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How Leaves Affect Your Septic System

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Millions of leaves descend to the ground during the fall. While they can be a beautiful sight, they can be a huge nuisance for homeowners. One particular issue is them clogging your septic system. This post will explore how leaves can ruin your septic lines and a few ways you can protect your sewer from them.

Do Leaves Cause Problems for Septic Lines?

Surprisingly, leaves can create serious issues for septic lines. Large quantities of them can collect together and make a large wet bundle. The longer they stick together, the harder they’ll be to remove. Eventually, the clump could block pipes making it harder for your sewer to function. Sometimes, the mold they produced could also eat away at the pipes causing them to crack. Because of the unique gravity situation with your sewer, the more the leaves sit on its drainage field, the more likely they will cause it to sink. This could create heavy puddles which could lead to sinkholes.

How to Protect Your Sewer From Leaves

Rake Leaves Away From It: One of the best ways to prevent leaves from clogging your sewer is to consistently remove them. While this might be a hassle at first, it will be worth it in the end. Regular raking will prevent leaf build-up around the sewer. It can also stop mold growth within the leaves which could eventually sneak into your home. Make sure to fully remove them though from the spot. Otherwise, they could blow back and fill the area again. Do Regular Inspections: You’ll also want to frequently check the sewer and the devices connected to it. If you notice your toilet backing up, the sounds of running water in the walls, or smell a strong odor coming from the sewer, you’ll want to get it checked out immediately by a professional. Use a Drain Guard: If your home has an outdoor drain it’s an easy target for leaves. To stop them from flushing into this area, place a drain guard over it. This slotted tool allows water to easily flow into the section but keeps leaves out. Keep in mind that you’ll need to wipe it off every so often so the rain can easily flow through. Colorful fall leaves are a stunning natural wonder but they can wreak havoc on your sewer. If you’re concerned they might have caused sewer or water damage, in Sonoma County, contact RCS. Our team will inspect the issue and get to work fixing it.

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How to Save Wood Floors From Water Damage

wood flooring santa rosa

Hardwood floors are a highlight in many homes thanks to their stunning looks and durability. Despite this, they can get ruined if they come into constant contact with water. Below you’ll find more information about how water hurts hardwood floors and how you can better defend them from it.

How Water Damages Wood Flooring

When water seeps into wood it will quickly soak into its fibers. Depending on how well the floor is sealed, the liquid will linger and spread through the planks. The longer this happens, the more likely cupping will occur. This results in the flooring abnormally expanding which can make it buckle.

Is Water Damage Serious?

Yes, this is a concerning problem. Not only will water damage ruin the hardwood’s aesthetics, but will encourage the growth of mold. When mold spores develop, they’ll cause the wood to turn black and green. They’ll also result in the area having a musty smell. If not fixed, your flooring won’t only look unsightly but could become a structural hazard.

3 Ways to Protect Wood Floors From Water

Apply a Sealant: One of the best ways to defend your floor from water damage is to seal it. Often, a polyurethane finish is ideal because it will enhance the wood’s grains while creating a strong barrier. While the seal won’t fully stop water from sneaking into the wood, it will do a better job at safeguarding it from serious issues. Don’t Wear Shoes On It: If you walk across the floor with dirty or wet shoes, any debris on them will get pressed into the floor. Many times, particles left behind by shoes go unnoticed because they’re so small. Despite this, they can cause major problems. To prevent this, it might be best to ban wearing shoes on your floors. If you prefer to wear shoes, invest in a pair that you only wear indoors. Quickly Clean Up Messes: You want to always clean up any water droplets from your floors as soon as you notice them. This will stop them from soaking into the floor. You can use paper towels to do so or have a mop on hand. Water damage is an alarming problem that can negatively affect your wood floors. By keeping these tips in mind, you can help shield your flooring from it. If you’re worried you might already have hardwood water damage, give RCS a call in Santa Rosa. We’ll be happy to inspect it and offer advice as to how it can be restored.

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Tips For Removing Water Damage Odors

deoderize home sonoma

Water damage is a common problem. Besides ruining your home’s structure, it can also emit a strong smell. This post will explain more about what this odor is and how you can get rid of it.

What Causes Water Damage Odors?

The musty smell your home has after water damage is due to mold. Because the water will puddle in an area, it will make the section moist. This moisture will create humid conditions which will encourage mold growth. The longer it sits, the more the mold will reproduce. This won’t only cause severe structural damage but can contaminate the air.

How to Get Rid of It

Apply Baking Soda: Baking soda is a well-known deodorizer. By sprinkling it on and around the damage, it will quickly soak up the odors. It can also reduce moisture which can destroy mold spores. Make sure to let the baking soda sit for at least 24 hours. This way, it has enough time to fix the problem. When you’re ready to remove it, simply vacuum it up. Install a Dehumidifier: Another way to get rid of this pungent smell is to utilize a dehumidifier. This device will absorb humidity. This can irritate the mold because its prime living conditions have been disturbed. The longer it runs, the more it will remove mold and its spores. This will end up reducing the odor. Besides eliminating the smell, a dehumidifier can also dry the affected area so the problem doesn’t spread. Blow Fans: Proper ventilation is key when it comes to getting rid of water damage odors. By blowing fans in the spot, it will improve air circulation. This can reduce the musty smell and dry damp areas. Make an Essential Oil Mix: If you can’t stand the smell, consider blending some essential oils which can mask the odor. Many are also antibacterial so they’ll get to work eating away at the mold. Some of the best to use for this purpose are:
  • Lemon
  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
Keep in mind you do need to dilute them in water. While this small amount of liquid won’t make the problem worse when you spray it on, make sure to not overdo it. Water damage is a serious problem that can cause anything from structural damage to allergic reactions. If you suspect you might have this issue in your Santa Rosa home, RCS can help. We offer water extraction and mold remediation services that will work to quickly eradicate any issues so you stay safe.

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Who To Call For A Broken Pipe In The Wall

pipe water damage santa rosa, ca

An issue commonly faced by homeowners and renters is water damage from a leaking or broken pipe, and since plumbing takes place behind the scenes, it can be confusing for someone to deal with it if they have no prior knowledge. Fortunately, it’s not very difficult to spot the symptoms of a faulty pipe, but the damage could all come at once. If you see water damage on the walls or ceiling or notice the odor of sewage in your home, then it’s likely you have a broken (or soon to be broken pipe) and you should contact a professional immediately. In the case of a water emergency, you’ll want to shut off the main-valve as soon as you notice a burst pipe, this will prevent any further damage. There should be two main-valves (if not more) located at your water-meter; once you’ve located these, you should turn them both off until you understand the location of the damaged pipe and the nature of the leak. (If you don’t know where your water-meter is, you should locate it before an issue like this occurs if possible.) Once the potential of further damage has ceased, you should proceed to secure any valuable items and documents from harm’s way; if there is a pool of water, you should shut-off your electricity to avoid electrocution until you’re certain there is no risk, then find a method to drain the water out of your house (most easily with a water pump). Remove any rugs or items which may have gotten wet and vacuum the water out to prevent mold from growing (you may need to hire a carpet-cleaner). When the urgent water damage has been dealt with, it’s time to hire a water damage specialist near you to repair the damage and clean any mold which has potentially grown in your home. What needs to be done is: cut out the drywall around the affected area, precisely locate the broken pipe, remove the pipe, clean the pipe (inside and out), solder on a copper repair-sleeve, ensure the leak has been repaired, then patch the wall. You can also skip cleaning the pipe and mounting a repair-sleeve by simply replacing the pipe. In the case of a broken sewage pipe (accompanied by a disgusting odor), attempt to secure the leak by blocking both sides with a rag and duct-tape, then call a professional immediately (these leaks can release harmful chemicals into your home). Repairing a broken pipe in your wall can be tricky and, if done improperly, can cause further damage to your home. Your best course of action is to personally deal with any urgent threats of water damage and call a professional plumber immediately. For additional help in the north bay, contact us for a qualified plumber.

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Basement Flooding: What To Do

Basement Flooding: What To Do

Basement flooding, you never expect it and you can't really prepare for it. Unexpected issues happen all the time in homes, but a basement flood is not only unexpected, it can also be very dangerous.

Turn It Off

The absolute first thing that you need to do when your basement floods is to shut off any power and gas into the basement. The importance of this can not be stated strongly enough. If you do not know where your shutoffs are call an electrician before entering the basement.

Wear Protective Gear

Once you are sure the water is safe from electrical or gas dangers, you should still put on protective gear before entering the water. Wearing gloves and boots or waders is advised. The water you are walking in is likely going to be grey water but could easily be black water, depending on the source. Until you are sure what type of flooding you are dealing with, take all precautions.

Stop The Water, Fast

It is important that you identify the location of where the water is entering your home as soon as you are able. If the water is entering from a broken pipe, shut off the water. Check your drains as well to ensure they are unclogged. Determine the extent of damage to your basement with the knowledge that time is against you in the cleanup process. If the water is greywater and not black water you will have 48 hours to remove the water as well as clean and dry everything. If you are unable to do this, you need to seek out the help of a professional cleaning service for the safety of your home and family.

Clean Or Have It Cleaned

If it something you can clean yourself, read our steps on this other post. If not, look to the next paragraph.

A professional team will arrive on scene and begin removing all standing water from your home. Any and all water damaged items and furniture will be removed and dried off entirely. If the basement is carpeted, it will likely need to be removed as it can prove difficult to dry and any moisture that it could hold can promote mold growth. Additionally any wet drywall will likely need to be replaced. Often with flooding, dirt will infiltrate the basement and any contaminated dirt will need to be removed from your basement and crawlspaces.

In any case of serious flooding we strongly suggest calling in a professional team of experts to restore your home to the its pre-flood condition of safety, comfort, and appearance. Time is not your friend in a flood situation and after the first 48 hours when the water becomes black, a whole host of mold and bacteria begin to settle on the flood site. If not properly cleaned, this can become issues that can hurt your family's health for years to come.

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Grey Water Damage and Clean Up

Some of you might be asking yourselves right now “What is Grey Water?” The answer to that question is any water from the overflow of household appliances like washers or dishwashers is considered to be grey water. Also, some flooding can be classified as grey water. Grey water is considered to be partially biologically contaminated waters. Given enough time grey water can become a much more dangerous black water if the appropriate action is not taken to clean it in time.

Sullage Cleanup

Grey water is also know as Sullage. Sullage is dangerous to individuals with weak immune systems. It is also not suggested anyone with asthma or allergies should not take part in the clean up of sullage. Sullage can be safely cleaned up by most adults, if you take the precautions to use rubber gloves and safety glasses. It is also a good idea to consider wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts as well as a mask when cleaning grey water. Avoid getting grey water on your skin to ensure you do not spread any microbes that may be in the water.

Black Water

As mentioned earlier, time is of the essence when cleaning greywater. If grey water contamination is not cleaned up in the first 48 hours, it becomes black water. Black water cleaning is far more intensive and often requires the removal of anything that the water could soak into and form mold. Everything from carpets to drywall needs to be replaced in black water flooding. That is why it is essential to move with haste when you have grey water flooding and clean the affected area thoroughly.

With time working against you in situations of grey water flooding, it is always wise to consider calling in professional assistance. Never underestimate the task at hand as grey water cleaning is not just removing the water and mopping up. All fabrics need to be removed, cleaned thoroughly and dried out. If you have any doubt that you were able to completely clean any fabrics, it is strongly encouraged you just opt to throw them out.

In the days following cleanup, it is recommended to continue to keep an eye on the area. At any signs of mold or excess moisture, call professional assistance. Post-flooded areas that were not properly cleaned are perfect environments for bacteria and molds to colonize and grow.

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