Do You Have an Emergency Response Plan in Place?
SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profiles prevent businesses from closing their doors after disaster strikes
A common question I ask business owners is, “If there were 6 inches of water on the floor right now, what would you do?” The overwhelming majority respond with, “I have no idea”. To me, this is shocking, but that is because I work for a water damage restoration company so I am constantly reminded of the importance of preparedness. Business owners have a lot on their plates and most of their bandwidth is dedicated to running their company. Emergency response is of course not top of mind until an emergency happens….and then what? Do you have a plan in place to respond to a disaster? According to the latest research, as many as 50% of businesses close following a disaster. The overwhelming majority of businesses that survive had an emergency plan in place. If you own a restaurant and it floods, you cannot be open for dinner service thus resulting in loss of revenue. Having a response plan in place will shorten the amount of time your doors are closed. The same goes for retail, hotels, gyms, and numerous other businesses. SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland is offering a complimentary Emergency Ready Plan for businesses in our community. A representative will come out to assess your property and create a profile of your business. This profile will include relevant information like where your water shutoff valve, gas shutoff, and electric shutoff are located. That way your employees can reference it in an emergency situation to limit the amount of time damage can occur. The plan will also compile important contact information such as your insurance company, alarm company, and plumber contact information. Having all of this information on hand will significantly reduce the amount of damage occurring in an emergency situation. This plan can be printed and left at key locations at the property. The plan is also stored in our database that can be accessed via our mobile app so you can access the plan from anywhere and share access with anyone you wish. If you would like an Emergency Ready Plan to be created for your business give us a call to schedule it at 781-861-0500.
The Corrosive Nature of Smoke and Soot
Stove hood vent affected by fire and smoke damage caused by a grease fire in Arlington, MA.
I recently visited a home in Arlington, MA that experienced a grease fire in their kitchen. Fortunately, the homeowners caught it quickly and the fire department responded immediately. The damage was not extremely extensive but there was certainly some work to be done. As I walked the property with our production manager Chris, something caught my eye. It was the stainless steel (at least I assume it was SS) hood vent that was mounted above the stove where the fire started. I noticed that it was corroded and rusting which was odd to me because I was under the impression that stainless steel did not rust. I figured it must have been from the water that the fire department used to douse the flames. I asked Chris if it was from the water and he explained to me that it was actually the fire that corroded the metal. How is that possible? Fire creates smoke and soot which are actually small particles that move through the air. The soot is acidic and can corrode metal. Heat is an accelerant, so this hood was capturing large amounts of soot under extreme heat which was accelerating the corrosiveness of the smoke. You can see in the picture where the flames and soot damaged the hood and not in the surrounding areas. It is important to understand the destructive nature of smoke damage, even if you cannot see it with the naked eye, you must remediate soot as soon as possible to limit the damage it can cause. For example, if your television or computer vents intake soot and it gets inside the components, it can cause corrosion. Furthermore, soot can also conduct electricity causing short circuits. If we arrive at a fire loss we immediately send out all electronics to professional cleaners to remove the smoke from the components inside. If you experience fire and soot damage at your property give SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland a call immediately to mitigate the damage.
Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Mold?
SERVPRO technicians are here to help and will inspect crawlspaces for mold growth.
Over here at SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland, we have been getting a lot of calls concerning mold. With the unusual amount of rain and humidity in July, followed by high temperatures, microbial growth has been very prevalent this summer. SERVPRO has an excellent relationship with insurance companies and we are happy to work with them directly so you do not have to. A common question that comes up is, “Does my homeowner's insurance cover mold remediation?” This is a fair question to ask but is difficult to answer. In the late 90s to early 2000s, most insurance companies changed the coverage in homeowners' policies to limit mold remediation. This is because there were too many claims being filed that amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars being paid out by insurance companies. Because of this, policies got more specific about what they would and would not cover.
As a general rule of thumb, mold remediation is covered by insurance if it is a result of a specific problem that is covered by your policy. Furthermore, you must demonstrate that the mold damage was sudden, accidental and that you reported it immediately. For example, if your roof had a leak that you promptly fixed and in the process found microbial growth in the attic due to water damage, it would most likely be covered. But if you let the leak in the roof go unattended for a year before addressing it and then you found mold all throughout the attic, it would not be covered. The difference is that the roof leak is accidental but not fixing it immediately is negligence in which case the subsequent mold growth could have been avoided. It is important that you document everything in as much detail as possible to show your adjuster. If you come across mold in your home or business give us a call immediately to begin remediation. If it is covered by your insurance, we will work with them directly so you do not have to.
Why Realtors Choose SERVPRO
Realtors choose SERVPRO when selling homes!
A good real estate agent has strong ties to the community and knows everything there is to know about the areas they do business in. Realtors regularly recommend and call on SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is for a general deep clean of a home that is about to hit the market. Having your home professionally cleaned from top to bottom by highly trained professionals makes a huge impact on the overall presentation of the home. Beyond general cleaning, we can handle a host of other issues that may arise when getting a home ready for an open house. We have state-of-the-art equipment and advanced technology to handle deodorization. Whether it was a smoker or pets, we can remove unwanted odors from your home. Did you find mold during the home inspection? No problem! SERVPRO specializes in mold remediation so you do not have to worry about microbial growth while selling your home. Did you remodel the kitchen and bathroom ahead of listing your house? Let us handle the post-construction cleanup. We can professionally clean drapes, blinds, upholstery, walls, floors, ceilings, crawlspaces, and even your ducts! You do not want to leave sawdust sitting in your ventilation system as it can lead to mold growth that will spread through the HVAC system over time. No matter how big the job is, we are here to help. We can even clean out the home of a hoarder, regardless of how extensive the cleanup job is, we can clean it up and get your home into pristine condition. Find out why realtors choose SERVPRO to sell their homes faster at 781-861-0500.
What Exactly Is Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration?
SERVPRO technicians are highly trained professionals in more than just water restoration.
When most people think of SERVPRO, they think of water damage cleanup and restoration. Storm damage cleanup and restoration is one of the five core services that we offer but, what does that mean? If there was a nasty storm ripping through the Boston metropolitan area, a tree could fall down into your Lexington home, destroying your roof and allowing gallons of rain water to flood the attic. We would do more than just dry the water. We have crews standing by 24/7 to respond to any storm emergency. We will tarp up the roof to stop more rain from entering the property. We will pack up any contents that are wet and move them to our warehouse to be dried properly while we restore your home. After the drying is complete, we can have our construction team come in to redo the floors, repair the roof, and put a fresh coat of paint on everything to make it "Like it never even happened." What if the storm destroyed hundreds of homes in Lexington, Waltham, Wayland, Weston, and Watertown? SERVPRO has over 1800 franchises around the country that can deploy to severe weather events to handle any amount of damage caused. Our Massachusetts franchises recently went down to Texas to help hundreds of families in need after the severe weather event they experienced in February. Storm damage cleanup and restoration means more than just drying rain water, it means you and your family will be taken care of in their time of need by the experts. You do not have to worry about dealing with multiple vendors, wondering if they are giving you the honest truth, or just trying to make a buck off of a storm emergency. When a storm causes damage at your property, call the pros who are faster to any size disaster.
Controlling the Path of a Fire
Second floor bathroom damage due to venting and not the fire
Our office recently got a call for a fire damage job in Arlington, MA. I was eager to tag along with our production manager, Chris Mack, to photo document the work from start to finish. The fire began in a first-floor kitchen as the result of food on the stove igniting. The damage was extensive in the kitchen, which was to be expected, what was unexpected was the damage done above the kitchen. As I explored the second floor I noticed a lot of damage had occurred in the bathroom directly above the stove. The interesting part was the bathroom sink, toilet, and wall looked as though they had been destroyed by a heavy object. Chris explained this was the work of the fire department venting the fire upwards. I also thought this was odd as there was very little smoke, soot, or fire damage done in the bathroom. So what is venting and why did it need to be done in this home?
Venting is all about controlling the path of the fire and smoke. As a fire grows, heat and smoke are expelled into the air. When a home is not ventilated, the heat and smoke get trapped in the building, slowly permeating from one room to another. As heat and smoke build in surrounding rooms the fire spreads with it. The fire department's first goal is to vent the fire to control where it will go next. In this case, the fire was in a first-floor kitchen, so the best course of action was to vent the fire upwards and then spray water down on it. Heat and smoke want to rise, so by venting the fire up, it only wanted to spread upwards and not sideways to surrounding rooms making it much more difficult to contain. The firefighters quickly assessed the scene and sprang into action by making a large opening in the bathroom floor and wall above the kitchen stove. Once the opening was made they sprayed water into the home from above dousing the flame and extinguishing the fire. Because of this the fire was contained in the kitchen and was unable to spread anywhere else. Now that I know what venting is I can appreciate what happened at this home in Arlington and how the fast actions of the local fire department kept the flames at bay. Now it is SERVPRO's chance to get to work, making this home look "Like it never even happened."
Primary Water Damage vs. Secondary Water Damage
SERVPRO technicians working with customers in their kitchen after a sink leaked everywhere
Primary vs. Secondary Water Damage
Water is a powerful force and when it is unleashed, containing it can be quite the feat. Liquids have a way of moving around, and even through, some barriers. Once a large amount of water has been released into your home, there is no way of knowing exactly where it will end up and which materials it will wick into. Water damage occurs in two phases, primary water damage and secondary water damage. Mitigation is crucial and must happen as soon as possible to reduce the amount of damage that will occur.
Primary Water Damage
Primary damage occurs immediately after a flood or severe leak. The leak could be from an overflowing sink or tub, a washing machine drainage tube, a burst pipe, a blown boiler, or a malfunctioning dishwasher. All of these incidents will release a large amount of water suddenly into your property and allow it to travel into places it should not. Examples of primary damage include soaked furniture, saturated flooring, bubbling wallpaper, and wet drywall. If not taken care of quickly and professionally, primary damage will lead to secondary damage.
Secondary Water Damage
Secondary water damage is the additional damage caused by primary water damage that has not been mitigated. Bubbling wallpaper will begin to peel, wet drywall will sag, saturated flooring will warp, and mold will start to grow. In a water emergency time is of the utmost importance. The sooner you dry your property the less severe the damage will be. Be sure to address the source of the water first by turning off your malfunctioning appliance, calling a plumber, or shutting off water to the property entirely. Once the source of water has been stopped, call the restoration professionals. SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and SERVPRO of Waltham / Weston / Watertown / Wayland has crews standing by 24/7 to respond to any size or type of water emergency. Our highly trained technicians will get to work immediately to restore your property to preloss conditions.
How Does Fingerprint Powder Work?
Who cleans up after a crime scene?
Human hands and fingers are covered in ridges that are formed at birth. Each person has their own unique set of ridges forming a specific singular fingerprint. Because of this, fingerprints can be an excellent way to identify who was at the scene of a crime if any are left behind on surfaces. Law enforcement has been using this technique for over a century to capture criminals. But how exactly does it work?
The ridges are made up of rows of sweat pores that are constantly secreting perspiration. This perspiration along with oil and grease from other parts of the body sticks to your fingerprints and can be transferred to other certain types of surfaces. Think of when a piece of scotch tape gets stuck to the tip of your finger, when you remove the tape, an impression of your fingerprint is left on the tape. The same thing happens when a criminal breaks into a home and touches a marble countertop or door handle. The prints will remain on the surface long after the perpetrator has left the building. Law enforcement can then lay down fingerprint powder on these surfaces to expose any prints left behind. Since your fingerprint is unique to only you, your prints prove without a doubt that you were in fact at that location.
If your property was the scene of a crime and law enforcement covered it in fingerprint powder, SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and SERVPRO of Watertown / Weston / Wayland / Waltham can clean it up. Removing fingerprint powder is a difficult task and can often ruin wooden surfaces, carpets, and paint. SERVPRO has highly trained professionals who can safely remove the powder from your property without damaging it.
Mold Growth Increases During Summer Months in Your Home
SERVPRO technician in full PPE and respirator wiping down kitchen table
It is that time of year when temperatures and humidity reach their highest levels. Homeowners venture into their basement or attics for the first time in months and discover a musty odor... uh oh! Molds are constantly moving through the air and their spores are so small they cannot be detected by the naked eye. You do not see mold until it lands on a damp surface and begins to colonize. Mold spores need organic materials to feed on in addition to water and warm temperatures. Because of these factors, your home is an excellent place for mold to spread. Mold can grow on drywall, wallpaper, insulation, ceiling tiles, under carpets, and numerous other materials in your home. It can be nearly impossible to notice until you have a serious problem on your hands. If you suspect mold is growing in your home you need to act quickly to keep it from spreading. As mentioned earlier, mold spores float in the air and if you have a large amount of mold in your home it can enter your HVAC system and spread to each room, colonizing any damp areas very fast. SERVPRO has been helping families in Lexington, Bedford, Lincoln, Watertown, Weston, Wayland, and Waltham remediate mold for over 40 years. Our technicians are highly trained and on standby 24/7 to help you. In addition to mold remediation we can clean your HVAC system if it has been contaminated and as water mitigation experts we can stop microbial growth at the source to prevent further outbreaks.
Introducing Construction Manager: Nelson Valada
Construction Manager Nelson Valada with his two dogs Pretzel and Rosie
We are ecstatic to officially introduce the newest member of our management team, Nelson Valada! Nelson is the Construction Manager here at SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland. He joined our team in February 2021 and hit the ground running. He has 20+ years in the construction industry working as a carpenter, general contractor, and construction supervisor with experience in both residential and commercial settings. He is well versed in many trades and has “a guy” for everything. He has an 11 year old son who is an awesome hockey player and is active in Arlington Town Hockey Leagues. He is a Somerville High School graduate and currently lives in Burlington with his wife, son, and two dogs; Pretzel and Rosie. Nelson and his family are avid animal lovers who have adopted several pets over the years. His meticulous nature and high standards in “fit and finish” are commonly complemented along with his pleasant and easy going demeanor. We are happy to welcome him aboard to our new (Re)-Construction team!
Read what Peter from Weston had to say about Nelson’s recent work at his home, “Your painters have done an absolutely marvelous job with the basement. Their meticulous work brings vibrancy to a drab old basement. Throughout the entire salvage operation, from decontaminating the sewage backflow, to restorative carpentry and painting, your men acted with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. My hat off to the team at SERVPRO: they are role models for the industry.”
If you are planning to remodel your bathroom, kitchen, basement, or attic this summer and are unsure of which contractor you can trust - look no further! Our franchises have been locally owned and operated for over 35 years - we live and work in this community too; we might even be neighbors and we are always here to help.