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Enjoy Fall With Fire Safety in Mind

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

a small campfire burning bright in the dark night Be mindful about fall fire safety. Always remember that SERVPRO of Lowell is the trusted leader in the restoration industry

The Pats are are back on the field, the weather is perfect for hiking and camping and suddenly the smell of pumpkin spice is all over the place. That all points toward one conclusion—fall is really here.

The mild season before the plunge of winter is here to relieve you from summer and give you one last chance to get your outdoor fix in before the freeze.

Autumn, as with any season, comes with special considerations for fire safety, so let’s go over a few before you break out the s’mores.

Campfire Safety

Cool fall nights are perfect for camping, and we say make the most of it. But when you’re setting up your fire, make sure to take proper precautions.

Build your fire in a pre-dug pit surrounded by stones if there is one provided by the campsite. If not, keep it at least 25 feet away from any tents or structures.

Only light your fire with trusted methods like matches or lighters, never using kerosene or lighter fluid to light or accelerate the flames.

When it’s time to go, don’t leave anything hot or glowing. Any live embers you leave behind are potential wildfire threats. Don’t walk away from your campfire until all remaining wood and ash are cool to the touch.

Open Burning

Open burning of leaves or yard waste is prohibited in Lowell proper, but surrounding areas may provide exceptions, and you can check with your local municipality to find out.

If your township does allow leaf burning, you’ll probably be required to use a metal or concrete structure with a screened top. There will also be restrictions as to times and placements of any open fires.

Space Heaters

Portable space heaters are repeat offenders when it comes to starting home fires. Any heater you employ should be used with utmost care and kept a minimum of three feet from any flammable objects.

Always place your heater on a level surface, and ensure that no children will be playing nearby. Newer heaters may include functions for automatic shutoff if they’re tipped over or if they overheat—it’s highly recommended that you upgrade to these.

Never leave your heater on when you go to bed, and turn it off whenever you leave the room.

Halloween

We’ll talk more about this later, but be aware of fire risks as you decorate and celebrate this fall—hanging lights, decorations and candles can all present potential hazards.

If a fire hazard should turn from potential to reality in your home, remember the trusted leader in the recovery industry and contact SERVPRO to get your property fully restored right down to the smell of smoke.

How SERVPRO Can Help Your Insurance Agent

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

How SERVPRO Can Help Your Insurance Agent

After a disaster at your Lowell MA business , you may contact your insurance adjuster to file a claim and figure out the next steps for restoration. In many cases, your agent may have a preferred restoration vendor such as SERVPRO they recommend for a variety of reasons. In addition to being certified professionals, a preferred restoration team may also be able to help your insurance agent in a number of ways.

1. Damage Assessment

One important aspect of an insurance claim is a damage assessment. In many cases a restoration service may have to do this as well, so choosing a preferred provider allows the restoration professionals to perform the assessment they need to create a repair plan, and then share this information with your insurance provider.

2. Electronic Inventory System

Your insurance adjuster may also recommend a local SERVPRO as they offer the use of an electronic inventory system. This system can be accessed remotely and can store files needed for the insurance claim. This can allow all the information to be kept in a single location making it easy for your agent to access what they need as they work on your claim.

3. Item Cleaning Services

Another service your professional restoration team may be able to offer is item cleaning. This means that they can possibly clean and restore many of the company items that may have been damaged. Each item will require a different cleaning solution depending on size, material, and if the item is mechanical or electrical in nature. A restoration service may even be able to repair documentation. This can be helpful to your agent because it allows them to recommend a single team to work with rather than several.

Your insurance adjuster may recommend a preferred restoration service such as SERVPRO for a number of reasons. These can include the team’s ability to help with damage assessment, as well as their ability to offer an electronic inventory service and item cleaning. If you have further questions a professional can help.

How You Can Eliminate the Smell of Cigarette Smoke From Your Home

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

A smoking cigarette in someones hand If you’re struggling to get rid of cigarette smoke smell, consult SERVPRO of Lowell for help.

How To Get Rid Of The Cigarette Smoke Smell In Your House

If you’re a non-smoker, if you’re trying desperately to quit, there are few worse odors than the smell of lingering cigarette smoke. Whether you used to the smell of smoke and the smell is strong in your Lowell, MA home, or whether you’ve never smoked but you just moved into a home where smokers once lived, you want to do everything you can to get rid of the strong stench. Simply opening the windows or spraying an air freshener won’t do the trick. You need something heavy duty such home deodorization efforts.

Eliminate the Sources

The smell of cigarettes can hang around your home for years, so even if you’ve never smoked a day in your life, it doesn’t mean previous owners’ habits can’t affect you. However, if you once were a smoker or recently stopped the habit, you need to get rid of anything that produced the smell. These include:

  • Cigarette butts
  • Ends of cigars
  • Ashtrays

Try Some Home Remedies

Home deodorization techniques can be effective, especially if you use them as soon as you detect a smell and if you repeat the steps as necessary. One of the most basic tricks is to sprinkle baking soda on the affected areas. This will probably include your carpet and furniture. The baking soda will absorb the smell. You can then vacuum the baking soda. Another option is to use charcoal, which also absorbs strong smells. If these don’t work, try using hydrogen peroxide in the smelly areas of your home.

Use the Right Equipment

When you use these remedies, make sure you wear disposable gloves and clothing that covers your arms and legs. It will also help to place a fan in the area.

It may surprise you how effective these home deodorization techniques may be. If you’re still struggling to get rid of the smells, consult an expert home restoration technician for help.

Understanding a Flood Cut

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

Unless you have experienced past house flooding in Lowell , MA or are an experienced home renovator, there is a good chance that you do not have the phrase “flood cut” in your vocabulary. For the typical homeowner, many questions come to mind when the water restoration specialist uses this expression after assessing the storm damage in your home.

What Does “Flood Cut” Mean?

• A flood cut refers to the removal of drywall from the bottom portion of the rooms in your home that experienced water damage.
• Typically, this cut is made between 12 – 18 inches above where the water damage stopped.
• The restoration specialists then tear out the drywall below the flood cut line.

When Is a Flood Cut Necessary?

• After flooding, the excess water is removed from your house. However, there may be moisture behind the walls and the drywall may be damaged. Removal of the bottom portion of the wall allows the contractors access to the interior structures of your home.
• If there is contamination in the water that touches the drywall, such as from sewage backup, all affected walls require removal to prevent the spread of bacteria.
• When insulation is present behind water-damaged walls, it is necessary to remove the drywall because insulation cannot be properly dried out or replaced with the wall intact.

How Does a Flood Cut Work?

• Restoration contractors begin the flood cut process soon after water removal to prevent the formation and spread of mold, which can occur within 24 – 48 hours.
• The flood cut line is measured and determined before a laser level marks the wall. A tarp is placed to catch the debris, and the cut is made.
• Once the restoration specialists inspect behind the drywall, another cut may be needed if the damage is larger than expected.
• Damaged materials are removed and adequate ventilation is put in place.

By knowing the meaning of “flood cut”, you are one step closer to understanding the terminology used in your home’s recovery from a water damage in Lowell, MA.

How To Care for Wet Items After You’ve Had Water Damage

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

When a disaster hits, such as a massive storm or a broken pipe, and there’s water in the home, don’t forget about saving valuables and keepsakes. Mold and mildew start to form in as little as 24 to 48 hours after water exposure. Here are a few suggestions to help you restore your cherished household items.

General Cleaning Tips

Rinse wet items with clean water.
Brush off debris from dry items or use a damp cloth to brush the dirt away.
Dry items indoors as the sun and outdoor heat may be too intense.
Reduce moisture in the air with a dehumidifier or open windows and run fans.
Wear proper safety gear, such as gloves and masks, when dealing with water in the home.

Photographs
Carefully take photos out of paper or plastic envelopes. It may be easier to cut the envelope away from the picture so you don’t risk tearing it. Don’t pull apart wet photos or negatives that are stuck to each other. Submerge them in clean water until they come away from each other. Dry photographs by hanging them or laying them on a flat surface.

Documents
Place the paper in a sturdy container; stack them carefully so they aren’t compressed too much. Put the boxes in a freezer set to the lowest temperature. It may take weeks or months for the papers to dry completely.

Textiles
Water can seriously damage fabric and leather. Allow them to air dry before removing any dirt and debris. Rinse material with clean water and gently blot with towels to remove the excess water. Replace any water-logged stuffing or padding. Take take rugs and window treatments in for dry cleaning as you normally would.
When in doubt, contact a professional water restoration company in Lowell, MA. They know how to repair and restore damage caused by water in the home and have the equipment and training to make the process easier for you.

How Can I Stop Damages from a Fire Affecting My Whole Lowell House?

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

Containment Is Vital to Stopping the Spread of Soot, Smoke, and Odors – Our SERVPRO Team Can Help. 

Knowing how to reduce the spread and severity of fire loss effects is not common knowledge to homeowners, but it is something that professional restoration teams like our SERVPRO technicians begin working on immediately with our arrival. Containment strategies help to keep the damaged area in one place and do not allow the work involved in restoration to be necessary over the entire property.

How Does Containment Work? 

When it comes to reducing fire damage in Lowell homes, containment barriers are among the first steps that our responding technicians employ. There are multiple approaches to accomplishing this, including physical constructions around the perimeter of the damaged area to keep spreading effects like soot and odors in one area. These walls usually feature wood and thick plastic sheeting. Non-physical barriers are the equipment set up along this perimeter to contain environmental threats like soot particles, floating debris, ash, and odors.

Some other advantages to containing the damage include:

  • Singular recovery area
  • Maximizes drying and cleaning
  • Prevents the spread of harmful effects

How Do You Prevent Contaminating Clean Areas? 

Cross-contamination can be a challenge to avoid on any recovery site. Our SERVPRO team sets up a staging area beside the primary damaged region of your house. This second space also gets contained with the same defense. This area allows us to manage tools getting used in the compromised space and our clothing to prevent contaminating other areas of the house. Setting up a staging area limits our trips in and out of the work area as well, which reduces the chances of contaminating other areas of the house.

Fire losses can be stressful enough without the effects spreading throughout your entire residence. Our SERVPRO of Lowell can help with effective containment to maximize our production and focus. Give our professionals a call anytime at 978-454-7577.

Helping Your Business Be More Prepared for a Disaster

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

If you are a business owner who has not yet considered what you would do in the event of a disaster, now is a great time to figure it out. Preparing for a disaster is one of the best ways to protect the investment you have made in your business. Though your commercial insurance policy may cover some losses, it will often not be enough—nearly 40% of businesses are never able to reopen after a disaster strikes.

Fortunately, planning ahead can allow you to significantly reduce the likelihood that your business will sustain irreparable damage and will help you and your employees stay safe if an emergency situation occurs. Here are some ways that any business owner can prepare for a disaster:

Check Your Insurance Coverage

While many business owners assume that if their commercial insurance policy is in good standing that they are covered, this is not always the case, unfortunately. While your commercial insurance covers many types of traditional losses, damages due to natural disasters are often specifically excluded from policies, leaving many business owners at a loss when they attempt to file a claim. 

Check your insurance coverage in advance to determine exactly what is missing from your policy and consider purchasing additional protection if needed.

Make Sure You Have a Plan for Employees

If a disaster becomes imminent while you and your staff are on-site, being able to manage everyone in a panicked state is extremely important. One way you can make this easier on yourself is by having a plan in place and communicating that to your employees ahead of time. 

You should have a plan for a sudden evacuation, such as when a fire or flood becomes a threat, but you should also make a plan in case you and your staff are required to stay on-site until help arrives. If everyone knows what to do, it will be much easier to keep the group calm and make sure people are safe

If your business has suffered damage due to a disaster, let us help you with restoration. We can work with your insurance company and completely restore all of your damages. Contact us at any time to learn more.

Property Owners Benefit from SERVPRO's Advanced Techniques for Water Mitigation

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Combines Advanced Skills and Equipment during Water Cleanup in LOWELL MA

Water loss can happen at any time since water plays a significant role in day-to-day life. The steps you take after noticing the loss play a significant role in determining the outcome of the incident. Among the steps that should be prioritized is cleanup. Cleaning up the affected area helps remove standing water and any soiling or debris from the incident. We are IICRC certified, so we offer highly skilled teams and use state-of-the-art equipment to restore your Lowell home.

Water Cleanup and Restoration

An exercise of water cleanup in Lowell should address both current and future problems. In most cases, the current problem is making the affected areas habitable again. Extracting any standing water and drying contents should help make the area habitable. Our SERVPRO technicians use advanced equipment such as dry-wet vacs and truck-mounted water extractors to remove water fast from all affected areas. The water extractors have pumping and vacuum capabilities, which allow the collection of standing water and extraction from soggy materials such as carpets.

Extraction removes most of the water However, a significant percentage remains as moisture, which is more stubborn to deal with, especially when involving materials like wood. This moisture is also likely to cause long-term problems if not adequately addressed. Our SERVPRO technicians tap into their Applied Structural Drying skills to overcome challenges in the drying phase. In addition to using advanced drying equipment such as air movers and dehumidifiers, we also use unique approaches. For example, when drying hardwood floors, we can seal the damp area with a plastic sheet to control the drying process, further preventing issues like the splitting of floorboards.

Water loss incidents can also cause foul odors because of microbial growth or from wastes pushed into concealed spaces. Our SERVPRO technicians rely on their training to identify problem areas where mold can grow, or wastes pushed and remain hidden for long. We clean and deodorize such areas eliminating any odors.

In case of a water loss incident, call SERVPRO of Lowell 978-454-7577. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster.

Stopping Water Damage at Home Before It Starts

9/3/2021 (Permalink)

a leak in ceiling creating water lines running down an interior wall A water leak can turn into a big problem. Contact the SERVPRO of Lowell team if you are dealing with any water damage.

When it comes to water in your home, gravity and pressure can be a volatile combination. Together, they mean that not only is the water in every pipe and hose always looking for somewhere else to go, but also that it’s exerting force on every connection and passageway to try to get out.

Much of a homeowner’s experience with water damage happens from events that you’ll never see coming. But there are a few places that, if kept in check, you might be able to prevent some leaks and damage before they begin.

Toilets. Most of your toilet is very solid, and leaks through cracks are very rare. But the rubber pieces (the flapper and valve seal) are your most likely source of leaks.

Appliances. Anything that uses a supply hose to send or transfer water—toilets, refrigerators and especially washing machines—are prone to develop leaks in the hoses and potentially in other places as well. Dishwashers may leak through the door, for example, if seals wear down. Oh, and when’s the last time you thought about the age of your water heater? Tank heaters over 10 years old run the risk of exploding.

Clogged gutters. Now here’s a leak you can almost surely prevent. A little time on the ladder a couple of times a year can make all the difference when it comes to keeping leaves, dirt and debris from forming a dam inside your gutters and damaging your roof. Speaking of which…

Roof damage. Inspect your roof from the ground regularly, and you may notice signs of wear before they become a real problem. Look for cracked or bowed shingles, damaged flashing or mortar around the chimney. You may also catch areas of mold or pooling that require care as well.

Pipes. Metal pipes can burst because of oxidation or excessive water pressure, and any pipe can overwhelm a loose-fitted joint. In your front yard, you may even have to deal with tree roots, which can intrude upon pipes and choke out your water supply—this one takes some real sleuthing to figure out.

Blocked garbage disposals or other pipes. Anything that clumps together (eggshells, coffee grounds), solidifies (grease or animal fat), or soaks up water and expands (pasta or rice) can cause disposal problems and backups.

Water damage can happen anywhere water is flowing, but with a little time and maintenance, you may be able to keep it flowing only where it’s supposed to.

If a water leak erupts into a big problem at home, you’ve got the best team in the business on your side. Contact SERVPRO today so we can get started.

Take Summer Storms Seriously

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

a large lightning strike in a dark stormy sky If a storm caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of Lowell is on the line, ready to make things right.

It’s summer in Lowell, and that means it’s time to get outside and be active. The days are longer, the weather is warmer—it’s a lovely time.

Maybe you’re heading to Boston to cheer on the Sox or planning a weekend hiking in the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest. But whatever your plans, be sure to take your umbrella.

In spite of the sun and warmth (or more accurately, because of it), summertime is actually more likely to produce thunderstorms than other times of year. Though average rainfall is on the lower end during summer, it actually rains 28% of the time during those months, and the warm air clashing with moisture is more likely to result in thunderstorms.

Be Storm-Alert

Storm alerts mustn’t be ignored. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, you should pay attention and plan to plan around them. An NOAA Weather radio can provide a big assist as well, as it can provide helpful alerts and updates, even if a storm should knock out your power.

If local news predicts the possibility of flooding, you should consider rearranging travel plans or canceling planned events. And check the backyard—you may need to tie down patio furniture or secure garbage cans so they don’t get blown or washed away by the storm.

Storm prep isn’t as fun as watching J.D. Martinez crush baseballs, but it’s essential if you want to ensure your safety. Flooding and storm-related accidents cause a number of fatalities each year, and most of those deaths could have been prevented with some extra care or preparation.

Be Storm-Safe

You’re safest indoors during a storm, even after rain has stopped. Lighting can strike up to 10 miles from an active storm, so you’re not fully safe until the storm has moved on and you haven’t heard any peals of thunder for 30 minutes.

Indoor safety includes staying out of the shower or tub, as currents can travel through pipes and water—they can also shatter windows, so sit away from those as well.

How’s your emergency kit? If you don’t have one ready, get one ready before storms present a problem, and keep a mobile kit in the back of the car for evacuation situations.

If flooding does occur, avoid floodwater at all costs. It can wash away established roads and compromise others, it can carry off cars and cause hydroplaning, and coming in contact with it can make you ill.

There are any number of dangers that can come into play in a thunderstorm, and it’s always best to be cautious and put things on hold until storms safely pass. If storms cause damage to your home or business, SERVPRO is on the line, ready to make things right again.