Recent Posts

Commercial Ceiling Repair

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

This particular job was for one of our clients who experienced troubles after a pipe burst in their parking garage. Not pictured here is the damage that took place on the ceiling of the garage. The ceiling had air pockets that were swelling up with water inside them. This type of damage can lead to a number of other issues including mold. Our client was lucky they called us when they did or this could have gotten much worse.  Our crew went in with SERVPRO tools and the damage was fixed hastily. The picture on the right is the ceiling once it’s been patched up and restored to its original condition. Our client was very happy with the results and noted that it was done way sooner than anticipated.

Top Tips to Prevent Your Home From Water Damage This Winter

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage to your home can happen at any time of the year, but in winter, your home may be especially susceptible. The wet weather and freezing temperatures can cause water to leak into the nooks and crannies of your house. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent this. Here is a helpful list to guide you in keeping your home dry this winter.

Preventing Ice Dams on the Roof

Ice dams are formed when ice collects at the edges of a roof. This typically happens when the upper portion of a roof is warmer than the lower portion.  Snow on the upper portion melts faster and runs down to the cooler part of the roof where it freezes again, creating an ice dam. These are problematic because they block the water from melting snow from flowing off your roof. The water can accumulate and seep into your house through tiny cracks or gaps in your roof. It can also result in mold and mildew growth on your roof.

To stop ice dams from forming, you have to ensure that all parts of your roof are equally cold. This can be done by keeping your attic well-ventilated to maintain an evenly cold temperature. You should also seal any ceiling cracks or openings that may allow warm air from other parts of your house to enter the attic.

Clearing the Gutter

Keeping the gutter clear allows water to drain down and away from your roof which also helps to keep water from collecting on your roof. This is an unappealing task but it is very important in preventing a clog. You can do it yourself with gloves, a garden trowel and a ladder. However, it may be better to get professional assistance, as this may be a bit dangerous. You can also install gutter covers to reduce the need to clear your gutter, but you should still check the gutter occasionally to ensure that it is not clogged. Leaves and other debris are most likely to collect at the corners and junctions of the gutter.

Keeping Your House Perimeter Dry

After you clear ice, snow and water from your roof and gutter, you need to make sure to keep the foundation of your house dry as well. Melting snow surrounding the perimeter of your home can seep into the soil and enter your house through cracks or leaks in your windows and doors. It can also saturate your foundation and basement walls, increasing the chances of mold forming in your home. The best solution is to shovel the snow away from your house before it melts. You can also seal up gaps or other openings in your basement wall to prevent water from seeping in.

Watching Out for Frozen Pipes

Due to the cold temperatures in winter, water in your water pipes can freeze over and lead to high internal pressure in the pipes. If the pressure continues to build up, it can be enough to rupture your pipes, causing a huge amount of water to be released in your house. To prevent frozen pipes, you can insulate water pipes located in places of your home with freezing temperatures. In especially cold temperatures, it is recommended to let your faucets drip slowly to relieve pressure in case the pipes have frozen. If where water from your pipes stops flowing completely, it is best to call a plumber as soon as possible because it is likely that the pipe has frozen.

What are the Most Common Commercial Fire Hazards?

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

If you own a business, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your customers, employers and any other people who set foot in your property. Meanwhile, you would also want to protect your building, important records and inventory. This can be done by having a well-designed fire protection system. However, that alone is not enough. It is highly important to avoid and prevent situations where a fire might occur in the first place. Therefore, we have put together a list of some of the most common commercial fire hazards that you should take note of.

Combustible materials

People who work in industrial settings are typically aware of any flammable chemicals and materials they have at work. However, people who work in offices may be less well-informed. Offices are full of combustible materials, especially dues to the huge amount of paper in them. Other than that, furniture, carpet, curtains and other fabrics can also act as fuel for a fire. Many cleaning liquids are also flammable and must be stored correctly to prevent any incidents. No matter where you work, it is essential to ensure that combustible materials are located far away from heat sources to prevent a fire.

Faulty Electrical Equipment

Some fire hazards may be easily detectable, such as a frayed wire on an office machine. However, there are also hidden threats that people do not always take into account. For example, faulty wiring in electrical equipment can also be a fire risk. It is important to have an electrician inspect the electrical components of your faulty equipment to ensure they do not pose a danger.

Overloaded Extension Cords

It is not uncommon to use extension cords to increase convenience at work. They are safe to use if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Unfortunately, many people tend to use extension cords improperly, such as by overloading them. In such cases, they can act as a serious fire hazard. It is recommended that you educate your employees on the appropriate use of extension cords and the fire risks they can pose to prevent any incidents.

Broken Cables

Any broken cables in your workplace should be removed as soon as possible. Leaving them lying around is highly dangerous and risks the safety of all workers. They may spark which can lead to the outbreak of an electrical fire.

Overheated Machines

Machines like photocopiers, printers, laptops and computers are present in all commercial buildings these days and they have a tendency to overheat. This is not usually a problem on its own. However, the heat generated by these devices can lead to a fire if there are combustible materials thereby, such as paper for example. It is important that you ensure that these machines are well ventilated and kept away from combustible materials, to prevent risks of a fire due to overheating. You should also remember to shut down these machines before leaving work to allow them to cool down over night. 

Poorly Disposed Cigarettes

If smoking is allowed in your workplace, you should ensure that the designated smoking areas are far away from the main buildings and any flammable materials. Your employees should also be educated on the importance of putting out cigarettes properly to reduce risks of a fire. 

What You Need to Know About Trauma Cleanup

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Trauma is never an easy thing to deal with. When you have to manage trauma cleanup in the aftermath of a traumatic event, you may be overwhelmed and you may not be thinking straight. Most people do not know where to start with the cleaning. Sometimes, they just want to clean up the place as fast as possible and they forget to consider safety.

Trauma cleanup is highly unpleasant and messy. However, it can also be very dangerous. The actual cleaning process can pose a threat to safety, depending on the situation. If the cleaning is not done well, it can also present a future health risk.

Your best choice would be to hire a professional to handle the trauma cleanup on your behalf. They are specially trained for these exact situations and will be able to get the job done safely and thoroughly.

Situations that Require Trauma Cleanup

You may be unsure of what qualifies as trauma or when the right time would be to hire a professional cleanup service. Below are some situations where it is highly advisable to call on a trauma cleanup service.

  • Tear gas cleanup
  • Blood spillage
  • Industrial accidents
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Unattended deaths
  • Infectious disease contamination

Trauma cleanup is difficult thing to do. It can be both emotionally and physically draining. It can also be dangerous for your health. Fortunately, you can turn to trained professionals to help you get the place of the traumatic event, be it your home or elsewhere, thoroughly disinfected and void of health hazards.

Why you Need to Engage a Professional

In certain trauma events, the aftermath can result in numerous health hazards in the site of the incident. This is especially dangerous when the incident happened in your home as it can pose a threat to you and your family members.

If there are body fluids or other kinds of biological waste present, they need to be properly handled. They have to be disposed of in a biohazard waste facility that is specially equipped to deal with hazardous material. The affected area also needs to be properly cleaned to ensure that it will not pose a future health risk.

Professional cleanup technicians can do exactly that. They are well qualified to deal with any kind of trauma and will abide by government regulations when removing hazardous waste to guarantee everyone’s safety.

There are special equipment and cleaning agents designed for trauma cleanup to provide protection and thorough disinfection and cleanup technicians are well-equipped with them. After the cleaning, they will also conduct hospital-grade disinfection tests to ensure that no health risks remain.

It is highly recommended that you engage a professional trauma cleanup service as soon as you can after the incident. Delaying the cleanup can seriously increase the health risks as you and/or other people may be exposed to blood borne pathogens or other chemicals at the site of the incident.

You definitely should not try to clean up after a trauma incident yourself. Cleanup technicians are highly experienced and they will be able to do the job for you with all the sensitivity, compassion and professionalism the situation requires.

Why Utilize Restoration Services After a Disaster?

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Disasters, whether manmade or natural, are one of the worst things a person can experience. Even if one survives, they may have to contend with power outages, water shortages, and the unavailability of basic services. Additionally, the property that you invested time, energy and money into could be eviscerated. Below are some ways in which restoration services can help you overcome and rebuild.

What Type of Property Damage Is Most Severe?

While property can be damaged in many ways, the most severe involves water. The reason is because water damage is not an event which is singular. Rather, it is often the culmination of multiple issues involving gutters, shingles, flooding, downspouts, fire or wind.  Damage involving water is very difficult, time consuming and costly to repair as it is typically accompanied by mold which causes additional problems.

How The Restoration Process Works

A contractor that specializes in restoration will begin with the factors that make the property unlivable, the most important of which are structural problems. If flooding has occurred, it is essential to ensure no mold is present within the flooring or walls, and each stud and support will have to be treated using special microbial agents. Fixing drywall which is crumbling due to smoke or water damage will also be needed, along with electrical and plumbing services. If left unresolved, the damage can irrevocably lower your property’s value.

Why Restoration Is The Fastest Way To Increase Property Value After A Disaster

There are a number of reasons why restoration is the best and quickest way to regain your property value post disaster. It allows you to remove moderately tiered fixtures such as carpets or laminated counters so that fresh, upgraded materials can be added such as hardwood or granite flooring. Furthermore, spaces which were unused and unfinished previously, such as attics or basements, can be finished to your exact specifications. A new climate control or A/C system can also be installed, along with repairing the roof.

While it may seem like restoring your property after a disaster will be a process full of stress, it won’t be if you choose the right contractor. An experienced professional will be able to assess the extent of the damage, and determine the best way to correct it in a manner which is most cost effective. However, the best contractors will not only restore your property, they will make it superior to the one you had previously.

They will work closely with you to repair damage involving fire and water. If you decide to keep your existing carpets, they provide specialized services that will get it fixed. One of the most common services requested by clients who have had their properties damaged is complete service restoration.  This involves multiple tasks, including the elimination of odor, mold removal, and boarding up areas until they can be addressed. The best providers offer service which is affordable yet unobtrusive.

How Often Should You Clean Residential Air Ducts?

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Even when you deactivate your cooling and heating system periodically, the air ducts will still collect allergens, dander and dust, along with mold spores that could compromise the safety of the home and everyone that resides in it. Below is a description of how frequently the ducts should be cleaned, and the best way to do it.

Factors That Determine When Ducts Should Be Cleaned

Most experts recommend having your residential ducts professionally cleaned every two or three years. However, there are circumstances which may increase or decrease the frequency. Examples include residing with someone who is at greater risk of becoming sick due to any particles or allergens that may be emitted from air conditioners or furnaces, such as toddlers, infants, seniors, or anyone who is known to suffer from asthma. 

If you have pets, this means extra fur and dander will be present in the building and ducts. In this case the ductwork should be cleaned more frequently than two years, since otherwise the dander/fur might leave a permanent pet smell that will adversely affect those who are allergic. If you live near a dirt road, especially one which receives frequent traffic, the dust and soot from vehicle tailpipes could gradually enter the building over time.

Buildings that have elevated moisture levels, and which require dehumidifiers are also at a higher risk of growing mold spores within the ductwork. Mold that spreads throughout the building can become especially hazardous since everyone living there will be breathe it in, along with visitors. 

How Ductwork Cleaning Works

Ductwork can be cleaned in multiple ways and each contractor has their own preferred method. A good team will be transparent regarding the process they use and will explain to you what will be done and why. They will start by inspecting your ducts to determine how dirty they are and whether or not special tools will be needed. They will also check for mold as well as asbestos.

They will put covers on your carpets and furnishings before starting the cleaning to make sure they aren’t exposed. The ducts will then be vacuumed, and the interior will be brushed to ensure all the debris and dust is dislodged. If nesting birds or other pests are found, they will be removed. If duct insulation is discovered which is too damp, they will recommend replacing it, to stop the development of mold. All of the ductwork will then be insulated and sealed as needed.

Although ductwork isn’t technically an HVAC system component, it serves a very important purpose. It is responsible for the filtration and distribution of air around your home. It is easy to ignore, which many residents do, until they have a problem. The best way to prepare the ducts for cleaning is to ensure there is always clear and unobstructed space near the HVAC and registers. This will make it easier for technicians to insert the extended flexible brushes that are used for cleaning.

Check These Appliances For Mold Growth

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth occurs naturally and is all over the place, especially in locations that have high moisture. Many people are unaware of the fact that mold might even be present in their appliances, so inspecting these machines is a great way to find hidden mold so that can be removed before it becomes problematic.

Washing Machines

If you notice a musty odor when opening your washing machine, this could be a sign that mold is present. Washing machines are manufactured to be water tight, which makes them an ideal environment for mold. Clean your washing machine’s gasket with water and soap, and then run it on a cycle that is empty using baking soda, hot water or bleach. If the musty smell persists, this means the mold has probably entered the filter, drum or drain, which means you’ll need professional assistance.

Air Conditioning Vents

The vent of your air conditioner is another place where mold can develop. It can usually be identified visually by peeking through the vents or smelling them to see if an unpleasant odor is present. If it is, you’ll want to consult with an A/C expert.

Humidifier

A lot of the new humidifiers are advertised to be antimicrobial, but in reality they require regular cleaning as well. Once a day, prior to refilling them, you will want to empty, then rinse and dry, and once per week you can remove scale using vinegar and then apply disinfectant according to the instructions of the manufacturer.

Refrigerator 

If you see or smell mold inside your fridge, it can be easily addressed with some fungicide, baking soda and warm water. Remove all of the contents first, and then carefully wipe the walls and insides, which include the hard to reach crevices. Don’t forget to take out the shelves and bins so you can clean under them as well, but be careful with glass, as you don’t want to scratch it. Be sure to check the freezer to.

Do Thermostats Help With Mold?

No, because mold enjoys temperatures similar to those which are preferable to humans. Additionally, it can also thrive in frigid environments. Therefore, attempting to control mold with low temperatures will not be effective. 

Getting Rid of Wall Mold

Mold needs moisture to thrive, so the best way to stop it from appearing on walls is to have it professionally cleaned, and then purchase a humidity and temperature sensor so that you can monitor and ensure that your home is always lower than 70 to 75 percent RH. Otherwise, you will need to invest in better dehumidification or ventilation.

Is It Possible For Black Mold To Appear On Plastic?

Black mold, which is also called Stachybotrys chartarum, is not able to thrive on plastic, concrete, ceramic or vinyl surfaces. It prefers materials which are rich in fiber with reduced nitrogen content, like wood, wallboard or paper.

Beware of These Office Fire Hazards

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Many people think that a fire is unlikely to take place in their office. However, they are sadly mistaken. Statistics from NFPA’s 2013 report showed that from 2007 to 2011, there was an average of 3340 fires in office properties each year. This is devastating number, especially as all these fires could have been easily prevented. To help you fire-proof your office, here are some office fire hazards you should beware of.

Combustibles

Although offices do not contain oils, gases or naked flames, this does not mean that there is no fire risk. Offices are home to a surprising number of combustibles.

  • Dust

Many people are unaware that dust can ignite when the thing it is coating gets too hot. On top of preventing machines from overheating, it is recommended to keep office spaces well-ventilated to prevent the accumulation of dust.

  • Paper 

There are hundreds of paper documents and binders lying around in every office, in cabinets, desks and waste paper baskets. It is best to keep these paper materials away from any heat sources and to empty out your waste paper baskets regularly.

  • Cleaning liquids 

People often forget about the cleaning liquids that cleaning staff use to maintain the cleanliness of an office. These cleaning liquids are highly flammable and need to be stored properly to prevent an accident.

Electrical Hazards

It is not uncommon for fires to come from an electrical source. To prevent such a situation, here are the steps you can take.

  • Keep machines from overheating

You can do this by ensuring that all machines are properly ventilated to allow them to cool down. It is also a good habit to turn off these machines every night.

  • Remove broken cables

Leaving broken cables lying around the office is just asking for trouble. The moment there are sparks, an electrical fire is sure to break out.

  • Don’t overload extension cables

Everyone loves to use extension cables. However, it is important to check how much an extension cable can take before you plug in too many machines. 

  • Get PAT testing

Having your PAT equipment inspected regularly will prevent any electrical faults that could lead to an electrical fire.

Don’t Block Exits 

One of the most important things you need to do for a fire risk assessment is to ensure that all staff and visitors to your office can make a quick escape from the building in the event of a fire. Here is what you can do to maximise the chances of a safe exit.

  • Keep fire doors closed 

It may be tempting to keep the fire doors open in a stuffy office or to allow for easy entry. However, fire doors are designed to keep fires contained to buy enough time for people to escape. This means that they must never be pinned open.

  • Keep doors clear

Never pile stocks or other belongings in front of doors. Doors must always be kept clear to allow for easy entry and exit in any emergency.

  • Keep corridors clear

To allow everyone to leave the building as quickly and efficiently as possible, corridors must be kept clear. If there are piles of office paper or binders in an already small space, they will become obstacles that impede an escape.

Now that you are aware of the common office fire hazards, you can take the necessary steps to remove them to keep you and your staff safe.

What Should You Do If A Grease Fire Erupts In Your Home?

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Anyone who has ever experienced a flare-up in their kitchen knows very well how scary it can be. Grease fires are ten times more terrifying. They usually occur when the temperature of your cooking oil gets too high. In such cases, the oil will start to boil before starting to smoke. If the temperature is not reduced soon after that point, the cooking oil catches fire, resulting in a grease fire.

Grease fires are far more dangerous than regular fires and are much harder to put out. They can erupt suddenly and cause a huge amount of damage within the span of minutes. Trying to extinguish them the same way you would a normal fire can make a grease fire worse.

That’s why it is important to know how to deal with them if you ever have the misfortune of encountering one. Here are some tips on what to do and when you should contact a professional in the event of a grease fire in your home.

What Not to Do

In the event of a regular fire, it is okay to use to water to extinguish the flames. However, this should never be done in the case of a grease fire as the consequences are highly dangerous. When water is thrown onto a grease fire, it causes the oil to spread and splash, spreading the flames. The water will also be instantly flash-boiled into steam by the extreme heat, causing a small explosion that will send flaming oil droplets everywhere.

You may have heard of using baking soda to put out a grease fire. However, it is not a good idea to use any kind of powder type substances to put out a grease fire. Firstly, it is dangerous to get close enough to the fire to apply the powder. Secondly, it is difficult to cover the fire with enough powder to extinguish it. Last but not least, certain household powder substances can be ignited, making the whole situation worse.

Putting Out a Grease Fire

You may not be able to use water or baking soda but there are other ways to extinguish a grease fire in your kitchen. The first thing you should do is to turn off your heating source. Next, before the fire spreads outside of your pan or pot, cover it with a metal lid or cookie sheet. You must never use a glass lid as the intense lid could cause it to shatter, sending glass shards flying everywhere.

If the grease fire becomes too big and you have a class B chemical fire extinguisher at home, your best chance is to try to hose the grease fire down with it. 

If none of these techniques are effective, you should evacuate the building immediately and call 911. 

Professional Fire Damage Restoration

If your home has been damaged by a grease fire, it is best to get a restoration professional to clean your home for you. Grease fires can leave behind a mix of residues that require special tools and experience to remove. With professional help, your home can be restored to its original state in the shortest time possible. Our team of experts and professionals here at SERVPRO specialize in quick and effective fire damage restoration. Feel free to contact us to engage our services!

What Few People Know About Water Damage Remediation in Somerville

12/15/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage can quickly affect your bathroom. Contact SERVPRO for a fast response. We are available 24/7 to take your emergency call.

Solutions for Water Damage to Tiled Floors in Somerville

It can come as quite a surprise to a Somerville homeowner when tiled walls and floors do not merely shrug off a water loss. The standard expectation when installing tile is that it is impervious to water. Unfortunately, some circumstances develop where water does migrate unexpectedly. When this becomes evident to the unsuspecting homeowner, the damage might be significant because it was unnoticed and not addressed in its minor stages.

Grout Can Be Vulnerable

One of the reasons you chose a grouted tile construction in your Somerville residence was its water damage resistance. When properly installed, ceramic tile with grouted joints is a waterproof construction. After installation, however, occasional maintenance of the grout is imperative. Resealing the grout with a product recommended by the manufacturer needs to be on your rotation of house maintenance tasks. Regular inspection for any gaps or cracks is the key to minimizing any water seepage.

Subfloor Damage -- Cause 

If the subfloor is damaged in any way during installation of the tile or later, SERVPRO crews might find cracks or gaps in even rigorously maintained grout. Uneven plywood subflooring can result from inadequate preparation of lower layers of an existing floor structure. A subfloor that sits above a damp crawl space with missing or damaged vapor barriers can swell, eventually warping and causing the grout to crack and loosen. This distortion of the flat surface opens up areas in the expanse of tile to permit percolation of water from a leak or appliance failure into the supporting structures.

Subfloor Damage -- Effect

Regardless of the cause of the grout cracking, once the waterproof seal goes missing, the underlying floor is in trouble. Spills and leaks drain into the subfloor, causing warping and expansion. The tiles break away from the grout, coming loose and requiring reinstallation after the subfloor is repaired or replaced. SERVPRO’s general contractor license permits you to rely on us for the rebuilding to code of the subfloor needed after the water removal and structural drying. 

SERVPRO of West Somerset County offers our customers wrap around rebuilding services after a water loss. Call us at (732) 805-9944 to assess and plan for restoration that makes it “Like it never even happened.”

Contractor License: General: 13VH05228000 

Click here for more information about Somerville.