Recent Posts

Happy Boss's Day!!!

10/15/2020 (Permalink)

Two people posing with big smiles in front of a green wall. Scott and Libby are the BOSS! (Best)

Today is Boss’s Day and we want to give a special shout-out to Scott and Libby Demuth, our franchise owners. We are so grateful for your care, generosity, and leadership. Here are a few of what your employees had to say about you two.

1. What was a time your boss(s) really helped you?

I didn’t feel like I was doing a good job but Scott gave me confidence. He encouraged me and believed and trusted that I could do the job right!

Even when I was doubtful of my work, Scott never ever thought I couldn’t.

Scott and Libby worked around my schedule with having to get off early during my pregnancy and having health issues that came up. They were super understanding and helpful.

2. What qualities do you most appreciate about your boss(s)?

They have a great sense of humor and I can rely on them to answer any questions or concerns I may have.

Sincere care, Flexibility, and Lightheartedness.

I appreciate having a comedic work atmosphere because it makes me enjoy my time at work. I want to get up and come in every day.

3. What have you learned from your boss(s)?

They always strive for excellence. They have invested in me by training and certifying me so that I may be more efficient with my work.

If I have any questions or concerns, I can trust Scott and Libby to answer and help.

4. What do you want to thank your boss(s) for?

Thank you for comforting me during my loss.

Thank you for allowing me to spend time with my family on short notice.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to lead a team and for trusting me to do so.

Thank you for allowing me to work with great people.

Thank you for letting me do what I want! (Trusting me in the ways of my work.)

Thank you for giving me the confidence to do my job quickly and efficiently.

5. What is one positive thing you have always wanted to tell your boss(s), but never have had the chance?

You are the first boss that I haven’t wanted to push down a flight of stairs. Congrats!!

I like how you come to the office in a positive mood every day and greet everyone. You make us feel welcomed here and appreciated.

We wish you many more years of blessings and success!

Home Maintenance List

10/13/2020 (Permalink)

Lint trap that is filled with gray red lint on a dryer machine. Home Maintenance keeps your home healthy!

With our changing seasons, we usually all remember to change the heating and cooling furnace filter but it's the upkeep of other appliances and essential working parts of our home that we need a reminder.

  • DISHWASHER FILTER - Wipe off with a paper towel, then rinse with hot water till the water runs quickly through the screen. Use mild soap if needed.
  • GARBAGE DISPOSAL - Turn off the power. To remove sludge, fill the sink with ice cubes then pour in 1/2 cup of coarse salt. Let the ice sit for about 30 minutes, then turn on the garbage disposal and the faucet and leave both on until all the ice and salt are gone. Use a scrub brush to clean the drain and baffle.
  • BATHROOM EXHAUST FAN - Turn the fan off. Remove the plastic exterior grille. Wipe or vacuum with a bristle brush to thoroughly remove dust. Carefully vacuum the fan housing and around the motor.
  • DRYER LINT SCREEN - Remove lint, then rinse with hot water till the screen runs clear and quickly through. Use mild soap if needed.  The flexible dryer duct should also be cleaned out to make sure the lint is not clogged. Make sure the outside vent is cleared.
  • FLOOR DRAIN - Remove debris and sand while wearing disposable gloves. Annually, have a floor cleaning expert to ‘snake’ or clear buildup from hair, laundry soap & fabric lent, and especially tree roots that block flow.
  • DEHUMIDIFIER FILTER - Wipe off with a paper towel, then rinse with hot water till water runs quickly through the screen.
  • SUMP PUMP - Test the flotation device by pouring enough water into the sump basin to trigger the pump, make sure the float moves freely and the sump pump activates when the water gets high enough. Let the pump remove most of the water and make sure it shuts off when the water is only a few inches deep. Repeat this test one more time. Make sure the intake screen or discharge pipe is not clogged. Purchase a battery-operated pump or have a generator to use if the pump were to stop due to power failure.
  • AC UNIT - Turn off. Use a leafblower to remove large debris. Spray water to clean off loose debris. Spray outside unit with coil cleaner and wait 15 minutes. Rinse the cleaner off with water.

***Every appliance model is different so make sure to research your item for the location and best maintenance practices.

DOWNLOAD OUR MAINTENANCE LIST 

As always, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is here to help. 

BEWARE of 10 Things That Can Start a House Fire.

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

The aftermath of a house garage burned to the ground. Fire Prevention week is Oct 4th- Oct 10th. Visit NFPA.org for more info.

Fall is in full swing so you know what that means? Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Patches, Apple picking, Apple Cider, Pumpkin or Cinnamon scented candles, and all your favorite things about Fall. It’s important to mention that it’s also when the risks for fire in your home can increase because of the upcoming Holiday season. Fire Prevention Week (FPW) is on October 4th – October 10th so we are going to share 10 Things that may cause something just as scary as any of your Halloween costumes this year. HOUSE FIRES.

  1. Candles – Candles can help create a cozy, mysterious, or romantic atmosphere but don’t let a fire kill the vibe. If you are going to light a candle, do not leave it unattended, put it away from anything flammable and keep it out of reach from your children and pets. We are pro-battery-powered candles. They might not smell Fall-ish but they look just as great!

  1. Space Heater – If you want to save costs from turning up the furnace and heating the whole house, a space heater might be a good way to do just that. Still, you will have to practice some safety measures. Make sure the wires are healthy, do not plug it into extension cords only directly into an outlet, place it at least 3ft away from anything flammable, do not put anything over the heater, and turn it off and unplug it every time it’s not in use.
  1. Heating Pad/ Blanket – There is something so great about sleeping with a heated blanket on a cold fall/winter night. Make sure that you connect it directly to an outlet. It’s important to inspect the wires. If it’s damaged, do not use it. Also, make sure that it’s connected properly to the blanket or pad. Turn off and unplug after every use.
  1. Electrical Cords – Please inspect the wires of all your electrical devices and appliances. Damaged cords can spark up. If you bought or inherited an antique appliance, we advise that you take it to a certified professional who can rewire it, possibly test it and certified for a UL certification (safety organization).
  1. Fireplaces – Chimneys and fireplaces are a magical thing but so are fire breathing dragons… do you want that in your house? Actually, I would because it’s cool but I definitely don’t want my house to catch on fire. Fireplaces in your home are great but please take safety measures. Before you light up the chimney this season, have a chimney inspection.
  1. Stove and Oven - This year’s FPW focus is on Kitchen Safety. According to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), “Cooking is the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.” Do not leave unattended and definitely set a timer for when food is ready or a reminder that you’re cooking.
  1. Sawdust – Is your husband overtaking your garage because he started a woodworking business during quarantine? Well, you better tell him that he needs to clean up all that sawdust because it’s actually flammable. This might help you keep a tidier and safer workshop.

  1. Dryer Lint – It is extremely important to clean your lint filter before and after you use your dryer. The heat from the dryer can spark lint on fire and lint is extremely flammable. Dryer vent ductwork should be cleaned out at least every year. Here’s an eye-widening fact from the S Fire Administation, “2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and can cause an average of 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.”
  1. Smoking – If you’re a smoker, please smoke cigars, cigarettes, or pipes outside of your home. It is going to be safer that way. Stay alert as you smoke and do not smoke while drowsy or sleepy. Make sure you completely put out the cigarettes in an ashtray or bucket with sand. If you are going to throw ashes away in the trash, put water over it and make sure the ashes are cool. For more safety information, download this Smokers Safety Sheet.
  1. Grill – The temperature is still nice enough to grill. Remember to always place your grill away from your home or garage. You should not put your grill in your garage or under any porch. Do not leave it unattended and always have a bucket of wire nearby. Store paper towels or cloth towels away from all hot surfaces.

As a restoration company, we clean up after many fire-related disasters and we see how it affects homes and families. We really encourage you to be alert when using any of these items.

Need help figuring out what to do with your home after a fire? Call your Insurance agent and then call us! We can help restore your home “Like it never even happened.”

HERE TO HELP.

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