Water, Fire, & Mold Restoration Blog

3001, 2016

Los Angeles Dumps Needed El Niño Rainwater Into The Ocean To Prevent Flood Damage

By |January 30th, 2016|News|0 Comments

No city is better prepared for flooding than Los Angeles. El Niño is testing that city’s ability to overcome short-term flooding and the massive flood damage that could result if the system fails. But as Los Angeles deals with a changing climate over the long term, will its strategy of dumping flood water into the ocean continue to make sense — especially since there’s a drought and that water could be put to good use?

Los Angeles has been working to better deal with El Niño events since 1938. That’s the year when a flood ripped the city apart and killed 49 people while doing $40 million in damage. That catastrophe led to the creation of the Los Angeles River’s 51-mile concrete viaduct.

Heavy winter storms in Southern California are common, and not just in El Niño years. After four years of drought and in the face of a climate that’s clearly changing, does this effort to limit flood damage from extreme storms do more harm than good?

Simply put, infrastructure put in place to solve one problem may cause or worsen another.

El Niño has impacted the Pacific Northwest most heavily this winter, but meteorologists expect the pattern to shift southward and bring greater impacts to Los Angeles, San Diego and the rest of Southern California.

And Los Angeles is ready for the short-term event. Crews have cleared debris from the channel and websites have been put up to make sure residents know how to prevent flood damage. The sites push things like cleaning drains, knowing how to get sandbags and stocking up on essentials as well as emergency supplies. Warnings have been circulated in the areas most prone to flood damage in the past. Portable traffic barriers are in place if needed.

If things work as planned, all the water from El Niño events will quickly move out of the city — and into the Pacific Ocean. Capturing it for future use isn’t possible at the moment. While storm water goes into the ocean, water for use comes in from the drier-than-ever Sierra Nevada Mountains and the drought-strained Colorado River.

2501, 2016

While Much Of Northeast Digs Out From Snowstorm, Jersey Shore Faces Flood Cleanup

By |January 25th, 2016|Flood, News|0 Comments

The massive snowstorm that blanketed much of the Northeast over January’s fourth weekend turned into a different problem for the Jersey Shore: flooding. As the storm system moved northward along the East Coast, attention turned to coastal flooding as warnings were issued for Delaware and New Jersey as well as the south coast of Long Island.

Southern New Jersey was expected to see the worst coastal flooding and erosion, leading to flood damage and perhaps a significant cleanup effort. A record storm surge was predicted in some areas. But officials attempted to stay ahead of the storm. They arranged for the creation of sand dunes and told first responders to stand by.

With the devastation of Hurricane Sandy just three years ago, officials understand the damage potential from wind and rain and the flood damage that results. Residents are still shell-shocked, in some cases, from what they witnessed then.

flood damage hurricane sandy

Flood damage from hurricane sandy

Gov. Chris Christie, also a presidential candidate, issued a state of emergency declaration on Friday and departed from his planned campaign activities to return to New Jersey. Christie said he returned to the state before the rain or snow even started.

Residents in some areas were urged to stay in place and get ready. The message from Matt Doherty, mayor of Belmar, was to “hunker down” and be prepared for whatever might happen.

While officials cautioned that the flood damage would not rise to the level of that caused by Superstorm Sandy, they also advised that the flood threat wasn’t to be taken lightly.

Christie labeled those residents who were fighting the installation of protective sand dunes as selfish, given that the dunes are a proven and necessary way to protect residents from flood damage. He also expressed the greatest concern for those living on the barrier islands of the Jersey Shore.

2301, 2016

Mid-January Brings Big Rains And Snow To Northwestern United States

By |January 23rd, 2016|News|0 Comments

Mid-January 2016 brings continued storminess to the West Coast, a result of El Niño. This time, the storminess is across the northwestern portion of the coast where things had been off to a dry start. This pattern shift eases conditions in the southeastern United States — temporarily.

The threat of flood damage is real for those in the Pacific Northwest and northern California, according to meteorologists. From Seattle down to northern California, heavy rains are expected to be enough to renew a flooding threat. It had been relatively dry in the Seattle and Medford, Oregon areas in the beginning of January, but the ground is still saturated from heavy rain in December, leading to the flooding risk.

That area received more than double its usual amount of rainfall in December.

There is a risk of ponding, hydroplaning and other road hazards related to the rain for those traveling on I-5 from northern California all the way to Canada. Winds could also gust as high as 40 miles per hour.

Still, the rainfall helps the continuing drought situation in the region.

This round of rain is expected to largely bypass San Diego and the rest of Southern California and the Southwest, where some residents and businesses are still cleaning up flood damage and mudslides caused by heavy rains and storms in January’s first week.

While the worst impacts in the Northwest will be confined to the coastal areas, there will be enough cold air blanketing the region for precipitation in the eastern parts of Washington and Oregon to turn to snow in the mountains. A mix of rain and snow is expected in many areas, with some places getting rain in the daytime and snow after dark when temperatures drop.

El Niño and its extreme impacts are far from over, with the greatest potential for more flood damage along the East Coast this season in coastal areas and in low-lying areas where flooding has happened in previous heavy rain events.

2201, 2016

Everyday Safety Tips to Help Prevent Home Fires

By |January 22nd, 2016|News|0 Comments

Every year in the U.S., hundreds of thousands of home fires cause thousands of deaths and injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. Many of the home fires are completely preventable if the right steps are taken. Since most home fires are caused by daily activities, taking a proactive approach and exercising mindfulness can play a big part in home fire prevention.

Inspect the Home for Hazards

Faulty wiring and overloaded electric outlets can cause house fires that may begin undetected. Clutter around hot water heaters, gas systems, and space heaters also create a hazardous environment conducive to fires. Inspecting the home for these types of hazards and minimizing the risks can help keep your family and home safe. If the home is older, it may be prudent to hire a professional to inspect the wiring and gas lines for safety.

Be Mindful When Cooking

Most home fires start with someone cooking. Cooking automatically introduces fire hazards, so it is very important to prepare your area before cooking and to be aware throughout the entire cooking process. Clean any grease or debris that is on burners or in the oven before firing these appliances up. Be sure to keep potholders, towels, and other flammable objects and substances away from heat and flames while cooking. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, shut off all cooking appliances.

Exercise Caution with Open Flames

Fireplaces, candles, and oil lamps can be particularly hazardous if used improperly or left unattended. Again, all flammable objects and substances should be kept well away from open flames. Before going to bed or leaving the home, be sure to put out all flames completely. When using a fireplace or decorative items with open flames, these things should be within site at all times.

Test Smoke Detectors Monthly

Smoke detectors can be annoying, but they can save lives. Smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month and the batteries should be changed as necessary. If smoke detectors are not present in the home, they are inexpensive to purchase and easy to install.

Prepare for Fire

Preparing for fire by procuring fire extinguishers, having an evacuation plan, and knowing how to get in touch with emergency and restoration services in the area can prevent tragedies and save heartache in the event of a fire. If the fire cannot be put out with fire extinguishers or spreads too fast, an evacuation plan can help to keep the family safe from harm. After the family has been safely evacuated, emergency services should be contacted. Once the fire has been safely extinguished, calling restoration services as soon as possible will help minimize the damage to the home and belongings.

1601, 2016

Weather Proof Your Home & Prevent Water Damage

By |January 16th, 2016|Flood, Tricks and Tips, Water Damage|0 Comments

From time to time warm water in the Equatorial Pacific causes weather patterns that cause heavier than usual rainfall in the southern United States. The phenomenon is known as El Nino and can have a huge influence on climate change.

The following outlines a number of steps you can take to protect your property against potential damage from expected rainy weather.

How to Prepare for Heavy Rains

Heavy rains pose a significant risk of flood damage. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Do you have flood insurance? Most standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. If you aren’t sure, call your insurance agent to find out.
  2. Do you have a backup for your sump pump? If not, and if your power goes out in a storm, you could be in trouble.
  3. Do you have a generator in case power goes out?
  4. Are there back pump preventers on the sewer drains in your area?
  5. Does ice or water tend to accumulate on sidewalks?

Roof Leaks

Second to basement flooding, roof damage is one of the most common sources of water damage in heavy rains. Here are some things you can do to prevent problems with your roof in a storm:

  1. Are there trees near your home that need to be trimmed or loose branches that need to be removed?
  2. Does your roof flashing need to be replaced?
  3. Do you have damaged shingles that need to be repaired or missing shingles that need to be replaced?
  4. Is there debris in your gutters or other obstructions that need to be removed?

Taking care of these issues now, before rain hits, will help keep water out of your home.

Emergency Plan

Emergency preparation kit

Emergency preparation kit

Emergency plans aren’t just for business, they are something everyone should have in place. Whether you are in California, where dry brush, drought, and high winds combine to create out of control wildfires, or in the Midwest, where tornadoes are a scary springtime routine, every place has a potential for disaster. You need to have a plan that includes:

  1. How are you going to get in touch with your family? Do you have an established meeting place?
  2. If you have elderly or disabled family members, how will you get them to safety?
  3. Do you have battery powered radios and flashlights? Are the batteries charged?
  4. Do you have a couple of days of supplies (food, water, medication) in case you are stranded?

How Can We Help?

Prepare yourself and your home for a disaster before it happens. Right now is the perfect time to give your insurance agent a call to review your coverage. It’s also a good idea to inventory your property and inspect all the items mentioned above. Should you find yourself experiencing flood or fire damage in the San Diego area, give us a call at (619) 376-6838.

1001, 2016

El Niño Mold Prevention Involves Common Sense And Careful Action

By |January 10th, 2016|Flood, Mold|0 Comments

Mold in a edge of a roomWinter during an El Niño year brings plenty of reasons for serious concern to southern California homeowners and business owners because of the potential environmental concerns related to all the extra moisture. While rain is great for plants and helps with the ongoing drought, every action possible must be taken to keep the moisture and humidity outside of our structures. Mold is stealthy and invasive, but there are actions you can take to make a real difference.

Areas that experience a lot of rainfall are always at risk for mold and the many problems it can bring to a home or business, but we’re pleased to offer some tips on preventing El Niño mold infiltration into your San Diego structures. And it all starts with keeping the water out in every way possible.

Here are some specific tips for dealing with the El Niño mold issue:

  1. Good building or home maintenance is the best defense against mold growth. Keeping up with your maintenance costs a lot less than mold remediation after you have a problem, and it prevents the loss of important possessions and equipment as well.
  1. Inspect and repair rain gutters, making sure they’re always clean and that downspouts don’t allow water to pool near the building’s foundation or anywhere near the structure where it could eventually find its way back inside. Water should be directed well away from all buildings.
  1. Get roof leaks fixed quickly. If you noticed leaks — even small ones — recently, get someone out to take care of the problem right away. Once the rain starts, it’s too late. And El Niño water and mold damage often comes with wind, which can make roof problems worse.
  1. If there are any surface drains, check them to make sure they’re functional. They serve a vital function in protecting your home or business and surrounding property.
  1. Take a look at ground slopes and make sure they’re all still sending water away from the building. Construction, repairs or landscaping can change slopes in ways that aren’t good for the building.
  1. Seal up windows and doors using standard, recommended procedures to prevent costly and damaging water intrusion. Simple caulking can go a long way — and keep those windows closed as well. Check for cracks or damage frequently.
  1. Consider unoccupied guesthouses or unused rooms in your home or business. They should be heated and checked for excess humidity to prevent condensation, one of the many causes of indoor mold. If there’s a musty odor, mold may have already started.
  1. Have sandbags ready if your building is on a lot that frequently floods. You need to be able to create an impenetrable water barrier system to protect your home or business. If your structure is located in a floodplain, this is especially important.
  1. Take immediate action if you notice water intrusion. Your insurance company may not be able to immediately return your call, but you must mitigate damages. The best first step is to contact a professional drying and mold remediation company as quickly as possible to stop problems from getting worse.

For a free telephone consultation without obligation or pressure, contact Orange Restoration San Diego right away at (619) 376-6838. We’ll work quickly to clean up water and mold and put things back like they should be. It’s what we do in and around San Diego every day. And we expect to be doing a lot more of it during this El Niño winter.

 

901, 2016

Everything you need to know about El Niño

By |January 9th, 2016|News|0 Comments

Whether you have heard about El Niño from a friend, from the news, or even from an overheard debate about just how bad it is going to get, if you own your own home or property then you definitely need to wise up. As well as bringing a huge amount of crazy weather that could really impact the places that you live and work in, it can also dramatically change the daily weather for a full season, and if you want to be able to protect your properties, then you need to understand El Niño – especially as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (or NOAA) have calculated that there is a 95% chance that El Niño will push its way up to the Northern Hemisphere right through the winter of 2015 – 2016.

el nino storm pattern

So what exactly is El Niño? Well, it is a regular weather pattern that happens every few years that can bring a huge amount of disruption to many different countries the world over. Technically, there are two forms: El Niño, and La Niña, and there is one key difference. El Niño is created because of very warm ocean temperatures, beyond that which is normal, and La Niña is formed due to very cold ocean temperatures. As the weather systems get stronger and stronger, you can quickly find that El Niño brings a huge amount of rainfall to the south of the US, which causes terrible flooding, and at the same time creates droughts in the West Pacific.

Now is the time to act if you want to prepare your properties for the onslaught that is El Niño. That is one of the few benefits of El Niño – you will always get a little bit of time beforehand so that you can make any checks or changes to your properties.

As we move into winter, you should have a full inspection of your roof and gutters, to ensure that they are not going to leak. You should also talk to your insurance company if your property is situated near a large body of water, such as a lake, river, or even a large amount of groundwater! Having flood insurance will be key for you if this is the case, because even if you have not been flooded before, El Niño is that much more unpredictable, and you want to be prepared for the worst. Make sure that you understand precisely what is covered by your flood policy.

There will be a huge amount of information that your insurance company will need in order to accurately assess what your flood policy should be. For example, they may ask whether you have a back up generator or not, whether your property has any history of flooding in the past, and whether you have made any improvements to the property in the last five years. You may want to include details such as the presence of pumps in the basement, if you have any, as that information could reduce the premium that you pay.

In many countries, the presence of an El Niño weather system could mean that the normal transition from autumn to winter could be delayed – but in others, that will just mean that your winter will last even longer than normal. That means that you could be looking forward to freezing pipes all the way through January and February, but also into March and April as well. Heavy snow fall could potentially occur for much of those months as well, so it is vitally important that you take an inventory of your home and outdoor items so that, should the worst happen, you know exactly what you have lost.

There are many things about El Niño that few people would consider, such as the fact that many areas in the country have laws that will require you to keep the sidewalk and your drive as ice and snow free as possible, so you could have the get the shovel out on a regular basis. Of course, it is always safer if your driveway and the sidewalk outside your house are safe to walk on, so even if your local area does not require this, it may be a good idea anyway.

For those out there who rent or lease property, rather than simply owning it, then it is the person who owns the property who is ultimately responsible for what happens to it, but if you are considered to be negligent then it could very easily make you liable for costs and reparations. That is why you should make sure, during El Niño season, that you keep a close eye on the way that the property is responding to the strange weather, so that anything that needs to be can be repaired as soon as possible.

When it comes to keeping a roof over your head, there are many things that you can do to ensure that El Niño will not get the better of you. To start with, assess the extent that trees and their branches go over your roof, because you will want to ensure that they are completely secure and will not fall down in high winds, thick ice, or heavy snow. After that, give your roof a good going over by a professional, so that they can tell you whether or not you need repairs done to keep it water tight. Particular things that you should look out for on flat roofs include surface bubbles or missing gravel; missing or broken tiles on a tiled room; and any sort of irregularities that you do not remember always being there.

The end of the year is always a great time to ensure that you give your property or properties a good going over, and so take El Niño as a brilliant excuse to get this moving. Your contents, for example, could have massively increased just after the Christmas period, and you may need to get your entire contents insurance completely redone. You can easily keep a record of the items that you own by going around your home with a video camera – and as long as you keep that file safe, you will always be able to see exactly what you owned if something like a flood occurs. The key thing to do is to ensure that you do not miss out important areas such as your shed, as you could easily find lawn mowers, tools, and spare things such as roof cladding there – all worth a good deal.

Should the very worst happen, and El Niño hit where you life, then you need to make sure that you have an emergency plan. This is one that your family and friends can follow, so that you know that should something terrible happen to your home, you will have somewhere to go, someone to keep you fed and warm, and a way to get the majority of the important items you own out of the property safely. For example, you should always back up your computer each month and keep a copy out of the home, and you should also make sure that you always have a battery powered radio and flashlight by the exits, just in case.

San Diego residents in need of flood or water damage restoration, call (619) 376-6838.

601, 2016

San Diego Flood Damage – Orange Restoration on Channel 10 News

By |January 6th, 2016|News|0 Comments

If you have been affected by the flash floods in San Diego, contact Orange Restoration San Diego for help at (619) 376-6838

601, 2016

El Nino Year Means Trains Of Storms Impacting California

By |January 6th, 2016|News|0 Comments

Late 2015 proved to be an unusual El Niño time because a lot of the expected storm activity tracked toward the Pacific Northwest. But as 2016 arrives, a series of storms is expected to bring much of California, including San Diego, some welcome rainfall — and the potential for flooding. The rains will impact a great deal of the southwest portion of the nation.

The Pacific Ocean El Niño pattern is caused by higher-than-normal water temperatures in the tropics, and this pattern usually strengthens storms that track toward the West Coast of the United States. November and December saw impact of this weather pattern farther north, and now it’s California’s turn.

For the first full week of the new year and beyond, the weather will be very active in San Diego and across the state, according to meteorologists. While this wave will mean inches of rain for California and much of Arizona, it won’t be enough to make much of dent in the drought. Still, localized flooding and water damage are possible.

Mountainous areas will get snow, which will help with filling rivers and lakes later in the year. It could amount to several feet of snow and even lead to travel problems in places like Donner Pass. Baja California will also see significant rains.

Storms arriving in the coming days and weeks may each be stronger than the last and bring heavier rainfall.

Urban flooding and mudslides are predicted from these rain events in early 2016. Burn-scarred areas are the most susceptible to mudslide. Motorists are being warned to use extra caution and allow for more driving time as the rain will impact most areas in waves. When the next wave will occur in a particular area may not always be predicted with complete accuracy.

San Diego has already been affected by flash floods, here is our very own Jonathan speaking to Channel 10 News:

One bit of good news: winds with these early 2016 rainstorms are not expected to be strong. But the destructive impact of the water will likely be felt in at least some localized areas.

San Diego residents in need of help with flood and water damage, call (619) 376-6838

201, 2016

Making Your Home Healthy for a Baby – Mold & More

By |January 2nd, 2016|News|0 Comments

baby crawling from moldWhen you’re expecting a baby, your life is not only filled with joy and excitement, it’s also filled with demands. During this time, not only is your life changing, your home will be to. You will need to prepare your home in order to provide the healthiest environment for this new addition to your family. There are many concerns you may not have considered, such as mold, chemicals, wireless frequencies, and more.

You may be anticipating plenty of gifts for your new baby showers, but you will also need other items. Most often, nearly everything for your baby will be brand-new in its original packaging. You may have new furniture, paint, bedding, clothing, and even curtains and flooring for the nursery. You may end up with the nursery that looks like a show room in a furniture store. Unfortunately, it will probably carry a recognizable chemical odor that comes with all of those new items.

During the latter part of pregnancy, and just after baby is born, new parents typically spend more time than usual indoors. To provide the healthiest environment for your baby you need to consider not just obvious hazards, but also those invisible to the eye. We have measured a number of nurseries using PID (photoionization detection) diagnostic devices and found levels of TVOC (total volatile organic compounds) to be significantly higher than the rest of the home. In some cases, these levels were as high as those found in garages and sheds were pesticides, paints, and other chemicals were stored.

Formaldehyde is a common airborne pollutant often found in nurseries. Formaldehyde is used in a number of manufacturing processes and can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Formaldehyde is often given off by foam mattresses, changing table pads, flooring, and furniture. Other chemicals often found in nurseries include SVOC (semivolatile chemical compounds). These compounds tend to settle into surface dust quickly. Some of these are found in fire retardant materials. Studies have linked these compounds to developmental delays, hormone disruptions, infertility, and more. Fire retardant materials containing these compounds are often used in furniture, nursing pillows, car seats, carpets, and clothing. They are found in the highest concentrations in dust that can be inhaled or ingested. This places babies and toddlers that play on the floor at highest risk.

Plastic items such as toys, play mats, food containers, and bottles can also contain chemicals that compose risks to small children through contact with dust, food, and water. Bisphenol A (BPA) phthalates, and PVC can all mimic estrogen in the body leading to serious health hazards. Due to their smaller size, babies and toddlers are most susceptible to these compounds. Early testing for indoor toxins can be a valuable investment in the health of your children.

Chemicals are not the only environmental stressors that need to be taken into consideration. Many common electrical devices emit EMFs (extremely low frequency magnetic fields) and radiofrequency fields. Some studies have linked these fields to leukemia, though these links are still being scientifically debated. However, due to the uncertainty of these studies, the safest route is to practice caution. Baby monitors can be quite convenient, but should be carefully located to minimize your baby’s exposure to these fields.

Radio frequencies given off by mobile phones can affect babies even before they are born. A study from Yale University showed that radiation from these devices can have a number of biological effects, including DNA breaks. EMF and radiofrequency radiation can be minimized with an audit of your devices. Such an audit will measure these fields, determine level of risk, and suggest optimum placement.

Many people store herbicides and pesticides in garden sheds and other outside storage areas. Your garden is better served by controlling insects and weeds with a targeted program rather than more generalized kill everything products. There are many non-toxic alternatives that can take care of your specific needs.

There is a lot that you can do to minimize exposure to environmental stressors. Your baby could care less about your decorating efforts, but your efforts to minimize toxins will set your mind at peace and give your baby a better start in life.

The following is a list of tips that can help you give your baby the healthiest start:

  • Look for water-based paints with no volatile organic compounds when painting not just the nursery but the whole house. If you are removing coats of paint, you need to know when you’re home was built. Homes built prior to 1979 were often painted with lead-based paint.
  • Look for flooring materials that do not emit chemicals. If you are installing new flooring look for natural materials containing less toxic materials. Also, the earlier you can install new flooring, the more harmful chemicals will be off gassed and dissipated before your baby arrives.
  • Pregnant women should not help with remodeling. Pregnant women and small children should avoid being exposed to dust and odors generated by the remodeling process.
  • Furniture made from solid wood will off gas less formaldehyde and other toxic compounds. Water-based acrylic surface finishes will produce fewer odors than wax or oil-based finishes.
  • Steer clear of items containing polyurethane and fire retardants. The best bets are products manufactured prior to 2005 or after 2014. Look for untreated products made from natural fibers. If you can, look for certified organic cotton and wool.
  • New bedding, clothing, curtains, and other fabrics should be washed before they go in the nursery.
  • When buying plastic products, look for those labeled BPA free, and limit how much canned food you use. If you can, choose glass and stainless steel containers to store your food.
  • Look for toys and other products that are natural and chemical free as often as possible. Even plastic toys that are BPA free may still contain ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), while those labeled PVC free may still contain phthalates.
  • Before making a major investment, check the manufacturer’s recall list as well as the governments recall site to be sure the items you are purchasing have not been found effective.
  • Arrange the nursery so the crib is not next to a wall that has electrical appliances on the other side. You might even consider contacting a professional who can evaluate your home for EMFs to determine optimal furniture arrangement.
  • If you buy a baby monitor, look for one that is activated by motion and sound, and place them as far as possible from the crib. Wireless devices give off more RF radiation than wired devices. In RF evaluation specialist can help you determine the best location for your monitor.
  • Do not use your mobile phone or other device near your baby. Do not keep charging stations near the crib or play area.
  • Minimize applications of pesticides. Talk to a licensed pest control expert about safer alternatives.
  • Make your home less attractive to pests by taking out trash frequently, keeping food put away in sealed containers, and washing dishes frequently.
  • If your home has had water damage, or you think you may have mold, contact a professional for removal.
  • Look for natural, non-toxic, or less toxic cleaning products and look for a vacuum with HEPA filtration. Organic and non-toxic products, especially products for children, our growing industry. As a result there are now many great products that won’t break the bank.

For help with mold remediation in your San Diego home, call (619) 376-6838.