Water damage tips and myths

Water damage the extremely intimidating when it catches you off guard. Your first instinct may be to panic but if you can resist it then you’ll be able to do some good before the professionals arrive. The faster you deal with the water the more likely you are to lessen the total damage and of course the total cost. Here are some emergency water removal tips that will get you out of danger while you call a water damage removal company.

The first thing you must do is find the source of the water and deal with it. This may mean shelling of thwarting the whole house or this may mean dealing with a toilet. To regurgitate it contents, in either case swift action is the key. Of course if the flooding is due to weather you must try everything you can stop the water entering your house. Sandbags are an excellent way to divert the flow of water and potentially stop the damage.

While working to stop flooding don’t take any risks with your personal safety. Water is one of the best conductors of electricity and unless you switch off the power to the house if you inadvertently touched something with a charge running through it you can be electrocuted. This should be one of the first things you do before after you switch off the water in the house.

Where possible allow your house to get wind and air flowing through it. Use fans to dry out water damaged rooms.

Most people were dealing with a flood or other types of water damage are dealing with it for the first time and often they have many misconceptions about what their insurance companies cover and what they can do about the damage. Here are the top four things that people believe about water damage but are not true.

  1. You do not have to call your insurance first! Most people believe the first person they should call is their insurance but in reality the first business should call is a water damage restoration company. The insurance claim and all of that can be handled after the damages cleared up the longer you wait the worse the damage will get.
  2. Your insurance will not cover mold! Mould grows rapidly and needs to be contained as fast as possible. If you take the time to call your insurance company first rather than calling a water damage restoration company you will give mould the time it needs to grow and become a major problem.
  3. You cannot save carpet if sewage has already gotten onto it! You may think you be able to save things but with sewage the best thing you can do is destroy it. You need to have the area cleaned and disinfected. Sewage can cause you and your family major health problems.

Renting the equipment yourself and watching a few YouTube videos does not make you an expert! Many people feel that they can do the job themselves but they don’t have the years of experience that water damage restoration company does. What this means is that while they may be able to deal with most of the water they will not know where to look for hidden water and it could lead to problems later on. These problems can become very expensive.

The Disaster plan: Does your family have one?

Disasters happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Whether they be fire, water damage or something else entirely been prepared and most importantly having a plan is your family’s best chance of getting through them. It is a most help pay your family for times of disaster.


One of the best ways to brave yourself especially if you’re moving to a new area is to find out what it’s types of natural disasters occur in your area. This can be done quite easily by calling your local emergency management office or the Red Cross. It’s also a good idea to find out what disaster plans your children schools and annual work having place for disasters.


Next you will want to create a family disaster plan. Assign jobs in case of this disaster or that disaster and make sure that everyone thoroughly understands their roles. That way when the time comes everyone will be doing what they have to do rather than wandering around aimlessly. In the case of flooding for example have somewhere nearby that you know you can stay and will accept your pets if you have those.


Once you have a plan in place and everyone knows what they’re doing the most important thing you can do is the practice it. You may need to modify plans as things change over time. Children my move away and you may have more less pets as time goes on. The more often you can practice your disaster plan the better but at least twice a year is a good rule of thumb. The more prepared you are for every eventuality the more likely you and your family will get through whatever happens.


Smelling sewage in your bathroom? Time to call in the professionals

The bathroom of your home is very unlikely to be the best smelling room in your house but you should not open the door and instantly think you’ve walked into an open sewer. If there is a lingering sewage smell in your bathroom and that is an indicator of a deeper problem. The high levels of methane gas produced by sewage can be flammable in large quantities and breathing it in can be hazardous to your health. The good news is that once you’ve discovered the source of the smell it is often simple and inexpensive to correct.

The first possible cause of sewage odor in your bathroom can be the fixtures. If you have and use them recently the water in the P-trap can evaporate and this removes the barrier between the bathroom and the gases in the sewers. The easiest solution is to run your water and Philip P-trap again.

Most people would assume that the toilet would be the main culprit for a sewage smell but the water in the toilet bowl acts as a sort of smell barrier. If your toilet bowl isn’t filling out the way it should be the problem could be broken seal. This can be replaced fairly easily by you may not wish to attempt it and calling in the water damage restoration company would be your best option.

 Whatever the source of the smell it is imperative that you have it dealt with quickly. Breathing in toxic fumes is not good for you and not good for anyone else in your family’s home.

A new California wildfire forces more evacuations

A new wildfire just 100 miles east of Los Angeles in the big Bear resort has forced hundreds of people to evacuate. This fire is fast moving and only 30% contained. More than 500 homes and businesses are currently in the path of the fire and this fire is just one of 65 major wildfires that are raging across seven Western states currently.

In Washington there are 12 large fires currently and resources have been so stretched that state is taking the unprecedented effort of training civilian volunteers. They will be acting in supporting roles helping the firefighters. Already Washington has had over 200 homes destroyed.


Over 12,000 firefighters are battling the 17 wildfires across California. More than 2500 hikers campers employees and residents have been evacuated this week. A large wildfire broke out on Sunday night near the slow Summit ski resort south of big bear lake. Helicopters and planes have been making liquid drops on the wildfire causing the first positive results. It’s gotten to the point where water cannons from the ski resort normally used for making snow are being pointed towards the fire. It is believed that this fire began as a result of lightning.

Constant high temperatures and no rain in sight the foreseeable future has not been helping the situation but the fire department seems confident that it has the situation under control. Overnight the percentage of the containment has grown.

Are happy meals immortal?

It’s a fact of life, you leave your bread on the counter for too long all your fruit in its basket and mold will form. Food can only be preserved for so long before the natural cycle of decomposition begins in earnest. Or is there a food that can circumvent this natural law?


As an experiment of McDonald’s happy meals left on a plate for a year. One would naturally assume that after 2 to 3 weeks there would be little left of the hamburger and fries. One would be wrong however, the hamburger survive a three-year view of the disservice oval change to the food was that it had started to shrink.


“The Happy Meal hamburger bun’s ingredient list is sadly too long to reproduce, but includes the preservative calcium propionate (which is what keeps that year-old bun looking daisy fresh), along with ominous sounding ingredients such as calcium peroxide and azodicarbonamide. Yum! The next time you think about buying a Happy Meal for your kids, consider the fact that it might just contain some of the same ingredients as the toy it comes with.”




The only food it truly is immortal is honey. A jar of honey was found to King Tutankhamen in Egypt and after thousands of years was still edible. When it comes to quick and easy meals your children perhaps a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or macaroni is a safer bet.


Poria: the mold that eats your home

When it comes to any building structural integrity is key. Floor supports walls, walls for roof and the whole structure builds upon itself to support itself. Because the structural beams of our houses are covered up with drywall and stucco we often have no idea what’s going on behind those walls. Meruliaporia incrassate may be hiding just behind your wall without you knowing it.


This voracious mold, orange in colour, eats away at the wooden structure of your house. In the worst cases a formerly strong wooden crossbeam can be so even the way that you can push your finger through it with little effort.


What makes this fungus all the more dangerous is its ability to move around the house. Most mold growth is limited to a small area around a leak or other source of water. Poria on the other hand is not limited to a small area. It can form in the soil under a new patio or around a small leak in a pipe. It then continues to grow feeding off the wood of the house and using its roots to pump fresh water to its furthest extremity’s. It can then grow up the wooden structure of a house eating it as it goes. Unchecked this mold has the potential to destroy a house.


Recently California homeowners have noticed this mold and are seeking ways to deal with it. This may be due to a shift in how houses were built after the 1970s. They were built closer to the ground and with poor ventilation creating the ideal breeding ground for this type of mold.


If as a homeowner you suspect this mold might be present in your house here is something to remember. A patch job will not help you in the long run. This mold has to be eradicated entirely by a qualified mold remediation company. Left alone your house will literally fall down around your ears. Talking to your insurance and seek professional help.

Study Shows Ways California Coasts Can Avoid Flood Damage

As California transitions from drought-stricken state to El Niño-stricken state, a team of scientsists from the Nature Conservancy and UC Santa Cruz have come forward with a study that shows ways coastal regions of California can reduce flood damage.

The report’s primary focus is on risky costal developments that endanger themselves by impairing the floodplain’s natural ability to control water levels and prevent flood damage. The report provides a simple method for identifying areas with the greatest flood risk and providing the best habitat conservation benefits via FEMA hazard mitigation projects already in-place.

“We developed a multi-objective approach to identify areas where the greatest risk reduction and habitat conservation benefits can be achieved simultaneously in California, effectively killing two birds with one stone,” said lead author JulianoCalil to the San Jose Mercury News, a doctorate candidate in the Ocean Sciences Department at UCSC. “We are facing very complex environmental and socioeconomic problems around the world at an unprecedented scale. Approaches like the one we’ve developed, where distinct goals are combined into multi-objective projects, are going to be essential to solve these issues. It just doesn’t make sense to talk about reducing future flood risks and damages without considering restoring floodplains.”

From 1780 to 1980, California lost 91 percent of its coastal wetlands to development. Such coastal wetlands provide vital outlets for rainwater, which has nowhere to go without these areas. This rainwater goes on to flood these vulnerable coastal areas, like Sonoma County. The County takes up roughly 1 percent of California territory, but accounts for 32 percent of flood damage claims in the state.

“Unless we reduce risk globally, annual flood losses may top $1 trillion by the year 2050,” said co-author Sarah Newkirk to the San Jose Mercury News, coastal director of the California Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. “Risk reduction by fortifying unwise development will cause further loss of wetlands, but conservation and restoration of floodplains that act as buffers to coastal structures will help fisheries, beaches and coastal communities.”

Wet Weather Brings Mold Concerns

The recent rains to have affected Southern California are a boon to the region in many ways. However, with the increase in humidity comes an increase in mold risk, this is especially the case when temperatures remain high. Severalother regions across the U.S. have also become more alert to the recently increased mold risk.

It’s important that you do spot checks in location were mold is most likely to grow: dark, closed off areas with high moisture. As remediation expert Patrick Murphy elaborates:

Murphy pointed his flashlight into the air in a basement in Overland Park revealing white specks drifting up into the air. He says since mold weighs the same amount as air, this is a test you can do at home to see if mold is growing on your walls. The particles that float are mold, the ones that fall are dust. He also says mold tends to attract more spiders than usual. It’s easiest to find mold in the dark while shining a flashlight on the surfaces.

Murphy says the moment you spot mold, you need to get it looked at before it makes you sick.

“This is actually the guideline set out by the EPA, if you can see it or smell it, it should be a concern,” he stressed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of mold isn’t cheap. It costs most homeowners around $3,000 to have it professionally removed. Mold screening costs around $75-$100. To send mold into a lab to get it tested and to see if it poses a health threat costs around $350.

If you don’t currently have mold in your house, Murphy says you can keep your home protected now. Check your gutters and keep them clean. Most times, rain seeps into your house because the gutters weren’t cleaned or the water is able to seep in through the foundation.

A Horror Film about Evil Household Mold?

When we think of horror films and their antagonists, we usually think of machete-wielding slashers, clawed nightmares, and creepy dolls. We tend to not think of mold damage, let alone the strain of mold known as stachybotrys, as a sinister horror film baddie. However, not only was there a horror film on such a subject, but it was a film that saw a fairly wide release and starred Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connley. The film is 2005’s Dark Water, and the film’s main threat is dark sinister stains that begin appearing in Connely’s character’s home. I’m serious.

Still less unsettling than David Bowie in tight pants.

Okay, not entirely serious. The mold imagery is prevalent in Dark Water, but the source of the staining is supernatural in nature rather than fungal. The apartment complex the Connley’s character and her daughter inhabit is haunted by the ghost of an angry dead girl that died in the apartment’s water tower. Her evil ghosty-ness, as opposed to mold, gives the plumbing leaks their sinister, black tint instead. Despite this, the staining very much resembles black mold stains you’d find in a property affected by water damage.

Supernatural ceiling stains in Dark Water (left) and real-world black mold stains (right)

Overall, the film is a rather forgettable horror thriller that ramps up some decent tension but is scant on scares. It’s a forgotten film that you can probably find in the Wal-Mart bargain bin. However, the mold imagery makes it a bit of a standout for anyone familiar with remediation or mold treatment.

California’s Biggest Major Fires

When it comes to California, every season is fire season. It seems that every year, a new wildfire breaks out that draws the attention of news media and worried onlookers. The most recent fire, the Lake Fire, has devoured over 30,000 acres. As daunting as that sounds, this doesn’t even put the Lake Fire on Cal Fire’s top ten list. As frightening as some of these fire stories can be, it can always be much worse. Here are brief looks at the top three biggest fires in recent California history.

Cedar Fire

The Cedar Fire that engulfed San Diego County was not only a notorious fire by itself, but it was also one of 15 different wildfires that occurred within the single month of October 2003. The Cedar Fire holds the top spot on Cal Fire’s list at over 273,000 acres burned, 2,820 structures lost, and 15 deaths. The fire was manmade and caused by a lost hunter attempting to light a signal fire in hopes of being rescued. The 2003 firestorm led to a variety of structural changes at state, local, and federal levels with how fires were fought.

Rush Fire

The Rush Fire erupted in Northeastern California from a lightning strike in August 2012. While it’s placed second on Cal Fire’s list at around 271,000 acres burned, this acreage doesn’t account for the rough 43,000 acres that burned in Nevada. Unlike the Cedar fire, the damage was mostly to unhabituated wilderness area resulting in no structure loss or deaths.

Rim Fire

Started by an illegal campfire in the Stanislaus National Forest, the Rim fire went on to burn over 257,000 acres of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in August 2013. The acreage is considerably less than the Rush fire, but the Rim fire was closer to population centers. This resulted in the loss of 112 structures, but thankfully no loss of life. The fire was not technically declared “out” until over a year later in November 2014.

Burning For You

Wildfires and the risk of fire damage are a part of everyday reality in California. It’s vital to keep the following suggestions in mind to ensure that you and your family areprepared should the unthinkable happen:

  • Make sure every room in your home has a fire alarm with fresh batteries
  • Make sure that your property has a fire extinguisher on hand
  • Keep your yard clear of dry brush
  • Make evacuation plan with your family
  • Ensure that your home is covered for wildfires by your insurance.
  • Verify the reporting procedure for your insurance company.
  • Let a fire restoration service handle the rest.

You probably won’t prevent the next big wildfire, but you can keep you and your family ready for the worst. By taking these relatively simple measures and following them through, you can make sure that you, your family, and your property are given the best protection against wildfire and fire damage as possible.