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Use Tips Provided by SERVPRO to Prevent Water Damage at Your San Francisco Care Facility

9/22/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Use Tips Provided by SERVPRO to Prevent Water Damage at Your San Francisco Care Facility Having a constant washing machine leak at your facility can lead to water damage over time. Call SERVPRO to remediate the damage.

Appliances Using Water can Cause Commercial Water Damage in Care Facilities in San Francisco

Providing care to residents in a care facility in San Francisco requires you to address all areas of daily life – meals, clothing, bedding, medicines, personal hygiene, and several others. Ensuring that your facility's employees meet all of the residents' daily needs requires the constant use of appliances.

If one of the machines sustains a leak in a feed or drain line in your facility, your building can suffer commercial water damage in San Francisco. With rotating shifts, important details about malfunctioning appliances can get lost, letting leaks grow in size. SERVPRO technicians are always ready to respond to such situations and get things back under control.

Although major leaks require a call to a certified plumber, we can repair minor ones. Cleaning up the area of water from floors happens quickly, and then we begin measuring the water vapor in the air and how much moisture entered absorbent materials. Often, we find secondary water damage during these inspections, and we hold IICRC-certifications in these areas, also.

Working in a residential setting mitigating water damage can create noise that disturbs some individuals. We want to assure you that we understand this and can work with you to minimize this as much as possible. We adjust our work to match your needs, especially when residents' rooms and the affected area are close to each other.

Some of our activities produce odors, such as fresh paint or cleaning chemicals. If these odors might impact a resident, we ask that you inform us as soon as possible. We want to provide mitigation services in a manner while refraining from causing any discomfort but we need your input on this if it is a possibility.

Either of these might require moving residents to other areas, but we leave this decision to you and your staff. Our goal is to make everything “Like it never even happened.” and in the shortest amount of time possible. To help prevent similar incidents in the future, we can check if any other appliances give off readings of elevated moisture. Some leaks are located internally instead of along a hose where you can easily view it.

SERVPRO of Belmont / San Carlos wants to help you provide the highest level of care to your residents, and mitigation of water damage gets your facility back to a healthy, safe condition. Call us at (650) 591-4137, and we can explain how we can help you achieve this.

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7/30/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation M O L D Microscopic image of Mold

At SERVPRO of Belmont and San Carlos we have received late night calls about mold on our 24 hour emergency telephone line.

The phone line has been set up for calls about water and fire events that require immediate response. Mold is not an emergency. It takes weeks or months for mold to develop and it does not justify a late night call. However, we discuss subject to highlight how having mold in a home is an emotional experience for many persons.

Mold is also blamed for being the source of all sorts of illnesses, even things that are caused by bacteria and viruses. Yes there are many urban myths and unwarranted fears about mold. It is a modern day villain.

This doesn't mean you should ignore mold in your home or workplace. Mold in an indoor environment is always an unwanted guest. Call SERVPRO of Belmont San Carlos at 650-591-4137 for balanced advice and help concerning mold. 

5 Types of Carpet Cleaning

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

General 5 Types of Carpet Cleaning Steam Cleaning

By Clay Barry

I’m a second-generation carpet cleaner. My father owned an area rug and wall-to-wall carpet cleaning company that was established in the early 1950’s. As a little boy I hung around my dad’s shop on Saturdays. When I got a bit older, I would go there after school to learn how to clean the fringes on Persian rugs. 

My family moved to San Mateo in 1968 and two years later we moved to Foster City. Since then, during my working lifetime I have seen the evolution of on-location carpet cleaning (and location water damage mitigation). 

I know there is confusion about which cleaning system is best, shampoo, steam or dry cleaning? I can help you understand the difference between the various carpet cleaning systems.

Today, there are actually five types of on-location carpet cleaning in use for wall-to-wall carpets. This article will not address area rug (Oriental rug) cleaning. Instead, I will discuss the different, “modern” cleaning methods for wall-to-wall carpet cleaning. This material will be presented in the chronological order in which the cleaning methods were introduced to the consumer: Shampoo, Hot Water Extraction, Dry Methods, Bonnet and Encapsulation.

Please understand that each of these methods of cleaning will do a reasonably good job as long as a trained professional properly performs the work. Where does this training come from?

In the United States, the carpet cleaning industry is primarily educated by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification IICRC. This leading institute has a governing board that is comprised of members from the carpet manufacturing industry, installation industry, cleaning chemical and cleaning equipment manufacturers, scientists and health professionals. Even government agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are represented. There are other trade associations such as the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) that also provide education for carpet cleaners. All of these associations have evolved along with the carpet industry. As the physical content of carpet fibers and carpet construction techniques have changed, the associated industries have modified their cleaning agents as well as equipment and products to stay current. Lets examine some of this history.

1930’s: In the very early days of wall-to-wall carpet installation, wool was the principle fiber used for the face yarn. Jute or hemp fibers were often used in the construction of carpet backings. In that era, carpet pads were usually made from horsehair (felt). Shampoo cleaning was the most appropriate method for cleaning those carpets. Shampoo cleaning did not have to use a lot of water. This was critical because a serious over wetting during cleaning often ruined those carpets by causing materials to shrink and dye colors to bleed. 

1950’s / 1960’s: After the Second World War, our population exploded.  The resulting housing construction boom called for more wall-to-wall carpets than ever. This demand outstripped wool production. Kodak, DuPont and Allied Fibers introduced synthetic (plastic) fibers along with new carpet backings that were virtually waterproof. The backing materials and underlayment (pads) evolved. By the end of the 1960’s, during the transition from natural to synthetic fibers, steam cleaning (today called hot water damage) became the preferred method. Carpets were being manufactured to withstand more moisture. Cleaning equipment manufacturers developed synchronized high-pressure water sprayers and powerful extraction vacuums to clean these manmade materials.  Finally “steam” carpet cleaners could use pressurized water to flush and rinse the dirt and cleaning agents away.

It was during the transition era of wool carpets to synthetics that the first “dry” systems of carpet cleaning were developed. A highly successful franchise was built upon the ingenious use of corncobs being ground into a spongy powder that was saturated with dry-cleaning solvents to be spread across carpet surfaces to absorb soils. The spongy bits of corncob fiber were brushed into the fibers to adsorb soils.  When the little bits of spongy corn cob dried they could be vacuumed away.  However, these and other dry methods didn’t make much of an impact on carpet cleaning until the 1970’s as you will discover next.

1970’s: Unfortunately, when water extraction cleaning is not performed properly, carpets can become or remain over-wetted. Synthetic fibers won’t shrink, but the adhesives that hold the carpet layers together can delaminate. Wet carpets can also cause water damage to furniture. Molds may develop and sour smelling air often permeates the indoor environment. These kinds of negative experiences happened when low priced, portable cleaning equipment became readily available to the public.  Unfortunately, the do-it-your-self crowd wetted and damaged a lot of carpeting. There was also a wave of “part time and weekend cleaning companies” without advanced training who gave a bad reputation to steam cleaning in general. This opened the door for a new batch of “dry” carpet cleaning companies. In fact, aggressive franchises advertised the advantages of “space age chemical technology” that could solve or prevent the over-wetting problems caused by “steam” cleaning. Dry cleaning methods used minimal moisture and they did an excellent job of surface cleaning. Carpets were dry and ready for use in just a couple of hours.

Advertising savvy dry carpet cleaners made a strong argument. However, as time went by, the public became aware that dry cleaning systems left a great deal of chemical residue in the carpets. The public noticed that high levels of cleaning chemical residue caused fibers to rapidly re-soil. Concerns arose over indoor air quality. During the next three decades steam and dry cleaners battled each other for public acceptance.

1990’s: Bonnet cleaning became a meaningful “comprise” method of cleaning. Let me explain what I mean by “compromise”. Shampoo carpet cleaners always reasoned that their system gently scrubbed and agitated the fibers. Scrubbing action is a good cleaning feature. Steam (hot water extraction) advocates spoke about the benefits of heat and the rinsing action that their water based system provides. Heat has proven to activate cleaning agents. Rinsing removes residues. Dry cleaners promoted the benefits of advanced chemistry… low moisture and rapid drying. Each system of carpet cleaning offers distinct advantages. However, bonnet style carpet cleaners believe their system combines the best parts of the other cleaning systems. Let me explain.

Bonnet cleaning utilizes thick, cotton pads that are dampened with water combined with various cleaning agents. These pads are fitted onto shampoo cleaning machines. The prepared pad is methodically worked across the surface of the carpet to gently agitate the fibers and to loosen the soil. With skillful operation, bonnet cleaning will provide more than just surface action. It can provide a deep cleaning. As soon as an area of carpet has been treated, the cleaning pad is removed and replaced with a clean, dry cotton pad, which is spun over the surface of the damp carpet to adsorb the moisture (and soils) from the fibers. The carpet is left fairly dry and ready for use within thirty minutes to a couple of hours. 

By the way, dry bonnet pads can be utilized in another way.  A dry bonnet pad can be spun over the surface of damp carpeting that has just been wet cleaned by, either, shampoo or hot-water extraction methods to provide an additional measure of extraction. Doing so will accelerate overall drying. While bonnet cleaning seems to be a versatile, effective, popular carpet cleaning system, cleaning technology is constantly evolving and changing.

2000’s: Recently, the IICRC has endorsed the encapsulation method. Today, many of the leading manufacturers are promoting “encapsulation” as the latest advancement. Some encapsulation systems use a new design of rotary brush to apply the cleaning agent and agitate the fibers. However, the more dramatic advancements are in the area of chemistry. Revolutionary polymer encapsulation cleaning agents blended together are able to target different soils in one application, capture these soils and, then, dry (cure) them into tiny crystals to be vacuumed away.

The science of encapsulation has become so popular among carpet cleaners that some of the chemical manufacturers are now making their liquid cleaners for use with bonnet machines and even for use with hot water extraction equipment. There are still old timers who are performing shampoo carpet cleaning… and some of the “encapsulation chemical companies” are making encapsulating shampoo just for them.

Let’s distill all this information down to practical application. What is the best carpet cleaning system for someone who owns or manages investment property? My best advice is to focus on finding the right company. My criteria for the right company would be:
1.    Choose someone who is certified with the IICRC, 
2.    Someone who uses more than one cleaning technique, especially a combination of hot-water extraction and the latest bonnet-encapsulation.

There will be circumstances that demand both disciplines. For a greasy spill, hot-water combined with powerful vacuum extraction may be the most effective and inexpensive way to remove the majority of the source material. Then, if required, a bonnet method can also be used to provide further “extraction” drying. There will be other situations in which quick turnaround of rental property is required, a bonnet encapsulation method is a great answer. 

When it comes to maintaining carpeting, it’s not just the overall cleaning method that has to be considered. Specialty spot cleaning and deodorization skills must be part of a professional carpet cleaner’s offering. When it comes to spots and spills, there is no one carpet cleaning method or “miracle cleaning agent” that does it all. Wine spills, candle wax drippings, blood, pet urine and chewing gum blobs happen, and their successful removal requires special treatments, advanced skills and experience.

Find a carpet cleaner you feel comfortable with, one who has experience, shows up on time, charges a reasonable price, and is able to enhance a carpet’s appearance. If he practices two systems of carpet cleaning, not just one system, that could be a real advantage.

SERVPRO of Belmont / San Carlos would be pleased to provide carpet cleaning for your residence or commercial facility.

Clayton Barry is a second-generation cleaning expert. He is a partner in one of the largest SERVPRO franchise operations in America, SERVPRO of Belmont/San Carlos and licensed territory also includes Foster City and Redwood Shores.

San Carlos Mold Damage

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation San Carlos Mold Damage Mold patch

In the San Carlos hills, mold is a common concern among local homeowners, and mold growth can quickly consume a region behind walls or in dark corners. Mold is often difficult to detect, and by the time it is obviously present, significant damage can already have resulted in the home. This article outlines how mold damage occurs, what can result from it, and what must be done to remove it. 

How Mold Damage Occurs
Mold damage most commonly results from a water leak or some other form of water damage. Even after the leak is fixed and the water appears dried, more can still be inside of wood or fabric, promoting mold growth. It should be noted that mold also typically requires an organic surface to grow on, such as wood or fabric. There is no way to stop mold from forming in these damp regions, at least initially. Mold patches form from airborne spores, of which you likely breathe in and encounter thousands of every day. If the conditions are right, one spore can eventually lead to exponential growth into a full colony. Thus, the only real way to prevent mold growth is to avoid water and moisture problems and fully dry out materials after any leaks have been fixed. 

What Mold Damage Does
Mold often forms into large patches, which can grow to sometimes be several feet or larger in diameter. Some types of mold may also emit a strong musty odor when in high enough quantities, allowing for easier detection. However, if you can smell mold in your home, this may be cause for significant alarm as some molds may cause adverse health effects, especially if they are in large enough colonies to emit odors. Mold can chew through organic materials such as wood, causing permanent structural damage to your home. Additionally, its potential ill health effects make mold a silent but highly dangerous force acting upon your home. If a mold colony gets enough out of hand, 

your home may be condemned for safety concerns. Thus, one should always work to stop mold as soon as possible. 

What is Done About Mold
Mold remediation typically involves a company like SERVPRO coming to your home to do full-time work. You may potentially need to live elsewhere during remediation. Technicians will first identify the source and spread of the mold, then begin a process of air filtration and drying to help stop further growth. Damaged materials are then removed from the home and replaced, and everything potentially exposed to the mold and its spores is given a thorough scrubbing. Depending on the damage, final repairs and restorations may be made to any damaged regions. 

SERVPRO of Belmont / San Carlos is a locally owned and operated business and has had experience with dozens of mold removal and remediation projects in the past. If you require professional services or assistance with residential mold growth, call us at (650) 591-4137.

Restoring Your Property Back to Safety

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Restoring Your Property Back to Safety Fire Damaged Home

House fires are one of the most stressful and frustrating experiences that a homeowner can endure. In addition to engendering substantive financial losses, house fires can pose several health and safety risks about which owners must be cautious. Because house fires can result in the loss of valuable property while also endangering the family's livelihood, it's no surprise that many homeowners experience profound emotional trauma during this time. To ensure that you can maintain your equilibrium and move forward, it's a good idea to obtain SERVPRO to help you. Learn more about how restoration companies can assist you by reading the short outline provided below:

Assessing Your Home’s Damage
In general, the first thing a professional restoration company will do when you call is to come to your property and complete an assessment. The assessment is designed to determine how much damage has been done to your home. During the assessment, SERVPRO specialists will inspect your entire home to decide what tools they'll need to clean and restore it effectively. The assessment will also help the specialists determine how long the restoration process will take and what the repair fees will be. Finally, the assessment will help the fire damage specialists determines whether the property is safe enough to start the cleanup and repair processes.

Cleaning, Repairing, and Restoring Your Home
Once the Fire Department specialists ensure that your home can be entered, they will start the cleanup process. Drying your home is at the top of the to-do list because it can help prevent the onset of mold and mildew accumulation. Mold and mildew thrive in moist environments, so exacting the drying process as quickly as possible is quite important. In addition to reducing the risk of mold accumulation, the specialists will use specific tools to remove ash, soot, and standing water from the premises. They will also carefully inspect the structure of your home and make any repairs necessary to ensure that the foundation remains safe and stable. The length of time the cleanup and repair process will take is ultimately contingent upon the extent of damage done to your home.

If your home has been subjected to a fire you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed at all of the work needed to restore your property. You don't have to worry. By contacting a team of professional fire damage specialists, you can get your property back in excellent condition. As a team of trained specialists who work with skill and speed to remediate your home, the SERVPRO crew is your first choice when you start searching for the ideal restoration services. Contact us now to obtain the professional, personalized services you need and deserve.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

We live and work in this community too; we might even be neighbors. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Belmont/San Carlos is close by and ready to respond to your smoke or fire damage emergency. We are proud to be an active member of the Belmont community and want to do our part to make our community the best it can be. 

Our expertise in fire damage is extensive. SERVPRO utilizes IICRC training as part of our on-going education to stay ahead of the curve. Call us for help. (650) 591-4137

Putting A Boat Back on The Water

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Putting A Boat Back on The Water Fifty-One foot Boat

One of the most interesting and unique cleaning jobs our company performed was aboard a commercial salmon fishing boat. Our technicians cleaned up the contamination of an oily soot fire that started in the engine room.

The fifty-one foot fishing trawler also had significant soot contamination throughout its galley, sleeping berths and wheelhouse.

The fire occurred while the boat was “on the hard” which means while it was on the ground in a boatyard. The “chandlery” (boat repair company) caused the damage while they were performing routine repairs and service. The chandlery was responsible for the costs of cleanup. Our SERVPRO of Belmont /San Carlos technicians washed the interior surfaces from stem to stern…. Sorry for the pun. Our textile service provider, FRSTeam helped with the clothing and bedding that was onboard. Together, we had the boat cleaned and odor free in three days. The original engine repairs and the additional fixes to mend the damage caused by fire were completed in a timely fashion by the boatyard.

The captain was able to take her out on the first day of salmon season. Whether it’s removing a severe odor problem or cleaning carpets and floors, you can rely on the team At SERVPRO to make your boat, home or business look its very best. Call us at 510-785-0497 and we’ll get you back on the water again

Ozone Treatment

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

Ozone is a colorless and odorless reactive gas. It is comprised of three oxygen atoms and is found naturally in the earth's stratosphere, where it absorbs the ultraviolet component of incoming solar radiation that could be harmful to life on earth. Ozone is a powerful oxidant (far more so than dioxygen) and it has many industrial and consumer applications related to oxidation, mostly in the cleaning of products. Perhaps you have seen television advertisements about the power of oxidation. This same high oxidizing potential, however, causes ozone to damage mucous and respiratory tissues in people and also tissues in plants, above concentrations of about 100 ppb. This makes ozone a potent respiratory hazard and pollutant near ground level.

The restoration industry learned how to apply the oxidant powers of Ozone to clean and deodorize, especially building that stink from smoke and soot. Portable Ozone generators can be installed in unoccupied locations to clean the air and remove odor. Ozone generators are also used to remove tobacco odor and the overpowering odor of death.

It is important that whenever a restoration company installs an Ozone machine that the room is sealed, warning signs are posted and there are no open flames such as in a gas powered hot-water heater. Ozone should not be used in a wet environment because compound chemicals can be produced that are bleaching agents. At SERVPRO of Belmont / San Carlos we take the use of Ozone safety seriously.

Water Extraction

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Extraction The first step to recovery.

When SERVPRO technicians arrive on site at a water flooded office or home the first task is to identify all of the affected areas. Then the crew begins to extract the standing water.

If the water is badly contaminated the carpets and flooring may need to be removed. Our team still has to extract the excess water to make the material removal easier.

When the water is classified as "clean" we are able to extract and then install drying equipment to save the flooring material.

There are several extraction methods available. The photo shows a carpet cleaning wand being used to vacuum water from a glue down carpet. (There is no carpet cushion under the carpet). 

In other situations, especially when there is a carpet cushion our technicians would use a weighted extractor. This is a heavy extraction tool that the operator stands on to apply more pressure to squeeze as much water from the carpet and pad as possible.

We have learned that the more water that is removed from the material, the faster the carpet will dry after the fans and dehumidifiers are installed. Our goal is to have the area dry in three days.

Hail, Storms, & Damages

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hail, Storms, & Damages Heavy hail aftermath

As climate continues to change, hail storms could happen in California. After all, there have been water spouts and tornadoes in recent years. Perhaps we will never see hail storms of the magnitude that are experienced in Oklahoma or Texas. When regions of the country experience weather anomalies, the storms can cause significant damage, even if they are less intense by scale. The reason for this is that the plants and trees and the geography have not adapted for unusual weather. A simple freeze in Wisconsin does little damage. The same freeze in Florida would ruin millions of dollars in crops.

A significant hail storm in California would damage delicate plants and trees not to mention roofs that are not designed with hail storms in mind.  As climate continues to change the chances of being impacted by unusual weather also increase. SERVPRO is ready to mitigate property damage no matter the source.

Spider Webs?

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Spider Webs? Soot Tags

We recently responded to a house fire in Woodside, California.

The fire department had to cut electrical service to the home. Without a light source, the homeowner was unable to survey the damage. After we arrived to do an initial walkthrough, equipped with our flashlights, the homeowner began to notice very dark "spider webs" on the walls.  She said that she was disappointed with the quality of her house keeper's work. We smiled and explained that the "spider webs" are actually known as "soot tags".

As smoke/soot circulates through a home during a fire, the heat will move towards cold areas as the air seeks equilibrium within its environment. In areas of lower circulation, the soot will form what is known as "soot tags". Soot tags form when synthetic/petroleum based sources burn. It also has a lot to do with the Ion charge (static electricity) in the air.

Customers frequently mistake the soot tags as smoke that has attached itself to spider webs that were present during the fire. In fact, they are new unique chains of soot that look a lot like smoke covered spider webs.