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Tag Archives: Water Damage

leaking toilet flooded bathroom

How Serious is Your Water Damage?

While any type of water damage is serious and requires immediate attention for cleanup and restoration, local Sonoma County professional restoration specialists assess and officially categorize water damage.

In accordance with Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification standards, there are three different types or categories of water damage.

Category I – Clean Water Damage

Category 1 water damage is the least destructive according to the standards.

Clean water means that the water is free of contaminants, toxins and sewage. It includes cleanup for water damage cause by broken water lines, leaky water pipes, an overflow of rainwater or a clean yet overflowing toilet.

For this type of water damage, professionals find it the easiest to clean, dry and restore without long-term or serious consequences for the homeowner, provided that the cleanup takes place within 48 hours from the incident.

If cleanup is postponed, category 1 water damage can change to a category 2 fairly quickly.

Category 2 – Grey Water Damage

The next category moves up the damage scale.

Grey water indicates that the damage is caused primarily by malfunctioning appliances like sump pumps, toilets or washing machines.

While more water and some mild chemicals like laundry soap may be involved, it still does not contain anything which poses immediate harm to residents.

Although there are not serious health threats, there may still be a level of mild to serious contamination with grey water damage.

The biggest problem with grey water damage is that if left unclean or not disinfected quickly, the potential for untreated waste, mold or mildew to set in, grow and cause further problems for homeowners in the future.

Category 3 – Black Water Damage

As you can probably guess, category 3 water damage is the most toxic and dangerous of all.

Because it contains toxins, active viruses and bacteria, the danger of spreading disease and illness is high.

Immediate cleanup, drying and disinfecting should take place to prevent damage to the owner’s health, property and home structure.

Black water damage is produced by natural floods, swelling ground water or sewage.

Swift action includes damaged property removal for deep cleaning and complete drying, followed by an intense disinfection protocol.


Regardless of the category of your water damage, call in the professionals at RCS in Santa Rosa.

Our experienced and certified professionals quickly carry out restoration procedures so you can return to a clean, healthy and safe home.



wood rot under home

The Danger of Mold and Wood Rot After Water Damage

One of the more dangerous things that can happen to a homeowner is to experience water damage.

Whether caused by heavy rains, a failed sump pump or an undetected leaking pipe, water damage is quite simply, devastating.

It compromises the very structural integrity of your home, in addition to causing permanent damage or loss of personal items.

If not cleaned and dried quickly, mold and wood rot sets in and causes even more extensive damage.

The Dangers of Mold Due to Water Damage

If water damage is not completely dried and cleaned, mold can set in within days.

The deceiving part of DIY drying and cleaning after water damage is that areas that appear to be clean and dry are really not.

Interior and exterior walls and flooring are capable of retaining moisture inside even though appearing outwardly dry.

It takes a professional mold remediation company to be able to spot these hidden areas and make sure everything is completely dry.

Mold grows quickly under damp conditions. Once mold takes over, it produces mold spores and when disturbed, these mold spores become airborne and spread to other areas throughout your home.

When mold spores become airborne, they are easily inhaled and spell disaster for anyone suffering from compromised immune systems, asthma, allergies, or other lung afflictions.

The Dangers of Wood Rot Due to Water Damage

Wood rot is what happens when mold and mildew settle into any wooden structure or surface.

Over time, mold grows and eats away at moist, water-soaked wood. As mold grows and eats away at more of the wood, it causes serious and expensive structural damage to your home.

When wood rot sets in, nothing short of replacing the rotted wood and calling in a professional mold remediation team can fix the problem.

Wood rot commonly shows up in interior and exterior walls, attics, basements and crawlspaces.

Other than flooding, an undetected water leak through cracks in the foundation, clogged gutters, holes in the roof or uninsulated/unprotected concrete or dirt crawlspace floors are prime spots for the formation of mold and wood rot.

Preventing Mold and Wood Rot

The best way to prevent mold and wood rot damage is to find and nip water problems in the bud before they turn into bigger, more expensive and dangerous structural issues.

  • If you notice a musty odor in certain areas of your home, there is mold growing somewhere in the area.
  • Pay close attention to and immediately repair any leaks, drips, cracks or clogged gutters and downspouts.
  • Check crawlspaces and watch for wood damage or moist, damp conditions.
  • Use treated wood or completely seal any structural repairs or remodeling projects requiring wood.


At the end of the day, these are serious issues best handled by professionals.

For inspection, repair and restoration, call in the professionals at RCS. Let our years of experience work for you to fix the structural and eliminate the health risks that come along with mold and wood rot due to water damage.

blk-white photo of interior

When It’s Safe to Return to a Flood Damaged Home

In the aftermath of water or flood damage to your home, knowing when it’s safe to return to inspect the damage and gather what you can salvage from the mess is crucial for your health and safety.

As a first step to getting life back to normal, you’ll need to return to your home as soon as safely possible to evaluate the damage and begin the water damage restoration process.

Here’s when to know it’s safe to return home for inspection and when to move back in after water damage has impacted your home.

Perform a Well-Lit Inspection

Knowing that a flood or major water damage affects structural components, electrical and HVAC systems in addition to damaging personal belongings, it’s best to return to assess damage during daylight hours once hopefully, the water has receded.

The sunlight will give you a better view of how much damage you’re looking at and you’ll be better able to avoid walking into any danger zones because you can’t see them in darkness.

If there’s standing water, call a water damage restoration company to pump the water out of the area quickly and safely.

Electrical Damage

As you probably already know, water and electricity do not mix.

If you can safely get to the main breaker, turn off the power.

However, if there’s standing water or wet areas between you and the main circuit box, don’t risk attempting to turn off the power. Never walk through or stand in water to try to cut the power in your home.

Call a qualified electrician and explain the situation. Turn the electrical system over to the professionals who are trained to deal with live power after water damage or a flood.

Until your home has been inspected by an electrician who will assess any damage done to your home’s electrical system, the risk for electric shock is high and should be avoided.

Gas Leaks

Another serious threat to your safety is the potential for gas leaks.

If you smell the “rotten egg” odor of gas, exit the home and contact the electric company immediately to report the smell of gas in your flooded or water damaged home.

Avoid starting a sump pump or other piece of equipment that could cause a spark or ignite a flame.

Contact Water Damage Restoration Professionals

While you may need to inspect water or flood damage to your home, the aftermath and safe cleanup is better left to water damage restoration professionals.

The professionals can walk you through the process of restoring and repairing damage to your home.

In the meantime, let them safely dry, clean and sanitize affected things in your home before you return to stay.

Knowing that a professional restoration company has inspected and addressed damage including structural integrity, electrical and HVAC systems and water supply if applicable gives you the peace of mind that you’re returning to a safe and healthy environment.


Depending on the extent, water damage to your home can be traumatic to you, your family and to the home itself.

Don’t hesitate to contact a professional water damage restoration company when it comes to taking the steps you need to repair the damage.

To restore your home and property in Sonoma County, call the water damage repair and restoration specialists at RCS in Santa Rosa.

house for sale

Is Buying a Home with Water Damage a Deal Breaker?

Even in today’s wild real estate market, it’s still an exciting time to buy a home.

Before you dive in on a deal too good to pass up, it still pays to take the time to do your due diligence, ask questions and keep an eye on the details.

While touring the home and along with a home inspection, keep your eyes open for what could be water damage.

Is Buying a Home with Signs of Water Damage a Deal Breaker?

A home with signs of water damage isn’t necessarily off the table. Along with your home inspector’s recommendations, it depends on the extent of the damage, if efforts have been made to correct the issues or if a price reduction to cover repair costs can be negotiated.

Here’s what to look for:

Exterior Conditions

There’s more to look at than curb appeal. Here are some red-flag items.

  • Wet, soggy lawn
  • Standing water or puddles around sidewalks or foundation of home
  • Condition of gutters and downspouts
  • Grading toward or away from the house
  • General position of home – at the bottom of a hill, position to neighboring properties
  • Mold or black spots on exterior of home
  • Rotting wood
  • Rusty hose bibs, fencing, outdoor decorations
  • Roof Inspection

Ask the seller about the age and condition of the roof. Note any missing shingles and inspect the attic and ceilings for any signs of water leaks or damage.

Interior Conditions

Smell for Mold

If there is a musty smell, it’s a telltale sign of excess humidity and more than likely, mold.

Listen for Drips

While touring the home, listen for the sound of dripping water. Inspect the pipes and plumbing under sinks and in the basement for leaks.

Water Spots, Rings or Stains

Check for brown or yellow discolored stains especially on ceilings, walls, floors, around windows and doors.

Look for hard water stains in showers, tubs, sinks and toilets. Hard water spots are caused by standing hard water which may mean a problem with the plumbing. It may also indicate slow draining sinks or tubs.

Notice any condensation on the windows or damp walls which could be due to some kind of a moisture or high humidity problem.

Sagging Ceilings, Bulging Drywall

If ceilings or walls have water damage stains, they can be hidden with paint. However, there’s no mistaking sagging ceilings or bulging drywall which has potentially absorbed and is holding excess water. Also check for bubbling or warped drywall.

Speaking of paint, check for signs of damaged paint such as peeling, bubbling or discoloration.

Watch for any obvious cracks in walls and ceilings.

Wood Rot

In addition to checking the condition of wooden molding, floors and doors, take a look around at any wood furniture in the home for signs of water damage such as swelling or bulging.

Lower Level

Check for the presence of foundation wall repairs, sump pumps/crocks, dehumidifiers or new floor coverings.


With the help of a water damage cleanup and restoration company, buying a home with past or present water damage doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.

In Sonoma County, call RCS in Santa Rosa for all of your water damage cleanup, restoration and mold remediation needs.





water damage ceiling

Exposure to Asbestos During Water Damage Restoration

One of the primary reasons for calling in a professional water damage restoration company is to thoroughly and safely clean up the damage.

There are a lot of safety risks and potential health risks when dealing with water damage restoration.

One of the biggest safety concerns is the exposure to asbestos during clean-up.

Why is Asbestos a Concern?

Depending on the extent of damage, water can penetrate into previously undisturbed areas where asbestos has been kept contained, sometimes for years.

The water can loosen asbestos particles, which float in the standing water and become airborne. Unless you know what to look for, you’ve been exposed to the very serious health risks of asbestos.

If areas of the building or home need demolition, this will certainly expose any hidden asbestos.

Who’s At Risk?

Back in the day, asbestos was a popular construction and insulation material. In fact, for decades prior to the 1970’s asbestos was commonly used.

Beginning in the 1980’s when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in to regulate the use and handling of asbestos, strict restrictions were put into place.

Although not completely banned in the United States, there is little that can undo what was done decades ago. Construction using asbestos has been sort of “grandfathered in,” and it’s a matter of being aware and taking precautions that professionals take care of water damage restoration.

High Risk Asbestos Areas

Common places to find asbestos include:

  • Walls
  • Insulation
  • Flooring
  • Roofing
  • Pipes, Plumbing

Asbestos Exposure Risks

Asbestos is so dangerous because the United States Department of Health and Human Services identifies and classifies it as a human carcinogen. A human carcinogen has the potential to cause cancer.

Additional health issues put humans at risk of severe upper respiratory conditions or can make existing conditions worse.

Hidden Risk

Asbestos isn’t a health risk or danger as long as it’s contained and undisturbed. It’s at the time when it’s disturbed, exposed and released into the air that it becomes dangerous.

Events that can send asbestos particles airborne include:

  • Demolition
  • Remodeling
  • Building addition
  • Roofing
  • Remove/Replace flooring
  • Flooding/Water Damage

Additionally, anywhere at risk for hurricanes or the threat of other water damage is at high risk for asbestos exposure.

Safety Measures

Professional water damage restoration specialists are trained at spotting potential asbestos risk factors.

Before beginning any restoration work, a home or building should be tested for asbestos, especially an older structure.

If asbestos is found, an asbestos abatement team need to remove all traces of it, contain and dispose of it prior to anyone is allowed to continue any further work inside.


While tackling a water damage restoration as soon as possible is a high priority, health and safety come first.

If you are at potential risk for asbestos exposure after a water damage event, don’t take chances. Call upon the experts at RCS in Sonoma County for help to assess, address and safely restore your property without the hidden health and safety risks of asbestos.

downspout from gutter

How Gutters and Downspouts Help Prevent Water Damage

Water damage is one of the worst things you can experience as a homeowner.

One means of protection from the damage water can do to both the interior and exterior of your home are gutters and rainspouts.

Here’s what they can do for you.

Prevent Flooding and Water Damage

Gutters and downspouts catch and re-direct water away from your home, which is especially important during periods of heavy rainfall.

If you have a basement in a house without gutters and downspouts, the odds of you experiencing flooding or water damage increase.

If you see water seeping into the basement or notice wet floors after a storm, it’s time to figure out what is causing water to seep into your basement.

Seeping water is a problem because it’s very likely that there are areas you can’t see where the floors remain wet and never dry out. These areas include dark corners or areas hidden behind stored items.

If you are unfortunate enough to have more than wet floors and there’s standing water, it’s time to call in a professional to dry up, sanitize, find and fix the source of the water.

Erosion Control

Excessive amounts of water erodes the soil around the foundation of your home, meant to slope water away from the home.

Once the soil erodes away, there’s nothing to stop water from pooling around your foundation, increasing the odds of damage or flooding.

Gutters and downspouts keep erosion control measures around your home safe.

Prevent Foundation Damage

Without gutters and downspouts directing water away from the foundation of your home, water settles into the ground right next to it.

Over time, this excessive water will crack the foundation and even more water will get inside, increasing the odds of flooding, standing water, mold and other home damaging issues.

Eventually, this damage comprises the foundation of your home.

In Sonoma County where winter means extra rainy conditions, make it a priority to install gutters and downspouts on your home.


When water seeps into your home in places you can’t find, the potential for mold runs high.

Keep in mind that water can get into your home through cracks in the foundation or even basement windows, especially if you don’t have gutters and downspouts to keep the water away from your home.

It won’t take long for wet areas or stored items in the basement to grow mold. The mildew smell is a giveaway that there are wet areas covered in mold.

If you can’t find the mold, call in a professional mold remediation company to resolve the problem.

Insect Infestations

Without gutters and downspouts at work, water collects and sits all around the foundation of your home.

Standing water located near the foundation has little chance to dry out or be redirected to an area where the sun dries it up or where it can be absorbed into dry ground.

Not only does standing water negatively affect the foundation, but it also creates an environment which attracts and breeding grounds for mosquitos and other insects.

No matter if you treat the area with insecticide, the standing water will keep attracting these insects and you’ll find yourself with a potential infestation.

These insects find ways to enter your home through cracks in the windows or foundation walls.

Exterior Damage

Gutters and downspouts prevent water from damaging the exterior of your home depending on what type of siding or exterior finish you have.

Water stains cause siding stains, paint damage or wood on the exterior to rot.

In addition to the aesthetic unappeal, it’s going to cost more money to re-paint the house, replace siding or wood around windows or other places on your home.


While installing gutters and downspouts requires an investment, they prevent damage to your home and save you money in the long run.

It’s important to repair or replace existing gutters and downspouts because if they are installed improperly or are failing, they can pull away from the home and cause damage in other areas.

If it’s too late to avoid a water damage issue, call the experts at RCS in Santa Rosa, CA. We are here to help with your water damage, flooding or mold remediation needs.