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Types of Smoke

9/27/2023 (Permalink)

Types of Smoke

When a fire impacts your residence or business, it goes beyond the immediate charring caused by flames. Lingering smoke can lead to various issues that persist for weeks after the disaster. We will be addressing the four common types of smoke damage that are each caused by different circumstances like the temperature, fueling material, and location. The restoration process may vary slightly due to these factors.

  1. Wet Smoke

Wet smoke damage arises from low-heat and smoldering flames often involving the burning of plastic and rubber materials. These fires produce thick black smoke with less visible flames. Wet smoke residue is sticky and dense easily covering surfaces. These factors make it prone to smearing during cleaning, making it challenging to remove without specialized equipment.

  1. Dry Smoke

Dry smoke results from fast-burning, high temperate fires typically fueled by materials like paper or wood. Dry smoke has a powdery texture making it relatively easy to clean as it doesn’t smear when wiped. However, dry smoke can infiltrate cracks and porous materials, causing a smoky odor to linger even when surfaces appear clean. Fortunately, the odor is not as pungent as other residues and professionals can effectively eliminate it.

  1. Protein Residue

Protein residue forms when organic matter evaporates during low-heat fires, often caused by cooking accidents. It’s nearly invisible, leaving no noticeable soot or streaks, but it can permanently discolor finished surfaces. Despite being hard to spot, the intense and unpleasant odor can permeate your entire space if left untreated.

  1. Oil/Fuel Residue

Oil/Fuel reside, also known as petroleum residue, is less common in homes and business fires unless petroleum products were stored on site. Furnace “puffbacks” can also release smoke and soot into the surroundings, leading to fuel residue damage even without an actual fire. This type of residue is sticky, dense, and challenging to clean, with a strong, offensive odor that can ruin upholstered furniture if not promptly addressed.

Restoring Smoke Damage

Addressing smoke damage involves three main approaches: cleaning, resurfacing, and replacing. In cases of smaller fires with minimal damage, we aim to restore your space by eliminating smoke reside from existing items to avoid costly replacements. In extreme cases where the damage is more extensive, we may need to replace all items affected by the fire and smoke. This is a costly last-resort solution. The sooner you seek professional assistance after a fire, the lower the likelihood of requiring a full replacement. At SERVPRO® we are equipped to handle all your smoke damage needs. We have highly trained professionals at the ready with our top-of-the-line professional cleaning products to restore your home and make “like it never even happened.”

Household Odors

9/26/2023 (Permalink)

Finding and eliminating household odors, tips from the Arroyo Grande water damage specialists

There are many causes of household odors. Even the most diligent housekeeper is occasionally faced with a persistent odor. Most common odors such as cooking smells, that dusty odor from a house or room being closed up too long, or the leftover food in the refrigerator that turned into a science experiment can be eliminated with good cleaning and ventilation. When odors are difficult to eliminate, it’s time to call the experts from SERVPRO® of Pismo Beach / Arroyo Grande

The most common household odors include:

  • A trash can that needs to be cleaned.
  • Laundry odors.
  • A garbage disposal that needs to be freshened up.
  • Pet odors.
  • Cooking and food odors.
  • Spills on carpet or upholstery that have sat too long.
  • Ash and soot smell from the fireplace.
  • Smoking odors.
  • Home and individual rooms are not ventilated enough.

When removing the source of the odor, cleaning and opening the windows for ventilation don’t get rid of the smell in a day or two, there is probably something else causing the odor. Certain kinds of smells are difficult, if not impossible to remove with regular household cleaners. Those include:

  • Pet urine.
  • A skunk got under the house.
  • Mold and mildew from water damage.
  • Odors released from organic materials due to water damage.
  • Odors from a kitchen or other fire.
  • Sewage smells.
  • Smells associated with illness or a trauma scene.

These are situations that require deep cleaning with specialized equipment and procedures, and the Arroyo Grande water damage restoration team from SERVPRO has the training and experience to clean the affected areas and permanently remove the associated odors.

Smoke, urine, skunk spray, water damage and mold, odors from fires, water damage, sewage overflows and trauma scenes permeate organic materials that are used to construct and furnish any building. The chemical makeup of soot and ash, skunk spray, cigarette smoke and bodily fluids cling to fibers in carpets, curtains, upholstery and sticks on walls and woodwork. Advanced industrial-strength equipment and cleaning solutions are needed to permanently remove these odors. Further cleaning up a sewage spill or a trauma scene requires specialized biohazard handling because these areas are also contaminated with pathogens that can be harmful.

The first step to removing odors is to remove the source of the odor and remove all water and moisture when water is present, followed by thoroughly drying the area. Water damage is a common factor at the root of many odors and making sure the area is completely dry before proceeding with the next steps is critical.

The Arroyo Grande water damage team uses industrial-level pumps, drying and dehumidifying equipment to make sure the area is dry before starting the cleaning, deodorizing and restoration stages.

  • Personal property such as furniture, clothing and carpets are repaired, cleaned and deodorized with professional-grade cleaning and sanitizing agents. Damaged property that can’t be repaired is removed and properly disposed of with guidance from the owner and the insurance adjuster.
  • The final step, restoration, is the process of restoring the home or business to its pre-damaged condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall and installing new carpet, or may entail major repairs, such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

From a single source of an odor such as a skunk under the house, pet odors, or cigarette smoke to a catastrophic event that leaves pathogens or water damage behind, the locally-owned and operated SERVPRO of Pismo Beach / Arroyo Grande is the company to call.

Team members receive regular training and continued education. Technicians are trained and certified in Water Damage Restoration, Applied Structural Drying, Fire and Smoke Restoration and Commercial Drying, and more. The company is dedicated to restoring your home or business quickly so your life can return to normal as soon as possible. 

Steps to Take After a House Fire

9/20/2023 (Permalink)

Steps to Take After a House Fire

According to the Red Cross, a staggering 80% of Americans remain unaware that small house fires rank as the most common disaster in the United States. Following the experience of a house fire you can be faced with a multitude of challenges, leaving you uncertain about your next steps. We have created this comprehensive checklist to assist you in navigating the aftermath of a house fire.

  1. Contact Family

In the moment it is easy to be overwhelmed, although this may seem like an obvious step this one is of the most importance. The first thing you will want to do is contact your family or anyone who may live in the home along with you. This is to both ensure that everyone in your household is accounted for, as well as to notify your family of the current situation. You may also reach out to local family or friends as you will need a strong support system during these difficult times.

If you are renting your property, the next step will be to contact the property management or homeowner immediately. The homeowners will need to be informed as they are the ones who will need to make the decisions pertaining to the property itself. The quicker the owner is informed the sooner they can begin the recovery process.

  1. Inform Insurance

Second to contacting your family, contacting your insurance company will be the most important call you make. This call will begin the claim process, this will act as your first documentation of your loss. You will also need to obtain a copy of the fire report from your local fire department, to submit to your insurance company. Your insurance company can assist you in the next crucial steps like finding emergency accommodation for your family and help with living expenses.

  1. Gaining Entry to your Home

The Fire Department will need to assess the damage and determine if the home is structurally sound. Do not enter the home until the fire department has given you authorization as there can be lingering issues. There are many factors that can be potentially harmful to you and your health in the aftermath of a fire. The two most common are structural damage to the roof and floors that can cause them to collapse and smoke or soot inhalation that can be harmful to your lungs. Keep in mind if your home is deemed inaccessible you may not be able to enter at all without putting yourself at risk of injury.

  1. Inventory your Possessions.

Once you are allowed reentry into your home, you will need to make a list of damaged and lost possessions. Separating the damaged items from the undamaged item will allow you to create a list to be submitted to your insurance company. Any receipts or bank statements you may have for your possessions will be helpful to submit along with the list of items. The more information you supply your insurance company the easier it will be to process your claim.

  1. Determine what can be Salvaged

When you think of a fire you may automatically think of it as a total loss situation. However, depending on the magnitude of the fire there may be items that can be salvageable. Clothes and curtains, as long as they did not catch fire, can be saved. As these items are washable, they can simply be machine washed and reused. The most resilient items happen to be hard nonporous items, such as glass and metal, they often can be cleaned and reused after a fire. Although there are items like upholstery and books that are more difficult to save. These items may require professional content cleaning to remove smoke and soot damage.

  1. Fire Remediation

The next steps for your insurance claim will be to evaluate the severity of the loss. Your insurance company will bring in an expert in fire, smoke, and water damage to assess the loss and begin the mitigation process. The restoration team will work diligently to treat the affected burn areas, as well as working swiftly to protect your home from potential water damage caused by the water used to extinguish the fire. The mitigation process will need to begin as soon as possible to be the most effective at saving the integrity of your home. 

  1. Rebuild and Restore

Life after a house fire can be difficult, there is going to be a lot of change happening. The important thing is to have a trusted restoration team helping you along the way. This will include a specialized team working to secure your belongings. They will pack up any contents that are not affected and store them safely. As well as arranging any cleaning of smoke damaged items like carpets and furniture. After salvageable items are removed the remediation process begins, the team will remove burnt debris, and begin the process of removing the odor caused by smoke damage to the home. Once that process is complete, they can begin to rebuild and repair your home.

When disaster strikes your home, it is important to stay calm and remember this checklist. There are many decisions to be made and your restoration team will be ready to help you throughout the process. They will work together with you and your insurance company to properly restore and rebuild your home. Giving you the peace of mind to carry on with your life and let the professionals bring your home back to its original glory.  

A Water Damage Restoration Checklist For Storms

8/22/2022 (Permalink)

Unfortunately, life here isn’t without its potential problems, among them water damage from storms. With a sudden storm, water can build up quickly and cause plenty of damage to your home or business.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Pismo Beach/ Arroyo Grande are prepared to handle any water related emergency from any kind of storm with operators standing by to take your call 24/7.

Once we’re on hand, we’ll proceed through our thorough water damage restoration process, following a specific Water Damage checklist for storms to make sure all the bases are covered:

  1. Identify the Source and Type of Water – First and foremost, we’ll check for the source of moisture and make sure it’s stopped. We’ll also determine the type of water involved, either clean, gray or black, as the level of contamination can dictate the specific restoration process that’s required.

  2. Survey the Extent of Damage and Inspect Premises – Before beginning the restoration we’ll perform a thorough inspection to determine the extent of the damage and identify any safety issues.

  3. Identify Signs of Mold Growth – Mold can be a side effect of water damage. We’ll check for odors, musty smells and any other signs of mold growth and perform complete mold remediation.

  4. Move and Block Furniture – We’ll move any furniture out of the way and block items to prevent rust or furniture stains on wet carpet.

  5. Remove Standing Water – We’ll begin the restoration by using submersible pumps and industrial strength wet/dry vacs to remove standing water.

  6. Check Carpet Pads, Carpeting, Floors and Walls - We carefully inspect all carpet pads, carpeting, flooring and walls to see if any materials should be removed.

  7. Apply Deodorizer or Disinfectant Treatments – Our process includes the use of deodorizers and EPA-registered disinfectants as antimicrobial treatments.

  8. Dispose of Damaged Materials – If anything is deemed unsalvageable by you or your adjuster, we will see that it is safely removed and disposed.

  9. Measure Temperature/Humidity Levels – Throughout the process we will monitor temperature and humidity levels to enable proper drying.

  10. Thoroughly Dry – Finally, we employ industrial strength air movers and dehumidifiers to remove all moisture from surfaces and the air.

When water damage occurs from a storm or otherwise, it can be devastating if you don’t act fast. That’s why your first call should be to SERVPRO of Pismo Beach/ Arroyo Grande. We’re guaranteed to respond faster to any disaster and we won’t finish the job until we know you’re satisfied.

We’re part of the local community ourselves and we’re proud to serve our neighbors with the professional quality work that they expect because that’s what we’d want for our own property.

So don’t despair, call SERVPRO of Pismo Beach Arroyo Grande and we’ll help you put the pieces together again.

How the Pros Handle Fire Restoration

8/22/2022 (Permalink)

It's hard to imagine any disaster in your building being more devastating than a fire. This incident can destroy your office and take your belongings with it. While your first concern should be for your safety and the well-being of everyone in the facility, you should then turn your attention to fire restoration. Professional crews can help rebuild your building and salvage your possessions.

Your Initial Responsibilities

If a fire starts in your office, you should immediately call 911 and evacuate the premises. Do not take the time to gather any belongings. Make sure everyone gets out safely and then do the following:

  • Call a professional fire restoration company.
  • Contact your insurance company and file a claim.
  • Stay out of the area until cleanup professionals tell you it's safe to return.

Smoke Cleanup
While the flames can destroy any materials in their path, smoke can have detrimental effects as well. The first part of the fire rebuild is to remove the soot and ash from the building. This includes cleaning all surfaces and belongings such as electronics, furniture, documents, and clothing. Crews in Pismo Beach/ Arroyo Grande will use dry-cleaning methods to save damaged items.

When the cleanup ream can't salvage items in your office, technicians must tear them out and remove them from the structure. This will enable rebuilding services to start the restoration process.

Water Removal
Firefighters use a lot of water to put out the blaze. The cleanup company must extract all water from the facility and thoroughly dry the area. The team will also disinfect any parts of the building where there was water. This will keep mold from appearing and spreading.

Tarping, Board-up and Rebuilding

Next, the technicians will board up windows and doors to protect the home from looting and further damage. Crews will place tarps over roof gaps and damage. This will keep out the elements. Lastly, the company will start rebuilding the building so you can return.
Fire restoration can be a lengthy process. Trust the professionals to handle these duties.

Why SERVPRO is the Trusted Choice for Fire Damage Restoration

8/22/2022 (Permalink)

Full-Service Fire Damage Mitigation and Cleanup in PISMO BEACH/ ARROYO GRANDE Are Why SERVPRO Must Be Your Call

The aftermath of a fire is a cleaning and deodorizing challenge like none other in Pismo Beach/ Arroyo Grande. Fortunately, most homeowners never are forced to rise to the test, but if you and your family find yourselves facing the smoke, soot, odor, and debris, professional help is available. Fire results in incredibly toxic, corrosive, and it is challenging to remove soiling and highly pungent odors, why we invest in comprehensive training in the restoration industry best practices for our technicians. 

Containment to Preserve Air Quality 

One strategy we use to attack the many ways fire damage affects your Pismo Beach/ Arroyo Grande home is to contain the affected area. Preventing drift of the smoke and soot is crucial. Otherwise, every surface and space in your home can attract soot and smells. Using 6 mil polyethylene barriers and sealing the perimeter of the fire damage abatement workspace not only keeps residues in check, but it is also a practical step to control odors. Forcing contaminants through HEPA filters and venting to the outdoors is also useful and why we use negative pressure air scrubbers. 

Matching Cleaners and Techniques to Particular Soils 

Three principle types of soot present in household fires -- dry and ashy, thick and wet, and protein-based. Each has preferred methods for removal, based on research and success in the field. If the evaluation of the residues in your home is incomplete or erroneous, efforts taken to clean soot away can instead cause smearing or staining. This concern is why SERVPRO ensures our assessors are up to date on their Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) training. 

Employing Innovative Technology to Fire Damage-Based Odor 

If thorough cleaning of the air and surfaces does not result in the elimination of smoky odors, we consider other options. The tiny particles of soot that carry the smells can hide in crevices and even in HVAC systems. Using masking agents is an option, but is not acceptable as a long term option. This struggle is why SERVPRO explores other options like thermal fogging, ozone machines, or hydroxyl generators for odor removal. Alterations in the chemical composition of the odor-bearing soot neutralize the smell.  

World-class training and investment in advanced equipment are why SERVPRO of Pismo Beach/Arroyo Grande responds to fire damage with assurance and delivers fast and successful results. Call round the clock at 805-473-0772 for a rapid assessment and restoration plan based on best practices.

Extent of Water Damage

8/18/2022 (Permalink)

When a homeowner deals with a water loss, its often a surprise to the customer the extent of damage that is caused. SERVPRO of Pismo Beach/ Arroyo Grande will come to the home, evaluate the damage, and begin the dry out process and repairs. Our crews often must remove dry wall due to damaged installation, we might have to remove flooring, furniture, essentially anything that is affect by the water. 

It’s important to have SERVPRO to come out to evaluate the home to find how much the water spread, and what needs to be done to properly get your home back to normal! Our production leaders have top of the line equipment, to test areas that are wet, and they can see what has been affected. Our SERVPRO crews are educated and trained to know how to handle each home depending on the job.

Commercial Water Damage

8/18/2022 (Permalink)

COMMERCIAL Water Damage: Regardless of the cause, when catastrophe strikes a commercial property, the damages can be crippling to a business and even bring operations to a complete halt. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost productivity and revenue.  SERVPRO has highly trained technicians that are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to mitigate the damages properly and efficiently. 

Ask about SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Plan (ERP), a useful tool to prepare a business for the "worst-case scenario".  The ERP is a data collection source, storing all your important and vital information such as where to find shut off valves for both water and gas, where electrical panels are located and who to contact in the event of an emergency.  This information is compiled into one neat folder and is ready for anyone in your business to use in one place at your fingertips.

Commercial Damage

8/17/2022 (Permalink)

Whatever may be the cause, when catastrophe strikes a Pismo Beach/ Arroyo Grande commercial business, the damages can be crippling and put the day-to-day operations to a halt. Every hour spent cleaning is an hour loss of productivity and revenue. Let SERVPRO of Pismo Beach/ Arroyo Grande help you! We have highly trained professional technicians here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year available to mitigate the damages properly and efficiently. Our crews our certified and know the best techniques for restoration! 

SERVPRO also offers the Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) a useful tool used to prepare a business for the "worst case scenario." The ERP data is a collection source of all the most important phone numbers, and information you would need in the case of an emergency.

Fire Aftermath

8/17/2022 (Permalink)

A house fire can be one of the worst experiences someone could go through. After the flames are put out is when SERVPRO of Pismo Beach/ Arroyo Grande can step in and help you! One major causes of damage is smoke and soot. Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.