Water Damage Prevention Tips

Did you know that water-damage is the second most common homeowners’ insurance claim? Here are some simple things you can do to help prevent water-damage in your home.

1. Inspect, inspect, inspect! Inspect water pipes and hoses throughout your home. Inspect under sinks and behind toilets. Inspect pipes connecting washing machines and water heaters. Look for rust and cracks and other signs of wear. If you see worn-out pipes and hoses, replace them.

2. If freezing is a problem in your area (and it definitely is here in Kern County!), consider insulating exposed outdoor pipes. Look for pipe-insulation at your local hardware store.

3. Turn off main water valve if you are going on vacation. Make sure to drain the pipes to prevent freezing and bursting.

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Saving Your Stuff

Your home is your refuge. Your stuff – furniture you’ve lovingly cared for over the years, books you’ve collected, all the things that fill your home and make it distinctly yours – they have value far beyond dollars. It’s no surprise then, that when a disaster like fire or water damage occurs in your home, it can turn your life upside down.

Over the years, we’ve seen and worked with thousands of people, helping them through the challenges of restoring their home and belongings after a disaster. Today we’ll take a closer look at water damage, and what you can do to help preserve your stuff, even as SCT technicians are on the way.

As we stated in the previous post, the very first step is to make sure that it’s safe to be in your home. (For example, a water damage caused by broken sewage pipes may be a health hazard.) Once you’ve made sure it’s safe, you can proceed.

How to save your stuff

There is a proper way to go about saving your stuff. First, try to salvage the things that are most important to you. (These might be irreplaceable photographs, heirlooms, handmade items, etc.) It’s common to try to save the things which are most damaged. We suggest avoiding those things. Instead, we think it’s better to salvage items that are least damaged, or are in danger of being damaged. For example: If all the books at the bottom of the bookcase are soaking wet, leave them alone. Begin removing the books the next shelf up and so on. This way, you prevent further damage to your belongings. The idea is to salvage as many things as possible, before they become irreparably damaged.

Leave it to the professionals

Once SCT arrives at your home, our certified technicians will do the necessary work of extracting standing water, setting fans and dehumidifiers, and drying your home.

Why is it important to quickly dry out a water damaged home and belongings? To prevent mold and fungus. Mold and fungus thrive in moist environments, and once they take a foothold in your home, it gets serious. This is why it’s necessary to call water damage remediation experts, like SCT. And by following the simple guidelines above, you can play a big part in saving your stuff.

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5 Simple Steps

I remember the first time we experienced a water-damage in our home: I woke up and made my way to the kitchen, only to step in a still pool of water about three inches deep. A broken pipe from the kitchen had flooded our hallway. Needless to say, it was a very scary moment – a few hundred of our prized books were sitting on shelf, already soaking and swelling with water. As scared as I was, I tried not to panic. We were able to turn off the water-main, thus stopping the flow of more water into our home. Then we contacted Specialized Cleaning Technologies. With the assurance that the professionals were on the way, we began carefully removing our books from the affected area.

The following five simple steps are written to help you at the moment you have a water damage, so you can avoid confusion and get the remediation process going.

1. Use caution: Water on the floors may be slippery and electrically-charged. Shut off power to all flooded areas.

2. Locate the source of the flooding. You may have to shut off the water-supply to your home.

3. Call Specialized Cleaning Technologies, your local water-damage restoration experts, as soon as possible: 661-834-4444

4. Contact your insurance agent.

5. Be proactive in the restoration process: Remove any personal belongings such as books, clothing and other moisture-sensitive items to a dry place. Remove furniture from flooded area, and wipe-down to prevent water-damage. (If you cannot move the furniture, place blocks under them to elevate above water-level.)

Of course, we can get into much more detail about what you can do to help your home/belongings before the restoration experts arrive. But for now, we’d like you to remember just these simple steps.

Join us next week as we go over the best way to remove/salvage your personal belongings from a flooded room.

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Fall Cleaning

Spring is not the only time to clean. After a summer full of barbeques, parties, picnics and sleepovers, the beginning of fall is the ideal time to get a thorough cleaning of your home. Specialized Cleaning Technologies is ready to help! Let us professionally clean your home from top-to-bottom, so you have time to do the things you love.

For an ever-expanding list of house-cleaning services, please click here. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (661) 834-4444. We’d love to hear from you!

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Go, Dragons!

We are so proud of Kyle! This summer he made it into the Bakersfield Dragons youth hockey team. They’ve already played the first four in a long series of games, with no loss of energy in sight. These players are still young enough to know that it’s not about the winning or losing (and they did both!), but the pleasure of the game, the sportsmanship, athleticism, camaraderie and of course, participation within a team. We’ll encourage all of these things throughout his youth-hockey career, and hope that as he grows up, he’ll have an invaluable set of skills that can apply to everyday life of school and career.

Go, Dragons!

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Planning for Fall

In the last few weeks we’ve been planning some very special blog posts, in the hopes of sharing interesting facts and information about what SCT does. These posts include interviews with the owners, Dean and Lala Lathan, on subjects such as mold remediation, fire restoration, and carpet cleaning. The first of these interviews will be posted this week, so stop by and let us know what you think!

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If you’ve been following our blog, then you know we love vegetable gardening. It’s just our way of winding down after work, and connecting with our homes and the seasons. Planting a garden is a great way to find balance. (At least, that’s been our experience.)

Fall is right around the corner, and that means our beloved tomato plants will have to come up soon. The peppers and eggplants will also say goodbye until next spring. But not to worry – fall doesn’t mean the end of this year’s garden. There are plenty of vegetables that thrive in cooler weather, and that’s what we’ll turn to next.

If you’re planning on a fall/winter garden, now’s the time to get started. We’ve looked into some easy-to-grow, cool-weather vegetables, and we hope you’ll give them a try this season. The seeds of each of the following vegetables can be sown directly into the garden. (But be sure to follow individual instructions on the seed packets!)

Radish: Radishes are one of the fasted and easiest vegetables to grow! They love the cool fall air, and are ready to pick in about 30 days! There are many different heirloom varieties, and we’ve decided to try the French Breakfast Radish and Pink Beauty.

Beets: We love beets! Aside from all of the great nutritional qualities they have to offer, they are also quite delicious and easy to grow. This year we’re growing Golden Beets and the Bull’s Blood Beet.

Swiss Chard: Great for salads and sauteing, Swiss chard is both beautiful and delicious. They’re a part of the beet family, and they love the fall. In anticipation of the cooler weather, we’ve already sown our Five Color Silver Beet Chard, and they’re doing great!

Carrots: Who doesn’t love carrots? They’re the perfect cool weather vegetable. This year we’re planting Juane Obtuse du Doubs, Tonda di Parigi and Snow White.

All of the vegetables we’ve decided to grow for fall are beyond easy, and perfect for beginner gardeners, container gardening, or a small backyard plot. We hope you’ll give them a try!

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Summer rolls on with beautiful sunsets and meteor showers. But if you live in Southern California or the San Joaquin Valley, you’re aware of the current heatstorm. Temperatures are averaging in the low 100s for weeks at a time, leaving you drained, lethargic and anxious for cooler days.

summer sunset, Bakersfield

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before – stay hydrated, keep cool, stay indoors, etc. I thought I’d heard it all before too, until a stint in the vegetable garden left me dizzy and faint, and feeling like I was going to pass out. Turns out, dehydration isn’t just a word used to sell Gatorade, and heatstroke isn’t a theory: they are real. And they happen fast. And it also turns out that recovery-time isn’t so fast.

So instead of learning respect for the sun the hard way, take a few tips from the pros, and brush up on your heat-smarts:

– See the nifty weather-widget on the right-hand column of this blog? Refer to it daily to get an idea of what exactly you’re dealing with. Knowledge of basic weather conditions is important, especially if you’re working outside or in a non-temperature-regulated environment.

– Always wear sunscreen, and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing if you can.

– If you’re working outside, avoid eating heavy meals; instead, try light foods with a high water content, such as salads, fruits and vegetables.

– Drinks lots of water! By lots, we mean between 8-9 glasses a day (8oz per glass.) Drink water even if you are not thirsty. Avoid drinking caffeinated liquids, or liquids with a high sugar content. (Remember that caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it draws water out of the body in the form of urine. Not good if you’re trying to stay hydrated.)

– Be aware of the symptoms associated with heatstroke/sunstroke. This may be helpful to you and to others who are working with you. The main symptoms include: sudden dizziness or faintness, headache, not sweating, rapid/weak pulse, hot/red/dry skin, high temperature (102 or higher), vomiting and muscle cramps.

Above all, use common sense! Don’t leave loved-ones (human or animal) in the car. Don’t stand in the sun for prolonged periods of time if you can avoid it. (And if you have to, wear a broad-rimmed hat or carry an umbrella.) Take water with you whenever you leave the house. Don’t overdo the outdoor physical exercise: if you must work outdoors, be sure to pause to drink water regularly. Dehydration can sneak up on you, and take it from me, it ain’t pretty…

Here’s hoping your summer is a good one!

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Meet SCT: Mandy

If you’ve called Specialized Cleaning Technologies, chances are you’ve talked with Mandy. Cheerful, bubbly, sassy Mandy. But don’t let the sweetness fool you – Mandy means business. With a job-description that spans a few pages, Mandy’s got more than telephones to keep track of. One of her myriad duties is being Lala’s personal assistant; now that’s a full-time job in itself!

Mandy – the Stats

Years with SCT: 3
Position: Receptionist/Office-Manger/Personal-Assistant
What she likes most about working for SCT: I love my job because I work with family! Who can honestly say they love to go to work every day.. I can. We have great memories with each and every one of us and there is never a dull moment working here. I love that I can help someone even in the worse situations. And I love getting to know our customers on a friendly basis. One of my favorite customers calls and sings the Barry Manalow song OHHHH MANDY! She just brightens my day each time I hear from her!

So how do Lala and Dean feel about Mandy? In Lala’s own words, “I can’t live without her!” I think that says it all.

Thanks for all your hard work, Mandy. We love and appreciate you!

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locally grown

It’s the height of summer, and our small backyard garden is thriving. When you taste fresh, home-grown tomatoes and vegetables, you realize the difference: There is a big difference in foods that are locally grown vs. those that are shipped from across the country and across the globe.

Ripening tomatoes in our little family garden.

This idea of locally grown is a great metaphor for small business. Local businesses are the heart of a community. They come from the community and are there to serve it. This makes them truly special. In the 11+ years that Specialized Cleaning Technologies has been in business, we’ve made it a point to subcontract only locally-owned businesses. Everything from our business cards to advertising, to company uniforms and furniture refinishing – we support local. Because we are a locally owned and operated business ourselves, we understand the care and attention to detail that goes into serving a community. There is more than a bottom-line at stake – local businesses take pride in what they do. They strive to do it well, to gain a good reputation and to make a positive impact. In the process, local businesses hire – you guessed it – locals! Offering employment to other members of the community, whether they become our own employees or we subcontract them for various business needs – it’s a big part of keeping the community healthy.

So when it comes time to call on your insurance company for any kind of repair or restoration, ask them if they support local businesses, not just national franchises. If they don’t, tell them that you want them to. More often than not, you will find that locally owned business outperform franchises. And wouldn’t you much rather have a flavorful, sun-ripened garden tomato, than something mass-produced? We sure would!

An SCT employee showing off a beautiful 'Lemon Boy' tomato from the garden.

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Making Us Proud

We at SCT would like to congratulate our youngest teammate, Kyle, for earning a spot as #59 on the Bakersfield Dragons hockey team! After months of practice and countless hours on the ice, he’s made it to the “big” leagues.

Go Kyle!

Kyle at Goat Village (aka, Murray Farms)

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