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How to Handle Water-Damaged Wood Floors

6/2/2020 (Permalink)

water puddled on a wood floor Often water damaged wood floors can be saved with quick action.

REMOVE SURFACE WATER

Removing surface water on water damage wood floors is the first step to saving your floors from the junkyard. The foremost thing you should do, however, is to identify the source of water that is damaging your floors. Check for burst or leaking pipes and holes on your ceilings and roof. You should repair damaged areas in your house to prevent water damage in the future.

When your home has been exposed to water damage your water damaged hardwood floors will have unsightly dark stains. You can restore your floors to looking like new but it will require some elbow grease. You can remove the stains on your floor through the least invasive methods to the more extreme treatments. Stains on wooden floors are a result of water seeping below the polyurethane finish to the wood material.

The first thing you can do for stain removal is to wipe away surface dirt and grime with a damp cloth. After you have cleaned the floor thoroughly apply a steel brush to lightly rub the stained and surrounding areas. The feathering technique will help in future staining and refinishing touches. Apply bleach on heavily stained areas from water damage to lighten the stain.

SCRUB THE FLOOR

Scrubbing the floor is important after water damage to remove mud, silt, and organic material. These substances are pollutants which aid in the formation of mold growth. Mold is unsightly and can cause allergic reactions. The presence of mold will further exacerbate your problems after suffering water damage on your home. Water on a wood floor with its increased moisture can play host to different species of mold. Disinfect your home once and for all by mixing a mild detergent and a compatible disinfectant with clean water in a bucket. Scrub the entire floor thoroughly including baseboards and other woodwork such as stairs and posts with a stiff brush. Avoid pouring more water on the floor because the floor is already saturated.

When you have water damage on your floors you may notice cupping or warping. Water damage to hardwood floors buckling should be prevented because it could spread to the rest of your floor area.  When water damage occurs in your home you should do your best to dry the area thoroughly using air movers and humidifiers. Wood that is dried too fast tends to get warped and cracked so you must take care to control the temperature.

DRY THE FLOOR

You should dry wooden floors at a constant temperature to bring back its former look.  The first step on how to dry out hardwood floors after a flood is to keep fans and air movers on the area. Open windows and doors unless the outdoor air is more humid than the indoor air. A good tip on drying hardwood floors water damage is to dry the floor steadily and slowly. Apply cross ventilation by getting a box fan on a large window so the fan blows out, then, open windows on the opposites side to let fresh air in. This method is also a great way on how to dry water under the wood floor.

REPLACE LAMINATE

Laminate is an often-used material on homes but it is different from hardwood although it may look like one. The laminate flooring material is made up of wood pulp in the fashion of particle boards and sometimes MDF or medium-density fiberboard. Laminate flooded floors get destroyed easily and may need to be replaced. Floors made from laminate are highly sensitive to water damage and swells when it gets soaked which ruins the material entirely. It is important to replace laminate flooring immediately because it will only be a host to mold and mildew. As a precaution, do not use laminate flooring near areas where water damage may happen. These areas include bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Flooring on these areas must be made of flood floorings resistant materials such as tiles or marble.

CONCLUSION

Water damage can cause you headaches but repairing wood floors water damage is possible. Water spill on a hardwood floor is easiest to rectify and you will only need to scrub the stained area with a steel brush. Wooden floors that have warped however due to extensive water damage to wood floors buckling may need to be replaced. Hardwood is resilient and the question- does water damage hardwood floors– depends on the extent of water damage. If the wood has been sitting on water for long periods it may have rotted and warped and need to be replaced. All in all, you have to apply elbow grease to save your wooden floors. The question of can water damaged hardwood floors be repaired—depends on your willingness to act fast and mitigate the damage by applying your own effort or getting professional assistance.  When in doubt call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead and our team of professionals will assess your floor damage for you.  978.744.4545

The Do's and Don'ts for Cleaning Fire Damage

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

a kitchen with smoke and fire damage Fire and smoke damage cleanup should be handled by professionals

DO'S FOR FIRE DAMAGE RESTORATION

Your checklist for after a fire should contain certain non-negotiable tasks, including:

  • DO contact the certified restoration specialist at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead: Make sure you immediately contact a certified fire and smoke restoration professional for remediation services
  • DO turn off utilities: Turn of water, electricity, gas, and any other utilities until a professional can evaluate if any of these systems were damaged during the fire.
  • DO break out the vacuum: A professional should provide service, but you can enhance the professional’s chances of success by doing the first pass on your own. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment and go over your upholstered furniture. Your furniture will look better as soon as the soot is removed. Also, cover your furniture with a sheet if you need to sit on it while waiting for professional help. This will prevent the soot and ash from grinding into your upholstery.
  • DO address your carpets, floors, and countertops: Give similar treatment to your carpets. Vacuum them for an immediate and superficial improvement over the damaged state. It will help prevent soot from grinding deeper into the carpet’s roots. Countertops and hardwood floors should be wiped clean to prevent the soot from deeply staining and clinging to the surfaces.
  • DO check your appliances: Your utilities should be off. Make sure empty your freezer and refrigerator, and leave the doors open to prevent mold and mildew. Likewise, winterize your plumbing and drain your hot water heater and boiler. In the absence of heat during the fire damage restoration process, fluids can freeze and cause burst pipes and other damage.
  • DO take care of pets: Remove pets from your fire-damaged home. Lingering soot and smoke can be harmful to them.

DON’TS FOR FIRE DAMAGE RESTORATION

Your checklist should also include several things to avoid at all times, including:

  • DON’T use your AC, heater or electronics: Wait until a professional arrives on the scene — same with electronics like the television, computers and DVD players. Turning on electronics can create greater damage.
  • DON’T clean walls or clothing: Also, do not clean walls, ceilings and other similar surfaces, and wait to clean your clothing and similar garments. A professional should examine them first and provide advice.
  • DON’T eat leftover food: Never eat anything that was in the home during the fire. It is most likely not safe to consume due to contamination from smoke, soot, or contaminants introduced to the environment when the fire was being extinguished.
  • DON’T wipe away powder from extinguishers: Forgo trying to clean up any staining from the powder discharged by a fire extinguisher. It is best to let professionals guide the clean up of these areas.

These are some basic guidelines for preventing further damage and get a head start on cleanup, but they are not a substitute for professional restoration services. When in doubt, wait for the professionals at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead. Upholstery, carpets and counters are fine to begin cleaning, but the rest is best left to the pros. And remember, never reenter a home until it has been cleared by the fire department or other local officials.

Only when you have been given a “go” signal by a fire marshal should you consider to start the clean up after fire damage. Always practice proper caution when handling fire restoration work. Wear proper clothing, gloves, and mask. The walls and ceilings are the surfaces that are most commonly damaged by fire and smoke. Insulation should be removed and replaced at any instance of a house fire.

Seeking professional fire restoration services is highly recommended if the extent of the damage is serious enough to address on your own.

ALWAYS CALL AN EXPERT

If you’re wondering what to do after a fire, it’s always tempting to start the cleanup process immediately, and do as much as possible. The best course of action is to call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead to provide expert knowledge and service. The situation requires specialized tools and knowledge that only a professional can provide. Our trusted professionals will offer an after-fire checklist that will help speed along the fire and smoke damage cleanup process. We will help you restore your property back to like-new condition as quickly as possible.

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead: 978.744.4545

Cleaning Up After A Grease Fire

5/25/2020 (Permalink)

flames shoouting up from a stove top Grease fire cleanup requires help from the professionals at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead

A grease fire damage can be an unexpected disaster for your kitchen and home. One of the challenges of grease fires is that they are difficult to extinguish. Pouring water on a grease fire only makes it worse, and trying to snuff it out with towels or other materials close by can lead to the fire spreading. A fire extinguisher is the best way to put out a grease fire so you will want to be sure you have one that is easy to access in your kitchen.

The most common type of fire at home is kitchen fires. Statistics reveal that annually, there are 5,000,000 cooking fires occurring in the U.S. households.

And the reason is that the kitchen is a source of major fire hazards – electricity, heat, gas vapor, and grease.

And of all kitchen fires, fire in ovens is the most prevalent.

Grease fires are very dangerous because they spread out quickly. Before you know it, the fire has already spread all over your kitchen walls, cabinets, and ceilings. Worst, the fire has spread all over your house and made irreparable damage in a split second.

Many cases of grease fire damage usually occur when someone leaves a pan on a stove unattended, or when the oil in a pan overheats and the grease catches fire.

Because it is such a common occurrence, every household owner should be prepared at all times by learning how to put out a stove fire, how to get rid of smoke in the house from oven and clean it up, and most importantly – how to prevent kitchen fire damage.

But then there’s cleaning up after a grease fire damage, which is the second challenge. Just as a grease fire is hard to put out, a grease fire damage is also difficult to clean up.

GREASE FIRE DAMAGE: HOW TO PUT OUT GREASE FIRE

Follow these steps on how to put out a stove fire:

Putting out grease fire requires skills, a speedy reaction, and most importantly – the presence of mind.

  • It’s easier said than done, but the best way to confront any emergency situation is to stop panicking and stay calm. Only then will you be able to think of the best solution in the quickest way possible.
  • When there are grease fires, one thing you should never do is to pick up the pan. Otherwise, the fire can spread to you or the grease could spill into the counter or kitchen floor, causing the fire to spread easily.
  • Do NOT put water to the pan. Doing so could only cause the fire to grow bigger. Before you know it, you have walls on fire.
  • Instead, what you should do is cover the pan with a lid to deprive the fire of the oxygen it needs. If you can’t cover it, dump lots of baking soda in it. Once the pan is properly covered with a lid, turn off the burner. Let the pan cool before touching it and cleaning up the mess.
  • If the fire is too huge to handle, cease it using a fire extinguisher.
  • If you or your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll. This is life-saving technique is applicable for all types of fire emergencies.

HOW TO PROPERLY CLEAN UP AFTER A KITCHEN GREASE FIRE

Now that you successfully put out the grease fire, breathe and give yourself a pat on the shoulder.

Your job has not ended though. The next thing to learn is how to get fire smoke smell out of the house, along with the soot, residue, and debris.

Cleaning up after a fire is a laborious, intensive process. It’s much better to solicit help from family members or friends to save time and energy.

Follow these steps to clean up after a grease fire damage:

OPEN AND WINDOW AND TURN ON A CEILING FAN

Turn off your HVAC system to prevent the soot and smoke particles from spreading to your entire house.

Ventilate the area by opening the windows and making use of smoke eater ceiling fans or just a regular fan or air blower. Place the fans in opposite corners of the kitchen.

CLEAN GREASE AND SOOT WITH VINEGAR

You can use some distilled vinegar which is a very effective cleaning product that does not only remove grease and soot but also eliminates the smell of smoke. Yes, vinegar is a powerful DIY smoke eater.

REMOVE THE MICROWAVE

If your microwave is located above the stove, you may need to throw it away if it was damaged by fire. Next, clean the surfaces that may have been affected by the fire, such as your kitchen cabinets, walls, counters, and floors using degreasing agents or vinegar. Carefully clean the insides and outside surfaces of your cabinets. If you don’t completely remove the grease and soot, they can stain your kitchen and the smell could linger. For appliances, clean them with a soap-water solution using a sponge. Throw out contaminated food items.

Is oven safe to use after fire? After a grease fire, you should check with an appliance technician to see if your oven is safe to operate.

PREVENTING GREASE FIRES

  • Grease fires are extremely dangerous. But the good news is they are preventable. Follow these tips to prevent grease and other kitchen fires:
  • Never leave your pot or frying pan unattended.
  • Do not put frozen food into hot grease. Remove as much moisture from food before cooking.
  • Always keep grease at the recommended levels and heat oil slowly.
  • Always keep a metal lid on the counter to cover burning pan or pot.
  • Store a fire extinguisher nearby, preferably between the kitchen and the nearest exit.
  • Keep flammable items away from the stove, such as wooden utensils, mittens, rugs, etc.
  • Keep your kitchen well-ventilated. Trapped heat can cause grease fires to develop faster.

Always keep your kitchen appliances in good shape. A routine inspection by a licensed technician ensures that there are no issues like faulty wires or gas leaks that can exacerbate grease fire when it happens.

Grease fire damage is one of every homeowner’s worst nightmares. Knowing what to do when it happens can save your life and your property. Additionally, taking preventive measures should minimize the risk of any kitchen fire.

WHEN TO CALL THE PROS

Because of just how quickly a grease fire can spread and because of how intensive a grease fire damage can be, it’s almost always ideal to call a professional for help with repairing damage from a grease fire. A grease fire damage most often leaves a heavy scent of smoke throughout your home. It can also leave soot covering your kitchen, including the ceiling, cabinets and more. No matter what, there’s going to be grease residue and soot everywhere — and grease is notoriously difficult to clean.

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead has the knowledge and experience to quickly and effectively repair damage from a grease fire, as well as the tools needed to get the job done. Additionally, we will know the proper techniques for taking care of grease fire residue on different materials.

Residue can often find its way onto paper, wood, plastic, natural substances and more, and there’s a proven process for cleaning each — but the processes are different. SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead can take care of these different materials in the best way possible for each.

BE PROACTIVE WHILE YOU WAIT

When you’ve experienced a grease fire in your home or in your restaurant, it’s important to be proactive. Here’s a look at what you can and should do immediately:

  • Call SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead: It’s likely you’ll need fire damage restoration professional help. Contact us at 978.744.4545
  • Remove Pets and Children: Smoke and soot can cause health problems in both people and animals. For this reason, until the environment has been cleaned and repaired, children and pets should be taken elsewhere.
  • Replace Your Filters: Because of the smoke and soot’s ability to travel throughout your house, it’s important that you change out your furnace’s air filter. Replace the filters on your refrigerator, too — if it’s salvageable.
  • Toss Out Food: Discard any food substances that were out when the fire struck — soot and smoke particles have contaminated your food.
  • Clean Cabinets: It’s likely your cabinets are covered soot inside and out. Wipe them down, too. While initially cleaning them is important, you may need a professional to sand, reseal and repaint the cabinets to fully remove the odor.
  • Check Appliances: Your microwave may need to go. If it was located close to the fire, it will be next to impossible to get the smoke scent out of the plastic. Check the gasket seals on your refrigerator for damage as well. If they are impaired, it may be time to get a new refrigerator. This is another area where professional guidance can be helpful.

Never enter a structure that has been affected by any kind of fire until it has been declared safe to do so by the fire department or other public authority. If you have any doubt about the structure’s soundness, wait until a professional can assess it.

HIDDEN DAMAGE CAUSED BY KITCHEN GREASE FIRES

You can see soot when it is clinging to your kitchen ceiling and cabinets. But a restaurant kitchen fire or a home kitchen fire can leave damage that’s not as easy to see.

For example, flames from a grease fire can find their way into ductwork and cause damage there that will only get worse if left unaddressed. Smoky odors leftover from a grease fire can also linger if they aren’t dealt with in a professional manner.

Hidden damage is yet another reason why it’s often a good idea to call in the professionals for help cleaning up after a grease fire. If left to take care of the damage on your own, you may get your kitchen and home looking great — but the hidden damage can cause problems down the road and certainly hurt your home’s resale value. SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead will know all the places to look, and they will also know how to repair that damage.

Do You Have Mold Inside Your Walls?

4/30/2020 (Permalink)

mold inside of a wall on the insulation Getting rid of mold inside walls is a job best left to the professionals at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead

Mold is every homeowner’s unwanted visitor. And sometimes, despite all your efforts to keep your home clean and dry, you might be surprised to see black mold on walls, ceilings, and other surfaces in your home. Just the term “black mold” is enough to make you cringe. Well, you should as it is one of the most dangerous types of mold inside walls that are too common in many households.

How to remove mold naturally from walls is a common topic explored by most homeowners. Well, you don’t need to search too far. On this guide, you will learn how to check for mold in walls and more importantly, how to stop mold growth from inside walls.

HOW TO DETECT MOLD IN WALLS

Cleaning mold on visible surfaces may not be easy (especially if it’s a major infestation) but it is very much possible. Of course, it is more advisable to seek professional help when treating mold on walls but if there’s a minor build-up on your walls, floors, or ceilings, you can get rid of it using common tools and cleaning supplies that you may already have at home.

But what if the infestation is inside your walls? How do you even know it’s happening?

Before you learn how to remove mold inside walls, you must learn how to detect it. Take note that mold spores are super tiny and not visible to the human eyes so they can spread throughout your house discreetly. And until you know the signs of mold build-up, the black mold could already be damaging your property and you are still clueless.

Alright. So how can you tell if the black mold is hiding inside your walls?

If you’re like most homeowners whose walls are made of gypsum walls, also called “drywall”, you might be curious to know whether there’s mold build-up inside. Experts recommend several ways:

Cut a large hole on your wall. This is perhaps the most definitive way of determining whether there’s mold inside your walls. If there is, you will be tearing them down anywhere. However, there are drawbacks to this approach. First is that using a drywall saw can damage any electrical or plumbing systems if you unknowingly drill them. Be sure to have some plastic sheathing ready to cover that hole afterward.

Perform a smell test. The second method is to sniff around electrical outlets. If the mold is actively growing, it produces microbial volatile compounds which are the musty, earthy odor released by the mold. Electrical outlets and other openings provide you more direct access to the odors inside your walls. If you smell the musty odor through them, there’s likely a mold infestation. The drawback of this approach is that you may not find any electrical outlet or opening on the walls you suspect are damaged or infested by mold. You may also find it hard to determine the extent of the mold build-up, like if it’s just around the outlet or far from the outlet.

Check for moisture problems. When there is a moisture problem, then there is most likely mold build-up. If you see water stains on your walls or if a part of your walls has sustained water damage and it has been there for quite some time, there’s a big possibility of mold.

Hire pros to test for mold. This might come with a price but it’s the safest and most effective way to tell whether there’s mold lurking inside your walls.

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead has trained and certified technicians that can assist with any mold issues.

REMOVING MOLD FROM WALLS If the mold build-up is on the outer surfaces of your walls, you can safely and conveniently get rid of it using a few solutions like detergents, vinegar-baking soda, or commercial cleaners. But getting rid of mold inside walls is a different thing. It involves tearing down the wall and replacing it. It is best to leave it in the hands of professional mold remediators like the team at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead as doing it by yourself could lead to the possibility of drilling or grinding through electrical or plumbing systems.

So how do you remove mold from walls?

  • Prepare your cleaning solution.
  • Scrub the mold off using your cleaner and water.
  • Dry the area. Open doors and windows to allow air to circulate.
  • Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture problems and prevent mold from growing back.
  • If the mold infestation is inside the walls, you will need to hire professionals as there’s a need to knock down the walls and replace them.

HOW AND WHY MOLD GROWS ON WALLS

You’re here because you are eager to learn how to get rid of mold in walls. But you might be curious to know – how come mold grows on walls? There are a number of reasons why:

Humidity – this is the primary cause of mold problems inside homes. If you live in a humid area, it is advisable to purchase a dehumidifier and move it regularly to different parts of your home to decrease moisture content in your indoor air.

Condensation – this occurs naturally in the perimeter walls of your home, which is cooler than the air inside your house. When the water in the air experiences a temperature drop as it touches the walls, condensation takes place (moisture is turned into liquid).

Water Leaks – another common cause of black mold in walls are water leaks coming from different sources, such as holes in the roof or cracks on plumbing systems. It is important to check pipes regularly and takes steps to keep them from leaking.

OTHER TYPES OF MOLD ON WALLS

Removing black mold behind drywall is a serious task. But you should know that aside from black mold in walls, there are other types of mold that could grow on the surfaces or even inside walls. They include Aspergillus (which can cause allergic reactions and respiratory infections), aureobasidium (which can cause more severe reactions than black mold on walls), Chaetomium, Penicillium, and Serpula Lacrymans (that can also grow on wood surfaces).

CONCLUSION

Mold and mildew inside walls are a real nuisance.  How to fix mold in walls is a common concern by many homeowners because moisture problems are almost always likely to take place whether you live in a humid area or not.

At this point, you already know the signs of mold behind walls and what you need to do to get rid of it. As you see, getting rid of mold inside walls is not that easy for two reasons: you can’t determine how much the infestation is without ripping off the walls and you will likely need to replace your drywall to ensure that the mold does not grow back.

Mold inside walls is a big problem if left unresolved. So if you suspect mold call the experts at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead at 978.744.4545

 

Water in Basement After it Rains?

4/30/2020 (Permalink)

a basement with flood waters Spring rains in Massachusetts bring flooded basements!

In the Northshore of Massachusetts...When it rains, it pours! Especially if you have water or moisture problems at home. Learning how to deal with nasty, smelly leaked water in your basement is one of the best ways to protect your home and prevent costly damage in the future.

WATER IN BASEMENT CAUSES

Basement water leaks are an alarming problem. In fact, the American Society of Home Inspectors estimates that 60% of homeowners in the country have basement water problems. Even newly constructed homes are still prone to leaks and there’s a good chance that you will have to deal with it eventually.

You might wonder though – what causes water problems in the basement?

Flood. Needless to say, basements are prone to flooding since they are the lowest part of a house. If you live in a flood-prone area, one of the best things you can do to protect your property is to apply some flood control methods, such as raising your home on stilts, installing foundation vents or a sump pump, applying coatings and sealants on your basement walls, and installing check valves on your pipes.

Water Seepage. Water can seep through cracks in your walls as well as other porous materials. There are two types of wall cracks – horizontal and vertical. The former is more serious as it is caused by pressure against the walls. If you see stains on your basement walls or floors whenever it rains, it’s an indication of water seepage.

Window Well. Windows allow light and air into your basement. However, during heavy rains, water can collect within the window wells.

WATER LEAKAGE IN BASEMENT AFTER HEAVY RAIN

Do you always notice water coming in the basement after heavy rains? You’re not alone. Many Massachusetts homeowners experience the same.

Rain is definitely a major cause of water leaking into basements. Even if it doesn’t rain, water is always present on the ground. But when it rains or snows heavily, more water is absorbed into the ground. Once the soil is saturated and can no longer hold any more water, the water table (level below ground that is saturated by water) causes hydrostatic pressure under your home’s foundation. The excess water goes to your basement.

Meanwhile, the water absorbed by the soil that surrounds your foundation causes lateral pressure. Both hydrostatic and lateral pressure push moisture and water leaks into basement walls and floors.

Water in the basement after heavy rain is a serious problem. If not addressed early, it can lead to serious damage that could cost you thousands of dollars.

FOUNDATION DAMAGE SIGNS

Learning how to check the foundation of the house for water damage is essential. Of course, the first step is to check for signs of leaks, such as water damage textures in your basement along with moisture problems in other parts of your home.

WATER SEEPAGE IN BASEMENT AFTER RAIN

So how do you know if issues of water in the foundation is caused by rain and not something else? Check out the following signs:

  • If there are standing puddles close to your house whenever it rains hard
  • If doors and windows become swollen with moisture
  • If your basement walls are buckling or leaning.
  • If your basement leaks water when it rains hard.

WATER DAMAGE TO BASEMENT

Water damage is a problem that every homeowner dreads. Water damaged basements, in particular, do not only undermine the value of homes but also compromise the health and safety of families who live there.

Below are the ways water damage in basement harm your home and your family:

  • Mold growth. While mold has an important role in nature (breaking down dead things), it’s the last thing you want to have in your home. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to invade your basement, damaging various surfaces like walls, floors, and furniture. 
  • Damaged wiring and appliances. Water that seeps through cracks on the walls can damage electrical appliances in your basements, such as your washer, dryer, water heater, and furnace. Electrical problems can also cause life-threatening accidents to anyone in your family.

FOUNDATION WATER DAMAGE

Water damage to the foundation of a house occurs in various ways and may either be structural or non-structural. Structural damage happens when the presence of water is extensive and prolonged whereas non-structural damage occurs when water seeps through tiny cracks in the foundation. Water leakage in basement walls is an example of this.

Apart from rain, sources of water leaks include roof spillage, surface runoff, improper exterior foundation drains, and clogged gutters and downspouts. 

HOW TO STOP WATER FROM LEAKING INTO BASEMENT

Many homeowners are clueless about how to stop water in basements. But it’s easier than what it seems. Some steps include adding gutter extensions, installing plug gaps around plumbing pipes, repairing footing drains, and sealing cracks in walls and floors.

HOW TO GET RID OF MOISTURE IN THE BASEMENT

It’s always best to call the restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Saelm/Peabody/Marblehead especially if there is already some serious damage.  You can reach our office at 978.744.4545

New Home Inspection Tips

4/22/2020 (Permalink)

An attractive bedroom A thorough inspection of your new home now can save a lot of headaches later.

Wondering what inspections to get when buying a house? You’re asking the right questions. There are many different types of home inspections, and you want to make sure you’re getting the right ones. So, to you get the most of your it, here are some home inspection tips for buyers to follow.

HOME INSPECTION TIPS THAT CAN SAVE YOU MONEY AND HEADACHES DOWN THE ROAD

Your home inspection professional with have a lengthy checklist of things to examine and evaluate, but common home inspections don’t always cover everything you need to check.

Before you hire a professional to inspect your future home, make sure he or she can with the following:

  • Roofing: A roof can be one of the most expensive home components to replace. Make sure your inspection professional takes a close look at the roof and its integrity.
  • Siding: Check the integrity of the home’s siding, too. This is especially important with homes made using stucco. Stucco can last forever when properly installed, but too often poor installation can lead to leaks and other issues.
  • Plumbing: This isn’t always included in a basic home inspection, but make sure you have someone check the home’s plumbing system. This is one of the most important systems in the home, and its function and effectiveness is of the utmost importance.
  • Wiring: Older homes with original electrical wiring may need updates. Have your inspector take a look at the wiring and provide an honest evaluation.
  • Expansions: Has your potential home been added onto? If so, make sure that the addition was built professionally and that it seamlessly blends with the original portion of the house.
  • Drainage: You want to avoid drainage issues at all costs. Have your inspector take a look at the drainage system, sloping and grading of the home.

Additional inspections and tests that you may want to have done:

  • Termite and Pest Inspection: Signs of insect damage from insects like termites could be a good reason to back out of a deal. If a home is infested with insects, those insects are hard to get rid of — and the damage they cause can be difficult to repair. Pest inspections are required for VA loans.
  • Mold Testing: Some special inspections include an air quality report, which can show whether or not there’s mold present in the home. This is a good inspection to have, as mold can be a threat to both the value of the home and your health.
  • Foundation Inspection: If you are concerned about the foundation of your home or the ground it is sitting on, have a structural engineer take a look. Your regular home inspector should be able to tell you if this is necessary.
  • Radon Testing: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can be found in some homes. This test is typically inexpensive and well worth it if you are in an area where this is a common issue.
  • Lot Size Surveying: This will to ensure that you know exactly where the property lines are and verify the size of the lot. The cost of this service depends on the size of the property.
  • Chimney Inspection: If your potential new home has a fireplace and chimney, you may want to have a chimney inspection done.l This involves the analysis of the chimney itself, the flue, joints connectors and interior chimney walls.
  • Water Inspection: This may be especially important if the potential home utilizes well water. This will test for water hardness, as well as for dangerous contaminants like lead and arsenic.

There may be other things that need examination if your home is much older. For example, a shortage of materials after World War II meant many new homes’ plumbing systems were built with less durable alternatives.

So, if the home you want to buy was built in the mid to late 1940s, checking the pipes and making sure they have been replaced/updated is a must.

HOME INSPECTION TIPS FOR BUYERS

Are you ready for your home inspection? Here are some simple tips to follow for first time buyers:

  • Get a Recommendation: Your real estate agent should be able to recommend a good inspection company. Make sure your agent knows you want the , this is not the time to cut corners.
  • Be Present for the Inspection: The inspector will most likely want to point some things out to you and explain any notes he or she is making on the report. This is an important step, but it’s only possible if you’re present for the inspection.
  • Bring in Other Pros if Needed: If your inspector doesn’t look at the plumbing system or doesn’t offer air quality services, feel free to bring in a third party. There’s nothing wrong with having someone else come in to look at a specific portion of the home.
  • Ask Questions: You are likely paying for the inspection, so make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Ask as many questions as you want, and make sure you feel comfortable with the home. After all, a house is the biggest investment most people will ever make in their lives.

Your inspection is the one chance you have to get an expert to examine and evaluate the home. Don’t miss out on this opportunity by choosing the wrong service or by not getting the most out of it.

If we can be of help during this process, please call the professionals at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead at 978.744.4545

Humidifier or Dehumidifier?

4/22/2020 (Permalink)

Several SERVPRO dehumidifiers Knowing the best way to condition your home's air will make you safer and more comfortable.

Comfort in a home requires every bit of the home to work perfectly with our body, the acoustic value, the circulation, temperature, humidity and a lot more.  When these factors are being altered or not proven to be normal, it can affect our health and make our house totally uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, there have been various machines/tools that measure, control and regulate these factors to suit our body temperature, machines such as “dehumidifier” and “humidifier”. Humidity is an important factor in a space that determines how comfortable a person is in that space.

It is the amount of water vapor present in the air and when it is low which causes dry air, static electricity, dry skin and hair, increased susceptibility to colds and respiratory illness, but having a humidifier in your house can regulate these problems and when it is high it causes coastal air. 

Humidifier vs Dehumidifier: Both devices humidifier and dehumidifier help to improve indoor humidity level. The difference is that the humidifier increase humidity level in case of dry indoor air and the dehumidifier decrease it in case of high moisture level.

Both units can help in eliminating respiratory ailment like asthma and chest congestion.

HUMIDIFIER AND DEHUMIDIFIER FOR COLD

A humidifier may be used to moisture the nasal passage and airways when you have chest and sinus congestions due to a cold while the the dehumidifiers basically remove moisture from the air and may be useful in treating asthma which may be triggered by humid air.

They regulate our body system to function in a way that suits us during the cold. Since cold air is denser than warm air, there is less room for water vapour in the cold winter air. So during cold winter air humidifier is most likely to be used often in a room.

HUMIDIFIER AND DEHUMIDIFIER FOR WINTER

Humidification improves air quality, measures the humidity level in your home its type of device to keep the humidity level of about 30 percentage in winter. Winter air is dry air and a humidifier put more moisture in the air to reduce the effect of dry air and ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infection.

Viruses are easily transmitted during winter because of the dry air but humidifier reduces the risk of being infected. Getting a humidifier during winter may help you avoid getting sick this winter, but it can also give you softer, more glowing skin, and even help preserve your real wood furniture.

It is not advisable to keep a dehumidifier running during winter since the primary function of a dehumidifier is to reduce moisture in the air therefore in times where we have dry air, the dehumidifier might not be necessary.

HUMIDIFIER AND DEHUMIDIFIER FOR BASEMENT

Basements can often be a problem room in regards to mold growth because they have little exposure to heat and sunlight from outside and by this they tend to gather more moisture which results to high humidity and the need of a dehumidifier might be introduced to reduce the moisture in the basement therefore only on rare occasion are humidifier used in a basement.

HUMIDIFIER AND DEHUMIDIFIER FOR MOLD

Mold grow more when there is excess moisture in the air in a room and can only be killed when the level of moisture in that room reduces, so introducing a dehumidifier in this care is appropriate to reduce the effect.

The two instrument of humidity plays a good role in making humans comfortable in their homes but work in a various condition which has been highlighted above.

Maintaining the right humidity level in your home is crucial, not only for the safety of the home’s structure but also for your own health. If the level is too high, the excess moisture in the air can damage floorboards and ruin walls.

It creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. If the level is too low, the dry air can cause floors and ceilings to crack. It can also cause dry skin and irritated bronchial passageways.

The optimal humidity level is between forty and fifty percent. You can purchase a hygrometer to check the level of your home.

If it is anything but within the optimal range, it may be time to consider purchasing either a commercial dehumidifier or humidifier.

DEHUMIDIFIER

If the humidity level is above fifty percent, you are going to want a dehumidifier. This is an in-room machine that works by taking in the moist air, passing it over an evaporator coil and then a condenser coil and releasing the dehumidified air back into the room.

The moisture is either collected in a bucket that needs to be emptied or disposed of through a drainage hose. A compact dehumidifier is also a great tool to have during water damage restoration. Used along with an air mover water damaged areas can be dried quickly and effectively, reducing the risk for later issues.

HUMIDIFIER

If the humidity is too low, a humidifier will help. These machines release moisture into the air from a water reservoir. Warm air humidifiers release moisture in the form of steam. Cool air humidifiers essentially mist the room. Humidifiers are often used in children’s, especially babies’, rooms to aid in their breathing during the night.

Warm air humidifiers are not typically recommended for use around children as they could suffer burns. It is important that you keep the humidifier clean, especially the water tank, to avoid mold growth, or else more harm than good can be done.

If the humidity level of your home is off, you can be faced with a myriad of issues. Once you check the level with a hygrometer, you will be able to assess if either a dehumidifier or humidifier will be right for you.

If you have questions about your indoor air quality please call the experts at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead...978.744.4545.

Control Infectious Disease in Your Workplace

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

A magnified image of the corona virus Keep your workplace safe from infectious disease with the help of the professional team at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead

The entire world is currently battling a global pandemic, and while it is mostly down to the individual to protect himself by practicing social distancing and following quarantine procedures, we, as employers have a bigger responsibility in ensuring that our workspace remains safe amidst the crisis. Hence, in this article, we at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead are going to share with you ways of preventing illness in the workplace, how to prevent infectious diseases, as well as other tips on proper infectious disease control.

WHAT IS INFECTIOUS DISEASE CONTROL?

Before we move on further in the article, it’s important to get a good grasp of the subject of discussion first. What is infectious disease control, anyway? According to the World Health Organization, infection prevention and control, also known as IPC, is a method of cleaning and minimizing the spread of contagious disease.

Two troubling examples of infectious diseases are influenza (that has caused the death of millions in the 1900s) and the novel coronavirus that’s ravaging the world right now.

You might be wondering, though, how is infection spread? In fact, there are different ways of how this can happen. That depends on the germs that are causing the infection. However, a very common way for a contagious disease to spread, especially one that’s caused by a virus, is by cross-contamination through expelled bodily fluids such as the respiratory droplets we release when we cough or sneeze.

WHY IS INFECTION CONTROL SO IMPORTANT IN THE WORKPLACE?

You can see now how fast an infection can spread especially in crowded places like a busy office space. This is the reason why infection control is critical. It will keep your Salem, Peabody, Marblehead, Swampscott or Middleton MA workspace a safe and healthy place to work in.

Aside from that, it can also cost you a lot in terms of lower productivity levels and job satisfaction of your employees. Just imagine what an all-out infection can do to your employees and how it can damage your ROI if everyone got sick?

INFECTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL

Fortunately for us, there are various infection control measures that can help get rid of the lurking germs in the workplace. Allow us to share with you our tips, neatly divided into three categories.

INFECTION CONTROL PLAN

With an infection already happening outside, here are some workplace infection control procedures:

  • Plan Accordingly. The first thing that you should do is to come up with an infection control plan. Involve your management team since they’ll be the ones working more closely with your employees and enforce your established workplace policies and procedures for infection control.
  • Remove Common-Use Items. In relation to the previous tip, an infection can also spread by touching items that have been contaminated by other people. Hence, remove common-use items such as magazines and pens from your common rooms.
  • Encourage Basic Etiquette. Another way of preventing the spread of infection is to encourage your employees to practice the basic etiquette of covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze by providing boxes of tissues and disinfectant wipes especially in common rooms where they interact with more people. At the same time, discourage them from sharing personal items like cups, glasses, and cutleries where they can easily transfer their respiratory droplets to other people.
  • Basic Sanitation. The way to prevent the spread of infection is to provide ways for your employees to rid themselves of germs by putting up clean handwashing facilities and sanitation stations equipped with alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Basic Health Checks. Everyone must have their temperature checked before entering your facility. Anyone who is not feeling well, or doesn’t look well should be immediately sent home or to a health care facility depending on his state. Plus points if you can provide your employees with vitamin supplements as well in order to strengthen their immune system.
  • Work Remotely. But, in the end, the most effective way to control the spread of infectious disease is to still let them all go home and simply let them work from there. If you really must require the attendance of a skeletal workforce to continue operations, then at least provide them with a mode of transportation instead of forcing them to take public transit where they’ll be exposed to other people that might be infected already.

FACILITY CLEANING AND DISINFECTION

Now that your employees are working from home, this gives you the opportunity to clean your work facility and disinfect it so that it’s clean and ready to receive your employees once regular operations resume. There are two ways to go about this:

  • Handle it yourself. First, you can let your existing maintenance staff perform the virus cleaning given that you’ll provide them with the necessary personal protective equipment and tools. You should focus on cleaning surfaces that have been the most exposed to contamination such as doorknobs, stair railings, elevator buttons, and the like.
  • Seek professional help. Or second, you can seek the help of professional cleaning services. SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead is equipped to handle infectious disease control. This is honestly what we recommend, especially for workplaces like hospitals and health care facilities that are significantly more exposed to diseases, contagious or not.

EFFECTIVE VENTILATION SYSTEM AND AIR QUALITY

Finally, remember that some germs are airborne and they can survive being suspended in your facility for an extended time if you have poor indoor air quality and improper ventilation.

This is the perfect time to check if your ventilation systems work properly, as well as install equipment like air movers and air scrubbers to rid your indoor air from contaminants. Better yet, schedule your ventilation checks and indoor air cleaning procedures regularly not just during a pandemic or epidemic, but as part of your regular maintenance routine. In this way, you can prevent other indoor air pollutants from causing your employees other health problems as well.

By keeping the tips we have shared with you in mind, we are confident that you will be able to keep your employees safe from the novel coronavirus and other infectious diseases that we may encounter in the future. Stay healthy and keep safe!

If you'd like help protecting your workplace please call the experts at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead at 978.744.4545.

RESTORING DOCUMENTS AFTER FIRE, WATER OR MOLD DAMAGE

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

shelves full of wet damaged books Water damaged books and documents can be salvaged if quick action is taken

Water damage, if left unchecked, can lead to mold damage almost anywhere. Fire damage often leads to water damage as well — particularly if fire crews used water to extinguish the fire — which can in turn lead to mold damage if not addressed quickly.

It’s important to determine the best restoration method as quickly as possible — you have roughly 24-48 hours to begin restoration before water damage can start to become too severe to recover.

First, it’s important to know how to dry wet documents. The best way to do this is actually to start by freezing them. This helps to slow the disintegration process of the paper and gives you a little more time to determine the best restoration process.

PROCESS FOR WATER DAMAGED DOCUMENT RESTORATION

First, water damaged documents need to be dried, either by vacuum freezing the damaged paper or utilizing desiccant air drying techniques.

If there are contaminants present on the documents, such as mold, chemicals or other substances, the documents may require microbial disinfecting, deodorization, sanitizing or gamma-ray irradiation to get rid of any health hazards.

Depending on the specific document restoration process required, water damaged document restoration can take anywhere from 3 to 10 days.

PROCESS FOR MOLD DAMAGED DOCUMENT RESTORATION

Mold can grow on any damp surface as long as 4 factors are present:

  • An environmental temperature of 40-100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Relative humidity of 50% or higher
  • Mold Spores
  • A food source

In the case of mold-damaged paper documents, the paper itself provides the nutrient base.

To counter and stop mold growth, the best course of action is often gamma-ray irradiation. It kills mold at the molecular level, completely sterilizing the documents.

This will usually take between 3 and 16 hours for 2,000 sheets of paper, though the process may take longer if the documents need to be treated for water damage as well.

PROCESS FOR FIRE OR SMOKE DAMAGED DOCUMENT RESTORATION

Fire damaged documents often experience the same problems presented by water and mold damaged paper, as water or chemicals are often used by firefighters. First, the documents will need to be deodorized to remove soot, chemicals and other microbial sources.

Thermal fogging is a technique used to remove the smoke odor from fire-damaged documents. It recreates the smoke’s consistency, allowing it to penetrate any materials the smoke has and neutralize the lingering smoke odor.

Finally, soot removal and surface cleaning are necessary to restore the documents to a readable state. The full fire restoration process can take between 3 and 16 hours per 2,000 sheets.

POST RESTORATION

Once the documents have been restored to readability, the final step of the restoration process is to scan the documents to create digital backups. Not only does this prevent the documents from being damaged again, it can also allow the client to discard the restored documents if they are too damaged to return to normal circulation even after restoration.

SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead offers document restoration after any disaster.  Call us today at 978.744.4545

Winter Storm Damage

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

a home covered in a blanket of snow Check your home for signs of winter storm damage

Winter storm damage is usually associated with damage to the exterior of your home or building, but in a worst case scenario such damage also causes interior damage as water is allowed inside where it isn't supposed to be. Water damage causes ongoing problems if ignored, rather, it has to be repaired immediately. What is a minor expense and more of a nuisance to deal with can become a major home restoration project if it isn't dealt with in a timely manner.

Causes of Water Damage

Although nobody can plan for every contingency, there are common causes which more likely than not have led to water damage in your house. The first is a leaking roof which occurs because of damaged or aged shingles and sealant around chimneys. A second reason is because of a burst pipe, which often happens because of freezing weather when the pipe extends through an unfinished area and isn't properly insulated. Arguably the worst water damage can be caused by flooding when the foundation's drainage system has been compromised or isn't functioning properly.

Means of Prevention

Hands down, the best means of prevention is to be aware of damage and have it repaired as soon as it occurs. Such a plan doesn't always work because it isn't practical to check your roof after every storm, you can't predict when a pipe might freeze if it never has before, and you can't dig up your foundation to check for problems. You can, however, have routine inspections performed and take care of accrued damage as soon as it is found. An experienced contractor can see inspect the roof for problems, notice an improperly designed water pipe, and recognize signs of foundation drainage problems before they cause massive amounts of damage.

Proper Repair Methods

Roofing repairs are fairly straightforward, replace missing shingles, secure loose ones, and reseal around chimneys and exhaust pipes. Misplaced pipes don't have to rerouted, there is a simple solution against freezing in the form of a specialized insulation. It runs a tiny electric current, not enough to even notice on your power bill and not enough to heat the water noticeably, but just enough to prevent freezing. The foundation, unfortunately, doesn't have a simple solution but has to be dug out so the drainage system can be rebuilt. The good news is that by design such a problem is rare enough that very few people ever have to deal with it.

If you've suffered winter storm damage call the professionals at SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead at 978.744.4545