Recent Posts

Cleaning Mold in Wayland, Mass.

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

Lower humidity in your home to avoid mold

Mold spores are everywhere. They circulate in the air looking for ideal conditions for growth. Cold may suppress their growth, but mold grows in a refrigerator when given enough time, moisture, and food.

To keep mold and other microbes from growing in your home, you must keep the humidity below 60 percent. When the humidity rises above 60 percent, mold can grow on fabrics, carpets, dry wall, and other organic materials. 

Mold in Wayland Home

For example, we were called to inspect microbial growth on the wood ceilings of a house in Wayland, Mass. Upon arrival our estimator found ideal conditions for mold growth inside the home—75 degrees and 74.3 percent humidity.

Our estimator advised running the air conditioner during hot weather to help pull humidity from the air.

He also suggested installing a large dehumidifier that drains to a sink or drain in order to keep the humidity low enough through the summer to prevent microbial growth.

Cleaning the Microbial Growth

Our technicians used a HEPA-filtered vacuum on the ceilings to remove visible microbial growth and applied an all-natural, anti-microbial solution to discourage future growth.

They also ran an air filtration device to pull spores and other particulates out of the air.

Cleaning the Ducts

We also had to clean the duct system in the home.

A thorough duct cleaning removed any microbial growth and excess spores hiding in the HVAC system.

Not Your Neighbor’s Bleach Solution

At SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland, we pride ourselves on using the best science and technology to remediate mold and other microbes. Our technicians are trained and certified to industry standards through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.  

Some people may tell you all you need to do is spray some bleach when you see microbial growth. Bleach will not:

  • Address the cause of the growth
  • Filter spores from the air
  • Clean microbes from your ducts

And bleach can damage surfaces. In this case, bleach would have ruined the finish on the homeowner’s wood ceilings.

Call When You See Mold

When you find microbial growth in your home, trust our franchise professionals to get to the source of the problem and help you provide a healthy environment for your family. 

Call our office at 781-647-9100 as soon as you see mold, so we can contain the problem before it gets worse. 

Sewage Backup in Watertown Commercial Building

7/12/2019 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO for speedy restoration following a commercial sewage loss

Cleaning raw sewage is not a task for the faint of stomach. Sewage not only smells terrible but can also pose a health risk for anyone in the building.

Watertown Sewage Backup

When the owner of a commercial building in Watertown, Mass. discovered a backup from the sewer main into the unfinished basement, he called us immediately. We arrived and found Category 3 water—also known as “black water”—had affected the floor and lower walls and left solid debris on the floor.

Where To Start

Faced with a scene like this, you might not know where to begin. Your best bet is to contact cleaning and restoration professionals to guide you through the process.

In this case, our estimator was able to help the building owner understand the scope of the contamination and create a plan to clean and dry the basement.

What To Do

Our technicians donned their personal protective equipment and installed a 500 CFM HEPA-filtered air filtration device to collect airborne particulates, including bacteria, mold, and microbial spores.

They mucked out remaining solids on the floor and they removed and discarded contaminated subfloor and sleepers.

The crew also washed the floors and walls and applied a botanical anti-microbial solution to discourage the growth of mold and other microbes.

They finished by setting up fans and a dehumidifier to dry the area.

Back In Business

If your commercial building suffers a sewage backup, your tenants are relying on you to get it clean as soon as possible. Call the restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”

Your Landlord Does Not Insure Your Contents

7/12/2019 (Permalink)

Tenant's insurance is necessary to protect against fire losses

House fires are the biggest challenge we face in restoration cleaning. Not only must we dry any water damage associated with putting the fire out and clean the soot, we also have to assess what can be restored help occupants come to terms with their losses.

Despite our training and experience, we never find it easy to deliver bad news, and the worst bad news is that a tenant's fire loss is not covered by insurance.

Landlord Limitations

The common misconception that a landlord’s insurance policy will cover a tenant’s contents costs tenants thousands of dollars a year in lost contents and cleaning bills.

In many cases, fires cost tenants everything they own.

Affordable Renter’s Insurance

It does not have to be that way. Renter’s insurance is reasonably priced given the peace of mind it brings.

Tenants who own cars can often get a discount when bundling renter’s insurance.

Depending on the policy, tenants may even get additional protections for theft outside the home or liability coverage. 

Landlord’s Insurance

Insurance for landlords differs from regular homeowners insurance because it only covers the structure.

When we are called to a job with tenants, we are not allowed to touch contents until we have verified renter’s insurance or confirmed the tenant will pay for services performed on their contents.

If there is no contents’ coverage and no commitment to pay, we will clean the walls, ceiling, and floors, but that is about it.

Similar Fires, Different Results

Two similar jobs can have very different results.

For one job, we were called to a home where a short circuit started an oven range fire that spread soot throughout whole house.

The landlord’s insurance covered removing soot from the outside of the cabinets and closets along with the walls, ceilings, and floors.

However, we were not permitted to open the closets or cabinets or to clean any contents because the tenant had no renter’s insurance.

In contrast, an electric short caused a fire in a closet of two-story condominium in Weston which affected all rooms on both floors and the attic.

The tenant in this case had renter’s insurance. Her insurance covered the $4000 invoice for the contents' restoration, while the landlord’s insurance covered the $15,000 invoice for structural restoration.

Losing Everything in a Fire

When a four-unit Waltham apartment building built in the 19th century had a fire a few years ago, the city’s fire inspector declared the building unsafe for entry. Tenants were locked out and unable to access their contents.

The owners learned that restoration on a building that old would require permissions from the city’s historical commission, and they decided a rebuild was cost prohibitive.

Rather than hiring a restoration company, the owners left the condemned building as is and sold off the property.

The tenants lost everything that remained locked up in the condemned building. Those who did not have renter’s insurance received no compensation.

What Do You Have To Lose?

If you or someone you know rents but does not have renter’s insurance, consider how much is at stake.

Take ten minutes to explore how much a renter’s policy would cost. Consider that whatever it costs, tenant's insurance protects against a devastating financial loss. 

We hope you never suffer a fire loss, but if you do, we hope you are properly insured.

Thunderstorms Cause Unexpected Flooding

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Thunderstorms cause local floods

Scattered summer thunderstorms blew through Bedford and Lexington over the weekend.

Many neighboring towns saw only sunshine, but in those areas that experienced the storms, the rainfall was intense and overwhelming.

Office Building Floods

An office building in Burlington, Mass. experienced an unexpected flood as a result of torrential rains on Saturday.

The building owner said he watched the water quickly rise several inches above the ground level door jamb and start pouring into the building. The water flowed behind the walls and soaked an office carpet.

Drainage Issues

Water has not flowed in through this door in past storms, so the building owner suspects that a clogged underground drainpipe leading to a catch basin backed up.

He plans to repair the drainage to prevent future floods, but this goes to show flooding can happen anywhere, even on lots with preventive systems in place.

Importance of Drying

The owner thought he contained the problem by mopping up behind the flood, but several days later his tenant complained of a musty smell in the office.

Drying out porous materials like carpet and drywall is key to preventing microbial growth, so we are sending a crew to apply a botanical anti-microbial solution and set up fans and a dehumidifier to completely dry the area.

Emergency Ready Plan

In addition, our marketing team is working with the building owner to create an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) to expedite his disaster response if something should go wrong in the future.

Call the Professionals

When thunderstorms strike in our area, SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland is available around the clock to respond to your flood emergency.

Our professional water damage restoration crews will get your building dry the first time and discourage further damage from mold and other microbes.

Thermal Imaging Cameras Reveal Hidden Water

7/2/2019 (Permalink)

Thermal imaging camera detects changes in temperature that can indicate water

When you have a water damage, the water you see is only part of the problem. The water you do not see, behind walls or beneath floors, poses a risk as well.

If you do not dry all the water, then you will likely have secondary damage from mold or other microbes.

Thermal Imaging Cameras

Our productions managers may use thermal imaging cameras to help determine where water may be hiding out of sight. These cameras draw attention to changes in temperature.

If we see a spot that registers much cooler than the area surrounding it without a good reason for the temperature difference, we know to check that spot with a moisture meter to see whether excess water is hiding there.

You might wonder why we do not simply use the moisture meter on every surface.

The moisture meter must touch the surface in the spot with the moisture to measure it. We could spend all day sticking the meter on every spot in the building, or we can use the thermal imaging camera to quickly scan and see the spots that merit further investigation.

Get It Right the First Time

After a water damage, you need a restoration crew that can dry your building completely the first time.

At SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland, our production managers are equipped with the latest technology, including moisture meters, thermal imaging cameras, and DryBook.

Call us at the first sign of a water damage. We are available 24 hours a day to take your call and determine the best strategy for restoring your building.

Water Extraction Machines

7/2/2019 (Permalink)

Water extraction expedites the drying process

When you have standing water or saturated carpet following a water damage, we need to remove as much of the water as we can before setting up fans and dehumidifiers.

The more water we are able to extract, the faster your building will dry.

Truck-Mounted Extractors

At SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland, we prefer to use a truck-mounted water extraction machine like the one in this photo.

This is the same machine we use to clean carpets and extract the dirty water after cleaning. Truck-mounted extractors work very quickly and do not need to be emptied as often.

Portable Extraction Machines

If your loss is located too far from the truck or above the third  floor, we will use a portable water extraction machine instead.

These machines are far more powerful than your standard workshop vacuum and shorten the drying process.

Professional Equipment

Our franchise professionals are trained and certified Water Damage Technicians using professional drying equipment. You can count on us to dry your building using the latest science and technology to shorten the restoration time and minimize costs.

Call us as soon as you notice flooding, so we can extract the water and begin drying as soon as possible.

Waltham, Mass: Be Prepared with the Ready Plan App

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

Be Prepared with the Ready Plan App

Every season in New England has its challenging weather systems. Summer thunderstorms give way to tropical storms that find their way north in the fall. Winter brings cold blasts, snowfall, and even bomb cyclones.

No matter what time of year, you can be prepared for building disasters by planning ahead.

The SERVPRO® Ready Plan App (App Store  or Google Play) is a great, free tool for creating an emergency plan for any building. At SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford & of Waltham / Weston / Watertown / Wayland, we urge all facility managers and homeowners to create plans for their buildings.

Utility Shutoffs

Many clients tell us the water main shutoff is the most important information in our Ready Plan.

When you have a burst pipe or hot water heater failure, cutting off the water supply is the first step in mitigating the water damage. If you have to wait for a plumber to arrive and show you the water shutoff, you will have a much bigger problem—to the tune of thousands of dollars—than if you had shut off the water main immediately. 

The SERVPRO Ready Plan App will walk you through finding and photographing all of your critical utility shutoffs, so you know where they are when you need them.

Contact Info

The Ready Plan also requests key contact information so you can store phone numbers, email addresses, even account numbers of critical emergency contacts including those for:

  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Plumber
  • HVAC
  • Non-emergency Police and Fire numbers

You can customize the contacts and include any information you know you might need, all in one place on your phone.

Easy to Share

By storing this information in the Ready Plan App, you will also be able to quickly share it with others—like a house sitter or dog walker—and keep small problems from becoming major disasters.

All your information is password protected. This is your tool for your preparation and protection.

Check out the SERVPRO Ready Plan today to be prepared all winter long. Of course, should something go wrong and you need a quality restoration company, we are available 24/7 to handle your building emergency at 781-647-9100.

Watertown, Mass. Sewer Backup

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

Emergency sewage cleanup

Who do you call when pressure in the sewer line causes a backup through all of your drains? If you are a tenant, you call your landlord, of course. If your landlord is conscientious and caring, he calls SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford & of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland to get the mess cleaned up as soon as possible.

Sewer Backup in Watertown, Mass.

For example, one afternoon a Watertown tenant was actually sitting on the throne when work on the sewer line created pressure that forced everything in reverse.

A rather unpleasant experience to say the least.

At 4:00 p.m., the landlord called us because he needed the mess cleaned right away so the home would be habitable that evening.

Fast Response

Our crew arrived on site about an hour later.

What a mess! Sewage had spewed out the kitchen sink and across the floor, out the shower drain into the tub, and up through the toilet.

Fortunately, our technicians are well versed in sewage cleanup. They cleaned, disinfected, and left the home “Like it never even happened.”

The tenants were back in their home within hours of the intrusion.

When you have a sewage problem in your Watertown home or business, call SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland for a fast response and thorough cleaning.

Commercial Disaster Restoration in Waltham

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

Waltham Commercial Disaster Restoration

Who do you trust when your business is struck by a fire or flood? In Waltham, you can trust franchise professionals backed by over 40 years of experience in the industry.

SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford & of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in any weather ready to respond to your commercial disaster.

Our crews have certifications in fire and water restoration from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. And we offer a 1-4-8 promise to commercial clients. 

Our Commitment

Our 1-4-8 promise means that we will respond quickly to your commercial emergency.

One, no matter what time of day or night, we will call you back within one hour. Four, we will have a crew onsite beginning mitigation services within four hours. Eight, our production will communicate the scope of the mitigation and expected cost to your insurance carrier or property manager within eight business hours. 

Putting Business First

We understand that few businesses can afford to take time off to deal with disasters. Our franchise professionals focus on the needs of your business when planning a mitigation strategy. We provide outstanding, timely restoration that gets your organization back to work as soon as possible. 

Nationwide Support

SERVPRO has over 1700 franchises in the US and Canada. When disaster strikes here in Massachusetts, we can call in resources from neighboring states or across the country if need be. You can trust us to rise to the occasion no matter how big your facility or the extent of damage across our region. 

Planning for Disaster

No one wants to think about the worst before it happens, but up to 40 percent of businesses that close following a disaster will not reopen. Of those that do reopen, 75 percent had a disaster recovery plan in place. 

We encourage businesses to make a plan to survive disasters in advance. In fact, we will send out a representative to help your organization create an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) free of charge. 

VIP Priority

In addition to making a solid plan to survive a disaster and get back in business as soon as possible, completing an ERP with our franchise puts you on our priority response list.

When widespread disaster strikes (floods, freezing pipes, ice dams, etc.), your organization will jump ahead of those on our waiting list who do not have an ERP in place.

Call our office today to schedule an ERP. We want to help you be “Ready for whatever happens.”

Flooding Safety in Bedford, MA

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

Floods and What You Should Know

Summer storms pose a risk for floods. When floods damage your property, repairs will not be covered by your homeowner's insurance.

There are many ways you can prepare and protect your property from a flood.

How to Prepare

To start, you can prepare your property for any potential danger by creating an Emergency Ready Profile. Having an ERP allows you to have peace of mind and also allows us to quickly mitigate any damage caused by a flood.

FEMA has some great tips on how to stay safe during a flood.

-Gather supplies in case you have to abruptly leave your property

-Declutter drains and gutters in or around your property

-Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters

-Move to higher ground or floor if you cannot evacuate

Staying Safe

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States.

Did you know standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding? To make a claim you must have coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

It is important to know the types of flood risk in your area and to sign up for your community's warning system. Floods can occur with little to no warning and develop quickly. Just six inches of water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

It's always best to think ahead so if this natural disaster occurs in your area, you are prepared.

Flood Damage Restoration

Flood damage that cannot be avoided can often be minimized with the proper water damage response. Our emergency crews are available to dry and restore your property should your home or office suffer a flood.

Call as soon as possible to begin water damage restoration