You are Covered, But Are You Covered Enough?

by Water Damage Recovery


Homeowners policies

A standard homeowners policy will cover fire damage to your home, but you want to make sure the policy limits are going to leave you whole. Many customers are dismayed at how little the insurance companies pay out, it’s not as simple as it cost $80,000 to build it so I’ll get $80,000 in insurance.  You need to have enough to rebuild in today’s economy, demolish what’s left of the structure and do any upgrades in building codes.

Many insurance policies are based on the current market price of your home.  Other insurance policies might base coverage on your home’s mortgage. Neither number will cover the true cost of clean-up and repair.  A good general contractor should be able to help.

Coverage for Possessions/Renter’s Insurance

In the last year, only one customer had enough coverage for her contents.   Out of her three bedroom home, there was less than a truck full of belongings that were salvageable.  The customer was not just getting reimbursed for what she lost, she had to have a complete inventory with pictures to negotiate with the insurance company, from packages of Kleenex to Remington statues.   The insured has to decide what she wanted salvaged, then those items are moved, cleaned and stored. A piano with sentimental value was cleaned even though cleaning it was more expensive than replacing it. Then insurance company pays for disposing of everything else.  It’s not as simple as looking around and saying “if I lost everything, $25,000 would make me happy.

A renter who thought she had a good policy discovered that after the insurance company put her family up in a hotel for a week, paid for the inventory and disposal of everything that was destroyed, she owed $12,000.  And nothing she owned was replaced.

Fire Damage Recovery can help you. Learn more at or call us at 510-351-7510 to book an appointment now.

What to do After a House Fire

by Water Damage Recovery

The first 24 hours after a house fire is a critical time period.   If the fire department knows anything, restoration companies have heard it on their radios and will send their “chasers” out trying to get you to sign a contract.  Whatever you do, do not make a decision while you are upset.  Fire clean up takes a long time and a fast decision could be a mistake.

  1. Getting You Home Boarded Up.  Ask the fire department if they have a recommendation (some counties have a rotating list of restoration companies)  or you can pick one of the chasers in front of you. Be clear that you are only hiring them for the board-up. Take the cards of all the chasers at the fire, tell them you will make a decision in the next few days on the restoration.


  1.  Find a Safe Place to Stay:  Smoke is a carcinogen.  If you can smell smoke, it is not safe.  Most insurance policies will put you up in a hotel,  family or friends can take you in or you can contact a  local disaster relief agency, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army.  


  1.  Research Local Restoration Companies:  Your insurance company will send out their preferred vendor, that company does a lot of work for the insurance company and will do everything they can to keep the insurance company happy.  Not necessarily the company you want working for you. An independent company will be your advocate. Yelp and BBB will give you the basics.


  1.  Contact your Insurance Company:  once you start a claim, they will cover living and other daily expenses and help you with the clean-up.  Whichever restoration company you choose will work with the insurance adjuster to help you decide on the best plan of actio.


  1.  Recover your Possessions:  If you have enough insurance, the items destroyed in a house fire will be cleaned or replace.  The restoration company will make an inventory of your possessions. However the best and easiest way to be reimbursed is to have your own inventory kept either on the internet or in a fireproof safe that includes the date of purchase, cost and description of each item whenever possible.

Fire damage restoration entails the total cleanup of your property and possessions to pre-loss condition. Trained and certified technicians use special equipment and cleaning products. Fire damage restoration also involves cleaning up the water damage caused by the fire department.

For nearly two decades, Fire Damage Recovery, a division of Water Damage Recovery, has provided fast, caring, and expert service to over 22,000 residential and commercial property owners. We understand that the restoration process can be a traumatic experience, and are committed to delivering fast, high-quality service to help you return to normal life as quickly as possible.

All of our technicians are certified by the IICRC, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, and international, non-profit certification and standard-setting organization. This certification ensures that our technicians are highly knowledgeable in the restoration techniques required to safely and competently return your property and belongings to their pre-incident condition.

If you’re in need of fire damage recovery after a fire, give us a call at 510-351-7510 today, or visit our website to learn more about the services we offer.


What is Ozone and How Can it Help?

by Water Damage Recovery

What fire does not destroy it often ruins with a smell that permeates everything.   After all visible particulates have been removed, ozone can be a great help.

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a colorless unstable toxic gas that chemically reacts with particles that it comes into contact with in the air and on surfaces.

How Does it Work?

Ozone works by attach itself to other molecules, chemically changing their structure to create non-offensive molecules, therefore eliminating the smell. It destroys the bacteria and spores that cause unpleasant smells. The ozone molecules attach to the outer shell of the cells of bacteria and spores, causing it to breakdown and die.

When using an ozone machine to remove repugnant odors, the stronger the odor – with more odor causing molecules- requires more ozone to remove the smell. There needs to be enough ozone to react with all of the odor-causing molecules it encounters. This will require either a longer ozone treatment, or higher concentrations of ozone (a larger ozone generator).

Ozone works so well because, as a gas, it can get where other cleaning products can’t. This can include air, walls, ductwork, ceilings, carpet fibers, the gaps between floor boards, and any other small space you can think of.

Is There a Downside?

Ozone use is strictly regulated.  Low levels of ozone can be found in air purifiers and is not harmful.  But when you have a smoke filled home, the amount of ozone needed to do the job has to be monitored by a professional to avoid damage to human and animal respiratory systems.

This is where the professionals at Fire Damage Recovery comes in.  In our San Leandro facility we can clean and ozone treat all your belongs.  We have portable ozone machines we can bring into your home after we have hand wiped all visible signs of soot and smoke.  If you need our services,  give the experts at Water Damage Recovery a call at 510-351-7510 to set up an appointment today.

How to Prevent Home Fires

by Water Damage Recovery

Most home fires are unexpected because they’re started by the most ordinary, everyday tasks that can turn dangerous at a moment’s notice. Things like accidentally turning on a stove burner, forgetting to blow out a candle, or leaving on an electric space heater can turn a normal day into a nightmare. Below you’ll find some tips on how to prevent common household fires.

Cooking Fires

Cooking fires are the cause of 23% of home fires, and 9% of deaths. They can start with something as simple as a hand towel being placed too close to a stove burner, and can turn dangerous quicker than you think. To prevent devastating cooking fires, you should avoid ever leaving the kitchen while cooking something on the stove, and keep combustibles at least 3 feet away from the cooktop. This can also include curtains and wall hangings.

Heating Equipment

When it comes to heating equipment, space heaters and wood stoves are the most common culprits. They cause 15% of home fires, and 13% of deaths. Most heating equipment fires start when a space heater or wood stove is too close to combustibles while people are sleeping. You can prevent these fires by keeping space heaters at least 3 feet away from drapes, bedding, and other flammables, plug them into outlets and not extension cords, and don’t use space heaters while sleeping.

Electrical Equipment

Overloaded extension cords and bad connections can melt electrical wire and start fires in your home, causing 9% of home fires and 10% of deaths. To prevent fires caused by electrical equipment, you can replace extension cords that are undersized or frayed, never run extension cords under rugs, call an electrician to help with frequently tripping circuit breakers, replace undersized cords with larger-gauge ones or plug all appliances directly into outlets. Other causes can be attributed to miscellaneous incidents caused by negligence of the homeowner or random accidents.

If you’ve suffered from a fire in your home, the last thing you want to worry about is how you’re going to fix everything and make it look new again. That’s where Water Damage Recovery comes in. Our team of trained professionals knows how hard it can be to come back from a fire in your home, which is why it’s so important to us to give you the best service possible. Give us a call today at 510-351-7510, or visit our website to learn more about our service.

What You Need To Know Before Choosing a Water Damage Recovery Company

by Water Damage Recovery

No matter how much of a do-it-yourselfer you may profess to be, there are some issues around the house that even you shouldn’t try fixing. One of those problems that every homeowner dreads is water damage. Dealing with water damage in your home is often an overwhelming problem to solve. It’s a disaster that, while often unexpected, usually leads to expensive consequences.

That’s why a trusted professional must be brought in to fix this frustrating issue. But who do you call? How do you know you are trusting the right company to fix the issues correctly and quickly? Here are a few tips to consider before hiring a professional contractor to repair severe water damage in your property.

Know What Jobs Will They Take

Some water damage repairs company carefully consider what jobs to take, and the weather often makes a big impact on which sites they choose to fix. For example, if there has been an extensive presence of heavy rain, or if that rain falls sideways, that is all the reason some companies need to refuse to work on certain sites. You need to hire a contractor that can expertly repair any water damage, regardless of the cause, immediately and correctly.

Avoid A Full-Service Company

That may seem like strange criteria when you are pricing and researching water damage repair companies. But we firmly believe that you can either be okay at performing a lot of tasks, or you can be an expert in performing one or two tasks. The contractors they say that they are good at every possible repair are often too good to be true. Not to mention, full-service companies have an incentive to replace rather than repair, which means more money out of your pocket.

Read the Reviews

Check the internet. Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, and the Better Business Bureau will have reviews and testimonies reflecting the work and quality of the company you are researching. A company that has good reviews usually deserves them and, when things go wrong, will work harder to correct those hiccups to preserve their reputation.

Ask if the Company Does Program Work

Ask the company if they do “program work” for your insurance company. “Program work” is when the insurance company makes a deal with the restoration company to have them do it their way. The restoration company then works for the insurance company instead of the insured party. While this isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, sometimes you get a better job from a company that isn’t beholden to the insurance company.

Check for Their Contractors License

When things like carpet pads, drywall, and cabinets are removed, the company must have a contractor’s license. Contractor’s licenses don’t always match the name of the business, so ask the company for the license number. That way, you can look it up on the Contractor State License Board. You can even request the company to send you a certificate of proof that they have workman’s compensation and liability insurance.

It’s understandable to become initially overwhelmed when you discover water damage has negatively impacted your home or business. But there’s no need to panic; you are in capable hands when you hire the experienced, well-trained team at Water Damage Recovery.  We understand that water damage to your home or business turns your already chaotic and stressful life upside down, and we will do whatever it takes to quickly turn your life right-side up again.

To schedule an appointment, call 510.351.7510 or click here.

September – How to Handle Water Damage and Mold

by Water Damage Recovery

1. Begin by trying to lower the humidity inside your home. If its possible to
obtain a dehumidifier, install it in the most affected area. (Home Depot or
equipment rental companies have dehumidifiers.)
2. Any drywall, carpet and pad, baseboards or flooring needs to be
removed to expose the wood framing behind.
3. Once the wood framing is exposed, put fans on the wood to push airflow
across the surface.
4. If you have a crawlspace and its insulated, remove the insulation. It is going
to help dry out the subfloor faster.
5. If you have mold, please wear a respirator. The mold drywall can be
bagged up.  The framing behind should be sprayed down with an antimicrobial
spray. Due to this being a emergency situation if the only thing
available is bleach, use bleach but dilute it 1 part bleach 10 part water.
Wipe the wood with a clean rag after you spray it.
6. If you have a moisture meter, the dry standard for wood is around 12-
16% if your in that range its considered dry.
7. Getting airflow and lowering the humidity in your home, combined with
removing what is wet, is crucial immediately after a water damage.
8. Please feel free to call me anytime with any questions day or night. I am
serious. I am a Texan as well and want to help in any way possible!
Jorge Perez 408-655-8312

August -Things Homeowners Do to Cause Water Damage

by Water Damage Recovery
​Piping in our homes and yards is like the veins and arteries in our bodies. When we eat fatty foods, act like couch potatoes or smoke cigarettes, the piping can get clogged or even blocked. ​When we eat right, exercise and avoid bad habits, ​we usually don’t have a problem.​ ​When pipes are uncared for or ​abused, they can be damaged or compromised – and things can go ​very wrong
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We Ignore the Obvious

one of the least obvious ways homeowners can cause water damage to their home is by neglecting one of the first things people see on a home – their gutters. Gutters ​filled with leaves, sticks and debris​ slow​ or completely block the flow of rainwater away from a home. The result? Water leak​s  through your roofor into your basement from your foundation.

We Plant the Wrong Lawn Decor

​t​he value of a home skyrocket​s​ with the help of a fresh coat of paint, new shutters and the right foliage. ​While trees provide shade, shelter​ ​and beauty, they can also wreak havoc on your water system. Roots from trees​ ​can find their way right into your septic tank, drainage system​ ​or water lines. ​A little botany research before buying a property with trees or planting new ones can save you thousands​.

We Mix Oil with Water

​The same concept of keeping fats out of our bodies applies to keeping fats and oils out of our water system. ​It only takes one pan of bacon grease to cause a blockage that won’t go away with a cardio class. Allow cooking grease to cool and toss it in the trash instead.
We Create a Bigger Problem by Fixing a Small One
A full bottle of Drano® down the clogged drain ​is what we’ve been taught on tv​. However, while these powerful chemical agents can disintegrate      clog-causing materials, they can also compromise the integrity of your piping or even create holes and leaks. Go to your hardware store, there are little plastic device that pulls out the most disgusting hairballs and grunge. One of the biggest problems is  dental floss in the sink and in the toilet.  If you can’t do it yourself, calling a plumber is cheaper than replacing the pipes. ​We think Garbage Disposals are magic, despite their obvious power, they can’t do everything.  Egg shells and potato peels, coffee and rice and pasta don’t get fully annihilated.  ​

When emergencies​ do ​occur, you need professionals who will respond to the problem quickly, efficiently and thoroughly. With Water Damage Recovery,​ our IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification)-certified technicians are available 24/7 to handle your water emergency. We serve San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, ​Davis, ​Pittsburg, and surrounding areas. Call us at 510-351-7510 or visit our site to learn more about our services.

July-Top 10 Causes of Water Damage to Your Home

by Water Damage Recovery

Water damage occurs when excess water begins to pool in areas where it shouldn’t. Many different factors can create this excess water and contribute to water damage. When you are aware of the potential causes, you can take precautionary measures to help insure against a leak or flood. The more quickly you notice the problem, the less work the water damage restoration company will have to fix.

The top 10 causes of water damage include:

  • Drains Stop Draining

Drains that get backed up and blocked can leave standing water and eventually cause undue pressure in the pipe, which then causes it to burst or leak.

  • Leaking Garbage Disposal

As the unit ages, the bottom housing can springs leaks and flood cabinets with a mixture of food waste and water. If this happens, the disposal need to be replaced.

  • Running/Dripping Toilet

A running toilet can do more than make an annoying sound; it can lead to water damage if left alone long enough. Sometimes the cause is nothing more than a part that isn’t sitting right. A leaking toilet wastes a great deal of water and has a greater chance of overflowing and causing water damage.

  • Backed Up Sewer Lines

Backed up sewers can wreak havoc on a home, causing thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Blockages due to tree roots or heavy rainfall can cause sewer lines to back up.

  • Sump Pump Failure

Water damage in the basement is quite common. However, no one ever said that is convenient. Either a defective pump, and old pump, or a power outage can prevent the pump from working.

  • Leaking Air Conditioner

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.

  • Water Heater Leaks

A water heater leak may seem like just a minor nuisance, but it can quickly turn into a big problem. Even a small amount of water will cause damage to your floors, sub-floors, and walls. In extreme cases, a catastrophic and complete water heater failure can cause a significant flood that could lead to hefty repair bills and damaged personal property.

  • Washing Machine Line Bursts

As household appliances get older, pipes begin to rust and crack and hoses can weaken. Washing machines are susceptible to deterioration, so keep watch on older machines.

  • Freezing Temperatures Burst Pipes

Dropping winter temperatures can cause extensive water damage as pipes begin to freeze and burst, causing damage to walls, ceilings, floors, carpets, furniture and other possessions. Even a small crack in your water pipe can leak enough water to flood your home.

  • Frozen Fire Sprinkler

When any portion of a sprinkler system is exposed to freezing temperatures, water in the piping can turn to ice, expand in volume, and produce thousands of pounds of pressure. The pressure can force sprinklers to operate and break fittings. As a result, water leaks from the system when the ice thaws.

It doesn’t take much water to do some serious damage to your home. Water Damage Recovery is a leading cleanup and restoration company serving the Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento areas. Since 1997 we have helped over 22,000 residential and commercial property owners minimize property loss while restoring their building to its safe, pre-incident condition. For more information on services we provide call 510.351.7510.

10 Things to Prepare For El Nino

by Water Damage Recovery

Property Manager Checklist

10 Things to Prepare For El Nino

With a greater than 90% chance that El Nino will continue through the Northern Hemisphere starting Winter 2015-16 and an 80% chance it continues through Spring 2016, we are tripling our office size and warehouse preparing to serve you.

Just Suggestions For You:

  1. Clear rooftops and gutters of debris
  2. Clear drains and storm drains near property
  3. Get a plumber to snake all lines to prevent backups
  4. Stock up on sandbags for flooding inside units and/or common areas
  5. Make sure flashlights are available
  6. Have a pre-disaster plan in place for all staff
  7. Have emergency kits, water, supplies, etc. just in case
  8. Inform residents of emergency plans and make sure they know where to shut off water and gas in case of an earthquake
  9. Have all emergency numbers and contacts in one central location accessible to all staff
  10. Choose your Emergency Service vendor now so they are prepared to serve you

Emergency Services vendors will be completely overwhelmed. When it rained for 11 days last December, we were getting calls from competitors asking us to take their best clients. Make sure you are on someone’s Priority Client List now!

Another Great (5) Star Review on YELP!

by Water Damage Recovery

The kind words of praise are a wonderful thing after working so hard as a team to get someone’s home back to a pre loss condition.  I do like this review.  It introduces us to several members of our team and speaks to the level of professionalism and coordination we have as a team.  I’ve been in the thick of it with all of these technicians and I trust and rely on them completely!  These home owners were in very good hands from the start and numerous team members came into play on their behalf.  This is how we are successful in providing emergency services restoration.  We are a highly trained and well coordinated team working on your behalf to get your home back to a clean and dry state.


Rick Walker / AMRT, WRT