Recent Storm Damage Posts

Tips for Preventing Sewage Backup

7/31/2022 (Permalink)

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

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

Upgrade Your Drain

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

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

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

The Floor Drain Plug: On the other side of the coin is this neat little contraption. Floor drain plugs are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. They're installed directly beneath the drain and function by floating up to plug the drain hole when excess water begins to build. Once the water levels decrease, the drain is automatically unplugged.

The Standpipe: A standpipe is another device that works to redirect water flow, as opposed to blocking it. The pipe is installed sticking up out of the floor, hence the name. Any backup water that rises out of the drain is redirected into the pipe instead of flooding out onto the basement floor. If the water rises above the top of the standpipe, then the contraption won't work.

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

Flood Safety Before, During and After the Flood

6/20/2022 (Permalink)

Flashlight, portable radio, batteries, water bottles and a first aid kit Keep a well-stocked emergency kit ready.

Flood Safety

Flood safety is largely a matter of preparation and staying calm. If a storm surge or other weather event strikes Chinatown, MA here's a quick rundown of useful safety tips to keep in mind.

What To Do Before the Flood
If you have the opportunity to be ready for rising water, use that to your advantage. Deploy any sandbags or other barriers you have.
At a minimum, keep a well-stocked emergency kit ready that includes the following:

  • Enough food and water for at least three days
  • Medicine for at least three days
  • Flashlights
  • First-aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Radio
  • Batteries
  • Pet food, toys, and medicine

Be advised that homeowners insurance doesn't include flood insurance, either. Knowing your flood risk in Chinatown, MA, and talking with your insurance agent are two simple ways to protect your home as well.

Flood Safety During the Event Itself
Move to the highest ground possible. If the local government tells you to leave, leave.
If you're at home during a flood, stay inside and away from the water. The NWS reports that as few as 6 inches of water is enough to topple an adult. Inside the home, if the water in a room rises above the electrical outlets, stay out of that room.
It's important to remain up to date on what's happening, too. Use that radio in your emergency kit, as well as social media and local TV if you still have access.

Handling the Aftermath
Many of the same tips hold true after a flood: Most importantly, stay away from the water and keep yourself informed. Call a flood damage mitigation company to start the restoration process right away, and leave the handling of all soggy materials to the experts. Flood water is typically contaminated. Remember that flood waters can affect the structural elements of your home, too, so proceed with caution, especially if you've been away.
Flood safety is an area of knowledge most people hope they never have to call on. Being prepared, however, is one of your best defenses against Mother Nature.

Steps to Filing a Flood Claim

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

Flood water in a home level of water reaches the stairs Flood damage in Seaport, MA.

How to Make a Flood Claim

If a storm has caused flooding and water damage in your home in Seaport, MA, and you have insurance, you should file a flood claim as soon as possible. Processing a claim can take a little while, but you should not wait to minimize the damage to your home.

1. Call and Start the Flood Claim Process
One of the first things you should do is call your insurance company and report the storm damage. The person on the phone will let you know what you need to do to begin your insurance claim and prepare for the adjuster's inspection.

2. Start the Cleanup Process
After a large storm, insurance companies are extremely busy because many people are dealing with damage. It may take a few days for the inspection of your property to occur, but you should start cleaning up to prevent further damage and mold.
You can do some things yourself, like open doors and windows to increase ventilation and put towels down on the carpet. However, you should also call flood restoration specialists because they know how to mitigate damage and restore items that do not have to be thrown out.

3. Document Losses for the Inspection
Prepare for the inspection by documenting damage and losses. Take videos and pictures, especially before throwing anything away. The more documentation you have, the better your chances are of being reimbursed.

4. Keep All Receipts Related to Flood Restoration
During the cleanup and restoration process, keep track of all expenses to hand over to your adjuster. Have the restoration company give you an initial estimation, and keep receipts related to the cleanup efforts.
A flood can cause a lot of damage to your home. Whether you have standing water, or your items are wet from the receding waters, you should file a flood claim and do it properly for the best outcome.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.