Recent Storm Damage Posts

Winter Storm Safety Tips

1/11/2024 (Permalink)

Vent with ice buildup from cold temps. Vents that are buried in snow can become extremely dangerous. Without a clear path for exhaust functions, your home can back up with carbon monoxide.

Winter storms can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, sleet, heavy snowfall, ice, and high winds. While those who live in northwest Iowa are considered resilient when it comes to enduring snowfall and cold temperatures, facing the extreme conditions of a blizzard can prove dangerous to even the most seasoned dweller. Since we can never truly predict what Mother Nature has in store for us, the best defense against a blizzard is to be prepared. There are preventive measures you can take to promote safety during dangerous weather.

Safety Tips

  • Wear layers of clothing to stay warm.
  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Check on friends, relatives, and the elderly who are more susceptible to the cold.
  • Never leave space heaters unattended, turn them off before going to bed.
  • Bring your pets indoors.
  • Make sure your furnace vent, gas fireplace vent, and water heater vent are free from any obstruction.
  • When using a space heater make sure it is on a level, hard surface, and keep it at least three feet away from anything flammable.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. Replace the batteries and inspect them regularly.
  • Replenish your emergency kit with food and water.
  • Fill your car with gas.
  • Insulate exposed pipes.
  • Limit time outdoors.
  • Have communication devices ready.
  • Turn your faucets to a slight drip to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Maintain your heating equipment. Have it serviced every year.
  • Refill medications before the storm hits.
  • Stay tuned to your local news for weather updates.
  • Avoid travel if possible.
  • Have a snow shovel and ice-melting products to keep your walkways safe.
  • Keep exterior doors closed.

SERVPRO® of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is here to help if you experience any damage to your home or business during a storm. Our goal is to make any disaster disappear, “Like it never even happened.”  

Flash Flooding

5/15/2023 (Permalink)

Heavy rain over the weekend have extended the Flood Warning for the Little Sioux River at Spencer, Iowa affecting Clay County Here in your community. Here to help. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes. 712-262-4379

When there is more rain than the soil can absorb, the excess water can overwhelm storm drains and ditches causing a flash flood. Flash floods can cause water to rise significantly within a short period of time. These events may result in evacuations, loss of human life, power outages, traffic obstructions and road closures, damage to buildings and infrastructure, and loss of crops and livestock. You may not be able to stop every water issue, but there are a few things that you can do to safeguard your home from being exposed to excessive water.

  •  Rearrange Downspouts

Downspouts should carry water several feet away from your property to a well-drained area.

  • Check Your Sump Pump

Perform a checkup on your sump pump if you have one. Pour water into your pit to make sure the discharge hose carries it away from your property to a well-drained area.

  • Clean Out Gutters & Downspouts

Installing gutters and downspouts outside your home is one of the most important measures for waterproofing your basement. They will carry water away from your home to ensure no pooling occurs. Make sure to remove debris and blockages that have built up inside. Make sure to check them at least twice a year to make sure they are flowing properly.

  • Install a Blackwater Valve

Heavy rains can cause problems out at the main sewer line, and in turn, can cause you issues. When water rises too quickly, it can cause overflow sending sewage back up the line into your home. Make sure to hire a professional to install the valve.

  • Re-seal Your Windows & Doors

Your windows and doors act as defense mechanisms for your home. If they are poorly or improperly sealed, they could allow water to enter the home.

  • Prepare Your Basement

Move electrical cords up off the floor, elevate anything that is delicate or will damage easily. Move any boxes, furniture, or valuable items to higher ground.

  • Keep Trees Trimmed

Keeping your trees trimmed is another fairly easy way to protect your home against heavy rain. Tree branches and leaves can be a real problem when combined with heavy rain and wind. In addition to regular shedding and clogging of gutters, heavy rain and wind can allow branches and even entire trees to cause damage to your roof.

  • Flood Insurance

Flood damage is not covered by standard home insurance policies. You may need to purchase a separate policy. Make sure to contact your agent to review your coverage.

 Floods can happen anywhere in the U.S. at any time of year. From bad weather to clogged storm drains, water can destroy your home or foundation in a matter of hours. The best way to minimize the damage from flooding is to promptly have the damage assessed and treated by a professional restoration company. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes offer 24/7 Emergency Service and will make it “Like it never even happened.”

You're Ready for Vacation, but Is Your House?

2/2/2023 (Permalink)

SERVPRO vans SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is "Ready for whatever happens." 712-262-4379

Having someone check on your home while you are away can save you money if a disaster would strike. Left unchecked, a small repair can turn into a big nightmare. While you are gone ask someone who is reliable to monitor your home. Living in Northwest Iowa we are known to have some pretty severe cold snaps which in turn causes pipes to burst. With water everywhere, damage is inevitable. If there is no one coming in to check on your home the damage significantly worsens each day that you are away. What may have been a few hundred dollars in repair costs now is into the thousands of dollars as far as full-on repair and restoration project. Odds are you will end up being responsible for the majority of the cost if you did not have someone checking on your property in your absence and thus you invalidated your homeowner’s coverage.

Don’t let getting away from it all get you down this season. Whether you are planning a cross-country trip, or s small jaunt to a family cabin, be sure to check these pre-vacation to-dos off your list.

  • Arrange for someone to walk through and inspect your home every few days. Have them go through each room on every floor, including the garage. Your insurance carrier may have guidelines that needs to be followed for how often someone needs to come in and check on your home. Call your insurance company if you have questions about these requirements.
  • Shut off your home’s main water supply. If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time drain your pipes. If you decide against draining your pipes, keep the furnace running to help make sure your home stays warm. Make sure the temperature is set to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
  • Take care of your mail. Nothing screams, “We’re not home!” more than a bunch of mail stuffed in your mailbox and a pile of newspapers on the stoop. You can have put your mail delivery on hold while you are away or have the person who is checking on your home bring your mail inside. Arrange for someone to remove snow after any storms.
  • Take home security measures while your gone. Leaving a light on for a while in the evening can be a good deterrent to would-be burglars. Use a timer to turn on a living room lamp for a few hours, you can also set outside lights to those timers. Confirm that your alarm or camera systems are in working order and have been activated. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your property. They can watch for unexpected visitors and support any suspicious behavior to the authorities. Don’t forget to lock all points of entry. This one might be harder than it sounds but try to avoid posting your travel plans on social media. At the very least, make your accounts private so potential thieves can’t see them.
  • Take precautions for fire. Before you leave, make sure to unplug electronics around the house that don’t need power while you are gone. This will save you money and lower the risk of an electrical fire.

Even when you’ve taken all the right precautions, accidents and break-ins happen. This is why it’s so important to make sure your home insurance policy is up to date. If you haven’t reviewed your policy in a while, get in touch with your insurance provider to ensure your home and belongings are protected while you are away. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is close by and ready to respond if water or fire damage strikes.

Be Prepared - Winter Car Emergency Kit

11/23/2022 (Permalink)

Winter car emergency kit list Don't get stranded out in the cold!

Slippery or snow-covered roads, reduced visibility and bitter cold can make driving difficult and even dangerous during cold winter months. Winter also brings an increased risk of getting stuck in your car, so dress warm before you head out and prepare an emergency kit for your car. Experiencing a breakdown in cold weather can become a life-threatening situation quickly. Having the right supplies in your vehicle will give you peace of mind, save time, and may even save a life. If you already have a winter car emergency kit in your vehicle, make sure to do an annual check of items to ensure they are in good condition and working order.

Winter Car Emergency Kit

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Cat litter to use as traction on slick surfaces
  • Small shovel
  • LED flares
  • First aid kit
  • High protein food and bottled water (can opener and utensils if necessary)
  • Winter coat, gloves, hat, and boots
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Make sure to keep your gas tank filled
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio (extra batteries)
  • Ice scraper
  • Tow straps
  • Tool kit
  • Spare tire and jack
  • Windshield washer fluid (antifreeze-enriched to perform down to 40 degrees Celsius)
  • Hand warmers
  • Medications
  • Lighter or box of matches

No matter the destination, drivers need to be prepared if something goes wrong. Every vehicle should be equipped with a set of emergency supplies containing all the items needed to deal with an unforeseen situation. And given the unpredictable weather conditions typical of our Iowa winters, some specific items should be an absolute must. Every state has a Department of Transportation which gives helpful road and travel advice. You can also sign up for 511 Notify by going to their website and signing up! The app will notify you of travel conditions. When the weatherman starts predicting blizzard conditions stay home if at all possible.

Flood Insurance

10/3/2022 (Permalink)

Disaster Recovery Semi Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to strom or flood damage emergencies. 712-262-4379

Flooding can happen anywhere, at any time. Unfortunately, many property owners do not find out until it’s too late that their policies do not cover flooding.  According to the National Flood Insurance Program, more than 20% of claims come from outside high-risk flood areas. When just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage, flood insurance can be the difference between recovery and financial devastation. Without insurance, relief from floods primarily comes in the form of loans. If your community is declared a disaster area, no-interest or low-interest loans are often made available by the federal government as part of the recovery effort. However, these loans must be paid back, which means you’re still liable for the entire cost of your damages or losses.

  • Flood damage is not covered by standard home insurance policies, so you may need to buy a separate flood insurance policy.
  • Some mortgage lenders require flood insurance if you live in a flood-prone area.
  • Flood insurance doesn’t kick in immediately when you sign up. That prevents you from buying a policy as a storm heads your way. There’s a 30-day waiting period in most cases.
  • National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides flood insurance policies, though you can also buy one from a private insurer as well.

In the aftermath of a disaster, the most important thing to take care of is the safety and well being of you and your family. Once the situation has stabilized a bit, it’s time to figure out the best way to move forward and get started on cleanup and rebuilding. 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. We can access the resources and personnel of 2020 Franchises to handle major storms and disasters. We also have access to special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country to respond to catastrophic storms and events.

Stay Safe & Prepared For Extreme Heat

7/29/2022 (Permalink)

Picture of the sun and lake The best way to overcome heat is to be prepared.

Summer is officially underway, and with it comes extremely hot temperatures. An extreme heat event, also known as a heat wave, generally refers to a period when temperatures are much hotter or more humid than average. Extreme heat is the most dangerous type of severe-weather event in the U.S.. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), over 650 people die wach year from preventable heat-related illnesses. 

Safety Tips During Extreme Heat 

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Have a sports drink or salty snack to replace salt and minerals lost through sweat
  • Stay in air conditioning or use a fan
  • Avoid using your oven or stove
  • Wear loose-fitting and lightweight clothes
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks
  • Check on elderly and vulnerable neighbors
  • Never leave a person or pet in a hot car
  • If you feel overheated, cool off with wet washcloths or a cooling towel on your wrists and neck

If You Must Be Out In The Heat

  • Limit outdoor activity to the coolest hours of the day
  • Rest frequently in shady or cool areas
  • Use sunscreen 
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat
  • Always bring extra water

Staying cool and hydrating often are the two most important things you can do to avoid feeling sick and discomfort when it's extremely hot. If you think you have experienced overheating, it's important to seek medical attention.   

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. 

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.

Winter Car Emergency Kit

12/22/2021 (Permalink)

Car emergency kit list Don't get stranded out in the cold.

A winter car emergency kit is a must for all the drivers in your family. Winter weather could leave you stranded, but a well-stocked emergency kit can help you get back on the road or at least make you more comfortable and safer while waiting for assistance. Emergencies can happen to anyone. Prepare for the worst-case scenario by keeping the following supplies in in your winter car kit! 

Car Emergency Kit List 

  • Blankets, mittens, socks and hats
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Flashlight, extra batteries (or hand-crank flashlight)
  • Jumper cables
  • First-aid kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap)
  • Bottled water
  • Multi-tool (Swiss Army Knife)
  • Road flares or reflective warning triangles
  • Windshield cleaner
  • Portable phone charger
  • Medications

Extra Supplies For Cold Weather 

  • Sand or non-clumping cat litter
  • Collapsible or folding snow shovel
  • Blanket 
  • Tire chains and tow strap
  • Hand warmers
  • Winter boots 
  • Sleeping bag 

Other Essentials

  • Jack and lug wrench
  • Tire gauge 
  • Small fire extinguisher (5-lb, Class B & Class C type)
  • Duct tape
  • Rags and hand cleaner 
  • Rain poncho
  • Foam tire sealant 
  • Nonperishable high-energy foods (granola bars, raisins, dried fruits, nuts, peanut butter, and hard candy.
  • Battery- or hand-crank-powered radio
  • Cash
  • Compass
  • Maps
  • Scissors and string or cord
  • Lighter and box of matches (put in waterproof container) 

Make sure to bring your vehicle in for a winter tune-up, always make sure you have gas in your vehicle. Replace windshield wipers, and, if your car needs it, install winter tires for better traction in the snow. 

If you've yet to build a winter car survival kit, now's the time. Every state has a Department of Transportation which gives helpful road and travel advice. You can also sign up for 511 Notify by going to their website and signing up! This app will notify you of travel conditions. When the weatherman starts predicting blizzard conditions stay home if at all possible. 

Winter Car Emergency Kit

12/22/2021 (Permalink)

A winter car emergency kit is a must for all the drivers in your family. Winter weather could leave you stranded, but a well-stocked emergency kit can help you get back on the road or at least make you more comfortable and safer while waiting for assistance. Emergencies can happen to anyone. Prepare for the worst-case scenario by keeping the following supplies in in your winter car kit! 

Car Emergency Kit List 

  • Blankets, mittens, socks and hats
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Flashlight, extra batteries (or hand-crank flashlight)
  • Jumper cables
  • First-aid kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap)
  • Bottled water
  • Multi-tool (Swiss Army Knife)
  • Road flares or reflective warning triangles
  • Windshield cleaner
  • Portable phone charger
  • Medications

Extra Supplies For Cold Weather 

  • Sand or non-clumping cat litter
  • Collapsible or folding snow shovel
  • Blanket 
  • Tire chains and tow strap
  • Hand warmers
  • Winter boots 
  • Sleeping bag 

Other Essentials

  • Jack and lug wrench
  • Tire gauge 
  • Small fire extinguisher (5-lb, Class B & Class C type)
  • Duct tape
  • Rags and hand cleaner 
  • Rain poncho
  • Foam tire sealant 
  • Nonperishable high-energy foods (granola bars, raisins, dried fruits, nuts, peanut butter, and hard candy.
  • Battery- or hand-crank-powered radio
  • Cash
  • Compass
  • Maps
  • Scissors and string or cord
  • Lighter and box of matches (put in waterproof container) 

Make sure to bring your vehicle in for a winter tune-up, always make sure you have gas in your vehicle. Replace windshield wipers, and, if your car needs it, install winter tires for better traction in the snow. 

If you've yet to build a winter car survival kit, now's the time. Every state has a Department of Transportation which gives helpful road and travel advice. You can also sign up for 511 Notify by going to their website and signing up! This app will notify you of travel conditions. When the weatherman starts predicting blizzard conditions stay home if at all possible. 

Prepare Your Home for Winter Storms

12/6/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen pipes SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is Here to Help with any disaster this winter. Call 712-262-4379

Each year, hundreds of Americans are injured or killed by exposure to cold, vehicle accidents on wintery roads, and fires caused by improper use of heaters. Winter storms can bring large amounts of snow, extreme cold, high winds, freezing rain and ice. Prepare now so you can stay safe during blizzards and other winter storms. 

Weatherproof Your Home 

  • Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze. 
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Repair roof leaks and trim tree branches that could fall on your home.
  • Insulate walls and attic.
  • Cover windows with plastic or install thermal-pane windows. 
  • If you have a fireplace, keep a supply of wood on hand. 
  • Talk with your insurance agent, make sure you have the right coverage.
  • Install pipe insulation.
  • Seal crawl spaces.
  • Let faucets drip.
  • Keep garage doors closed.
  • Keep thermostat consistent. 
  • Set the heat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Open cabinets regularly to let warm air circulate. 

Have Your Chimney Inspected

If you plan on using a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, hire a professional to inspect your chimney or flue each year. 

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you are using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Make sure to test them monthly and replace the batteries twice a year. 

Stock Your Pantry 

It's important to stay indoors and avoid traveling during a winter storm. Make sure your pantry is stocked with non-perishable items incase you lose power. Granola bars, canned soups, hot coco, bread, fruits and veggies that don't need to be refrigerated are great items to have on hand before the storm. 

Bottled Water 

Make sure that you have plenty of bottled water. If pipes freeze, you will not have access to tap water. 

Emergency Kit 

Before the storm hits, make sure you have easy access to the things you may need in an emergency. 

  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • Medications
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Cash
  • Important Documents
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Candles 
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Pet Supplies
  • Matches

Fill Your Prescriptions

Have enough prescription medication on hand for at least 3-7 days to avoid having to travel when the roads are bad. Stocking up on hygiene items such as toilet paper, diapers, and toothpaste is also recommended. 

Ice Melt 

Stores tend to run out of ice melt rather quickly right before a storm. Having enough on hand will allow you to shovel and salt your stairs and walkways before the snow has time to melt and turn into ice. Make sure your snow shovel is free of cracks and have a spare to make life easier when it comes time to digging yourself out. 

Prepare for Blackout

Charge your phone ahead of the storm and make sure to have a portable battery backup on hand. Leaving flashlights or other battery powered lights throughout the house will keep you from stumbling around looking for them. Power outages are common during winter storms in Iowa, you may want to consider purchasing a generator to keep you and your family warm. 

Communicate With Family

You may lose cell reception during a storm, so make sure you have a plan in place with your family so you can connect in an emergency. Older adults often make less body heat because of slower metabolism and less physical activity. Check on elderly friends and neighbors often to make sure their homes are heated properly. 

Get Your Car Ready 

Before a winter storm hits, schedule a winter tune up to check things like antifreeze levels, battery, exhaust system, heater, ignition system, lights and oil. Winter storms can create higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. If you must travel keep a winter emergency kit in your car that includes blankets, tire chains, first aid kit, battery powered radio, maps, flashlight, jumper cables, and sand or kitty litter. 

Stay Informed 

Purchasing a NOAA weather radio is a great way to stay on top of alerts and warnings. You can check the forecast consistently online or on your phone by signing up for local emergency alerts and notifications. Be sure to know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss or disorientation, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion. Frostbite presents itself as loss of feeling and white, pale or waxy skin on the extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face and the tip of nose. If you detect these symptoms, move the person to a warm place, use body heat to warm and cover the exposed skin but do not rub the skin as it could damage the tissue. Get the victim to a doctor as soon as possible. 

Protect Your Pets 

If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water. If animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet's paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth. 

It's important to observe all safety precautions when preparing and dealing with a severe winter event. Once the storm has passed, it may be helpful to review your plan and make any adjustments based on what worked well and what procedures needs to be changed. Even with prevention, the cleanup and recovery can be overwhelming after a storm. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes can help get your home back to pre-storm-damage condition. 

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. 

Protect Your Home From Storm Damage

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

Photo of SERVPRO Van and employee talking to customer. "Like it never even happened."

Before you and your home have to face a storm head-on, make sure your home is ready. Each year we face floods, tornadoes, hail, blizzards and other extreme weather. While you can't control the weather, there's still a lot you can do to protect your home and family. Basic upkeep goes a long way to minimize damage. 

  • Update insurance policy.
  • Replace missing or damaged shingles.
  • Repair loose siding. 
  • Keep your gutters clear.
  • Ensure water can flow away from your home.
  • Keep your sump pump in working order.
  • Ensure proper sealing of doors and windows.
  • Check for loose fence posts.
  • Regularly trim your trees.
  • Walk around your property. Properly store items that could become projectiles.
  • Keep a generator on hand. 

Your home and the belongings inside are replaceable, your family isn't. Make sure to have a safety plan in place. Taking preventative measures against storms and knowing how to protect your home from damage will save you time, money, and the stress of damage to your home. Even with prevention, the cleanup and recovery can be overwhelming after a storm. Whether it's a large or small job SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes can help get your home back to pre-storm-damage condition. 

Are you Ready for Summer Storms?

5/20/2021 (Permalink)

Photo of a sump pit with no water draining When in drought conditions pay extra attention to your home or business to prevent water damage through runoff.

I am not sure who did the rain dance or got the skies to open up, but the last couple days of rain were well needed!  All of northwest Iowa remains in a drought and while those rains helped we still need more help for our farmers, lakes, and rivers.  Do you have your home ready in case the proverbial flood gates open?

Since the last year and a half have been so dry I have heard some folks talk about how they haven't seen their sump pit dry before or they have never seen the creek completely dried up.  With most of northwest Iowa in severe drought conditions according to it's no wonder we are all seeing these random occurrences. 

As with anything, the rain will come and the waters will rise.  What home and business owners need to be cautious of is making sure they are prepared for when the rain starts to fall again, especially if it begins to downpour like it did this past week.  When rain comes too hard during a drought it doesn't have a chance to soak into the ground like we would hope, it simply runs off and into the storm sewers, field tiles, etc.  If you are one of those home or business owners that thought it would be a cautious step to unplug your sump pump, I encourage you to either keep a closer eye on the forecast or better yet keep it plugged in.  Most insurance companies will not pay for a loss if the sump pump has been unplugged regardless of the coverage or drought because these pumps are designed to not run when there is no water.  With the runoff potential it can cause the rain water to penetrate your foundation quicker due to cracking in the soil.  

If you find your home or business a little wet, give SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes a call, we are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for your emergency needs.  


Understanding More About Your Property Insurance During Coronavirus Scare

3/22/2021 (Permalink)

This NW IA Home Suffered Major Water Damage After a Storm Event Understanding your homeowners insurance is crucial to being able to absorb a loss after a storm. Talk to your agent today about your policy.

We are officially into Spring, a refreshing feeling though temps still aren't as high as we'd like. With wet weather in the forecast this week I thought it would be the appropriate time to discuss some things you may want to consider with your homeowners insurance coming into rain and storm season.

A couple years back I had written a blog talking about the importance of not only having Sewer & Water Backup as part of your homeowners insurance policy but also how much coverage to consider carrying. If you haven't read it, here's the link...

Much of this information still rings true when considering how much coverage to hold on your property.

  1. Location
  2. Size & Value of your property
  3. Would you like it returned to preloss state
  4. The value of your contents in your home

There is also one thing to keep in mind when discussing your home and insurance coverage...everything changes.

As we have seen with the coronavirus pandemic, we don't know what the next day will bring but we do know that everything is going to change frequently.

So how does that factor into your homeowners insurance and how much coverage to carry? While it may seem like an easy answer of market changes, there is much more thought to be put into it than that.

Throughout the pandemic manufacturing was nearly completely shut down in some business sectors for two weeks or more, those minor setbacks paired with increased import tariff's have caused some cost of building materials to raise 6x, or higher, the cost from this time last year. When looking to buy a simple sheet of plywood one could expect paying $6.00 and up depending on the size and kind, now for that same piece of $6.00 plywood you're looking at $36-$42 per sheet.

When we go into a home or business for a storm restoration job there are many times that we have to do a flood-cut in the drywall, replacing trim & doors, repainting, and replacing flooring due to the amount of damage to the property. The pandemic has caused many businesses to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of not onlytheir clients but alsotheir employees. While we ourselves try to absorb some of these costs so as to not pass them onto the consumer during an already difficult time, as many businesses are forced to do, we simply cannot absorb them all.

There are a number of other factors that work into how much coverage youshould carry for Sewer & Water Backup coverage, now is a great time to connect with your insurance agent and have the discussion. After all, the simple increase of $20/month for an additional $5,000-$10,000 in coverage will go a long way in protecting your assets.

For those of you renting your home, make sure you have plenty of coverage for Renters Insurance. If something were to happen to the property and you don't have enough coverage, it will be you who suffers and not the property owner. I have had the unfortunate task of talking to a few renters during my time with SERVPRO that did not have any Renters Insurance and lost more than they ever should have.

Remember, if disaster strikes...time matters. Call the team that's Faster to Any Disaster...SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes. 712-262-4379

Prepare Your Car & Yourself

12/29/2020 (Permalink)

Vehicle outdoors with snow piling on during a blizzard. Make sure your vehicle is equipped for emergencies this winter.

Iowa winters are cold, with January temperatures averaging about 14 degrees fahrenheit in the northwestern section of the state and in the low 20s in the southeast. Prepare your car-and yourself-for winter driving conditions. A bad weather accident can happen whether you’re on a two-hour drive or a short hop to a doctor’s appointment. Take precautions before starting your journey. Allow extra time to arrive at your destination. Don’t warm up your vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage. Fully charge your cell phone and make sure to have your car charger. Monitor the weather conditions before beginning your trip. If it seems like the road conditions will be too hazardous, change your travel plans. 

Avoid frostbite and hypothermia by planning for extreme cold before it arrives. Make checking the forecast part of your regular routine so you’ll know what to expect. If possible adjust your schedule to avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day. Make sure your vehicle has at least a half tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded. Dress for being outdoors even if you don’t think you’ll be out much. Update your winter car survival kit. Make sure your survival kit contains the following:

  • Jumper cables: flares or reflective triangle are great extras
  • Flashlights: Replace the batteries before the winter season starts and pack some extras
  • First Aid Kit: Also check your purse of bag for essential medications
  • Baby, special needs gear: If you have a baby or family member with special needs, pack diapers and any special formula or food
  • Food: Stock non-perishable food such as canned food and a can opener, dry cereal and protein rich foods like nuts and energy bars
  • Water: Have at least 1 gallon of water per person a day for at least 3 days
  • Basic toolkit: Pliers, wrench, screwdriver
  • Pet supplies: Food and water
  • Radio: Battery or hand cranked
  • Cat litter or sand: For better tire traction
  • Shovel: To dig out snow
  • Ice scraper: Even if you usually park in a garage, have one in the car.
  • Clothes: Make sure you dress for the weather in warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes for the cold
  • Warmers: Pack extra for body, hands, feet
  • Blankets or sleeping bags: If you get stranded in traffic on a lonely road, you'll be glad to have it.
  • Charged Cell Phone: Keep a spare charger in your car as well

No Matter the Weather, We're in it Together

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

A photo of 3 SERVPRO vehicles lined up ourdoors. Here in your community. Here to help. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes.

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is a reliable option for home and business owners in the event of a disaster. Our goal is to make any disaster disappear, "Like it never even happened." We offer 24-hour emergency service because we know that storms, fires and water issues can happen at a moments notice. We want to help you get back to preloss conditions no matter your situation.

Whether it’s noon or midnight, we will respond to your disaster quickly offering you peace of mind. Doesn't matter if it's hazardous mold, water damage, biohazard cleanup, or fire cleanup SERVPRO has you covered.

We know the stress that these situations can bring, and we are Here to Help. Our team will respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Our commitment to northwest Iowa is to help you through any disaster quickly and efficiently.  

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes


Winter Storm Prep

10/28/2020 (Permalink)

Photo of the sunset after our recent snowfall. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is Here to Help in the event of a frozen pipe or any disaster this winter. Call 712-262-4379

Well we aren't even to November and talking about winter storms, I think most would agree that 2020 can just stop with all their shenanigans.  That being said, it's not a bad time to start discussing a few tips/ideas to prep in the event of a winter storm.  

Northwest Iowa is certainly no stranger to winter weather, but do you have the necessary supplies if your power goes out or if your vehicle is stranded? 

  1. Blankets - Whether you are thinking about your car or your home, it is a good idea to ensure you have plenty of blankets in the event of a power outage or stranded vehicle.  
  2. Water - While it is difficult to store water in a vehicle in frigid temperatures, if you wrap them in your stored blankets when packing your prep kit they will stay cold but usually do not freeze.  At home it is a good idea to make sure you have at least one package of bottled water.  
  3. Weather Radio/Batteries/Flashlight - If stuck in your vehicle for long periods of time, you will need to conserve your fuel which also means your radio likely won't be playing.  Having a weather radio to hear updates and road conditions can come in handy.  Make sure you have extra batteries just in case.  
  4. Food - We're from the Midwest, we like to eat.  Make sure you have plenty of food on hand to wait out those long storms.  With being in such a rural area some small towns do not have grocery stores making it difficult for folks to get into town for vital supplies.  During long periods of time at home make sure you have plenty of supplies on hand.  
  5. Heat Source - Whether you have a space heater, fireplace, wood stove, etc. make sure you have plenty of fuel and that each is properly ventilated.  Even in the car it may not hurt to find a battery operated heat source.  

There are many other things to keep in mind when holding out a winter storm at home or on the road.  For more ideas visit or

Stay safe this winter season.  Should you find yourself with frozen pipes or smoke damage from indoor fireplaces give SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes a call at 712-262-4379. 

Dry Conditions Raise Fall Fire Concerns

8/20/2020 (Permalink)

Photo of corn harvest in northwest Iowa. Local farmer in northwest Iowa harvesting corn.

After the last few years of unseasonably wet conditions, we slipped into a dry pattern in northwest Iowa.  Speaking with some of our business partners recently, they stated that many homes with sand-point wells in the area have dried up due to such low moisture levels.  As many homeowners feel relieved, it does raise concerns for potential issues with fall storms.  

For the next couple months we still stand a good chance of getting a few good thunderstorms.  Though it isn't common, the dry conditions can be a fire concern due to lightning strikes or strong winds knocking down power lines.  Even as crops dry out field fires are not uncommon without some moisture in the air.  

As harvest is nearing, keep an eye on those extremely dry conditions.  If you suffer damage to your farm equipment or home, call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes.  Our team is trained in odor removal and fire restoration. 


Summer Storm Prep

6/18/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a roadway with a caution sign stating water over the roadway. Summer storms can hit hard and fast. Be ready in the event of any disaster. SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes 712-262-4379

Here in nothwest Iowa summer storms can come up in a moments notice and cause damage that takes weeks, months, even years to repair.  Take a look at the summer storms from 2018, there are homes in West Bend that are still on a waiting list to be repaired from the hail that hit town.  The summer storms in 2019 hit much of our area with flooding leaving homeowners with basements to refinish or mold to battle.  

So far the summer of 2020 has not been too bad to us, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be prepared.  With the constant threat of severe thunderstorms, wind, hail, tornado's, etc. we should always have a kit available in the event of a disaster.  A storm prep kit can be used throughout the seasons here in our region keeping items such as bottled water, blankets, flashlights, and a batter operated radio (with extra batteries) all handy.  It would also be important to have some food on hand in the event you are trapped for multiple days from a severe storm.  

While these items can easily be stored in a basement or storm shelter, one thing I have learned in my time at SERVPRO is to not only ensure those items are in a water sealed tote, but to also make sure to check those contents regularly to ensure they are still good to consume and that they are staying dry and mold free.  

If disaster strikes, don't let it ruin your summer.  Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes and let them worry about the mess so you can focus on the rest.  


SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes

"Like it never even happened." 

New Year | New Storms

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

Image of the COVID - 19 cells up close with caption "Here to Help". We are all concerned with the information we continue to hear, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is HERE TO HELP. 712-262-4379

Here at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes we have seen our fair share of storm damage, every year brings something a little different.  Last year at this time we were pumping out basements and crawl spaces like it was our job (pun intended!).  Two years ago the rain was so strong we were dealing with sump pump failures and sewer backups.  This year brings a storm of a different kind...a bio-storm.  

With the influx of calls and concern surrounding COVID-19, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes is ready to help your home or business bounce back.  Whether we come in and do a CAT-1 cautionary clean, which is simply wiping down of high touch/traffic areas; or a CAT-3 contaminated clean, our team is ready. We offer 3 levels of cleaning as mentioned, here is what you can expect with each:

CAT-1 This level is a matter of cautionary cleaning, there is no known contamination but the facility would like to have areas disinfected to remove any current pathogens.  During this level of clean our team will come into your facility, usually in teams of 2-4, and wipe down high touch areas including counters, doors/door handles, rails, light switches, tables/desks, restrooms, etc.  These are all done in accordance with CDC cleaning guidelines.

CAT-2 This level of clean is for businesses that have had someone come in third party contact with the virus.  During this level of clean our team will carry out all duties as laid out in level one.   Since we are looking at 3rd party contact, our team would also be in full hazmat suits and clean everything from the floor up to 8'.  Once the area has been thoroughly wiped down, we will also treat with a disinfecting fog in the areas in which that person is known to have been in the building. 

CAT-3 This level of clean is when there is direct contact with a person infected with COVID-19.  Our team will enter your facility in full hazmat suits, masks, and gloves for their protection.  We will begin with again wiping everything down from floor to 8' up.  Once finished with a room we will treat with a disinfecting fog.  The biggest difference between CAT-2 and CAT-3 cleaning is that with CAT-3 we will disinfect everything and every room to ensure we have minimized any chance of spreading the virus.  

It is important to understand that our cleaning measures are designed to minimize the spread of the virus and there is no guarantee that this will completely remove all pathogens.  

We understand the concern for both your staff and your customers and we will do everything we can to ensure everyone's safety during this time.  As cases start to roll into northwest Iowa it becomes incredibly important to have a plan in place and to know who to contact to help mitigate these pathogens. 

SERVPRO is a leader in the industry in cleaning  bio-hazard situations.  Call today to discuss how we can help during this time.  


Spring Storms and Your Camper

3/20/2020 (Permalink)

An old steel sided travel trailer set up for camping for the weekend. We don't just restore homes, we restore cabins, campers, rvs, and more. Call today 712-262-4379.

Spring is finally here! I think it’s safe to say after a long winter we are all ready to spend some time outdoors enjoying our favorite activities, my personal favorite is camping.  As you all know springtime can bring some of the most unpredictable weather patterns to Iowa. We are vulnerable to thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, high winds, and hail.

Hail can be a frequent and expensive threat to an RV or camper. It can cause dents to aluminum siding, crack laminated sidewalls, dent roof mounted HVAC, shatter windows, fracture and destroy the wood under your rubber roof liner which can cause even bigger problems down the road. Although we do not offer repairs to the exterior of your RV we can offer you our professional cleaning services to make it look “Like it never even happened.”

The inside of your RV can take a lot of abuse. Foot traffic can make those carpets look dirty and dingy. Our team of professionals can bring the life back to your carpet and have it looking its best! Lets not forget about the furniture! We also offer upholstery and drape cleaning. 

What’s a camping trip without cooking some of your favorite dishes? Cooking can get greasy and cause unpleasant odors. We have the right equipment and products to make your RV or camper shine. 

Strong wind and rain can cause water leaks to your RV or camper. Mold growth can start in only 48 hours. Fast response is important! Rapid response means less time to achieve drying goals. Quick and effective restoration is valuable to you, your property, and your insurance company. 

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has the right equipment and the right team to handle any project large or small. Let us help you get your RV or camper in tip top shape to enjoy all spring and summer long! 

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes


Spring Prep Before Spring Storms

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

Image of standing water in this northwest Iowa business. If you find yourself with water in your home or business during spring showers, call the experts that are faster to any disaster. 712-262-4379

Spring storms can wreak havoc and cause costly damage to your home or business if you are not property prepared. Whether it is heavy rain, freezing temperatures, damaging winds, sleet or snow, all can cause serious property damage.

While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared, and help take the sting out of spring weather. To help prevent weather-related damages, consider taking the following precautions before storms hit:

  • Check your roof for leaks 
  • Check your outdoor faucets for signs of freezing, a burst shuttlecock can leave your basement looking like a swimming pool in no time
  • Check your gutters and downspouts for any leaks or clogs, also make sure downspouts are directed far enough away from your home or business to prevent back-flow into your property. 

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire or water loss, we also specialize in mold remediation.

In addition to cleaning up after a loss, SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has their own dedicated construction crew available to put your home or business back together "Like it never even happened." 

We can handle any size disaster!

Call us 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.

Storm cleanup turned bad

8/20/2019 (Permalink)

Mold can begin growing in 48-72 hours and can be very harmful to ones health. Call today to breathe easier tomorrow. 712-262-4379

All of northwest Iowa and beyond has been hit with more water and storms than we've known what to do with.  Some homeowners have suffered multiple water losses due to the high amounts of precipitation.  After speaking with some homeowners at vendor shows and insurance agents over the last few months one thing has become obvious, their issues weren't over after the initial storm clean up. 

Many homeowners who opted to clean up their own home to save a claim against their insurance and money in the long run are now running into mold infestations in their homes and businesses.  SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes went through a period of time in which we received anywhere between 2-3 calls per day requesting mold remediation or testing.  

Our team is trained in mold remediation and we have a reconstruction team on staff to help restore your home or business "Like it never even happened."  

Don't waste time, if you believe you have mold growing in your home make sure you call today to schedule your mold assessment consultation.  There is a charge for the consultation, but we will provide you with a remediation plan to help your family breathe easier.  

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes, your mold remediation specialists in Northwest Iowa and Southwest Minnesota. 


Silver Lining Through the Storm

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

This home required flood cuts due to water backup through the floor drain.

This year has brought just as much excitement in storm damage as last year.  From the extreme cold in January and February to the quick thaw/flooding in March and April SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes has had the privilege of helping many of those in need in northwest Iowa.  

This past month I had the opportunity of working with one of my insurance agents first hand.  Though I stop regularly to speak with his office, I spend a significant amount of time speaking with his associates rather than him.  Upon stopping at his house he and I had the opportunity to discuss the variety of services that we offer to help him through his recent drain backup issue.  

He was aware that we would have to pull carpet, due to having the moisture barrier on his pad we discussed what options to go with upon replacement of that.  The moisture barrier will lock the water under the pad making it impossible for us to properly extract the water and nearly every home that we encounter that has this type of pad finds it being removed during the restoration process.  

Unfortunately due to the water coming from a floor drain it is required for insurance purposes to be classified a category 3 water loss which means any drywall or wood surface the water touched must be removed and replaced, unless the homeowner assumes responsibility for the kept materials.  What this meant was we were not only doing flood cuts but also removing all doors and trim.  The homeowner/agent was unaware that we also offer reconstruction services which means he won't have to find a contractor to come in to his home and replace the drywall, trim, and doors.  

As we are still in the reconstruction process, I had an opportunity to speak with him recently and he is very pleased with the service we have provided as well as the ease of working with us.  

When disaster strikes your home or business, call the professionals that can truly help you start to finish at SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes.  712-262-4379

Do you have your Disaster Prep Kit Ready?

4/1/2019 (Permalink)

Make sure your kit is prepped for this storm season.

After the recent flooding in the Midwest and the erratic weather patterns over the last couple years, more and more people are thinking of preparation.  One thing that many homes overlook is a disaster preparation kit to ensure they are able to remain safe during and after a disaster.  

According to there are some basic supplies that you should ensure are in your kit...

  • Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Depending on the time of year you may also want to consider other items in your kit.  Make sure to store in a waterproof container and have easily accessible.  

Here are a few additional suggestions from for your kit that may help...

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Do not forget to check your kit yearly to make sure all flashlights are working, all batteries are still good, and food has not expired.  

For more information please visit

Remember when disaster strikes, call SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes


Do You Have Enough Insurance Coverage?

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

This homeowner suffered multiple losses during the extremely wet fall.

As the Sales & Marketing Representative for SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes I have the opportunity to travel much of northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota visiting business owners, insurance agents & adjusters, and realtors.  During my travels I had one of my clients ask me an excellent question to ensure he was providing proper guidance for his insureds when offering Sump Pump/Sewer Backup coverage. How much coverage is enough coverage when dealing with a water loss?

Variables to Coverage

Through my time with SERVPRO I have had the opportunity to not only get in on the sales side but also the restoration side of the business.  During storm events I trade in my dress clothes for work clothes and get myself dirty with the rest of the team.  This has offered me the opportunity to speak knowledgeably to those that I speak with.  

When presented with the question, I gave the agent the clearest answer I could provide... depends on the area.  Clear as mud right?! 

The fact of the matter is, the average water restoration job, before reconstruction, will run the homeowner $3000 - $5000.  That number can be higher or lower depending on how much water is involved, what the scope of the job entails such as flood cuts or carpet removal, and how many contents we are working around when doing the restoration.  The more contents, the more water, the higher the cost.  

The cost can fluctuate as well depending on how long it takes to dry the structure and contents.  We work diligently to ensure we are not incurring more charges during the restoration process.  

Things to Discuss

When speaking with your insurance agent on the amount of coverage you should have for your home or business make sure you are considering the big picture.  

For starters, you have the initial $3000 - $5000 for the restoration.  Next you need to consider both the reconstruction and replacement costs.  For low cost carpet and pad installed your cost will be roughly $1500.  Factor in the additional materials and labor needed to bring your structure back to normal such as drywall, doors, paint, trim, etc.  

The market that this agent covered offered some of the highest priced homes in the region which means his average cost will be much higher than the remainder of the region.  It is important to consider the value of your home, the replacement costs for building materials and contents, and if you want it back to its previous condition.  

My advise to him was to approach the discussion from that angle with his clients and start with a minimum of $10,000 in coverage rather than $5,000.  

The SERVPRO Factor

He and I also discussed how working with SERVPRO can help save he and his clients money in the long run.  

At SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes we offer restoration and reconstruction services.  Which allows the agent and home/business owners to have the peace of mind that the job will be done right the first time and that we know the scope of the job from start to finish.  We ensure to dry your structure and contents efficiently to save on cost leaving you the opportunity to carry about your every day life "Like it never even happened."  

If disaster strikes call the team that's faster to any disaster...SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes


Disaster Recovery Team to the Rescue

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

Disaster Recovery Team mobilizes March 2019

Spring rains and rapid thawing caused a number of regions in the midwest to suffer from extensive flood damage.  From the devastation in Nebraska to regions in South Dakota and Iowa, the pain was felt.  SERVPRO is proud employ some of the best in the restoration industry and place them on an elite team of restoration specialists in the form of our Disaster Recovery Team.  

The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team offers emergency services to any region of the country that is hit from flooding, tornado, hurricane, or blizzard.  With 1,700 franchises around the country, SERVPRO has the ability to send teams to anywhere in the United States that needs our help, this past month has been no exception.

SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes received well over 100 calls with water in homes and businesses.  With the customer needs in mind, we contacted the Disaster Recovery Team for help.  Teams out of Alabama were mobilized to come help with the events in IA, NE, and SD.  

Hearing from some of the customers they had helped myself, a huge thank you goes out to the teams from SERVPRO of Birmingham and SERVPRO of Cullman/Blount counties for their help.  

With their help we were able to meet the needs of the clients here in northwest Iowa.  

When disaster strikes, call the team that is Faster to Any Disaster...SERVPRO of Spencer & Iowa Great Lakes!  We will do what is takes to make your disaster "Like it never even happened."  


Winter Weather Travel Precautions

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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.