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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

How To Check for Moldy Air Ducts

4/15/2022 (Permalink)

Clean air duct After cleaning microbial growth in ducts

How To Check For Mold

Mold is present everywhere. Outdoors, it's safe and natural; indoors, it can be problematic. One area of your business in Back Bay, MA, that may have escaped your mold prevention efforts is your HVAC system. Mold readily grows in moist environments, and the ductwork, drip pans, and coils of your heating and cooling system could provide the ideal climate for mold growth. Here are a few ways to check for mold during your monthly HVAC cleaning regimen.

1. Follow your nose

A musty or mildew smell is often one of the first signs of mold growth. If you notice a moldy odor, turn off your HVAC system for a little while. If the smell dissipates when the system is off but comes back as soon as you turn it on, you likely have mold growing somewhere in the air ducts or drip pans. While it may be tempting to clean all of the parts that you can teach yourself, there are parts of an HVAC system that could be damaged by improper mold cleanup methods, so leave the HVAC cleaning to a pro.

2. Trust your eyes

Plan time for a regular visual inspection of the accessible elements of your heating and cooling system. Are there signs of mold growth? A blocked drain, pooling water, or condensation on the exterior of your air ducts could all be signs of potential mold growth.

3. Call a professional

Whether you see signs of mold or think you smell it, the best thing to do is call a mold remediation specialist to complete a thorough assessment. They will have a plan for cleaning vents, drain pans, and coils. They can also provide tips and strategies for preventing future mold problems.
Regular HVAC cleaning and maintenance will help to prevent most mold problems. However, if you think that your HVAC system could have mold, hiring a professional to complete a thorough assessment is the best bet for proper remediation.

How Can I Protect My Building From Hail?

4/6/2022 (Permalink)

Missing shingles on a roof Regularly inspecting your roof will help prevent damage during a storm.

Prevent Roof Damage From Hail

While flooding and wind damage might be the first things you think of after a storm in Boston, MA, hail damage can happen, and it can be severe. As you think of ways to protect your property from storm damage, consider taking steps to prevent roof damage from hail.

Inspect Your Roof

Maintaining and regularly inspecting your roof will keep it in good shape, helping prevent damage during a storm. Check the following areas:

  • Decking
  • Gutters
  • Drainage pipes
  • Flashing
  • Vents
  • Surface membranes

Roof damage can lead to water in your attic, wet insulation and other secondary damage that may require the help of a commercial restoration company.

Protect HVAC Systems

HVAC equipment is sometimes mounted on the roof of a commercial property. If yours is roof-mounted, check to see if it is designed to withstand hail impact. If not, you can install wire mesh, hail guards, or other protection to shield your equipment. Hail guards are designed to protect from hail impact and may also be resistant to rot and UV rays as well as corrosion and abrasion. If you use hail guards, they should also be designed to withstand uplift pressures.

Use Impact-Resistant Skylights and Solar Panels

If you use solar panels, be sure they are designed to the standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission or IEC. The IEC code requires solar panels to meet a certain impact test rating to their standards.
Similarly, if you have skylights, they should also meet impact standards and building codes in your area. If you know ahead of time that there is a chance of hail, you can cover your skylights with plywood, a storm shutter or a metal cap to prevent hail damage. Regular inspections will help keep your skylight in good shape.
Maintenance and planning before a hail storm in Boston, MA, can go a long way in preventing roof damage to your commercial property.

3 Ways To Prevent Mold in a Rental Property

3/20/2022 (Permalink)

water stain on ceiling Ceiling damaged by water in Theatre District, MA.

Ways To Keep Your Property Mold- Free

As a landlord, you know that mold prevention is important for both you and your tenants. You should encourage your renters to limit mold growth by immediately drying wet clothes and regularly cleaning the bathrooms. However, there are other steps you can take to keep your Theatre District, MA, property mold-free as well.

1. Install Exhaust Fans

Kitchens and bathrooms typically contain lots of moisture. This is why they are common locations for mold. You can install exhaust fans in these rooms to keep them dry. If your tenants frequently use their kitchens, you may also want to purchase hoods that suck up any excess grease and moisture during the cooking process.

2. Reduce Humidity

Even everyday humidity in the air can cause mold to grow. A dehumidifier is thus a good mold prevention tool. You can also buy a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level in your building and make sure it remains between 30% and 50%.

3. Regularly Check for Leaks

Even a small leak in your property can cause water damage to the floors or walls. The water may also encourage the growth of mildew or mold.
Unfortunately, leaks often occur in hidden locations. By the time you notice a leak, it may have already caused major harm. You should perform regular inspections of each unit. Be sure to check under the sink and radiator, as these are common sites of undetected mold growth.
You can even give each tenant a smart detector that notifies you if a leak occurs. Once you do discover the leak, have the problem fixed right away. You may also want to call mold remediation specialists to make sure any small patches of the fungus near the leak are removed immediately.
Neither you nor your tenants want mold to grow in your property. You should work with your renters to enact mold prevention strategies.

How Do You Remove the Smoke Odors After a Fire?

3/16/2022 (Permalink)

soot on wood surface Soot damage in Waterfront, MA.

The fire and water damage, and destruction that occurs during a fire, can be devastating, but with help from a professional fire restoration service in Waterfront, MA, you can find some peace of mind in the aftermath. You may realize that flames and water can both do harm, but smoke damage and residual odors can also be a problem, so careful smoke cleaning needs to be undertaken.

Are Smoke and Soot the Same Thing?

A fire can cause a good deal of soot damage and smoke. Soot is primarily composed of carbon and other chemicals that have not been completely consumed by flames. It leaves a sticky and greasy residue that can be loaded with chemicals and usually carries a sharp and particularly foul odor. Smoke and soot can be compared in the following ways:

  • Smoke is a vapor or gas given off by burning material
  • Soot is a greasy or sticky substance caused by incomplete combustion
  • Smoke is carried in the air and can be breathed while soot is more localized
  • Both can adhere to any surface
  • Both carry foul-smelling odors

How are Soot and Smoke Cleaned Up?

Soot damage, like smoke damage, requires careful handling and complete removal. Scraping and diluting the thick, toxic substance with industrial chemicals may be necessary. If soot cannot be removed thoroughly, then disposal of the affected surface is needed.

Smoke, on the other hand, can float and travel to any surface the air comes in contact with. It adheres and can stain paint and other elements, and can penetrate porous materials, so smoke is something that needs to be dealt with. Physically cleaning with detergent, followed by treating the area with an ozone generator may rid the area of any lingering odors.

Smoke damage does not need to be the end of the road. With help from a restoration service in Waterfront, MA, smoke cleaning can make the nasty odors a thing of the past and give your building a fresh take on life.

Secondary Damage Could Be Worse Than the Initial Cause

3/7/2022 (Permalink)

Technician wearing protective gear while checking for mold in a crawlspace Checking for mold in a crawlspace.

How To Avoid Secondary Damage In Your Building

When one domino fall, it creates a chain reaction, knocking over more. Water intrusion is quite similar to the childhood game. When commercial owners don’t notice it immediately or fail to fix elements of primary breaks, the lingering humidity could lead to secondary complications such as structural deterioration or black mold. The effects of water are severe and costly. Property owners in Chinatown, MA, should understand why it’s concerning and how to avoid it.

1. Lack of Attention Leads to Mold

While fungal spores are always around, these little decomposers become a significant problem for owners when interacting with water. The fluid feeds the microbes, encouraging reproduction. Water exposure, then, is serious business, acting as the trigger. The following conditions demand attention:

  • Plumbing leaks or drips
  • High humidity levels
  • Damp, dark cabinets or closets
  • Flooding
  • Lingering puddles

Tend to these situations right away to stop secondary trouble from starting.

2. Secondary Issues May Appear First

Sometimes dampness hides, only evident after the moisture penetrates through materials. Early signs of black mold include peeling paint, warped flooring and musty smells. You may also observe unusual stains or spots.
A leak may have started within the crawl space, indiscernible until now. In this case, call in a mold remediation company to investigate. The primary cause should be fixed first. Then, tackle the cleanup.

3. Focus on Drying and Gutting

Fixing secondary damage is a timely process, requiring patience and thoroughness. If not methodically handled, the premises may experience future complications. Extract as much moisture as possible. Use a moisture reader to understand to monitor dampness. Run industrial dehumidifiers around the clock to pull out the humidity from walls, floors, the air and objects.
Also, pull out porous items that have become drenched. These are likely to contaminate the room more, and they cannot be thoroughly cleaned. Perform flood cuts on the drywall, taking out a few feet above the waterline. Toss impacted carpeting and soaked valuables.
Excess water could encourage black mold growth. To safeguard a commercial property from these secondary harms, seek professional help as soon as possible and concentrate on decreasing wetness.

Types of Water Damage Coverage

2/22/2022 (Permalink)

Water coming out of a pipe, bursting pipe. More water damages are caused by broken pipes in North End, MA

How to Approach Damaged Pipes and Other Plumbing

Do you know when water damage to your business is covered by your existing insurance policy? Read on to better understand how to approach damaged pipes and other plumbing problems.

1. Floods or Leaks?

While most commercial insurance policies explicitly do not cover the sort of catastrophic flood event that results from extreme rainfall, tidal waves, or overflowing rivers, many other types of water damage are still covered by default plans. For example, leaking pipes and the damage they cause to the surrounding area are usually covered. As long as all issues are correctly documented and ascertained by your adjuster, your insurer will likely pay for a qualified professional water damage restoration service to bring your property back to its original condition.

2. Burden of Maintenance

However, under most default packages, your business damage will not be insured against flooding resulting from negligence. Broadly speaking, these cases usually come down to a lack of preventative maintenance. For example, if a few damaged pipes were noticeably leaking for more than a couple of weeks, it is no longer considered an unpreventable accident. In such cases, the business owner will be liable for all damages, since the flood did not result from a sudden event.

3. Other Exceptions

Coverage for fire suppression systems, such as water-based overhead sprinklers or powder-based devices, is usually more extensive than for the basic plumbing. This is because these systems are necessary for the buildings to be compliant with fire codes and because water does not move through these pipes regularly. While it is important to maintain your fire sprinklers in North End, MA, for safety and legal reasons, it is unlikely that you need an additional insurance coverage package to cover them. Mold damage resulting from moisture retained in the walls or floors is usually not covered, as this is a side effect from a more fundamental plumbing problem.

Don’t allow damaged pipes and other plumbing issues to linger and incur unnecessary costs. Prevent downtime by actively pursuing the appropriate maintenance remedies outlined above.

How Do Insurance Agents Use Claims Inventory Systems?

2/18/2022 (Permalink)

Tablet and cell phone. The SERVPRO Claims Information Center makes it easier to ensure that accurate information is available about types of damage

SERVPRO Claims Information Center

A claims inventory system can help insurance agents keep track of claims in progress, estimates and data. There are several ways in which the SERVPRO Claims Information Center makes it easier to settle an insurance claim.

Accessing Individual and Aggregate Data

Whenever restoration professionals issue a new estimate, this information is uploaded to a corporate database and becomes available to insurance representatives. Resources such as the Claims Information Center make it easy to review individual files. Agents and adjusters can also access several types of data for the purpose of comparison:

  • Causes of loss
  • Job file costs
  • Response times
  • Types of claims

All of this data is available for counties, states, regions and nationwide. An insurance agent can also easily compare the performance of a company to other mitigation and restoration services in a region or across the country.

Managing Claim Information

As an insurance claim progresses, an online resource makes it easier to add to, complete or review data. This can help insurers and restoration professionals ensure that all of the necessary information is available to other parties. This may reduce the possibility of miscommunication, which can unnecessarily prolong the claim process.

Reducing Processing Times

An online resource that is easy to access can speed up the process of preparing, processing and settling claims. The availability of individual and collected data in one place can allow for less back-and-forth communication between agents, adjusters, insured parties and mitigation and restoration services.

All of these factors can make an electronic claims inventory system a useful feature for insurance agents and adjusters. Whether or not representatives have worked with similar systems in the past, the SERVPRO Claims Information Center makes it easier to ensure that accurate information is available about types of damage, restoration services and estimates related to an insurance claim for damage at a residence in South End, MA.

Cleaning Up After a Leaking Water Heater

2/8/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking water heater A water heater problem is frustrating.

Cleaning Up After a Water Heater That Has Leaked

A broken water heater is a nasty surprise that can cause a lot of damage. If you notice your water heater is making funny noises, take some steps to minimize the impact on your home. You don’t want to get caught in the shower with a failed water heater. A leaking water heater can cause a lot of frustration and damage.

Minimizing Damage

If you notice your water heater is acting up, follow these steps to help mitigate any further damage:

  • Turn off the power supply.
  • Cut off the water.
  • Drain your water heater.
  • Flip open the pressure-release valve.
  • Use cold water to rinse the water heater.

Cleanup Procedures

If you are dealing with a leaking hot water heater, it is important to not just fix the source of the problem but to clean up any water and address any damage that occurred as a result of the leak. Standing water can lead to a lot of frustrating problems. Warm, moist areas are breeding grounds for mold, germs, fungus and all kinds of other pathogens.

Depending on the amount of water you are dealing with, most cleanups require more than just soaking the water up with a towel. Carpet, walls and wood tend to absorb and hold in moisture. It is important to dry out carpets and behind walls where mold can grow undetected.

If you are dealing with a leaking water heater that has caused significant water damage, water mitigation specialists can help you dry things out and prevent secondary damage from occurring. If your home isn’t properly dried out within the first 48 hours, you could be looking at substantial damage.

A water heater problem is frustrating. Don’t let the resulting water damage be an ongoing process. Hire professionals in Financial District, MA, to come in and make sure moisture isn’t trapped behind your walls and that your carpets are thoroughly dried. You don’t want have to deal with mold growth.

When Your Sprinkler Systems Turn On Without a Fire

1/26/2022 (Permalink)

Active fire sprinkler Malfunction sprinkler.

When Your Sprinklers Turn On When There Isn't a Fire

There are few things as disappointing as when the systems designed to protect you turn on you instead. Anyone who has gone through a sprinkler malfunction in Seaport, MA, should be able to attest to the havoc this simple disaster prevention system can cause. Even if the fire sprinklers are initiated by a controllable blaze, the water damage from the flooding might easily exceed the fire damage. However, there are a few ways you can prevent this catastrophe from happening to your business:

  • Initiate fire control education programs
  • Maintain your sprinkler system regularly
  • React quickly and appropriately to any event involving your sprinklers

Stop the Flow

The first and most important step you should take after ascertaining that there is no fire on your premises is to shut off the sprinkler system. Sometimes, sprinkler controls are protected by a padlock or a locked box to prevent them from being disengaged accidentally. Make sure your key is near the shutoff switch and the area is clear from obstructions.

Consult the Professionals

After you have stopped the flow of water, it is typically a good idea to clear out of the area and call in a restoration company. Before you attack the problem yourself, remember that floodwater could contain a number of contaminants that threaten the health of you and your employees. You should also consider calling your insurance company, especially if you intend to make a claim to cover the cost of repairs from the flooding. While these decisions are up to you as a business owner, it usually costs less, in the long run, to have your disaster damage professionally repaired.

Mitigate the Damage

Even if you plan on calling the pros, some safe damage mitigation might go a long way. For example, shutting off utility lines might prevent secondary problems. Clearing floor drains, if you have them, might allow some of the flooding to subside before it soaks into your structure. Just remember to let the professionals handle the major tasks.

Help Protect Your Home With Storm Shutters

1/14/2022 (Permalink)

Accordion storm shutter A way to protect your home from high winds is by installing storm shutters.

Protect Your Home From High Winds

In areas prone to high winds, residents often look for ways to protect their homes from damage. If your home is located in Financial District, MA, adding storm shutters to your property can not only provide protection but could also increase your property value. Below is a list of some of the shutter solutions most frequently chosen by homeowners, so you can see which option may be right for your property.

1. Storm Panels

Other than boarding up your windows with plywood, storm panels are one of the most cost-efficient ways to protect your home from high winds. These panels are removable during the hurricane off-season, but when in use, slide onto either permanent tracks or bolts installed around your windows. At a cost of only $7-$10 per square foot, aluminum storm panels can provide solid protection without breaking the bank.

2. Accordion Style

An accordion-style option has a similar look to a storm panel when in use but is folded and stored in a permanent box near the window until you need it. The cost ($15 to $20 per square foot) is about double that of a storm panel, but it is less burdensome to operate each year.

3. Bahama Style

Bahama-style storm shutters can be one of the most aesthetically pleasing choices and are sometimes used on homes for decorative purposes only. They are permanent fixtures that prop open when not in use, then lowered and secured when needed for protection. Priced around $20 to $30 per square foot, they could be a beautiful and functional option for your home.

4. Roll-Down Style

At $35 to $50 or more per square foot, roll-down-style shutters are more expensive than other options but can provide the most security and ease of use. Operated by a hand crank or sometimes with just the touch of a button, they roll up into a permanently installed box when not needed.

Restoring your home after damage from a storm will involve the help of experienced professionals, so taking extra measures to secure your home can be a worthwhile investment. Shutter options like the ones listed above can help reduce the damage to your property during high winds.

Fire Remediation: Where Did All the Water Come From?

1/4/2022 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a big building Commercial fire damage in South Boston, MA.

Fire Remediation

It is odd to consider water cleanup in association with fire remediation, but it is a common pairing. After experiencing a business fire, it can be hard enough dealing with the charred remains of your property, but to also find water damage in areas that weren’t touched by the flames is frustrating and confusing. The fact is, firefighters, take many precautions to ensure the safety of others.

1. Putting Out the Blaze

Depending on the size of the fire, firefighters may have multiple hoses aimed at your property within minutes of arrival. These hoses operate at 400 psi and douse the flames in gallons of water per second. Additionally, firefighters will break out windows surrounding the blaze to hit the fire from above and below, causing massive amounts of flooding within your building.

2. Limiting the Damage

In an effort to limit the damage of a fire, firefighters will attempt to contain the fire to the initial area. However, this means that they will likely break through windows and doors of other rooms, flooding these areas with water to prevent the fire from spreading throughout the building but simultaneously expanding the water cleanup in its aftermath.

3. Restricting the Spread

Beyond dousing unaffected rooms, firefighters will soak the exterior of your property to limit the possibility of the fire jumping to surrounding buildings. This means your entire property is being doused, but it is a good thing. The water protects you, your property and your neighbors.

4. Walking Through the Facility

Once the fire is out, emergency services will walk your property looking for embers, using fire extinguishers on any remaining sources of heat. Between the hoses and the extinguishers, the fire cleanup is a massive undertaking requiring the assistance of a disaster restoration specialist in the South Boston, MA, area. These professionals are also experts in smoke cleanup.

While not often considered, water cleanup after a fire can be extensive. The fire hoses alone will contribute to a significant amount of water buildup, but when coupled with extinguishes and other suppression systems, it is likely necessary to hire a remediation specialist.

How To Practice Fire Safety in Your Home When Smoking Cigarettes

12/31/2021 (Permalink)

Hand holding a lid cigarette Take smoking outside.

Steps You Need to Take When Smoking at Home

While you might not always realize it, every time you smoke a cigarette you are at risk of starting a fire. If you’re not careful, the embers of your cigarette can easily come into contact with something flammable and ignite into a much larger problem. It is especially important to be aware of surroundings when at home in Back Bay, MA, since there are many flammable objects that can catch fire. In fact, cigarette fire is the number one cause of civilian home fire deaths in the United States. Here are a few important steps you need to take when smoking at home to protect yourself and your family.

1. Take Smoking Outside

With so many flammable objects inside your home, the most important safety precaution you can take when smoking is to take it outside. It is especially important you never smoke in your bedroom or while lying in bed. Bedding materials can catch fire easily, and you might fall asleep while smoking.

2. Use Ashtrays

Any time you smoke, dispose of your cigarette butt in a sturdy, stable ashtray placed on a surface that won’t easily catch on fire. A cigarette fire can easily start if you leave your butt on a random surface in your home.

3. Completely Put Out Butts

Make sure to completely put out cigarette butts and ashes before throwing them into the trash to prevent an ashtray fire. It is a good idea to soak the ashes and butts in water before tossing them.

4. Never Smoke Near Oxygen

Stay away from oxygen tanks or other places oxygen is used to prevent an explosive fire. Even if the oxygen source is turned off, stay far away to be safe.

Although cigarette fire is preventable if you keep in mind the steps listed above if one ever does occur in your home, it is a good idea to get in contact with a fire cleanup company that can quickly repair any damage that has occurred.

What to Know About Frozen Pipes

12/25/2021 (Permalink)

Yellow pipe, frozen pipe Frozen pipes can cause damage to your home in South Boston, MA.

The cold temperatures of South Boston, MA, can lead to a number of problems for homeowners. One of which may include frozen pipes. A hard freeze can even lead to broken pipes or water damage in your home. Here are some things you may want to know about what to expect when your pipes freeze.

What To Do When Pipes Freeze

If you have a frozen pipe in your home there are a few things you can do

  • Call a professional for help
  • Keep your pipes open so the water has a place to go when thawed
  • Apply gentle heat, like a hot towel or blow dryer, to the frozen area of the pipe

Why Pipes Freeze

During a hard freeze, the temperature outdoors can drop so low that the cold can permeate the pipes. Any water inside will then expand. If there is not enough room inside the pipes, then the pressure can cause cracks which will lead to leaks when the water thaws. A water damage professional can help with repairs to your home if the leak causes damage.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Fortunately, there are a few prevention steps you can take to prevent the freezing of your pipes and subsequent water damage. These steps include draining the water from pipes that may freeze such as a sprinkler line, and disconnecting any hoses from your home. You may also want to close any indoor valves that supply water to outdoor lines. If the weather is especially cold you may want to let your faucets drip a little as moving water is less likely to freeze. It’s also a good idea to keep your home’s temperature above 55 degrees.

When a hard freeze occurs, the water in your pipes can freeze and cause some damage to your home. A professional can help with any repairs and cleanup you may need. If you know that the temperature is likely to get to freezing point, you may be able to take some steps to protect your pipes.

4 Alternatives to Candles for Your Home

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

wax warmer Consider a wax warmer as candle alternatives.

Candle Alternatives

Candles can provide great ambient lighting and allow you to choose your favorite scent for your home. Unfortunately, candle use also can result in a house fire. Fire restoration specialists recommend that you never leave a lit candle alone in a room. To keep your home in Back Bay, MA, safer while still reaping the benefits, consider one of these four candle alternatives.

1. Scented Wax Warmers

A great way to avoid a candle fire without sacrificing the comforting scent you love is by using an electric wax warmer. As the warmer heats up, the wax melts safely, diffusing the scent throughout the room.

2. Battery-Operated Candles

Another flameless option is a candle that operates on a battery. You still get the look and flicker of a real candle without the actual flame. You can also choose a scented option. These candles are perfect for a bathroom or other guest area where you want to have the look and smell of a candle without the danger of an unattended flame.

3. Electric Tea Lights

For dramatic lighting, consider electric tea lights as candle alternatives. This versatile option gives you the soft glow of a traditional tea light. You can place them in candle holders or vases, allowing the light to reflect and set a relaxed mood.

4. Reed Diffusers

If you just want a nice scent but don't really need the lighting that a candle provides, a reed diffuser is a smart choice. You pour scented oil in a designated glass receptacle and then place scent sticks or reeds in the oil. The fragrance is released slowly through the reeds to permeate the room.

Candles are pretty, but they may be more of a fire hazard than they are worth, especially if you are leaving them in a room where you can't watch them. Choose one of these candle alternatives to set the same mood in a safer way.

3 Situations That Call for Flood Coverage

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

Entrance of a building flooded Flooded entrance of a building in Boston, MA.

Three Situations That Require Flood Insurance

Flooding can cause a great deal of damage to your commercial property, and your property insurance often doesn't cover it. If your building is in an area that is prone to flooding, you are required by law to have flood insurance, but it's a good idea even if it's not technically required where your business is located. You may think of a flood policy for your business in Boston, MA, as an extraneous expense, but if a situation arises where you need it, you'll be glad you purchased it.

Heavy Storms

When heavy storms strike, dropping a deluge more quickly than the area can handle, you may need a policy to pay for flood mitigation services. The property insurance in your commercial insurance package probably covers minor damage caused by a relatively small leak, such as:

  • Wet insulation in the attic
  • Water damage in walls from rain
  • Ceiling replacement from a roof leak

If the storm persists and causes floodwaters that seep into your building and cause major damage, your flood insurance typically covers those repairs.

Overflowing Bodies of Water

If your business is near a lake, stream or river, prolonged rains can cause a flood, and this can affect your property. If the overflow reaches your building, there's probably not going to be any way to stop if from breeching your lower floors and causing quite a bit of damage to your building's structure. A flood policy can cover the repairs needed to restore your building.

Dam Breaks

If a levee or dam breaks, the area around it will probably not be able to avoid flooding. This type of flood can be especially devastating because the water may just keep coming until the hole is repaired. If you live in an area that would be affected by such a catastrophe, flood coverage is generally a must.

No matter where your commercial property is located, it's a good idea to have flood insurance. It offers protection beyond what your property insurance covers, and it can be the fastest way to get your building repaired after a flood.

Salvaging Your Property After a Flood: 4 Water Damage Tips

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

Flooring removal, drying equipment, pieces of floor inside a plastic bag Replacing flooring after water damage

Salvaging Your Property After a Flood

A flood is one of the worst things a homeowner can experience. In the aftermath, water damage will likely result in the loss of memorabilia and property, and in the chaos of it, homeowners may be at a loss of how to cope. The steps below offer a systematic approach to the cleanout process that may be beneficial.

1. Dry Out the Area

Whether the result of a natural flood or broken pipes, it is necessary to remove excess water and dry out your home as quickly as possible. You can rent a variety of pumps to help remove the standing water. You can also rent air movers and dehumidifiers to circulate the air and dry space quicker.

2. Tear Out Damaged Wallboard and Insulation

When the floodwater has been removed, you can assess the extent of the water damage and begin the tear out process. Find where the water line was and remove affected drywall and insulation at least 20 inches above that line, doing this will help prevent the buildup and spread of mold.

3. Discard Porous Items

Do not listen to your heart when it comes to salvaging items, especially if the flood was natural or caused by a sewer backup. Porous items, like photos, carpets and other fabrics, preserve bacteria and provide room for it to spread, allowing the contamination of other objects in your home. When cleaning up from a flood, it is better to be safe and discard porous items that contacted floodwater.

4. Consult with Professionals

Depending on the severity of a flood, it may be helpful to consult with a restoration specialist in Back Bay, MA. These experts will have the experience and equipment to help you wade through your belongings, and they may be your best chance at preserving and salvaging many of your personal items.

Water damage, especially when the result of a flood, can be detrimental. Between the potential loss of sentimental items and the costs of the overall repair, stress levels run high after a flood. However, if you can remove the personal element and approach the water cleanup systematically, it can be both manageable and cathartic.

3 Things to Throw Away After a Fire

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

Blue & white pills medicine the drug expired. Medicine that has been exposed to fire you need to throw away.

Items To Throw Away After a Fire

Recovering from a home fire is a long, frustrating process, sometimes compounded by the loss of cherished belongings. When you face the destruction of the furnishings and content of your South Boston, MA, home, it can be hard to say good-bye to belongings that don't seem to have been affected. However, there are some items that you need to throw away, even if they don't look like they've damaged by fire or smoke.

1. Food

Obviously, you'll toss out any cereals and breads that were on the counter. Of course, you'll throw away anything in open containers and foods there were stored in cardboard or thin plastic bags. It may surprise you to learn, however, that even your canned foods should be tossed out. This is because the high heat of the fire will activate the growth of bacteria, even when food is sealed in glass jars and cans from the store.

The contents of your fridge may be safe, even if the power has gone out, but remember that it's safer to throw out questionable foods than to suffer through physical sickness. Anything that smells smoky or odd, has visible soot, or doesn't feel cold should be disposed of.

2. Medicine

The last thing you need after a fire is to be left without your necessary medications. However, these items can be affected by fire damage. If there's warping, charring, or signs of soot, throw it out. It's better to contact your doctor for refills than to become sick or suffer other side effects.

3. Cosmetics

You may think that heat could affect cosmetics to the point that they are harmful to your health. However, the same temperatures that affect your food and medications could affect the chemicals in cosmetics to the point that they are no longer usable.

Ultimately, it's best to throw away any belongings that have suffered fire damage. This is particularly true for food, medicine, and cosmetics. Don't put yourself at risk. Ask professionals from the fire department or a fire restoration company if you aren't sure if something is safe to keep.

Restoring Content Damaged by Smoke and Soot

10/31/2021 (Permalink)

Visible damage to a commercial building following a structure fire Commercial fire in Theatre District, MA.

Restoring Content Damaged by Smoke and Soot

Commercial fires can often be severe and leave businesses devastated. While not everything can be recovered from the aftermath of fire, you will want to preserve the content that can. It is beneficial to know the best methods for content cleaning when your goods have been affected by smoke or soot. For example, clothes that retain soot or the residual odor of smoke from a fire can be restored to their previous condition by professional dry-cleaning. Here are a few other methods for preserving your smoke and soot damaged items:

- Foam-cleaning should be attempted on all fabrics that are not color fast and those that may shrink during the wet cleaning process.
- Wet-cleaning can be used when dealing with garments that retain their color and items that have been heavily or moderately soiled by smoke or soot.
- Immersion-cleaning is generally reserved as a last resort and involved dipping contents into a cleaning agent.

It is always best to contact local Theatre District, MA, professionals to assist you with your content cleaning needs.

Items Constructed from Non-porous Material

Methods like dry-cleaning and wet-cleaning are great for fabrics, but what about non-porous materials? Your jewelry, electronics, vinyl records, and an abundance of other items can be saved with ultrasonic cleaning. An ultrasonic cleaner uses ultrasound to clean damaged items, often with the help of a small amount of tap water.

Electronic Content

If you have considered moving your business’s belongings into content storage due to structural damage or other fire damage, bear in mind that it is essential to clean smoke and soot from electronics as soon as you are able. Metallic objects can become corroded due to acid contained in the smoke residue. While dry-cleaning clothing will certainly be a priority for some retail locations, you should also be mindful of electronic items that may store vital information, such as laptops, cell phones, servers, and point of sales computers and have them cleaned immediately to prevent loss of data.

Steps To Clean a Moldy Washing Machine

10/30/2021 (Permalink)

Baking soda Keep your washing machine clean.

How To Clean a Moldy Washing Machine

Considering washing machines are used to keep things clean, you may wonder how you can even end up with mold in your washer – but it’s entirely possible. When it happens it’s one of the worst things ever, when that smell can soak into your clothing and never come out. But all is not lost; not only can you salvage your mold-contaminated washing machine, but you can even save your clothing.

Don’t Throw Out Your Washer Just Yet

Before you haul your washing machine to your Waterfront, MA, dumpster, try these steps to clean out the mold smell and remediate your mold issues:

• Scrub the machine out thoroughly. Glove up and get in there with some elbow grease and a brillo pad. Scrub the mold away until you can’t see anything but clean metal, then run an empty wash cycle to rinse the particulates away.

• Use everyday household products to both kill the mold and get rid of the smell. Run a cycle with a 1:4 mix of water and baking soda, then another cycle with vinegar put into the detergent tray. Both will help clean out any smells and eradicate remaining mold. Just remember to run an empty wash cycle after to rinse it out and prevent your dirty clothes from smelling like vinegar.

• Bleach everything. Bleach and other chemical cleaners can be that last “burn it all to the ground” resort, but they’ll work in a pinch. If you want to try something a bit gentler, though, give an oxy-based cleaner that uses oxidizing solutions a try.

What If the Washing Machine Still Stinks?

You may need to consult a mold remediation specialist. It’s possible the washing machine is beyond saving, but if anyone can help you bring it back from the brink, a specialist can. They may recommend solutions and techniques that aren’t commonly known to the average homeowner.

5 Safety Tips for Cooking on a Grill

10/26/2021 (Permalink)

Cleaning a grill at a summer barbecue. Remember to keep grills 10 feet away.

Cooking on a Grill: 5 Safety Tips

Having a family barbecue and cooking on the grill in your backyard in Chinatown, MA can be a great way to spend your days during warmer weather. However, it can become dangerous if you’re not careful. A grill fire can happen quickly, so keep these tips in mind when you’re grilling to avoid injuries or damage to your property.

1. Keep the Grill Away From the House
While many people like to grill on a deck, this can lead to disaster if a fire occurs. It could spread to your house and cause a lot of fire and smoke damage. Fire remediation can be a time-consuming process and you could lose valuable and sentimental objects, so it is best to use your grill as far from the house as you can.

2. Only Use Fluids Made for Grills
If you use a charcoal grill, be sure to use only lighter fluid that is specifically made for this purpose. Other flammable liquids might not be safe for use around food. They can also more easily cause a grill fire. You should also never add more fluid after it has already been ignited.

3. Keep the Grill Clean
You should remember to clean your grill regularly. Built up fat and grease can cause a barbecue fire to flare up and become a safety hazard.

4. Open the Grill Before Turning On the Gas
If you have a gas grill, always open the lid of the grill before turning on the gas. If you turn the gas on while the grill is still closed, the gas will build up and can create a fireball when ignited.

5. Never Leave the Grill Unattended
When you are grilling, you should always make sure that someone is there to keep an eye on it. If a fire were to start while the grill was unattended, it could cause quite a bit of damage before you even notice.
Because cooking on a grill can be dangerous, you should always take proper precautions to avoid a grill fire. If you stay safe, grilling can be a fun and enjoyable pastime.

Your Guide to Roof Repair After Hail and Heavy Winds Damage Your Shingles

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

Close up view of bitumen shingles roof damage that needs repair. Roof damaged due to high winds in South Boston, MA.

Your Roof Repair Guide After Hail and Strong Winds Damage Your Shingles

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 South Boston, MA, storm damage restoration team about the importance of a quality inspection.

How to Be Proactive about Plumbing Issues in Your Commercial Business

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

Technician with water extraction vacuum inside a commercial business. Commercial water extraction in Seaport, MA.

Plumbing Issues in Your Commercial Business

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 Seaport, 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.

Using the Right Protective Equipment for Mold Cleanup

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Dehumidifier and air mover placed in an empty room, drywall removed Mold damage in Back Bay, MA.

Once mold has been discovered in a home in Back Bay, MA, it is best to have it cleaned as soon as possible. A mold remediation specialist should be able to come in, evaluate the situation and provide the best solution for cleanup. An experienced cleanup company should also have all the correct protective equipment, such as face masks or goggles and gloves.

What Causes Mold

Mold is everywhere, and it is almost impossible to remove completely. That being said, there are several factors that can lead to having a mold problem.

  • Moisture
  • Damp items not being dried timely
  • Leaking plumbing
  • High humidity indoors
  • Flooding

How Mold Is Cleaned

Left untreated, mold damage can cause irreparable harm to the surface it’s on. The cleanup process is not complicated and needs to start with the source of moisture or humidity being removed. The area then needs to be dried out as thoroughly as possible. Hard surfaces should be scrubbed clean using proper cleaners. Softer items can be washed when possible, or if there is significant damage, they can be taken to a professional to get advice on cleaning and restoration. Materials like carpet and drywall may need to be replaced, as they are absorbent, and it can be very difficult to remove mold from these items.

Why Wear Protective Equipment and What Should You Wear

Face masks should be worn to avoid breathing in mold spores, and long gloves can protect bare skin from coming into contact with the mold and cleaning agents being used. Gloves also help avoid transferring spores from one surface to the other when they are removed and disposed of properly. N-95 respirators are the face masks recommended for use during this process.

Although mold can seem like an insurmountable challenge to overcome, it can be cleaned and items restored to the best condition possible. Using the proper protective equipment can help allow the situation to be remediated completely, which can lessen the chance of another mold outbreak.

What To Know About Household Items and Mold

8/11/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth in the attic of one home. If you suspect you have a mold damage problem, Call SERVPRO.

What You Should Know About Mold and Household Items

Mold damage has become one of the most talked about subjects for homeowners and insurance companies in Boston, MA. Left neglected, the expense for mold remediation can be very costly. In extreme cases, a home may need to be completely gutted or torn down.

Items at Risk

Which household items are subject to mold growth? The short answer is everything. Almost anything that is porous, organic or in a high-humidity environment can become a host to mold. For example, the following items are all potential residential mold breeding grounds:

  1. Organics, food and plants
  2. Wood
  3. Drywall
  4. Carpet
  5. Upholstery
  6. Clothing
  7. Flooring and tiling
  8. Linens

This list is far from exhaustive. Left to its own, mold could quickly take over a home and everything in it.

Control and Treatment

The two main keys for inhibiting mildew growth are controlling temperature and humidity levels in the home. Many molds are relatively easy to clean and control. Food that has begun to mold should be discarded. Clothing that has become moldy should be laundered. If the mold persists, the item should be tossed. Some molds can be removed by properly cleaning and sanitizing the item at risk.

More serious molds may need professional attention. If you suspect you have a mold damage problem, a mold remediation specialist should be consulted. With the proper tools and equipment, the specialist should be able to tell you what type of mold is present and how it should be treated. This is especially important if your home has experienced water damage of any kind. Sources of water damage can range from a leaky pipe to flood damage or sewer backup.

The good news is that cases of serious mold damage are relatively rare. As more is learned about treating and preventing mold, these cases should continue to decrease in number. Attention to climate control and addressing any displaced water immediately can also assist in this area.

Protecting Your Home in the Aftermath of a Flood

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Three workers working in a wall of a home Storm restoration services in Boston, MA.

After a Flood, How Can You Protect Your Home?

It is natural to want to get the ball rolling on cleanup after your home in Boston, MA has received flood damage. However, it is often said that it is best to wait until an adjuster has come to assess the damage so that you can make an accurate claim on your flood insurance policy. Let common sense be your guide to decide between waiting and acting in the aftermath of a storm.

Document the Damage

Once a devastating storm clears, insurance adjusters will be extremely busy, and it may be difficult to obtain an appointment. However, to protect your home from further harm such as mold damage, it is important to act quickly. Once you have contacted your insurer to begin the claims process, protect yourself with documentation.

• Take lots of digital photographs and/or video of all damaged structures and belongings before clean up, removal, or restoration.
• Compile a list of all damaged items and their value, and organize any receipts you have retained. Your credit card company can help with this.
• Keep receipts for any professional remediation services, materials purchased, or dump fees as a result of the flood.
• The adjuster will help you prepare a proof of loss document to be filed with your flood insurance company.

Begin the Cleanup

While you wait for the adjuster to complete the inspection of the destruction you have thoroughly documented, there are things you can do to minimize further damage. Experts suggest the following:

• Pump, mop, and blot excess water.
• Remove and dry furniture and loose items.
• Remove valuables and safely store them.
• Circulate the air by using fans and/or air conditioners if it is safe to use electricity.

Waiting for a response on your flood insurance claim will require patience. Take action to reclaim your home, and be sure to document your efforts.

3 Tips for Space Heater Safety

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Space heater Plug the heating unit into its own outlet to avoid overheating.

3 Safety Recommendations For The Use of A Space Heater

Freezing air outside in North End, MA makes you long for a warm, toasty atmosphere inside of your home. Warming yourself near a space heater feels good, but is it a smart choice? A burned space heater is one of the top causes of residential fires, particularly during the winter months. Learn how to safely use a space heater by following the three tips below.

1. What Kind To Buy

Space heaters come with options for safety features, such as an automatic shutoff if the unit overheats or tips over. Look for an independent safety certification label, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Ensure the appliance has a sturdy cord that is at least 6 feet in length.

2. Where To Place It

Place the heater on a hard surface, such as the floor. Do not place it in a child’s bedroom or play area or in a garage where incendiary materials are stored. Use the 3-foot distance rule for children, pets, walls, bedding, curtains and furniture. Allow this distance from flammable fabrics to prevent a burned space heater from setting fire to your home.

3. How To Care for It

Plug the heating unit into its own outlet to avoid overheating. Never use an extension cord or place the appliance near water. When you retire to bed for the evening or leave the room, even for a few minutes, turn off the space heater. Remove it from the outlet by holding the plug, never the cord. If the cord is damaged, discontinue use. If the unit has filters, change them regularly.

Follow the above safety tips at your home in [City, State], to avoid a burned space heater. Always remember to practice general fire safety as well. Install and maintain at least one functioning smoke detector at every level of your house, especially near the bedrooms and kitchen. Have an escape plan in case of a fire. If a fire occurs, execute your plan to get your family to safety. For soot and smoke cleanup, contact a fire restoration specialist.

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


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

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.

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.

The Best Large Loss Restoration Company Qualities

2/18/2021 (Permalink)

Team member of SERVPRO downloading equipment from van. SERVPRO can help you get your company back open as quickly as possible.

What Qualities To Look For In A Large Restoration Company

Disasters happen. When they do, they can ruin everything in your business in Theatre District, MA. They can also force you to shut down until repairs are finished. The result is a serious interruption that you want to be remedied as soon as possible. That's why you need to know what qualities to look for in a large loss restoration company. Knowing what to look for can help you choose the best company. That will help you recover from any disaster, whether you face flooding or blizzards. This can get your company back to normal quickly.

Experience With Numerous Loss Sources
You want to look for a company that has experience with several types of loss sources. For instance, you should look for a company that has dealt with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, and broken sprinkler systems.

Offer Comprehensive Services
When recovering from a catastrophic loss, you need a disaster restoration company that handles it all. Find one that offers a comprehensive list of services, including:

  • Damage assessment
  • Structural drying
  • Anti-microbial treatments
  • Sewage remediation
  • Demolition
  • Power setup
  • Picture documentation
  • Daily updates

Cares About Your Business
You want a company that is going to be reliable. You also want them to do great work. Plus, you want them to communicate well. You may even be looking for someone who cares enough to focus on getting your business back open. That is the ideal catastrophic loss company. They should care about your business enough to get the job done right and work with you.

Place Value First
Obviously, you want the job done quickly. However, you also want your catastrophic loss team to prioritize value over speed. Therefore, you should look for a company that is responsive, caring, dependable, top-quality, good communicators, experts, and trustworthy.
Storm damage and other disasters can happen to any business. If you want to find restoration professionals that can help you get your company back open as quickly as possible, you need to know what qualities to look for.

Top 3 Causes of Commercial Water Damage

2/9/2021 (Permalink)

Clear water standing on floor Water damage in Waterfront, MA

Common Sources Of Water Damage

A broken pipe can put a damper on your business in Waterfront, MA. It can cause you to shut down while the water restoration company is working and ruin your inventory and equipment. In other words, you want to avoid them. Here are the most common sources of water damage and how you can prevent them.

1. Roofing
Be sure to check your roof. Standing water is a sign that your drainage system is not working properly. This is a problem because of the weight of the water. Eventually, this will strain your roof and cause leaks, which can do more damage than a broken pipe. Also, be sure you look for damaged flashing, felt, and shingles. These pieces can degrade over time and will need to be replaced to avoid leaks.

2. Pipes
Your plumbing is vulnerable to clogs and other damage. A broken pipe can lead to lots of water entering your business. Regularly examine the outside of your pipes for stains, rust, cracks, and bulges. If you see any of these, call a plumber and have the area replaced. Additionally, you can use pipe cameras to look at the inside of your pipes. You can also insulate your pipes to prevent freezing in the winter. Furthermore, a lot of commercial buildings can benefit from leak detectors. These are inexpensive and alert you to any leaks. Some can even try to stop leaks themselves.

3. Mother Nature
Hurricanes, thunderstorms, and flooding do a lot of damage to businesses. While you can't avoid nasty weather, you can take steps to make sure you are ready to deal with disasters. For instance, you can clear your gutters, install waterproofing solutions, and store sensitive equipment off the ground. You can also purchase flood insurance to cover any damage from a disaster.
Ultimately, you want to avoid hiring a water repair company. The best way to do this is to understand the common water sources and take proactive measures to prevent them.

Preventing Frozen Pipes in your Boston, MA Property

1/29/2021 (Permalink)

a blue graphic that says frozen pipes Winter storms and freezing weather can cause frozen and burst pipes in your Massachusetts property.

Preventing Frozen and Burst Pipes in Boston, MA

Heavy rain isn’t the only source of storm damage; frigid winter storms can also lead to flooding and other serious water damage. For example, if the plumbing throughout your property isn't insulated, installed, or maintained properly, you could end up with a burst pipe. Which pipes are most likely to freeze?

Your sprinkler lines, supply lines to swimming pools, or outdoor hose bibs
Exposed lines in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and attics
Pipes installed against exterior walls, especially without insulation
Plumbing lines in uninsulated kitchen and bathroom cabinets

When temperatures drop and water freezes, the developing ice expands and puts added pressure on pipes. Even very strong pipes will crack or burst under the pressure as standing water expands while freezing.

Insulate Exposed Pipes

One of the best ways to protect your pipes is to add insulation around exposed pipes. Be sure to check inside cabinets, along exterior walls, in the garage, and in the basement. If you don't know where the pipes run, it's best to hire a plumber to help. After the construction on your building is complete, it can be hard to track down the original plans, and there's no guarantee that the contractor followed the plans precisely. A plumber, however, can usually let you know within an hour or two where the pipes are located.

Drain Water Before Temperatures Drop

The next step in protecting against a burst pipe is draining water from all of the pipes that aren't used during the winter, such as swimming pool supply lines and the sprinkling system. After draining hoses, wrap them up and store them until warmer weather. Don't put antifreeze into any of your water supply lines; it is very dangerous to humans, animals, and the environment.

Catch Damage Early

If you see condensation around your windows, on the walls, or on interior pipes, contact a water damage mitigation and repair team as quickly as possible. You may avoid serious damages if you catch a developing crack or minor leak before it becomes a burst pipe. If you do need to deal with a frozen pipe our team of professionals at SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston work quickly to keep damage under control.

3 Ways To Determine if There Is Mold in Your Business

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

Mold damage found behind a liquor display area Whenever mold is present, it is time for mold remediation

Time For Mold Remediation

Mold isn't always easy to find. Fortunately, there are a number of symptoms that can indicate your business in Chinatown, MA, has a fungus issue. These range from mycotoxin odors to visual signs. If you notice any of these, it is time to call a mold company.

1. Is There a Musty Smell?
A lot of people don't realize mold smells at all or what it actually smells like. The fungus typically has a musty odor. This can include earthy, damp, and tangy tones, often described as somewhere between rotten wood and dirty socks. These smells comes from the mycotoxin released as mold grows. If you notice a new unpleasant smell in your business, it is time to start searching for mold.

2. Are There Signs of Water Damage?
Condensation, elevated moisture levels, and other water issues are likely to cause mold growth. The most common signs of water damage include discoloration and stains on walls, ceilings, and flooring. Additionally, water can cause bubbling, peeling, and cracking in paint and wallpaper. These signs are usually accompanied by a colony of spores inside the materials. If you know about a past or current water issue, you should have the space inspected.

3. Do You See Mold?
Seeing mold is a much more obvious sign that you have a problem than sniffing for mycotoxin. Green or black areas, slimy residue, and mildew are all common visual indicators of mold. However, mold spores can also hide as dirt. Therefore, people may easily overlook the visual signs.
Whenever mold is present, it is time for mold remediation. Signs of past or present water damage at your business can mean mold is growing, and look for visual indications as well as new odors that can easily go overlooked. Once you notice an issue, take action to get rid of the problem quickly before the mold does damage to your building.

What Is an Ice Dam?

1/14/2021 (Permalink)

Icicle, ice accumulated on the edge of a roof An ice dam can lead to leaks in your roof

What Is an Ice Dam?

Ice that accumulates on the edge of a roof and keeps the water from melting snow from running off the roof is called an ice dam. These dams can lead to property damage if not addressed promptly.

Problems Caused by Dams
Because the water from melting snow can not drain from the surface of the roof, water may leak into the home. These leaks can cause several problems:

  • Damage to ceilings, walls, insulation, and other surfaces
  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Roof damage

Causes of Dams
The primary cause of ice dams is variable temperatures across the surface of the roof. This variation is caused by heat loss from the home, snow cover on the roof and differing temperatures between higher and lower sections of the roof. If part of the roof surface is above freezing, the snow on the roof will melt. When the water from the melted snow contacts the part of the roof that is below freezing, the water freezes, forming the dam. As additional snow on the roof melts and the water comes in contact with the existing ice, the ice grows larger; however, the dam will only spread to the parts of the roof that are below freezing. This causes the remaining water to pool on the portion of the roof that is above the freezing point.

Repairing Damage
The first step to repairing damage from a dam that forms after a winter storm is to dry out ceilings, walls, and other interior surfaces affected by leaks. A water restoration company in North End, MA, can assist you with this process. Your homeowners' policy may include ice dam coverage that will compensate you for the cost of repairs.
Energy loss from your home can combine with snow cover on your roof to form an ice dam that can lead to leaks in your roof. Managing the heat loss from your home is the best way to avoid this issue.

Where Does Fire Damage Mitigation Stop and Restoration Start?

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Building Windows all Boarded Up Board up services in South End, MA

The term “mitigation” is used by fire damage restoration professionals to refer to stopgap measures to keep conditions from worsening until cleanup takes place at a building in South End, MA. For the best outcome, a commercial property owner should rely on a one-stop-shop to mitigate, clean, and restore commercial fire damage.

Mitigation Limits Damage

Mitigation measures limit the severity of secondary damage resulting from primary fire damage. Based on the severity of a fire and the suppression methods used, mitigation may involve any of the following measures:

  • Boarding up holes in walls or windows
  • Extracting standing water from fire hoses
  • Tarping over holes in roofing materials

The goal of mitigation is not to eliminate the effects of fire damage. Instead, these measures are helpful for managing moisture levels and keeping out debris and trespassers.

Cleanup Eliminates Damage
The shift from mitigation to fire damage restoration involves a change in priority from preventing damage from getting worse to taking measures to improve the condition of a structure with fire damage. Ash and soot may be removed by sweeping or vacuuming the affected area. Restoration professionals recommend disposing burned, singed, or melted materials and contents. Surfaces and items that have only sustained smoke or soot damage may be cleaned.

Restoration Continues Until Completion
Rebuilding a damaged location and finishing measures such as smoke cleanup are restoration tasks. Professionals who specialize in restoring fire damage can recommend treatments for stained surfaces or items to keep signs of damage from resurfacing over time.
Managers and owners of commercial properties should rely on fire damage restoration professionals located near South End, MA. It is a good idea to seek out a company that provides mitigation, cleanup, and restoration services. Estimates and schedules that are issued by a single service are more likely to be accurate than assessments by more than one mitigation, cleanup, and restoration companies.

How Do Puffbacks Happen?

12/31/2020 (Permalink)

soot web Soot webs happen, SERVPRO is here to help after a puffback.

Puffback and Soot Damage

Puffback damage occurs when a furnace misfires, causing a small explosion inside the chamber of the furnace. In a best-case scenario, the mess will be confined to the furnace area. In extreme cases, the heavy, sticky, grime can be caked on just about any surface, including curtains and the insides of closets and drawers. If you have experienced soot from a furnace puffback in Boston, MA, you will need to have your furnace repaired and the area properly assessed and cleaned.

Assess the Damage

At first glance, the soot may look like a fine, dusty powder that can easily be cleaned. However, the puffback from an oil furnace is anything but easy to remove. Instead, it is a thick, gooey substance that is difficult to get off surfaces. Since failed attempts to clean it can cause more damage to your items, you should not attempt to clean it yourself. If you suspect puffback damage, you can begin to assess the extent of the problem by checking areas for soot:

  • The furnace chamber
  • Inside the ventilation system and ductwork
  • Obvious areas such as floors, walls, and carpeting
  • Less obvious areas like inside drawers and file cabinets

Be sure to check inside each room that is connected to the HVAC system.

How To Restore the Area

Regardless of the extent of the damage, you will need to hire an HVAC technician to check, clean, repair, or replace your furnace. If damage has occurred outside of the oil furnace itself, the soot will be too difficult to remove on your own. The best course of action is to enlist the help of a professional restoration company to properly clean and deodorize the different surface types.

If you have a misfiring furnace that causes puffback damage, rest assured that the problem is only temporary and can be fixed with the right equipment. A professional remediation company like SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston can help with furnace repairs and restoring the area to its previous condition.

5 Steps To Take When Dealing With a Burst Water Pipe

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Background of a pipe burst with the word PIPE BURST COVERED A pipe burst in Financial District, MA

There are many cruel fates that can befall a Financial District, MA, home in the wintertime, but the most common peril that causes an insurance claim is the dreaded bursting of a frozen pipe.

Here Are The Five Steps To Take If It Happens To You

1. Turn off the Water Supply
If water is still cascading into the home, make sure to shut off the water supply. If you happen to know where the valve is for the pipe that’s leaking, you can start there. Otherwise, turn off the water main to the home to prevent further flooding.

2. File an Insurance Claim
Damage from burst pipes can turn catastrophic almost instantly. Once you’ve stopped the immediate flow, you’ll need to give your homeowner's insurance company a call to file a claim. Your adjuster will walk you through the process and explain possible coverages.

3. Document Everything
Take as many pictures as you can of things like wet carpets, saturated furniture, and any other personal property damaged in the flood that you need to remove. Keep a careful record of whatever you take out of the home to make sure you’re properly indemnified.

4. Call the Experts To Clean It Up
A house full of water is not a cleanup job for amateurs. Make sure you hire a reputable company experienced in the water restoration process to properly dry out the area affected by the pipe burst and prevent further damage.

5. Winterize the Other Pipes
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Before an unexpected disaster befalls your home again, make sure pipes are well-insulated and that any outdoor water lines like sprinkler systems and pool filtration pipes are always drained and properly winterized. This way, you'll avoid another insurance claim and the headache that goes along with it.
Winter weather can be beautiful and serene, but not when it causes a flood in your home. Knowing the steps to take when it does happen can help you handle the disaster if it does.

How to Know If Your Liability Insurance Policy Covers Mold Exposure

12/17/2020 (Permalink)

Workers installing plastic covers inside a building. Concept of mold containment Mold containment in Back Bay, MA

Understand What It Covers

As a business owner in Back Bay, MA, you keep all of your insurance policies up-to-date. Even still, there are those unusual situations that give you pause: does my insurance actually cover that? You know that your general liability insurance covers slips and falls and property damage at a client's home, among other things, but what about mold exposure? Mold insurance claims can be tricky because mold is usually associated with water damage or a construction problem and therefore often falls under various exclusions in your coverage. It's unnerving if you don't know exactly what's covered versus what you might be responsible for. Here's what to look for in your general liability insurance policy to understand what it covers.


Common exclusions in your insurance policy include pollution exclusions and "business risk" exclusions. A mold claim doesn't have a guaranteed outcome because mold hasn't been consistently classified as a pollutant. There's a lot of variation between states when it comes to deciding whether mold falls under the pollution exclusion. Coverage is consistently denied to contractors if the claim is a result of defective workmanship unless the damage done by defective work has been incorporated into an existing building. How confusing!


Due to a lack of consistency surrounding mold insurance claims, many insurance companies have added endorsements to general liability policies that definitely exclude mold claims or at least limit coverage. One endorsement excludes mold remediation under all circumstances. However, since most mold is a direct result of water damage, which is covered, it's still not entirely clear how this endorsement impacts a mold claim.

Additional Policies

You can buy an additional policy that does cover mold; the challenge is that these policies are still fairly limited unless you're willing to pay a high premium.
The bottom line is that mold insurance claims are tricky because there is so little consistency surrounding coverage. Each time you renew, be on the lookout for changes to your policy to protect you and your business.

4 Things Business Owners Should Do To Prepare for a Winter Storm

12/17/2020 (Permalink)

Word writing text Time To Plan. Have a plan

Four Steps To Protect Your Establishment

As a child, a winter storm meant snow days filled with hot cocoa and snowmen. The school was canceled, and everyone was forced to spend the day together, enjoying the cold, fluff falling from the sky. As a business owner, that weather isn't as pleasant. It could mean devastation to the company, possibly harming the building's integrity. Proper steps should be taken to protect the establishment. The following are four things to consider before heading home to watch the snowflakes fall.

1. Schedule Inspections
Storm damage affects multiple aspects of the building. Before the season starts, complete assessments of the major structures. An expert should evaluate the roof, looking for holes, missing shingles or problems with the flashing. Patch any openings to avoid water exposure. In addition, low temperatures impact the pipes, freezing them or causing cracks. A pipe burst is a mess that ruins the premises. A plumber may have advice on how to best insulate the lines.

2. Trim Foliage
The wind and snow knock tree limbs down, making broken windows and roofing a possibility during a winter storm. Take the time to cut back branches. Avoid having anything too close to the business.

3. Have a Plan
Review insurance paperwork, understanding how to manage any complications that may arise. Find a disaster restoration company in South Boston, MA, that specializes in water remediation cleanup, and divide responsibilities among workers. Someone should be in charge of monitoring the property, reporting back to others about what trouble occurs or whether operations may begin again.

4. Have Appropriate Supplies
Be ready to get started with cleanup as soon as possible. Have shovels and ice on hand, available to remove excess development. Have trash bags, gloves and disinfecting materials. Designate employees to work inside, putting the store back together. Other might work on the perimeter, scoping out any damage.
Get ahead of the winter storm. Be aware of what can happen, and know how to tackle it head on.

3 Tips for Avoiding Cigarette Fires

12/17/2020 (Permalink)

Hand putting out a cigarette,cigarette butt on Concrete floor, bare cement. 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 Seaport, 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.

3 Common Pitfalls of DIY Mold Testing Kits

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

Mold Armor DIY test kit. For testing mold at home. 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 Boston, 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.

Chemical Drain Cleaners: Good or Bad?

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

Drain cleaner ads, water pipe detergent with clear pipes section in 3d illustration Chemical drain cleaners - Do they work?

Are They The Best Option?

At one time or another, a clogged drain has frustrated residents of homes across Boston, MA. The fast and easy solution is to pour a bottle of commercial drain cleaner down the problem drain to clear away the blockage. Do they work? Can they damage your home's pipes? Here are some facts and a few tips on alternatives:

Chemical Drain Cleaners
Widely-used and powerful, chemically-based cleaners (caustic, oxidizing, and acid types) can help open up a partially clogged drain. They work by generating heat to break down a clog until it can be flushed out. However, there are drawbacks to their use:

  • They often just move clogged material farther down a drain pipe, where it can re-accumulate or cause a sewage backup that requires professional sewage cleaning services.
  • The chemical gel can settle and corrode pipes if it's unable to push through a completely blocked drain.
  • If pipes are old or made of plastic, the cleaner's chemicals will warp and permanently damage them if used repeatedly.
  • Chemical cleaners are toxic and harmful to people, pets and the environment.

Alternatives to Chemical Drain Cleaners
There are safer ways to clear blocked drain pipes. Mechanical options include flexible drain snakes or augers. Available in manually-operated, hand-cranked, battery-operated and electric models, this device can successfully clear drains without resorting to calling in a professional.
Enzymatic drain cleaners use bacteria or enzymes to devour organic materials like the hair, soap and food waste that collect and clump in drains. Although this biological option requires more time to clear a clogged drain — typically 24 hours — it's non-toxic and environmentally safe.
There are many home remedies, including the use of clothes hangers, wet/dry household vacuums and various mixtures of natural ingredients like salt, baking soda, vinegar and boiling water. All are effective depending on the severity of the clog.
Whether in the kitchen or bathroom, there are a range of proven solutions to stubborn blocked drains. With mounting concerns about health and the environment, chemical drain cleaners should be the option of last resort.

4 Ways To Ready Your Business for a Storm

11/10/2020 (Permalink)

Hard drive connected to a computer, on the top of the picture it says BACK IT UP Keep computer files backed up on an external hard drive or cloud

Four Points To Consider

When water infiltrates a business, it poses several dilemmas for commercial property owners. The flooding puts the place temporarily out-of-commission, and the proprietors must begin work looking over the structure and possessions. Is there a way to avoid or mitigate damage? Proactive owners should be aware of several steps that prove useful in securing the premises and reducing trouble. The following are four points to consider.

1. Review and Update Insurance Policies
Is black water covered by insurance? Come plans don't cover flood damage, so it's best to read through the information now rather than be disappointed later on. Discuss this with an agent. Sometimes, commercial owners can add this option to the policy. It may cost a bit more, but it may be useful after a storm.

2. Save Important Data
Many significant documents are saved on computer systems. Flooding can destroy the database, erasing records that owners may need. Regularly back up files on a cloud or external drive so that they are readily available at any time. If devices are harmed, call out a content cleaning company in Theatre District, MA, to inspect the valuables. High-tech equipment might be able to salvage the assets.

3. Inspect the Property
Before a major weather season hits, have various aspects of the location assessed. For example, evaluate windows and doors, checking for holes or cracks. Patch these up to avoid weaknesses that could permit flood damage. In addition, have a roofer look over the shingles and flashing. Patch any areas of concern. Even small leaks can be concerning. Inspect basements, plumbing and air handlers. Ensure that everything is in proper condition.

4. Prepare the Structure
When severe snow or rain is coming, watch the news, remaining aware of potential issues. If surges are expected, prepare sandbags for the outside. Pick up objects that aren't tied down. Wind can turn them into a threat. Move assets to higher ground, and have batteries and a generator ready in case power goes out.
Flooding isn't preventable, but it can be limited. Those in charge should work ahead of the storm to safeguard the building and what is inside.

Local Boston SERVPRO Cleaning Specialist Offers Tips for Staying Healthy as COVID-19 and Flu Season Converge

10/29/2020 (Permalink)

a man spraying disinfectant SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston urges everyone to be extra vigilant about following cleaning and disinfecting protocols this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged business owners and homeowners alike to find ways to live and work without exposing themselves or others to this highly contagious virus. Now, the approaching flu season is set to complicate that challenge even further. To help control the threat that the one-two punch of COVID-19 and the seasonal flu presents, local professional cleaning specialist from SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston urges everyone to be extra vigilant about following cleaning and disinfecting protocols this year.

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)1 believe both COVID-19 and the seasonal flu spread primarily by droplets made when infected people cough, sneeze, or talk. While not as frequent, it is also believed adults and children can contract COVID-19 or the flu by touching a surface or an object that has virus particles on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. The CDC continues to recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses, but experts also emphasize the importance of cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily to help mitigate the potential spread from contaminated surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

To limit exposure and control the spread of these double threats, recommends you wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol, keep your hands away from your face, and wear a mask to protect others. For effective daily, routine cleaning at home or at work, recommends first removing surface grime and dirt with soap and water, then following up with a disinfectant. “It’s easier to feel comfortable about limiting exposure at home where you can control how clean your surroundings are,” said . “It’s more difficult out in public; but this year especially, it’s important to be aware of the space you’re in. You need to learn to recognize spaces where cleaning is – or is not – a priority so you can adjust your behavior accordingly.”

For those home and business owners who have specialized cleaning requirements or who simply want the peace of mind that a professional cleaning service can offer in this stressful time, SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston can help. “While we remain a leader in disaster cleanup and remediation situations, we also provide that same ‘deeper level of clean’ for everyday residential and commercial cleaning. In addition, SERVPRO offers their ‘Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned’ program, developed for businesses in response to the pandemic. The high level of confidence that a professionally cleaned space provides offers welcome reassurance to patrons as the flu season intersects with COVID-19.”

SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened,” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on the “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program, please visit https://www.SERVPRObostondowntownbackbaysouthboston.com/certified-SERVPRO-cleaned

What Do I Do After a Business Fire?

10/26/2020 (Permalink)

A fire destroyed five stores on the Atlantic City Board Walk Business stores damaged by fire in Chinatown,MA

Here's A List Of To-Do Items

Your levelheaded actions in the chaotic aftermath of a fire often determine how quickly you can reopen your business. If you have a fire contingency plan with up-to-date records stored off site, you're way ahead in the recovery timeline. Business blueprints, insurance policies, licenses, inventories, accounting statements, employee records, etc., are critical documents that can help speed your insurance claim.
Good documentation is imperative post-fire, too. As you organize your business' rebound in Chinatown, MA, record your fire restoration purchases, keep receipts and document all communications. 

1. Immediately contact your insurance company. Check your fire insurance coverage and advise your agent.

2. Don't touch any damage. Wait for the insurance inspection.

3. Secure the premises. Avoid vandalism by asking for extra police patrols or arranging private security. If there's exterior damage, contact fire restoration professionals to tarp the roof and board up breaches to avoid secondary damage before your building is inspected.

4. Turn off all utilities. Don't resume service until your property's cleared by the utility company.

5. As soon as you can officially reenter your building, retrieve important paperwork. If not stored off site, recover all key documents, cash and valuables.

6. Keep all business-related parties up to date. Provide your contact information to employees, customers, vendors, suppliers as well as banks, utilities, the post office, etc. Inform them of fire restoration progress and the estimated timeframe for reopening your business.

7. Consider the help of a public adjuster. If you feel more objectivity is needed to settle your insurance claim fairly, request a review by an impartial public adjuster licensed by the state to negotiate disputed settlement issues.
Fire restoration goes beyond smoke cleaning and water damage remediation services. It's a common-sense, many-faceted process that furthers your chances of fully recovering from a disastrous fire and getting your company back to the business of business.

Winter-Ready Your Business

10/26/2020 (Permalink)

road sign snow in winter, warning sign Prepare for a winter storm

Here Are Some Tips

Increasingly, extreme weather causes business owners in Waterfront, MA, to think about the seasonal threat of more than one major winter storm and the heightened chances of storm damage to their operations. They worry, too, about business interruptions from power outages or snowbound streets. They're sensitive to the fact that at least 25 percent of businesses affected by a weather or other disaster close for good. They know that small businesses are especially at risk.
Savvy business people understand that careful preparation can ensure their business' viability in the face of even the most dangerous winter storm.  

Prepare Your Employees
People are the DNA of your organization, no matter whether they work onsite or remotely. Like you, your employees need peace of mind in knowing that they and their families are well prepared for an extended winter emergency. Urge them to:

  • Sign up for weather text alerts and weather apps.
  • Keep important family documents in a safe location.
  • Store an ample quantity of pantry and pet staples.
  • Assemble an emergency medical supply kit.
  • Create a family communications plan.
  • As a family, discuss winter weather safety.

Prepare Your Business
Good planning helps ensure your operations are up and running at the earliest post-storm opportunity.

Maintain roof, windows, foundation and exterior walls in good repair.
Know your winter-related insurance coverage and agent's contact information.
Ensure cold weather supplies are stocked and equipment is in good working order (snow blowers, emergency generators).
Take steps to protect sensitive equipment.
Slightly open water faucets to allow water to drip out from pipes vulnerable to freezing.
Prepare a multi-contact list of employees, suppliers, clients, etc.
Ready a contact register of your heating contractor, plumber and fire department.
Arrange for snow removal (parking lot, driveway, sidewalk).

With major weather disruptions becoming more common, it's not if, but when a winter storm may cause a business closure or even property damage requiring professional disaster restoration services. When it comes to challenging weather, remember: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

How Do I Find Out if I’m in a Flood Zone?

10/19/2020 (Permalink)

Flooded homes and destroyed community small town Flooded zone in North End, MA

How Do I Find Out if I’m in a Flood Zone?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency maintains official flood zone maps, which designate areas with the greatest risk of flooding. To find the designation for your home in North End, MA, go to FEMA’s Map Service Center and enter your address. Note: If you have a hard time loading the FEMA map, a more user-friendly version is available here.
FEMA’s flood maps display more than a dozen category codes, but they all fall into one of three main zones:

1. High-Risk Zone
This is any area with a FEMA map code beginning with the letters A or V. It’s also referred to as the “100-year floodplain.” Each year, this zone has a 1% chance of experiencing a catastrophic flood. If you’re in a high-risk flood zone, flood insurance is usually required. Unfortunately, flood insurance is most costly for homes in high-risk zones.

2. Moderate-to-Low-Risk Zone
This is an area with a FEMA map code beginning with B, C, or X. It is also referred to as the “500-year floodplain.” This zone has a 0.2% chance, each year, of a destructive flood event. Flood insurance is not mandatory in this zone, but it is still strongly encouraged. Flood insurance is considerably less expensive for this zone than for high-risk zones, especially when compared to the costs of storm damage cleanup after a devastating flood.

3. Undetermined-Risk Zone
These areas may have a FEMA map code beginning with the letter D, or they may have no FEMA flood code. This doesn’t mean your home won’t flood. Heavy rainfall frequently causes flash flooding in all parts of the country.
There are many reasons you might want to know your property’s official flood zone designation: You may be considering selling your house, or maybe you’ve been thinking of buying flood insurance. In any case, understanding your risk level is key to protecting your home from flood damage.

How To Safely Handle a Basement Flood

10/12/2020 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. Visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Flooded basement in South End, MA

If you experience a basement flood, it must be cleared as quickly as possible before mold or other damage has an opportunity to advance. Prior to the arrival of a water restoration service professional, get started by drying out the space to the best of your ability.

Basement Flooding Causes

You may discover your home’s ground floor has flooded as a result of:

  • Poor sealing
  • Incorrectly installed drainage
  • Damaged downspouts
  • Faulty appliances such as water tanks and sump pumps

Pay attention to these matters, as your odds of suffering a watery inundation can be greatly reduced with simple home maintenance. Unfortunately, uncontrolled dampness is sometimes unavoidable. Know what to do if a basement flood becomes your reality.

Basement Flooding Repairs
Before anything else, check your insurance coverage, as having the right clause in your policy means not needing to shell out for cleanup equipment entirely on your own.
Water poses an electrocution hazard, so prioritize avoiding shocks. Switching off electrical circuits is a must, but your service panel’s location may pose a challenge. Should a stool or stepladder be necessary to gain access, use ones consisting of plastic or fiberglass. Keep lights off and use battery-powered illumination for navigation. Never attempt this procedure without the protection of waders or similarly non-conductive clothing.
Use a heavy-duty gas engine pump to drain the flooded area. Feed the hose down the stairs and run the line outside to where runoff is permissible. When doing this, make certain extension cords do not become submerged.
Remove flooded outlets and switches, as they will forever pose a hazard. Drywall that has become soaked needs to be replaced, but what remains above the water line can usually be salvaged. Generally, it is recommended that carpeting be tossed. Pay attention to wood flooring, as cracked or bowing sections must be reconstructed.
Lower the chance of a basement flood affecting your home in South End, MA, through proper upkeep. Should one happen regardless, extricate the water quickly and in a manner that minimizes danger.

4 Facts About Mold

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

Three mold spores - 3d illustration Mold spores thrive on moisture

Here are Some Fact About Mold You Might Want To Know 

To some people, the word mold may evoke feelings of anxiety and fear. This can be especially true if mold is found in your Financial District, MA, home. Fortunately, learning facts about black mold can help you better understand this organism and how to control it in your environment.

1. Mold is Everywhere
First, it’s helpful to know that mold spores are microscopic organisms found in the air. Mold spores are both indoors and outdoors, and people are exposed to various amounts of mold every day. Fortunately, mold doesn’t become harmful unless it’s allowed to breed and accumulate in size.

2. Mold Thrives on Moisture
Most of the time, mold is kept at acceptable amounts through regular cleaning and sanitizing. Unfortunately, any type of moisture problem invites a breeding ground for mold. Mold can’t produce its own food so it relies on organic materials such as your plants, walls, roof, and food. Basements, bathrooms, refrigerators, and attics are common damp areas where mold finds a comfortable home.

3. Mold Has Many Species
Black mold is typically the most commonly understood type of mold. People often assume any black discoloration on walls, ceilings or bathroom tiles is mold; however, mold can be green, pink, brown or gray depending on what it’s feeding off of. Common species of mold include Stachybotrys, Penicillium, Cladosporium and Fusarium.

4. Mold Can Be Controlled
Reading or hearing about mold may make you feel anxious, but it’s good to know that it can be controlled. Because mold thrives on moisture, you can prevent mold from becoming a problem by:

  • Maintaining a home humidity level at 45% or below
  • Fix leaks and condensation immediately
  • Increase air circulation with fans and open doors
  • Thoroughly dry wet areas after flooding

If you discover that you have black mold growing in your home, it’s wise to contact a mold remediation company. Restoration specialists have the tools and knowledge to correctly and properly handle your mold cleanup.

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.


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.

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.

Count on Local 24/7 Disaster Response

6/18/2020 (Permalink)

Servpro vehicles parked SERVPRO is faster to any size disaster

When a client in Financial District, MA, files an insurance claim, insurers know they need to rely on storm, fire, or water damage restoration specialists that are faster to any size disaster. Waiting for help to arrive can quickly lead to additional damage and rising costs. Instead of hoping to hear back from a company, have confidence in immediate assistance by relying on a trusted company that is Here to Help any time of the day.

Local Franchises

SERVPRO has more than 1,700 franchises, which allows its team of professionals to jump into action the minute they get the call. No matter where the disaster happens, commercial services available include:

  • Water damage restoration
  • Fire damage restoration
  • Mold remediation
  • Cleaning services
  • Storm and major events
  • Disaster recovery

Knowing that your emergency response team means working with professionals from the community also provides additional peace of mind. Being local means they care and are dedicated to ensuring everyone is satisfied with the restoration results. In addition to the local benefits, there is an additional bonus of each franchise being backed by a nationwide network. SERVPRO works closely with national and local insurance companies, which boosts communication and makes the claim process easier for everyone involved.

Dedicated Professionals
Along with being faster to any size disaster thanks to a 24/7 emergency service, the people arriving at the disaster scene are certified professionals trained in property damage restoration. Along with employee certification training, technicians are required to be certified through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. Training and certification are ongoing to ensure no matter where help is needed, the team answering the call has the latest skills to get a business back to “Like it never even happened.”
When clients need help, it is vital to get assistance from a trusted company that is faster to any size disaster to avoid downtime, rising repair costs, and further damage.

Avoid a Cigarette Fire

6/8/2020 (Permalink)

putting out a cigarette If smoking is allowed in your home, take a few extra precautions to avoid a cigarette fire

While there may be a number of reasons for an accidental home fire in Seaport, MA, cigarettes still rank high on the list of culprits. Although they may only have a burning ember, improper use inside a home can quickly lead to a cigarette fire. The best fire deterrent is to not allow smoking inside the home. If that is not possible, safety precautions should be taken each time a cigarette is smoked.

Avoid a Fire

A cigarette can smolder for up to four hours, which means disposing of them properly is imperative to avoid an ashtray fire or one somewhere else in the home. Below are a few tips to reduce the chances of a fire.

If a room has been smoked in, check the furniture for any ashes or embers before leaving the room.
Keep ashtrays on a stable surface away from flammable items. Try to use ashtrays with wide brims.
Do not dispose of ashtray contents directly into the regular trash. Keep a tin or other non-combustible pail with water outside to be used for disposal.
Never smoke in bed or in a room with flammable products.
If there are small children in the home, ensure lighters and matches are kept out of reach.

Fire Cleanup
If a cigarette fire does break out, extinguish as quickly as possible. If it spreads to fast, immediately get out and call 911. After the fire is put out, there will likely be smoke and fire damage. The amount of which will depend on the size of the fire. When it comes to fire clean up, calling a smoke and fire restoration professional is your best bet in ensuring your home is properly cleaned and deodorized.
Any kind of fire is unwelcome. If smoking is allowed in your home, take a few extra precautions to avoid a cigarette fire, and keep your home intact.

The Right Approach to Handling Water Damage

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

A man replacing the flooring of a home. Floor damaged by water Restoring flooring after water damage in a South Boston, MA home

Steps To Mitigate the Damage

There are a lot of things you never want to experience as a homeowner in South Boston, MA. Major water damage is definitely one of them. Without a prompt, effective response, the results of the flooding could be catastrophic. You could lose precious belongings and possibly your entire home. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the damage.

Call a Professional Company
Cleaning up after water damage could be overwhelming. It may seem like a hopeless task. Your best move is to call a trusted water removal company to minimize the damage in your house. The pros offer the following advantages:

  • Experience cleaning up after residential floods.
  • The right equipment and tools to thoroughly restore your home.
  • Proven techniques and expertise to tackle even the biggest jobs.
  • Timely arrival and completion of the cleanup.

Get Your Valuables out of the Way
If a sewer backup sends black water into your house, get out immediately and do not get near it. However, if the flood starts from broken pipes, it is clean water, so you can feel safe around it. In this case, you should get affected materials out of the way so they can start to dry. If there are items such as furniture, clothing or electronics near the water, move them to higher ground. It will also help to pull up any wet carpet.

Reduce the Risk of Mold
By itself, water can ruin materials in your home. After the water cleanup, you'll want to dry the area as well. This will minimize the chances of mold growing in your house, as fungal growth occurs in moist, humid places. After drying the affected spots in your house, disinfect all surfaces where the water touched.
Nobody wants to cope with water damage, but there are things you can do to prevent problems from getting more severe. As long as you're proactive and involve the pros, you can overcome these troubling issues.

Maintain Your Water-Damaged Commercial Building With These 3 Tips

5/5/2020 (Permalink)

Water mitigation equipment. Stock of air movers and dehumidifiers SERVPRO's drying equipment

Maintain Your Water-Damaged Commercial Building With These 3 Tips

Whether a pipe burst or rainwater leaked inside your commercial building in Back Bay, MA, you need to take action immediately. While emergency remediation services respond as fast as possible to help, there are a few damage tips you can follow to slow down the damage and dry the area long enough for professionals to work.

1. Treat All Water as Contaminated
When it comes to flood water, it is reasonable to assume it is full of pollutants and bacteria. The water has likely contacted dirt, mud, garbage, or insecticides from the ground. If it comes from a burst sewage pipe, it is contaminated by sewer waste. Even if the water is clear, be cautious, and throw away all affected food items and disinfect all surfaces. Remember to wear waterproof gloves and boots, as well as wash your hands with soap and water.

2. Remove Water and Humidity
Excessive water and humidity weaken your building's structure and encourage mold growth. Therefore, the most common water damage tips involve removing it and drying the area with special tools and methods:

  • Wet/dry vacuums
  • Carpet extractors
  • Fans
  • Open windows
  • Water pumps
  • Buckets and other containers

Using these resources to eliminate water and humidity likely will not completely dry the area, as you lack the tools and experience that professionals have. Still, it helps reduce the potential damage, making the technicians' work easier.

3. Clear All Drains in the Premise
One of the most important cleaning tips is to clear all the drains throughout the building. The drainage system moves extra floodwater away from the location. Although inspection and clearing are more effective before a water incident, safely unblock gutters and other drains to dry the building faster.
Though it is best to leave full remediation to experienced professionals, you can help alleviate some of the impact. These simple damage tips prepare the building for that assistance while slowing down humidity and saving you time and money.

Keeping Employees Safe During Mold Removal

5/5/2020 (Permalink)

Removing mold from the wall in the house. Hand in blue glove tears off wallpapers damaged by fungus Mold removal in South Boston, MA

If you run a business, you have a lot of responsibilities on your plate. Not only do you work hard to build a profitable company, but you must look out for the safety and well-being of your employees. If you discover mold in the office, you should hire reputable mold removal specialists to rid your building of this fungal growth. During this process, you should be able to keep your office open, but make sure you take the proper steps to protect your workers.

Inform Them of the Details

At first, you may be embarrassed to tell your staff that you have mold growth. It's best, to be honest, and upfront about the issue. Though this can concern people, you can mitigate many worries by telling everyone exactly what is happening. Make sure your employees know the following:

  • Where the mold damage is located
  • When cleanup crews will be in the office
  • How long the process will take
  • That their safety is your priority

Adjust Schedules, if Possible
It may not work for everyone, but if you can stagger work schedules and have fewer people in the building, there is less risk of exposure. This can be especially helpful if there is black mold in the building. If you can, allow the cleanup team in South Boston, MA, to come in during evening hours. Or, move employees' shifts to different times during the day.

Remote Working
if your business is conducive to a remote work environment, set up employees to work from home during the mold removal process. This can help the removal process to go faster.

Close off Parts of the Building
To clean up mold, technicians will use contaminants and other potent chemicals. To protect employees, you should restrict access to the areas where the mold is growing. Seal the work area until the mold is gone.
To keep your employees safe during the mold removal process, follow these guidelines. You can have peace of mind that your employees will be well and that your office can soon be free of mold.

4 Ways to Prevent Sewage Backups in Your Home

4/23/2020 (Permalink)

toilet paper put in Flush.used paper clogging the toilet Make sure you are not flushing napkins, paper towels, or other products that do not disintegrate quickly

4 Ways to Prevent Sewage Backups in Your Home

A sewage backup is something that no Boston, MA, homeowner wants to experience. Not only can this water be difficult to clean up, but it can also cause lasting damage to your property. While it is possible to repair the damage, it is best to prevent it from occurring in the first place. The following are a few ways that you can do that.

1. Dispose of Items Properly
There are only a select few items that are designed to be flushed down your toilet or poured down your kitchen sink. Disposing of other things in this way can cause a backup. Make sure you are not flushing napkins, paper towels, or other products that do not disintegrate quickly. You should also refrain from pouring grease or food down the drain.

2. Remove Plant Roots
Plants can be drawn to the moisture in your pipes and begin growing their roots there. This can make it difficult for the water to drain, resulting in flooding in your yard or in your home. Check for overgrown roots and remove these when necessary.

3. Unclog Your Drains
If there is nothing on the outside affecting your pipes, then you might simply have a clog. If you cannot identify the source of your backup, this is likely the case. Use chemical cleaners or a plumbing snake to remove anything that may be blocking the pipes.

4. Maintain Pipes Regularly
Storm damage, plants, and aging can result in your pipes not performing as well as they should. If your pipes are broken or blocked, water will not be able to move through them efficiently. In some cases, repairs can be done, but your pipes may need to be replaced depending on their type and age as well as the severity of the damage.
If clogged or broken pipes result in water overflowing into your bathroom or kitchen, you may need to have sewer cleaning done by a professional. A cleanup and restoration company can remove water and can make repairs to return your home to its previous condition.

Cleaning Smoke and Soot Damage

4/13/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke Smoke cleaning, especially on a commercial property scale, is not a DIY project

Cleaning Smoke and Soot Damage

Fire disasters are likely the worst for commercial properties because they cause fire, water, and smoke damage. Most smoke cleaning services in Theatre District, MA, will tell you that soot is one of the most challenging elements to remove, which is why the process of removal depends on a strict set of five items.

  • Ventilation
  • Safety gear
  • Chemical sponge
  • Vacuum
  • Detergents and cleaners

Ventilation is necessary for more reasons than eliminating smoke odor. Fire smoke also creates toxic chemicals, so airing out the facility allows some of those chemicals to escape, making the environment healthier for cleanup crews.

Safety Gear
While opening windows and allowing for increased ventilation is important, still wear safety gear, including gloves and a chemical mask. Wearing these items ensures that you remain safe from any potentially dangerous lingering fumes and substances.

Chemical Sponge
A chemical or dry cleaning sponge is one of the best tools for smoke cleaning. Made from vulcanized rubber, these sponges do not leave a residue behind, like other cleaners.

Removing soot from carpeting, flooring and work surfaces is easiest with a good quality vacuum. You can use a commercial shop vac with an upholstery attachment for the best effect.

Detergents and Cleaners
Removing the surface debris is crucial before using detergents and cleaners. Chemical or liquid cleaners can cause the soot to work its way deeper into materials. Only use products designed for cleaning smoke damage. Professional cleaners may have access to powerful cleaning equipment. The greater the suction and steaming power, the better your chances are for recovering damaged items.
Smoke cleaning, especially on a commercial property scale, is not a DIY project. Your business demands the expertise of a fire restoration expert, and your insurance may even require it. Focus on your business during these trying times and let the professionals worry about the cleanup of your facility.

Prevent Flooding Without Sand Bags

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

Sandbags protecting a neighborhood The sand bag is the traditional material used to prevent flooding

The sand bag is the traditional material used to prevent flooding. It can work quite well for a short time. The bags are cheap and you can find them almost anywhere. There are some disadvantages to consider, however.

Disadvantages of Traditional Flood Bags

A sand bag is quite heavy and awkward to handle. The average weight of a pre-filled bag is about 28 pounds.
They have a short lifespan. Once the bags have been used, they aren’t effective during another flood and must be thrown away.
The bags can’t be disposed of in the trash. Since they contain potential contaminants, such as bacteria and sewage from rivers and other bodies of water, they are considered hazardous materials, which are expensive to dispose of properly.

Alternative Flood Dams

Flood experts have researched a number of options for better flood control. Listed below are some of the effective options.

Transportable Flood Fences - These barriers are lightweight enough for the average person to handle and they store easily in limited space. As flood water enters the barrier, it gives immediate stabilization to the fence and blocks water from flowing past it. They do take some time to install, however, so they need to be set up in anticipation of an upcoming flood.
Inflatable Dams - This option is easy and quick to install. Once the lightweight barriers are positioned, they are filled with water to protect from flood damage. If a water source and hoses are not close by, however, this isn’t an effective choice.
Flood Bags - For smaller areas, these bags work great. Made of a non-hazardous material and weighing only a little over a pound each, they can hold up to 44 pounds of water and can last up to 10 years.

If you are looking for an alternative to the traditional sand bag to keep your property in Waterfront, MA  safe from flooding, check out these effective solutions.

3 Levels of COVID-19 Cleaning

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

a graphic that says 3 categories SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston is licensed by the IICRC and here to help with Biohazard Remediation.

Much like water damage categories, there are different levels of COVID-19 cleanings, precautionary, suspected, and confirmed. These differentiations determine protocol when it comes to providing preventative measures as well as cleaning & disinfection after someone within the building has tested positive. 

Precautionary/Preventative - cleanings are a measure taken when there has been no confirmed or suspected cases. 

Suspected/Person Under Investigation - cleanings happen when there is reasonable suspicion that the virus is present, or one or more people that have been in the building have been tested and are waiting for results.

Confirmed - cleanings happen after there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 onsite.

It is very important that property owners and business stakeholders recognize their own abilities, comfort levels, resources, and risk factors. While all stages require proper precautionary & intentional steps, the CDC has issued the following protocol in regards to , Confirmed cleaning & disinfection:

  • Workers must be trained to follow OSHA regulations
  • Proper use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) donning and doffing
  • Compliance with Bloodborne Pathogens and proper disposal of of regulated waste and PPE
  • Disinfectants used include - diluted bleach solutions, alcohol solutions, household cleaners followed by disinfectants, EPA registered household disinfectants

SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston understands the immediate need for all stages, which is why we have made ourselves available 24/7 to offer disinfection services. We are able to offer disinfection services to buildings of all sizes, including residences for those in need. Please don’t hesitate to call our office for more information on proper protocol, pricing, and the products we are using.

 (617) 227-2200

Top 3 Air Purifiers That Remove Mold Spores

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

Air purifier at work, taking care of the comfort of residents, employees in the office. Getting rid of dust, smog, viruses An air purifier can help calm your nerves

Check Out These Three Purifiers

Living in a home that has mold in it can be concerning. An air purifier can help calm your nerves. Check out these three purifiers that can remove mold spores from your home. Each one has multiple filters to provide a high level of air filtration.

1. Rabbit Air MinusA2

The Rabbit Air MinusA2 uses a series of five filters, including a pre-filter, HEPA filter, and an activated charcoal carbon filter, to purify the air within 850 square feet. This purifier has a negative ion generator and gets rid of over 99% of the particles floating in the air.

2. Austin Air Healthmate

The Austin Air Healthmate can purify the air within 1,500 square feet of this machine, and it also removes more than 99% of the toxins found in the air. It has a four-stage filtering process, including two pre-filters, a HEPA filter, and a zeolite and carbon filter. Like the other machines, it gets rid of mold spores at a high rate.

3. SilverOnyx

The SilverOnyx has all the features that you would want in a purifier, including a UV light filter, ionizer, carbon, and HEPA filters. It is quiet and has an air filtration system that packs a powerful punch. The SilverOnyx can purify the air of over 99% of pollutants within 500 square feet.
If you have physical mold damage in your home, you will need to hire a mold removal company. An organization that performs mold remediation will inspect and assess the damage. Workers will then curb the mold growth, filter the air and start on the restoration process.
Having mold spores in your place can be worrisome, and you will need an air purifier to get rid of it. Some of the top purifiers have multiple filters for air filtration and can rid the air of more than 99% of the particles found in it.

Disinfection Services in Boston, MA

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

crews exiting a van at night Our crews are working around the clock to provide cleaning services to local businesses.

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need 

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. 

Specialized Training 

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis. 

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include: 

  • Kitchen/Food Areas 
  • Bathrooms 
  • Schools/Classrooms 
  • Offices 
  • Retail Spaces 
  • Water Fountains 
  • Shelving/Racks 
  • Sales Counters 
  • Carpets and Rugs 
  • Stair Handrails 
  • Elevator Cars 
  • Playground Equipment 
  • Fitness Equipment 

Specialized Products 

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities. 

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning 

If your Boston, MA commercial space needs deep cleaning services, call the experts at SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston today! 

What Items Are Required in Safety Kits at Work?

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

CPR First Aid Training Concept Provide annual training for first responders in CPR

To help companies plan for any type of emergency or injury on the job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established the minimum content requirements for a first aid kit in the workplace. Additional supplies may be required, depending on the nature of your business. Listed below are the minimum supplies needed in an emergency kit. For a small company with only a handful of employees, one kit is sufficient. Larger companies will need to set up kits at strategic locations throughout the facility to accommodate the number of people they employ.

Minimum Supplies Necessary

Gauze pads and bandages - 2 large gauze pads (8x10), several smaller gauze pads (4x4),one package of gauze roller bandage that is at least 2 inches wide, one box of adhesive bandages, 2 triangular bandages and a roll of adhesive tape
Moistened towelettes or other wound cleaning supplies that are individually packaged and sealed
One pair each of scissors and tweezers
One blanket
Latex gloves, two elastic wraps, and a splint
Resuscitation equipment - either a resuscitation bag or a pocket mask

It is essential to also include the instructions for emergency assistance. The kits should be labeled with a large, easy-to-read sign so that the kit can be identified quickly.

Conduct a Kit Audit
Many companies in Chinatown, MA  conduct routine audits of each first aid kit to ensure that supplies are readily available when they are needed. Designate a person or persons to audit the kits at planned intervals. Having a checklist attached to the side of the kit will make the job easier. Always keep additional supplies in stock to replenish as needed.

First Aid Training
Provide annual training for first responders in CPR as well as other emergencies medical and safety procedures. There should be an adequate number of trained employees on each shift who can handle routine emergencies and who will be responsible for contacting emergency services if necessary.
Keeping your first aid kits properly stocked will help your company handle any emergency.

What To Know About Content Cleaning After a Fire

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

Professional cleaning a table after fire damage Content cleaning in North End, MA

What To Know About Content Cleaning After a Fire

After a fire in your North End, MA, the cleaning of your personal items may be something you’re worried about. In addition to needing to know what items are salvageable, it’s also important to know which cleaning method should be used. There are many options from dry-cleaning to a full wash. Here’s what you may want to know.

1. Many Items Can Be Salvaged

One of the most comforting things to know is that many more items than you might initially believe can be salvaged. This includes paper documentation and electronics. If you need help identifying what items can be recovered, you may wish to consult with a restoration professional. Items can be cleaned and then moved to content storage until repairs can be completed.

2. Cleaning Methods May Vary By Item Type

It’s also important to remember that content cleaning includes a variety of methods designed to clean different types of items. Some solutions include dry-cleaning for delicate fabrics, washing detergents for items that can be submerged, and wipe on solutions for large scale metal or wood items. An ozone machine can be used to restore air quality, while paper documents and electronics may require special care.

3. Your Restoration Company Can Help

Knowing which items are salvageable, what cleaning method to use for each one may seem overwhelming at first. Fortunately, a local fire damage restoration service can help. These professionals know how to identify the different types of damage that may befall your home's contents during a fire. They will also know which cleaning solution is best for each item type.
Many of your items may be able to be saved even if they seem to be badly damaged. Consult with a restoration professional to determine what can be done, and what the appropriate cleaning solution may be for each item. Remember, different cleaning options, such as dry-cleaning, may be needed for different items.

Basement Flooding: How it Starts and What To Do About It

2/17/2020 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Flooded basement in South End, MA

Living in South End, MA, you know it's not uncommon to find water in your basement. These are often minor issues that you can take care of quickly and that don't cause much damage. However, if extensive flooding occurs, you need to be on your toes and clean it up promptly. If you've never experienced a major flood in your home, it's helpful to understand how one can occur and how you can remove the water and clean up.

Typical Causes

It's important to identify how a flood starts so you can stop the incoming water and minimize the damage. A knowledge of come culprits of flooding can also help you prevent these issues from affecting your home. Pay attention to these issues:

  • Broken or leaky pipes
  • Main water line break
  • Sewer backup
  • Poor drainage on your property

Your Actions

Once you discover a basement flood, you should immediately find the cause and stop it if possible. Next, make sure family members and pets are out of harm's way and remove materials from and around the water. Turn off the power to your home and call a professional flood cleanup company. If you have a pump or a wet vac, start extracting the water and get it out of your home. You should then file a claim with your homeowner's insurance.

What the Pros Will Do

In addition to helping with pipe repair and fixing what caused the water damage, professional crews can get your home back to normal. Technicians will assess the damage and will remove all remaining water from the premises. To discourage the growth of mold and other bacteria, crews will thoroughly dry your home with high-powered fans. They will also use strong chemicals to disinfect all surfaces. The team will tear out ruined materials and will replace them as necessary.
Flooding is never a pleasant ordeal to handle. Luckily, you can rely on the experience of professionals.

How SERVPRO Serves Adjusters and Their Clients

1/27/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO facility and green van SERVPRO is one of the leaders in the restoration industry

Why Choose SERVPRO?

As an insurance adjuster in Financial District, MA, you know how important it is to provide great services for your customers at a low cost. When a water or fire disaster affects one of your clients, you need to use a cleanup company you can trust. That way, you can focus on adjusting the insurance claim to best suit everyone's needs.
SERVPRO makes the cleanup process go as smoothly as possible. There are many reasons to pick this business over other similar organizations.

Electronic Files

Before you can calculate the cost of the claim, you need certain information about the loss. This emergency restoration services company provides those details in an electronic file. This document, which is available within hours, includes:

  • The date of loss
  • The estimated cost of services
  • Photos of the damage
  • Scanned paperwork and documents

An insurance adjuster will also receive online access to new, pending and completed jobs. You can also ask for an itemized inventory of the harmed assets, as well.

Cost-Effective Services

After a disaster, your clients will likely be stressed about the rebuild. You can put them at ease by ensuring the restoration is cost-effective.
A delayed response to the emergency could cause the water or fire damage to spread. This, in turn, could make the cleanup more expensive. Thankfully, this business will respond to the scene right away. This will let you start the claims process promptly, as well.
The restoration experts will then pretest every damaged item to see what is salvageable. They understand that repairing assets is cheaper than replacing them.
Trained Professionals
Your clients needed well-trained professionals who will remediate the property safely and properly. That is why this company's franchises are trained to meet The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) standards.
SERVPRO is one of the leaders in the restoration industry. An insurance adjuster who uses this business will thus give its clients a competitive advantage.

3 Ways To Prepare Your Business for a Winter Storm

1/27/2020 (Permalink)

snowstorm, poor visibility,slick roads and lots of traffic A winter storm can harm your South End, MA, business and everyone inside

Winter in South End, MA, can leave behind a destructive impact. The intense wind and amount of snow that comes with a winter storm can damage your building and endanger your staff and customers. Avoid getting caught off-guard by nature and prepare for potential incidents. The following advice can help your business survive the winter season.

Communicate With Employees and Customers

Communication is an important asset in both business relations and emergencies. Establishing communication can help mitigate storm damage and keep everyone in the building safe. Arrange staff meetings to discuss emergency plans and encourage the use of phone calls, texts and email for immediate conversations. Also if winter weather conditions are dangerous, use your business's website, social media and even a simple window sign to inform customers about closing times.

Assemble a Master Emergency Plan

Sometimes, weather can be unpredictable and a strong winter storm can catch your establishment off-guard. You and your company will need to create an emergency plan that accounts for the staff, the building, and other factors.

  • Evacuation routes and shelters
  • Emergency kits with items such as blankets, first aid supplies, flashlights and food
  • Snow and ice-removal tools like shovels, ice scrapers and salt
  • Backup generators for essential devices like heaters and food refrigerators
  • Business continuity strategies

The combination of strong communication and inclusive, detailed emergency plans can help your business overcome harsh winter conditions. Planning ahead of time can protect your crew, clients, and business in difficult times.

Prevent Damage to the Building

Freezing temperatures and ice/snow accumulation can destroy your building and set back your company. You can prevent storm damage to the location by taking the appropriate measures before winter. For instance, proper insulation can stop the pipes from freezing, while a low-slope roof can be effective against snow buildup. If damage is already present, then disaster restoration specialists can help salvage your property.
A winter storm can harm your South End, MA, business and everyone inside. Craft emergency plans and make the right building modifications to keep people safe and mitigate winter damage.

Understanding Standards of Commercial Mold Remediation

1/21/2020 (Permalink)

Someone's hand with a measuring tape measuring mold A company complying with basic mold standards will determine the extent of the contamination

Understanding Standards of Commercial Mold Remediation

The EPA and OSHA have mold standards for remediation in commercial buildings, which are not necessarily known by all business owners. Most reputable mold removal companies will hold a certification from the IICRC that stipulates their knowledge of these standards and compliance with them. While knowing the rules of cleaning and remediation is helpful to some business owners, the practice primarily comes down to four steps.

  1. Verification of the problem
  2. Measure of contamination
  3. Containing the area
  4. Removal and restoration

Verification of Problem

As there are a variety of mold species, the first thing a company will do is test and verify the specific type. Some species, such as toxic black mold, require extra caution throughout the removal phase. Testing typically requires a few days to collect samples and send them out for results.

Measure of Contamination

Next, a company complying with basic mold standards will determine the extent of the contamination site and whether it has spread to other parts of your facility. Getting an accurate measurement is necessary to prevent the resurgence of an infestation. Also, it is vital to your business, so operations are not interrupted more than necessary.

Containing the Area

Then, the contamination site must be sealed off, especially if it encompasses a large area. A crew will seal the area with plastic sheeting, ensuring that air circulation is limited and controlled within the affected space. This confinement reduces the risk of the infestation spreading to other areas of the facility.

Removal and Restoration

Last, the mold clean up process can begin. The Seaport, MA, mold removal specialists you hire for the job may have specialized tools and equipment for the removal process, but all debris will likely be double bagged before removal. Once all contaminants have been removed, the company will restore your facility to the pre-contamination condition.
While a commercial building owner doesn't need to know the mold standards for removal, they should ensure that the company they hire for removal is certified. IICRC certification is the best way to know a company understands all EPA and OSHA requirements.

When Sandbags Aren't Enough

12/18/2019 (Permalink)

Sandbags Sandbag layouts aren't the only choice

Alternatives for Sandbags

When storms threaten, rivers and ponds can spill over, threatening businesses within the area. Therefore, store owners in Wilmington, MA, often turn to local resources for assistance. Sand bag preparation, for example, occurs as a primary source of local aid. These burlap sacks, filled with sand or soil, can be stacked in front of the storefront, attempting to divert rising water. Used properly, they could offer a line of defense. At times, moisture penetrates through, and they can be problematic to clean up. Here are 2 alternatives you may want to consider.

1. Can You Fight Flooding With Water?
Flood damage is no joking matter. When your property is invaded by exterior water, you could be exposed to bacteria and viruses. At that point, you'll need the services of a water remediation company. To avoid that time and expense, you may wish to invest in additional obstacles. The usual method requires lots of time and muscle. Several inflatable products could help. The HydraBarrier is a simple method. A heavy-duty inflatable tube, you simply connect a hose to it, fill it up and place the six foot high tubing in front of your place's exterior. Sand bag removal is tedious. When the storm is over, deflate HydraBarrier, fold it up and save it for later. It's available in several lengths, ranging from 6 to 24 feet. The AquaDam is similar. Once it's been pumped up, the water-tight exterior creates a border, keeping flooding of up to 10 feet from getting through.

2. Can You Build a Wall?
The Instee Levee Builder adapts the method, using 18 inch tall sacks to establish a large embankment. This one requires a bit of work and heavy machinery. The QuickDam, flood dams in a bucket, trigger on water contact, popping up into an impediment. Could a neighborhood work together, battling a unified threat? Aquafence is a malleable structure, consisting of laminate panels. Use it to fence in your neighborhood. It can be taken down and used again.
Items are available to control flooding. Look for something that saves time and increases security. Sandbag layouts aren't the only choice.

4 Things You Can Do While Waiting For Your Insurance Adjuster

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

Someone replacing floor after water damage Restoring flooring after water damage in Back Bay, MA

4 Things You Can Do While Waiting For Your Insurance Adjuster

If your home in Back Bay, MA, has been damaged, then you should report it to your insurance company right away. During the claims process, a home adjuster will need to visit your house to do an inspection. While you are waiting, there are a few ways you can make good use of your time.

1. Go Over Your Policy

If it has been a while since you purchased your insurance policy and you haven’t needed to use it, you might not remember all of the details. Read over the terms of your policy and make sure you are familiar with the requirements and benefits. This can help you get through the process more easily.

2. Prepare Necessary Paperwork

When making an insurance claim, you will need to fill out some paperwork and may need to provide certain documents. You can organize these while you wait for the adjuster to visit. You might want to make copies to keep for your personal files.

3. Take Pictures

Documenting any damage while you wait to have the inspection done can help speed it along. Locate any structural damage to the house as well as any affected belongings. Take pictures and make a list, including descriptions of items as well as an estimated value. The home adjuster can use this information. Set aside damaged items but do not throw them out.

4. Start Cleaning Up

Because water can cause a lot of secondary damage, such as warped wood and mold growth, it is best to begin cleanup as quickly as possible. Block off any flooded areas so the water does not continue to spread throughout the house, and move belongings to a dry location. A water damage remediation company can help with this as well as repairs.
When your home is damaged, you do not have to sit around and wait for help. Be proactive and make sure you are well prepared when filing a claim. Taking these steps can make the inspection go more easily for both you and the home adjuster.

Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

11/29/2019 (Permalink)

Document of Homeowners Insurance Policy Does your homeowners insurance cover mold damage?

Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

When you think of emergencies that can destroy your home, you probably think of fires and major storms. However, fungus growth can also cause severe harm to your Boston, MA, house. Unfortunately, your homeowners' insurance policy likely does not provide mold coverage.

Covered Perils

In general, homeowners' insurance covers mold damage to your home that results from a covered peril. Covered perils are accidental and sudden disasters that the homeowner cannot prevent, such as:

  • Vandalism
  • Lightning
  • Fire
  • Heavy snow, ice and sleet
  • Accidental plumbing discharge
  • Falling objects
  • Theft

However, there are many instances where your insurance will not cover the cost of mold cleanup in your home. Specifically, if your insurance provider feels you could have taken steps to avoid the fungus growth, it will not pay for the cost of repairs. If the damage resulted from a burst pipe that you ignored for weeks, an unventilated bathroom, or decades-old shingles that you failed to replace, you will have to pay for mold remediation yourself.
Homeowners' policies also typically don’t include flood insurance. That means any mold that grows following a flood isn't covered, either.

Mold Endorsement

Those who want mold insurance coverage can ask their carrier about an endorsement. An endorsement is extra coverage attached to your policy for an additional fee. However, if your home has a history of mold problems, your insurer will likely refuse to provide an endorsement or charge more for it. Your insurance provider may also cap the amount of money it will reimburse or limit its coverage to certain mold-related services.
It can be hard to tell if your insurance provider covers damage caused by fungus growth. Read your policy to see if it mentions coverage for mold claims or the possibility of mold endorsements.
If you have any questions, talk to your adjuster. A representative from your local black mold cleanup company may also be able to help.

Grease Fire Basics

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

Young Man Using Red Fire Extinguisher To Stop Fire Coming From Oven In Kitchen If available, extinguish the fire with a Class B fire extinguisher

Grease Fire Basics

Home cooking fires are common, and a fire caused by grease and oils is among the most common of cooking fires. A grease fire is a different animal from fires that have paper or wood as a primary source. They can also quickly erupt on the stove top, in the oven and on grills. The source of the fire doesn't have to be cooking oils but can also originate from the oils and grease generated by the foods that are being cooked. They are tricky to extinguish, which may be a factor in why they cause so much damage.

Steps To Take During a Grease Fire

A quick response to this type of fire can prevent disaster. These measures have been proven to put out the flames.

Snuff out the flames by covering them with a metal lid or cookie sheet.
Keep the cover on until the fire is out.
An alternative is to cover the fire with baking soda or salt.
If available, extinguish the fire with a Class B fire extinguisher.

If these steps don't work and the fire grows, get everyone out of the home. Call the fire department as soon as possible.

Steps Not To Take

Unlike other fires, you should never use water on a fire feeding on cooking oils. It's also vital not to attempt to move the fire outside, either when it is burning or right after a metal lid has been put over the fire. This action can result in burns and a spread of the fire. Flour and baking powder will not work on snuffing out this type of fire, as they have a different chemical structure than baking soda and salt and can feed the fire.
Understanding a grease fire protects you and your family. If a blaze does harm your home, the first step to fire cleanup is to call in a fire remediation team in Theatre District, MA. Professionals will clean up the damage and restore your home "Like it never even happened."

Protect Your Home Against Flooding

11/13/2019 (Permalink)

Clean storm drain Clean storm drains

Keep Your Home Secure Against Flood Damage

Flooding of your Waterfront, MA, home can cause major problems. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your home from heavy rains.
Maintain Existing Flood Prevention Structures
Many homes have common flood prevention features, such as gutters and sump pumps, already installed. It is important to maintain this equipment. The following are some routine maintenance activities that will help keep your home secure against flood damage:

  • Clean and inspect gutters (fall and spring)
  • Clean storm drains (at least once a year)
  • Test sump pump and clean screen (every season)
  • Inspect roof (every year)

When completing the above tasks, be sure to check for damage such as loose gutters or missing shingles. The suggested frequency for each task will vary depending on your specific situation. For example, if you have trees near your home, you will likely need to clean your gutters more often. If you suspect that you will be unable to do any of these jobs, you may wish to hire a professional contractor for some or all of your home's routine maintenance tasks.

Consider Home Improvement Projects

In addition to maintaining whatever flood-proofing systems your home already has, you may decide to do some home improvement projects to further protect your home from flooding. The following are some common improvements that you can make to keep your house safe in heavy rains:

  • Install any of the above items (gutters, storm drain, sump pump) that you do not already have
  • Grade your lawn so that it slopes away from house
  • Upgrade seals around windows and doors

Employ Temporary Solutions

Even well-prepared homes may need additional protection during very heavy rains. If a severe storm is headed your way, you may want to install sandbags or other flood protection devices such as inflatable dams.
The above suggestions will help protect your home from flooding. However, even the most well-prepared homes can suffer storm damage. You may need to enlist the help of experienced restoration professionals to get your home back to normal quickly and safely.

How Do Cities Prevent Floods?

10/24/2019 (Permalink)

car rides in heavy rain on a flooded road No matter how big or small your city is, high water can present a problem

Flood Prevention Methods

No matter how big or small your city is, high water can present a problem. Fortunately, there are a variety of flood prevention methods that a city can take to stem the tide of stormwater. Here are four ways that cities and towns work to stop flooding.

1. Rooftop Gardens

Covering a building's roof in greenery has a variety of benefits when it comes to handling rainwater. The biggest advantage to going green on the roof, however, is that your rooftop vegetation can soak up said water, thereby reducing runoff and the possibility for floods. Plus, it looks wonderful.

2. Floodplains

Much like rooftop gardens, floodplains drink up excess stormwater. This can prevent the water from invading nearby towns, and the absorbed water can then be used to replenish the area's groundwater.

3. Permeable Grounds

Predictably, concrete does little to mitigate the effects of high water. Instead, the overflow runs directly into streets and sidewalks. Cities and towns can reduce flooding by replacing concrete paths and pavement with porous materials, such as grass and gardens, that will soak up stormwater instead of ushering it elsewhere where it can accumulate and cause problems.

4. Clean Sewers

Common sense would indicate that a clean sewer system works better than a dirty one. That's why one of the easiest flood prevention methods that a town can take is to maintain its sewers. Keeping these underground lines free from obstructions such as waste, tree roots, and debris ensures that they are better able to handle excessive water. Regular inspections can prevent rust and corrosion from debilitating sewer lines as well.
These are just some of the ways that cities and towns like Chinatown, MA, deal with high water. If you ever find yourself dealing with water damage of your own, trust your local water damage restoration company to get your commercial property back on its feet promptly.

5 Steps for Filing a Water Damage Claim

10/16/2019 (Permalink)

Insurance adjuster inside a building writing down notes on clipboard An insurance adjuster will come to your home and document the damage

5 Steps for Filing a Water Damage Claim

No matter the source, water in your North End, MA, home can cause quite a bit of costly damage. Because of this, it is important to start filing your insurance claim as quickly as possible. This will allow you to finish the process and receive the financial assistance you need sooner. Use the following steps to get through the situation smoothly.

1. Contact Your Insurance Agent

The first thing that you should do is to call your insurance company so that they can begin filing your claim right away. In some cases, waiting too long to contact the company can affect your insurance claim or cause it to be denied, so don’t hesitate to do this.

2. Document the Damage

While an insurance adjuster will come to look at your home, you don’t need to wait for them to arrive. Begin taking pictures of damaged areas of the building as well as affected belongings. You may want to make a list as well. The adjuster can use these as proof of damage.

3. Start Cleanup and Mitigation

Even if it is from a clean source like a pipe burst, the longer water sits in your home, the more damage it can cause. In order to reduce the cost and time of repairs, you can start removing water from the building so that it can begin to dry. Set aside damaged items as well.

4. Review Your Policy

Because all policies are not exactly the same, it is important to know what is covered in yours. Some causes of damage, such as a flood, may not be included. Look over the details so that you know what to expect and what is expected of you during the claims process.

5. Prepare Necessary Forms

Once the insurance company has sent you the required forms, you should fill them out as soon as possible. This way, they will have everything they need to finish filing your claim.
If your home has been damaged, a cleanup and restoration company can return it to its previous condition. Filing your insurance claim quickly can help you cover the costs.

When Is a Home Fire Not Covered by Insurance?

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Fire in the house House on fire in South End, MA

Two Conditions A Home Fire is Not Covered by Insurance

Most home insurance policies cover fire, as well as other common causes of damage, such as theft or various weather events. There are two conditions under which a home fire is virtually never covered, however:

1. When It's Set on Purpose

Arson is when a fire is deliberately set with the goal of causing destruction. It happens for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common reasons why a homeowner might choose to set his or her own home ablaze is to scoop up the insurance money.
Predictably, insurance providers are prepared for this. If a fire results in a claim, the insurance company will dispatch a team of investigators to examine the damage and pinpoint the cause of the fire. If their assessment is that arson was the cause, the home fire will not be covered by the homeowner's policy.

2. When Nobody Lives There

A vacant home fire is not covered by insurance providers, either. While the definition of "vacant" may vary from insurance company to insurance company, generally speaking, if nobody has lived there for 30 consecutive days, a home is considered vacant. It's up to the insurance company to prove vacancy in order to deny a claim.
It's important to note that a vacant home, in terms of the denial of insurance coverage, is different than a seasonal home, such as a summer lake house or a winter cottage. If you own property that isn't occupied year-round, most insurance companies that offer homeowners policies also offer vacant home insurance that safeguards your home through those months when nobody's there. This type of policy usually covers vandalism, theft, fire, and weather-related issues, such as those involving hail or wind damage.
No one expects a home fire. Fortunately, if one does occur at your South End, MA, residence, it is most likely covered by your insurance policy. Working with your insurance company, as well as trusted fire damage restoration professionals, you can promptly return your home to its pre-fire condition.

Understanding Clean Water Damage

9/28/2019 (Permalink)

Blue pipe bursting water Bursting pipe in Financial District, MA

Business owners in Financial District, MA, know that anything can happen. While big events like flooding or storms are often the main culprits of water damage, it’s often the smaller culprits that go unnoticed. Luckily, when the damage isn’t from a big event, a business owner is faced with clean water instead of contaminated water.

Category 1 Water Damage

Water damage categorized into clean, gray and black. Clean water comes directly from a clean source, which means its not harmful. Potential causes of this category of leak may include:

  • A cracked or broken water supply line: broken pipe
  • Sink or tub overflow
  • Ice or snow melt
  • Rain water
  • Toilet tank overflow
  • Non-chemical treated toilet bowl overflow

When the mess is from these, cleanup is easy. For the other two categories, it is best to call a professional. Category 2, gray water, comes from appliances or other sources that may contain chemicals or some contaminants. Category 3, black water, should always be addressed by an expert. Often the result of flooding or sewer backups, this water has potentially harmful bacteria and debris.

Address Water Problems Right Away

Although clean water is safe to cleanup, avoiding the task could change all of that. The two main reasons to immediately address any water issue are spreading damage and mold. Both water and mold love porous materials. Sitting water will begin to work its way up and behind walls, as well as under carpeting, tiling and other flooring. If there is a continuous leak, that water will begin to cause extensive damage that will be expensive to fix. Alongside the damage, one can expect mold to begin forming. It loves the water and humid conditions, and it can quickly spread to other areas of your business.
If a pipe breaks, you can feel at ease knowing that the water you have to deal with is safe. Even so, to keep your business operating, it’s best to fix the smallest problem before it becomes a big one.

The Invisible Impact of Smoke Damage

9/23/2019 (Permalink)

smoke damage on brick wall Smoke Damage can be visible on your commercial building after a fire breaks out close to your business

No property owner wants to experience a commercial building fire. The fire can be devastating, not only because of the damage the fire does but from the odor and discoloration the smoke leaves behind. Furthermore, while the building is closed, you can lose a great deal of money. However, before you hire a professional service in Boston, MA, to begin smoke cleaning, it can be important to understand exactly how the smoke damage can impact your building, your clients, and you.

Invisible Assailants

Although smoke can often be seen during a fire, the damage causing the lingering smoke odor can often be a result of components that are not always visible. These can include:

• Invisible and toxic gasses can contaminate the air. These gases can include carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and phosgene. The gases can be a highly foul-smelling contribution to the smoke.

• Particles of carbon called soot can cover the floors and walls. The fragments can float long distances from the fire and be deposited in unusual areas such as the cracks of bricks or under the heads of nails.

• Vapors of poisonous smoke can look like mist. The gaseous droplets can be poisonous and can cover items in your building with contaminates.

Covert Particles

Signs of smoke are often evident after a fire. Black stains covering the walls and ceiling of some rooms, soot covered floors, and an unpalatable odor are often visible signs of pollution left behind by the fire. But the acrid smell that lingers for weeks after a fire is often caused by a cloud of invisible particles left over from the flames. That is why smoke cleaning can be a tedious and unpleasant job.

Timely Restoration

Removing the smoke damage that can be seen may be easily done by a fire restoration and smoke cleaning team. On the other hand, removing the often acrid and unpleasant odor left behind can be difficult even when using scientific means. Sadly, the longer the odor lingers, the more difficult it can become to remove it completely.

For more on Boston click here.

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)

white ceiling tile Effortlessly replace your commercial tiles and remove tile mold “Like it never even happened.”

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.

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.

How To Prevent Mold Damage After a Flood

6/24/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growth begins 24 to 48 hours after the initial moisture problem.

A flood in your home is a serious issue. In addition to the water ruining your belongings, carpet and other structures, if left too long, it can also cause bacteria and mold growth. Follow these tips to take care of mold and prevent avoidable damage after a flood. 

Tips on how to avoid mold damage after a flood

Take Safety Precautions 

As soon as you discover a flood in your Boston, MA home, unplug all electronics and remove all furniture and other movable items right away. Remember the following: 

  • Televisions 
  • Gaming consoles 
  • Smartphones and tablets 
  • Lamps 
  • Medical equipment 
  • Other electronics 

Disconnect the power to prevent electric shock during the cleanup process. Remember, the faster you complete this process, the more likely you are to save many of your more expensive belongings. Pull up carpet and underpadding, which can likely can't be saved. You may be able to save the carpet if it’s cleaned quickly enough, but shrinkage is possible. 

Remove the Water 

You can remove the water in several ways. Without power, you'll need to use buckets, mops and old towels to remove as much of it as you can. If the sewers aren't backed up, simply pour the water down the drain. If they aren't working, pour it onto the lawn. If you have power, you can use a wet/dry vacuum to soak up much of the water, but be sure to plug it in far away from any flood damage to better prevent shock. Avoid extension cords, which can short and cause a shock as well. If the flood waters are too high, you might consider renting a sump pump. Remove the standing water as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth. 

The Final Steps 

After you remove the excess water, open windows and use fans and a dehumidifier to dry the rooms out. Ensure the drywall is still safe to avoid crumbling, and disinfect the area to remove bacteria that may have entered your home through the sewer lines. Don't forget about walls and non-upholstered furniture. Finally, use a mold control product throughout your home and let it dry overnight to ensure you remove any trace of a problem. This takes care of any mold starting to grow and prevents new mold growth. 

3 Ways Smoke Can Affect Your Building After a Fire

6/24/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke travels further than flames

Smoke Cleaning Should be Performed After a Fire

If you experience a fire in your South End, MA, building, it’s not only the flames that you need to be concerned about. In some cases, smoke can cause even more damage. The following are a few reasons that smoke cleaning should be performed as soon as possible after a fire.

1. Smoke Travels Further Than Flames

Even if the fire was small or contained to a specific area, there may be smoke damage beyond this point. Smoke travels through the air and carries soot and other contaminants as it does. Because of this, it is important to have smoke cleaning done throughout the building, whether the flames spread far or not.

2. It Can Cause Long-Term Damage

While fire damage is often obvious, smoke damage can be less so. Smoke and soot particles can find their way into small crevices where they can begin to cause problems for your belongings. This is especially true for electronics, as the acidic elements in the smoke can cause the metal and hardware to corrode. If you believe that your computers, televisions or equipment have been affected, do not turn them on until they have been examined to prevent making the damage worse.

3. Odor Can Be Difficult to Remove

It may be fairly easy to remove the visible signs of smoke and fire damage, but the smell can linger for long afterward. Smoke particles can become trapped in the walls, carpeting and porous items, so you should include these in the cleanup process as well. Smoke odor can be stubborn, but a fire restoration company will have professional equipment that should be able to remove it from the air and your belongings.

After a fire, it can be easy to focus on the damage that you can see, but you should be sure to pay attention to that which is less visible as well. Performing smoke cleaning is an important part of the restoration process and should be done thoroughly to return your building to its previous condition.

Mold Can Damage More Than Just Your House

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

a servpro van parked outside of the SERVPRO office It is possible to restore special items with the help of mold cleaning services.

The aftermath of discovering mold damage in your home in South Boston, MA usually consists of addressing the structure of your house, like drywall and flooring. However, the damage may have spread to many of your belongings in the vicinity, as well. It is important to deal with these belongings appropriately in order to prevent the further spread or return of the mold problem.

Get Rid of What You Can

To be safe, it is a good idea to replace as many effected items as possible. On the bright side, this could be an opportunity to redecorate! Certain belongings, especially fabric, may be too far gone or not worth the trouble of mold cleaning. Things like:

  • Curtains
  • Bedding
  • Clothing
  • Furniture

There are mold remediation services that can efficiently identify, pack up and dispose of such items for you as part of their process.

Clean What You Can’t Part With

It is understandable that certain items are not easily replaceable, like large furniture and sentimental keepsakes. For instance, what if the family photo album has mold growing on it? You may need to trash the album itself, but the photographs can be removed and restored. Upholstery is usually treated with foam cleaning, so that it doesn’t shrink or bleed. There are many mold cleaning specialists who have methods for cleaning contents, drying photographs and documents or restoring electronics.


Mold is never totally absent from your home, as mold spores are a normal component of the air both indoors and outdoors. It is the management of moisture in your home, like leaky pipes, that prevents appropriate levels of mold from increasing or manifesting as growing colonies. It is a good idea to contact mold remediation services if you suspect a problem, before it gets too bad.

Mold can affect your belongings as well as your home. Although it is best practice to replace what you can, it is possible to restore special items with the help of mold cleaning services.

What Distinguishes Mitigation From Restoration?

5/8/2019 (Permalink)

Clean water and contaminated water can both lead to mold growth

Disaster Response Services Offered by a Flood Cleanup Company

Building owners and property managers are likely to hear about mitigation when arranging for damage restoration. Mitigation should precede restoration, and storm or water damage may become more difficult and costly to restore without timely mitigation. Find out more about the disaster response services offered by a flood cleanup company in Boston, MA.

Limiting Damage

The goal of mitigation is to limit the severity of damage to a structure. In the event of storm damage, this phase may involve the following measures:

  • Boarding up broken windows
  • Tarping over roof damage
  • Extracting standing water

The first two methods can prevent more contaminated water from leaking into a structure and keep out debris. Standing water from a flood or sewer backup is contaminated and will continue to degrade until it is pumped out of a structure.

Preventing Secondary Damage

A flood cleanup company can eliminate the types of primary damage that are prone to cause secondary damage. Clean water and contaminated water can both lead to the following forms of damage:

  • Corrosion
  • Mold growth
  • Rot
  • Ruined building materials or contents

Rely on the expertise of trained professionals to determine whether porous contents or materials such as drywall or insulation should be torn out and replaced. A mitigation and restoration company can provide a variety of cleaning methods and rebuild a damaged structure.

Restoring Damage

Restoration can commence as soon as the area affected by storm or water damage is completely dry. This phase of the process involves rebuilding, returning cleaned contents or replacement items and taking other measures to restore a structure to pre-damage condition.

Some companies specialize in either mitigation or restoration. An all-in-one company provides both services. It is easier to guarantee a seamless transition from mitigation to restoration and a more accurate estimate when the process is started and finished by a certified flood cleanup company in Boston, MA.

Understanding Schedules for Sprinkler System Maintenance

4/16/2019 (Permalink)

Fire sprinkler system for a commercial building in Chinatown, MA

Different Elements of Your Sprinklers Should be Checked Throughout the Year

The fire sprinklers in commercial properties are vital to the safety and continued operations of businesses. However, while many property owners install these systems and forget about them, sprinkler maintenance is pivotal to the continued protection and viability of these systems. Different elements of your sprinklers should be checked at various intervals throughout the year.

1. Every Week

At least once a week you should check the control valves and the gauges. However, this varies based on sprinkler style. Control valves should be tested on any system, ensuring they are properly sealed, free of blockages and in the open position. Gauges on a deluge, pre-action or dry system should be inspected weekly for normal pressure readings.

2. Every Month

General sprinkler maintenance requires that gauges in a wet pipe or water-based system are inspected at least once per month. Also, alarm valves should be checked externally. Primarily, you are looking for any signs of damage and checking that appropriate pressure is sustained.

3. Change of Seasons

Either four times a year or at the change of every season, you should check the alarm devices and the hydraulic nameplate. The devices should be inspected for any physical defects, and the hydraulic nameplate should remain secured to the riser. Also, make sure that the nameplate is legible.

4. Once Per Year

A plumbing specialist in the Chinatown, MA, area should be called out once per year to inspect the entire system. While you may be performing all the required visual inspections, a specialist will ensure that the mechanics of the system are operating as they should be.

Sprinkler maintenance is essential to the proper functioning of your fire suppressant system. Without adequate inspections, it is possible that your sprinklers will be clogged and fail during a time of crisis. Therefore, perform the visual checks as described, and once per year hire a professional.

3 Cleaning Tips for Preventing Mold Growth

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

To improve air quality specialists recommend vacuums with HEPA filters

Three Tips for Upgrading Your Cleaning Practices for Fungus Control

Finding a mold problem in your commercial building in South End, MA, can be frustrating. It may seem that there is nothing you can do to foresee and prevent such issues, but that's not usually the case. Keeping your building dry and clean with regular tasks such as air duct and carpet cleaning can help you stop mold in its tracks. Here are three tips for upgrading your cleaning practices for fungus control.

1. Remove Dust From Air Ducts

Mold spores love to latch onto dust, so it logically follows that the less dust you have in your building, the less likely you are to have places where mold will want to settle and grow. Your HVAC system is full of hard-to-reach places for dust to gather. It's a good idea to have it cleaned professionally once a quarter to prevent a buildup of dust for fungus to feed on.

2. Protect Your Floors

Spores travel inside on clothing, bags and shoes, and they often settle on your floor. If your carpet is wet in any area, it is highly susceptible to mold

development. Regular carpet cleaning as well as the placement of industrial mats at every door to catch some of the spores as people enter can prevent this problem.

3. Improve Air Quality

Your janitorial staff probably vacuums your building daily. To further improve air quality and thus lower the number of particulates in the air, mold remediation specialists recommend vacuums with HEPA filters. These filters clean the air by trapping fungus spores and other particles. The fewer spores you have in the air, the less likely they are to settle and create mold problems.

You don't have to resign yourself to the assumption that a mold problem is something you will inevitably have to deal with. With thorough carpet cleaning, vacuum upgrades and professional duct cleaning, you can reasonably expect to prevent a mold growth in your building.

Pretesting: 3 Ways the Process May Reduce Insurance Claim Expense

3/19/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Boston Downtown can perform pretest in your home or business.

As a Seaport, MA, business owner, you may be concerned about what kind of damage natural disasters can cause and how they might impact your insurance premiums should you need to file a claim. However, there are ways to lower the risk of an incident, and one of the most effective can be pretesting. This process can help you find vulnerable areas around your commercial property that may be more at risk to disaster than others so you can make repairs or upgrades and lower the risk of needing to file a claim in the future.

1. Problem Areas Can Be Pinpointed

If you suspect one area of your building may be prone to problems during a flood or high winds or that a problem already exists, pretesting can confirm your suspicions. For example, if one side of your property experiences poor drainage, this type of testing can help assess risk and the grade of the problem. If it is a high-risk issue, then you may need to call your insurance agent with this information and ask about making a claim.

2. You Can Discover Your Options

After testing, your emergency disaster response team will likely go over the results with you and then offer a variety of options for repairs and upgrades. Some may include the tearing out and replacing of certain building materials or making improvements to a fire alarm system to promote early detection. This can be beneficial, as an array of options may help you be more flexible with your finances.

3. Tests Are Performed By Professionals

A professional disaster mitigation and restoration service is usually capable of performing these tests, and its experienced technicians can help you feel confident about they results they report. They may also be able to advise you about making an insurance claim based on the testing’s findings.

Pretesting may lower the financial risk associated with making an insurance claim on your Seaport, MA, business. From fires to floods, knowing where problems may lie can reduce the chance of serious damage to your building if these events occur.

How To Replace a Toilet

3/18/2019 (Permalink)

A leaking toilet can cause damage in your South Boston, MA home

Over time, a leaking toilet can cause problems and require help from a water damage specialist. Sometimes you can remedy the situation by replacing a faulty component. However, if your toilet repair is unsuccessful, replacing the entire unit may be your only option. Although the task may seem intimidating, the process is typically straightforward. Following a few essential guidelines can help you successfully accomplish this home improvement project.

Measure Before You Begin

Before installing a different commode, you should verify that the new device can fit into the allocated space. To accomplish this, complete a few important measurements:

  • Distance from the back wall to the floor bolts
  • Space between the current bowl and side walls
  • Distance from the tank to water supply lines

Remove Existing Toilet

Disconnecting a leaking toilet can be messy. To minimize water seepage, you should complete the following steps:

  • Turn off the water supply
  • Flush commode to remove fluid
  • Absorb remaining liquid with a sponge
  • Place a bucket under tank before removing supply line

To disassemble your old toilet, unscrew the tank from the bowl. Then, loosen and remove the nuts holding the unit to the floor and place the detached commode on a garbage bag. You should also remove the old wax ring and any excess wax remaining along the top of the drain. 

Set up New Toilet

Before connecting your new unit, you should install new floor bolts and place a new wax ring on the base of the toilet outlet. Then, lower the bowl over the new bolts, pushing it straight down to prevent ring damage. Once the base is firmly in place, secure the nuts. To prevent cracks, avoid overtightening.

After installing the base, carefully attach the tank. You should ensure the unit is level, and then reconnect the water supply. Before finalizing the project, verify the absence of leaks and adjust components as necessary.
A Simple Project

Replacing an old, leaking toilet with a new model doesn’t have to be a hassle. Measuring before commencing the project and taking steps to minimize water seepage can help every homeowner in South Boston, MA, efficiently accomplish the task.

Mold Cleanup Steps

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

Water and mold damage in a Back Bay, MA home

Mold Cleanup Steps

Mold cleanup can be a complicated process. If you have house mold in Back Bay, MA, you will likely need to enlist the help of mold remediation specialists. If your problem covers a space smaller than 10 square feet, however, you may be able to address it yourself. To do so, you will still need to follow certain steps. If at any point in the process you discover that the problem is bigger than you can resolve, contact the professionals immediately.

1. Wear Personal Protective Equipment

Before experts start a mold remediation job, they will don several items:

  • Protective coveralls
  • Goggles
  • Face mask with ventilator
  • Gloves
  • Rubber boots

If you are going to take on a cleanup job yourself, you must also wear protective gear. Try to avoid direct contact with the mold growth.

2. Use Detergent to Scrub

Getting rid of mold requires some elbow grease. Most surfaces can be cleaned with detergent, water and a scrub brush. If an item cannot be scrubbed or if you don’t know how to clean it, leave it to the professionals.

3. Dry Area Completely

It doesn't do any good to get rid of house mold if you leave the moisture that attracted it behind. After the surface is clean, make sure it is also completely dry.

4. Replace Unsalvageable Items

Mold tends to root itself into the pores of the surface on which it grows. If the fungus has infested an item too deeply, that item will need to be thrown out. Mold experts can help you distinguish between items that can be saved and those that must be replaced. If unsalvageable areas are part of the structure, such as walls or ceiling tiles, the work must be done professionally.

No matter the size of the problem, these four steps are essential to getting rid of house mold. If the problem is small, you may be able to clean it, but when in doubt, call the professionals.

The Essentials After Fire Damage

2/20/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial fire damage experts will perform a thorough cleaning of all areas of your property affected by the fire.

When fire damage occurs, you need to get immediate fire damage restoration help to prevent further damage to your property. Any delay in getting professional assistance could result in extensive damage to your property.

After a commercial fire damage, the probability of further damage due to standing water or excessive moisture is higher. It is imperative that you protect your investment by acting fast to get professional help.

Smoke is a byproduct of fire and because it is acidic, it is capable of causing corrosion and staining of surfaces such as counters and walls. In some cases there is extensive smoke damage, soot damage and smoke, which need to be addressed appropriately.

Flooding and methods used to extinguish fire in home or fire in business lead to excessive water in the affected area. Fire cleanup professionals provide fast services for smoke damage, soot damage and smoke smell.

What You Should Do

  • Call the professionals – you will need the services of professionals, so before you do anything else, call the experts.
  • Open all the windows to get air moving to remove the smoke smell.
  • Move kids and pets to a smoke-free area. Move them to a relative's or friend's home until the fire cleanup or restoration is complete.
  • Inventory your belongings. Make a list of the contents of your home or business that need replacing. Taking pictures of the affected items or damage, is a good idea. You will need these for insurance claims purposes, and for your own records.

The Initial Assessment

Fire cleanup professionals enter the property to conduct the necessary assessment and determine how to approach the situation. During the assessment, they will be able to come up with an approximate estimate for the fire cleanup.

Filing The Insurance Claim

Fire damage restoration teams can also file your insurance claims for you to accelerate the process. They will be able to provide details about the fire in home or commercial fire damage to your insurance company. This gives you immediate access to money to pay for fire damage restoration services.

They will answer your questions, address your concerns, and explain the entire process to you. They get everything taken care of so you can get back to your normal life.

Water Removal

The most important step for remediation is removing all water in home or water in business. All standing water increases the risk of weakening the framing and support. Fire damage restoration professionals use state-of-the-art vacuums and high power dryers to remove all water and moisture from the area.

Eliminating Damaged Materials

Fire cleanup experts remove all damaged materials and smoke smell using appropriate protocol. They wear protective clothing and remove the materials prior to beginning the fire cleanup efforts.

Commercial fire damage experts will perform a thorough cleaning of all areas of your property affected by the fire, smoke damage, soot damage and smoke smell. Fire damage technicians will examine your property after the fire in home or fire in business cleanup to ensure that their efforts are successful.

Reputable Fire Damage Team

Dealing with a fire in business or fire in home is something most property owners have never had to experience. Restoration teams deal with this type of crisis often and they know exactly how to handle it. 

It is crucial that a highly experienced and dedicated restoration team of professionals can get in quickly to provide the fire cleaning service.

If you need commercial fire restoration, you should contact a reliable commercial fire damage company with a team of professionals. Experienced technicians have great expertise in mitigating fire in home, fire in business as well as smoke damage and soot damage.

After your commercial fire restoration service has been handled by a reliable team, you will be certainly amazed at the quality and condition of your property. If you need fire restoration, do not hesitate to contact a fire damage restoration company right away.

What To Expect After Contacting SERVPRO

2/18/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Boston Downtown has teams available 24 hours a day

What To Expect After Contacting SERVPRO

If a client has suffered damage to his or her Boston, MA home, it is important to act quickly. SERVPRO’s 24 hour availability makes them a top choice for many insurance agencies. Here is what you can expect during the first several hours after contacting the restoration company.

1. A Quick Response
When a building has been damaged, the response time is an important factor in how time-consuming and how costly restoration will be. SERVPRO is always open, so you can expect to hear back within an hour after you have contacted them about the emergency. Once you have provided them with the necessary information, they will begin preparing to address the needs of your client.

2. Arrival to the Damaged Site
With over 1,700 locations, SERVPRO can arrive quickly to any emergency. They can be on site to begin the restoration process within four hours. This fast response can make a huge difference if your client’s home has suffered a great deal of damage. Beginning the process more quickly will result in less damage overall which can end up costing the insurance agency less money.

3. Inspection and a Verbal Briefing
Once the damage restoration specialists have arrived, they can inspect the home to determine the extent of the damage and decide on the best course of action moving forward. This should all happen within eight hours of your initial call. They will provide a verbal briefing so that you and your client are aware of what will happen next. Their quick 24 hour response will allow them to begin mitigation as soon as possible to prevent any further damage before they begin work on necessary repairs.
Because it can spread and worsen quickly, the 24 hour period after damage has occurred is crucial. SERVPRO’s fast response will save the agency money and allow your client to have their home back sooner.

Take Steps to Prevent Mold Growth

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

When water intrusions are not addressed right away, the resulting damage can present increased risk of harmful mold growth.

Intrusion of water into your home or 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 your home or building, it is important to be alert for:

  • The presence of visible mold.
  • Strong musty odors which may indicate the presence of mold
  • Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
  • Excessive humidity.

To control mold growth in your home or place of business, I offer you the following tips:

  • Repair leaky plumbing and leaks in the foundation of your building
  • 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
  • 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 home or building, call SERVPRO immediately at (617) 227-2200. 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.

How to Handle Fire Damage Restoration?

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage in a Downtown Boston Apartment Building

The fire engines have driven off. It's time for you to get into action to recover from a fire loss and restore your property. Having a fire cleanup action plan ensures you lessen the water damage, smoke damage, and soot damage. The damage may include fire damage from a fire in a home or commercial fire damage. Things get burnt beyond the usable state.

Tips to get you Moving Faster

Here are a few things to help you recover faster from a fire loss.

Is the fire damage critical? A fire in your business may require you to find alternative accommodation or work plans for a fire in business. The fire in a business may have caused irreparable damage to electronics and paperwork.

Do a quick evaluation. Which sections or items are completely gone and which ones are salvageable? A fire in business may require contacting more people. Differentiate between those that need urgent attention and those that can wait.
Determine if you need professional fire damage restoration services. A fire at a home may be easier to handle. A fire in business may require more consultations.

Besides fire loss, water and smoke damage also occur. Additionally, air quality goes to the dogs. Most firefighting is done using water. After a fire in a facility, excess water is left in the rooms and contents. Moisture is neither good on painted surfaces nor wood. Excess water destroys them. Also, in a commercial fire damage, water destroys documents and electronics.

Fire emits smoke which coats the nearest surface. This causes smoke damage and soot damage. Vacuuming, laundering and a little elbow grease may take care of soot damage. Expel out the bad air caused by smoke damage. Deodorize the room to improve air quality. Burning fire produces harmful gasses, smoke, and debris which lead to bad air quality. In some instances, getting the air quality back to normal may take several days.

Commercial fire damage is a double edged sword. A fire loss includes not only damage to property and investments, but also a loss of revenue due to closed operations. It is, therefore, crucial to get fire cleanup services as soon as possible.

How to Pick a Good Professional Fire Damage Restoration Service

To speed up the recovery from fire damage, engage a professional service. Consider a few things when selecting an excellent service to help you recover from a fire loss.

What kind of expertise and experience do they have? Request a quote or free survey and evaluate them as they evaluate your commercial fire damage. Ask for referrals of fire cleanup sites they have handled.

Do they provide assistance in dealing with the paperwork? You may be required to make reports to law enforcement, building committees or insurance companies. In commercial fire damage, you may also be required to inform stakeholders.
Besides fire cleanup, do they offer extra services such as smoke damage and soot damage cleanup, and water damage repair.

Responsiveness and availability: You cannot predict a fire in a facility. How fast is the response? Are they on call 24/7?

Whether it is a fire in a home or a fire in business, a quick response is essential to minimize loss. Besides fire damage, other areas need attention such as restoration from soot damage. Professional fire cleanup services will get the job done quicker.

5 Tips for Storm Preparation

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Boston Downtown has a storm team that is available to help your commercial business

Storm Preparation

If you work in an area like Waterfront, MA, that experiences frequent storms, you may be wondering what exterior maintenance steps you can do to help protect your business from the weather. Fortunately, there are a few steps that many experts recommend.

1. Know the Weather in Your Area

One important aspect of storm preparation is to be aware of the weather. Knowing when you can expect a large thunderstorm or snow can allow you to prepare ahead of time. This can help you prevent possible damages.

2. Protect the Building as Needed

Depending on the weather you're expecting, you may choose to protect your building. Several possibilities include boarding over windows, or placing tarps over vulnerable landscaping. You may also choose to contact a local professional for a recommendation on preventive steps you can take.

3. Inspect Your Building Regularly

Another aspect of storm prevention is regular exterior maintenance. Scheduling a regular building inspection can help you find and repair any problem areas before they become vulnerable to a storm.

4. Keep up With Repairs

Keeping your building maintained can help prevent long-term damage. Conducting repairs to any damaged areas you find as quickly as possible can help you stay on top of the building's maintenance needs, and help prevent long-term repair cost.

5. Know Who to Call for Any Repairs

Another important step for storm preparation is to know who to call for repairs. In many cases a water damage restoration team can help with any flooding or water damages that may have occurred.

When preparing for a storm, these exterior maintenance steps may help you protect the building. Know what the weather in your area is going to do so that you can prepare beforehand. Inspect the property regularly, and conduct repairs as soon as a problem area is found. For large repair jobs you may want to contact a professional.

Common Questions and Answers About Mold Growth in Homes

1/21/2019 (Permalink)

Checking for mold in a crawlspace

The presence of mold in your home in North End, MA can be alarming. However, understanding how and why mold grows in homes can help react quickly and prevent damage once mold growth is detected.

Why Does Mold Grow?

There are several factors that cause mold to grow in certain areas in your home. The following factors increase the likelihood that mold will grow in your home:

  • High humidity levels
  • Having areas in the home that have been affected by water damage
  • Areas in the home being consistently damp

What Are the Signs of Mold Growing in Your Home?

Although mold is not always detectible when it immediately starts to grow, there are several signs that your home may have mold growing, and early detection can help to prevent mold from causing major damage. Signs of mold can include:

  • A musty odor
  • Stains on floors, walls or ceilings
  • Discoloration near appliances that use water

Where Is Mold Commonly Found?

Although mold growth can happen in a wide variety of locations, there are certain areas that are more likely to have mold due to damp or humid environments, including:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Basements

How Is the Home Restored After Mold Occurs?

The process of restoring a home after mold occurs is multifaceted. Some of the key steps to remove mold and restore a home include:

  • Mold is first contained to prevent it from spreading and causing more damage
  • The locations affected by mold are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized
  • Structures in the home are either restored or replaced, as are personal belongings

Knowing what causes mold growth and where it is likely to occur in your home can help you prevent mold from damaging your home and understanding the restoration process can also give you peace of mind. If your home has mold damage, it may be useful to contact mold remediation professionals.

Frozen Pipes: Prevention and Treatment 

12/15/2016 (Permalink)

With the colder weather officially upon us, now is an excellent time to learn more about how to avoid frozen pipes, and the subsequent water damage that can occur if those pipes expand and burst. Though frozen pipes are a common occurrence, they are highly preventable. 

SERVPRO offers the following tips for preventing frozen pipes and mitigating potential damage that they can cause.  

  • Insulate all the exposed pipes in your home. Especially where they may be unheated, such as the basement, attic, garage, crawl space, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. 
  • Keep the temperature the same during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower temperatures in the evening, you can prevent a costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst. 
  • Close any inside values that supply water outdoors and open the outside value to properly drain excess water that may be in the pipes. 
  • In drastically cold temperatures, let your faucet trickle. While you may be concerned about wasting water, running water is less likely to freeze. 
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Keep outside valves open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing it to break. 
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, leave the heat on and set to a temperature no lower than 55° F. 

Found a Frozen Pipe? Thaw It Out: 

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a few drips come out, suspect a frozen pipe. Typically, frozen pipes are found along exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation. 
  • Make sure the faucet remains on while treating the pipes, as the flowing water will help to melt the ice within the pipe. 
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or other open flame device. 
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze too. 

Should you experience a loss resulting from water damage, turn off the water supply as soon as possible, and call SERVPRO of Boston immediately. The longer you wait to call, the greater the chance of mold growth and unrecoverable property. SERVPRO of Boston professionals have the expertise to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects that water damage can have. 

Protect Your Home Against Chimney Fires This Winter

12/15/2016 (Permalink)

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC), an average of 22,300 chimney fires occurred annually in the United States between 2011 and 2013.

As the temperatures continue to drop, there is nothing like gathering in front of a cozy fire or basking in the warmth of a wood stove. Unfortunately, many people fail to consider the condition of their chimney before lighting those inviting fires. Not having your chimney cleaned and inspected annually can leave you at risk for a chimney fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. This can damage structures, and cause physical harm to your home and family.

Annual chimney inspections will remove flammable creosote, the major cause of chimney fires, prevent carbon monoxide intrusion and identify potential system issues before they become costly. 

To mitigate the potential for a chimney fire and help keep heating appliances and fireplaces functioning properly, we offer the following safety tips:

  • Schedule an annual chimney check. Have chimneys inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a qualified professional chimney service technician. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.
  • Keep it clear. Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.
  • Install a chimney cap to keep debris, rain, snow and animals out of the chimney.
  • Choose the right fuel. For burning firewood in wood stoves or fireplaces, choose well-seasoned wood that has been split, stacked, and dried for eight to 12 months and stored in a covered and elevated location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • Only burn wood. Crates, lumber, construction scraps, painted wood, or other treated wood releases chemicals into your home, compromising your air quality.
  • Build it right. Place firewood or firelogs at the rear of the fireplace
  • Keep the hearth area clear. Combustible material too close to the fireplace, or to a wood stove, could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36” away from the hearth.
  • Use a fireplace screen. Use metal mesh or a screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or flooring.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Place detectors throughout the house and check batteries in the spring and fall. When you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time, remember to check your batteries.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. Before turning in for the evening, be sure that the fire is fully extinguished. Supervise children and pets closely around wood stoves and fireplaces.

Even if you have already used your fireplace this year, it is never too late to have your chimney inspected. If you experience damage to your home caused by a chimney fire, call SERVPRO of Boston Downtown immediately at (617) 227-2200.

Brian Gregory Attains Fire and Smoke Restoration Certification

11/18/2016 (Permalink)


WOBURN, MA – November 15, 2016

SERVPRO of Boston announced that Project Manager, Brian Gregory, has successfully received a certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).  This organization has been the trusted advisor for the cleaning, inspection and restoration service industries for more than 40 years.  Gregory successfully completed his course work to become a Certified Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT). 

In order to receive this certification, Gregory passed a comprehensive examination demonstrating a thorough and working knowledge of cleaning and restoration techniques. The Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician course concentrates on technical procedure for successfully completing the restoration of a fire and smoke damaged environment.

“I congratulate Brian on his achievement,” said Paul LaGrandeur, General Manager of SERVPRO of Boston.  “Each day, we strive to provide our clients with a superior level of service, and that starts with having a highly trained staff experienced in the latest in disaster restoration technology.  The IICRC holds themselves to a higher standard of service excellence and we are pleased Brian has been recognized by such a well-respected institution.”

Gregory joined the SERVPRO of Boston team in October 2015. In addition to his newly received FRST certification, he is also a certified Water Damage Restoration Technician. He resides in Beverly, MA.

What You Can Do to Save on Your Heating Bill

10/11/2016 (Permalink)

Any season is a good season to save energy costs. With winter approaching, however, it’s even more critical as prices for home heating fuel are as volatile as ever.

 The U.S. Department of Energy has the following fuel saving tips for consumers:

  • Look for furnaces with annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of no less than 78 percent.
  • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and radiators.
  • Bleed trapped air from hot water radiators once or twice a season or have a professional do it.
  • Clean warm-air registers and baseboard heaters and make sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
  • Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.
  • To retain heat, turn off kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing.
  • Install a programmable thermostat that can adjust the temperature according to your work schedule and sleeping habits.
  • Energy Star products can cut energy bills up to 30 percent. Locate retailers online at www.energystar.gov when replacing heating systems, appliances, lighting, windows, office equipment and home electronics.
  • Insulate hot water heaters and pipes.
  • Make sure your furnace or heat pump is tuned up by a professional at least once a year.

Taking Preventative Steps to Keep Your House Dry

10/11/2016 (Permalink)

Water damage can occur in homes in a variety of ways. Homeowners should check for leaks throughout their houses, inspecting pipes and connections in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms. Look under and around sinks and around bathtubs for any discoloration. Do not ignore connections to dishwashers or to refrigerators with water and ice dispensers. 

Make sure water is flowing properly down drains. If not, try clearing the drain with a plunger or an over the counter solution. If that does not work, call a professional for assistance.

To keep drains and pipes clear, follow some simple steps such as pouring cooking oil into a suitable container and disposing of it properly after it cools and never flushing diapers and other inappropriate items down toilets. In addition, backflow valves should be installed in sanitary and storm sewer lines.

Check the floors around water heaters for wet spots, which could indicate you have a rusted tank or other problem. If necessary, have the tank replaced as soon as possible. 

A leak in the roof of your home and clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to significant water damage inside your house. As soon as you notice a leak in your roof have it inspected and repaired immediately. In addition, keep all gutters and downspouts free of leaves and other debris that could cause water to back up and leak into your house. 

Owners of properties located in areas prone to flooding should give serious consideration to applying a waterproof coating or membrane to the exterior walls and installing watertight shields over doors, windows and other openings.

When winter hits, keep an eye out for snow accumulation on the downside of a higher- level roof, where blowing snow will pile up. For safe snow removal, ask a roofing contractor for a referral. 

Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls to prevent water or moisture from penetrating walls. Also, keep attics well ventilated to maintain temperatures close to the outside, which will minimize the risk of ice dams forming.

To ensure that pipes do not freeze and burst, keep the heat in your home at an acceptable level, cover exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping and open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.

If water damage does occur in your home, immediately call SERVPRO of Boston - Downtown at (617) 227-2200 for restoration services. SERVPRO’s teams will:

  • Assess damage for restorability and safety.
  • Determine the extent of the moisture content in effected areas.
  • Move and prop up furniture on blocks if necessary.
  • Extract the water.
  • Remove carpets and carpet pads if necessary.
  • Spray to treat germs and bacteria in contaminated areas.
  • Start the drying process with air movers and dehumidification equipment.
  • Ensure rooms are completely dry and conduct a walk through with homeowners to guarantee customer satisfaction.

Preventing Puffbacks

9/23/2016 (Permalink)

A puffback is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout the interior of a home. It can happen all at once, covering the interior in grimy soot, or it can leak soot more gradually.

Initially, many people mistake soot for dust and simply wipe it away. However, ever once cleaned, this “dust” often reappears and can sometimes be accompanied by a strong, oily odor. There are several steps your clients can take to prevent damage to their home. Remind them to:

  • Have the oil-burning furnace professionally checked and cleaned annually.
  • Keep an eye out for traces of soot around their home.
  • Install a carbon monoxide monitor. Puffbacks (and the soot they create) will increase the carbon monoxide levels in their home. A carbon monoxide monitor can help to detect the puffback in its early stages.

If soot begins accumulating on objects or walls within their home, they should turn off the heating system immediately. Contact a heating professional to service the heater and restore it to proper working order.

Fortunately, if your client does experience a puffback, SERVPRO of Boston has the knowledge and experience to complete a thorough cleaning and removal of any soot and odors. Our Fire Restoration Team will respond immediately and make it look Like it never even happened®.

For more information on puffbacks and how they can be prevented, call SERVPRO of Boston at 617-304-2318.

Spring Clean-Up: Not Just About Good House Keeping

9/23/2016 (Permalink)

When you consider that the air in your home is 10 times dirtier than the air outside, Spring cleaning is about healthier living. Allergens have been accumulating during the months of winter with dust, dust mites, animal dander, mold, mildew, and ordinary house- hold dirt and grime lurking inside your home. Unless you clean them now, you’ll continue to share your living space with them.

Your friends at SERVPRO of Boston have compiled this checklist to help make sure that this year’s Spring cleaning leaves your home sparkling, spotless, and allergy-free:

Eliminate mold and mildew indoors by cleaning under the refrigerator, washing and disinfecting garbage cans, scrubbing bathrooms, and cleaning or changing shower curtains. 

Examine and clean your basement thoroughly, since mold and mildew flourish in damp environments. You also can help prevent the growth of mold and mildew with humidity control products.

Remove any wet piles of leaves, grass, or mulch outside your home, since mold spores are airborne particles that can easily float indoors.

Vacuum those areas often neglected, even if they do not look dirty, since invisible allergens have a way of collecting in these undisturbed corners. 

Dust everything including light fixtures, ceiling fan blades, and the tops of cabinets and armoires. You also may want to consider using an electrostatically charged cloth that traps dust, or a vacuum attachment designed specifically for dusting.

Remember to change the filters on your air conditioner, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, windows and vents. After cleaning your house, you want all the incoming air to be clean, fresh, and breathable.

Is Your Home or Business Sick?

9/23/2016 (Permalink)

According to the World Health Organization, poor indoor air quality costs $60 billion in sick time and lost production.

Poor air quality within buildings and homes can have a detrimental effect on infants and children, pregnant women, and the elderly, as well as individuals with compromised immune systems and respiratory systems and asthma and allergies.

Mold is the main culprit for poor indoor air quality, and while found naturally in the environment, an overabundance within buildings and homes can make people ill. The EPA estimates that 50 to 100 common indoor mold types have the potential for creating health problems.

While it is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores, growth can be reduced by controlling moisture within your home or business:

  • Correct any water leaks or standing water
  • Remove standing water under cooling coils or air handling units
  • Properly maintain humidifiers
  • Replace wet or visibly moldy insulation materials

Dirty ducts often circulate odors and contaminates like mold and dust throughout a building or home. Inspecting a buildings ductwork is the first order of business for your SERVPRO of Boston professional. Utilizing our exclusive Portable Ventilation & Air Duct Cleaning system, we will make a clean sweep of years of built up grime and dust.

SERVPRO of Boston understands that you only have one chance to make a first impression. Using safe and biodegradable products, SERVPRO of Boston professionals will create a clean, fresh and long lasting impression. 

SERVPRO of Boston can help you impress customers, family and friends by providing you

with the following services:

  • Cleaning dirty and stained ceilings
  • Scrubbing foyers and cleaning furniture and draperies
  • Establishing maintenance plans for furnishings, carpets and draperies
  • Cleaning HVAC & air duct systems

Fall Property Maintenance Tips

9/23/2016 (Permalink)

Did you know? The air in your home is 10 times more dirty than the air outside.

During the Spring and Summer months, allergens accumulate and fill areas of your home or office with dust, dust mites, animal dander, mold and other unhealthy elements. Unless you address the situation now, the air quality will continue to deteriorate.

Your friends at SERVPRO of Weymouth want to ensure that you and your property are properly prepared for the upcoming season. Therefore, we would like to offer you some helpful tips that will adequately prepare your property for the Fall:

  • Eliminate mold and mildew indoors by cleaning under the refrigerator, washing and disinfecting garbage cans, scrubbing bathrooms, and cleaning or changing shower curtains
  • Remove any wet debris from around the home or office, as mold spores are airborne particles that can easily float indoors
  • Schedule to have your chimney cleaned within the next month. Excessive buildup of creosote and debris, as well as miscellaneous branches, leaves and animal nests can create a dangerous situation as it increases the potential to spark a chimney fire.
  • Remember not to ignore your ductwork, vents and HVAC systems. Unnecessary dirt and debris can pose a serious threat to the health of your family or employees if they are not properly maintained.

SERVPRO’s licensed technicians can provide all of the remediation and cleaning services necessary for the upcoming season. A proper cleaning will combat all particles that infiltrate your property and provide for a safe and worry-free environment by:

  • Enhancing your indoor air quality
  • Improving overall air circulation
  • Eliminating built-up dirt and contaminants
  • Extending the life of your heating and cooling systems

Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Boston at 617-227-2200 and rest easier this Fall knowing your property is clean and out of harm’s way.

This September: You Can Be the Hero

9/23/2016 (Permalink)

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters. If you've seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We've seen tornado outbreaks, river floods and flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities affecting millions of people for days at a time. 

Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover. 

This September, please prepare and plan in the event you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. Just follow these steps:

  • Stay Informed
  • Access Ready.gov to learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. 
  • Build a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies - water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio on hand.
  • Get Involved: The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families and homes safer from risks and threats. 

By taking a few simple actions, you can make your family safer. Consider planning a Ready Kids event in your community to encourage families to get prepared with their children.

  • Volunteer to present preparedness information in your child's class or in PTO/PTA meetings.
  • Get involved with your local American Red Cross Chapter or train with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

IREM Conference & Tradeshow

9/22/2016 (Permalink)

So many prizes for so many winners!

SERVPRO of Boston-Downtown proud to be in attendance at the first IREM NE Regional Conference and trade show.


New England Conference and Tradeshow  – September 22, 2016

Mystic Marriott Hotel and Conference Center
625 North Road ( Rte. 117)
Groton, CT 06340

Boston Chapter No. 4 | Connecticut Chapter No. 51 and Rhode Island Chapter No. 88 

Honoring National President Chris Mellen, The Simon Cos.

Keynote Speaker: Dick Parry, CSO, Hologic, Inc. and Chairman, Boston Police Foundation

September 22, 2016

Time: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Mystic Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 625 North Road ( Rte. 117), Groton, Conn.

Contact Karen Cuttle, Greater Rhode Island Chapter No. 88 IREM, (401) 479-7734 or email irem88ri@outlook.com

Frank Mattos Awarded SERVPRO CEO Award

3/24/2016 (Permalink)


Local SERVPRO franchise owner, Frank Mattos, was recently recognized with SERVPRO Industries, Inc.’s CEO Award for “Creating an Excellent Organization.” The award acknowledges offices with an outstanding work environment, and it is the second time Mattos has received this honor.

Mattos is the owner of Mattos & Associates, Inc., a management and business development company that operates SERVPRO of Providence, Warwick/East Greenwich, Cranston; SERVPRO of Boston Downtown, Back Bay & South Boston; SERVPRO of Weymouth & Hingham; and SERVPRO of Quincy.

Mattos’ SERVPRO franchises rank in the top ten of all national SERVPRO franchises, and he previously has been awarded “SERVPRO Franchise of the Year,” which recognizes the top franchisee for loyalty, support, attitude and growth within the SERVPRO system. A recognized leader within the SERVPRO system, Mattos is a Team Member of the national SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team, which provides commercial disaster recovery services for commercial large losses throughout the country.

“This recognition reflects the focus of our team members who continuously aspire to achieve professional and personal success,” said Mattos. “Our organization is focused on providing exemplary customer service, and I am proud of our entire team for rising to the occasion during one of busiest times of the year.”


Mattos & Associates, LLC manages SERVPRO of Providence, SERVPRO of Weymouth & Hingham, and SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Back Bay/South Boston, which provide fire and water cleanup and restoration for homes and businesses in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  Mattos’ SERVPRO franchises currently are ranked in the top ten among the 1,600 franchises in the country for sales volume and customer service, and were awarded “SERVPRO Franchise of the Year,” which recognizes the top franchisee for loyalty, support, attitude and growth within the SERVPRO system. Founded in 1967, SERVPRO is a national leader and provider of fire, water, mold, biohazard and other specialty cleanup and restoration services.

Are You Prepared for Spring Flooding?

3/23/2016 (Permalink)

While spring brings the promise of warm weather and longer days, it also brings a variety of conditions that can include heavy rains and severe weather, which can increase your flood risk. During the rainy season, we are at high risk for flash flooding, which can occur rapidly within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall.

As one of the most common hazards in the United States, it's important we prepare for the potential disaster that flooding can cause. Even if you are located in a low risk flood zone remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future.

In order to help prepare you for the possibility of a flood, I offer the following tips:

  • Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk
  • Install check-valves to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your facility
  • Seal basement walls and floors with waterproofing compounds to prevent seepage through cracks
  • Always keep your gutters and downspouts clean to allow water to flow freely
  • Prepare a flood evacuation plan
  • Know how to safely shut-off utilities
  • Keep insurance and vital records in a water-proof box
  • Have a portable radio to listen for important current information

When your facility sustains water damage from flooding, you should call SERVPRO immediately at (617) 227-2200. The longer you wait to call, the greater the chance of mold growth and unrecoverable property. SERVPRO professionals have the expertise to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects of water damage.


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