Recent Posts

Don’t Ignore Your Dirty Ducts

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

A cleaned duct Call SERVPRO of Ames to keep your ducts clean.

Dirty ducts may not be something on your mind, but they can be the culprit of allergy attacks, breathing problems and increased dust and dirt build-up in your home.

Duct cleaning should be done at least once every five years to prevent the buildup of dust, skin cells, mites, pollen and other nasty things that interfere with a healthy living environment. Cleaning your ducts can help reduce allergens and also remove unwanted odors.

What to Expect From a SERVPRO of Ames Duct Cleaning

When you call for a duct cleaning, our staff at SERVPRO of Ames will come to your home and complete a thorough evaluation to determine the best cleaning solution for your needs. Before we do anything, we’ll walk you through a standard duct cleaning so you know what to expect.

When we’re ready to begin the cleaning, we first look at your HVAC system and inspect your furnace so we know where to hook up our high-powered HEPA vacuum. Then we clean and cover all the vent openings to create a closed suction system. After that, we hook the vacuum into the main line running from the furnace. We run air lines from an air compressor outside to push the dust and debris to the HEPA filtering system. Once we clean and inspect all the runs, we close the system, clean the furnace and replace the old filter.

After the cleaning we talk with you about checking the filter in 5-7 days to make sure it’s still clean. Then we walk through the entire home to double check that we’ve picked up all our equipment and left your home undisturbed.

If you live in Boone or Story County and it’s been quite a while since you’ve had your ducts cleaned, or if you’ve never had them cleaned, give SERVPRO of Ames a call. We’re certified technicians with the expertise to properly and thoroughly clean your ducts. You’ll notice the improvement clean ducts make on your indoor environment.

Be Prepared for Winter Storm Damage

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

winter storm clouds You can minimize damage from winter storms by preparing for them before they hit.

We all love to see the first flakes of snow whirling around. However, winter storms can cause damage to your home. 

Winter storm damage can occur from multiple sources: extreme cold, high winds, snowfall, ice and more. Storms can cause direct damage to structures and also lead to secondary damage from causes such as stove fires or burst pipes. 

Well before icy winds start blowing, it’s smart to prepare your home for winter storms and get mentally ready with a plan for what you’ll do if you’re stranded in your home.

Before the Storm

  • Protect exposed pipes.
  • Check weather stripping and insulation.
  • Identify heat sources in case power fails.
  • Check fire and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check fire extinguishers.
  • Fill propane tanks and replenish wood piles.
  • Create an emergency kit with supplies such as medications, nonperishable food and extra batteries.
  • Prepare a battery-powered radio or other news source that doesn’t rely on electricity/internet so you can follow storm updates.

During the Storm

  • Leave taps dripping if you lose your main heating source.
  • Use precaution with extra heating sources.
  • Check news for storm updates and local warnings.

After the Storm

Now is the time to check for damage to your home and other property (and possibly to make insurance claims).

  • Clear snow away safely.
  • Check your heating sources and water pipes. Resupply fuel.
  • Check your house and other structures for damage.
  • Look for ice dams that can build up on your roof (icicles are a warning sign) and take safe steps to eliminate them.
  • Ventilate any areas where carbon monoxide may have accumulated.

If you live in Boone, Story City, Nevada, Ogden, Gilbert or anywhere in Boone or Story County, and your home has winter storm damage you can’t repair yourself—such as water damage from a burst pipe or leaking roof—SERVPRO of Ames can help. We can also assist in preparing insurance claims. Contact us at any hour for a consultation or immediate assistance.

Is Your Business Protected With Fire Extinguishers?

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

fire extinguisher on a wall Make sure your business has fire extinguishers and your staff knows how to use them.

It doesn’t happen often, but when a fire breaks out at a place of work, employees are often the first line of defense to keep a small fire from becoming a large disaster. It’s best to be prepared for fires that are manageable with the use of a fire-extinguisher. 

Every type of building except a one- or two-family house is required by the National Fire Protection Association to have fire extinguishers. Whether you have a simple seamstress shop or a tool making business, it’s important to know how to use one.

Your fire extinguisher must be located where people can easily get to it. It also needs to be visible. If it’s in a cabinet or under a sink, signs must clearly indicate where to find it. 

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Depending on the kinds of fire hazards in your business, you may need one or more of the following types of fires extinguishers:

Type A: For combustible solid materials such as wood or fire. If you have an office or shop with a low level of fire hazards, a type A extinguisher is probably enough.

Type B: For flammable liquid or gas. If you run a business that includes or kitchen or uses flammable liquids like paint or grease, you need a type B extinguisher.

Type C: For energized electrical sources. Businesses ranging from server farms to welding shops that use a large amount of electricity or electronics need type C fire extinguishers, which can be used for electrical fires.

Type D: For combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium and sodium. Businesses like factories, auto body shops and industrial companies need type D extinguishers.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are not difficult to use.

  1. Pull the pin.
  2. Point the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze the handle.
  4. Swing back and forth until the fire is out.

It’s recommended that a how-to infographic is displayed near your fire extinguisher and that training is provided for office staff with regular reviews.

If you own a business in Boone or Story County, contact SERVPRO of Ames to help your business prepare for a disaster like a fire with a free SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile. And if you do experience a fire, call us anytime, day or night, to help restore your business so it’s “Like it never even happened.”

Call SERVPRO of Ames After Damage From Lightning

11/18/2020 (Permalink)

lightning streaking across sky Know the danger that lightning poses to your property.

The dramatic view of lightning streaking across the sky is quintessential to thunderstorms, but it also represents extreme danger. Lightning can often cause severe injuries and damage to property when it strikes, which is why it is essential to know the dangers it presents to your home.

Information About Lightning

All thunderstorms develop an electrical charge, and thunder and lightning are the results of this. What our eyes perceive as a lightning bolt is the storm shooting off some of its electrical charge, which is manifested as a strike.

Clouds are well-insulated for electrical charge, which is why so many lightning strikes arc across the sky. When lightning strikes toward the ground instead, that’s when property damage can happen.

Three Types of Lightning Damage to Property

  1. Fire damage. Lightning reaches temperatures around 500,000 degrees, making it hot enough to ignite buildings on impact. As it travels through a home’s wires, damage can also be caused inside the walls, raising the potential for electrical fires in the future. An electrician or the local fire department can often test for hot spots and assess the damage.
  2. Electrical damage. Lightning has more electrical charge than most electronics are equipped to handle, so lightning traveling through wires can easily move up cables and ruin appliances. Surge protectors are the common defense against this.
  3. Structural damage. The thunder we hear when lightning strikes across the sky is a result of shock waves created by the force. This force is still present when lightning strikes the ground, and can sometimes even shatter windows, explode foundations and crack chimneys. A thorough home inspection after the storm passes is useful in assessing the damage.

If you live in Huxley, Maxwell, Story City, Cambridge or anywhere in Boone or Story County and your home has been affected by storm damage or lightning-related fires, call SERVPRO of Ames! We are experts in damage cleanup and can restore your damage quickly.

Call SERVPRO of Ames to Help Prepare Your Business for Flooding

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

business with water coming up to stairwell SERVPRO of Ames can help you develop an Emergency Ready Profile to make sure you're prepared for flooding or any other kind of disaster.

For commercial business owners who do not operate in a floodplain, it may seem odd to prepare for flooding. However, national disasters include flooding around 90% of the time, and many affected areas are those not traditionally prone to flooding.

It’s smart for business owners to plan for the possibility of a flood, to keep their employees safe and to get their business reopened more quickly after a disaster.

What to Do Ahead of Time
By addressing the risk of flooding, training employees and planning ahead, business owners will be much more prepared and will know how to stay safe. Some key points to plan for include:

  • Referencing the FEMA Flood Map to get an idea of your risk levels
  • Copying all paperwork and records to a safe, external server or cloud-based storage
  • Drafting your own Emergency Action Plan and training employees 
  • Clearly marking the office evacuation route
  • Considering the purchase of flood insurance if it is something your business insurance does not handle
  • Assembling an emergency kit for the workplace in the event you and other employees are stranded for a time
  • A plan to relocate valuable assets to the highest possible areas if flooding becomes imminent

The Documents to Preserve
In order to restore and reopen your business as soon as possible, it’s crucial to back up all important documents and data to a safe off-site or cloud-based location. Some of these essential documents include:

  • The continuity plan for how you will resume operations
  • Contact information for employees, as well as their emergency contacts
  • Your insurance policy for the business and flood coverage, if applicable
  • Vendor information, along with contact information for suppliers and any other third parties that may be crucial to operations
  • Guidelines for how to recover files from computer backups
  • Any pertinent financial documents

Call SERVPRO of Ames at 515-233-4544 to help you set up a SERVPRO® Emergency Ready Profile. We’ll make sure you’re prepared for flooding or any other kind of disaster that can affect your business. It’s FREE and can make the difference between the life and death of your Boone or Story County business.

Keep SERVPRO of Ames on Emergency Fire Contact List

11/9/2020 (Permalink)

smoke coming from upper level windows of home Trust SERVPRO of Ames to help restore your home and belongings after a fire.

As temperatures drop and fireplaces and furnaces kick in, so do the risks of fires. Winter is the most common time for home fires, according to the Red Cross.

Though it’s not enjoyable to plan for a house fire, it is important to think ahead. Not only should you create a fire escape plan to share with your family, but you should also make a decision in advance about what restoration company to use so you can be ready if the time comes.

Choose SERVPRO of Ames for Fire Restoration

The staff of SERVPRO of Ames has many years of combined experience and certified training to help restore your home and all your salvageable contents to their pre-fire condition. We do this by following three methods of deep-cleaning.

Structural Cleaning

After a fire, the structural elements of your home will likely need to be cleaned, including carpets, walls and subfloors. Our trained technicians will first perform a test to establish the extent of the damage. This helps us choose the best equipment and cleaning techniques to handle your surfaces. In some cases, we can remove mild soot buildup straight from the walls, while in other cases, we may have to completely repaint after cleaning and prepping your walls.

Content Cleaning

Your belongings are just as important as your home itself—that’s why we make sure we carefully and properly clean all the contents inside your house, too. Curtains, rugs and furniture can be cleaned and deodorized using either wet or dry cleaning processes. We can often also restore other damaged items such as clothing, books and more.

Deodorization Services

Fire can leave behind persistent smoke odors, but it can also leave behind hazardous soot particles that may lead to health issues. Instead of using artificial fragrances to mask the odors, we go to the source of the odors and remove them with air scrubbers and other odor-eliminating equipment. With a variety of deodorization methods available, we work with you to choose what’s best for your situation.

Trust SERVPRO of Ames after a fire to help restore your home in Gilbert, Colo, Cambridge, Nevada or anywhere in Boone or Story County. Keep us on your list of emergency contacts at 515-233-4544. You can call us any time, day or night!

How SERVPRO’s Storm Response Team Handled the Derecho Storm of 2020

10/13/2020 (Permalink)

tree coming through living room ceiling after derecho storm SERVPRO of Ames and the SERVPRO Catastrophic Storm Response Team worked together to restore homes and businesses affected by the 2020 derecho storm.

When a strong hurricane-like derecho storm ripped through Iowa this last summer, calls started coming in to SERVPRO of Ames immediately after the storm moved through the area. The volume of calls made it clear this was no average summer storm, so after we had sent all our own crews out on jobs, we called in SERVPRO’s Catastrophic Storm Response Team, a national network of more than 1,700 strategically positioned franchises on standby and ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice when large storms strike. By enlisting the help of the storm team, we knew we would be able to get to all our customers faster and minimize further damage from happening. 

24-Hour Mobilization

Within 24 hours of our call, the national team had set up a local command center with a project coordinator and highly trained crew chiefs and technicians to handle the overflow of storm damage calls coming into our office. Lori Newhouse, our office manager, managed the incoming calls and worked with the large team project coordinator to assign overflow jobs to the additional crews.

Responsiveness That Can’t Be Beat

Within about two weeks, SERVPRO of Ames, together with the national team, had responded to all the storm damage calls from commercial businesses and residents in our Boone and Story County territory. We were told by many of our customers that we were one of the most responsive companies to help people in the area with their various storm damage needs, whether it was boarding up or tarping damaged property to prevent more water from getting in or drying, demo or restoration work to homes and commercial businesses where water had penetrated and caused more extensive damage.

High-Level Service From Entire Team

We know we can trust SERVPRO’s Storm Response Team to handle our customers with the same care and expertise as we do. Because SERVPRO crew chiefs and technicians are all trained to meet the same high standards set by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), they provide an equally high level of experience and professionalism, no matter what franchise they work for. It’s why SERVPRO has a reputation for consistent, top-notch service across the entire organization. Here’s just a few of the large storms our national storm teams have handled in recent years:

  • 2017 Hurricane Irma
  • 2017 Hurricane Harvey
  • 2016 Hurricane Matthew
  • 2015 Carolina floods
  • 2014 Polar Vortex
  • 2012 Hurricane Sandy

SERVPRO of Ames Belongs on Your Roster

10/8/2020 (Permalink)

front porch with property damage SERVPRO of Ames combines technical expertise with solid teamwork and round-the-clock availability.

If you watch a lot of football, you’ve probably heard of a triple threat. That’s a player who can run, pass and punt—someone who’s an all-around athlete. Versatility makes for a valuable team member. And at SERVPRO of Ames, we’re nothing if not versatile!

We’re a triple threat because we combine technical expertise, solid teamwork (which includes our customers) and round-the-clock availability when you need us. 

The Science of Safe Cleaning

There’s more to cleaning and disinfecting than meets the eye. Our professionals have to know which chemicals are best to use against specific pathogens while ensuring a safe environment for the people using the residential or commercial business space.

For example, we select from a list of EPA-approved products to fight COVID-19. And we clean according to CDC guidelines to keep your home or business safe!

Your Dream Team

At SERVPRO of Ames we’re ready for the hard work restoration jobs require. To make it easier, we all do our part to communicate well with each other so that the work runs smoothly and efficiently.

We also communicate well with you, our customers, by consulting with you before and after every job to make sure our cleaning and restoration efforts meet your specific needs and approval.

Round-the-Clock Availability

Disaster doesn’t always strike at convenient hours and the sooner help arrives, the more additional damage can be prevented. That’s why our local staff is ready to respond quickly to emergency calls no matter what time they come in, day or night.

If your home or commercial business is located in Story City, Maxwell, Roland, Gilbert or anywhere in Boone or Story County, SERVPRO of Ames can help with your damage restoration or cleaning needs. Contact us at any hour for a consultation or immediate assistance.

How to Help Prevent Furnace Fires

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

a person in a blue shirt reaching up to change a furnace filter Furnace fires can easily be prevented with regular maintenance and cleaning.

This summer, we were all thinking about how to stay cool. But with fall upon us, it’s time to start cranking up the heat again (hopefully not too soon). If you heat your house with a furnace, a little preventive maintenance now can help prevent a fire when you do turn on your heat.

Gas furnaces are more prevalent than wood or coal. (Yes, about 130,000 households still burn coal.)

And while furnaces are generally quite safe, they can occasionally cause house fires. That’s why it’s important to properly maintain any kind of furnace.

Clean around the furnace. Move any debris or stored items at least three feet away from your furnace.

Clean the furnace itself. Dirt and grime can cause overheating. They can also prevent you from seeing any damage or other problems.

Replace dirty air filters. Dirty or clogged air filters prevent the flow of air, leading to overheating. This can increase the likelihood of a fire.

Check your chimneys and vents. Clogged vents or flues can lead to fires. Call a professional if you need help with this task.

Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Both should be installed throughout your house and should be tested to see if they’re working properly. If you don’t have both kinds of alarms, make that the very first errand on your list.

Invest in a professional maintenance checkup. A furnace professional can identify and correct problems such as a cracked heat exchanger or incorrect pressure in the furnace. Even flame color can tell an experienced repair person how well your furnace is functioning. If you haven’t had your furnace serviced lately, make an appointment this month.

If your home has suffered fire damage, SERVPRO of Ames can help. Our agents are on call around the clock so we can start helping you get back to normal, fast. Contact us at any hour for assistance.

Catch Leaking Pipes Before They Cause Damage

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

a leaky water pipe Be proactive about catching leaking water pipes and save yourself from possible water damage.

Ever wonder why your water bill is so high? Or have you noticed there’s dampness in the cabinet under your faucet?

We easily identify roof leaks when they splash on our heads, and it’s fairly simple to detect dripping appliances, but leaky pipes can be trickier to locate and correct. However, it’s essential to find them early, as slow leaks usually are not covered by insurance.

Plumbing repair sounds like a big project. But you can often fix a leaky pipe by yourself. This video shows you the basics. There are plenty of other do-it-yourself resources out there. A quick Google search gives a list of how-to videos by most major hardware businesses.

How to Spot Leaky Pipes Early

Check for signs of a leak on a regular basis. Traces of water can cue you in to leaky pipes. Look for damaged flooring or ceiling stains. Puddles are big clues, of course. You should also look for more subtle signs. Loose caulking might indicate a leak. Rust in your sink or toilet joints can also be signs of a leak. Loose tiles? Mold? A toilet that rocks back and forth? You guessed it—all can be caused by a leak.

Locate the source. Now that you know there’s likely a leak in the area, find where it’s coming from. You might need to open an access panel behind a tub or check under a sink. Look under countertops. You may want to fill a tub or sink and drain it, checking for dampness around each joint you can reach.

Evaluate if it’s a do-it-yourself job. Can you handily see and access the leaking pipe? If so, chances are you can make a repair. But if you can’t identify the source—or if you can see it but can’t get to it—it’s time to call a plumber. A certified, bonded plumber can make repairs that will save you money down the road.

When the Damage Is Done

If your leaking pipe has already caused damage, call SERVPRO. We’ve been cleaning up water damage for more than 50 years.

We’ll answer your call any time, around the clock. We combine national expertise with local know-how, so you know we’ll serve you right.

Dealing with water damage? Contact us at any hour for the rapid response we’re known for.