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3 Things Homeowners Should Know About Mold in Crawlspaces

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

A mold hygienist on his knees checking for mold in a crawlspace Checking for mold in a crawlspace

Issues That Could Affect Your Home's Crawlspace

Many people don't often think about the spaces under their homes in Seaport, MA. However, just because you may not think about the spaces under your home doesn't mean problems may not occur there. As a homeowner, it can be wise to know what common issues, such as mold growth, could be affecting your home's crawlspace.

1. The Areas Under Homes Are Frequently the First to Acquire Water or Mold Damage

When flooding occurs, areas closest to the ground are most likely to sustain damage first. As a result, mold growth is likely to appear in areas under your home. However, other issues can also encourage mold growth under your home. Rain spouts that aren't diverted in a direction away from your home can cause water to build up under your house, and pipe leaks are another common cause of damage.

2. The Damage May Go Unnoticed

Many homeowners avoid going under their homes when possible, and since your crawlspace is not easily visible, the area may sustain damage without you noticing. Though you are likely to notice if a flood has affected the structure of your house, a slow pipe leak can result in equal amounts of damage. Keeping track of your water bills and looking out for unexplained increases in cost can help you to notice a leak before it's too late.

3. Media Blasting Can Be Beneficial

If the underside of your home has been affected by mold, restoration and sanitization can be difficult. However, mold remediation experts often use a method known as media blasting when removing mold from small spaces underneath houses. As the name suggests, media blasting entails blasting baking soda onto moldy surfaces. Then, specialized vacuums help to contain any remaining mold spores.

It's often useful to know about issues that could affect your home's crawlspace, as well as solutions that can fix common problems. Knowing that areas under your home are prone to damage, that problems can often go unnoticed and the benefits of media blasting can help you better prepare for any potential issues under your home.

What To Do if Your Home Has Been Damaged in a Storm

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

A professional from SERVPRO inspecting the walls of home after storm damage Hire a restoration company in the South Boston, MA area

Storm Tips

For many homeowners in South Boston, MA, severe storms can be a hassle. They can cause damage to your house that might take a lot of time and money to repair. In some cases, you might not know how to proceed if your house has been affected. Use the following storm tips to get your home back in top shape more quickly.

1. Contact Your Insurance Company

If you have experienced storm damage to your home, one of the first things that you should do is call your insurance agent. The claims process can be lengthy, so it’s better to get started sooner rather than later. Many policies have a cut-off for filing a claim as well, so if you wait too long, you might be denied.

2. Hire a Restoration Company

Something else that you should do quickly is to hire an emergency cleanup and restoration company to begin repairs on your home. When damage is left to sit, it can become worse. This will make it more difficult, time-consuming and costly to repair.

3. Document the Affected Areas

While you are waiting for your insurance adjuster to arrive, you can begin documenting the storm damage in your home. Check the house thoroughly and write down everything that has been damaged. You can give this list to your adjuster to help with the claims process. You should take pictures of everything since the insurance company will need evidence of the damage.

4. Prevent Damage From Worsening

One of the most important storm tips to remember is mitigation. This step is necessary to keep damage at a minimum. In some cases, if this is not done, your insurance claim can be denied. It can also increase the amount of time needed for repairs. Board up affected areas to keep water from spreading, and move items to a dry location.
After your home has been damaged, it can be difficult to keep your thoughts organized. You might have a lot of concerns and frustrations. However, keeping these storm tips in mind can help you get through the situation more calmly.

Water-Based Secondary Damage to the Home

8/22/2019 (Permalink)

Replacing floor after water damage in Back Bay, MA

When water finds its way into your Back Bay, MA home, the damage can persist well after the area has dried. Known as secondary damage, rooms, walls, furniture, and other items that have not been properly dried and dehumidified can suffer from black mold and other issues that may begin to damage other areas of the home if left unchecked. As such, it is imperative to quickly and efficiently remove the water, dry and dehumidify the area, and closely inspect the area for mold growth.

Understanding Mold Growth

Oftentimes, damage to the home from water, stemming from storms, leaks, or other water-related issues, is not as devastating as the secondary damage that comes after the puddles have dried. Black mold forms quickly if given the right environment, and once it forms, it can spread quickly. Some of these factors include:

  • Porous material: The wood, insulation, drywall, flooring, and furniture in a home are very absorbent and trap water when not properly and thoroughly dried
  • High humidity: Warm, humid days are a veritable breeding ground for mold growth because the moisture level in the air prevents porous areas from fully drying
  • Ventilation: When battling against porous material during a humid time period, proper ventilation is imperative to preventing mold growth
  • Time: Swift action must be taken after storms and leaks to dry and ventilate the home, as mold will begin to form and spread in a matter of days

Dangers of Mold

Mold is more than an unsightly inconvenience. As a living organism, black mold has the ability to spread throughout the home quickly, even in areas that were untouched by the original water damage. Mold attaches itself to all types of materials, including walls, floors, and support beams, and begins to eat away at these areas. As such, the overall integrity of your home can be damaged in a matter of days. Swift action, close inspection, and thorough remediation are the best ways to protect your home from further damage after a water leak or flood.

5 Easy Steps To Ensure Your Commercial Building Is Prepared for the Next Storm

8/15/2019 (Permalink)

Exterior of a building in Boston, MA

5 Steps To Help Your Business Handle Even The Worst Storms

When a storm rolls into Boston, MA, will your building be able to withstand Mother Nature? Being prepared with exterior maintenance in advance is a good way to ensure you will be ready for the unexpected. Here are five steps to help your business handle even the worst storms:

1. Know What You Are Up Against

Know the types of storms that are likely to affect your building. The more informed you are about the typical meteorological conditions you can expect to see in your geographical area, the better you can tailor your building’s exterior maintenance to withstand damage caused by those conditions.

2. Conduct A Building Inspection

Once you have a better understanding of what kind of climate to expect, it is time to assess your building exterior and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Focus especially on the integrity of your windows and doors, as these can be vulnerable to damage. Ensuring drainage pipes, gutters and other channels for storm water are clear can help greatly to reduce flooding.

3. Fix Your Flaws

After you’ve taken a good look at your facility, focus on reinforcing and strengthening the exterior. Keeping your building maintained will go a long way towards curtailing damage sustained during a storm. It is a good idea to consult a professional with storm damage expertise to ensure all your bases have been covered.

4. Prepare Your Strategy

Having an emergency plan in place for when disaster strikes takes the guesswork out of handling these stressful scenarios. In addition, having a detailed exterior maintenance plan can help ensure your facility is strong once a storm hits.

5. Stay Alert

You now have a solid plan in place, and your building has been reinforced in preparation for the worst. Keep alert for signs of storms and other bad weather so you can act immediately at the first signs of danger.
Keeping your building maintained means you have taken thorough measures to mitigate damage caused by storms and flooding. Be prepared, stay watchful, and rest assured knowing that you have taken the appropriate precautions.

First 3 Steps To Take After a Fire

8/8/2019 (Permalink)

Board up building after fire in Theatre District, MA

3 Main Things To Focus On After A Fire

If a fire breaks out in your commercial building in Theatre District, MA, you may be overwhelmed by the number of items that are suddenly on your to-do list. Keep in mind, however, that most of the things that need to be done are the job of the fire restoration team. There are three main things you need to focus on after the fire has been put out.

1. Make Vital Calls

Your fire insurance company needs to know what happened to your building. Give your agent a call so an adjuster can come out and survey the fire damage. You also need to call restoration experts to start the cleanup process. They often arrive only a few hours after you call, and they can help you with your insurance claim by providing an estimate of the repair costs.

2. Leave Everything Alone

It can be difficult to see your property with fire and water damage and do nothing, but that's exactly what you need to do. Fire restoration professionals have the training needed to address the damage safely and correctly. If you try to do it on your own, you may put yourself in danger or make the problem worse.

3. Secure Your Building

A fire can leave your building vulnerable. Windows are likely broken and your roof has probably sustained fire and smoke damage. It's important to secure your building during the smoke cleaning process. Make sure to ask for board up services when technicians arrive. They can cover broken windows and put tarps on your roof to keep out rain, debris, animals and looters.
Fire restoration duties fall mainly under the purview of the experts, but as the building's owner, there are a few things you can do to make the process go more smoothly. With timely reporting and responsible treatment, you can expect a faster resolution to your fire damage problem.

Essential Ceiling Tile Maintenance

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

Give your commercial location an improved look and reduced maintenance schedule by choosing ceiling tiles. Tiles can come in a wide range of designs and are a cost-effective way to hide your utilities and provide a protective ceiling. In order to get the most out of your ceiling tiles and prevent tile mold in Waterfront, MA, follow these essential maintenance steps.

Inspecting Your Tiles

While day-to-day maintenance is dramatically diminished when using ceiling tiles, there are a few signs to watch out for. Look for these signs that your ceiling tiles may need to be repaired, cleaned or replaced:

  • Warped tiles
  • Tile discoloration
  • Damp spots
  • Cracked or broken tiles
  • Mold spots

Each of these areas are signs that your ceiling tiles may need to be replaced. If you’re unsure about a particular spot or have an emergency, contact a local mold remediation company that is Faster to any size disaster.

Cleaning Your Tiles

Small spots and dusty tiles can easily be cleaned. Simply take a damp cloth and wipe the tiles. If you need a more thorough cleaning, consider a professional technician who uses commercial-grade tile cleaners.

A brown spot that can’t be wiped off may be water damage. Water damage on tiles, particularly porous tiles, can harbor tile mold.

Replacing Your Tiles

Moldy tiles and large holes in tiles can’t be fixed by a simple cleaning. Restore your tiled ceiling and refresh your commercial location by buying new tiles. Be sure to select the same style and size of your previous tiles for a flawless replacement.

Don’t let water damage compromise the integrity and professional appearance of your ceiling tiles. Proper maintenance, including wiping with a cloth and inspecting for signs of mold, can go a long way to keeping your ceiling tiles durable and protective. Choose a professional mold restoration company to effortlessly replace your commercial tiles and remove tile mold “Like it never even happened.”

How To Prepare Your Home for a Fire

7/18/2019 (Permalink)

House fire in Boston, MA

Most people take active measures to prevent house fires, but not many people have implemented fire preparation techniques. Yet, fire prep is just as important as fire prevention, and in fact may be more so when it comes to protecting your home and loved ones. If you have yet to implement fire safety procedures, it’s time to do so. Below are five things you can do to get started.

5 Steps To Prepare Your Home for a Fire.

  • Test your smoke alarms. 
  • Plan an evacuation route. 
  • Teach your children what to do in the event of a home fire. 
  • Devise a communication strategy. 
  • Practice.

1. Test Your Alarms

Though your smoke alarms should inform you when they’re low on batteries, it doesn’t hurt to check them periodically. Test them once a month, and to err on the side of caution, replace their batteries at least once a year. 

2. Plan an Evacuation Route

This should be at the top of your fire preparation list. Identify all possible exits for each room in the home and make sure that each family member is aware of where those exits are. Designate a family meeting spot outside. 

3. Teach Your Children 

If you have young children, show them what the fire alarm sounds like and advise them on what to do if they hear one. Inform them of evacuation routes as well. 

4. Plan a Way To Communicate

Put together an emergency contact list and make sure that all family members know who to contact if they cannot find one another. Have your young children memorize important phone numbers, beginning with 911. 

5. Practice

The best way to ensure that all family members know what to do in the event of an emergency is to practice. Host a fire drill every couple of months and devise different scenarios. In doing so, you can increase the odds that everyone knows what to do and how to escape in a real emergency. 

Your Boston, MA, fire remediation team or local fire department can review your fire preparation plan and provide additional tips for how to improve it. Don’t cut corners when it comes to fire safety and start planning today. 

Is Storm Damage Tax Deductible?

7/18/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Storm Damage in Boston, MA.

If your commercial property in Boston, MA has been damaged by a storm, you may want to know whether the cost of the damage is tax deductible. Unrecoverable losses caused by storms or natural disasters are usually deductible, as long as these damages are proven and will not be reimbursed by insurance. Here are three steps you can take to find out whether you can deduct the cost of storm damage from your tax bill.

3 Steps to Find Out if Storm Damage is Tax Deductible. 

  1. Determine how much damage your insurance covers. If your business is insured, you can only deduct damage that exceeds your coverage or was not covered for other reasons. Owners of uninsured commercial property can deduct the total cost of storm damage. Consult IRS Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts, to read the rules for claiming these deductions. 
  1. Check to see if a storm or disaster is a Presidential Declared Disaster. If you are dealing with storm damage in a region that has been federally recognized as a disaster area, special filing options may apply to your situation. Check the IRS's list of tax relief in disaster situations to see if your locality is listed and find out about any assistance that is available. 
  1. Distinguish between actual property loss and deductible property loss. Actual property loss is your total loss as the owner of a commercial property. Deductible property loss is based on the current value of your property and factors in all reductions. If you are unsure about reductions involved in a commercial property, you should contact an accountant. 

If you have unrecoverable storm damage at your commercial property in Boston, MA, you should see if you can deduct any damage from your tax bill. Tax deductions cannot overlap with covered losses, but these deductions can help to offset the cost of professional damage restoration if your property is uninsured or underinsured.

3 Ways To Avoid a Cigarette Fire in Your Home

7/16/2019 (Permalink)

Keep an ashtray outside

Ways to Prevent a Cigarette Fire in Your Home

Though there are various reasons residential fires occur, cigarettes are one of the most common causes of home fires in Chinatown, MA. Fortunately, there are several ways you can prevent a cigarette fire from starting in your home.

1. Keep Ashtrays Outside

Properly extinguishing and disposing of cigarettes is often a helpful way to prevent a fire. Though many people keep ashtrays in their home, it can be wise to place your ashtray outside of your home if you want to decrease the chance of a fire occurring. If a cigarette isn't properly extinguished, an ashtray fire can easily start in your home, especially if the ashtray is near flammable materials. Keeping an ashtray outside and away from flammable objects can be a useful way to keep your home safe.

2. Don't Smoke When Sleepy

In order to reduce the likelihood of a cigarette fire in your home, it's usually best not to smoke when you are tired. Many fires from cigarettes occur when a person is smoking on a sofa or bed and then falls asleep. When asleep, it's easy to drop a lit cigarette without noticing, and if the cigarette remains lit, mattresses, cushions and other materials can quickly catch fire. Avoiding smoking when you're tired is an easy way to decrease the chance of a home fire.

3. Smoke Outside

When a person smokes inside a home, a fire is often more likely to occur. With so many flammable items in homes, setting a lit cigarette down momentarily can result in a fire. Homeowners whose homes have been damaged by fires may find it helpful to contact fire restoration experts. However, smoking outside of your house can help to prevent a home fire, eliminating the need for restoration and fire cleanup.

Instead of restoring your home after a fire, it's generally easier and less time-consuming to take precautions to prevent a cigarette fire. Keeping ashtrays outside, not smoking when tired, and only smoking outside are helpful ways to prevent a cigarette from causing a fire in your home.

Steps for Handling a Bathtub Backup

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Sewer backup in a Back Bay, MA bathtub

How to Handle a Bathtub Backup

During storm season in Back Bay, MA, your area may flood. This can affect the sewer system and, by extension, your home. Sewer backup is a common occurrence during seasons of heavy rain. If it floods, it can push sewage back through the line into places in your home such as the bathtub or shower. Here are the steps you can take to handle it.

1. Prevent Further Problems

It doesn't do you any good to clean up a mess if the problem that caused it hasn't been resolved. In fact, by running more water in your home, you just encourage more bathtub backup. If the main sewer line is clogged, unclogging it is the first order of business. Turn off the water main to your home, and contact city authorities and a licensed plumber to address the issue.

2. Assess Damage

Once you have notified professionals who can fix the problem, you need to assess the areas of your home that are affected by the sewer backup. A puddle of sewage in the bathtub is unpleasant, but that alone is no reason to hire professionals to clean it up. Using the proper protective gear and a strong cleaner, you can disinfect your bathtub. If, however, the toilet overflowed onto the floor, you may need the help of sewer cleanup experts. This is especially necessary if you suspect the contaminated water has soaked into the flooring, as it may need to be replaced.

3. Call Insurance Company

Your flood policy may cover remediation costs if the damage was a result of flooding. Document the damage with pictures, and get an itemized list of the cost from the technicians who perform the cleanup. Timely reporting and clear evidence can help you prove your claim and increase chances of a payout.
Sewer backup is a common result of flooding during storm season. By addressing the problem quickly, you can fix it and avoid additional damage.