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My Home Has Flooded! What Now?

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

Contents of a home damaged by water. Wet floor. Flood damage in a Burlington, MA home

Start By

When your home is flooding, it’s imperative that you first stop the water. Water damage will only continue to get worse as long as the water or excessive moisture is in the area, so the cleanup process should begin as soon as possible. Start by:

1. Being Safe
A flooded house presents many dangers that need to be addressed before going into the affected area. If you can safely reach the breaker box, shut off the main circuit breaker. If appliances, electronics, or exposed wires are sitting in or near the water, an electrical current is traveling through the water. It can also contain dangerous contaminants such as sewage, chemicals, and debris. Wear proper safety gear to protect yourself as you go through the house, such as a mask, gloves, safety goggles, and rubber boots.

2. Contacting the Insurance Company and Documenting Damage
Call your insurance company so that the restoration process can begin as soon as possible. The insurance adjuster will have to assess the damage before any work is done. Before the adjuster arrives, take pictures of all of the damage that you can safely access. It’s also good to have photos of your property before the damage occurs. 

3. Eliminating Water
Your insurance company will probably let you start the cleanup process before the adjuster arrives as long as you’ve documented the flooding well with photos. Begin by removing all standing water. A wet/dry vacuum is ideal for this job since it’s safe and removes water and small debris quickly.

4. Separating Unsalvageable From Salvageable
Determine what’s unsalvageable and discard it. Many porous items such as carpet, drywall, and some upholstered furniture probably won’t be salvageable. 

5. Drying
Open windows and doors to ventilate the area. Running fans and dehumidifiers and HVAC and/or portable heaters will help to dry the area. 
If your house has experienced water damage from any type of flooding in Burlington, MA, you can count on flood damage experts. They’ll return your home to its preloss condition as quickly as possible.

Mitigation During a Water Disaster

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

Plastic trash can in the hallway of a commercial building, water on the floor. Water damage from a pipe break in a commercial building in Wilmington, MA

Any time a business in Wilmington, MA, experiences a water disaster, the business owner must act fast to mitigate further damage. If you experience a pipe burst cleanup or supply line leaking, know what steps you can take to ensure the least amount of damage and loss.

Moisture Associated Risks

The longer water is allowed to stand in your commercial structure, the more damage it will incur. More damage means more risk and more monetary loss from replacing those items. Acting fast is crucial.
Water can irreparably damage materials used for flooring, walls, ductwork, and electronics. The stability of these structures become warped and weakened from prolonged water exposure, but they can also develop mold and bacterial growth that will be difficult to remove. The EPA recommendation is for items and materials exposed to contaminated water over 48 hours to be discarded.

The Cleanup Process
If you have a water disaster such as a pipe burst cleanup, you'll want to hire a clean up and restoration company to assess the damage and then take the best approach to salvaging what can be saved, replacing what needs to be replaced, and ensuring no secondary damage occurs.

Your restoration company will use pumps and vacuums to make sure water is completely removed from every area of the room or rooms that incurred damage.
They will clean and sanitize all salvageable materials, equipment, and furniture.
The final step of the water cleanup is replacing lost items once the property is safe to once again inhabit.

Due to the hazardous nature of disasters such as pipe burst cleanup and restoration, your facility should never be completed by people who are not certified and trained in proper cleanup and drying techniques.
Time is crucial during a water disaster and knowing who you can call beforehand can save you time and money. You can't put a price on the health and safety of the workers and clients who regularly access your building.

Understanding Mold Remediation

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

Removing mold from the wall in a building Mold removal in a Winchester, MA building

Finding mold in your commercial property can be a stressful situation. You'll undoubtedly have many questions about the remedial and restoration process, like when you can safely occupy the building again and how long cleanup will take. Understanding facts about mold and how the process works will help.

The Facts on Mold

Mold is everywhere. One of the most common types of mold found in buildings is black mold, but there are thousands of other types of mold found in the environment.
While you may not have mold growth in your building, mold spores come in through doors, windows, and ducts. Mold spores must have moisture to thrive, which is why it is important to repair any sources of water damage.

The Remediation Process
When mold growth is found in your facility in Winchester, MA, remediation specialists act quickly to contain the growth, perform the mold removal, sanitize the area, and restore any damage that may have occurred. Your remediation specialists will work through several steps to achieve a safe environment for you and your employees.

Once the mold has been located, containment procedures will be utilized to ensure the mold doesn't spread. This may include the use of negative area chambers and physical barriers with negative air pressure. Any central air will be shut off during the cleanup phase.
Filtration equipment will remove mold spores from the air while HEPA vacuums prevent the spores from spreading.
Special treatments will eliminate the mold as well as ensure it doesn't return. Damaged materials will have to be removed. Anything that can be saved will be thoroughly cleaned.
The last step will be restoration to replace any damaged materials that had to be discarded during the cleanup.

During the mold removal process, employees should not have access to the contaminated and enclosed rooms. The time it takes to complete the entire process can be anywhere from one to several days, depending on the amount of mold and damage that is present.

4 Steps To Take if There Is Water in a Light Fixture

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

Water leaking from a light fixture Water in a light fixture in Woburn, MA, can cause ceiling damage and could be dangerous

4 Steps To Take if There Is Water in a Light Fixture

Water in a light fixture in Woburn, MA, can cause ceiling damage and could be dangerous. Follow these four steps to find out what you need to do to prevent more problems from happening.

1. Shut Off the Electricity
The first thing you will want to do is turn off the electrical supply. This will stop more damage from happening to the fixture and wiring. You can do this by shutting the electricity off at the main breaker box.

2. Turn Off the Water
When there is water in a light, you do not want more to seep into it. The water should be shut off at the main water supply in your home.

3. Test for Electricity
To be completely certain that there is no electrical current going through your home, use a non-contact voltage tester on another electronic in your house that does not have water in it. You can test your television, microwave, computer, or any other electronic.

4. Call for Help
Now that the electricity and water are off, you will need to call several professionals for help. You will need to contact a plumber to see where the water leakage is coming from so it can be repaired. An electrician will be needed to remove and replace the fixture, and also to make sure there is no damage to the electrical wires. If there is damage, this will be fixed as well. A water damage restoration company will be needed to clean up issues that the water caused, including ceiling flaws.
When there is water in a light, it can be dangerous. To resolve the issue quickly, turn off the water and electricity, use a non-contact voltage tester to ensure that the power is completely off, call a plumber and electrician for help as well as a cleanup company for restoration and to repair ceiling damage.

3 Situations Where You Need Commercial Flood Insurance

4/13/2020 (Permalink)

Flood insurance form on a table with a book. Flood insurance can be useful for your Woburn, MA, establishment

3 Situations Where You Need Commercial Flood Insurance

If you own a commercial location, you are likely aware of the inherent damage risks. Since extreme weather is one of those hazards, you will need insurance plans that incorporate emergency damage restoration. Some coverages are not included in commercial insurance, so you may need additional products such as flood insurance, especially in certain situations:

1. Federal Law Requires It
While flood-specific insurance tends to be optional, there are circumstances where you must obtain it. You will need a coverage plan if your business is in a location known as a flood zone or an area that is prone to flooding. These regions are either coastal locations or near bodies of water. Additionally, the building must be mortgaged by a lender that is regulated or insured by the federal government.

2. Your Business Resides in a High-Risk Area
Even if you have no mortgage with a federally regulated lender, it is still a solid strategy to purchase a specialized insurance plan to deal with potential floods whether you are in a flood zone or in a low-to-moderate risk area. Flood insurance is not provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which focuses mostly on residential properties instead of businesses. However, the federal government's national program can help you obtain a viable plan in case the unthinkable occurs.

3. Your Flood Zone May Shift
The safety established by a flood map's designation is not permanent. Factors such as climate change alter these flood zones. Your business may be in a high-risk zone even if your published map does not show it. The proper insurance covers your property in case your situation changes. In addition, if you buy a plan before the location becomes a flood zone, the premium is based on the previous classification, which is comparatively low.
When it comes to business ownership, it is better to prepare for the worst-case scenarios. Flood insurance can be useful for your Woburn, MA, establishment during most situations, especially when flood risks are high.

3 Facts About Commercial Property Insurance and Fire Damage

4/13/2020 (Permalink)

a young man in suit in his office showing an insurance policy and pointing with a pen where the policyholder must to sign Be aware of what a primary commercial property policy covers

Learn More About Coverage For Fire Damage To A Building

Owners of commercial properties should be aware of what a primary commercial property policy covers and any exclusions or limits to this policy. In most cases, separate fire insurance should not be necessary. Learn more about coverage for fire damage to a building in Burlington, MA.

1. Most General Property Policies Cover Fire
Commercial property insurance typically classifies fire as a covered peril. Business and building owners should make sure the limits of this correspond to the value of the structure and contents and the costs associated with fire restoration for a partial or total loss.

2. Limits and Exclusions Can Affect Coverage
Some policies may have low limits or exclude important types of damage, such as expenses associated with cleaning up secondary water damage or smoke damage. Business and building owners may be able to obtain additional fire insurance coverage in the form of endorsements. Depending on the extent of these limitations, a policy that provides more complete protection for a business or building could be more cost-effective.

3. Property Policies Do Not Include Interruption Coverage
Business interruption insurance can offset the expenses of continued costs such as rent and payroll or lost revenue during fire and smoke cleanup. This coverage kicks in when a business cannot safely operate in a facility and cannot temporarily relocate for the duration of restoration. Interruption insurance is an independent policy with a separate limit. Business owners should calculate average operational costs and revenue to obtain a sufficient level of coverage.
The limits of a commercial property insurance policy and any exclusions will determine whether sufficient fire insurance coverage is available for a building in Burlington, MA. Additional coverage may be available in the form of endorsements or additional policies. In the event of a fire, commercial property owners should be prepared to make a claim supported by documentation and an expert estimate.

Flooded Basement Tips

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

Flooded basement Avoid a flooded basement

Avoid a Flooded Basement, This Year and Forever!

Normal spring thaws can cause a small trickle to become a bigger issue. Foundation cracks that weren’t a problem before have the potential to become a huge problem now.

This year’s sudden spring thaw could exacerbate any issues that were not taken care of in the past.

In late winter and early spring, the ground can’t absorb all of the rain and snow melt, so it flows along the foundation. A proper drain system, sump pump and sealed cracks will help you avoid problems this spring.

Here are a few simple tips:

  • Keep your gutters clean (this will keep rain water from flowing directly to your foundation)
  • Grade landscaping away from foundation (add mulch or soil at an angle, higher at the foundation, slanting away)
  • Check your sump pump or purchase a submersible pump and fans

Move valuables and expensive items you may have in your basement, or use pallets and shelves to keep them elevated.

When there is a natural disaster, often the emergency items you need are sold out, so plan ahead.

If you do have a flood

There are still things you can do to mitigate the damage.

  • If you can do it safely, turn off the electricity.

But don’t get electrocuted! If you can reach the breaker without standing in water turn it off.  

  • If you’ve got just a bit of water in spots consider yourself lucky. If you can clean it up with a wet vac and have fans to dry it afterward you might be all set.
  • If your basement has flooded more than an inch, it’s best to call us.

If you have a sump pump and fans, you may still wish to tackle the job by yourself.  Submersible water pumps work best when you place them in the deepest part of the flooded water. If dirt and debris builds up and clogs the screen around the pump, clean it out and consider using something like a small tool to prop it up a bit. This will increase the space for water to flow through the pump. Use the widest and shortest hose possible, this will enable the pump to work faster.

When all the water is up and it appears dry you may still want us simply to treat the previously flooded area in order to kill any mold before it’s an issue.

To avoid this problem next year you must identify where the water came in.

  • First, seal the cracks
  • Then, dig to avert water flow next time

Remember water will travel down the path of least resistance. It is strongly advised to dig outside near the foundation and repack the soil. Dig down to where the water came, and then dig out and to the sides a few feet. There is a channel that you may not see but you will disturb and avert if you do this. Next year, water will not flow in that same direction if done correctly.

Last but not least, our friends at Signature Page Real Estate in Woburn, suggest having a dehumidifier in any basement, old or new.

Recap:

  • Clean your gutters
  • Have a sump pump, wet vac and fans
  • Fix lawn grading
  • Seal the cracks
  • Dig to avert water flow next year
  • Have a dehumidifier

If water comes in and it’s too much to tackle yourself, call us. Mitigating water damage is one of our core competencies. We’ll tackle the job at hand, and be sure your water problem doesn’t become a mold problem later: "Like it never even happened."

How To Prevent and Handle Water Damage During Construction Projects

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

Two wheeled plastic trash cans with with lids on a hall way with water Water damage in a commercial facility

How To Prevent and Handle Water Damage During Construction Projects

Contractors know that water damage can be devastating to a construction site. A flood or similar mishap can lead to extensive debris and lengthy delays. A water pipe repair, in particular, can be costly even for companies that have insurance.
If you own a construction or contracting company, you can take steps to prevent flooding. This requires being proactive during all phases of the process:

  • Pre-Construction
  • Construction
  • Testing
  • Post-Construction

Pre-Construction

Before the project begins, you should come up with a proper Quality Control plan. The program should be peer-reviewed to ensure it is sufficient.
You and your workers should also look for locations on the site that are susceptible to water infiltration and protect them accordingly. Make sure that any drainage pipes are pointed away from those locations.
To prevent the need for major water pipe repair, you should test and install the pipes as early as you can. This way, if the site is flooded, it won't impact the rest of your project.

Construction

Once the construction begins, you should assign a team of employees to keep the site safe from water damage. They should monitor any issues that arise and fix them immediately before they get worse. You may also want to consider hiring consultants who can inspect the area for any potential warning signs.

Testing

After you have placed the roof on the building, you should bring in a roof testing expert to ensure the structure is watertight. You should also perform hydrostatic and leak testing on the sprinkler systems.

Post-Construction

Water damage can still occur as you close the construction project. If an issue such as a broken pipe is discovered, try to fix it within 48 hours.
By taking some simple steps before, during and after your construction project, you can prevent water damage. However, if a leak or flood does occur, water pipe repair specialists can help limit the harm to the property.

Different Levels of COVID-19 Cleaning

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

a graphic that says professional cleaning services are only a call away We are available around the clock to meet your needs.

Much like water damage categories, there are different levels of COVID-19 cleanings, precautionary, suspected, and confirmed. These differentiations determine protocol when it comes to providing preventative measures as well as cleaning & disinfection after someone within the building has tested positive. 

Precautionary/Preventative - cleanings are a measure taken when there has been no confirmed or suspected cases. 

Suspected/Person Under Investigation - cleanings happen when there is reasonable suspicion that the virus is present, or one or more people that have been in the building have been tested and are waiting for results.

Confirmed - cleanings happen after there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 onsite.

It is very important that property owners and business stakeholders recognize their own abilities, comfort levels, resources, and risk factors. While all stages require proper precautionary & intentional steps, the CDC has issued the following protocol in regards to , Confirmed cleaning & disinfection:

  • Workers must be trained to follow OSHA regulations
  • Proper use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) donning and doffing
  • Compliance with Bloodborne Pathogens and proper disposal of of regulated waste and PPE
  • Disinfectants used include - diluted bleach solutions, alcohol solutions, household cleaners followed by disinfectants, EPA registered household disinfectants

SERVPRO of Burlington/Woburn understands the immediate need for all stages, which is why we have made ourselves available 24/7 to offer disinfection services. We are able to offer disinfection services to buildings of all sizes, including residences for those in need. Please don’t hesitate to call our office for more information on proper protocol, pricing, and the products we are using. (781) 935-8222

3 Reasons You Should Hire a Professional To Check For Mold

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

Technician wearing protective gear while removing water from a property and mold growth in property SERVPRO of Burlington/ Woburn is certified to remove microbial growth

Three Reasons To Not Do It On Your Own

It's tempting to grab a spray bottle of diluted bleach solution, hoping to remove those unsightly fungus spots. That, though, is not appropriate mold cleaning, potentially allowing those microbes to continue to grow and creating even more of a problem. If homeowners in Winchester, MA, think they have concern, it's best to call in the professionals who have the credentials and knowledge to handle any trouble. Here are three reasons to not do it on your own.

1. DIY Testing Is Unreliable

Sometimes fungus isn't always visible; rather, homeowners get a sense that something is off. Perhaps it's an odd, musty odor or other health effects. Whatever the reason, it's tempting to purchase a kit and avoid hiring a mold remediation company. This could be problematic, though. Since microbial spores exist in nature, they will be in the home. That doesn't mean they are a hazard. In order to pose a threat, they must combine with organic material and water. Therefore, often an in-home test flags a false positive, leading residents to worry when they shouldn't.

2. Certification Provides Validity

Water restoration companies work with certified environmental hygienists to avoid guess work and false calls. These specialists have undergone classes and testing to ensure that they can identify issues within a building. In addition, they can perform more thorough evaluation, collecting air and wall specimens that could find what a DIY system may not. This information, then, assists the crew in determining the team's appropriate methods as well as the depth of mold cleaning that is needed.

3. Regulations Create Security

Once the hygienist has written the report, staff can develop mold damage cleanup plans, following appropriate standards and regulations. This includes removing contaminated porous items, particularly drywall, ceiling tiles and flooring. These should be replaced with the room then sprayed with sanitizing chemicals. Further assessment can be completed prior to restoring the area, providing reassurance that all is back to normal.
When you need mold cleaning, get results that you can trust. Seek a place that is certified and follows regulations.