Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Restoring Your Home After a Fire - Types of Smoke and Smoke Damage

It pays to be aware that not all smoke is the same, the type of smoke damage that has affected your house will differ depending on the type of fire that has taken place. Each of the following types of smoke require a different type of smoke damage restoration approach.
A smoldering fire will give off a thick smoke that coats the surfaces of the room completely. The result is a sticky, smeared smoke pattern that resembles a web.
A high-temperature fire that burns very rapidly will produce a lighter smoke pattern, although there is a far greater likelihood that there will be significant charring in the room.
Plastics and chemicals give off a toxic smoke that becomes almost invisible when it stains the walls but it is extremely pungent. This kind of smoke will stain the paint or varnish on the walls.
A blocked furnace or fireplace flue will force an oily soot back into the living room. It can also result in a fire at the blockage point. Either way you are left with an oily deposit that is particularly difficult to clean.
Smoke will generally result in two types of damage. Firstly, the visible staining of walls and other surfaces is immediately noticeable. Just as pervading is the unmistakable odor that has become deeply embedded in hard surfaces and soft furnishing alike. Knowing how to deal with each type of smoke damage is the specialty of a fire damage restoration company and they will be able to advise on the best way to deal with smoke damage and can then carry out the necessary work to remove it.
Importantly, surfaces left untreated with smoke or soot damage can become increasingly discolored as time goes by. Painted or varnished surfaces will discolor considerably and can go from restorable to unsalvageable in the space of a week. For this reason it is important to remove fire residue as soon after the fire as is practicable.
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SERVPRO of Fairfield understands the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage and the interruption it causes to your life and home. Our goal is to help minimize the disruption to your life and quickly make it "Like it never even happened".
Tel: (707) 207-0122

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Do You Need Professional Water Damage Services?

If you are questioning whether or not you need water damage services, there are several things that you need to take into consideration. It can be overwhelming to learn that you have a problem. Sometimes, the situation starts out small and grows into a problem. Other times, a major catastrophe occurs and you are rushing to try and get a handle on things. You need to decide whether or not to handle things on your own or to bring in a professional.

Length of Time

When you hand over water damage services to a professional, you can be sure that the job will be handled in a timely manner. They have all the right equipment, and they have a team of individuals that can get to work right away. Even if you run into a problem in the middle of the night, with just one phone call, you can get someone out to the house. These individuals know what they are doing, and your home will be in good hands.

If you attempt to do the work on your own, there is a good chance that it will take you longer. In most cases, you will need to rent equipment and then work to get all of the liquid out of your home. If it is lingering on the floor, it will take some time to get it all drained out and from there. You'll still have a lot of work ahead to get your home back in order.

Health Complications

A professional in water damage services understands all of the health risks and complications that can arise when the situation is not handled properly. If just a little bit of mold starts growing, there is no doubt that it will spread. While it doesn't look great and you may start to notice a musty smell in your home, the biggest issue is how it can affect you and your family. For some, it starts out as shortness of breath or nasal issues. If someone gets a mold infection in his or her lungs, you have a real problem on your hands. If you attempt to take care of the water damage services on your own, it is important that you know what you are doing or you could be putting your family at risk.

Damaged Property

Once you have the situation under control and the mold is taken care of, your probably have property that needs to be either fixed or replaced. If you had a professional handling your home, you would not need to worry about all of the details. Your carpet, your furniture, and anything else that was ruined as a result of the incident would be turned over to the professionals. Remember, if you attempt to handle it on your own, replacing and repairing property is a major undertaking.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mold Remediation Is Worthwhile

Though you may not realize it, it is quite common for mold remediation to be necessary in homes. There are various methods to cleaning up molds. Although many people spend a lot of money and time on bleaches and scrubbing these surfaces down, it is often not enough. In fact, without a professional's service to help you to solve this problem for good, you could be facing a health risk in your home. This does not have to be the case. With professional treatment, you can get the results you need and want.

Why Do You Need This?

This problem is often one that stems from the presence of water. When water is present on any surface for any length of time, it puts you at a potential risk for molds to develop. It takes just 18 hours of exposure, in most cases, for bacteria to develop. This damages the surface but it also leads to the spreading of the condition. This is when it is very important to get specialized treatment. Mold remediation is a step towards improving the situation.

If these molds are present, it means that there is the risk that they will spread throughout the home. When this happens, it puts your family at risk. Those with respiratory concerns, including asthma and allergies are more likely to be at risk for developing complications related to this presence. It does not lead to a healthy home. However, there is help available that will help to clean up the problem and restore air quality to your home.

What Does It Cost?

If you are concerned about the cost associated with this cleanup process, it is a good idea to get quotes from various companies. You can get these quotes from various providers to compare what they say needs to be done and what your budget allows for. You can also get information about prevention. In some cases, if water or moisture is still a problem, it may be necessary to consider other treatment options, including making repairs to the cause. This may mean additional cost, but one thing to keep in mind is that these treatment options provide lasting improvement to the health and well being of your home.

Do you need mold remediation? In many cases, this is something you need to get help for because it can lead to potential problems with your family's health if the condition worsens and the molds spread. It is not always possible to prevent any return of molds but it is possible to see a significant improvement. Talk to a professional today about what your options are and what steps you can take to get improvement.

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Monday, January 21, 2013


1 bag of tortilla corn chips, preferably Red, White, and Blue corn chips
2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes, drained
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 ear of white corn, husk removed
2 avocados, diced
1 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup barbeque sauce
3 tbsp oil & vinegar dressing
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 325. Season corn with salt and pepper, wrap in aluminum foil, and place on the grill. Turn frequently until corn is cooked with light grill marks.

Mix drained Rotel with drained black beans in a small saucepan over low heat. Season with salt & pepper. Cut corn off of cob and add into saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, add the Oil & Vinegar dressing to the barbeque sauces, spoonful by spoonful, to taste. Mixture should be thin and tangy.

Assemble the tortilla chips into a low baking dish or cookie sheet and sprinkle the shredded chicken on top. Add the Rotel, black bean, and grilled corn mixture. Drizzle with the barbeque vinaigrette. Cover with shredded pepper jack cheese and diced avocado. Place in oven until cheese has melted.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2013


1) Eat Healthy and Exercise Regularly 

Ah, the infamous resolutions to eat healthy and exercise regularly, code word for "lose weight." Generally, people use the holiday season as an excuse to binge one last time before the New Year. We rationalize that extra helping of Christmas dinner with the thought that it will be our last bout of unhealthy eating, for it is certain we will be at the gym every week post-holidays. In fact, each January, gyms offer promotions and deals to those who want to take action on this resolution. However, according to Time Magazine, "60% of gym memberships go unused and attendance is usually back to normal by mid-February." This statistic is undoubtedly due to the mere fact that we live in a world of lazy people.

2) Drink Less 
This infamous resolution comes to head on day one of the New Year. That "I'm never drinking again" feeling you get after your New Year's Eve shenanigans, with your head in the toilet and your pounding headache and your makeup smeared down your face that goes unnoticed until Pauly at the neighborhood deli/coffee shop points it out to you that morning. Drinking less kills many birds with one stone: It helps you lose weight, it helps your insides stay healthier, and it helps you make better life decisions. Why is this resolution always broken? Because most of humans' social activities revolve around alcohol in some way, and the confidence/fun/innuendos that alcohol brings trumps caloric intake and liver protection any day.
3) Learn Something New 
It could be French, it could be the clarinet, it could be how to cook something other than microwavable Stouffer's lasagna. The sky is the limit, and in this great world, there are so many fascinating things to discover. You may also discover, however, that the spitting-sounds of the French language repulse you, that the average price of a clarinet is over $50 and that you'll settle for Stouffer's if it means you don't have to do dishes at the end. Looks like you'll be saving something new to learn for the following year after all.

4) Quit Smoking 
To quit smoking is an ongoing resolution that reaches its peak at the start of the New Year. If you really want to, kudos to you. We know you know its harmful effects and inevitable death sentence. Yet why is it that only an estimated 15% of people who try to quit manage to stay cigarette-free six months later, according to Time? But hey, best of luck (cough you'll need it cough).

5) Better Work/Life Balance 
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs says we need both safety and belonging to reach self-actualization. Under safety comes employment, and under belonging comes friendship, family, and intimacy. In looking at the hierarchy, accomplishing safety comes before accomplishing belonging, making the latter more prized, or more valuable. Working is great: it brings in income, the food on your table, and the vacation you take over the summer. Sure your mother might get on your last nerve, or your friends give you tough love about your semi-pathetic breakup. But it is those people who embody the un-tangible items in life that simply cannot be ignored for your job as an accountant, lawyer, writer, and so forth. If you don't believe me, read his theory on human motivation. Brilliant stuff.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013


In many communities, the municipality is the largest single owner of land and holder of other real estate interests. While municipalities carefully plan for the capital needs of buildings and land, the same care is not always taken to track the legal aspects of a community's real estate holdings. Stewardship of municipal real estate is typically decentralized among various departments and boards. Knowledge of each real estate interest's origin and history may be buried somewhere in municipal archives or the memories of long-time municipal employees. Often, recorded instruments, land use permits, and related restrictions and regulations are not readily accessible in a central database or filing system.

The details of these legal documents may be an afterthought when a municipality decides to build on, expand, dispose of or otherwise modify the use of municipal land. All too often, issues such as use restrictions or the need for legislative approval under Article 97 are not identified until a municipality is well along the process. With the increasing focus on municipal succession planning, the priority list for such planning should include a centralized database that catalogs all of the real estate interests owned or held by the municipality and the legal constraints that affect its use or disposition.

Best practices for municipal real estate management include:
* Compiling a centralized real estate inventory
* Preparing a comprehensive real estate checklist for future transactions
* Consulting with real estate counsel at the front end of the process (rather than after issues or litigation arise)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cool It Down: Dealing With Emotional Residents

By Linsey Isaacs

If there’s any hard lesson property managers will learn throughout their day, it’s that dealing with residents can be an emotional process.
But as the face of a community, managers need to first overcome their own emotions before diffusing someone else’s.
“A good property manager will realize this and remain empathetic and calm” in such situations, says Steve Heimler, president of Calabasas, Calif.-based Cirrus Asset Management. “Especially in the face of someone being dramatic.”
As the founder of Woodlands Hills, Calif.–based Stratus Real Estate, and in his new venture, Cirrus, Heimler has dealt with resident drama for more than 25 years across over 100,000 apartments. Throughout the years, and communities, the customer service issues haven’t changed. 
He advises property managers to remain as stoic as possible when faced with resident animosity. An upset tenant isn’t your typical businessperson—after all, this is someone with an important stake in his or her home, Heimler says. 
“It’s about listening, letting them vent, and trying to resolve the problem,” he says. “People appreciate professionalism.”
Heimler knows firsthand how a bad relationship with a tenant—even one at fault—can escalate. One resident’s anger can quickly spread to multiple residents who then join together to take up an issue.
“We’ve been involved in class-action–type matters,” Heimler says. “And if you have a bunch of residents who band together, you can get into a situation where you’re just not renting units.”

Damage Control Despite management’s best efforts to remain diplomatic, it may not take much for a tenant to become disruptive, or even a downright nuisance.
Ed Wolff, Chief Operating Officer at Atlanta-based Cortland Partners, has known renters who’ve felt neglected when their units haven’t been upgraded in a timely manner during a  building renovation. Raising the rent can also obviously elicit ire. But almost any issue, even eviction, can be handled tactfully. 
Cirrus, for instance, gives residents every possible chance to avoid an eviction. “We don’t evict anyone, they evict themselves,” Heimler says.
Community managers on location at Cortland  properties are encouraged to approach tenants about difficult issues to negotiate a reasonable outcome.
“If we can work on a payment plan, we do so,” Wolff says. “It’s far more beneficial to work with the tenant versus taking an approach [such as starting eviction proceedings] that costs time and money.”
Thus, even if the problem in question is the resident’s fault, the best response is to play offense.
“We want to empower our community managers to solve issues early on and quickly,” Wolff says. “Our experience shows that if you don’t deal with a resident’s issue quickly, it tends to get out of hand, and then you’re doing damage control and playing defense.”

Leveraging Technology
One of the best ways to appease unhappy tenants is to communicate early and often.
That can be difficult to do across the board. Cortland manages communities that range from 150 to 700 units, and the more dense the building, the more potential for issues to arise. But by communicating with residents in a timely manner, many problems can be nipped in the bud. E-mail, texts, and resident portals can help keep renters in the loop regarding maintenance requests, for example.
“I’m a big believer in leveraging technology, because the next generation wants to use it 24/7,” Wolff says. Maintaining a constant presence in the leasing office doesn’t hurt either, he adds.
Heimler finds that maintaining continual contact with residents and tending promptly to service requests helps tremendously in avoiding common problems. More than half of all resident requests at Cirrus properties are handled in up to four hours, and each event is recorded, both audibly and in the company’s property management software.  As a result, the company has been able to more effectively train incoming managers, as well as set new benchmarks to enhance its customer service.
That’s what it comes down to, after all.  
“Maintaining a good relationship is necessary, whether you’re right or wrong,” Heimler says. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mold Growth in Your Home: Why It Happens and What to Do for Mold Remova

Mold growth is quite common and can occur almost anywhere in a home or other building. Mold spores, which are tiny and invisible to the naked eye, can end up inside if they become airborne and then land on a wet surface. Water or moisture is essential for sustaining mold growth, so this is the first issue that must be addressed if you notice a mold problem. Once you notice mold growth in your home, it is important to act quickly to avoid any possible health problems associated with mold. However, it is equally important to understand how to prevent this issue in the future.
Moisture is the main cause of sustained mold growth, so always be sure to dry water leaks or spills immediately, as in most cases this will thwart the start of mold growth altogether. There are several common problem areas in your home that you should monitor to keep water--and mold--issues at bay. These include clogged roof gutters, the area around your foundation, air conditioner drip pans, and walls, pipes, or windows if humidity is high. The appearance of condensation on walls, etc., can be a sign of high humidity, which is a major factor for mold starting to grow on a surface in your home or business.
Since molds produce allergens, irritants, and sometimes even highly toxic substances, they do have the potential to cause health problems, such as allergic reactions, asthma attacks, or eye and skin irritation. Therefore, if you notice mold growing on a surface in your home or office, it is very important to take immediate action, such as hiring a mold removal company.
According to most experts, if the size of the mold problem is less than about ten square feet, you can likely take care of the mold cleanup on your own. However, if you notice mold growing in a very large area, or you are simply unsure about the severity of the contamination, you'll definitely want to hire a professional service to do the cleanup. This is where a mold remediation company comes in.
A remediation company can send a mold specialist to identify and assess the problem and suggest a course of action for the removal of mold, complete the mold cleanup, and implement corrective action to prevent the problem from recurring in the future. Since mold growth does imply potential health hazards, be sure that the mold cleanup company is fully professional and very experienced in this field. An expert should be able to advise you on how serious or widespread the problem is, assess which affected items can be salvaged, use the appropriate tools and agents to fully remove the mold, and suggest and implement a plan to prevent future outbreaks. Preventing future mold growth can be achieved by eliminating the source of the water leak or excess moisture in the contaminated area. Your mold remediation company should be able to assist you in remedying this.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Disaster Restoration: Mold, Water and Air Ducts

No business or homeowner ever wants to hear the word disaster when it comes to their office building or personal property. However, ignoring a serious problem or failing to take necessary preventative steps will often result in just that, a disaster.
Water and Mold
Water leakage and general dampness and humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth, "musty" smells, and poor air quality. This, in turn, can cause health issues (allergies, asthma), lost tenants, and even lawsuits. Excessive mold growth can even damage a building's structure. If mold is an issue in your commercial building, disaster restoration mold removal is a must (no pun intended).
A disaster restoration specialist can visit your commercial building to diagnose the source of wetness and take the necessary steps to restore the space in question. The specialist can do this by eliminating moisture, drying or removing contaminated materials, removing visible and/or hidden mold using HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums, and restoring air quality. Doing so will create a healthy and safe work environment. Disaster mold removal is also available for homeowners needing immediate residential care.
Emergency Water Removal
Flooding can cause serious and permanent damage to a building if it is not quickly attended to, not to mention the fact that a commercial building must close its doors (halting operations) until emergency water removal is complete. Excess water can, of course, also cause mold growth.
If your commercial building or residence has experienced recent water damage due to a leaky roof, gutters, pipes, flooding, or other source, contact a disaster restoration specialist today.
Quality specialists have experience handling numerous types of emergency water removal scenarios, including waters contaminated by bacteria. It is important to act quickly and professionally when a building or home (and the people and materials in it) is compromised by flooding or excess water.
Air Duct Cleaning
Air ducts are like the veins of a home or office, in that they transfer heated and cooled air throughout the building to and from the HVAC and air vents. If your home's air ducts are clogged or dirty, it will seriously compromise the home's indoor air quality and overall safety.
Air ducts stay busy, and that's why many indoor air contaminants can build up inside them, including mold, bacteria, dust mites, and fiberglass particles. Clean, free-flowing air ducts not only increase the health and safety of your home, they'll also result in lower energy bills-- your HVAC will not have to work as hard if heated and cooled air can flow freely throughout the home.
Dryer Vent Cleaning
Although dryer vent cleaning is often overlooked, it is an important way to prevent potential disaster in a home. Did you know that clogged or unclean dryer vents lead to thousands of residential fires every year? It's true. And like air ducts, clean and free-flowing dryer vents will help your system perform more efficiently (and more affordably). Contact a specialist if your clothing seems to take longer and longer to dry, if no lint has collected at the end of a cycle, or if the dryer itself feels overheated.
Taking the necessary steps to prevent disasters in a home or business can save hundreds -- even thousands -- of dollars, protect families and workers in the home or building, and create a safe and comfortable space to live or work. Contact a disaster restoration specialist to treat mold, excess water, air duct, and dryer vent issues in your home or commercial building today!

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