What Sets Smart Smoke Detectors Apart?
Protect your South Boston, MA home with a smart smoke detector
Smart smoke detectors are a relatively new technology that can send push notifications to smartphones and may be controlled remotely. Find out how a next-generation smoke alarm can protect your home.
Smart Alarms Types
There are three types of smart fire safety devices:
- Smart batteries
- Smart detectors
Smart batteries can be used in standard battery-powered smoke detectors or as backups in hardwired units. Smart detectors may cover more square-footage than standard alarms and can be controlled remotely. Listeners send alerts when any alarm is triggered.
A smart battery is an affordable way to monitor your home while you are out. This technology functions like a nine-volt battery but has Wi-Fi connectivity to send notifications. You can silence battery-powered alarms remotely, but this function does not work for hardwired alarms with smart battery backups.
A smart smoke alarm also sends notifications, can be remotely controlled, and may be capable of monitoring more than one floor of your home. Some devices alert users to elevated carbon monoxide levels. Listeners send notifications whenever an alarm sounds in your home, though these devices are not capable of silencing alarms.
Smart Alarms Effectiveness
A single smart alarm may monitor an entire floor of your home, or more. If your home is spacious, you may want to just install a listener to notify you of any alarms.
Smart Detector Costs
Smart fire safety solutions are available in a wide price range:
- The initial smart battery unit retails for about $35 with $15 replacements once or twice a year
- Smart detectors start around $100
- Listeners range from $50 to $100
Consider a smart smoke alarm or smoke detector device to receive timely push notifications about alarms. All of these devices can increase overall safety at your residence in South Boston, MA. If a fire results in damage, rely on the expertise of damage restoration professionals.
How To Choose Flood Coverage for Your Business
Water extraction at a Back Bay,MA prison
The National Flood Insurance Program offers both building property and personal property flood coverage for businesses. If your business is located in an area prone to flooding, chances are that you are required to have some type of flood policy. Commercial insurance policies that are specifically designed to cover single-peril events provide protection that your general property insurance does not.
What It Covers
The main differences between building property and personal property flood insurance are the relative mobility and permanence of the damaged item or material. Items that are part of the structure or are hooked up to it in some way are usually covered under the building property policy:
- Building and its foundation
- HVAC system
- Plumbing and electrical systems
- Fire sprinkler system
- Installed design features such as carpeting or paneling
- Machinery that is a permanent part of the structure, such as a walk-in freezer
- Any apparatus attached to the outside of the building
Commercial insurance coverage for your personal property during a flood includes most items inside the structure. Furniture, appliances, rugs, inventory and equipment are typically covered under an NFIP policy through FEMA.
What It Doesn't Cover
Flood coverage is usually limited to a single event, the structure and the items within that structure. Secondary damage such as mold, which must be mitigated by mold remediation experts, is not covered under your company's flood policy. If the sewer backs up into your building, your commercial flood coverage does not pay for its cleanup, even if it was indirectly caused by flooding. Anything outside the building is not covered, and neither are the costs of keeping your business going. It's a good idea to talk to your insurance agent about adding policies that cover what the flood policies don't to your portfolio.
When your business in Back Bay, MA, floods due to a storm or natural disaster, you will be glad you have a policy with the NFIP. These commercial insurance policies are designed to help make your business whole again.
Basement Floods: The 4 Essential Steps to Mitigating Further Loss
Basement flood damage in Boston, MA
A basement flood can be devastating for homeowners, and when left to develop, flooding creates a multitude of issues from mold growth to structural problems. Taking the appropriate steps, as outlined below, can help mitigate further damage and get you on the path toward restoration.
1. Take Appropriate Safety Precautions
Whether sewage backup or a broken pipe causes a flood, water can pose significant risks to homeowners. After a flood, there is an increased risk of slip and fall injuries and electrocution. Therefore, turn off the electricity in the area and watch your footing. Additionally, if you are dealing with sewage, invest in protective clothing before handling any affected items.
2. Remove Standing Water
Whether flooding is less than an inch or over a foot, it can be challenging to begin the cleanup process without removing the water first. Depending on the depth of the water, it may be more practical to rent a sump pump which can be faster than a wet vac alone.
3. Dry the Area
Quickly drying the area is paramount to reducing the risk of mold development. Mold can form and begin spreading within the first 24 to 48 hours after the initial water damage. Open doors and windows and use air movers or fans to help with air circulation. The use of dehumidifiers may also be helpful to remove excessive moisture in the air.
4. Call for Assistance
Some floods require massive amounts of cleanup and can be a struggle without the proper tools. If your flooded basement is a little too daunting, you may want to reach out to professionals in Boston, MA, especially if the issue stems from a broken water or sewer line and requires a pipe repair.
Flooding is a nightmare for most homeowners, especially when it occurs in the basement. Fortunately, the cleanup process is manageable. However, it is important to remember that time is of the essence, and it may be beneficial to seek assistance for water damage where structural integrity and mold growth are concerns.
How to Be Proactive about Plumbing Issues in Your Commercial Business
Water damage in South Boston, MA
A broken pipe or cracked water main can be significant plumbing problems for business owners; however, while the plumbing issues can be detrimental for a property, the level of stress and pressure on the business owner can also present risks. It is better to manage property effectively and properly to minimize the chances of one of these major catastrophes.
1. Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is one of the most important things a building owner can do to protect their property, the tenants, and employees. Preventative maintenance refers to the routine inspection of plumbing, sprinklers, pumps, and drains. While the inspection schedule for any of these items may vary, you may want to aim for at least one full-scale inspection per year.
2. Fix Minor Issues Before They Become Major Ones
While performing preventative maintenance is a wonderful prevention tool, it means nothing if issues are discovered and not addressed. The whole point in performing inspections is to find and resolve issues while they are still small, as opposed to waiting until the issue manifests into plumbing problems that can temporarily close down the business. Fixing these minor issues before they become major ones is just good business sense.
3. Find Backup You Can Count On
As being proactive about plumbing issues involves routine maintenance, it may be in your best interest to find a plumbing specialist in the South Boston, MA, area that you can rely on and trust. You may want to speak with several companies and individuals before deciding because, as you will likely be doing business together for years to come, you want to feel comfortable in your decision.
Plumbing problems pose a significant concern for most business owners because of the expense and potential recovery time; however, if owners can commit to performing annual inspections and fixing small issues before they become substantial issues, then they may not have to spend too much time worrying about their potential risk.
Your Guide to Roof Repair After Hail and Heavy Winds Damage Your Shingles
Water damage on ceiling in Financial District, MA
Everyone loves a good end-of-summer storm, but when the nights grow cooler and the winds grow stronger, those nice summer storms turn into damaging tempests. Hail, heavy winds and torrential rains may be exciting to watch from within, but they're harmful to a home's structure. If your roof was recently the victim of hail and wind damage, you may be able to get away with a small roof repair—or you may be forced to invest in roof replacement. A quality inspection can give you an indication of which you will need:
- Have your roof tested to determine its existing condition and life expectancy.
- Have a moisture survey of your roof done.
- Let a professional roofer assess the extent of the damage—is it just a patch or it is the entire roof?
- Request a weather impact condition report to see if your roof was even subject to the hail.
When searching for a roofing company, make sure that it offers each of the above services.
A Quality Inspection Is Key
Roof repair goes beyond patching a damaged area and calling it a day. If you want to ensure that your roof lasts for years into the future, and if you want to preserve the structural integrity of your home, you need to make sure that the company you hire actually fixes the issue and doesn't just cover it.
Each of the tests listed above is performed to measure the reliability of your roof's remaining materials. The last thing you want to do is pay thousands of dollars to have your roof re-shingled only to discover that the core of the roof damage lies along the deck. If that were to happen, you would be forced to remove the shingles you paid thousands of dollars to have installed, rip up the deck, reinstall a new deck and reinstall the shingles—a process which would cost you an additional good sum of money.
If your home has extensive roof damage because of hail and heavy winds, request a quality inspection before investing in roof repair. Talk to your Financial District, MA, storm damage restoration team about the importance of a quality inspection.
3 Steps To Take Before Mold Remediation Specialists Arrive
Mold damage behind walls in a Boston South, MA home
When your home floods, the subsequent water damage can lead to black mold growth if not remedied fairly quickly. If you notice that mold has already started to grow, the remediation specialists in Boston South, MA, will need to fix not only the water damage but also the mold problem. Before they arrive for water and mold cleanup, however, there are three steps you need to take.
1. Turn Water Off
One thing your situation does not need is more water flow to the area. Unless you know specifically where the leak is coming from, you should just turn the water off for that whole section of your home. You may not be able to undo the damage that has already occurred, but you can prevent further damage by cutting water off at the source.
2. Close Doors and Windows
The first instinct of many homeowners when they have a moisture problem is to open up all the windows and doors and get air flow going through the house. If you have a black mold problem, however, this increased air flow just spreads the problem. You may start with mold in one room but it may grow into the hallway and surrounding areas.
3. Turn Off HVAC System
Likewise, your HVAC system can also contribute to the distribution of mold spores throughout the house. When mold is actually growing in a particular area, the concentration of spores in the air is higher. You want to keep that mold concentration contained as much as possible. Shut air intake vents and turn the system off to prevent an epidemic of mold growth through your entire home.
Mold cleanup is generally a job for the professionals, but you can make their job easier by keeping the black mold from spreading into other areas of your home. By shutting off the air flow and the water supply, you can help keep the problem contained.
Take Steps to Prevent Mold Growth
SERVPRO of Boston Downtown / Back Bay / South Boston cleaning a mold damage in a home.
Intrusion of water into your building can result in mold growth. Water intrusions can occur due to storm damage, plumbing or equipment failures, long-standing leaks and poor humidity control. When water intrusions are not addressed right away, the resulting damage can present increased risk of harmful mold growth.
If the humidity and moisture levels in a water-damaged environment are not promptly returned to normal, mold spores may grow and multiply. Organic materials found inside a building, such as wood, paper, drywall and insulation, provide food sources for mold to flourish. Excessive mold growth can lead to indoor environmental conditions that pose a health threat.
If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, it is important to be alert for:
- The presence of visible mold.
- Strong musty odors which may indicate mold is present.
- Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
- Excessive humidity.
To control mold growth in your business, I offer you the following tips:
- Repair leaky plumbing and leaks in the foundation of your building
- Reduce moisture with increased surface temperatures or reduced humidity levels in the air. To increase surface temperatures, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce humidity, repair leaks, increase ventilation if outside air is cold and dry or use a dehumidifier.
- Keep heating, ventilation and air conditioning drip pans clean, flowing properly and unobstructed
- Maintain indoor humidity below 50 percent
- Perform regular inspections and maintenance on buildings and heating and air conditioning equipment
- Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 1-2 days
- Provide adequate drainage around the foundation of your building. Regularly maintain roof gutters, and ensure that water does not collect near the foundation
- Insulate windows, walls, pipes, roofs, exterior, floors and other cold surfaces to reduce condensation
If you are sure or suspect that there is mold in your building, call SERVPRO of Boston Downtown / Back Bay / South Boston immediately at 617.304.2318. The longer you wait to call, the mold growth with continue to spread, resulting in a greater chance of unrecoverable property. SERVPRO professionals have the expertise to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects of mold damage.
Hidden Secondary Damage in the Basement of this Boston Home
The broken pipe because of a fire.
Sometimes when responding to a fire loss, the fire often causes secondary damage to the property's mechanical systems. This PEX piping burst as a result of a basement fire sending water spraying directly onto the underside of the hardwood floors above.
Broken Pipe from Fire Damage
Upon initial inspection, the floors upstairs were all showing signs of cupping and not much in the way of water as the fire was extinguished in the basement. It is crucial that a restoration company be thorough in our inspections to ensure we address all damages both visible as well hidden issues that often go undetected.
Also, note that several electrical wires were damaged leaving the home disabled electrically. To get around this problem we installed a separate power panel to provide power for us to begin mitigation and drying.
Restoring Your Home After Water Damage
When a home or business is invaded by water, whether it is flooding or an overflow, early mitigation is essential. Correct water cleanup will involve several steps to ensure the property is restored to the condition it was before the flood damage. The process involves drying and decontaminating the home or business as well as the contents. Sometimes it is not possible for everything to be saved. Some items may have to be disposed of due to the water damage.
Evaluate the Damage
Evaluating flood damage is important to ensure that all losses are realized. It will be necessary to contact the insurance company, and the damage will need to be documented. There are areas of the home where water can be hiding that one might not realize. It is not uncommon for water to seep into HVAC systems, behind walls and baseboards, and into electrical outlets. Water will spread to dry areas, and a watermark is not always visible.
Determining the extent of the damage is important for water mitigation. This aids in deciding the method of drying and decontaminating the home or business. What are the types of damage?
- Class One – Water is only in a small area and only a small amount has been absorbed by the contents or floors in the building.
- Class Two – Only a room or two has water damage.
- Class Three – The entire building has sustained flood damage.
- Class Four – The water in the home or water in a business includes “deep pockets of saturation” and will require special drying methods for restoration.
Visit http://www.SERVPRObostondowntownbackbaysouthboston.com for more information on water damage.
Why Should You Remove Damaged Items
Often everything cannot be saved during flood damage. It will be necessary to remove everything that is damaged beyond repair such as sheet rock, papers, furniture, electronics, and other items. Sometimes carpet can be dried and disinfected, but often it will need to be replaced.
What Methods are Used for Drying?
Restoration will include several methods depending on the classification of the water damage. It is extremely important not to wait too long to begin water damage restoration. Mold can begin to form quickly. When water in the home or water in a business needs to be removed from carpets, a wet vac is handy. They can be used for removing surface water. However, they will not keep water from seeping up walls or into sub-floors.
It may be necessary to use a pump during water cleanup. The water is generally pumped from the home or business and stored for disposal. A dehumidifier is also used to reduce the humidity levels in the building. This will prevent the growth of mildew and mold.
Sometimes the water damage is so extensive that it is necessary to contact a restoration company. Water mitigation will reduce the possibility of additional damage. Air scrubbers and air movers may be necessary to help the drying process. Moisture meters can be used during cleanup when there has been water in the home or water in a business. They aid in locating moisture than cannot be seen. Water mitigation includes utilizing more sophisticated means of detecting moisture. This helps to prevent objects that were not initially damaged by water from being ruined as a result of moisture. Expensive or antique furniture and wood floors can warp when exposed to moisture for a period of time.
A thermo-hygrometer is another device similar to a moisture meter although it can perform another testing as well. It can reduce the time needed to find moisture in an area. Using a thermo-hygrometer during water cleanup in areas such as crawl spaces can help by detecting excess moisture. This moisture could cause damage to the structure of a building.
The most important thing to remember when flood damage is experienced is to act quickly to prevent further damage to the property. Whether water in the home or water in a business is only a few inches or several feet, it is vital to ensure that everything is free of moisture.