Recent Storm Damage Posts
Tips to Prepare Your Property for a Storm
Be sure your Massachusetts home is protected from storm damage
As we enter the summer months in Massachusetts the chances of severe storms will increase. Now is a good time to inspect the property of your home or business to be sure you are prepared. Here are some preventative measures you can take to protect your property.
- Trim trees and clear limbs. Heavy winds can push limbs into your home causing structural damage or broken windows. Heavy rainfall can cause trees with shallow root systems to pull out of the ground
- Secure fences. Be sure your fences are secured properly so they cannot be lifted from the ground and thrown against your home.
- Secure furniture. If you have patio furniture outdoors make sure it is secured to the ground or bring it inside. Also, be sure playground equipment and/or toys are stored.
- Check gutters. Inspect your gutters twice a year for any damage. Have downspouts carrying water away from your home and clear gutters of any debris to ensure proper flow.
- Protect critical areas. Your roof, windows, and doors are vulnerable during extreme weather. Consider shutters or board-ups if you expect hurricane-like conditions.
- Protect what is most important. Document high-value items in your home in case of an insurance claim. Protect important documents from water damage and secure them.
- Stock and emergency kit. Have food, water, flashlights, radio, cell phone charger, batteries, and basic first aid supplies in case you lose power for an extended period.
- Create an emergency plan. Have an evacuation plan ready that you and your family can rely on if needed.
If you experience storm damage at your home, call SERVPRO to repair it. We will work directly with your insurance company through the claim so you do not have to.
Is Storm Damage Tax Deductible?
Do you qualify for the casualty tax deduction?
As we enter hurricane preparedness week and consider all of the various ways to get ahead of storm damage, it occurred to me to also think about what happens after severe weather damages your property. You can be the most prepared, have the proper insurance, and still end up with significant damage that is not reimbursable. I sincerely hope this does not happen to you but if it does, here is some insight on tax deductions due to storm damage. The deduction is called, the casualty loss deduction and was designed by the government to help taxpayers who suffer financial losses due to storm damage. Much like insurance coverage, the loss must be caused by an event that is sudden, unexpected, or unusual. Instances could include lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, vandalism, riots, fires, floods, storms, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, car accidents, and shipwrecks. The deduction does not include normal wear and tear or accidental damage like your cat jumping on your 60-inch flatscreen TV and knocking it to the ground. Let’s say storm damage causes $15k worth of damage to your home. Your insurance, either by an endorsement or adjustment, will cover $10k of it and reimburse you. What about the remaining $5k? You can use the casualty loss deduction and write off $5k of taxable income when you file. I am oversimplifying this of course for the sake of explanation, you would be wise to hire a tax professional to walk you through exactly how to use this deduction. Nonetheless, you are now aware that you can use this deduction, which I hope you do not have to, to help mitigate the financial loss caused by storm damage.
Is Storm Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Review your insurance policy to see what storm damage is covered
As hurricane season approaches and extreme weather conditions continue to increase in severity, Massachusetts is sure to experience intense summer storms this year. You may be wondering, “Does homeowners insurance cover storm damage?” The answer is yes and no. In general, your policy will cover damage caused by lightning, hail, and wind. Most policies will not cover earthquakes and floods as those are separate types of insurance. You should review your policy to see what is covered, what is not, and if you need additional coverage. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding and/or earthquakes you may be required to buy additional coverage by your bank or lender as a part of your mortgage agreement. You can help limit storm damage by clearing storm drains around your property regularly. Conduct routine maintenance of sump pumps and have backup power for them in case you lose it. Inspect gutters and downspouts to make sure they are moving water away from your home. Check weatherstripping and caulking around any openings in your foundation like bulkheads and windows. Maintain grading around your property so that it is sloped away from the building. In some cases, installing a french drain to divert water is necessary to keep water out of your basement. If you do experience storm damage give us a call right away so we can begin mitigation as soon as possible. We will work with your insurance company directly so you don’t have to.
Seasonal Flooding & Tips to Prevent a Flooded Basement
Don't let your basement fill with water during seasonal flooding this year
We are approaching that time of year when snow and ice melt completely from surfaces across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Coupled with that, snowstorms become thunderstorms, further increasing the amount of water soaking the landscape. Melting and rain showers can also increase the flow in waterways. When flooding occurs, the channel of a river or stream is filled causing water to move into the floodplain, slowing down the flow of water. As the water slows it can carry less and less material. The sand, silt, leaves, and other materials that were once carried while water was moving swiftly down the channel are dropped into the floodplain causing a slower run downstream. All of this water has to go somewhere and with high water tables it may not be absorbed into the ground before reaching your home. Now would be a good time to check your foundation for any cracks and get them sealed. Check your sub pump and perform normal maintenance to be sure it is working properly. If you do not have a sub-pump and experience regular flooding in your basement, consider installing one. Check your gutters and downspouts to be sure they are routing water effectively away from your property. Check weatherstripping and caulking around any openings in your foundation like your bulkhead or windows. Maintain grading around your home to be sure it is sloped to move water away from the property. Do not plant too close to your home as they can crack concrete and restrict drainage. Consider installing a French Drain to divert water and prevent floods. If you do experience a flooded basement give us a call right away. We have crews standing by 24/7 to respond to emergencies and mitigate damage.
Preparing for Winter Weather
Make sure your property is prepared for winter weather and you have a plan in place
Today is the official start of winter here in the northeast. Winter storms can be intense and devastating to our local communities. Like any other disaster that may strike, a preparedness plan goes a long way in preventing damage to your property. Be sure you have a plan in place and communicate it with your family and friends.
You will want to weatherproof your home to protect it from cold temperatures. Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls so you do not get frozen pipes. Weatherstrip doors and windows where needed. Check to see if any walls need insulation, as well as the attic. If you do not have storm or thermal-pane windows, cover them with plastic from the inside. Repair any leaks in your roof and cut away tree branches that are close to your home. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected if you use a fireplace or woodstove. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as fire extinguishers. Have your furnace inspected by a qualified technician. If you do experience storm damage or burst pipes give us a call and we can restore your property immediately to keep your family safe during the winter months.
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.
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."
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.
Storm Damage in 2021
Just because it is a new year does not mean storms in New England will show any mercy. Storm damage does not play favorites and can affect any property anywhere, anytime.
Here at SERVPRO we know and understand this. Our team stays ahead of schedule by preparing for storm damages and the aftermath. We always have the necessary equipment ready and have members of our professional team on stand-by, ready to go. If your house or property experiences damage due to a storm, stay as calm as possible and allow our professional crew to make it life easier for you. Always look out for your safety first and foremost during storm damage or when thunder strikes. Never do something outdoors that would put you or others at risk.
Thunderstorms occur year-round and can happen at any time. According to weather.com, more than 1,800 Thunderstorms occur on planet earth every day.
We all know thunderstorms are prevalent when we see thunder and lightning, but few consider how catastrophic thunderstorms can be when it comes to storm damage. With thunderstorms, comes heavy rain and strong, potent winds. Some people enjoy watching thunderstorms from inside their homes, but thunderstorms can wreak havoc on residential and commercial property due to the potential of flooding.
Keep in mind that thunderstorms often lead to unexpected floodings. When the flooding soaks the floor and carpet, the drying process is essential. Drying the carpets and floors efficiently after a flood is important because by doing so, one can prevent a terrible odor from culminating and stop microbial growth.
When thunderstorms affect your home or business, do not fear, SERVPRO is here 24/7 and ready to help! Our team of experts are well-trained and more than ready to assist in water damage clean up whenever you need it!
Stay Alert during Summer Thunderstorms
In the past week, mother nature has given us some really nice summer days with the weather getting up to 90 degrees.
With that said, scattered summer thunderstorms can blow by even in the summer. If we know anything about New England, it's that the weather can be very unpredictable.Rainfall, even in the summer, can be intense and overwhelming.
Office Building Floods
An office building in Burlington, Mass. experienced an unexpected flood as a result of torrential rains recently.
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.
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, we suggested downloading our free Emergency Ready Plan (ERPs) to create and store a plan digitally which will help expedite a disaster response if something should go wrong in the future.
Call us, the Professional leaders in fire and water restoration.
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. We always offer 24/7 Emergency Service and always have team members on-call ready to help.
Always be Prepared with our Ready Plan App
Those who live in New England know how unpredictable the weather can be, even in the summer time. Believe it or not, despite how nice the weather can get in the summer, we can still experience severe thunderstorms. When Summer time is over, the fall and winter can bring in cold blasts, heavy snow, and bomb cyclones, just like the one we had to endure just two years ago.
So no matter what time of the year it is, always be prepared by having our SERVPRO Ready Plan App ready to go. It is a free and useful download for all smartphones, so what are you waiting for?
Home owners and business owners creating a plan for their building will make everyones job easier if an emergency ever occurs.
What can the SERVPRO Ready Plan do?
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:
- 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.
What makes this Ready plan great is the fact it is easy to share if you choose to do so.
By storing this information in the Ready Plan App, you will also be able to quickly share it with others: baby sitters or dog walkers, etc.
Keep small problems from becoming major disasters!
This is your tool for your preparation and protection. And of course, when you need us, we will be there for you! We continue to offer 24/7 Emergency Services and always have professional crew members on-call ready to go!
Lightning Safety Week 2020
2020 has been full of curveballs so far but this is something we can get ahead of. In a few weeks is National Lightning Safety Awareness week. June 21st to June 27th to be exact. The annual week for this is important because it raises awareness and is a great reminder on how to stay safe when lightning occurs. This week was created 20 years ago and Lightning fatalities have decreased significantly ever since.
1 Bolt of Lightning is so potent it is more than 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun! A heat 5 times hotter than a summer sun? Crazy!
In America, lightning strikes the ground around 25 million times each year and causes 28 fatalities per year on average.
Many victims were caught in storms during work and leisure activities while their attention was not focused on the weather change around them. Water-related activities made up 34% of these fatalities. Always make sure to mind your surroundings and to be cognizant of what is going on.
Always make sure to monitor the weather forecast. DO NOT go in the water or swimming if the forecast calls for rain, thunder or lightning. When lightning occurs, do not touch electrical equipment, do not do plumbing of any sort, do not hang out on the porch or balconies.
Lightning can enter structures by either a direct strike, through wires or pipes that extend outside and through the ground. It is important to seek shelter in either a building with electricity and plumbing or a metal-topped vehicle with the windows closed.
Always keep all of this in mind and have a safe & fun summer!
Flooding Safety Guide this Summer
In the summer, storms pose a risk for floods. It is always a great idea to be prepared and protect your property before damage happens.
First order of business is to get familiar with our Emergency Ready Plans (ERPs). Contact our office at 781-861-0500 and someone on our marketing team will be more than happy to explain how our ERPs work and how they can be beneficial. Having an ERP in place before damage happens allows us to mitigate the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency always has great tips and advice on flood safety.
Some advice from us during a Flood storm:
1. Never try to walk, swim or drive through a flood storm.
2. Always make sure your drains and gutters are not cluttered in the summer time.
3. Only save what you have to save if you experience a severe flood storm
SERVPRO 24/7 Emergency Services
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. We always have members on-call and ready to help whenever you need.
Call as soon as possible to begin water damage restoration!
SERVPRO is faster to Any Size Disaster
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, SERVPRO is still fully functional and offers 24/7 Emergency Services. While many storms and hurricanes can be unpredictable and inflict damage, SERVPRO stays on top of things and is immediately ready to help if a disaster affects your property.
Sometimes we never think the impossible can happen to us and we overlook it. Take the COVID-19 crisis for example. Then unfortunate situations do arise and we have to be prepared and ready when they do. Everyone needs to know exactly what to do in an effort to stay safe and minimize damage.
Hurricane Preparedness Week
Hurricane preparedness week usually occurs every spring. This year its the week of May 3rd 2020 to May 9th 2020. It's objective is to raise awareness and help people across the world have a plan in place if they experience a hurricane or storm damage.
Please check out our Youtube channel: SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford to see videos of our Emergency Ready Plan and learn about handy tips during storms. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH1H-bPGH17xXSHsJ_HYMpw
Let Us Help You
If you experience hurricane or storm damage and need restoration services, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team is experienced, highly trained and ready to help as soon as they are notified.
781-861-0500 24/7 Emergency Services
Summer Storm Safety in Bedford, Mass.
Thunderstorms can cause flash floods and other storm damage in a matter of minutes.
Many summer storms in Bedford, Mass. appear to arise out of nowhere. Sunny skies suddenly darken and fill with angry storm clouds. Within minutes a beautiful day gives way to torrential downpours that bring lightning, hail, and high winds
How does this happen?
Bright sunshine warms the air below. When the warm air below meets cool air above, the change in temperature creates clouds, rain, and an unsettled atmosphere. The same effect can be created when cool air blows in from the ocean or a cold front comes through the area.
Summer Storm Safety
Make no mistake: Summer thunderstorms are dangerous. Sudden downpours can overwhelm storm drain systems leading to flash flooding. You may have visibility issues while driving through the rain. Even the most experienced drivers may have to contend with other, inexperienced drivers on the road.
If you see a storm on the horizon while driving, consider finding a safe spot to park and wait out the violent weather.
Know the Forecast
Awareness is key to avoiding injury during summer storms. Check the weather forecast if you plan to spend time outdoors. Keep an eye on the sky and listen for weather alerts when thunderstorms are forecast.
Understand the difference between weather warnings and watches. A storm WARNING means that a storm is imminent in your area. A storm WATCH means a storm might be on the way.
When you see lightning or hear thunder, it is time to head indoors for safety. Stay away from water as it is an excellent conductor of electricity.
Once inside, avoid taking a shower or running water. Do not talk on corded landline telephones as the electricity can travel through the line. Stay away from windows so you are safe from lightning strikes and blown debris.
Storm Damage Cleanup
After the storm, call SERVPRO if you experience flooding or other storm damage to your home or place of business. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”
Sump Pump Fails in Bedford, Mass.
Sump pump fails and floods basement
Here in New England, we were hammered hard with storms in the month of March. Downed trees, power outages, and localized flooding created headaches for much of Massachusetts.
Bedford, Mass. Sump Pump Fail
SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford was called to a sump pump failure in Bedford, Mass. The owner was out of the country, so we worked with his local agent.
Upon arrival at the home, we found the entire basement floor was wet and water had wicked up the walls. Fortunately, this was not a finished basement, so the loss was not as great to contents and flooring as we have seen for others.
Extraction and Prep
Our certified water damage restoration technicians suited up in personal protective equipment (PPE) and extracted all remaining Category 2 water. They set up a HEPA-filtered air filtration device to scrub particulates out of the air and applied a botanical anti-microbial product to the walls and floor.
To dry the area, our crew installed five axial air movers (fans) to speed up evaporation of water out of the affected walls and floor and an LGR dehumidifier to pull the moisture out of the air. The basement dried in three days, and the crew wrapped up the job by pressure washing the floor.
Flood Restoration Professionals
Our franchise has been serving Bedford for over thirty years. Our certified technicians have the tools and expertise to make your water damage, “Like it never even happened.”
Storm Team has arrived!
Locally Owned and Operated
Ice dams and burst pipes are making this the most disastrous winter in our SERVPRO history. We have been inundated with calls for both issues due to the extreme snow and cold temperatures. However, what sets SERVPRO apart is our ability to mobilize and work together all across this country whenever an event like this happens. We have Storm Team here to assist is loss mitigation so please keep calling us and 1-800-SERVPRO.