Wet grounds could be potential problems for you!
As we are in the spring season the flowers are blooming, the weather is getting warmer and the rain is here. The flowers, grass and trees need the rain to grow and flourish but your home doesn't. While the grounds are getting saturated by rain water, this water could potentially drain into your home especially in your basement. You could notice some leakage into the foundation, some puddling in areas or some major evident water in your basement. As a homeowner you need to protect your home and deal with this standing water. A majority of times these water claims are not covered by the insurance company but they still need to be remediated. The water could cause some potential problems to your home and the moisture could turn into mold.
Call your local SERVPRO to come out and give an evaluation of the situation. The skilled team will come up with a plan that will help bring your home back to the original state. They will extract the water and make sure they are using different equipment to dry out the area.
Although these situations are never welcomed by homeowners, SERVPRO can take the lead and make sure all water is removed and your home is back to its original state.
SERVPRO dealing with sensitive events
When tragic events happen in and around your home it is never pleasant and very hard to emotionally recover from. These are never high on the list for topics of conversation and many feel isolated with the stigma associated with some of them. They are however a very real scenes for far too many people in the area. We want everyone to know we too are sensitive to these issues and can help your home get back to normal as quickly as possible .
When someone passes away in a home there is so much sadness it can be hard to see past the loss. However when you realize that you are here and must begin to heal, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Many times there is a lot of clean up that occurs. Death of a family member can be a very messy process as many muscles relax that were holding in a variety of fluids. There may also be a great deal of items that need to be disposed of. Ease the process by hiring a professional cleaning service. They have the chemicals and the proper knowledge of handling of any potentially contaminated materials.
Sadly in East Boston, Chelsea, Charlestown, Revere and Winthrop area we see daily overdoses and suicides on the rise. These overdoses are never pretty and come with a lot of vomit, urine, feces, many times blood and feces. All of these materials are very hazardous and it is not recommended that you clean them up yourself. Getting help right away is very important and can save lives. We always encourage that if you see something say something. You never know the life you may save. That being said once the ambulance has gone there will still be a big mess to clean up. Do not touch any of the bodily fluids without protective gloves, face masks, goggles and a suit if possible. Is it highly recommended that you call a professional as there are a lot of germs that you cannot see that are not killed with things like bleach and other consumer grade cleaners.
Another thing that sadly occurs in this area, are a lot of violent crimes. These crimes could be domestic disputes or could result from an argument at a party. No matter their reason there is a great deal of damage that can occur. Items within the home could be broken beyond salvation. Injured people could have moved to various rooms within the home trying to stay safe. This can result in a very large clean up project coupled with some bodily fluids that need to be handled with care. Once the police have conducted their investigation and released the scene. Please make sure you call a professional who is capable a full rounded cleaning and disposal of any of the residual effects of the problem. Have a restored home can do wonders on the healing from any traumatic events that may occur.
Remembering that you are not alone when there is a traumatic event in your life is paramount to healing and moving forward. We will be here for you through the tough times and help you where we can. Creating a community of support and developing strong bonds with our neighbors will hopefully begin to reduce the number of overdoses, domestic disturbances, violent crimes and deaths that occur. Until then one home at the time is our mission to restore and hopefully rejuvenate the community.
Steps in the process
Everyone company wants to get back to normal as soon as possible, with as little cost and intrusion into their life as possible. Guess what??? That expectation is the worst way to approach this kind of water loss. While it sounds great what is the big deal. Let us explore the things that can happen when you actually move too quickly.
Having anything submerged in water means it was able to saturate. Saturated clothing can be wrung out but is still wet at the fiber level. Guess what wood does the same thing. Unlike clothing wood structures cannot be thrown into a dryer. That is right inside those beams are still wet. Behind that wall is soaked, oh your home is insulated yeah that’s wet too. That beautiful wood floor is sitting on a subfloor that space is wet too. However will you get it dry. Well if you do not have high powered fans and commercial grade dehumidifiers it can take months yes months to air dry.
Aside from the fact that everything is wet, said you were flooded right? Guess what dispite what you think flood water is not clean. At all!!!! It is flooded because the water did not have a normal place to drain. Where does most city water drain into??? That is right the sewer system.. Sooo if you are flooded because the sewer system is not working that is right folks you have been flooded with sewer water.
- Is mold already growing
- Is electricity on & active ( Never walk through water to power off electricity)
- Check for gas leaks
- Is the structure safe
- Wear protective eye glasses, Shoes and gloves and respirator if you suspect mold.
- Do not mix chemicals the vapors can be deadly ( Especially Bleach and Vinegar)
Step by Step guide:
- Get to safety: If the rain has stopped flooding is still possible as the water drains from some areas and into others. Makes sure you stay safe. Once it is safe to do so start assessing the personal damage you have incurred.
- Insurance: Most people have home owners insurance. Guess what they do not cover flood insurance so start there. If you were flooded and do not have flood insurance you are on your own. Even if you do it is your responsibility to keep the home safe and reduce damages as much as you can. Which means you cannot wait to hear from the insurance company. Should you get mold or rot from waiting most likely it will not be covered due to the fact that it is considered secondary damage. Meaning it would not occur if you had started to clean up immediately.
The clean up: What can you do before the adjuster arrived from the insurance company.
- Take pictures of everything, before you or anyone do any work what so ever.
- Clean up areas of the house so that wall, and floor damage can be easily seen.
- There can be hidden damage, such as behind the walls so it will be reassessed as work begins.
- Reach out to government agencies for potential assistance for aid. ( Please note that a federal disaster must be declared for you to apply for this type of assistance.
- Hire an electrician to come in and assess the safety of electrical system of the home. This will tell you what is safe and not safe to turn on ( Never turn on equipment that was submerged any salvageable items could spark and become a total loss)
- Check with the local town to see if the water is safe to use or if it was adversely affected by the flood waters.
- Go through your food and make sure you throw out anything not in a metal can. Make sure you get rid of the labels and get new ones. To identify the food later. The cans must be washed if you are going to keep them . o.
- All your silverware and utensils have to be cleaned and sorted. Wood, plastic or anything no metal or ceramic needs to go
- Cut and remove walls ( Even if they do not look damaged)
- If you see a water line ..Cut the wall at a minimum of 2 feet above that line.
- Remove insulation and yes throw it away.
- Take off the base boards , they may be able to be dried and saved but at least removing them assured they are not holding in moisture.
- It is recommended anything that cannot be dry cleaned should be thrown away. This includes but is not limited to furniture, clothing, and blankets.
- Carpets must be pulled up and while the carpet may be able to be cleaned and dried the pad cannot so throw that way.. Do not re-attach the carpet before the floor it sits on is fully dry ( Yes we have to say that again) To avoid any issues make sure that you do this within 48hrs after the water goes down so that it does not have a chance to grow anything it should not be growing ( which is anything)
- Flooring: Be it if you have wood, vinyl, laminate or tile if it was submerged in flood water it really has to go.
- If you are not sure if the tile or its adhesive is asbestos get it tested.
- If it is a painted surface and you are not sure about the presence of Lead that too should be tested.
- This step while will be a bit of a delay keeps you, your family and the workers safe.
- Subfloors: Guess what your floors sit on a floor and regardless of what sort of main floor you have most of the time the subfloor is plywood and will be affected by the water. The top floor must be removed so that this level of floor can dry fully. Make sure you do not have any buckling before you put a new floor on top once it is dry. If so you may need to replace that.
- Set up fans and Dehumidifiers to created a vortex to encourage drying. Proper fan positioning and temperature regulation will speed up the drying process.
- ****BLEACH**** DOES NOT KILL MOLD… PERIOD….
- If you see mold… There is a very specific process that must be followed. The most important step is to NOT spread the spores all over the house. So DO NOT VACCUM them unless you have a hepa-vaccum.
Contact a professional and keep in mind this is not a two or three day process. Have the right expectations going in to this. It will ease your mind and reduce the amount of stress that you have. Expecting something to be done to fast can result in long term damage that will cost more. It will also put undue stress on all involved. Take a step back and know that it could be a month or even more depending on how extensive the damage is.
Do you feel like it has been an endless rainy season in what is notoriously a dry season? You would be right. We have some of the oldest records for weather in the country right here in Mass. Blue Hill records date back to the late 1800’s and as of November 26, 2018 we had achieved the wettest fall on record. With more rain on the way it is shaping up to be a wet one.
This rain can have a big impact on winter storm damage to homes and businesses. How can that be you ask? Here are just a few examples.
Freezing: Water is unlike any other element on the planet. It expands as it cools rather than shrink. This causes all sorts of problems. If you have a small leak in the home from all this rain that is out of sight. When the cold weather sets in it will freeze. Many times, this freezing will occur and cause a lot of damage. Since water expands as it freezes any area that is saturated will expand either allowing more water in or cracking any materials that is stuck inside of. Be it a roof, wood framing, corner of a home or foundation, etc..
So, what can you do: Have a trusted contractor walk around the house look into the attic, basement, crawlspace and work on detecting anything out of the normal. Any edges of your home that show signs of rot, or water damage, Check inside the attic for any damp or wet insulation. Look in the crawl space for any signs of water coming through the foundation. Damage to any flooring, place any insulation over pipes that may have fallen off. Clear out all the gutters so that nothing is blocking the down spouts either from the top or at the output on the bottom.
Saturated soil: Soil that is unnaturally wet for extended periods of time can have damaging effects on trees. Many times, the roots have a hard time holding onto the soil and in high wind events can cause the tree to topple over many onto a home or car. There is also the effect water has on the roots themselves. If the tree is not prone to doing well in significantly wet soil the roots can start to rot. This rot can happen in even a healthy-looking tree causing it too to fall over.
So, what can you do: Walk your property ideally with a tree care professional. Have any leaders removed. Trim any branches that seem precarious. Inspect the trees and roots for any thing that looks like it will not hold during a storm.
Water intrusion: All this water has to go somewhere many times it does not have the ability to run off or be absorbed by the ground at the same rate when frost starts to set it. This allows the water to travel further than it normally would. Meaning there could be flooding events in areas that there are not normally any. It may also travel for a distance then a cold snap will freeze it in place. This causes a crack in a foundation. Allowing the warm air from your home to get out thawing out the water. This water will travel into your home as it thaws if left unnoticed you will have a major problem on your hands
As we continue to see rivers rise during a time of year that they normally slow to a trickle we have to be worried about what will happen. In the spring when all the snow melt, and runoff drains into already overloaded springs, streams, and rivers. We will see a lot more flooding events and now is the time to prepare.
Many of these things are traditions that shape our lives. Yet these are the same traditions that see a spike in disaster this time of the year. We will dissect each of these to ensure you have the tips you need to keep you and the traditions alive.
Smoking inside, this is actually the easiest one to avoid. JUST DO NOT DO IT… The number one cause of deaths from fires every year is this one thing. Many times it is out of exhaustion or combined with something else such as alcohol. Falling asleep with a lit cigarette or other similar device has devastating consequences. So how do you stay safe with this one..
- Stay outside
- Use a deep ashtray ( not the ground is not safe to toss it)
- Fill the ashtray with a sand water combination & keep it far away from anything that can burn
- Stay away from flammable materials such as oxygen and gasoline ( Yup that’s right no smoking in the garage either)
- Use fire safe cigarettes (Yes they exist)
- E-Cigarettes count too…they can explode.. ignite while charging or even in transport be wary and use the same precautions
These fires are caused by a number of different things. Over the holiday season many of us have more lights plugged in to illuminate our lives during season. Extra lights, extension cords, power strips and additional strain on many of the outlets within your home. Before you get started any additional cords need to be checked for frayed wires, cracked, chipped, or chewed( animals like to do that) . Do not overload any one outlet, if you are not sure which outlet coincides with what have a certified electrician check it out for you. Do not run a cord in main walking paths they can pose a tripping hazard but could also be partially pulled out. This could cause serious fire risk from an improper connection. Never use an outlet that does not have the faceplate properly installed. Below is a more entailed punchlist.
- Ensure bulbs match the wattage output of the device
- Do not REPETE DO NOT plug a power strip into another power strip.
- Do not overload an outlet
- Avoid tripping the breaker if you do you have overloaded the outlet.
- Check for frayed, chipped, cracked or chewed wires.
- Place all power strips up off of the floor. ( This keeps it out of reach of kids and pets and water should you have a pipe break.
- Use only 1 heat producing items per outlet. (i.e coffee pot, space heater, toaster etc.
Candles so many people add candles for both religious and aesthetical reasons over the holiday season. The top 3 days for candle fires are Christmas, New Years Eve and New Years day. Falling asleep with a lit candle is a key factor to these fires. Almost 60% were caused because a combustible material was left too close to the lit candle itself. So what do you do to have them safely in your home.
- Blow them out when you leave the room for an extended period of time.
- Keep them 1ft at a minimum away in all directions from flammable materials.
- Use a steady surface
- Use a candle holder with a wide base.
- Do not place in a window
- Keep all matches, ignition materials or combustible materials out of reach of children.
- If someone in the home uses oxygen DO NOT use them no matter the reason.
These are the peak months for heating fires. December, January, February. Many of the electrical and smoking safety tips apply here. Increasing the usage of fireplaces & space heaters. It is essential for all outlets to not be overloaded. Ensure that only one heat producing appliance or large use appliance is plugged into the outlet. Do not under any circumstances use a power strip, or extension cord for these devices.
- Provide proper fire safety glass. ( regular glass will explode)
- Add any necessary screening metal / glass combinations
- Fireplace extensions that are non-flammable to catch any escaping embers or ashes
- Never transfer hot ashes
- No frayed wires
- Keep all heat sources 3ft away from any flammable
Last but certainly not least. Cooking is a significant cause of fires in this country. Most home fires actually stem from cooking. Be it deep frying a turkey ( BAD IDEA), Grease fires, oven or stove top cooking . Cooking is fun, engaging and full of memories made. Make them happy ones. Develop good habits.
- Never leave a flame unattended.
- Keep flammable materials away from the stove. ( towels, oven mitts, wooden utensils etc.)
- Keep decorations away from stoves as well
- Always set incremental timers to periodically check on items in oven 15 min is a good recommendation.
- Use splatter shields.
- Have a portable fire extinguisher with the proper fire rating code on hand.
- Fighting the fire yourself can result in serious injuries. Best to get out and call a professional.
Nothing is guaranteed. Accidents do happen and the best things we can do is be prepared and cautious. It is important to know that if a fire breaks out knowing as soon as possible can and will save your life. Changing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every 6 months is the best way to get make sure you are notified right away. You can have a little as 2 minutes to get out of the house once a fire takes hold in a home. Check your cords on everything replace or adjust accordingly, have safe distance from any flammable materials, be diligent about the kids, and pets around kids electricity and flames.
While nothing is 100% guaranteed taking steps to protect yourself, your loved ones as well as neighbors can go a long way. Develop good habits that allow all memories to be ones that we can share and cherish.
Insurance..How does it work?
We need to take time out from our normal blogs to talk about small businesses and the insurance coverage that many have and what is missing. When businesses call us it is usually because of an emergency situation. Of all the calls we get 50% of businesses will not reopen. Of the ones that do reopen most of them had an emergency plan in place as to how they will respond to the disaster and who to call. These disasters are costly in so many ways, another reason for an inability to reopen is the lack of the proper insurance that will cover all aspects of the business. Business insurance is not just one form of insurance it is an overall assessment of the type of business you do and what risks are involved with that and that area in which you work.
Let us dive into this a little bit more. What is a business, it is your livelihood, the way you provide for your family and its needs. The home that you live in, the food you eat, and the fun things you do together. Beyond just a business, it is your way to make your community better through job creation, solving a need within the area for your products and services. As well as a way of giving back to those less fortunate. Making sure all of these things are protected is important and while many of us look at insurance as scam or a requirement that is never used, talk to someone that has had a major life event and you will see it more than pays for itself with even just one problem.
Most business owners will obtain the lowest amounts of insurance coverage with a high deductable. This is due to the vast scope of the requirements. The main types of insurance required are general liability, Automobile, workers compensation, professional liability, Directors and officers insurance, data breach, home owners, renters, and life insurance. This sounds pretty inclusive right, very wrong there are a few important insurance policies missing. Crime or Fidelity Insurance and business interruption insurance are very important.
What happens if there is a riot in the area and your business is looted and burned to the ground? Too extreme ok what if your business is robbed? These are crimes and without crime insurance could be your responsibility fully. How much money was taken, how much damage to the property did they cause, were your employees present and what lasting effects will they have from such a traumatic event? Still to unlikely for your business…Ok what about if some kids on a dare break in and graffiti the inside of your facility and leave a mess for you to comb through. Crime or fidelity insurance will protect you from this sort of damage. Of course no one thinks this will happen to them but if it does and a lot of damage is done it can put you quickly out of business.
Business interruption insurance. What is that you ask? Taking more of a look at what we said earlier about your business it is the way you make money. That can only be done when you are open for clients to come and partake in your services or buy your products. Many times a major event such as damage from storm or pipe burst can take more than 30-90 days for you to get back to normal. Do you have enough in reserves for your overhead to be covered for an extended period of time.
Should a major event cause you to close how does your money continue to be generated? How do your employees continue to be paid? Who is going to pay your bills?? If your employees will not be working for an extended period of time and they are a great staff will you lose them? They have bills to still pay and may not be able to afford to wait around for things to settle down. Business interruption insurance allocates for all of these things.
Businesses Owners Policy packages tend to have bundled insurance for all of your needs and can be customized based on the type of business you have. Bundles tend to save you money and allow for the fullest scope of coverage needed. Speak to your insurance broker today if you are not sure about the adequacy of the coverage you currently have. Being prepared is more than just having a plan, and knowing what to do. It is having everything in place and having the proper coverage before you need it.
COVID-19 Disinfecting Practices
For the past year we have been performing cleaning and disinfecting services related to COVID-19 and the pandemic. We have been servicing residential and commercial clients in the greater Boston area and Eastern Masschusetts.
Our residential jobs consists of home owners that have had a family member or client exposed to the virus in some manner and we proform a cleaning in their residences. The cleaning consists of wipe down of hard surfaces, addressing high traffic areas, fogging of the space and using a state of the art electric static sprayer. We use a EPA certified general disinfectent agent.
We also work with commercial clients, those consist and not limited to restaurants, offices, hotels, warehouses. We adhere to all safety protocols per every different space we are in. The team assess the job and makes the best decision for the client and their needs. Several of our clients also do proactice cleanings to ensure the continued safety of their area. We recommend bi weekly and monthly cleanings. This allows a constant cleaning and disinfecting to maintain high cleaning protocol.
We ensure our technicans are wearing proper equipment for such situations during this pandemic. They wear PPE during jobs due to state mandates at all jobs and due to the case senstive job sites.
We continue to support residences and commercial building during these times.
Just woke up to an active water damage in my house! Help!
What happens when you wake up and notice that your bathroom faucet has been running all night? There is water everywhere!!! First you need to shut off the water and then I bet you're running around to grab all the towels to absorb the excess water. Once you walk downstairs you realize the water has travelled throughout the floors and through the kitchen ceiling. The ceiling is bubbling and there's water puddling on your hardwood floors. Not the hardwood floors that you just refinished!! What should you do?? Call SERVPRO ASAP and also call your insurance company to see if there's coverage. SERVPRO can help navigate these times..we do this everyday but understand this is your home.
First we have to assess what areas have been affected. We will get our professionals into your home to start removing the standing water. Once that is complete we will look to see what areas are majority affected and need removal. After we remove all damaged areas we will set up several pieces of drying equipment. This will help dry out water in the air and the materials that still have water in them. After a few days of drying the team will come to assess the areas to see if it's dry.
Once everything is dry you can have the contractor come in and rebuild any areas that need to be replaced.
Spring is here and so is the cleaning.
Spring has finally sprung. Along with the grass becoming green, the weather warmer, the days a little longer, flowers sprouting there is a need for spring cleaning in your home. Below are some tips you can do every spring to maintain your home and make sure it's safe and clean.
Some good practices could be instrumental in maintaining a well cared for home. First, make sure to check the dryer vents. They accumulate excess fluff from the clothes in the dryer and could become a potential hazard. Second, clean windows and screens. These items hold plenty of small dust particles that travel inside and outside your home. Third, clean and change filters in the heating and air conditioning systems in your home. Good air quality is important for your family members and by cleaning it you are showing them you care about the air they breathe. Fourth, change out the mats that are placed by the doors. These mats are made to collect excess debris from outside so you wouldn't transfer into the home. It would be a good practice to change them out every spring to make sure they maintain their integrity.
There are plenty items I can list for your to address but if you do these it's a start to a cleaner home.
We know winter
Seek shelter inside if you seem to be entering the first stages to avoid a major problem down the road. Always seek professional help if unsure
Winter in New England.. What can we say 70 degree temperatures one day, two feet of snow the next, followed by howling winds. We all have that older uncle that said I do not know what the difference between the temperature and the will chill temperature is but its cold as anything outside.
For those of you who may still be confused as to what the windchill we will try and provide you an explanation here. Wind chill can affect your home, pipes, walls, roof, gutters and so much more. There are times we will find ourselves outside in these wind driven events too. Our homes react the same ways our bodies do. It is important to understand these things to prevent disaster.
The wind pushes air in and around our home, the pipes and exposed areas are subjected to these forces first. Roofs, gutters, siding , windows, are all like our outside clothing. Layered over insulation and walls which are able to hold pipes, electric and heating duct work and wires. All moving to the inside of the house which is the body of your home. Hopefully we have not lost you yet. Let us dive into this a bit more from a human body perspective and see if that clears things up a bit.
Wind chill is important because it changes how must heat is held close to our body changing out internal body temperature. Hyperthermia is a very dangerous condition and people going out in extreme temperatures should be monitored or limit their time outside. That being said, for those who say the temperature is the temperature let us look at how temperature, clothing and windchill work.
Average body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It radiates out from your skin and the air temperature creating a zone of heat around you. Clothing helps to hold that heat at a more steady temperature in colder conditions. Much like a roof works to keep your home warm. When there is a wind chill the moving air breaks up that zone of air and your body works hard to maintain it. As the temperature drops and the wind picks up your body has to work hard to keep warm. Eventually there is a pint where the body can not keep up with the wind and air temperature. This results in a drop in body temperature the higher the wind the faster this will happen. When our bodies internal temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit hypothermia starts to set in.
The air temperature and the speed of the wind all become factors into how long the body can take to become hypothermic. The graph we have enclosed to try and give you a better idea of that time line. One other factor that can effect this change is if there is moisture involved. Snow, rain, & ice can all change the bodies effectiveness to produce heat. That is why there is such a danger in the winter when people fall through the ice. There is a shock factor that comes into play however hypothermia still works the same exact way depending on air and water temperature.
Knowing what to look for is they key to early detection along with getting the person out of the cold weather. There are three stages of hypothermia. The first stage consists of shivering and circulation issues are the first and often times ignored as just part of winter. The second stage has more symptoms such as slower movements, breathing, mood changes such as irritability and confusion. There could also start to some confusion and co-ordination issues. The later two are important reasons to try and pay attention early because as confusion sets in proper decision making can be impaired. For example under normal circumstances wanting to sit down because you are unsteady would prompt you to go inside and take a break. You may in this state of confusion choose to sit on the ground or an outdoor chair because it was closer and easier. The third stage is reduced breathing and pulse rate to the point of undetectable or absent all together.
It is important, to be aware at all times, and if you are not certain about someone or your own condition seek medical attention from a professional immediately.
We are back, hope that helps you become more aware of how it helps and effects your body. Think of your home in the same way. Walls, siding, windows, roof are all the other clothing we wear. The insulation, pipes, wires, and walls are all the skin and veins. The inner portion of your home is your internal organs. Wind can break a pipe or allow your roof to lose too much heat and cause an ice dam. There can be weak spots in your siding or window trim that can all push cold wind through your home. The lower temperature can result in some serious damage from a burst pipe or ice pushing its way through your home. Many times this damage is not noticed until things warm up resulting in a lot of damage.
Living in New England has its charms. A beautiful visual of trees dusted with snow after a fallen snow can be hampered by a howling wind and blinding snow. It is important to inspect the inside and outside of your home before, during and after a large storm to catch any warning signs before you have a major problem. If you are not sure have a qualified professional walk through with you. It can save you thousands.