Recent Storm Damage Posts

Winter Weather Travel Precautions

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Winter Weather Travel Precautions Follow these steps to ensure your home doesn't become a winter wonderland.

When you think of winter weather travel you normally think about road conditions and the extended forecast to make sure there are no disruptions in travel.  The thing that some people forget is to make sure your home is also safe during the cold snaps.  

Frozen pipes are the leading cause of water loss during the winter months and they can happen for any number of reasons such as hoses left on the outside faucet, furnace failure, or improperly insulate pipes.  Whatever the reason, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is here to help minimize the interruption to your daily life "like it never even happened." 

Whether your winter travels take you away for an evening, a weekend, or longer you should make sure your home is ready for the elements.  The following tips will help you prepare for the midwest winter. 

  1. Check the insulation in and around your pipes.  If your home suffers frequently from frozen pipes it may be time to insulate either around the pipes themselves or within the wall cavity.  If you question the amount of insulation within a wall cavity contact your local plumber to see if they have the equipment necessary to look into the wall cavity with minimal damage to your home.  If the insulation is the issue to your frozen pipes not only will this help you from having the frozen pipes but it will also reduce your overall heating costs. 
  2. Open cabinet doors.  By opening cabinet doors you are allowing equal airflow to reach the pipes under these cabinets which will transfer warmer air to these otherwise cool areas. 
  3. Allow indoor faucets to slowly drip.  This can be tricky to do and can be a cause for concern for some thinking their bill will be higher.  The benefit to allowing your pipes to drip is allowing for constant movement within the pipes to reduce the opportunity for freezing. 
  4. Have a house sitter. Many homeowners reduce the temperature in their homes when they are away for an extended period of time.  When doing this make sure you have a friend or neighbor lined up to check on your home periodically to make sure the furnace did not stop running or the temperatures are dipping too low.

 The holidays are meant to be a happy time, reduce the chances for the holiday blues by taking these extra steps when leaving your home during the winter.  

Remember, if disaster strikes call the professionals at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes at 712-262-4379.

When Storms or Floods hit, SERVPRO is ready!

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage When Storms or Floods hit, SERVPRO is ready! Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage!

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit your area, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today... 712-262-4379

Understanding the Timeline of Water Damage

6/27/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Understanding the Timeline of Water Damage Water Damage Timeline

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

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes 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 Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes  712-262-4379

Here is a Typical Timeline for Water Damage:

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 Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes 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.
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Choosing a sump pump that lasts!

4/25/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Choosing a sump pump that lasts! Flooded sump pump.

Besides a great insurance policy, the next best thing that will defend your home against flooding is a sump pump. Water is collected from around the foundation of your home through a drainage system, and runs into a basin/pit, where a sump pump will pump out the water up and away from your home. 

Types of Pumps

When you head over to Bomgaars or Menards (or your favorite plumbing supply store) you will be able to choose a submersible or column (pedestal) sump pump. Submersible pumps require larger pit because they are below the water. The benefit to this type of sump pump is that the motor cools quickly under the water and the noise level is reduced when it’s in operation. Pedestal sump pumps are great for small or narrow basin/pit. They tend to last longer because the motor is mounted above water. They also consume less power. The downfall of this type of pump is that it pumps less water during a flood. 

Types of Floats

With floats, you will have three options from which to choose: a tethered, vertical and electronic float switch. The tethered option is great for deep basins/pits. The extra length extends the period of time between cycles and allows the pump to cool off more efficiently. Vertical switches are better for narrow and shallow basins and will kick off the pump more often. Electronic switches are more compact and require a small pump pit. We recommend that you don’t use an electronic switch if your pump receives water from a wash sink or clothes washer to prevent soap scum from making contact with the switch.


More horsepower means that water is pumped out more quickly, but it also requires more power consumption. If your pit fills quickly – choose more horse power – or consider making your pit larger.

Check Valves

A check valve prevents water from the discharge pipe to fall back into the pit. If a check valve is not installed the sump pump may re-pump discharged water and may shorten the life of the pump.


We recommend that you install a backup pump that uses batteries to make sure water is pumped out during a power outage or when the main pump fails.

And as always, we recommend that you ensure your sump pump is working properly throughout the year. Test and maintain it monthly.

For professional fire, water, and mold restoration services, contact SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes today at 712-262-4379.

High standards to help ensure excellent service

4/19/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage High standards to help ensure excellent service Chris recently attended a three-day seminar covering Water Damage Restoration (WRT) through the IICRC.

Chris recently attended a three-day seminar covering Water Damage Restoration (WRT) through the IICRC in Ft. Dodge. He learned about the newest techniques in extraction, basic containment and basic mold procedures. He was able to bring this knowledge back to our crew at SERVPRO® of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes to give us a better concept of water damage, its effects and techniques for drying of structures. It will give us all a better understanding of the procedures necessary to deal with water losses and sewer backflows.

We dare you to ask Chris about psychrometric readings! Honestly, it’s way over my head – but he has a passion for the science behind drying. He even has a fancy little chart that you may see him carrying around to various job sites. There apparently is an entire science of psychrometry, things called wet bulb, dry bulb, relative and absolute humidity – WHO KNEW!? I just thought my hair didn’t like humid days, and my skin hates low-humidity days. But Chris can take the theory of psychrometry and apply it to any water-loss job to make sure we are being efficient in our drying processes. After he understands how the climate in your home reads, he can then use it to understand what drying strategies can be best used. And, yes there are more than one way to dry a building. He will look for the most efficient and cost-effective strategy for each job.

We can honestly say, yes, sometimes SERVPRO isn’t the cheapest option for you – but you can be sure we do a darn good job and do it the RIGHT way the first time when you experience a water-loss. Our owners expect continuing education for all our staff and allow us to use that knowledge to bring the best service to you!

As one of the nation's leading providers of restoration services, SERVPRO® has developed the most extensive performance guidelines in the industry. These guidelines assure you receive the best restoration service in the industry when you call 712-262-4379.

Common Holes in Homeowners Insurance Coverage

4/11/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Common Holes in Homeowners Insurance Coverage Call your insurance agent to find out what your policy actually covers.

There are many times when our SERVPRO crew is called to a flooded basement. They begin to make the assessment of damage and then call the homeowner’s insurance provider only to find out that the homeowner did not carry the correct insurance to cover a water-loss in the basement. You can imagine what that might feel like when you have $5,000-$25,000 worth of water damage staring you in the face.

It is disheartening to know the damage isn’t covered and a homeowner has become liable for the cost incurred to get their house back to livable conditions. It’s our goal with this post to educate homeowners. We want you to know what you need to be asking your insurance agent when you set up your home’s insurance policy.

Here's the main take-away: 

Get a Water Back Up and Sump Pump Insurance Rider

Action item: Call your insurance agent to find out what your policy actually covers and get the rider for sump pumps and water back up if you don't already have it.

Reason #1: It’s not included in a standard homeowners insurance policy.

Reason #2: It’s fairly inexpensive.

Reason #3: Water backups can happen to anyone.

Reason #4: It qualifies you for Loss of Use coverage if your home is uninhabitable.

Homeowners many times assume that if their sump pump backs up the damages will be covered under the “Sewer and Drain Back-Up” portion of their policy. But most sump pump failure is NOT covered under regular homeowners’ insurance policies UNLESS you specifically add the appropriate rider. This rider covers you if the sump pump stops working due to a power outage, and may or may not provide coverage for mechanical failures.

The cost of this rider is typically around $100 a year and is well worth the additional coverage it provides in security.

Even if you add a sump pump rider to your insurance policy, you will need to take extra precautions to ensure that you will be covered if the pump fails and results in water damage. When you make a homeowners insurance claim, the adjuster is required to do his or her due diligence, and that means that your sump pump will be inspected. If it is not found to be in good working order or if it’s clogged with debris because if improper maintenance, your claim could be denied. Not only that, but you could face an increase to your insurance premium.

Depending on your insurance company and the circumstances surrounding the flooding, the dollar amount that is covered in your situation can be low. The damage to your property and the resulting work to fix it may not be fully covered under your policy.

Every homeowner wants peace of mind when it comes to protecting their property and their family from water damage. If you aren’t sure if you are covered, please call and ask your agent today. Spring is surely on its way and we would hate to see you start your summer with bills racking up if you were to experience a sump pump failure or water back up. 

Tips to Help Ease Threat of Frozen Pipes

12/28/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Tips to Help Ease Threat of Frozen Pipes If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, leave the heat on and set to a temperature no lower than 65° F.

Thanks to the Spencer Daily Reporter for including us in their latest article about protecting your home during the winter months. 

Here are some additional tips from SERVPRO:

  • Insulate all the exposed pipes in your home. Especially where they may be unheated, such as the basement, attic, garage, crawl space, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
  • Keep the temperature the same during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower temperatures in the evening, you can prevent a costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • Close any inside values that supply water outdoors and open the outside value to properly drain excess water that may be in the pipes.
  • In drastically cold temperatures, let your faucet trickle. While you may be concerned about wasting water, running water is less likely to freeze.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Keep outside valves open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing it to break.
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, leave the heat on and set to a temperature no lower than 65° F.

 Found a Frozen Pipe? Thaw It Out:

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a few drips come out, suspect a frozen pipe. Typically, frozen pipes are found along exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Make sure the faucet remains on while treating the pipes, as the flowing water will help to melt the ice within the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or other open flame device.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze too. 

Should you experience a loss resulting from water damage, turn off the water supply as soon as possible, and call SERVPRO or another water damage/restoration company. The longer you wait to call, the greater the chance of mold growth and unrecoverable property. SERVPRO professionals have the expertise to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects that water damage can have.

Returning Home after Hurricane Harvey

9/28/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Returning Home after Hurricane Harvey Our 5000 CFM Desiccant dehumidifier from Spencer, Iowa absorbs large amounts of moisture from this Houston office building.

While residents and business owners are busy trying to recover from the damage left by Hurricane Harvey SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals are also busy, helping to cleanup and restore properties across the Houston area.

Even before landfall, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Teams were in position, ready to respond. The Disaster Recovery Team mobilizes crews from SERVPRO Franchises across the country, as needed, to support large storm events. These teams are equipped and “Ready for whatever happens.”

Activation of the SERVPRO® Disaster Recovery Team, combined with the local SERVPRO® resources, placed approximately 500 additional crews in the affected areas to help residents and business owners recover.

Locally, SERVPRO® of Spencer and Iowa Great Lakes spent three weeks in Houston, helping with the cleanup and recently returned home. The Spencer-based business owns a desiccant humidifier, currently the only SERVPRO owned in the state of Iowa, that they transported to Texas.

“The 5000 CFM Desiccant dehumidifier is our commercial dehumidifying machine that utilizes a solid material to absorb large amounts of moisture from the surrounding air and then displacing this moisture with heat,” shared co-owner Lathe Toft. “With that unit, plus our arsenal of commercial-grade dehumidifiers, we dried several residential homes, multiple banks, an office space and a strip mall with nine retail stores, plus an assisted living home during our time in Houston.”

SERVPRO® of Spencer and Iowa Great Lakes is one of the more than 240 franchises that deployed crews to assist in the cleanup efforts. The Spencer business took a team of 16 mitigation technicians.