Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
Test your Fire alarms
According to statistical data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 2012 an estimated 1,375,500 fires were responded to in the United States. These blazes caused 2,855 deaths and 16,500 civilian injuries while costing more than $12.4 billion in damage.
Though some fires are unavoidable acts of nature or unpredictable accidents, many fires in the home and workplace are avoidable. The following tips, courtesy of the NFPA, can help reduce the likelihood of a fire in your business or home.
- Watch your cooking- Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Never allow young children around the stove or oven, especially if they are not closely attended.
- Give space heaters space- Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn
- Smoke outside- If you must smoke inside, have a sturdy, deep ashtray. Never smoke in bed
- Keep Matched and lighters out of reach- Keep matches and lighters in high cabinets, preferably under a child lock
- Inspect electrical cords- Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs or have loose connections.
- Be careful when using candles- Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn. Blow them out before you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Have a fire escape plan-Make a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
- Install smoke alarms- Install alarms on every level of your office or home and inside bedrooms. Interconnect them so they will all sound at once
- Test smoke alarms- Test alarms once per month. Replace batteries once per year as needed.
- Install sprinklers- Sprinklers can help maintain and sometimes even extinguish fires, giving your local fire department a better chance at saving your property.
Fire escape planning tips
Below you will find several tips that could potentially save your life or the life of a loved one should a fire break out in your home
- Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home
- Test smoke alarm batteries every month and change them at least ones a year.
- Consider installing a 10 year lithium battery powered smoke alarm
- Practice finding your way out of the house with your eyes closed, crawling or staying low and feeling your way out of the house.
- Remember escape first, then notify the fire department.
Water levels in Boston on the rise
Storms and their frequency are on the rise. In addition so too is the intensity of each event. In the United states there has been a 74% increase in the top tier precipitation events since 1958. Flood events have risen along with this severely altering the environment, wildlife, and financial obligations of cities, towns, and individual residents. With flooding of sewer systems there comes an increase of pollution to fresh drinking water access. Being prepared for these types of events is pivotal.
The areas impacted the most from these rain events has actually been the northern costal and mountainous regions of the country. Areas in Eastern Massachusetts have seen an uptick in rain event days that have more than 2 inches of rain per event. The average rainfall has also seen a 1 to 2 inch increase since the 1970’s. The major Connecticut river basin alone has seen double the heavy rain events over the last 60 years. Most of this rain has occurred from May to September.
This shift has also changed the frequency of coastal storms. The rising sea levels are changing the shape of the coast and what is actually considered the coast. We must all be prepared. These storms are what are known as hurricanes and Nor’Easters. Those alone are not the only threats. Increased intensity of Thunderstorms, tornado frequency and even damaging hail events are on the rise. The structural damage that is caused to homes, cars and the natural environment around you can be catastrophic.
Key findings on a recent survey stated that sea level rising by 2030 is estimated to rise by another 8 inches. These higher water levels also mean stronger waves as well as farther reaching damage. While there is protection from areas like Winthrop, Hull and Harbor Islands this is not a guarantee of safety. These sea level rises coupled with the increased intensity of storm level events the sewer systems can be quickly overloaded. River flooding and their overflow channels will be overwhelmed and run off into streets, yards, homes and fields.
What scientists call the 100 Year flood is now being seen every 60 years or so. By the year 2050 these flood level events will be every 10-20 years. In Boston alone these 100 year flooding events are projected to recur every 1-2 years. For many subsets of Boston such as East Boston which are built up and used to be the harbor flooding is a serious concern. Costal Massachusetts is at high risk due to the rising rain fall and sea levels. We are already seeing an uptick in claims and severity of the claims. If you are not currently in a sanctioned flood zone yet, get flood insurance now. This will grandfather you into the policy. Should your area reclassified you will not have to pay new premiums on rates for the new requirements.
Please be aware and be prepared for these events. Check out our preparedness plans for what to have ready and on hand now so you can be safe later.
Why is it important to hire a property manager
Why it is important to hire a property management company
Commercial properties have unique needs and should not be left to amateurs. As any property owner knows it is not a matter of will something happen it is a matter of when, and how bad will it be. How bad could it really be? Right?
Many commercial properties are multi-use facilities. Some have multiple businesses with various needs. Some have both business and residential tenants. In addition to the individual needs of each tenant there are building needs and the efficiency of the equipment that keeps the building running.
With the novel nature of the current economy and many commercial buildings being shut down for upwards of three months. As companies start to prepare for their reopening many are walking in to find quite a bit of damage.
When they shut the buildings down, they did so with costs in mind. Many buildings were put into an idol mode. Lower heat or AC settings, lights tuned off ,etc.
While in doing so was an effort to save money. Many failed to schedule walk throughs to ensure that the building was still healthy. That it had the proper air movement to prevent warm humid temperatures from building up inside?
Were rising temperatures outside taken into account as the sun beamed through the windows? When the building was shut down was the water to the building turned off or allowed to remain on? Did the building electricity get turned off at the breakers or did just a light switch get turned off? . As the time was getting closer and closer to looking like it was going to be time to reopen it was time to get the buildings ready.
As the reality of our new normal set it companies sent small number of staff back into these buildings. To prepare for the new way of doing business, deep cleans were set to be done, IN/OUT rules needed to be established, Protocols for client interaction and safety for all involved needed to be implemented. When employees were walking into these buildings they were finding multitudes of problems
Water bubbler or a pipe has been broken and leaking unchecked for upwards of 3+ months. Where carpets are slippery with bacterial growth, Walls are saturated, air quality poor, trapped water in and around every aspect of the building.
Mold at all of the HVAC vents and all of the windows from lack of air movement and improper humidity levels. Resulting in unsafe air quality. Hotter or colder than normal temperatures resulting in unhealthy work environments.
Did someone take advantage of the building being shut down and break in to live as a squatter? Did they use the toilet, shower, fridge microwave? Did this use result in filthy conditions in your facility? Was there a sewage back up because of it ? Did the empty building become filled with a squatters things?
Maybe you get a late night call from the fire department that there is a fire on site and that the smoke and efforts to put out the fire have caused more damage to not only your building but adjacent buildings. With a property management company in your corner theses issues can be handled properly, quickly and efficiently. Trying to navigate the landscape of the unknown is always a challenge. Insurance companies can be cumbersome if you are not used to it.
If only a property management if had been hired. They can do periodic walk throughs. When would that water leak been noticed? How much water damage could have been prevented? Would all this growth on the walls, floors, carpets, and ceiling tiles been thwarted? Would that fire have occurred? Could all that smoke that ruined the computers been avoided? Would people have realized that the building was not empty and moved on to another?
If there was a property management company that checked on everything and made recommendations for equipment replacement or upgrades. They would have been periodically in the and out of the building to lend the perception of partially occupied.
Would they have noticed that your exhaust pipe for the carbon dioxide was rusted out? Maybe they could have pointed out that your four $10,000+ water heaters should not be in the same room as the corrosive equipment you use for the pool chemicals.
They may have noticed that your HVAC unit was building up too much condensation and that you needed to replace it before the moisture resulted in mold throughout all the vents and around the windows in the building?
They could have provided you with a proper shut down procedure to best mitigate any potential damages. Could they have the right connections know the right vendors to immediately address any and all issues quickly to reduce the secondary damage when something was amiss.
Walking away from a building for even a week can result in some very costly damage if not done properly. Working with property managers is your best bet for keeping your building and tenants happy healthy and safe.
SERVPRO od Arlington is here to help when you are working towards getting back into your building. We will work with you through any surprises you find so that you do not miss a beat. Should you find yourself walking into a mess. Please know our reputation and our vast network of vendors will work tirelessly to get you back to "Like it never even happened."
Clean those gutters!!
Spring is here and everyone is prepping their yards for the summer season. Here's a list of things you should check while outside of your house.
1. Clean your gutters. They can hold excess water and back up into your home.
2. Walk around the foundation of the house and look for any possible entry ways for pests or water into your home.
3. Remove any leaves or plant debris by base of house to create any moisture.
4.Clean windows and screens
5. Power wash decking
There is plenty more maintenance tips I can add for the spring clean up outside. What about inside your home?
Here's the list.
1. Call heating company to service your heating system.
2. Clean or check your water filters.
3. Clean your ovens.
4. Clean air filters
5. clean and dust light fixtures
6. Clean dryer vent
7. Change fire alrm batteries.
I hope this helped get to a safer and clean home.
The Creation of an Ice Dam.
How does an Ice dam form: Heat Loss from sides or roof of your home.
How can it damage my home? When you get an ice dam it can damage your home if it gets big enough…The ice that is closest to the house will start to melt and follows the path of least resistance. Many times that is under your shingles. It will continue to follow that path which can be into your insulation, down onto a ceiling or exterior walls. As it moves through maybe behind an eave it can damage the wall and the paint. The Ice Dam can break free from your home it can pull on parts of the roof, shingles or gutters. As it falls many things could be in the way. Kids playing outside, cars, shrubs, other parts of the house. If the area remains wet and not fully dry mold and rot can start to take hold.
What steps can I do stop an ice dam? There are steps that you can do to prevent an Ice dam from forming. A roof rake is a good tool for this. ( We recommend hiring a professional who uses a safety line) You have to be careful as there are really only 2 ways to use it. The first is from the roof itself pushing the snow off onto the ground. This means you have to be on a roof that has ice and snow on it. DANGEROUS>>>> The other is to keep your feet planted on the ground and pull what you can reach off of the roof. Which means you are in the path of falling snow and ice again DANGEROUS>> which again is why we recommend a professional. Replacing your roof with metal or standing seam is one way to get snow not to stick to it. While that may be expensive you could replace a smaller portion of your roof that is close to the gutters Approx. 3 ft with a drip edge. Keep in mind the incline on your roof will determine how effective or ineffective these options will be.
While all the above information will help you understand ice dams and how to work on preventing them, none of actually solve the problem of the heat loss. You have to deal with the ice dam once you have one. Let us tackle how to find out why they form to begin with and how to solve that problem.
Heat loss is how they form.. A warm roof or warmth seeping out from an unsealed edge of your home means snow has a chance to melt it will drip down to a point where it reaches the outside temperatures again and freezes again as Ice. Water follows the path of least resistance if that is down to the gutter or down into your home that escaping warmth will melt the snow and water will go to work. Should it drip down your roof it will eventually reach the colder outside air temperature. This build up over a period of time forms the ice dam. Heat loss is a very expensive problem that many do not notice until it is too late. There are many reasons for hear loss. The majority of the time it is through poor insulations or venting directly under the roof. The best solution is to work on insulation and preventing any convection through ceilings. Properly venting the space where the insulation and roof sheathing meet ensures that heat that seeps through is distributed away from the roof. Make sure you seal all living areas. A great resource is to have an energy audit with Thermograpic inspection so that you can see where the problems lie and properly seal insulate and vent in the right areas.
Obviously solving the problem is the best way to just not get an ice dam.
They do happen and when they do you have to deal with the problem. Our team at SERVPRO of East Boston Chelsea Charlestown is highly trained on dealing with the damage that an Ice dam can cause and are here for you 24/7. We will be here for you getting back to normal. "Like it never even happened."
SERVPRO does it all
Victim of Graffiti or Vandalism?? Here is what you can do
Has your home or business become the victim of a vandalism or graffiti? This is never a pleasant situation and can be difficult to remove. One very important part of the process is removing it as quickly as possible. The less time the graffiti is up the less likely it will continue to happen as it is meant to be seen and can also attract others to use your property, a battle ground of sorts. Also with the materials that are used the sooner they are removed the better as many can take time to set into the material they were sprayed on. Keep in mind graffiti is never easy to remove and will require some patience and elbow grease.
Prevention is ideal. What you can do.
Motion sensor lights
Covering your property with a protective coating that will prevent sticking on some materials
Securing the property with fences or structures that will block access to the building
Use darker colors for painting outside this will deter due to visibility issues
Participate in Neighborhood watch groups.
Plant taller shrubs, climbing vines, or thorny plants on the edges of the property
Use graffiti art or murals to deter other unwanted artists.
Should you still become a victim of graffiti here are some tips for removing it. Depending on the scope of the damage, location, and material the damage is on you may need to hire a professional cleaning company. No matter if you hire someone or do the work yourself knowing the material it is on an the proper way to remove it will make things go more smoothly. Also we cannot stress enough that you have 24-72 hours to remove the damage or things get more complicated. There are environmentally safe products that you can use to remove the damage and it is always recommended to use those. There are options at times to paint over the damage but making sure you the right paint so that the graffiti will not seep through the paint and continue to show. Some communities even have volunteer programs to help with such problems as part of community beautification. They may be able to help. Before you do any work lets talk about the best ways to clean off from some of the main materials.
Removing Graffiti on Specific Surface Types
The first thing you need to do is figure out how porous the surface is. The more porous the surface the longer you will need to let the cleaner sit for it to soak into the area. While the cleaner is soaking into the materials it is advised that you scrub it to ensure a deep penetration. This can be done with a strong bristled brush or hand held scrub pad.
For some jobs you will need a power washer even to mix in the cleaner with the water to deeply penetrate the area. Always test a small spot for color fastness as well to ensure it is compatible with the surface and that you are using it for its intended purpose. If you are going to paint over the affected area make sure that the color will match the rest of the building once dry and that it is thick enough to not allow the graffiti to bleed through. Making sure you are being safe and have the taken all precautionary steps prior to starting work is important. This will protect you, the building and the environment.
Scrape it off. Use a razor blade in a holder and scrape at a 30 degree angle to the glass.
If the paint does not come off completely after using the razor blade, use ultra-fine bronze wool with water to gently rub the remaining paint off.
Metal and masonry surfaces:
- Power-wash with a pressure washer
- Paint over the graffiti
Try wiping it off with a light, penetrating oil. Do not use paint thinners as they can soften the plastic and can cause clouding (if clear plastic) or permanent tackiness of the surface.
If this does not work, you will have to paint over it.
If the wood is not weathered and is sealed with paint, stain or sealer, remove it by wiping it with mineral spirits
Power wash it with a pressure washer
We hope you never need to use these tips but in case you do we hope they were helpful. Remember help is only a phone call away.
SERVPRO of Arlington still believes that shaking someone's hand is the best way to do business and earn your trust. With technology today that is a little harder to do than it used to be but we strive on achieving that goal. We joined the Business Networking International group (BNI). This has allowed us to connect with others and assess their needs within the community.
Developing, maintaining relationships and keeping a pulse on the needs of our customers is pivotal to us. Having a pipe break in your home, or sewage backup into your basement is a very devastating ordeal to have to go through. So too can the trials of everyday life, making decisions on what to do with all the stuff you have accumulated over the years, or just some basic spring cleaning. We will be there making it "Like it never even happened."
One thing that resonates with us is the sense of community and teamwork that has been established through this network of professionals to help one another not only professionally but personally.
A younger new member of our group who just moved to the area, was in a car accident and was very shaken up and injured yet she was determined not to miss this weekly meeting. She reached out to one of the members to inform us she would be late. That member relayed the information to the chapter president as well as the chiropractor in the group. Upon her arrival she was given a brief exam by the chiropractor, whom advised her she should go to the hospital to get checked out. One of the attorneys in the group gave her a ride over and stayed with her at the hospital. A caterer of the group sent them over lunch while they waited for her to be seen. The acupuncturist and the physical therapist were able to step in and woke with her ongoing care once the extent of her injuries was assessed.
Where can you go in this day and age where so many people are in one place are able to care and look out for each other. This is the heart of the community and exactly what small businesses do, they take care of the community and the people in it. We are so proud to be part of such a great group and look forward to the new experience and opportunities that are sure to come.
Keep your eyes open and stay tuned, you never know where we will pop up next.
Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Arlington/Somerville provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.
Faster To Any Size Disaster
Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Arlington/Somerville arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – (617) 629-5333
Water Damage Timeline
- Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
- Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
- Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
- Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.
Hours 1 - 24:
- Drywall begins to swell and break down.
- Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
- Furniture begins to swell and crack.
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
- A musty odor appears.
48 Hours to 1 Week:
- Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
- Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
- Metal begins to rust and corrode.
- Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
- Paint begins to blister.
- Wood flooring swells and warps.
- Serious biohazard contamination is possible.
More Than 1 Week:
- Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
- Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.
About SERVPRO of Arlington/Somerville
SERVPRO of Arlington/Somerville specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Space heaters and the potential fire
It may not be officially winter in New England but it is sure has not stopped mother nature from delivering us some snow and arctic blasts. With century breaking cold coming for Thanksgiving this year we really need to look at home heating. Many in Massachusetts are not even in their homes due to fires in the Merrimack Valley area. That means more people will be using space heaters to stay warm. They are small, portable and cost effective. That alone does not make them safe.
Space heaters and other heating equipment causes almost 70,000 fires every year. Damages both monetarily, physically and emotionally are insurmountable and sadly as is the case in California can often times spread having devastating results. Winter is a dry season with a lot of leaves on the ground. That being said let us focus on how to stay safe while we all try to stay warm.
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fire result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.
When you get a space heater making sure that the new one is the right fit for you needs will help with keeping everyone safe. Space heaters use electricity which means these is a risk of sparks, frayed or faulty wiring. Below you will find some key point to use as consideration when using them.
Choosing the right heater for your space can go a long ways in terms of keeping you safe. There is a little bit of math involved but it is relatively easy. Get the square footage of the room, it takes approximately 10 watts per square foot. So a 12X12 SQ Ft room needs about 1,440 watts to heat. Ok but the packaging for the heaters say BTU’s so now what. Multiply the watts by 3.41. A single watt is equivalent to 3.41 watts. So that sized room needs about 4,910 BTU unit heater. Guess what unless your room is much bigger than that most heaters run in at 5,100 BTU’s or 1500 watts. Pretty convenient right. Yes we thought so to. Just like a lot of products out there are counterfeit or knock offs. It is important to avoid these as they will have not been safety tested properly.
So now you have the proper sized space heater. Let us take a look at where the best place is to put it, along with what are some basic safety tips.
Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Make sure you are familiar with how your specific unit works. Read all the warnings and labels. The instructions can vary from unit to unit so do not assume the one you had years ago functions the same. Technology and requirements change. .
- Before use it is important to inspect the unit for broken cords, frayed wires, any damage or cracks. If any of that is found DO NOT USE
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
- DO NOT use these units to try and cook food, dry anything or warm up a bed. Space heaters are only meant to provide heat to a space only. Woman in Lowell caused a fire 2 day after she was given a space heater for misusing it.
- Change all batteries in every smoke alarm in the house before using a space heater. There needs to be one on every floor. Make sure you conduct monthly tests to ensure proper working order.
- Keep them at least 3 ft away from anything flammable. This includes rugs, curtains, blankets and paper products.
- Keep cords and placement location out of main high traffic areas of your home. If you have to run the cord through an area that is walked through a lot tape the cord down. As flush against a wall as possible.
- They go directly into WALL outlets. DO NOT ***DO NOT*** use an extension cord or power strip. It is also important to not plug other high energy draining devices into the outlet. Sudden surges such as a toaster oven can cause overheating and start fires.
- The best places for a space heater is on the floor. For a few reasons. One of which is that heat rises and you want as much warm air to move throughout the room. The other is that it is a flat surface. If placed on a table or piece of furniture you run the risk of something else being placed on or near it increasing the risk of fire.
- If you are not using the space heater, make sure it is always unplugged.
Ok so now that you know how to stay safe and properly use a space heater lets get to enjoying the warmth.