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.



Air Quality Issues

Impacts to indoor air quality chart.

The Importance of Air Quality

Air quality science is becoming more important to health and even the real estate industry is being impacted by it. Your family spends a huge portion of their time indoors, likely in your home for most of their awake time, but also they sleep there. Assuming most spend about 30-50% of their time home, it is worth considering that air quality can impact your health quickly when there is contamination. 

Air Quality Issues

As a homeowner, the last concern about owning a home was about the air in the home. Easily it seems replaceable with the opening of a window, but no, that is not the case. Indoor air quality is a permanent setting of air quality that impacts us when the window is open or closed. The home is not only a shelter to us, it is a trap to all the components that put it together! 

Impacts to indoor air quality chart.

Most times, the chemicals used in paints, chemicals used in manufacturing appliances, lumbar moisture sealants, caulking, rubbers, dry wall, carpet glue, cabinet sealants, and other building materials ALL “off gas”, this means they release fumes as they age. Professionals agree that a newly built home takes about 2 years to fully off gas chemicals! The materials used in the creation of your home and the installed new appliances are harmful to your health!


“Are you suffering from chronic health issues and you don’t understand why? It might be time to consider your environmental factors, including your home, that could be contributing to your health. Discussing this with a doctor might be the first step, but do not get discouraged, your health is worth fighting for!”

Indoor Air Quality is Becoming a Real Estate Concern

Beyond the fact that indoor air quality is not the freshest air, the home can become a breeding ground for more toxic air contaminants! Each home is different, but the battles are often the same. Mold can grow in any home, pests will try to get into any home left accessible, most homes are flammable, and all homes cannot have excess moisture or water build up. For most homes, mold, moisture, and pests are more common and likely threats to indoor air quality. This must be why real estate professionals are looking at air quality testing prior to real estate sales. 

Suspect Mold in Your Home?

Mold can be very easy to detect by smell or visual inspection, but also a small amount of it can spread rapidly and become very evasive to pinpoint all growth sites. Mold is meant to spread, it spores into the air and spreads its microbial growth to multiple sites to spread even more spores. Mold can also spread by water or moisture, making a home the perfect environment for growth as mold thrives in moist spaces with organic materials. 

Consider Consulting a Mold Professional First!

If you believe you have microbial growth, you will want to consider hiring a professional for air quality testing. Do not ignore mold growth! Especially because of the spore’s ability to spread rapidly in your home. Choosing to act might require careful planning; however, it’s essential to prepare before you proceed, do not attempt without adequate time to execute the task thoroughly. We recommend getting professionals involved.

Mold is Not a DIY Project

Each mold has different protocols for cleaning and some molds can be more dangerous to your health. Also, mold cleanup may be more deep rooted than they appear, needing physical barriers removed to ensure full removal. This is a huge reason that a professional inspector is the best place to start for any mold growths in your home. 

Imagine doing all the cleaning just to find the mold was actually growing in the walls and the surface was only the tip of the iceberg. Now you have done work on an unknown mold, possibly spreading spores and exposing yourself to the mold as well, and impacting your air quality! Professionals will need to come in and remove drywall, replace it, and test to ensure it was done completely to eradicate the mold. 

Ultra Fine Particulate Matter and Microbial Growth size chart comparison to a human hair. As these particles are very small, they can quickly move around the home and impact indoor air quality.

Air Quality Testing

Professional air quality testing is an essential part of the mold and fire remediation process and should be emphasized by homeowners. Most remediation companies will not do their own testing, this should be done by a 3rd party to ensure integral work. Our advice is to find a great remediation team; and an even better testing company! Remediation will be required to continue to work until the testing company has approved the test results. 

Avoiding CIRS-WDB

Going back to air quality and suspicions of mold, if you have issues with your air quality at home or at work, you might want to do some air testing. Taking action may become time consuming and feel overwhelming as you fight an enigma of an enemy. If you get moisture testing done and know that your home has moisture problems, you’ll want to get professional air testing done for mold. Any suspicions or water damage should be addressed immediately to avoid any lung health problems, but also for the health of your home. 

This exposure makes it so that your home’s air can either be a comforting relief or a contributor to rapid degradation of health. If you discover you have CIRS, you will learn that air quality is very impactful to your own health. In fact, CIRS-WDB is a whole dedicated class of CIRS caused by Water Damaged Buildings. Air quality is of the most importance to those suffering from CIRS. 

Health Problems Might Require Medically Sound Remediation 

More and more evidence is growing that overall health is impacted by our environments. Air from our home may be deemed the cause of your health ailments. After consulting a doctor and getting professional air testing results showing mycotoxin or mold spores, you are going to have a plan to help guide you to clean air quality once again.

In this case, you will need to consider getting professional help from an Indoor Environmental Professional also known as an IEP. Often with illnesses developing regularly, it is possible to develop Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Special care is needed when dealing with a family member or your own CIRS. This will include specialized CIRS Protocol Inspection, Medically Sound Remediation, and strict testing protocol to ensure all areas are addressed in accordance with your IEP’s recommendations.    

Air Quality Issues After Fire Damage

Wildfires are known for having harmful effects when near your home, toxic chemicals can be burned, smoke and ash are not good to breathe. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter. Fire and smoke damage remnants can release a variety of chemicals from the previous burning, including acid gasses, aldehydes, benzene, dioxins, metals, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), styrene, sulfur dioxide, toluene. 

Comparison chart of the surface areas of ultrafine particulate matter, particulate matter and course particulate matter sizes. You can see the amount of surface area is greater with the ultrafine particulate matter, this might add to the dangerousness of these tiny particles. These UFP impact air quality and your health.


Ultrafine Particles in Indoor Air

These chemical compounds are known to cause numerous health problems when breathed in, but also Ultrafine Particulate matter (UFPs) can be found in the air after fire. These minuscule chemical compounds are so tiny that they can easily infiltrate our families respiratory system, potentially causing a range of health issues. 

When it comes to air quality, the adverse effects of UFPs cannot be overstated as they are permanent. Also, their nano size allows them to bypass our body’s natural defense mechanisms, and once inhaled, they can travel deep into our lungs and even enter our bloodstream. Again, remember, this damaging exposure can be permanent health issues for your lungs and overall health. 

How do UFPs Impact My Health? 

The concern with UFPs goes beyond their size; it extends to their composition and the toxic substances they can carry, especially after a structure fire. These UFPs are often laden with harmful compounds, including heavy metals, carcinogens, and other dangerous elements that can have severe health implications. As a result, exposure to UFPs from fire-related events may lead to various health problems, from respiratory issues to cardiovascular complications.

Efforts to remove these particles should be an integral part of fire damage remediation and indoor air quality management. Specialized techniques and equipment are often required to effectively eliminate UFPs and ensure that the indoor environment is safe and free from these harmful UFPs. Proper testing and analysis can help determine the extent of UFP contamination and guide the remediation process to ensure a healthier and safer home living environment for your family.

Post Remediation Health Implications

After fire damage, water damage, or mold remediation, your health may still be impacted by the microbial or mold growth. If you have had mold contamination of your health, it will take time to fully detox. 

We recommend going to your doctor to be fully assessed if you have ongoing symptoms after the mold has been remediated. Be clear with your doctor the remediation state, they may make recommendations not understanding the work has been completed and testing showed mold removal process completed. Understand, those who are more sensitive to mold, CIRS, or have allergies tend to need more support to fully detox. After consulting a healthcare professional if this does not reduce your anxiety, you can also consider re-testing the air quality.



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.


San Diego Flood Watch

Iconic Coronado Bridge is the face of San Diego as most may have seen it on a San Diego postcard or otherwise, San Diego culture.

Considering San Diego County is filled with beautiful landscapes, we also have the infrastructure for disaster! The San Diego community is covered with many mesas, valleys and natural waterways formed from abrupt desert rains. Recently, San Diego has been getting into the record books for rainfall, but also home water damage, leaks from ceiling cracks, and even home or commercial flooding. We have had calls of recent homeowners in Point Loma experiencing a sewage pipe break, flooding their basement! A recent Mission Valley house call from some natural flooding, which is quite common near San Diego River bed. Also, numerous mold and microbial growth service calls, all having some connection to the recent heavy rain San Diego has been experiencing.


San Diego Flood Hot Spots

SoCal is known for its sunny beaches, the San Diego Bay with beautiful blue Coronado Bridge, and of course, the perfect cove found in La Jolla. Still, San Diego has its more gloomy side, but not often. We mean of course, that in San Diego it also rains, and flooding can happen rapidly!


The more moist moldy side of the story comes from the neglect associated with beach front rental properties, infrequent but sporadic heavy rains, and uncleaned flood prevention reservoirs such as rain gutters or French drains. Yes, San Diego is a beautiful place to call home, but for many, this is the perfect vacation destination. If you live in San Diego, and your home has microbial growth, water damage, or even fire damage, Call us! Still so many vacationers and even locals who live a staycation lifestyle.  


This means lots of country club style management for locals who do not remember to maintain or prevent issues from occurring. If you have not been maintaining your home or rental property, it is ok! We are here to help in the case of an emergency or for repairs and larger maintenance issues. The best part is that, if you are reading this, you found one of the best remediation and restoration companies in San Diego County. We are highly reputable and have mostly 5 star reviews on most platforms, you can see our 130+ Google reviews, Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, and even our BBB reviews.  

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

An abandoned car its trapped on the street in overflow water from the San Diego River in San Diego, Calif., on Jan. 16, 2023.
Mike Blake/Reuters

Frequent Flooding Areas in San Diego

San Diego locals know Mission Valley is the first place they will mention when they think of flooding, due to the proximity of San Diego River. So many homes along the water way have seen flooding after the rains. When you live in Mission Valley and know it is going to rain, you should consider taking some notes from the hurricane prevention tips we provided in previous blogs. 


San Diego River Floods Mission Valley Area

Mission Valley is surrounded by all the “mesa” of San Diego including La Mesa, Serra mesa, Kearny Mesa, and the suburbs south including Hillcrest, University Heights, Normal Heights all on one large mesa. These large mesa neighborhoods create the perfect flood conditions for Mission Valley as their massive hills send water to the door steps of the valley homes. In the past, Mission Valley was grazing land for cattle, which later became a rock quarry, and most recently was redeveloped into Civita. Civita is a new mixed-use development with multi-family homes, commercial shopping, the new Nipaquay Elementary school, and Civita park. 


Hard Obstacles Create Integral Community Leaders

Civita development is part of the future solution, as their development has been focused on storm water control systems. One example is their adding in water exhibits like their creek that is made to re-use reclaimed water, but also buffer the influx of water impacting the Mission Valley area. Civita also plans to add a water treatment plant by 2025 to help with storm control irrigation systems. This is all to keep their properties free from flooding and excess water build up that might lead to property damage.


La Jolla Homes get Muddy Floods

La Jolla Shores and other beach areas often experience flooding due to coastal waters. Imperial Beach is known for constant flooding due to higher than normal tides. Often the coastline homes face unique problems, one of the many are mudslides. La Jolla being right on a fault line doesn’t help the city much to avoid disasters, back in 2007 there was a sinkhole, and mudslides due to rain in 2008, 2009 and 2010, plus more recent smaller cases. 

La Jolla Home hit by coastal waves causing flooding of the home.

“Currently, the biggest flood threat to La Jolla occurs during El Niño events like the one in 2015-16 that knocked out the top portion of the stairs leading down to Horseshoe Beach.” -La Jolla Light

Orange Restoration On Call 24/7 for La Jolla Emergencies 

We have helped in numerous La Jolla flood emergencies for water mitigation and other projects that waited to call resulting in mold formations. Currently, we are actually completing a mold project in La Jolla where the mold was left to grow for over 27 years! 


The La Jolla homeowner had some water damage and did not choose to manage the situation, abandoning the home. Then 27 years later we were called in to explore the very large colony of microbial growths throughout the property. We were able to contract to completely restore the home and the property from the mold outbreak. We discourage procrastination on any water damage or mold development in your home. Take action immediately and appropriately with each mold case. When you need help, call a professional mold expert. Read more on Mold Remediation tips for after the rainy season

For all San Diego Flood and water Damage emergencies, Call Orange Restoration.


Orange Restoration Wrap Up

With water damage, the first thing we want to encourage is to take action promptly. If you do not want to abandon your home, let’s work together to remove the burden. And before the mold growth begins! Do not let your problem get bigger, especially for years. 

For floods, your number one tool is prevention and proper maintenance. In most cases, floods begin from pipe bursts due to human error or component failures. These cannot be predicted, nor prevented in most cases. On the other side, most homes even in southern California are equipped to handle rain and shelter the home from flood risks. The maintenance you do to unclog French drains, clean rain gutters, and create barriers from natural watersheds to direct outside water towards drains or away from home.

Also, keep Orange Restoration’s phone number handy in your phone, on your fridge, or in your vacation property. You can call us for all water damages; flood emergencies including burst pipes or natural disasters; mold or fire damages needing remediation and restoration. Orange is a complete restoration service, as we do remediation and restoration of fire damage, mold damage and flood or water damage. Call us now! 1-619-376-6838

Fire Damage Remediation

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smoke damage repair cleaning tips and fire damage remediation process.

Introduction to Fire Damage Remediation

The fire damage remediation process is about assessing the property, starting with removal of all debris including furniture, doors, un-repairables, and any damaged portions of the home that are complete losses. The next step is the cleaning of chemicals left from fire crews, cleaning of any hazards left from appliances that were destroyed in the fire, and possibly more in depth cleaning depending on who you contract to do the work. 

Picture of burning home prior to fire damage remediation.

What is the Meaning of Fire Remediation?

Fire Damage Remediation is often included in the definition of fire restoration process, but in fact,  some fire remediation companies do not do fire restoration work. The meaning of fire damage remediation is handling cleanup and debris removal, but not including anything from the fire restoration process.

Often, other problems will be created from the work done putting out the fire. For example, the water used causes damages, often flood remediation, and even mold remediation will be needed. This is partially why a remediation company can be vital to a project, and also why another restoration company may be called in for later work. Be sure to make sure what parts of the work will be covered in your contract for any part of the fire restoration project. Orange Restoration is a full service restoration company with remediation experts for fire, mold, and water damages.


Fire Damage Remediation Safety Considerations

Safety should always be a top priority in any fire damage situation. Emphasizing this is critical to prevent further harm or damages to your property. We do not recommend doing your own fire restoration, but we do have some resources for how to use cleaners and proper use of PPE on our various blogs. If you have a small project, please take a look at our DIY Soot Cleaning article, there are lots of pointers there that can help for smaller projects. Also, make sure before dealing with any fire damage that you understand the threats associated with Ultrafine Particulates (UFPs) that can come from fires, fire crews, or smoke damages.


Hiring Fire Damage Remediation Professionals 

It’s vital to stress the importance of hiring reputable professionals for fire damage remediation and restoration to ensure a successful outcome of returning your home to normal. While we constantly steer homeowners away from doing any of this without a professional, we understand you want your home back. Hiring our team will be the quickest way to get your project through all the insurance, the process of cleaning, and restoring your property to a new beginning. 


Fire Damage Assessment and Damage Extent

The fire damage assessment and the extent of the damage is very important for managing timelines, expectations, and costs. Each fire is sporadically created differently, and in how it causes damages, and the various conditions make each fire damage work site unique. Many times, fire damage work sites will have hidden surprises. Some surprises might be flooded compartments due to fire sprinkler malfunctions. There are also project examples where sprinklers worked well to preserve the interior of the home. In this case, all the exterior looks horrible, and water damage restoration needs to be done internally, while most of the fire restoration is external to the home.


Getting an assessment of the state of the property and the extent of the damage is important. In some cases, for the safety of the property, you may need to consider getting board up services. Board up services can protect your home from further damages, liabilities and from unwanted intruders. Part of the assessment should consider future risks of liabilities, more loss, more damage, and how to protect professionals or anyone else who may need to access the property. 


Hiring restoration professionals will really help to speed up all this process. Our team has completed many projects of all sizes, from small fire restoration jobs to responding to wildfires with extensive damage for multiple homes. We know how to assess, avoid surprises as we know the process, and the costs for managing the fire damage restoration from all aspects. Our team can look at a section of damage and make quick and accurate assessments for damage repairs.


Frequently, smoke damage has a way of exaggerating the appearance of things. Our professionals can assess the depth of the damage and make educated assessments on if the repair costs outweigh the costs of replacing. You can look at our extensive list of fire damage and smoke damage restoration services on our fire damage services page.


Documentation and Costs Associated with Fire Damage Remediation

Orange Restoration is known for the quality level of documentation and photography of the damages and work in progress. Also, we handle multiple trades, so when we need documentation from a plumber, electrician, or flood mitigation, we handle all these services! So our clients can expect all files, documents, notes, and photos to be in the right format, organized professionally, and expedited to the insurance company for their assessors. We want you to get paid by insurance ASAP! 


Over the 20+ years of service, we modified our business and created partnerships to make sure we act as a solid support for your life being rapidly restored to normal as soon as humanly possible. Along the way through the restoration process we will work to be transparent via clear documentation, photos, plans and financial needs for completion. Our team is known for this transparency with both insurance and local customer base. We are 5 stars rating on nearly every platform including Google, Yelp, BBB, and also Facebook.


Timelines and Expectations for Repairs

After professional assessment, our team will provide information on when it’s safe to return and the variability in restoration timeline. We understand, getting the information on the timeline is important for those dealing with fire damage. Your insurance company, our team, your family, your work and neighbors will probably all be asking far too many questions, and you may only have one. 

“When Will My Home Be Normal Again?”

We truly understand that waiting for answers, getting different answers, and unclear outlines for the process of restoring your home can be frustrating. The timeline on a project may be a little complex for other companies to assess, this is often because they need to count on multiple contractors to do various things, and they need to wait. While our team may not have perfect accuracy in our timelines, we will be able to more rapidly assess the timeline.


Our team does absolutely everything needed for the fire damage restoration process while having multiple vendors in-house which speeds up the process. We are prepared to get it done quicker than any other restoration company because of our partnerships and continued education in our trade services.

Complete Home Restoration

While the initial steps of fire damage remediation are crucial for cleaning up and securing your property, it’s essential to recognize that comprehensive home restoration goes beyond these initial measures. Fire damage remediation focuses on removing debris, cleaning chemicals, and addressing immediate hazards, but it often doesn’t cover the broader scope of restoring your home to its pre-fire condition. Additional challenges may arise from the aftermath, such as water damages and air quality issues such as the presence of ultrafine particles (UFPs), necessitating the specialized attention and expertise of a pro.


To ensure a successful and expedited recovery process, it’s vital to hire experienced professionals who can handle the entire spectrum of fire damage restoration work. This comprehensive approach considers assessment, mitigation of hidden surprises, board-up services, and expert documentation, all of which contribute to a more transparent and efficient process. 

Our team at Orange Restoration is well-equipped to provide you with a holistic solution, not just for fire damage remediation but for complete home restoration! Offering clarity on timelines and expectations while maintaining a focus on safety and quality work. Our commitment to transparency, extensive documentation, and partnerships ensures that your life can be restored to normal as quickly as possible, backed by our track record of 5-star ratings and customer satisfaction. 


Restoring your home after a fire is not just about addressing the visible damage but also about returning your life to a state of normalcy, and that’s precisely what our team is here to help you achieve.


Microbial Growth & Ultrafine Particulate Matter Removal

Ultra Fine Particulate Matter and Microbial Growth size chart comparison to a human hair. As these particles are very small, they can quickly move around the home and impact indoor air quality.


Recently, because of the extra rainy season that San Diego has been experiencing, we have been getting reports of more mold in our community than ever. While Orange Restoration is IICRC certified for mold remediation, often times in San Diego homes, they need more extreme mold services. Orange restoration has been performing small particle mold remediation for decades, teaming up with clinicians and hygienists to remediate people’s homes and get back to a healthy life. We have been doing some of the techniques to properly remediate microbial growths of all kinds for well over 10 years and consider ourselves ultrafine particulate matter removal experts.  

Microbial Growth and Ultrafine Particulate Matter Removal

The home is where we hang our hat, so to speak, but mostly we breathe air from this space more frequently than from any other space we are in daily. We may leave the home, but like most homeowners they return at the end of their day to enjoy the peace that shelter provides. If you are a homeowner, you probably are familiar with all the unseen risks associated with any home. To be clear, these unseen risks include water damage, hidden structural damage, asbestos, pests, and finally, microbial growths including: fungi, algae, rusts, yeasts, and bacteria.

So, while there is a lot to visually inspect in your home, getting a professional inspector involved is advisable for the long-term viability and health of your home. Many unseen damages or microbial growths can be lurking in a home, this is partially why so many rules and regulations exist in real estate. Still, just like others have discovered, inspectors can miss something! Home inspectors are often working under deadlines and massive pressure to pass inspections by real estate agents, brokers, and homeowners who want to sell, as well as the new home buyers. This is why we suggest going further to do testing relevant to the health of your home, and your family’s health. 

Normal impacts on indoor air quality that are not associated with the ultrafine particulate matter removal or microbial growths.

The Importance of Air Quality in Your Home

Your guests come to your home for an experience. Your family lives in your home to escape the dangers of the outside world. Even the plan to buy a home was to support the comfort needed to build a healthy life. The time you spent to create this luxury should not be wasted!

So allowing microbial growth to take it all over would be a shame, as simple maintenance can help! Your home should foster a beautiful life and one where your family and guests gain a fresh perspective from your home. No one wants to have a home that gets them sick, takes away from their lives health, or continues to have large financial costs due to mold remediation efforts. 

Does Microbial Growth Impact Indoor Air Quality?

Yes, is the easy answer, but the more complex answer is that microbial growths will almost always impact the air quality if there are spores or moisture. The only way to know for sure is through professional testing. Still, if you do not maintain your home regularly, you and your guests will smell it. So, if the mold is not impacting your health, it will be impacting your comfort.

Also, worth noting, fewer guests will want to visit a second time to see if the musty smell got worse. Also, this would impact your homes value as mold is one of the greatest fears for new home buyers due to the ambiguity of the problem source or resolution. In addition to the mold’s musty smell, this unpleasant smell will attract pests looking for an easy way to get into your home or will sense the mold smell as evidence of access to moisture that they need near their nesting place. 

Air Quality Testing is Becoming More Important in San Diego Real Estate!

As a mold remediation company we are constantly working with an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) such as Anna Branch. Anna Branch is known to be one of the best mold experts in San Diego in regards to Mold-Specific Quantitative (MSQPCR) PCR Analysis. This analysis is similar, but more in-depth to the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) to create a value for the mold ratio in the air. The ERMI was originally made to help create standard to report and record the ratio of various mold spores to air and other particles. This helps determine how the air may be impacting your family.

For example, households with higher ERMI values are associated with an increased risk of asthma. Home buyers in San Diego real estate market are often very health conscious, meticulous, and have plenty of options for their new home elsewhere. The choice alone to live in San Diego might be about health as many new San Diego home owners claim they made the move for a better healthy life.

Understanding Microbial Growth

Microbial growth refers to the proliferation of various microorganisms, including fungi, bacteria, algae, yeasts, and more, within an indoor environment. These microorganisms can thrive in indoor areas, especially with elevated moisture levels. What makes microbial growth particularly insidious is its ability to remain hidden from plain sight, anywhere in your home or business. These microorganisms can colonize within walls, ceilings, under flooring, or in hidden corners, making them difficult to detect by visual inspection alone.

The need for a professional inspection becomes more evident as microbial growth poses both structural risks to your home and health risks to its occupants. Trained professionals have the expertise and tools necessary to uncover these hidden dangers, allowing for timely remediation to protect both your property and your well-being. Health and home should be your first priority.

mold health affects from microbial growth in home.

Health Implications of Microbial Growth

Exposure to microbial growth in your home can have serious health implications, and even worse if you already have a compromised health. Mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms release mycotoxins, which can trigger a wide range of health problems. Symptoms of exposure to these mycotoxins and source contaminants can vary but often include respiratory issues, skin rashes, allergic reactions, skin reactions such as hives, itchy skin, and eye irritation.

Additionally, mycotoxins are known to be particularly harmful to those with mold sensitivity, leading to more severe symptoms like nausea, headaches, brain fog, exhaustion, and sinus issues. Unfortunately, these symptoms can be subtle, making it easy to overlook the root cause. Often, occupants of the home will attribute these discomforts to other factors, not realizing that the indoor air quality is the underlying factor contributing to the issue. This is why professional inspection and testing are essential in identifying and addressing the problem, ensuring a healthy living environment for you and your family.

What Are The Symptoms of Poor Air Quality In A House?

Contaminates to air quality can produce odors; or can go unnoticed by smell and simply cause symptoms such as nausea, headaches, eye irritation, fatigue, dry throat, sinus issues, and dizziness. Often the homeowners or tenants will notice either the smell from the odor produced by the mold or they will be uncomfortable due to the various symptoms that seem to have no cause, but exposure to the home.

When you have a home with unseen contamination, it is important to make sure to figure out the root cause of the problem, but when you cannot see it, this becomes more difficult. Unseen particles also known as Ultrafine Particulate (UFP) matter, require professionals to get involved. After you decide that your home has contaminated air, you might want to start with actions. Many try to do it themselves because the idea of getting professionals involved is daunting. Trying to fight micro-sized particles in the air seems like a simple fight at first, many will use ventilation techniques and even try to filter it in their own ways. 

removing small mold growth. an example of microbial growth on the walls.

Do Air Purifiers Remove Particulate Matter?

Without going too far into this, the attempt to do anything to clean the air may cause some desired results to occur, but they may not be permanent. So, while the home air purifiers with a High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA filter) may scrub the air for any free radicals, the source can not be identified or changed by the use of an air filter.

So, the air purification processing may just be allowing for the mold to slowly grow, making it more powerful each day and eventually, the air filter will need to be replaced. Also, as you allow contamination to spread, the air purification may just be helping mold spores to spread! In addition, it is possible the air purification system will need a full decontamination cleaning after it has done this work. For these reasons, we do not suggest using an air purifier or filtration system to help you to procrastinate fixing your microbial growth problem. 

Health Effects of Ultrafine Particles

Ultrafine particles can impact health in various ways, but a large part of it is the inflammation of airways, lungs, and blood vessels. These issues can cause for other health issue to worsen, making for chronic problems. For example, if someone in the home already has asthma, they will be more sensitive to the particles. This person can have numerous negative health issues while their partners get the same exposure and are not impacted. Often times, this will cause the issue to worsen because the assumption is the problems are isolated to one person and not something coming from the environmental factors. 

Are Ultrafine Particles Bad for You?

Most outside particles gaining access to your lungs are going to be bad for your health. When it comes to ultrafine particles, there is added complexity as these particles begin to disrupt the organ’s function. The 0.1 micro sized particles are capable of entering the bloodstream as they can easily pass through lung tissue. Larger sized particles are capable of getting stuck in the lung tissues and causing blockages or other problems.  

What Does Ultrafine Particles Do to Your Body?

They contaminate the entire body, and sometimes it is irreversible! Ultra fine particulate matter (PM0.1) enters the lungs and can fast track to any other part of the body, often into organs to stick around there. The particles, at the larger sized particulate matter (PM2.5), are often found in the lungs or the heart, and can cause inflammation in both and can be stuck in the lungs for a longer time than the ultra fine particulate matter (PM0.1). This inflammation can lead to various problems and can even cause death for some who have extreme or even particular mold allergies. 

Comparison chart of the surface areas of ultrafine particulate matter, particulate matter and course particulate matter sizes. You can see the amount of surface area is greater with the ultrafine particulate matter, this might add to the dangerousness of these tiny particles.

What are Ultrafine Particles in Indoor Air?

As seen in the chart above, ultrafine particles are the smallest particles on the right side. The larger particles, for example asbestos is between 2.5μm and 10μm, which are very dangerous to our health, while other ultra fine particles can be more troublesome as the smaller the particulate, the more easily it is to travel within the body. Some 2.5μm are known to cause more pulmonary inflammation and are stuck in the lung tissue for longer than the smaller particles. PM is known to enter the body through breathing, so it all starts in the lungs.

How Do You Remove Particulate Matter From Air at Home?

Some may recommend using standard HEPA filters in your HVAC system. This can help improve air quality temporarily, but if you have any real threats to your air quality, you will want to remove any potential microbial growth and other particulate matter sources completely. If you already suspect a mold problem, instead of circulating the air and getting the spores into new rooms and contaminating your entire HVAC system, you should call a professional and get mold testing done.

After testing to confirm the microbial growth or particulate matter, you’ll want to target its source, and work with a professional to remediate it. For the remediation process, professionals will use proper commercial grade dehumidifiers with proper HEPA filters and up to date maintenance to ensure the best results for removal. After having professionals do this work, you may want to upgrade your HVAC air filters to capture any remaining particulate matter to keep your home healthy. 

Call Orange Restoration for any Microbial Growths or Ultrafine Particulate Matter Removal Projects

Our remediation team has been trusted all over! From preserving historical treasures with local Natural History Museum, at Balboa Park, where we decontaminated 1000s of specimens in a 8 month decontamination project. Also, we have worked for local Mira Mar Airforce base that needed specific ultrafine particulate matter removal services at their data center.

We are seeking bigger projects like this in the San Diego County as our team is the most equipped local remediation company. If you suspect a project has any PM contamination issues, rather than call a sub-par mold remediator, call one known for handling international projects, local military grade messes, and even fragile projects that require handling specimens from our history. Our expertise is at your service! 

CALL US NOW AT (619) 376-6838

#1 Emergency Water Mitigation Services

best Flood Cleanup Procedures and Emergency Water Mitigation Services

Orange Restoration is known internationally for Emergency Water Mitigation Services as they have served at natural disasters around the globe. If you need mold mitigation or flood mitigation, Orange has seen some of the worst projects in some of the world’s largest disasters! Orange is known for working in many of the past major hurricanes like Hurricane Katrina, but also many of the disaster zones where many do not hear about. Whether commercial business or home flooding, Orange has the experts to manage the flood, the plumbing problem, the electrical issues, and the rebuilding needed to restore it to normal.

Emergency Water Mitigation Services

Given Orange’s extensive work in this niche, they are also great at mitigating the insurance paperwork as well. Many homeowners do not want to manage the insurance claim of their restoration, we understand this headache is a large one. Professionalism from our team comes from our many years in business, but more than one trade. Orange also has experts in specific problem areas such as plumbing, electrical, re-construction, and they do it all with one administration team!

This means that when insurance needs a plumber’s estimate, an electrical estimate and a rebuild estimate Orange Restoration can provide it all in one swoop and the quality of the work is the same, all photos are organized and communications with insurance for any updates are easy. The emergency water mitigation services should be called “Insurance Mitigation services after a Flood” because with out Orange Restoration, you will be stuck managing claims adjusters who strike without warning or mercy.


Great Floods Can Be Stopped If Leaks are Spotted in Time!

When the flooding is too great, the first person you want to call is a master plumber! A good Master Plumber can be found if you look hard enough. For example, Pro Plumber San Diego has an exceptional Master Plumber named Corey. Corey, the Master Plumber, mentioned the best way to avoid massive flooding in the home is through regular inspections and leak detection. However, after the flood is already gushing, you may just want to find the master shut off valve. Also, before entering a flood, you’ll definitely need to cut the power!


“If you do NOT think you can shut off power or the flow of water, call a professional immediately!” –Pro Plumber San Diego


Finding the Master Water Shut-Off Valve

Near most homes’ water meters, you can find the water shut-off valve. This valve looks like a simple handle and when you turn it 90 degrees the water for the home is turned on or off. The master supply shut off valve is probably the best valve to know as a property owner or tenant. After you turn the shut off valve, you can expect a drastic change as no water in the enter home should be running. 


Orange Restoration has Electrical Covered!

With Flooding, electrical work is the last thing you want to worry about, but not handling it can be deadly. Before entering a flood, you’ll definitely need to cut the power! If you are a homeowner, you probably know where your master breaker is, but if not, you’ll want to find the main breaker box of the home, usually pretty obvious. Hopefully you will have a flashlight to view around the outside of the home to find this box. 


Once you find the box, look for the double wide switch located at top of the panel and make sure it is in the off position. Beyond that, the only real help an electrician can provide is solutions after the flood damage has been mitigated properly by the Orange Restoration’s flood clean up team. Once we have a dry structure and no immediate flooding risks, repairing electrical and restoring power could be the next step. After the flood, some rewiring may be needed, so having an electrician review all your wires, outlets, major appliances and the major electrical panels should be done before restoring power.

Other Plumbing Surprises  

Many emergency water mitigation services just come out to do demolition, remove the flood and create a mess for the next team to clean up. Hiring a company that does it all may help to keep the costs of services down. Many emergency water mitigation services are not conditioned to professional needs for other trades, thus they create new problems. If you work with Orange Restoration, you will get professionally trained mitigation techs who are looking to ease the transfer from one team to another.

Emergency Water Mitigation Services Team 

Our team does this because the next team to the property trained them to look for things and communicate particular issues or conditions so that they are properly managed. The notes from all teams will be accessible easily as one admin team has made sure all note from each technician are properly accessible for the entire site work team. Orange Restoration team is positioned to make sure you have no surprises by professionally connecting you with all the progress and any important details that arise during the emergency water mitigation services to your property.

When Floods Start in the Attic

When water comes from above, you already know you are under water on repairs!! Emergency water mitigation services are going to be essential when the roof leaking causes a major flood to occur in your home. Many things will need to be evaluated before you can access your home again. If you have not already done so, make sure the power is off! Flooding in the attic can lead to a host of unique concerns, making it crucial to address the situation promptly and effectively.

From potential damage to the attic’s structural integrity to compromising insulation and ventilation systems, the consequences of attic floods can be far-reaching. Don’t worry, we have plenty of experience in attics! We also do attic cleaning for commercial and residential clients, and we don’t forget to give the crawlspace attention too!

Flooding can start from above too! If so, you will need emergency water mitigation services before you should call the plumber, we need to protect his safety also.


Prevent Flooding from Above

To mitigate these risks and prevent attic flooding, we offer a comprehensive approach that starts with an Attic Inspection. Our team of experts thoroughly assesses the attic’s condition, identifying vulnerabilities such as large cracks, weakened roofing materials, or leaking pipes that could lead to water intrusion during heavy rainfall or plumbing mishaps. By proactively addressing these issues, we implement tailored solutions to fortify your attic against flooding, ensuring the safety and protection of your property. From reinforcing roof structures to fixing faulty plumbing, our prevention strategies provide homeowners with peace of mind, knowing that their attics are resilient and ready to withstand potential flooding challenges.

Emergency Flood Preparedness & Flood Mitigation

While there are many emergency water mitigation service companies, the best thing a homeowner can do to be ready for a flood is to prepare for it. One preparation may be to have the residents of the household simply know what to do in the case of a flood, fire, earthquake, or otherwise disaster.

Knowing the shut off valve or switch for power and water would be a huge advantage. More advanced options would be probably best to be created by a professional. For example, many things can go wrong with your home, hiring a professional to regularly inspect your home for electrical issues, roof leaks, and any plumbing leaks could be a great solution. Too many try to DIY but they do not always get the best advice on how to complete the task entirely.


11 Steps to Fire Damage Restoration Processes


Fire Damage Restoration Processes and Procedures

If you are experiencing the aftermath of a fire, this can be an overwhelming disaster. No one should have to go through this experience. Handling the aftermath of a fire has been seen through the goggles of far too many trained professionals to not start this blog off with stating most cases of fire and smoke damage should be handled by fire remediation professionals. 

fire and smoke damage repair tips

What is the Meaning of Fire Damage Remediation?

Fire damage remediation is the work that comes after the fire and before the rebuild or fire damage restoration efforts. More specifically, fire remediation is the clean up work after a fire, but this means removal of charred soot damage, destroyed furnishing, and cutting out damaged framework. Also the clean-up associated with after the fire crews have extinguished the fire are included within the fire remediation services. While many might think that all fire remediation companies would also restore the home, only fire restoration companies do the rebuilding or reconstruction. Orange Restoration has 20 years of experience handling massive remediation and fire damage restoration projects.


How Long After a Fire Can You Go Back?

Safety is still a first priority after securing everyone from the fire. Let’s make sure no more risks of harm come from this mess by making sure to use proper PPE and making sure to steer clear of any other major risks structurally or otherwise. The environment after a fire is not the same as it was before, the structure found is the remains of a once safe space you may have called “home”, but it is no longer deemed safe by any means. Going back to the property of your home after a fire is not recommended. 



If you hire a reputable fire damage restoration company, you might be able to go back to the property to view it as their work shows some progress, but always ask a professional before you proceed. Also, when asking for access to a fire site aftermath, make sure to state why you are needing access and what you plan to do. Even while someone may have approved your access to the fire restoration work site, that does not mean it is safe space or safe to breathe!

As a fire restoration company, we often get the question, “when will my home be back to normal?” The answer will always be unique as no fire damage restoration project ever has the same timeline.  

fire damage restoration

How do You Restore After A Fire?

It’s crucial to prioritize safety, make informed decisions, and have a clear plan in place for restoring your home. In this brief guide to the steps, we’ll draw upon insights from experts and experienced professionals to help you navigate the process of fire damage restoration of your home. Here are 11 specific thresholds and tasks of the fire restoration process and what to look for.

Prioritize Safety: The first and foremost priority is safety. After ensuring the safety of everyone involved and mitigating immediate risks, it’s essential to understand that returning to a fire-damaged property is not recommended. The post-fire environment is vastly different and potentially hazardous.

Handling Insurance Claims: We are lucky in California, which has a robust fire insurance system in place. Discuss the following key points with your insurance agent:

1) Referral for a reputable fire restoration contractor like Orange Restoration, ask about us if you like, or see our 5 star Google & Yelp reviews!

2) A detailed list of damages to your property.

3) & the claims release duration.

Hiring A Fire Damage Restoration Expert: Promptly contacting a restoration professional that can help determine the duration needed for the rebuilding process. Also, make sure to determine when their start date will be, until then you may need to secure the property.

Assess the Extent of Damage: Before restoration work begins, a fire damage restoration professional will assess the damage to your property. They will inspect your house for structural damages in components like load-bearing walls, columns, beams, and other critical cornerstone elements. Understanding the extent of the damage is crucial, and these professionals can often connect you with licensed electricians and plumbers to address the damages effectively.

Secure Your Property: Once the restoration work commences, protecting your property from vandalism and accidents is essential. Work with your restoration team to secure the area, which may include measures such as fencing off your land and boarding up windows and doors. If the restoration company cannot start right away, make sure to seek support to handle securing the fire work site.

Structural Repairs: The structural components of your home should be addressed first by professionals. They will replace joists, beams, columns, and other structural components that have been irreparably damaged by the fire.

Electrical System Repair: Before new structures, walls, and appliances can be installed to your home, restoring your utility systems is necessary. The electrical system is particularly susceptible to fire damage. It must be thoroughly inspected, and any damaged components replaced. This inspection includes everything from the power supply to plug-in points, making sure SDG&E knows you are reconnecting after a fire shut off.

Address Fire-Specific Damage: A fire leaves behind more than just structural damage. It often leaves soot residue, smoke stains, and contaminated air ducts.

Restoring Room by Room: Restoring an entire home after a fire can be an overwhelming task. To make it more manageable, work with your restoration professionals to tackle one room at a time.

Document Everything: Take photographs, retain invoices, receipts, and all paperwork related to the restoration. Digitalize these records to create a comprehensive folder that can serve as evidence of the extent of the damages, the resources expended, and the professionals involved.

Plan for Costs: The cost of rebuilding a home after a fire can vary widely, ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. Be prepared for these costs and explore insurance options if you reside in areas prone to wildfires. Also, when discussing the rebuild, if you want modifications to the way things were before, let your builder know, you may need to pay out of pocket to do this, but some changes are worth it.


What is the Best Cleaner for Fire Damage?

For each application, there may be a different solution, but most commonly, homeowners asking this are referring to cleaning soot and chard stains on otherwise undamaged remains. For cleaning this mess, we suggest products with trisodium phosphate (TSP) , a very effective, but caustic, burning skin and other organic materials it comes in contact. Make sure to read the safety instructions for any products containing TSP, use proper safety equipment. Before using TSP on a higher priority item, begin working on a test area or with something less valuable to learn how to use the solution. Remember to follow the product instructions first.

Fire Damage Restoration can be done on some fixtures , but often if they were fire adjacent they will have smoke damage and require some real elbow grease in the fire damage restoration process.

Often if cabinets were fire adjacent they will have smoke damage and need to be thrown out or may require some real elbow grease in the fire damage restoration process.

What Should I Throw Away After Smoke Damage?

Anything that can easily be replaced should immediately be removed, cleaning smoke damage is not worth doing if you can replace something new. Another article mentions throwing perishable food items away, but unless the fire damage and exposure was minimal, tossing all food items might be a good idea. Checking with the fire remediation experts may be a good idea to determine what would be safe to keep if restored properly. Later, those that are doing the restoration efforts will determine if they can save the items from the smoke and fire exposure.


What Happens if You Don’t Rebuild After Fire?

Homeowners seem to ask this question as if they are obligated to rebuild, no they are not. They may be required to pay off past debts like their mortgage, but they can do as they please, given they have many options. Oftentimes, the life cost of living in temporary housing, moving out and back in are too much trouble. Taking the insurance pay out and starting fresh may be a good idea. It is ok to do that, someone will relish at the opportunity to start fresh building at your old property.


Orange Wrap-Up

Restoring your home after a fire is a complex process that requires careful planning, professional expertise, and a focus on safety. While the timeline for each restoration project varies, having a clear plan in place and consulting with experienced professionals will help you navigate this challenging journey. Remember that, despite the hardships, your home can be rebuilt, and with the right resources and support, you can look forward to a brighter future.

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.

San Diego Prepares for Hurricane Hilary

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San Diego is Expecting a Hurricane?

A CNN article published last night showed the Hurricane will most likely cause significant flooding in San Diego. The idea that a hurricane is brewing south west of San Diego might create some fear among residents. While San Diego is in the path of Hurricane Hilary, it should die down before it reaches our homes. However, homes near the ocean shores may see a change in tides. Homeowners near the beaches and other waterways should consider preparing for flooding and water mitigation. 

Also, in desert areas they are making flash flood warnings as this may be a shock to the desert communities. We have not seen a hurricane in San Diego since before they had begun naming hurricanes

Map of Hurricane Hilary’s Approach to San Diego

Map of Hurricane Hilary: The predicted path of Hurricane Hilary's approach to San Diego and other SoCal cities. Hurricane Hilary Photos were pulled 8:28 am 8/18/23 from the National Hurricane Center website.

This graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone. The black line and dots show the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track of the center at the times indicated.

The dot indicating the forecast center location will be black if the cyclone is forecast to be tropical and will be white with a black outline if the cyclone is forecast to be extratropical. If only an L is displayed, then the system is forecast to be a remnant low. The letter inside the dot indicates the NHC’s forecast intensity for that time:
D: Tropical Depression – wind speed less than 39 MPH
S: Tropical Storm – wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH
H: Hurricane – wind speed between 74 MPH and 110 MPH
M: Major Hurricane – wind speed greater than 110 MPH

NHC tropical cyclone forecast tracks can be in error. This forecast uncertainty is conveyed by the track forecast “cone”, the solid white and stippled white areas in the graphic. The solid white area depicts the track forecast uncertainty for days 1-3 of the forecast, while the stippled area depicts the uncertainty on days 4-5. Historical data indicate that the entire 5-day path of the center of the tropical cyclone will remain within the cone about 60-70% of the time. To form the cone, a set of imaginary circles are placed along the forecast track at the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h positions, where the size of each circle is set so that it encloses 67% of the previous five years official forecast errors. The cone is then formed by smoothly connecting the area swept out by the set of circles.

Ledged for the Hurricane Hilary map showing the different classifications of the hurricane and the colors associated with the map.

The map and map legend were provided by the National Hurricane Center

How to Prepare for Flooding from Hurricane Hilary

If your home sits near waterways or the ocean, you may want to barricade the water from your home with sandbags or other means. Before the risk of flood from Hurricane Hilary, have a talk with the household about emergency procedures. Make sure all household members know where the power shut off switch is, gas shut off, and the water shut off valve. Assemble a cache of essential battery-powered emergency tools, including flashlights with spare batteries, basic tools, and protective gloves, to swiftly navigate through challenging situations.

Use sandbags to channel excess water towards the nearest optimal drain, minimizing the risk of water accumulation from Hurricane Hilary. 

Use sandbags to channel excess water towards the nearest optimal drain, minimizing the risk of water accumulation from Hurricane Hilary. 

Prepare Your Home For Flooding

If you can place sandbags as a barricade to prevent water from getting to your property. Utilize sandbags strategically as a protective barrier to deter water infiltration. Enhance the effectiveness of sandbag placement by layering plastic sheets beneath the lower stacked bags, subsequently adding bags on top to secure them in place. Clear drains near your home, and work to use sandbags to guide water to the best drain close by. Employ sandbags ingeniously to channel excess water towards the nearest optimal drain, minimizing the risk of water accumulation from Hurricane Hilary. 

Capture Comprehensive Documentation: Take photos of your home before the storm, for insurance purposes, you can take photos of all your belongings and also of your prevention tactics. Make sure your important documents are safe, in a water tight container. Make sure your emergency items you prepared are ready to access when needed. If there are any areas of the home that are at risk of severe flooding, you may want to consider a sump pump to mitigate the flooding in an emergency. 

Secure Basement Windows and Doors: If your home has a basement, ensure that windows and doors are adequately sealed and reinforced. Installing window well covers and weather stripping can help prevent water intrusion and reduce the risk of flooding in your basement during heavy rainfall or flooding events. All windows of your home should also be closed during the rainfall and if possible, weather stripped prior to the rainfall to keep water out. 

Elevate Electrical Systems: Elevate your home’s electrical systems, including outlets, switches, and circuit breakers, above potential flood levels if at all possible. Weather stripping electrical boxes or around any housing for electrical systems that could be at risk of getting wet. This precaution can significantly reduce the risk of electrical damage and hazards in the event of flooding. 

Elevate Appliances: Elevate major appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, and laundry machines on raised platforms or sturdy cinder blocks. Raising these appliances above potential flood levels can prevent damage and enhance their functionality during and after flooding events. In the case of Hurricane Hilary, we hope flooding levels will not get this high for anyone. 

Minor Flooding of a San Diego Home as we prepare for Hurricane Hilary.

Water Mitigation and Flood Damage Restoration

As water mitigation experts, our team is ready to help you right here in our home base of San Diego! If your home has flooding, we are here to help 24 hours a day! Our team can be at your home rapidly here in San Diego to help combat whatever hurricane Hilary brings us in rainfall. 

Do not procrastinate, if you have any standing water on your property and want it removed, call us! The longer water is sitting, especially within your home, the more likely you are to experience mold spores that rapidly grow and spread. While we do handle mold removal and restoration, the Orange Restoration team is here to make it so you never have to experience this disaster. Mold removal is very costly and requires professional involvement. Please do not let your flood turn into a breeding ground for mold. 

Orange Restoration Wrap Up 

San Diego is about to experience the first hurricane since the late 1930s, with that many homeowners may be shocked. If you are in San Diego and have a risky flood area due to nearby waterways, you should prepare for fluctuations in the water flow due to Hurricane Hilary and use tips to prevent flooding in your home. Sandbags might be something you consider buying before the Hurricane Hilary gets too close as they may become harder to find.

If you have others living with you, be sure to prepare them for the possibility of flooding and discuss emergency procedures including location of shut off valves and power shut off. If you already have flooding, call Orange Restoration today to help remove this risk from your property.