Recent Posts

Reasons for Water Damage from Washing Machines

1/20/2023 (Permalink)

Standing water on carpet. Washing machines are convenient household appliances, but they can also be a source of water damage if they are not properly maintained.

Washing machines are convenient household appliances, but they can also be a source of water damage if they are not properly maintained or if they malfunction. Leaks, overflowing, and other issues can cause water to seep into floors, walls, and other areas of the home, resulting in damage to the structure and belongings. It is important to be aware of the signs of washing machine water damage and to take steps to prevent or mitigate it, such as regularly inspecting and maintaining the machine, being alert for signs of leaks or other issues, and taking prompt action if water damage does occur. Here are some reasons your washing machine might cause water damage in your home.

Faulty Drain Hose

The main cause of washing machine water damage is the drain hose. This part connects to the bottom of your washer, and it's responsible for draining both water and waste from inside the machine. A faulty drain hose can be clogged or disconnected, which will prevent it from draining properly. It can also become damaged by rodents or insects that chew on it, or by other components within your washing machine (such as a broken pump).

Overloaded Washing Machine

Don’t overload your washing machine. If a load of laundry is too big, it can cause the unit to shake, spin out of balance and vibrate heavily during the cycle. This can cause damage to the bearings in your washer's tub and transmission shafts, as well as other vital parts that allow for the smooth operation of your device. 

If you're using an electric model with a direct-drive motor (instead of belt drive), don't overload it with more than 8 pounds per cubic foot capacity—this means 3 cubic feet of space should be left empty so there's room for water flow inside your appliance when it spins around at high speeds while doing its job!

The best rule of thumb: always follow manufacturer recommendations on how much clothing capacity should be used before adding new items into each load.

Faulty Seal

There are several ways to check the seal of your washing machine. If you have a front-loading washer, remove the front panel by unscrewing it counterclockwise. If you have a top-loading washer, locate the screws underneath and remove them using an Allen wrench. Next, lift up on the top of your washing machine until you can see where it connects to your wall bracket; this is usually located at either end or in between depending on how tall or wide your model is.

Once you've found where your washer is attached to its base, look for any holes or gaps in its sealant around the outside edges: if there are any cracks or tears visible here then water can seep out of them during use and cause minor damage over time (if not fixed immediately). If these holes exist then call in a professional plumber immediately! 

There is one thing that can make all the difference when dealing with a washing machine leak: hiring a professional. The longer you wait before hiring SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Bay Back/South Boston, the more likely it will be that mold will grow and other areas will be damaged as well. By calling us right away, we are able to respond quickly—before any further problems occur—and begin working on restoring your home back to normalcy once again! 

The 4 Most Common Types of Mold

12/13/2022 (Permalink)

Phrase Anywhere background of mold spore Mold can grow almost anywhere.

Mold is a type of fungus that grows in damp areas. When it starts to multiply on walls, ceilings, and floors, mold can cause structural problems. It's important to understand the different types of mold and how they affect your home so that you can take action before the situation gets worse.

Mold spores are everywhere, but they only grow if there are the right conditions—dampness and high humidity being the two biggest factors. If you have excess moisture in your home due to leaks or a lack of ventilation, you're at risk for developing some undesirable molds such as Aspergillus and Cladosporium species. 

Penicillium

Penicillium is a common type of mold that grows on food and in soil. It's usually found in homes, especially near windows and doors, where it can enter through cracks or openings. Penicillium can grow on bread and other foods. Penicillin is produced by this type of mold, which was originally discovered in 1904 when Alexander Fleming noticed that mice were dying after eating bread with mold growing on it.

Penicillin kills bacteria by breaking down their cell walls, so it can be used to treat infections caused by viruses or bacteria as well as fungi. 

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is a common type of mold and can be found in soil, air, and on plant surfaces. It lives in areas with high humidity like houses, schools, and offices. Cladosporium is most likely to grow after flooding occurs when there are high levels of moisture in the air or on surfaces such as walls. This type of mold grows well if you have pets that shed fur indoors because it feeds off pet dander.  

Aspergillus

This mold is found in soil, decaying plant material, hay, grains, and straw. It also grows on food that has been stored for too long or was not properly processed or packaged before being sold at the store.

Stachybotrys chartarum

Stachybotrys chartarum, also commonly known as black mold, is a toxic mold that can cause extensive damage to homes and businesses. This type of mold can be found in water-damaged buildings or homes and should be treated quickly.

There are many types of mold

There are many types of mold, and they all look different. Some have flat-leaf shapes or tiny hairs that grow in clumps; some look like fuzzy green or brown spots, and others have thick tentacles or hair-like structures called “rhizoids” that allow the mold to attach itself to various materials.

When to call a mold remediation specialist

If you suspect that you have a mold problem, it's important to call a professional as soon as possible. Remediation efforts should always be taken if you notice any signs of mold in your home — especially if you see growth on wet surfaces such as linoleum floors or carpets because these areas will likely have other issues as well! 

If you have mold, don’t panic. It can be easy to take care of if you know what type of mold it is and how to deal with it. If you aren’t sure about the type of mold or don’t feel comfortable dealing with it yourself, contact an expert, such as our team here at SERVPRO, who can help you get rid of it safely and effectively.

Steps To Take To Avoid Frozen Pipes

11/9/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking tap Let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.

How to Prevent Freezing Pipes

Winter is an exciting time of year, but it is also be a time when you have to worry about frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can cause household plumbing problems that range from inconvenient to costly and even dangerous. As unpleasant as this situation may be, there are some steps you can take to prevent it or at least minimize your risk. Here are some tips for avoiding frozen pipes.

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

If you have an oil or water supply line in the garage, it's best to keep your garage door closed. This will help prevent the pipes from freezing up as much as possible. If you have a water supply line in your garage and you're not sure whether or not it's frozen, contact a professional for advice.

Open cabinet doors 

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. The repeated opening and closing of the cabinet’s doors creates a cold-air pocket that can cause pipes to freeze. If you have children, be sure they understand not to close these doors while they're in the room.

Let water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. 

If you have exposed pipes in your home, let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. This will prevent freeze damage and help protect your plumbing system from freezing.

Maintain the same setting on the thermostat

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. This will help keep your pipes from freezing as quickly. If you're using heat, make sure it's turned on no lower than 55° F.

If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home.

If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F. It's best not to lower the temperature at night—when it may be warmer inside your home than outside—and when you're asleep and not monitoring it closely. This will prevent pipes from freezing.

It's also important not to turn off the heat when you're away (unless there is an emergency). If nothing else, this can help protect those items that are most likely to freeze: pipes leading into the water heater and any exposed water lines, such as those located near windows or doors that don't get much direct sunlight.

Take steps now to avoid expensive emergency repairs later

In addition to the steps above, you can also take some preventive measures to keep your pipes from freezing. For example, insulate your water heater with a blanket or towel, and check the temperature gauge regularly. If it gets too cold in your home, consider turning on extra heating sources. You may also want to install a space heater near any exposed pipes, so they stay warm enough not to freeze.

If you think that your pipes might have already frozen due to an electrical outage or lack of heat in your home, don't wait until it thaws out—call a plumber immediately! Frozen pipes will often burst when thawed out too quickly; this can lead to a flooding situation that could cause significant damage inside or outside of your house.

We hope that we’ve given you some great tips for escaping the frozen pipe trap and avoiding costly damage to your home. As always, we want to help you stay warm and dry during the winter months. So, if you have any questions or concerns about your own pipes and would like a professional opinion on how best to protect them from freezing—give us a call!

What To Do If Your Business Has Smoke Damage

10/7/2022 (Permalink)

Three-story building, smoky window Smoke damage in a building in Boston, MA.

What to Do If Smoke Damage Occurs in Your Business

Smoke damage is something that can be difficult to clean up. The truth is that the damage caused by smoke has the potential to spread over large portions of your home and office building. That’s why it’s important to get help from professional cleaners, like our SERVPRO of Boston Downtown team, as soon as possible after a fire occurs. We know how overwhelming it can be when tragedy strikes in your home or business in Boston, but there are steps you can take right away that will make things easier down the road.

The process of cleaning up after a fire can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. 

When a fire occurs, there are a few things that you need to do right away. The first thing is to make sure everyone is out of harm’s way, and then call the fire department. It’s also important to shut off any sources of power in your building so that they don’t reignite the fire or cause you other problems while you wait for help.

Next up: after the emergency services have come through, it’s time to start cleaning up the mess! How do we know when smoke damage has been done? There are two signs—soot damage on walls and ceiling surfaces as well as visible smoke residue on surfaces like floors, walls, ceilings, and carpets. When these elements combine with bacteria from dirty hands and feet (even shoes left outside), it can create an environment where mold can form rapidly—causing further damage to your property.

Smoke damage and soot damage will quickly spread throughout your property

Smoke damage will be present in your building no matter where the fire occurred. Soot damage is damage that has sunk into porous materials, such as carpet and upholstery, wallboard, and drywall.

Your building will likely require professional cleaning of soot and smoke-damaged areas before they can be reoccupied. Soot can also cause problems if it turns out to be toxic or if it contains asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers need special handling to prevent health problems for future occupants. The process of cleaning and restoring these areas requires highly trained and experienced professionals.

Time is of the essence

Smoke damage is a serious problem, as it can cause permanent discoloration and odor. The soot that you see on walls and ceilings is a fine black dust that can be seen by the naked eye. Smoke particles are extremely small, making them far more difficult to remove than other household dust.

Smoke particles tend to stick to the surfaces in your building more than they would otherwise, including vents and air conditioning ducts. Therefore, it’s important not just to clean up smoke damage quickly before it sinks into more porous materials like drywall or wood; but also, because removing these particles requires specialized equipment that isn’t as readily available as a vacuum cleaner would be!

We are here to help with the process of smoke damage restoration.

We are here to help with the process of smoke damage restoration. Smoke is a very difficult substance to remove and can cause serious harm to your building. Don't worry, though; we've seen it all before. Our technicians will be there for you during this difficult time, including after hours and on weekends and holidays. 

We hope this article answers some of your questions about smoke damage in buildings. We understand that the process of cleaning up after a fire can be stressful, but we want you to know that we are here for you when tragedy strikes. If disaster strikes, don’t hesitate and give our SERVPRO of Boston Downtown team a call today!

What To Do When Your Business Loses Power

8/31/2022 (Permalink)

WiFi symbol on smartphone screen with button to connect to wireless Internet, hand lock holding the cell phone 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 Neponset, 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.

3 Common Pitfalls of DIY Mold Testing Kits

8/29/2022 (Permalink)

Mold kit test Home mold testing kit

Mold Kits Are Subject To Some Big Problems

Some homeowners buy home mold testing kits as a budget-friendly alternative to a professional mold inspection. Others use these tests to confirm their suspicions about mold in their homes before they call the professionals. Before you buy a home mold kit, for any reason, you should be aware that these kits are subject to some big problems.

1. Test Samples Must Be Shipped to a Lab
A typical DIY mold kit comes with a petri dish. You leave the dish open in your home for a specified amount of time, then seal it, capturing any mold spores inside. Next, you ship the sealed petri dish to a lab for analysis. The shipping step is problematic because you have no control over the sample while it’s in transit. For example, your sample could be exposed to extreme heat or cold during shipping; since mold spores are sensitive to temperature, this could skew your test results. Furthermore, the glass slides in most mold testing kits break easily, even with protective packaging.

2. Lab Results Are Often Inconclusive
At the lab, scientists analyze your test sample and generate a report indicating the type and number of mold spores found on the slide. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do with this information. The lab report can’t tell you key information, like:

  • the density of mold spores in the air
  • whether that density is considered hazardous
  • the cause of the excess mold growth

3. Mold Kits Are Time-Sensitive
The Petri dishes in most home kits contain a testing medium called agar. Agar is inexpensive and widely available, but it has a limited shelf life. Many DIY mold tests do not have an expiration date or a manufacturing date, and you have no way of knowing how long a kit has been sitting on a store shelf in Ashmont, MA.
The problems inherent in home mold testing kits have led trade groups and consumer advocacy organizations to discourage homeowners from using them. Even the best DIY kit is not a reliable substitute for professional mold testing.

3 Tips for Avoiding Cigarette Fires

8/24/2022 (Permalink)

Mano sacando un cigarrillo, el culo de cigarrillo en el piso de concreto, cemento desnudo. Don't smoke indoors

Consider The Following Tips

If you or one of the residents in your home currently smokes, it's important to be informed on how to prevent a cigarette fire. After first checking with your local fire department in Dorchester, MA, for any pointers they might have, consider other tips, as well.

1. Don't Smoke Indoors
There are a surprising number of flammable materials in your home. Any type of fabric will burn easily, so, if an ashtray gets knocked over, a stray cinder could easily start an ashtray fire and severely damage your home. In addition to the risk of fires, smoke from cigarettes can also damage the fabrics in your home and cause them to smell bad. This smell is difficult to remove with conventional laundry detergent.

2. Wear Removeable Clothing
If you or a family member smokes, make sure to wear clothing that can be removed easily after smoking and before entering the home. A jacket or a hoodie would be a good choice. This way, any odors are likely to soak into the removable item, rather than being tracked in and soaking into your furniture or drapes. It's also wise to wash this removable clothing often, as the odor will build up in these garments.

3. Consider Professional Odor Removal
If someone has smoked in your home for a while, or if there has been a cigarette fire, it's time to consider calling in odor removal and fire damage specialist. Hiring a professional will ensure that your home is cleaned from top to bottom with the best equipment suited for the job. This thorough home cleaning can include your carpet, drapes, air ducts, upholstery, and more. There is equipment meant for every job, whether you need full fire cleanup or an odor removal detail.
With a conscientious mind and some knowledge, it is possible to prevent a cigarette fire before it happens.

Tips for Preventing Sewage Backup

7/31/2022 (Permalink)

Sewage water on the floor Sewage backup in Back Bay, 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 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 Back Bay, 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.

How To Handle an Overflowing Toilet

7/23/2022 (Permalink)

Clogged toilet, toilet paper on toilet bowl. A clogged toilet needs to be dealt with correctly to prevent sewer damage.

While toilets may get clogged or not function as they should from time to time, an overflowing toilet can pose a large issue, especially if dealing with a sewage backup. If sewage water enters your home in Boston, MA, it is labeled Category 3 water and needs to be considered an emergency since the bacteria, viruses, and microbes in the contaminated water can cause serious illness and harm to anyone who comes into contact with it. This situation warrants the help of a professional sewage cleanup and restoration company. Here is some useful information for dealing with toilet overflow and sewer damage.

Possible Causes of a Sewage Backup

While you should contact a sewage company whenever a backup occurs, there are several reasons sewage might make its way into your home:

  • Clogged or flooded toilet
  • Tree roots affecting sewer line
  • Damaged, worn, or clogged sewer line
  • Municipal sewer backup

How To Deal With a Clogged Toilet

While a clogged toilet is not an emergency in itself, it needs to be dealt with correctly to prevent sewer damage from occurring. Often, a small clog can be handled using a toilet plunger. You should prevent overflowing ahead of time by taking the lid off the tank and pushing the flapper down, which prevents water from entering the bowl. Then turn off the toilet’s main water supply. If a plunger doesn’t fix the clog, you can try using a toilet auger or snake to break up a clog in the drainage pipe. Sometimes, a plunger or auger won’t be enough to fix the issue and will need to be fixed by a professional plumber.

Since sewage backup is grossly contaminated and causes severe harm to any who consumes or comes into contact with it, you should always call a professional sewer damage cleanup company rather than try to clean up the mess yourself. Prevent a toilet overflow from occurring by knowing how to effectively handle clogs.

Fire Damage and Water Damage: How One Leads to the Other

7/18/2022 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a big building Fire damage in Theatre District, MA.

Three Main Contributors to Fire and Water Damage

When business owners consider fire damage, they often think of charred structures and melted computer housings. Still, very few consider the extensive amount of water damage that can occur in fire rescue. To help you understand why such loss is inevitable, it is essential to review the main three contributors to such damage.

  1. Rescue Efforts
  2. Heat
  3. Suppression Systems

Rescue Efforts

Most water damage occurs as a result of rescue efforts. Firefighters use large, high volume, high-pressure hoses to dose the flames and extinguish the blaze. While some water likely dissipates from the excessive heat, most of it will remain on the floor, ceilings, walls, and cavities of the building, which means that you may want to hire a Theatre District, MA, fire restoration company to help mitigate further loss.

Heat

While it may seem counter-intuitive, heat can also lead to water and fire damage. Extreme temperatures can lead to bursts and broken pipes, which inevitably leads to significant flooding within the property. Therefore, it is often necessary to turn off the water supply to a building following a fire to reduce the risk of water loss.

Suppression Systems

Last, a fire hose and broken pipes are not the only contributors to excessive water buildup in a fire-damaged property. Often, the safety measures that are put in place, like a fire suppression system, can result in flooding as well. While many systems rely on foam or other chemicals, some systems are purely water-based. Also, while there are systems that can coordinate water release to only certain places in the building, other systems do not have such controls, which means that when one sprinkler is set off, all of them go off.
Water and fire damage often appear together after a blaze. However, it is necessary to understand that while such damage is frustrating, it is an essential part of rescue efforts, without which you may not have a commercial facility at all.