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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

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 Newton/Wellesley’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 Newton/Wellesley 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 ofNewton/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 ofNorwood/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 Newton/Wellesley 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. SERVPRONewton/Wellesleyis 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 Newton/Wellesley.

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.” ®

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 Newton / Wellesley 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 Newton / Wellesley wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!

SERVPRO Mold Remediation

12/2/2018 (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

Odor Penetration

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

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 up - Deodorization methods and basic procedures.

Odor Remediation

9/25/2018 (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.   

NEXTFactors which Help Odors Penetrate 

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.

 

"The Key to Mold Control, is Moisture Control"

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urband Development, while you may not be able to eliminate all mold spores from a home, but you can take the following steps to prevent and get rid of mold. Prevent: keep your house clean and dry following steps to prevent and get rid of mold.

 ¦ Fix water problems such as roof leaks, wet basements, and leaking pipes or faucets.

¦ Make sure your home is well ventilated and always use ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens.

 ¦ If possible, keep humidity in your house below 50% by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.

 ¦ Avoid carpeting in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Dry floor mats regularly. Identify: find mold that might be growing in your home.

 ¦ Search for areas that have a damp or moldy smell, especially in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms.

¦ Look for water stains or colored, fuzzy growth on and around ceilings, walls, floors, window sills and pipes.

 ¦ Search behind and underneath materials such as carpeting, furniture, or stored items.

 ¦ Inspect kitchens, bathrooms, and basements for standing water, water stains, and patches of out-of-place color.

 Respond: fix any water problems immediately and clean or remove wet materials, furnishings, or mold. ¦ Clean up spills or floods within one day.

 ¦ Dry all surfaces and fix the problem or leak to prevent further damage.

¦ Install a dehumidifier where there is high humidity.

¦ Replace contaminated components, such as drywall and insulation.

 ¦ Clean mold off non-porous surfaces with a weak solution of bleach and water.

 ¦ Throw away moldy materials that cannot be cleaned, such as carpet, upholstered furniture, drywall, and floorboards.

 ¦ To clean mold, contact us today at 617-332-9000  SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley understands mold and mold growth and has the training and expertise to remediate the mold in your home or business.

Every Minute Counts in Getting Companies Back to Business

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

Businesses will always be susceptible to fire, water, or natural disasters.  In best case scenarios, the damage may be minor, however after a devastating storm, the damage may be severe.  Subsequently disrupting business operations for days, weeks, or even months. 

Every day that the business is closed, revenue decreases, while expenses remain the same. Additionally,  there is the increased risk that if business is disrupted for an extended period of time, customers may choose a competitor for future needs. That is why it is essential that business owners and property owners throughout the Metro West area prepare for the worst-case scenario. In today’s competitive economy, a business simply cannot be over prepared for a catastrophic event.

A quick and thorough restoration of your property after a flood, fire, or other damage will help you get back to business, helping to secure your future and the loyalty of your valued customers.

While it may be tempting to save money by doing the restoration yourself, the truth is that you can lose more revenue and incur greater costs by doing so.  SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley, serves business owners and property managers across the metro west area. Our team is highly trained, equipped with the best tools, and is faster to any size disaster to help you keep your business moving forward.

We can work directly with your insurance company, freeing up your time to contact your employees, tenants, customers, and vendors. It is our goal to make the process of water damage restoration in your property as easy on you as possible.  Professional water damage restoration helps to ensure that mold infestations don’t affect hidden areas of your property requiring mold remediation and repair. Our team uses industrial dehumidifying fans to bring humidity levels back to normal levels after a flood, leaky roof, broken water pipe, or other water damage has affected your business.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley is ready to respond 24 hours a day when disaster strikes your commercial property. Rely on us to do what we do best – clean commercial properties throughout our surrounding communities after water, fire, smoke, and storm damage occurs. That allows you to do what you are best at – growing your business and serving your customers. Call us anytime, our water damage restoration technicians, applied structural drying technicians, and our upholstery and fabric cleaning team will respond quickly to any disaster that strikes your commercial property.  

Tornadoes Becoming More Frequent

5/17/2018 (Permalink)

There once was a time when you rarely heard about a tornado threat in Massachusetts.  These frightening and sometimes deadly storms were rarely on any New Englander's radar.

However, according to Weather.com, tornado outbreaks have been producing more tornadoes and more deaths in recent years, according to a new study.

Published in the online journal Nature Communications, the findings revealed tornado "clusters" are more dangerous now than they've been since at least 1954. Responsible for 79 percent of tornado fatalities in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., these outbreaks often leave damage totals in the billions, the study also found.

"These discoveries suggest that the risks from tornado outbreaks are rising far faster than previously recognized," Joel Cohen, a mathematical population biologist and head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University in New York and Columbia's Earth Institute, told Live Science.

Using NOAA tornado records from 1954 to 2014, the scientists studied events when at least six tornadoes rated EF1 or higher were spawned in a 6-hour span. In calculating the average number of tornadoes spawned by each of these clusters, the findings revealed an average of 15 twisters per outbreak from 2004 to 2014. In the 1950s, the average was just 10.

A Flood's Aftermath

5/7/2018 (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 Newton / Wellesley 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 
SERVPPRO of Newton / Wellesley, mold will be hard-pressed to find a way into your home. 

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

April and May tends to be New England’s rainy season. Will your h home be safe during a heavy downpour? Here is what SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley recommends you can do to help protect your home from rainwater damage.

 >  Maintain your roof. Neglecting the care of your roof could lead to some serious damage when the rain comes. Inspect your roof for damaged, missing, or loose shingles. Keep in mind that roods have a lifespan of 20-30 years. 

  >  Seal windows, skylights and doors. If windows and doors are not properly sealed, water can seep in through the cracks. Inspect the exterior of your home for any cracks. They can be sealed with caulking or with sprayable insulating foam. 

  >  Maintain your homes's exterior finish. Water may be able to enter your home through holes in your exterior walls, resulting in mold, peeling paint, or discoloration. Repaint and repair exterior areas as needed.

  > Ensure proper drainage. If water isn't properly diverted away from the home, the foundation could possibly be at risk. Make sure that there is no standing water available. 

  >  Clean your gutters. They should be free of any debris. Blocked gutters cause the water to flow down the side of your house and collect at the base.

  >  Check your downspout. Downspouts should extend to at least two or three feet from the house. If it doesn't extend far enough, then it could actually be channeling the water directly into a puddle at the base of your house.

Floods in Educational Buildings

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

When disaster strikes an education facility it can disrupt the learning environment, costing students and their educators valuable time and resources. Cleaning up the aftermath of a flood, fire, storm or other tragic event requires an efficient, timely response. Whether you have a small school building or a higher education campus, SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley professionals will work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area so that normal operations can resume while we restore your facility.

Types of Facilities:

  • Early Childhood - Preshool and Nursery Schools
  • Primary - Elementary and Middle Schools
  • Secondary - High school and Academies
  • Higher Education - College and Universities
  • Athletics - Gymnasium, Sports Complex and Stadiums

Our professionals are available 24-7/365 to help remediate any damage, regardless of the cause, scale of the loss, or the size of your facility.

Have an emergency at your educationfacility? – CallSERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley: (617) 332 9000

Is Mold Covered By Insurance Companies?

4/30/2018 (Permalink)

Insurance companies may not cover all mold damages which is why it is a good idea to contact your provider. Whether mold is covered under your insurer is something that varies from policy to policy. Occasionally it will specifically state whether they do or don't cover removal of mold. Others will only pay for removal but not testing despite the fact that tests may be necessary to discover if there is mold in the first place. In many cases they will only cover part of the removal process or you can pay extra to add mold to your policy.

Does the Cause Affect the Coverage?

Yes, in many cases the coverage will depend on the cause of the mold. If the mold is caused by something covered by your policy such as a pipe burst, which is covered by insurance, they are more likely to cover removal than if it is caused by neglect of home maintenance.

Water Damage From Flooding

After a flood, it is very common for mold to appear. If your insurance does not cover flooding then there is a good chance that the mold wont be covered either. If you live in a flood prone location it may be a good idea to purchase flood insurance and check if that would cover mold due to a flood as well.

Roof Leaks

Generally, roof leaks are not covered in insurance policies, therefore you will most likely get no coverage for mold as a result. If the roof leak, however, is caused by a falling tree which causes a leak, there is a good chance you will be covered.

Broken Pipes

Homeowners insurance does not typically cover leaky pipes, but often will cover a burst pipe. Again, if they cover the cause it is more likely that they would cover the mold as a result.

Water Damage Following a Fire

Homeowners insurance almost always covers fires. The thing that many people neglect to think about is the water used to put out that fire. This can lead to mold damages which most likely will be covered.

Remediation

Here at SERVPRO, we have trained crew members to help efficiently and completely remove the mold from your house and help work with you to solve the cause of your problems. 

Chemicals Released By Fires

4/30/2018 (Permalink)

Some of the biggest issues associatedwith fire damage don'tcome 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 atSERVPRO of Newton / Wellesleywe 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."

Get Into The Habit of Closing Bedroom Door

4/30/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that 40 years ago you had about 17 mins. to get out of your house during a fire?

Now you have have about 3 mins. This is due to the synthetic materials, furniture and construction materials that we use.

Fire spreads faster than ever. Having your door closed can save your life. It gives you more time to find a way out before the room fills with smoke or more time to be rescued.

Having the door closed slows down the smoke, hear and fire itself.

One concern that people had with having the door was that they wouldn't be able to hear the alarm. The difference, in one study, showed that there was only a 17 decimal difference between the door closed and opened. It was still loud enought to hear the alarm in the room with the door closed.

Along with the alarm, having the door closed can save your life.

Get inthe habit of closing the door.

Tornado Season

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

According to Ready.gov, the extent of destruction caused by tornadoes depends on the tornado’s intensity, size, path, time of day, and amount of time it is on the ground. Wind from tornadoes can reach more than 300 miles per hour, and damage paths can be more than 1 mile wide and 50 miles long. Wind from tornadoes can destroy buildings and trees, transform debris into deadly projectiles, and roll vehicles.

Know the Facts!

They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.

They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.

The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.

Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.

Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.

Know the Difference!

Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. When there is a Watch, move to be near enough to a shelter or sturdy building to be able to get there quickly in a few minutes if there is a Warning or if you see signs of a tornado approaching. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately

Actions to Take for a House Flood

4/9/2018 (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.

Preventing Ice Dams

4/2/2018 (Permalink)

PREVENTING ICE DAMS

You can scrape snow from the roof whenever it falls, using a snow rake from below or a broom or plastic shovel from above. Take Caution, especially when on the roof.  It is best to hire someone who knows how to use a safety line.

Replace your shingle roof with standing seam or other metal roof. Or you can replace the bottom three feet or so of your shingle roof with a wide metal drip edge. Always install a water-repellent membrane under any new roofing.

NOTE: If your roof is not very steep, an ice dam can still form on metal roofing and drip edges.

DEALING WITH EXISTING ICE DAMS

1. Remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small chucks. Do NOT use an ax or other sharp as it can rip the shingles.  Instead, gently tap with a blunt mallet.  Even if you do it safely, the chunks of ice can take pieces of shingle with them.

2. Clear out gutters and downspouts. Again, this is ladder work and an easy way to damage either plastic or metal gutters and spouts.

3. Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice melter. Never use rock salt. It will damage paint, metals, and plants beneath the eave and wherever the salty water drains.

A good trough-maker is a tube of cloth (a leg from an old pair of panty hose works well). Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam. It will slowly melt its way down through the dam, clearing a path for the underlying water to flow free.

WHAT DAMAGE DO ICE DAMS CAUSE?

When an ice dam gets big enough, melted water backs up behind it and seeps underneath the shingles. Eventually, it will drip into the insulation and down into the ceilings and exterior walls beneath the eave, ruining sheetrock and paint. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, windowsills, cars, pets, and people. If the roof sheathing stays wet, it can form mildew and start to rot.

That's where SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley comes to help. We can't prevent the ice damming from happening, but we can help you take care of the damages that it can cause.

Asbestos Testing Is Mandatory

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

Thankfully asbestos used in construction and manufacturing for the most part, is a material of the past.  However many buildings today still retain traces or even large quantities of asbestos. Particularly in older buildings, testing for and identifying this asbestos is an important job, but one that is unfortunately neglected by many business owners. Failing to test for asbestos when making renovations or restorations to a building can cause long-term negative health effects for restoration professionals, customers, and even yourself, creating a legal and financial disaster large enough to ruin most businesses. There are specific Federal regulations mandated by the EPA regarding renovating buildings, and asbestos abatement.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley provides certified asbestos testing to ensure the safety of our technicians and your customers alike.

Asbestos testing for a business is not only advisable for practical reasons, but also for legal ones. Failing to test for asbestos can lead to steep fines and regulatory penalties, regardless of whether or not the substance is present. OSHA has explicit guidelines in place regarding demolition or renovations of commercial structures, especially schools, and other municipal buildings. Furthermore, if a customer or employee gets sick as a result of untested asbestos, you may be at risk of a costly and difficult lawsuit. Federal and state authorities alike take this process seriously, which is why it is always recommended to hire a certified company like SERVPRO to complete the task. 
 
Health Reasons 
In addition to laws on the subject, testing for asbestos should be a major consideration for your health. Asbestos can cause many negative health effects, some of which can shorten your lifespan or lead to long-term illness. Asbestos is a known carcinogen.The longer you are exposed to it, the more likely many of these side effects are to manifest, meaning that valued employees and regular customers may also be at risk. Just as the removal of mold growth can help to avoid a medical emergency in your business, so too can asbestos testing prevent a host of serious medical issues. 
 
SERVPRO of Newton Wellesley is certified in asbestos testing and guarantees a fast and efficient process for your business. Call us today for our services or a quote.

Leave Mold To the Pros

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley for mold remediation services.
  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley specializes in mold cleanup and restoration.  It is the a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

Dangers of Flash Flooding

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

An average of 75 people have died in the U.S. from flash floods each year from 2004-2013, according to the National Weather Service. That's more than double the average death toll from lightning

Almost two of every three U.S. flash flood deaths from 1995-2010, occurred in vehicles, according to Dr. Greg Forbes, severe weather expert for The Weather Channel.

The single worst decision you can make in a flash flood is driving your vehicle into floodwaters of unknown depth. 

It's easy to misjudge the depth of floodwater, particularly at night. Sometimes the bridge or road masked by flood water may have been undermined or completely washed out. 

In some cases, the flash flood event occurs over such a localized area, say one part of one county or city, that driving conditions may go from dry roads to high water in a matter of a few miles. Only 2 feet of water can float a large vehicle or even a bus, therefore you should never drive through flooded roads If you come upon water standing on the road turn around and go back the way you came, do not cross over because you don't know exactly how deep the water is.

Furthermore, just 6 inches of rapidly moving flood water can knock a person down and carry them away.

Always heed warning and seek shelter when your area will be affected by torrential rains.

Did You Know?

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the number of homeowners insurance claims from lightning strikes and electrical surges in the United States rose in 2016, compared with 2015; however, the average cost that insurers paid on those claims fell. More than $825 million in lightning claims was paid out in 2016 to more than 100,000 policyholders. Total insured losses caused by lightning rose 4.5 percent from 2015 to 2016, although overall losses have declined 12.4 percent since 2007. There were 109,049 lightning claims in 2016, up 9.7 percent from 2015. Over fifty percent of claims were related to electrical surge damaging components or wiring, while power surges from transformer or service line shorts were also contributing factors. “The average cost per claim dropped 4.7 percent from 2015 to 2016,” said James Lynch, FCAS MAAA, chief actuary at the I.I.I. “However, the overall average cost per claim has risen 42.3 percent since 2007. By comparison,” he noted, “The Consumer Price Index rose only 15.8 percent in the same period.”

How to Prevent a Dryer Fire

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

Very few people realize thedanger ofclothes 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 dryervent 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 forEVERY 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.

What To Do When Water Damages Documents

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

Even in the age of technology, one of the biggest losses after a flood or water emergency is documents. Not only is the cost of getting new ones a factor, but the emotional value as well -- loosing favorite books or family heirlooms can be tough to handle. Fortunately, it's possible in many instances to save documents affected by flooding.

Many homeowners that experience flood damage are often relieved and surprised to learn that their treasured books and important documents don't have to be tossed out automatically. By calling us as quickly as possible after a flood, you'll increase the chances that your documents can be dried and salvaged. Here are some ways that we work to dry books and papers after a flood.

Air Drying 
SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley often uses equipment that efficiently air dries books and documents. This process works well for items that have not sat in water for extended periods of time, those made of more resilient paper, and documents with sturdy covers or binding.

Dehumidifying
Humidity will break down paper over time, which is why it's important to dehumidify homes with flood damage. Our team will set up equipment to get rid of excess humidity in combination with other techniques to increase the chances of saving your documents and books.

Freeze Drying
Sometimes a rush of cold air helps prevent irreversible damage to papers and books, and this works best when done soon after a flood. Freeze drying is an option with photos and vintage documents as well as books.

Vacuum Drying
SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley has advanced equipment capable of vacuum freeze-drying and thermal drying documents within homes with flood damage. Using these two methods, even older materials and those that are valuable or fragile can have a chance of being restored. Our expert training and a large inventory of equipment offer the best opportunity to recover water damaged documents, photos, and soft materials.

If you've experienced a water emergency, count on the experts at SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley to get your home and possessions back in good shape. Whenever possible, we'll dry out your documents to prevent the expense and hassle of getting replacements. For a quote or to learn more about our flood damage restoration services, call us 24/7 at (617) 332 9000

When A Washing Machine Wreaks Havoc

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

One of the most well-known causes of water damage in your home, washing machines can cause costly damage. After the deductible is paid, the average claim nationally for water damage from washing machine malfunction is more than five thousand dollars.


Supply Hose Leaks
Over fifty percent of claims from washing machine water damage can be traced to the failure of your supply hose. It can be caused by an aging hose, a poor connection to the wall or machine, or the hose being pinched while it is installed, causing a hairline break. Intake hoses are high-flow lines and can put out more than six hundred gallons of water in one hour. If the supply hose on your machine is over five years old or is not steel braided, get it replaced as soon as you can.

Drainage Issues And Flooding
If there is a clog in your drainage pipe, the sewer backs up, or your drain pipe is not properly lined up, the drainage system of your washing machine causes some water damage at least. Most importantly, avoid a clog in the sewer line. When this backs up, you can be faced withwater damagethat is filled with contaminates and poses serious risks to health. You most definitely need the help of the professionals at SERVPRO if this happens to you since they have the proper equipment and training to clean up the mess safely.

Internal Leaks
Your washing machine doesn't have to be incorrectly installed, old, or built poorly to create an internal leak. Overloading your machine on a regular basis can cause valves, gaskets, and bushings to crack or loosen. Smaller loads, even if it takes longer to do the laundry, keep your machine from shaking itself apart.

Identifying Your Leak
If you have a leak that is constant, you likely have an issue with the supply hose. It is probably an internal leak if it happens during the wash cycle but before the spin cycle. With water on the floor during the spin cycle or right after the machine turns off, you probably have a drainage issue.

Why Ground Water Comes Up Through Basement Floors

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

When you discover water in your basement it is natural to think that you have a basement leak; that water is somehow finding its way through your foundation wall. When your basement is unfinished and there is water on the floor and no evidence of a leaking foundation crack or anything else in the foundation wall, what should you think? It is for this reason that many homeowners wonder: why is water coming up through my basement floor or up through floor cracks?

Ground waterunder your basement floor is oftenunder tremendous pressure caused by a risingwater table, the height of which is affected by several common factors such as:

  • How much and how often it has rained;
  • The type of soil around the home;
  • The hydrological conditions around the property;
  • How fast the snow melted; and
  • If the downspouts for your eavestroughs are directed into the weeping tile.

All of those factors can cause a rapid local rise in the water table; consequently, a lot of water can enter your basement from beneaththe floor in a very short period of time.

Other causes of a high water table and seepage into thebasement

  • Sump Pump Failure– If your sump pump isn't working then you aren't draining water at the base of your foundation as was intended. This situation will cause the water table to rise, sometimes to the point that the basement floods.
  • Clogged Weeping / Drain Tile– Depending on the age of the home and other factors, weeping tile can become clogged and non-functional.While complete weeping tile failure is unlikely, poor footing drainage at the base of the foundation wall could result in the pooling of water and a consequential rise in the height of the water table.

Common Causes of Water Damage

3/21/2018 (Permalink)

It is crucial for business owners to make sure their property is in pristine, working condition, and that’s not just for aesthetics.  You must understand the basics of water damage and in many cases why it happens. You can improve your chances of running a business without getting negatively impacted by water damage by following these simple suggestions provided by SERVPRO. 

Common Causes of Water Damage:

1. Plumbing issues, old solder joints, eroding pipes
2. Roof or foundation failures
3. Malfunctioning appliances, especially in restaurants, and laundromats
4. Water back-up, clogged drain lines or sewage systems
5. Weather-related flooding from storms or hurricanes 
6. HVAC problems, poor circulation resulting in high moisture levels and condensation 
7. Fire extinguishing work completed by firefighters can lead to substantive water damage.

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance will reduce your chances of water damage that was not the result of Mother Nature.  But in the event something does happen, call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley and we’ll take care of the rest. 

Always Be Prepared

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® of Newton Wellesley wants to make sure everyone is ready for the new year! Did you know up to 50 percent of businesses that suffer a disaster may never reopen? For those that do survive, the majority have an emergency readiness plan available before disaster strikes. Advantages to of the SERVPRO® of Newton Wellesley Emergency READY Profile are:

· A no cost assessment of your facility

· A concise profile document containing only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency

· A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster

· Establishes us as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.

· Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin

· Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information

Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster.

Don’t wait for a disaster to strike, call SERVPRO® of Newton Wellesley  today to schedule your ERP (617) 332-9000

The Risk of Using Heat Lamps

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

Heat lamps keeps our pets and livestock nice and warm but it is crucial to follow simple rules to protect their safety as well as your home from fire damage.  The following will help to reduce the hazards posed by heat lamps for pets and livestock:

  1. Use UL-listed heat lamps and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Heat lamps with guards may provide some protection if the lamp falls into combustible bedding.
  3. Ensure heat lamps are installed in locations where they are far enough from any combustibles to preclude ignition.  Remember that wooden construction elements will eventually dry out and ignite from a heat lamp too.
  4. Ensure the installation is secure and the light cannot be knocked down.
  5. Run cords in locations where animals cannot reach them.
  6. Make sure electrical circuits are not overloaded.  Heat lamps use more amperage than regular lights.
  7. Keep all combustibles away from heat lamps and ensure kids doing chores are aware of the hazards.
  8. Check the lamp and mounting periodically to ensure it is secure.

If you’ve got concerns about your heat lamp, stop and check it out.  That few minutes may save your pets, your livestock, your barn, or even your home.

Common Causes of Commercial Building Fires

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

We should take care of our homes and families first, making sure safety features are in place to prevent traumatic events such as a house fire. We also need to apply the same passion and vigilance to public and commercial buildings where personal safety as well as someone’s livelihood could be at stake. Greater numbers of people can be placed in harm’s way when public and commercial buildings are rendered unsafe. Although many cases of commercial fires are the result of human error, there are still many other factors that may lead to a potentially deadly toll.

Arson

Arson is the leading cause of damages from fire in a workplace setting, resulting in harm to innocent victims as well as to the dedicated firefighters who answer the call. Often arson is instigated by the owner for the hope of collecting insurance on a failing business. Other reasons include a discontent employee or client seeking some kind of senseless and misdirected revenge.

Human Errors

Besides premeditated reasons, there are common careless human errors that lead to a fire. Common examples of poor judgment in the work place are leaving a cigarette unattended and leaving the coffee pot on. The possibility of having an incident increases with the number of employees in a work place.

Apparatus such as Water Heaters, Boilers and Furnaces

There are strict codes regulating the installation and maintenance of water heaters, boilers and furnaces and with good reason!  The price is paid when these strict codes are not enforced and not followed properly. The mishandling of an installation and the lack of maintenance can ignite a fire in a building without warning. Equally important to remember is that storing combustible materials like chemicals, paper products and trash in the same area near equipment is a formula for trouble.

Electrical Fires

Electrical fires also are responsible for many building fires and often are the result of the misuse of an appliance. An appliance used for a purpose than what it was designed for or overloading circuits set the stage for a disaster. Another important reminder in regard to electrical fires is the high cost of hiring the cheaper unlicensed individual to do the electrical work. You are risking the possibility that the electrical work will not be done to code. Electrical code violations are most often committed by unreliable builders and workers resulting in severe consequences. 

The 24-hour emergency services provided by SERVPRO Newton / Wellesley come to your rescue with dependable water and fire damage training as well as with a wide range of knowledgeable expertise to help you through a difficult experience. Once the fire department leaves the scene, you are left with a non-functioning business suffering from water damage caused by firefighting efforts. We have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire and water damage and the ability to efficiently restore your business to pre-fire condition.

Common Causes of House Fires

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

During the winter holidays we tend to be more vigilant about fire safety but homeowners must be aware of obstacles to fire safety all year and particularly in the cold weather months.  In the winter months, people spend more time indoors and more time inside increases the risk of house fires.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) more than 360,000 home structure fires each year which is equivalent to $6-8 billion dollars in damage. Those figures are astounding and you don’t want to be a part of those statistics when these tragedies are preventable.  With foresight and good judgment, homeowners can minimize these risks. Take a look at these common fire hazards in your home defined by the National Fire Protection Association and ask yourself, guilty or not guilty?

    1. Candles: Do you light candles and walk away?

While the glow and aroma creates the perfect ambience, candles are best enjoyed outside or used with precaution.  Never leave a candle unattended or less than 12 feet from an object.  Better yet a battery operated candle is extremely safe, never burns out and gives off that soft glow.

    1. Smoking: Do you allow smoking in the house?

Another reason why smoking is not such a great idea, it is the second leading cause of house fires.  The good news, smoking is on a downward trend and with the help of recent regulations of nonflammable household items such as couches, mattress, pajamas, that has also decreased house fires caused by cigarettes.  Though ironically the older you are the likelihood you will experience a house fire related to cigarettes increase.  Individuals killed in a house fire were 65 and older.   Try smoking outside instead.

    1. Electrical & Lighting: Are you confident the electricity in your house is safe?

There are numerous causes for electrical fires; an overloaded circuit and extension cords, an overheated light bulb, space heaters, faulty wiring and appliances.  To minimize risk, don’t overload outlets, make sure you use inside cords for inside and heavy duty/outside cords for outdoors.  Never leave Christmas lights or halogen lights overnight or on when not at home and consider hiring an electrician to make sure wiring is in place.

    1. Dryers & Washing Machines: Have you checked the lint tray in the dryer lately?

Clothes dryer and washing machine fires are more common than one might realize.  The most common cause for dryers are lint trays and cable insulation for washing machines.  Make sure you clean the lent screen before and after every use.  Double check lines for gas and propane dryers.  Vent the dryer to the outside and ensure nothing is blocking the vent.  Clean the vent pipe on a regular basis and keep area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

    1. Lightning: Do you know the inside dangers of lightning?

Fires caused by lightning are most likely to occur in June, July and August in the late afternoon.  Lightning can also be the cause of wildfires.  Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical form.  Do not use electrical equipment during storms.  Avoid using faucets and baths during a thunderstorm.

    1. Children playing with fire: Do you keep fire hazards out of reach ?

Children the age of six and under are most likely to start a fire using matches or a lighter.  Make sure to keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, teach them fire safety at a young age and make sure children are always supervised.

    1. Christmas Trees: Do you know the dangers associated with decorations?

Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year.  Keep live Christmas trees well watered and dispose them before they become too brittle and dry.  Turn Christmas tree lights off before leaving the house or going to bed. Make sure they are a safe distance from any heat source.

    1. Cooking: Do you make a habit to check the stove while cooking and before leaving the house?

Another leading cause of house fires is cooking and easy to get distracted when something is simmering on the stove.  Always be vigilant when cooking and never leave items on a stove unattended.  Never put a grease fire out with water, instead place a lid on the pan to smother the fire.  If fire occurs in the oven, keep oven door shut until fire extinguishes itself.  Keep flammable items away from oven and always have a fire extinguisher in kitchen.

SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley To The Scene

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of NEWTON/WELLESLEY was on scene to assist SERVPRO of FRAMINGHAM, our sister franchise, with a fire that was spotted in the early morning hours by a neighbor. No one was injured. The original newspaper article from the Metro West Daily News is below.

ASHLAND — Fire officials say they are grateful for a man walking his dog early Monday morning who spotted flames on a second-floor porch of a Tilton Avenue home, then banged on the building to wake up residents in two apartments.

Doug Duval said he was walking his miniature pinscher Ruby around 5 a.m. when he saw the fire at 25-27 Tilton Ave. It was dark outside and the Christmas lights looked strange, he said.

"When I got a little closer I could see it was fire," he said. "There were 10-foot flames shooting up the wall."

He tied Ruby to a fence on the property and jumped into action.

"I started banging on the side of the house yelling, 'fire, fire, fire!'" he said. "I woke the whole neighborhood."

A neighbor called 911 as the two apartments were quickly evacuated. The first floor homeowner and a neighbor got a fire extinguisher out of the garage to fight the flames, Duval said.

The Ashland Fire Department arrived to finish the job. Nobody was injured in the home and the fire was contained to the porch, according to fire Lt. David Iarussi. The neighbor who helped douse the flames was taken to MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham for a smoke-related evaluation.

Iarussi said the state fire marshal's office determined the cause to be careless disposal of a cigarette.

"The fire would have been much worse if it spread inside the house and the fire alarm went off," he said. "We wouldn't have known until the fire alarm went off."

Fire Chief Scott Boothby said it was a "good catch" by Duval, and the fire was mostly out within 15 minutes.

"Luckily, someone was walking by at the time," he said. "It wouldn't have taken too much more. A few more minutes it would have extended into the house and attic. It was just starting to burn the roof of the porch."

He said a Hopkinton engine and Framingham ambulance responded to the scene for mutual aid. Sherborn firefighters covered the Cedar Street Station.

The first-floor homeowners were allowed to return, while the second-floor tenants were temporarily displaced until a company could clean up, Boothby said.

He said a similar situation happened on Trailside Way a couple of months ago when a person walking by reported a fire. That fire also was determined to be caused by a cigarette, he said.

He encouraged residents to make sure smoking materials are put out properly.

Pipe Bursts Keeps SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley & Framingham Crews Busy

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

Originally posted in the Metro West Daily News:

As temperatures in MetroWest plummeted to minus-12 degrees Sunday, business for David Kurzontkowski started heating up.

Kurzontkowski, owner of SERVPRO Framingham, said the extreme cold over the weekend caused sprinkler heads to pop and pipes to burst in homes and commercial buildings. Kurzontkowski, whose crews go in to clean up damage after emergencies, said his phone started ringing at 9 a.m. Sunday “and then it just hasn’t stopped since.”

“I’m just driving from burst pipe to burst pipe,” he said Monday.

And now, as it gets warmer, there’s still a high risk: He expects more water pipes that froze from the cold will burst as they start to thaw out.

“I think it’s going to get a little worse before it gets better,” Kurzontkowski said.

Plumbers, firefighters and cleanup crews across the region kept busy dealing with heat problems and burst pipes and don’t expect it to slow down for days.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley can handle Hoarding

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

We can all relate to the difficulty of deciding whether or not to keep items, however 'Hoarding' is an actual condition when a person has persistent difficulty discarding personal possessions. A significant amount of possessions overwhelm the home preventing normal use of the space or even making it unusable. Hoarding brings distress and emotional health concerns.

Hoarding can increase fire risk in many ways:

  • Electrical wiring may be old, worn, or exposed from the weight of piles. Rodents could chew on wiring. Damage wires poses a fire threat.
  • Cooking is unsafe if flammable items are close to the stove or oven.
  • Heating units may be too close to items or on unstable surfaces that could cause the unit to tip onto a pile which could cause a fire.
  • Open flames from smoking or candles with excess clutter are very dangerous.
  • Obstructed pathways and exits may prevent escape from a fire.

Also, hoarding could not only impact the homeowner, but, also the first responders to a house fire.

  • A cluttered home would obstruct firefighters movement throughout the home.
  • Firefighters could injure themselves from falling piles or even be trapped by blocked exits.
  • The weight of the stored items, especially if water is added to extinguish the fire, could cause collapse.
  • Clutter could impede the search and rescue of people and pets and make it difficult to provide medical care.

When talking to a person who hoards, focus on safety not the clutter. Be empathetic, stress the importance of clear pathways and exits for a safer home.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley has experience with cleaning hoarding homes. Hoarding is a specialty situation and in some cases involves some sort of biohazard situation. Personal protection equipment is a must in these situations and should not be completed by a family member or friend. If a family member is struggling and you need assistance, please call our office at (617) 332-9000. We will be happy to assist you in making your home a safe place.

Home Fire Preparedness - SERVPRO of NEWTON/WELLESLEY

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

The (7) Ways to Prepare for a Home Fire:

  1. Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  3. Ensure that all household members know (2) ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
  4. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  5. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  6. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  7. Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.                          

For additional information on how to stay prepared, follow the Red Cross link below:

http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/home-fire-preparedness

Contact our office at (617) 332-9000.  The professionals at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are available 24/7/365 to assist you in the event your home or business experiences fire/smoke/soot damage.  We are here to help you make it, "Like it never even happened."

Keeping Your Business Open In The Event Of An Emergency

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

When an unexpected and often devastating storm, fire or water damage affects a businesses, statistics have shown that 1 out of every 4 businesses afflicted will never reopen.  Especially for smaller businesses that typically have all of their operations in one location.  The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has provided a checklist on their website that allows business owners to reassess if they have everything in place in the event something catastrophic could happen. See checklist:  http://disastersafety.org/wp-content/uploads/OFB-EZ_Toolkit_IBHS.pdf


      In addition to recognizing what the potential risks (earthquake vs. tornado) it is also important for a company to outline not only their backup plan but more importantly, who to go to for help!  That’s where SERVPRO Newton/Wellesley come in.  Our 24 hour service is specialized and ready to come to you for cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage, because we all know catastrophes don’t always happen during business hours.  We can also mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business. SERVPRO  Newton/Wellesley’s chief goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly make it "Like it never even happened."

What To Do During A Power Outage

1/10/2018 (Permalink)

So now that you lost power...

Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. For more information about food safety visit our food page.

Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.

Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.

Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.

If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.

Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system.

What To Do Before A Power Outage

1/9/2018 (Permalink)

For those who have not yet invested in a generator, here are some helpful tips to prepare for a power outage.

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. For more information visit: Get Tech Ready
  • Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
  • Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full-gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by visiting your state’s or local website so you can locate the closest cooling and warming shelters.
  • If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like a medical device determine a back-up plan. 

Tips for Winterizing Your Car

12/20/2017 (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!

Christmas Trees Must Be Hydrated

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

The holiday season is upon is which also translates to many candles and treasured decorations.

Always always be mindful of open flames and never leave candles unattended.

For those who celebrate Christmas, is it also important to keep your tree hydrated.

According to the US Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) works to develop better ways to measure things — like, for example, how likely a tree is to burst into flames. The verdict:much more likely if the tree isn’t well hydrated.

Although Christmas tree fires are still considered rare, they do still account for roughly 200 home fires each year, destroying an annual $14 million in the process,the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) says. They’re deadly, too, killing an average of six people yearly.

So how do you prevent your tree from going up in flames? First off, definitely don’t light it up on purpose. Believe it or not, that causes about a quarter of the Christmas tree fires, the NFPA says — usually in January. Since heat plus fuel equals fire, it’s also a good idea keep your tree andnon-tree decorationsaway from hot things like candles and heaters.

Second: water your tree, and get rid of it when the needles start to crunch. Evena flaming book of 20 matches couldn’t spark a blazein a well-hydrated, freshly cut Christmas tree. But just 61 seconds after flames licked the needles of a desiccated conifer, the tree was reduced to smoldering branches.The NIST did the experiment, so you don’t have to.

How to Protect the Outside of Your Home (and Cars!) During the Winter Season

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Time to prep your home for "Old Man Winter"

  • Clean your gutters and downspouts before cold weather arrives to prevent ice from forming in them.
  • Spray an ice repellent solution on steps and walks before freezing weather arrives
  • Check antifreeze levels in cars. Add if needed, then run the engine to circulate the new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.
  • Add freeze resistant windshield wiper fluid, and spay to circulate it in lines.
  • Check air pressure in tires, since cold weather causes the pressure to lower.
  • Bring in container plants, add mulch around plants, and cover plants that are prone to frost damage. Remove covering when temperatures warm above freezing.
  • Drain birdbaths and fountains
  • Gently sweep snow off plants and shrubs in an upward motion with a broom.
  • Use rock salt, sand, or clay based kitty litter on walks and drives (NOTE: Salt can damage grass and other plants).
  • Don’t overdo it when using a snow shovel.
  • Stay off your roof during freezing weather, but once the ice and snow have melted, inspect your roof for any damage.

Pink Mold? What is Pink Mold?

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

In the mold world, pink mold is known as Aureobasidium and can be found indoors and outdoors. 

Anyone can be affected by pink mold, but infants, pets and the elderly are more likely to experience more severe symptoms.  It is important to locate the problem quickly, and have it taken care of in a timely manner. 

Preventing Pink Mold

In order to keep the pink mold from reappearing, there are some helpful tips you can use to prevent its return. You can leave the door or window open for at least 15 minutes to let the moisture out. Also, use your bathroom’s fan or purchase one to help dry out any liquid. This will prevent the moisture from accumulating on other surfaces.

Also, wipe down your shower since pink mold thrives on leftover soap and shampoo. They act as food for the bacteria. One thing you should always do is be diligent about checking for broken leaking pipes or any accumulating water. This goes for any location in your house. Keeping the air moving and getting rid of stagnant water is the best way to prevent pink mold.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley Promptly Responds to Flooded Neighborhood

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley Promptly Responds to Flooded Neighborhood Shown in the before picture, you can see the amount of water that flooded these homes with the markings of the water line a 2 feet from the ceiling.

On October 30th a strong autumn storm ripped through New England bringing wind gusts of over 70 mph and torrential rainfall causing downed trees, widespread power outages and localized flooding.

The Newtonville neighborhood near the Cabot School experienced its own perfect storm during this widespread weather event. A dozen homes located on Bridges and Norwood Avenues experienced major flooding with some homes inundated with over 3 feet of water.

It was the unfortunate collision of the current repairs being made to an aging culvert combined with the by- pass pumps too overwhelmed to handle the sudden storm waters. As a result, the heavy rains flooded the streets and subsequently devastated twelve homes located in this quiet residential neighborhood.

The Emergency Storm Response Crews from SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley were called in to assess the damage. The crew immediately began the water cleanup and restoration process. They worked tirelessly coordinating the needs of the affected homeowners while communicating with insurance company representatives. They updated the representatives of the Newton mayor’s office and informed relevant city departments. SERVPRO had multiple crews, specialized equipment and several work trucks ready to go when the call came in for emergency help. In a short time the crew and vehicles were on site to assist these homeowners in need.

Halogen Lamps Can Cause Havoc, When Not Properly Used

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

Halogen light bulbs may last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they have additional dangers associated with them. Compared to incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs have a longer lifespan and are more energy efficient. Being aware of the dangers associated with halogen lights can help minimize the risks that come with using halogen light bulbs.

Halogen light bulbs can reach temperatures much higher than traditional light bulbs. According to the New York State Fire Administration, a 300 W halogen bulb can reach temperatures as high as 970 degrees F. This high level of heat generation can potentially cause ignition of combustible fluids or fumes nearby.

  Because of this, they have been known to cause a fire when they touch the wrong surface for too long. For example, if the lamp falls over and the light is turned on, it could potentially catch the drapes or some paper on fire. Small children have been known to drop a blanket or some other flammable object on the top of a lamp and leave it, promptly starting fire

 Various items that were placed over a halogen lamp in a test were used to determine how quickly a fire can happen. Results included a polyester/cotton shirt burning in 24 seconds. Cardboard ignited in 1 minute 17 seconds, and a piece of pine wood caught fire in 1 minute 43 seconds, according to the study results.

As a preventative measure, make sure you place lamps in areas where they won't get knocked over or bumped into. Keep fabric, wood and other flammable items away from the light. Nothing should ever impede air flow around the bulb. Turn off the lamps when not in use, and avoid direct contact with the bulb except when changing the bulb.

Mold in the Environment - Basic Facts from SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Mold in the Environment - Basic Facts from SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley Contact the experts of SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley for your remediation needs.

Molds are fungi than can be found virtually everywhere whether it be indoors or outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more.

Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.

Specific recommendations for your home:

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%--all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.

If you have any questions regarding mold or have mold present in your home or business, call the experts at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley for your remediation needs at (617) 332-9000.

For more information on mold visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at: http://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm

Prepping for the Fall!

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

General Prepping for the Fall! It is important to clean your gutters after all the leaves have fallen!

Fall foliage is beautiful, but not when it builds up in your gutters! Take these tips into account during the cool autumn months.

  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician.
  • Keep flammable materials, including all lawn and power equipment, away from water heaters and wiring in the basement.
  • Insulate water pipes in areas exposed to cold temperatures, and turn up the thermostat during extra cold periods.
  • Check for damage to your roof, and clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating. This is especially important during the fall season to keep leaves from building up in gutters.
  • Check and repair caulking around doors and windows that show signs of deterioration.
  • Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases; and make repairs as needed.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and maintained annually by a professional.
  • Clean and/or replace your furnace filter.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material.
  • Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other power service.
  • Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible, filled and ready for operation.
  • Inspect your smoke detectors. Make sure there is one on each floor of your home. Test them monthly, and change the battery annually or as needed.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley is here 24/7 to assist with any emergency needs.  Contact our office at 617-332-9000 so we can make it "Like it never even happened".

Our Four Legged Best Friends Can Also Help Detect Mold In Our Homes

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

Many professional home inspectors use specialized tools such as water pressure gauges, infrared thermometers, devices to detect moisture and some even use mold detecting dogs!

That’s right, dogs.

These highly trained dogs are qualified to detect at least 18 kinds of mold that are deemed harmful to humans.  Their training is similar to bomb-sniffing dogs and drug-sniffing dogs.

When a home inspector cannot see behind the wall, their dogs are trained to sniff for mold in hidden places.  They alert the inspector of where mold was detected by immediately sitting down in front of that area.  

The home inspector can then do a more in-depth investigation in that area, pulling back the baseboard, cutting a small hole in the dry wall, or pulling out all of the contents of the bathroom or kitchen cabinets.

This additional investigation may also lead to spore sampling. This is a process where the inspector pulls a sample of the material, seals it in a vial, identifies it, and ships it off to an independent laboratory for analysis.

 Luckily for our fury friends, the mold is not harmful to them as they have the special ability to purge odor and contaminments from their noses. 

Another reason to love our best friend!

September is National Preparedness Month - SERVPRO of Newton Wellesley

9/27/2017 (Permalink)

SEPTEMBER is National Preparedness Month, and we are asking you to help your family and friends prepare for whatever may come.   

Here are a few tips* on how you can protect those that matter to you without spending a fortune:

  • Make a Plan. Work with you family and neighbors to make an emergency plan for the types of disasters that affect your area. Make sure everyone in your family understands where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. You can download Family Emergency Plan templates www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
  • Update Contact Information. Having accurate records for family, friends and neighbors will help you stay in contact and possibly help those in need. Make sure updated contact information is posted in visible places throughout your house and workplace.
  • Check Your Policy. Review your insurance policy annually and make any necessary changes – renters, too! When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will get you back on your feet.
  • Make a Ready List. You may not need all of the items in ready-made preparedness kits. Choose the essentials that fit your needs and budget. Don’t forget to keep supplies at work and in your car. 
  • Plan Your Purchases. You can save money by thinking ahead. Don’t buy preparedness items just before a storm when they’re expensive and supplies will be in high demand. Buy items at the end of the season when you can get good deals.
  • Shop Sales. Shop at sales and used goods stores. Buy preparedness items throughout the year, instead of all at once, and you won’t notice the cost as much.
  • Make Sure it Keeps. Store water in safe, containers. You don’t need to buy expensive bottled water, just make sure your water containers are disinfected and airtight.
  • Request a Gift. We all get things we don’t need. Suggest preparedness supplies as gifts from your friends and family. It just might save your life.
  • Trade a Night Out. Trade one night out to fund your 72-hour kit. Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80. Just one night staying in could fund your Ready kit.
  • *The best tip: start now. Take small steps toward preparedness and before you know it, you will be Ready!

Build an Emergency Supply Kit

  • Water, one gallon per person per day
  • Food, non-perishable 3-day supply
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Clothing
  • Dust masks or bandanas
  • Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Hygiene items
  • Important documents, copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account information
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container

Flash Floods Watch VS Flash Floods Warning

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Flooding often occurs following a hurricane, thawing snow, or several days of sustained rain. Flash floods occur suddenly, due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe!

A flood/flash flood WATCH means a flood or flash flood is possible.

A flood/flash flood WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. TAKE IMMEDIATE PRECAUTIONS!

Right Before a Flood You Should Do the Following:

> Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.

> Be prepared to evacuate quickly and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.

> Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies. Keep it nearby.

Then, If You Can, Do This

> Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking.

> Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing the toilet or washing the floor or clothing.

> Fill your car's gas tank, in case you need to evacuate.

> Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.

> Turn off propane tanks to reduce the potential for fire.

If You Still Have Time, Do This

> Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.

> Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities to prevent damage to your home or within the community. If you shut your gas off, a professional is required to turn it back on.

> Unplug small appliances to reduce potential damage from power surges that may occur.

Mold Can Affect Any Homeowner

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

From the New York Post:

Imagine this — Yoko Ono’s former West Village penthouse is an $8.3 million wreck, with warped beams, toxic mold and a rotted roof deck.

Ono sold the fourth-floor pad at 49-51 Downing St. to developer David Blumenfeld in 2014. She’d purchased the penthouse — part of a converted 19th century horse stable — in 1995 for her son Sean Lennon who lived in it for just a few years.

Now Blumenfeld is suing the co-op board for refusing to make “structural repairs’ that have allegedly made the unit “dangerous” even though his adult son lives there.

Blumenfeld says in court papers that the 10-unit co-op doesn’t want to do $1 million in renovations because the repairs would be “a major disturbance to other tenants.”

He believes the problems stem from a shoddy conversion job including the use of undersized beams that have caused “chronic and significant leaks and mold” making the unit “dangerous, hazardous or detrimental to the life” of the occupants, the suit says.

Protective Measures for Thunderstorms

8/1/2017 (Permalink)

In the United States, an average of 300 people are injured and 80 people are killed each year by lightning. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Before Thunderstorms and Lightning To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:

  • Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
  • Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:

  • Postpone outdoor activities.
  • Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
  • Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
  • Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
  • Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
  • Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

Avoid the following:

  • Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area
  • Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water
  • Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas
  • Anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles

During a Thunderstorm if you are:

In a forest:  Seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.

In an open area:  Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley.  Be alert for flash floods.

On open water: Get to land and find shelter immediately.  

The Culprits of Water Damage

7/31/2017 (Permalink)

Although every water damage situation is a little different, these are the most common causes of water damage in a home that we deal with on a daily basis.

  1. Broken Pipes & Hoses: Aging pipes, washing machine hoses, ice maker supply lines are common culprits of water damage,
  2. Accidents! Usually caused by kids! Splashing water out of the bathtub and sending a toy down the toilet will wreak havoc, but will also provide a good story years down the road. 
  3. Sewer back up. This unfortunate mess is usually caused by tree roots invading and clogging drain lines in their own search for water.
  4. Basement Humidity: The only remedy to hydrostatic pressure and aging infrastructure is to install a dehumidifier. 
  5. Flash Flooding: Mother Nature is unpredictable so it is best to purchase flood insurance if available!

Sprinkler Systems Help Saves Lives And Property

7/31/2017 (Permalink)

According to The National Fire Protection Association, the evidence is clear that automatic fire sprinklers technology, which has been commonly used in structures for many years, is a proven way to protect lives and property against fires. Sprinklers also respond quickly and effectively to the presence of a nearby fire, and function well, without creating problems for homeowners.

Ten businesses located in Framingham Massachusetts, know this all too well, when they experienced a devastating fire in their strip mall this past spring. The swift moving fire broke out at 2 a.m. in the attic, which took three fire stations and four hours to extinguish.  Thankfully, there were no casualties as no one was onsite at the time, but the building was a total loss. 

The facility had fire sprinklers installed but regrettably not in the attic where the fire originated.  At the time the building was constructed in the early 1980’s, it was not mandatory to have sprinklers installed in the attic. 

Despite the total devastation, the business owners vowed they will rebuild.

Keep Fires Out Of The Festivities

7/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Keep Fires Out Of The Festivities House fire caused by fireworks.

An Independence Day tradition always includes  fireworks painting the sky on the evening of the 4th of July and all throughout the summer. Sadly as the sparklers shoot upward so do injuries, fires and the resulting home insurance claims.  Even though your basic homeowners' insurance covers fires, your policy may likely cover fires caused by fireworks your family sets off, especially in states where they are deemed illegal which includes our great state of Massachusetts.  
July 4th is the one day of the year with the largest number of fires reported according to the National Fire Protection Association. More than half of these fires are caused by people shooting off rockets in their own backyard.   On average, fireworks cause over 18,500 fires a year, including 1300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside fires with an average of $43 million in direct property damage according to the Consumer Product Safety Commissions Fireworks Annual Report (2015). 
Even if your state permits the use of fireworks, you may want to reconsider whether that would be a wise decision. Instead of a 'do-it-yourself' fireworks show, your family could sit back, relax and enjoy the display so many local towns host. And you have the added comfort of knowing your family is not in harm's way.   

Think Before You Grill

7/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Think Before You Grill An unattended grill engulfed in flames

   Summertime is synonymous with grilling and barbecues. There is no better way to spend the day with family and friends in the comfort of your backyard on a hot summer night than a tasty barbecue made up of good food, good cooks and good company in a great atmosphere.  However it is important we take precautions when dealing with open flames and propane gas.  Here are some simple Dos & Don'ts to ensure a safe and enjoyable time. Here is What You Should Do: 1.       Keep you grill at least 10 feet away from your home, the further the better. Also ensure grills are not underneath wooden overhangs.2.       Make sure you clean your grill on a regular basis. Grease and fat buildup will provide more fuel to the fire.3.       Always check for gas leaks. By simply rubbing soapy water on the gas hose and connections, you will be able to determine if there is a gas leak. If the soap begins to form large bubbles there is a leak.4.       Keep decorations away from your grill. Summer décor like hanging baskets and banners look nice but they are flammable items and should be kept at a good distance.5.       Keep a spray bottle of water handy for minor flare ups.6.       Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple of steps from the grill and make sure you know how to use it in the event of a larger fire.  And Now For What You Should Never Do: 1.       Never turn on the gas while the grill lid is closed.  This is a huge No-No as a closed lid filled with gas will cause an explosion when the lid is opened and the gas is exposed to oxygen.2.       Never leave a grill unattended to avoid unintended consequences.3.       Never overload your grill with fatty meats that drip on the flames and cause a flare-up. 4.       Never use a grill indoors, its design as an outdoor kitchen!

Water Damage Tip for Property Owners

6/12/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Response Tips for Home Owners:

(These tips are for Category 1 water situations ONLY, which is water that originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.)

  • Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the home/building, when access to the power panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • Remove excess water by mopping or blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Do not use a regular vacuum to remove water.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
  • Do not leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpeting.

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.  The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property.  If you have any questions or need help to ensure your property is drying properly, contact SERVPRO of Framingham (508) 370-4400. 

We Are Green and Clean with Benefect

6/12/2017 (Permalink)

The consumer today has increasingly been more aware of the chemicals in their products than ever before. Now SERVPRO of Framingham is offering safe alternatives.

Benefect, the world's first government registered hospital disinfectant using the essential oils from plants.  Today their technology can be found in many products including naturally based cleaners and alcohol-free hand sanitizer.

In nature, plants produce germ-killing essential oils to protect themselves from invading microbes, similar to how our bodies produce antibodies for our protection against disease.  Benefect is a revolutionary blend of these antimicrobial extracts, particularly from the herb Thyme.  Disinfectants typically use quaternary amines, bleach, or even synthetic thymol to kill germs.  Remarkably, Benefect kills over 99.99% of germs using only food-grade plant extracts.  Benefect is a 'plant immune system' in a bottle.

  • Kills 99.99% of Germs.
  • No Label Warnings or Signal Words.
  • Made from Plant Extracts.
  • No Synthetic Ingredients.
  • No Rinse or Wipe Required

What is a Sewer Backup?

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

 


While floods are probably best known for causing extensive water damage to homes and businesses, they can also cause sewage from sanitary sewer lines to back up into houses through drain pipes. These backups not only cause damage that is difficult and expensive to repair, but also create health hazards.


Most homeowners and business owners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral – the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located under the street, and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that may extend into the street or public right of way. A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the possible sewer backup problems.


A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, damage to your house or business, and can even result in electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup of the affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and prevent mold and further damage.


That’s where SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley can help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sewage backup should be considered an emergency and dealt with as quickly as possible. We are the water damage restoration specialists with specific training and expertise to safely restore your home or business.


 

6 Common Causes of Flooding

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

Flooding is not only aggravating but it is also can ruin your possessions, significantly affect your home’s structure, and necessitate extensive repairs. Here are 6 of the most common causes of residential flooding.

  1. Broken Pipes

Just one water leak can signal major flooding problems in the future — it only takes minutes for a broken pipe to send water gushing into your home. It’s important to be cautious of even minor leaks and to know where your home’s main valve to shut off the water is located in case of an emergency.                

  1. Poor Drainage

Not only are floods caused by improper drainage a huge inconvenience, it’s a hazard that can ruin your flooring, walls, and fixtures.        

  1. Clogged Rain Gutters

A house’s rain gutters are meant to divert excess water away from it, but if the gutters are clogged with debris the chances of flooding rise significantly. Heavy rainfall and rain gutters filled with dirt and debris lead to a messy situation that can end up costing you a lot of money in repairs. It’s best to be proactive and regularly clean your gutters.

  1. Malfunctioning Appliances

An improperly connected or broken water heater, dishwasher, or washing machine can wreak havoc on your home and flood it with water. Its important to ensure there are no leaks or problems with the water supply to your major appliances.

  1. Damaged Foundation

If your home’s foundation is damaged with flaws or cracking, it can allow water to enter through the floors. A house’s foundation is always resting on the ground, even when it becomes over-saturated with water from storms, melted ice and snow, or other precipitation. Homes resting on good, solid foundations aren’t usually affected, but damaged foundations can lead to severe floods. 

  1. The Weather

This is the one cause of flooding that you really can’t do much about, aside from having an emergency weather plan, a good foundation, and a functioning pump.

While some causes of flooding are hard to control, most are preventable. Knowing the common causes of home flooding and being proactive can save a great deal of stress and money in the long run.

 

The Damaging Affects of a Hailstorm

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

Hailstorms can damage your business, your car and your home. Although they are easy to spot, most of us are unaware of how large hailstones can be. The size of a hailstone can range anywhere from1/4 of an inch - 4 1/2 inches in diameter. That is equivalent to the size of a pea (¼ inch) and the size of a softball (4 ½ inch). Average hailstorms typically have pellets ranging from ¾ of an inch or smaller, comparable to the size of a nickel. Often this fact leads to little concern from homeowners, however hailstones the size of nickels can be damaging, especially when they are falling anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 feet at speeds of 120 mph.

During a hailstorm, your house is susceptible to damage with your roof being at most risk. It is important to check for hail damage immediately after a hailstorm has occurred. You should also inspect your siding, windows, rain gutters, and roof to see if any repairs are needed.

When a storm hits your home or business, you need help immediately. SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesleys' quick response will help prevent secondary damage and help reduce restoration costs.

 

Tornadoes May Be More Dangerous Than Hurricanes

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

 Although they may be known as the mother of all storms when they wallop U.S. coastlines, hurricanes seem to be taking a vacation -- while their more narrowly focused but fiercer cousins, tornadoes are grab the headlines.

With Accuweather redicting a below-average hurricane season for 2017, this could be the year when tornado damage actually exceeds that of hurricanes. Tornadoes, which lately seem to be an almost everyday occurrence, are all over the news. In addition to tearing up the Plains and Southeast, they’ve even reached as far north as New England in recent years.

Hurricane season encompasses the six months of summer and fall, starting June 1 and ending Nov. 30, but tornadoes can pose a danger year-round. Spring is usually considered the prime time for twisters, but don’t say that in Georgia or Florida, which had a cyclone epidemic in January. That month, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported 138 tornadoes, a sharp jump from the January average of only 35 a year for the period of 1991 to 2010.

If a storm strikes your business or home, call SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley and we’ll respond immediately to your flood and storm damage emergencies. 

 

 

Portable Classrooms and Mold

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

It is very common for school districts to be faced with the growing student population and how to keep up with accommodating classroom space for students. Portable classrooms are typically the immediate resolution as they are a low initial cost to the school budget and are temporary fix.  Though more often than not, they become part of the schools permanent fixture.

 Although portable classrooms are easier for town taxes there are raising concerns about the healthfulness of portable classrooms

The most common problems with portable classrooms include:

  • Poorly functioning HVAC systems that provide minimal ventilation with outside air
  • Poor acoustics from loud ventilation systems
  • Chemical off-gassing from pressed wood and other high-emission materials, which may be of greater concern because of rapid occupancy after construction
  • Water entry and mold growth
  • Site pollution from nearby parking lots or loading areas

A real concern is exposing students and teachers to mold and mildew. SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley is here to help.  Please call us at 617-332-9000 if you suspect mold in your business, school or home and we will safely remedy the situation. 

 

Classes of Mold

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

Although mold is everywhere and quite unsightly, thankfully not all molds are harmful to us. Molds are often found in wet, damp places and can vary in color and smell. These classes are similar to risk groups assigned to microorganisms handled in laboratory environments. Mold is put into different categories based on their hazard:

Hazard Class A: includes fungi or their metabolic products that are highly hazardous    to health. These fungi or metabolites should not be present in occupied dwellings. Presence of these fungi in occupied buildings requires immediate attention.

Hazard class B: includes those fungi which may cause allergic reactions to occupants if present indoors over a long period. Hazard Class B: These are molds that if endured over long periods of time can cause allergic reactions

Hazard Class C: includes fungi not known to be a hazard to health. Growth of these fungi indoors, however, may cause economic damage and therefore should not be allowed. 

If you feel like your home or business might be affected by mold, give SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley a call at 617-332-9000. While we cannot determine what type of mold it may be – we can remediate it with no worry and restore your home and business back to the way it was.

 

The Unexpected Dangers of a Hoverboard

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

This popular high tech toy have proven to be deadly. Federal officials urge consumers to use caution when buying or using self-propelled hoverboards after one of the devices is blamed for causing a deadly house fire in Pennsylvania.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled more than 500,000 hoverboards made by 10 retailers warning that the products did not meet federal fire safety standards. Additionally, the CPSC has investigated more than 60 hoverboard fires since the fall of 2015.

In their initial recall announcement, the CPSC said that the affected hoverboards used lithium-ion battery packs that which can overheat thus creating a risk of the hooverboard smoking, catching on fire or even causing an explosion.

Consumers are urged to check hoverboards to see if they comply with federal standards. They need to look for a sign or confirmation that the products are certified by UL, a safety consulting firm formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories.

With this UL safety seal, it helps reduce the potential fire and hazards and will greatly decrease the probability of an incident. The UL standard has many tests that focus on lithium ion battery safety. While hundreds of models have undergone and passed the strict safety requirements, more the 250,000 hoverboards have been recalled to replace faulty battery packs.

 

 

How To Prevent Attic Fires

5/18/2017 (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 a fire 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.

 

ERP - Emergency Ready Profile

5/17/2017 (Permalink)

    Did you know that 50% of businesses may never reopen after experiencing flood or fire damage?  Of the ones that do survive, the majority have a preparedness plan in place.  Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at giving you that reassurance that you have an action plan in place for your company. 

Having a plan in place not only lets you know how to handle emergencies timely and efficiently but helps speak trust to your clients and employees by knowing that should your business be affected by a disaster, they don't necessarily have to be.

Advantages of having an ERP:

  • A no cost assessment of your facility
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information.
  • Establishes SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.

No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, "Are you Ready for whatever happens?"

Call us today at 617-332-9000 to set up a free appointment and get started.

When Your Business Experiences Water Damage

5/17/2017 (Permalink)

    If you have recently become a victim of commercial water damage you may be wondering what you can do to mitigate your damages. SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley is here to help. There is a critical period in which certain actions must be taken to preserve as much of your property as possible and to decrease any health risks when water damage has occurred in a commercial space.

    Before you enter your commercial space or any flooded building, you will need to make sure the electrical power is shut off. You should also be aware that during a flooding event, small animals or reptiles tend to seek shelter inside of unoccupied buildings. Be prepared to deal with the discovery of wild animals in your space.

Be aware that your commercial space will need a thorough professional inspection, cleaning and possibly restructuring. Water damaged walls and installations must be removed and repaired, and pockets of saturation should be exposed for drying and sanitizing. Always remember that mold growth could take a few days to appear as it thrives in a moist environment with organic-type materials such as paper or particle board and in temperatures that range between 60 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep good airflow throughout the interior environment, and maintain moderate temperatures to decrease the risk of any mold growth. It is also important that you let your space dry out before any rebuilding occurs.

Frozen Pipes Facts

4/13/2017 (Permalink)

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal and plastic pipes.  No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.  Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold.

During cold weather, take preventative action:

- Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent freezing.

- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and night.  You may incur a little higher heating bill, but, you can prevent a much more costly repair job if a pipe were to burst.

- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.

To thaw frozen pipes:

- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.  Likely places include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

- Keep the faucet open.  As you treat the pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area.  Running water will help melt the ice inside.

- Apply heat to the section of pipe like using an electric heating pad or hairdryer.  Never use an open flame.

- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.  If you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.

- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes.

***If in doubt about any of the above steps or if you do not feel comfortable with the situation, it is always best to contact a licensed plumber.

In the event you incur frozen pipe damage, SERVPRO's trained technicians are available 24/7 to assist with your cleanup and restoration needs.

Flooded Basement? What type of water could be in your basement.

4/13/2017 (Permalink)

Early spring brings melting snow and heavy rains, all which could potentially pose a threat to flooding your basement.  We get a lot of questions on the types of water.  To help you understand what kind of water could potentially be in your basement there are (3) categories:

Category 1:  Known as "clean water" which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans.  Most of the water that comes into your home will be Category 1 until it leaves its source, either a supply line, an appliance, or melting snow or rain.  The water in this category may become cotaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings, walls, subfloors, etc..  

Category 2:   Water that begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans.  Also know as "gray water"  is typically overflow water from an appliance, toilet, or aquarium.  

Category 3:Water which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Also know as "black water" examples are sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes.

How to Safely Dispose Oily Rags

4/3/2017 (Permalink)

     With warmer weather approaching, home improvement projects will be on the rise. In an effort to make everything look new again for another summer, we re-stain outdoor furniture and prime the deck for a nice appearance at our summer barbecues. “Do-it-yourselvers” take heed! There is a grave danger inherent in using oil based products that you may not be aware of. If you do not properly dispose of the oily rages after use, you are rolling the dice for a potential disaster. Discarded rags left unattended and not contained have the potential to cause spontaneous combustion which leads to fire.

     You are done with your project; you toss oil soaked rags without giving it a second thought. What most people who use these products do not know, is that when a substance like linseed oil is left on a cotton rag and left in the open air, a chemical reaction takes place. The rag actually heats up to almost 400 degrees as it is in the process of drying. And believe it or not, there is no spark needed to cause this devastating fire. It is so important to be aware of these products and to always carefully read all the instructions, no matter how small the print, before you even open the container to use the product. You need to know the instructions on proper disposal of the rags, as well as how to secure the container after the job is done. Besides linseed oil, other culprits include flaxseed, sunflower and soybean oil, coal, charcoal, hay, compost piles, piles of manure, paint thinners, oil-based paints are all susceptible to spontaneously combusting. 

     So the next time you’re ready to tackle a do-it-yourself project or to hire a contractor to do a job with an oil based product, make sure the rags are properly stored in a metal can filled with water and an oil breakdown detergent with a secure lid.  Then you will be able to  dispose of the closed can of rags when your town sponsors a hazardous waste collection day. This one simple act can save you from the despair of a preventable fire. If you research fires caused by oil-based products online you will be amazed at how easily these fires get started and rage out of control. One example online described a handyman who had an oily rag in the back pocket of his work overalls when the rag dried out by the sun caught fire and burned him.

 

The 24-hour emergency services provided by SERVPRO Framingham and SERVPRO 

Newton / Wellesley comes to your rescue when you need them, ready to help using their water and fire damage training as well as their wide range of knowledgeable expertise. They will get you through a difficult experience. Once the fire department leaves the scene, you may be left with a non-functioning business or residence because of water damage caused by firefighting efforts. We have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire and water damage and the ability to efficiently restore your business or residence to pre-fire condition.

April Showers Bring May Flowers and More...

3/28/2017 (Permalink)

     April showers help to bring us the most vibrant May flowers and we are so happy with this change of season. However, when April showers are more like torrential, relentless downpours we could face a flooded basement and other water damage causing costly repairs. Flooding generally occurs in the springtime as the result of heavy rains that cannot be adequately absorbed by the still thawing earth. Particularly formidable are the flash floods resulting from thunderstorms, swiftly melting snow, ice jams in creeks, and then there is the fearsome “El Nino."  Consider if more than one of these circumstances happens at the same time, you have the potential for a catastrophe with flooding waters and raging mudslides.   

Homeowners you can take some simple precautions to secure your property and keep your possessions safe.

               Elevate:  Keep your furnace, water heater, electrical panels above predicted water levels to protect yourself from costly home replacements.

               Install check valves: These valves close to prevent the backward flow of liquid and prevent water from backing up into the drains in your home.

               Build barriers: Use sandbags to create flood walls to prevent or reduce flow of water into your home.

               Waterproof the basement: Use a waterproofing compound to seal the walls of your basement.

               Clean: Clean gutters, drains and downspouts for proper water flow.

               Purchase flood insurance: Most standard homeowners' and business insurance policies unfortunately do no cover flood damage. In the event of a flood, you would be responsible for covering the full cost of repairs and replacing items damaged.

    There is help close by should you experience an unfortunate event with your home or business. Contact FRAMINGHAM or SERVPRO NEWTON/WELLESLEY.  We are trained storm specialists who will come in and quickly get your home or business back to a safe and healthy environment. We have the specific training and certifications to handle your restoration needs provided by an Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist, a Water Damage Restoration Technician, and an Applied Structural Drying Technician. We provide emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night.

In a Jam with Ice Dams

3/28/2017 (Permalink)

   Although icicles do look like pretty prisms dangling from your roof, they are also a sign of big trouble. This is because the same conditions that create icicles -snow covered roofs, freezing temps and cold winds- can also lead to ice dams.  Ice dams are thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the overhang of your house.  Ice dams grow heavy and tear off gutters, damage windows and siding, loosen shingles and cause water to back up and pour into your house.  As a result you could have peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings and dreaded mold! When a harsh and lasting winter storm hits with heavy snow and extremely frigid temperatures this kind of damage is almost inevitable.          

    However you can stay ahead of the game with a few simple tricks. Keep an eye out for icicles, check for backflow under the roofs shingles, and watch for interior leaks. Heated cables can also be used to fight ice dams. By attaching the cables with clips to the roof in a zigzag pattern, it will help control the roof's temperature and prevent damage.  Or you can place a box fan in the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is likely to leak inside. This targeted dose of cold air will freeze the water in its tracks and stop the flow of water. Invest in an aluminum roof rake and remove snow immediately before it begins to build up on the roof. Another trick is to use a pair of panty hose filled with calcium chloride/ ice melter placed on the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. This will create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters and off the roof. 

     Unfortunately we can’t prevent storms from happening so when you need emergency help because of storm damage, call SERVPRO Framingham or SERVPRO Newton/Wellesley. Our 24 hour service is specialized and ready to come to you for cleanup and restoration of either residential or commercial property. Whether you are dealing with the aftermath of a storm, a fire or have smoke or water damage, give us a call. We know catastrophes don’t always happen conveniently during business hours so we are available 24/7.

    We are also ready to help when you need to mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business. The main goal of SERVPRO of Framingham and Newton/Wellesley is to help minimize the interruption to your life and as quickly as possible make it "like it never even happened." 

Common Causes of Wildfires

3/28/2017 (Permalink)

   A wildfire is the potentially deadly catalyst that starts as an uncontrolled fire in a large undeveloped and un-populated area. If the response to these fires is not timely they can quickly get out of control and end up destroying homes and agriculture and killing animals and human life in their path. As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by human carelessness or criminal intent. An unattended campfire, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes as well as intentional acts of arson are some of the ways that people cause tragedy. Wildfires can also be caused by an accumulation of dead matter (leaves, twigs, and trees) that create enough heat in some instances to spontaneously combust and ignite the surrounding area. Man-made combustion from arson, carelessness and lack of fire safety cause wildfire disasters every year. However, weather conditions contribute to the occurrence of wildfires as well. Lightning strikes or extended dry spells causing drought are weather related agitators. Lightning strikes the earth over 100,000 times a day and 10 to 20% of these lightning strikes can cause fire.  An average of 1.2 million acres of US woodland burn every year. And sadly a large wildfire is even capable of modifying the local weather conditions and producing its own weather.

     Summer is coming and many of us will be camping in the woods. We have known Smokey the Bear all our lives and have the responsibility to share his critical message with the next generation of campers. I love the commercial where Smokey comes out of the woods and gives a young camper a hug for carefully putting out his campfire. You can't help but smile. The message is stated subtly but is a good reminder of the detailed instructions Smokey has provided for years on how together we can prevent foret fires. As Smokey advises, keep campfires at a managemable size, allow wood to burn to ash completely, and pour a substantial amount of water on all embers until hissing sound stops.  If you do not have water, stir up the dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel and bury the fire making absolutely sure no embers are exposed and still smoldering. One last word of caution from the Bear who knows, “If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.”

Do's & Don'ts: Damage from Contaminated Water

3/28/2017 (Permalink)

Do’s & Don’ts: Damage From Contaminated Water

Do:

                Avoid all contact with sewage and items and contaminated by sewage.

                Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with contaminated items.

Don’t:

                Spread contaminated water by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet areas.

                Turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.

                Use household fans to dry the structure and spread contaminants.

                Use products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.

However if exposed to harmful waste, OSHA recommends a post-exposure medical evaluation.  Consult your local health department or physician.

     When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial, contact SERVPRO Framingham and SERVPRO Newton/Wellesley.  Our response is immediate and we use advanced equipment and techniques to remove the water quickly.  We closely monitor and document the drying process to verify your property is dried properly and thoroughly. The main goal of SERVPRO of Framingham and Newton/Wellesley is to help minimize the interruption to your life and as quickly as possible make it "like it never even happened." 

 

Proper Water Damage Restoration

3/28/2017 (Permalink)

 Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.  The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. 

Don’t treat flood water in unwanted places lightly: even if your basement only has an inch of water in it, or is even just damp, it is the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold growth not only ruins walls, furniture, carpets, flooring to name a few.  Mold can lead to poor indoor air quality causing respiratory problems including asthma, and can lead to severe illness. Preventing mold growth is key to keeping your home’s air clean and healthy. 

SERVPRO Framingham and SERVPRO Newton/Wellesley specialize in restoring contents damaged by fire, water, or mold. Their expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. They pretest your contents to determine what items can be restored back to their condition before the water damage. SERVPRO Professionals utilize several methods of cleaning your contents, including:

  • Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
  • Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
  • Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
  • Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned. 
  • Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product. 

          SERVPRO Framingham and SERVPRO Newton/Wellesley provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night.

How Mold Can Affect Your Health

3/24/2017 (Permalink)

  Mold is the number one cause of indoor pollution and unfortunately few of us understand how insidious this is. So here is some information you will find helpful to protect the health of your home. Most of us are aware of the obvious places mold rears its ugly head such as shower stalls, damp basements and leaky roofs. But what about your beautifully decorated Christmas tree? Did you know it can potentially release millions of spores? 


  Unbeknown to most, if you live in an arid climate, you actually could be more at risk to exposure of a stubborn kind of mold that commonly grows in dessert like, dry regions.


 Although mold is a common problem that doesn’t particularly alarm us, the truth is that mold can cause several health effects.


   Fungi grows by releasing spores the same way other plants spread seeds. These airborne microscopic spores are not visible to the naked eye; 20 million spores are equivalent to the size of a postage stamp! They can be found almost anywhere and are kept alive by digesting the surface they are inhabiting. There really is no way to rid your home completely of mold but the key to curbing growth is controlling moisture. Just remember the most common indoor places for mold to grow are damp areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, in the sink and under appliances, where the roof leaks, around windows and in the basements. 


   If you see signs of mold growing in the bathroom around the shower or bathtub, contact SERVPRO FRAMINGHAM or SERVPRO NEWTON/WELLESLEY.  We are trained mold damage specialists who will come in and quickly return your home or business back to a safe and healthy environment. We have the specific training and certifications to handle your restoration needs that include an Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist, a Water Damage Restoration Technician, and an Applied Structural Drying Technician.


When you are dealing with this serious issue you want the most highly skilled specialists in the field and that is SERVPRO.

Does Your Company Have an Evacuation Plan for Employees?

3/12/2017 (Permalink)

On their website, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides important safety information as well as life saving tips for employers to share with their employees should it be necessary to evacuate a building in the event of an emergency. It is worth taking a look, you will be surprised at what you learn! Check it out.  https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/evacuation/evac.html

     And although an emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses, OSHA highly recommends that you provide an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business space during an emergency situation. Here are some tips:

     A disorganized evacuation can result in confusion, injury, and property damage. When developing your emergency action plan, it is important to determine the following:

  • Conditions under which an evacuation would be necessary.
  • Conditions under which it may be better to shelter-in-place.
  • A clear chain of command and designation of the person in your business authorized to order an evacuation or shutdown.
  • Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits.
  • Specific evacuation procedures for high-rise buildings.
  • Procedures for assisting visitors and employees to evacuate, particularly those with disabilities or who do not speak English.
  • Designation of what, if any, employees will remain after the evacuation alarm to shut down critical operations or perform other duties before evacuating.
  • A means of accounting for employees after an evacuation.
  • Special equipment for employees.
  • Appropriate respirators.

    During development and implementation of your draft plan, think about all possible emergency situations and evaluate your workplace to see if it complies with OSHA's emergency standards.

    Emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – (617) 332-9000 

SERVPRO in the Healthcare Sector

3/8/2017 (Permalink)

     We understand that time is crucial for both your operations and your patients. Our employees know how to handle regulated medical waste and undergo special training to work in operating rooms and other restricted areas, always adhering to HIPPA regulations. We also coordinate with environmental and infection control teams to monitor progress and make sure that all necessary health certifications are obtained prior to completing any job. Our number one priority is to quickly and safely take full responsibility of your cleanup needs so that you are free to focus on your number one priority: the patients.  At SERVPRO Framingham and SERVPRO Newton /Wellesley, our professionals are trained in adhering to the highest sanitation standards.

    Our experience in the healthcare industry has given us the ability to provide a variety of detailed services for the following healthcare facilities:

  • Hospitals
  • Assisted Living Centers
  • Outpatient Surgical Centers n
  • Electronics and Machine Restoration
  • Hospice Facilities
  • Senior Living Facilities
  • Medical Office Buildings
  • Document Drying and Restoration

 

  Please visit our website: http://www.SERVPROnewtonwellesley.com, for additional information.  We’re here to help!

Mold in Children's Bath Toys?

3/6/2017 (Permalink)

“Rubber ducky you’re the one, you make bath time lots of fun,” Ernie sings in the bathtub on Sesame Street. No, sadly Ernie, rubber ducky is not the one to make bath time fun. Parents you may enjoy singing the song with your little ones but keep the ducky out of the bath water. Pediatricians are warning parents to be more careful in their selection of playtime toys for the tub. Would you hand your child a sandwich made with moldy bread? Of course not. Well, we should be just as prudent when buying toys for bath time. If the bath toy has a hole in it and squirts water, it should remain in the store. Parents have complained that when their child squeezes these toys in the water, the plastic whale isn’t shooting water out of the blowhole but oozing a black liquid. This is not innocent darkly colored water, it is mold. If a child ingests mold, there is risk of illness, maybe an upset stomach or perhaps a more serious problem if the child has a mold allergy. Instead of rubber/plastic toys, give your child cups, buckets and toys with no openings. Completely drying the toys after each use will further ensure safe use. For those things that go into your child’s mouth, sippy cups and teething rings, be aware that they are big culprits too and must be carefully inspected and discarded when necessary.

If you see signs of mold growing in the bathroom around the shower or bathtub, contact SERVPRO FRAMINGHAM or SERVPRO NEWTON/WELLESLEY.  We are trained mold damage specialists who will come in and quickly get your home or business back to a safe and healthy environment. We have the specific training and certifications to handle your restoration needs that include an Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist, a Water Damage Restoration Technician, and an Applied Structural Drying Technician.

When you are dealing with this serious issue you want the most highly skilled specialists in the field and that is SERVPRO.

Mold vs. Mildew

3/6/2017 (Permalink)

How can we tell the difference between mold and mildew?  Often times we mistakenly use these terms interchangeable when in fact the only thing they have in common is that they are both a type of fungus.  Given the proper light, temperature and most importantly, moisture, mold will feed on something that was once alive, a non-organic material such as wood, paper, leather, cloth, tile to name a few.  Mildew only grows on something that is alive. Mildew is mostly found on plant life such as plants in a greenhouse with poor air ventilation and is also known as a "plant parasite."


However there is a noticeable contrast between mold and mildew when you are comparing size, color and texture.  Mildew is a patch of gray or white fungi  lying on the surface of a moist area. It can easily be remedied with a store bought cleaner and a scrubbing brush. Whereas mold, black or green in color, can be the result of a large infestation. Typically it is fuzzy and slimy in appearance when on food.  In a short amount of time mold will spread quickly, produce allergens and irritants, and has the potential to cause serious health hazards. 


Why choose SERVPRO Framingham and SERVPRO Newton Wellesley to solve this problem?  With our 24-hour emergency services, we are faster in response to any disaster, big or small. Be aware that a minor mold problem can quickly become a major infestation if left untreated. We can start the remediation process immediately when you contact us. A faster response lessens the mold damage, limits additional damage, and reduces the remediation cost.

Common Causes of House Fires

2/22/2017 (Permalink)

During the winter holidays we tend to be more vigilant about fire safety but homeowners must be aware of obstacles to fire safety all year and particularly in the cold weather months.  In the winter months, people spend more time indoors and more time inside increases the risk of house fires.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) more than 360,000 home structure fires each year which is equivalent to $6-8 billion dollars in damage. Those figures are astounding and you don’t want to be a part of those statistics when these tragedies are preventable.  With foresight and good judgment, homeowners can minimize these risks. Take a look at these common fire hazards in your home defined by the National Fire Protection Association and ask yourself, guilty or not guilty?

    1. Candles: Do you light candles and walk away?

While the glow and aroma creates the perfect ambience, candles are best enjoyed outside or used with precaution.  Never leave a candle unattended or less than 12 feet from an object.  Better yet a battery operated candle is extremely safe, never burns out and gives off that soft glow.

    1. Smoking: Do you allow smoking in the house?

Another reason why smoking is not such a great idea, it is the second leading cause of house fires.  The good news, smoking is on a downward trend and with the help of recent regulations of nonflammable household items such as couches, mattress, pajamas, that has also decreased house fires caused by cigarettes.  Though ironically the older you are the likelihood you will experience a house fire related to cigarettes increase.  Individuals killed in a house fire were 65 and older.   Try smoking outside instead.

    1. Electrical & Lighting: Are you confident the electricity in your house is safe?

There are numerous causes for electrical fires; an overloaded circuit and extension cords, an overheated light bulb, space heaters, faulty wiring and appliances.  To minimize risk, don’t overload outlets, make sure you use inside cords for inside and heavy duty/outside cords for outdoors.  Never leave Christmas lights or halogen lights overnight or on when not at home and consider hiring an electrician to make sure wiring is in place.

    1. Dryers & Washing Machines: Have you checked the lint tray in the dryer lately?

Clothes dryer and washing machine fires are more common than one might realize.  The most common cause for dryers are lint trays and cable insulation for washing machines.  Make sure you clean the lent screen before and after every use.  Double check lines for gas and propane dryers.  Vent the dryer to the outside and ensure nothing is blocking the vent.  Clean the vent pipe on a regular basis and keep area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

    1. Lightning: Do you know the inside dangers of lightning?

Fires caused by lightning are most likely to occur in June, July and August in the late afternoon.  Lightning can also be the cause of wildfires.  Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical form.  Do not use electrical equipment during storms.  Avoid using faucets and baths during a thunderstorm.

    1. Children playing with fire: Do you keep fire hazards out of reach ?

Children the age of six and under are most likely to start a fire using matches or a lighter.  Make sure to keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, teach them fire safety at a young age and make sure children are always supervised.

    1. Christmas Trees: Do you know the dangers associated with decorations?

Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year.  Keep live Christmas trees well watered and dispose them before they become too brittle and dry.  Turn Christmas tree lights off before leaving the house or going to bed. Make sure they are a safe distance from any heat source.

    1. Cooking: Do you make a habit to check the stove while cooking and before leaving the house?

Another leading cause of house fires is cooking and easy to get distracted when something is simmering on the stove.  Always be vigilant when cooking and never leave items on a stove unattended.  Never put a grease fire out with water, instead place a lid on the pan to smother the fire.  If fire occurs in the oven, keep oven door shut until fire extinguishes itself.  Keep flammable items away from oven and always have a fire extinguisher in kitchen.

SERVPRO Framingham Expands Territory

2/20/2017 (Permalink)

     David Kurzontkowski, owner of SERVPRO of Framingham that services Ashland, Hopkinton, Holliston, Sudbury, as well as Framingham, has recently expanded his territory and now services the towns of Newton, Wellesley, Chestnut Hill, and Needham. David, a licensed general contractor, has acquired the most skilled and professional staff in the Metro West area of Boston.  His professional staff collectively has over 30 years of experience in the restoration industry. While the office headquarters is located in Hopkinton, highly skilled technicians are on call and ready to report to work sites all over the region to serve clients with immediate needs. Both SERVPRO of Framingham and SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley offer 24-hour emergency services to assist with fire, water, and storm damage, as well as commercial and residential restoration, mold remediation, and on site cleaning services.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley - 4 Insurance Mistakes to Avoid!

8/29/2016 (Permalink)

General SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley - 4 Insurance Mistakes to Avoid! SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley - (4) Insurance Mistakes to Avoid... (and Still Save Money)

Avoid these common mistakes and you're on your way to getting the best insurance for your needs and budget.

Saving money feels good. And shopping around when you’re looking for insurance coverage is a great way to do it. However, simply reducing your coverage or dropping important coverages altogether is like diet without exercise—focused only on numbers, not on results. Don’t risk ending up dangerously underinsured and on the hook for much bigger bills in the event of a disaster.

Following are the four most common home, flood, and renters insurance mistakes people make, along with suggestions to avert those pitfalls while still saving money (we call them, “better ways to save”)

1. Insuring a home for its real estate value rather than for the cost of rebuilding. When real estate prices go down, some homeowners may think they can reduce the amount of insurance on their home. But insurance is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding, not the sales price of the home. You should make sure that you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home and replace your belongings—no matter what the real estate market is doing.

A better way to save: Raise your deductible. An increase from $500 to $1,000 could save up to 25 percent on your premium payments.

2. Selecting an insurance company by price alone. It is important to choose a company with competitive prices. But be sure the insurer you choose is financially sound and provides good customer service.

A better way to save: Check the financial health of a company with independent rating agencies (some well-known ones: A.M. Best, Moody's), and ask friends and family members about their experiences with insurers. Select an insurance company that will respond to your needs and handle claims fairly and efficiently.

3. Dropping flood insurance. Damage from flooding is not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as from some private insurance companies. You may not be aware you’re at risk for flooding, but keep in mind that 25 percent of all flood losses occur in low risk areas. Furthermore, yearly weather patterns—spring runoff from melting winter snows, for example—can cause flooding.

A better way to save: Before purchasing a home, check with the NFIP to determine whether a property is situated in a flood zone; if so, you may want to consider a less risky area. If you are already living in a designated flood zone, look at mitigation efforts that can reduce your risk of flood damage and consider purchasing flood insurance. Additional information on flood insurance can be found at www.FloodSmart.gov.

4. Neglecting to buy renters insurance. A renters insurance policy covers your possessions and additional living expenses if you have to move out due to an insured disaster, such as a fire or hurricane. Equally important, it provides liability protection in the event someone is injured in your home and decides to sue.

A better way to save: Look into multi-policy discounts. Buying several policies with the same insurer, such as renters, auto, and life will generally provide savings.

SERVPRO of NEWTON/WELLESLEY is ready to assist 24/7 with any disaster situation homeowners or renters face.  In the event of a fire/water/mold emergency you can count on the team of SERVPRO of NEWTON/WELLESLEY to "make it like it never even happened."  Contact our office at 617-332-9000.

Above info is from the Insurance Information Institute.

Why chose an IICRC firm like SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley?

6/27/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Why chose an IICRC firm like SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley? SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley is an IICRC firm giving you the confidence that the right people make it "Like it never even happened".

Always Look for the IICRC logo 

IICRC Certified Firms have earned the right to display the IICRC logo as a symbol of quality. In order to achieve IICRC-certified status, firms must meet a rigorous list of standards in business ethics and expertise. All IICRC Certified Firms must:

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

When it comes to cleaning, restoration and inspection, the IICRC writes the books

As an ANSI-accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO), the IICRC has led the way in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, upholstery and fabric cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation.

Each IICRC standard takes years to develop and the coordination of several experts in the field, including allied tradespersons; manufacturers; international, national and regional trade associations; individual or franchise professionals; cleaning, inspection and restoration industry organizations; insurance industry; training schools; contractors; and public health professionals.

These standards are reviewed and updated at least every five years. Many of these fields, such as the water damage restoration field, change rapidly and those who are certified keep up with the advancement of the science and generally accepted practices of the industry.

The IICRC helps keep homes and businesses healthful

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person spends 90 percent or more of their time indoors, where levels of pollutants may be two to five times (and occasionally more than 100 times) higher than outdoor levels.

This makes it extremely important to perform regular maintenance inside your home or business. In addition to vacuuming, cleaning and checking for water damage on a regular basis, using a certified technician for cleaning will help extend the life of your flooring and upholstery and ensure that your home or business is healthful for those who live and work there.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley is here to help with all your restoration needs, please contact our office at (617) 332-9000.

SERVPRO of NEWTON/WELLESLEY - Safety Tips for Summer Vacations

6/6/2016 (Permalink)

As you make plans to visit the beach, hike in the mountains, or take a road trip, consider your home’s safety before you go. Burglars prefer to target homes that look empty because it makes the process easier for them. With that in mind, it’s important to make it look like your home is occupied while you’re gone. Along with all the other items on the “to-do” list before you go out of town, don’t forget these five steps for securing your home:

1. Hold Your Mail

A pile of unopened mail and unread newspapers announces to a would-be burglar that your home is empty and ready for intruders. Before you go out of town, call your local post office and ask them to hold your mail. Alternatively, you can even do it online at USPS.com. You’ll also want to call your newspaper service to stop delivery until you return.

2. Trick Potential Intruders

Make it look like someone’s home when you’re out having fun. Here are some ways to outsmart crooks:

  • Time lights and electronics. You can time your lights, television, and other electronics to turn on and off throughout the day. You want your lights to look natural, as if someone’s home. Avoid leaving your lights on the entire time you are gone. This will not only increase your electric bill, but it’s also suspicious, since most people don’t leave lights on all the time when they’re home.
  • Hire a landscaper. If you’re going to be out of town for a week or more, hire someone to mow your lawn and trim your hedges, so it looks like someone’s around and doing the yard work.
  • Have a neighbor park out front. Tell a trustworthy neighbor when you’re going to be out of town, and ask them to park a car in front of your house to make it look like someone’s home.

3. Ask Neighbors to Keep an Eye Out

Friendly neighbors can be an important line of defense against intruders. Tell your neighbors how long you’ll be gone and ask them to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity at your house. If your neighbors know you’re gone, then if they see or hear someone at your home, they will know something is probably amiss and they can contact the authorities.

4. Avoid Social Media

While it may be tempting to share photos on Facebook or tweet about your airport adventures, consider holding off on vacation-related posts. Those you are connected to online are typically your friends, but you never know when your information will get into the wrong hands. A friend of a friend may see your status update and know that your home is vulnerable. Double-check your safety and security settings on social media, and consider waiting to post about your adventures until you get back.

5. Nix the Spare Key

If your home is being targeted, the first thing a criminal will look for is a spare key. He will look in the standard places: a conspicuous plastic rock, under the mat, or above the door. Putting a spare key in an easy-to-spot location is like handing your keys over to an intruder. If you’re going on vacation, think about removing the spare key all together until you are home, or leave a key with a neighbor.

If you take precautions before going on vacation, then you can relax instead of worrying about the state of your home while you’re gone.

Have a safe and happy summer from the team at SERVPRO of NEWTON/WELLESLEY. 

Flooded Basement? What type of water do you have in your basement.

4/4/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flooded Basement?  What type of water do you have in your basement. SERVPRO is your 24/7 emergency restoration specialist.

Earlyspring brings melting snow and heavy rains, all which could potentially pose a threat to flooding your basement.  We get a lot of questions on the types of water.  To help you understand what kind of water could potentially be in your basement there are (3) categories:

Category 1:  Known as "clean water" which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans.  Most of the water that comes into your home will be Category 1 until it leaves its source, either a supply line, an appliance, or melting snow or rain.  The water in this category may become cotaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings, walls, subfloors, etc..  

Category 2:   Water that begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans.  Also know as "gray water"  is typically overflow water from an appliance, toilet, or aquarium.  

Category 3:Water which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Also know as "black water" examples are sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes.

We Are Green & Clean with Benefect

2/8/2016 (Permalink)

The consumer today has increasingly been more aware of the chemicals in their products than ever before. Now SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley is offering safe alternatives.

Benefect, the world's first government registered hospital disinfectant using the essential oils from plants.  Today their technology can be found in many products including naturally based cleaners and alcohol-free hand sanitizer.

In nature, plants produce germ-killing essential oils to protect themselves from invading microbes, similar to how our bodies produce antibodies for our protection against disease.  Benefect is a revolutionary blend of these antimicrobial extracts, particularly from the herb Thyme.  Disinfectants typically use quaternary amines, bleach, or even synthetic thymol to kill germs.  Remarkably, Benefect kills over 99.99% of germs using only food-grade plant extracts.  Benefect is a 'plant immune system' in a bottle.

  • Kills 99.99% of Germs.
  • No Label Warnings or Signal Words.
  • Made from Plant Extracts.
  • No Synthetic Ingredients.
  • No Rinse or Wipe Required.

Water Damage Tip for Property Owners

1/7/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Response Tips for Home Owners

(These tips are for Category 1 water situations ONLY, which is water that originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.)

  • Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the home/building, when access to the power panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • Remove excess water by mopping or blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Do not use a regular vacuum to remove water.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
  • Do not leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpeting.

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.  The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property.  If you have any questions or need help to ensure your property is drying properly, call SERVPRO of Newton-Wellesley (617) 332-9000. 

Frozen Pipes Facts

12/7/2015 (Permalink)

Water Damage Frozen Pipes Facts Frozen Pipe Facts

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal and plastic pipes.  No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.  Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold.

During cold weather, take preventative action:

- Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent freezing.

- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and night.  You may incur a little higher heating bill, but, you can prevent a much more costly repair job if a pipe were to burst.

- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.

To thaw frozen pipes:

- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.  Likely places include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

- Keep the faucet open.  As you treat the pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area.  Running water will help melt the ice inside.

- Apply heat to the section of pipe like using an electric heating pad or hairdryer.  Never use an open flame.

- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.  If you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.

- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes.

***If in doubt about any of the above steps or if you do not feel comfortable with the situation, it is always best to contact a licensed plumber.

In the event you incur frozen pipe damage, SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley trained technicians are available 24/7 to assist with your cleanup and restoration needs.

UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT

10/5/2015 (Permalink)

Great news!  SERVPRO of FRAMINGHAM, that has been serving the communities of the Metrowest area since 1987, has recently purchased SERVPRO of NEWTON/WELLESLEY.  Our dedicated team of highly trained technicians are prepared to handle the emergency restoration and cleanup needs of Newton, Needham, Wellesley, and the surrounding communities.  We are available 24/7 to respond to emergencies and disasters for both residential and commericial properties. No loss is too large or too small for us to handle. Our experienced staff is available to assist you regardless of the type of loss.  Our main concern is to make sure we handle your loss promptly and make it "Like it never even happened."  

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