Recent Posts

October Continuing Education Course

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

Photo from our October Continuing Education Class October Continuing Education Class at Spencer Golf & Country Club.

On Friday October 29th SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes hosted continuing education courses at Spencer Golf & Country Club for 65 local insurance agents and adjustors. 

We were pleased to bring back Mr. Todd Davis as our presenter for the day. Mr. Davis comes from Peoria, IL where he owns and operates his own insurance agency. He brings years of presenting experience with SERVPRO and many stories of his time in the insurance industry. 

Each year SERVPRO offers two classes each Spring and Fall to insurance agents and adjustors who are needing continuing education credits. Last week our courses covered Fraud in the Insurance Industry and Essentials of Legal Liability and Insured Status. When attending these classes you will receive a complimentary lunch and refreshments throughout the day. 

If you are interested in attending any classes in the future please email kelly@SERVPROspencer.com with any questions or for more information. 

Fireplace Safety Tips

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Stormy & Blaze SERVPRO is available 24/7 for all of your Fire Damage needs 712-262-4379

Fireplaces might add the ambiance of warmth and tranquility to your home, but that cozy, crackling glow also conceals an ash pan of potential problems. Enjoying a warm, cozy fire requires a clean, safe fireplace. Here are some tips for keeping it that way. 

  • Make sure your damper is open before using your fireplace.
  • Don't forget to close it when you are done. 
  • If your damper is broken you will need to fix or replace it.
  • Keep flammable items away from your fireplace. 
  • Don't let children or animals play near a fire.
  • Use dry cured hardwoods like oak, elm, or maple. Manufactured logs and kindling are also an option.
  • Inspect the structure. Do a quick walk around looking for structural integrity both inside and out of the fireplace.
  • Check the flue. You should be able to see daylight when you look up.
  • Reduce creosote build-up. Creosote is tar-like, flaky stuff that can lead to chimney fires. 
  • Invest in glass doors. 
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Make sure your chimney is clean. 
  • Keep fireplace tools away from children.
  • Clean ashes after every burn. Ashes can stay hot for several days. Always dispose of them in a proper container. 
  • Have a smoke and carbon monoxide detector nearby.
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Have your chimney inspected each year before you start a fire.

Fireplace safety is key to keeping your home and family safe from fires while enjoying your fireplace. If your home has suffered from fire or soot damage call the professionals at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes. We off 24/7 Emergency Service. 

Emergency Ready Profile Advantage

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

Photo of our Emergency Ready Profile flyer It takes just a short time to complete the profile but could save long hours of time and effort if ever needed.

You can stay a step ahead of unexpected events by having a plan of action in place before you need it with SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Plan. 

When disaster strikes your business, having a plan in place ahead of time for what you will do can make all the difference in whether your business survives the event. The majority of businesses that come out stronger on the other side of an emergency are the ones that pre-planned for one.

That's where SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) can help give you, your employees and customers peace of mind. You can trust that whatever might happen to disrupt daily business will only be temporary.

With our Emergency Ready Plan, your business will be ale to minimize interruption because you'll know what to do and what to expect if any-sized disaster strikes. This is important to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business. 

Why Use the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan?

  • A no-cost assessment of your facility.
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valves and locations, priority areas and priority contact information. 
  • Easier insurance claims process.

If you would like more information about an ERP please contact kelly@SERVPROspencer.com or call the office at 712-262-4379

Emergency Ready Profile Advantage

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

Photo of our Emergency Ready Profile flyer It takes just a short time to complete the profile but could save long hours of time and effort if ever needed.

You can stay a step ahead of unexpected events by having a plan of action in place before you need it with SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Plan. 

When disaster strikes your business, having a plan in place ahead of time for what you will do can make all the difference in whether your business survives the event. The majority of businesses that come out stronger on the other side of an emergency are the ones that pre-planned for one.

That's where SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) can help give you, your employees and customers peace of mind. You can trust that whatever might happen to disrupt daily business will only be temporary.

With our Emergency Ready Plan, your business will be ale to minimize interruption because you'll know what to do and what to expect if any-sized disaster strikes. This is important to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business. 

Why Use the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan?

  • A no-cost assessment of your facility.
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valves and locations, priority areas and priority contact information. 
  • Easier insurance claims process.

If you would like more information about an ERP please contact kelly@SERVPROspencer.com or call the office at 712-262-4379

Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

Picture of an area rug Get your home ready for the holidays by scheduling carpet cleaning with SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes.

Your home's carpets get the most use and abuse of any surface in your home. You can keep your carpet looking good for years with the carpet cleaning services of SERVPRO. 

A professional carpet and upholstery cleaner can remove deep-seated dirt and grime to keep your carpet and rugs looking their best and extend their lifespan. Even the most high-quality items can become soiled with dust, dirt, pet hair and the daily traffic of family life. SERVPRO applies its more than 50 years of knowledge and experience in restoration to carpet and upholstery cleaning projects of all sizes. We use a variety of cleaning methods depending on your situation. Our goal is to clean carpets, rugs and upholstery to your satisfaction to restore them to their original appearance. 

Our professionals are trained to the highest standards and are backed by state-of-the-art equipment. Call 712-262-4379 to schedule an appointment. 

What To Do If Your Basement Floods

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

Picture of a flooded building SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is a trusted leader in the restoration industry 712-262-4379

Floods can be one of the most damaging events any homeowner can experience. Some of the most common sources of basement water damage include sump pump failure, sewer backup, foundation damage, and water pooling. Every time your basement floods, you risk not only property damage but dangerous mold growth. 

What To Do After Flooding

  • Shut off any power around the area. Never enter an area that is flooded while the power is still on. 
  • Wear protective gear. 
  • Get water out as soon as possible. 
  • Move damaged items out of the basement into a well-ventilated area. 
  • Rip up carpeting and get it out of the basement as soon as possible. 
  • Use dehumidifiers and fans to move air and discourage the growth of mold and mildew. Give the basement several days of drying time.
  • Wash all floors and walls to remove any dirt left behind. 
  • Call your insurance company. 

With major water damage, it is best to call a professional restoration company for help. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has the right equipment to identify what is wet and what needs to occur to get those materials dry before more costly damage occurs. If your items are not restored properly you face the risk of mold and mildew growth down the road. We have the experience, training, tools, and equipment to get the job done right, and will work with your insurance company for a stress free claims process. 

Backyard Fire Pit Safety

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

Photo of a bonfire Call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes for Fire or Smoke Damage Emergencies 712-262-4379

A backyard fire pit is a great way to sit back, relax, and stay warm at night, but it can also be dangerous and cause a lot of damage. Playing with fire is no joke. Before you light up a blaze, take some time to reacquaint yourself with the basics of backyard fire safety. 

Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips 

  • Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
  • Don't use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
  • Don't wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fitting clothing.
  • Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the fire.
  • Avoid using soft woods like pine or cedar, because they can pop and throw sparks.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of water nearby.
  • Dispose of ashes, once they have cooled put them in a metal container and pour water on them.
  • Never light your fire underneath the overhang of a building or beneath trees.
  • Keep the immediate area around the pit clear of yard waste and other flammable materials.
  • Keep all chairs at a safe distance from the fire pit.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. 
  • Before you light the kindling, check to see if there's a no-burn advisory in effect. 
  • Consider investing in a spark screen to help maintain the flame.
  • Invest in proper fire pit tools and top-quality fire pits that are designed with your safety in mind. 
  • Check with your insurance company as disclosure of your fire pit may be a requirement of your policy. 

Fire pits are a great way to unwind, spend time with friends and family, and create long lasting memories. Following these must-know safety tips will ease your worries and help prevent unwanted damage to you or your property. 

Fire Prevention Month

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

Photo of fire extinguisher and smoke alarm. Have Smoke or Fire Damage? Call (712) 262-4379

October has been designated as National Fire Prevention Month - a time when public service departments across America join forces to spread the word about fire safety. The goal is to raise fire safety awareness, and help ensure your home and family is protected. This is a perfect time to educate and talk with your whole family about fire safety. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), seven people die every day from home fires on average, taking more lives each year than all other natural disasters in the U.S. When it comes to keeping our families and homes safe, there are many steps we can take to prevent fires. 

Top Tips for Fire Safety 

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. 
  • Test smoke alarms every month and change the batteries every six months. 
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan at least twice a year. 
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP! Never go back inside for anything or anyone. 

7 Ways to Prepare for a Home Fire

  1. Install the right amount of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace batteries every six months.
  2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do if they hear one. 
  3. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home. 
  4. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another. 
  5. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell "Fire" to alert everyone that they must get out. 
  6. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  7. Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire. 

The Importance of Fire Extinguishers

Just how critical are fire extinguishers? Fire extinguishers are extremely important. In many cases they are the first line of defense and often contain or extinguish a fire, preventing costly damage or death. Fire extinguishers are often overlooked devices that can be a key component towards keeping you safe during a fire emergency situation. It's important to understand that with proper training and education, fire extinguishers can save lives and property. If you do not know how or when to use fire extinguishers contact your local fire department. 

5 Primary Types of Fire Extinguishers 

  • A - Used for ordinary materials like cloth, wood and paper.
  • B - Used for combustible and flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, oil and oil-based paints.
  • C - Used with electrical equipment like appliances, tools, or other equipment that is plugged in. 
  • D - For use with flammable metals.
  • K - For use with vegetable oils, animal oils and fats in cooking appliances. 

There are also multipurpose fire extinguishers that might be labeled "B-C" or "A-B-C." Most home improvement stores carry multipurpose fire extinguishers that cover Class A through Class C

Teach People How to Use a Fire Extinguisher 

When operating a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

Pull the pin, Hole the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side to side. 

Importance of Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Remember to check extinguishers for:

Easy access in an emergency

Be sure nothing is blocking or limiting your ability to reach it.

The recommended Pressure Level 

Many extinguishers have gauges that show when pressure is too high or too low.

Working Parts

Make sure the can, hoses and nozzles aren't damaged, dented, or rusted.

Cleanliness

Remove any dust, oil, or grease that might be on the outside of the extinguisher.

Guidelines and Instructions 

some extinguishers need to be shaken monthly, others need to be pressure tested every few years. 

Fires are a tragic occurrence that can have life-changing effects on many aspects of your family's lives. It's so important for everyone in your family to be aware of proper fire prevention and safety. While home fires are a risk for any family, taking the proper precautions and having a plan of action could be life-saving if the worst should ever happen.  In the unfortunate event that your home suffers a fire damage emergency SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is here for you with 24-Hour Emergency Service. Have any questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call us today - (712) 262-4379



Water Categories

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

Picture of a flooded hallway. We will respond quickly to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration needs no matter the size of the job.

The different categories of water refer to the source of the water damage and other potential contaminants, including what the water may come in contact with. Water cleanliness plays a major role in the risk that the water poses to anyone or anything that it comes in contact with. If your home or business has recently suffered water damage or a water related disaster, determining the classes of water loss is an important step in beginning water damage restoration. Identifying the classes of water loss enables restoration professionals to formulate a plan of action based on your home's specific needs. 

Not all water damage is created the same. While every time your property or belongings come in contact with water there is a potential risk for high costs associated to it, the cost could significantly vary depending on the category of water damage that your home or commercial property has sustained. Having an overflowing sink is not the same as having a sewage leak! 

  • Category 1 Water - Broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows, or appliance malfunctions that involve water supply lines. Category 1 is from a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as "clean water."
  • Category 2 Water - Toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure, and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines. This source is known as "grey water." Refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to.  This type carries microorganisms and nutrients of micro-organisms. 
  •  Category 3 Water - This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water, or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water. This is known as "black water" and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affect the indoor environment. 

Getting professional help immediately after the occurrence of water damage means reducing the cost of water clean-up and drying. The longer water damage sits unresolved, the worse the damage will be. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes team of professionals are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and will respond quickly to any restoration emergency, whether it is water, fire or mold. Call our office at (712) 262-4379

Common Causes of Water Damage

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

Large Loss Storm Team Unit with Equipment Call us for all of your water damage needs 712-262-4379. We are here for you 24/7

Life isn't possible without water, but for all of its life-giving benefits, water can also be very destructive force of nature. Several different circumstances can can be the cause for unwanted water in your home or business. From leaky pipes to faulty appliances, it is very important to recognize the potential water damage causes. According to the Insurance Information Institute each year, about one in 50 homeowners will file a water damage or freezing claim. This accounts for almost 24% of homeowners claims. 

Common Causes of Water Damage

Leaking/Burst Pipes 

Broken pipes are one of the leading causes of water damage in homes, and nearly every homeowner will experience a pipe burst or leak at some point. This can be caused by unregulated water pressure, temperature changes or general deterioration of old pipes. Uninsulated pipes can freeze in the winter, causing pipes to burst. 

How to Avoid Burst Pipes

  • Let your faucet drip.
  • Direct warm air to cold areas of your home.
  • Leave cabinet doors open.
  • Disconnect your hose from the outside faucet.
  • Make sure pipes are insulated. 
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air in.
  • Keep interior doors open.
  • Keep the garage door closed. 
  • Watch the thermostat 
  • Disconnect/Shut off water if you are going out of town. 

Faulty Household Appliances

No one could argue the great benefits we get from our appliances. Appliances make things easier and more comfortable for us. Though we rely so much upon them, they can also cause havoc to our home. When appliances become faulty, serious water damage can occur. We recommend regularly checking anything that has a water source running to it. 

  • Dishwasher
  • Washing Machine
  • Refrigerator 
  • Hot Water Heater

Plumbing Issues 

Bathroom sinks and drains can clog easily with dirt, grease, hair and other substances. Pipes break down, and structural damage is common. If clogs are not taken care of properly, health effects could occur. Clogged drains may cause damage to other areas of your home. Plumbing leaks can cause major damage to your home. A small leak hidden in the wall can slowly undermine your home or the years and promote mold and mildew growth. A large leak, on the other hand, can flood the home, destroy furniture, appliances, your most valuable belongings, and make your home temporarily uninhabitable. 

Toilet Overflows 

Toilet overflow is something that no one wants to think about, but when it happens it's far more than a slight inconvenience. Especially if the affected area is on an upper floor or filled with contaminated water. Contaminated water can be dangerous for you and your family's health. Even short-term exposure to the pathogens can cause health effects. Call a trusted professional that has the training and expertise to safely navigate the restoration process. 

Clogged Gutters 

As you tackle your spring or fall cleaning chores, be sure to add gutter cleaning to your list. This is an excellent way stay ahead of potential problems that may arise if they are clogged. Not thoroughly cleaning your gutters can cause:

  • Roof Leaks
  • Damage to Siding 
  • Gutter Damage 
  • Landscape Damage 
  • Foundation Damage 

HVAC Units

Your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system can cause extensive water damage if it is not maintained correctly. Common causes or HVAC water damage include:

  • Clogged Drain
  • Frozen Evaporator Coils 
  • Pipes That Are Not Connected Correctly
  • Dirty Condensate Pump
  • Cracked Drain Pan 
  • Low Refrigerant 
  • Condensation Buildup Within Ductwork
  • Not Changing Filters Regularly

Check your HVAC system regularly to detect early signs of a leak. If you see water pooling on the floor, you know that you have a leak or clog. Follow a regular maintenance schedule to reduce your overall energy costs by 5 to 10%. 

Sewage Backups

When sewer lines become obstructed, preventing wastewater from flowing through drainage pipes, blockage occurs. This "blackwater" is considered hazardous, as it contains contaminants and viruses that can present a risk of severe illness if exposed to humans or animals. Sewage backup should be addressed immediately. Knowing what causes sewer backups can help you prevent a stressful and hazardous situation in your home. 

Causes for a Sewer Backup

  • Clogs

Sewage can back up into your home when either your home's drain pipes or main sewer line becomes clogged. 

  • Tree Roots

Trees can grow long roots that intertwine with your sewer line. Roots can grow into a pipe and cause holes or crush the sewer line by growing around it. 

  • Damaged Sewer Lines 

Old pipes were made out of cast iron and clay piping which doesn't last long. Aging sewage systems can break down and crack, causing backups and flooded basements. 

  • Heavy Rainfall

Heavy rainfall can cause sewer backups. Large amounts of rain can overwhelm your city's sewer lines. If the public sewer cannot handle excess rainfall, the water can make its way into connected sewer lines. This can put your home at risk for backflows. 

How to Prevent a Sewage Backup 

  • Don't pour grease down the drain
  • Dispose of paper products properly
  • Install a new plastic pipe or cut tree roots
  • Install a backwater prevention valve. 
  • Sewage pump maintenance 

Call a professional restoration company to handle sewage backup. 

Tips to Mitigate the Damage Before the Restoration Team Arrives

  • Evacuate the flooded area. Sewage contaminates are hazardous to both humans and animals.
  • Turn off electrical power in the flooded area. 
  • Do not go near electrical devices.
  • Wear protective clothing. 
  • Shut off the valve to the main water line in your home.
  • Notify your insurance company.
  • Notify your sewer department. 
  • Do not use the water in your home until the problem is fixed. 
  • Open windows or doors to let fresh air flow and ventilate the area. 

Always remember water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination. 

We live and work in this community too; we might even be neighbors. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is close by and ready to respond to your flood or water damage emergency. We are proud to be a active member of the Spencer community and want to do our part to make our community the best it can be.