Archive for the ‘Servpro Billerica’ Category

“The Season of Puff Back” – guest blogger Kevin Coates

Curious what puff back is – It’s important to know if your home furnace runs on oil…… thank you Kevin for this important info…..


The season of puff back is around the corner

Thinking of the phrase puff back may send you into a chorus of Puff the Magic Dragon but the two are not the same. When puff back happens in your home, believe me it is not a happy sing song time. You may not have heard of it but puff back is one of the many little preventable disasters that can happen in your home and cost you a lot of time and money. Puff back can occur in your home if you have oil heat and it can happen on a large or small scale.

A faulty ignition switch is the cause of puff back. When the ignition switch fails to light properly oil fumes accumulate in the chamber of your homes furnace. If the ignition is stalled long enough the amount of fumes that gathers will cause a small explosion when the pilot finally lights. This little explosion will blow every spec of dust and soot that lives in your homes duct system all over everything in your house: drapes, bedding, furniture, walls,.

This soot is not just a powder like substance it is black and sticky. This dirty residue needs to be cleaned from every inch of your home as soon as possible. In addition to the sticky soot puff back causes there is also an odor. This odor is difficult to remove and often requires professionals to come in to get it out of the house. A professional certified home restoration company Like Servpro that is experienced with restoring homes from smoke damage should be called. They will come in and use the same process required to get the smell out of a house where there has been a fire. This process is called “thermo fogging”.

The previous description is what happens when puff back occurs on a large scale. Puff back can also occur on a small scale, it happens gradually over a period of time. You will notice the black, sticky, soot accumulating on the carpet around the heating vent and maybe even on the surfaces inside your home.

Thankfully, you have the power to prevent puff back and the costly and time consuming damage it can cause in your home. The first step in puff back prevention is to be constantly vigilant and when you notice soot in your home call a certified oil furnace repair person. The second step is to have regularly scheduled maintenance for your oil furnace. These simple steps can save your home from the damage of puff back.

Guest Blogger Kevin Coates Forwarded Recent Article on Stevens vs Pirate’s Lane Condominium Trust

For those in the real estate field and for many sellers and buyers, mold can be a serious problem.  The following article by Daniel Sitomer was forwarded by guest blogger, Kevin Coates, regarding a recent verdict in Massachusetts regarding liability. 

The entire real estate industry – from owners and developers to contractors and architects – has been focused on the issue of mold contamination during the past year. However, no segment of industry has been more watchful than cooperative and condominium boards.

It has become increasingly clear that in the current environment, co-ops and condos must take a leadership position to maintain control over this issue.With this in mind, many boards have begun to implement comprehensive mold management programs.

Unfortunately, in some instances the “mold experts” being utilized by co-ops and condos are not properly pre-qualified. Inexperienced companies with limited expertise in mold contamination and mold management are doing more harm than good.

While there is still some dispute over the nature and extent of health risks associated with mold, there can be no doubt that the mere presence of mold in a residential building can become a serious problem – even if only through the negative perception and publicity that mold exposure can generate. This is true despite the lack of a definitive connection between mold and specific health problems.

Concern over liability and potential litigation risk clearly increased this past December when a “toxic mold” jury verdict (Stevens v. Pirate’s Lane Condominium Trust, et al) was rendered in Massachusetts to the tune of $285,000.The case involved Katrine Stevens, a female graphic designer, who sued her condominium association in 1995 after suffering asthma and flu-like symptoms from reported toxic mold. After an eight-year battle with the condominium directors, the jury deciding on her lawsuit found in favor of Stevens. With interest, she could receive nearly $550,000.

The verdict showed that juries are becoming less patient with the medical industry’s failure to build a consensus directly connecting specific illnesses to mold exposure. Instead, juries are relying on evidence offered by attending physicians and mold laboratories. Nationwide, mold cases have tripled, according to the New York-based Insurance Information Institute. More than $3 billion was paid out for mold claims in 2002, up from $1.4 billion in 2001.

Other major mold-related lawsuits are now making their way through the courts. One such suit – prompted by reported mold contamination where none may have in fact occurred – has been filed by 515 Park Avenue, one of Manhattan’s most exclusive and expensive condos, and has put a finer point on the threat of liability. The suit goes beyond the threshold of mold claims into what has become the next major phase of construction and design defect litigation in the United States. The suit names numerous defendants, and while quite a few may end up being excluded, many still face the uncertainty of litigation liability created by mold.

Mold has not only generated enormous publicity, it has created an insidious fear that has been increased by the personal nature of the problem; mold can appear anywhere in an apartment or home, even in a bedroom. It is organic, difficult to control, and can cause eye irritation, cough, runny nose, increased allergic response, and asthma sensitivities. Not surprisingly, the anxiety created by the presence of mold is pervasive.

Develop a Strategic PlanTo avoid becoming easy targets as mold insurance coverage becomes more and more elusive, the boards and managers of co-op and condo buildings must develop thoughtful strategic planning procedures, adopting both short- and long-term views of the mold risk before them. Every response to mold, whether in a minor settlement or in the defense of major claim, will have consequences for many years to come.

Therefore, no decision related to mold should be made without a full understanding of the potential problems and the options available to the board.The board must address mold issues in full view of residents, explaining the need for a team effort to enact most effective control possible within a building.

Boards should already be developing a comprehensive mold management program that identifies the level and clarity of communication between boards and residents. Advance planning enables boards to ensure appropriate training of facilities’ staff and personnel; the development of a pre-qualified group of experts; the purchase of insurance that includes mold coverage without extraordinarily high deductibles, low limits and claims-made policy structure.

When mold – or even the suspicion of mold – creeps into the picture, boards and management companies are confronted with a difficult problem. However, a clearly defined series of protocols, mold protection programs, and a collaborative response can go a long way toward reducing mold risk.

Unfortunately, if the first step is the wrong step, boards can head down a path that will increase health and financial risk for all those associated with the building.In the event mold remediation becomes necessary, a properly prepared, strategically-sound board then should be able to choose the most professional team of environmental experts and remediation contractors. The advance planning will ensure that the professionals on the job understand the impact mold has on the health and welfare of residents and on property values.

We should all take heed.  Call Servpro if you think you have a problem.  They will be able to come in and inspect in advance of putting your home on the market.     Joan Parcewski  Woods Real Estate

Metal Theft on the Rise in Recent Years – guest blogger Kevin Coates (Servpro)

Metal theft on the rise in recent yearsTheft of copper and other metals has been increasing since August 2009 as thieves take advantage of rising prices to turn a profit.Thefts range from irritating to public safety hazards, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Pipes and wiring are stolen from homes, businesses and even facilities such as airports. One recent incident blacked out the running lights at a California airport, the NICB reports, marking a trend of increasingly severe thefts.There were 25,083 insurance claims for metal thefts from 2009 through 2011, according to the report. This is 81 percent more than the 13,861 identified in the previous report on years 2006 through 2008, although the NICB notes that some thefts do not generate insurance claims and police reports.Business property insurance may be of some help in the event that thieves strip wires or perform similar actions. Damage to electrical infrastructure can pose a safety hazard or simply prevent a facility or piece of equipment from being useful until repairs are effected, interrupting business and adding costs simultaneously.

Kevin Coates   Servpro Billerica

Emergency Fire Damage Tips – guest blogger Kevin Coates

Over the past few months there was a fire in Billerica that displaced a family who has had to find new living arrangements while their home is being made livable again.  This is great information for all of us.  You never know when it can happen to you.

This week I am sharing Emergency Fire Damage Tips due to the fact of the fire I had witnessed on Oak street in Billerica. Our support goes out to the family of this home. The following is guidelines we should follow:


·         Keep Hands Clean.

·         Limit movement in the home to prevent further damage.

·         Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on carpeted traffic areas to prevent more soiling.

·         If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.

·         Wipe soot from chrome on faucets and appliances and protect with a light coating of lubricant.

·         Do Not Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without contacting Servpro Billerica/Tewksbury.

·         Do Not Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture.

·         Do Not Attempt to clean any electrical device in close proximity to fire or water without contacting a repair service.

Kevin Coates   Servpro (Billerica)


Cigarette Smoke and How It Can Affect Your Home as You Get Ready to Sell

For those who have smoked for many years in their home and are now starting to get ready to sell, here is some great information from Kevin Coates, our guest blogger from Servpro, as they prepare a home for sale where second hand smoke is visible in the property.  Do any of us ever think about this? Thanks to Kevin for making us think about this.

It has always been a big topic in our society about how bad Smoking and second hand smoke really is. The reason I bring this debate up is we are in the process of doing a thorough cleaning of a home that and individual has purchased from a family that has been smoking  for over 30 years. I have attached pictures that show how bad the nicotine is, and could not imagine what the inside of somebody’s lungs would look like.







I am also showing how Servpro Billerica can even prepare homes in this sort of condition , and make it marketable in this market we are all faced with.

Kevin Coates                Servpro Billerica/Tewksbury    

The Mold Story Continues –

Welcome back to our guest blogger,

Kevin Coates from Servpro.  Great opportunity for real estate agents to have their listings checked in advance in they suspect mold.  It helps the seller to ensure no surprises at inspection. 

Here we go again the mold topic is coming up. We have experienced in the last couple of months numerous home sales that are falling through due to mold found during home inspections. We believe the reason more homes are falling through is due to the abudunce of homes that are on the market. This is a realtor and sellers worse nightmare. We do not understand why Agents are not taking part of our pre inspection of homes before they are listed its free. There is an article I have just recently read written by Jill Freudenwald from a realtors perspective.

 Follow this link to read:

Kevin Coates

Servpro Billerica/Tewksbury

Cell 781-844-8068


Clean Homes Sell Faster

Welcome back to our guest blogger Kevin Coates from Servpro in Billerica.  Have you ever visited homes for sale and found homes that you just wanted to leave right after you got into the front door.  Well he is why

Clean Homes Sell Faster”

It is a fact:  A clean, fresh smelling home sells faster. Unfortunately, not all homes are maintained in the same way. Nearly all realtors are faced, at some point, with a difficult listing to show. There are reasons realtors encourage clients to keep homes in tip top condition.

  • Increased market value
  • Shortened list to sale conversion times.
  • Enhanced reputation for quality listings and quick sales.

The link below is from the official site of national realtor association. This will help with tips of what should be done prior to your home entering the market.

Kevin Coates

Servpro Billerica/Tewksbury


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