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Choosing a Fire Restoration Company Like A Pro

9/22/2020 (Permalink)

Worker wiping a table Fire cleanup after SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston finished

Choosing the Right Fire Cleanup Firm

A fire can create endless headaches, but those can only worsen if the company you choose to handle your fire damage restoration isn’t on the level. Lack of experience or cutting corners can leave you with subpar repairs. Do you know what to look for? Here are a few tips for choosing the right fire cleanup firm in Seaport, MA.

In the wake of a fire, your property will likely face a myriad of cleanup needs you couldn’t have imagined. Some of the main things you’ll need after a commercial fire include:

  • Restoration
  • Dry cleaning
  • Smoke cleanup
  • Deodorization

There are many more skills the ideal fire damage restoration firm should have in their pocket, but this is a good place to start. Once you find a company offering those basics, look for the following to make your final choice.

Strong Reviews

A company can make many promises on its website, but the proof is in the pudding and that means online reviews. Look for companies with a strong mix of good and moderate - all sparkling might not be entirely honest. What’s important is that they’re strongest at the things you need most.

Experience, Experience, Experience

Any handyman can take a stab at after-fire restoration, and lots of cleaning companies are getting into commercial fire damage. How do you know whom to trust? Look for a firm with at least a few years of experience. Now is not the time to take chances on novices who can worsen damages.

Speed

Fire damage can leave your commercial property closed for business, costing you profits. Physical damage, meanwhile, exposes your business to the risks of weather and even vandals. Choose a company that can get started on your restoration immediately.

The fire damage restoration company you choose can make a huge difference in your fiscal and even emotional recovery from a commercial fire. Follow these tips to make the best choice.

What To Do if You Smell Natural Gas

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

Natural gas burning on kitchen gas stove in the dark You should never ignore the smell of natural gas in your home

Natural gas has many good uses. In Back Bay, MA, gas is used to heat homes and water, and it is arguably the best option for cooking meals in the kitchen. But as good as it is, natural gas is also inherently dangerous. There is always the risk of a gas fire, especially when cooking on a gas stove, and homeowners should educate themselves about using gas safely. Another risk of natural gas is a gas explosion. Home gas explosions do happen, but many times they are avoidable.

What To Do if You Smell Gas

If you smell gas in your home or hear the hissing sound of gas escaping, it's important to be cautious of what you do next.

First, don't turn on any lights in the home, as it could cause a gas explosion.
The most common mistake is when the burners on the stove are accidentally turned on, so check the stove.
Open the windows and doors to help the gas fumes escape.
If the issue wasn't the stove and you know how to turn the gas meter off, go ahead and do it. Otherwise, contact your gas company.
Get out of the house and stay out until the gas company can inspect the inside and outside of the home.

If There's a Gas Fire
If you experience a gas fire on your kitchen stove, evacuate the home immediately, as a fire can quickly get out of control. Call for emergency help. Once the fire has been extinguished, don't re-enter the home until the fire crew has told you it is safe to do so. Call your insurance company and don't attempt cleanup yourself. Trained restoration professionals should assess the damage first.
Gas fires are an especially dangerous type of home fire due to the risk of a gas explosion. You should never ignore the smell of natural gas in your home, and you should always know what to do if you do smell it.

How To Keep Your Building's Interior Dry During a Storm

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

construction worker installing rock wool in mansard wall Protect your building from snow and rain damage during heavy storm seasons

Add The Following Points To Your Inspection Checklist

During a heavy thunderstorm, many elements may threaten your commercial property. That's why it's vital to ensure that your building in Boston, MA, is sturdy and well protected before a major storm season begins. Add the following points to your inspection checklist whenever this season approaches to protect it from rain damage and other problems that can arise during a storm.

Exterior Protection
The outer envelope of the structure serves as its primary defense against rain, snow, sleet, and ice. The building envelope consists mainly of three components:

  • Roof
  • Exterior walls
  • Foundation

Damaged shingles or loose flashing can let water seep in, causing water damage and black mold growth that will have to be handled by certified mitigation specialists. Damage to gutters and downspouts or clogged trenches keep excess water from draining as planned. Cracks in exterior walls or the foundation can also leave the building vulnerable to leaks. An intact envelope protects against wind, hail, and rain damage and guides precipitation away from the building.

Thermal Protection
Even if you have a strong exterior barrier, excessive energy transfer between the inside and outside of your building can also cause problems. If too much heat is escaping through your roof during a snowstorm, the flurries that land on the roof are more likely to melt and form an ice dam, which can weaken your roof and result in water damage. If pipes along an exterior wall are not properly insulated during a winter weather event, they can burst and wreak a lot of havoc in a short amount of time. Even if no drastic damage is done, this excess wastes energy and can drive up your utility bill. Make sure your building has the right balance of ventilation and insulation to keep energy transfer in check.
There are many ways to protect your building from hail, snow, and rain damage during heavy storm seasons. A thorough inspection of both exterior and interior protection features lets you know how well your building will be able to withstand the elements.

3 Things You Should Know About Water Damage and Mold

8/15/2020 (Permalink)

Mold found behind liquor display area Mold damage in Waterfront, MA

Ways To Keep Water and Mold Damage To A Minimun

If you’ve experienced water damage in your Waterfront, MA, building, then you likely have a few different problems to deal with. Among these is secondary damage which can include mold. The following is some information that may help you respond properly in this frustrating situation.

1. Mold Grows and Spreads Quickly
When given the right conditions, mold growth can occur quite rapidly. In many instances, it only takes the fungus a day or two to begin to form. This often happens after a building is damaged by water, because mold requires moisture to grow. The fungus can be found in most environments, so it is a common problem. Removing the moisture will reduce the spreading.

2. Mold Will Not Go Away On Its Own
Although you may hope that leaving the mold alone will allow it to clear itself up after the water damage is gone, this is not the case. Mold must be cleaned and thoroughly removed once it has begun to form an infestation. If you ignore it, the growth will only continue to spread and will likely move to other areas in the building as well.

3. Mold Should Be Handled By a Professional
Attempting to remove mold on your own might seem like the easier option, but you are unlikely to achieve the results that you want. Unless the area is properly contained, mold spores can spread through the air and on your clothing. It is best to hire a mold remediation company to perform cleanup and removal. They can also help you with mold prevention to keep it from returning.
In order to keep secondary water damage and mold to a minimum, it is important to have mitigation and restoration done as soon as possible. This will keep the mold from spreading further and will reduce the amount of time that it takes to remove the damage from the building as well as to make any needed repairs.

3 Steps for Repairing a Commercial Toilet Flushometer

8/15/2020 (Permalink)

Flushometer A malfunctioning flushometer could cause a serious toilet overflow at your Theatre District, MA, business

3 Steps for Repairing a Commercial Toilet Flushometer

Having toilets available for employees and customers at your Theatre District, MA, business can offer both comfort and convenience. However, when a toilet flushometer malfunctions and starts to flush itself continuously, you may find yourself dealing with a toilet overflow that could damage your building. You may be able to fix this issue yourself by following three simple steps and a few everyday tools.

1. Shut Off the Flushometer
The toilet’s flushometer is what controls the flow of water and how it flushes, so you will have to turn that off first. Use a flathead screwdriver to turn the slot, and this will stop a toilet from running while you work to repair it.

2. Remove the Cap and Flange
Use a wrench to loosen the cap of the flushometer and then remove it. You will see the flange cover underneath, which you must take off as well. There might be a brief flood of water when you remove the flange, so it is a good idea to have a towel handy so you can mop up whatever water might seep out. Set aside the flushometer and flange cap and ensure that the water is shut off before you proceed to avoid a toilet overflow.

3. Clean the Gasket and Weep Hole
Once you can see the inner workings of the flushometer, remove the gasket and clean any visible sediment that may be affecting the toilet’s flush. Use a toothpick or slim metal rod to clean out the weep hole, which may be clogged and cause improper suction around the gasket. Once both are cleaned out, replace the flange and flushometer cap and test the toilet. If you experience a toilet flood, you may want to call in a water cleanup and restoration crew for further assistance.
A malfunctioning flushometer could cause a serious toilet overflow at your Theatre District, MA, business. However, with a few tools and a bit of know-how, you may be able to resolve the problem on your own.

Top 3 Causes of Commercial Sewage System Problems

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Common Causes of Sewage Issues

Sewage issues in commercial buildings can be caused by a number of different factors. If left unaddressed, these underlying complications can continue to cause damage to your property in Financial District, MA, and lead to devastating water damage costs. Whether the problem is a blocked sewer or broken pipe, taking prompt action is crucial in order to protect your commercial property. The following causes of sewage issues are very common in commercial buildings and must be addressed immediately.

1. Foundation Damage

If you come across cracks or other forms of damage to your building’s foundation, it may be indicative of serious sewage problems. Some common issues that can lead to foundation damage may include:

  • Improper drainage
  • Sewer line failure
  • Leaking sewer vents
  • Damage to plumbing systems

The best way to avoid these issues is to quickly repair a damaged foundation before the deterioration leads to a blocked sewer or pipe burst and becomes more costly.

2. Water Pipe Issues

Various forms of damage to your water pipes can harm other areas of your commercial property. If you experience any pipe breaks or leaks, they may cause water stains or swollen ceiling tiles and walls. These signs of water damage can even cause mold to crop up if they are not taken care of appropriately. Be sure to contact water restoration services in order to prevent any further water damage that results from broken pipes.

3. Damage to Cast-Iron Sewer Lines

There are numerous plumbing problems you might come across that may signal cast-iron sewer line damage. If you notice unpleasant sewer gas odors, a blocked sewer may be the culprit and you should contact a professional to address this. However, damaged sewer lines may also cause clogged drains and lead to a toilet overflow. Don’t delay having a sewer problem fixed, because the damage can build up and lead to excessive costs and stress.
Any problem that concerns your commercial sewage system should be taken care of as quickly as possible. Protecting your property from water damage caused by pipe breaks or other failures can benefit both you and your business.

Tips for Preventing Sewage Backup

8/3/2020 (Permalink)

Sewage water on the floor Sewage backup in Chinatown, MA

A regular flood can cause enough damage on its own, but a sewer flood is its own beast entirely. Sewage water is a Category 3 biohazard that can cause a lot of damage to your health and your property. It's a good idea to take the proper precautions and prevent sewage backup before it occurs. These tips may benefit you if you believe that your home in Chinatown, MA, may be at risk.

Upgrade Your Drain

Investing in an upgrade for your drainage system is significantly less expensive and stressful than dealing with flooding and sewer cleaning. There are 4 main devices that you can choose from, based on your home's needs:

The Back Flow Prevention Valve: Also known as a backwater valve, this handy device reverses the flow of sewage to prevent the black water from flowing up into your basement.

The Overhead Sewer: This device is going to be a bit more costly than the others on this list. It works by collecting excess sewage and redirecting it into the building's main sewer line.

The Floor Drain Plug: On the other side of the coin is this neat little contraption. Floor drain plugs are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. They're installed directly beneath the drain and function by floating up to plug the drain hole when excess water begins to build. Once the water levels decrease, the drain is automatically unplugged.
The Standpipe: A standpipe is another device that works to redirect water flow, as opposed to blocking it. The pipe is installed sticking up out of the floor, hence the name. Any backup water that rises out of the drain is redirected into the pipe instead of flooding out onto the basement floor. If the water rises above the top of the standpipe, then the contraption won't work.

Storm damage and sewage backup are not to be taken lightly. Preventative methods can reduce your risk, but they won't provide 100% protection. Be sure to consult storm remediation experts if your home does experience a basement flood.

The important Differences Between Mold and Mildew

7/20/2020 (Permalink)

Hand pointing at a wall with mildew Mildew present in a North Ende, MA home

Differences Between Mold and Mildew

The terms mold and mildew are often used interchangeably. In reality, though, they are two different organisms that impact a home in different ways. Of the two, mold is the more serious problem. It often appears slimy or fuzzy on walls and ceilings and can cause significant mold damage if not taken care of. Mold is also more invasive than mildew and it can spread very quickly under the right conditions. The prime condition for the rapid reproduction of mold is a warm, moist environment. Experts in mold remediation are often needed to control an outbreak of mold in a home in North End, MA.

Facts about Mildew

While mildew is also a fungus, it differs from mold in several important ways. Here are a few of the main characteristics of mildew:

  • It is a surface fungi
  • It often is gray or white
  • It is easily treated
  • It often grows on plants

Mildew growth normally presents less of a problem to homeowners than does mold growth. It can usually be wiped clean with a home cleaner and a scrubbing brush. Mildew also is partial to moist, warm environments, so keeping a home from excess moisture is sometimes enough to prevent an appearance of mildew.

Fact About Mold Damage
Mold has a better ability to penetrate more deeply into surfaces than does mildew. Therefore it can be harder to clean and control. When a person discovers mold in a home, he or she can help the situation with a few smart steps. The mold should never be touched or disturbed. Fans or other instances of fast air motion should be kept away from the mold to prevent its spread. Bleach or other disinfectants should not be used in the problem area. People and pets should stay out of areas with visible mold present. A professional team can safely remove any mold damage with a combination of training, experience, and equipment.

3 Ways To Avoid a Cigarette Fire in Your Home

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

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.

The Importance of an Office Fire Escape Plan

7/2/2020 (Permalink)

People escape to fire exit door Practice your fire escape plan to avoid complacency

How To Create a Fire Escape Plan for Your Building

Fires can be destructive and deadly. The speed at which a fire takes a facility varies based on the materials and causes of the blaze. Every emergency and fire restoration service in South End, MA, likely understands and encourages every commercial property owner to create a fire escape plan. Unfortunately, too many people do not know what that entails. Escape plans need not be complicated and should require at least three components.

Two exit minimum
Clear pathways
Implementation and practice

Two Exit Minimum
The basic emergency escape plan requires a two exit minimum out of every room in your facility. While plans can have more options, two is the minimum because it improves the odds of survival. If a room only has one exit, then people may become trapped if the fire overtakes that exit. Most offices will have a window and a door, these can stand as your exit points, but make sure that there is a feasible way to get to safety from those points.

Clear Pathways
The key to an effective fire escape plan is clear pathways. Make sure that hallways are free of clutter and that exit points are not blocked by shelving. While warehouses and packaging facilities can become overwhelmed with boxes and random items, it is crucial to have processes in effect to maintain order and cleanliness.

Implementation and Practice
It is not enough to create exit strategies. The only way to test the effectiveness of a plan is to implement it and put it into action. Routine practices should take place throughout the year to ensure that every employee makes it safely outside without incident. These scheduled run-throughs will help you tweak the escape strategy if you find there are hiccups.
A fire escape plan is not necessarily complicated to create, but the practice is vital to avoid complacency. If you need help creating a plan for your building, then contact the fire department or a restoration expert for help.