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Clear or Contaminated...Do's and Don'ts for Your Water Restoration Needs

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

Water infiltrated this northwest Iowa business during a 2018 storm.  Water stood in hallways and offices.  After a 2018 storm, water stood in hallways and offices of this business, our team arrived that morning to take care of the mess.

As some of you may know, there are different categories of water damage.  Those range from clean water to grossly contaminated water.  The cleanup methods differ in many ways in the restoration industry and to many home or business owners they don't always understand why.  Here are a few tips in what to do and what not to do when working on cleaning after a water loss...

Damage from clean water

  • Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
  • Turn off circuit breakers from wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
  • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
  • Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
  • If using a vacuum to clean up water, make sure your vacuum is built to handle wet extraction.  
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are drooping from retained water.

Damage from contaminated water

  • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with the contaminated water or contents within the water.
  • Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
  • Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
  • Discard any food and personal hygiene products if exposed to the contaminated areas.

No matter how dirty the job, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is here to help.  As part of our duty to you, we will help break down the restoration process every step of the way for you to understand what we are doing and why.  

When water damages your home or business, don’t leave your property to chance...Call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes at 712-262-4379.

Come See Why Commercial Cleaning is our Specialty!

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

This northwest Iowa restaurant was in desperate need of carpets cleaned, here is a before and after photo. This northwest Iowa restaurant was in desperate need of carpets cleaned, here is a before and after photo.

As a business owner, you understand the importance of maintaining a clean and odor free office space, and how the appearance of your business reflects on your reputation. As everyday wear and tear gradually soils your office space, it can often be a challenge for your regular cleaner or janitorial staff to tackle the grime. Whether you have an odor problem, soiled carpet, or simply need general cleaning services, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is the leading restoration company in northwest Iowa.  

SERVPRO offers full service capabilities that deliver a deeper clean than your average cleaning company. With 24/7 service, we will respond quickly to assess the amount of soil and determine the best cleaning options.  In 2019 alone, our team helped well over 50 area businesses in northwest Iowa with situations ranging from mold remediation, fire restoration, carpet cleaning, deodorization, and biohazard cleanup.  

Here are the various commercial cleaning services we offer:

  • Air Ducts and HVAC
  • Biohazard and Sewage
  • Carpet and Upholstery
  • Drapes and Blinds
  • Ceilings, Walls, and Hard Floors
  • Odor Removal and Deodorization
  • Vandalism

If your local business is in need of cleaning services, call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes today at 712-262-4379. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”

Commercial water damage in Northwest Iowa

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

Drying equipment ducted to help dry this commercial ceiling. This commercial property suffered a major water loss and our team set up temporary ducts to help promote the drying process and prevent more damage.

All commercial buildings are unique in structure, design, and even materials used when constructing the building. One thing remains constant however, the potential for experiencing a water loss at some point.  Even small problems such as minor roof or pipe leaks can lead to major issues including mold growth. With prolonged damage like that the value of your commercial property can quick diminish.  Keep these things in mind when it comes to your commercial property...

  • Mold can grow quickly after water damage

After water has affected a particular area, mold can grow in as little as 24 – 48 hours. All excess water and humid conditions should be dried out right away to prevent the risk of mold growth.

  • Problems are not fixed if the water has dried out

Some property owners believe that once the water appears to have dried up that they are in the clear, that couldn't be farther from the truth.  While water evaporates in the area, moisture will accumulate in the walls, ceiling, and even the floor below, promoting mold growth. If this happens, it’s important to call in a mold prevention specialist to conduct a deep inspection to make sure that mold hasn’t already infected your property or spread to other areas.

  • Different building materials require different cleaning methods

The same restoration process cannot be used for all building materials. Hard surfaces like concrete can be salvaged but porous materials like cellulose insulation and flooring materials will need to be removed and replaced. 

  • Water extraction is the best step to restoring water damage

Excess water can lead to costly repairs in damaged material if not extracted immediately. Experienced water damage restoration professionals know exactly how to remove excess water in emergency situations like flooding or burst pipes. Hiring these specialists will also ensure that all hidden water damage and moisture from behind the walls and underneath the floors is also removed properly to prevent the risk of mold growth.

  • Time is everything

As soon as you find water damage on your property, taking the necessary steps right away can make a big difference in financial costs. Simply knowing the basic first steps during an emergency can prevent the damage from spreading further.

  • Contact your insurance company right away if you find water damage

It’s imperative to call your insurance company immediately after finding water damage. The insurance company can also guide you through the first steps to prevent the damage from spreading.

  • A separate flood insurance policy may also be necessary

Insurance companies may offer flood insurance in addition to your policy. This may be necessary especially if you live in a flood zone. In any case, contact your insurance provider to see if this is necessary for you and whether you need additional coverage.

  • Insurance policies may not cover all types of water damage

While some situations are covered by insurance policies, others are excluded for various reasons. For example, flood damage and mold growth are usually not a covered loss unless you have flood insurance on your policy, even then there may be some exclusions.  It is best to speak with your agent in advance to understand what your policy can and cannot do in the event of a loss.  

  • There are different types of water contamination

Most insurance professionals see water damage as different types of contamination: white water, grey water, and black water. The processes associated with cleaning up each type of damage will be different. Most business owners hope to see white water as the restoration process becomes much more cut and dry while black water means there will be a number of materials that must be disposed of due to contact with water that may contain contaminants such as pesticides, pathogens, and other toxigenics. 

  • Even small leaks can lead to big problems

If not checked frequently, minor plumbing leaks or appliance malfunctions can lead to big water damage problems. If the plumbing is not frequently maintained, your insurance company may not cover the cost of everyday wear and tear.

  • Roof leaks are a common source of water damage in commercial buildings

Even small leaks in a commercial roof can lead to major problems for the business. Even if it was just installed, a bad storm can still penetrate through the materials and spread damage. This is especially common with areas experiencing strong winds, freezing temperatures, and hail damage.

  • Building maintenance can prevent water damage disasters

It’s important to check or have the building checked on a frequent basis. These water damage preventative tasks should include gutter, roof, and plumbing inspections. You may also want to have a professional inspect the building once or twice each year to ensure everything is in proper condition.

Call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes for your Commercial Restoration Needs! 


The Water Restoration Process and What to Expect

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

Water stands in a hallway in a commercial building. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has a staff of trained restoration technicians ready to help you through your loss.

According to research provided by Water Damage Defense, 37% of U.S. Homeowners have suffered a water loss claim. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has the expertise and equipment to quickly restore your home or business after a water loss using a scientific approach to water removal and restoration.

Water Damage? Call Today 712-262-4379

Every water damage event is different which means each loss will require different equipment, but the process remains the same.  Read below for more understanding on the overall Water Restoration Process...

Step 1 - Emergency Contact

When you call, our representative will guide you through several questions that will help our team respond to your water emergency more quickly and efficiently. These questions allow us to bring the right equipment and the right amount of equipment to being the drying process as soon as possible preventing further damage including potential mold growth. 

Step 2 - Inspection and Water Damage Assessment

Upon arrival, our technicians will inspect the area of loss using equipment such as a hygrometer and a thermal camera to see how much of the area is truly affected and to see if a cause of loss can be located.  One of our technicians will also measure and map the area of loss to ensure we have adequate information for billing and to send to your insurance company if your loss is a covered claim.  

Step 3 - Water Removal / Water Extraction

Once the assessment is complete our team will extract the water using our extraction equipment.  In some cases there may be significant amounts of water removed from your flooring.  Our team will have the necessary equipment to extract from either carpet, laminate, or hardwood flooring.  

Step 4 - Drying and Dehumidification

Once the extraction is complete, our technicians will begin the drying process. They use less intrusive, scientific drying methods to draw the remaining water and moisture from your home or business with air movers and dehumidifiers. In the event of larger loss jobs, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has access to a trailer mounted desiccant which is able to remove up to 400-500 gallons of water per day from a 50,000 sq ft area.  

Step 5 - Cleaning and Sanitizing

Water damage also affects your belongings, like furniture, clothing, and personal items. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes can clean salvageable items using a number of specialized cleaning techniques. They also sanitize with antimicrobial treatments and remove odors using industrial air scrubbers, fogging equipment, and ozone machines.

Step 6 - Restoration

The last step is restoring your home or business back to its preloss condition. The restoration process can be relatively minor such as replacing drywall, or could include major reconstruction such as rebuilding entire rooms of your home or business.  To help ease your stress, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has a construction crew on staff that will put your home or business back together "Like it never even happened."

If disaster strikes your home or business call the team that is not only Faster to any Disaster, but also will make it look "Like it never even happened."  

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes


Commercial Water Loss: Another Step in Minimizing Your Risk of Loss

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Paint separating and running down a wall after a significant water loss. This commercial facility had a significant water loss in early 2019. Here you see paint running due to water saturating the wall so significantly.

This year commercial water losses have been a huge issue.  SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes assisted numerous businesses with a variety of water related losses summed up in the following categories...

5 Common Causes of Commercial Water Damage

  • Broken or damaged pipes.
  • Window or roof leaks.
  • Sewage backup.
  • Sprinkler malfunctions.
  • Storms and flooding.

Understanding your property layout can help reduce the potential for loss as well as minimize the loss itself when/if it occurs. Here are a few tips to help a business owner prevent water.

How to Prevent Commercial Water Damage

  • Know your property. Be aware of potential problems in your building. Has it experienced water damage before? What caused it?
  • Regularly inspect plumbing. Consider having a professional conduct regular maintenance on the plumbing system in your property.
  • Have an emergency plan. Have a plan laid out for each possibly disaster scenario that includes the location of water shut-offs.
  • Stay on top of repairs and upgrades. When things are outdated or break that could potentially cause a water problem, fix or replace them right away.
  • Keep your gutters clean. Make sure there are no blockages preventing water from properly draining away from the building.

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is also here to help.  Take advantage of our free Emergency Ready Profile and we will help compile the necessary information in the event of any disaster.  

If disaster strikes, call the team that's faster to any disaster! 


Why Closing Your Door Can Save You Thousands.

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

An electrical fire left a gaping hole in this homeowners drywall. A recent house fire left extensive damage to the home and contents.

The thought of a fire for a home or business owner can cause a slew of emotions. Closing doors is one small step that can help contain the extent of damage.

Closing doors prevents the fire from getting more oxygen and room to spread at a faster rate. Smoke and soot travel throughout the house and breathing in the smoke inhalation is very dangerous. Smoke contains many toxic products including carbon monoxide. It is important to close your bedroom door at night while you sleep. The alarms will go off and wake you up, giving you time to get out without the flames, toxic smoke, and high head temperatures in your room. Make sure you check the smoke detectors in your home often and have one close to where you sleep. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is here to help make your home or business "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO provides mitigation services for fire, smoke, and soot removal to personal belongings and the home structure.  To help keep your mind at ease during this stressful time, our team of professionals will inventory your belongings for disposal or cleaning in addition to scheduling the duct cleaning and possible reconstruction if necessary.  Our goal is to help you through every step of your fire restoration.  

If disaster strikes call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes at 712-262-4379.

Winter Storm Power Outage Tips

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

A winter blizzard bearing down on northwest Iowa. Last winter northwest Iowa saw its fair share of winter weather, predictions are showing more snowfall than previous years currently.

Winter storm season is quickly approaching here in northwest Iowa.  We wanted to take a moment and give you a list of things to think about if mother nature rears her ugly side. 

Following these steps during a power outage can help you stay safe.

When an outage happens unexpectedly it can:

  • Slow down or stop communications, water, and transportation.
  • Leaves many businesses unable to operate.
  • Causes food spoilage and water contamination.
  • Prevent use of medical devices, medical facilities do have backup generators that run during these situations.


  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary. Monitor temperatures with a thermometer.
  • Avoid getting carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stove-top or oven to heat your home.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if your home or business begins losing heat rapidly. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another that has heat to keep warm.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage.
  • Consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing a generator for your home. NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage or connect it to your home's electrical system.

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is here to help in the event you experience any damage to your home or business during a storm.

If disaster strikes call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes at 712-262-4379.

Fire...What Are Your Next Steps.

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

Heavy smoke and soot damage covers this northwest Iowa apartment complex. A spring fire left many residents looking for temporary residence due to the extent of the damage throughout the complex.

Like anyone, after a fire you want things to go back to normal but might not know what steps to take. The U.S. Fire Administration (FEMA) offers a guide for your next steps after a fire at

This is a general guide and dependent on the nature and extent of your damage, you may need to consider other steps specific to your situation and your needs. Fires can create an overwhelming to-do list, but SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is here to help guide you through the process.

As fire and water experts, we have seen many different scenarios and can assist you in ways that go above and beyond what you might expect from a fire restoration company. When you have questions or concerns during any part of the recovery process, our team has the insight and experience to answer your questions and guide you through this stressful time.

As stated by FEMA, “Anything you want to save or reuse will need to be carefully cleaned,” and this is where SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes comes in. We are here to help restore your home or business and your cherished belongings with care. We care about the families that experience home fires and have a sincere drive towards making fire damage “Like it never even happened.”

We are proud to serve our local communities:

  • Clay County
  • Dickinson County
  • Emmet County
  • Kossuth County
  • Lyon County
  • O'Brien County
  • Osceola County
  • Palo Alto County
  • Sioux County
  • And Southwest Minnesota

If disaster strikes call the team of SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes at 712-262-4379

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes Takes Time For Team Building

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

Photo of owner Ryan Brooks with his nylon "hat" preparing for team building battle. During a team building event, even Ryan was prepared for his challenge.

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes owners, Ryan & Kristine Brooks, believe the key to their long-term success is the strength of their team and having everyone invested in their philosophy of "Work Hard/Play Hard".  Recently the two led a team building activity to encourage the mindset that we will succeed as a team and to remind everyone that each member of our crew has a role in the success of the business.  

Ryan took his place as grill master and cooked up a meal fit for his army.  Afterwards the team broke out into smaller groups for a little friendly competition.  Teams competed in an architecture challenge with spaghetti noodles and marshmallows, a water bottle challenge with a nylon hat and tennis ball, and a friendly game of heads up.  The overall winners of the challenges were able to take an afternoon off on Ryan & Kristine.   

At the end of the day everyone had fun and was able to relax rather than focusing on the next job.  Ryan & Kristine felt that it was a great time to bring everyone together after the recent transition of ownership and ensuring that everyone remained on the same page and remained invested in the common goal.  

Mold Removal Versus Mold Remediation

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

A Mold Colony Growing Behind Trim-work This homeowner found multiple mold colonies growing behind their trim-work after multiple water damage events.

Since microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors, removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, due to the nature of mold growth there is simply no guarantee that the mold will be removed in its entirety.  

A qualified restoration company understands the science behind mold and mold growth. The team at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has the training and expertise to remediate the mold issue in your home or business. Mold remediation focuses on getting mold levels back to normal, natural levels.

Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process remains the same.  After the levels have reached a more natural level the key is to control the moisture levels and air flow in that area to prevent more colonies from growing.

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke, water, or mold damage event.

If you suspect mold in your home or business call the professionals at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes. 712-262-4379