Recent Posts

Can I Still Have Mold if I Don’t See It?

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

Black mold on drywall Mold damage in Westwood, CA.

Just because there’s no visible mold on the surfaces of your home doesn’t mean you don’t have it. Mold can often proliferate in rainy weather in Westwood, CA, but if it’s hidden away in little crevices in your home then you might not find it until it’s done irreparable damage. This is where an indoor environmental specialist can help you by identifying mold growth before it spreads. By calling in a specialist, you may uncover a disturbing pattern of mold growth that’s been going unchecked for longer than you think.

Why Would I Suspect That I Have Mold?

If you can’t see the mold, why would you suspect you have it? There can be a number of tell-tale signs, including:

  • Terrible odors caused by mycotoxins in the air
  • Discolorations and stains on your walls, including water stains
  • Cracking, peeling, or bubbling paint
  • Problems with water leakage in the home – while you may not see visible mold, where there’s water leakage mold and mildew almost always follow
  • Condensation clinging to places such as windowsills and door frames

If these signs make you suspect you have mold, you may try a home mold testing kit, but you can get better answers from a professional indoor environmental specialist.

Why Trust a Specialist?

Mold can be extremely difficult to get rid of, especially if it’s hidden deep in the corners of your home and in inaccessible areas. Indoor environmental specialists are trained in detecting mold in places the average person wouldn’t think to look, and recommending safe remediation activities that may not be accessible to the general public. Specialists also know a great deal about the types of mold, and the damage they can do to your home – and can advise you not just on mold remediation and cleanup, but future mold prevention.

The Risks of Commercial Polybutylene Piping

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Pipe bursting. If you cannot replace the pipes in the near future, you should plan for potential damage.

If you have an older commercial property, it may have polybutylene pipes. As a staple of late-twentieth-century construction, it was widely implemented as a cheaper alternative to traditional piping. This material was later found to have problems with longevity. Your Beverly Hills, CA, business could be at risk because of this pipe type, and here is what to look for and consider.

Identifying the Pipes

The most widely implemented use for this material was to feed water from a water line into a commercial building. The polymer typically comes in a few colors: white, gray, and blue. These pipes are typically located in or around a number of locations:

• Basements
• Utilities
• Water meters
• Shutoff valves
• Water heaters

If you are unsure of what material your business utilizes, an inspector or plumber may be able to give you a definitive answer. The tubing types often look similar and can easily be misidentified by untrained individuals.

Considering Reasons to Replace

A class-action lawsuit in 1995, Cox v. Shell Oil, won in favor of consumers with the conclusion that polybutylene pipes were damaged too easily and were not a proper installation. It phased out of the market in the United States following that.

Typical chemicals in the water supply, such as chlorine, deteriorate the interior of the pipe until it breaks. This risks a pipe break leading to costly water damage. Local building codes may even explicitly forbid the polymer piping from being used due to these risks.

Replacing the Pipes

With the knowledge of why the pipes are dangerous, you are likely wondering how to remedy it. You can work out what’s salvageable from your old system with the assistance of a plumber. Most likely, you will be advised to install new plumbing.

Treating a Broken Pipe

If you cannot replace the pipes in the near future, you should plan for potential damage. An expert water damage treatment crew can remove water from the affected areas of your property. Alternatively, updated plumbing and proper maintenance of the system can help prevent repair costs related to any problematic polybutylene.

Storm Damage Remediation

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded kitchen. Keeping water where it belongs and a balanced perspective is central to the experience of homeownership.

As homeowners in Westwood, CA, and other locations around the country are likely to attest, the clean-up, repair, and restoration chores that emerge after a damaging storm are at a minimum, a nuisance, and in many cases, a much more serious undertaking. Storm damage remediation can range from a clean-up to a tear-out to a rebuild, depending on the type and extent of the destruction.

The Usual Suspect: Water

One of the most frequent and frustrating problems property owners face is the damaging effects of water infiltration. To further complicate the challenge of inundation, floodwater from rivers and streams brings the specter of biological contamination, commonly known as black water. Once a destructive storm has passed, assessment of its damage may begin and progress to the following procedures:

1. The extraction of water through pumping, mopping, and dehumidification.
2. Tear out of wet materials to prevent mold growth.
3. Drying of the structure.
4. Decontamination of salvageable materials.
5. Repair and replacement of compromised building material and furnishings.

While it is true that many materials that have been subjected to black water contamination will have to be discarded, other types of water damage can be mitigated. A professional assessment can be very helpful in making the correct determination, especially with regard to the safety of the home and its furnishings.

Documentation is Vital

Document the damage before initiating storm restoration. It is likely to be necessary for filing flood insurance claims, and there may be a delay in the arrival of an adjuster if flooding is widespread. Digital pictures and/or videos that can be easily emailed are the preferred media.

Humanity’s relationship to the planet’s most abundant natural resource can seem paradoxical, particularly in the midst of a tear out of the cherished furnishings of a home. Keeping water where it belongs and a balanced perspective is central to the experience of homeownership.

Swamp Cooler Maintenance Is a Key To Mold Prevention

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

Swamp coolers provide an economical way to keep your house cool, but they introduce moisture into an otherwise dry home. If you have a properly maintained cooler, monitor the humidity levels, and are on the lookout for mold or a musty smell, you are probably going to be mold-free. If you have a leaking swamp cooler and it goes unnoticed, you could have problems. Swamp coolers can leak for several reasons.


• The plumbing connections to the cooler could be loose or corroded.
• The pads are loose, have become dislodged, or need to be replaced.
• The float valve that maintains the water level allows the water in the reservoir to overflow.
• The reservoir is cracked or otherwise damaged, allowing water to leak into the house.
• The residue from hard water evaporation negatively affects its operation.

Have Your Swamp Cooler Checked Regularly
By the time you realize that you have a leaking swamp cooler, you may already have a mold problem. With swamp coolers, the best approach to leaks is to prevent them or catch them early. Schedule an appointment to have your cooler inspected and tested. That would also be a good time to have the pad changed and look for evidence of leaks.

Do Not Let Your Swamp Cooler Operate Unattended
This is not to say that you should turn it off before going to the grocery store and turn it back on when you return. This refers to times when you are away, and no one is keeping an eye on your house because changes in the weather or failure of your cooler can change the amount of moisture being delivered into your house.

You Don't Need a Swamp Cooler To Have a Mold Problem
A leaking swamp cooler is only one of many problems that can trigger mold growth. Mold problems can occur anywhere that mold can find moisture and food, including Century City, CA. If you have a mold problem, it’s best to have nearby mold removal experts address your problem quickly and completely.

Stay Safe During the Next Flood and Avoid Getting Behind the Wheel

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

Car rides in heavy rain on a flooded road It is risky to drive on flooded roadways.

Avoid Getting Behind The Wheel During The Next Flood To Stay Safe

If you've never been in a flood yourself but have watched the news footage of such an event, then you likely assume that driving along a flooded street is no big deal. After all, thousands of people seem to do it every year and make it out alive. The news may show hordes of people trying to wade through floods in their vehicles, but what they don't show is what happens to those vehicles once the cameras stop rolling.

Driving through flooded roads is dangerous. Here are just a few reasons that you should refrain from traveling during a flood:

  • Vehicles begin to float in just 30 centimeters of water, which means that if you're out on the streets during a flood, you risk losing control of your vehicle.
  • If the roads are only partly flooded, meaning your tires still touch the pavement, you risk hydroplaning.
  • Oftentimes, flooding hides sinkholes, debris and other hazards.
  • If you drive at regular speed into just 15 centimeters of water, you will experience the same impact as a mild car accident.
  • Water is bad for your car's electrical system.

It is never a good idea to drive through a flooded street, not even in an emergency. If there is an emergency and you cannot leave your home, call 911 and a trained professional will come to your aid (in a durable vehicle, of course).

There are dozens of articles out there that offer "travel tips" for driving through flooded roads. Do not heed their advice. The only safe way to deal with flooding is to stay on high ground and off the roads. If you need help, phone it in. A Century City, CA, flood damage remediation team can come to your rescue as soon as it is safely able.

If you have thought about driving along a flooded street, don't. Doing so could put you and your loved ones in unnecessary danger. If you need help, call for it and someone will come to you.

Take These 5 Proactive Steps To Prevent Mold in Your Rental Home

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

A hand with white glove cleaning gutter. Concept of gutter maintenance Keep your gutters clean.

Mold Prevention Tips For Your Rental Home

Mold is a voracious eater that thrives on organic materials and can quickly expand from a small hidden colony of fungus to thousands of spore-producing colonies. When you have a rental unit, it can be difficult to monitor and deal with mold’s growth, but you can be proactive in Westwood, CA, and fight mold before it appears. Here are just a few of the many steps you can take to aid in mold prevention in your rental home.

1. Increase airflow inside the property. The flow of fresh air can be achieved by opening windows and turning on air conditioning or dehumidifiers. As the air circulates, the movement can inhibit moisture and mold growth.

2. If your rental home has a basement, prevent condensation. Musty basements are often filled with dank, dark areas that lack the circulation necessary to prevent colony growth. Install fans or dehumidifiers to enhance air circulation and remove excess moisture.

3. Promptly deal with plumbing leaks to prevent long-term water damage. Once your tenant notifies you of a plumbing problem, call a water restoration team and ask them to repair the broken pipe and remove the flooded water. The longer the water sits, the more chance there is for mold to grow.

4. Diminish moisture in bathrooms by hardwiring the exhaust fan to the light switch. By reducing the amount of liquid in the air after showers, you can prevent condensation from feeding hidden mold spores. Mold prevention can be essential in moist bathrooms.

5. Inspect gutters and downspouts twice a year. As gutters fill with debris, rain can backup and overflow onto the ground near the building. Downspouts can also move and redirect water near the building instead of away from it. Pooling water can breed mold in basements and crawlspaces.

Mold prevention in a rental unit can be difficult unless you become proactive. Since property owners have limited access to their tenant’s homes, request your tenants contact you at the first sign of mold growth. Together, you can prevent future mold damage to your property.

The Tricky Relationship Between Fire and Insurance

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Burned kitchen Fire damage in a Beverly Hills, CA home.

What Is The Relationship Between Fire And Insurance?

A standard insurance policy for residential fire damage typically covers most common causes of home fires and damage. The coverage can include cooking fires, electrical short blazes, and overheating Christmas light flames. The average policy can also cover fires resulting from lightning, theft, and vandalism. However, there are two types of fire damages that are not generally covered in Beverly Hills,CA  however. The two exceptions are arson insurance fraud and a vacant home fire.

Arson Insurance Fraud

A deliberately set fire is known as arson and is a criminal offence that is punishable by fines, restitution, and prison or jail time. Although torching is generally a result of burning someone else’s property or home, there have been individuals found guilty of setting fire to their own buildings with the following items

  • Matches
  • Combustible fluids
  • Incendiary devices

Insurance companies do not pay for intentionally set building fires because there has been a long-standing tradition of people paying to have the structure destroyed in order to collect insurance money. Insurance investigators now typically inspect the scene of suspect fires before paying any money to the insured.

Vacant Home Fires

Vacancy is legally defined as a building that has been unoccupied for 30 or more consecutive days. Furthermore, if the insurance company proves the home was vacant when the fire started, the policy will not cover the home fire damage, and no pay-out will be awarded to the insured.

There is one exception to the rule, and that is a vacant home insurance endorsement. Fire repair and restoration experts recommend the additional coverage because it often includes theft, hail, vandalism, wind, and fire damage to vacation homes. Year around coverage is required for this type of endorsement.

Insurance Coverage Inspections

If you have a home fire and an insurance inspector is part of the investigation, do not be overly concerned. Insurance companies have become leery of fire damage claims because so many fraud cases have occurred in the past two decades. If you find yourself working with an insurance fire inspector and your fire damage claim is denied, remember you can appeal the finding.

Having A READY Plan Can Help In The Event Your Home Suffers Fire Damage In Westwood

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

House on flames. Fire on a Westwood, CA home.

Having A READY Plan Can Help After A Fire

Few things in life can prepare us to cope with the effects of disasters and catastrophes. However, residents in Westwood, CA can help prepare themselves and their families to better deal with damage their homes sustain.

When homeowners in Westwood face predicaments such as fire damage, having a READY plan from SERVPRO can help. With one in place before a catastrophic event, homeowners can reduce the trauma their families experience while reducing the extent of the damage to their property.

To make things especially convenient for residents, we developed an app that you can download onto your phone or tablet. Taking the few minutes needed to complete the questionnaire provides us with crucial information whenever disaster strikes at your home. Gathering this information at the time of a fire damage event takes time that we could devote to other activities instead, but a READY Plan ensures this information already exists.

Because we know that some questions do not pertain to all homes, you can add as much information as you desire. Phone numbers and other contact information provided by you enable us to contact others who can also assist us in providing the services your home needs as soon as the fire department finishes.

Once extinguished, we can then begin to assess the damage and the work required to restore your home. Even small fires that did not necessitate a call to the fire department, smoke damage can ruin a home because of its widespread coverage. Charred pieces of belongings and construction materials, smoke and soot, and water all combine to form a hazardous jumble.

Electricity may not work inside your home after a fire due to burnt wires and outlets. SERVPRO can provide the necessary electricity to run our equipment inside your home. We can still mitigate both interior and exterior damage, so your home's restoration happens quickly.

SERVPRO of Beverly Hills / Westwood's customer service professionals can help you with your development of a READY Plan.

Smart Steps for Preventing Water Damage in Your Home

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Drywall removal, drywall removed and mold growth found in it due to water leak. Water can find its way into your home.

Finding water in your home where it shouldn’t be isn’t fun and can be expensive to resolve. Fortunately, with simple preventative steps, you may be able to quickly repair a water leak before it becomes a pricey problem.

Where To Look for Water Leaks

The key to preventing water damage is to find and stop leaks as soon as possible. This means monitoring everything in your home that contains and carries water. You should look in and around the following appliances and systems:

  • Pipes
  • Toilets
  • Sinks
  • Tubs and showers
  • Washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Refrigerators
  • HVAC units

Things You Can Do To Spot and Stop Water Leaks

Whenever you notice water in your home that doesn’t belong, don’t just write it off – look into it to confirm you don’t have a leak. When water is present, thoroughly dry the area with a fan or dehumidifier, and call a water damage restoration company.

You also should periodically inspect each appliance and system to spot leaks or anything that would indicate a leak, such as a musty smell or rusty water. Review your water bill; a higher one could indicate a problem.

Make sure you know how to shut off your water main. In the event of a major leak, turning off the water is the first step to stopping it. Turn off your water when you'll be away from home for a significant amount of time to reduce the risk of undetected leaks.

When To Call in the Professionals

Regular inspections and maintenance of your plumbing, appliances, and HVAC system are crucial for preventing water in your home. You can talk to a contractor in Century City, CA, to get a recommended maintenance schedule for each system.

In addition to spotting potential or emerging issues, a contractor also can perform needed maintenance or repairs. This can include replacing tubes and coils, performing pipe cleanup to prevent blockage and overflow, and fixing a broken pipe.

Professional contractors can also help you install a water detection system either for individual appliances or for the whole home. These detectors will spot what you can’t and give you an advanced warning of a developing leak.

Water damage is one of the most expensive things for homeowners to fix. By getting in the habit of looking for issues, such as a broken pipe, and regularly scheduling professional maintenance, you can avoid any unexpected problems.

Are Flood Cuts Necessary?

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Flood cut, air movers placed on the floor A flood cut may be a necessary part of the flooding cleanup process.

How Do You Cut Drywall After Flooding?

If your commercial building in Westwood Village, CA, was affected by flooding after a big storm, you may hear your repair team talk about making a flood cut. You know you may have to throw out damaged materials, but is it really necessary for the commercial storm cleanup crew to cut out sections of your drywall? To better answer this question, you need to consider the following:

  • What is a flood cut?
  • How does it help?
  • How is it done?

Answering these questions may help you realize that this cleanup technique isn't as scary as it sounds.

Understanding What It Is

Before you can know if this tear-out is necessary, you need to know what it is. A flood cut is the removal of drywall that has gotten wet. Usually, the cut is made 12 to 18 inches above the flood line to ensure all damaged materials are taken out.

Looking at the Benefits

Now that you know what it is, how does it help your remediation? Drywall is an extremely porous material, which means it sucks up the water and holds it in. If there's any contamination, your drywall is now also contaminated. Removing the building materials that were touched by the floods removes excess moisture. It also helps your cleanup crew see behind the wall to know if the insulation is damaged or if there are problems with your plumbing.

Considering How It Is Done

When flooding affects your commercial building, a flood cut may be necessary. Chances are your cleanup crew won't go around to every room removing pieces of drywall. Instead, only the bottom portion of the building material will be touched. This cut only happens in rooms that were affected by the floodwaters. Your cleanup crew may make a mark on the drywall and use special equipment to cut out the bottom portion.

A flood cut may be a necessary part of the flooding cleanup process. This technique helps remove excess moisture and reduce the chances of mold growth.