Recent Posts

Nipomo Water Damage Specialists Releases Tips for Cleaning Up Older Houses

8/30/2019 (Permalink)

brown stain on white carpet Pet pee on carpet to be cleaned by Nipomo water damage specialists.

The sadness of losing parents and elderly relatives, or even moving them to retirement communities is often doubled by the task of having to go through the old family home, reliving memories, sorting through rooms, cabinets, closets, the garage and any other buildings on the property. SERVPRO Nipomo, the water damage and restoration specialists has prepared a list of tips to help families organize and get through the clean up with as little stress as possible.

Years of living in one place means an accumulation of personal items, much of which may not have been stored in the safest manner. And who knows what else might be lurking behind, in or between stacks of old cardboard boxes, especially in old sheds and barns. When someone has been living on a property for decades, the family can expect to find personal possessions, furniture, tools, boxes full of paperwork, old magazines and books, and an assortment of other things, including hazardous materials. The condition of parts of the house, the garage and other structures might seem overwhelming. “But,” said Mark Powers, franchise owner of SERVPRO, “There is a step-by-step method that can help make things a little easier.”

Considerations include:

  1. Making sure that the buildings are structurally safe to enter. Old buildings can be expected to have deteriorating floors, walls and roofs. A structural evaluation before entering and starting to move, sort and pack items is a safety feature.
  2. Evaluate the non-structural condition of the property. How many buildings are there? What appears to be in each building? What has been stored outside? What can be salvaged? What kind of weed control needs to be done?
  3. Family heirlooms and memorabilia have both sentimental and monetary value. These items should be inventoried and moved to a safe and secure place as soon as possible. Items specified in a will or trust can either be given directly to the beneficiary, or stored in a secure place until they can be retrieved.
  4. Determine which personal and household items that can be sold in a yard sale, donated or given to a family member. These could include kitchen items, furniture, clothing, linens, home decor items, books, costume jewelry, and more. Ask family members for a list of items they would like to have.
  5. Identify items that can be thrown away. Sometimes it is safer to resist the urge to open every cardboard box, exposing yourself to allergens or contaminated dust. Most broken items can be added to the dumpster.
  6. Make a plan that includes a room-by-room sorting and clearing process, renting a dumpster, perhaps renting a storage unit, and organizing help for transporting items to storage or to a donation destination.
  7. Consult with SERVPRO for an initial walk-through and evaluation of the condition of the property. Professional restoration teams have the training and experience to assist with initial evaluation of the property, help create a clean up plan and coordinate the necessary repair and restoration processes that are needed to get everything cleared away, cleaned and repaired.

SERVPRO can help make sure buildings are structurally sound and:

  • Remove water damage and mold
  • Safely remove and dispose of any toxic or hazardous materials, even old household cleaners
  • Safely remove stored items from sheds, garages, even closets and dispose of unwanted items, clean items that can be saved (even that classic old wingback with a tear in the upholstery)
  • Help get the house and other buildings in enough order and cleanliness that the family can sort through belongings and needed repairs can be started.

SERVPRO of Santa Maria

1279 W. Stowell Road, Suite C

Santa Maria, CA 93458

(805) 922-5457

National Preparedness Month Offers Home and Business Owners an Opportunity to Resolve to be Ready for an Emergency

8/28/2019 (Permalink)

Orange and white Life ring floating in the water. National Preparedness Month.

National Preparedness Month Offers Home and Business Owners an Opportunity to Resolve to be Ready for an Emergency Local SERVPRO disaster restoration specialist highlights no-cost tools to help property owners prepare and maintain a comprehensive emergency readiness plan.

Everyone needs a comprehensive emergency plan. Business owners also need to plan for business interruption and continuation. But equally importantly, families and businesses alike need immediate access to data like emergency and insurance contacts, shut-off valves, electrical panel locations, and the line of command to authorize work so emergency responders can react quickly and appropriately during the emergency. This months focus on preparedness is a great incentive for both families and businesses to put a plan in place and review it regularly.

No matter what type of threats exist where you live or work wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, or other natural or manmade disasters tools are available from FEMA (https://www.ready.gov) with guidelines for preparing emergency food, water, and medical supplies; planning for special needs; and creating communication and evacuation plans. These tools and others, like the SERVPRO READY app, also help you store essential contact and property information electronically where it can be accessed with a mobile device in seconds if disaster strikes.


Local business owners can take an additional preparedness step by designating SERVPRO of Santa Maria as their disaster mitigation and restoration provider. SERVPRO professionals will conduct a no-cost assessment of the facility and assist the owner in completing a comprehensive Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) to be stored in the READY app.

SERVPRO of Santa Maria specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it "Like it never even happened." for both commercial and residential customers.

For more information on SERVPRO of Santa Maria, please contact Mark Powers at (805) 922-5457.

The Proper Ways To Put Out a Grease Fire

7/18/2019 (Permalink)

grease fire Prevent a grease fire in your home

Things to Do When you Encounter a Grease Fire

A grease fire is one of the most dangerous fires you will encounter, and not for the reasons you might think. Grease fires are extremely difficult to put out, as they thrive off of oxygen (as all other types of fire do) and they become worse with water. You read that right, grease fires become worse with water. If you should encounter a fire caused by grease and an open flame, here's what you need to know:

  • Turn off the source of the heat.
  • Do NOT put water on the fire.
  • Cover the flame with a pot, pan or other non-flammable device to stop the flow of oxygen.
  • If you can't cover it, dump baking soda or salt on it.

If all of the above fail to get the fire under control, find a fire extinguisher and spray the fire until it is out.

What To Do If You Cannot Get the Grease Fire Under Control

If you fail to get the fire under control on your own, get out of the house ASAP. Do not continue to attempt to battle the inferno on your own, as you may only make matters worse and put yourself in grave danger. Instead, contact your Santa Maria, CA, fire department to help battle the flames. Once the fire crew has done its job, a fire cleanup crew can help with the restoration process.
It's important to note that once you leave your home, close the door and make sure all windows are closed. Again, grease fires thrive off of oxygen, so you want to make sure there is as little airflow as possible in your home. Do not reenter your home until the fire damage team has officially put out the flames.

Preventing Grease Fires

There are steps you can take to prevent grease fires, the most obvious of which is to keep anything flammable away from the stovetop. You should also always be in the kitchen when you're cooking and make sure children stay away from the heated stovetop. When heating oil, do so slowly, and never raise its temperature above that recommended by the manufacturer.
If you can't prevent a grease fire, try the above tips. A fire damage cleanup crew can then help with the restoration.

Using and Maintaining a Sump Pump in Your Home

7/10/2019 (Permalink)

Overtime, your sump pump may require some low-key maintenance

Sump Pump Maintenance

As a homeowner, you know how much work it is to remove storm water from your home after heavy rain or snowfall. If interior flooding from ground water or storm runoff is a common problem in your Santa Maria, CA home, you may want to consider using a sump pump. This helpful tool not only redirects water away from your house, it can also prevent the costly water damage you deal with and pay for season after season. Learn more about pump maintenance to determine if this device is right for your home.

Plug-In the System

Once you get your new pump, you want to start by plugging it in. If the pump is not attached to a reliable power source it won't do any good when water reaches your house. Because power outages are often associated with large storms, some homeowners attach a backup power source such as a battery or generator to operate the pump if power fails.

Clear Blockages

Overtime, your sump pump may require some low-key maintenance. Small particles and debris may begin to create blockages within the pump that need to be cleaned out. Neglecting regular inspection for obstructions may result in the following:

  • The pump works harder than necessary
  • Debris may cause permanent damage
  • Blockages may result in water overflow

Test the System

Regular testing of your pump will help you rest assured that your home is not unprotected. To test your pump, pour a bucket of water into the floor opening. Listen for the pump to switch-on and watch for it to quickly and efficiently pull the water out and reduce the water level back to zero. Slow water extraction may be a sign of pump blockages or debris.

Swap Out the Backup Battery

Finally, keep an eye on your backup power source. If you use a battery as your alternative energy connection, charge or replace it every two to three years to make sure it is reliable. With these simple tips for sump pump operation and maintenance, you may be able to save the time and money on dealing with home storm damage.

What To Do About Smoke-Damaged Commercial Property

6/27/2019 (Permalink)

Ozone machines work by releasing O3, ozone molecules, into the air

Ways to Remove Smoke Odor from Your Place of Business

If your Santa Maria, CA, business is ever affected by fire, you will certainly be worried about the visible damage, such as charring, water damage and soot. However, after all that is cleared away, you may still be left with smoke damage. The odor can linger long after the fire is extinguished if not treated properly. That's where smoke cleaning comes in. There are several ways to remove smoke odor from your place of business so that you and your customers can breathe easy.

1. Ozone Machines

Ozone machines work by releasing O3, ozone molecules, into the air. The O3 then binds to the other molecules in the area through a process known as oxidation. This creates new oxygen molecules that do not emit a smoke odor.

2. Air Filtration Devices

Commercial air filtration devices used for smoke cleaning and removal work the same way as smaller residential air purifiers. They suck in the dirty air in the area, trap the smoke particles and other pollutants and irritants in a filter (or multiple filters), and return the cleaned air to the room.

3. Thermal Fogging

Thermal fogging recreates one crucial element of fire — heat — to thoroughly deodorize all affected areas. Heat causes most materials to expand. Because of this, smoke may get into areas during a fire that are not easily accessible after the area has cooled. Thermal fogging works by releasing a heated deodorizing fog into the area. The heat causes the surrounding material to expand, allowing the deodorizing agent to get into all of the places the smoke penetrated during the fire.

Which smoke cleanup method to use depends both on the type of smoke and the object or materials being cleaned. A professional restoration company can select the best method of smoke cleaning for your Santa Maria, CA, business and make sure the job is done thoroughly, safely and quickly, so you can get back to business.

Water Is Out To Get Your Business

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

Toilet leak

Here Are a Few Water Problems That Can Ruin Your Workday

When water behaves, it is a thing of beauty. We drink it. It helps keep things clean. It flushes away waste. It makes life comfortable. It’s important to remember this the next time you have a broken pipe at your business in Santa Maria, CA.
In a commercial setting, water is exceptionally good at misbehaving. Its behavior can range from simply annoying to catastrophic. Here are a few water problems that can ruin your workday.

Bathroom Sink and Kitchen Area Leaks

Consider yourself lucky if these are your biggest water issues. The list includes leaky faucets, shutoffs, pipes and drains. Your maintenance crew can handle them. The impact to your operation should be minimal.

Toilet Leaks

This problem is a bit more serious if the leak occurs during the flush. This contaminated water from the toilet bowl may damage the subflooring and the floor below. The impact is usually minimal.

Broken Pipe on the Water Supply

The good news is that the water is clean. The bad news is that there is probably a lot of it. If shutting off the water main is the only way to handle this problem, the impact on your business may be severe. The water repair must happen quickly.

Fire Sprinkler

If one of your sprinkler heads put out a fire, you are happy. If it flooded your business for no good reason, that’s a different story. The area beneath the sprinkler probably experienced severe flooding. No work will take place there for the foreseeable future.

Toilet Overflows and Sewage Backups

These two problems have one thing in common. They both involve significant amounts of contaminated water. The sewage backup is worse because it may also contain large quantities of raw sewage. Decontamination will be a large part of the cleanup process. The health risks associated with the sewage could require your business to partially or completely shut down.
If your business experiences a broken pipe or other water problem, help is nearby. There are moisture and contamination removal experts ready to come in and clean up. They are Here to Help.

Residential Water_126_How To Restore Water Damaged Building Materials

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

Swelling wood floor in a Santa Maria,CA home

How To Restore Water Damaged Building Materials

When your home in Santa Maria, CA, sustains flood damage, one of your top priorities will be preserving the building materials that form your home's foundation. Swelling wood is often one of the biggest issues that arise after a catastrophic water incident, and you may be wondering if it's worth the effort to repair your wood materials as opposed to simply replacing them. By keeping some basic guidelines in mind, you can minimize the damage to your home if the worst happens.

1. Determine which materials are worth salvaging.

Sentimental or valuable items such as heirloom furniture may be worth the time and expense of restoration. Building materials that substantially add to the value of your home, such as finished hardwood floors, may be cheaper to restore rather than fully replace.

2. Allow adequate time to restore materials.

Swelling wood can easily crack, warp, and shrink if it's dried out too quickly after a water event, so plan on allowing two to three weeks for wooden furniture, cabinets, and flooring to dry properly. More porous materials such as drywall can be aired out much faster, usually around three days on average.

3. Take preventative measures to avoid damaged materials.

A simple water pipe repair to a leaking plumbing system can prevent a major flood, so take time to maintain your home's pipework. You should also familiarize yourself with the location of your water supply line in case an immediate shut off is needed. And it's a good idea to keep the contact information for a reputable water damage remediation specialist on hand who can help you assess building material restoration cost in the event of a flood.

While water damage in your home is stressful enough, trying to restore your home's valuable building materials, furniture, and heirlooms can add an extra challenge. By implementing the proper procedures for preserving swelling wood and other materials that have been affected by water, you can keep your home looking beautiful after a flood event.

Three Signs That Mold May Be Present in the Household

5/24/2019 (Permalink)

Mildew is visible

Three Signs That There May be Mold in a Residence

Recognizing the signs of mold contamination in a residence in Santa Maria, CA is very important. If mildew is indeed found at a home, it is important for a homeowner to contact professionals who conduct mold remediation. Here are three signs that may suggest that there may be mold in a residence.

1. The Mildew Is Visible

One of the most obvious indications of mold and mildew is that it is clearly visible. Therefore, it’s a good idea to constantly keep an eye out for any signs of mold and mildew around the house. While mold spores may grow on many surfaces and in numerous areas of a household, the bathroom is often a place where mold and mildew are regularly found. This is because mold thrives in damp, wet environments, and the bathroom is typically a prime area for this sort of setting. Be sure to check to see if the shower or the sink area (including under the sink) have any signs of mold contamination and consider calling professionals to aid in removing the mold if it is found. (Don’t forget to check in other areas where water or sinks are in the home, such as the kitchen, for example!).

2. There Is a Stuffy Smell

Mold may have an odor associated with it that can smell musty or stuffy. While there may be other reasons for odors in the household that are not related to mildew, it may be a good idea to have a professional rule out any mold that could be the cause of the smell.

3. The Environment in the House Feels Very Humid

As mentioned above, mold and mildew grow in damp and humid areas. If areas inside a residence feel very damp, it is a possibility that mold may be growing there. It may be a good idea to rule out any mold contamination in a residence that feels particularly humid. A thorough search for mold by experts may help identify and locate any issues with mold in the home.

Flood Damage Preparation Tips for Business Owners

5/21/2019 (Permalink)

Have sandbags on hand to place on the door of your building

Despite your best efforts, you can’t always prevent disasters from happening. In the workplace, you’re concerned about the safety and well-being of your employees, not to mention the functionality of equipment and the integrity of the structure. To minimize flooding damage and to save time, money and a lot of headaches, practices some effective strategies in your Santa Maria, CA, office building.

Typical Causes of Floods

Flood damage has many sinister faces. Water can creep into your office from a number of sources. The better you can identify these, the more prepared you can feel when an emergency hits.

  • Broken pipes or other plumbing problems
  • Insufficient draining from rain gutters and downspouts
  • Sewage backups in the main line
  • Massive storms such as hurricanes

Protect the Windows and Doors

If water begins to come into your office, windows and doors are common entry points. Have sandbags on hand to place in these areas to block the flow of water and to send it elsewhere. Storm damage can often allow water to rush inside and ruin the structure of the building as well as your belongings.

Move Items to Higher Ground

In many situations, top floors will be a safer place to be during flooding. If you notice water leaking in the lower floors, it’s smart to relocate electronics, documents and furniture to the higher level.

Have a Plan

Surely, your company has a method to respond to fires. You need a similar response for a flood. Know how and where to leave the building if major floods occur. Also, inspect your roof, plumbing and foundation regularly to guard against water problems. In addition, find a quality water cleanup company to call in case of an emergency. The best professionals have the knowledge, experience and tools to respond to even the most devastating floods.

When you put these guidelines into practice, you can salvage your most important assets during flooding. Don’t fall prey to the terrible damages that can occur.

3 Things Not To Do When Extinguishing a Fire

5/21/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial and residential fire damage services

Three Things to Avoid Doing When Attempting to Extinguish a Fire

A fire extinguisher is not difficult to use. Fire safety experts generally recommend the P.A.S.S. technique. Pull the pin and break the tamper seal before aiming the dispenser at the base of a fire. Squeeze the handle and sweep the spray from side to side. There are also three things to avoid doing when attempting to extinguish a fire.

1. Allow the Fire To Block Your Exit

You must be able to get away from a fire if an extinguishing effort is not successful. Monitor the movement of the flames and do not allow them to spread between you and the nearest exterior door. If this occurs, you should pursue a secondary escape route.

2. Spray Suppressant Directly at a Grease Fire

Fire extinguishers contain pressurized suppressants. If you aim an extinguisher hose, horn or nozzle directly at flaming grease, the fat or oil may spatter and carry flames. Using a fire extinguisher may actually spread a grease fire. You may have better results by dousing a kitchen fire with baking soda and salt before smothering the flames with a metal baking sheet, lid or another pan.

3. Neglect a Recently Extinguished Fire

A fire may seem to be out and then suddenly reignite or a hidden fire may be present. It is important to monitor the area of a fire, even if you step outside for a moment. It may be a good idea to contact the fire department to make sure that the fire is out.

You may be able to extinguish a small to moderately-sized fire by using proper fire extinguisher technique. If a fire is too large, try to close doors and seal off the affected area before evacuating the premises and calling the fire department. Any structural damage can be handled by a company that specializes in fire damage mitigation and restoration in Santa Maria, CA.