Three Types of Smoke Damage
Properly identifying what kind of smoke damage you have sustained can help you avoid costly mistakes.
There are 3 main types of smoke and residues that can be left behind by fire damage in your home:
- Synthetic: These synthetic residues appear when oil based materials are burned such as plastics and fabrics. This could include everything from window coverings, furniture, carpets, and electronics. When synthetic materials burn they will produce a thick black smoke, leaving behind a smeary residue that can create quite the mess if not cleaned up properly. In these situations avoid touching any of the residue to prevent smearing as vacuuming is the best approach to cleaning the residues left behind, followed by dry sponge cleaning.
- Protein: Fires caused by the burning of proteins such as meats and beans for example will leave behind a yellowish brown residue. The texture of which is greasy feeling and can stick to any surface, making it a pain to clean up. Make sure you head over to your local Home-Depot type shop and ask for the proper fire cleaning chemical that will work well on cleaning up after protein fires.
- Natural: These type of fires are caused by the burning of natural products such as wood and paper. They produce dry powdery residue that is greyish-black in colour. These residues are easier to clean up than the synthetic or protein residues. Removing the residues can be done by vacuuming with a bristled brush, followed by dry-chem sponge cleaning.
Now that you are able to identify the different sources of fire smoke and residues you can determine which type you are dealing with in your particular case and apply the appropriate cleaning methods as discussed. Please remember though that improper cleaning of smoke damage can make matters much worse...and more expensive!
When in doubt give the professionals at SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield a call at 781.593.6663
What To Do After Incurring Storm Damage
Be prepared for when storm damage hits.
Storm damage can occur at any time and can cause an immense amount of harm to your home. Heavy rains can cause flooding and powerful winds can cause roof damage and downed trees on your property. Some post-storm damage can create safety and health hazards as well, so having a strategy to deal with damage will help you to be ready to take steps immediately after the storm.
Take Safety Precautions
Heavy winds and rain can create physical hazards such as collapsed roofing materials, window damage, collapsed walls or standing water in the basement or home interior. In addition, moisture can soak into furniture, carpeting, and building materials making the perfect environment for mold growth that can cause health issues. Shut off the main gas line if you smell gas. Beware of broken glass, exposed nails, and other sharp objects on the property. Contact SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield to help do basic tasks to secure your property and make it safe to use. If necessary, arrange for an alternative place for you and your family to live while your property is being restored to safe living condition.
Photograph the Damage
If it is safe to move around your property, use your cellphone or a camera to photograph the damage so that you will have a record for your insurance company. This action will ensure that you are fully compensated.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance agent to notify them about the damage to your home immediately. The company will send out an adjustor to determine the extent of the damage so that payment for repairs can be made.
Look Into Federal Disaster Assistance
The federal government may have declared the area affected by the storm as a disaster area that is eligible for low-cost loans to help restore your property to normal. You will be required to file documents to receive these loans.
When a storm-related disaster strikes, it may seem overwhelming, but these steps can help you to begin the process of restoring your home, and your life, to normal. At SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield, we provide 24-hour emergency disaster service. We specialize in the stabilization and restoration of homes and businesses that have suffered small or large loss from water, flood, wind, storm, fire and smoke disaster. Call us today at 781.593.6663
Is That Water Damage Old or New?
Is that water damage old or new?
Has that water damage always been there? Or did it just happen? It’s wise to figure out if water damage is new or old, so that you know how extensive the damage may be, and what you need to do to stop the water intrusion.
Step One: Determine Materials
Water effects different materials in different ways. If tile, brick, or another tough material has been affected by water damage, chances are the damage is old. It takes time to wear on these materials and create leaks. On the other hand, if your damage is in drywall, hardwood flooring or carpet, it could be new or old water damage. Even a bit of water can affect these materials right away.
Step Two: Look for Rings
Drywall, wooden flooring, and other softer materials may develop “rings” if they have suffered water damage over a long period of time. The water soaks in and discolors the material. It dries out but leaves a stain behind. If this happens a few times, the effect is like several rings of water damage, some large and some small. This means the water damage is old.
Additionally, this pattern of water damage means that the water damage is intermittent. It happens frequently, but there are dry spells where the material can dry out. The source of water could be a pipe that only runs sometimes, like the supply pipe to the shower. Or, it could be the result of a roof leak, which only causes water damage when it rains.
Step Three: Touch the Spot
Areas that have new water damage are likely to be wet but not soft. If you touch the water damage and the drywall is soft, the water has had time to soak in and ruin the integrity of the material. This means the water damage is likely to be old. Although, it’s important to note that tough materials like tile may never soften at all.
Step Four: Assess Mold
Mold growth can begin within 24-48 hours of water damage. If you have visible mold on the water damaged area you know it has been soaked for at least 48 hours. More extensive mold growth may indicate the water damage is even over.
Although, the absence of mold doesn’t necessarily mean the damage is new. There could be other environmental factors that explain the lack of mold growth. Maybe it’s too hot or cold for mold to grow. Or, perhaps the excess moisture dries too quickly. If you have a HEPA filter running it my be removing mold spores, limiting their growth on the water damaged area.
Step Five: Ask the Professionals
If you’re wondering how to tell if water damage is new or old, it’s likely because you’re not sure of the cause, or if you can blame the last owner of your home for the trouble. Consulting with the pros at SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield can help. We can assess the age and severity of the damage. We can also help you find the cause and restore the damage.
Call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield today at 781.593.6663
7 Things NOT To Do After a Fire Loss
Be careful not to create more damage after your fire loss
A fire and the damage it causes can be nightmarish. In just a few moments, an entire room can be destroyed, and a fire restoration services team will need to be called in. Hopefully you’ll never have to face such a scenario, but if you do, there are some things that you should never do following a fire.
Don’t Try To Clean Up Yourself
Vacuuming, wiping down the walls, touching the drapes, and any other attempt at cleaning the place up yourself can put you at risk of inhaling the extremely dangerous chemicals that are in soot and ash. Besides this, you could cause further damage to your property. Ash and soot require specialized, professional cleaning from a fire restoration services team.
Don’t Walk Around On Uncovered Carpets
Put clean sheets or towels over your carpet before you walk around on it. Otherwise you may get ash and soot setting into your shoes, and this is bad for your health.
Don’t Turn Appliances On
This goes especially for fires that took place in the kitchen. Don’t turn any electrical appliances on that were inside the room during the fire. They’ll need to be checked and cleaned professionally before being turned on again. If you turn them on when ash or other debris may be trapped inside of them, you could ruin them. Also, do not turn on ceiling appliances such as a light fixture or fan if the ceiling is wet. The wiring could be damp and could cause electric shock.
If you use the wrong type of deodorizer, such as a store-bought or a commercial deodorizer, you might offset the better formulas that the fire restoration services cleaning team will use that break up smoke molecules and improve odors.
Don’t Try To Clean Your Carpet
If you attempt to remove ash, soot, or water from your carpet or shampoo it, you’re again putting yourself at risk of inhaling very dangerous chemicals from that ash and soot. And in most cases, your carpet will need to be replaced anyway.
Don’t Turn On Your HVAC System
Keep your cooling or heating system turned off until your home is cleaned. By turning on the HVAC system, you’re inviting smoke to travel through your ductwork, which can cause secondary damage to your home.
Don’t Try To Keep Furniture
If there was heavy smoke during the fire, don’t try to continue using your upholstered furniture or carpet. If you keep using them, you’re putting yourself at risk of respiratory health problems. Your upholstered furniture and carpet will need to be replaced. In fact, you shouldn’t even sit or lie down on upholstered furniture that has been in a fire, even for a few minutes.
Knowing what not to do after a fire can make a bad situation a little easier, and can help prevent further damage.
At SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield, we’ve seen our share of fire and smoke damage, and we’ve also seen it made worse when homeowners attempt to clean up themselves. Trust us—don’t try it! Just give SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield a call at 781.593.6663 and we'll come take care of it!
Emergency Response from SERVPRO
SERVPRO is your best bet when trying to recover from a disaster
When damage occurs to your home or business, be it fire, water or storm induced, you hope to have repairs made quickly and efficiently so you and your family can return to life as usual. The way to go about having repairs made is to use a specialist contractor who understands your situation and has experience in these types of home repairs and restoration projects. Beyond the actual building repairs, there is the knowledge of specific issues with these types of damages while understanding what your family is going through beyond the actual building renovation.
Consider “small repairs” as a technical term, as a contractor views a single stage problem to be a “small repair” even though it certainly doesn’t seem small to the homeowner. When a tree limb damages your roof or a hail storm destroys a section of your siding it’s only considered a small job comparative to restoration from other disasters. A professional contractor understands the importance of repairing such damage quickly before further damage comes of it, and doing the job right the first time.
Fire damage is different from small repairs because it typically entails multiple layers of damage. The exterior of the home and the drywall need restoration, along with insulation, wiring, structure inside the walls, and further smoke damage throughout the house. The actual building restoration is the easy part. An experienced contractor can also provide the paperwork and documentation required by fire department, your lawyer, code inspectors, and most importantly your insurance company.
Storms and Flooding
Storm damage which involves flooding is similar to fire damage in that it involves multiple layers of restoration. Your contractor further shows their experience by understanding what is involved in the repairs before starting, and has sub-contractors lined up for each stage of the restoration process. The experienced professional knows how to schedule each aspect of restoration for maximum efficiency so your family can move back into the home as quickly as possible and resume your normal daily life.
There are plenty of great building contractors available who are capable of doing a restoration job after disaster damage. However, such situations present a specific set of challenges. A contractor like SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield who specializes in the actual details pertaining to disaster restoration is going to better suit your needs than a general contractor who focuses on other types of building processes.
Should you need disaster restoration services in the Lynn, Lynnfield or Nahant areas please call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield at 781-593-6663.
The Dangers of a Poor Fire Restoration Job
Fire damage should be handled by the professionals
Between 2009 and 2013, fire departments across the United States responded to 357,000 house fires each year on average. If you experience a house fire, your next steps will impact the monetary costs of getting back on your feet and the emotional costs associated with a fire. At SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield, we believe contacting a professional restoration company to restore your home immediately after a fire will help you jump start the process of getting back into your home. It’s not enough to simply hire a fire restoration company after a fire; the company you hire must be capable. Otherwise, you could face serious long-term problems.
LINGERING SMOKE DAMAGE
As the adage goes, where there is smoke, there is fire. The damage a house fire causes can be horrendous. It destroys your personal belongings, forcing you to replace the items that can be replaced. However, the damage caused by smoke is as powerful as that of fire. The smell of smoke may not cause physical damage, but the stench of smoke can linger long after the flames have been put out.
Without professional help from a reputable fire restoration company, you and your family could inhale smoke for years, which is a threat to your lungs and your eyes. Individuals who already have problems with their lungs and eyes can experience greater problems if they inhale air stained with smoke for a prolonged time.
When the conditions are just right, mold can grow following a fire. In most cases, hidden water puddles behind walls or in closets are just enough to promote a colony of mold in your home. Unfortunately, the untrained eye may not know what to look out for when it comes to preventing mold. By hiring a professional fire restoration team, you reduce the chances that your home will be invaded with mold months or years after your fire.
SOOT CAN STAIN YOUR BELONGINGS
Another byproduct of fire damage is soot. Soot is the result of combustion. It is the black film that remains on your belongings after the fire has been extinguished. If you don’t hire a professional to clean your home, an amateur fire restoration company could miss cleaning some areas that are coated with soot. If this happens, and you overlook it too, then the soot could permanently stain some of your belongings. However, if you employ a professional such as our team at SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield, you won’t have to worry about soot following a fire. We make sure that every nook and cranny is cleaned.
When it comes to restoring your home following a fire, you don’t want to chance anything. You should contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield. Give us a call today...781-593-6663.
Water Damage and What to Expect
Let the professionals at SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield solve your problem
While you might be aware that a deluge with possible flooding is likely to occur, you are probably like most people and you think that your home will get through it unscathed. Another common scenario is when your washing machine or dishwasher overflows unexpectedly. A third, common instance is when a slow water leak or drip that was not noticed until other signs appeared.
Water Damage Can Appear in Many Different Ways
All of these situations are ones that can damage a home so severely that most homeowners simply don't have the knowledge or the equipment to handle it properly and safely. This is the time to call in the experts. Here's what to expect when you do.
1. Thorough assessment
When the SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield professional arrives at your home, the first thing you can expect is a thorough assessment of the damage. Not only will this provide you with a comprehensive list of the damages, it often includes an outline of the steps that will be followed to extract the water from your home.
2. Prepared for anything
SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield will come prepared with the latest equipment designed to help with every phase of the cleanup and restoration process. Whether this is equipment is the type that is designed to remove water from your home like fans, dehumidifiers, extractors and other specialized drying equipment or it is state-of-the-art equipment for the detection of moisture in places that aren't visible to the naked eye, you can expect personnel that is well trained on its proper use.
3. Experience and expertise
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the standard by which the industry is measured. A certification from this organization ensures that you are getting highly trained personnel. They are armed with the latest techniques that provide them with the expertise they need to tackle are of the scenarios noted above -- and numerous others. This knowledge is backed by years of experience in the methods that have been proven to be effective.
SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield provides residents of Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant and the surrounding areas with water restoration services they can count on. With restoration experience reaching back to 1967, SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield offers proven water restoration delivered by their personable and friendly staff. Call us today at 781-593-6663.
Top Six Fire Damage Restoration Tips
Commercial fire damage most often requires professional clean-up
We’re not going to kid you. Fire damage restoration is tough work. People call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield frequently to ask for advice on how to clean up after a fire. Here are seven of the best tips we give people who ask about fire damage restoration.
Most people can put these tips into practice. But remember that fire damage restoration takes time, work, and skill. Realistically consider whether you want to try these ideas on your own or whether you’d be better off hiring highly trained restoration specialists who will guarantee their work.
- Remove Smoke Damage
With any fire you’ll have a degree of smoke damage to your walls, wall paper, and paint. If the smoke damage is not too serious, you should be able to scrub it clean with detergents and bleach. Soot from smoke damage is greasy stuff, so always try to dust as much of it off from a surface before trying to scrub the surface clean. Often, you’ll want to repaint, but make sure all surfaces are clean and dry before you paint.
- Limit Activity & Other Simple Fire Damage Restoration Steps
Until your house is restored, limit your activity and movement in the house. This helps prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets. Keep people’s hands clean so you don’t further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. Protect your things by placing clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas. Before you clean know the best cleaning method for that particular cleaning job (one example: Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.) Wash both sides of the leaves on your houseplants. Change your HVAC filter and tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
Call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield for Cleanup and Restoration. Call (781) 593-6663.
- Get Rid of Mold & Mildew
Firefighters are great. They save lives and many a home. But they do introduce mold and mildew into houses when they must use water to extinguish the fire. SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield highly recommends you hire fire damage restoration professionals to deal with mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can cause serious health problems. It’s difficult for a non-professional to know for certain if he’s clean up all the areas affected by the mold and mildew. And mold and mildew can contaminate your furniture, carpets, clothing, mattresses, walls, and vents. The best thing you can do immediately is to air out every room and clean out all vents and filters.
- Replace Carpets. Clean And Dry Your Floors
Your floors and carpets end up absorbing the worst of the damage from all the water used to put out a fire. In almost every case, SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield recommends that you pull up any carpets that have water damage and replace them. Water can also seep underneath vinyl flooring and into the cracks in hardwood. You must address this. If you have experience with flooring, you can lift it up and clean under it. But you may want to call a professional fire damage restoration company to assist you.
- Avoid Smearing Soot Into Clothing
Cleaning smoke damage from clothing is one of the biggest jobs you’ll have after a fire. Make sure you don’t smear the greasy soot into the clothing or just throw the smoky clothes into the wash. Often times dry cleaning is the best bet, and you should ask around local dry cleaners to see if any have experience with post-fire laundry. Removing smoke odor is another issue and we’ve covered it in another blog post.
Call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield for Cleanup and Restoration. Call (781) 593-6663.
- Scrub, Soak, And Cleaning Dishes
Dishes are also important items to clean thoroughly after a fire because they will be in contact with your food. Scrub all dishes well, let them soak in a solution of bleach and water (2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon) for at least 20 minutes and scrub some more for safety. When in doubt, if a dish, pot, or pan won’t come clean, cut your losses and throw it out – especially rubber or wooden dishes that absorb smoke.
Help Is Here
The team at SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield also has specialized training and experience in fire restoration services, natural disaster prevention, water damage, chemical cleanup, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield (781-593-6663) anytime.
Using a Third-Party Mold Testing Company
Commercial mold damage
SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield thinks that third-party mold testing is important for two main reasons.
The first is accountability. When you hire professional mold inspection that does testing, they will arrive with specialized equipment that can detect mold through walls, ceilings, and other obstructions. That means they can find mold that you might not have even known was there and take samples. Depending on how accessible the mold is, they might take samples from mold in an HVAC system or under outdoor cladding and stucco. And that is the extent of the onsite testing. The real work happens when they take those samples to the lab.
In the laboratory, mold testing will be run on those samples to determine what kind of mold you’re dealing with (there are thousands of species of mold, and not all of them can be dealt with in the same way). Depending on the severity of the problem, your mold contractor will deal with the problem in different ways. This is why third-party mold testing is so important. If your mold contractor runs the tests themselves, that’s a conflict of interest. A contractor might want to perform the more difficult (and therefore expensive) treatment, and if they do the testing themselves, they might find results that make that necessary. Third-party testing ensures that a neutral party decides the extent of the mold problem.
This leads us to our second reason: empowerment. If your mold testing company uses third-party testing but you never see the results, that company is still controlling your mold remediation choices. That’s why Advanced Mold Diagnostics has our third-party tester send the results straight to you, the client. When you receive the results from the lab, you are able to see the type of mold you’re dealing with and the choice to move forward is yours.
SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield takes its relationships with its clients very seriously, and third-party mold testing is a great example of our commitment to that principle. If you have any questions about the mold testing we offer call 781-593-6663. We look forward to hearing from you!
Protect Your Business from Water Damage
Commercial water damage
Your family depends on your business. So do your employees, as well as your customers and community. So the thought of commercial water damage caused by extreme weather or plumbing failure is scary. But you don’t have to be scared. A little planning and a few precautions will help you breathe a little easier, knowing you’re ready for any commercial water damage contingency,
Commercial Water Damage Tip: Think it Through
Start by asking yourself, “What if?”
That’s a powerful question when it comes to reducing commercial water damage risk. For instance, what if a water main bursts and floods your office? This always leads to more questions, such as how will you ensure the safety of your employees and customers? Or how will you prevent or eliminate business disruptions that might result in cash flow problems? How will you communicate with employees during emergencies or periods of disruption (say, when a pipe bursts and requires the main power to be shut off during repairs)? Make notes of your answers to all your questions, because organizing this information is the basis for the next key step in preventing and minimizing commercial water damage: making a plan.
Commercial Water Damage Tip: Make a Plan
While thinking through possible commercial water damage scenarios for your business, you made notes of the solutions you came up with for your “what if?” questions. Now put your thinking into action to craft an emergency plan for your business. A good emergency plan should provide for the safety of all people who could enter your business, as well as set forth processes and procedures for carrying on with business during a variety of challenges.
It should include, at the very least:
- an emergency contact list (accessible from off-site)
- emergency procedures
- emergency staffing instructions
- vendor lists and contact info
- data backup plans and other resources to support business operations in case you have to temporarily or permanently relocate your business operations.
You should note that this plan is never finished. You should always be updating and improving it with lessons you learn during any business disruption.
Commercial Water Damage Tip: Inspect, Repair, Repeat
Stuff gets old. It breaks. It fails. When plumbing or water-management equipment in your commercial facility fails, the resulting water damage restoration costs can stack up fast. So the operative word for commercial water damage prevention is maintenance.
Routinely inspect all visible plumbing, test basement sump pumps, check exterior gutters and downspouts, muck out drainage ditches and storm drains and ensure roof structures are in good repair. Commercial property managers generally agree that a water leak on a commercial property is the most costly problem you can have, often costing thousands of dollars to mitigate, once the problem develops. Good property maintenance can lop off a big chunk of commercial water damage risk, so don’t cut corners on repairs.
Commercial Water Damage Tip: Call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield
A key part of any emergency plan is knowing how to get the help you need when you need it. Lynn, Lynnfield and Nahant business owners trust SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield when faced with scary, costly commercial water damage. If your business is disrupted by water damage, call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield at 781-593-6663 and get peace of mind during uncertain times.