Recent Posts

Average Cost of Water Damage in 2020

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

Bathtub filled with gray mucky water. Sewer damage can increase a water damage estimate.

Many of our potential customers call us asking questions very similar to the following; “How much would it cost to clean my basement from water damage?” We understand the importance of this question especially as individuals who also ask the same type of question when we need services done for us or to us. At times, we do find ourselves shy in giving a definitive answer because there are so many factors in pricing for water damage. From the type of water to the number of affected contents, there’s a lot that can happen to your home when unfavored water is present. Still, we want to give you an idea of how much it could cost. According to Home Advisor, the average cost of water damage is about $3000.

Potential reasons why pricing may increase.

  • Structural damage – Demolition of affected drywall, ceiling, removal of trimmings, removal of carpet, trash disposal, etc.
  • Amount of Affected Contents – An unfinished basement could cost less than a finished basement because of the lack of contents.
  • Type of Water – Sewer water aka “black water” is hazardous. Will require cleaning, disinfecting, and possible structural restoration.
  • Amount of Water- Extraction time and drying time may take longer due to the amount of water.
  • Square footage- A small affected room could cost less than a whole affected floor.
  • Mold – Moisture is a breeding ground for mold. The longer you wait to dry an area, the higher risk your home has of getting mold. Mold remediation will increase the price.

The Benefit of Insurance is Peace of Mind.

Did you know that Insurance can help cover the cost of water damage in your home or business? We want to encourage you to find out more information about your insurance coverage and if your provider covers water damage, sewer damage, storm damage, or mold remediation. You might want to consider paying a little extra now on premiums so that later, you could pay less.

We can inspect your water damage! Please give us a call at (319) 268-1521.

References:

https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/disaster-recovery/repair-water-damage/

https://www.fixr.com/costs/water-damage-restoration

Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Derechos in Iowa.

8/28/2020 (Permalink)

3 Grain bins, where 2 are knocked on their side and blown in. Be aware of weather conditions and stay safe.

On August 10, 2020, Iowa experienced what felt like an inland hurricane. The storm we experienced is identified as a Derecho. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a derecho is a line of intense, widespread, and fast-moving windstorms and sometimes thunderstorms that move across a great distance and are characterized by damaging winds.

This natural disaster was unannounced and in just a few hours, homes and businesses were destroyed, crops were flattened, phone and electricity lines knocked down, trees uprooted, and semi-trucks toppled over. This was no small feat. Fortunately, nearby communities took notice and local SERVPROs requested help from the SERVPRO Storm Teams!

Weeks after the event, we are still seeing many disaster relief organizations, restoration companies, electrical companies, tree removal companies, and utility companies still hard at work aiding Iowa.

SERVPRO Cleans Up After Storm

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is currently working on losses as a result of the derecho storm. One loss we are hoping to restore sooner than later is a middle school in Tama County, whose roof was torn off by the heavy winds. The classes received a lot of water damage. Water made its way inside the three-story building, knocking down ceiling tiles and soaking the carpets. There’s a lot of debris we need to clean up as well. We have rented out a power generator for an electrical source and a Desiccant generator to provide hot air in the building for a faster drying time. We are grateful to our team who is working in these conditions to help restore this important building.

4 DERECHO SAFETY TIPS

  1. Stay tuned to local radio and TV stations for weather conditions.
  2. Stay indoors.
  3. Stay away from windows.
  4. Go to basement or an inside room with no windows on the lowest floor.

DID YOU KNOW? The word “derecho” is of Spanish origin but the first person to assign this word to this type of weather phenomenon was a professor of physics at the University of Iowa. His name is Gustavus Hinrichs.

Check out our Emergency Disaster Kit blog.

References:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/derecho

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/misc/AbtDerechos/hinrichs/hinrichs.htm

https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/derecho_safety

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ5-ijji3cA

True or False: Ozone effectively kills viruses and “bleaches” the air.

8/19/2020 (Permalink)

A small green ozone generator box with a fan vent and a dial. Research COVID precaution’s validity.

We want to educate our community about ozone generators. We have recently received a lot of calls about renting out our ozone generator as a COVID precaution. While it is great that many organizations are trying to find ways to keep their members healthy and safe, there might be a misperception of what an ozone generator can do. So, does ozone effectively kill viruses and “bleach” the air?

Truth is that there’s not enough evidence to give you a definitive answer. So, MAYBE? There may be businesses selling the notion that this is what ozone generators can do for you but it’s not completely accurate.

What are Ozone Generators and their functions?

Ozone Generators is a machine that emits ozone into the air. According to the Unites States Environmental Protection Agency, ozone is a molecule with three atoms of oxygen, in which “Two atoms of oxygen form the basic oxygen molecule--the oxygen we breathe that is essential to life. The third oxygen atom can detach from the ozone molecule, and re-attach to molecules of other substances, thereby altering their chemical composition.” (EPA)

SERVPRO uses an ozone generator for the main purpose of Odor Removal and Deodorization. In our experience, a smelly room or smelly contents that has been affected by a concentration of ozone has proven to be non-smelly after the fact.  We believe it’s the altering of the odor’s composition. The concentration of ozone is extremely dangerous to living things. Although scientifically, there is not enough research to prove that it “removes” odor, we have used this method for several fire, smoke, and mold loss because we have seen it, first hand, alter the smells. Now this method is used after first cleaning the content or room.

We do not use ozone generator as a means to “bleach” or remove pollutants from the air because that’s not what it does. An air cleaner or air purifier may be a better solution as a COVID precaution because its purpose is to clean air. The best solution is to practice safety measures such as quarantining, social distancing, wearing protective equipment, avoiding touching high-touch surfaces, and personal hygiene.

CLEAN HIGH TOUCH SURFACES FREQUENTLY.

We understand the importance of setting up a COVID precaution for the maintaining of your business but please research your methods to see if they are effective. We have a great Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program that may fit well for your business. The focus is to frequently clean, disinfect and sanitize high touch surfaces.

Need COVID Cleanup or Proactive Cleaning. Call 319.268.1521

Resources:

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/ozone-generators-are-sold-air-cleaners

https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/will-ozone-generator-protect-me-and-my-family-covid-19

Back to School during Pandemic… Thoughts?

8/19/2020 (Permalink)

A school hallway with orange lockers on each side and a floating CSC logo in the center. Clean Schools = Safe Children

Back to normal school. Praying for wisdom and safety for your families.

Summer vacation went by so quick and yet, there were probably moments that felt like it would never end. The thought of resuming school during this “COVID era” is a very provoking and overwhelming one. We understand that. Our own employees are in the same position as other parents.

We want you to know that we are thinking of you and praying for protection over everyone in the school systems. Our schools have a huge responsibility to do what is best for the community. Let’s continue to be gracious and grateful towards them. They are doing the best they can. You are doing the best you can. WE are doing the best we can. We’re praying for your physical health AND especially for your mental health and your children’s mental health.

We are currently cleaning and sanitizing some schools that asked us to come alongside them for a little extra peace of mind. If you know an organization or school that may benefit from some extra help in a proactive cleaning program, please consider suggesting SERVPRO. We are here to help our families and communities feel safer and at peace with our new defensive pathogen program. Thank you for trusting SERVPRO.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

We are hopeful for the new school year!

Have a Sump Pump or Grinder Pump? Get Sewer Insurance.

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

Black sludgy water in a bathroom. Do you have sewer backup insurance?

What kind of relationship do you have with your home insurance provider? Is your home insurance adequate or is it the bare minimum to check the list that you have insurance? When you become a homeowner, it’s required to have insurance and after putting a large sum of money on a house, you may have unknowingly cheated yourself with getting the basic package. In reality, the basic coverage most likely will not cover the total cost of home damage. SERVPRO doesn’t sell insurance but we understand the importance of it especially as a restoration business that receives many calls about home-related disasters. Frankly, restoration services are costly and not many have the means to pay out of pocket. We want to encourage you to discover more about your home coverage and ask more questions.

One insurance coverage that your insurance agent may not have mentioned is a sewer line coverage.

So why would you need a sewer line coverage? Do you know that it’s possible that the line in which carries all the nasty water from your toilet, sink, and shower to wherever the city sends it, can actually come back inside your home? Yep. You might have “black” water (essentially feces water) in your bathtub. “Ew” is right. We often get these types of losses after a heavy storm but there are several reasons it could happen. Here are 3 common reasons sewer back up occurs.

  1. A clog in the sewer lines. For example, Tree roots that grow in sewer pipes.
  2. A damaged sewer pipe like a crack or corrosion.
  3. Too much water inside the sewer lines.

Don’t have a sump pump? How about a Sewage Ejector (Grinder Pump)?

Most people are familiar with a sump pump but some of you may not know about your sewage ejector. We heard from our insurance friends that homeowners may opt-out of a sewer line coverage because they don’t have a floor drain or sump pump in their basement. Well, if you have a toilet in your basement and the city’s sewage line is above the sewer pipes, you may still have to consider it since you have an ejector pump system. It is the mechanical equipment that grinds solids and pumps the sludgy wastewater upward into the city’s main sewer line. The pump may malfunction if you flush down items that are not meant for a toilet or it can wear down over time. You will not know there’s a clog or issue until it’s too late. It’s good to consider sewer insurance coverage and maintenance check-ups on such equipment.

Smell sewage in your home? Be safe, stay away, and call a professional! 319-268-1521.

Ways to Prevent Fire from Toasters.

8/3/2020 (Permalink)

A close up image of a white toaster with burnt marks and a burnt rag on the top part of the toaster. Toast your bread, not your home.

Don’t be Toast because of Toast.

A regular morning routine of putting white bread in the toaster might turn into an unexpected fire inside your house. It is possible to accidentally start a fire when using what seems to be a fairly harmless kitchen appliance. Just recently, SERVPRO responded to a call about a house fire and the cause of loss was a rag that was near a toaster! Let’s go over a few safety tips to avoid a fire from your toaster.

5 Ways to Prevent Toaster Fires

  1. When choosing a toaster, read up on reviews and check for recalls. Some brands of toaster may have a history of fire-starting issues.
  2. Make sure there is nothing flammable near your toaster such as paper towels, curtains or rags.
  3. Regularly clean your toaster from breads crumbs and any grease or dirt residue.
  4. Keep your toaster unplugged when not in use and inspect the health of its cords. Do not ever plug in an electrical appliance that has frayed wires.
  5. Stay near the toaster when using it. Depending on how brown you want your toast, it will only take about 2-3 minutes of your time that can easily fly by. Just pull out your phone and watch a YouTube video on Toasters catching Fire while waiting.

BONUS SAFETY TIP - GET A FIRE EXTINGUISHER FOR YOUR KITCHEN!

We restore and clean up after fires. If you experienced an unfortunate fire disaster, we are here to help. Call us at 319-268-1521.

There’s Grease Build-up in your Kitchen.

8/3/2020 (Permalink)

Closeup of someone frying bacon on a pan in a home kitchen with white backsplash. You might have grease in high places.

Do you know that you may have grease on surfaces you’re not aware of? Personally, my kitchen is very small and I do not have an overhead exhaust. I also do not do a lot of cooking but my husband on the other hand could be a professional chef. He loves cooking and I like a clean home. I’ve been avoiding the kitchen because I have noticed things that I wanted to ignore such as grime on the stove plates, burnt trays in the oven, and smoke stains crawling upward from the stove to our wall…. So, my husband cooks amazing but leaves a scary kitchen. It’s a fair trade-off… Anyway, I was going to continue to ignore it until one day, I looked up towards the ceiling fan and saw a thick layer of dust on each blade. I could not tame the urge to wipe it away so I grabbed a small ladder and climbed up with a microfiber towel in one hand, and a multipurpose cleaner in the other. I thought this would be an easy, easy, easy clean. Just a swipe of my towel on the blade would pick up all the dust but instead, it felt as if my towel was wiping a thick layer of honey. It wasn’t honey though; it was grease! The dust was stuck on the grease and worse yet, since I was on that ladder, I saw several other surfaces that had that same yellow yuck on it. I was overwhelmed so I ran away into my living room which is much cleaner.

Apparently, oil in a hot pan will evaporate into oil vapors that will travel through the air until it cools down and stick to the surfaces of your kitchen. 

This week’s cleaning chore is deep cleaning my kitchen.  I haven’t cleaned it off yet, not because I’m ignoring it (it’s way too much to ignore right now especially being an employee of SERVPRO - THE Cleaning PROS!), but I’m researching the best way to approach this. Below I provided some links to a few of my good internet finds. Plan A is to try one of these natural home remedies but if that’s not heavy duty enough to remove possibly a years’ worth of grease, I’m turning to our SERVPRO Orange Plus cleaner. This cleaner cuts through soot, dirt, and grease! Plus, it smells fantastic.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has had its fair share of cleaning commercial and residential kitchens.

Need Professional cleaning? Call us at (319) 268-1521.

By Dani Liu

Helpful Links

How to Clean Grease off Most Common Kitchen Surfaces – Taste of Home

How to Clean Greasy Kitchen Walls, Backsplashes, and Cupboards – kitchen

How to Clean a Ceiling Fan: The Greasy, The Dirty, and The Dusty -Del Mar Fans

DIY Emergency Storm Kit

8/3/2020 (Permalink)

Dark clouds with lightning shooting downward to the dark ground. Be Ready & Prepared for a Storm.

Take some time to gather some items and create your own emergency kit! We’ve decided to put together three options from Basic to Extreme preparations. Preparing doesn’t mean you are paranoid; it means that you are mindful and perceptive!

Basic Kit (Must-haves Supplies)

  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra Battery
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio or hand-crank radio
  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day (at least 3 days)
  • Nonperishable food & snacks (at least 3 days’ worth)
  • Can opener for food
  • Wrench to turn off utilities
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Sanitation, toiletry and personal hygiene items
  • Family and Emergency Contact Information
  • Store items in waterproof book bags, duffel bags or containers

Intermediate (Being Extra)

  • All items in Basic Kit
  • Prescriptions and medications
  • A seven-day supply of water and non-perishable food
  • Candles & Matches in a waterproof container
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Extra cash
  • Baby supplies
  • Pet supplies
  • Games & activities
  • Paper & Pen
  • Extra set of car and house keys
  • Blankets

Expert (Ready for a Zombie Apocalypse too)

  • All items in Basic and Intermediate Kit
  • Plastic Sheeting & duct tape
  • Portable Water Filter
  • Backup power generator
  • Scissors
  • Extra clothing & sturdy shoes
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Propane heater & camp stove (make sure it’s safe for indoor use)
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Emergency Light Sticks (12-hour duration)
  • Working Gloves
  • Sewing kit
  • Nylon Rope
  • Masks

Do not be intimidated by all the items for fear of cost. Most of these items, you can find at your local dollar store. We recommend you keep these items in a designated place where you can access it quickly. Prepare for a safer future!

References:

https://www.ready.gov/kit

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies.html

https://www.amazon.com/emergency-preparedness-kit/s?k=emergency+preparedness+kit

2020 SERVPRO Annual Convention & Special Guest, Kevin Brown.

7/16/2020 (Permalink)

A desktop monitor displaying a medium shot of a man with a well-kept beard and wearing a blue tailored suit. Let your leadership linger in other’s lives.

Every year, franchisee owners and top leaders are invited to an annual convention event hosted by SERVPRO corporate. This year, the convention was in Boston, or at least it was scheduled to be in Boston but changes were made for the safety of our SERVPRO family. So instead, the 2020 SERVPRO Annual Convention was held VIRTUALLY, and we participated right from our small office in Waterloo, IA.  

We are proud to be a part of this ONE TEAM.

SERVPRO corporate really went all out in entertaining, encouraging, and educating us. They displayed perseverance and patience as they learned something new, relying heavily on technology with scheduling live events, scheduling a full production team, pre-recording several workshops, monitoring chat rooms and so much more. It was a successful event! 

We even had a great guest keynote speaker, Kevin Brown! Kevin Brown is a successful motivational speaker that helps “people expand their vision, develop their potential and grow their results.” (https://kevinbrownspeaks.com/bio) He worked at SERVPRO for several years before he focused full time on speaking.  

Here are just a few of our favorite one-liners! 

  • You can get there from here. 
  • Smile. Connect. 
  • Do not allow stress and pressure to blind you from your potential to do great things. 
  • Be Enthusiastic Ambassadors. 
  • Be careful of the vision you cast for yourself and others. 
  • See them as what they can be not what they can’t be. 
  • Rewrite your storyline. 
  • It doesn’t matter what everyone thinks, it matters what you believe.  
  • Let your leadership linger in other’s lives.  
  • Can you look in the mirror and see those who influenced you the most? 
  • Create a world-class experience when you serve others. 
  • No pain, no perspective. 
  • Your past is a place of reference not of residence. 
  • Who looks in the mirror and sees you? 

If you ever have a chance to listen to Kevin Brown speak, we recommend you go for it. We are so grateful that the convention was not canceled considering everything that 2020 has thrown at us. We look forward to next year’s convention! 

Trauma Cleanup

7/16/2020 (Permalink)

A tall man with a full white PPE suit is putting a box that says biohazard in a green truck. Text that says SENSITIVE CONTENT There is strength in asking for help.

*Warning: This is sensitive content. 

This blog is not meant to sell you a product and service. This blog is to let you know that there are businesses out there that can help you in the aftermath of something really painful and traumatic. We are a cleaning and restoration business for disasters and unfortunately, a disaster we have cleaned up too often is suicide. One is far too many. Our condolences are for those who had to live through this traumatic experience. We can’t begin to imagine what this feels like but we are willing to listen and help in the ways that we can.  

Trauma Cleanup is not something that we advertise. In the past two years, it has come to our attention that we need to inform our first responders about this service. SERVPRO can be a resource for cleaning to those who may need it. Biohazard contaminants are left behind from an accident scene and who is left to clean it? We know that sometimes this cleaning need is not dealt with because people are unsure how to proceed. It is not a simple task, physically or psychologically for anyone. Still, some people have had to eventually push through and clean up themselves There is no doubt that these individuals are beyond strong but there is also strength in asking for help.  

As we mentioned, this educational piece isn’t meant to sell you a service… it’s meant to give you an option when you need help. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is certain we can help in trauma cleanup. Whoever you choose, we recommend looking for a local cleaning business. We have been told stories of out-of-state businesses charging an insurmountable amount, making matters worse. 

In closing, know that your home insurance may cover the cost of this type of cleaning. Give your insurance provider a call and find out. You can expect our team to have specialized training for biohazard cleanup, wear proper protective equipment, clean affected area, and content, dispose of any unsalvageable material, and even finish with construction if needed. Our team will continue to be empathetic and professional throughout the whole process. Again, we are sorry for your loss. 

Here to help.