Recent Posts

Is a Frozen Pipe Burst Covered by Insurance?

11/7/2022 (Permalink)

Person holding an insurance form with a pen to sign Frozen pipes and insurance coverage.

Do Insurance Policies Cover a Burst Frozen Pipe?

Freezing pipes are a common issue in homes during cold weather. Frozen pipes cause flooding and can lead to mold growth and secondary damage to your home if they aren't dealt with quickly. Fortunately, most standard homeowners’ insurance policies do cover damages from frozen pipes (although coverage varies by company). Here's what you need to know about this type of claim so that you can act fast if your pipes freeze!

Frozen pipes are a common issue in the winter, and they can happen any time the temperature falls below zero.

The cold weather prevents water from flowing through your pipes as it normally would—which means that if you don't take care of them, the water will eventually solidify into ice and burst them apart. This is why it's so important to prevent frozen pipes in the first place.

To avoid this unfortunate scenario, we recommend checking on your plumbing regularly during freezing temperatures and taking steps to keep water flowing freely through your home's network of pipes. Below are some general tips for keeping your plumbing safe from freezing damage:

1. Use insulation around exposed parts like faucets or fixtures that might freeze up during cold spells (or wrap them in towels).

2. Place containers of hot water throughout your house; these act as heat traps by absorbing excess heat from appliances or rooms before releasing it into other parts of your home.

A frozen pipe can lead to flooding and all the associated home damage, including water damage and mold growth.

This is because when a pipe bursts it causes a sudden release of liquid that can cause secondary damage like leaks and cracks in your flooring, walls, or ceilings.

It's important to remember that you should never try to thaw out a burst water main on your own by using an open flame. In fact, this can make things much worse as it could cause further damage to your home or even start a fire!

Most standard homeowners’ insurance policies do cover damages from frozen pipes.

If you have a separate water damage or flood insurance policy, then the damage is likely covered. But if you don't have a specific water-related coverage, a frozen pipe burst could be considered an excluded peril under your homeowners insurance policy and not be covered.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Some policies include language that specifically excludes damage caused by freezing temperatures. You can't just assume that a broken pipe will be covered; you'll need to check with your agent or company representative first. In fact, one of our readers wrote in asking whether their frozen pipe burst would be covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy—and it wasn't!
  • Keep in mind that even if freezing weather isn't an excluded peril under your specific policy—or if its exclusionary language doesn't apply—your insurer may still deny coverage for other reasons (like when there's been no proof of loss). Make sure to keep good records so that any claim can be processed quickly.

If you have a pipe burst due to freezing, you need to act fast to reduce secondary damage and your claim cost.

First, call an insured plumber. If it's an emergency, they'll come right away. Don't try DIY repairs. Your insurance company will penalize you for any self-repair attempts that cause damage or additional claims down the road.

Second, shut off water to the affected area and cover it with a tarp until a professional can arrive and make repairs (if possible). This will keep things dry while waiting for help from an insured plumber.

Most insurance companies will cover frozen pipes, so it's important to know what's covered by your policy.

If you wait too long to report the issue and get your pipes thawed out by a professional, your claim could be denied. If this happens and there was no coverage for damage caused by freezing in your policy, you'll have to pay for everything yourself—and that can add up quickly!

So, if you've got frozen plumbing problems on your hands and want to avoid the hassle of filing an insurance claim or paying full price for repairs yourself, here's how to handle the situation.

We hope that this article answered your questions about frozen pipes and insurance coverage. If you have any other questions, or if you need help filing a claim, we’re here to help!

Electronics Cleaning After a Fire

10/7/2022 (Permalink)

Woman cleaning laptop keyboard. Don't try to clean your electronics yourself.

Cleaning Up Electronics After a Fire

If you've been through a fire, you know the stress that comes with it. But did you also know that cleaning up electronics after a fire can be one of the most dangerous parts of the process? If not done correctly, it's possible to damage your electronics—and even worse, expose yourself to harmful chemicals. That's why we recommend hiring SERVPRO of Burlington/Woburn! We have experience working with fire damaged electronics, and we use state-of-the-art cleaning equipment and processes to ensure your devices are safe and clean before being returned to you (or resold).

Cleaning electronics after a fire.

  • Clean all components of the device.
  • Inspect all components such as keyboard, mouse, and monitor for damage.
  • If any of these are damaged, replace them before you proceed to the next step.
  • Take care not to touch anything with your bare hands. Use gloves or cloths instead.

Why SERVPRO of Woburn/Burlington?

SERVPRO of Woburn/Burlington is a local, family-owned business that has been serving the community for over 30 years. We have the experience and expertise to handle any size fire, and we’re always available 24/7. We are also certified by IICRC (International Institute of Certified Raters).

Electronics cleaning equipment.

If you have any electronics that have been damaged in a fire or flood, it’s important to clean them thoroughly. Using the wrong cleaning supplies could damage or destroy your device. Here are some specialized electronics cleaning tools and equipment:

  • Water damage restoration equipment. This may include drying fans and dehumidifiers, which help remove moisture from the air.
  • Electronics cleaning tools. These can be used to gently wipe down surfaces without scratching them or using too much force, which could cause further damage to circuits inside of them.
  • Electronics cleaning agent. 

Electronics cleaning process.

  • If possible, turn off the device and unplug it.
  • Remove the battery if you can. If not, it's okay to leave the battery in place while you're cleaning.
  • Remove any memory cards or hard drives that were in use at the time of the fire.
  • If possible, remove all external casing from your devices (like a computer monitor). 
  • Use a vacuum to remove any dust/debris from inside these devices before cleaning them with water as well as gently wiping down their exteriors with a damp cloth

Don't try this at home!

Don't try to clean your electronics yourself. Not only will you likely damage the device, but you could end up hurting yourself in the process. Don't use water or a wet cloth to clean anything—the moisture can cause corrosion and can damage sensitive components inside your devices. Similarly, don't use a hairdryer or an iron as this can also lead to overheating and other malfunctions of your product that are difficult if not impossible for us repair technicians to fix at home.

If you have any questions about the process of cleaning electronics after a fire, please feel free to contact us at (781) 935-8222. We are happy to answer any questions and provide more information on this topic.

Things to Do After a House Fire

8/31/2022 (Permalink)

Roof of a house on fire Fire damage in Burlington, MA

After a house fire, life can be extremely confusing. Your home and belongings may be gone, but there are some things that you can do to make you feel more in control.

Inspect Your Home

Once the fire department and other officials have cleared your home, you should walk through your home to see what is damaged. Believe it, or not house fires are not necessarily a total loss. Granted, you will have to throw away some things, but a lot of your home might remain undamaged or just damaged by smoke.

Decide What You Want to Toss Out
If your home is not completely damaged by fire, you will need to remove items from your home. Some items are unsalvageable due to high heat or smoke exposure. The things you have to throw out are:

  • Food both in the refrigerator and in the cabinets
  • Make-up
  • All types of prescription medicine
  • All types of over the counter medicine
  • Anything burned or melted

Due to the high heat that a fire creates, these items are actually dangerous to try and use after they have been in a fire, even if they were not burned or close to the blaze. They are much safer to throw away than they are to try and continue to use them.

Decide What You Want to Keep
This is a bit tricky. Some items will not recover even after being cleaned by a fire damage specialist in Burlington, MA. Many of these items will be touched by the fire or have extensive smoke damage. The company that does your fire remediation will help you decide which items are salvageable.
Inspecting your home and going through the items you need to throw away is the first step to recovering from a house fire. It might not be easy, but it can give you a sense of accomplishment while you are dealing with the emotional damage a fire can cause.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

8/29/2022 (Permalink)

Homeowners insurance policy It is important to purchase this type of policy just to make sure your property is covered

Homeowners insurance can protect your residential property from a lot of different disasters and types of damage. Despite how common residential fungus growth is, many insurance policies still don't cover mold damage directly. Read on to see whether your home in Woburn, MA, is protected against mold damage.

When You Are Covered

The majority of insurance policies cover mold damage if, and only if, the damage was caused by a covered peril. A covered peril is essentially any type of disaster or damage that the insurance policy already covers. Here are a few examples:

  • Falling objects
  • Frozen pipes
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Vandalism or other types of malicious mischief
  • Lightning Strikes
  • Theft
  • Fire Damage

Because each insurance policy is different, it's important to check yours to see which types of accidents are actually covered. If the fungus growth is a direct result of any covered perils in your policy, then you're covered. However, if the mold is a result of your personal carelessness, or if you leave it unreported for too long, then you have to pay for the damage yourself.

When You Aren't Covered
There are a few loopholes you can employ if your specific policy doesn't cover mold damage. If you want to be absolutely safe, you always have the option to purchase a separate mold insurance policy. This is a separate policy endorsement that adds mold coverage to your existing homeowner's insurance policy. Depending on your home's specific mold risk -- this is determined by where you live, how often you typically deal with mold damage, and other various factors -- you may end up paying between $500 and $1,500 annually for separate mold coverage.
Fungus growth is a very common occurrence that the majority of homeowners do have to handle at some point. It may be beneficial to purchase a separate policy endorsement to make sure that your property is covered, just in case your existing policy is reluctant to protect you. If you do discover mold damage in your home, you should contact mold remediation experts immediately.

How Does Ozone Treatment Remove Cigarette Smoke Odor?

8/24/2022 (Permalink)

Ozone generator Yes! Ozone treatment is relatively quick.

Even after quitting smoking, the odors from this noxious practice may linger. A professional air-purifying service can apply ozone home deodorization treatments to remove all traces of cigarette smoke from your home in Winchester, MA.

What Is Ozone?

When the two atoms comprising a standard oxygen molecule come in contact with ultraviolet sun rays, electrical lightning charges or other naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere, they can be split apart. The separated oxygen atoms gravitate toward intact oxygen molecules and attach to them, forming ozone molecules with three oxygen atoms.

How Does Ozone Eliminate Odors?
Think of ozone's third oxygen atom as a wanderer seeking new opportunities. The same third atom that previously attached to a two-atom oxygen molecule will abandon it in favor of a nearby odor-producing molecule. It binds to the new molecule in a chemical reaction that neutralizes the odor while allowing the molecule it leaves behind to return to its original oxygen form.
Among the reasons for using ozone home deodorization to counter cigarette smoke odor are:

  • It reverts to breathable oxygen.
  • It does not leave behind any residue.
  • It does not involve harsh chemicals.
  • It can sterilize the air.

How Does an Ozone Generator Make Ozone?
Ozone generators instigate the oxygen atom-splitting process in one of two ways. The corona discharge method generates a high voltage that passes through a material resistant to electrical currents, resulting in a sustained electric arc that splits the oxygen molecules. The other method involves using wavelengths of ultraviolet light to split oxygen molecules.

Does Treatment Require Evacuation?
Yes! Ozone treatment is relatively quick, usually lasting about 12 hours, depending on your space's square footage. During treatment, and for a few hours following, you should plan to evacuate your home, taking your pets and plants with you. The air in your home will not be breathable until the oxygen molecules revert to their former structure after the treatment ends.
Whether you are dealing with odors from cigarette smoke or a fire, home deodorization can remove smells from your house.

Prepare Your Building Exterior From Storm Damage

7/31/2022 (Permalink)

Clipboard with a form that says Building Inspection Report A regular building inspection is to check on the state of your exterior maintenance.

Conducting exterior maintenance has many benefits for your company and property. A building that looks nice appeals to customers and instills pride in employees. Regular maintenance can be a good way to manage costs, budget for larger expenditures and extend the lifespan of roofs and siding. An aggressive maintenance program also has the potential to prepare your properties against the ravages of powerful storms. A sturdy exterior structure holds up better in high winds, heavy rainfalls and ice and snow buildup. When a big storm heads for Wilmington, MA it's good to know your building is prepared.

The Importance of a Building Inspection

Keeping your building maintained at a high level takes effort and planning. One of the keys to this is a regular building inspection to check on the state of your exterior maintenance. An inspection can be handled in the following ways:

You can conduct the inspection yourself.
The inspection can be turned over to reliable employees in the maintenance department.
You can hire a professional storm damage team to perform the inspection.
You can schedule an inspection on a monthly, semi-annual, or yearly basis.
You can break down the inspection into several sections for roofs, walls, structures, and the grounds.

The building inspection can highlight flaws in your company's level of preparedness. Missing shingles in the roof, cracks in the foundation, and areas of poor drainage should be addressed immediately.

The Benefits of Being Prepared

This can limit your expenses, prevent insurance premiums from rising, and keep your business open. Your employees will benefit from the sense of personal security and the likelihood of job security. Eventually, a storm will hit Wilmington, MA. When it does, the quality of your exterior maintenance program is an important factor in determining the amount of storm damage your business property takes.

3 Things You Should Know About Water Damage

7/23/2022 (Permalink)

Blue background of water with the words WATER CATEGORIES in the middle There are three categories of water damage.

Here Are a Few Facts About Water Damage

If you own a home, then it is likely that you will be dealing with some form of water damage at some point. Whether from a pipe burst, a leak or a storm, this damage can be costly and extensive. The following are a few facts about water damage that you may find helpful if you experience it in your Burlington, MA home.

1. There Are a Variety of Causes
When it comes to water damage, there are several different potential sources. In some cases, it may be something unpredictable like a severe storm or flooding. Other times, it may be something like a clogged toilet or a frozen pipe. While you cannot control accidents or the weather, you should do what you can to prevent damage by performing regular maintenance on your home.

2. There are Three Categories of Water
You might think that all water damage is the same, but this is not the case. There are three categories of water contamination, and how you should proceed is largely determined by which one is involved. Something like a broken water line will usually involve category 1 or clean water, but water from overflowing plumbing or floods is usually category 3. This means that it is highly contaminated and should be handled carefully. Thorough sanitization of the area will be necessary.

3. It Can Cause a Lot of Secondary Damage
Even if it is from a clean source like a pipe burst, water can cause quite a bit of secondary damage. Mold grows easily in moist environments, so if the water is not removed quickly, you can end up with a lot of fungal growth. Water can also cause materials to rot or warp.

If you have damage from a pipe burst or other source of water, then you will need to have it taken care of quickly. They can perform any necessary cleanup and sanitization before making repairs.

How Long Do Commercial Generators Last?

7/18/2022 (Permalink)

Commercial power generator To avoid generator problems, make sure to perform maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer.

A commercial generator is much like a residential one, except that they are usually more rugged, dependable and often have a far greater power output. They’re designed for critical systems where disruption of electricity would be disastrous. They often will have a heavy-duty automatic transfer switch that will react immediately when your business in Woburn, MA experiences a power outage. Here’s a quick description of how they work and how long you can expect them to last.

How Do Commercial Generators Work?

At its most basic, an engine is used to provide rotational mechanical energy to an alternator, much like it does on your automobile. Engines can use a variety of fuels, including

  • Gasoline
  • Diesel fuel
  • Natural gas
  • Propane

The amount of electricity produced is directly proportional to the amount of horsepower the engine puts out, so the larger the engine, the more amps you have. Large generators will also have a radiator to cool them, including water radiators and heat exchangers. Small ones will often use simple air cooling, but it’s less common with commercial systems.

How Long Will Your Generator Last?

Your results will vary based upon usage, maintenance, quality, and environmental conditions, but for general business planning, you should consider the life expectancy of each type of generator. Well-maintained diesel generators will typically last for up to 30,000 hours of usage. Gasoline engines provide usually around 1/10th of that.

This starts by inspecting it for any visible problems, such as worn wires, fuel leaks or damaged components. The manufacturer may recommend some kind of fuel maintenance, especially for diesel engines, and lubrication levels should be checked. They also usually need to be started and run regularly and their power output needs to be verified occasionally.

If you’ve experienced commercial storm damage in Woburn, MA you need a professional storm cleanup company to come in immediately so they can tarp and board the location to protect the remaining assets. They’ll remove any floodwater and excess moisture and quickly begin to restore your business to its normal state.

IICRC Certification for Restoration Professionals

6/28/2022 (Permalink)

technician extracting water with vacuum in an office building. Water cleanup in a commercial building in Winchester, MA.

IICRC Certification for Restoration Professionals

Extreme weather, equipment malfunctions and accidents can damage property and interrupt business. When these events happen, business owners seek help and want the best but may not know whom to call. Fortunately, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets the standards for excellence in the restoration industry and certifies cleanup professionals. Here is an example of the 3-step training progression SERVPRO restoration technicians and firms can complete.

1. Restoration Certificates
First, the IICRC aims to provide an industry-standard mitigation certificate for professional restoration companies. They offer twenty-six different certificates that cover the range of cleanup scenarios. Certificate holders receive thorough instruction and benefit from industry-wide recognition of their skills. This prestige attracts business and instills confidence in customers needing restoration services in Winchester, MA.

2. Specialty Masters
Second, restoration technicians certified for three consecutive years who want to further their education can enroll in one of three master’s designations. The three specializations are Textile Cleaner, Fire and Smoke Restorer and Water Restorer. Technicians earn these master’s designations when they complete bundles of certifications relevant to each area.

3. Trained Professionals
After receiving their master’s designation, cleanup professionals will have reached the apex of restoration training. There is no higher or more valued credential in the restoration industry; these professionals join a global directory, attract employees who want to improve their cleanup skills and raise the profile of their restoration company.
And not only individuals but also firms can gain certification. To become certified, a firm must have at least one accredited technician, insurance and a business license. In addition, accredited businesses receive Google verification and may advertise their status with a badge for their website and social media.
So, when companies need restoration services in Winchester, MA, they turn to SERVPRO, an IICRC-certified firm and approved training center. Simply put, SERVPRO’S restoration professionals get businesses back to work.

Preventing Secondary Mold Damage Following a Fire at Your Business

6/20/2022 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a big building Commercial fire damage in Wilmington, MA.

Understanding the Relationship Between Fire, Water and Mold 

Following a fire at your business in Wilmington, MA, black mold can form due to the high humidity levels resulting from the accumulation of water that extinguishes the flames. Standing water often causes more significant secondary damage than fire when it leads to mold formation. However, you can prevent or minimize your losses by understanding the relationship between fire, water and mold.

Why You Should Dry Your Space Immediately
Firefighters' main goal is to extinguish flames as quickly and efficiently as possible. Therefore, they may use powerful hoses that deposit large volumes of water throughout your business's interior.  However, after a fire is no longer a threat, you will need to take measures to dry out your space. Part of the drying process involves removing standing water within 48 hours when it becomes a breeding ground for mold that can contaminate:

  • Air and ventilation systems
  • Floorboards
  • Spaces behind walls
  • Furnishings

It is essential to contact a reputable disaster recovery company that uses industrial-grade water vacuums and dehumidifiers to remove water quickly. 

Why You Need Professional Help To Address Toxic Black Mold
Promptly drying your space can minimize but not necessarily prevent mold formation. Therefore, it is vital to remove mold spores quickly before they spread. SERVPRO professionals apply various technologies to detect and contain toxic mold spores in places where they are invisible. They also use negative air chambers to isolate and contain spores and prevent further contamination. In addition, they rely upon air filtration machines to remove toxic mold from the air. However, widespread mold infestations may require removing and replacing structural elements and furnishings.
Standing water after a fire at your business in Wilmington, MA, can lead to toxic black mold formation that can prevent you from resuming normal operations. Fortunately, you can count on SERVPRO to restore your space to pristine condition, "Like it never even happened."