Winter Weather Tips
A man spreads ice melt on the porch of his winter-beaten home.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and the national weather reporting agencies are predicting cold temps reaching into April, even early May possibly. Don't shoot the messenger!
With that said, two of the biggest problems our customers encounter are frozen pipes and ice dams. A frozen pipe can burst causing considerable damage to your property if not addressed. Ice dams cause a back-flow under the roof’s shingles and can affect your structure’s interior areas. Below are some tips on how to prevent this damage and prepare your home for the winter weather.
Quick Easy Steps to Avoid Burst Pipes & Ice Dams:
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets
- Consider shutting off outdoor faucets
- Ensure gutters are clean and secure
- Inspect property for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential
SERVPRO® of Danvers/Ipswich is your local fire and water damage restoration company. Servicing the North Shore and Merrimack Valley for over 30 years, SERVPRO® understands the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage and the disruption it can cause your life, home or business. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly make it “Like it never even happened.”®
Mold In Your Home
Mold is one of those hot button words that can strike fear and send you fleeing to pack your bags. Before you send the "We're Moving" postcards, learn the ABC's of mold in your home.
Mold In Your Home
Mold is airborne and can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors.
It will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
What Can You Do?
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels;
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
If mold is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem.
We specialize in water and mold damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business. We have the training and expertise to safely handle any mold situation.
- Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist
- Water Damage Restoration Technician
- Applied Structural Drying Technician
To learn more, click here or call 978-777-3498.
Space Heaters Need Their Space.
During the winters months, many people have the mind set that keeping the overall home or office temperature lower while adding space heaters will save money. Whether that makes fiscal sense depends on several variables. The one thing that does not vary though, is that space heaters, when not used properly can be dangerous.
Space heaters should be kept at a minimum distance of three feet but often are used near beds or under desks, altogether too close to fabrics, papers or other flammable materials. Not considering this hazard can lead to unexpected fires that spread quickly.
Keeping these tips from DIY Network in mind can avoid potential tragedies:
No matter what type or brand of space heater you opt to use, follow these safety tips from the NFPA to reduce the chances of fires and injury:
- Keep anything that can burn, including bedding, furniture, and curtains at least 3 feet away from a space heater.
- Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around space heaters and never use a space heater in a child's bedroom.
- Run power cords on top of carpet and step over them to avoid abrading the cord. Do not use extension cords.
- Turn off space heaters when going to bed or leaving a room.
- Don't use a space heater in a damp or wet area unless it's specifically made for that purpose.
- Turn space heaters off before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Never put a space heater on a countertop unless it's specifically designed for it.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and test monthly.
- Only purchase "UL Listed" heaters which display the UL mark on their label. This is an independent organization which tests for safety.
- Don't use gas- or oil-burning space heaters indoors, only outdoors or in spaces open to the outdoors like tents or porches.
- Read and follow all manufacturer's directions for your space heater.
We are always here to help. Although we are in the clean-up business, we would rather see you avoid the crisis. In the event you do need fire-damage restoration, we will treat your home as if it's our own.
Simple Steps to Avoid the Risk of Mold After a Water Damage
Mold discovered behind the drywall after being cut.
During an exceptionally busy weather pattern, our area of eastern Massachusetts saw several storms back-to-back. Just as you made headway cleaning up after one storm, another would come in to undo all all your progress. Such was the case with a local elementary school when a pipe burst, unleashing 30,000+ thousand gallons of water through the hallways.
As a normal course of our process, once the water is extracted, we cut the drywall above the water line to ensure no moisture continues to spread and lead to the growth of mold.
Unfortunately, upon doing this, we found evidence of old mold in some of the drywall. Although it was not a huge amount, it was enough to shut the school down for several days, displacing the students to temporary housing and causing guaranteed headaches for the parents.
The moral of this story is to do it the right way every time because in the end, you never avoid the work that needs to be done. SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich doesn't cut corners (unless it's wet drywall), when it comes to standards of operation.
Call the experts when water, fire or mold damage strikes.
Storms Wreak Havoc in Ipswich, MA
After a few back-to-back storms blew through Eastern, MA., several residents and businesses found themselves with frozen and/or burst pipes.
Such was the case at a historic school building, repurposed to a community arts center when a pipe burst, allowing 15-20 thousand+ gallons of water to rush through the halls and classrooms.
Since this is an historic structure, tearing down walls was not an option. A delicately balanced process referred to as "dry in place" was employed. This is when dozens of high capacity fans, desiccant dehumidifiers and two, 1-million BTU incandescent heaters blowing 200º were staged throughout the building, circulating dry, warm air.
According to Pat Lavigne, owner of SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich, this process requires a balance of the moist air being extracted while the fans continually blow at high pressure to break the vapor barrier so the moisture wicks.
This process also helps reduce the risk of damage to the artwork. Many old buildings needs special care, when a crisis hits, in order to maintain the integrity of the structure. Lucky for this local building, we had a plan!
Church Underwater After Bomb Cyclone Storm
A well-attended church in Ipswich, MA found their sanctuary underwater after a "100 Year Storm" referred to as a "Bomb Cyclone" hit the east coast in the winter of 2018.
A pipe burst, sending 10,000 gallons (plus) of water throughout many rooms and levels of the church. SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich was called in after hours to to begin the mitigation process. The hope of the congregation was that Sunday services would be able to be conducted despite the event.
With a lot of manpower, hours and equipment SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich was able to get the facility back to working order in time for Sunday service.
When a crisis like this hits unexpectedly, the keys to a quick resolution are having a knowledgeable team in place as well as a plan of action. You want to act quickly before you wind up with more headaches, such as mold.
Water Damage Can Leave An Unwanted Guest
After you have suffered through the disaster water damage can leave behind, you may sigh a breath of relief and think the worst is over. Unfortunately, if not mitigated correctly, the worst may be yet to come.
When it comes to water damage, they key to avoiding future mold problems is time. The quicker you can get to the source, fix the problem, and begin the drying (or demolition) the better.
Brian Carifio, a Project Estimator here at SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich, recommends waiting no longer than 3 days to address the mold risk.
He also recommends the following steps
Dry out the affected area. Once the water has been extracted, use fans and a dehumidifier to help dry out the area. If possible, open windows to allow for air circulation and faster drying. You want to dry the area out as soon as possible. If you have a finished basement and the drywall was affected, you’ll probably have to cut away the areas that were touched by water as the drywall will crumble and the paper backing is a good source of food for mold. If you have baseboard trim, take it up first, and if it’s made from pressboard it will likely not be salvageable. If it was wood, you might be able to save it.
Disinfect. This is a crucial step that is often overlooked. After the area has dried out, including wood beams, insulation, drywall, etc., use a good disinfectant to get rid of any bacteria that might have come up through sewers, toilets, etc. Disinfect all areas affected by the flood waters including walls and wood and non-upholstered furniture that sat in flood water.
SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich uses proprietary, OSHA-approved cleaning agents that may be needed to clean and remove odors and/or contaminants on your property.
- Deodorization products control odors from excessive moisture.
- Disinfection products stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, mildew, and other harmful microorganisms.
Dispose of damaged items responsibly: you’ll be tempted to throw everything into a dumpster and send it all away and out of site. But if you can organize damaged goods into piles and take what you can to recycling centers, you will help alleviate the pressure on your local landfill site. Go to your city or town’s waste management website to find out where to recycle old paints, stains, adhesives and other toxic liquids, any damaged electronics from cell phones to TVs and computers, furniture, and even drywall.
Flooded School in West Newbury, MA
Crew members starting to cut back the drywall to limit the mold risk.
Is Your Business Prepared For A Crisis?
Instead of ringing in 2018 with toasts of prosperity and good health, many business found themselves focused on damage control as record low temperatures hit Massachusetts, causing pipes and sprinkler systems to freeze and burst. Such was the case at a beloved, local elementary school in the overnight hours of a very cold January night when a pipe ruptured in a first floor bathroom sending 30,000 gallons of water rushing, unrestrained, through hallways, classrooms, and ceilings of the Page School in West Newbury, MA.
When a catastrophe such as this occurs, it’s the level of preparedness, training, proper equipment and a plan of action that can make the difference between an inconvenience and a total loss for your business.
Because Page School had the foresight to work with SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich to complete an ERP (Emergency Readiness Plan), the maintenance team and first responders were able to quickly locate the shut-off valves, stemming the continued flow of water and therefore, minimizing the loss and environmental risk.
An ERP is a simple preparedness program that is completed at no charge to the customer. It provides a digital blueprint of key information such as location of utility shut-offs, property details, building access, and important contacts that may otherwise be floating in a paper file or on a computer hard drive inaccessible to you. A true game changer during any crisis, right on your phone…in a simple, free app.
When our SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich franchise received the call at 1:00 a.m., we were onsite within 30 minutes. The project was assessed, an emergency team was assembled, and mitigation began within 2 hours. No time was wasted in containing necessary areas, extracting water, dehumidifying and drying, disinfecting and removing saturated drywall.
The key to remediation is time…the quicker you start extracting and drying, the less time the water has to saturate and permeate surfaces. Removing drywall above the water line is paramount as mold can start to grow in as little as 3 days. When not correctly managed, it can grow silently, unbeknownst to you, within the drywall as it did at Page School, causing even more problems when it’s eventually discovered.
Disinfecting all areas, from ceiling to floor is also a concern as water can carry bacteria, dirt, and debris, depositing it in areas where you eat, work and play.
The SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich emergency crew worked in shifts until the entire school was cleaned and moisture readings were back to an acceptable level. Although crews still remain there to remediate the mold, the original crisis is a memory.
In a press release issued to the media on January 3, Superintendent Mulqueen sites the timely response of West Newbury’s emergency responders, the District’s facilities team, and SERVPRO of Haverhill/Newburyport as the main factors in minimizing damage to the school.
The moral of this story is preparedness as well as working with trained professionals who make it their job to remain focused and productive during a crisis. You may never need to engage such a system but when & if you do, having a trained response team ready to go will get your life back to working order faster and with less stress.
SERVPRO of Danvers/Ipswich mitigates thousands of losses each year. If you are interested in insuring your business is prepared for the unexpected, call us to learn more about our Emergency Readiness Program (ERP) at 978-374-8555 or 978-356-7077.
Preparing For The Worst
Frozen car floating through icy waters in Boston.
Mother Nature's Icy Grip Threatens Northeastern MA
With record low temperatures the norm this season and significant snowfall in the forecast, it's almost as if Mother Nature has something against us. Most of the time, winters in New England feel like a full frontal assault and this year is no exception. There are a plethora of resources on preparing for a storm and most of us can recite the bullet list by heart. However, how often do you think of preparing your car? Probably not often.
The National Weather Service offers a great deal of information on their website, including steps on building an emergency supply kit. According to their website, each year, on average, more than 6,000 people are killed and more than 480,000 are injured due to weather-related vehicle crashes. Before you leave the house, make sure all fluid levels are full and ensure that the lights, heater, and windshield wipers are in proper condition. Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
Carry a Winter Storm Survival Kit that includes the following:
- Mobile phone, charger, batteries
- Blankets/sleeping bags
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Firstaid kit
- High-calorie, non-perishable food
- Extra clothing to keep dry
- Small can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water
- Sack of sand or cat litter for traction
- Windshield scraper and brush
- Tool kit
- Tow rope
- Battery booster cables
- Compass and road maps.
Mother Nature Isn't Fooling Anyone!
Can you feel that chill in the air? If not, just you wait — winter will be here before you know it, and now is the time to get your house ready for the cold.
Trust us. You don't want to discover your furnace is dead on arrival of the first frost. And dealing with those cold air drafts now is a lot more pleasant than waiting until the inside of your house feels like a freezer.
To help, Home Advisor has created the ultimate guide to getting your home ready for winter. Here's a list of what to do and who to hire now, so you're not left shivering through the season.
Gutter Check: Ideally, you'll have your gutters and downspouts cleaned in mid-fall so that you only need to double check them before winter. If you do encounter clogs or leaking in difficult to reach places, now is a good time to call in the professionals.
Water Works: Your sprinkler system should have been winterized in the fall. If you missed this step, get a professional in as soon as possible, so you can avoid frozen pipes or cracks that can ruin the entire system. You should also make sure to disconnect all outside hoses from their spouts and turn off the water.
Seal The Deck: If you have a deck, give it a fresh coat of sealer before the cold hits to protect it from the harsh winter elements.
Roof Inspection: Have a contractor look for damaged roof shingles. A professional can also assess the integrity of your roof by doing something called an infrared roof inspection. This process uses infrared rays to locate the parts of a roof that are at higher or lower temperatures than the rest of it. These "hot spots" can show the roof inspector exactly where heat is escaping.
Weatherproof Windows: If heat is escaping through your windows and the space around them, keeping the rest of your house warm is going to be more difficult and more expensive. You might find installing energy-efficient, double-paned windows will make a noticeable difference in your energy costs and how comfortable your living areas feel. You may not need to install new windows if heat is escaping, though. In some cases, all you need is some caulk or weather stripping to weatherproof the existing windows.
HVAC Tuning: Now is the time to replace the filter in your furnace and close any vents in your home that may have been opened for the warm weather. Go ahead and test that your heating system is working properly, too — it's better to find out now if something needs to be fixed before the real cold weather hits.
Chimney Cleaning: Chimneys and wood stoves should be cleaned early in the season. If you own a fireplace, this is not optional — it's a matter of safety. When you have your chimney cleaned, have the furnace flue cleaned at the same time. Make sure to test the flue for a tight seal when closed.
Outlet Inspection: Check electrical outlets and switch plates to see if you feel a draft. Add insulation to prevent warm air from escaping these spaces.
Stock Up: Make sure you have shovels on hand before the first big snow hits. Plus, it's a good idea to get prepared with a supply of extra water, canned food, flashlights and replacement batteries.
Article brought to you by: HomeAdvisor.com