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flood damage sonoma

Understanding Levels of Water Damage

Has your home recently been affected by flooding from rain or other water events this past year in Sonoma County? If so, now is the time to find out about the water restoration process. Repairing water damage in a home begins with a thorough inspection by a professional, and it typically involves replacement of flooring, walls, and ceilings. Understanding the different levels and categories of water damage can help you be better informed and help your restoration professional know how to best address your damage.

Categories of water damage

There are generally three categories into which water damage fits. Damage from a clean water source like toilet tanks or broken pipes that supply clean water falls into category 1. If left unattended for too long, this can worsen to category 2 or 3. Washing machine or dishwasher water, which contains detergents and is considered “gray water”, can also cause significant water damage. This falls into category 2. Damage from water that contains urine from an overflowing toilet is also included in this category. Obviously, this can result in sanitation and health issues. Completely unsanitary water from sewage, river flooding, and bacteria infested standing water can cause the worst kind of harm to you and your family. Damage from this type of water can cause disease and even death if left unaddressed. This is considered as category 3 water damage.

Classes of water damage

In addition to categorizing water damage, it is often also ranked into several different classifications. This is different from categories in that it explains what part of the home is most affected by its type. The highest classification is class 4 damage, which requires more specialized drying techniques for such surfaces as hardwood, concrete, or stone. Class 3 water damage involves that which has saturated walls and seeped through ceilings. It is considered to be the worst, as it means replacement of the affected areas. When whole rooms have sustained damage from water absorbed into carpeting and walls, the damage is considered class 2. It is generally easier to correct than when areas have been saturated to the point of sagging or buckling. Finally, class 1 damage refers to that which has only affected parts of a room and little moisture has been absorbed.

Restoring the damage

The water restoration process includes:

  • Inspection by a restoration specialist to assess the extent of the damage
  • Water removal using pumps and vacuums to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria
  • Drying of any standing water using dehumidifiers
  • Cleaning of any affected personal belongings and antimicrobial treatment of any carpeting and drapery
  • Replacement of affected materials like drywall and insulation

Final thoughts

Correcting the damage done by a water emergency like flooding or leaking can be an easier process for you if you understand the level of damage that has occurred. It can help you be better prepared when you are ready to talk to a professional about how to best address your specific case. Contact Restoration Certified Specialists for a consultation on the damage you have experienced, so we can help make the restoration experience less stressful for you.

backyard flood control

How To Prevent Standing Water In Your Home

With all the heavy rain this season in Sonoma County and the recent flooding, many homeowners are becoming concerned about the presence of standing water around their home and its impact. There are plenty of ways to remove any standing water from your home, however, and there are also plenty of ways to prevent standing water during the next heavy rainfall. With just a few simple steps, you will be able to turn your yard from a pond into a dry, livable home. Not sure where to start? Here are the top ways to remove and prevent standing water in your home.

Clean and Repair Your Gutters

Standing water beside your home can be a huge problem. It can weaken the foundation of your home over time, causing potentially dangerous situations and costly repairs in the future. The best way to keep this from becoming a problem is to regularly clean and repair your gutters. Gutters and drain help distribute the water away from the foundation of your home. When they become clogged, or fall into disrepair, they fail to do vital job and allow water to stand around your home.

Use Landscaping

One of the best ways to prevent standing water is to use landscaping to your advantage. Whether you DIY or hire a professional, manipulating the terrain around your house can solve your water problem. Try creating a low river for the water divert water away from you home. You can also set up more natural systems such as certain rock patterns that will help direct water away from your home while looking stylish and being environmentally friendly.

Plant a Garden

Gardens are both aesthetically pleasing and extremely useful, making them a great option when it comes to prevent standing water around your home. Certain plants, like prairie plants or wetland trees, thrive in damp conditions. This means that by planting them in areas prone to standing water, their roots will steadily absorb it. While plants alone won’t solve your stand water problem, combining them with any other the other steps is a great way to make sure your yard stays dry.

Hire a Professional

Sometimes, the best way to get something done is to hire a professional. A professional will be able to conduct a visual survey of your home. By doing so, they will be able to come out with the best plan to fit your home and your budget.

Final Thoughts

As Spring rounds the corner we are seeing more rain and flooding potential. If you find you have water damage in your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local professionals here at Restoration Certified Specialists in Santa Rosa, CA. Our team of experts is ready to assist you.

Is Your Landscaping Damaging Your Home

Is Your Landscaping Damaging Your Home?

Your landscaping could be damaging your home. Does your basement keep flooding? It may be because of your lawn.

Is Your Landscaping Damaging Your Home?

Water, Water, In Our Yards, and Not a Drop In Our Basements

Rain water has to go somewhere, always. Properly graded and landscaped yards direct this water to desired locations while improperly graded and landscaped yards could allow water to collect in the basement or foundation of your home.

Water flows downhill. You want to ensure that your landscaping slopes so that water goes away from your home and certainly doesn’t pond around the home. 

Landscaping Plants Helping or Hurting Your Home

Flowers, shrubs, and trees can be important players in the moisture level of your yard and, indirectly, your home. If your yard tends to retain a lot of water, thirstier plants can help manage this. On the other hand, too thirsty plants like certain trees growing close to your home, can make the soil too dry and lead to an unstable surface for your home’s foundation.

What To Do If Your Landscaping Is Damaging Your Home

Make sure your downspouts drain away from the home. Most downspouts have a protector underneath to lessen the impact directly under the spout and prevent ponding, but you can further protect your home by landscaping around the downspout to channel the water say 10 feet away.

Consider any gardens up next to your home. Could they be sloped away from the home? Are they retaining too much water?

Consider trees and plants next to the home. You might add or replace plants to optimize the moisture level of the soil around your home.

A bad enough water drainage problem may require professional grading. This is the process of adding, removing, and/or shaping the ground under or around a building. Ensure that your yard slopes downward 10 feet away from your home. 

How To Protect Your Documents In Case of Emergencies

How To Protect Your Documents In Case of Emergencies

Most of us have family photos and one-of-a-kind paper and digital documents that we’d be lost without. It is wise to be aware of what natural disasters and other emergencies damage your irreplaceable documents and how you can protect your documents from emergencies. Keep reading and find out.

How To Protect Your Documents In Case of Emergencies

Natural Disasters Can Damage Your Documents

What natural disasters and emergency situations can damage your priceless documents? Here’s just a few unforeseen circumstances you could find yourself up again:

  • Fire (from nature or from an electrical failure in your home)
  • Flooding
  • Severe Weather (thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.)
  • Mold Damage
  • Termites (they like to eat paper as much as they do wood)
  • Theft

So, what can you do to make sure you don’t lose all your documents during an emergency?

Protecting Your Documents During Emergencies

Don’t get caught off-guard. Follow these emergency document protection tips:

  • Have an emergency plan. Being unprepared will cost you. Consider having a “go-bag” with photo copies of your important documents, cash, clothes and other necessities. Know what documents you need to protect (birth certificate, marriage license, etc) and have them in multiple safe places.
  • Keep multiple backups. Always backup your digital and print files. Have photocopies of important documents stored in more than one location – like one at your home, one at your work and another at your parent’s house. Back up digital documents on an external hard drive and to the cloud.
  • Store priceless documents in a fireproof, flood-proof safe. This is a great safeguard for your home and office. Be sure your safe is installed in the wall or bolted to the floor, so it can’t be easily stolen.
  • Keep files in elevated places. Never store paper files or photos on the floor – this is inviting water damage. Place your documents in waterproof containers and at the top of shelves or in your attic.
  • Get mold, crawlspace and critter inspections. Problems sneak up on you when you’re not actively looking out for them. Regularly look for mold in potential trouble areas. Have your crawlspace checked for critters, termites and mold. Wherever you store your documents, keep the area clean, so you don’t invite any unsavory conditions.

 

 

Flooded Water Leak Don't Extract Water Yourself

Flooded? Water Leak? Don’t Extract Water Yourself

Yikes! Your room, or home, is flooded. Should you extract the water yourself or should you call a professional? DIY works for many things, but water extraction isn’t one of them. This is a job best left to the professionals, and here’s why:

Floor Coverings

Depending on the type of water damage and the type of floor covering you have, your flooring might be salvaged. If you have carpeting, and it can stay, a professional extraction using a weighted extractor must be used to get all the water out of both the carpet and padding. A rug cleaner or wet/dry vac absolutely will not do the job. The same is true for wood floors; specialized equipment must be used to remove water from underneath a solid wood floor. Floating floors like Pergo must be torn out, but tile can usually stay.

Type of Water

Are you dealing with clean water, grey water, or contaminated (black) water? Industry professionals know the water types and the remediation measures required for each, so leave this job to us. Contaminated water removal requires special safety equipment and procedures so that the rest of your house does not become contaminated.

Environmental Concerns

Your flooded room may seem dry after you’ve used the wet/dry vac, but it is likely not very dry at all. Professionals have electronic sensors, air movers and dehumidifiers to help dry out your house. We use specific formulas to calculate how much equipment you will need to do the job. To do the job right, there must be air movement and dehumidification, otherwise you’ll have a mold issue in no time.

Moisture Mapping

How do you know that your house is truly dry? We bring moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras to find the wet spots in your house. We target those areas to make sure your house is dry in every spot.

Insurance Documentation

Not to be overlooked, having a professional document everything that your insurance company needs is a huge timesaver and stress reliever. We use a standard documentation package that’s over 50 pages long, and we guarantee it is what your insurance company needs. Our documents also come in handy when you sell the home and need this paperwork for the new owner.

Water remediation is a very complex business. Every step must be done right. Give us a call. We’re open 24 hours and ready to help with your water damage.

Flood Preparation Tips to Keep You Safe

Flood Preparation Tips to Keep You Safe

Even if you’re a swimming enthusiast, dealing with a flash flood is no day at the beach. In fact, the results can be catastrophic.

Floods can happen any time of year in any part of the country. However, some areas are more prone to flooding, like coastal areas during hurricane season or any low lying land next to a body of water during a long storm or heavy rain season.

Flood Preparation Tips to Keep You Safe

Regardless of where you’re located, it always pays to be prepared if a flood warning comes your way. Whether it’s expected to be a few inches or to reach above your roof, here are some ways you and your family can keep safe in the face of an impending flood:

Know Your Flood Risk

The most important part of flood safety is knowing beforehand the risk of flooding for your home or area. FEMA creates flood maps that display flood areas coded by risk, ranging from high to undetermined. Check your area on a floodmap to learn more about what to expect when a flood warning is issued in your area.

Stay Informed

If your area is prone to flooding, know which channels to monitor for weather updates so you can prepare with ample warning. Follow NOAA radio as well as your local weather station, and sign up for a community email or text alerting system. Keep a battery operated radio with some extra batteries and your cell phone fully charged so you can still receive updates in the event of a power outage.

Practice Your Flood Plan

In a high-stress natural disaster like flooding, all your careful planning could go out the window without a set practice in place. Discuss and practice details of your flood plan with your family, including your communication plan, first aid skills and emergency response actions. If you have pets, know some basic pet first aid and keep a pet emergency kit on hand.

Store Your Necessities

When it comes to floods, there’s no telling how much warning you may have before needing to evacuate. Prepare ahead of time by putting together all of your necessities so you can grab and go in case you need you get out quickly. Keep in mind the five P’s for what bring: People, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs and Priceless Items.

Protect Your Property

Consider purchasing flood insurance if you don’t have it already. Most policies do not cover flood losses for areas not commonly at risk for flooding, so you may need to purchase the extra protection in a separate insurance plan. Policies take effect 30 days after purchase, so invest as soon as possible if necessary.

Take Precautions

Take measures to protect your property and valuables by elevating heating systems, water heaters, electric panels, appliances and furniture if possible. Waterproof your basement and home by using sandbags, plywood and plastic sheeting. Keep drains and gutters free of debris and install sump dumps with battery backup.

Consult With Others

Open discussion with family members and friends on what they’ve done to prepare for a flood will help you cross check your plans and share details about alerts and other ways to protect your property. Review websites like the FEMA or The American Red Cross for additional ways to stay protected and safe during floods.

Evacuate

If authorities are advising that you evacuate in the face of an impending flood, do so immediately. Have a flood evacuation route in place and be sure to grab all of the necessities you’ve stored earlier so you and your family can get on the road quickly and safely. Make the proper arrangements to travel with any pets or animals that you plan to bring along, including checking with shelters you may stay in to ensure they are pet-friendly. If you have time before evacuating, take extra precautions before leaving your home, like moving items to a higher floor, turning off gas, water and electricity and placing sandbags around your property.

Now that you know what to do in the face of an impending flood, your response time should be quick and your family should be safe. A little preparation goes a long way, so follow these tips the next time a potential flood warning pops up in your area.