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Cleaning Under Your Home After a Flood: Is It Necessary?

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

Wet floor of a basement, personal belongings wet, flooded basement Storm damage in Wilmington, MA.

Is It Necessary to Clean Under Your House After a Flood?

After a home flood, all most homeowners can think about is cleaning up and restoring the inside of their homes. Most never give a second thought to beneath their homes. Yet, some experts suggest that the failure to clean under a home after a flood could lead to mold, structural issues and costly damage. Some areas of your home to which you should pay attention during flood cleanup include the following:

  • Basement
  • Crawlspace
  • Cellars

Your attention to these areas could prevent costly damage and headaches down the road.

Cleaning Your Basement

Even if your basement isn't an HGTV-worthy one, it's still a part of your home and therefore needs to be cleaned thoroughly after a home flood. If your basement is bare, it won't take your Wilmington, MA, restoration company very long to dry out the area, wipe down the surfaces and clean the air. However, if your basement is used as a storage area or an extension of your living space, cleanup efforts will be much more comprehensive.

Cleaning Your Crawlspace

Whether your crawlspace is indoors or out, you should check it for storm damage. If you discover wet materials, direct your restoration team to beneath your home and let them work magic. Again, depending on what your crawlspace is used for, restoration efforts could take mere hours, or it could take days.

Cleaning Your Cellar

Cellars are usually bare, but some contain canned and jarred foods and excess supplies. Unfortunately, if your cellar was contaminated by flood water, you should dispose of all food – airtight or not. If you eat contaminated food or use contaminated supplies, you could become sick. Unfortunately, the best thing you can do for your health and the health of your loved ones is to dispose of the food and restock your collection (after you disinfect all surfaces of the cellar).

If you're dealing with a home flood, reach out to your Wilmington, MA, restoration company regarding tips on how to clean beneath your home. Let them help you restore your home.

The Thaw Is Coming: Protecting Your Business From the Spring Thaw

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

Flood insurance form on a table with a book. Purchase flood insurance.

How to Protect Your Business From the Spring Thaw

In Winchester, MA, the spring thaw can lead to floods, and that can be devastating to your property or business. A spring flood may shut down your operation for weeks as restoration specialists dry out and restore your property. There are preventative steps you can take to reduce the risk of flooding and to give your business the best chance of surviving the spring thaw.

1. Remove Snow From Your Roof

While snow removal is part of routine winter maintenance, many business owners may forget to check the buildup of snow on the roof. Not only does snow increase the load on your roof, but when the thaw hits, the increased water flow can also find minor imperfections, turning minor issues into significant water and roof damage. Therefore, before the thaw, look for a way to remove any snow from your roof safely.

2. Shovel Sidewalks and Driveways

Though it may not seem possible, during a thaw, snow buildup on sidewalks and driveways can lead to interior flooding, especially if the grading of the property is inadequate. During heavy snows and close to the spring thaw, it may be necessary to remain extra vigilant about snow removal.

3. Clear Your Drains

Depending on the level of snowfall, you may want to ensure that all of your drains, roof and ground, are clear of any debris and that you don’t have a frozen pipe anywhere. As the weather warms up there can be a massive influx of water, which may be too much for some drains to handle.

4. Consider Flood Insurance

Beyond any preventative measures, it may be wise to purchase flood insurance. Many standard insurance policies do not protect against this type of water disaster, and having coverage may be the difference between a few hundred or a few thousand dollars lost.

The spring thaw can be a stressful time of year, especially for business owners who worry and depend on the continued operation and function of their property. These preventative steps can help to alleviate that stress and protect your business from flooding.

The Importance of Containing Mold During Remediation

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

White wall covered with black spots of mold. Black mold damage in a Burlington, MA home.

The Importance of Mold Containment During Remediation

Mold contamination in your home needs to be dealt with in a thorough and efficient matter so that it is contained. Lack of control over damage like this can create many more problems for a homeowner. An adequate remediation process involves the use of appropriate equipment and methods and should be handled by experts. If you have a need to remove mold from affected areas of your home in Burlington, MA, contact a professional contractor to ensure that it is handled quickly and correctly.

Required Materials

There are certain tools that professionals will likely use during a proper remediation process. These include the following:

  • Drywall saw
  • Safety glasses
  • Shop vacuum
  • Utility knife
  • Heavy-duty cleaner
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Painters tape

The use of these items helps the team to isolate and clean up any mold contamination.

Remediation Process and Containment

If you’re inexperienced in mold remediation, harmful results may occur if you attempt to remove and contain the damage yourself. The last thing you want to do is make a bad situation worse by allowing clean parts of your home to be affected due to improper containment techniques. There are some steps that can be taken that can mitigate the risk of further damage:

  • Repair the water problem to ensure it doesn’t repeat itself.
  • Seal off the contaminated area.
  • Moisten the area to prevent the spread of dust.
  • Remove all wet or damaged objects and materials.
  • Thoroughly clean any areas that were affected.
  • Seal contaminated areas like walls with paint.

The professionals you hire will likely follow this procedure as they clean up any mold and resulting damage.

There is a tested and proven methodology for the handling of mold contamination, and it is best to allow experts to use this methodology in managing any kind of damage in your home. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that there haven’t been any oversights due to inexperience. You can restore your home to what it was and move on to more important and enjoyable things in life.

3 Differences Between Mold and Mildew

8/11/2021 (Permalink)

Mold between one cabinet and wall Call SERVPRO of Burlington/ Woburn to remediate or prevent any mold growth.

Mold VS. Mildew: What's The Difference

While there can be many types of fungi in Woburn, MA, there is one thing they all likely have in common: you want to get rid of them. The steps you should take depend on whether your home has mold or mildew. In order to know whether you are at risk for mold damage or simply have less harmful mildew, there are some questions to ask.

1. What Does the Fungus Look Like?

Mildew tends to be gray or white and very flat. Mold on the other hand comes in a number of colors, including blue, green, or black. Mold tends to be fuzzy or slimy.

2. Where Does It Grow?

Mildew growth is more common than that mold. It tends to be found on produce, houseplants, and natural fabrics. Mold growth, on the other hand, tends to be more invasive. It is found in many places including showers, drywall, wood, air conditioning systems, wallpaper, and ceilings. The wide array of areas it inhabits is one reason mold damage quickly becomes extensive if unaddressed.

3. How Stubborn Is It To Remove?

Mildew, because of its flat texture, can usually be removed with a household cleaning solution and a scrub brush. Mold tends to have tiny filaments that infiltrate whatever surface it is on, making it much harder to remove. Do-it-yourself cleaning is usually not the best idea with mold, because you can release mold spores into the air and spread the issue to other areas of the home. For mold, it is often helpful to call a professional to determine the extent of damage and best method for remediation.

Mold damage tends to be more severe than that of mildew. That is why it is often important to determine which type of fungus is the problem. After you have determined what type of fungus has intruded, you can take the right steps to banish it and restore a healthy environment to your home.

Flood Water Types Determine Cleanup

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

flooded room, items of a home wet Storm damage in Woburn, MA.

Whatever has caused flooding in your Woburn, MA, home will determine the required cleanup methods. A pipe break or hose failure from an appliance requires a different remediation response than water damage from a storm-related flood.

Categories of Water Losses

Experts differentiate the categories of water that can infiltrate your home. Each requires its own response.

  • Category One: water from a clean source that offers little to health risk
  • Category Two: “gray water” that can create illness or discomfort
  • Category Three: “black water” that is severely contaminated and contains pathogens or toxins

All three types of flooding require quick responses to avoid escalation of the damage. Mold begins to grow within 24 to 48 hours of inundation and must be arrested as soon as possible. The longer any type of flood damage is left unaddressed, the greater the potential for structural deterioration or health consequences.

Flood Cleanup by Category

Pipe breaks in the home are often a category one problem, and because the water is sanitary, floods can usually be safely addressed by thoroughly drying structural materials and drying and cleaning porous or semi-porous materials.

Gray water floods come from sources like dishwashers and washing machines, hydrostatic pressure leakage, and overflowing sump basins. Generally, gray water floods are remediated similarly to category one floods through thorough drying and cleaning because of the presence of microorganisms that can compromise health.

Sewage or toilet backflow floods and any rising ground water, seawater, river, stream or storm-driven water is considered category three. Porous and semi-porous materials contaminated by this type of water must be removed and replaced.

Flooding inside your home can range from a nuisance to a nightmare. The important takeaway for homeowners is that a quick response is always in order, no matter the source of water, in order to prevent the growth of mold.

Furnace Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

A man repairing a furnace Clean your furnace annually and change the filters regularly at your home to keep your heating system working efficiently.

Tips For Homeowners On Furnace Maintenance

Nearly 10% of all residential fires in the United States are due to problems with heating. One of the easiest ways to prevent a fire at your home in Wilmington, MA is to practice proper furnace maintenance. Follow the tips below now to avoid the need for fire cleaning and smoke cleaning later.

How Do I Clean My Furnace?

  • Before you begin, ensure that the power is off to your furnace. Turn off the power at the circuit breaker. Shut off the gas supply to the furnace.
  • Remove the door to the furnace and unscrew the burner cover.
  • Vacuum dust from the burners, furnace base and blower compartment. Gently use a small brush, such as a toothbrush, to clean the blower blades.
  • Whether you have a furnace with a pilot light or hot surface ignitor, gently blow dust from the area using a straw to isolate the air flow. Use a cloth to lightly dust the sensor.

How Often Do I Change the Filters?

  • Change or clean the furnace filter before cooler weather sets in, usually in early autumn.
  • During the winter months, the furnace works continuously. Replace or clean the filter monthly throughout this time to avoid dirt and dust buildup.
  • If at any point you notice that the filter is dirty, change or clean it irrespective of time that has passed. If you have home renovations involving excessive dust or are in the midst of a fire cleaning effort, check the filter often.

Clean your furnace annually and change the filters regularly at your home in Wilmington, MA to keep your heating system working efficiently. Get your HVAC system inspected annually by a professional to keep it in top working order. Sometimes, regardless of preventative measures, a fire occurs. Once the fire is out, contact your insurance agent and a fire restoration specialist. Fire restoration professionals use specialized equipment for fire cleaning, smoke cleaning and removal of water from firefighting efforts to restore your home and belongings.

Maintaining Employee Safety during Mold Remediation

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

Mold found between cabinet and wall. Mold can grow anywhere.

Keep Your Employees Safe During Mold Removal

Mold spores are everywhere; when those spores find contact with humidity on your Winchester, MA, property, it doesn't take much for mold growth to become a problem. As an employer, it is vital you take the right steps to keep your employees safe during mold removal. You should almost immediately contact an expert to assist you in providing a safe, healthy working environment. You'll work closely with those professionals as you complete the next steps. Of course, one of your first steps should be to control growth and prevent the occurrence of black mold. You can do this by:

  • Identifying trouble spots, such as leaky windows and dripping HVAC systems.
  • Controlling moisture, watching for signs of condensation, wet spots, broken pipes, and leaks.
  • Regularly maintaining your HVAC equipment, including inspections and repairs.
  • Providing enough drainage around the foundation of your building.

Mold Containment

The next step to take is to understand the nature of mold. For example, mold spores are easily distributed throughout buildings through air conditioning or on people's clothing. It can hang in the air or be carried from one room to another on an insect. While mold removal professionals are handling remediation efforts, it is vital that the contamination area is contained properly.

Employee Safety

OSHA has several recommendations regarding how to keep your employees safe. The remediation professionals will probably handle some of those steps, such as misting materials to contain dust, spores, and debris; sealing affected materials in plastic bags; and ensuring proper ventilation. According to OSHA, you should ensure the following:

  • No one eats, drinks, or smokes in affected areas.
  • Employees don't breathe the dust.
  • A work area for remediation experts is established.
  • The area is kept clean and dry.
  • All employees are moved away from the work area and any space directly adjacent to the work area.

Mold removal experts can guide you through this process and help you ensure the safety of your Winchester, MA, employees. Work closely with them before disturbing any areas of mold growth.

Keeping Your Pets Safe During a Fire

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Cute border collie puppy with an emergency kit isolated Remember to include your pet in your emergency plan.

Facing a fire in your Woburn, MA, home is a serious situation. Your first priority is your own safety and that of your family members. If you have pets, you’re also concerned about their welfare during a fire emergency. Fortunately, there are ways you can include them in your evacuation efforts.

Make Pets a Part of Your Plans

Every family should have an escape plan in the event of a house fire. Every member of the family should have a role and be aware of what to do the moment someone detects smoke or flames. As you run through your evacuation strategy, take your pets with you. A good plan includes:

  • Determining exits in all areas of the house.
  • Having a gathering place a safe distance outside of the home.
  • Practicing the evacuation consistently.

Keep Pets Away From Open Flames

Pet preparation in the event of a fire is much like preparing young children. Like kids, pets will be curious around flames. This means you should be careful where you place candles. Make sure they are high so pets can’t reach them. Also, never leave a candle unattended, especially if you retire for the night. If you spot an open flame anywhere, put it out as soon as possible so the pet doesn’t spread it.

When You’re Gone

If you have to leave your pet for the day or longer, make sure you have someone you trust to keep an eye on them. If necessary, keep the pet in a crate or kennel. This is important for pet safety, especially for younger animals. Make sure there are no fire-starting hazards within the pet’s reach.

Kitchen Tips

Stove and oven fires are common, and pets are not immune from starting them and creating a fire emergency. If your pet has access to the kitchen while you’re gone, remove stove and oven knobs or cover them up.
Protect yourself and your pets from a fire emergency. If you need further tips, consult a fire cleanup and restoration specialist.

Are Broken Pipes Covered by Insurance?

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Picture of a room, on the right top of the corner of ceiling there is mold growth. Concept of a broken pipe causes damage Pipe bursts on ceiling causing damage to ceiling.

Are Broken Pipes Covered by Insurance?

 Whenever a disaster strikes your Burlington, MA, home, your mind may stray straight to the finances. After all, a flood can cost you a lot of money in repairs and restoration costs and that's a scary prospect. If a broken pipe caused your home to fill with water, will your insurance help pay for the damages? Your residential water cleanup crew may not be able to give you a straight answer because it all depends on the policies you have.

Normal Wear and Tear

Plumbing can take a beating in any home. If you have multiple people living in your house, the plumbing has to deal with even more use. Because of the normal wear and tear that affects the piping, many companies offer an insurance coverage that can help protect you against flooding caused by broken pipes. A regular homeowner's policy, however, may not cut it. You may need to add extra policies, including the following:

  • All-perils
  • Umbrella
  • Flood

With one of these extra policies, you may be able to breathe a sigh of relief even if your home is filled with water from a plumbing accident. Be sure to talk with your insurance provider to find out what type of coverage you need.

Negligence

Sometimes there are plenty of warnings that you need to fix a broken pipe. If you have a perpetual leak you ignore, for example, your insurance company may be able to cite this negligence as a reason for denying your claim. Other carelessness that could leave you completely liable for the damages regardless of the policies you hold includes lack of heat in cold climates or purposefully putting foreign objects in the pipes.

Every homeowner's policy may be slightly different when it comes to flood protection. Some policies may cover the subsequent damage, such as destroyed flooring, ruined walls and damaged furnishings, of a broken pipe while others may not provide this protection.

Floods Can Cause Unexpected Damage

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Floor with standing water Flooded local business in Wilmington, MA.

Floods Can Cause Unexpected Damage

Flooding in Wilmington, MA is a serious business risk. Some businesses, especially those that maintain a lot of inventory, might be more susceptible to losses than others. The fact remains that flood damage could cause a host of problems:

  • Interruptions
  • Data loss
  • Rendering your facility uninhabitable

Business Interruption
Most companies have business interruption insurance. It's most popular in industries that need to keep working constantly in order to keep up with client orders to fulfill customer expectations. However, business interruption insurance is not a blank check. Providers will often want to know that their policyholders are doing everything they can to get back to normal operations, such as hiring professional recovery companies.

Keeping Information Safe
Mini companies also rely on detailed records in order to track processes and finances from year to year. This can end up piling up on office computers or in filing cabinets. Smart managers make sure that there are practices is in place, whether they are automated or manual, to maintain off-site copies of a business's most vital records. If client confidentiality is a primary concern, businesses often use flood-proof storage solutions for their information.

Avoiding a Move
Floods have the potential to make a business vacate premises temporarily. However, flooding could also lead to more serious problems, such as black water and structural degradation. There's one main difference between businesses that have to leave for a few days and those that have to move permanently: response time. Forming a partnership ahead of time with a repair company could speed up the process.
There is no way for business owners in Wilmington, MA, to predict when and where floods might happen. However, keeping cost-effective systems and practices in place to address known risks is always a good idea. While proactive measures are important, acting quickly when flooding strikes is also a key factor in a company's ability to remain in business after a disaster.