Hurricane Preparedness Week
Water floods a home and pools at the bottom of a staircase.
May 9th to the 15th is Hurricane Preparedness Week. While hurricanes do not often hit New England, when they do, they can be deadly and costly. Hurricane Bob made landfall in Massachusetts on August 19, 1991, causing 18 deaths and $2.5 billion in damage. Hurricane Irene took the life of 9 New Englanders and left thousands without power in August of 2011. Massachusetts and Rhode Island sustained power outages, flooding, and wind gusts over 70 mph in October of 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. SERVPRO of Lexington, Bedford, Waltham, Weston, Wayland, and Watertown was proud to respond to those in need during Hurricane Sandy. Here are five steps to prepare for extreme weather:
- Know Your Risks – figure out what types of wind and water hazards could happen where you live and how to prepare for them. Although coastal communities are usually the most affected, impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland. Create an emergency plan for your family that includes emergency meeting places in your home, neighborhood, and surrounding areas.
- Build An Emergency Kit – have access to food, water, cash, medicine, and phone chargers. Keeping a kit at work, in your car, and at home can keep you prepared for any emergency at any time.
- Review and Gather Documents – review your insurance policies for your home, boat, and car. Be sure you have enough coverage to repair or replace your belongings. Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding – check if flood insurance is available as soon as possible as it usually requires a 30-day waiting period.
- Be Informed and Have a Plan – sign up for phone alerts and get the FEMA app to be informed of any extreme weather approaching your area. Have an evacuation plan ready that accounts for pets and remove you from the evacuation area.
- Strengthen Your Home – if you do not live in an evacuation area and plan to weather the storm in your home, be sure it is up to date on repairs and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Trim trees and board up windows to prevent debris from potentially flying into your home.
If you experience flooding at your home, SERVPRO of Lexington, Bedford, Waltham, Weston, Watertown, and Wayland is on call 24/7/365 to respond. Our highly trained team of technicians has advanced techniques and equipment to handle any water damage situation making it "Like it never even happened."
Wind Speeds and their Effects on Your Home
Disaster recovery team in action
Is Boston the new ‘Windy City’?
As many of you have probably noticed, it has been unusually windy in Massachusetts recently. One Boston Globe article even headlined, “Is Boston the new ‘Windy City’?” According to CurrentResults.com, Boston is in fact the windiest US city averaging a blustery 12.3 mph annual wind speed. As a New England native who has resided throughout the northeast for all of my 31 years, volatile weather is just a fact of life. It is what makes us, “hardy folk” and some might say it gives us a surly attitude, especially those from temperate climates. So what does all this wind mean for your home anyways, and should you be worried about its effects?
Wind Speeds and Effects
- 19mph - Small trees begin to sway.
- 25mph - Umbrellas break and you can hear the scraping of branches and wires.
- 32mph - Whole trees begin to move and it can be difficult to walk.
- 39mph - Vehicles can veer off the road and branches break off of trees.
- 47mph - Minor structural damage can occur.
- 55mph - Trees begin to uproot and structural damage increases.
- 64mph - Even higher prevalence and severity of structural damage.
What Does this all Mean?
Anything above 64mph and we are getting into hurricane force winds which are clearly not good for your home and you should be making the necessary preparations. What is interesting is that 47mph and above is when damage can begin to occur. Just last month Massachusetts saw gusts up to 60mph! It seems wind could be more of a problem than you thought for your property. If storm damage occurs, SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford & Waltham / Weston / Wayland / Watertown has crews standing by 24/7 to respond. We can provide board ups for windows, tarps for your roof, and any cleanup or restoration work needed. Call the professionals to make it "Like it never even happened." at 781-861-0500.
Plumbing Problems Caused by Heavy Rain
SERVPRO technician at water shutoff valves with commercial customer
May and June are some of the wettest months of the year here in Massachusetts. We have all been caught in a torrential downpour that seemingly came out of nowhere and unleashes an incredible amount of rain very quickly. This type of weather can cause plumbing and drainage issues. Let’s look at 4 common plumbing problems caused by heavy rain.
1. Flooding Due to Lack of Outdoor Drainage
Heavy rain will cause pools of water to accumulate at low points in your yard. If you do not have proper drainage to move the water away from your property then you can have serious problems on your hands. Your walkway, driveway, or basement steps could flood, compromising the stability of your deck or foundation. If you notice pooling water on your property during heavy rain fall you should consider installing an area drain to carry water away from your home.
2. Debris Blocking Indoor Drains Leading to a Backup
Debris such as trash, soil, leaves, and sticks can get into the sewer system causing your drains to clog. Blocked drains can back up your entire system causing water to pool in your shower, sink, bathtub, or near other household drains.
3. Sewage Backup due to Blocked Drains
When debris blocks pipes in the sewer system as previously mentioned, it can eventually affect the sewer line itself. The sewer line carries wastewater from your house to the municipal sewer line. If the municipal line becomes blocked then contaminated water will accumulate and back up into your home.
4. Burst Pipes from Blockage
When rainwater pools and has nowhere to go it exerts pressure on your pipes. This pressure can cause pipes to crack or burst open. If water from your sink tastes coppery, is colored, or smells like mildew, than you probably have a cracked or burst pipe. The fresh water running into your home may be contaminated with materials surrounding your broken plumbing.
Who Do I Call if I Have a Backup?
If you experience a sewer backup or flooding at your property in Lexington, Bedford, Waltham, Weston, Wayland, or Watertown we are here to help. We have crews standing by 24/7/365 who are highly trained with advanced techniques and technologies to make it "Like it never even happened."
Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Water Damage?
SERVPRO technician uses a water extractor to remove standing water from a kitchen floor
When Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Water Damage?
If water damage occurs at your home your homeowner's insurance may or may not cover it. As a general rule of thumb; sudden internal damage is covered, while damage caused by lack of proper maintenance or negligence, or external flood damage, is not. Here are some common examples of situations when a loss is covered or not.
When Water Damage is Covered:
- As the result of rain or snowstorm
- Plumbing: accidental overflow, faulty plumbing, frozen or burst pipes
- Fire suppression systems
- A leak in your roof (insurance would not cover the roof itself - just interior of the home)
- Accidental overflow of an appliance or fixture (washing machine, dishwasher, toilet, bathtub)
- Mold when it is a result of a covered water loss
When Water Damage is Not Covered:
- Ground seepage
- Water or sewer pipe backups
- Poorly maintained or neglected pipes that break
Call your insurance company as soon as possible after noticing water damage in your home. Document affected areas and contents with photos that can clearly describe what happened to your adjuster. Call SERVPRO once your insurance is notified to begin mitigation immediately. Water damage spreads quickly and causes exponential amounts of damage if not remediated quickly. SERVPRO production managers will work with your insurance company directly so you don’t have to. Using advanced technologies and techniques we will make it "Like it never even happened."
Increased Mold Risk in Commercial Buildings due to Prolonged Closures
Highly trained SERVPRO technician inspects crawlspace for moisture and mold growth on wood beams and ductwork.
Molds can be found almost anywhere and they do not need much to grow indoors. Mold spores float through the air constantly and when they land on damp areas indoors, they may begin spreading. After a full year of shutdowns due to the pandemic, many commercial buildings in Massachusetts have been closed for prolonged periods of time. Without HVAC systems operating daily, temperature fluctuations are going to occur which could cause condensation at various locations in the structure. Also, older buildings typically have tighter envelopes that do not allow for proper ventilation. With buildings being closed and no regular airflow from open windows, doors, and HVAC systems – moisture will not be ventilated. Mold can grow quickly on ceiling tiles, carpet, drywall, wallpaper, fabrics, and insulation. Leaks from plumbing pipes, outdoor gutters, or sinks naturally occur over time and can be addressed if noticed but, if left unnoticed will create a perfect environment for mold to thrive. All of these factors and more are acting together in commercial buildings across the Commonwealth. Molds have the potential to cause health effects especially in those with asthma or mold allergies. Here are five steps you can take to minimize mold risk after a prolonged shutdown of your commercial property:
- Maintain as low a humidity level as possible in the structure – never exceeding 50%. Building managers should use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels daily.
- After a prolonged shutdown, the property should be thoroughly inspected before reopening. An inspection from an industrial hygienist is ideal and if they detect anything, remediation is required immediately to prevent further spread.
- After an inspection has confirmed there is no mold in the structure or remediation of mold has occurred you need to flush the HVAC system. Run the HVAC system for at least 48 to 72 hours with outdoor air dampers set to the max setting. If an odor is detected look for mold and have remediation completed if mold is discovered in the HVAC system. Complete another flush of the system until no odors or mold is present. You should replace your filters or at the very least clean them before reopening the building.
- After the building is reopened be sure to routinely monitor your HVAC system and its filters.
- If there is no routine maintenance program in place for your HVAC system, now is the time to create one. Inspection, calibration, testing, balancing, and cleaning of the system regularly is vital to keeping indoor air quality at healthy levels.
Here at SERVPRO of Lexington, Bedford, Waltham, Wayland, Weston, and Watertown we can help with your commercial mold and HVAC needs. We have a team of highly trained professionals to remediate mold with advanced techniques and equipment. We also offer comprehensive HVAC and duct cleaning services making us the only call you need to make before reopening your property after being closed due to the pandemic.
Emergency Fire Damage Process Overview
Smoke damage/soot surrounds doorway to into kitchen.
We Are Fire Damage Experts
SERVPRO is the number one brand in restoration services. For over 50 years our highly trained professionals have been helping communities restore their properties to pre-fire conditions using advanced technology and techniques. Our goal is to restore your building and its contents instead of replacing them - saving you time, money, and the potential loss of important items to your home or business. Our restoration services include structural cleaning, contents cleaning, and deodorization of both.
One Hour: Within one hour of being notified of fire damage we will contact you to arrange service.
Four Hours: Within four hours a professional SERVPRO technician will arrive on-site to begin mitigation services. Responding quickly is key to reducing damage and saving money!
Detailed Explanation: A highly trained professional will walk you through the job process step-by-step so you know exactly what to expect.
Pretesting: We will pretest your property and its contents to discern what is restorable and what needs to be replaced.
Eight Hours: Within eight hours of being notified you can rest assured that our team has communicated the extent of damage and subsequent work that needs to be done to you or your insurance adjuster.
Cleaning, Restoration, & Deodorization: Using state-of-the-art restoration techniques our technicians will ensure your property is taken care of correctly.
Final Walk-Through: Once our work is complete, we will walk the property with you to be sure you are completely satisfied.
We sincerely hope that you never experience a fire emergency, but they are an unfortunate reality that we must face from time to time. At SERVPRO we are here to help and can respond to any size emergency 24/7.
Disaster Response Team Deployed to Texas
SERVPRO disaster response trailers unloading equipment.
For over two weeks we have had teams deployed to Texas to help with storm relief efforts. Insurance claims are rivaling those after major hurricanes - something Texans are all too familiar with. After record low temperatures hit the area, snow and ice made roads impassable, the state lost control of their energy supply, and caused millions of dollars in water damage in a matter of days. At SERVPRO we are here to help and are faster to any size disaster. Disaster response teams were immediately dispatched from all around the country. Our locally owned Lexington-Bedford and Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland franchises answered the call. Our teams have been working non-stop since they arrived helping Texans make it "Like it never even happened." Our highly trained professionals specialize in storm and flood restoration. Crews use advanced technology and techniques to restore your property to its pre-storm condition. Whether you are in Massachusetts, Texas, or anywhere else in the United States - SERVPRO is here to help.
Spring Cleaning Tips
SERVPRO technicians cleaning a bookshelf
Spring is right around the corner which means plants are blooming, the temperature is rising, and it is time for the annual deep clean we have all come to know as Spring Cleaning! This can be an intimidating and daunting process so we wanted to offer some advice to make the process more manageable. The tips below will help you clean your home from top to bottom.
- Restock your cleaning supplies
- Wipe down walls and ceilings
- Reseal grout lines
- Vacuum and shampoo rugs
- Dust thoroughly
- Clean upholstery
- Polish metal hardware
- Wax wooden furniture
- Ensure fire safety
- Wash windows, screens, and treatments
- Wax non-wood floors
Here at SERVPRO® we have been helping residents of the Lexington, Bedford, Waltham, Wayland, Weston, and Watertown areas clean their homes for over 30 years. In addition to the list above, we recommend getting your air ducts professionally cleaned to increase heating/cooling efficiency and air quality. We can also provide an extra level of carpet and upholstery cleaning where your vacuum and shampoo just don’t cut it. Finally, if you are experiencing offensive odors and the above checklist of cleaning does not remove them - give us a call. We have the expertise to effectively clean and remove unwanted odors from your home.
Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)
Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)
About the IICRC
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC, is a non-profit organization founded in 1972. The organization originally began as the International Institute of Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Inc. but has grown to become the global organization that it is today with over 60,000 active technicians by expanding its scope. The Institute has 4 core values:
- Get it done: We don’t make excuses. We find solutions.
- Be honest: No one needs to be around to do the right thing.
- Embrace failure: We learn from our mistakes.
- One Team, One Mission: No silos. Our mission requires us to operate together.
The SERVPRO Mission
The SERVPRO Mission Statement is, “To develop a team of quality people who focus on excellent service, fairness, and mutual respect”. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our Professionals study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses. The IICRC core values and the SERVPRO Mission Statement align with one another. Together, we have satisfied clients for over 40 years by being leaders in the industry.
We Are Here When it Matters Most
SERVPRO emergency response storm team
According to CNN, “about 78 million Americans are currently under a winter weather alert and more than 27 million are going to bed under a hard-freeze warning”. The weather system that developed in the southern part of the country, with particularly high impact in Texas, is moving through the mid-Atlantic and east coast bringing snow, ice, and rain with it. At SERVPRO®, We are Here to Help® - our storm team has been activated and hundreds of crews are on standby to assist communities in need 24/7.
Our Highly Trained Teams Are:
- Experts in water, fire, and mold restoration
- Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certified (IICRC)
- Recommended by most insurance companies
- Faster to any size disaster
- Utilize advanced water inspection, extraction, and drying equipment
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.
Don't wait for a storm to hit to respond to water damage and have an emergency response plan in place just in case.