Recent Posts

Pipe Burst

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Pipe under sink Sink pipe in the cabinet under a bathroom sink.

A pipe burst in your Chino / Chino Hills home can be a real headache and cause extensive damage. Luckily, the water inside of pipes is typically clean meaning that in the event of a burst or rupture, most items affected can be saved.

In the restoration industry, clean water is referred to as either “white water” or “Category 1 water”. It originates from pipes, supply lines, faucets, and other sources. While the water may start uncontaminated, it can very quickly become contaminated if left untreated. Debris and other contaminants can rapidly make a bad situation worse. Take these steps immediately after a clean water pipe burst to prevent further issues from arising:

Address the source of the water

In other words, remove the water. If an area is flooded, turn off the homes water and immediately begin trying to dry out the affected area. Household fans and dehumidifiers are your best friend in these types of situations. If the humidity is low outside and weather conditions permit, open windows and doors to allow airflow into the affected area.

Save what can be saved

Dry wall and carpet can be dried out and saved. It is important to make sure these materials are completely dried out, otherwise you run the risk of mold growing. Mold is a much more complicated issue, so I really want to emphasize completely dried out.

Clean water flooding is no big deal and can typically be a fairly painless undertaking to resolve. That being said, when clean water becomes contaminated, the situation can get very sticky very fast.

In the event of water contamination

There are different degrees of contamination. For instance, “gray water” or “Category 2 water” is identified as having non-infectious or minimally harmful substances (laundry detergent, soap, etc.) present. “Black water” or “Category 3 water” is highly contaminated and presents an obvious health risk. Flood waters and sewage lines fall into this category. For both Category 2 and 3 water events, the cleanup process is mostly the as clean water flooding, with a few additional steps. Anything that could have possibly come into contact with the contaminated water must be properly and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Carpet and drywall (and any type of porous material) will have to be torn out and replaced. Non-porous objects can usually be cleaned with an antimicrobial solution and are considered safe after being sanitized.

Whether your home floods due to a pipe burst, roof leak, or any other source, you want the best of the best to help you get your home back to normal quickly and safely. SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills is here to help 24/7, 365 days a year.

Chimney

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Damaged House Fire damaged house from a chimney fire.

According to the NFPA, $25.6 billion worth of property damage occurred as a result of fires in 2018, $8 billion of which came from house fires. A common cause of these issues is chimneys and fireplaces. Fires that burn for too long and too hot in a fireplace are an obvious risk factor for fires, and creosote buildup only serves to exacerbate problems.

If your home suffers fire damage due to a fireplace or chimney-related disaster, IICRC-certified SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills technicians are ready to mitigate damage and odors to return your home to preloss conditions. No matter the size of the fire, SERVPRO professionals can mitigate both short and long-term damages while minimizing the need for costly replacement of possessions, furniture, and other materials.

Warning signs for chimney fires

There are some telltale symptoms that a chimney or fireplace may pose an elevated risk for a house fire. Damaged rain caps (also known as dampers) are a good indicator of compromised safety. The high heat from fires burning can cause warping and discoloration.

Creosote, a dark, oily substance that comes from burning wood resin, leaves deposits that expand and create a residue while it burns. Since chimneys are often very hot (even in the absence of a fire), creosote can easily ignite and lead to a house fire.

Clay flue tile liners are typical. Even though this type of tile is rated to withstand extremely high temperatures, they do have their limits. Chimney fires are capable of burning as high as 2000 degrees, which is far too hot for these tiles.  Prolonged exposure may crack or damage them.

How SERVPRO Can Help

SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills has many different countermeasures to deal with soot and creosote buildup. To tackle more substantial situations, our technicians may use Roto pads or brushes to dislodge soils. Creosote can be removed with blast media like baking soda, ground corn cobs, or sand. Smaller issues can be addressed with cleaning tools like dry cleaning sponges, dusting cloths, and other dry or wet cleaning techniques.

Whatever the condition of your chimney, the technicians at SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills are here to help 24/7, 365 days a year.

Storm Shutters

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

This winter in Southern California has been one for the books. Between sporadic bouts of rain, random days of 80 degree weather, and gusts of wind hitting 80 miles per hour, it seems California is unsure of what season it is. While SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills is fully prepared to help homeowners tackle any type of storm loss, there are a few things that we recommend for avoiding potential issues. One of these includes the installation of storm shutters. Here are three factors to consider when shopping around.

  1. Type

Decisions, decisions! Storm shutters come in a variety of flavors, and there are different advantages for each one. The more permanent version is attached to your home and sits on the side or above a window opening. This type can swing over or slide down in the event of wind or any other type of storm conditions, providing protection to the window. Temporary shutters are also an excellent and appealing option for those that do not wish to make permanent alterations to their home. This type of panel is storm-resistant but rather than being permanently affixed to a structure, they can be stored away during the more dry seasons (the other 340 days of the year). Storm shutters can greatly alter the appearance of a home and while some homeowners are okay with that, others prefer the ability to remove them. Variety, after all, is the spice of life.

  1. Material

Did you know shutters came in different types of materials? Many people think of the more traditional slatted wood type when they think of residential shutters. While these are probably the most common in Southern California, they are not the only type. Areas that often experience high winds or heavy rains may instead use a more heavy-duty metal shutter. These are particularly useful in areas that see hurricanes and monsoons. Southern California homes are better suited for wood or even lightweight cloth shutters, which can also be used to reduce sunlight or provide a degree of privacy.

  1. Position

As I mentioned earlier in this article, shutters can hang in different positions or orientations. Folding shutters or accordion style units may swing inward from the sides, while others may sit over the window and swing or slide down. The style you end up with will depend on both preference and the severity of weather in your given area.

Shutters are awesome. They work well and can be an excellent addition to your homes aesthetic. Their functionality has led them to remain mostly unchanged for decades. When considering protection for your windows, take into account what other aspects the shutters will alter as well as what makes sense for your particular situation.

While we hope to never have to meet you in the event of storm damage, SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills is here for all of your restoration needs, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Wet Smoke

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Burned synthetic material Burned synthetic material and residue

Think of all of the synthetic materials that are commonly found in households, including your own. Polyester, nylon, rayon – the list goes on and on. While these materials pose no threat in normal conditions, by introducing excessive heat (such as in a fire), chemicals are released during the combustion process in the form of thick, acrid smoke. Synthetic smoke residue is typically oily and difficult to remove, which is why we refer to them as “wet smoke deposits”. In high-temperature / high-pressure situations like a structure fire, wet smoke can molecularly bond with the surfaces that they come into contact with. Attempting to remove them with typical household cleaners can prove to be an impossible feat.

While you may be tempted to try and resolve wet smoke damage in your Chino home without the assistance of a professional restoration company (cough, SERVPRO, cough), when plastic or synthetic materials are among the debris, it may be a wise decision to enlist the help of a trained expert. Unlike water-based staining and soiling, wet smoke can spread around quickly, wreaking further havoc in your home. The proprietary chemicals and solvents that SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills uses are specially formulated to break down and clean up wet smoke damage.

Typically, the majority of surfaces in a home have finishes on them. These finishes vary in composition. Floors may be varnished, while appliances may be sealed. At high temperatures, these finishes can melt and release chemicals into the home while also bonding with wet smoke in a fire. It can prove rather difficult (if not downright impossible) to fully remove wet smoke damage by using regular household cleaners.

To fight staining that has bonded at a molecular level, SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills uses a process known as “dissolution”. Dissolution is a technique that involves applying a particular chemical to a surface that dissolves both the finish and the soot attached to it. Once that happens, both the solvent and the soot can be removed at the same time. This process is extremely effective at restoring your home to preloss conditions because it allows for an even surface to refinish after the process is complete.

Even though wet smoke damage may seem like an easy undertaking, it can prove to be quite a challenging feat to tackle. Let the pros at SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills take care of it. We are here to help 24/7, 365 days a year.

Water Heater

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Water heater A white water heater inside a closet

A life without hot water is a difficult life, indeed. Water heaters are a wonderful feat of modern design but unfortunately, nothing good lasts forever. The average lifespan of a water heater is right around ten years, give or take. When they do start to peter out and prepare for that trip to the Great Garage / Heater Closet in the Sky, they give some hints. Here are 5 of the most common:

  • Ten years have passed since it was installed
  • Rust spots that you can see on the outside of the tank
  • Noise from the heater
  • Water leaking from the heater
  • Water isn't getting hot

Using the serial number, you can easily identify in what month and year your heater was manufactured.  The first two numbers in the whole number reflect the month, with the next two, the year.  Knowing this valuable information should give you a pretty good idea as to how close it is to meeting its life expectancy.

Rust is known for affecting steel, the material that your heater is more than likely made of.  Rust can slowly spread and eat through steel and serves as a warning sign for imminent leaks.  If rust starts showing up in your water, it is safe to assume it is not only on the outside, but the inside as well. Time to swap it out. 

The older a water heater is, the louder it will become as it tries to heat up.  These noises are typically caused from mineral buildup and sediment deposits.

Another major culprit behind leaks is the thousands of heating cycles that a tank undergoes. This causes the interior of the tank to turn brittle.  Additionally, fittings and connections may be compromised or loosened due to prolonged temperature and pressure fluctuations. Heating difficulties may be a symptom of a poorly adjusted thermostat or heating element burning out.

The good news is that water heater issues can be addressed and tackled head-on by the technicians at SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills. We are here to help 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Water Damage

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

water standing in business Commercial water damage with water still standing

Large commercial properties pose a unique set of challenges when it comes to flooding. Seeing as how not all restoration firms are created equally, business owners often refer to larger and more reputable outfits to address their restoration needs. These firms respect your priorities by assisting you in minimizing downtime, loss of productivity, and disruption. 

The average Southern California apartment contains many different items and features that can be affected and damaged by flood waters. One must also take into account that apartment complexes typically share common walls and therefore affect neighbors and fellow tenants. Some common issues that occur include:

  • Water damage to ground floor apartments
  • Inaccessible entry and exit points
  • Water damage to sheds and garages
  • Disruption of utility services like gas, water and electricity
  • The need to seek temporary housing
  • Backup of drainage or sewerage systems

Property owners and landlords often see losses, as well. While tenants are relocated during repairs, rent is now being paid and revenue is lost. Lawsuits posed from loss of personal property are also common.

Secondary water damage in an apartment building, like the growth of mold, can cause serious health effects to your tenants. SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills can respond to your flooding emergency quickly to prevent these problems. We assess the destruction to understand your unique needs while emphasizing speed and thoroughness.

Our technicians remove standing water from affected apartments using self-priming trash pumps and high-pressure pumps. Our crew can also remove any salvageable contents that the water did not affect. If a flood becomes a Category 2 or 3 event we will also dispose of any porous materials, such as drywall, upholstery, and carpeting. These items will be disposed of properly.

Our technicians can also remove wet carpeting and pad, and any drywall or plaster that is saturated with the floodwater. We can also remove wall insulation like fiberglass, mineral wool, and wood fiberboard. Our technicians can also remove all debris and clean up the affected apartments thoroughly. We can use various water damage restoration products like antimicrobial agents, sanitizers, and disinfectants to stop or limit the growth of microbes. 

Machines like air movers and dehumidifiers are also extremely effective in drying affected areas. SERVPRO has multiple proprietary tools to resolve all aspects of a flood, including the refinishing of wood or other sealed or finished materials.

Floods happen. When they do, SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills is here to help 24/7, 365 days a year.

LA Fitness Stairs

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Stairs to LA Fitness Leg Day at SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills

Los Angeles is a big place.

So big, in fact, that LA County is home to more than 1% of the entire population of the United States (more than 3,900,000 to 329,000,000, according to a 2019 census conducted by the United Nations). With that many people, businesses like grocery markets, gyms, and restaurants in high-traffic areas are constantly buzzing with patrons. Many places stay open 24 hours a day or are, at the very least, open for much of the day to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules. Things move very fast in Los Angeles County, because they have to.

Recently, SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills was contacted by an LA Fitness branch in the city of Glendale, about 8 miles outside of Hollywood. The location had experienced a major pipe failure in the upstairs women’s locker room / sauna; water had soaked through not only the ceiling tiles but had made its way down the walls, into the floor, and into the basketball court and spin-cycle class below. The only sections left unaffected by the leak were the weight equipment area, and the upstairs cardio area. The management staff was clearly upset by this, and they requested that we address the problem as swiftly as possible. Two on-call technicians were dispatched immediately to assess the site and begin the drying process the same night.

The following day, two trucks were dispatched to the site to assess the situation more thoroughly. I myself was present, along with three technicians. Our mission, had we chosen to accept it, was to identify all of the affected areas and weigh the likelihood of restoration versus demolition and reconstruction. Before we left the office, one of the technicians had described the location to me, informing me that this was going to be a particularly… physically demanding job. He told me that he and the other tech were unable to get as much done as they normally would have been able to due to there being “a lot of stairs”. I had imagined a staircase similar to what you would normally see at a gym of LA Fitness’ caliber which is ten or so stairs up, a landing, and then ten more stairs leading to the second level.

This was inaccurate.

We arrived to a bustling downtown area with no parking spot in sight, which is to be expected in Los Angeles. We parked a block away and walked to the site. After actually seeing the business, I now understood what the challenge was. While I was correct in my assumption of there being stairs from the bottom to top floor inside of the gym, I had sorely underestimated what “a lot” of stairs was. The gym was on the second floor in a bazaar / outside market. The stairwells leading up to the second floor was roughly 30 stairs, give or take a few. That being said, stairs are no match for the technicians of SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills. We hauled dehumidifiers and air movers into the gym, traversing the stairs back and forth and getting in about a year’s worth of cardio in the process.

The leak had damaged quite a bit of material. After testing and marking the appropriate spots for demolition, we packed up and departed. While sitting in the truck, one of the technicians looked over at me and laughed. I asked him what was so funny, and he just shook his head. I kept asking why he was laughing and he finally said “There was an escalator on the backside of the building”.

I take solace in knowing I did not skip leg day at the gym that day.

Los Angeles is a big and fast place, but SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills is ready for anything. We are here to help 24/7, 365 days a year.

Weird Winter

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

This winter has been a weird one. The rain seems to come in waves (you know me and my puns) and then vanish without a trace. Heck, much of Southern California is having freeze warnings as I type this. SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills has seen a steep increase in water damage from roof leaks, accounting for roughly 85% of the work we do overall. Roof leaks are a serious pain in the neck, even when they aren’t necessarily catastrophic. To make matters worse, they seem to occur with almost spitefully bad timing.

Roof leaks happen for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:        

  • Amateur construction
  • Holes made by rodents
  • Missing or loose shingles or tiles
  • Damaged underlayment

Let’s not forget the giant holes in your roof, commonly known as “sky lights”. While often allowing natural light into a large room, they also allow water in. After all, they are merely sealed holes.

Water leaves stains. More often than not, the first sign of a leak is the telltale discoloration or dark spot that typically occurs along a wall or ceiling. Many people believe that this indicates mold and while this is sometimes true, it is not always the case. Mold can begin growing within 48 – 72 hours, but it requires ideal conditions. It is more common to begin seeing the signs after several days.

Sometimes, roof leaks escalate into something more serious. Roofs can collapse if the structures holding them up are compromised by water and / or age. Attic insulation also plays a key role in these types of losses. Traditional insulation is a fluffy pink variety of woven fiberglass, and it is very absorbent. After it has had its fill and the weight becomes too much for the structure to support, it will let you know by ripping apart your ceiling and spitting debris and drywall all over your house. Definitely not a subtle hint.

The good news is that SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills is here to help, whether your roof has a slow leak or the entire roof comes crashing down. Winter is an unpredictable beast and when things go wrong, we are here to help.

Under Water

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Imagine this – it's Monday morning, and you’re late to work (I know, heavy imagination skills required). The barista at a certain coffee shop was feeling extra chipper today, and she absolutely had to fill you in on the goings-on of her new puppy. You show up to the office at 6:15 AM, and you were supposed to be there at 5:30 AM. You walk in expecting to get a swift chewing-out, and ready to apologize / explain why you decided you no longer want a new puppy, but those things don’t happen. In fact, there is nobody in the office at all.

The entire place is under a foot of water.

While this particular scenario is made up, very similar ones have taken place. What would you do in this situation?

Make a plan.

First, ask yourself some "what if?" scenarios. The one outlined above is a good example; how would you alter it to match your situation? Would your employees know what to do? How would you keep them safe? Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, brainstorm with other decision makers and formulate a strategy. The plan should include safety protocols, procedures to follow, and whether or not it’s possible to continue operating the business as usual. Many people depend on management not only to operate the business, but ensure their safety.

Here is a list of important things to consider in your plan:

  • Emergency contacts that are accessible from onsite or remotely
  • Emergency procedure and protocol (where to go in case of a fire, earthquake, how to safely exit the building, etc.)
  • List of emergency contacts for the business as well as individual employees
  • List of vendors and data backup to be alerted as soon as an event takes place.

Sometimes, things go wrong. SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills is on standby, and we are fully equipped to handle any size commercial loss event 24/7, 365 days a year.

Storm Events

1/29/2020 (Permalink)

Truck and building Repairing roof damage from storm event

One of the reasons Southern California is such a desirable place to live is our stable climate. Mild, seventy-five degree days in the middle of November are par for the course here, and you can visit the beach on just about any day of the year. In my thirty years of living in California, I can most certainly recall some downright hot Christmas mornings.

Once in a great while, however, the weather changes dramatically. Some of the more notable storms in our recent history include:

  • The 2014 North American Storm Complex, which produced not only rain, hail, and high winds, but snow.
  • 2017’s floods, which were the worst the state has seen in 122 years.
  • 2018 winter storms, which came shortly after the Thomas Fire and caused not only rain water damage, but also caused massive mudslides in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, leading to multiple evacuations.

As residents of Southern California, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that we live in a coastal state that sees real devastation from the weather now and then. Even our normal winter and spring storm systems can sometimes wreak major havoc. Many of the ranch-style homes that make up around 75% of the suburbs here were built in the 70’s and 80’s and have never had major components (such as roofs, attic insulation, or windows) replaced or updated. Chances are likely that if a glaring issue has never arisen, many homeowners simply pay no attention to such things.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Unfortunately, after a heavy and usually unexpected downpour, sometimes it is broke.

Many of the modern composition shingle roofs of today come with a 50 year guarantee. Manufacturers use cutting edge technology to ensure not only long-term strength and integrity, but technical updates to ensure proper installation. In years past, such was not the case. Many small issues, like poor production technique, cheap materials, or nail blow-through from substandard installation contribute to larger issues for homeowners down the line. Best-case scenario, small leaks will form and begin to drip into attic insulation. Wet insulation is essentially useless, and eventually that moisture will work its way down into your ceiling. This causes bubbling of the paint, warping of the wood and if left unchecked, eventually mold. Water also has an annoying tendency to spread down into walls, potentially causing mold deposits to form behind drywall. Sufficed to say, this can be a major headache to deal with.

While many precautions can be taken to avoid these issues (replacing an old roof or windows to prevent possible water entry, sandbags to prevent flooding, etc.), most people don’t have the time, money, or patience to address such things. The good news is that even though life happens, SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills is here to help you through the worst of it. We offer world-class restoration, drying, and mold remediation services so you can stop worrying about Mother Nature and get back to business as usual.