Recent Posts

Protecting your Home this Winter from Water Damage

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

Men clearing off snow from a roof Remember to safely protect your property this winter!

Icy pipes, puffbacks, ice dams, chimney fires are all potential threats in this wintery weather. Sure the fresh fallen snow is a beautiful sight for many, but all the complications that can accompany winter can make a person miss those warm summer days! Helping our clients learn more about this hazards and how to prevent them is part of SERVPRO of The Andover’s mission! We are always here to help!

Frozen Plumbing

A frozen pipe can break at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the crack is caused by the backflow pressure between the water sources and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly. SERVPRO has a team of plumbers and a 24 hour emergency service team that can help mitigate the damage quickly!

Ice Dams

Ice dams are a result of snow accumulating on a roof where heated sectioned of the roof melt snow downward, while the eaves of the roof remain below freezing. This causes water to fall downward and then turn to ice, which can create a dam and back up under the shingles and into a building. behind still frozen ice. Be sure all gutters are cleaned and secured, as much snow is safely removed from your roof and you have proper insulation! Call SERVPRO of The Andovers today to inquire what else you can do to protect your property from these issues! 978.475.1199

Cold Temps can Bring New Problems

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Snowy commercial walkway that has been shoveled Freezing Temps means your home and business needs to be ready!!

With the holiday season upon us, this brings laughter, joy, and a lot of frigid weather! Freezing temperatures can bring burst pipes, puffbacks, ice dams, and even the dreaded flu. You’re in luck as there many things you can do to help prepare your home and/or business for all winter throws at us.

Getting your home ready:

Keep cabinet doors open during times of extreme cold so warm air can move around pipes.
Keep a slow flow of water coming through faucets especially if they run through unheated or exterior areas of your home.
Ensure all your gutters are clean and secure. Leaves and debris can accumulate in gutters which could lead to roof problems and water damage like ice dams.
Get your furnace serviced! Proper maintenance of your furnace can help reduce the risk of puffbacks.

Preparing your business:

Inspect your business property for downed tree limbs and branches these can cause personal injuries.
Check walkways and parking lots for proper drainage to reduce flood hazards.
Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potentially slippery or hazardous areas.
Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
Contact your local Sales & Marketing Representative at SERVPRO® of The Andovers and ask about starting and Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your business. Click here to learn more about the ERP.

Is your Business Prepared and Ready?

11/13/2019 (Permalink)

Screenshot of SERVPROs ERP mobile app Helping business owners protect their properties, from the palm of their hands.

Water Damage occurs as your business at 5pm on a Friday; do you know where the water shut off is, do your employees? If the answer is no, SERVPRO® of The Andovers can help!

An Emergency Ready Profile® also referred to as an ERP, is a no cost solution offered by SERVPRO® of The Andovers to all business owners in and around Andover and North Andover. It contains significant information needed in the event of an emergency, and helps ensure your business gets back up and running fast!

Preparation is crucial for making it through any size business interruption whether it is a small water leak, large fire, or a burst pipe that flooded your business over the long holiday weekend. No one ever wants to think about these events and they usually happen at the most unfortunate times. However, forecasting for such disasters can save you a lot of time if you ever find yourself knee deep in waste water. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize any “down time” to your business.

When fire and water cleanup is needed, getting help is now quicker and easier using the SERVPRO® Ready Plan App. The Ready Plan is an emergency preparedness tool for home and business owners, property managers, risk managers and facility management. It allows for the creation of an Emergency Ready Profile® containing critical facility information to help speed up response time.

Lead Contamination in Structure Fires

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

Notre Dame Cathedral Burning Lessons learned for the Notre Dame Cathedral fire

On April 15, 2019, fire broke out beneath the roof of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral. Over 400 firefighters fought the blaze, which consumed approximately two thirds of the roof structure, including the 300-foot wooden spire.

The roof’s layers and spire, composed of approximately 450 tons of lead, quickly melted as the fire temperatures exceeded 1,400° F. As the smoke’s distinct yellow tinge suggested, the lead vaporized and created a toxic fallout of lead dust that was deposited across Paris.

In July of 2019, reports began to emerge that the levels of lead in areas surrounding the cathedral were 500 to 800 times the official safe level. 

An Unexpected Threat - Lead Fumes and Fallout

During a structure fire, lead fumes are produced when lead or lead-containing materials are heated to temperatures above 932° F.  At these temperatures, lead vapor is released in the form of highly toxic lead oxide fumes. This vapor then condenses into solid fume particles which are released into the atmosphere. 

Lead oxide is highly soluble in body fluids. The particle size of the metal fumes range between 0.1-0.7 microns, which increases the likelihood of inhalation and deposition of the fume directly into the bloodstream. When materials containing lead vaporize, the lead-laden smoke and other byproducts combine to form toxic particulate matter that permeate surfaces in the form of ultra-fine lead dust.  Molten lead or lead fumes also contain other toxic byproducts including chromium, cobalt, arsenic, cadmium, antimony, and mercury.

Lead Contamination in New Buildings

Although the sheer volume of lead that vaporized in the Notre Dame fire was unique, fire restoration contractors need to consider the likelihood that lead may be present in any fire damaged structure, especially those built after 1978. Now you may be asking yourself, “did he just say after 1978?” Believe it or not, lead based products are still being used in homes and buildings to this day.  It is conceivable that the level of lead contamination resulting from molten lead and lead-laden fumes could pose a greater risk of exposure than the small amount found in lead-based paint or ceramic tile glazing. This could come from a wide range of common household products.

Here are some common materials and household items that may contain lead.

Building Products:

  • Lead-based paints
  • Ceramic tile glazing
  • Porcelain glazing on bathtubs and sinks
  • Stained glass windows
  • Lead water piping
  • Pipe solder
  • Roof flashings
  • Lead lag shields
  • PVC
  • Solar cells
  • Rubber and plastics (Lead oxide and lead chromate) 

Household Items:

  • Diving weights
  • Fishing weights and lures
  • Ammunition 
  • Batteries
  • Tire weights
  • Electronics
  • Jewelry
  • Antiques
  • Earthenware, china, porcelain
  • Artificial turf
  • Artificial Christmas trees 
  • Drapery weights
  • Children’s toys and books printed prior to 1985

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https://www.randrmagonline.com/articles/88641-lead-contamination-in-structure-fires

Deodorization in Commercial Buildings

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

Office desk with computers No smell is too big or too small!

Effective odor removal in commercial buildings requires the four foundational principles of deodorization.

Principle 1: Identify and Remove the Primary Source

This is typically accomplished using the senses (site and smell) and by initial removal of the source by dry vacuum or sponge. Contractors should always contact the EPA, state or local environmental agencies for current disposal instructions of any chemicals left behind.

Principle 2: Clean the Contaminated Areas (Surfaces)

Cleaning is critical, and means physically cleaning residue by washing all surfaces starting at the source area and working outward. Washing of walls is recommended, whether there is visible residue or not.

Principle 3: Recreate the Conditions of Penetration

Recreation is typically accomplished with the appropriate application to reach penetration levels. Chlorine dioxide (“ClO2”) is a mature chemistry, that is an emerging odor control alternative for disaster restoration pros thanks to recent technological innovations. Although discovered in 1814, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that ClO2 emerged as the ‘go to’ chemistry for municipal water treatment to mitigate taste and odor issues while leaving no harmful by-products. Today, ClO2 is approved for many residential and commercial uses including deodorization, hospital-type disinfection, and mold control to name a few. SERVPRO offers SERVPROXIDE which helps elimination odors and kills 99.999% sanitization of food contact surfaces.

ClO2 in liquid form can be wiped, mopped or sprayed on to most surfaces, including colorfast soft surfaces. Additionally, ClO2 can be used as a vapor to deodorize difficult-to-access areas. Over the last four years, ClO2 has proven itself as a fast, effective, and scalable deodorizing and disinfection solution that is safe on most building materials and leaves no harmful chemical residue.

Principal 4: Sealing

Effective deodorization requires a combination of these principles; using only one technique, for example sealing, leads to incomplete and unsuccessful results. While sealing is not always required, it can be a solid last step.

SERVPRO of The Andovers is happy to provide you with a free estimate for all your commercial needs! 978.475.1199

Simply Fall Preparation Tips

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

tree line path with beautiful fall foliage Stay safe and healthy fall season!

15 Simple Fall Preparation Tips

The cooler mornings and nights mixed with warmer days makes for wonderful color changes in New England. While you are out leaf peeping, enjoy cider donuts, and picking pumpkins your home will also need some attention to ensure its ready for the cold on the horizon. The weather can change quickly, and a bit of preparation now could save you from aggregation and costly repairs later.

Below are 15 items for you to consider when preparing your home for fall.

  1. Reprogram the thermostat
    Keep the house warm when people are active, but don’t be afraid to lower the temperature when the family is sleeping or at work/school for the day.
  2. Remove air conditioner(s)
    If you do not have the luxury of central air conditioning, be sure to remove any window units you placed in the windows over the hot summer. This will eliminate the cooler air from entering your home causing your heating source to work harder.
  3. Close the pool
    If you have a pool and close it when the temperature drops, schedule a service or if you are handy, buy the supplies and do it yourself.
  4. Clean your furnace and replace the filters
    Check your furnace for soot, and pilot light health. This is also a great time to switch out your filters; clean air is important when the house is closed for winter.
  5. Inspect your fireplace and have it cleaned
    If you have a fireplace and plan on using it as the weather turns colder, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
  6. Insulate your pipes for the winter
    As temperatures drop below freezing, standing water in your pipes can start to freeze. By adding foam covers you can help insulate and protect your pipes.
  7. Clean and prepare your outdoor furniture
    Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture in a safe place. Cover with a tarp to protect it from snow, ice, and cold. If you have removable cushions, consider storing them indoors to help them last longer.
  8. Check your water heater
    Your water heater has a lot of work to doin fall and winter. If you haven’t inspected your water heater lately, it may be time to clean it out or have it serviced. Overtime, it can get loaded with sediment, or other problems may arise that reduce its efficiency.
  9. Prepare your entryway for mud and snow
    Having a place to store wet jackets and boots is a way to ensure it won’t make it into the house, causing more cleanup work for you.
  10. Inspect your rook for leaks
    There is nothing worse for a homeowner than a leaking roof. To help keep small issues from turning into bigger disasters, inspect your roof using binoculars, to check for damaged or missing shingles. Also make sure your gutters are flowing freely of sticks and leaves.
  11. Check your walkways and foundation
    Damaged walkways, driveways, and steps are a hazard year-round, but their dangers are compounded when the weather turns cold and icy. Fixing problems in the fall is also critical to preventing bigger. More expensive headaches come springtime.
  12. Check windows and doors for drafts
    Remove screens and replace with storm windows/doors if you use them. Check seals around all doors and windows and caulk/insulate if necessary.
  13. Organize the shed
    Move summer items to the back and winter stuff up front for better access. Doing this early will be helpful if snow or ice show up sooner than expected.
  14. Leaf removal
    Rake and remove leaves from the yard in the fall to help save you a step in the spring. Check with your local city or town for requirements and pick up schedules.
  15. Turn off outdoor faucets and store hoses
    Disconnect and drain any outside hoses you have used over the spring/summer to water gardens and lawns. Shut off exterior faucets to help prevent frozen pipes if a deep freeze were to occur in your area.

We at SERVPRO® of The Andovers ope you find these tips helpful.

Faster to Any Disaster in North Andover

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

Hardwood floors with a floor drying mats and yellow tubes running to the machine The faster SERVPRO® of The Andovers arrives on-site to perform water, fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results.

Mitigation requires quick action. The faster SERVPRO® of The Andovers arrives on-site to perform water, fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results— including lower claim costs.

Within four hours of a loss notification, a crew member of SERVPRO® of The Andovers will be on-site to help ensure a water or fire damage is handled properly by utilizing the following services:

Structural Cleaning After the damage has occurred, your experienced SERVPRO will inspect to determine the extent of damage, then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to extract, clean, disinfect and protect the different types of surfaces found within the structure.

Contents Cleaning All of the restorable contents in the affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. Finally, SERVPRO can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items for agents and their policyholders.

Deodorization SERVPRO of The Andovers provides specialized services that rid your insured’s home or place of business of offensive odors left behind due to the water or fire damage. We do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them. 

Preparing for What May Come in Your Andover Community

9/26/2019 (Permalink)

Words stating National Preparedness Month with Green and Orange on a black background As an employer in your community, having a business continuity plan can help protect your company, its employees and its infrastructure.

As a business owner, insurer or property manager, you are a leader in your community and have the opportunity to set an example for your employees, customers and community to follow.

This year for National Preparedness Month, join your community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types, and leading efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared. “Disasters happen” and not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities, including businesses of all sizes.

As an employer in your community, having a business continuity plan can help protect your company, its employees and its infrastructure, and maximizes your chances of recovery after an emergency or disaster. You can do this by taking three simple steps:

  • Plan to stay in business
  • Encourage your employees to become ready
  • Protect your investment

We must work together as a team to ensure that our families, businesses, places of worship and neighborhoods are ready. At Ready.gov/business, companies can find vital information on how to begin preparing their organization and addressing their unique needs during an emergency. You can also contact your SERVPRO® of The Andovers Professional to find out more on how to be ready when disaster strikes with the Emergency READY Program®.

NFPA and Smoke Detectors in Your Home

9/25/2019 (Permalink)

yellow wall with a curtain rod showing damage from soot Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years.

Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).

In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area (NFPA).

Be sure your home or workplace has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills. For more information on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO® of The Andovers at 978-475-1199.

FEMA Helps You Get Prepared

9/24/2019 (Permalink)

Trucks and cars driving past homes and businesses Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other.

This Blog is from the FEMA website on how to make a plan for your family in case of an emergency. It can carry over to your business as well!

Make A Plan

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area.  Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelterplan?
  3. What is my evacuationroute?
  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Locations frequented
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
  • Languages spoken
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals
  • Households with school-aged children

Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan

Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use them as a guide to create your own.

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household