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Flood Insurance and Your Basement FAQ

11/22/2021 (Permalink)

Legs of a person standing o a wet carpet floor, couch, chairs and a white plastic trash bin. Concept of a wet basement Rainstorm damaged a basement in Winchester, MA

Flood Insurance and Your Basement FAQ

If you live in Winchester, MA, then you may be familiar with the worries cause by the possibility of a basement flood. There are a number of ways water can get into a basement but when it does many homeowners’ first question is “will my insurance cover this?” Insurance varies by plan and carrier, but here are some of the answers to many of the most common questions.

1. What is in Standard Coverage?

Most homeowners insurance coverage plans will cover the damage in a flooded area, but may not cover the source unless it was accidental damage that occurred suddenly. For example, they may help you replace your flooring if a washing machine hose breaks, but will not cover the replacement hose.

2. What is Not in My Coverage?

In some cases, damage caused by a basement flood may not fall under your homeowner's policy. This may occur when the water is from an outside source where the damage falls under a separate insurance plan, or in cases of negligence.

3. Will I Need a Separate Plan?

In some cases, you may want additional insurance coverage in addition to your homeowner's policy. These may include flood insurance to deal with water from acts of nature such as storms and water backup coverage from water that comes from outside water or sewage main.

4. What Can Be Done for My Flooded Basement?

In most cases, your insurance agent will be able to put you in contact with a professional service that deals with water damage and remediation. These professionals can help identify the source of the problem, and arrange proper cleanup procedures.

When dealing with a basement flood it’s important to know what is in your plan when contacting your insurance so you won’t be surprised. If you have questions your agent will be happy to help. They may also recommend a service to help with cleanup and remediation.

Three Tips for Dealing with Drain Clogs

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

Clogged sink pipe Prevent a clogged drain in your home.

Tips for Dealing With Drain Clogs

Dealing with a clogged drain can happen to anyone. Food down the kitchen disposal, hair in the bath drain, or even just toothpaste buildup can lead to blockage in the pipes. If left untreated these clogs can lead to worse problems than just backed up water. Leakage or a pipe break could be the eventual result. Whether you’re in Wilmington, MA, and need help with a stopped pipe, or are looking for ways to help prevent clogs in the first place, these tips may be able to help.

1. Avoid the Drain Clog if Possible

There are a few things you can do to help avoid a stopped up pipe in the first place. Running water when you use your disposal can help flush and carry away the diced up food. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to what gets flushed down your drains. Materials like grease or plaster can harden in the pipes and lead to clogging problems. A sink strainer can also be used to catch large items before they fall into the drain.

2. Use the Proper Tools

Once your drain is clogged the next step is to use the proper tools for the problem. In many cases, you can clean the trap or use a plunger. Many plumbers recommend drain cleaners for small clogs as well. However, for hard-to-reach or stubborn clogs, a drain snake may be your best option.

3. When in Doubt Call a Professional

If you’re not sure what the problem is or how to unclog it, your best bet is contacting a professional. They can assess your clog and take care of the situation before a pipe break occurs. If you do have leaking or broken pipes a water damage professional may be able to help.

If possible taking steps to prevent a clogged drain is preferable. However, knowing what tools to use for which type of clog can be just as important. Remember, when in doubt call a professional.

"Create a Water-Tight Building Envelope"

11/8/2021 (Permalink)

Construction details - framing installing the roof truss system What is a building envelope?

Maintaining a healthy building is much easier when you've created a watertight building envelope. This means that your commercial building is safe from rain damage and the black mold that could result from water seeping into the walls and frame of the building. In fact, one of the top causes of premature structural weakness is the presence of moisture. Fortunately, you can keep water out of the envelope, even during a significant storm.

Begin by Understanding the Envelope

What is a building envelope? This line of defense plays many roles, including

• Defending against rain, hail, snow, ice, and other sources of moisture
• Diverting water to appropriate drainage areas
• Providing resistance to the exchange of heat and cold
• Supporting critical interior equipment and systems

Protect the Envelope From Water Infiltration

Three things have to happen for water to get past the exterior walls. These include the presence of water, some type of pressure forcing the water inward, and openings in the wall, such as cracks around windows or gaps between doors and the walls. If you can eliminate any of these factors, you'll prevent a lot of potential rain damage.

Overcome Common Problems

Leakage usually happens when mistakes are made during installation or because of a lack of appropriate maintenance. Eventually, bricks may become porous, mortar joints may crack, coping caps may lose their seals, and tiny openings may appear around doors and windows. It is a big task to reduce these areas of risk, but it is necessary to prevent significant rain damage when storms occur.

Take Protective Steps

In addition to regular inspections and ongoing repairs, you can protect your building from rain damage by adding water barriers such as sealants, installing sloping gutters, and improving drainage and ventilation around the property. You can also add secondary systems, such as through-wall flashing and damp-proofing treatments. If you're not sure where to start, schedule a professional inspection with water damage experts in Burlington, MA.

How Often Should I Change Smoke Alarm Batteries?

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke alarm with the phrase REPLACE IT Replace your smoke alarm every ten years.

How Often Should You Replace a Smoke Alarm

There are many different types of smoke alarms installed in houses. For a long time, these were unchanging but now there are some new alarm units on the market. It’s time to evaluate your situation in Woburn, MA, for the proper alarm maintenance practices that are necessary to keep your family safe. How often should you replace a smoke alarm battery? It depends what you have, so here is a quick guide:

1. If you have a newer alarm, your battery may be good for ten years thanks to the use of newer lithium batteries.

2. If you have a of the classic smoke detector, make sure to change the battery every year.

3. For any smoke alarm, make sure you replace the whole unit every ten years.

Did you catch that? That’s right: change out the whole alarm unit every ten years, not just the batteries. Check the manufacturing date on the back of your existing smoke detector to see when it’s time to trade in for a newer model. No matter which type of unit you have, test it monthly.

While you are testing units and replacing batteries, it’s a good time to make sure you have alarms located in the right places. Did you realize current safety recommendations include having a smoke alarm inside every bedroom, one outside each sleeping area, and one on every floor of your house? It really is not excessive because you only have minutes to exit your home in the case of a fire, and those alarms can give you the early warning time you need, especially when you are sleeping.

Getting out of your house early can save lives, but you still may have some smoke or fire damage to contend with. When looking for someone to help with fire recovery, you need a professional team with the training and experience to handle all aspects of recovery, from mitigation to restoration.

Five Tips To Protect Your Property After a Fire

10/30/2021 (Permalink)

Doors and windows of a building boarded Board your building to reduce the likelihood of looting or vandalism.

Five Ways to Keep Your Property Safe After a Fire

Even though the financial impact of commercial fires is not too steep, fire damage can still cause major disruption to Winchester, MA, businesses. Insurance coverage is designed to help you recover losses from the fire, but you bear the responsibility of preventing additional damage and loss after the fire. Consider taking these steps to protect your property.

1. Cover openings. The process of putting out a fire can involve creating openings in a roof and breaking windows to ensure that nothing is missed. Roofs can be covered temporarily with tarps, and broken windows can be boarded to reduce the likelihood of looting, vandalism or additional water damage. A professional fire remediation and restoration company can help you with these tasks.

2. Secure doors. If doors are intact and the locks work, use them. You can also install the type of lockbox that realtors use. If you do, be sure to choose the code yourself since reusing a code may allow entry by unauthorized persons. If there are any windows that weren’t damaged by the fire, make sure that they are locked.

3. Restrict access. Consider installing a temporary fence around the property, especially if the property will be unoccupied. If a garage is part of the structure, you can add clamps that prevent the door from opening.

4. Reduce signs of vacancy. Stop or redirect delivery of newspapers and packages. You can also easily change your mailing address by going online.

5. Be vigilant. Make observing your surroundings a part of your routine and take note of anything out of the ordinary. If the premises will be unoccupied, make sure that local authorities are aware so that they can increase their presence in the area.

You can reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket costs for fire cleanup by taking these steps to prevent additional damage or loss after the fire. The services of a Winchester, MA, fire remediation and restoration company can help you accomplish this without incurring extra costs.

When Laundry Becomes a Fiery Nightmare

10/30/2021 (Permalink)

Vacuum cleaning a flexible aluminum dryer vent hose, to remove lint and prevent fire hazard. Vacuum cleaning a flexible aluminum dryer vent hose, to remove lint and prevent a fire hazard.

One of the worst nightmares for homeowners is a fire. Almost everyone knows to clean the lint trap after a load of laundry, but how many people know to clean the dryer exhaust vent, let alone know that accumulated lint in the exhaust vent can lead to a lint fire? According to the National Fire Protection Association, the number one reason for a dryer fire is when routine cleaning is neglected. In the case of fire damage, just remember there are professionals with specialized training who can help restore your home in Burlington, MA. Nevertheless, routine cleaning will minimize the chances of a fire.

5 Easy Steps for Cleaning the Clothes Dryer Exhaust Vent

Following the dryer manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines is a good place to start in keeping a lint fire from becoming a reality. If you have misplaced or lost the manufacturer’s book, these steps will assist you:

1. Unplug the clothes dryer from the outlet.

2. Disconnect the exhaust hose from both the clothes dryer and the wall. You may need to move the dryer from the wall for easy access.

3. Using a clean cloth, wipe any lint residue from the outside of the hose. With your vacuum attachment, clean the inside of the exhaust hose.

4. Use a vacuum or dryer lint kit to clean inside the wall vent.

5. After a thorough cleaning, reattach the exhaust hose to both the dryer and the wall – be sure to firmly secure the hose clamps.

6. Clean the exterior vent by first removing the cover. Ensure the cover and interior are free of lint buildup, and then replace the cover.

An added reminder when cleaning your lint traps (after every load of laundry) is to check the interior for lint that escaped the trap. This can be accomplished easily with a lint brush. The concerns of a lint fire are real, but sticking to a routine cleaning regime will lessen your chances of fire damage and help you to sleep without nightmares.

Is Indoor Mold Growth Related to Rain?

10/30/2021 (Permalink)

Floor and corner of a wall with mold growth. Water damage can lead to mold growth.

Can Mold Be Related To Rain?

It seems strange, but every time it rains you see a fresh spate of mold climbing up your walls or down the back of your toilet. Is the mold caused by the rain? Are you seeing causation without correlation, or is the mold growth actually related to rainy weather in Winchester, MA?

It’s Not the Rain, It’s What the Rain Causes

If your house was leak-proof and airtight, you’d never have a problem with mold. But if you have a leak or other structural issues, every time it rains your house is suffering water damage. Mold, black mold in particular, thrives where you have a moisture problem. So, in a way, the rain is causing your mold problem, but your real issue is:

• Water from rain storms leaking in through roofs and windows, or even blowing through improperly sealed doors
• Standing water in rain gutters possibly seeping into wood or roof tiles
• Flooding creating standing water that fuels black mold
• Water damage from leaks softening and rotting insulation, drywall, and wood to create a nest for mold to proliferate
• Water damage leading to additional breakage and leaks in interior pipes and fixtures, causing more water damage and compounding the issue

So How Do I Prevent Mold When It Rains?

You can't just wipe things down after it rains and hopes for the best. For mold cleanup and remediation, you need to act quickly to eliminate the source of the leak and water damage and get rid of the mold. Black mold removal can be tricky, but it is definitely possible with the right assistance. Once you get rid of mold, the key is to prevent it from coming back by remaining diligent about the conditions that led to mold growth in the first place. You can prevent mold by ensuring any moisture issues are handled quickly and efficiently.

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.