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Tag Archives: Water Damage

women looking at hole in wall

Restoring Valuables After Water Damage

One of the most heartbreaking things about water damage is how it damages or destroys precious mementos and valuables.

Here are things you can do in an effort to save your valuables.

Identify the Water

First, figure out what kind of water caused the damage. Try to determine whether it is dirty, salty, or sewage, which contains toxic chemicals and other biohazard risks.

If your items come in contact with toxins, check with a water damage professional as to how to manage restoration.

Lower humidity levels in the space with a dehumidifier as soon as possible

Salvaging Valuable Items

Here are some more great suggestions from FEMA as to how to salvage your irreplaceable items.


It’s not always possible to save each and every damaged item. If an item has been exposed to toxic water, it may be in your best interest to let it go.

If there are a lot of damaged valuables, decide which ones you absolutely must have and those you are capable of letting go.

Use a Gentle Touch

  • Handle water-soaked items with great care.
  • Remove wet photos from frames or albums.
  • Clean photos with a clean water rinse, then dry on paper towel or hang on a line with plastic clothespins.
  • Remove paintings and pictures from frames.
  • Place paper towel sheets sporadically in between wet book pages.

Soft Cloths and Brushes

  • Lightly and gently wipe any dirt from items with soft cloths and/or brushes.
  • Never rub dirt away as this will grind it further into the items.

Air Dry

  • Air drying is best because the less you handle saturated items, the better the chance of salvaging them. This is especially true with paper or photos.
  • Protect the images in photos from contact with any other surfaces while air drying.
  • Set up a designated indoor drying area to keep items away from heat and sunlight, which could cause further damage.
  • Ramp up the drying process with fans and dehumidifiers.

Store items you can’t get to within 48 hours into the freezer to prevent mold, ink from running or dye transfer.

Freeze items such as photos, books, or other papers for cleanup at a later time.


Dealing with water damage cleanup can be overwhelming and take a good deal of time. But in the end, the potential of salvaging meaningful valuables is well worth the time and effort.

In Santa Rosa, RCS is here to take care of all your water damage cleanup and restoration needs.


commercial dehumidifier in room

The Importance of Dehumidifiers in Water Restoration Process

After any kind of flooding or water damage incident, the affected areas may look nice and dry to the naked eye. Don’t be fooled.

Water soaks into floors, carpeting, drywall, wood, and other porous surfaces like a sponge. What may appear dry may be hiding a good amount of water that you can’t see.

Here’s how dehumidifiers help dry out the water you can’t see.

Undetected Water Damage

The damage from undetected water can spell disaster for a homeowner.

After drying up standing water, there is secondary water damage to deal with. Secondary water damage causes wood to warp or rot, mold to grow and leaves behind a very strong musty odor. In addition, it compromises structural integrity.

When a strong musty odor sets in, it’s very difficult to remove and is a telltale sign that mold is present.

Mold has been proven to cause health issues like runny eyes, sneezing, and other allergic reactions. For anyone suffering with a compromised immune systems or upper respiratory tract, mold presents a serious health risk.

The Drying Power of Dehumidifiers

A dehumidifier is one of the best tools to combat visible, undetected, and secondary water damage. It dries up residual moisture leaving your space thoroughly dry.

Dehumidifiers also go to work drying up hard-to-reach areas that are more difficult to access manually.

They are excellent for use in counteracting excessive humidity levels in your home left behind by a flooding event. High humidity levels create an environment that’s ideal for mold to set in, grow and spread.

Dehumidifiers vs. Fans

While water damage restoration technicians are likely to use both dehumidifiers and fans, there are distinct advantages to using a dehumidifier.


  • While fans help with the drying process, they also circulate highly humid moist air throughout the water damaged space.
  • The features of fans are limited. You can only adjust the height, tilt, turn the air on high or set to oscillate.


  • A dehumidifier purposely removes moisture from the air. Removal of moisture and humidity is key to speeding up the drying process.
  • Dehumidifiers come in all sizes, which you can customize for either a small or large room.
  • More customized settings to choose from to run continuously, select running time, program running option for type/size of room, take advantage of the auto re-start feature or display humidity levels.


A dehumidifier is one of the best investments you can make after a water damage event. If you are fortunate enough to never experience flooding, a dehumidifier is still useful to consistently keep humidity levels down and comfort levels up.

If you need help drying out and cleaning up after water damage, the experts at RCS are available 24/7. For professional restoration services, call today.


raining wet ground

Protecting Your Home After Heavy Rain Damage

Sometimes, when it rains, it pours. When it does, your home is at risk for serious damage from heavy rains and flooding.

Here’s what you need to know about the potential for extensive water damage after heavy rains or a flood.

Potential Damage

No matter if it’s just enough water to cover a floor or several inches of standing water in your home, here are some things that can be damaged after heavy rains:

  • Foundation
  • HVAC system
  • Water Heater
  • Walls
  • Doors
  • Floors (wood, tile or carpeting)
  • Personal property

Standing water at ground level damages areas and items kept in the basement, in addition to items in a shed, crawlspace or garage.

While this damage certainly presents dangers to your home and its value, it puts your health and safety in danger as well.

Structural Damage

Unless the water resulting from heavy rains or flooding is removed immediately and completely, you may experience on-going issues and further dangerous or costly repairs.

Water damage behind drywall causes wood rot, damage to wall studs and cracked, crumbling walls.

Water that has soaked metal components leads to rust, which compromises both the strength and integrity of any metal structure and support.

Active mold isn’t picky about where it grows. It eats away any and all structural components, making them weak and ultimately failing. Over time, unchecked active mold can be more destructive to a home’s structure than the initial heavy rain or flooding damage itself.

In addition to water removal, it’s also important to dry and sanitize any areas affected by water damage from heavy rains or flooding.

Health Risks

Residual moisture left after heavy rains not only produces mold and mildew, but also promotes the growth of harmful bacteria and becomes a breeding ground for bugs and insects.

Any items in the lower level, especially water-soaked carpeting and furniture, needs to be thoroughly dried, cleaned, and sanitized or simply replaced before it’s safe to use again.

Otherwise, breathing in black mold, mold spores, bacteria or exposure to insect droppings may cause serious health lung or breathing complications. This is especially true for elderly or very young residents of the home.

Safety Risks

Water can damage appliances typically kept in the lower level such as the water heater, water softener, refrigerator, freezer, washer, and dryer. One of the more expensive things water can damage is your HVAC system.

Because water and electricity do not mix, standing water can negatively affect your entire electrical system by causing sparking, shorts in the circuitry and/or damaged outlets.

There is a danger of electrical shock if you touch electrical wiring or breakers while standing in a heavily water-soaked area.


If you’ve been a victim of flooding or heavy rain damage, don’t take any chances with your home, health, and overall safety.

In Sonoma Valley, call the water and mold removal experts at RCS. We have the experience and tools to restore your home quickly and safely to its pre-flood condition.

rain on deck

Three Types of Common Water Damage

We all know water is to be avoided at all costs when it comes to home maintenance. Water and moisture can do immense amounts of damage to all types of building materials over time, with wood being particularly susceptible to its damaging effects.

As a property owner, you should be aware of three common sources of water intrusion harmful to your property.

  1. Water can penetrate your home during storms with wind-driven rain. 
  2. Floods from local water sources and rapid rainfall. 
  3. Internal plumbing leaks and burst pipes.

Each of these three sources has its own playbook for dealing with them.

Rain is inevitable, and you’re going to have to deal with water coming down onto your roof, trying to get in through the ceiling and coming in through the windows and siding via wind. After a storm, do a check of ceilings and walls near the ceiling, door and window for water leaks. 

If you get a lot of rain in a short period of time, it can cause localized “flooding” on your property. Make sure the ground is properly graded to give run-off water somewhere to go away from your home. If your property is perfectly flat or the grade runs towards your house, water will pool around your foundation, eventually leading to problems. 

If you own a home in an area highly prone to flooding, make sure you have a flood plan and all the appropriate insurance information you need in the event of a flood. It’s hard to mitigate and prepare for a flood of the Russian River, so make sure you pay attention to local codes and regulations, which are usually crafted to help residents deal with such issues.

Do an annual check-up each year on the plumbing throughout your home. Pay close attention to connections and junctions and look for evidence of slow leaks – like mineral trails or buildups that may or may not also be wet. Evidence of slow drip patterns can also provide hints to a slow-growing problem. It’s always a good idea to make friends with a plumber you can trust.

In the event water does manage to make it into your home, we are here and ready to help. Whether you’re looking at minor or extensive damage, RCS Cares specialize in water damage recovery and can help you get your property back to normal as soon as possible. Contact us at 707-570-0555 to talk about your project today.

wall with cracks

Why a Cracked Foundation is Dangerous

Even in the most solidly built home, there may eventually come a day when you notice small cracks in the foundation.

Maybe there is water leaking in or unfortunately, a musty, moldy smell permeates into everything stored in the basement.

Those seemingly innocent small cracks can lead to bigger and in some cases, dangerous conditions.

When Cracks Need Professional Attention

Minor hairline cracks in the foundation may not be a big deal. As long as they don’t become larger or start spreading to other areas.

Typically, once a crack becomes larger than 1/16 of an inch is the time to call for inspection and repair. Once the cracks become larger, it means the potential for more extensive and expensive damage may be right around the corner. A professional inspection will let you know for sure.
The danger of large cracks is that eventually, they can cause the concrete foundation to begin crumbling and deteriorating. The larger the crack, particularly if forming at an angle, the potential for damage to your foundation increases.

Cracks can also allow the foundation to shift. When shifting begins, you’ll have a harder time opening and closing doors and windows because the structure of your foundation has been compromised.

Potential for Water Damage

You don’t have to be a foundation repair expert to know that where there are cracks, there is the potential for moisture and water to seep into your home.

After a heavy rain, you may notice the basement is damp or even flooded depending on the foundation damage.

If left unchecked, excessive water causes a lot of damage to foundations. Water weakens foundation walls which may result in bulging, further cracking or even buckling.


On top of that, where there is excessive moisture, dampness and water, there is an increased potential for mold.

While mold can be extremely dangerous for those with respiratory issues, it is also extremely damaging to your home.

From carpeting to furniture to personal belongings, once mold begins growing on these items, they will be destroyed unless properly dried, cleaned, and disinfected.

Mold also wreaks havoc on a home’s structural components, eating away at wood and corroding metal.

Active mold releases airborne mold spores especially when disturbed. These mold spores can spread throughout your home settling into places you can’t even see such as in foundation cracks/gaps, behind drywall, above ceilings, and under floors.

Professional Inspections and Repair

You don’t want your home placed in danger because you ignored what you thought was a small crack in the foundation.

The best course of action is to call a professional to inspect and analyze the situation. They can repair existing damage, offer solutions to divert water and help prevent future damage to your home.

Since it doesn’t take long for mold to set in and spread, the next call is to a professional mold remediation company, who can identify all sources of mold and properly remediate the situation.

Professional mold remediation restores the integrity of places in your basement where mold has already taken root and eliminates the spread. Not only does this save your home from the damaging effects of mold but restores air quality and eases health symptoms.


These are some of the reasons why a cracked foundation is dangerous.

For the all-too-common mold that goes along with foundation and water damage, reach out to a professional remediation company to get rid of destructive mold before it takes over.

In Santa Rosa and surrounding areas in Sonoma County, schedule an appointment with RCS. Our mold remediation specialists can thoroughly inspect and remediate mold in your home caused by foundation damage and more.

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.