threat #1

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News Headlines report California and Mexico in destress from the the hurricane Hilary causing many homes and businesses to be in need of professional flood mitigation.

As the hurricane center has passed and San Diego breathes a sigh of relief, it’s crucial to shift our focus from preparation to flood mitigation. Hurricane Hilary might have spared us the worst, but the potential for flooding remains a concern for homeowners, especially those living near waterways and ocean shores.

In this post-hurricane period, it’s essential to take proactive steps to safeguard your home and property from potential water damage. Any standing water should be removed through professional flood mitigation services as the water inside your home can easily cause mold to form. Here’s a comprehensive guide on flood mitigation strategies to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

As hurricane Hilary has been downgraded to a tropical storm, the threat of flooding and the need for flood mitigation has been reduced.

As hurricane Hilary has been downgraded to a tropical storm, the threat of flooding and the need for flood mitigation has been reduced.

Assessing Post-Hurricane Risks

Although Hurricane Hilary didn’t deliver the feared devastation, some San Diegans now grapple with unexpected post-storm water challenges. The abundance of sudden water was not anticipated by many, leading to the emergence of standing water on certain properties. The presence of standing water can become a breeding ground for pests, elevate indoor humidity levels, and even facilitate the formation of mold spores.

While the hurricane’s impact varied across San Diego county, it’s imperative for affected residents to embark on post-hurricane cleanup efforts. Flood mitigation may be the first step for the recovery for some, while others may just need professional services for drying before the mold begins to form. 

Ensuring Basement and Windows Security

As part of your comprehensive flood mitigation strategy, don’t overlook the importance of assessing basement and windows security. During the pre-hurricane walkthrough, it’s crucial to examine windows and identify any potential vulnerabilities. The basement, often overlooked, demands special attention. Allocating extra time to inspect these areas contributes to reinforcing your home’s flood defenses. Consider the value of a post-hurricane walkthrough as well, allowing you to address any new concerns that might have arisen during the storm.

Maybe doing a post hurricane walkthrough would be a good idea also. While the home is still wet and damp, you can see things that are not obvious when dry. For example, wind has an impact on rainfall. It is easy to say all rain comes down from the sky, but during a hurricane, water is going every way due to the wind storming. Look for where water went around the edges of your home, maybe you can see rain gaining access under the window eaves.

Also, you can check to make sure there is not any excessive standing water. As you did before the storm, check weather stripping to see how it performed. Often, weather stripping can become damaged or simply be improperly installed. If you discover any issues in your post hurricane walk through, call Orange for any assistance!

Flood Mitigation and Restoration

If water is standing after hurricane Hilary, you’ll want to call us immediately. We can rapidly come to your home and begin the flood mitigation process. The quicker you move to remove standing water the better as the issue can evolve into a mold problem. It is much easier to restore your home if we can get the water removed before the mold begins to form. After we have mold, we need to get mold technicians involved to test, remove, and make sure the environment is safe before you can return to your home.

We can rapidly restore a home with only recent flooding damage because we use professional drying tools and air moving machines that will get the job done quickly. If there is mold forming, you are going to need to take action. Mold is a major health risk to your family, but also a risk to your home’s value. Flood mitigation is something you want to move rapidly on, and we are standing by prepared to rush to your home for any of our flood mitigation services. 

Strengthening Your Home’s Defense

Drawing from our pre-Hurricane Hilary advice, which delved into effective sandbag deployment, consider this an extension of that guidance. Implementing plastic sheets to augment the sandbag’s functionality as a water barrier is a recommended enhancement. If you observed instances of excessive water accumulation during the storm, it’s wise to undertake measures to clear drains and strategically redirect water flow toward these drainage points.

If you are experiencing any flooding due to leaky roof, water coming from ceiling, water coming from a wall or moisture in a normally dry interior space, you may still need flood mitigation professionals to help you out. 

Future Preparations

Put your hands together, we have all survived San Diego’s first hurricane in nearly a century! San Diego is no place for hurricanes! San Diego County is a beautiful vacation destination and we are accustomed to 72 degree weather. This storm may have brought a touch of fear to our locals, but with prevention we can build. Preventative actions to protect your home are never a waste. Your home is worth protecting as it should last for generations to come.

If you are seeking to be more preventative for mold, electrical or plumbing issues, the best thing to do is plan how to make yourself feel more confident. A home’s needs can be overwhelming if you do not organize all the details and plan to properly maintain every aspect of your home. We suggest you look into doing regular self inspections of your home. You can always add in a professional inspection of spaces you do not wish to go, like the attic and crawl spaces. Look for a simple self check list like this one. Plan to inspect your home as often as it makes you feel confident of the home’s safety, but be prepared to do it at least once a year. 

Restoring Home to Pre-Hurricane Summer Times

Following the storm, as you embark on the process of restoring your home to its pre-hurricane state, pay attention to the measures you took for flood mitigation. For those who followed our recommendation to elevate electrical appliances and systems, it’s now time to return them to their initial positions. This action aligns with the revised flood warning status and ensures that your home is well-prepared for future challenges.

Documenting and Being Prepared

If you took photos and prepared your essential documents for this hurricane scare, do not feel disappointed, they can still be good to have secured. Just as we were announcing the hurricane hitting SoCal, Los Angeles had a 5.0 earthquake! Keeping your important documents in water sealed containers is still a safe move, having an emergency kit and a family plan are great tools for home safety.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Hilary, the threat of flooding still lingers. By following these flood mitigation strategies, and working with flood mitigation experts you can take proactive steps to protect your home, belongings, and loved ones. Whether it’s elevating appliances, using sandbags strategically, or ensuring proper sealing, these measures can make a significant difference in safeguarding your property. Stay prepared, stay informed, and stay safe in the face of future challenges.

Mold Remediation After A Rainy Season San Diego

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Mold Remediation starts with proper cleaning equipment and some hard work. Mold Damage Removal may require more than the surface cleaning, it may be deeper.

San Diego homeowners rarely discuss rainy season mold, but this winter and spring saw the highest rainfall in a decade! From February to October, San Diegans experience summer-like weather as part of their routine. However this year, San Diego County received more rainfall than Seattle, Washington. These conditions are perfect for mold and often lead to an up-tick in mold remediation services.

In Southern California, the relatively short rainy season brings about high levels of humidity and moisture, which can contribute to the growth of mold. The extended rainfall of 2023, combined with the added humidity in SoCal and the lack of homes designed for heavy rain, creates favorable conditions for mold growth. Mold can lead to health risks such as allergies, breathing discomfort, and other respiratory issues. Beyond your health, it has the potential to cause permanent damage to your home and valuable belongings. In this blog, we want to arm SoCal homeowners with resources in mold mitigation and prevention. 

Mold Prevention Tips, Mitigation Tips and Early Mold Detection Resources

For comprehensive mold prevention, education, and DIY mitigation resources, check out our previous blog articles:

How Mold Impacts Your Life

How to Detect Mold

Causes of Mold

Mold Remediation in Particular Parts of Your Home: 

When Mold Remediation is needed, call an expert! this image shows mold in the edge of a window panel and the wall.

Mildew and Mold after Rainy Season

What is mold? Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in damp, moisture rich, and warm environments. Enclosed areas with elevated humidity levels, like walls, crawl spaces, and attics, are common sites where mold is often discovered. While mold can easily attach to walls and wood, it also can be found on fabrics, carpets, and other materials. Oftentimes, window curtains can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Fabrics can become damp either due to open windows or condensation on windows and window sills caused by trapped hot moisture in the gap between the window and curtains.

What is Mold Remediation 

Identifying and addressing mold sources that can be easily cleaned and restored to their intended function are essential preventive measures before resorting to extensive mold remediation or professional services. Make sure to inspect areas that might have accumulated excess moisture during the rainy season and require cleaning before the heat and humidity facilitate further spread or growth of mold. Mold may also be found on the shower curtain, or in the bathroom, these issues can easily be address with basic home cleaning but it an essential part in avoiding serious needs for mold remediation services. 

What Is Mold?

  • Mold is a type of fungus that grows in damp and warm environments.

  • Mildew and mold can cause health issues such as respiratory problems and allergies.

  • Mold can be found in many different colors, shapes, and sizes.

  • The mold left as is in your home is a threat to your home’s health, structural integrity and value!

Mold Remediation & Prevention in the Rainy Season

The increased humidity and temperature during the rainy season provide ideal conditions for mold growth. The accumulation of water in dark and damp areas can be a breeding ground for mold. These mold conditions are perfect in San Diego because of the recent rainfall and the current warmth! Mold can spread quickly in the rainy season due to the high humidity and warm temperatures.

Mold can be found around your home, at work or at a local small business, and this small exposure to mold can cause spreading by wind, moisture, and direct contact. This threat is microscopic, so even properly detecting the mold spores is practically impossible. Maintaining a mold free environment is truly an ongoing process of maintenance and mold remediation prevention. When mold has already begun to sink in and create damages, this is when you may need to consider hiring a professional mold remediation team to remove and restore your property to before the mold exposure conditions.

Mold Remediation Services

Mold can come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes, and can cause health issues if not properly removed and treated. It is easy to feel intimidated by mold or the mold remediation work needed to restore your home’s smell, safety and comfort. Mold remediation services can help to remove the mold, treating the affected area and preventing further damage to your home and belongings. Mold remediation is essential to maintaining a healthy home and protecting your family from the potential health risks of mold.


Prevention Against Mold in the Rainy Season

The rainy season can create ideal conditions for mold growth, so it is important to take preventive measures and constantly maintain a dry status condition for the home. To stop mold from recurring in your home, it is important to regularly inspect your home for signs of moisture, leaks, mildew and any signs of mold growth. Always remove standing water and stop the source of the water from leaking into your home. If you have had standing water in your home, after removal of the water, you may want to use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture build up in your walls or flooring. Be sure to dry all areas after a leak or exposure to water. Make sure to fix any leaks or water damage to prevent mold from growing.


Regularly inspecting your home and fixing any leaks or water damage can help prevent mold growth. Given the potential health risks associated with mold, it is crucial to promptly address any water leaks or water-damaged walls, ceilings, or floors. These preventative and anti-mold conditions may work as your first barrier to needing mold remediation services that can be costly and invasive of your lifestyle. 


Orange Restoration Wrap Up

Mold remediation services can help to get rid of existing mold and prevent future growth. Utilizing the expertise of a professional who possesses experience in mold remediation is essential to effectively eliminate mold from your home. Mold removal services can include cleaning, fogging, and dehumidifying the area to stop the growth of mold. Additionally, they can also inspect the crawlspace and attic for any hidden mold and provide advice on the best course of action. With the right mold remediation services, you can be sure that your home is safe and free from the health risks associated with mold.


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Saving Your Books and Pictures from Water and Mold Damage

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Because mold damage can start in as little as 48 hours, beginning the restoration process immediately is imperative for salvaging your property.

Keeping Your Newborn Safe From Toxic Air

healthy baby playing possibly in a home with toxic air. A new home takes 2 years to properly off-gas.

Toxic Air, according to The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality is the 4th greatest pollution threat to American households. Unfortunately the air in your baby’s nursery is no safer than the other rooms in your home.

Home flooded? How To Prevent Mold Growth Later.

home flooding causes mold growth

Home Flooding and other means of water invasion can happen, and when it does happen, a lot of damage can occur beyond what the water may do to materials within your home.