Everything You Need to Know About Wildfires: Defensible Radius Zone

The term “defensible radius” easily conjures up images of large scale blockbuster movies of epic proportions with A- list casts and billion dollar budgets. It is not the sort of term that generally rolls off the tongue for the average suburban homeowner. While it might be common in your vocabulary, it’s likely a new term for many people. It is a term that would most certainly benefit anyone that resides in a fire prone area. 

California residents know all too well the dangers and destruction of wildfire. Fire season is real and it hits every year, without fail. In the last five years alone some of the most destructive fires in California’s history have laid waste to state resources and homes across hundreds of miles. Every year more and more resources are implemented to reduce the loss but nothing can protect against fire damage with absolute certainty. 

While more populated regions can be a moderate safeguard against fire season damage, no areas are fully protected from the possibility of these dangers. As a homeowner one of the proactive actions that you can take is to create that “defensible radius” large or small around your home to insulate from as much of the probability of exposure as possible. 

The defensible radius around your home will serve as a buffer of protection and preparation should fire danger approach. This buffer will serve several purposes including a boundary for fire crews to defend your home and land, a zone to keep flames at a distance keeping radiant heat removed from the structure. The zones are as follows:

  • Zone 1: extends 30 feet out from the structure and has the highest level of standards and probability of protecting your home. It is crucial to keep this zone free from all debris and dead and dry vegetation. Additionally utilizing fire retardant vegetation and materials in this zone will increase protection aspects. Cutting and removing all branches from nearby trees and maintaining a space of at least 10 feet above or near the roofline is necessary. 
  • Zone 2: extends an additional 100 feet out from your home structure. In this zone it is necessary to keep completely clear, free from any dead or overgrown vegetation, dried plants and materials and keep grass a maximum of four inches. 

Apart from the two zone barrier above it is also imperative to outfit your property with fire resistant roofing and structure materials for sheds, decks and patio covers. 

Safety in preparation and prevention is key. A constant stream of assessment, improvement and updates will be a substantial resource as fire season approaches. While no single action will provide absolute protection, constant attention to your home and property will not only improve its value but undoubtedly improve your peace of mind as the seasons come and go. 

What You Need to Know About Rain and Water Damage

Rain and water damage: Something you may not have thought you had, and now you do.

Water damage can happen anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t take much for the source to reveal itself and when it does it can be a real headache as a homeowner. Unfortunately, a leak and resulting water damage is happening alot in homes right now with this deluge of rain we are experiencing. So what do you do? Can you just let it go and dry out? The answer is – no. 

It’s a multi-faceted issue and it really can come from just about anywhere. Strangely enough, heavy rain can cause severe water damage inside your home, leading to expensive repairs and health hazards. Water damage can occur in many different ways, such as flooding, leaks, or seepage. It’s crucial for you to be aware of the potential dangers of heavy rain and take necessary precautions to protect your home. It may not be a problem before the rain but it certainly will show itself during the rain. 

Roof Leaks:

Heavy rain can cause damage to your roof, which can result in leaks. When rainwater penetrates your roof, it immediately can damage your ceiling, walls, and insulation. If left unattended, this can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can cause substantial and varied health problems. 

Basement Flooding:

This will show itself in older homes that have a basement space. Heavy rain can cause basement flooding, which can be a severe problem for homeowners. It’s the foundation of your home’s foundation. If your basement is not properly waterproofed, heavy rain can seep through cracks and gaps in the foundation, causing flooding. This can lead to extensive water damage to your belongings, foundation, and walls. It’s essential to have your basement waterproofed to prevent flooding during heavy rain.

Window and Door Leaks:

Heavy rain can cause water damage through leaks in your windows and doors. If the seals around your windows and doors are damaged or worn out, water will seep through and cause damage to your walls, flooring, and furniture. A telltale sign will also be noticeable air from the outside seeping in. 

Gutter Clogs:

Gutter clogs can be a significant problem during heavy rain, causing water to overflow and damage your home’s exterior and foundation. When your gutters are clogged, rainwater cannot flow through them and away from the walls as intended. Water will accumulate on your roof and overflow onto your walls and foundation. Regular gutter maintenance is crucial in order to prevent clogs during heavy rain.

Landscaping and Drainage Issues:

Heavy rain can also cause water damage inside your home through landscaping and drainage issues. If your yard is not properly graded or your drainage system is inadequate, water can easily seep into your home’s foundation, causing substantial damage. Pooling in your landscaping is an immediate sign that drainage is compromised. 

The outside can come inside. Heavy rain can cause severe water damage inside your home, leading to expensive repairs and health hazards. It’s essential to be aware of the potential dangers of heavy rain and take necessary precautions to protect your home. While it may only be a reactionary repair, it’s necessary to prevent future, larger issues. Regular maintenance, such as inspecting your roof and seals around your windows and doors, cleaning your gutters, and ensuring proper landscaping and drainage, can go a long way in preventing water damage during heavy rain. If you do experience water damage, it’s important to act quickly and contact a professional water damage restoration company to minimize the damage and prevent mold and mildew growth. A trusted resource is a crucial resource hands down.  

Chemical Dangers Of A Fire Are A Big Threat


After a fire, the damage sustained by a building can be dangerous and significant. That resulting damage can pose a serious health risk to any persons in contact with the remaining structure. If improper fire restoration is not performed, the ensuing hazardous conditions and chemical dangers alone can become life threatening. 

Simply and directly put, appropriate skilled restoration service is mitigating the exposure to toxic substances and further preventing chemical and structural hazards from worsening. In short, to remove any and all traces that the fire even happened. What is left is a foundation and framework that is structurally sound, cleaned and fully restored to proper environmental conditions.

The unseen chemical dangers of a fire are easily the most alarming and threatening residual component of the destruction. Construction and building materials when burned release a host of toxic chemicals that immediately transmit into the surrounding environment. The air itself becomes threatening. The primary material culprits in this situation that require immediate removal and cleaning are plastics, upholstery, carpets and flooring, all organic materials such as wool, wood and cotton based textiles and all foam based goods. 

Beyond soot and smoke, odor and discoloration are a clear indicator that a chemical release has occurred as a result of the burn and likely is still present in the aftermath. Now it’s time for a brief chemistry lesson, understanding why this is SO dangerous:

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic is generally used in construction and building materials from pipes to doors and windows, electrical cable insulation, flooring, many applications that substitute for rubber as well as in the production of canvas. Basically , everything around you can be and is likely to be made of PVC. The problem is that while PVC is flame resistant when it is heated it releases a chain of chemicals that are highly detrimental to humans. The resulting hydrogen chloride gas is lethal when inhaled and can easily trap an occupant before they realize what is happening. In many cases the damage is done before the damage is done. These corrosive gasses can spread more rapidly than flames and subsequently leave the remaining toxic dangers to the surrounding environment. 

The necessity of skilled and proper fire restoration services, repair, recovery and renovation is imperatively left up to the professionals. At Affordable Home Works our goal is to be your most trusted , professional and reliable resource in the restoration process. Your peace of mind is our top priority and with this much at stake, we take our job very seriously. 

What You Need to Do If Your Home Is Flooded

What to do in the first 24 hours

A flooded home can be devastating and the cause can be a long list of possibilities. Whether internal or external causes, a flood must be handled with a swift and precise course of action, in order to mitigate the scope of damage and health dangers for you and your family.  

A home flood may be caused by external weather or internal system malfunction like a water heater or plumbing. Regardless of the cause, the result can be disastrous and feel insurmountable to a homeowner. The dangers however do not allow time to process decision making skills. Within the first 24 hours a crucial list of actions are required in order to safely and effectively restore your home to its pre-flood condition.  

  • Contact your insurance agent. A reliable resource to partner with is a vital component and one that will be woven throughout this list. Your insurance agent will be an integral and necessary ally in the cleanup and recovery process. An insurance agent will jump start the restoration process, filing the claims and establishing the starting point of the scope of work. You will need to advise your insurance agent of the current state of your home as this will determine many of the first steps in the cleanup process. 
  • Take pictures and document the range of damage to your home and your belongings. This will be a useful piece of information in the insurance and recovery process. Detailed and meticulous documentation will only serve to your benefit. 
  • Protect your health. Regardless of the source of the flood in your home, even if the water appears to be clean and uncontaminated does not mean it is so. If the leak source is in your kitchen or bathroom, it is likely that the flooding water passed in, around or through various household chemicals which can lead to serious problems if you come into contact with it and your bare skin. Always wear protective gear such as thick elbow length gloves, mid-level boots such as rain boots and always use a protective mask and eyewear for safety precautions when handling flood waters. 
  • Avoid additional risks when returning to your home either permanently or temporarily. If the flood left substantial damage to your home, it is likely that you will need to vacate for a specific period of time. This will be dependent on the scope of repair and restoration work that is required. But even if you are returning without major visible damage or even just to retrieve some of your possessions, it is imperative that you are aware of your surroundings in the home.  Take a cautious look around for any apparent structural damage, large holes especially in the flooring, loose or exposed wires – especially near any standing water. Additionally, you must be aware if any utilities remain in working order within the home. Damage to water, sewer, electrical and gas lines can be detected but only if you are aware and diligent in inspecting possible immediate dangers in the home. 

In the aftermath of a flood, large or small the stress and emotional fallout can feel overwhelming at best. This is an experience that most people, while moderately prepared, are not fully prepared to handle.  The blanket of preparation begins with all of the right support systems in place. The right insurance, the right “in case of emergency” resources and ultimately the right clean up and restoration partners.  The tools to mitigate stress will be a homeowners greatest resource of all and while full preparation may not be flawless, the foundation can certainly be planned. 

What You Need to Do After a Fire


A disastrous occasion like a house fire can be one of the worst things to happen to any homeowner. In reality it can happen to anyone, anywhere and can happen through absolutely no mis-step of yours. It can simply just be a horrible accident. And while it will leave any homeowner lost and distraught, it is extremely important to know exactly what to do and when to do it should this type of disaster strike. 

In the aftermath of a fire, there are many steps that need to be taken right away. The ability to be as prepared as possible ahead of time might make all of the difference in the world when it comes to the after effects and how to deal with them. And while there is no foolproof way to prevent this from happening, especially in California, there are many steps that will make it a little bit easier to navigate. 

  • The first may or may not seem like a “no brainer” action but it is crucial to contact the fire department immediately after something happens, large or small. Even if you think the damage is minor, there are still issues and potential consequences to a fire happening inside of a home. And certainly in the event of a large scale, catastrophic fire contacting 911 immediately should be your first response. Safety should always be your immediate reaction. 
  • Cutting the gas and water to your home will be your next step. Any emergency response and then in turn a restoration service will confirm that this step has been taken to ensure the safety of anyone in the vicinity, emergency personnel or otherwise. 
  • Getting your family and pets to a safe location will be crucial. At this point you will want to retrieve any necessary articles for living and health such as medications and any necessities for your everyday functions. Personal articles and clothing will also be in this category as well as anything of personal value that can be taken away. 
  • The last step and certainly one of the most important, is to contact a well trusted, well equipped fire restoration company. Again, large or small, there are many possible hazards associated with a house fire and it is the work of a well qualified restoration resource to ensure that your home, your family and your surroundings are as protected as possible upon your return. 

In the event of a house fire, the last thing that any homeowner needs is to feel completely lost and unsure of what to do. It will certainly not take away the pain and stress of a disaster like a house fire but any amount of preparation and a well thought out “in case of emergency” list will certainly ease the pain of this situation. Having resources in place and knowing who to contact will make all of the difference in the aftermath of any situation. The right resources will make every difference in recouping and restoring life back to normal. 

What You Need To Know For When This Rain Passes


Fire season may seem like a far cry to California residents right now. As we are entering another phase of this insane rainy season (it’s called a Bomb Cyclone..) we don’t exactly imagine how this could affect us when we move into the drier seasons and the rain is a distant memory. Well, unfortunately as we all know one does affect the other. All of this rain will promote a massive increase in vegetation. When the dry weather comes , and it will, that vegetation and brush will become kindling for fire season and the more prepared we are the better the outcome for our homes.

As all Californians know, next to nothing will keep our homes and surroundings 100% fail safe during fire season. There are however many tips for preparation that we can do to protect our surroundings. Here we outline a few tasks to tackle sooner rather than later that will provide a measure of protection after the rain has gone:

  • Assessment is key. Know the risks to your home early and eliminate as much as possible. The perimeter of your home and the close proximity to the foundation should be clean and clear. Monitor any trees and vegetation growth that start to get overgrown. Primarily monitor close range trees for overgrowth and weak branches. Not only is this a danger during the storm but will increase its danger in the dry months when those branches are right up against or over your roof. 
  • Maintain a safe 10 foot perimeter around your home for any trees or vegetation. This alone will keep overgrowth at bay.  In both wet and dry conditions this perimeter is an all season safeguard. 
  • Outfit your home and surrounding property with fire-resistant features such as pavers, rocks and bricks instead of mulch and wood chips. This will prompt flow during wet weather and non-combustible materials during dry weather. 

Historically a wet winter has translated to a low risk fire season. Unfortunately this is no longer true. Now the two may go more hand in hand than ever, promoting an increase as opposed to a decrease. Steps of prevention are key. Knowing how to safeguard your home for future , and certainly guaranteed seasons, may make all of the difference in how your home safely rides out the coming weather. As always having the right resources at hand will mean increased peace of mind above all else.

How To Protect Your Home from Rainwater Damage


Let’s be honest, in Southern California, no one thought that excessive rain would ever be a problem let alone our homes getting water and/or flood damage because of it. That kind of weather just doesn’t happen here. Fire season – yes, rainy season – no. Now here we are in the midst of another incoming rain storm (it’s called a Bomb Cyclone) and now we need to determine how we can protect our homes from possible damage due to excessive rain and the subsequent flooding of our properties. 

A powerful storm like we are experiencing can leave the residents massively un-prepared for the effects and can mean potential damage to your home. Below we have outlined some measures to protect and prepare for the coming storms:

  • First and foremost assess where water may be collecting and understand your risks of flooding in those areas. See where water puddles near doors and entrance points. From that point place sandbags around the perimeter of doors like sliders, front door (if applicable), garage doors and side entrance doors. 
  • Cover any vulnerable areas of your property. Windows, window wells and vents  that may experience some leaking, have items such as duct tape or plastic sheeting to cover those areas during the height of the storm. You want to think in terms of situational solutions. This is not a “forever” fixture, just an immediate solution to an immediate  problem.
  • A very reactionary point and it’s really only a reaction due to its nature- roof leaks. If you notice a leak after a heavy bout of rain it’s important to get that area covered with plastic sheeting until you are able to get a more long term solution after the storm passes. 
  • Pay very close attention to any overgrown trees in the close proximity of your property. If there are any hovering or weak branches, get them cut down. With heavy rain the weight of tree branches and saturated soil can cause huge problems with surrounding trees. 
  • Clear clogged gutters. Make sure this drainage system that is designed to transport water away from your home is not doing the opposite because it is clogged with leaves and debris that has collected. Water will flow where it can and that may mean right into your walls if it cannot travel down and away. 

Preparation is key. It’s crucial to do what you can when you can. It may not always produce a fail safe solution, but taking small steps to safeguard your property, might mean the difference between an easy fix and a large scale problem. 

Your Ultimate Guide to Fire Safety

Top Tips for fire safety: 


An ounce of prevention they say… and it is true. While that is in reference to heath, prevention of any sort is worth its weight in gold when it comes to protecting yourself, your family, your home and / or your business. There is no exception to this rule in any case really and especially when it comes to safety and preventative action with fire risk and security. 

While it is no steadfast guarantee that any preventative action will provide 100% safeguard, any action you take to guard against major damage is a step much closer to being in the clear all together. Many details or variables will not be in a person’s control but many similar or compatible actions will insulate potential damage to a home should a fire pass near or around your home. Here is a list of some of the Top Fire Safety Recommendations for homeowners:

  • Prevention- Exterior: It is crucial to safeguard against the potential threat of a fire outbreak. Being aware and responsible for your home’s exterior surroundings. Keeping dead and dry brush and plants cut back and / or fully removed especially after the summer months when the lack of rain and moisture in the environment is at its lowest. 
  • Prevention – Exterior: Always use extreme caution when storing flammable materials outdoors or in a shed. It is imperative that the storage location be well ventilated and away from the home but they must also be removed from any ignition source or removed from any equipment that may initiate a spark. 
  • Prevention – Interior: Portable heaters are the second leading cause of house fires. Never under any circumstances should a portable heater be left unattended or put into use in a very small, very restrictive position. 
  • Prevention – Interior: Constant and continual testing and maintenance of in home smoke detectors is top of the list for prevention. An action as simple as replacing the batteries or ensuring that batteries are never removed is absolutely necessary. 
  • Prevention – Both: Simply learn how to use a fire extinguisher and keep several strategically placed and easily accessible. This will come in handy indoors and outdoors and will put out a fire rapidly and with control. Maintaining calm, decisive action is important and knowing how to use a fire extinguisher will create exactly that. 
  • Prevention – Both: Stay on top of your home’s electrical wiring system. Be aware of any decaying or broken wiring in your home inside and outdoors. If wiring appears to be fraying, have a well qualified professional electrician repair the problem immediately. A leading cause of homes fires will be poorly maintained wiring especially when it has not been professionally installed or maintained. 

All tips will always involve awareness and decisive action. Some tasks can be put off but eventually the problem grows and becomes monumental and we all know this to be true. Truly an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and in the case of fire prevention that cure comes in the form of vast amounts of clean up. Fire damage is monumental in all areas and especially in fire prone areas such as California. Continual safety maintenance must be practiced all year round. These small actions may make the difference in catastrophic damage or not. 

Ultimate Guide to Main Hazards Produced by Fire Damage


Fire Damage Hazards

A fire can happen anywhere at any time. Constant attention to seemingly innocent causes is what makes the difference between a fire happening and not even though the potential causes are ever present. 

It’s no secret that fires cause significant damage to a structure that can have residual effects to the property and the people residing within and the after effects can be extremely dangerous, especially if not assessed and handled properly. The key is to know what the risk factors are and how to reduce that risk for all involved.

  • Waste products that are flammable: Many homes and commercial buildings have an excess of materials that have been put aside for disposal that are no longer of use. Unfortunately that build up becomes factor #1 if ignored and left to build up over time. Paper and cardboard matter can be prime combustion is allowed to build up over time. All manner of combustible materials should always be disposed of right away in order to avoid this substantial risk. 
  • Flammable liquids: Flammable liquids of all kinds ( lighter fluid, rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover) are commonly found in a home and can be highly combustible given exposure to any source of ignition. To minimize risk it’s imperative to keep all flammable liquids separated and stored well away from any potential fire hazard. 
  • Heat generating objects: Electrical equipment can overheat in an instant and the primary dangers come in combination with combustible materials being in close proximity. Regardless of size, a computer or an industrial size refrigerator, all mechanical components have the capability of overheating from overuse and producing a spark or a short which will ignite any materials in close range. The risk can be reduced by keeping a clear space and well ventilated area around all mechanical equipment free from any clutter or material build up. 

Finally and most commonly human error is the most common cause of fire risk all around. Often it is a rather innocent mistake that seems to go relatively unnoticed that can cause the greatest amount of damage. And it is nearly impossible to completely protect against human error of any kind. Awareness is key and standard maintenance and cleaning practices on a regular basis will be the greatest line of defense against a fire and the hazards associated with it. Above all else, having the right resource for assessment and damage restoration should the unthinkable happen will be the most valuable resource of all. 

Everything You Need to Know About Water Damage Restoration and Its Timing

Timing is everything with water damage restoration

water restoration

As a homeowner there are many images or scenarios that create an absolute dream setting. The portrait of the perfect summer day with family and friends around the pool, the idyllic holiday gathering bursting with laughter and levity, or even a simple Wednesday night family dinner all around the table. These are reasons to love your home in dreams, as well as reality. Unfortunately, there are scenarios that nightmares are made of as well and water restoration is one of them. While some like fire or catastrophic weather may never plague your home, indoor flooding may and it’s more common than you think. 

The sound of running water when the showers or appliances are on is a common mainstay.  The sounds of gushing water especially when it’s not supposed to be is an absolute nightmare. There is a problem, and you know it but you just don’t know where it is coming from…yet. 

If this nightmare happens in your home, you are not alone. While that thought will serve little purpose in comforting you, it is helpful to know that this common occurrence happens frequently and can easily be remedied but it is imperative that flooding and water damage is handled immediately.  

Water restoration is a necessity, not an option. Well trained resources will make all of the difference in the swiftness and ease that you and your family are likely to experience. Ignored or untreated damage becomes exponential. In a home that has been flooded or experienced a water leak, severe health risks, extensive damage and excessive expense can easily occur without prompt attention.  From health effects to structural damage and fire hazard, a water leak is among the most serious issues for a homeowner. 

Due to the serious health risks of mold growth, water leakage is a significant problem that must be addressed and attended to at the earliest signs. Mold growth will produce spores and once they become airborne, the contamination has started. Specifically, once mold comes into contact with water, its growth multiplies substantially, creating a hidden network of health dangers. Stopping the production of mold, and subsequently its spores, are the front line defense of water restoration.

While we know that immediate action is essential, it can also be an overwhelming situation that is difficult to navigate at the time. Initial steps can be taken as a homeowner in the meantime until the pro’s arrive. Drying as much of the leak as possible is the start. Removing any water-soaked objects from the surface is crucial. The risks are far too great to leave up to chance. A highly trained restoration service is imperative and instantaneous action can save you from further risk and damage to your health and home.