Recent Storm Damage Posts

SERVPRO of Norwood / West Roxbury Stops the Flood Damage In Its Tracks

4/5/2019 (Permalink)

When a severe thunderstorm strikes the Metro West area, conditions can cause extensive property damage.High-speed winds can break exterior walls or blow tree branches into your windows leaving a gap for rainwater to come into your structure.

If there is a significant amount of water present in the home, moisture gets pulled out of materials using a specialized extraction system. After water removal, the next step in mitigating flood damage is the rapid drying process. Drying out structural components promptly can happen with the use of drying equipment.

Air movers and dehumidifiers get placed by our SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury technicians in the affected area to create an environment that speeds up the natural evaporation process. The number of air movers and dehumidifiers used depends on the size of the affected region and how much water got into the home from the thunderstorm. The amount of dehumidification needed is calculated by how many porous materials inside the house got wet.

Once the amount of dehumidification is figured out the number of dehumidifiers needed to start drying get set up. Each day our SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury technicians return to the site and check moisture levels and humidity inside the affected area. If the region is not drying quickly, then more equipment can be set up to improve drying. If drying has been successful and the levels have dropped, then dehumidifiers get taken out.

In some situations, our SERVPRO of  Norwood/West Roxbury technicians set up a drying chamber around the affected area to help speed up drying. A drying chamber consists of thick plastic sheeting that is set up with poles around the affected region. This "tent" targets the damp areas needing additional drying. The smaller the chamber is, the less cubic feet of air the dehumidifier has to turn over.

Specific methods and techniques can help reduce drying time so that microbial growth should not occur. Monitoring the work site every day helps us make a change to ensure rapid drying. For professional help with drying out moisture after a storm floods your neighborhood, call SERVPRO of  Norwood/West Roxbury today!

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.

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!

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.

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.  

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.

Deodorization Safety Procedures

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

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.

 

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.

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