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Water Damage Prevention Checklist: Before You Go on Vacation

6/6/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage Prevention Checklist: Before You Go on Vacation Vacation Water Damage

There's nothing like coming back to your Atherton, Redwood City, Palo Alto or Menlo Park home from a relaxing vacation to a water and mold. You may find soggy wood flooring, moldy drywall and carpets. It's the perfect way to ruin a vacation that you just took.

But if you just take a few precautions BEFORE you go, you can avert a potentially major catastrophe and save money in water damage restoration and mold remediation and removal. You simply turn off all the relevant water valves in your home, before you go away.

good tip is to have a friend perform an occasional walk-through of your home in your absence.

Check out this water prevention checklist from your friends at SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City.

Water Damage Prevention Checklist

  • Check Water Supply Lines on Household Appliances

    Some of the most common causes of residential water damage can be attributed to faulty household appliances like washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers. Check all the relevant water supply lines to ensure that there are no breaks or leaks.

  • Check Plumbing

    Inspect all the pipes in your home, especially those located under the sink(s) for evidence of leaks. If you find any leaks, no matter how small, call a plumber to quickly and efficiently rectify the problem. If there are no leaks, turn off any relevant water valves throughout the house such as those relevant to your sink(s), toilet(s) and bathtub(s).

  • Bonus Tip:

    Depending on the season, you may want to leave the cupboards open to encourage and maintain pipes at ambient temperature, thereby preventing possible freezing and bursting of pipes. 

  • Turn off the Main Water Supply Valve

    Alternatively, you can turn off the main water supply valve to your home, so as to discontinue the flow of any water through your pipes in your absence.

  • Note:

    It is imperative the every adult member of your household knows where the main water supply valve is located in your home, because water damage mishaps can occur at anytime, even when your home is occupied. Should that ever happen, knowing where the main water supply valve is will make the difference all the difference in the magnitude of potential water damage to your home.

  • Unplug electronic devices and household appliances

    In an effort to prevent a short in the electric circuit of your home, (should there be water intrusion in your absence), unplug electronic devices like computers, printers, televisions as well as household appliances like washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Do not unplug the refrigerator unless you decide to empty it out.

  • Fire Hazards

    Address any potential fire hazards, before you go! Don’t leave flammable items in your home, especially during the summer months, because if there should be a fire, your indoor sprinkler may become activated, thereby leading to water damage and subsequent mold infestation.

  • Put the water heater in vacation mode

    When you put the water heater in vacation mode, the water inside the pipes is maintained at ambient temperature, thereby drastically minimizing the chance that the pipes might freeze and possibly burst.

  • Make sure the gutters are clean

    Clogged and/or damaged gutters and downspouts act as a potential gateway for water intrusion into your home while you are away.

  • Inspect your windows

    Paying extra attention to any sky-windows, check the seals around your windows in your home. Caulk if necessary.

  • Roof Shingles

    Finally, be mindful of the fact that damaged roof shingles have the tendency to serve as a significant point of entry for water intrusion into your home. Therefore, if you spot any damage, arrange to have it repaired, before you go!

If you do happen to experience water damage, call SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City at (650) 771-9715. We will make it "Like it never even happened!"

Fire Safety Facts & Prevention Tips for the Bay Area

3/8/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Safety Facts & Prevention Tips for the Bay Area Keep safe with these fire prevention tips.


Each year, more than 4,000 Americans die in fires, more than 25,000 are injured in fires, and more than 100 firefighters are killed while on duty. Eighty three percent of all civilian fire deaths occurred in residences. Many of these fires could have been prevented.

Cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older.

Direct loss due to fires is estimated at nearly $8.6 billion annually. Intentionally set structure fires resulted in an estimated $664 million in property damage.

In order to protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire.

  • Fire is FAST. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

  • Fire is DARK. Fire produces gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three- to- one ratio.

  • Fire is HOT. Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super- hot air can sear your lungs.



    The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of a fire:


  • Install smoke alarms. Properly working smoke alarms decrease your chances of dying in a fire by half.

  • Place smoke alarms on every level of your residence, including the basement.

  • Install a working carbon monoxide detector in the common area of the bedrooms.

  • Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year. Replace smoke

    alarms once every 10 years.


    • Never leave cooking unattended.

    • Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.

    • Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames

    • Never use the range or oven to heat your home.


• Have an escape plan. Review escape routes with your family.

  • Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut.

  • Teach family members to stay low to the floor, where the air is safer, when escaping from a fire.

  • In high-rise, never lock fire exits or doorways, halls or stairways. Never prop stairway or other fire

    doors open.


  • Place space heaters at least three feet away from flammable/combustible materials.

  • Use only the type of fuel designated for your space heater.


  • Keep matches/lighters away from children.

  • Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated.

  • If you must smoke, do it responsibly.


  • Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs

  • Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring.

  • Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high traffic areas.

  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets.



    If your clothes catch on fire, you should:

• Stop, drop, and roll until the fire is extinguished.


• Do not assume someone else already called the fire department get out of the house then call the Fire Department.


  • Check closed doors with the back of your hand to feel for heat before you open them.

  • If the door is hot do not open it. Find a second way out, such as a window. If you cannot escape

    through a window, hang a white sheet outside the window to alert firefighters to your presence.

  • Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding or tape and cover vents to keep smoke


  • If there is a phone in the room where you are trapped, call the fire department again and tell them

    exactly where you are.

  • If the door is cold slowly open it and ensure that fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape

route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the door and use another escape route.

• If clear, leave immediately and close the door behind you. Be prepared to crawl.AFTER A FIRE

  • Once you are out of the building, STAY OUT! Do not go back inside for any reason.

  • If you are with a burn victim or are a burn victim yourself call 911, cool and cover your burns until

    emergency units arrive.

  • If you are a tenant contact the landlord.

  • Tell the fire department if you know of anyone trapped in the building.

  • Only enter when the fire department tells you it is safe to do so.

SERVPRO's Commercial HVAC System Cleaning Services

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial SERVPRO's Commercial HVAC System Cleaning Services SERVPRO can maintain your HVAC system.

If you own a business, you wear many hats and complete hundreds of tasks on a daily basis. It’s possible to overlook certain aspects of your building or office space such as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC system) when you're busy running your business. However, when these heating and cooling systems are not properly maintained, they can accumulate dust, pollen, and other debris, causing expensive problems down the line.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.” It’s very important to maintain clean ducts in order to maintain a healthy environment for your business.

When these ducts are not given the maintenance that they require, the HVAC system may begin to fail and waste unnecessary energy that can cost you. Keeping your air ducts clean can save you and your business money. HVAC systems may also leak and cause water damage and mold damage that can weaken the structure of your property. These damages can produce odors throughout your business and can be unpleasant for the employees and guests.

Contact SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City for the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. We can help you maintain your HVAC system, which can extend the life of your equipment.

Call our SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City experts on commercial air ducts and HVAC cleaning at (650) 771-9715 today!

Rainstorms in Bay Area Continue

3/5/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Rainstorms in Bay Area Continue Rain in Bay Area

Widespread rain in the Bay Area, including in Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Stanford, and Menlo Park, continues and is expected to continue through at least Friday, March 8th, bringing at least three inches of rain.

While no major flooding is expected in the Bay Area, the weather service warned that “minor nuisance flooding may occur Tuesday night and Wednesday” given the already saturated soils.

“Rivers, streams, and creeks will experience rises, but most should remain in their banks,” the weather service wrote in its daily forecast Tuesday.

Once the heaviest downpours clear, scattered showers are likely through Friday morning, Dykema said.

A storm system coming in from the northwest could bring more rain this weekend, but at this point most of the moisture is expected to remain offshore.

Early next week, a ridge if high pressure is expected to build, which will keep the Bay Area dry at least for a couple of days.

Rainfall totals across California for the water year that began Oct. 1 are mostly above average for this time of year, including Redding (28.17 inches, or 112 percent of its historical average), San Francisco (20.02 inches, 109 percent), Oakland (15.71 inches or 100 percent), and San Jose (12.63 inches, 108 percent).

When water damage occurs due to excessive rain and flooding like we've been experiencing, call SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City at (650) 771-9715 day or night. We'll make water damage "Like it never even happened."

Protect Your Bay Area Home from Rainstorm Flooding

2/20/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Protect Your Bay Area Home from Rainstorm Flooding Heavy rain in California

The entire state of California, including Northern California and the Bay Area, is experiencing historic rainfall this winter.

As you already know, if you’re a homeowner in Palo Alto, Atherton, Stanford, Menlo Park, or Redwood City, you have the responsibility to protect your home from both natural disasters like our current rainstorms in addition to made-made water damage issues. While you can’t predict natural disasters like flooding, you can help protect your home from water damage due to severe rains and floods. According to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, floods are the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the U.S., and no state is immune to the effects of flash flooding. Flash flooding happens everywhere, causing water damage requiring water restoration and mold mitigation services (because water leads to mold damage) including in places like Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, California.

Heavy rains have hit Santa Clara County, California hard this winter. Here are a few tips from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, or IBHS, that you, as a Bay Area homeowner, can help use to protect your home from flooding to help minimize water damage that can cause ruined carpets, wrecked appliances, and irreversibly damaged family heirlooms and keepsakes. Just one inch of water can cause significant damage. One inch!

Before taking any of the steps below, you need to first find out your home’s flood level, which is an official measure of how high floodwaters could rise where you live. You’ll find this information by checking the online flood maps on FEMA’s website or by asking your home insurance agent.

Safeguard in-home electrical and climate systems
It’s important to safeguard your electrical and climate systems. Make sure to raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level in your area. And don’t forget to modify your furnace and water heater so they sit above your property’s flood level instead of at or below it.

Anchor and raise outdoor power equipment
Again, you have to think of your property’s flood level. Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units, and power generators should be anchored and raised above your flood level. If not, unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines will contaminate surrounding ground, creating an even larger problem. Any electrical power units and generators should never sit on the ground. Water will render them useless.

Modify water valves
A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up into your home, which is both distressing and dangerous to your family’s health. Install an interior or exterior backflow valve to prevent the sewage from spreading all over your house. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, or FLASH, recommends gate valves that you have to operate by hand. Their benefit is that they provide stronger seals than flap or check valves, which open automatically to allow water to flow out and then close when water tries to get in.Install these valves on all pipes entering the house, advises FLASH.

Figure out how water flows around your house
The angle of the ground (called slope or grading) can direct water to or away from your house. Obviously, it’s best if the home was built so that water drains away from the building, but that’s not the case for all homes, particularly older ones. Just check it out during a regular rainstorm to see how the water flows around your house.

  • Take on-the spot actions as soon as you anticipate flooding during a rainstorm
  • Clear gutters, drains and downspouts (This should be done regularly at least twice a year.) 
  • Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings to upper floors, or at least raise them off a ground floor or out of a basement, if you have one. 
  • Shut off electricity at the breaker panel, and make sure everyone in the house knows how to do this!
  • Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they’re potentially in harm’s way from flooding. You don’t want to have to repair or replace expensive appliances every time there’s a major rainstorm.

What happens if you take most of these actions during heavy rains and still have water damage? Don't fret. First call a reputable damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City. SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City’s expertly trained restoration technicians are trained to take care of water damage and mold mitigation due to flash flooding and heavy rains. They serve the following areas of Santa Clara County: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, and have taken on water damage jobs both large and small. In addition, their customers give SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City excellent reviews for their quick, efficient, and high-quality water restoration work and mold mitigation work. Call us today for a quick, no-cost estimate at (650) 771-9715!

SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City is Here for You

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be emotionally devastating. SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City understands the challenges that occur during these difficult times. Some of the most traumatic situations may be of a suicide, death, or crime scene. If such incidents were to happen, a human body begins to decompose almost immediately, causing an overwhelming situation that may become a health hazard.

SERVPRO has trained professionals to address and effectively clean biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA and state and local health regulations. Not doing so, may result in an uninhabitable home with the effects of airborne bacteria, odor, and biohazard material.

We provide cleanup services to individual families, property managers, and other commercial accounts. Call SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City to get expert help in biohazard cleanup at 650-771-9715.

Atherton Elite Realtors Love SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City House Cleaning Results

11/27/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Atherton Elite Realtors Love SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City House Cleaning Results Menlo Park home

In today's competitive real estate marketplace, sellers need to have all balls in their court when marketing a property. As you know, presentation is everything. Recently a homeowner in Menlo Park who was extremely concerned about the cleanliness and odor of his home because he was about to list it for sale. He hired SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City to help address the dust, debris, and odor from day-to-day living after 15 years, as well as the smell from four cats, birds, hamsters, and even a chinchilla!

The home definitely had a strong pet odor in it in some rooms. SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City cleaned the house from top to bottom, including windows, window screens, pressure washed the patio, cleaned and sanitized all the cabinets inside and out, and even completed the duct cleaning. To complete the process, we did a thermal fogging of the entire home with a neutralizing deodorizer.

The homeowner was more than ecstatic by the results of the cleaning and was happy to stage and put his home on the market. Weeks later the sale was pending. Clean homes sell faster. SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City cleans on the deepest level and will enhance your home's true value by making you shine and helping you sell your home at the highest price possible. If you're a homeowner or realtor in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, or Redwood City, call us today at (650) 771-9715 to help get your home on the market faster and get top dollar! 

Highly Rated Damage Restoration in Atherton & Redwood City

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City is a highly rated damage restoration company in the Bay Area. Because of its dedication to both employee happiness and customer satisfaction, SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City has gained the reputation of being one of the top fire and water restoration companies around.

SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City specializes in water damage resulting from floods, rainstorms, as well from human error and accidents. No one expects their pipes to burst or their toddler to leave the bathtub faucet on, flooding the bathroom or kitchen, but it happens more often than you would think.

We also do expert work in fire restoration and smoke and soot restoration. Because after a fire, the last thing you need is to worry about how you will take care of restoring your home after a fire. Fire damage also causes smoke and soot damage. With our advanced proprietary equipment and expertly trained and certified technicians, the fire damage to your home or commercial property will be taken care of "Like it never even happened."

If you have a fire damage event or water damage event, call SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City at (650) 771-9715 today!

SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City Pride in Work

10/30/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City Pride in Work Water Restoration in Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City has proudly been serving the Bay Area, including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, Redwood City, and Portola Valley for over five years. In that time, we have gained the trust of hundreds of customers who have faced damage restoration needs due to water damage, fire damage, smoke and soot damage, and mold.

As an IICRC Certified Firm, SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City IICRC certified technicians set themselves apart through training, experience, and comprehensive examination. An IICRC Certified Firm must first employ one or more IICRC certified technicians, and apply with the IICRC to become a Certified Firm. Certified Firms are the only cleaning, restoration and inspection companies listed in the IICRC locator. They also promise to adhere to the IICRC Code of Ethics, be current in their business insurance and licensee requirements, and can proudly display the IICRC logo on their company website and vehicles.

Our multiple five-star reviews across various review sites such as Yelp and Google show how seriously SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City is dedicated to making it "Like it never even happened."

Call today for exceptional damage restoration service at (650) 771-9715!

Common Causes of Water Damage

10/16/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Common Causes of Water Damage Water damage due to flooding


Water damage can occur when excess water begins to pool in areas where it shouldn’t. There are many different factors that can contribute to excess water that can cause water damage. When you are aware of what may cause water damage, you can take precautionary measures to help insure against a leak or flood. Plus, you'll also be able to spot a problem as soon as it becomes apparent and minimize the chance of any additional damage. The more quickly you notice the problem, the less work a water damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City will have to do to restore your home or business.

Causes of water damage include:

  • Bursting or leaking pipes
  • Issues with the plumbing system
  • Buildup in areas prone to collecting water, such as crawl spaces, attics and basements
  • Faulty or malfunctioning household appliances
  • HVACs (Heating, ventilating and air conditioning units) issues
  • Natural disasters and other weather-related water problems


Pipes that burst or leak are common culprits of water damage, especially in older homes. Drains and toilets can get backed up and blocked, causing undue pressure in the pipe, which then causes it to burst or leak. Garbage disposals that aren’t working properly are another common reason for pipes to burst, as are roots that grow in the yard into the sewer lines. Old or rusty pipes are also more prone to leaking.


While some plumbing issues occur within the walls and are impossible to notice, many happen because of hoses and pipe joints not being fully attached. Periodic once-overs under your sink can help mitigate any plumbing problems. Best of all, you can do this yourself, free!


Certain sections of your home are more prone to water damage, such as crawl spaces, basements and attics. Crawl spaces are the areas builders add underneath homes to allow workers to put piping and electrical wires.

A dark, damp crawl space allows mold to flourish, which can then cause structural damage. Moisture dripping through the concrete foundation of your home can cause basement leaks. Air leakage into the section between the attic and the home can cause moisture on the underside of the roof, which can lead to mold and rotting. Check your home periodically.


As household appliances like dishwashers, water heaters, washing machines, and refrigerators get older, their pipes begin to rust and crack and their hoses can weaken. These appliances are all susceptible to deterioration, so keep watch on older machines and switch them out when needed. The two main appliances that cause water damage in homes most frequently are washing machines and hot water tanks.


HVACs, (heating, ventilating and air conditioning units), are also common cause of water damage. Air conditioners, in particular, require regular servicing, and when not maintained properly they can cause moisture buildup. When the moisture cools, it can interact with mold spores in the air conditioning ducts and encourage mold to grow inside, giving you both water damage and mold mitigation issues.


This is what people usually think of when talking water damage. While you have no control over natural water-related disasters, you can take all the preventative measures possible ahead of time to minimize their effect on your home. Flash floods, sudden storms and hurricanes can all trigger water buildup.  

If you experience water damage requiring water restoration, call SERVPRO of Atherton/Redwood City at (650) 771-9715 today! Our highly rated service will make it "Like it never even happened."