Recent Posts

Identifying and Dealing with Black Mold: What You Need to Know

6/8/2023 (Permalink)

mold under wall covering Mold can be dangerous, give SERVPRO a call for professional help.

Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, is a type of mold that can pose a serious issue if left untreated. It thrives in environments with excessive moisture, such as damp basements, bathrooms, or areas affected by water leaks or flooding. Black mold appears black or dark green and typically has a slimy texture.  Additionally, prolonged exposure to black mold can damage surfaces, including walls, ceilings, and furniture. Prompt detection, proper remediation, and addressing the underlying moisture issue are crucial in preventing the spread of black mold and maintaining a healthy indoor environment. Mold can be found in homes, schools, and other buildings with moisture problems. Black mold is known for its dark, black or greenish-black color and its slimy, wet texture.

Characteristics of Mold

One of the most noticeable characteristics of black mold is its color. As the name suggests, black mold is typically black or dark green in color. It can also appear as a slimy, wet texture, especially when it's growing on a damp surface. This is because black mold requires moisture to grow and thrive.


Another way to identify black mold is by its appearance. Black mold often appears as small, dark spots or patches that can spread quickly if left unchecked. These spots or patches may have a fuzzy or velvety texture, and can grow in clusters or spread out across a surface.


In addition to its color and appearance, black mold may also emit a strong, musty odor. This odor is often described as similar to the smell of damp or wet earth, and may be particularly noticeable in areas with high humidity or moisture levels.

It's important to note that not all mold that appears black is black mold. Other types of mold can also appear black in color, such as Aspergillus and Penicillium. However, black mold is generally considered more toxic and dangerous to human health than other types of mold.

If you suspect that you have black mold in your home, it's important to take action as soon as possible. To identify and remove black mold, it's recommended to seek the help of a professional mold remediation service. These professionals have the tools and expertise needed to safely remove black mold from your home, while minimizing the risk of exposure and contamination.

In conclusion, black mold is a dangerous type of mold that can pose a serious issue if left untreated. It's known for its dark, black or greenish-black color, slimy texture, and musty odor. If you suspect that you have black mold in your home, it's important to take action immediately to minimize the risk of health problems and ensure that your home is safe and healthy. SERVPRO has the experience and expertise to remove mold and mildew from your property.

Fire Damage to Your Roof? Here's What to Do Next to Protect Your Home

4/5/2023 (Permalink)

house fire damage If your home suffers from a fire loss, give SERVPRO a call

A fire can be one of the most destructive events that can happen to a home. Not only can it cause physical damage to the property, but it can also leave the homeowner feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. If your roof has been damaged in a fire, it's important to act quickly to ensure the safety of your home and your family.

Here are the steps you should take if your roof is damaged in a fire:

Contact Insurance Company

The first thing you should do is contact your insurance company. They will be able to guide you through the process of filing a claim and help you understand what is covered by your policy. Be sure to document the damage with photographs or videos to support your claim.

Secure the property

After a fire, the roof of your home may be compromised, leaving it vulnerable to further damage from the elements. It's important to secure the property by covering any holes or openings in the roof with a tarp or other temporary covering. This will prevent rain, snow, or debris from entering your home and causing further damage.

Hire a professional contractor

While it may be tempting to try to fix the damage yourself, it's important to hire a professional contractor with experience in fire damage repair. They will be able to assess the damage and provide you with a detailed plan for repairing your roof. Make sure to get multiple quotes and check references before choosing a contractor.

Remove any Debris

If there is debris on your roof, it's important to have it removed as soon as possible. This can include fallen tree branches, shingles, or other materials that may have been damaged in the fire. Leaving debris on your roof can lead to further damage or even injury to those living in the home.

Sometimes the damage to your roof may not be immediately visible. It's important to check for hidden damage, such as weakened or damaged supports, that could cause further problems down the line. A professional contractor will be able to identify and repair any hidden damage.

In conclusion, if your roof has been damaged in a fire, it's important to act quickly and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your home and your family. Contact your insurance company, secure the property, hire a professional contractor, remove any debris, and check for hidden damage. With these steps, you can start the process of repairing your roof and getting your life back to normal.

How do I flush a water heater?

3/8/2023 (Permalink)

broken water heater Regular water heater maintenance is important to keep your device in good working condition.

Flushing your water heater is an easy and inexpensive way to improve its performance and extend its life. This can help prevent water damage to your home or business.

Flush the water heater.

Flushing the water heater is a simple process, but it's important to follow the right steps in order to get the most out of your efforts.

The first step is to turn off all faucets and drain any remaining water from pipes that can be drained. Do not drain hot water lines, as this could cause scalding injuries if you don't turn them off first or if they aren't accessible for flushing purposes. Next, open up access ports on top of your tank by removing caps or screws with an Allen wrench; these ports allow air into your tank so it can be properly cleaned out and flushed with fresh water during each cycle.

Once all caps are removed, use a garden hose connected directly into one of these ports--not through any faucet! This will ensure that no additional sediment gets sucked back into your home's pipes after flushing is complete because there won't be any pressure build-up inside those lines due to running water through them during flushing operations.

Turn off the water supply to the tank.

To flush a water heater, you'll need to turn off the water supply and power to it. To do this, turn off the water valve that connects your home's plumbing system with your hot water tank. This will stop any new cold water from entering into your tank and mixing with any hot water remaining inside of it.

Make sure there isn't any residual heat left in the tank by checking its temperature with an infrared thermometer. If there's still some residual warmth in there, wait until it cools down before proceeding with flushing out all remaining liquid through this process. The next step is critical, make sure that no one uses any hot showers or baths while you're flushing out all those contaminants.

Remove the Drain Valve.

Turn off the water supply to the tank. Remove the drain valve from the bottom of your water heater, then open it and let any remaining water in your tank drain into a bucket or other container.

How Often?

How often should I flush my water heater? If you have a gas water heater, flush it every 2-3 years. If possible, take advantage of flushing services offered by local plumbers or utility companies. If you have an electric water heater (which has no pilot light), flush it annually.

Flushing your water heater is a simple task that helps keep your hot water system in good working order. It's important to do this regularly so that you don't run into problems with your water heater or other parts of the system, such as pipes that may become clogged over time due to sediment buildup.

What does Water Extraction mean?

2/20/2023 (Permalink)

sand bags in front of building Sand bags can help prevent water from getting into your property.

Water extraction is a procedure that helps remove water from your home or business. The water can be in the form of flood damage, water loss in your home or business or secondary water damage from a fire loss. It's important for you to understand what the process entails and why it's necessary.

What is water extraction and why is it necessary?

What is water extraction? Water extraction is the removal of water that has entered a building. This can be caused by flood waters, broken or frozen pipes, or other situations where excess moisture has made its way inside the walls of your home or business. If you have ever had to move furniture out of a room because there was too much water coming in through the ceiling, you’re familiar with what happens when too much moisture collects inside your property and needs to be removed.

Water extraction services are necessary to prevent further damage to your home or business and could save you thousands of dollars if they aren’t done correctly by professionals who know exactly how much moisture is being removed from each area of your property.

When is water extraction necessary?

Water extraction is necessary when water damage is present. It's also necessary after the source of the water damage has been removed, if you want to make sure that no new moisture can enter your home from an outside source. It is necessary when the water damage has been contained and dried out completely so that no new moisture remains in your home or business.

Water extraction should be done by a professional once all other steps have been taken to stop further damage and prevent secondary damages. As soon as possible after a flood or major leak occurs, contact professionals who specialize in water removal services like SERVPRO of Santa Monica/ Venice Beach so we can help get rid of any excess wetness before it becomes an issue for you later down the road!

Water Extraction Process

Water extraction is the process of removing water from a structure. The removal of water is important as it helps prevent other disruptions in your home or business. Water damage restoration professionals use tools such as dehumidifiers, air movers and other water extraction devices to remove the moisture in your home or business after an event like heavy rainstorm or flooding.

Water Mitigation is the process by which damage caused by water intrusions are assessed, evaluated and repaired by specialists called mitigation companies. These professionals are available 24/7/365 to respond and begin assessing the damage to help put together a plan to get your home or business back to looking good again.

When does my business or home need water extraction?

If you're looking for a way to know when your business or home needs water extraction, here are some signs:

  • Visual evidence of flooding
  • Your basement is flooded and filled with mud and debris
  • You've noticed that your floors feel damp or even wet in places (once the flood waters have receded)

f you're unsure whether or not your property has been affected by flooding, it's best to call an expert. A professional will come out to inspect the damage and give you an estimate on how much repair work needs to be done. This will help with filing insurance claims and getting reimbursement from companies like FEMA if applicable. If you don't have insurance, then this step becomes even more important. It is important from a financial standpoint to begin remediation to help prevent damages and extended amounts of closure from your home or business.

Who can extract the water from my home or business?

Any professional water extraction service can help you. These include:

  • Water damage restoration companies, who specialize in removing excess moisture from your home or business and drying out the area using industrial-strength fans and dehumidifiers.
  • Water damage repair companies, who are certified to repair damaged furnaces, drywall, insulation and other building materials.
  • Water damage mitigation companies, whose experts are trained in identifying any signs of mold growth that may have occurred due to an untended flood or leaky pipe before it spreads throughout your property.

Water extraction is an important part of keeping your business or home dry. It’s also a great way to protect your belongings and ensure your personal safety. If you have water damage at your place of business or residence, it’s important that you contact someone who can help immediately. 

Preparing for Storms in Santa Monica

1/19/2023 (Permalink)

Fallen tree on a house. You can’t completely prevent a storm, but you can prepare for it and take steps to ensure your family will be safe.

As residents of coastal areas, we know that storms can be devastating. But not all storms are created equal: some can cause flooding while others could knock down trees or even cause power outages. It's important to know what to do in case of an emergency. Preparing for severe weather is essential for your safety and peace of mind. Here are some tips on how you can prepare yourself and your household for any weather event.

Check Your Drainage System

A problem in your drainage system can be caused by a blocked gutter or downpipe. If you have these issues, it's not just annoying—it can actually cause damage to your house.

You should check your whole drainage system before the rain starts so that you know if it needs any work done on it beforehand (like cleaning out tree roots). To avoid this problem:

  • Make sure your gutters are clean and clear. If they're full of leaves or debris, then water will keep building up until it overflows and causes problems for neighboring properties.
  • Check that all downpipes are clear of leaves and debris—if they aren't cleared out regularly, then water will build up inside them until eventually, it spills over onto other people's property.
  • Check that no branches have fallen into the gutter guards on top of each downpipe—they should be kept clear at all times so that they don't block any rainwater from draining away from your home.
  • Finally, don’t forget about those pesky trees! Never underestimate their ability to cause mayhem during heavy winds by toppling over onto power lines or smashing into windows!

Look to the Sky

You should prune back any trees or branches that may fall on your house or neighbors' houses. You can do this by yourself, but it will be safer if you have someone help you.

Consider Back-up Electricity

No matter how prepared you are for a storm, it will be difficult to stay that way without power. If you have the money and the space, installing a generator is your best option. Generators require less maintenance and can run on a variety of fuel types; however, their initial cost is higher because they require an engine and alternator.

Check Your Insurance Policy

One of the most important steps in preparing for storms is to check your insurance policy to see what is covered.

You may be shocked to find that some items are not covered by your policy, or you might have a deductible that needs to be paid before coverage kicks in. It's imperative that you know the ins and outs of your policy ahead of time.

You can’t completely prevent a storm, but you can prepare for it and take steps to ensure your family will be safe. By taking these steps now, you can be ready when severe weather arrives.

What Is Category 2 Water Damage?

12/1/2022 (Permalink)

Water damage on ceiling tile and mold growth Water damage on ceiling and mold growth

Water damage is a serious issue that can lead to mold, mildew and even structural damage. If you have water damage, it's important that you don't ignore it because if left untreated it could lead to more serious problems like structural damage. In this article we'll go over what category 2 water damage is and how to tell if you have it in your house so you can take preventative measures immediately!

What Is Category 2 Water Damage?

Category 2 water damage is also called gray water. It’s water that has been contaminated by sewage or septic waste. You may think that if you don’t see any visible signs of sewage, the damage isn’t as bad as it could be. But this isn't always the case. When it comes to category 2 water damage, you should always call a professional—even if you don't see any visible signs of sewage in your carpet or other surfaces right away.

Gray water can be caused by a burst pipe, a toilet overflow or even a backed up sewer line (the latter two are usually found in older homes). This type of category 2 damage often happens behind walls where there aren't many people to notice it until after the fact when the smoke detectors go off due to discoloration on the ceiling from mold growth which happened as soon as moisture got into those areas and started growing spores much faster than usual because there wasn't enough ventilation for them at all!

Category 2 water damage

Clean water is the kind you drink, cook with and bathe in. Gray water is dirty water that comes from things like sinks, tubs and washing machines. It can contain soap residue and other contaminants that damage your Santa Monica, CA home or belongings if not handled properly.

This type of damage usually occurs after a flood or leak in your home's plumbing system, but it can also be caused by flooding due to an overflowing toilet or sink.

How can I tell if the water is clean or gray?

You can tell if the water is clean or gray by how it looks.

If your water is clear, then it's clean and there's no need to worry about any of the dangers associated with gray waters. This type of water does not contain any dangerous additives like bleach or other chemicals that could be harmful for you and your family. If yours is clear, you are safe!

However, if yours has a milky white color to it, then that means that there may be some contaminants present in your home from either sewage backup or flooding caused by high winds during a storm surge (a storm surge occurs when hurricane winds blow against low-lying areas). When this happens, these contaminants will travel into your plumbing system causing damage along their way before finally filling up in places such as bathtubs and sinks with no place else to go except for outside through drains where homeowners might not notice until much later on down the line when they start seeing problems arise due to dirty water being flushed through pipes leading outwards towards other parts of town where people live happily unaware until they come back home one day only find out things weren't quite right when they see their house flooded...

How do I prevent gray water from happening?

To prevent gray water from happening in the first place, shut off the water supply to your home. Then, call a professional to come and assess your situation. After that, do not use any of the water until they have tested it and found that it is safe for use. This is because even though you might think that taking a shower will be okay (because what else are you going to do?), using water when there is sewage present can lead to contamination of other areas in your home.

Additionally, don't flush toilets or run any faucets until testing has been done. If you do use anything that contains electricity while there's still sewage around (like an appliance), make sure it's unplugged before doing so! Lastly—and this one should go without saying—don't clean up any messes with cleaning supplies unless instructed by a professional as well!

If you suspect you have sewage, or gray water in your house, call a professional immediately.

A professional, like those from SERVPRO of Santa Monica/Venice Beach, can help you determine what type of water damage you have and how best to proceed with the cleanup process. If sewage or gray water has been released into your home, a professional will be able to identify it and begin the clean-up process immediately. If left unattended for any length of time, this kind of damage can become extremely expensive and dangerous.

What Do I Do After a Pipe Break?

11/7/2022 (Permalink)

two green vans parked in front of a home When your property experiences a water damage disaster, you need to call our crew!

What Do To When a Pipe Bursts

Pipes break all the time, and they're not always a big deal. But when they are, it's important to know what to do quickly, and whom you should call. That's where we come in. SERVPRO of Santa Monica/Venice Beach is a local family-runs a business that has been helping residents just like you for many years. We know how much your home means to you and we want to help minimize your water damage as quickly as possible so we can get back to normal life again! Here are some common questions and tips related to what to do when a pipe bursts in your home or business. 

What is the most important thing to do after a pipe break?

If you have a pipe break, the most important thing to do is shut off the water supply. It may not be obvious where your main water line is located, but if you can't find it or need more information about shutting it off, call a professional.

Once you've done that, keep everyone out of the area and don't touch anything—it's always best to let professionals handle any potential hazards caused by flooding. In some cases (particularly when there are electrical wires involved), even using your phone could pose an additional risk because they emit radio waves that could cause sparking or short circuits in electrical equipment. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Shut Off the Water Supply

Shut off the main water valve so that you no longer have water being supplied to your home or business. If you have a well, shut it down. This will prevent contaminated water from entering your system and getting pumped into your home.

How do I find the right valve?

Once you’ve identified the pipe break, look for the water shutoff valve. It will be near the pipe break and marked with a tag or sign. The valve will likely be a lever, knob, or handle that is either on top of the pipe or underneath it.

How long do I have to wait for a SERVPRO technician to arrive?

The sooner you call, the faster a SERVPRO technician can arrive and begin cleaning up the damage. The longer you wait to report a leak, the more damage may happen.

SERVPRO has a 24/7 emergency response team ready to respond to any type of water damage. We will work around your schedule so that we don't cause any further delays in getting your home back to normal.

Can SERVPRO stop secondary damage from happening?

Yes! SERVPRO has the training and expertise to stop secondary damage from happening. Once they arrive on your Santa Monica, CA property, they will begin by assessing the situation and determining what caused the pipe break in order to determine how best to proceed. Once they have determined a plan of action, they will begin removing water from your premises so that you can safely clean up any messes or hazards that may exist in your home or business. After this phase is complete, our technicians will move onto restoring as much of your home or business as possible back to their original state before we arrived. This could mean folding up tarps, drying floors and walls using powerful dehumidifiers and fans, cleaning up debris from ceiling tiles or drywall (if needed), providing an odor removal treatment for stenchy areas like bathrooms where sewage backups often occur—the list goes on!

SERVPRO understands what it takes for you to get back into your house after a pipe break has occurred which is why we offer emergency service calls as well as quick repairs when possible so that we can help minimize the inconvenience caused by these unexpected events. 

If you are experiencing a pipe break in your home, it is important that you take action quickly. There are many steps to follow and SERVPRO of Santa Monica/Venice Beach can help you with all of them! We have extensive experience dealing with a variety of emergency situations, including pipe leaks and other water damage situations. Contact us today!

Not All Fire Damages are Structural: What About Smoke Odor Damage?

10/5/2022 (Permalink)

Doors and walls of a home covered with black smoke Fire damage in a home.

If you've ever had an odor problem in your home, then you know that it can make the place feel less than welcoming. A new house or apartment will always have some sort of odor, but it should fade after a while. When they don't, then you may have a bigger problem on your hands: smoke odor damage. Smoke damage and smoke odor are two different things that can happen after a fire breaks out in your home. The first is obvious—the fire itself caused damage to the structural integrity of your house or apartment building—while the latter is more subtle and may not be as noticeable at first glance.

How to Clean and Restore Smoke Odor Damage

There are many ways smoke odor can be cleaned and restored. It depends on the severity of the damage and what type of restoration is needed. If your home has sustained heavy structural damage from a fire, it may not be possible to completely clean or restore your home without first repairing those damages.

If you have minimal structural damage from a fire, there are still methods available for cleaning up after smoke odor in your home so that it’s livable again (and smelling fresh). The process is different depending on what kind of restoration is needed and should always be performed by professionals who know how to handle these types of situations safely.

Different Ways to Handle Smoke Odor

There are several ways to handle smoke odor after fire damage. The first is by using air filtration devices that remove harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals emitted by most materials and products, including paints, finishes, and adhesives; cleaning products; gasoline fumes; wood-burning stoves; floor coverings; furniture fabrics; upholstery foams or cushions; and dry cleaning chemicals.

Another way is through the use of ozone machines which produce ozone gas that oxidizes odors at their source. This method is effective in areas where it’s very difficult to remove smoke odor from carpets or drapes because they can be difficult to clean with water alone. However, this method only works if the materials are non-porous (made without holes).

Thermal foggers work by releasing tiny droplets of perfumes into the air when activated. This helps mask odors for a short period of time, but it doesn’t really eliminate them permanently as much as masking them until new smells take over again. These have to be used every couple of weeks until eventually all smells have been masked out completely. This may sound like a good thing but there really isn't anything good about thermal fogging except maybe as an alternative solution for those who don't want their whole house smelling poorly.

Smoke Damage and Smoke Odor Can Linger

Smoke odors are usually caused by the burning of materials, such as when you cook food on a stove or make toast on a toaster. Smoke damage can also be caused by natural disasters, like wildfires or earthquakes resulting in fires.

Smoke damage is often due to a house fire, but not always; some items that are not usually considered flammable can actually burn (e.g., candles). When something burns, it leaves behind ash as well as soot that settles into the fabric of your home's interior surfaces, including walls and ceilings; grime from these surfaces will cling to other objects with which they come into contact—like your clothes!

Different Types of Smoke Damage Need Different Cleaning Processes

Smoke damage is often a combination of different odors. One of the most common types of smoke damage is caused by fire and water, which leaves behind a burnt smell. However, not all fires or disasters result in smoke damage; some can cause water damage instead.

The different types of smoke damage may need different cleaning processes. For instance, if your home sustained water damage as well as smoke odor from an accident or other disaster, you’ll want to dry out your carpet and furniture before treating it with any cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals (like bleach).

Odor Control Techniques are Used Together as Part of The Restoration Plan 

Smoke odor can linger for some time, and the way that smoke odors are removed depends on the severity of the damage. If you're dealing with a small fire, you may be able to use simple techniques like baking soda and vinegar to remove smoke odors from your home or business. However, if your home or business sustained significant structural damage from a larger fire and needs extensive restoration work, odor control professionals will likely use thermal foggers and ozone machines as part of their overall restoration plan.

Smoke odors can cling to walls because they're left behind by soot particles when they settle into porous surfaces like drywall or plaster over time; these particles absorb the scent of whatever was burning at the time (e.g., wood). Some people are more sensitive than others when it comes to detecting smells—and even those who are very sensitive might have trouble detecting subtle scents—so it's important not only to get them out but also to make sure they aren't lingering somewhere else! This means using an air filtration device after everything has settled down (which is probably after all repairs have been made).

Smoke damage and smoke odor can linger for some time after a fire. The different types of smoke damage may need different cleaning processes. Odor control techniques are often used together as part of a larger restoration plan, so it’s important to have an expert on hand when working with a restoration company.