Recent Posts

How Heavy Rain Can Cause Sewer Backups

5/13/2022 (Permalink)

Flooded basement Even the driest homes experience water damage due to storms, call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes 712-262-4379

When there are heavy rains, an abundance of water and debris end up in municipal sanitary sewers, which can overload the sewer system. When there is more water than the sewer system can handle, excess water can flow backward into your home's sewer line and subsequently overflow into your basement. 

Growing tree roots may pose another danger to your sewer line after storms. Tree roots may grow quickly over the summer months due to the increase in rain. Tree roots can pierce the pipes as they search for nutrients found in sewage. Within the system, roots continue to grow, and may cause broken or blocked pipes. 

Signs of a Clogged Sewer Pipe 

  • Slow drainage in toilets, shower, or sinks
  • Bubbling noise as you flush toilets or shower/sink drains 
  • Another drain backs up when you flush toilets
  • Smell of sewage (rotten eggs or sulfur)
  • Lush, green spots in your yard above septic tank or broken pipes

Sewer backups should be considered an emergency since the water may contain viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that can cause serious illness. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has the specialized training and equipment to quickly and safely clean contaminants like sewage. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Commercial Water Damage Restoration

5/9/2022 (Permalink)

Picture of air movers and dehumidifiers in a hotel with water damage. Call us for all of your water damage needs 712-262-4379. We are here for you 24/7.

Why is immediate water remediation so important? Even small amounts of water can cause your property long term issues, such as mold, bacteria, allergens, and unpleasant odor if left unaddressed. Standing water can quickly spread through your entire building causing damage to upholstery, carpets, books, and even metal surfaces.

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes can respond quickly to your commercial water damage emergency regardless of the size or scope of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1960 SERVPRO Franchises and special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country to respond to large scale disasters. 

Drying a large commercial space requires special equipment. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes uses state-of-the-art water removal equipment and advanced drying techniques. We understand that every water damage event requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. 

Water Damage Restoration Process 

Step 1 - Emergency Contact

The restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will guide you through the crisis and may ask several questions to help us better understand the equipment and resources.

Step 2 - Inspection and Water Damage Assessment

We determine the scope of your water damage at this stage. We inspect and test to determine the extent of damage and how far the moisture has traveled to ensure proper and complete restoration.

Step 3 - Water Removal / Water Extraction

The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We use powerful pumps and vacuum units to quickly remove hundreds or thousands of gallons from your property, which helps prevent secondary water damage and mold growth.

Step 4 - Drying and Dehumidification

We use specialized equipment to remove the remaining water that is harder to access. Our Professionals will use room measurements, temperature, and relative humidity to determine the optimal number of air movers and dehumidifiers needed to dry your home or business.

Step 5 - Cleaning and Sanitizing

We clean all of the restorable items and structures damaged by the water. We are adept at cleaning contents using a number of techniques. Our professionals are trained to provide sanitizing treatments and to remove odors and deodorize your property.

Step 6 - Restoration

Restoration is the process of restoring your home or business to its pre-water damage condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall and installing new carpet, or may entail major repairs, such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

Getting professional help immediately after the occurrence of water damage means reducing the cost of water cleanup and drying. The longer the 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. 

Faster To Any Size Disaster

3/30/2022 (Permalink)

Picture of a burnt staircase. Call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes for Fire or Smoke Damage Emergencies 712-262-4379

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals 

  • Provide 24/7 Emergency Service
  • Highly trained fire and water restoration specialists 
  • Faster to any size disaster 
  • A trusted leader in the restoration industry with over 1,700 franchises
  • Preferred vendor for many national and local insurance companies

Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Today (712) 262-4379

The Fire Damage Restoration Process

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals know just how devastating a fire can be. Fire and water damage can leave your house uninhabitable. Our team is trained to clean and restore your home with as little disruption as possible. 

Fire Damage Restoration Process

Step 1: Emergency Contact 

Step 2: Inspection & Fire Damage Assessment

Step 3: Immediate Board-Up & Roof Tarp Service

Step 4: Water Removal & Drying 

Step 5: Removal of Smoke & Soot From All Surfaces 

Step 6: Cleaning & Repair 

Step 7: Restoration 

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect your property with care. 

Check Your Sump Pump This Spring

3/30/2022 (Permalink)

Picture of sump pump The cleanup and restoration begins with a phone call. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. Call 712-262-4379

The sump pump is a staple in the basements of many homes around the country. They help prevent water damage due to flooding, going to work automatically as they gather excess water in the pit (the sump) and then pump it out into the wastewater system or a well. 

Like your hot water heater and furnace, you should check your sump pump every 3-4 months to make sure it is in proper working order. Improperly operating sump pumps are typically the culprits for basement flooding. Luckily, testing your sump pump is easy and only takes a few minutes. 

Free your exterior drain pipe of any debris

Make sure that it's still directing water away from your foundation. Remove any debris that may have gathered in or around your pump to prevent it from clogging. 

Check the pumps power

Locate the two cords running to an outlet from your sump pump. One cord is the pump cord and the other float cord. The pump cord will be plugged into the back of the float cord. Unplug the two cords, and plug in the pump cord only. This should turn on the pump and you should hear the motor running. If it's working, re-connect the cords and plug them back in. 

Pour water in the pump pit

If your sump pump only has one cord, you can test it by slowly pouring 5 gallons of water into the pump pit. The float should rise and the pump should then turn on. Once the water gets pumped, make sure that the pump turns itself off. 

After testing your sump pump if it doesn't seem to be working properly, contact a local plumber immediately. Typically sump pumps last up to 10 years, but if it runs often, you may want to consider replacing it every 5-7 years. Sump pumps are only good in an emergency if they are in working order, so be sure to take the time and test your sump pump regularly. 

If you find yourself stuck in a bad position wondering how to clean up after water damage, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes. We are always "Here to Help."

April Continuing Education Courses Offered

3/1/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Continuing Education Course SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes offers Continuing Education Courses to Insurance Agents & Adjustors.

On Wednesday April 20th SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes will be offering our first continuing education event of 2022. The event will be held at The Shores at Five Island in Emmetsburg Iowa. 

We are pleased to bring back presenter Todd Davis. Todd travels from Peoria, IL where he owns and operates his own insurance agency. Mr. Davis has years of presenting experience with SERVPRO as well as many stories of his experience in the insurance industry. 

Our morning course will be a 4-hour course on Close Encounter Claims (water & mold). The course will begin at 8:00 AM and conclude at 12:00 PM. 

Our afternoon course will be a 3-hour course on 50 Shades of Ethics. The course will begin at 1:00 PM and conclude at 4:00 PM. 

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is pleased to offer these courses to Iowa insurance agents and adjusters. We offer a complimentary lunch and refreshments throughout the day. 

If you are interested in attending this course please email Kelly Brooks at Please RSVP by Wednesday April 6th. Please include your agency affiliation, license number, and contact information. 

We hope to see you there! 

What Is a Flood Cut?

3/1/2022 (Permalink)

Mold found behind drywall after a flood cut. Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes for all your water damage needs 712-262-4379.

What Is a Flood Cut?

A flood cut is a term used in water remediation and construction to describe the partial removal of drywall up to a certain height. 

Purpose of a Flood Cut

Flood cuts allow the removal of water damaged drywall, insulation and other building materials and allows access to framing and salvageable materials for drying. 

What Happens When Drywall Gets Wet?

Water damage on drywall can be much more than a cosmetic issue. When drywall is exposed to water, it becomes mushy and easily crumbles. Wet drywall makes an excellent breeding ground for mold and mildew and can harbor potentially hazardous strains. If you see any black mold on your water-damaged drywall, avoid contact with the material and call an expert immediately to remove the contaminated drywall. 

How Is a Flood Cut Measured?

When removing drywall the mitigation team wants to make sure that it tears out all of the damage. Professionals typically make a flood cut at least 12 inches above the spot where the water damage ends. This will ensure that any unseen damage is also removed. 

The best way to minimize the damage from a water loss is to promptly have the damage assessed and treated by a professional restoration company. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes offers 24/7 Emergency Service.

2021 Yearly Recap

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

Photo of franchise owner Ryan Brooks and a member of the Clay County Sheriff Department. From the entire team at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes, we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

The global pandemic has taught us several lessons about the world in which we live. 2021 has shown us that life can be completely unpredictable. While we never imagined our world being turned upside down beginning in the early months of 2020, it has shown us the importance of being adaptable and flexible. Over the last two years the pandemic altered our personal and professional lives, creating profound changes to the way we live and work. While the pandemic has undoubtedly been a wake-up call, it has taught us to appreciate the small things that truly count. With that said, we would like to take a few moments to reflect on the opportunities that we were able to be part of in 2021. 

Youth Sports 

Participation in sports gives kids an identity and purpose outside school or family. It gives them something to look forward to, work towards and achieve. Being part of a team offers a place to belong, a new family unit to work through the unique group dynamics of a team as well as feeling like part of a community. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is a proud supporter of youth baseball and soccer. Our owners Ryan and Kristine Brooks had the pleasure of coaching this year for the SERVPRO Cap League team. We would like to thank all of the parents, coaches and volunteers that put in so much of their time to make this happen for the children in our community as "It takes a village to raise a child."

Spencer Tailtwisters

The Spencer Tailtwisters provides funding to enrich sports programs with an emphasis on uniforms and gear, equipment needs, and improvements to athletic venues. Go Tigers! 

Home & Sports Show

March gets to be a busy time of year for our marketing department as they set up shop in Spirit Lake for the Home & Sports Show, and the Sioux Center Indoor Fair. It gives us a chance to meet prospective clients face to face and go over all of the services that we provide, showcase some of our state-of-the-art equipment, along with handing out some pretty cool green swag! 


Whatever the reason or celebration, large and small parades offer people and groups the opportunity to gain recognition, while also offering parade watchers some plain, good old-fashioned fun! The city of Spencer hit a significant milestone in 2021: the 150th Anniversary of its founding! Our neighbors just to the North held  Milford's 53rd Pioneer Days Celebration. Our team of employees and their kiddos had the opportunity to spread some cheer by throwing candy and t-shirts to parade-goers for both events. 

Fire Prevention Month 

With October being Fire Prevention Month, we put together a gift pack that consisted of a dual sensor smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. Each year we are happy to help out a family in need. If you haven’t already, make sure to find us on Facebook to participate in future drawings. 

Continuing Education Opportunity 

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes offers free continuing education (CE) credit opportunity for Iowa insurance agents and adjusters in the spring and fall. These classes are taught by Todd Davis an independent insurance agent with Davis Agency Insurance based in Peoria, Illinois. A huge thank you to The Shores at Five Island in Emmetsburg, and The Spencer Golf & Country Club for allowing us to host our 2021 courses in your beautiful establishments. 

Upper Des Moines 

As 2021 was coming to an end we wanted to do our part in making sure that every child is able to have a happy birthday and a present to make them smile on their special day. We were honored to donate to the Upper Des Moines Opportunity Kids Birthday Room. Thank you to the staff that helped us make this happen and for all that you do for the families in our community! 

First Responder Appreciation Golf Event 

In August we hosted our 2nd Annual First Responder Appreciation Golf Outing. We are honored to host this event locally to show our appreciation and gratitude for First Responders. We partnered with numerous businesses to give these local heroes the opportunity to have some fun while winning prizes and donations back to their respective departments. Thank you to our sponsors and Spencer Municipal Golf Course for making this event possible. 

We would like to thank all of our customers for letting us help you with all of your fire, water, mold, sewer backup, COVID sanitation, and commercial needs. We strive to provide you with the best experience possible. Cheers to good health, happiness, and prosperity in 2022 from the crew at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes. 

Emergency Ready Profile

1/3/2022 (Permalink)

Photo of ERP phone app. Contact SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes today to set up your ERP.

For business owners, emergency preparedness planning can make the difference between staying in business and losing everything. Having an Emergency Ready Profile is one of the easiest ways to help ensure your business survives and recovers. 

What is an Emergency Ready Profile?

  • A no cost assessment of your facility. 

This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost. 

  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency. 

It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects, but will save a lot of time if ever needed. 

  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster. 

This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action. 

  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. 

You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by. 

  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.

This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money. 

  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information. 

Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

If you're a commercial property owner/manager interested in having an ERP in place, give SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes a call, and ask for our marketing representative. 712-262-4379

Protect Your Home From Sewer Backup

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO cars with Blaze and Stormy. Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes 712-262-4379

Sewer backup can cause thousands of dollars in damage to floors, furniture, walls, electrical systems, and other belongings. Most homeowner and business insurance policies do not cover sewer backup unless specific sewer backup coverage is added to the policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Sewer backup coverage can be a highly beneficial financial protection for a home or business owner because it adds compensation for sewer backup damage.

Common Causes of Sewer Backups

Tree roots

Roots are the primary cause of a clogged sewer line, especially in older homes. Tree roots can travel far and pose risks to your home even if you don't have trees on your property. Drains located underground start to crack because as these heavy roots start to grow, they wrap around the sewer line and crush the pipes. Gurgling noises and slow-flowing drains are warning signs that tree roots are attacking your sewer system. 

Old Sewer Systems 

Sewer system backups can be caused from broken, collapsed, or cracked lines. Sewer pipes are usually made of PVC, cast iron, clay or Orangeburg. While these materials are durable they deteriorate over time and can cause corrosion that will eventually eat away at the pipes. 

Clogged Drains

Clogs in your home's drain pipes or the city's main sewer line can cause a sewage backup, pushing waste that should flow into the public sewer system back into your home. Hair, cooking grease, or other solid materials that wastewater pipes are not meant to handle. 

Why is Sewage Backup Dangerous?

Sewer backup can be a homeowner's worst nightmare and can be quite dangerous. Coming into contact with raw sewage is a threat, and it can also contaminate the air around you. Sewage backup lets off air-borne contaminants along with physical contaminants. Inhaling the vapors emitted by raw sewage can lead to gastroenteritis, which is commonly associated with fever, vomiting, cramping, and potentially death if left untreated. 

Common health concern with air-borne contamination caused by sewage is asthma. As sewage releases toxins or even infected dust, the risk of breathing in the toxins is very high. Once inhaled, the toxins can attack your upper respiratory system, causing shortness of breath. These fumes are often released into the air during the cleaning process, which is why it is so important to hire a professional. 

How to Prevent Sewage Backups 

  • Flush only toilet paper.
  • Keep sewer lines clear of tree roots.
  • Do not plant trees or bushes near sewer lines or laterals. 
  • Avoid putting fat, grease and oil down the drain. 
  • Line or replace old pipes.
  • Install a sewer backup valve.
  • Avoid connecting downspouts, French drains, sump pumps or flood control systems to the sanitary sewer line. 
  • Elevate the house drain.
  • Hire a professional to inspect your plumbing and sewer lines. 

What to Do if You Experience a Sewer Backup

Prompt cleanup of the affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and prevent mold and further damage. In the event of sewer backup, immediately arrange for the cleanup of your property. We are the water damage restoration specialists with specific training and expertise to safely restore your home or business. 

Are Space Heaters Safe?

12/23/2021 (Permalink)

Space heater that is on fire. SERVPRO of spencer & Iowa Great Lakes specializes in cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire.

When the temperature drops, portable space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home. But as reports of triggered house fires continue to grab headlines, many people are wondering: are portable heaters dangerous? No, unless yours is really old or you're using it incorrectly. According to the NFPA in 2018 heating equipment was the second-leading cause of U.S. home fires and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths. 

Space Heater Safety Tips 

  • Do not plug them into a power strip! Space heaters should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater. Because of the energy load and extra electrical current flow that a space heater generates, if it is plugged into a power strip, it could overheat and result in a fire. 
  • Choose a heater that has been tested, approved and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. 
  • Never leave the room while the space heater is on. 
  • If the heaters plugs, connections or power cord is frayed, damaged, worn or lose, do not use the space heater. 
  • Always read and follow the instructions and heed warning labels. 
  • Don't leave a space heater on while you are sleeping. 
  • Make sure you have functional smoke alarms throughout your  home. Test them regularly and change the batteries every six months. Fire extinguishers can be a small but important part of the home fire safety plan. They can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or suppressing it until the fire department arrives. 
  • Keep children and pets away from the space heater when it is plugged in. 
  • Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heating, no cooking, drying clothing or thawing frozen pipes. 
  • Position your space heaters so that they are at least three feet away from anything that can burn such as furniture, drapes, pillows, bedding and paper. 
  • Position space heaters on the floor where the surface is level and flat. 
  • Keep heaters away from high foot-traffic areas to reduce the chance of them being tripped over and/or otherwise being kicked over. 
  • Do not put space heaters on chairs, furniture, counters or tables where they will be unstable and/or could overheat and catch fire. 
  • Don not put anything over the top of a space heater. 
  • Unplug space heaters when not in use. 
  • Clean, inspect and maintain your space heater in good working order. 
  • Purchase a heater with tip-over protection, which means the space heater will automatically shut off if it is tipped over. 
  • Purchase a heater with overheat protection, which means the space heater will automatically shut off if its internal components get too hot. 
  • This should go without saying, but electricity and water are an even deadlier combination than orange juice and toothpaste. Keep your space heater out of bathrooms and kitchens. 

Space heaters should never be considered an adequate replacement for a HVAC unit, but moderate, safe use of a space heater can be a good, simple way to save money and stay warm. Always remember that if a fire breaks out, it can be tempting to douse the flames with water, but water should never be used to put out an electrical fire. Water conducts electricity, and dumping water on or near a power source can give you a severe electrical shock. It could even make the fire worse. Water can conduct the electricity to other parts of the room, running the risk of igniting other flammable objects nearby. If your home or business has suffered from fire or smoke damage call the professionals at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes for 24/7 emergency services.