Recent Water Damage Posts

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.

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

Tips on how to avoid water damage from Kitchen Appliances

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Water Spigot leaks into Split Level Home

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

Technician Work on Water Damage from Spigot Leak

The Phone Call

The last day of the week, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County got a call for a water damage job. The call was received in the office where our CEO Scott Demuth took down the name, address, and telephone number. He then called Evan, a production manager who was already out in the field, to go to the house to inspect the situation and set a plan of action on how to remove the water. Before Evan arrived at the customer’s home, Evan called the customer to introduce himself and give him an estimated time of arrival. The customer was running an errand so there was a quick coffee stop at our local cafe Sidecar.

The Arrival

After, Evan drove up to a nice neighborhood with newer homes. Evan parked his truck and brought in an iPad, a small black case that held a handheld moisture meter and a thermal hydrometer, and a moisture meter gun or a Hydrosensor. The customer just arrived and was waiting on the front porch. The customer led Evan inside the house. Gary (the customer) started entering the house as he started to talk about the situation in the lower level of his home but was interrupted by the barking of a small, cute dog. The customer warned Evan that his dog isn’t very friendly with strangers but Evan is not scared of no cute dog. He proceeded to introduce himself to Gary (the customer) and went to great details of what he will be doing there.

The Intro

“Hi Gary, I’m Evan, a production manager from SERVPRO. We just spoke a moment ago. I heard you have a water situation in the basement caused possibly by a water spigot. I’m going to go over what to expect by my visit. I will inspect the damage and then after that, I have a few documents that I will need you to sign before we can get started with our services. I have a production team on their way with the equipment so they should be here shortly. Can you show me the location of the water damage?”

The Situation

Gary lead Evan downstairs to a walkout basement. They walked towards a corner by sliding doors leading to the backyard. There was a wall that connected two rooms. On the other side of the room was a guest bedroom.  The water seems to have stemmed from that corner. Gary let us know that there’s a spigot outside that seems to be right in between this wall. Gary and his wife had recently started using the spigot to water their outside plants. The other day, his wife went down to the lower level to work on a craft project when she felt the squish of the water by the table near that corner. Gary let us know that there will be a plumber to check it on Monday. Evan took out his handy dandy Hydrosensor and started poking it to the carpet. It beeped loudly, letting Evan know that it was definitely wet. He then walked further from the corner until the beeping didn’t occur to determine how far the affected area was. He then went to the guest bedroom and repeated the same thing. Luckily, the affected area wasn’t too large. He then pulled up the carpet from the corner and noticed a small growth of mold spores. The carpet pad that lay underneath the carpet had a moisture barrier on the top but it did little to prevent the water that came from below.

The Plan

Evan told him that we will start by extracting any water from the carpet and carpet pad. Then, we will cut out the affected carpet pad which can later be replaced. Then, we will spray the carpet and floors with an antibacterial to prevent odor-causing bacteria. The team will also cut out about 15” of drywall which is referred to as a flood cut. This will allow easy access to the spigot for the plumbers and to avoid further growth of bacteria caused by moisture. We will then pull out the affected baseboard and tack strip that have been warped by the moisture. After, we will set up a dehumidifier and air dryers that are strategically placed to dry up the moisture.

The Documents

Evan then read through documents that needed to be signed before the plan can be started. He thoroughly read each document, clarifying any concerns or questions that Gary had. These documents include an Authorization to Perform and Direction of Payment Form, Customer Information Form, and Customer Equipment Responsibility Form. This took only about 10-12 minutes to complete. During that time, Chris our technician arrived with the truck.

Plan into Action

Our other technicians were held back at other jobs but Evan was able to help Chris get the process started. The team did everything as planned while Gary took a break upstairs with the confidence and trust that SERVPRO will make it “Like it never even happened.”

CALL US AT (319) 268-1521

If you have water damage caused by a leak, be confident that we will be there as soon as we can to prevent further damage and help restore your home. Water damage that is left ignored may cause further problems to your home. We have a hard-working team that gets the job done so you won’t have to!

CHECK OUT OUR PRODUCTION TEAM IN ACTION.

Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Home

3/24/2019 (Permalink)

It pays to take your time and do your research when making big purchases.

Buying a home is no small purchase. In fact, most people spend 20 years paying off their home. That’s why we want you to be well-informed as you make a decision of a lifetime.

Beware of Flood Zones

The first item you should focus on is location. Is the home in a flood zone? Are there any bodies of water nearby that could threaten your home? Particularly, if you’re moving to a new area, it’s even more important to do your own research on the area to ensure you’re aware of any potential problems.

Look for Water-Related Problems

Next, you should be aware of the ground the home sits on. Will water go toward the house or away? The answer should always be away. Be particularly cautious if the home is located at the bottom of a hill. The last thing you want is for your investment to become a money pit as soon as it starts raining. Landscaping can a quick fix in some cases, but not always.

Get a Second Opinion from an Expert

We highly recommend hiring a home inspector to give you closure that the home is structurally sound and won’t give you problems. The most expensive thing to renovate in a home is everything behind the walls (bathrooms and kitchens are the worst cost-wise). So even if the floors have been redone and the cabinets have been replaced, don’t be too quick in making a decision.

What You Need to Know About Sewer Backup Coverage

2/18/2019 (Permalink)

Be your own advocate and ask your agent about your sewer backup coverage today.

Insurance can be a tricky concept to understand. There’s just so much to know that it’s no surprise that we miss details here and there. One detail we want you to be aware of is your policy regarding sewer backup. Every insurance policy is different in this matter, and we strongly recommend consulting with your agent to ensure you are covered.

It's Becoming More Common

Sewer backup happens all too often when it’s least expected. In fact, sewer backups are increasing at an annual rate of 3%. That’s an alarming percentage because it’s happening in homes that haven’t encountered it for 30 plus years, and it’s also happening in homes that are fairly new. The fact is no discrimination is involved when life decides to throw something unexpected your way.

Protect Your Home 

One way you can protect your home is to add a sewer backup endorsement to your policy. It’ll only cost you $40 to $250 annually depending on your home and location, and it covers thousands of dollars more than the included coverage. Please note this is different from water backup coverage.

It is Your Responsibility

According to Insurance Information Institute, “Most homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—that is, the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main (which is usually located in the street) and the building.”

Causes of Increased Sewer Backups:

  • Aging sewer lines
  • Combined pipelines
  • Tree roots
  • Sanitary main blockages

Let's Talk Cost

A typical sewer backup can cost anywhere from $500 to over $5,000 in repairs and cleaning. It is heavily dependent on whether or not the sewer backup occurs in a finished basement or not.

Start the Conversation

 We hope this information encourages you to spark up a conversation with your agent because it’s easily overlooked. Even one of our employees found out she didn’t have coverage when she joined our team, but now she’s all set with the additional coverage.

Additional Sources: https://budgeting.thenest.com/

Ultrasonic Cleaner to the Rescue

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

The Ultrasonic Cleaner is like no other piece of equipment.

Our brand-new toy—I mean equipment—keeps impressing us even after the holidays. The Ultrasonic Cleaner is a unique machine that is used to restore fire and water damaged items.

With the help of sound waves, the Ultrasonic Cleaner is able to create millions of tiny vapor bubbles that instantaneously implode. This collection of energy is then able to produce the tremendous energy needed for the most efficient cleaning process. The time-saving capabilities have been jaw-dropping.

Without the owner’s manual, we’d probably bypass the science behind the entire process altogether and settle for the simpler explanation: it’s magic.

If you want to truly be impressed, take a peek at all of the items this machine can restore:

  • Electronics – televisions, VCR, DVD, telephones
  • Antiques – silver, crystal, metals, finished wood, ceramics
  • Specialty – delicate or intricate objects
  • Kitchen Appliances – coffee machines, toasters, food processors
  • Computer – monitors, keyboards, CPU’s, printers

When you find yourself in a disaster, don’t be quick to throw away your belongings. Odds are, we can bring them back to their previous state. Give us a call at (319) 268-1521.

Drying water out behind items with the Injectidry System.

9/19/2018 (Permalink)

Drying out behind wet cabinets after a rainstorm.

Time is of the essence when drying out the areas you can’t see or easily get to after a heavy rain storm floods a basement in Waterloo, Iowa. When water gets and sits behind cabinets it creates the perfect conditions for fungi to grow as well as deterioration of wood materials!

The Injectidry system is the way to disperse and circulate air BEHIND things to dry it out. It utilizes a regular air mover by attaching the large “lego look-alike” piece to the front and adding as many hoses as necessary to spread the air around. The hoses focus the air to specific cavities that are wet. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County drilled holes in the kickplate area of the cabinets to permit the hoses to be positioned for directional air distribution.

The finished basement was restored by the use of the Injectidry system instead of demolished due to hidden water.

New Skills to Better Serve YOU

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Here are some of the many certificates received by our versatile technicians.

We are proud to share that some of our technicians have undergone training recently and are now certified in new areas! 

Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT)

Jake Barkow, Devon Burgess, and Nicole Webb received certificates as Water Damage Restoration Technicians (WRT). The training was a 3-day process where they took the time to learn how to handle different losses.

For instance, in a water loss, they first have to determine what category the water belongs to. The different categories indicate the level of contamination the water has been exposed to.

  • Category 1 – Water comes from a clean source and does not pose a substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.
  • Category 2 – Water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.
  • Category 3 – Water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents.

Crazy right? Who would’ve thought there were different categories for water.

Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT)

Brett Armfield, Lana Bruhn, Autumn Kelly, and Nicole Webb all received a certificate as a Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT). Extra snaps and claps go to Nicole for doing both certifications back-to-back!

Once a technician receives additional training, they are now more versatile and able to take on more responsibilities and leadership roles. For example, our current Project Managers started out as technicians and kept receiving training. With time and mentoring, they both landed leadership roles at SERVPRO in Black Hawk County.

Things to do Before You Leave for Vacation

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

Rest easy soaking up the sun on a beach and know your house is a little safer while you're away.

Let’s be honest, a lot of terrible things can happen to your home, and you have 100% no control over it. A pipe bursts. A heavy rain comes. Whatever it may be, you are not in control.

There is also a small list of things you DO have control over, and you should take advantage of it before leaving for vacation this year. Follow these steps and rest easy while soaking up the sun on a beach.

1. Turn off the main water supply.

Now, why would you want to do that? Well, if we’re thinking of the worst-case scenario, you’ll probably have a leaking supply line the minute you step out the door for your week-long vacation. Greaaaat. Just what you wanted. But wait. If you shut off the water supply, the amount of water leaking is significantly lower. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes to do.

2. Check the sump pump.

Another scary thought is sump pump failure. That’s why you should check it before departing. Try dumping a bucket of water in and wait. Your sump pump should turn on and everything should be hunky dory. But if it doesn’t turn on, that’s a red flag.

3. Unplug Electronics.

Just do yourself a favor and unplug everything that isn’t plugged into a surge protector—as long as it’s switched off. Even then, unplug the surge protector if you want to be extra careful with unexpected power surges. You’ll also save money by doing this, so that’s neat.

4. Don’t turn your air off completely.

As tempting as it may be to save some money by turning off your air while away, try to resist. The reason you want to keep your air on is that your home needs air circulation; otherwise, heat can build up and effect wood floors and other surfaces alike. Setting your thermostat to 85 degrees will keep your electronics cool and will save you money too. You’re basically preventing your house from becoming a giant oven.

5. Check your gutters.

Downspouts should release water at least 10 ft. away from your house. If this is not the case for you, maybe an extension is in order.

6. Have a trusted friend check on your house, even if you don’t have any pets.

Nothing beats having a human being keep an eye on your home while away. Feel free to give specific instructions like, “Go check our basement to make sure there is no water in the furnace room.” They’ll care as much as you care, so be clear as to what you’re concerned about.

Keeping your home safe is our top priority, so please, take precautions before leaving for vacay and have a wonderful time.

Sources:

https://www.familyhandyman.com/

https://www.popularmechanics.com/

Water Extraction versus Evaporation

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Weighted extraction "Ride On"

There are two ways that excess water can be removed from your property after a water damage loss, Extraction and Evaporation.  A much larger volume of water can be removed by extraction in a much shorter period of time. 

It is a pretty simply process to test, pour a few ounces of water on the counter top in two different areas.  Set up a fan blowing across one area to utilize air movement to speed up evaporation.  Use a sponge or dry cloth on the other area.  Needless to say, this will prove the point.  The same is true during a water damage loss to your home or business.

At SERVPRO of Black Hawk County we utilize both methods to get your property dried up as quickly as possible.

For extraction, we use several pieces of equipment including hard floor wands and carpet extraction machines, including this "ride on" weighted model pictured.  Strong suction and downward pressure allows us to get water out of carpet and pad. This process is the most effective on free or surface water.

Once the water has been soaked into other materials such as, hardwood floors, drywall or wood, extraction becomes less effective and we concentrate on evaporation.

Evaporation uses a combination of air movement, dehumidification and sometimes heat to remove water that is bound or soaked into hard to dry materials.

Whether you have excessive surface water immediately after a storm or other water event or you have water that has become bound in building materials, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has the tools and knowledge to make it "Like it never even happened."  

Content and picture provided by SERVPRO of Dubuque, 2017.

Freeze Drying can save your valuable documents and important papers when they have been damaged by water!

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO'S Large Scale Vacuum Freeze Drying Document Chamber.

SERVPRO Strong! That’s what I call our relationship with the rest of the SERVPRO franchises! We are unique in the fact that we all work together, sharing resources to better serve you!

One resource is large scale and portable document drying chambers. SERVPRO of Dubuque, Iowa offers a document restoration service.  It’s true other restoration companies have this service, so what is the difference?

For starters, they have one of the only HIPAA certified document response crews in the area.  If an event causes documents to get wet, response time is critical to stabilize the documents before they begin to degrade.  Once the documents are frozen to stabilize them, we have plenty of time to discuss restoration options with the client.

The most effective method of restoration is vacuum freeze drying.  The documents are brought under extreme vacuum to very low temperatures and sublimation will remove the moisture directly into a gas form.

SERVPRO of Dubuque has a large freeze drying chamber located in the Midwest, as well as access to one of the only mobile drying chambers in the country.  The mobile unit can be delivered to a client’s building and the restoration can take place there.  They are one of the only restoration companies that can accommodate this request.

Here is a list of items that can be salvaged using vacuum freeze drying:

  • Books and manuscripts: coated papers, maps, parchment, pulp paper, drafting linens, text books, reference books, manuals
  • Business/Personal records and documents: legal/bank/company files, patient and medical records, x-rays, engineering and architectural plans and drawings, catalogues, reference materials, certificates, contracts, passports, transcripts, tax records
  • Historical and collectible items: archival documents, rare documents, maps, stamp collections, money collections
  • Keepsakes: photographs, leather and hide items, newspaper articles, recipe books, cards, scrapbooks, baby books, wedding albums, yearbooks, baskets, awards & achievements
  • Textiles: embroidery and needlework, silks, tapestries, flags
  • Artwork: acrylic paintings, linen drawings, water colors.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County utilizes these services. From a single file cabinet filled with personal financial documents to a warehouse full of documents, it can all be handled. 

When you have SERVPRO of Black Hawk County cleaning and restoring your home or business, you will have a multitude of resources available to you! That’s the SERVPRO strong way!

Content provided by SERVPRO of Dubuque, 2017.

Its The Water You Don't See That Causes The Most Damage! SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is available 24/7 for your water damage issues.

5/2/2017 (Permalink)

Standing water in the kitchen and flowing into the living area after a broken pipe flooded this home.

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Black Hawk County arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – SERVPRO OF Black Hawk County

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Black Hawk County

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.