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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Why SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon uses Air Movers?

5/14/2018 (Permalink)

What are Air Movers?: Air Movers are fans, industrial fans. They come in different sizes for different uses. One thing they all have in common is that they move or blow air around a job sight. The result of that moving air allows the wet areas to dry.

Why Are They Important?: Air Movers are crucial to the drying process of a job. More fans doesn't necessarily mean faster drying. These fans are placed strategically for optimal drying time. After 3-5 days of constant use, the wet area will be dry.

Though they don't work alone. Dehumidifiers carry a heavy responsibility on the job sight by removing any moisture in a room. A separate post will be available regarding dehumidifiers and their functions.   

Hiring a professional like SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon right after a water leak can save you time and money.

Call SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon at (949) 472-0992

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SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon - What is a dehumidifier and how does it work?

5/14/2018 (Permalink)

A dehumidifier is essentially a refrigerator that forgot to get fully dressed. Really. The basic mechanical function of a dehumidifier is the same as a refrigerator. Compression and expansion of a gas is used to lower the temperature of metal coils to freezing temperatures.

However, instead of the cooling action being directed into a closed box, a dehumidifier is designed to blow warm moist room air over these cold coils. The moisture in the room air condenses on the coils to become liquid water. The water then drips into a drip collection pan, or to a drain. The room air, now freed of much of its moisture, returns to the room slightly warmer than it was.

Dehumidifiers are controlled by a device known as a humidistat. This is an adjustable rotary switch which detects moisture in the room's air. It automatically turns the dehumidifier on or off as it is needed, based on the setting you choose. If you wish, you can set the dehumidifier to the maximum setting for continuous operation.

Call SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon at (949) 472-0992

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SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon is Grateful - Local Police Force in Orange County, CA

3/27/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon is so grateful to work alongside first responders every day. This month we’d like to thank our local police force for keeping our community safe!

Criminals are looking for an easy opportunity with the lowest risk; if you provide it, they will take it! There are simple preventative steps you can take to eliminate crimes of opportunity and reduce the frequency of burglaries and thefts in our community. 

Hiring a professional like SERVPRO of Laguna Hills/Laguna Niguel right after a fire can save you time and money.

Call SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon at (949) 472-0992

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SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon is Grateful - Local Firefighters in Orange County, CA

3/27/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon would like to thank our local firefighters who work so hard to keep our community safe and our homes intact. #Heroes

Cooking Safety

"Keep an eye on what you fry." Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or using an open flame. 

Smoking Safety

Never smoke in bed.

Children Playing

Matches and lighters are locked away.

Fireplaces, Space Heaters, Baseboards, etc

"3 feet from the heat." Furniture, curtains, dish towers and anything that could catch fire are at least 3 feet from any type of heat source.

Electrical and Appliance Safety

Large and small appliances are plugged directly into wall outlets

Smoke Alarms

  • Change smoke alarm batteries every year unless it has a long-life battery.
  • Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
  • Test your smoke alarms each month. If they're not working, they can't get you out the door.

Cooking Safety

"Keep an eye on what you fry." Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or using an open flame. 

Smoking Safety

Never smoke in bed.

Fireplaces, Space Heaters, Baseboards, etc

"3 feet from the heat." Furniture, curtains, dish towers and anything that could catch fire are at least 3 feet from any type of heat source.


Electrical and Appliance Safety

Large and small applicances are plugged directly into wall outlets
Smoke Alarms
  • Change smoke alarm batteries every year unless it has a long-life battery.
  • Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
  • Test your smoke alarms each month. If they're not working, they can't get you out the door.

Home Fire Escape Plan

  • At least twice a year, practice your fire escape plan with all family members.
  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher

What's Your Escape Time?

  • Make sure everyone can escape in two minutes or less

Hiring a professional like SERVPRO of Laguna Hills/Laguna Niguel right after a fire can save you time and money. #SERVPROLagunaHillsLagunaNiguel

Call SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon at (949) 472-0992

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Water Damage Restoration After a Fire is a Job for Professionals - SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon

3/26/2018 (Permalink)

There are many reasons why California is one of the most desirous of all of the states to live in but it does have its drawbacks, too. The Orange County, CA is a unique geography that can result in fast moving and devastating natural disasters like wildfires and flash flooding. In the aftermath of such a catastrophe, it's understandable that a homeowner would want to roll up his or her sleeves and personally take on cleanup duties to save both time and money. Cleanup after such disasters is risky business which is why it is best left to professionals. Attempting to clean up and restore properties on your own can lead to disasters of a very different kind.

Why Fire Cleanup Is Not a DIY

When authorities allow homeowners to return to properties in the aftermath of fire, it's understandable that they would quickly want to begin the process of cleaning up and restoring their home. Unfortunately, in many cases, amateur cleanup and restoration efforts result in additional damage to these homes. Insurance companies will not cover such damage, no matter how inadvertent. What these companies will do however, is supply homeowners with information on how to contact professional fire restorers. Fire damage restoration is a good deal more than airing smoke out of rooms or sweeping up soot. Homeowners in Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon, CA should take advantage of available professional services.

SERVPRO Fire Damage Restores can:

•    Conduct professional assessments to determine what is salvageable
•    Correct damage caused by ash and soot residue
•    Remove lingering odors
•    Clean fabrics and upholstery
•    Repair water damage

   
After a fire is extinguished, water damage also becomes a problem. Pressure from the water used to put the fire out could have weakened a home’s structure. Homeowners are often advised to stay out of their properties until it has been deemed safe by professionals. In addition to the risks they run of invalidating insurance policies, there are health risks associated with post-flood cleanup, ranging from exposure to harmful chemicals to electrocution. Damage could also be extensive, affecting everything from carpeting to drywall to glassware. Water damage restoration professionals in Orange County, CA can:

SERVPRO Water Damage Restores can:

•    Do property damage assessments and evaluations
•    Remove excess water
•    Dry out interior walls and electrical damage
•    Detect and prevent mold infestations

Hiring a professional like SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon right after a fire can save you time and money.

Call SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon at (949) 472-0992

What to Do After a Fire - SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

3/25/2018 - Future Scheduled Date

There is nothing quite as devastating as a house fire. Once the smoke clears, and the fire trucks drive away, the real work begins: rebuilding. It may be a daunting task, especially when there is such a mess left behind, but it is possible to rebuild.

The first thing you should do after a fire is contact your insurance company within the first 24 hours. Your insurance company will advise you on how to handle the aftermath of your fire, and possibly be able to recommend a professional fire restoration company such as SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon A fire restoration company provides services to prevent further damage, help determine which items can or cannot be refurbished, and which structural items do and do not need to be repaired or replaced. They provide estimates to insurance companies for the cost of damages, and will help walk you through the process of thoroughly deodorizing, cleaning, and repairing your home.

Things to remember after a fire:

  • Don’t use any electrical appliance that was in or around the fire.
  • If the ceiling or floor above is wet, do not use any ceiling lights or fans.
  • Don’t touch anything to prevent soot from getting everywhere.
  • Don’t wash drapes or other materials that may require dry cleaning.

Hiring a professional like SERVPRO of Laguna Hills/Laguna Niguel right after a fire can save you time and money.

Call SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon at (949) 472-0992

Fire Safety for Kids

3/21/2018 (Permalink)

Make an escape plan

It is important to have a plan when there are children in your home. Children sometimes need help getting out of the house. They may not know how to escape or what to do unless an adult shows them.

  • Have a plan for young children who cannot get outside by themselves. You will need to wake babies and very young children and help them get out. In your plan, talk about who will help each child get out safely.
  • It is important to find two ways out of every room in your home, in case one exit is blocked or dangerous to use.
  • Choose a meeting place outside your home. Children should know what to do when they hear a smoke alarm and there is no adult around. Help them practice going to the outside meeting place. Teach them to never go back inside a building that is on fire.

Keep children safe from fire and burns

Some children are curious about fire. There are simple steps you can take to keep you and the people you love safer from fire and burns.

  • Keep children 3 feet away from anything that can get hot. Space heaters and stove-tops can cause terrible burns. Keep children at least 3 feet away from stoves, heaters or anything that gets hot.
  • Keep smoking materials locked up in a high place. Never leave cigarette lighters or matches where children can reach them.
  • Never play with lighters or matches when you are with your children. Children may try to do the same things they see you do.

source: www.usfa.fema.gov 

Help Full Tips - Why SERVPRO OF Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon

3/16/2018 (Permalink)

How SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon Can Help

Having a restoration plan in place can save you a lot of money and grief after flood damage has caused damage at your Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon property. The first thing to do is seek professional help. The sooner professionals can start the restoration, the better.

It is equally important to acquaint yourself with some of the things that are going to happen after a flood damage incidence to your Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon property. Here are a few things that can help you prepare better to handle the situation when it comes.

Is the water clean or dirty? 

One of the most important things to note is whether the floodwater is clean or dirty. If the water is clean, it might take less time for the professionals here at SERVPRO to get your home back in pre-disaster condition. However, if the water is dirty or contaminated, the restoration might take longer as additional disinfection steps might be involved.

What do professional restoration services do?

As soon as you call in the experienced IICRC-certified SERVPRO professionals, they assess the situation and develop a plan. Once the plan is finalized, they get to work and depending on the amount of water and the quality of water (clean, dirty or contaminated), they start its removal. Apart from the floodwater removal, our professionals also remove any flood sludge and silt. Once the water has been removed, we clean the belongings and take care of the residual moisture as well. We make sure that even the last traces of residual moisture are removed from your property to prevent secondary damage.

Who covers the cost? 

Flood damage restoration can be expensive. Filing an insurance claim is not always easy. If you need help, SERVPRO professionals can guide you in filing your insurance claim as well. Our technicians have years of experience in dealing with insurance companies, and they can help you through the process.

Being prepared is one of the essential things in flood damage restoration. Call SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon  at (949) 472-0992 today to discuss your options.

Why It’s Important to get Mold Damage Restoration in Rancho Santa Margarita

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

Busy Californians often take their home’s maintenance needs for granted until they are confronted by disrepair and some organic outgrowths, such as molds, showing up in places that they’ve become too disturbing to ignore.

Molds grow slowly and proliferate in dark and damp places and surfaces. When large mold colonies form, their presence—especially when ingested or inhaled— At this point, a homeowner can resolve this best by calling at 949-472-0992.

http://www.SERVPROranchosantamargaritacotodecazatrabucocanyon.com/contact/contactus

An Unseen Danger

For mold to grow, moisture is the most important player in the mix.  Its spores spread airborne, absorbing moisture until the mold spores stick to a surface and propagate. Sunlight kills them, thus molds ideally thrive in darkened and dank cracks and crevices in your house. 

Mold and your Home

Mold organisms seep deep into the structure that they cling on, which, based on how tough they are to remove, can pretty much determine how long the mold has been in place. In time, molds not only pose health risks to humans, but also compromise the integrity of materials they contaminate. 

Prevention and Cure

To keep mold away, always clean your home thoroughly, especially on humid days. Moreover, if you fear that some form of water damage might have taken a toll on the indoor air quality of your basement, attic, or room, or on the integrity of your drywall or carpets, call professionals like SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon immediately. You can also do your part by scrubbing off any mold infestation before they fester and become too much to handle.

Don’t let mold get the best of you and your home – look for signs of infestation and snuff any mold growth immediately, while rectifying the cause. Not only will you be keeping your home sound and intact, but you’ll also be securing a safe and clean refuge for you and your family to cherish for a long time. 

(Source: Black Mold Symptoms and Health Effects, HGTV Remodels)

Immediately Seek Out Water Damage Restoration to Avoid These Issues

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

Unexpected flood, burst and leaked pipes are just some of the scenarios that can cause water damage to your property. While it’s true that water is important and has many uses in everyday life, its sudden inundation can cause problems to your property.

Effects of Water to Your Property

Water affects various kinds of materials in different ways. Paper, for example, gets soggy or, at worst, disintegrate when soaked for too long. Wood, upon exposure, can become dry and mossy. Varnished furniture, for example, can also end up being discolored. Metal gets rusty, and even plastic materials are prone to the disintegration upon prolonged exposure to water..

The longer you wait it out to get professional help, such as SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita/Coto De Caza/Trabuco Canyon, for water restoration in Rancho Santa Margarita or elsewhere, the bigger the difficulties will be in preserving or saving your personal effects. Restoration isn’t as simple as drying out the water damaged items, too. It requires utmost care in handling and treatment in order to ensure that it’s not going to be ruined for good.

These processes normally require high tech equipment, not only for the cleanup process but also to ensure that your home or office are safe from any elements that may come up as an effect of the water’s presence.

Effects of Water Damage to Your Health

You may not realize it, too, but water damage in your property can also lead to serious health problems for you and your family. As mentioned earlier, water exposure can lead different types of materials to react.

Wood, in particular, not only becomes mossy, it can also potentially become a breeding ground for mold and other types of fungi. The humidity indoors brought about by the water damage also makes the environment more susceptible to dust mites and other allergens that can trigger respiratory illnesses.

The same measures should be taken in case your property instead suffers from fire damage in Rancho Santa Margarita. Make sure to get the help of professionals at the soonest possible time to avert any further damage or issue.

Sources:

Effects of Water Damage. The Water Page. www.thewaterpage.com

5 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage. Porch. porch.com

How To Prepare for Water Damage Content Cleaning

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

After a flood, the cleanup can be over whelming. Luckily there are ways you can prepare for a content cleaning without adding on extra stress. Here are four steps to dealing with the impact of a storm on your Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, home. 


How To Remove Water 


Content cleaning can’t begin until after you have removed the water from your home. Keep in mind that you should never try to remove the water yourself. A specialist can do this safely and effectively without you having to worry about handling every drop of moisture. 


How To Assess Damage 


With the water extracted, it’s time to take stock of what’s been damaged or lost in the flood. Look for signs of mold and mildew on walls and furniture. You should make two separate lists: one for what should be tossed out and another for what can be saved. 


What To Throw Away 


If the item has a porous surface or has sat in black water for too long, you may have to throw it away. Contents typically on this list include: 

• Cardboard 
• Stuffed animals 
• Mattresses 
• Carpet 

Additionally, you will probably have to throw out all paper products. 


What To Keep 


While paper products should almost always be discarded, if you have an item of significant or sentimental value, you can have a freeze-drying contractor preserve the item. Aside from that, the kinds of items that you can save are generally the ones with non-porous surfaces or that weren’t touched by the flood waters. If it can be cleaned, you may be able to save it. 

A home flooded with black water can be stressful and difficult to deal with. It’s important that you don’t hesitate, however, when it comes to content cleaning. After all, damage can become worse if you let it sit. It’s best to deal with it as quickly as you can.

Visit http://www.SERVPROranchosantamargaritacotodecazatrabucocanyon.com/ for more information on mold.

Slab Leaks Leave Behind Major Water Damage to Orange County Homes

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita, we see first hand all the many ways a home can be affected by water damage. One of the most popular sources of water damage we see is water damage caused by a slab leak. A slab leak occurs when the water lines beneath your home’s concrete slab start to leak. When this happens, the leak can end up damaging multiple areas throughout your home. 

But fortunately, companies like SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita exist to help remove the water damage from your home. Our staff has the experience and knowledge required to remove water damage properly and efficiently. To learn more about our services, contact SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita at http://www.SERVPROranchosantamargaritacotodecazatrabucocanyon.com/contact/contactus

In the past few weeks, we have received quite a few phone calls from homeowners finding signs of water damage caused by slab leaks. Here are just a few of their experiences:

Slab Leak Affects Multiple Rooms in a Rancho Santa Margarita Home

Our call center recently received a call from a homeowner in Rancho Santa Margarita who had detected water damage in her home. Not sure how the damage originated, she decided to call her plumber for assistance. Her plumber stopped by and let her know that the water damage was coming from a slab leak. He repaired the leak and recommended that she call SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita for help with the water damage removal process. She gave us a call immediately.

After talking to the homeowner on the phone, we sent one of our Project Managers out to inspect the damage. His inspection showed water damage in the kitchen, hallway and bathroom. He knew that this was the perfect job for SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita, so he decided to call out the rest of our team to get started on the cleanup process. 

With our team of technicians present, we started by removing some of the laminate flooring in each room. Because of the severity of the slab leak, the laminate started to come up, which gave us no other option than to remove the affected areas. We then removed some of the affected drywall. To make sure that every ounce of water damage was completely removed from the home, we completed the project by setting up our heavy duty drying equipment in all the affected areas. 

In the end, the homeowner appreciated our ability to remove all signs of water damage from her home. She let us know that if water damage affected her home in the future, she knew exactly who to call: SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita.

Slab Leak Causes Severe Water Damage to a Home’s Wood Flooring

Another homeowner in Orange County reached out to us through our call center after he discovered some water damage affecting his wood flooring. Having never dealt with water damage before, he decided to go on Yelp and searched for the best water damage remediation companies in Orange County. After reading several positive reviews, he knew that there was only one company he could go with: SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita.

When we talked to the homeowner on the phone, he let us know that the damage seemed to be coming from a slab leak. We decided to send our Project Manager out to the home immediately to perform an initial inspection. After taking a look around the home, it appeared that the wood flooring as well as some drywall had been affected by water damage in the bathroom, hallway and underneath the staircase. He knew that the damage had the possibility of spreading to other areas of the home and asked SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita to start working on a remediation plan.

With a plan in place, the rest of our team made their way out to the home to begin the cleanup process. We ended up removing the affected drywall, but fortunately, we were able to save the wood flooring. By strategically placing drying equipment in the affected areas and drying out the saturated framing studs, there was minimal removal required.

The homeowner was very impress with our results. He appreciated our hard work and excellent customer service. We were happy to help!

Don’t let a slab leak ruin your home – contact SERVPRO of Rancho Santa Margarita today! Our team will help remove any and all signs of water damage from your home. Give us a call today and we’ll have your space back to normal in no time at all.

http://www.SERVPROranchosantamargaritacotodecazatrabucocanyon.com/contact/contactus

Why It’s Important to get Mold Damage Restoration in Rancho Santa Margarita

10/6/2014 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Why It’s Important to get Mold Damage Restoration in Rancho Santa Margarita black mold symptoms and health effects

Busy Californians often take their home’s maintenance needs for granted until they are confronted by disrepair and some organic outgrowths, such as molds, showing up in places that they’ve become too disturbing to ignore. 

Molds grow slowly and proliferate in dark and damp places and surfaces. When large mold colonies form, their presence—especially when ingested or inhaled—can pose health problems for the entire family, including pets. At this point, a homeowner can resolve this best by calling for mold damage restoration in Rancho Santa Margarita.

An Unseen Danger

For mold to grow, moisture is the most important player in the mix.  Its spores spread airborne,  absorbing moisture until the mold spores stick to a surface and propagate. Sunlight kills them, thus molds ideally thrive in darkened and dank cracks and crevices in your house. 

Mold and your Home

Mold organisms seep deep into the structure that they cling on, which, based on how tough they are to remove, can pretty much determine how long the mold has been in place. In time, molds not only pose health risks to humans, but also compromise the integrity of materials they contaminate. This explains why organizations like the Occupational Safety & Health Administration have set recommendations for preventing mold development.

Mold and your Health

Molds that produce spores, (black mold, in particular) threaten the health of occupants in any building where mold propagates unchecked, as HGTV’s Sean McEvoy writes:

The most common black mold symptoms and health effects are associated with a respiratory response. Chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation to the eyes, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, rashes, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches can all be symptomatic of black mold exposure or black mold poisoning.

Prevention and Cure

To keep mold away, always clean your home thoroughly, especially on humid days. Moreover, if you fear that some form of water damage might have taken a toll on the indoor air quality of your basement, attic, or room, or on the integrity of your drywall or carpets, call professionals like Servpro for water damage restoration in your Rancho Santa Margarita home, immediately. You can also do your part by scrubbing off any mold infestation before they fester and become too much to handle.

Don’t let mold get the best of you and your home – look for signs of infestation and snuff any mold growth immediately, while rectifying the cause. Not only will you be keeping your home sound and intact, but you’ll also be securing a safe and clean refuge for you and your family to cherish for a long time.  

(Source: Black Mold Symptoms and Health Effects, HGTV Remodels)

IICRC Certified

3/31/2014 (Permalink)

Storm Damage IICRC Certified Our IIRC Certificate

IIRC stand for - Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification

Water damage can be deceptive. Water penetrates into structural cavities creating trapped pockets of saturation. The detection of water in these areas can often only be discovered with sophisticated moisture detection meters. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage. This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required.

More than just removing excess water, IICRC-certified restorers have the knowledge and equipment to further dry a home or facility (including substructure materials) completely back to preloss conditions. Through timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other health issues can be prevented. If water damage has been present too long, mold will occur.

All IICRC-certified professionals have the training and experience to identify moisture sources, evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected), contain damage, and remove contamination and dry materials to ensure that mold will not return.

Homebuilders sue water districts over copper pipe leaks - The Orange County Register

2/12/2014 (Permalink)

SANTA ANA -  Two homebuilders have filed complaints in Orange County Superior Court claiming drinking water provided by two South County water districts is corroding copper plumbing, resulting in leaks that require hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/water-340682-leaks-copper.html

Slab Leaks and Pinhole Leaks in Orange County, CA

2/3/2014 (Permalink)

Water Damage Slab Leaks and Pinhole Leaks in Orange County, CA Small unseen leaks can cause big problems

Slab Leaks, the development of a pinhole leak in one of the copper lines below your concrete floor, are an increasing problem to property owners nationwide and our Orange County area in particular. Most homes built in our area since the late 60’s have a soft copper water system installed below the concrete slab on grade foundation. It is in this system that our homes are seeing frequent pinhole leak failures. We are acquainted with one commercial insurance adjuster in South Orange County who handles 6 to 7 slab leak claims per day for home owner associations.

According to a 2008 report published in Water Intelligence Online Pinhole leaks in copper water systems have been confirmed in all states and most major urban areas. Approximately 8.1 percent of homeowners nationally have experienced at least one pinhole leak and between 21-60 percent of homes in certain communities have developed pinhole leaks in their copper pipe water systems. We have found exceptionally high instances of leaks in newer homes in South Orange County including the communities of Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch, Rancho Santa Margarita and Anaheim Hills.

During our performance of hundreds of leak detection services for slab leaks and pinhole leaks here in Orange County we have seen type K hard and soft copper water lines, correctly installed, develop leaks within 3 years of installation. Two cases in particular come to mind:

  • A 3 year old custom home in Shady Canyon, Irvine, had developed 3 active leaks below the slab. The installation of the soft copper type L lines was flawless with both hot and cold lines being fully jacketed with ½” closed cell insulation below grade. The failed lines had no contact with concrete or soil.
  • A 6 year old townhouse in Ladera Ranch had developed a pinhole leak in the middle of a 10’ section of type L hard copper. This installation was also as close to perfect as could be with all piping isolated and supported on a hanger system with plastic inserts. When the leaking section was removed the internal pitting corrosion could be clearly seen.

Based on our observations of many pipe sections and repairs the pinhole leaks are a result of the water chemistry reacting with the copper and not external forces on the piping. We have observed internal pitting corrosion within most of the leaking lines we have opened for repair. Dr. Marc Edwards* of Virginia Tech has done extensive research into the copper pipe corrosion problem and his studies point to several factors that accelerate the incidence of internal pitting corrosion in our copper piping systems. Two key conditions he isolated are the reduction in NOM (natural organic minerals) as mandated under EPA clean water guidelines and the use of chloramine gas as a disinfectant.

As of this writing no one entity is accepting responsibility for the early demise of our household water systems. The water departments simply state that they are delivering water that meets the EPA guidelines and the Copper Counsel is virtually silent on the issue, they offer a 50 year warranty on copper piping but exclude corrosion. So we are on our own to repair or replace our failing copper pipe water systems.

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