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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

How to Prevent Commercial Fire Sprinklers from Freezing

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

Mineral fiber insulation is one of the primary ways to reduce the risk of sprinkler system from freezing. Although insulation alone may not prevent freezing when temperatures are cold enough for an extended period, properly installed insulation can significantly reduce the chance of sprinkler systems freezing.

A basic knowledge of heat flow will make clear how insulation is used to reduce the chance of sprinkler pipes freezing, according to the Insulation Institute.

How Heat Flow Works

Heat moves from warm areas to cold areas, and insulation slows the flow of heat. Insulation does not stop heat flow, so it is important that the pipes are installed in areas within or close to the heated part of the building and insulation is placed between the sprinkler system pipes and the colder outside.

Insulation’s property to slow heat flow is expressed as R-value. The greater the R-value the greater the ability to slow heat flow. It is important that the heating system remains on to supply heat to the building. If the heating system fails and the temperature goes below freezing for a long enough time the heat in the water will move to the colder areas and the pipes may freeze.

Another strategy to reduce the chance of pipes freezing is to use “heat tracing,” which is a flexible electric resistance heating element typically controlled by a thermostat, which is wrapped around the pipe to supply heat when needed, but this will not help when the electric power is out.

Options for Using Insulation to Reduce Freezing

Properly installed mineral fiber insulation is a practical method to reduce the chance of wet pipe systems (or those that always contain water) from freezing. Below are illustrations to show some possible designs for insulation systems for fire sprinkler systems which contain water. Note there are many other acceptable systems which will reduce the chance of sprinkler systems freezing and the systems shown are not guaranteed to prevent pipes from freezing.

Ice Dams and Roof Damage Caused by Winter Storms

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

Cold weather, snow, and ice storms can cause severe damage like ice dams and roof damages to your home or business. When these types of disasters strike, immediate action is necessary to prevent additional damage to your property. 

An ice dam is formed when snow melts unevenly on a roof and refreezes into a dam at the edge of the roof, near the eaves. This dam prevents any further snowmelt from draining off of the roof. This standing water can back up under shingles, leak into a home, and cause significant water damage to ceilings, walls, and other areas. Ice dams can also tear off gutters and loosen shingles.

Snow and ice can cause significant damage to your gutters and roof. The additional weight of snow and ice can even cause a roof to collapse. When there’s a cold snap, water can get into cracks and small spaces and expand when it freezes, causing larger cracks and more damage. The repetition of freezing and thawing cycles can cause small cracks to get larger.

Be Informed. Be Prepared.

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

Flooding happens during heavy rains, when rivers overflow, when ocean waves come onshore, when snow melts too fast, or when dams or levees break. This is the most common natural-weather event. Flooding may be only a few inches of water or it may cover a house to therooftop. Floods that happen very quickly are called flash floods.

What to do Before

  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • Tell an adult if you hear a flood warning on the TV or radio.

During

  • Listen to authorities and safety officials.
  • If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
  • Help your family move important items to an upper floor.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Even 6” of water can make you fall.

After

  • Stay away from flood water. It could be contaminated, meaning contain dangerous substances.
  • Stay away from moving water. It can knock you off your feet.
  • Stay out of the way of emergency workers so they can do their job easily.

SERVPRO - The Most Trusted Restoration Company with over 50 years of Expertise

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

Ted and Doris Isaacson launched SERVPRO in 1967 as a painting business in Sacramento, Calif. With a background in cleaning and restoration, however, Ted and Doris soon transformed the company into a franchisor of cleanup and restoration specialists.

After selling its first Franchise in 1969, SERVPRO continued to grow, acquiring the Bristol-Myers Domesticare Division and its 175 Franchises in 1979.

SERVPRO relocated the corporate headquarters from Sacramento to Gallatin, TN, in 1988 in a strategic move to place itself within 600 miles of 50% of the U.S. population.

At the time of the relocation, the SERVPRO System consisted of 647 Franchises.

SERVPRO Corporate quickly became a key contributor in its community, and in 1991 the Nashville Business Journal named SERVPRO the Small Business of the Year. In the meantime the company continued its impressive growth, selling the 1,000th Franchise in 2000. Learn more about our Awards and Recognition.

In 2005, SERVPRO moved to a 140,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Gallatin to provide more room for expansion.

With a proud history, a successful present and a bright future, SERVPRO will press on toward becoming the premier cleaning and restoration company in the world.

The Power of Essential Oils

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

Have you ever worried about the antimicrobial products that you use? Sure they do the job but are they toxic? Are they suitable for use around children, pets, the chemically-sensitive or the elderly? Are they environmentally responsible & sustainable? Botanical products are the answer to all of these questions.

How can a disinfectant be less toxic than vinegar?

In nature, plants produce germ-killing 'essential oils' to protect themselves from invading microbes, similar to how our bodies produce antibodies for our protection. Benefect is a revolutionary blend of these antimicrobial extracts, particularly from the herb Thyme, and achieves remarkable efficacy ...without using any traditional synthetic chemicals

Here at SERVPRO we use Benefact. And people have asked what do we mean when we say Benefect is authentically botanical? “Authentic” is defined as not false or copied, genuine, real. “Botanical” means a substance obtained from a plant. Benefect was the world’s first and is still the ONLY authentically botanical disinfectant technology. It doesn’t use synthetic active ingredients but contains thyme and other essential oils, that are nonhazardous and sustainable, to kill the germs.

SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury Offers Air Duct Cleaning Too

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

According to the National Air Ducts Cleaners Association (NADCA) Air Duct cleaning is an important component to improving indoor air quality and having a healthy home.  In addition to normal accumulations of dust and dirt found in all homes with air ducts, there are several other factors that can increase the need for regular HVAC system cleaning:

  • pets
  • occupants with allergies or asthma
  • cigarette or cigar smoke
  • water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
  • home renovation or remodeling projects

Some occupants are more sensitive to these contaminants than others. Allergy and asthma sufferers, as well as young children and the elderly tend to be more susceptible to the types of poor indoor air quality that air duct cleaning can help address.

 Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. Make it a priority to inspect the ductwork of your home or business.

If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating odors, dust and other contaminates.

SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury routinely inspect the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC).  Keeping them clean can extend the life of the equipment. This can in turn save you money and give you cleaner air to breathe.

Storms Causes Flooding

1/25/2019 (Permalink)

A powerful front crossing west to east across New England with torrential rain and melting snow resulted in flooding and wind gust past 50 mph with a thunderstorm.

This combination of heavy rain and warm temperatures melted large piles plenty of snow in New England on Friday. And with many storm drains still blocked by snow and ice, localized flooding occurred in streets, low river banks and in particular, many homeowners’ basements.

When your home or commercial property has water damage from flooding or leaks, we have the expertise and equipment to properly restore your property. SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury's experience and scientific approach to water removal and water cleanup enable us to properly dry and restore your property.

Pipe Freezing Season

1/24/2019 (Permalink)

It’s January in New England, which means Pipe Freezing Season! Anyone who has experienced this unexpected disaster knows the extent to which it can cause damage and disruption to the comfort and security to your home. In addition, it is a common misnomer to think this only happens when you are away or when a home is vacated.   

     When water freezes, it expands and sadly what most people do not know is that even metal cannot contain this tremendous expansion. The pipes most susceptible to freezing are outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supplies lines and water sprinkler lines are water supply pipes contained in unheated interior areas like basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, and even kitchen cabinets. These pipes run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

    Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we! SERVPRO Norwood/West Roxbury provides emergency water restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In trouble? Give us a call and we will be there ASAP!

SERVPRO FRAMINGHAM NEWTON/WELLESLEY ACQUIRES NEW LOCATION IN WESTWOOD!

1/18/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Framingham, Newton/Wellesley has expanded resources available to you by acquiring SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury. These combined franchises will now service towns as far west as Hopkinton and as far east towards the Dedham/Norwood region.

Dave Kurzontkowski, Licensed Contractor and former Insurance Agent and his wife Jill, purchased SERVPRO of Framingham in 2009 and subsequently SERVPRO of Newton Wellesley in 2015.

Dave and his team have earned an impeccable reputation in the area because of their excellent work ethic, congeniality and professionalism. This dedicated SERVPRO team is able to ease the stress and anxiety of customers experiencing difficult situations. A resident of Hopkinton commented after using SERVPRO of Framingham, Newton/Wellesley and Norwood/West Roxbury services, “I was truly impressed by their utmost professionalism, courtesy, and competency, and thoroughly cleaned up nicely after each job.“

The new location of SERVPRO of Norwood/WestRoxury, covers the towns of Norwood, Westwood, Dedham and West Roxbury.

SERVPRO has earned the title of trusted leader in the restoration industry with highly trained technicians committed to responding faster than any competitor to any size disaster, big or small. Offering 24-hour emergency service and providing the training and expertise to handle your immediate cleaning needs as well as the long term commitment to restore your property to a condition equivalent to “Like it never even happened.”®

Strategically located to be faster to getting to you when your need is greatest, SERVPRO also follows up with highly trained restoration technicians in advanced restoration, remodeling and renovation including custom carpentry.

SERVPRO Norwood/West Roxbury now offers Remodeling Services

1/17/2019 (Permalink)

It is hard to put into words what the reality is like when a homeowner or business owner experiences emotional devastation due to destruction of property by fire, invasive mold or flooding. Whether it happens to your home, the safe place that is the source of protection for your family or if it happens to the place that is the source of your livelihood, you are left feeling helpless and vulnerable. This unexpected trauma reaches you in stages, first you are in shock, second you attempt to make sense of the situation and think about possible solutions, and thirdly you call someone to assist you in the process of recovery. Making the right call to the right service that will see you through from start to finish without abandonment at any point in the process is critical to your future happiness and security. SERVPRO Norwood/West Roxburyis that service. If you call SERVPRO you will have made your first step toward complete recovery.

SERVPRO is now a one stop service, a company that offers restoration, renovation and complete rebuilding to reverse your devastating loss and to do so “Like it never even happened.” ®. When your needs are greatest, you want the most expertise full service company available locally and that is SERVPRO Norwood/West Roxbury.

There are additional benefits in choosing SERVPRO. One being that 95% of our work is dealing with renovations that entails insurance adjusters, insurance companies, and insurance agents.We welcome being the middleman because then we can ensure a smooth and continuous transition from the first moment of loss to the application of finishing touches. SERVPRO owner Dave Kurzontkowski is a Licensed Contractor, a former Insurance Agent, and an extremely knowledgeable restoration and renovation expert.

Our team of technicians, designers and construction crew are focused on every detail and will work with you, walking you through the entire collaborative process. Our quality craftsmanship and mastery will be displayed in your end product of a beautifully restored home or business so that you will feel “Like it never even happened.” ®

What To Do After A Flood

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Floods can be caused by a variety of things and you will want to implement these practices to ensure the safety of you and your home, as well as having the best outcome with your insurance.

Avoid Risks

If you had to evacuate, make sure it is safe before you return. Check for any warping, cracked foundations, or other structural damage before entering the home. You may also want to speak to your utility companies to be sure it is safe from things such as electric or gas.

Health

The water that is now in your home could be contaminated by sewage. It is recommended that you wear waist high waders or waterproof boots that come waist high. Also, dispose of any food that comes in contact with the water.

Take Pictures

Before doing anything to your home after a flood be sure to take photos or videos of your home to prove the damage to your insurance company.

Contact your insurance provider

Make sure you have your insurance company's phone number in case you experience a flood. Let your insurance representative know the extent of the damage to your home and of any repairs you wish to make. 

Clean Up

This is where SERVPRO steps in. We will help remove water from your house and afterwards mitigate mold so that there are no long lasting negative effect on you or your house.

Winterizing Your Car

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Winter driving conditions can be hazardous due to factors such as snow and ice on the road. While it’s important that you are prepared for winter driving, it is also important that your car is up for the challenge. It is recommended that you winterize your car before the winter season to make sure your car can handle the winter road conditions.

Install winter wipers

These come equipped with rubber that keeps ice from collecting on the blades. Just be sure to remove them when spring rolls around. As winter wipers are heavier than regular ones, keeping them on all the time increases the risk of burning the motor out too soon.

Mount winter tires

If you live in a place that experiences extreme cold winter temperatures, it is recommended that you install winter tires when winterizing your car. When the temperature consistently hovers around or below freezing, the rubber compounds in non-winter tires harden, decreasing the tire’s ability to grip the road. Winter tires use special compounds engineered to resist hardening in cold temperatures, providing better traction.

You should definitely have snow tires installed with plenty of time to spare before extreme winter weather arrives. We say, if you can see your breath, it’s time to install winter tires.

Keep washer fluid full

When driving in snow and ice, you may use a lot of washer fluid in an effort to keep your windshield clean. In order to properly winterize your car, maintain a nearly full washer fluid reservoir and consider keeping a spare bottle or two in the trunk.

Pack a winter safety kit

Tips for Winterizing Your Car | Bridgestone Tires

Here are some things to pack in your winter driving safety kit:

  • Ice scraper
  • Bag of sand and a shovel
  • Cell phone
  • Flares
  • First aid kit
  • Extra antifreeze
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Car tool kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Warm clothing: Extra jacket, hat, socks, boots
  • Non-perishable food and beverage items
  • Pack of matches

And Always:   

Keep the gas tank at least half full!

Why You Should Clean Your HVAC System Regularly

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Why should you have your HVAC system cleaned?

NADCA addresses this question in a short simple answer: because they get dirty over time and they have the potential to contain large amounts of dust and particulates.

Energy Savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use. When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost.

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is one concern that building managers and building inhabitants have when they decide to investigate HVAC system. Through normal occupation in a building, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the ductwork.

While a contaminated HVAC system doesn't necessarily mean unhealthy air, the situation may be contributing to larger health issues or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies.

Understanding Your Commercial Insurance Policy

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

According to the Insurance Information Institute, for small businesses without specialized risks, a Business Owners Policy—or BOP—may offer the basic property and liability coverage that you need. But if your company is growing in size and complexity—or you face specialized risks due to the nature of your business—you may want to consider purchasing a Commercial Package Policy, or CPP for short.

Customized insurance under one policy

Like a BOP, a CPP enables you to bundle various types of coverage within a single policy. However, while a BOP has limitations—it is only available for certain types of smaller businesses and covers only a few types of risk—Commercial Package Policies are available for a wide range of businesses, and can be better customized to the specific needs of your business. Most CPPs begin with:

  • Property insurance- Covers damage or destruction of buildings, equipment, inventory and more.
  • General liability insurance- Covers costs if someone is injured at your business or from using your product or service.

From there, you can add a range of coverages to your CPP, including:

  • Business income insurance- Also known as business interruption insurance, this replaces lost revenues and covers extra expenses in the event that your business has to shut down or relocate due to fire, wind damage or other covered losses.
  • Business vehicle (or fleet) insurance- Covers vehicles owned and used by your business.
  • Business crime insurance- Covers losses from burglary, computer fraud, employee dishonesty and other business crimes.
  • Commercial umbrella liability- Increases and broadens liability coverage, filling in gaps left by other coverages.
  • Electronic data processing coverage- Covers costs associated with the loss or damage of electronic data processing media or equipment.
  • Equipment breakdown—Also known as boiler and machinery insurance, this covers losses from the malfunction of heating, electrical, air conditioning, telephone systems and other equipment.
  • Employment practices liability—Covers costs tied to disputes with employees over termination, discrimination, sexual harassment and other employment issues.
  • Inland marine—Covers the transport of goods over water and land, providing comprehensive protection for assets that are moveable or mobile in nature, while in transit—such as from a warehouse to a store—or in storage.
  • Pollution liability—Covers costs related to pollution, including clean-up and personal injury.

A range of other types of insurance—covering professional liability, supply chain risk, terrorism, farming or ranching losses, and more—can also be included in a CPP.

What a CPP doesn’t cover

A CPP can provide your business with coverage against a broad range of risks. That said, it’s important to recognize that your CPP will not include:

  • Directors and Officers (D&O) liability
  • Health and disability
  • Life insurance
  • Workers compensation

These coverages must be purchased separately; discuss your additional insurance needs with your insurance professional.

Preventing Dryer Fires

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Very few people realize the danger of clothes dryer fires. However, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires. Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper dryer vent setups. The financial costs come to nearly $100,000,000 per year. In some cases faulty appliances are to blame, but many fires can be prevented with proper dryer venting. Lint accumulation and reduced airflow feed on each other to provide conditions ripe for a fire. Lint is a highly combustible material, which, interestingly enough, is one of the ingredients in a recipe for home-made fire starters. A number of dryer vent problems contribute to this.

Here are several important steps you can take to keep this from happening to you

Clean your lint screen.Always clean your lint screen right before you push the start button for EVERY LOAD! Even if there is just a small amount of lint on the screen, clean it anyway. This is a good habit to get into.

Check your vent hose.Make sure your vent hose is in good shape. If you have the white plastic vent hose, replace it now! It is not safe and has been outlawed. Use the aluminum type vent hose and make sure the length is as short as possible and not crushed or kinked.

Clean your vent line regularly.It's very important that the vent line (from the wall behind the dryer to the outside flap) is not restricted or clogged up with lint. This greatly increases your chance of a dryer fire. If you are unable to clean out this line yourself, call a professional. Many Chimney Sweep companies offer this service.

Keep the area around the dryer clean.In the event that your dryer does have a lint fire, don't give it more fuel to destroy your home. Make sure there are no articles of clothing, boxes, cleaning supplies, or anything else behind or around the dryer. You should also keep things off the top of the dryer.


Clean the lint out of the inside of the dryer regularly.Your dryer needs to be opened up and vacuumed out periodically. Most dryers today are not easily accessible for the homeowner. Unless you know how to take your dryer apart and put it back together, you'll need a technician to do this. Any time you have your dryer repaired, ask the technician to vacuum it out for you. He should be doing this anyway as part of the service.

Make sure your gas line is in good shape.If you have a gas dryer you should check your gas line. If it looks old or questionable, you should replace it. Make sure when you push your dryer back into position, you don't kink the line.

How To Prevent An Attic Fire

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that more than 40% of attic fires are the result of electrical malfunctions?

So how do we help prevent an attic fire? Here are three things firefighters suggest you hire have a professional to do:

  1. Have your chimney inspected by a professional who will check the interior and exterior of the chimney, including the part running through the attic
  2. Check the wiring in your attic, preferably by an electrician, looking for signs of damage, cracked insulation (wire sheathing), and exposed or disconnected wires
  3. Look for signs of burning and charring in the insulation and wood

A common mistake is that everybody typically plugs in their space heaters to help supplement their heat. And then, they'll put them on a long extension cord so that they are able to reach areas with less heat. So, the longer the extension cord is, the more ampage it will draw on the circuit.

Another common fire hazard is that homeowners choose voltage incandescent light bulbs in ceiling fixtures that is a higher voltage than required is also afire hazard. That heat that is trapped within the light fixture goes straight up into the attic and in the wires and essentially cook the wires, starting a fire.

Should I Get Flood Insurance

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Following a disaster most homeowners ask themselves if they should have purchased flood insurance. Well, according to FEMA, Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood. A flood is most often called an excluded peril, meaning it’s not covered. You should consider flood insurance even if you’re not required to purchase it or if you live outside a high-risk flood zone, called a Special Flood Hazard Area.

Flood zones are areas where there is a higher statistical probability of a flood occurring, but that doesn’t mean floods don’t occur elsewhere. In fact, in Texas over the last five years, a number of floods exceeded the statistical probability, putting more homes and properties in harm’s way than were expected.

Flood insurance can protect you from the catastrophic financial impact of flooding. Just a few inches of water can mean thousands of dollars of loss to your home or business. As long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as a homeowner or business owner you can get building and contents coverage included in your NFIP policy. Renters can get coverage for contents only. Policies issued by the NFIP pay even if a federal disaster is not declared.

Where can I buy flood insurance?

When should I buy a policy?

As soon as possible. FEMA urges you to buy flood insurance before a flood event occurs. NFIP cannot pay a claim if you don’t have a policy in effect when damage occurs. An insurance policy from NFIP becomes effective 30 days after you buy it, unless the purchase is associated with the origination, renewal or extension of a federally backed loan on property in a high-risk area.

I am not in a flood hazard area, but I’d like to purchase flood insurance. Is this possible?

Yes, as long as your community participates in NFIP. You are eligible to purchase a flood policy with the same coverage you would receive if you lived in a high-risk area. A Preferred Risk Policy (a lower-cost flood insurance policy) provides both building and contents coverage for properties in moderate-to-low risk areas for one price.

Can I get flood insurance if I'm renting a property?

Yes. If you live in a community that participates in NFIP and you are a renter, you can get flood insurance to cover the contents of your home, apartment or business at a rented location.

After A Flood

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

After the waters have receded, the rainstorm has passed mold will start to set in and your sense of smell will be the first to detect it. You will then need to contact SERVPRO immediately to prevent further damage.  A guide on the U.S. EPA website outlines the hazards of mold:

Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air …There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture. 

Something smells

Mold cannot be seen floating in the air, but you won’t have any trouble sniffing out its presence. It’s an odor that will initially tickle your sinuses and cause your eyes to water, but you shouldn’t keep inhaling.

Undoing the damage

It takes a professional company, like SERVPRO of Framingham to perform mold damage restoration properly following specific procedures . They will begin by reducing the vicinity’s moisture levels because that’s what mold thrives on. They will also need to check your home’s HVAC system to see if it was compromised. Visible mold on walls and ceilings will need to be scrubbed off with cleaning solution.

The Aftermath

While water damage restoration and mold remediation will rid the house of contaminants, some areas affected by mold cannot be restored to their original appearance. Some items may need to be discarded because they are beyond repair and could serve as a hiding place for mold 

Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials.

Regardless of the weather, try to keep the humidity in your house low using dehumidifier devices or products. It is also beneficial to maintain your HVAC system to ensure the temperature doesn’t produce excessive condensation. Between these tips and professionals from 
SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury mold will be hard-pressed to find a way into your home. 

What You Need To Know About Ice Dams

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

What is an ice dam?

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas. The image included in this blog entry shows a cross section of a home with an ice dam.

What causes ice dams?

There is a complex interaction among the amount of heat loss from a house, snow cover, and outside temperatures that leads to ice dam formation. For ice dams to form there must be snow on the roof, and, at the same time, higher portions of the roof's outside surface must be above 32°F while lower surfaces are below 32°F. For a portion of the roof to be below 32°F, outside temperatures must also be below 32°F. When we say temperatures above or below 32°F, we are talking about average temperature over sustained periods of time.

The snow on a roof surface that is above 32°F will melt. As water flows down the roof it reaches the portion of the roof that is below 32°F and freezes. Voila! - an ice dam.

The dam grows as it is fed by the melting snow above it, but it will limit itself to the portions of the roof that are on the average below 32°F. So the water above backs up behind the ice dam and remains a liquid. This water finds cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering and flows into the attic space. From the attic it could flow into exterior walls or through the ceiling insulation and stain the ceiling finish.

Remember: Nonuniform roof surface temperatures lead to ice dams.

How To Know If You Have Frozen Pipes

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

The winter months bring certain property maintenance concerns that we all need to be aware of. When the temperatures drop, one major issue that could come up is a frozen water pipe.

4 Signs of Frozen Pipes

There are a few clues which can help you determine if you have frozen pipes at your property:

  • The Temperature Is Right- Pipes will not freeze if it is not cold enough outside for them to do so. Water does not freeze when it is 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and neither do pipes. When the temperature falls to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you should begin to take precautions to prevent vulnerable pipes from freezing.
     
  • There Is Frost on the Pipe- For pipes that can actively be seen, such as those under sinks, you may be able to see frost that has accumulated on the exterior of the pipe. This can serve as a warning sign that the pipe is frozen before you ever try to turn on the faucet.
     
  • No Water Is Coming Out of the Faucet-  Is there a lack of running water. If you or a tenant turn on a kitchen or bathroom faucet and only a slight trickle of water or no water at all comes out, the water pipe leading to the faucet may be frozen.
  • Strange Smells- Is there an odd smell coming from a faucet or drain. If the pipe is partially or completely blocked, the only way the odor can escape is back up in the direction of your property.

Tips To Reduce Risk Of Pipes Freezing

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Pipes That Are Vulnerable to Freezing

There are some pipes that are more vulnerable to freezing than others: 

  • Exterior Walls- Water pipes that are located along the exterior walls of a home can be vulnerable to freezing. This is because they may not have the adequate amount of insulation protecting them from the exterior temperatures.
     
  • Attics and Basements- Pipes that are located in attics or in basements may also have a greater tendency to freeze. These pipes may not receive the same amount of heat as the rest of the property. If these areas are not used as living space, they also may not be properly insulated.

Reduce Risk Of Pipes Freezing By

  • Keep cabinet doors under sinks open to allow better heat flow
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing during cold spells. (Moving water does not freeze as easily as stagnant water) 
  • Apply heat tape
  • Apply pipe insulation - be sure to use the correct size

Also, make sure you know where your main water shut off valve is. Shutting water off at the main will reduce the amount of damage caused by frozen pipes that rupture. 

What You Need To Know About Hailstorms

12/12/2018 (Permalink)

  1. Hailstorms are statistically one of the most costly natural disasters

     As stated in "Hale Depot", according to the National Weather Service, hail results in some of the highest rates of property damage in terms of natural hazards. In 2015, hail caused 586 million dollars in property damage, and in 2016, hail caused 3.5 billion dollars in damage.

  2. Hail does not immediately fall after it forms

    Hail forms inside the clouds of a thunderstorm, and actually begins as just a tiny drop of supercooled water. This just means that it is below freezing temperatures, but still in a liquefied form. If it stays at this extra cold temperature for long enough, it will eventually freeze and solidify into a small hailstone. The tiny ball of ice still isn’t heavy enough to fall yet and remains suspended in the thundercloud by an updraft caused by the storm. These hailstones tumble around and collect more condensation, which freezes and makes the hailstone bigger – kind of like rolling a snowball around in the snow to make larger. Once the stone becomes too heavy to stay afloat, it falls to the ground.

  3. There is a threshold for what is considered “severe” hail

    The National Weather Service classifies “severe” hail as being at least 1-inch in diameter, about the size of your average gumball. It seems like a lot of hail storms are considered severe because that’s what we see on the news, but most hailstorms involve hailstones that are closer to the size of peas. Even hail that does not reach the “severe” state can still cause damage to cars and injure people.

  4. The largest hailstone ever recorded was the size of a volleyball

    We often refer to sizes of hailstones in terms of recognizable, everyday objects. We’ve already done it in this article! For some perspective, a hailstone that is 1 inch in diameter is the size of a gumball. After that, a hailstone that is 1.5 inches is most recognized as the size of a ping-pong ball, and next comes some golf ball-sized hail at 1.75 inches across. When people talk about “baseball-sized hail,” they’re referring to hailstones that are about 2.75 inches in diameter. The largest hailstone ever recorded was bigger than a baseball. It was bigger than a softball. 

  5. Hail happens most often during the summer

    No, it isn’t opposite day. Even though balls of ice fall from the sky during a hailstorm, these occurrences are actually most common during the summertime and warmer months. So why does this happen? Hail forms inside of thunderclouds, so there need to be proper atmospheric conditions that support both thunderstorms and hail. This happens in the early months of summer when the ground temperatures are warm, but temperatures in the upper atmosphere are cold enough to form ice. The greater the contrast between upper and lower temperatures, the stronger the updraft of the storm will be. Stronger updrafts can suspend hailstones for longer periods, meaning that the ice continues to collect and grow the hailstone bigger until they eventually fall. That’s why warm summer months are the perfect time for hail to form and ultimately fall.

  6. Hailstones fall fast… really fast

    The bigger the stones, the faster they fall. Hail often falls so fast that it doesn’t really lose a lot of mass between when it leaves the thundercloud and when it reaches the ground. The speed at which hail is falling when it hits the ground is often referred to as terminal velocity, and this speed varies depending on the size of the hailstone. A hailstone that is about 1 centimeter in diameter has a terminal velocity of about 20 miles per hour. What about a stone the size of a baseball? This size of hail can hit the ground at a walloping 100 miles per hour. To put that into perspective, the fastest fastball baseball pitch ever recorded was clocked at 105.1 miles per hour. So if you ever find yourself stuck in a hailstorm of any proportions, please take cover.

  7. There is a place called “Hail Alley”

    You’ve probably heard of Tornado Alley, where tornadoes frequently occur, but did you know there is a Hail Alley as well? We talked above about how hail forms in thunderstorms. It would follow that the areas that receive the most hail are places that have the most thunderstorms – like Florida. However, Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming report the most hailstorms, and the region where these states meet is called Hail Alley. This is because these states have high elevations where parts of the atmosphere that remain below freezing temperatures are closer to the ground, meaning the hail is more likely to stay frozen as it travels to the earth. Internationally, China, Italy, Russia, and India also receive large amounts of hail storms each year.

  8. You can tell how many times a hailstone circulated a thundercloud by cutting it in half

    You’ve probably heard about tree trunks having rings inside that help you determine how old the tree is, but did you know that if you cut a hailstone in half, you can also see rings in the cross-section. These rings form when new layers of ice freeze on the hailstone, and usually alternate between clear and milky white. Scientists believe that the clear layers occur when the stone is at the lower end of the thundercloud where the temperature is slightly higher. This makes the water freeze more slowly and appears clear, just like when you make ice cubes in your freezer at home. The milky layers are thought to form when the hailstone is at the top of the cloud where temperatures are well below freezing. This means that water droplets freeze almost immediately upon contact with the hailstone, creating white air bubbles.

Holiday Safety

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Agency U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 200 Christmas tree related home fires during the holiday season. In total, the average annual property damage is over $14 million dollars!  While such fires are uncommon they are more likely to result in civilian death. A death occurs in 3% of reported Christmas tree fires. By comparison a fatality occurs in only ½% of all other reported home fires. The reason for this discrepancy, Christmas tree fires usually star overnight when trees are left lit. Remember to turn your tree lights off before going to bed and if your tree is natural make sure to water it regularly and dispose of it shortly after the holidays.   

We at SERVPRO Norwood / West Roxbury wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!

Holiday Fire Hazards

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

The more holiday lights the better, right?  Weather we are talking about strands of our favorite Christmas lights or holiday scented candles, one quarter of reported Christmas tree fires the result of electrical problems or heat sources too close to the tree (according to the NFPA). Be sure not to overload outlets with multiple strands of lights and make sure that the electrical wiring is up to current electrical code standards. Also, check the wiring to ensure that there are no frays or loose connections.

If candles are the way you light up your holidays then follow these two important safety tips. Do not leave candles lit when going to bed or if no one is home. Additionally, keep them a safe distance from anything flammable.  

We at SERVPRO Norwood / West Roxbury wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!

How To Prevent A Dryer Fire

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Very few people realize the danger of clothes dryer fires. However, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires. Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper dryer vent setups. The financial costs come to nearly $100,000,000 per year. In some cases faulty appliances are to blame, but many fires can be prevented with proper dryer venting. Lint accumulation and reduced airflow feed on each other to provide conditions ripe for a fire. Lint is a highly combustible material, which, interestingly enough, is one of the ingredients in a recipe for home-made fire starters. A number of dryer vent problems contribute to this.

Here are several important steps you can take to keep this from happening to you

Clean your lint screen.Always clean your lint screen right before you push the start button for EVERY LOAD! Even if there is just a small amount of lint on the screen, clean it anyway. This is a good habit to get into.

Check your vent hose.Make sure your vent hose is in good shape. If you have the white plastic vent hose, replace it now! It is not safe and has been outlawed. Use the aluminum type vent hose and make sure the length is as short as possible and not crushed or kinked.

Clean your vent line regularly.It's very important that the vent line (from the wall behind the dryer to the outside flap) is not restricted or clogged up with lint. This greatly increases your chance of a dryer fire. If you are unable to clean out this line yourself, call a professional. Many Chimney Sweep companies offer this service.

Keep the area around the dryer clean.In the event that your dryer does have a lint fire, don't give it more fuel to destroy your home. Make sure there are no articles of clothing, boxes, cleaning supplies, or anything else behind or around the dryer. You should also keep things off the top of the dryer.


Clean the lint out of the inside of the dryer regularly.
Your dryer needs to be opened up and vacuumed out periodically. Most dryers today are not easily accessible for the homeowner. Unless you know how to take your dryer apart and put it back together, you'll need a technician to do this. Any time you have your dryer repaired, ask the technician to vacuum it out for you. He should be doing this anyway as part of the service.

Make sure your gas line is in good shape.If you have a gas dryer you should check your gas line. If it looks old or questionable, you should replace it. Make sure when you push your dryer back into position, you don't kink the line.

How To Prevent A Dryer Fire

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Very few people realize the danger of clothes dryer fires. However, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires. Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper dryer vent setups. The financial costs come to nearly $100,000,000 per year. In some cases faulty appliances are to blame, but many fires can be prevented with proper dryer venting. Lint accumulation and reduced airflow feed on each other to provide conditions ripe for a fire. Lint is a highly combustible material, which, interestingly enough, is one of the ingredients in a recipe for home-made fire starters. A number of dryer vent problems contribute to this.

Here are several important steps you can take to keep this from happening to you

Clean your lint screen.Always clean your lint screen right before you push the start button for EVERY LOAD! Even if there is just a small amount of lint on the screen, clean it anyway. This is a good habit to get into.

Check your vent hose.Make sure your vent hose is in good shape. If you have the white plastic vent hose, replace it now! It is not safe and has been outlawed. Use the aluminum type vent hose and make sure the length is as short as possible and not crushed or kinked.

Clean your vent line regularly.It's very important that the vent line (from the wall behind the dryer to the outside flap) is not restricted or clogged up with lint. This greatly increases your chance of a dryer fire. If you are unable to clean out this line yourself, call a professional. Many Chimney Sweep companies offer this service.

Keep the area around the dryer clean.In the event that your dryer does have a lint fire, don't give it more fuel to destroy your home. Make sure there are no articles of clothing, boxes, cleaning supplies, or anything else behind or around the dryer. You should also keep things off the top of the dryer.


Clean the lint out of the inside of the dryer regularly.
Your dryer needs to be opened up and vacuumed out periodically. Most dryers today are not easily accessible for the homeowner. Unless you know how to take your dryer apart and put it back together, you'll need a technician to do this. Any time you have your dryer repaired, ask the technician to vacuum it out for you. He should be doing this anyway as part of the service.

Make sure your gas line is in good shape. If you have a gas dryer you should check your gas line. If it looks old or questionable, you should replace it. Make sure when you push your dryer back into position, you don't kink the line.

Chemicals Released During Fires

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Some of the biggest issues associated with fire damage do not come directly from the flames. The heat and water vapor from combustion can cause severe damage. There is also the smoke and soot from the fire that can cause lasting problems to your home. They contain toxic chemicals and also have a smell that lasts.

Plastics and other synthetic materials can leave behind harmful chemicals that are dangerous to inhale. Wood smoke is usually the largest contributor to smoke in the building. It contains methane, carbon monoxide, benzene, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, formic acid, acetic acid, and traces of heavy metals. This combination of chemicals is quite hazardous and can cause major problems for anyone who inhales or comes in contact with the smoke or residue left behind. The smoke and soot can cover almost every surface in the house even in places that were not directly adjacent to the fire, traveling either through air vents or wall cavities.

Removing smoke and sot requires the proper machinery and expertise. Here at SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury we have all of the machinery and expertise you would need. Our certified professionals have been working with people in need of help for years.

It may seem like life will never be the same following a disastrous fire. With the help of our technicians we can get you back on track. Let us make it "Like it never even happened."

Flooded Basements

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Has your basement suffered water damage as a result of the recent storms? When basements flood the water must be removed immediately before damaging the structure of the property. The MegaX Flood Removal Extractor is the perfect tool for excessive water removal. The unit’s two inch intake valve allows for maximum water extraction. The MegaX has dual motors that offer unparalleled vacuuming performance and an auto discharge of 46 gallons per minute! Not only is the MegaX powerfully fast it is also unbelievably quiet too which allows for water removal in areas where noise is not an option.  Call our disaster recovery team today to learn more about the MegaX Flood Removal Extractor and how we can properly remediate water damage in your residential or commercial property.  

Larg Loss

6/21/2018 (Permalink)

Most commercial property owners have a facilities management team in-house. Some larger organizations may even have disaster remediation equipment, pumps, air movers, dehumidifiers to name a few, on site as well. When disaster strikes they are equipped to respond in a timely fashion. What happens when the disaster exceeds the capabilities of those internal resources? That is when you call us, SERVPRO Norwood West Roxbury. We have access to both the certified technicians and state-of-the-art equipment to handle any size disaster. Our Emergency Team is on call 24 hours a day which makes us faster to any size disaster. Any building, any disaster – we have everything needed to make it "Like it never even happened." all under one roof! Call our Emergency Response Team today.

Norwood – 781-769-9125

West Roxbury – 617-323-3677

What Is Mold?

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

What is mold? Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae.. This means that, like you and I, mold is a living organism.  Mold spores are microscopic in size and, believe it or not, they exist naturally everywhere. Removing all traces of mold from a home or business is impossible. In actuality, mold testing is not done to determine if mold exists, but rather, to determine if elevated levels of mold exists. Proper mold testing consists of comparing indoor air quality to the air quality of the surrounding external environment.

Three conditions must exist for mold to cultivate. The first would be the availability of food. Any organic, carbon based, porous material is the only source of food mold spores require. The second would be having an appropriate temperature. Contrary to popular belief, mold can grow in any temperature above freezing, for example have you ever found moldy food in your refrigerator? The ideal temperature for mold to grow is in between 59° F – 86° F. Lastly having a considerable amount of moisture is a condition necessary that supports mold. It does not take long either; when all three conditions exist mold infestation can begin in less than 48 hours!  The good news is that eliminating any one of these three conditions will ensure be mold free environment.

The not-so-good news is unfortunately, ninety percent of building materials used can serve as food for mold. Temperatures in New England during late spring and summer months are perfect for mold growth. Lastly, leaky roofs, improper bathroom ventilation, or poorly installed finished basements are just a few of the many issues that will cause the increased levels of moisture needed to stimulate mold growth. We cannot change the materials used to build our homes or the temperatures outside but we can control moisture. The good news is as humans we actually prefer humidity levels that are well below the critical relative humidity necessary for mold growth. That means, in most situations, the simple purchase of a dehumidifier is all the protection needed to mitigate mold growth.  

But, what happens when disaster strikes and a simple dehumidifier is not enough? Up next – Why Call SERVPRO.

SERVPRO Mold Remediation

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

When approaching mold clean up a lot of people wonder which method is best, “Dry Blast” vs “Sand Blast”, The answer is neither , the reality in today’s world is this is unnecessary because; dry ice is costly, it only removes surface mold, and porous materials require a deep cleaning. SERVPRO technicians use anti-fungal and anti-microbial treatments that kill mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming

When tackling mold we make it a priority to set up containment. All remediation companies will set up containment, but when and how is the issue. We set up containment prior to applying the “eyeball test”. Which is as follows

    • The “Eyeball Test” – Assessing the Environment
      • Has there been a previous water damage
      • Do you smell musty odors of mold
      • Do you see areas of mold contamination
      • Our competitors cut 4 x 8 holes in the wall from the ground up
    • We cut a 2 x 4 in the center of the wall

Got Mold?

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

Do you think that you may have mold in your home or place of business? While mold spores exist naturally everywhere high levels in contained spaces can cause serious health issues. Mold spores are airborne particles which can be eliminated by creating a negative air chamber. One piece of equipment that we often use is the DefenderAir HEPA 500 is ideal for handling indoor air-quality needs on every restoration job.  This unit address these air-quality issues quickly and effectively, helping you to maintain a clean indoor environment. The DefendAir has an efficiency rating of 99.97% against 0.3-micron oily aerosol particles and meets first-pass filtration requirements for even the most sensitive jobs. If you think that you may have an infestation of mold give our Disaster Recovery Team a call today! 

Yes, There Is Mold In Your Home

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.  The key to mold control is moisture control. It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.

Is Mold Hiding In Your Home?

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).

Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper. If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring an experienced professional. Call our Disaster Recovery Team today – 781-769-9125!

Are You Ready For Disaster To Strike

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

How many of you here have insurance? How many of you have insurance for your business in the form of a disaster recovery plan?  The Emergency Ready Profile, or the ERP, is a FREE, no-strings-attached centralized repository for critical facilities information. A well rounded business contingency plan is comprised of three components: incident response, disaster recovery and business continuity. The ERP encompasses two of those components, incident response and disaster recovery and grants us insight to the potential size and scope of a project prior to arriving on sight. The benefits of an ERP are a decrease in both response and recovery time – saving our customers money! Moreover, SERVPRO has partnered with the Red Cross and their Read Rating Program; a comprehensive assessment will help you to put all of your preparedness 'ducks' in a row. The information contained in our ERP can be used to create your baseline assessment. You never know when disaster will strike. Call us for you FREE consultation today!

Recognizing Mold

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

How to Recognize Mold:

  • Sight – They usually appear as distinctly colored woolly mats (e.g., mildew is black and is one of the most common molds in a household).
  • Smell – They often produce a foul odor, such as a musty, earthy smell.

The key to mold prevention is moisture control. Mold will not grow if moisture is absent.

  • Remove excess standing moisture with a wet-dry vacuum and remove the any excess humidity with a dehumidifier 
  • Use fans to assist in the drying process.
  • Clean wet materials and surfaces with detergent and water.
  • Discard all water damaged materials and all materials visibly contaminated with mold.
  • Remove and discard all porous materials that have been wet for more than 48 hours such as: 
    • Carpeting and carpet padding
    • Upholstery, wallpaper, drywall
    • Floor and ceiling tiles, insulation materials
    • Clothing

Water Main Runoff

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

What would you do if a water main burst and covered over 30,000 square feet of your warehouse with almost an inch of water? You would want someone to arrive onsite fast and remediate the entire problem, not just the visible water, but also the excess moisture that could ruin a product line with mold and mildew. That is exactly what happened to a local sporting apparel manufacturer. From Air Movers to Dehumidifiers, Generators to Power Distribution Boxes we have access to a wide array of water remediation equipment and the certified technicians to get the COMPLETE job done right! We began the drying process in the middle of the week and completed it by the very next weekend. All of our equipment was removed over that weekend and the warehouse space was ready to receive deliveries that very next Monday morning. How are we able to accomplish this, we offer our commercial clients flat rate pricing which allows our technicians to take whatever steps necessary to expedite the drying process with minimal disruption to business operations. Does your commercial property need remediation services? Call our disaster recovery team today!

Are You Ready For Disaster To Strike

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

How many of you here have insurance? How many of you have insurance for your business in the form of a disaster recovery plan?  The Emergency Ready Profile, or the ERP, is a FREE, no-strings-attached centralized repository for critical facilities information. A well rounded business contingency plan is comprised of three components: incident response, disaster recovery and business continuity. The ERP encompasses two of those components, incident response and disaster recovery and grants us insight to the potential size and scope of a project prior to arriving on sight. The benefits of an ERP are a decrease in both response and recovery time – saving our customers money! Moreover, SERVPRO has partnered with the Red Cross and their Read Rating Program; a comprehensive assessment will help you to put all of your preparedness 'ducks' in a row. The information contained in our ERP can be used to create your baseline assessment. You never know when disaster will strike. Call us for you FREE consultation today!

Large Water Loss

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

April showers bring May flowers. They also bring flooded basements.  When basements flood the water must be removed immediately before damaging the structure of the property. The MegaX Flood Removal Extractor is the perfect tool for excessive water removal. The unit’s two inch intake valve allows for maximum water extraction. The MegaX has dual motors that offer unparalleled vacuuming performance and an auto discharge of 46 gallons per minute! Not only is the MegaX powerfully fast it is also unbelievably quiet too which allows for water removal in areas where noise is not an option.  Call our disaster recovery team today to learn more about the MegaX Flood Removal Extractor and how we can properly remediate water damage in your residential or commercial property.  

Structural Drying In Tight Spaces

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

Drying a structure requires more than simply removing the visible water. Elevated levels of moisture in the air can lead to mold infestation. Circulating air reduces escalated moisture levels. The Air Max is unlike traditional, “whistle”, air movers. This rugged unit has 3 airflow positions – horizontal, vertical, and side allowing for maximum air flow and the most complete structural drying possible. Combined with its vented bottom housing, the trying capacity of the Air Max is unparalleled! In addition, its small footprint allows us to install the Air Max virtually anywhere and the non-marking, anti-skid rubber feet help us to leave no trace left behind. Call our disaster recovery team today to learn more about the Air Max and how we can properly remediate water damage in your residential or commercial property.  

Water Damage From Rain

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

April showers bring May Flowers. Unfortunately, those same showers also may bring flooded basements. Immediate action is crucial when dealing with water damage. Luckily, SERVPRO franchises are strategically located to allow our technicians to arrive faster to any size disaster. As a leader in the water remediation industry our technicians receive advanced structural drying training and IICRC certification. Furthermore, we document our entire drying process in order to validate that all moisture, visible and hidden, has been removed and that the structure is completely dry. Generally basements are areas of high moisture, as such any amount of additional standing water exponentially increases the risk of mold infestation.  Do not let water wreak havoc to your home or place of business.  Call our Disaster Recovery Team today!

Norwood: 781-769-9125

West Roxbury:617-323-3667

Warm Weather Alert

1/10/2018 (Permalink)

WARM WEATHER ADVISORY

The deep freeze is over and the temperature outside is on the rise. On Friday we will see temperatures in the mid 50's here in the Greater Boston Area! Great news, right? Wrong! With temperatures rising so fast that means that all of the snow and ice that has accumulated over the past two weeks will melt equally as fast. As water tables rise the excess water will have no place to go causing basements to flood. If ice dams have formed on your roof, as the snow melts, water will back up behind the dam and may find cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering. Before you know it, water is wreaking havoc in your home.

If disaster strikes your home or commercial property call our Disaster Recovery Team. We will make it Like it never even happened.

Norwood - 781-769-9125
West Roxbury - 617-323-367

Weather Alert

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Winter Weather Alert

The temperatures outside in New England are devastating. Now it looks like we may add snow and strong winds to the mix! The Eastern Seaboard will likely experience 4-8 inches of snow and strong winds this Thursday (Jan 4, 2018) the magnitude of both those impacts is still a bit uncertain at this time. 

Timing

Thursday-Thursday night

  • The powerful storm will be centered well off the Northeast coast. Given its large circulation and strong intensity, the low will likely produce at least some snowfall, possibly heavy, in parts of the Northeast region.
  • Snowfall may cover much of New England during the day.
  • Due to the strong winds this will be a fast moving storm. The peak snowfall intensity will likely only last for about 6 hours, between noon and 6 p.m.
  • Increasing winds are likely along much of the Northeast coast. Wind gusts stronger than 50 mph are possible along the immediate coasts of New England Thursday night.

Snow Potential

  • The best chance for significant accumulating snow along the U.S. coast is in eastern New England. This snow may be heavy and accompanied by strong winds.
  • Again, exact amounts will depend on the track of the low in relation to the East Coast.
  • Some locations may experience heavy snow that may change to freezing rain in Thursday night into Friday.

Preventing And Dealing With Ice Dams

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

When ice dams form on your home or business property there are actions to be taken.

Immediate action:

  • Remove snow from the roof. This eliminates one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam. A "roof rake" and push broom can be used to remove snow, but may damage the roofing materials. Be sure to use a “roof rake” with wheels to minimize any potential damage.
  • In an emergency situation where water is flowing into the house structure, making channels through the ice dam allows the water behind the dam to drain off the roof. Hosing with tap water on a warm day will do this job. Work upward from the lower edge of the dam. The channel will become ineffective within days and is only a temporary solution to ice dam damage.

Long-term action:

  • First, make the ceiling air tight so no warm, moist air can flow from the house into the attic space.
  • After sealing air leakage paths between the house and attic space, consider increasing the ceiling/roof insulation to cut down on heat loss by conduction.

IMPORTANT: Both of these actions will increase the snow load that your roof has to carry because it will no longer melt. Can your roof carry the additional load? If it is built to current codes, there should not be a structural problem. Roofs, like the rest of the home, should have been designed to withstand expected snow loads. The plans for your home may be on file at your local building inspection office. A professional engineer should be able to evaluate the structure of your home and answer your questions about the strength of your roof.

  • Natural roof ventilation can help maintain uniform roof temperatures, but if the long-term actions described above are done effectively, then only small amounts of roof ventilation are needed to maintain uniform roof surface temperatures. If heat transfer has been reduced substantially, then snow will build up on the roof and cover natural roof ventilation systems, reducing attic ventilation rates. Natural attic ventilation systems are needed to dry the attic space and remove heat buildup during the summer.

Preventing ice dams in new homes

The proper new construction practices to prevent ice dams begin with following or exceeding the state code requirements for ceiling/roof insulation levels.

The second absolutely necessary practice is to construct a continuous, 100% effective air barrier through the ceiling. There should not be any air leakage from the house into the attic space!

Unfortunately, custom design choices like recessed lights, skylights, complicated roof designs, and heating ducts in the attic will increase the risk of ice dam formation.

Why Are Frozen Pipes Dangerous?

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Are you a Landlord? The winter months bring certain property maintenance concerns that all landlords need to be aware of. When the temperatures drop, one major issue that could come up is a frozen water pipe. I will discuss why frozen pipes are so dangerous.

Why Are Frozen Pipes Dangerous?

Frozen pipes are a problem for a couple of reasons.

They can create an inconvenience but, more seriously, can cause major damage to your property.

  • Lack of Running Water– The most obvious danger of a frozen pipe is the inability to access running water. This can interfere with your tenant’s ability to do everyday tasks such as washing the dishes or taking a shower. It is a landlord’s responsibility to make sure his or her tenants have running water.
     
  • Potential to Burst- The second problem that can occur when a pipe freezes is that the pipe actually bursts. Once the actual water in the pipe freezes, pressure is created between the closed faucet and the blockage that can build up to a point that causes the pipe to explode.

Pipes That Are Vulnerable to Freezing

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Are you a Landlord? The winter months bring certain property maintenance concerns that all landlords need to be aware of. When the temperatures drop, one major issue that could come up is a frozen water pipe. I will discuss the types of pipes that are most vulnerable to freezing.

Pipes That Are Vulnerable to Freezing

There are some pipes that are more vulnerable to freezing than others: 

  • Exterior Walls- Water pipes that are located along the exterior walls of a home can be vulnerable to freezing. This is because they may not have the adequate amount of insulation protecting them from the exterior temperatures.
     
  • Attics and Basements- Pipes that are located in attics or in basements may also have a greater tendency to freeze. These pipes may not receive the same amount of heat as the rest of the property. If these areas are not used as living space, they also may not be properly insulated.

4 Signs of Frozen Pipes

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Are you a Landlord? The winter months bring certain property maintenance concerns that all landlords need to be aware of. When the temperatures drop, one major issue that could come up is a frozen water pipe. I will provide;

4 Signs of Frozen Pipes

There are a few clues which can help you determine if you have frozen pipes at your property:

  • The Temperature Is Right- Pipes will not freeze if it is not cold enough outside for them to do so. Water does not freeze when it is 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and neither do pipes. When the temperature falls to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you should begin to take precautions to prevent vulnerable pipes from freezing.
     
  • There Is Frost on the Pipe- For pipes that can actively be seen, such as those under sinks, you may be able to see frost that has accumulated on the exterior of the pipe. This can serve as a warning sign that the pipe is frozen before you ever try to turn on the faucet.
     
  • No Water Is Coming Out of the Faucet-  Is there a lack of running water. If you or a tenant turn on a kitchen or bathroom faucet and only a slight trickle of water or no water at all comes out, the water pipe leading to the faucet may be frozen.
  • Strange Smells- Is there an odd smell coming from a faucet or drain. If the pipe is partially or completely blocked, the only way the odor can escape is back up in the direction of your property.

Holiday Fire Hazard - Tree

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Christmas Trees are a festive sign of the holiday season. They can also be a fire hazard. Cut trees need to be properly watered. Even then, eventually it will dry out. Most tree fires happen after Christmas, once the tree has dried out. Often they start overnight when trees are left lit. 

Put the tree out promptly for proper disposal or recycling after the holidays to reduce the risk for fire. Leaving it up much past Christmas or New Year’s increases the risk of a fire.

Never place any tree near a heat source such as a fireplace, furnace or space heater.

Unplug lights when leaving the house or going to sleep. Be especially careful if using lights that heat up — and don’t put them near heat sources, curtains or other flammable materials. 

Holiday Fire Hazard - Electrical

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

The more holiday lights the better, right? Well, that may not always be the case around your home. Safety must take the priority over dazzling, when it comes to stringing up lights or other electrical decorations. Electrical safety is especially important in older homes. Why? Most likely the electrical wiring and/or circuit breaker are not up to today's codes. Is the electrical in your home to code?

Make sure you buy holiday lights that have been tested for safety by an independent laboratory -check for a label.

Follow directions for safety,

  • Don’t hang indoor lights outside – or vice versa
  • Don’t plug too many items into an electrical socket.
  • Don’t string together more than 3 strands of lights, Gaffrey said.
  • Don’t connect LED lights and non-LED light strands.

Damaged holiday lights

Besides untangling your light sets, inspect them to make sure they are in good condition. This means checking for exposed wires or shattered bulbs and sockets since they pose a fire hazard.

In most cases, light sets should be replaced unless it is just a bulb that needs changing. Sometimes pets can chew on wires, so you may need to inspect often. If you need to buy new lights, LED lights tend to be cooler and significantly reduce the risk of fire. LED lights are also shatterproof and shock resistant.

Step One - Water In Your Basement

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Basement flooding is a nightmare for any homeowner. Aside from making your basement unusable, a basement flood can ruin your personal belongings and create a serious health and safety hazard.

If you have water in your basement the very first thing that you need to do (after stopping the flow of water of course) is you need to find out what caused the flood and how can you stop it from happening again?

Common causes of basement flooding

All basements are prone to flooding and there can be several causes behind the water in your basement. Below are some of the most common causes of a flooded basement:

Any basement can flood. Waterproofing your basement now can protect from future flooding.

Plumbing leaks

This could be a burst or leaking pipe, a leaking waste line, a broken supply hose for your washing machine, or a leaking water tank or water heater.

Leaky basement windows

If your window wells fill with water (from a flooded yard or clogged gutters), don’t be surprised if water leaks into the basement through and around the windows.

Leaky basement foundation

This is by far the most common cause of basement flooding. Excessive amounts of rain, poor yard drainage and sewer backups are common culprits behind a leaky foundation. Fortunately, it’s a problem that Basement Systems can solve by installing a warrantied, industry-leading waterproofing system. 

4-Step Response To Basement Flooding

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We recommend following these steps to return your home to its pre-flood condition and protect the space against future flooding.

Step 1: Safety First

Don't risk serious injury if your basement floods. A flooded basement can be a serious health and safety risk.

  • If possible avoid entering the basement. It is  best to stay out of the basement until the water is pumped out. Standing water in your basement can contain harmful bacteria. Exposure to these bacterias can cause health issues. Additionally, electrical fixtures or wiring may have been compromised. A person entering such an area runs the risk of electrical shock or possibly electrocution!
  • Remove water quickly. Simply shutting off the water source is not enough. Standing water and elevated levels of humidity will continue to cause damage to a structure and its contents.

Step 2: Find The Root Cause

If the issue that caused the water damage is not identified and properly remediated the damage will reoccur. No amount of remediation will prevent a recurrence if the root cause remains.

Step 3: Remove Water Damaged Items/Building Materials

Is your basement empty? Is it a finished basement? Building materials, furniture and flooring will all absorb moisture and may be damaged beyond repair. In such instances those items/materials should be removed. 

Step 4: Install A Waterproofing System

Every basement is unique. This step must be performed by a professional. Contact our Disaster Recovery Team to schedule a consultation.

Odor Remediation - Background

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

Odor remediation projects tend to be complex. Odors may be real or imaginary. Furthermore, interpretation of odor as good versus bad varies from client to client. As such every remediation project presents a unique set of challenges to our technicians. Over the coming weeks I would like to provide insight into some of these challenges and how to properly neutralize odor.  To begin with we need to better understand how we as humans process odor, what odor is, why odor remains, and finally environmental conditions that may enhance our reception of odor.

Humans depend on their nose as the best “instrument” for detecting odor. Odors result from airborne chemicals, gases, or tiny particles. As we breathe, these substances are absorbed by the mucous membranes in our nose and mouth. Receptors in the nose send a message to the brain, where the odor sensation is interpreted. Each individual reacts to odors differently in detecting whether odors are present and how intense they are. Interestingly there are two types of odors — real and imagined.  

  • Real odor is the sensation of smell caused by a real substance. Odor molecules interact with olfactory nerve cells in the nose. The olfactory nerves send a message to the brain that is interpreted by the olfactory lobe.
  • Imaginary or psychological odor is what people think they smell. They are stimulated by a given set of circumstances and strong impressions formed from similar circumstances before. Some people think they smell something because of the circumstances, not because of an odor actually being present. Imaginary odors are sometimes called heightened awareness odors, because circumstances have made the individual more aware of odor than he or she normally would be, and thus more likely to smell something that no one else smells.

Moreover, the term odor describes both good and bad smells. Whether an odor smells good or bad is in the mind of the individual. Some odors — such as putrefying flesh — are considered unpleasant by almost everyone. Other odors — such as gasoline or paint fumes— may be considered good odors by some people, but extremely offensive by others. The interpretation of whether a smell is good or bad differs from one individual to the next.

Odor particles are tiny. Tiny objects are measured in microns, and odor particles range in size from .1 (one tenth) of a micron to about four (4) microns. To put these sizes in perspective take a look at the period at the end of this sentence. That period is about 150 microns in size or 38 times bigger than the largest possible odor particle!  The extremely small size of odor particles allows them to penetrate surfaces easily. It is this penetration into building materials and furniture which result in odors remaining in our environments. This is also what makes the odor neutralization process at times challenging.    

Factors which Help Odors Penetrate 

  • Surface Porosity – The porous nature of building material varies – Hardwoods are less porous than soft wood. The types of paint used will change the porous nature of building materials. Flat paint does little to protect against odor penetration while paints with a high gloss finish may make a surface impervious to odor and moisture penetration. Items like carpet, drapes, and upholstery are all excellent vessels for odor retention.  
  • Heat - Heat causes porous surfaces to expand, allowing odors to penetrate even deeper. When heat is removed, the surfaces cool, contract, and trap the odor particles. This is why odors resulting from a fire are so pungent and challenging to neutralize.
  • Heavy concentrations of residue - The more concentrated the residue from substances causing the odor, the greater the surface area of materials that it can impact. 
  • Exposure time - The longer a surface is exposed to odor particles, the greater the number of odor particles that will penetrate porous surfaces. The greater the number of odor particles that penetrate porous surface areas the stronger the odors are likely to be.

Environmental factors also influence our reception of odors. Odor molecules are very volatile; they vaporize easily. High humidity levels help dissolve and carry odor vapors to the nose. This makes odors in humid air seem stronger than those in dry air. Weather conditions thus impact how evident odors are to people; odors become more detectable by the nose as the humidity increases. Our technicians alert our clients about these potential environmental impacts. It is quite possible, even months later, for odors to reappear during times of increased humidity or temperature. That is not so say that the odor neutralization process was incomplete, but rather the environmental conditions have changed and become more conducive to odor reception. In some cases additional neutralization may be necessary.    

Next week I will share methods and basic deodorization procedures required to ensure proper neutralization of odor particles.

Odor Remediation - Deodorization Procedures

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

Successful deodorization requires neutralization all odor particles. Deodorization is an integral part of restoration and requires professionals trained in all facets of restoration and odor neutralization procedures. Deodorization would be simple if all odors came from one source and one deodorization method could eliminate all of them. Unfortunately, all odors do not come from one source. Restoration professionals deal with some unique odor problems— things you have never heard of or dealt with before. The odor control technician needs to employ multiple methods of deodorization to deal with the many, various odors.

There are four basic deodorization procedures which must be followed.

  1. Remove the source of the odor.  
  2. Clean surfaces with odor-causing residues on them.
  3. Recreate the conditions that caused odor penetration.
  4. Seal surfaces exposed to malodors.

Remove the Odor Source

Simply attempting to deodorize the source with a masking agent will help to cover up any unwanted odors, however, that is all masking agents will do. For example, if the source of odor is a dead animal in a crawl space, you would not think of leaving the animal in place and trying to deodorize by spraying, fogging, or cleaning. In the same way, in a building that is damaged by a fire, you should remove charred structural materials before deodorizing. Debris that is contaminated with smoke residues can continue to give off smoke odors or soils if not removed. The universal first step in deodorization is to identify the source of the odor and remove the source. Taking this initial step will help lessen the amount of odor in the building. Other procedures will be needed, of course, to get rid of all the odors.

Clean Surfaces

Clean surfaces that have odor-causing residues on them. Small particles of odor-producing residue will continue to generate odors if not cleaned effectively. For example, in a grease fire you may need to clean significant concentrations of residue from the stove, countertops, vent hood, vent filter, cabinets, walls, ceilings, etc., to stop odor problems. Check all rooms— not just the kitchen —

to see how far odors have penetrated. Sometimes the entire structure and its contents may need to be cleaned to remove smoke odors.

Recreate the Conditions

No, we are not attempting to "recreate" the conditions that caused the unwanted odor. What we are referring to is the importance of how the neutralizing agent is applied. In other words, to be effective, deodorizers must be applied to the affected surface in a manner similar to the way the odor-causing substances penetrated that surface. For example, if smoke created the problem, a deodorizing “smoke” or fog will be most effective in following odors to their source. If urine contaminated an area, then “flood” affected areas with deodorizers (sanitizers, neutralizers, and digesters).

Also, odors can be distributed in more than one way. For example, decaying flesh produces fumes and gases, which are distributed on air currents to surfaces not in direct contact with the source. This situation may require multiple methods of deodorization. Directly saturate any areas that were physically contacted by the source. Fog other areas to seek out odor vapors that have penetrated surfaces.

Seal Surfaces

The final step of the deodorization process is to properly seal the surfaces that have been exposed to malodors. This step is not required in all circumstances, but may be called for in severe situations. If odor removal would be too expensive or impractical, sealing might eliminate the problem. Two common sealing situations are painting walls and sealing inaccessible duct surfaces in air handling systems.

Next I will touch on the many types of neutralizing agents and the different effects each have on malodors.

Odor Neutralization Agents And Techniques

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As we have discussed previously there are many kinds and types of malodors. As such, there are many types of neutralizing agents and techniques to use to counteract malodors – each of which affect malodors in different ways.

Here is a list of various deodorants and deodorizing actions;

  • Masking agents
  • Pairing agents
  • Filtration agents
  • Disinfectants and sanitizers
  • Enzymes
  • Air purification
  • Oxidation

Masking Agents

Masking agents are not a primary deodorizer for a real odor situation because they do not eliminate odors. Instead, masking agents cover malodors with a more pleasant odor. Usually masking agents are packed in a time-release form, such as beads, wicks, gels, blocks, or solid cakes, so they generate pleasant-smelling vapors for long periods of time. This slow release of deodorant vapors makes masking agents a good weapon against imaginary odors.

Pairing Agents

Pairing agents are chemicals that combine with (or pair with) odor particles. Most deodorants used for fire restoration contain both masking agents and pairing agents. Two different types of pairing agents affect odor particles in different ways:

  • Humectant — A highly absorptive material that combines with airborne odor particles and causes them to precipitate onto surfaces where they can be cleaned up. Wet fogging uses this process.
  • Counteractant — A neutralizer that combines chemically with odor particles and changes the chemical properties of the odor molecule or destroys odor-causing bacteria. Thermal fogging works in this manner.

Filtration Agents

Filtration agents collect odors in one of two ways - Absorption or Adsorption.

  • Absorption agents primarily absorb moisture and odors into the deodorizing agent. This absorbing action occurs when baking soda is placed in a refrigerator to pick up odors. One type of absorption agent is a powder composed of highly absorptive compounds, inert fillers, and perfume. These powders are not very effective because they mostly absorb humidity and oils and do not attack the real odor problem. They are sprinkled on carpets, but can build up in carpets and damage fibers.
  • Adsorption agents work by capturing odor gases from the air and holding them on the surface of the agent. These processes are used to filter odor gases from air passing by or through the filtration agent. Activated charcoal is a type of adsorption agent often used in air filtration systems.

Disinfectants and Sanitizers

Growing bacteria and fungi create odors by producing gases. Disinfecting or killing these odor- causing organisms is a form of deodorization. Some chemicals are classified as disinfectants or sanitizers. In the restoration industry these terms have specific technical meanings:

  • Disinfectants are stronger than sanitizers.
  • The suffix – "stat" means “to control or limit.” A fungistat controls the growth of fungi such as molds.
  • The suffix – "cide" means “to kill.” A fungicide stops the growth of fungi, killing the organism.

Some common disinfectants are pine oil, alcohol, bleach, phenolic disinfectants, and quaternary ammonia solutions. These agents are usually combined with a pleasant fragrance. The disinfectants kill the odor causing bacteria and fungi and the fragrance handles the psychological odors.

Enzyme Digesters

Enzyme digesters work effectively on organic or protein materials. Unlike chemical deodorizers, enzymes break down organic odor molecules into substances without odor. The enzyme deodorizer breaks down odor molecules into carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O), and water soluble by-products, and these substances dissipate rapidly into the air. The odor is “eradicated.” Enzymes also break down insoluble protein molecules into simple, soluble substances, which can be absorbed by the bacteria and digested.

Air Purification

Purifying the air is a means of removing odors from indoor air.

  •  Electronic filters use an electrically charged grid to kill airborne microorganisms as they pass through the filter.
  •  Air scrubbers pull air through charcoal filters, capturing odors onto a filter and recirculating the filtered air back into the indoor environment.
  •  Ventilation fans exchange indoor and outdoor air, exhausting odors outside and drawing fresh air indoors from outside.

Oxidation

Oxidation occurs when a substance combines with oxygen. Ozone generators produce ozone gas (O3), which permanently destroys odor through an oxidation process. Ozone gas is an unstable oxygen molecule composed of three oxygen atoms. When this unstable molecule comes in contact with an odor particle, the extra oxygen atom combines with the odor particle and oxidizes it. There are, unfortunately, safety concerns to consider prior to performing any oxidation procedure. Like most “chemical” products, ozone can be hazardous, but if used properly this method of deodorization is as safe as other available methods. Safety precautions must be taken when deodorizing with ozone. Use activated oxygen only in unoccupied areas. Ozone is toxic when high concentrations are inhaled, so remove all people and pets from the areas to be ozoned. Ozone Warning signs should be placed at all entries prior to performing activated oxygen procedures. Only certified technicians should enter the oxidized area until it has been determined to be safe by the technician. 

Next I will share with you the various types of equipment our technicians have at their disposal.

Odor Neutralization Equipment

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

Effective deodorization often requires a combination of multiple deodorization techniques. The same deodorizing product or the same deodorizing process will not solve all odor problems. Some odors will require fogging, some direct spraying, some activated oxygen, etc. The deodorization technician uses a variety of equipment, depending on the odor situation.  

Highlighted below are the various equipment at our technician’s disposal along with a brief description of how and why our technicians would use them.

Pressure Sprayer / Electric Sprayer

Hand pump-up sprayers or powered sprayers can dispense chemicals at about 50 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure. They are used to spray applications directly onto surfaces being deodorized. The most common applications for direct spraying in smoke deodorization are on heavily charred structural components or on fabrics and carpets. Since direct spraying wets the surface being treated, only use this method in situations where discoloration is unlikely or of no consequence.

Ventilation Box Fan

Ventilation box fans generate airflow of great velocity, from 3,000 to 5,000 cubic feet of air per minute (cfm). Moving large volumes of air is useful for ventilating odors, fumes, and vapors from a structure.  Box fans perform various deodorizing functions. When odors are heavy in a structure, a restorer may use the box fans to flush as much of the odors from the building as possible. After this initial ventilation, the restorer will use other methods to deal with remaining odors. Box fans are commonly used to ventilate a structure after thermal fogging. The air in a structure which has been thermal fogged for deodorization should be exchanged to ensure all vapors and residues of the deodorizing product are removed. Air is exchanged by ventilating indoor air to the outside and drawing outside air into the structure. The box fans help exchange outdoor air for indoor air.

Fogging Equipment

Fogging is a common deodorization process. A deodorizing product is dispensed as extremely small particles in a mist. The fogging process produces particles small enough to penetrate surfaces where odor particles are giving off odor. There are two distinctly different fogging procedures – Dry and Wet Fogging.

Dry Fogging — the Thermal Fogger

Thermal foggers vaporize solvent-based or petroleum-based deodorizers, generating a “smoke” or fog consisting of very small particles. The droplets generated by the thermal fogger range in size from as small as one-half micron to larger particles up to 25 microns, approximating the size of odor molecules. The droplets make a smoke, physically similar to the smoke produced in a fire, enabling the deodorizer to interact more effectively with odor-causing residues. Thermal fogging products are a blend of strong fragrances, odor counteractants, and solvents. They counteract odor-causing residues and eliminate odors rather than just masking them.

Wet Fogging — the ULV Fogger

ULV stands for Ultra Low Volume. The ULV fogger atomizes liquid deodorizing agents, primarily water-based agents, producing a fine mist. These foggers generate deodorant particles of approximately 10 to 60 microns in size, small enough to penetrate into most areas where odor-causing residues accumulate. The ULV fogger dispenses water-based deodorizing products and so is referred to as “wet” fogging and would be used to neutralize “wet” malodors like pet urine.

Oxidation Equipment

Sometimes odor molecules are eliminated by combining them with oxygen molecules. Oxidizing is the process of a substance combining with oxygen. There are two distinctly different oxidizing machines at our technicians’ disposal – An Ozone generator and a Photocatalytic oxidizer.

Ozone Machine

The ozone machine generates ozone, or unstable oxygen molecules (containing three oxygen atoms). Ozone is also known as activated oxygen because it chemically reacts with odor-causing molecules to oxidize residues (become combined chemically with the extra oxygen molecules) and remove the odors. The portable ozone machine eliminates a variety of odors caused by animals, cigarette smoke, mold and mildew, or fire and water damages. Ozone can be toxic to. All people, pets, and live plants should vacate the environment during ozoning. {NOTE: I will share ozone safety procedures in my next blog, “Safety during Deodorization Procedures”}

Photocatalytic Oxidizer

This machine is called a photocatalytic oxidizer. Inside the machine is an Ultraviolet (UV) bulb coated with titanium dioxide. The machine produces Hydroxyl Radicals. A radical is a group of atoms, and a Hydroxyl Radical is a group with an oxygen atom and hydrogen atom (the symbol is *OH).

The photocatalytic oxidizer machine oxidizes odors like ozone, but the process is safer for occupied structures. Deodorizing with the photocatalytic oxidizer does not fill a room like ozone machines do. Deodorization takes place inside the machine.

Air Scrubber

An air scrubber can remove airborne particles, as well as odors and gases, from the air. The device draws dirty indoor air into the machine, then pulls the air through a series of filters, capturing particles, gases, and odors on the filters, and then exhausts clean air back into the environment. The machine holds different types of filters:

  • HEPA filters capture tiny, extremely small particles—as small as .3 microns. 
  • The activated carbon and potassium permanganate filter removes a wide range of gases and odors by attracting odor molecules to the filter through adsorption.

Injection

Neutralizing agents are injected into a material using a syringe and a needle or a pump and needle. The injection technique is used when the affected area is small or the surface area is delicate. Also, when the surface material cannot be removed for proper application of neutralizing agents the injection technique may be utilized. An example of when the injection method might be considered is when the procedure of detaching carpet from the tack strip and rolling the carpet back is not practical.

In many deodorizing situations our technicians use multiple procedures to produce the desired results. Combining multiple techniques can produce effective deodorization, but you do not always need to use multiple techniques.  As previously mentioned the universal first step of any odor situation is to remove the source causing the odor. The second basic step is to clean the area of residues. After completing these first steps, our technician may find that the malodor has been properly neutralized and that no additional steps need to be performed. Regardless of the severity of the situation, our clients may rest assured that all necessary steps, and only those steps that are necessary, will be taken to ensure proper malodor neutralization.

Next I touch on important odor remediation safety equipment and procedures.

Deodorization Safety Procedures

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Safety during Deodorization Procedures

The cleaning and restoration industry is always concerned about safety and health hazards. OSHA—the Occupational Safety and Health Administration—regulates safety in the workplace. Our technicians are OSHA 10 certified. That means that they are trained in the recognition, avoidance, abatement and prevention of safety and health hazards on the job site. There are two methods of deodorization, thermal fogging and ozone, which bring with them significant safety issues. Both methods work by putting substances into the air that could be irritating to humans if breathed. Fortunately, when proper precautions have been taken, deodorizing with either method can be performed safely and effectively. 

Safety with Thermal Fogging

Thermal fogging usually dispenses solvent-based deodorants. Heating and combusting the deodorizing product breaks it down into extremely small particles. Safety precautions are needed to prevent an incident. One potential hazard is the flammable nature of deodorizing products used for thermal fogging. Another risk may be physical reactions of people exposed to the fog.

Our technicians post "Thermal Fogging In Progress" signs or warning notices in easy-to-see areas at all points of entry. The sign may state a time limit for people to wait before re-entering the building or treated area. Our technicians will notify the local fire department and the security monitoring company (if the building has a security system) of the thermal fogging operation. The notification will avoid false alarm calls, because the thermal fog looks like smoke, and uninformed third parties may report the smoke to authorities.

Setup Procedures for Safety

SERVPRO technicians complete several setup tasks before starting the thermal fogging procedure. Setup involves extinguishing pilot lights on appliances such as wood stoves, gas logs, fireplaces, gas ranges, water heaters, and furnaces. The fogging agent can reach a flammable point when exposed to an open flame. We will also disconnect any electrical device that could cause a spark. All people and pets must be vacated from the area to be fogged. Our technicians wear personal protective equipment, including a respirator with organic vapor cartridges, goggles, and chemical resistant gloves. Upon completion the treated area will be thoroughly ventilated to remove odors and fumes before people and pets will be allowed back into occupants the treated area. This can be done by opening doors and windows and setting up exhaust fans and/or high velocity air movers to turn over the air in the treated area. Occupants should not re-enter the building until they are given clearance by our project manager.

Safety Precautions for Ozone

Ozone is a toxic gas and therefore it can be hazardous, but when used properly and following all safety precautions this method of deodorization is as safe as other available methods. Ozone will only be applied in unoccupied areas. All people and pets must be vacated from the areas to be ozoned. Ozone Warning signs will be posted at all entries prior to performing ozone deodorizing procedures. Technicians working around ozone wear personal protective equipment including goggles, chemical resistant gloves, and a NIOSH-approved respirator with an organic vapor cartridge. The treated area must be properly ventilated after ozoning is completed. Unlike thermal fogging Ozone dissipates completely within minutes and leaves no residue. Ventilate the treated area for at least 30 minutes after ozoning completion to address any lingering ozone. It is safe to re-enter treated areas 1 (one) hour after the ozone generation has stopped.

 

5 Guiding Principles Of Drying

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The IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) is an independent, certification body that sets and promotes high standards and ethics within the inspection, cleaning, restoration and installation industry. It is regarded as the international industry standard to be used by restoration companies. One of the standards they have set, which has been accredited by ANSI (American National Standards Institute), is the S500 Water Damage Restoration Standard. This standard identifies five guiding principles for remediation companies to follow when drying and restoring wet building materials and its contents. These principles are:

  1. Safety of workers and occupants
  2. Documentation of conditions and work procedures
  3. Mitigation
  4. Drying
  5. Cleaning and repair

I will go into more detail and provide some examples later, but for now let me briefly describe the five principles. 

Principle 1—Safety First

Safety is everyone’s responsibility on a water damage work site. A primary concern in water damage safety is protecting our technicians. In addition, our technicians make sure they inform and protect occupants from whatever safety issues may arise during a project. Observing appropriate safety procedures ensures that both our technicians and clients remain healthy and safe while in unhealthy or unsafe environments. 

Principle 2—Documentation 

Our technicians inspect the areas where water has intruded to identify the extent to which water has migrated through materials and how much damage has occurred. They talk with building occupants about their observations to help further define the nature of the water damage. The information gathered in this initial inspection is documented and used to plan the needed emergency procedures.

During the process of drying a building, our technicians conduct ongoing inspections. They inspect and measure moisture conditions inside the building and in materials affected by the water. Information gathered during these ongoing inspections is documented and used to determine whether wet materials are drying properly. 

When the structure and contents are considered dry again, our technicians conduct a final inspection. This information is documented to show the building materials and contents have been restored to acceptable conditions. Not only do our technicians document the conditions of the building, but also the work procedures they followed to address those conditions. 

Principle 3—Mitigation

The major concern with any wet building is to prevent damages caused by water and moisture from becoming worse. Effective mitigation of a water intrusion will reduce the amount of damage a property suffers and thus also reduce the cost of restoring the property to its condition before the loss. Mitigation is important because it helps our clients recover more quickly from the water loss event. 

The goal of mitigation is to control the moisture and contamination. Our technicians will check for the source of moisture problems in the building. This source of moisture or water must be stopped before any drying of the building can be successful. While the building owner is ultimately responsible for correcting the route cause of the water damage, we offer subcontracting services to help make the remediation process as uncomplicated and trouble free as possible for our clients. 

Mitigation also controls any microbiological contamination resulting from the moisture. Contaminants are contained to prevent their spread from affected areas of a building to the uncontaminated areas. 

Principle 4—Drying Buildings and Contents

Our goal is to reduce the time that building materials and contents are excessively wet. The more quickly items are returned to a dry condition, the less damage they will suffer. The drying process involves some basic procedures:

Remove excess water. Removing the excess or bulk water is an important procedure in drying a building. Water can be removed from a building in two ways—extraction and evaporation. Extraction is the more effective way for removing enough water to speed the process of drying. Every gallon removed by extracting means much less time will be required to remove water with drying equipment.

Enhance evaporation of moisture. Restorers set up drying equipment to remove moisture through evaporation and dehumidification. Air movement speeds the evaporation of moisture from wet materials.

Remove water vapor by dehumidification. Dry air acts like a sponge to absorb moisture from wet surfaces. Wet, humid air is processed through dehumidifiers to remove water vapor and produce dry air. Air movers circulate the dry air from the dehumidifiers across the wet surfaces to speed up evaporation.

Control temperature to enhance moisture removal. Our technicians will control the temperature of air conditions in order to increase the rate of evaporation. They also maintain certain temperature levels to increase the operating efficiency of dehumidifiers. 

Principle 5—Cleaning and Repair


Once our technician's inspection confirms moisture content of the structure and contents has reached the drying goals, the drying services are done. The structure and its contents are now ready for restoration services to begin. We have a full stable of vetted, bonded and insured professionals that can perform the restoration process for our clients. 

The bottom line with any water damage scenario is simple, the key to preventing further water damagerespond quickly and we are faster to any size disaster.


Before I discuss each principle in greater detail I will explain how we "Respond to The Loss".

Responding To The Loss - Water

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Water can deliver significant damage to property and its contents. Response time is paramount to mitigating the extent of the damage. We pride ourselves on being, “Faster to any size disaster”. Our technicians respond promptly to all water related calls. When responding to a loss our technicians will follow a four (4) step process in adherence to the IICRC S500 5 Principles;

1 - Inspection of the loss – They will inspect the impacted area to scope the extent of damage and to evaluate how far water has migrated through the building. The inspection service is called “scoping.” Scoping water damage means the technician looks carefully at the area affected by the water and examines the area to determine the extent of water damage. The technician will conduct several activities when scoping or inspecting water damage, including: 

  • Gather information about the structure.
  • Identify potential safety and health hazards (S500 Principle 1, Health & Safety).
  • Evaluate the amount of damage to structural components and contents items.
  • Make preliminary determinations about the mitigation and restoration services required.

It is during this time that our technicians are actively evaluating the disaster (S500 Principle 2, Documentation) in totality to determine the scope of the damage by answering questions like:

  • What is the category of water?
  • To what extent did water intrude into the building?
  • How far did the water go?
  • How many materials got wet?

2 - Emergency services (S500 Principle 3, Mitigation) -The goal of emergency actions is to protect structure and contents from further damage, establish a safe environment, extract water, and begin drying the structure and contents effectively.  

3 - Monitoring services (S500 Principle 4, Drying Buildings and Contents) - Monitoring activities during the drying process are essential to ensure the drying process is working properly. This also allows for good lines of communication with all stakeholders — the insured, the adjuster, and the agent. Our technicians complete monitoring reports to show the effectiveness of the drying system. Monitoring services continue until the structure and contents are dry.

4 - Restoration services (S500 Principle 5, Cleaning and Repair) - Once everything is dry, the last step is restoration—cleaning and repairing everything to return both structure and contents back to preloss condition. Restoration services may include repairing structural materials, reinstalling carpets, and cleaning affected areas of structure and contents.  

Key Questions of Restorative Drying

Once on site our technicians are trained to answer the following key questions while performing the first 3 steps mentioned above.

  1. What materials and contents are wet?
  2. How wet are the affected items?
  3. Are structure and contents items drying?
  4. Are structure and contents dry?

The answers to these questions are documented and used to make drying decisions while performing emergency and monitoring services.

The answers to the first two questions enable our technicians to determine how big or small the drying job will be. The aim of inspection is to learn what building components got wet and how wet they are. These questions show how big the challenge will be to return everything to a dry condition.

The answers to the last two questions will help our technicians track the drying progress of the building as it moves from wet back to dry. Throughout the monitoring services, our technicians will check whether building components are drying. Are they making progress from wet to dry, and is the rate of progress acceptable? Are they dry? Only when the answer is “yes” to this final question will the impacted area be ready to have restoration services begin. To be clear, restoration services CANNOT begin until ALL we building materials and its contents are shown to be dry again.

Principle 1 - Health & Safety

Safety is everyone’s responsibility on a water damage work site. So Principle 1—safety—is a concern at the beginning of an inspection.

  • A primary concern in water damage safety is protecting employees who will be working in the wet building.
  • In addition, the IICRC S500 Water Damage Restoration Standard highly recommends restorers make “a reasonable effort” to inform and protect occupants from safety issues that may arise during a project.
  • Federal regulations (for example OSHA standards on safe work areas) may apply to water restoration work. Observing appropriate safety procedures will help keep workers healthy while they work in unhealthy or unsafe buildings. The S500 offers a list of safe work practices for contaminated, wet environments.

As mentioned above one of the very first, if not the first, question our technicians will ask themselves is, “What is the category of water?” A common safety hazard in water damages is microbes that grow when excess water affects a building. Various types of microscopic organisms begin to multiply and contaminate the water. The restoration industry categorizes water damages on the basis of how contaminated the water is. The categories are called Category 1, 2, and 3. They are given the names Clean water, Gray water, Black water respectively. One factor that helps our technicians to determine the category is the source of the water.

Clean Water – Water that has been treated or has not been contaminated with waste, such as a burst water line or pipes, rain water, snow or ice melt, etc.

Gray Water – Water that has been used, but does not contain human waste including: discharge water from a washing machine, discharge water from a dishwasher, shower or sink overflow, etc.

Black Water – Water that is highly contaminated with waste. Two kinds of black water situations are flooding and sewage backups.

o   External flooding — Flood waters are very dirty and potentially dangerous. Mud, silt and other sorts of debris may possibly contain disease carrying microorganisms. Rising flood water may take a long time to recede before mitigation and remediation procedures can begin. Structural damage is likely.

o  Sewage Back-ups — This kind of black water damage happens when a commode overflows with human waste or when a municipal sewer line backs up. Sewage waste contains disease carrying microorganisms. If the waste is from a medical treatment facility or hospital, the potential for Blood Borne Pathogens is dramatically higher.

Obviously it is easy to see why quickly identifying the category of water is so important. How and where excess, stagnant water can be “relocated” is determined by the category of water. Clean water can safely be reintroduced into the surrounding ecosystem. However Gray water (in some instances) and Black water must be removed safely according to local Department of Health guidelines. The latter of which can make water remediation projects extremely challenging.  Understanding the type of water and how it can be removed from the structure enables our technician to properly define and communicate the scope of the project. The good news, we have the appropriate extraction and transportation equipment to get the job done correctly and safely!

During the inspection step our technicians also begin to document conditions and procedures (Principle 2). We will dive into greater detail on this topic next week. 

Ice Dams

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

What is an ice dam?

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas. The image included in this blog entry shows a cross section of a home with an ice dam.

What causes ice dams?

There is a complex interaction among the amount of heat loss from a house, snow cover, and outside temperatures that leads to ice dam formation. For ice dams to form there must be snow on the roof, and, at the same time, higher portions of the roof's outside surface must be above 32°F while lower surfaces are below 32°F. For a portion of the roof to be below 32°F, outside temperatures must also be below 32°F. When we say temperatures above or below 32°F, we are talking about average temperature over sustained periods of time.

The snow on a roof surface that is above 32°F will melt. As water flows down the roof it reaches the portion of the roof that is below 32°F and freezes. Voila! - an ice dam.

The dam grows as it is fed by the melting snow above it, but it will limit itself to the portions of the roof that are on the average below 32°F. So the water above backs up behind the ice dam and remains a liquid. This water finds cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering and flows into the attic space. From the attic it could flow into exterior walls or through the ceiling insulation and stain the ceiling finish.

Remember: Nonuniform roof surface temperatures lead to ice dams.

The Science Of Drying

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage The Science Of Drying IICRC

Quite frequently we are asked how do we know how long it will take to dry a structure after it has sustained water damage. Our clients want to know that there is scientific research to back this up our estimates and that we are not simply pulling numbers out of thin air. The reality is that, yes, there is extensive and well-documented scientific research ranging over many years related to drying technology of various products. That research, and the subsequent industry guidelines which we follow, is conducted and produced by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

The IICRC was formed in 1972 as an independent, certification body that sets and promotes high standards and ethics within the inspection, cleaning, restoration and installation industry. The IICRC is regarded as the international industry standard to be used by restoration companies. All of our technicians are IICRC certified. When you hire us to do a job you can rest assured that our work will be completed in accordance with the industry’s “standard of care”.

So how do we determine what equipment to use and how long the drying process will take? Structural drying is a process that utilizes evaporation, the process by which water changes from its liquid phase to its gaseous phase. Evaporation is influenced by several factors:

  • The level of moisture (i.e. relative humidity) in the air
  • Water vapor pressure differential between the surface of the wet material and the surrounding environment
  • Temperature of the wet material
  • Air movement across the surface of the wet material
  • Access to surfaces of wet materials

The application of air movement at the surface of wet materials is a critical component to the drying process. Evaporation is a surface phenomenon, and surfaces are measured in area (e.g. square feet). Therefore using linear feet of wall as the primary criterion for establishing air movement requirements is illogical.

  1. Drying is the process of removing excess moisture both at the surface and from within the materials and assemblies.
  2. The conditions conducive to effectively and efficiently drying at the surface of some materials and assemblies differ from the conditions conducive to effectively and efficiently moving excess moisture within the materials or assemblies.
  3. Rapid air movement across wet surfaces of materials or assemblies is a critical component of effectively and efficiently drying the surface of those materials and assemblies.
  4. Rapid air movement across the surface of materials becomes less important relative to vapor pressure as the focus of removing surface moisture gives way to reducing moisture content in low evaporation materials.
  5. Using the same criteria to establish air movement during the constant and the falling rate drying of materials and assemblies does not consider changing conditions.
  6. The linear foot formula for air movement of a room fails to consistently account for the actual surface area of wet materials and assemblies in different classes of water intrusion.

Humidity, airflow and temperature influence the movement of moisture within a material as well as the evaporation rate from the surface of material. These properties greatly impact the overall drying time for a project.

It is important to quickly control the moisture in the air and use sufficient airflow to dry the surfaces of materials to reduce water activity thus lowering the potential for microbial growth (mold). To ensure rapid, cost effective drying without secondary damage specific types and quantities of airmovers are recommended, depending on the type, porosity, location and square footage of the surface being dried. … The minimum quantity of airmovers recommended for various flooring surfaces are as follows:

  1. Non-porous and semi-porous flooring – at least one airmover per 400- 500 square feet is recommended. Give consideration to closets or small storage areas where airflow may be restricted.
  2. Direct-glue carpet installations – in installations where disengagement normally would damage or destroy carpet or cushion, at least one airmover is recommended per 300 square feet of carpet area, or one per room if smaller than 300 square feet. Give consideration to closets or small storage areas where airflow may be restricted.
  3. Stretch-in carpet – a minimum of one airmover is recommended per 300 square feet of carpet surface area, or one per room if smaller than 300 square feet. Give consideration to closets or small storage areas where airflow may be restricted.

As you can see there is a significant knowledge base which we pull from to ensure that we completely remove all excess moisture, both the visible standing water and the subsequent elevated levels of humidity, during our structural drying projects. If you would like to learn more about the science of structural drying and why we do what we do visit www.IICRC.org

National Preparedness Month

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month. The best way to survive a disaster is to have a plan in place prior to such an event happening. These past couples of weeks have put on display the importance of knowing what to do should disaster strike. Fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards all can put you and your family at risk. Nowadays we take for granted the ability to communicate with our loved ones at anytime and from anywhere.  As we have learned, communication channels can be brought down. If disaster strikes would you be able to communicate with all the members of your household? More importantly would they know how to reach each other and where to meet up?

The following is an outline, published by the Department of Homeland Security on their website, which can be used to guide you and your family as you created your own plan.

Planning starts with three easy steps:

  1. COLLECT. Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers.
  2. SHARE. Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. If you complete your Family Emergency Communication Plan online at ready.gov/make-a-plan, you can print it onto a wallet-sized card. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.
  3. PRACTICE. Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.

To view the complete outline visit our blog, SERVPROnorwoodwestroxbury.blogspot.com

National Preparedness Month

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month. The best way to survive a disaster is to have a plan in place prior to such an event happening. These past couples of weeks have put on display the importance of knowing what to do should disaster strike. Fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards all can put you and your family at risk. Nowadays we take for granted the ability to communicate with our loved ones at anytime and from anywhere.  As we have learned, communication channels can be brought down. If disaster strikes would you be able to communicate with all the members of your household? More importantly would they know how to reach each other and where to meet up?

The following is an outline, published by the Department of Homeland Security on their website, which can be used to guide you and your family as you created your own plan.

Planning starts with three easy steps:

  1. COLLECT. Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers.
  2. SHARE. Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. If you complete your Family Emergency Communication Plan online at ready.gov/make-a-plan, you can print it onto a wallet-sized card. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.
  3. PRACTICE. Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.

To view the complete outline visit our blog, SERVPROnorwoodwestroxbury.blogspot.com

3 Categories of Water Damage

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

According to IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500), there are three categories of water that cause damage in buildings. They are summarized as follows:


Category 1 Water – That which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans. Category 1 water may become progressively contaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings or building assemblies (walls, decking, subflooring). Time and temperature, which promote the growth and amplification of microorganisms in water can cause Category 1 water to degrade. Examples: burst water pipes, failed supply lines on appliances, vertically falling rainwater.


Category 2 Water – That which begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans. As with Category 1 water, time and temperature can cause Category 2 water to become progressively more contaminated.


Category 3 Water – That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Examples: sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes. There are two ways in which water enters a building as a result of wind storm damage:

Do you have hidden mold in your home?

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).


Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper. If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring an experienced professional. Call our Disaster Recovery Team today – 781-769-9125!

Mold 411

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture. Can mold cause health problems? Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. The key to mold control is moisture control. It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.

Do You Have Mold?

5/10/2017 (Permalink)

Do you think that you may have mold in your home or place of business? While mold spores exist naturally everywhere high levels in contained spaces can cause serious health issues. Mold spores are airborne particles which can be eliminated by creating a negative air chamber. One piece of equipment that we often use is the DefenderAir HEPA 500 is ideal for handling indoor air-quality needs on every restoration job.  This unit address these air-quality issues quickly and effectively, helping you to maintain a clean indoor environment. The DefendAir has an efficiency rating of 99.97% against 0.3-micron oily aerosol particles and meets first-pass filtration requirements for even the most sensitive jobs. If you think that you may have an infestation of mold give our Disaster Recovery Team a call today! 

What Are the Potential Health Effects of Mold

5/10/2017 (Permalink)

According the CDC mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors. However some people are sensitive to molds. These people may experience symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to molds. Some people may have more severe reactions to molds. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Immunocompromised persons and persons with chronic lung diseases like COPD are at increased risk for opportunistic infections and may develop fungal infections in their lungs.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.

Water Main Run Off

4/26/2017 (Permalink)

What would you do if a water main burst and covered over 30,000 square feet of your warehouse with almost an inch of water? You would want someone to arrive onsite fast and remediate the entire problem, not just the visible water, but also the excess moisture that could ruin a product line with mold and mildew. That is exactly what happened to a local sporting apparel manufacturer. From Air Movers to Dehumidifiers, Generators to Power Distribution Boxes we have access to a wide array of water remediation equipment and the certified technicians to get the COMPLETE job done right! We began the drying process in the middle of the week and completed it by the very next weekend. All of our equipment was removed over that weekend and the warehouse space was ready to receive deliveries that very next Monday morning. How are we able to accomplish this, we offer our commercial clients flat rate pricing which allows our technicians to take whatever steps necessary to expedite the drying process with minimal disruption to business operations. Does your commercial property need remediation services? Call our disaster recovery team today!

Mold Removal

4/13/2017 (Permalink)

When approaching mold clean up a lot of people wonder which method is best, “Dry Blast” vs “Sand Blast”, The answer is neither , the reality in today’s world is this is unnecessary because; dry ice is costly, it only removes surface mold, and porous materials require a deep cleaning. SERVPRO technicians use anti-fungal and anti-microbial treatments that kill mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming


When tackling mold we make it a priority to set up containment. All remediation companies will set up containment, but when and how is the issue. We set up containment prior to applying the “eyeball test”. Which is as follows



  • The “Eyeball Test” – Assessing the Environment


    • Has there been a previous water damage

    • Do you smell musty odors of mold

    • Do you see areas of mold contamination

    • Our competitors cut 4 x 8 holes in the wall from the ground up

    • We cut a 2 x 4 in the center of the wall


What is Mold?

4/12/2017 (Permalink)

What is mold? Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae.. This means that, like you and I, mold is a living organism.  Mold spores are microscopic in size and, believe it or not, they exist naturally everywhere. Removing all traces of mold from a home or business is impossible. In actuality, mold testing is not done to determine if mold exists, but rather, to determine if elevated levels of mold exists. Proper mold testing consists of comparing indoor air quality to the air quality of the surrounding external environment.


Three conditions must exist for mold to cultivate. The first would be the availability of food. Any organic, carbon based, porous material is the only source of food mold spores require. The second would be having an appropriate temperature. Contrary to popular belief, mold can grow in any temperature above freezing, for example have you ever found moldy food in your refrigerator? The ideal temperature for mold to grow is in between 59° F – 86° F. Lastly having a considerable amount of moisture is a condition necessary that supports mold. It does not take long either; when all three conditions exist mold infestation can begin in less than 48 hours!  The good news is that eliminating any one of these three conditions will ensure be mold free environment.


The not-so-good news is unfortunately, ninety percent of building materials used can serve as food for mold. Temperatures in New England during late spring and summer months are perfect for mold growth. Lastly, leaky roofs, improper bathroom ventilation, or poorly installed finished basements are just a few of the many issues that will cause the increased levels of moisture needed to stimulate mold growth. We cannot change the materials used to build our homes or the temperatures outside but we can control moisture. The good news is as humans we actually prefer humidity levels that are well below the critical relative humidity necessary for mold growth. That means, in most situations, the simple purchase of a dehumidifier is all the protection needed to mitigate mold growth.  


But, what happens when disaster strikes and a simple dehumidifier is not enough? Up next – Why Call SERVPRO.

April Showers

4/5/2017 (Permalink)

April showers bring May Flowers. Unfortunately, those same showers also may bring flooded basements. Immediate action is crucial when dealing with water damage. Luckily, SERVPRO franchises are strategically located to allow our technicians to arrive faster to any size disaster. As a leader in the water remediation industry our technicians receive advanced structural drying training and IICRC certification. Furthermore, we document our entire drying process in order to validate that all moisture, visible and hidden, has been removed and that the structure is completely dry. Generally basements are areas of high moisture, as such any amount of additional standing water exponentially increases the risk of mold infestation.  Do not let water wreak havoc to your home or place of business.  Call our Disaster Recovery Team today!

The Air Max

3/29/2017 (Permalink)

Drying a structure requires more than simply removing the visible water. Elevated levels of moisture in the air can lead to mold infestation. Circulating air reduces escalated moisture levels. The Air Max is unlike traditional, “whistle”, air movers. This rugged unit has 3 airflow positions – horizontal, vertical, and side allowing for maximum air flow and the most complete structural drying possible. Combined with its vented bottom housing, the trying capacity of the Air Max is unparalleled! In addition, its small footprint allows us to install the Air Max virtually anywhere and the non-marking, anti-skid rubber feet help us to leave no trace left behind. Call our disaster recovery team today to learn more about the Air Max and how we can properly remediate water damage in your residential or commercial property.  

The Mega X

3/29/2017 (Permalink)

April showers bring May flowers. They also bring flooded basements.  When basements flood the water must be removed immediately before damaging the structure of the property. The MegaX Flood Removal Extractor is the perfect tool for excessive water removal. The unit’s two inch intake valve allows for maximum water extraction. The MegaX has dual motors that offer unparalleled vacuuming performance and an auto discharge of 46 gallons per minute! Not only is the MegaX powerfully fast it is also unbelievably quiet too which allows for water removal in areas where noise is not an option.  Call our disaster recovery team today to learn more about the MegaX Flood Removal Extractor and how we can properly remediate water damage in your residential or commercial property.  

Biohazard Remediation

3/29/2017 (Permalink)

The decontamination of a home or business due to trauma, sewage backups, chemical spills, hoarding or other biohazards can be both dangerous and emotional. Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences. The failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments to work or live in. Our certified technicians are trained to safely remove biohazards and properly dispose of them in accordance with OSHA and health regulations. They are equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products to transform unhealthy environments back into clean, safe homes and offices.


Call our disaster recovery team today to learn more about our biohazard remediation services and how we can help to make your residential or commercial property safe to live and work in. 

Cleaning Services

3/29/2017 (Permalink)

You know SERVPRO as a leader in Fire and Water cleanup and restoration, but are you familiar with our professional cleaning services? Life happens. Homes and places of business get dirty even when disaster does not happen. We have access to specialized products, both traditional and green options, and the expertise to provide a deeper clean than your basic cleaning service.   We offer a wide array of professional cleaning services such as carpet and upholstery, ceiling, floors and walls, drapes and blinds as well as odor and garbage removal. Whatever your cleaning needs are we offer services to meet those needs.


Call our disaster recovery team today to learn more about our residential and commercial property cleaning services and how we can help to make it “Like it never even happened.”

April School Vacation

3/29/2017 (Permalink)

It is hard to believe that April school vacation is only one month away! Will spring time be in full effect or will there still be snow on the ground, only time will tell. Regardless, finding ways to keep your little ones entertained can be challenging. Let SERVPRO® of Norwood and West Roxbury help! We have partnered with Monster Mini Golf of Norwood to offer two, $25 gift certificates just in time for school vacation. Simply download a copy of our latest word search form, fill it out and submit it to us by Friday, April 7th. We will announce the winners on the following Tuesday, April 11th. Simply click the image below to download the word search form. Visit the Monster Mini Golf Norwood website, monsterminigolf.com, to see all that they have to offer.

2017 Scholarship

3/29/2017 (Permalink)

It is our pleasure to announce to you that we will once again be offering the SERVPRO of Norwood and West Roxbury (SNWR) Scholarship Award. We have made some significant changes this year. Most notably; unlike last year in which we offered one scholarship to the school districts we serve this year we will be offering one scholarship to EACH district! The 2017 SNWR Scholarship Award details are as follows:

  • The 2017 SNWR Scholarship Award is a onetime payment in the amount of five hundred dollars ($500)
  • The winner of the award will be announced on Friday, June 2nd 2017
  • The Scholarship will be administered by SERVPRO of Norwood and West Roxbury
  • A selection committee, comprised of the owner, Michael Callahan, myself and three other volunteers, will be formed to review all completed applications
  • The criteria for the award are as follows:
    • Applicants must be a member of the Dedham high school graduating class of 2017
    • Applicants must have legal residence in Dedham
    • Applicants will need to submit a complete the application form process by Friday, April 21st 2017
    • Applicants must have averaged a 2.5 GPA or better for the last four (4) reporting terms (second semester sophomore year to first semester senior year)

Are You "Ready For Whatever Happens?"

3/23/2017 (Permalink)

How many of you here have insurance? How many of you have insurance for your business in the form of a disaster recovery plan?  The Emergency Ready Profile, or the ERP, is a FREE, no-strings-attached centralized repository for critical facilities information. A well rounded business contingency plan is comprised of three components: incident response, disaster recovery and business continuity. The ERP encompasses two of those components, incident response and disaster recovery and grants us insight to the potential size and scope of a project prior to arriving on sight. The benefits of an ERP are a decrease in both response and recovery time – saving our customers money! Moreover, SERVPRO has partnered with the Red Cross and their Read Rating Program; a comprehensive assessment will help you to put all of your preparedness 'ducks' in a row. The information contained in our ERP can be used to create your baseline assessment. You never know when disaster will strike. Call us for you FREE consultation today!

Why SERVPRO

3/22/2017 (Permalink)

For homeowners, property managers, businesses owners, and insurance providers alike SERVPRO® of Norwood and West Roxbury is the area's premier disaster cleanup and restoration authority that delivers a wide array of high caliber remediation services. How do we accomplish that you may ask, by empowering our certified technicians to offer personalized solutions to our customers so that they may realize accelerated recovery times. This is facilitated through the high level of professional development and training of our technicians because only SERVPRO® franchisees have access to the extensive SERVPRO® network, its professionals and equipment allowing us to arrive faster to any size disaster as well as offer continued support after the job is done.

Helping the Neponset Valley community to make it "Like it never even happened" since 2011.

Looking to sell your home?

3/22/2017 (Permalink)

We are in the midst of a very hot sellers market. The majority of properties are receiving multiple bids after their first showing. But what if the home is not Open House ready? We at SERVPRO® of Norwood and West Roxbury can help with that. We offer a wide array of professional cleaning services such as carpet & upholstery, ceiling, floors & walls, drapes & blinds as well as odor & garbage removal. Are you a commercial real estate brokerage with REOs in foreclosure? Perhaps the foreclosure process began in late fall and the bank did not take ownership in time to properly winterize the property bringing about frozen pipes that burst and flooded the home. Maybe the property sat vacant for a long period of time resulting in mold, animal or pest infestation issues that are in need of remediation. Whatever the case may be we have the solution to help you get the greatest return on your investment!

The SERVPRO Difference

3/17/2017 (Permalink)

Professionalism what does that mean to you? We at  SERVPRO of Norwood and West Roxbury would like to tell you what it means to us. Our technicians go through an extensive vetting and training process. Every technician must pass a 7 year background check which includes a CORI check. Not only are they certified in Fire, Water, Mold and Bio Hazard remediation but they are also OSHA 10 certified which means they are trained in recognition, avoidance, abatement and prevention of safety and health hazards on the job site. Our equipment is meticulously maintained and regularly upgraded with the latest in remediation technology. All of this allows us to offer the best and most professional remediation experience to our clients. Disaster remediation does not need to be disastrous. Call us and we will make it made it "Like it never even happened.”

Rain, Rain Go Away

1/18/2017 (Permalink)

There is good news in the weather forecast for those of you that do not like to shovel their driveways, no snow! There is rain, however, and cold weather - that means ice! Be sure to grab your ice melt at your local hardware store while supplies last and be careful in the evenings on your commute home as the chance for black ice will be great. As always, for the latest weather forecasts visit The Weather Channel's website.

October's Winner

10/5/2016 (Permalink)

Are you receiving our Newsletter? In the latest issue we announced October's office breakfast winner, rang in Breast Cancer Awareness month with "7 Things You Should Know About Getting A Mammogram" from the American Cancer Society and showcased one of our commercial dehumidifiers. Click here to view our current Newsletter and to sign up to receive it automatically.

National Preparedness Month

9/7/2016 (Permalink)

September is recognized as National Preparedness Month (NPM) which serves as a reminder that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and also where we visit. Does your family have an Emergency Communicaiton Plan? Visit ready.gov by clicking the image below to learn how to design your family's plan.

Helping Kids Deal With Bullies

8/18/2016 (Permalink)

Everyone at SERVPRO® of Norwood and West Roxbury would like to help you and your family prepare for the upcoming school year. During the month of August we will be focusing on Back 2 School tips. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers tips for kids from how to make the first day easier to what to do when your child is bullied. Visit HealthyChildren.org for complete details.

Back 2 School Tips for Parents

8/11/2016 (Permalink)

Everyone at SERVPRO®  Norwood and West Roxbury would like to help you and your family prepare for the upcoming school year. During the month of August we will be focusing on Back 2 School tips. Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement... and anxiety. Help calm your child's fears (and your own) with these teacher-approved tips provided by PBS Parents.

Back 2 School

8/3/2016 (Permalink)

Are you receiving our Newsletter automatically? If not, you are not receiving our latest promotions, gaining critical industry updates, learning about local business events or receiving our helpful tips. In this edition we announced our August Bobble Head winner, gave our first back to school tip of the month and highlighted the Injectidry HP-Plus!

Click here to view our current Newsletter and sign up for automatic delivery!

Fore

7/13/2016 (Permalink)

Are you receiving our eNewsletter? If not you are missing out on learning about upcoming events, fire safety tips and our new performance air movers! Click here to view our current eNewsletter and join our mailing list.

2016 SERVPRO NORWOOD WEST ROXBURY SCHOLARSHIP

6/8/2016 (Permalink)

CONGRATULATIONS!

 

Last year we announced the creation of the SERVPRO® of Norwood and West Roxbury Scholarship Award. This scholarship was in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000) and was open to students graduating this year in the towns of West Roxbury, Dedham, and Westwood. The purpose of this award is to recognize a student who exhibits excellence in academics, civic engagement and community service. Thank you to all those who applied!

This year we would like to congratulate Hanna from Westwood for winning our award!

May Is National Electrical Safety Month!

5/18/2016 (Permalink)

General May Is National Electrical Safety Month! Don't Overload Your Home

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 47,700 home fires in the U.S. are caused by electrical failures or malfunctions each year. These fires result in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage. Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. Help lower your risk of electrical fires by not overloading your electrical system. Visit the the Electrical Safety Foundation International website, ESFI, to learn more about electrical safety in your home.

Newsletter

4/5/2016 (Permalink)

General Newsletter Previous Bobble Head winner - Christine from Patterson Insurance

Check out our latest Newsletter. We announced our April Bobble Head winner and reminded everyone that the deadline to enter our latest word search campaign is this Friday, April 8th. Also, commercial property owners we given an outline of the benefits on our ERP program!

Are you not receiving our Newsletter automatically? If so, you are not receiving our latest promotions, gaining critical industry updates or learning about local business events in our community. Click here to view our current Newsletter and sign up for automatic delivery!

Happy New Year!

12/30/2015 (Permalink)

Wishing you and yours a very happy, safe, and prosperous New Year!

Best Wishes,
Michael Callahan

Winter Advisory

12/23/2015 (Permalink)

General Winter Advisory Do Not Let This Happen To YOU!

Water actually begins to expand once the temperature drops to 37ºF, putting strain on pipes and increasing the risk of rupture! Now is the time to ensure proper insulation of any exposed pipes. Additionally, it is always a good idea to shut off any external water sources. We hope you will not be impacted by the winter weather this year, but in case disaster strikes, the EPA has developed a quick reference guide to help you prepare for the removal of flood water. Click the link, SERVPRO of Norwood and West Roxbury, to visit our franchise company page and download the fact sheet. 

We are here to help too! Our certified technicians are available 24 hours a day. Give us a call and we will make it like it never even happened.

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