Recent Water Damage Posts

How To Handle an Overflowing Toilet

7/23/2022 (Permalink)

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

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

Possible Causes of a Sewage Backup

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

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

How To Deal With a Clogged Toilet

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.