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3 Steps for Preparing for Mold Remediation

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

A man putting a plastic barrier in a property. Concept of mold containment Mold containment in Theatre District, MA.

Mold Remediation Process

There are many misconceptions about mold, making it difficult for property owners to understand how long the process should take and how to budget for the work. For example, many people don't understand that mold exists everywhere. Spores get into buildings through open doors, ventilation systems, and on clothing. Consider the following facts about mold:

  • Spores are microscopic and can't be completely removed from a building.
  • Moist and mildly humid conditions promote mold growth.
  • Mold removal (or remediation) begins by identifying areas of moisture and correcting those issues.
  • Black mold, or stachybotrys chartarum, isn't always toxic. However, when you find any type of mold in your building, you should stay away from that area without disturbing the mold.

With these facts in mind, take the following steps when preparing for mold remediation. Many Theatre District, MA, businesses have built these steps into their maintenance protocols to avoid costly repairs in the future.

1. Learn how moisture gets into your buildings. Before you call a mold removal professional, you can begin resolving this problem by finding the source of moisture. This often requires visually inspecting your entire property. If mold has spread throughout your building, the source of the problem may be pretty far from the initial source of moisture. Professionals will also want to inspect the source of trouble to prevent future mold growth.

2. Make a record of the problem. Insurance companies in Theatre District, MA, often require proof of mold before agreeing to pay for remediation. Your written records and photos of the area could also be used by professionals when they plan their remediation efforts. Your records may also be used to determine the extent of the problem.

3. Plan for three to seven days of remediation work. The mold removal process typically includes the same steps:

  • Resolving the water problem
  • Isolating areas of mold contamination
  • Misting contaminated areas to control dust
  • Removing and disposing of damaged materials
  • Thoroughly cleaning and drying infected areas
  • Replacing removed materials

These steps can effectively address mold issues. After the area has been cleared by professionals, you can safely begin using that part of your property again.

Insured: How To Know You Are Covered in a Flood

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Basement flood

Your homeowners' policy is likely designed to take care of accidents that were unable to be foreseen. While it can secure against most of the things that can go wrong with your home in North End, MA, you may need additional insurance for certain issues. Sometimes your basement flood can be covered, and sometimes it cannot.

What Isn't Covered?

There are several things your homeowners' policy probably doesn't insure:

  • Flood damage
  • Issues resulting from negligence or improper maintenance
  • Backup of municipal sewer lines
  • Repair of the flood's source

You may have to purchase additional insurance coverage for some of these issues. The cost of some of the repairs, however, such as repairs done by restoration professionals for problems caused by poor maintenance, will probably have to be paid out of pocket.

What Is Covered?

If the accident that causes the damage is sudden and unavoidable, such as a water heater that breaks and causes a basement flood, your homeowners' policy will probably protect you. If your floor or a wall needs to be replaced, your dwelling insurance can take care of it. If items are ruined in the flood, the personal property clause in the policy can help you pay for their replacement after the deductible is met.

What Additional Protection Is Needed?

If you experience frequent flooding in North End, MA, it is a good idea to purchase flood insurance. Water backup coverage can help you when your basement is flooded by a backed-up sewer line or a clogged pipe outside your home. Talk to your insurance agent about other options that may be helpful for you to have to protect your home.

If a sudden accident causes a basement flood, a lot of the damage is probably insured by your homeowners' policy. Some special circumstances might require further coverage, though. It is important to make sure you understand your policy and have the right one in place before a problem occurs.

What You Need To Know About Puff Backs

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

Old dirty brickwork in soot Puff back damage in Chinatown, MA.

What Is a Puff Back?

Having a modern, up-to-date furnace in your Chinatown, MA, home can make life a lot easier, but at the end of the day, you could still be dealing with some serious issues resulting from a variety of malfunctions. That’s because even the best furnaces are still prone to dirt and dust buildup, which often leads to small disasters known as puff backs. A puff back

  • Involves a small explosion inside of your furnace or boiler
  • Tends to occur more commonly in oil-fired heating systems
  • Usually leads to widespread soot and smoke damage in a home

Causes

Generally, these issues are due to a malfunction in the furnace or heating system itself. Of course, the malfunction could be caused by a wide range of issues, such as a clogged filter or failing fan. Lack of maintenance appears to be the leading cause of issues leading up to puff backs of all types.

Varying Severity Levels

In some lucky cases, a puff back only causes minor damage to the furnace or heating system in question and is fairly quick and inexpensive to repair. However, other incidents, especially those from oil-fired systems, tend to be much larger and can spread soot, smoke and debris across all corners of a home in an instant. This not only leads to a potentially lengthy smoke cleaning process but can cause significant damage to the heating unit, requiring a full replacement in some cases.

Best Ways To Avoid Puff Backs

The best way to avoid this problem in your own home is to have your furnace, boiler or other heating system inspected annually by a certified professional. They have the know-how needed to diagnose any issues and can give maintenance recommendations that reduce the likelihood of an explosion occurring. Otherwise, regularly changing your filters is a step in the right direction.

Understanding the basics of the average puff back can help you prepare your home against the threat, so you can enjoy your central heating in peace.

What To Do When Your Business Loses Power

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

WiFi symbol on smartphone screen with button to connect to wireless internet, close-up of hand holding mobile phone, computer Take a working lunch to a restaurant with a strong Wi-Fi signal.

Three Ways To Continue Working When You Lose Power

Storm season in Waterfront, MA, can cause unplanned interruptions in your utility service. When power lines are down, you need a way to continue your business without losing important information. A power outage doesn't have to bring your operations to a halt. Here are three ways you can continue working even if you are temporary without your normal power or internet sources.

1. Seek Alternate Locations

One convenient thing about the internet is that you can access it from almost anywhere. If you know your business is going to be without power for a few hours, use some creative restructuring to get work done. Allow employees to work from home until power is restored in your building. Take a working lunch to a restaurant with a strong Wi-Fi signal. There are many places where you can work comfortably while technicians are repairing power lines and restoration experts are fixing anything wrong with the building.

2. Use Backup Power

If you are able to stay in the building to work, a backup power source can help you do so. A portable generator or battery backup can get you through a temporary power outage. Use an uninterrupted power supply to avoid losing data on an unsaved document during a sudden outage.

3. Follow Internet Tips

If you have a data plan on your phone, you can use your plan as Wi-Fi by turning on the personal hotspot. This can help you finish what you have started if you experience a momentary lapse of service in your building. If power is limited, make sure that you only use the essential services you need. You may be tempted to log on to check social media or play games while you are waiting on the power to come back, but this can drain the small reserves you have quickly. Conserve energy by only using what you need until you have full service again.

A power outage can be frustrating, but it doesn't have to be devastating. Having a backup plan can save data and allow your business to continue functioning.

How Property Managers Can Prepare for Hurricanes

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

People escape to exit door If a mandatory evacuation is put into place, none of your staff should stay on the premises.

Here Are Some Preparation Tips

As a property manager, you have a lot of responsibilities. One of them is storm preparedness. Hurricanes in Financial District, MA, can be particularly dangerous, so you need to make sure your building is ready for excessive rain and winds. 

Contact Information
You should have an emergency contact list for everyone on your property. The list should include:

  • Names
  • Individuals with special needs
  • Email addresses
  • Cell and home phone numbers

Documentation
Once the hurricane is over, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. The insurer can often help you with storm-related expenses, including remediation and cleanup services.
To expedite the claims process, you should take time-stamped videos or photos of your property prior to the storm. The pictures should document the exterior of the premises and any common areas. Store the images off-site or back them up digitally so you can show them to the claims adjuster.

Maintenance
Cleaning the exterior of your property is important for storm preparedness. Before the storm arrives, you should empty the dumpster and secure any large outdoor items. Be sure to trim trees close to the building, as well.

Staff Delegation
As the hurricane approaches, make sure all of your staff members know their responsibilities. Front-desk workers, managers and engineers should remain on-site for as long as possible so they can assist everyone in the building. Once the winds increase, essential employees should work together to mitigate damage to HVAC systems, water pumps and other important equipment.
If a mandatory evacuation is put into place, none of your staff should stay on the premises. Before your employees leave, give them a phone number or email address that they can contact to find out about returning to work. As the property manager, you should be the last person to evacuate the property.
Storm preparedness is a necessary part of property management. The above tips should help you secure your building and keep everyone safe.

How To Distinguish Between Mold and Mildew Growth

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

A professional disinfector in overalls processes the walls from mold. Removal of black fungus in the apartment and house. Mold remediation services to a home in South End, MA.

Mold vs Mildew

Mold damage might not seem different from mildew at first glance. You might even hear some people refer to both interchangeably. While mildew is a type of fungus just like mold, it has enough significant differences to warrant different cleaning methods. Learn about the main contrasts between these fungi so you can distinguish them when they emerge inside your South End, MA, home.

Physical Differences
An immediate way to separate mildew growth from mold is by comparing physical appearance. Generally, mildew resembles powder, has a grey or white color and it has a flat shape. Meanwhile, mold growth can be fuzzy or slimy, with a variety of colors such as:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Yellow

Additionally, you might find some raised mold instead of it being a flat organism. Mold takes on more shapes because it encompasses various versions, while mildew is just one specific version.

Surface Types
Mildew also has a different relationship with its surface in comparison to mold damage. Both are fungi grown on wet and moist surfaces. However, you might find mildew mostly on the surfaces of plants and fruits, as well as materials with high amounts of cellulose, while mold grows on nearly any type of surface. Mildew only grows on top of the surfaces and only actively damages plants, while mold burrows and severely damages these surfaces, especially when they are already weakened by moisture.

Infestation Severity
Mildew is relatively harmless in comparison to most other types of mold. It is usually flat and surface-deep, so it causes less damage to your property. You can easily remove it with a cleaning product, a towel and gloves. Mold can affect your home in various ways. It can be more difficult to remove from your home, so you might need a mold removal and restoration service to step in and handle it professionally.
The differences between mildew and mold damage are few, but they are substantial enough to establish. They determine the appropriate methods for combating a present infestation.

4 Steps You Should Take After a Furnace Puffback

4/26/2021 (Permalink)

Old dirty brickwork in soot Puffback damage

Steps To Take After A Furnace Puffback

A malfunctioning furnace can cause puffback damage that may leave you with widespread soot and streaks on surfaces. These are four steps you should take after a furnace puffback.

1. Assess the Damage
A puffback from your oil furnace can cause damage throughout your building. The first step in the restoration process is to inspect your property to determine how much damage has been done. Make a list of damaged property and take photographs for your insurance company. This will help speed up the claims process.

2. File an Insurance Claim
Most commercial property insurance covers puffback damage. Your insurance company will need to inspect your damage before you can begin cleaning and repairs, so contact them as soon as possible to get the claims process started.

3. Call an HVAC Technician
A puffback is a sign that your furnace needs to be repaired. Attempting to run the furnace without having it repaired could lead to another puffback or cause additional damage to your HVAC system. Contact an HVAC technician in Seaport, MA, to schedule an appointment. Once your system has been repaired, have it inspected regularly to ensure this problem doesn't occur again.

4. Contact a Professional Restoration Company
The soot and oil that stain surfaces after a puffback are difficult to remove and can cover a very large area. It may even spread through your ductwork. Attempting to clean this type of damage yourself can do more harm than good. Contact a professional restoration company to do the cleaning for you. Cleaning technicians have the tools and training needed to remove all of the damage from your building and deodorize and decontaminate the area.
Puffback damage can create a sticky mess that is difficult to get rid of. However, taking the proper steps can ensure your property is returned to preloss condition and help prevent the problem from recurring.

How to Remove Lingering Odors Caused by Water Damage

4/12/2021 (Permalink)

Office. Flood cuts have been performed on drywalls Commercial restoration services in South Boston, MA.

Ways To Remove Bad Odors After Water Damage

Water of all kinds can cause damage to your South Boston, MA, building. While contaminated water may be more likely to cause lingering odors, clean water can also contribute by facilitating mold growth. If you are noticing bad smells after water damage, the following steps can help remove them.

1. Clean Surfaces
Both flooding and sewage loss can bring black water into your building. This water is highly contaminated and can contain bacteria, mud, waste and other debris. As a result, it can carry with it unpleasant odors. Everything that this water has come into contact with should be thoroughly cleaned, both to reduce these odors as well as to prevent bacteria from spreading within the building.

2. Perform Mold Remediation
Mold spores that have been brought into the building by contaminated water, as well as those already present, will grow quickly in a wet environment. Infestations of this fungus can then create a musty odor. Both the mold growth and the smell can be effectively removed by a mold remediation company.

3. Replace Damaged Materials
Materials like insulation and drywall can easily absorb large amounts of floodwater. These are not easily cleaned, resulting in bad smells that stick around as well as damage to the building. Removing and replacing these materials should reduce lingering odors.

4. Remove Odors From the Air
If you have tried the previous steps but still haven’t quite removed all of the bad smells, then you may need to clean the air inside the building. Using an air purifier, you can remove bacteria and other contaminants to create a clean and fresh-smelling environment.
After you have experienced water damage, it can take some time to return your building to its previous condition. Everything should be cleaned thoroughly and any mold growth should be removed. In most cases, it is best to have this done by a professional who has the necessary training and equipment to get the job done properly.

How To Clean Your Microwave

3/18/2021 (Permalink)

Closeup of hand in protective glove wiping rag microwave. View from the interior of the oven Keep your microwave clean.

Microwaves, like any other kitchen appliance in your Back Bay, MA, home, must be cleaned periodically to stay in top working condition. An unpleasant smoke smell can also appear if your device isn’t cleaned properly. If you need help restoring after a kitchen fire, contact a fire restoration right away.

Cleaning Tips After Every Use

The inside of the microwave should be cleaned every time you use it.

Wipe the inside walls and the tray with a wet cloth right after use.
If food becomes hardened, place a bowl of water with a small amount of vinegar inside the unit and warm it up for several seconds. This acts as steam clean to loosen the food particles.
If the tray is especially dirty, place it in the sink filled with warm, sudsy water for a few minutes. Rinse and dry before replacing it.

Maintenance Steps For Periodic Cleaning
There are a few working parts within the appliance that need to be cleaned or replaced periodically. The charcoal filter should be changed a couple of times a year. Since this filter absorbs pollutants, replacing it before it stops working helps to keep any smoke smell at bay. It’s important to note that the charcoal filter is only significant on units that have recirculating air. If your model vents to the outside, you can skip this maintenance step.
In over-the-counter ranges, the grease filter should be cleaned frequently. Manufacturer’s recommendations may vary, so follow the instructions in your operator’s manual. As a rule of thumb, however, once per month is sufficient to keep it working well. Remove the filter and place it in hot, soapy water. You can lightly scrub the filter with a soft brush if necessary.
The vent grill should be cleaned periodically as well. Refer to your owner’s manual for details on how to clean it.
Keep your microwave clean so that it functions well and removes unpleasant smoke smell from your home

4 Times Homeowners Insurance Covers a Flooded Basement

3/8/2021 (Permalink)

Leaking water heater Your insurance will generally cover water heater incidents.

4 Times Homeowners Insurance Covers a Flooded Basement

There are many reasons a basement flood could occur in your home in Boston, MA. If you experience any of the following, your insurance coverage should take care of the damage.

1. Broken Appliances
If your washing machine, HVAC unit, or refrigerator causes a sudden basement flood, your insurance will typically cover the damage. Any time your appliance malfunctions, you'll probably find yourself getting reimbursed. Just keep in mind that your insurance will only cover the damage, such as the cost to hire a water remediation company. You are responsible for replacing the faulty appliance. However, sometimes the damage was due to poor maintenance on your part. If your insurance adjuster finds evidence that you haven't maintained your appliances properly, your claim can be denied.

2. Leaking Water Heaters
Just like a malfunctioning appliance, your insurance will generally cover water heater incidents. Again, keep in mind that the insurance company will inspect whether the source was sudden or caused by neglect. If your adjuster finds evidence of poor maintenance, they can deny your claim.

3. Freezing Pipes
If the temperature drops really low overnight, any pipes that burst due to freezing will be covered. This includes pipes leading to your HVAC unit, sprinklers, and appliances. The only restriction is that you must be living in your home at the time of the burst. Otherwise, you have to prove that you had the heat turned on in the building.

4. Overflowing Tubs, Pools, and Sinks
You may be surprised to find that your insurance will cover a basement flood caused by an overflowing pool, tub, sink, or other fixture. These incidents fit under your policy's sudden and accidental clause, so the damage you caused is covered. In other words, when your toddlers think it is a good idea to stuff the basement toilet with their toys and flush, all is well on the insurance front.
These are just some of the types of water damage that your insurance will cover. There are plenty of other times when your insurance covers the damage in your flooded basement.