Recent Posts

Why Should you have your Commercial HVAC System Cleaned?

8/20/2018 (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.

Hmmm....is that Mold?

8/20/2018 (Permalink)

Suspicion of hidden mold

    You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or know there has been water damage. Mold may be hidden in places such as the

  • back side of dry wall,
  • wallpaper,
  • 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
  • in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).

Investigating hidden mold problems

     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, please reach out to SERVPRO Newton/Wellesley and we’ll take a look right away.

Should I get Flood Insurance?

8/13/2018 (Permalink)

Should I get flood insurance always crosses a homeowners mind after a situation has arose and unfortunately in most cases, that option is too late. According to FEMA, Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood. 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.

June thru August is the Peak Season for Lightning Fires

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association, During 2007-2011, U.S. local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning. These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths, 53 civilian injuries, and $451 million in direct property damage per year. Most of these fires occurred outdoors, but most associated deaths, injuries, and property damage were associated with home fires.

      Lightning-related fires are more common in June through August and in the late afternoon and evening. Peak seasons for lightning-related fires vary by region, as do weather patterns in general.   

      In addition to the fires reported to local fire departments, federal and state wildland firefighting agencies reported an average of 9,000 wildland fires started by lightning to the National Interagency Fire Center per year in 2008-2012. These fires tended to be larger than fires started by human causes.  The average lightning-caused fire burned 402 acres, nine times the average of 45 acres seen in human-caused wildland fires. 

      In addition to causing fires, lightning is dangerous on its own. Data from the National Weather Service show that in 2008-2012, an average of 29 people per year died as a result of lightning strikes. The most common location for these deaths was outside or in an open area. The average number of lightning flashes per square mile varies considerably by state, as does the death rate from lightning incidents.

What to Do During a Thunder and Lightning Storm

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

  1. Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places, they can occur year-round and at any hour.
  2. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  3. Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.
  4. Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.
  5. Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.
  • When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
  • When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
  • If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
  • Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
  • If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
  • If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal.
  • Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

8 Most Common Places for Mold Growth

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

Household mold primarily thrives in damp, humid areas, such as basements, showers and areas around heating and cooling appliances. Mold in homes can also occur in carpets, ventilation ducts and crawlspaces. The best way to guard against mold in your house is to ensure there are no active leaks or areas where moisture is collecting regularly. The most common places where mold is found are:

  • Basements or cellars that have been flooded
  • Underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Underneath or behind refrigerators
  • Behind walls that also house plumbing
  • Stacks of damp or wet newspaper or cardboard boxes
  • Around air-conditioning units
  • Wallboard or around windows that leak
  • Under carpeting that may have become wet

By regularly inspecting common areas for mold in your home to ensure there are no leaks or other sources of moisture that could contribute to mold growth, you should be able to steer clear of the expensive and unhealthy problems mold in houses can cause.

Dangers of Rotted Wood

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

Occasionally, it is very obvious to the homeowner when their house is in need for repair.   For instance water gushing from a pipe burst.

However, unlike major water leaks or broken windows, rotting wood can easily escape notice, unless you specifically look for it. And unfortunately, like a spot of rust on a car, wood rot can spread far and wide, making it especially dangerous to your home’s wooden building materials.

Be on the lookout for any sign of soft, brittle, or crumbly wood. In extreme cases rotten wood may even disintegrate as you touch it.

As you poke around, keep your eyes peeled for discoloration, which is a sign of fungi and rot. Also, if you find a surface with peeling paint that feels damp, you may have just uncovered a water leak behind that spot. Investigate further and fix any leaks you find.

Check any painted or sealed wooden surfaces on your home’s exterior for cracks in the paint or sealant. Any crack you find, even small ones, can allow water to work its way into the wooden material, resulting in rot.

Because of its tendency to spread, you should repair rotten wood ASAP when you discover it, and make sure you fix it completely. Otherwise, you will only face more serious and extensive repairs down the road. Ultimately, serious enough wood rot can even compromise your home’s structural integrity.

You should inspect your home for rotting wood at least annually - or twice per year if you live in a damp climate. Ideally, make this inspection a regular part of your spring and fall maintenance routine, it will save you from a lot of heartache and money.  

Understanding Your Commercial Insurance Policy

7/16/2018 (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.

What Causes A Dishwasher to Overflow?

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

As stated in HomeSteady; An overflowing dishwasher can be a serious problem in your kitchen. Water leaking from the unit can cause damage to your floors that requires major repair. Several underlying problems can cause a dishwasher to overflow with water and detergent. The problems range from simple user error to faulty parts that need adjustment or replacement. Knowing the potential causes can help you diagnose and repair the problem quickly before more damage occurs.

  1. Dish Detergent:

The most common reason for dishwasher overflow is soapsuds. By using a poor detergent that leaves more than 1/2 inch of suds on top of the water, a soapy overflow can happen. Also, the addition of even a very small amount of dishwasher liquid or hand soap can cause overflow around the door. If you have inadvertently put too much detergent or the wrong type of soap into the machine, add some vinegar to the tub to remove the foam.

  1. Door Gasket

If water is leaking out around the dishwasher door and it is not soapy or foamy, there is a good chance that the door gasket has worn out. The door gasket is a rubber seal that surrounds the door opening and prevents such leaking. But if the gasket is torn, worn, dirty or missing entirely, it can easily allow large amounts of water through the opening and into the floor. Replacement is generally the best way to repair this problem.

  1. Tub Seal

If the motor in your dishwasher is mounted vertically beneath the main rack in the bottom center of your machine, the tub seal may be leaking, which typically results in water overflowing underneath the dishwasher and running either behind or out in front of the unit. With this type of motor, you can remove the seal from its housing and replace it to solve the problem. Otherwise, you may have a motor that is mounted horizontally. These machines are not as self-service friendly and usually require professional repair or complete replacement of the motor assembly.

  1. Water Supply Tube

Water flows from the same water pipes that supply the rest of your home into a supply tube that hooks into the machine, generally near the bottom rear of the dishwasher. If you are seeing evidence of overflow, the problem may not be an overflow at all. In fact, the water possibly never reached the machine at all. Holes in the supply tube will result in water spillage as will improperly connected tubes. Water may actually be spilling out from the connector and causing you to think there is a problem with the machine.

Everything You Needed to Know About...Hail!

6/7/2018 (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.