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Clear Out Clogged Storm Drains

3/14/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Clear Out Clogged Storm Drains Clear Clogged Drains To Avoid Flooding

Spring is in the air. The temperature may hit sixty degrees in Lexington, Mass. tomorrow. Factor in a fifty percent chance of rain, and there’s a good chance any remaining snow will melt.

Clogged Drains

Runoff from snow melt often carries debris that will clog storm drains. When the remains of last fall’s leaves and winter’s trash block drainage in your neighborhood, you risk flooding.

Even areas that do not usually experience spring flooding can have a problem when clogged storm drains prevent proper drainage.

Clear Any Blockage

Take the time to check catch basins and storm drains around your home. A few moments cleaning up any debris will help keep your home dry this spring.

Of course, SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford is here to help if snow melt and spring showers do flood your property. Our crews are available 24/7 to assist with emergency flood restoration. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”

Measuring Our Efforts with Moisture Meters

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Measuring Our Efforts with Moisture Meters Detecting moisture behind a wall with a moisture meter

Restoring your property following a flood is all about getting building materials and contents dry as soon as possible.

The longer everything remains wet, the more likely you will have to deal with mold growth or permanently unsalvageable materials.

Moisture Measurements

Our production manager will bring a moisture meter when assessing your water damage to measure how much moisture is in various areas and materials in the building. These measurements guide our recommendations and allow us to evaluate our efforts during the drying period.

A thermal imaging camera shows us where to look for water hidden behind walls and beneath floors by revealing temperature changes around a room. A moisture meter identifies whether water is responsible for any temperature differences found.

Pre-loss Condition

Our aim when restoring a water damage is to return the property to preloss condition. A building will not be completely dry at the end of the job, as there is always some amount of humidity in the air.

When we first arrive at your loss, we will measure the moisture in a room unaffected by the flooding. This measurement will indicate the usual humidity of the building, and that will be our target for determining when our drying efforts have reached preloss condition.

Daily Moisture Readings

Each day during your restoration project, our technicians monitor progress at your location. They make sure all equipment is running as expected, and that drying is proceeding as it should.

Daily moisture meter readings show us whether or not the humidity is going down in each treatment area. If we find drying has stalled, we will figure out why. We want to avoid wasting time and money on extra drying days.

Professional Restoration

A moisture meter is just one of the many tools we use to dry your building after a flood. Call on our trained and certified professional restoration technicians when you have a flood. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”

Locating Water with a Camera

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Locating Water with a Camera Thermal imaging cameras let us see through walls after a flood

In the aftermath of a flood, your first concern will be to get rid of visible water, but you also need to find and dry any hidden water as well.

You risk secondary effects of rotten building materials or mold growth if you do not get your property fully dry.

Thermal Cameras

Our production managers bring thermal imaging cameras when responding to water losses. These cameras read heat radiation and can alert us to water trapped out of sight.

If we find the temperature varies in one spot, we then use a moisture meter to determine whether the difference in temperature is caused by water.

Managing Costs

Thermal imaging cameras allow us to manage expenses related to your water loss. If we couldn’t see behind the walls, we would have to tear the walls open to investigate or risk not drying your building correctly the first time.

No Guesswork

After a flood you need to know what you are faced with and what it will take to recover quickly. Thermal imaging cameras show you exactly where the trouble spots are. Armed with this information you will know what is required to preserve as much of your building as possible.

At SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford, we pride ourselves on applying the latest science and technology to drying your property after a water damage. Call us first following a flood. We have crews available around the clock to respond to your flood emergency.

What Happens When You Don’t Treat Your Water Damage Quickly?

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation What Happens When You Don’t Treat Your Water Damage Quickly? Act fast to dry your home before mold grows!

Water will find a way, and when it does, mold soon follows. If you do not get building materials and contents dry within 72 hours, you may have to consider these items a total loss.

Water Damage in Basement

Our franchise was recently called to a single-family colonial. Water had seeped into a basement bedroom, soaking the carpet and saturating the drywall to about 18 inches.

The homeowners had never had an issue with groundwater before in the seven years they had owned the home, but water will find a way.

Unfortunately, visible microbial growth had already begun by the time the homeowners discovered the problem. We knew affected carpet, padding, drywall, and a bed all needed to be removed and discarded.

Containment

Our first concern was to set up a barrier to keep microbes in the air from migrating to other parts of the home and putting residents at risk. We used a HEPA-filtered air filtration device to create a negative-air environment and filter microbial spores and other particulates out of the air inside the affected area.

Asbestos Testing

Before we can perform demolition in Massachusetts, we need asbestos testing in accordance with  MA DEP state law 310 CMR 7.15 (4). Once we had satisfactory results, we were able to proceed.

Demolition

Our crew pulled out the carpet, padding, baseboards, and drywall. We applied a botanical anti-microbial solution to the studs to discourage mold growth.

Drying

We installed five air movers to circulate air and accelerate evaporation out of wet materials and a dehumidifier to remove any water vapor from the air. This room required two drying days to reach the standard.

Cleaning

Once the room was dry, we cleaned the floor with pressure steam. We also cleaned and deodorized carpet that was salvageable.

Call the Pros

When you find a water damage that has progressed to mold, you should call SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford right away. At that point, you can be sure that spore counts are elevated and may be putting occupants at risk. A certified mold remediation technician can advise you on the next steps to take to keep occupants safe.

Of course, it is best not to wait until you see microbial growth. Give us a call for a free estimate on any water loss. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

From Carpets to Catastrophes: Commercial Cleaning at Hanscom

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial From Carpets to Catastrophes: Commercial Cleaning at Hanscom Commercial Restoration Cleaning

Many people know SERVPRO as the green trucks you call when you have a flood or fire in your home. You may not be aware that we have extensive experience working on government and commercial projects as well, and our services extend far beyond fire and water damage recovery.

Commercial Cleaning at Hanscom

SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford completes several jobs each month on Hanscom Air Force Base (HAFB). Housing calls us for carpet cleaning, mold remediation, and water damages. In addition, already this year, we have cleaned ducts, sewage, and a biohazard on the base.

On the civilian side, we have handled a couple of major water losses for the air terminal and control tower in recent years.

FAA Control Tower

In June 2018, a pipe broke in a ceiling inside the FAA control tower and affected six rooms. Our crew performed emergency services including

  • extracting all standing water,
  • removing all unsalvageable carpet and ceiling tiles,
  • installing fans and dehumidifiers to dry the building,
  • installing air filtration devices to clean the air,
  • and applying a plant-based anti-microbial solution to deter microbial growth.

Massport Civilian Air Terminal

In July 2017, torrential downpours flooded the civilian air terminal to five feet deep. Massport called SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford in for the project. Along with the usual tasks in a water restoration job, this project also included

  • document drying,
  • art restoration,
  • electronics restoration,
  • and wood furniture restoration.

Be Prepared

If you own a business in the area, we want to be your first choice for commercial restoration services. Let us show you why your neighbors trust us to manage the job when things go wrong.

Call 781-861-0500 today to learn more about how we can help your organization be “Ready for whatever happens.” 

When Your New Home Smells Like Smoke

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage When Your New Home Smells Like Smoke Smoke odors have to go

Buying a house always contains a level of risk. You can’t always see what is going on inside the walls or utility systems, and neither can the inspector.

Unpleasant Odors

Recent home buyers of a single-family ranch called us because several days after moving in, their home suddenly had an overwhelming smoke odor. They couldn’t find a fire, but they needed our help in removing the odor before they finished unpacking.

Upon arrival, our production manager discovered the smell was strongest in the area of the basement fireplace. The homeowners had not yet used the fireplace, so they couldn’t understand why that would make their entire house smell like smoke.

Damaged Chimney

Our production manager investigated further and found that the chimney damper was open and unable to close fully. High winds were blowing soot particulates through the fireplace, and they had entered the HVAC system and spread throughout the home.

Containment and Air Filter

The chimney would require a specialist to repair, so our first step was to seal the fireplace to stop the particulates entering the home. We also set up a HEPA-filtered air filtration device to pull soot particulates out of the air.

Deep Cleaning

We proceeded to clean all surfaces including ceilings, walls, baseboards, trim, flooring, windows, and cabinets. Additionally, we cleaned all of the contents that had already been unpacked.

Duct Cleaning

Our technicians also completed a thorough duct cleaning to ensure the HVAC system would not redistribute soot in the home.

Ozone Machine

Finally, we installed an ozone machine to fully neutralize any remaining odors. During this step, the homeowners were unable to occupy the home for about 24 hours.

Call for Odor Removal

Give SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford a call if you smell something you shouldn’t in your home. We have the tools and technical knowhow to make your space smell nice and allow occupants to breathe easy.

Power Outages from the High Winds in Bedford, Mass.

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Power Outages from the High Winds in Bedford, Mass. Do you have a plan for a power outage?

Winds whipped through our state earlier this week and left a wake of destruction. Downed trees and power lines caused many residents to lose their heat as well as their electricity just as temperatures were heading to zero degrees.

One tree in the road caused the town of Bedford to reroute traffic only to have to change the route again when another tree fell. One car even had a branch break through two places in its windshield.

Outages Overwhelm Eversource

The widespread destruction quickly overwhelmed Massachusetts utility companies, and they couldn’t get to everyone right away. Several Bedford residents were warned to expect to be without electricity for a day or two.

No Power, No Heat

When the power goes out, many property owners lose their heat as well because their furnace or boiler relies on electricity to spark the system. If you cannot restore power quickly, you risk pipes bursting and turning a minor inconvenience into a major rehab project.

This week, high winds blew in single digit temperatures. Deep cold threatens pipes by itself. Add in several properties without heat, and the danger was even greater.  

Power Outage Plan?

What would you do if your business had no heat and you expected subzero temperatures overnight? Do you have a plan?

You have two options when your power is out and a deep freeze is in the forecast.

  1. Drain all water from your building systems.
  2. Bring in an alternative power source.

The first requires a plumber, while the second may require an electrician to hook up a generator if you don’t already have one in place. However, electricians and plumbers may be in short supply during a widespread weather event, and you may find you are on a waiting list.

Be Prepared with an ERP

A SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) helps you think through these possibilities in advance, which allows you to act quickly when storm damage threatens your property. An ERP can also equip onsite staff with any information they might need to respond in time of need.

For example, if you own a generator, you have a backup source onsite, but are you confident that everyone in your building knows how the generator works and what it powers? Do they all know where to find the water shut off if a pipe bursts?

Wouldn’t it be great in a crisis if everyone had a list of your preferred vendors easily accessible so they do not hesitate to act and save your business? Remember, the sooner your company calls, the higher up you will be on any waiting list.

Call for Your Free ERP

Our team helps businesses in Bedford and surrounding towns create their ERPs free of charge. We want you to be as safe as possible when things go wrong, and then back in business again as quickly as possible afterward.

Call SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford at 781-861-0500 to start your emergency plan before the next storm hits. We want you to be “Ready for whatever happens.”

Hot Water Heater Floods Lexington Basement

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Hot Water Heater Floods Lexington Basement Call SERVPRO if your hot water heater fails

Hot water heaters create huge water losses when they fail. All that water pouring out of the tank can quickly cover the entire floor.

A basement hot water heater water loss can be very costly when irreplaceable mementos stored in the basement are saturated with contaminated water or mold grows in the humid environment.

Lexington Hot Water Heater

Last month, a homeowner was in the hospital when her hot water heater failed and water started pouring out of the furnace. Fortunately, a family member was home and called us immediately.

When our production manager arrived on the scene an hour later, there was standing water in the affected areas including carpet, tile, and vinyl flooring. Water had flowed from the furnace to a storage room, and then on to a laundry room and bathroom.

Extraction

We started this job by extracting as much water as we could from carpet and hard surface flooring using a truck-mounted extractor.

Anti-microbial

Next, we applied a botanical anti-microbial solution to discourage mold growth during our dry out.

Carpet and Contents

The carpet was too contaminated to be salvaged, so we removed it and its padding for disposal. We also had to move around a lot of the storage contents and appliances to be able to access all of the floor and create the right air flow for drying.

Drying

We installed 13 air movers to draw water out of wet materials and one dehumidifier to pull the water vapor out of the air.

Final Cleaning

When everything had reached the drying standard, we cleaned the hard surface floors.  

Call a Professional

As you can see, there is a lot to manage after a hot water heater fails and dumps water all over your basement. Regular hot water heater inspections can alert you to a problem before it happens, but sometimes old tanks let go without warning.

Call SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford if your hot water tank gives way and leaves you with a mess. We know what to do next. We have the tools and training to minimize your costs and get it all dry before mold starts growing.

Bathroom Mold: How To Get Rid of It and Keep It from Coming Back

2/27/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Bathroom Mold: How To Get Rid of It and Keep It from Coming Back Keep bathroom dry to avoid mold growth

Bathrooms and mold go together like bathrooms and water.

Mold spores are everywhere, inside every building and outside in the air.

You cannot keep mold out no matter what you do, but you can make it very difficult for mold to grow in your home.

Bathrooms and Mold

Mold grows in bathrooms because it needs water to grow and bathrooms are a great source of water. Your first line of attack should always include reducing the water available for mold growth.

6 Ways to Keep Bathroom Dry

1. Ventilate during and after bathing. Either open a window or use an exhaust fan when showering or taking a bath. Let the fan run or leave the window open for at least 30 minutes after bathing.

If you use an exhaust fan, make sure it vents outside. A fan that vents to your attic will create an excellent environment for microbial growth that you may not notice for months.

2. Squeegee the walls and tub after use. Any water you remove will help reduce the ability of spores to take root and multiply.

3. Wipe off shampoo bottles, toys, etc. and put them away outside the shower or tub. Water sitting on these objects will harbor mold and increase your exposure.

4. Hang towels, washcloths, and loofahs outside the shower or tub to dry. Towels on the ground and washcloths in the tub are perfect places for mold to grow.

5. Fix leaky pipes, and dripping faucets as soon as you see them. Look behind the toilet, under the sink, and inside the vanity regularly so you will see a problem before it gets out of hand.

Keep It Clean

Clean all bathroom surfaces regularly. Mold is growing and releasing invisible spores before you can see it. Regular cleaning will remove the microbes you can’t see before the colonies burst into full bloom.

Wash all soft goods at least once a week. Cleaning towels, rugs, and shower curtains will also cut down on the spores available to grow.

Replace moldy caulk or grout. You may be able to remove the exterior staining, but once microorganisms find a home deep in these materials, you will never be able to fully eradicate them.

How To Clean Bathroom Mold

In most cases, small outbreaks can be cleaned using soap and water.

Bleach can remove mold staining but it may not kill the microbes.

If visible mold is growing on soft goods—rugs and towels, for example—these items should be replaced as you can never completely eliminate the microbes.

Professional Mold Remediation

For large mold outbreaks—greater than 10 square feet—it is best to hire a professional to ensure the problem is fully eradicated.

Additionally you should hire a remediation company when you suspect mold growing in or behind drywall and other porous building materials. A certified mold remediation technician can remove these materials while protecting building occupants from exposure to elevated spore counts.

SERVPRO mold remediation technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) in the proper treatment of microbial infestations. Give us call when you see mold and you want it gone.

A Small Fire Makes a Big Mess in Arlington, Mass.

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage A Small Fire Makes a Big Mess in Arlington, Mass. All it takes one candle to light a building on fire

Fire is one of the most destructive forces on earth. Even small blazes release dangerous compounds that coat every surface and can contaminate the air.

You may also have water or the discharge from a fire extinguisher adding to the mess.

Should you start cleaning on your own, you may find you made the problem worse.

Church Fire in Arlington, MA

Shortly before Christmas, our franchise responded to a fire loss in a church. A candle had caught an altar wreath on fire. While fighting the fire, the fire department discharged powdered chemical fire retardant which dispersed throughout the building and affected all the walls, ceilings, floors, contents, and HVAC system.

Christmas Services

With Christmas Eve looming, everyone was feeling the pressure to clean the building as much as possible before the holiday services. Usual protocol recommends washing all surfaces including ceilings, but the policyholder decided against installing scaffolding to reach the upper walls and ceilings up to twenty feet high.

Several HEPA-filtered air filtration devices circulated all the air in the building and scrubbed particulates out of the air for a couple of days, while our crew cleaned all lower walls, floors, windows, fixtures, and other objects.

The restoration technicians completed cleaning all the lower surfaces on Dec. 22rd and the HVAC ductwork on Dec. 24th, just in time for the Christmas Eve service.

Commercial Fire Response

SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford understands the importance of time in the restoration process. Our commercial fire response crews will work with you to ensure your building is operational as soon as possible following a fire.