Recent Posts

Supporting the Waltham Family School Fiesta

3/14/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Supporting the Waltham Family School Fiesta Easter Activity Basket for Waltham Family School Fiesta!

Once again, SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland is proud to support the annual Fiesta! for Waltham Family School with a basket for their silent auction. 

Easter Activity Basket

We call this one the Easter Activity Basket, including PlayDoh, an egg activity kit, Hatchimals and other playful gifts. And yes, we threw in some chocolate eggs as well. 

Fiesta! for WFS

The Fiesta! is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Waltham Family School, and the silent auction will include many great items for bid to help make this their biggest year ever. 

The Waltham Family School supports parents with literacy challenges and their preschoolers to equip these families with the skills they need for school success. 

The annual Fiesta! highlights the progress WFS graduates make as they continue their journey through Waltham Public Schools. The students' stories warm our hearts and inspire us all to appreciate things we often take for granted. 

The party starts this evening at 6:00 p.m. at Solea Restaurant on Moody Street and is always well attended. 

WFS Open House

If you would like to learn more about the Waltham Family School and the work they do, they are hosting an open house they call Coffee and Conversation on Tuesday, April 4 from 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 

Prevent Local Flooding: Clear Storm Drains

3/14/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Prevent Local Flooding: Clear Storm Drains Keep Storm Drains Clear To Prevent Local Flooding

Localized flooding can happen just about anywhere. Too much water plus too little drainage means water building up in lower areas.

These lower areas are relative to the land around them. We frequently respond to flooded basements on high on hillsides when the water flows down from above.

Neighborhood Storm Drains

You can help protect your property from local flooding by keeping the storm drains in your neighborhood clear of debris.

Trash and leaf litter get caught in the grates protecting storm drains and catch basins. Spend a few minutes to shovel out storm drains after snow storms, and be sure to check them weekly during the spring thaw.

Snow melt at this time of year coupled with rainstorms can cause a lot of water to rush through your area all at once. Proper drainage is key to keeping that water out of your home.

Storm Damage

If your home suffers local flooding, we are here 24/7 to respond to your call. Let us help you protect your investment and get it dry as soon as possible.

Class 3 Gymnasium Water Damage

3/8/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Class 3 Gymnasium Water Damage Our water restoration professionals get you back in business ASAP

It is amazing how much damage water can do in a very short time, especially when the water starts from an upper story and flows down through multiple floors.

When ceilings and floors are saturated and the water has wicked at least 24 inches up the walls, we call that a class 3 water damage. These losses take extra time and can require special equipment to dry.

Overnight Disaster

In January, our franchise responded to a water damage in a two-story commercial building caused by a broken pipe in the top floor ceiling.

The top level was a vacant office space and the lower level was a cross-fit gymnasium. All appeared to be fine when the gym closed for the evening, but by the time the gym opened the following morning a burst pipe in the upper level ceiling had affected the ceilings, walls, and flooring of both levels.

We received the phone call at 9:15 a.m. and our production manager was onsite by 10:00 a.m.

Class 3 Commercial Water Damage

At that point, the upstairs office had wet carpet, baseboard, drywall, insulation, and ceiling tiles, while the cross-fit gym had wet wall paneling, drywall, insulation, ceiling tiles, rubber floor mats, and concrete.

In addition, we found microbial growth on the walls of the sprinkler closet of the utility room.

Extraction and Drying

To begin, our technicians extracted as much water as possible from the carpets and gym mats. They set up forty air movers and five LGR dehumidifiers to start drying the building and two HEPA-filtered air scrubbers to pull microbial spores and particulates out of the air.

Containment

Our mold remediation technicians also had to address the microbial outbreak in the sprinkler closet.

They built negative-air containment around the sprinkler closet to keep microbes and spores in there from spreading to other parts of the building.

Demolition

Our crew could not start on demolition of unsalvageable materials until asbestos testing was completed in accordance with Mass DEP Law 310 CMR 7:15 (4). Once the asbestos testing lab said it was okay to proceed, they performed demolition of affected ceiling and walls that contained wet insulation.

Anti-microbial

Our technicians applied a botanical anti-microbial product to all wet surfaces to discourage mold growth.

In the sprinkler closet, they used a HEPA-filtered vacuum to remove all visible microbial growth from non-porous surfaces. They also removed wet drywall in that area and disposed of it, as contaminated organic materials cannot be salvaged.

Final Cleaning

When all rebuild work was completed in the building, we went back to clean the carpets and gym mats.

Do Not Delay

It took seven days to dry all areas of this building, all from one leak in the ceiling that flowed unchecked for roughly twelve hours.

However, we were involved soon enough to save the flooring and avert microbial growth. 

Because this building owner acted so fast, we were able to save carpets, mats, and other building materials. The gym was back in business and the office available for occupation much sooner because the restoration project was not a total gut rehab.

When your business suffers a water damage, every minute counts. Do not hesitate to call us at 781-647-9100 at the first sign of water intrusion in your Waltham area commercial property. We are committed to getting you and your tenants back in business.

Furnace Puffback in Waltham Condo

3/8/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Furnace Puffback in Waltham Condo Trust a professional to clean your puffback correctly the first time

When a furnace malfunctions and creates a puffback, the soot gets everywhere.

Puffback victims are often amazed to find that soot has crept through every crevice in a building to coat the back of cupboards and closets, even in rooms far from the source of the malfunction.

In many cases, soot enters the HVAC system. The ducts must be cleaned as soon as possible so occupants are not breathing harmful fumes and so soot isn’t redistributed after the restoration.

Waltham Condo Puffback

Last month, our franchise was called to a tenant-occupied condominium. A furnace malfunction created a puffback and the soot entered the HVAC system and spread throughout the unit.

Landlord Insurance

The owner’s insurance covered the cleaning of all structural surfaces and ductwork and the treatment of the air to remove particulates and lingering aromas.

The tenants’ renters insurance should have covered the cleaning of contents, but the tenants opted not to open a claim with their insurance company. They insisted this should be the landlord’s responsibility and were very unhappy to learn otherwise.

Renters Insurance

Do your tenants have renters insurance? Many tenants do not understand that their landlord’s insurance will not cover their contents. And when a tenant doesn’t have renters insurance, they often lose everything after a water or fire loss. 

Before a disaster, tenants may think what they own isn’t valuable enough to insure, but when everything they own needs to be replaced all at once, the value is priceless.

Some landlords require tenants purchase renters insurance before signing a lease. In the event of a fire or flood, no landlord wants to face angry tenants with unreasonable demands.  

Air Cleaning

Soot contains many hazardous chemicals and byproducts. One of our first concerns with this condo puffback was installing an air scrubber to remove particulates from the air. We also used a hydroxyl generator and a Vapor Shark to neutralize lingering odors.

Duct Cleaning

We performed a thorough duct cleaning using our push/pull technique with negative air pressure to be sure soot would not be redistributed after we cleaned.

Surface Cleaning

Finally, we cleaned all structural surfaces in the hallway, bathrooms, bedroom, kitchen, living room, and storage room. This included ceilings, walls, floors, and fixtures.

Soot Cleaning Done Right

We have been called in to many jobs to fix the problems left after improper soot recovery by uncertified cleaners. Residents find they must deal with odors that recur during high humidity. Ongoing respiratory issue can cause them to suspect he air contains hazardous substances from the original incident.

Our Fire and Smoke Restoration Technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Our soot cleaning recommendations adhere to the IICRC S700 Standard for Professional Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration. We work with your insurance carrier and adjuster to get approval for all needed services.

When your building suffers a puffback, call our franchise professionals to get it cleaned properly the first time. We want to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Plumbing Leak Leads to Mold Growth

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Plumbing Leak Leads to Mold Growth Call SERVPRO at the first sign of water damage

Untreated plumbing leaks allow water to remain in contact with organic materials and lead to microbial growth. When the damage is behind walls and invisible, this can result in a major mold remediation project.

Last month, our franchise was called to a tri-level home in Arlington, Mass. The sink trap had been leaking inside the wall between the kitchen and laundry room. By the time the homeowner realized the problem, he was already seeing what he thought was mold.

When our production manager arrived, he found extensive microbial growth on drywall, inside a closet, under the tiles in the laundry room, and in cabinets and the basement.

Containment

One of the first tasks in a mold remediation project is containing the infestation and protecting other parts of the home from exposure. We use poles and heavy-duty plastic to erect makeshift walls. An air scrubber then creates a “negative air” environment where any air that crosses the barrier flows into the containment area, not out of it.

Asbestos Testing

Every job that involves demolition requires asbestos testing before we can begin, in accordance with Massachusetts DEP law 310 CMR 7:15 (4). Upon receiving the all clear from the testing company, we began removing unsalvageable building materials.

Anti-Microbial Application

We applied a botanical anti-microbial product to suppress any new growth. Meanwhile, our air scrubber’s HEPA-filter was removing spores and particulates from the air inside the containment area.

Dehumidifying

We set up a dehumidifier to pull moisture from the air, which also discourages mold. Without water or humidity, microbes cannot grow.

Removing Visible Microbes

We used a HEPA-filtered vacuum to remove visible microbial growth on non-porous materials.

We can never remove all microbes. They are too widespread in the atmosphere to eliminate completely. But we scrubbed what we could see from surfaces and cycled all the air through an air filtration device several times per hour for several days to pull out as much as we could.

Fix Plumbing Leaks ASAP

The best way to avoid microbial growth in your home is to keep it dry. A leak will create an ideal environment for mold colonies to prosper. Do not ignore leaks because they always get worse and the damage will spread.

Control Humidity

If your home is humid, consider running a dehumidifier to bring the humidity down below 50%. This will make it very hard for any microbes to survive and spread.

Call Us When You See Mold

Our trained and certified mold remediation technicians can help you contain an outbreak and limit the loss of building materials. Call us at the first sign of mold or water-damaged building materials. We will help make it, “Like it never even happened.”

Wayland, Mass. Refrigerator Water Line Rupture

2/27/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Wayland, Mass. Refrigerator Water Line Rupture Save wood floors by drying them quickly

Last month, we responded to a water loss in a single family condominium in Wayland, Mass. caused by the water feed line to the refrigerator ice maker. The line ruptured in an upper cabinet and leaked onto the floor.

Water, Water Everywhere

The water caused the hardwood floor to buckle. Water then migrated through the floor and down into the lower level family room, which has a drop ceiling with insulation above. Water also traveled into the ceiling plumbing chase and behind the walls down to the carpeted floor. 

Health Concerns in Wayland Water Loss

Due to serious health issues with one of the inhabitants, the policyholders were concerned about particulates and contamination in the air. 

Our project manager contacted the assigned adjuster to relay the scope of this Category 2, Class 2 water loss and received approval for services including

  • Installation of barriers to contain the contamination
  • Application of a botanical anti-microbial product
  • Hole drilling to help air circulate behind walls
  • Demolition and removal of contaminated materials
  • Set up and take down of fans, dehumidifiers, and air scrubbers
  • And installation of an Injecti-Dry floor rescue mat system

Containment

Our water restoration technicians set up heavy-duty plastic sheeting to keep any microbial spores in the air contained in the area of the loss, so the occupant with health issues would not be further exposed.

Anti-microbial

We applied a botanical anti-microbial product to wet surfaces to discourage growth of mold and other microbes.

Demolition

Because this job included demolition, we ordered asbestos testing before removing materials that could contain asbestos in accordance with Massachusetts DEP law 310 CMR 7:15 (4).

The results came back negative, so our crew was able remove wet insulation, ceiling tiles, baseboards, carpet padding, and cabinetry.

Drying

Six axial air movers (fans) circulated the air to speed up evaporation, two LGR dehumidifiers pulled the water vapor out of the air, and two HEPA-filtered air filtration devices (air scrubbers) removed microbial spores and other particulates from the air.

Our crew drilled holes in the base of the walls to allow air to circulate behind the walls and speed up drying.

Because the wood floors had already begun buckling, we installed an Injecti-Dry wood floor rescue mat system. This allowed us to restore the buckled flooring by drying it more quickly and thoroughly.

Cleaning

When all building materials reached the dry standard, we removed the drying equipment and cleaned the flooring.

Here to Help

A water loss can cause extensive damage and will have secondary effects if not dried in a timely manner. You can count on SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland to make your water damage a high priority. Our crews have the training and experience to make it “Like it never even happened.”

High Winds Knock Out Power in Massachusetts

2/27/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage High Winds Knock Out Power in Massachusetts Do you have a plan when the power goes out?

High winds battered Massachusetts this week, toppling trees and knocking out power across the state. 

Branches fell on cars, houses, and roadways. Other objects were also dislodged in gusts over 50 miles per hour, including a dozen bricks from a building across the street from Waltham City Hall.

Power Outages

Utility companies were hard pressed to restore service to everyone who lost.

A landlord in Brookline called us yesterday with an unusual request. A branch knocked out power to one of his multi-family buildings. The electrician had fixed the wiring, but the power company would not be able to complete inspection and restore power until today.

No Time To Waste

Meanwhile, the apartments were without power and temperatures were expected to plummet overnight. The tenants would be displaced, and all the pipes would burst if the landlord could not heat the building.

In this situation, a building owner has two choices to avoid a water damage:

  • Hire a plumber to drain the water from the building.
  • Connect a generator to power the boiler until electricity is restored.

And you have to act fast when widespread storm damage has everyone scrambling for services.

Prepared with an ERP

This landlord had the foresight to complete an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) before winter storms hit. He had his emergency contact list, and he called SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland to see if we could provide a generator.

Here to Help

We contacted the building owner’s insurance company for authorization and prepared for delivery and installation of a generator.

Fortunately, Eversource arrived late in the afternoon—ahead of schedule—and restored power. Our generator was not needed after all, and the tenants were able to sleep in their homes last night.

Still, the landlord was pleased we were responsive and willing to help. And we always appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate the value of an ERP.

Call SERVPRO for free ERP

Our team creates free ERPs for commercial properties. Give us a call today at 781-647-9100 to schedule emergency planning with a highly responsive restoration company.

Attic Mold: How To Prevent It and Keep It from Coming Back

2/27/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Attic Mold: How To Prevent It and Keep It from Coming Back Attic mold remediation: before and after

You will never completely eliminate the risk of mold. Spores circulate in all the air around us. They are invisible and too numerous to ever be wiped out.

However, if you keep your home dry, you can keep microbial growth to a minimum and avoid major outbreaks.

Perform Regular Inspections

Attic mold is tricky because homeowners may not inspect their attics often and an infestation may go unnoticed for months or years. Additionally, small spaces and awkward angles make mold remediation a challenge.

Here are the things to look for to keep your risk of attic mold to a minimum.

Places To Look for Attic Exposure

Bathroom Fans – If a bathroom fan ventilates straight to the attic, you can expect a nice mold farm up there someday. The moist air will heat up in the summer, and microorganisms will find a comfy home in porous building materials. Make sure your fans exhaust outside the building.

Dryer Vents – Just like a bathroom fan, a dryer vent that ends in the attic will create an excellent environment for mold colonies to bloom.

Ice Dams – Snow melting and then refreezing can create ice dams that prevent proper run off. This situation can force water up under shingles and into your attic. Clear snow from your roof if feasible, and check your attic for leaks when conditions are right for creating ice dams.

Leaky Roof – Any opening in your roof will provide a source of water for mold. Keep your roof in good repair. Address any lifted or broken shingles before the problem turns into mold remediation project.

Range Vents – Another source of warm, moist air in your attic may the vent over your stove. Check to be sure this also vents to the exterior of your home.

Skylights – An improperly installed skylight can allow water in, and an older skylight may become damaged over time. Inspect attic skylights every season and after major storms to be sure they aren’t leaking.

Soffit Vents – Insulation that blocks soffit vents will trap moisture in the attic. Be sure your attic has enough ventilation to allow excess humidity to leave the building before mold becomes a problem.

Professional Mold Remediators

When you have attic mold, it is best to consult a professional. It can be tough to maneuver in the space to remove all the microbes, and you may not realize all the threats the infestation poses.

At SERVPRO, our mold remediation technicians hold certifications from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and are trained to adhere to the recommendations in the S520 Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. They can advise you on the proper steps to reduce your exposure and limit your risk going forward. Call us as soon as you see attic mold so we can treat it before it grows worse.

Seagull Mishap Closes Wareham School

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Seagull Mishap Closes Wareham School Little intrusions can cause big water damages. Be prepared!

Disasters happen. No matter how you try to avert mishaps, you have to be ready for the unexpected.

Last week, a seagull dropped a clam on a middle school roof in Wareham, Mass. The tear in the roof membrane caused a water damage.

As a result, the school closed early for winter vacation so the town can repair the damage and dry out the building.

You Cannot Plan For Everything

You never know where disaster will strike. You probably do not think of seagulls as agents of destruction dropping missiles from above.

And yet, crazy stuff happens.

A high achieving seagull can soar to great heights, launch a quahog, and ruin your roof. Who knew?

You Can Plan Your Response

Your best protection is to make a plan in advance to respond to unforeseen building disasters.

You know that any breach of your roof, walls, or windows exposes your building to water.

  • Aging pipes and freezing temperatures wreak havoc.
  • Construction blunders break pipes or leave your building at the mercy of structural leaks.
  • Weather events seem to grow worse each year.

These things happen.

When a building disaster impacts a commercial building, the effects ripple out to the community.

  • Services may be cancelled.
  • Employees may be out of work.
  • Customer commitments may be missed.

You can set yourself up to minimize the costs and downtime associated with a water damage by preparing an emergency plan.

FREE Emergency Plan

From the Ready.gov website, “Action by employees with knowledge of building and process systems can help control a leak and minimize damage to the facility and the environment.”

SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland offers a free Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for commercial buildings. Our staff will gather all the contact and building specific information needed to launch a restoration strategy in the wake of an unexpected building disaster.

Our ERP equips your staff to respond efficiently to a water damage. They will know where to find key utility shutoffs and emergency contacts including:

  • First responders
  • Utility companies
  • Restoration vendors

You will have all the information at your fingertips in our Ready Plan app, easily shared with anyone you choose.

Call our office today at 781-647-9100 to schedule your ERP. A half hour investment of your time will be well worth it if nature decides to take a bite of your business.

Broiler Fire in Bridgewater, Mass. Closes Restaurant

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Broiler Fire in Bridgewater, Mass. Closes Restaurant Call SERVPRO for fast fire restoration in your restaurant

Fires are never simple restoration jobs. Once the fire is out, you still need to clean all surfaces, behind doors, inside the ductwork, and even the air itself.

You must remove any water or fire extinguisher residue to avoid secondary effects from the initial damage. Hazardous particulates in the air

  • may not be visible to the naked eye,
  • should not be inhaled,
  • and can re-contaminate surfaces that have already been cleaned.

Foodservice Fire

A commercial kitchen fire presents challenges to all involved. Everything that can cause illness or injury must be removed before food preparation can begin again.

Restaurant owners face the threat of expensive downtime and the possibility employees will find new jobs before the establishment reopens. Meanwhile the local board of health evaluates the risks to the general public. These two forces, both focused on providing food safe for consumption as soon as possible, may seem to be in opposition.

In Accordance with IICRC S700

Whatever the challenges, our franchise commits to cleaning after a restaurant fire as quickly as possible. We seek approval for all work in advance and stand behind our commitment to perform as promised.

Our recommendations follow the S700 Standard for Professional Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration published by the Institute for Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), and we will work with the board of health to ensure all concerns are addressed.

Bridgewater Broiler Fire

Last fall, our franchise responded to an emergency soot loss in a fast food restaurant in Bridgewater, Mass. A broiler fire caused the loss and was extinguished using a chemical-based fire extinguisher. 

After the fire, the Bridgewater Board of Health shut down the establishment pending a professional cleaning. In the board’s opinion, soot particulates and the discharge from the fire extinguisher presented a hazard to workers in the building and the food being prepared.

Although the owners had their own employees cleaning as soon as the fire was cleared, the health inspectors insisted certified fire restoration professionals be hired to take responsibility for doing a thorough job.

Once the property manager approved our estimate, we brought in a team to complete a detailed, top-to-bottom cleaning of the kitchen in one day.

Professional Fire Restoration

Call SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland when fire closes your restaurant. Our trained and IICRC-certified Fire Restoration Technicians are here to help you get back in business quickly and safely.