Frequently-Asked Questions About Restoration Services
Pacific Flood Restoration provides residents of San Diego, CA, and the surrounding areas with a wide range of restoration services, including water damage restoration, mold remediation, pack-out services, emergency restoration, fire damage restoration, and more. Below, we’ve taken the time to answer some of your most frequently asked questions about restoration services.
Every year, electrical fires are involved in about 50,000 home structure fires. Electrical fires in the home typically involve electrical distribution equipment like wiring, outlets, switches, lamps, light bulbs, cords, and plugs. Most of these fires could have been prevented if electrical safety measures had been taken. Here, we offer some electrical safety tips to prevent fire from damaging your home:
- Know the top electrical hazards that cause fires – Most electrical fires are caused by incorrectly installed wiring, overloaded circuits and extension cords, defective plugs, switches, and outlets, and misuse or poor maintenance of lighting. Being aware of this can help you understand how to prevent problems from occurring.
- Have your wiring checked – If your home is more than 10 years old, it’s a good idea to have an electrician perform an inspection of the wiring. Wiring does not last forever, and faulty wiring is dangerous. If necessary, have the wiring repaired or replaced.
- Check power cords and the plugs on electrical appliances – Electrical cords and plugs can fray and break, causing a few different electrical hazards. First, they’re a shock hazard. Additionally, they can overheat or spark, which can start an electrical fire.
- Don’t overload your electrical outlets – A power outlet is only designed to provide a certain amount of power. If you overload it, you risk having the outlet spark, which can cause an electrical fire.
- Keep electricity and fire separate – Flammable materials should never be kept near electrical appliances or outlets. Don’t run cords under a rug or drape a cloth over a lamp, for example. Similarly, don’t allow cleaning supplies to come into contact with an electrical outlet. Any of these situations can trigger a fire.
- Employ surge protectors – Surge protectors are handy because they prevent appliances and electronics from being damaged during a power surge. If something plugged into an outlet is hit with a power surge, there’s a good chance it can spark and start a fire.
- Don’t keep using faulty appliances – If an appliance sparks, trips a circuit, or blows a fuse while you’re using it, unplug it immediately. Check to see if it can be repaired and if it can’t be, replace it.
- Install smoke alarms, just in case – Despite your best efforts, sometimes an electrical fire will occur. Protect your home and family by having smoke alarms throughout your home, especially in the kitchen and outside sleeping areas.
On average, there are more than 350,000 house fires in the U.S. each year. Over the past five years, house fires have caused 2,620 deaths and nearly $7 billion in property damage. What can you do to keep your home from becoming part of these grim statistics? Prevention is the key. Here, we offer fire preparedness tips to help keep your home and family safe:
- The first step in home fire preparation is installing smoke alarms – These should be installed on every level of your home, in the kitchen, and outside every sleeping area. They should also be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all do. Don’t remove or disable smoke alarms, and test them at least once a month, replacing the battery or the entire unit if one is not functioning. Install carbon monoxide alarms, as well. Teach kids about these alarms and what to do if they go off.
- Make a fire safety plan with your family – Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year, and ensure every family member knows at least two ways to escape. Keep an emergency first aid kit readily available. Outfit second-floor rooms with portable ladders, and establish a meeting spot outside the home where family members will gather in the event of a fire. Have a communications plan in place and ensure every family member knows who to contact if they can’t find each other. Teach children when to call 911.
- Be careful with flammable items – Keep anything that could catch on fire at least three feet from heat sources. Turn off portable heaters when you go to bed or leave the room, and use flashlights instead of candles if the power goes out. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Talk to kids about fire safety and keep matches and lighters out of reach. If you smoke, smoke outside, and never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated. Check your electrical wiring regularly to ensure there are no frayed extension cords, exposed wires, damaged outlets, or loose plugs, and that no wiring is under rugs, attached by nails, or in areas with high traffic.
- Heat your home safely – Keep your home heating sources clean and in good repair. Only use kerosene heaters where permitted by law, and only refuel them outside after they cool.
- Practice fire safety in the kitchen – Never leave the kitchen when you’re frying, grilling, or broiling food, and don’t leave the house while anything is simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling. Don’t allow pets onto countertops and cooking surfaces. Keep flammable objects like potholders, towels, and small appliances away from the stove area. If a fire starts in a pan, put a lid on it and turn off the burner, keeping the lid on until the pan is completely cool. Don’t pour water on a grease fire, but douse it with baking soda instead.
- Maintain your fire extinguishers – Have at least one fire extinguisher in your home, and more if you have multiple stories or a large house. Check your fire extinguishers for expiration, replacing them as needed.
- Be safe after a fire – Of course, no matter how much we prepare, emergencies still happen sometimes. If your home has suffered a house fire, it may not be safe to try and clean it up on your own. Call a fire restoration company to get the job done safely and efficiently.
The West Coast has stunning beauty and many natural amenities, but if you live here long enough, you’re likely to live through an earthquake. Disaster preparedness is important everywhere, but here, you need to know how to protect your home before an earthquake. Do you know the basics of earthquake preparedness? We have some tips to help you keep yourself and your home safe.
- Make sure your home is structurally prepared – Especially if your home was built before 2000, it might not be able to withstand a significant earthquake. Houses used to be built to withstand vertical loads, which meant the weight of the house and its contents. When an earthquake hits, however, the ground doesn’t move vertically; it moves in a linear direction. If your house is not reinforced to handle this lateral movement, it could slide off its foundation. Consider bringing in a structural engineer to advise you, and be prepared to retrofit your home’s structure, including the foundation, to make it more resistant to earthquake damage. Think about the structural weak points of your home, and take steps to make your home safer in an earthquake.
- Windows: At the very least, apply safety film. You might, however, want to invest in large windows and sliding doors tempered with laminated glass.
- Garage: Reinforce the garage door with steel or plywood on each side to make your garage more resistant to earthquakes.
- Roof: When it’s time to replace your roof, look for an earthquake-friendly material like aluminum, wood, and asphalt rather than brick or terra cotta.
- Brick chimneys: Brick chimneys can essentially become projectiles in an earthquake, so decide what to do about yours. You can either cap it to roof height, make the fireplace unusable, or reconstruct the top to maintain the brick base while replacing the upper portion with a lighter material like siding stucco or brick veneer. The safest route is to replace the entire chimney with a lighter material.
- Home systems: If your home’s water, gas, and HVAC systems are damaged in an earthquake, they can damage your home. Look for the latest earthquake-safe technology to avoid this risk. Consider an earthquake natural gas shutoff valve, which turns off your natural gas during seismic activity. Secure your HVAC system, and consider a tankless water heater. Traditional water heaters can weigh up to 500 pounds when full, making them deadly in an earthquake. In earthquake-prone regions, they’re required to be double strapped for safety, but a tankless water heater is even safer.
- Take care to secure your belongings in case of a quake – Did you know that most injuries in an earthquake are the result of heavy furniture and household objects falling on people? Spend a weekend assessing your home décor, and make sure everything is secure. Bolt all hanging items into wall studs.
- Use earthquake-safe hooks instead of picture hooks.
- Use a reusable adhesive to stick the bottoms of decorative items to shelves.
- Secure large items like dressers and bookshelves to the walls.
- Store any flammable liquids away from possible ignition sources.
- Make sure fire extinguishers and fire blankets are readily accessible.
- Create an earthquake safety plan for your family – The tricky thing about an earthquake is that, unlike other natural disasters, the next earthquake cannot be predicted. That’s why it’s so important to have a safety plan in place before an earthquake hits. During an earthquake, shelter in place, cover your head, crawl under a sturdy piece of furniture, and stay away from the glass. Plan for one or two weeks of disaster preparedness, having food, water, and first aid on hand to get you through an extended time. Keep a survival kit in your home with basic supplies, and keep emergency supplies in your car as well.
- Know what to do after an earthquake – Be prepared for the hazards that come along with an earthquake, including flooding, tsunami, landslide, and fire. Check yourself and others for injuries, calling 911 for anyone seriously injured. Stay away from damaged buildings and call for home restoration rather than taking care of your earthquake-damaged home on your own.
Water damage can occur in many ways. Maybe a pipe burst or an appliance malfunctioned, or perhaps a storm flooded your home. When your home is damaged by water, it can leave a mess, but did you know it can also be bad for your health? You might be tempted to clean it up by yourself, but the hidden dangers after water damages your home can present a significant hazard. Proper water damage restoration is needed to protect your health, the health of your family, and the stability of your home. What are the health hazards of water damage in a house?
- Mold can grow almost anywhere – Mold spores are all around us, and fungus and mold thrive in a moist environment. Any time you have water damage, there’s a risk of mold, especially when dampness lingers in upholstered furniture, curtains, and even walls. Mold health risks are plentiful and range from minor to life-threatening. Contact with mold, whether by physically touching or inhaling the spores, can cause skin rashes, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and worse symptoms for those with mold allergies. Mold can also trigger asthma and poses a significant risk to those who have compromised immune systems. Long-term mold exposure can cause lung problems, headaches, fatigue, and memory loss, and can even shorten your lifespan. That’s why it’s vital to have mold remediation assessed in your home any time you have water damage.
- Your home could be hiding structural damage – Think of how powerful water is. It reshapes coastlines, wears down stones, and can even cut through mountains. Even when it’s not running with great force, the mere presence of water can wreak havoc on the house. Water can ruin drywall, cause rots in wood and other building materials, pop tiles off a floor, and destabilize your home. Hiring a professional water damage restoration service is the best way to ensure your home is structurally sound after water damage.
- Toxins lurk in flood water – If water has rushed into your home from the outside, or backed up through your drains, consider what it may contain. There’s dirt, trash from the gutters, sewage, pesticides and fertilizers from the lawn, and much more. There may even be bacteria and parasites in the water that are damaging your home. Once that water evaporates, all of those toxins will be left behind and must be removed safely. What’s more, flooded homes are likely to have a large pieces of debris from the inside and outside of the house, and if you get cut by something when you’re trying to clean up, you can easily be exposed to bacteria and toxins that came in with the floodwaters. That’s why it’s better to have professionals complete the water remediation.
The mold remediation process includes inspection, containment, air filtration, mold cleanup, and sanitization. Below, we’ve gone into detail about these steps:
- Inspection –During this step, your property is searched for visible signs of mold. If mold is discovered, samples will be taken to determine the type of mold and how to stop the outbreak.
- Containment – Any mold-contaminated area will be sealed off to ensure that the mold is contained and will not spread to other areas of your property.
- Air Filtration – High-efficiency air filters are installed to clear any active spores and prevent the remaining ones from developing into fungi. We also may use special vacuum cleaners.
- Mold Cleanup – The cleanup process is thorough and will prevent additional mold development. The mold treatments we use are based on where the fungi are growing.
- Sanitization – After the cleanup process is completed, everything on the property must be sanitized and deodorized, including clothes, furniture, curtains, and more.
Summer is a fun season, but it’s not without its dangers. While we enjoy cookouts, picnics, and time off from work and school, we still have to remember home safety. Here are a few of the disasters that happen in summer and along with summer safety tips to prevent them:
- Maintain or upgrade your smoke alarms– New smoke alarms work as a system. When one goes off, it sets the others off. They also can be hard-wired to your electrical system in addition to a battery backup. Test your smoke alarms regularly.
- Kitchen fires– The most common source of home fires is cooking. Never leave a hot stove or oven unattended. Keep oven mitts and dish rags away from the hot stovetop. Grease and oil fires are very common. Don’t throw water on an oil or grease fire. It will make it worse. Smother the flame with a lid or carefully put it into the oven to deprive it of oxygen. Don’t make jerky motions, as the hot oil or grease can spill, causing damage or injury.
- Electrical fires– In Southern California, we run our AC a lot during the summer. This can put a strain on our electrical system that could lead to an electrical fire. If your home has an older electrical system and you have flickering lights or hear crackling sounds in the walls or outlets, get your system checked out by a professional. Some old parts may need to be replaced. This improves safety but also can improve efficiency, saving you money over time.
- Yard safety – Many fires are caused by burning yard trash combined with dried vegetation. Clean up any dry brush you may have on your grounds, and be extremely careful if you must burn yard waste. Don’t leave it unattended for a second, and obey all local regulations.
A vacation is a wonderful time to get away and leave your troubles behind. What you don’t want is any water damage to deal with when you get home. If you’re wondering how to prevent water damage while you’re away, you’re at the right place.
- Check your hoses – If the hoses that supply water to your washer, dishwasher, and refrigerator spring a leak, your house can be flooded, incurring major damage. Make sure they’re dry, securely attached, and untwisted. If they’re worn out, replace them. If you know how to shut the water supply off to these appliances, this will reduce the risk.
- Check the plumbing – Much like hoses, the plumbing in your house has the potential to flood your home. Check for leaks at the joints and connection points. See if any pipes need replacing.
- Check the sump pump – Your sump pump provides essential protection from water damage to your basement or crawlspace if it works. Make sure it’s in good working order by pouring water into it. Listen for odd sounds and make sure it pumps water effectively.
- Insulate your pipes – If you’re going on vacation in winter, protect your pipes from freezing by adding insulation. This material can be found at your local hardware store and is easy to install.
- Keep your heat and air conditioning on – Even if no one is there, your home should be kept at a reasonable temperature. Excess cold can wreak havoc on your plumbing, and excess heat can cause high humidity levels, which can lead to mold growth.
- Shut your water off – As an extra measure of security, you can turn off all the water to your house by shutting off your water main. This is often located under your house towards the front. If a freeze might occur, drain the pipes by running faucets and flushing toilets.
Contact Our Professional Team Today
To learn more about our restoration services or to schedule a free estimate with our professionals, contact us today. If you have a question about restoration services that wasn’t addressed on this page, reach out to our professional team at your earliest convenience. We are always happy to help.