Recent Posts

Smoke Cleanup at South Tama Middle School

8/7/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke Cleanup at South Tama Middle School (Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash) We are trained and equipped to remove soot and smoke odor after a fire.

On August 5th, firefighters were called to South Tama Middle school in the middle of the night due to a fire. This fire originated in the boiler room which was located in the basement. Luckily the fire was contained. The school will receive a full smoke and odor clean up and some construction from SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids and us, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County.


We received the call to be apart of this job a day after the incident from Co-Owner of SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids, Brett Kellogg. Our Owner Scott Demuth and Production Manager Brett Armfield quickly took off to Toledo, IA to assist in the full inspection of the fire damage. We are truly excited to be working as ONE TEAM with another franchise. This job may seem overwhelming to another cleanup and restoration business but not to SERVPRO! The school needs to be cleaned from top to bottom before August 16th, that means we only have 10 days to get this job done but we are ready and excited to meet the challenge. The team has taken the initiative to form a strategy to get South Tama Middle ready before their teacher’s planning day.

Here’s a low down on our plan.

  • We have requested 20+ workers to help with the Cleanup process.
  • We are setting up a tent for employee check-ins and equipment inventory.
  • We are loading our truck with equipment and commercial cleaning products.
  • We have 1-3 on-site supervisors making sure tasks are being met.
  • We have employees removing tiles from the ceiling so we can remove smoke odor from all crevices.
  • We are blasting soot or fire particles with a commercial garnet blaster.
  • We are setting up various air movers on site.
  • We will be in daily communications with the superintendent on our progress.
  • We will clean every carpet in the building.
  • We will do a full cleanup of the chimney.

Getting to the Finish Line with Ease.

Scott and Brett have a combined 11+ years of experience in restoration and cleanup services. We are eager to get this job done for the community and to continue building our brand as a business you can trust. For the next 2 weeks, our team will be working overtime to get this school looking “Like it never even happened.”

Get connected with us and follow us on INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK. @SERVPRObhc

August 4th is Campfire Day - Celebrate with some Campfire Tips!

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage August 4th is Campfire Day - Celebrate with some Campfire Tips! Remember to fully extinguish your fire before leaving the campgrounds.

Here in Iowa, we love campfires.

Even though it’s summer, the worst of the heat has ceased for a moment allowing us to enjoy our evening with 70-degree weather. School doesn’t start for another 3 weeks so enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family. Maybe visit Deerwood Park in Evansdale or Big Woods Lake in Cedar Falls? Wherever you decide to go camping, we want you to have loads of fun and to stay safe.

Here’s some Campfire Safety Tips! *

  1. Find out the campground rules about building a fire. Campgrounds may already have existing fire rings or pits.
  2. Make sure your fire pit is 15 feet away from dry logs, leaves or any flammable objects.
  3. Keep your fire to a manageable size.
  4. Never leave your campfire unattended.
  5. When extinguishing the fire, drown the fire completely in water until there is no more hissing.
  6. If there’s no water, allow all the wood to burn to ash and cover with dirt.
  7. Before leaving the campground, make sure the firepit is cool to the touch.

*For more information on Campfire Safety Tips, visit

Now that we know you’re going to stay safe during your camping trip, we are ready to blow your mind with a few Non-traditional Smores!

  • Graham + Banana + PB + Marshmallow + Bacon
  • Chocolate Graham + Mint Chocolate + Marshmallow
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie + Hazelnut Spread + Strawberry + Marshmallow
  • Oreo + Marshmallow (stick the marshmallow in between the sandwich cookie)
  • Graham + PB cup + Marshmallow

Yum! We would love to hear about your campfire adventure on social media. Tag @SERVPRObhc in your photo or story and share your campfire safety practice.

“Snake” your Floor Drain or Pit to prevent backup sewage

7/30/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage “Snake” your Floor Drain or Pit to prevent backup sewage Finished Basement’s floor drain or pit is about to be “snaked” or cleared out.


A few weeks ago, we received an emergency call from a home in Waterloo about a possible sewage problem after a rainstorm. The unfinished basement was filling up with water and the homeowners had no control over it. Apparently, the floor drain was so clogged up that it wasn’t only filling up with their sewage but the neighbor’s sewage was coming in as well. We know… What a nightmare! For this type of water, it is not safe for anyone who isn’t trained or have the equipment to have contact with it. It can be very dangerous especially for your health. This type of water is called “blackwater” and it can contain unsanitary agents and harmful bacteria. Our crew uses safety precaution when dealing with such a job. Needless to say, we completed the job quickly and successfully.


A question that came up during this job is, why did this happen and how can it be prevented? Sewage pipes can get clogged with oils, food, hair, soap residue, and even tree roots. We recommend that you clear out or “snake” your floor drain with a professional! At least that is what one of our employees did as soon as she walked out of this job site. She said it was the best money she spent for some peace of mind. Her floor drain looked almost identical to the one on the sewage job so it really shocked her. Unlike that basement, her basement is finished so if an unexpected sewage disaster were to happen, it would mean more content to clean, dispose of and possibly more costly to fix the problem. So yes, think about snaking your floor drain.

Here are a few more things to do to prevent your drains from being clogged.

  • Keep toilets, sinks, and drains clean.
  • Do not flush feminine products, diapers, or wet wipes down the toilet.
  • Use a mesh in a shower to trap the hair from going down the drain.
  • Do not pour fats or coffee grounds down the sink.
  • Do not put large food waste down your garbage disposal.

Make sure you direct the professional snaking your drain to clear it all the way to the street where it goes out into the public sewer system. And as a side note, find out if your Home Insurance has coverage for possible issues with your service line.

If you experienced a backup or flooding, Give us a call at 319.268.1521. We are here to help.

FROM PANICKED TO PREPARED, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County's E.R.P can take you there.

7/24/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage FROM PANICKED TO PREPARED, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County's E.R.P can take you there. Unexpected things can happen, Do you have an Emergency Ready Plan?

NO one is really ever ready for any kind of disaster! We can try to put measures in place that help us get on top of a situation, but in all honestly, it’s difficult to really get prepared on our own!

The no-cost to you EMERGENCY READY PLAN (ERP) is a pro-active approach to help streamline your efforts in putting your home back together.

House fires are devastating! SERVPRO of Black Hawk County can help you put a detailed action plan in place that can take you from panicked to prepared if you experience a fire in your home.  Through a 20-minute question and answer time with a member of SERVPRO, a profile is put together that documents the following:

  • Emergency contacts that include insurance agents, policy numbers (name, phone, email)
  • Pictures of the main utility information: shut off locations for electric, gas, water
  • Additional utility contact info: pictures of alarm systems, sprinkler, IT server
  • Property overview –PICTURES of rooms and contents
  • Additional notes for anything else homeowners may want


The big plus is that the ERP IS AN APP and can be uploaded to your phone and home computer. Access it from anywhere! Working to develop this ERP does not obligate homeowners to SERVPRO in any way. (But we would come running if you called during an emergency to assist) J

We all know the plan for fire exits in our homes but we don’t usually have a plan to get back into our homes quickly! SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Plans do that!

You may never feel prepared for a fire, but taking the steps to develop your personal ERP is a start. The Emergency Ready Plan creates confidence that you have, literally, at your fingertips the contacts and documented contents of your home to help rebuild after a fire in a speedy fashion.

We can devise an Emergency Ready Plan to protect your home from fire damage. Call us at (319) 268.1521 before a disaster occurs.

Cleaning up a School in Wapsie Valley during the Summer

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Cleaning up a School in Wapsie Valley during the Summer There’s been a spotting of our van in Bremer County.

Have No Fear, SERVPRO is Here!

Last year, we had a superintendent reach out to us for fear of mold issues in one of the schools. It was a very busy time because of flood and storm damage in our area but our owner, Scott, went to inspect the school right away. Careful examination and testing occurred to validate a full deep cleaning of the entire school.

We understand the importance of having a safe and clean place for children to learn.

At that moment, because of so many ongoing jobs, we wondered if we had enough equipment available. Scott quickly put a plan into action. As a dad, he understands the importance of having a safe place for children to learn and also peace of mind for the parents, so he made a few phone calls. He reached out to SERVPRO of Fort Dodge, who had a project manager available to help co-supervise the team of workers. Scott’s dad, Joe (sweetest person ever), drove to SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids with our truck to borrow extra equipment. It’s one of the bonus’ of being a unified company, working together. Scott also made an investment and purchased additional dehumidifiers and air movers for this project.

Let’s get down to Cleaning!

Needless to say, cleaning the school from top to bottom was a success. Such a success, we were invited back this summer to strip and wax the floors! We are happy to return to the Wapsie Valley Community School district to get them ready for the end of August. BACK TO SCHOOL will be here in no time!

Board Ups to the Rescue in any kind of Storm!

7/18/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Board Ups to the Rescue in any kind of Storm! We can board-up home or business and keep your property safe from looters.

The word STORM can take on several different meanings.  It can refer to weather-related events, major life occurrences, and it describes emotionally packed situations. Doesn’t it always feel like a storm has hit when life gets turned upside down!?

Whether fire, rain or wind problems have caused a window, door or roof to leave a gaping hole in your home or business, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County can help by covering it up.

When vandals and varmints have created an unfortunate mess, leaving your home or business vulnerable, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County can assist by closing it up.

Commercial properties are exposed to hazards of automobiles running into them or destructive items like rocks or bricks thrown through a window. We have the skills and knowledge to board up these unexpected conditions.

We will be sure that the board-up procedures provide durable protection for the damaged structure and cause minimal additional damage to building surfaces. After protecting and securing the structure, our professionals can begin the restoration process.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County can provide a full range of restoration services that will bring your home or business back to full function. Here are a few necessary aids we provide:

  • Board Up
  • Carpet Extraction or Removal
  • Document Drying
  • Drywall Removal
  • Electronics Restoration
  • Furniture Restoration
  • General Contracting
  • Hardwood Floor Drying
  • Pack Up and Move Out

Along with the physical work SERVPRO of Black Hawk County offers, our team of employees recognizes the storm of emotions that home and business owners go through during these crises. It takes special individuals who understand, empathizes, listens, and hold out their hand to walk you to the completion of the project, making it "Like it never even happened".

If your property is in need of board-up services, give SERVPRO of Black Hawk County a call. Day or night, we will assist you. 319.268.1521

Wax off, Wax on- Learning a new skill, STRIP AND WAX FLOORING.

7/18/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Wax off, Wax on- Learning a new skill, STRIP AND WAX FLOORING. The technician is buffing or stripping the wax with degreaser and a Global Foor Machine.

No, we aren’t talking about Karate but that would be pretty cool. Our cleaning technician added a new trade to their repertoire called Strip and Wax Flooring. While we usually do a lot of commercial and residential work, it is usually just carpet or upholstery. We are now able to clean, buff, AND wax hard surface floors!

What’s the Process Like?

A close friend of ours and experienced expert in the field took the time to educate our technicians on this trade. We had all the equipment on hand from another type of work we do so it just made sense to learn this! These are the steps for Strip and Wax.

  1. Clean the hard floor surface.
  2. Soak with water.
  3. Buff or strip wax with a degreaser.
  4. Wet vacuum all water.
  5. Set air movers to dry the flooring.
  6. Apply 3 layers of wax.

Voilà! Floors are shiny and ready to reenact the “Risky Business” dance move. We find it important to grow in our knowledge so that we can continue to help your cleaning and restoration needs.

If you haven’t followed us on Facebook or Instagram, we recommend you do so!

Where it all started, Sacramento! | SERVPRO 50TH Annual Convention

7/10/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Where it all started, Sacramento! | SERVPRO 50TH Annual Convention Scott and Libby Demuth going back in time to the late 60s.

Having a Groovy time at SERVPRO Conference!

This Annual Convention is a very special one as we celebrate 50 years of making history as a cleaning and restoration company. We are so honored and proud to be a part of ONE TEAM and the SERVPRO family. Ted and Doris Isaacson launched SERVPRO in the late 60s in Sacramento, CA. It sure was a “groovy” decision because we are now the top leader in Restoration Services!

FUN FACT... SERVPRO started off as a painting business.

Scott and Libby Demuth, owners of SERVPRO of Black Hawk County enjoyed a week of reenergizing and restoration at the convention. The week included a golf outing, key speakers like John Gordon, a reception, educational workshops and so much more. Not to mention, so many photo ops with great leaders from corporate, photo booths, and the new SERVPRO tattoo Corporate gave us! No worries, it isn’t permanent.

Our vision is to be the premier cleaning and restoration company in the world.

As we mentioned, we are proud to be a part of a franchise that strives for excellence within our employees and with serving our customers in their time of need. We can’t wait to reunite again next year at the conference!

Tips on how to avoid water damage from Kitchen Appliances

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Tips on how to avoid water damage from Kitchen Appliances Fridge and dishwasher leaked water. The fridge was removed and the production crew made a flood cut to dry the walls and cabinets.

Did you wake up to find your kitchen flooded by an appliance?? Call us at (319) 268-1521.

Most of us think nothing of turning on the dishwasher before bed or as we leave for work, but malfunction or lack of maintenance on appliances can cause severe water damage if unnoticed for a long period of time. We have a few maintenance tips to avoid such a problem.

Top Kitchen Appliances that can cause Water Damage are…

  • Dishwasher
  • Refrigerator Water and Ice Dispenser

Dishwasher Tips and How to Clean the Filter.

  1. The dishwashers water line can slowly deteriorate over the years. Check your water line connection regularly.
  2. If you see a puddle of water near the dishwasher every time you run it, turn off the water valve to your dishwasher is connected to and call a plumber. The plumber will help you determine the issue. Besides a worn-out water line, issues may result from old gaskets, door issue, and a clogged drain.
  3. Wipe your filter with a paper towel to remove all the gunk. Then run it under warm water or dip it in vinegar for a few hours. *

Refrigerator Ice Maker Tips and How to Clean it.

  1. Avoid moving the refrigerator so as not to misalign the copper tubing that supplies the water to the fridge.
  2. If it is leaking, turn off the water valve and call your plumber or an appliance expert.
  3. To clean your dispenser, turn off the water valve and unscrew the copper tubing. Pour vinegar into the tube letting it run downward. Throw away the ice. Connect the copper tubing. Throw away the first batch of ice cubes. Run the water dispenser until all vinegar has run through. Scrub the outside of the dispenser with a small brush that’s been dipped in vinegar.*
  4. To extend the life of your water filter, Take the filter and wipe off large particles with a paper towel. Soak the filter in warm water with vinegar. Rinse under running water until it runs clean. Let it air dry. *

*All appliances are different so please check your manual or call an appliance expert to clean out your appliance.

If you are experiencing some water damage, click here for some tips on what you can do until help arrives.

The ROOF is on Fire… Shingles VS Metal

7/6/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage The ROOF is on Fire… Shingles VS Metal The red roof of a small home in Waterloo after a fire. No damage on the outside is noticeable except for the doorway where smoke tried to escape.

Do we have any HGTV fans out there?

Well, as a restoration company that works with a lot of homeowners, we tend to also be a fan. We are noticing the emergence of metal roofing, not only on our favorite home improvement show but in some of the houses that our production crew are working on. Recently, we had to do board-up of a home in Waterloo from a fire. This small home had a red metal roof. We started to wonder whether metal roofs may have added to the fire damage so we did a little research. Here are a few pros and cons that can help you make a well-informed decision on choosing what type of roof is best for your home.

 Shingle Roof Pros:

  • Asphalt shingles are very inexpensive and can possibly outweigh the price of a long-term metal.
  • They tend to be easier to install and replace. Some can be installed within 1-2 days.
  • It is less expensive to repair.

Shingle Roof Cons:

  • Shingles usually need to be replaced every 12-17 years.
  • If you live in your home for a long time it may be a higher long-term cost.
  • It absorbs heat and performs poorly in extreme heat which can cause cracking.

Metal Roof Pros:

  • It can last up to 50 years.
  • Outperforms other roofs in its weathering as well as being non-combustible.
  • It is environmentally friendly as it reflects heat helping keep the house cool and the energy bill low.

Metal Roof Cons:

  • The cost can range from $150-$1,400 per square.
  • Depending on the type of metal, they are more prone to denting.
  • In the case of a fire that starts inside the home, it may be harder for firemen to cut through the roof to ease the fire. A fire department might not have the right equipment for metal roofing.

So, does a metal roof increase fire damage in a home?

Not necessarily...A house fire is dangerous and will cause damage no matter the roof your home has. Firefighters who are well equipped and well trained can help stop the fire at home but unfortunately, your home may suffer from smoke and soot damage as well as smoke odors. 

We can help restore your home and belongings after a fire. Call us at (319) 268-1512.