Recent Posts

A Letter of Thankfulness

11/11/2019 (Permalink)

Pen in Hand on white surface with the words, "Thank you!" We are grateful for people who trust, recommend, and choose us to clean and restore lives.

Dear Readers,

It’s not unusual for Iowa to experience white soft powder falling from the sky in November as you may already know. Apparently, we are preparing for a LONG and COLD winter this year but instead of being grouchy or “Grinch-y”, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County can’t help but be grateful during this holiday seasons.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is not only a business that cleans and restores homes or buildings, but we also restore lives.

In honor of Thanksgiving, we want to take a moment to jot down a few things that we are grateful for…

  1. We are grateful for our families and friends.
  2. We are grateful for shelter and warm clothes.
  3. We are grateful for people who trust, recommend, and choose us to clean and restore lives.
  4. We are grateful for our employees that raise their hands each morning and say “I’ll go do that clean up!”, no matter what it involves.
  5. We are grateful for the wisdom and knowledge we gain being in this line of work.
  6. We are grateful for our owners who care about our well-being and who encourage us to grow.
  7. We are grateful for our first responders who protect our community.
  8. We are grateful for insurance agents and adjuster who care about restoring lives as much as we do.
  9. We are grateful for the turkey, potatoes, corn, gravy, biscuit, pies and all the other food we are going to be filling our stomachs with.
  10. We are grateful that we are here to experience all that life has to offer, even the tough stuff because we are just a little more grateful for the good.

We hope that you can find joy and thankfulness during this season. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sincerely,

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County.

5 Tips to Winterize your Home.

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

Large tree with red leaves, snow on the ground and a bench. Text that says "5 Tips to Winterize Home" is in the forefront. These tips will help avoid water damage and fire damage during the winter.

Let’s get ready to WINTEEER!!

It’s time to wrestle Iowa’s winter to the ground with a ton of jackets, gloves, beanies, boots, scarves, and wool thick socks. With all the layers of clothes that you and I will be wearing, there’s no way “Stone Cold Frost Bite” is going to beat us, but what about our homes? Let’s talk about how you can WINTERIZE your home to avoid water or fire damage. (Ok, I’ll stop it with the wrestling analogy.)

You can avoid Frozen Pipes or Chimney caught on Fire with these 5 Tips.

  1. Remove the hose from outdoor spigots and stow away for winter.
  2. Clean out your gutters and downspouts before winter.
  3. Apply caulk or weather stripping to windows that may have gaps.
  4. Replace the filter in your furnace.
  5. Check the health and cleanliness of your fireplace before igniting it for the first fire this season.

We hope this will help keep your home healthy from the cold weather. We also want to remind you that it’s a good idea to make sure you have a shovel and stock up on Ice Melt before a heavy snowfall.

Need Water Extraction or Fire Damage Cleanup?

Call us at 319.268.1521.

Click here for a Winterizing List from Lowes.

Prevent and Prepare for a Fire.

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

Lint and a yellow lighter on top of a white dryer that has burn marks on it. Lint is highly flammable. Clean out your dryer vent.

Fall is here and Winter is coming so we all know that we Iowan folks are going to use fire very soon whether it is to light up a fire pit or chimney to warm up during the cool nights or light the pumpkin latte scented candle to fill our home with seasonal cheer. We need to make sure we are being very careful in order to keep our precious home safe. We want to take a moment to give you 5 tips on how you can prevent a fire.

5 Ways You Can Prevent Fires.

  1. Make sure you keep your stove and oven clean from grease, food and flammable cardboard or paper. Never leave the food you are cooking unattended.
  2. Be cautious when lighting candles. Make sure candles are clear from curtains or anything really and always remember to blow out the candle when you are leaving the room.
  3. Clean out your dryer vent and throw the lint away. Do not collect lint in your laundry room. If an electrical issue does occur, the lint is highly flammable and it will make matters worse.
  4. Be cautious of your space heater. Do not plug it in a power strip that is not designed for a higher voltage. Always unplug the space heater before you leave the house or go to bed.
  5. Keep your cords in good shape. If you have a pet that has chewed some cords, please change them out right away because this can be extremely hazardous.

DO YOU HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN?

It’s not a joke. Escape plans or practicing your escape plan isn’t only for schools or businesses. The National Fire Protection Association has created a grid you can download and print to help you create an escape plan for you and your family. CLICK HERE to download.

Win a Fire Extinguisher from us!

During this Fire Prevention Week (Oct 6th – 0ct 12th), we are giving away a fire extinguisher for your home. There are three things you need to do in order to enter this giveaway. First, go to Facebook and LIKE our Fire Extinguisher post which will be the very top post. Second, Leave a comment! Lastly, Share the post. The last day to enter is Oct 12th, 2019 and the winner will be announced Wednesday, Oct 16th. Good luck!!

It’s raining… You might have sewer backup.

9/13/2019 (Permalink)

A car driver’s perspective of being on the road with dark clouds looming over, and droplets on the windshield. Sewer Backup may be more prevalent during heavy rains because of the overflow of water and sewer lines.

Nothing more gets you deeper into the Monday Blues like a gray sky and black puffy clouds looming over you. Add some crazy winds and a few branches flying across your car while you are driving to work and you are almost certain it’s going to be bad Monday. As work gets busy the superstition starts to fade away and now it seems like it’s going to be just a regular ol’ Monday, Right? WRONG. You go home and as you open your front door to your house, the foulest smell just punches you straight in the nose. It hurts so much you can’t help but start to tear…

Find out your Finished Basement is bubbling with Filthy water.

Back-up sewers are a nightmare for homeowners and renters. Not many are prepared for such a disaster. This week, as eastern Iowa received some severe thunderstorms and rain, many of our community members were affected by back-up sewer. Basements are in danger of getting wet with BLACK WATER possibly due to the home’s clogged pipes or maybe an overflow of the city’s pipelines or main sanitary system. Either way, it’s a disheartening situation especially if your basement is finished. 

What to do if you have Sewer Backup.

  • DO NOT TOUCH THE WATER. Keep your children and pets away from the dirty water. Black Water is extremely dangerous. It is unsanitary and can cause severe illness and possibly death if ingested.
  • CALL A RESTORATION COMPANY. A sewer back up is an emergency and needs to be dealt with immediately. We (SERVPRO) can help in such a disaster and we have 24/7 Emergency Services available.
  • CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY. Cleaning up after a sewage backup can be costly. Call your insurance agent TODAY and find out if your sewer lines are covered.

Prevent a sewer backup by regular inspection and maintenance on your pipes.

The City of Waverly recently sent out a mailing brochure to their community about not flushing F.R.O.G.s down the drains. This acronym stands for Fats, Rags, Oils, and Grease. Here’s a few more things not to put down your drains; coffee grounds, eggshells, wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, and diapers. The health of your drainage pipes can save you from sewer backup.

CALL US FOR WATER DAMAGE, FLOODING, OR SEWER BACKUP. WE ARE HERE TO HELP. 319.268.1521

September - Prepared, Not Scared

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

Orange and green clouds with droplets of water running down the image and large white text that reads “SERVPRO, NATIONAL PREP Make sure your family is ready for any type of disaster.

A disaster can be scary but this year, Ready.gov’s theme for National Preparedness month is PREPARED, NOT SCARED.

Huge fires, loud thunderstorms, rising waters can all be extremely frightening but being prepared for it can definitely lessen the fear. SERVPRO can clean up materials after a disaster but there are some things that we can never restore, like someone’s life. It’s important that you and your family talk over the possibility of a flood, fire, or extreme weather situation to protect what matters the most.

Here are 7 things you can do to prepare for a Disaster.

  1. Make a savings plan for when a disaster strike.
  2. Review your Insurance Coverage.
  3. Talk to your Insurance agent about Flood Insurance.
  4. Document your personal property.
  5. Create an evacuation plan for your home in case of a disaster and practice it with your family.
  6. Create a family emergency kit that includes contact info, medication, and supplies.
  7. Have an emergency communication plan.

We are available 24/7 for your Emergency Needs! In case of a severe weather disaster in the community, we have a Storm Response Team on standby. If you don’t have a plan, it’s not too late to start.

Visit ready.gov/september for more information on how you can prepare for all types of disasters.

How we remove odor with an OZONE GENERATOR?

8/21/2019 (Permalink)

Yellow warning Label with bold text on an overhead door. OZONE GENERATOR IN USE!! Warning Label in our warehouse where we are removing smoke odor from contents that belong to a property in Decorah, IA.

There are some odors that are not easily removed by a DIY method especially if it’s been affected by a terrible storm, water, or fire incident. Even so, cleaning it up yourself might not even be an option due to the quantity of content or a busy life. We are here to help. We can remove tough odors from homes, furniture, cherished memorabilia, jewelry, purses, and even clothes. What is our secret?

What is the secret to removing tough odors?

It’s no secret at all. We remove really tough odors with an OZONE GENERATOR. We have multiple ozone generators currently in our equipment warehouse. An ozone generator is a machine that splits apart oxygen to generate OZONE with electrical charges. Ozone is composed of 3 oxygen molecules, where the third molecule detaches itself and reattaches to other substances like tough odors. This happens naturally during a thunderstorm. The lighting splits oxygen in the air producing ozone which leaves a “fresh” scent. Ozone changes the chemistry of odors. So, in layman’s terms, BYE SMELL-LICIA!!

2 COMMON WAYS WE USE THE OZONE GENERATOR

  1. We take the ozone generator inside unoccupied homes. Most common places are inside a basement that may have experienced sewer backup or extreme mold damage. If a home has experienced fire damage, we will use the ozone generator to eliminate smoke odor.
  2. We use it inside our warehouse to remove odors from a large amount of content. This is especially true when the home or business may be in the reconstruction phase. We have a room with shelves to organize content and poles to hang clothes. We then put our ozone generator inside the room and tightly seal the room. We will always leave a warning sign that the ozone generator is in use and the reentry date/time.

The generator we use is a SERVPRO 771 Ozone generator. It is durable, has a built-in 12-hour timer and can cover up to 120,000 CU/FT. This ozone generator creates a large amount of ozone allowing for fast and efficient treatment.

WARNING! Ozone exposure can be harmful to the body.

Our team is highly trained in Cleaning and Restoration by the IICRC or Institute of Inspection and Restoration Certification in order to use this equipment properly. Such a tool is only beneficial if we are responsible and use it as it is intended. We make sure that the ozone generator is timed off at least 20 minutes before reentry and the room is aired out. If you would like to know more about ozone generators, click HERE.

If you have any questions or concerns about removing odor, please give us a call at 319.268.1521 or send us a message by clicking the chat button located on the bottom right of your screen.

Smoke Cleanup at South Tama Middle School

8/7/2019 (Permalink)

(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.

LOCALLY OWNED BUT WITH A ONE TEAM MINDSET.

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)

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 smokeybear.com.

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)

Finished Basement’s floor drain or pit is about to be “snaked” or cleared out.

OH NO!

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.

STAY AWAY FROM “BLACKWATER”!

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)

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

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!

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.