Archived Blog Posts
How to Help Prevent Furnace Fires
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
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.
Minimize the Financial Strain of Storm Damage
Follow these tips to help minimize the financial impact of storm damage.
Storm damage can hit you hard financially. According to the Congressional Budget Office, American households experience about $34 billion in storm-related losses every year. Careful planning can help you recover financially from the damage.
Check Your Coverage. Get to know your insurance policy before a storm hits. You may be covered for wind and water damage, but only from certain sources. For instance, check the wording of your policy to see whether storm water that backs up from sewers or drains is covered. Talk with your insurance agent if you need help understanding your coverage.
Perform Due Diligence. If your property has existing damage, your insurance company may deny your claim. To help prove your damage was due to a sudden event, keep “before” photos of your house in good condition.
Protect Yourself. After a storm, you should first get yourself, your family and your pets to safety. Then check your house for hazards, such as standing water. You may need to evacuate your home if you can’t quickly fix the most urgent problems.
Check Out FEMA Help. If you need help finding a place to stay, getting urgent repairs or even getting a hot meal, call your local FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Assistance) office. Depending on how widespread the damage was, FEMA may have an agent deployed where you live.
Document Everything. As you prepare your claim, make detailed records. Take pictures of mold, missing shingles and everything in between.
Time to File. When you reach out to your insurance company, they’ll assign an agent to help you through the process. Be persistent and specific in your claim. Keep careful records of your conversations with your agent. With dedication, you should soon have your claim met and your property in tip-top shape again!
We have many years of experience working with insurance companies to get claims processed. If you live in Boone or Story County and experience storm damage, contact us at any hour for quick assistance.
Hidden Spots for Household Water Damage
Check places in your home for hidden water damage on a regular basis.
It’s common to associate water damage with flooding, but there are many other surprising reasons water damage can occur in a home—quite a few of which can occur in hidden locations.
Because water damage can become worse if left untreated, hidden water damage is especially insidious. Many homeowners’ policies do not provide coverage for water damage; when they do, a typical claim will be in the range of $7,000.
Knowing the surprising spots where water damage may be found and checking them regularly can go a long way in preventing complications.
Surprising Spots for Household Water Damage
- Inside cabinets: When sink pipes are inside cabinets, it’s easy for leaks to go unnoticed. Regularly check the piping to make sure you catch leaks before they cause damage.
- Near bathtub casings: The casing of the bathtub or shower is sealed with caulk around the edges, providing a barrier against leaks. However, if these have not been recaulked in a while, they can begin to falter.
- On structural elements: Drywall hides the structural elements of the home, but it can also hide water damage. Though ripping out drywall can be a chore, if there has been a busted pipe or a flood recently, it is wise to check behind it.
- Around seals in the roof: The vents of roofs are sealed to prevent water from entering, but the seals deteriorate over time. Check the roof at the start of spring and fall for signs of water.
- Within an HVAC unit: As the HVAC unit pulls moisture from the air, it typically drains it away. However, if there is an issue with any of the drain lines, this condensation can build up within the unit instead.
- Behind appliances: Appliances are rarely moved unless they are being replaced, but washing machines and dishwashers can also hide water leaks. Perform an inspection for any hidden damage every few months as a preventive measure.
- Around exterior faucets: Because outside faucets are connected within the walls of the house, leaks can easily hide. If the faucet is turned off and you still hear sounds of running water, there might be a hidden leak.
If you find water damage in your Boone or Story County home, give us a call right away, and we’ll be there quickly.
What to Do If You Smell Gas In Your Home
Most gasses are tasteless, odorless and colorless, so there is a considerable amount of danger when flammable gas goes unnoticed. However, a chemical called mercaptan is added to gas, giving it the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs, which may be your first indicator that you have a gas leak. Here’s what to do if you smell gas in your home:
Don’t Flip the Switch
All it takes is a spark for a gas fire to ignite. Flipping a light switch or lighting a match in a gas-filled room can cause a gas explosion that could result in serious injuries or fatalities and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
Evacuate Immediately and Call 911
Get your family out of the house. If you can, bring your pets too, but ensure your safety first. Odorless gas is dangerous. Not only can it cause a gas explosion, but the fumes can cause serious injury to the body. Dial 911, even if you’re not sure it’s gas. Your local fire department will come and determine if there is a gas leak or not.
Get Your Lines Checked
Once it is safe to reenter your home, contact a plumber to determine what lines need to be fixed or replaced. Be aware, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace your gas line. HIre someone to do periodic inspections to maintain the lines throughout your home.
If by chance you do experience a gas fire, call SERVPRO of Ames at (515) 233-4544 to help clean up and restore your Ames, Boone, Madrid, Huxley or Ballad home to its original state, “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO of Ames Knows How to Handle Hoarding
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.” A person with a hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of items. Many people with hoarding tendencies don’t see their habits as a problem, which requires the situation to be handled with sensitivity and patience. At SERVPRO of Ames, we know how to handle this.
Our specialists often encounter hoarding when we are called to a home for water damage or a fire loss. And because we’re experienced with hoarding situations, we know how to handle each case in the most professional way possible as we work with you and/or an insurance company regarding the contents that are covered. Once the insurance company has approved what contents a policy covers, we take care of cleaning, drying, packing and storing the items so work on the fire or water loss can begin.
We also receive calls from family members to go through items and clean up a home after the death of a loved one. In these situations, our crew is careful to make sure they understand which possessions should be retained as they work through the contents of a house. Family members are welcome to assist us as we sort through the deceased person’s belongings.
Each case is unique and sensitive, and we treat our customers with respect and professionalism throughout the process. Call SERVPRO of Ames at (515) 233-4544 right away if you experience a water or fire loss or if you need help with a hoarding property in Boone or Story County.
SERVPRO of Ames Takes on Any Size Commercial Disasters
SERVPRO's large loss team can take on any commercial disaster of any size.
SERVPRO of Ames takes on commercial disasters, no matter how large, whether from a tornado, hurricane, fire, flood or a derecho like we recently experienced here in central Iowa. We’re part of a nationwide network of more than 1,700 strategically positioned SERVPRO franchises on standby and ready to mobilize when large disaster teams are needed.
We Have the Right Team for Big Jobs
We start by assessing the damage. In the event we need more feet on the ground and extra resources, we contact the SERVPRO Commercial Large Loss Division, staffed by elite large-loss specialists who are prequalified to handle any size disaster. They immediately dispatch any needed personnel to the site and set up a local command center with a commercial operations manager to supervise the loss and ensure communication is seamless and remediation is completed as quickly as possible.
For example, we recently received a call about a large commercial fire near Ames. We immediately contacted the SERVPRO Large Loss Division to help complete an assessment and put together a scope of estimated work. SERVPRO was there within hours and was the first company on the scene with a large loss project manager to work directly with the client and the insurance company and quickly present an evaluation and estimate.
Our National Team Knows What It’s Doing
When you call SERVPRO of Ames with a large loss, you’re also calling a national disaster team — one of the best you can get. We’re different than other large response teams because we quickly and efficiently dispatch professionals who have the same high-level training. That’s why so many hotel owners, property managers, universities, municipalities and even the Pentagon have relied on SERVPRO for recovery from large disasters.
Call us right away at (515) 233-4544 if your commercial business, school, city or township in Boone or Story county experiences a large loss. You can be sure we’ll respond immediately with all the staff, resources and experience needed to handle the recovery process smoothly and efficiently.
When You Sustain Storm Damage, Depend on SERVPRO of Ames
Call SERVPRO of Ames if your property is damaged from a severe storm.
It’s always a serious and stressful situation when your home or commercial property is damaged during a severe storm. While some storm damage can be simple to deal with, large storms can bring water, electrical and structural damage into the mix, which is why choosing a restoration company that can handle anything is key—as well as choosing one that is a legitimate business with your best interests in mind.
Starting the recovery process following storm damage may feel overwhelming, but it’s worth putting in the effort to make sure it is done right, including finding a restoration company you can count on.
Why SERVPRO of Ames Is the Best for Storm Damage
We’ve built a strong reputation. Many times after a storm unscrupulous companies will move into an area, obtain partial payment and never be heard from again. Needless to say, these companies are usually not community members or restoration industry leaders—but we are. We’ve worked hard to build a reputation that showcases our trustworthiness, and when you work with us, you will see that reflected in everything we do.
The resources we have are scalable. Regardless of how large the storm is or how much of the area it impacted, you can count on us to be able to help no matter what. With our national SERVPRO® partners by our side, we can call for reinforcements when needed to make sure we can scale up and provide excellent service after storms of any caliber.
The service you will get is unparalleled, at any hour. Discovering you have damage will never be an enjoyable process, but no matter when you discover it, we will be around to help. We are available 24 hours a day, meaning whenever you discover damage, you can give us a call. We will immediately begin formulating a response to tackle your damage and return your property to its pre-storm state.
When you experience damage from a storm to your home or commercial building, you can always depend on us to handle it. Call SERVPRO of Ames right away at (515) 233-4544.
Protect Your Finished Basement With a Sump Pump
Your basement is finally nicely carpeted, stocked with food and drinks, filled with electronics, a home entertainment system and comfy furniture. But are you prepared if a strong summer storm threatens to flood your basement and ruin everything there? This is when it’s important to consider installing a sump pump.
Putting a sump pump at the lowest point of your house can help with flooding prevention. While not the prettiest sight, a sump pump can save you the thousands of dollars it can cost to clean up and restore a flooded basement. And if your basement floods once, chances are it will flood again.
A sump pump has two parts: a float switch and a mechanical pump. The entire mechanism is placed in the pit of the sump pump, which is at the lowest level of a house’s basement. When moisture leaks into the basement, the water level rises, eventually lifting the float switch high enough that it activates the pump. The water is then pumped out of the basement through a discharge pipe.
Sump pumps also have the ability to be connected to a dehumidifier, which will help pull the moisture out of the air and dump it directly into your sump pump. This helps prevent mold formation, which is another problem for basements. Most newer homes in the Midwest require a sump pump. If yours does not, we suggest doing your research and looking into it. They can save your home before a crisis hits.
If you do happen to experience flooding or water in your basement, call SERVPRO of Ames right away, and we’ll be there quickly to assess the damage and start restoring your basement back to its original condition, “Like it never even happened.” Call (515) 233-4544, anytime, day or night.
Call SERVPRO of Ames to Remove Sewage Water Safely
Many Story and Boone County homeowners have recently experienced a double whammy from both water damage and power outages after an unprecedented derecho storm ripped through the state. This problem combination makes homes susceptible to mold growth and harmful bacteria or viruses, especially when the floodwater includes sewage. Porous materials like carpet, carpet pads and insulation are breeding grounds for mold and bacteria, which can quickly cause foul odor and risk of severe illness from mold spores or dangerous pathogens. The sooner you can start cleaning up after water damage, the sooner you can stop mold and bad bacteria from growing in susceptible areas of your house.
Carpets and pads that have been damaged by sewage immediately need to be removed and disposed of since this is considered a category-3 loss. Sewage damage is the most dangerous form of water cleanup because the possibility of blood-borne pathogens and other contaminants is high.
If a company were to just clean sewage-damaged carpet, assuming it seemed fine, there is no guarantee the carpet would be clean or safe. Once the room became warm, you would almost immediately smell the sewage that was left behind in the carpet. This indicates bacteria or mold remains and would still leave you and your family in danger.
Sewage leaves too many unknowns for a company to assume a cleaning is enough to take care of the problem. The possibility of remaining fecal matter and disease-causing pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli put you and your family at high risk.
Our staff at SERVPRO of Ames is trained to handle sewage damage safely and effectively. We make sure that we eliminate all the contaminants that pose health risks and never take shortcuts. We do it well and we do it right. If your home has had any amount of water damage, give us a call right away to come take care of it for you. You can reach us any time, day or night, at (515) 233-4544.
Follow These Safety Habits to Prevent A Dangerous Grill Fire
Make sure you follow safe habits whenever you use your grill.
Grill season lasts well into the fall, and most of us are likely making good use of our grills to cook our favorite foods. Grilling allows you to get outside and enjoy the extra daylight summer has to offer, but they also cause many deaths and injuries as well as millions of dollars in property damage each year. No matter how frequently you use your grill, you should always practice good safety habits to avoid a fire.
Create a safe zone around your grill. While it may be convenient to set your grill up on your deck, it’s not a safe choice for its location. Grill fire flare-ups can easily spread to surrounding property, including porches, patio railings and deck. Grill fires can also melt vinyl siding. It’s recommended that you keep at least a three-foot safe zone around your grill at all times away from your home’s structure.
Clean your grill grates often. Food particles can build up on the grill over time, creating a prime opportunity for a grease fire to break out on your grates. Giving the grill a quick brush after each use helps keep down flammable buildup.
Never leave the grill unattended. Just as you would not leave your stove top unattended, you should never walk away from a lit grill, even if the lid is down. Fires can start in an instant. If you keep your eye on the grill and keep a fire extinguisher nearby, you can immediately stop a fire from spreading.
Inspect the grill regularly. While charcoal grills pose fewer hazards, you need to be extremely vigilant about frequently checking the gas lines of a propane grill. The seals around the propane tank and the lines that transport the gas can become worn with time and allow gas leaks that can potentially lead to dangerous explosions. If you see any signs of wear on the tank or the lines, carefully and safely replace them.
If a grill fire damages your home in Ogden, Huxley, Roland, Maxwell or Cambridge or anywhere in Story or Boone County, call SERVPRO of Ames at (515) 233-4544 any time, day or night . We’ll be there quickly to protect your property from further damage and restore it to its original state, “Like it never even happened.”
Why to Leave Your AC on When You Go on Vacation
Many homeowners think they can save money on cooling costs by turning off their air conditioners when they’re not at home. However, that’s not a great idea for a number of reasons.
Creates an Environment for Mold and Bugs
First of all, turning off your air conditioner can cause the level of humidity inside your home to quickly rise. Without cool, dry air circulating through your home, humidity levels can soar to upwards of 60 percent, which is ideal for mold growth and bug infestations.
Mold needs moisture and lack of ventilation to grow, and it grows fast once the conditions are right. Insects also thrive in high heat and humidity. Making sure you keep humidity down in your home can save you a lot of trouble and expense down the line from mold remediation or bug extermination.
Saves Energy and Makes It Easier on Your Air Conditioner
Secondly, it’s more economical and easier on your air conditioner to keep your home relatively cool with low humidity. Moisture holds heat, so a hot, humid home will cause your air conditioner to have to work extra hard to bring the temperature and humidity levels back to normal after you return.
Turn Your Thermostat Up Instead of Turning AC Off
Instead of turning the air completely off, just turn your thermostat up 7 to 10 degrees. Your AC will kick on every once in a while to control and maintain a healthy humidity level between 45%-55%. You’ll save more money in the long run and likely also extend the life of your air conditioner.
If you do notice water damage or possible mold growth that occurred while you were gone and you live in Boone or Story county, call SERVPRO of Ames right away at (515) 233-4544. We are a local Ames business and can be there quickly to help.
Keep Mold From Forming in Your Home
You can prevent mold from growing in your home like this by following some helpful tips from SERVPRO of Ames.
If you have any kind of water leakage or water damage in your home, it’s very common to develop a mold problem as well. We see it all the time. However, mold remediation is usually not covered in a homeowners insurance policy. Here are 15 tips from SERVPRO of Ames for preventing the development of mold in your home:
- Add mold inhibitors to paint before painting areas likely to have mold, such as bathrooms, kitchens or basements.
- Use mold-killing cleaning products when cleaning your bathroom or kitchen, two areas with a lot of moisture.
- Don’t lay carpet in basements or other areas that have a lot of moisture.
- Make sure the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation to prevent water from entering your home or collecting around it.
- Remove or replace wet carpets that cannot dry properly.
- Keep the humidity in your home between 40 and 60 percent. (You can buy a fairly inexpensive humidity meter from your local hardware or home repair store.)
- Cover cold surfaces, such as water pipes, with insulation to keep condensation and mold from forming.
- Use air conditioners, dehumidifiers and fans can help to remove excess moisture and condensation in your home.
- Check under indoor plants to make sure water is not accumulating beneath the pots.
- Clean your roof and roof gutters frequently and repair them immediately if you notice leaking or damage.
- Clean the drip pan below your air conditioning unit regularly and check that all of your drain lines are flowing properly.
- Leave air conditioning on when you leave your home unattended to keep airflow moving.
- If your basement or any other part of your home floods, thoroughly clean and dry everything and call SERVPRO of Ames to check for mold growth.
- Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as dryers or stoves, outdoors.
- When you shower, cook, or run the dishwasher or clothes dryer, use an exhaust fan or open a window to let excess moisture escape.
Keep in mind that condensation can be a sign of excess humidity, which can cause growth. If you do suspect mold, don’t try and clean it yourself. Call SERVPRO of Ames (515) 233-4544, and we’ll come out right away to determine if it is mold and what needs to be done if it is - at no charge for the initial evaluation.
Stay Safe During Summer Storms
Summer storms, though sometimes brief, can still be very dangerous. Make sure you're ready for when they pop up.
When the days get longer and the sun gets hotter, pop-up summer storms are expected in Iowa. Storms like this may not seem too threatening, but it’s important to remember that any storm with thunder has the ability to develop dangerous conditions such as high winds, hail and lightning strikes.
Being aware of how to protect yourself no matter where you are when severe weather develops can help you and your family stay safer all summer long.
Know your options for shelter. Ideally, the best place to be in the event of severe weather is an interior room of your own home or office with no outward-facing windows or doors. However, if you get caught on the road in the storm, staying in your car is the second-safest thing to do. Pull the car over, turn off the engine and avoid touching anything metal inside the vehicle until the storm passes.
Practice electrical safety. If a building is struck by lightning, the electrical charge will rush to the ground as quickly as possible—often through electrical wires in the walls of the home. When this happens, a power surge can be transferred to anything that is plugged into the wall. If you have the time before a storm moves through, unplug everything in your home to prevent this from happening. As an extra measure of protection in case you forget to unplug something like a computer, plug surge protector extensions into every outlet.
Avoid direct contact with concrete. Structures made of concrete may feel like the most solid option when faced with severe weather, but when it comes to lightning, they can actually be quite dangerous. Concrete is often constructed with steel bars for reinforcement at the center, and can thus become a conductor if electricity begins to move through it. Avoid leaning against concrete walls or laying on a concrete floor if possible when a storm is moving through.
Stay indoors for at least 30 minutes. The good news about summer storms is that they often start and end suddenly, but that can cause a false sense of security when the skies become clear. Lightning strikes can occur as far as 25 miles away from the storm clouds, so officials advise waiting at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap before heading back outside.
If your Ames, Madrid, Boone, Huxley, Story City or Nevada home or business is damaged from a storm, SERVPRO of Ames can be there quickly to help prevent more damage and begin restoring your property back to its former condition. Contact us to learn more about our storm restoration process. Call (515) 233-4454, any time night or day.
If You Think You Have Mold, Don’t Clean It Yourself!
See something like this growing in your home or business? Don't mess with it - give us a call instead!
We often get calls from Boone and Story county homeowners who’ve tried treating a mold problem with a store-bought spray or with bleach, only to have the mold return. What they don’t realize is that they’ve spread potentially dangerous mold spores inside their home and used a cleaner that isn’t meant for the type of material where the mold is growing. The result is a situation much worse than if they had called us first.
It’s Best Not to Mess With Mold
If you think you have mold, the best thing you can do is leave it alone and call us to come take a look. We’ll be there right away. If it’s not mold, which is sometimes the case, we’ll let you know, and we won’t charge you anything for the visit. It’s a courtesy our customers really appreciate.
If we do suspect you have mold, then we’ll offer the option to pay for mold sampling and testing to determine if the mold is toxic or a garden-variety type that presents low health risk. Depending on the results, we’ll put together a mold remediation plan and cost estimate for you to consider.
We’re Certified to Safely Remove Mold
Once a customer approves the plan and estimate, we get straight to work. We’re certified to remediate mold from homes and commercial businesses in the safest way possible. If the mold is toxic, we seal off contaminated areas from the rest of your house or business so spores do not spread. Using special HEPA vacuums and air scrubbers, we clean and disinfect the entire area. We carefully remove affected materials, dispose of them properly and replace damaged areas with new materials, restoring your home or business back to its previous condition. When we get done, it's "Like it never even happened.”
Call SERVPRO of Ames Before You Touch That Mold
All it takes is a quick phone call to save yourself from possible health risks and spreading more mold in your home or business. We deal with mold all the time and are well-trained to handle it, so you can trust us to do the work right. Because we’re a local business, we can be there quickly to give you an evaluation and recommendations for moving forward. Call (515) 233-4544 anytime, day or night.
Protect Property Immediately After a Disaster With Our Board-Up Services
Call SERVPRO of Ames for board up services immediately after your property is damaged from a disaster.
What’s one of the very first things you should do after a fire or tornado partially damages your home or commercial business? Get on the phone with SERVPRO of Ames and ask us for emergency board up service.
What Is Board Up Service?
Board up service, also called “temping” service, should happen immediately after a disaster like a damaging wind storm or partial fire (once the property has been cleared by fire officials). It secures your property against theft and protects it from more weather damage by covering vulnerable openings like broken windows, open roofs and missing parts of your property’s structure.
Why Is Our Board Up Service So Good?
If you live in Story City, Maxwell, Roland, Gilbert or anywhere in Boone or Story county, we guarantee we’ll have your property completely secured within 24 hours of your call, if not much sooner. Using tarps, plywood, foam core and other materials, we’ll weather-proof and theft-proof your home or business and make sure we’re careful not to cause additional damage. We never drill or hammer nails into your property’s structure to attach materials, as this creates more weak spots for water or cold air to get in or for theft to occur.
We specialize in working with insurance claims and recommend asking your agent or adjuster for permission to contract with us before you call for board up service. Many insurance companies are familiar with us and our reputable services.
How Can You Save Yourself Hassle?
Unlike some companies that perform board up services only, we are a one-stop shop for all restoration services, from initial board up all the way through to final renovation. This saves you the hassle of using multiple companies and people to complete your entire restoration. From start to finish, we’ll make it look “Like it never even happened.”
Give Us a Call!
Doesn’t matter what time of day or night you need us, we can be there. Call (515) 233-4544 anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we’ll answer.
SERVPRO of Ames Invests in the Best Equipment for Restoration
SERVPRO of Ames is never caught short on equipment. We use the best and invest in plenty of it so we can be ready for any size disaster at any time.
One reason we enjoy what we do is because we like seeing the immediate and effective results of our service. To put it another way, we really dig watching how our equipment works. It’s satisfying to watch our machines pull water up through a carpet or wood floor. And it’s pretty cool to use infrared cameras to detect water or use huge diesel-powered heaters to dry out a basement.
SERVPRO of Ames is known for investing in the very best restoration equipment money can buy, and that’s one reason we have such confidence that we can restore your Nevada, Huxley, Madrid, Story City or Boone home or commercial business back to its original condition after a disaster. Here’s a list of some of the great equipment and technology we use:
Detection and Measurement
Airborne Mold Testing: Air sampling with 24-hour turnaround on lab results and reporting to determine whether mold is present.
Infrared Camera: Based on the temperature difference of water and moisture compared to dry areas, it detects where water is located, including inside walls or other hidden areas.
Submersible and Gas-Powered Pumps: Used for powerful and continuous removal of high-level water.
Wood Floor Water Extractor: Suctions water from the subfloor through the wood planks and dries the subfloor, saving the wood floor from buckling and being destroyed.
Rover Water Extractor: Using the weight of the operator who stands on and steers the rover, this extraction machine pulls water from deep in the pad beneath carpet and saves both the pad and carpet from being destroyed.
High-Speed Air Mover: Evaporates moisture at a faster pace with powerful high-velocity blowers.
Desiccant Dehumidifier: Unlike refrigerant dehumidifiers that use condensation and only work between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit, desiccant dehumidifiers use a silica gel wheel to pull moisture out of the air like a sponge and work at temps down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Indirect-Fired Portable Heater: Able to be operated indoors, these powerful diesel heaters blow hot dry air into areas such as basements to evaporate all moisture, even during the winter.
HEPA Vacuum: Captures 99.9% of particles to .3 microns to prevent contaminants such as dust, mold spores or bacteria from disseminating into the air.
HEPA Negative Air Machine: Filters and removes contaminated air from a sealed area by exhausting it outside to create a vacuum effect that replaces contaminated air with clean air.
Knowing how much confidence we have in our equipment (and training) should also give you the confidence that we can make your home or office look “Like it never even happened.”
Give us a call at (515) 233-4544, anytime day or night. We are Boone and Story County residents who live and work near you and can be there quickly. And if you just need more information about our services, we’re available to answer your questions. You can also check out our website at SERVPROames.com.
How to Deal With the Aftermath of a House Fire | SERVPRO® of Ames
Learn what you can do to make the recovery from a devastating house fire easier for you and your family.
A house fire is an absolutely devastating situation. No matter how quickly the fire was extinguished, it can still cause serious household damages and emotional repercussions for your entire family.
While handling the damage may seem overwhelming, you can make sure you are doing everything in your power to recover quickly and lessen the impact on your home and your mental well-being.
Enlist emotional support.
The damage that fires cause can be alarming to see firsthand. Firefighters will often have to break windows or cut holes in the roof or walls, and many items that were not near the fire may still be damaged by smoke, soot and water from the fire extinguishers. When you are preparing to see your home for the first time after a fire, understand that it will be traumatic and you will need to grieve. Bring people who can provide emotional support to you and your family, and be open to seeking therapeutic counseling to help yourselves through the grieving process if needed.
Wait to enter your home.
Though things may appear to not be damaged enough to make your home a hazard, never enter without first checking with officials to determine everything is safe. The invisible damage a fire causes can undermine a home’s structural elements, and a second combustion may even be possible depending on the source of the fire. Make sure you always wait for the official OK before reentering your home.
Contact your insurance company.
As soon as possible after the fire, contact your insurance agent to find out what your homeowners insurance policy covers and start your claim. Because policies vary so wildly, this should be done early on so you do not risk accidentally undermining your claim.
Document the damages.
Do a full inventory of all the damages, and take detailed photographs so you have record of everything in the home that is impacted. Not only will this be helpful as you work with your insurance adjuster, but it is also a handy tool for your personal records so you can see what you will need to replace in the home. It’s wise to have an ongoing inventory of your personal belongings before you experience a fire. If you already have a documented inventory, use that as a guide when assessing damage.
Contact your restoration company.
There is not enough good that can be said about working with a qualified fire restoration company to help you mitigate the damages. Fires are extremely stressful for your entire household, but working with a company you can trust, like SERVPRO of Ames, can alleviate many worries and headaches. We are experts at handling the details after a fire. We can help guide you through difficult steps, save you extra work and answer many of your questions along the way.
Call SERVPRO of Ames at (515) 233-4544 anytime, day or night, to help you recover after a fire. We live and work in your local Boone and Story County areas and understand what you need most after experiencing this kind of traumatic disaster. We’re ready to help!
Trust SERVPRO of Ames to Disinfect Your Ames Area Business or School for Covid-19
Don’t trust just anyone to disinfect your business, school or organization. SERVPRO of Ames is highly-trained and certified to do the job.
SERVPRO of Ames is answering an increasing number of calls to clean and disinfect area businesses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While few businesses and organizations have had an employee test positive for the virus, many companies are asking us to help them prepare for reopening and maintain a clean environment for their staff and customers.
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – Our Viral Pathogen Cleaning Program
Don’t trust just anyone to disinfect your business, school or organization. SERVPRO of Ames is highly-trained and certified to do the job.
We offer Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, a proactive and Covid-19 emergency response cleaning program that goes way beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. This is tested and proven viral pathogen cleaning that meets the highest standards.
Our staff specializes in biohazard cleaning and decontamination for porous and non-porous surfaces – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the CDC.
We use EPA-approved products that don't harm your work environment or your employees, clients or students. These include our proprietary cleaning agent SERVPROXIDE, a hospital-grade disinfectant that is NSF certified for direct food surface use.
Let SERVPRO of Ames Help You Maintain a Sanitized Environment
We can sanitize every space in your business, school or organization, including:
- retail spaces
- fitness rooms
- food areas (break rooms, school kitchens, cafeterias)
We’re locally owned and operated and available 24 hours/7 days per week, serving all of Boone and Story County. So we’re nearby and ready to take care of you right away.
Give us a call at (515) 233-4544.
SERVPRO of AMES Is the Right Choice, Right Away
SERVPRO trains team members to meet the highest industry standards in fire restoration, water restoration and mold remediation.
When you experience a disaster such as flooding or fire, you don’t have time to research restoration companies to be sure they’re the most qualified for the job. Your choice may come down to reputation or a recommendation from a trusted source.
Our Reputation for High-Level Training and Certification
SERVPRO has a long-standing reputation for training employees to meet the highest industry standards in fire restoration, water restoration and mold remediation. In addition to training at the regional level, we developed our National Training Center to expand skill instruction to more franchise owners and insurance industry employees.
Certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC)
SERVPRO of Ames technicians are IICRC-certified, which means they are “trained to operate at a higher standard within their designated certification.”
The IICRC describes its rigorous requirements for certification like this:
“Just as certified accountants, plumbers, and mechanics project a higher level of competency in their fields, and just as members of the American Medical Association and American Bar Association set themselves apart through training, experience and comprehensive examination — IICRC Certification helps to immediately identify the cleaning, restoration, and inspection Industry’s most skilled and dedicated technicians and businesses.”
An Insurance Industry Partner
We partner with many insurance companies to handle restoration for disaster claims, and we’ve earned their trust as a recommended company for their clients. We understand the requirements of a disaster insurance claim, so we can work closely with your insurance company to help your claim progress as smoothly as possible.
Faster to Any Size Disaster
SERVPRO of Ames is locally owned and operated. Our staff is ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to quickly respond and restore your Boone or Story County residence, school or business back to its original condition after a disaster of any size, “Like it never even happened.”
Call us right away at (515) 233-4544 if you experience any kind of water, mold or fire damage.
You can be sure you’re making the right choice with SERVPRO of Ames.
Preventing Water Damage From Heavy Rainfall | SERVPRO® of Ames
Regular inspection and repair of vulnerable areas in your home can save you from water damage when heavy rainfall happens.
Heavy rain—falling at a frequency greater than 0.3 inches an hour—can expose vulnerabilities in your home that you many not be aware of. Here’s what you need to know to prevent water damage in your home.
Backup of Clogged Gutters
Clogged gutters can cause significant damage to your home after heavy rains. A buildup of debris prevents water from draining and can cause leaks when water puddles against the roofline. To prevent this, make sure you clear your rain gutters early in the spring and again in the fall.
Leaks Around Windows and Doors
External openings of a home are usually tightly sealed during its construction, but with age, the areas around these openings can become more exposed. Heavy rain can work its way into small vulnerabilities in sealants and also leak in through gaps in door and window frames. Inspecting your home’s doors and windows every spring and repairing any weaknesses or gaps you find around the frames will help keep out heavy rain.
Poor Drainage Around the Foundation
Water sitting against the foundation of your home can quickly lead to water damage in cellars or basements, and this is far more likely to occur during heavy rain. Check your downspouts to make sure they are directing water far enough away from your house. Your yard should slope away from your foundation and may need to be regraded if it doesn’t. You should also check for any visible cracks in the foundation and repair and seal them.
Leaks In and Around the Roof
A leaky roof is extremely common because of how infrequently roofs are typically inspected. A single missing shingle or weak spot can allow rain in slowly at first and become a much bigger problem when heavy rain is involved. It’s recommended that you have your roof inspected at least once a year by a professional to spot weaknesses so you can have them repaired before any damage occurs.
Malfunctioning of a Sump Pump System
Sump pump failure is one of the most common causes of basement flooding. They require regular testing that includes several points of inspection and regular maintenance to prevent leaks or malfunction. If you don’t feel qualified to do a full inspection each year, it’s advised you hire a plumber to do it for you.
Leaks Around Chimneys and Skylights
Much like doors and windows, the seals around chimneys and skylights can become weakened with age. It is important to inspect these spots regularly and repair weaknesses to ensure they are leakproof during heavy rainfall.
SERVPRO of Ames is ready to help you recover from water damage due to heavy rainfall. If you live in Ames, Story City, Madrid or any of the surrounding areas, call us at (515) 233-4544 any time, day or night, and we’ll be there quickly.
Staying Safe When Severe Storms Are in the Forecast | SERVPRO® of Ames
Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are inevitable weather events in Boone and Story Counties this time of year. Are you prepared?
Severe weather events like thunderstorms and tornadoes pose danger to properties and people. Educating yourself and being prepared are the best ways to keep yourself safe in a severe weather scenario.
Know the Difference Between Watches and Warnings
When severe weather is forecasted for your area, it's important to understand the difference between a watch and a warning in order to react appropriately. A thunderstorm watch means there is potential for severe storms to develop, but one hasn't been identified by radar. Conversely, a warning means that a thunderstorm is imminent or occurring in the area, and you should immediately take shelter.
Be Ready To Take Shelter
Make sure the safest area of your home where you take shelter has an emergency kit that includes extra food and water as well as flashlights and first-aid supplies. If your home doesn't have a basement, you should know where the next safest place is to take shelter. Generally, you should choose a place on the ground floor away from exterior windows or doors, such as a bathroom or closet.
Set Up a Backup for Emergency Alerts
While most people will rely on their smartphones for weather alerts, this should only be your first line of defense. Storms can knock out cell reception, and cell phones can die during power outages. Set up a backup like a battery-powered NOAA weather radio so you never miss a pertinent alert.
SERVPRO of Ames is ready to help you recover from storm damage. We live and work in the local area and can be there quickly in an emergency. If you live in Boone or Story County, call us at (515) 233-4544.
Get A Free Emergency Ready Profile for Your Business From SERVPRO of Ames
SERVPRO's free Emergency Ready Profile will help your company get back on its feet faster after a disaster and is accessed through an easy-to-use app.
We’re heading into storm season here in the Midwest. Is your business ready to handle severe tornado or flood damage? What about a disaster that can happen any time of year, like a fire or a water line break?
No one can prevent every disaster from happening, but if your business is prepared with a SERVPRO® Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), you’ll recover more quickly. You’ll also give your business the best chance of reopening. About 50 percent of companies never reopen after extended interruptions from disasters.
Insurance companies know this too, which is why most recommend that businesses make an emergency response plan part of their overall contingency plans.
Let SERVPRO of Ames Help You Put Your Profile Together
We enjoy the process of putting together ERPs, and we do it for FREE. It gives us a chance to get to know you and your business so we can serve you in the best possible way should a disaster ever strike.
Jeff Short, our General Manager, or Don Stokesbarry, our Operations Manager - both highly certified technicians - will work closely with you to develop your profile containing all the critical information you’ll need in the event of an emergency.
What’s In the ERP?
This well-organized document includes:
- Primary staff and local emergency contacts
- Primary contractor/vendor contacts (electrician, internet provider, HVAC, etc.)
- Utility shut-off locations with photos for fast identification
- All needed information for your insurance company
- Property overview with maps, photos, and structural descriptions
- Building access information
- Ability to add extra reports of your own (evacuation floor plans, lead/asbestos reports)
Access Your ERP With an Easy-to-Access Mobile App and Web Portal
Once we’ve captured all your information, SERVPRO of Ames will make it all available to you through our quick and easy-to-use SERVPRO® Ready Plan mobile app and web portal. Ready Plan is password secured and allows you to manage your profile and share your information with people you choose, such as property or facility managers.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
The sooner you call us, the sooner we’ll create your ERP, which can make the difference between the life and death of your business.
Call 515-233-4544 to set up an appointment as soon as possible, before a disaster hits.
Ames Area Residents: Don’t Let Your Garden Hose Be the Culprit of Water Damage
If you used your garden hose and didn't unhook it before temperatures dropped below freezing, make sure you check for a cracked water pipe.
Remember that warm week in early April? People were thronging places like Ledges State Park near Boone and thoroughly enjoying the weather.
Have You Ever Done This?
We had one client in Ames whose son took advantage of the near 80-degree temps to hook up the hose and wash his car. Lots of people probably did.
Of course, Iowa temps in April are a crazy roller coaster, and about a week later they dropped below freezing, with a little bit of snow and ice to boot. The water left in the line from the hose still being hooked to the house expanded and cracked the copper water pipe that ran inside. And the homeowner had no idea. Guess what happened.
The Unsuspected Culprit
Once it warmed back up, they turned on the hose again without realizing water was running down into their basement. We see this a lot.
If it’s a big crack, it will cause immediately noticeable water damage. If it’s a small one, it causes a leak that can go unnoticed and result in mold formation. Either way, you can prevent it.
How To Prevent Water Damage From Your Garden Hose After a Freeze
If you used your hose during that early warm streak and haven’t turned it on again, and if the water pipe is exposed, you can simply go down to where the line comes into your basement, have someone turn the hose on full blast and monitor the pipe for any leaking.
If you have turned on your hose again after using it during the warm weather, you should go inspect the area around the pipe in your basement for any signs of water leaking or damage.
To prevent this in the future, make sure you winterize by unhooking all garden hoses well before temperatures drop below freezing in the fall and waiting to reattach until temperatures have stabilized in the spring. If you do use your hose in early spring, it’s always good to unhook it immediately afterward.
See any problems or have concern? Call us right away at 515-233-4544. Water can spread and be absorbed quickly, so you don’t want to wait.
SERVPRO of Ames Will Guide You to the Right Solution
SERVPRO of Ames is locally owned and close by, available 24 hours/7 days per week. Our highly trained and IICRC-certified staff is ready to come out and let you know what needs to be done, whether our services are needed or not, at no charge.
If you just need a plumber - we’ll tell you that. If you need help with water damage repair and/or mold remediation, you can trust SERVPRO as the No. 1 brand in the restoration industry.
We have superior equipment and tools to evaluate your damage and make all the repairs so it’s “Like it never even happened.”
Flooded basement in Ames
If you’re experiencing any water damage from flooding, SERVPRO of Ames is available 24/7 to assist you with any repairs.
If your home in Ames has been impacted by a flood, it is common to feel like you are ready to get started on recovering right away.
While getting started as quickly as possible is a smart decision, it is also vital that you make your own safety a priority and ensure you are not putting yourself in harm’s way or causing any further damage to your home. Acting quickly following a flood is possible as long as you are also taking the right steps to keep yourself and your household safe.
Returning Home in the Aftermath of a Flood
Avoid further safety hazards. The first thing to remember after a flood is to never return home until officials have deemed it safe. There are many dangers such as electrical currents, contaminated water and other hidden hazards that might be present. If you can do so safely, turn off the electricity main to the house, but never do so if it is in standing water.
Air out the home. If there is no inclement weather on the horizon, opening doors and windows up will help rid the home of stale and hazardous air. Mold growth will have likely already started if surfaces are wet, but increasing air circulation can prevent it from becoming out of hand. If it has been a few days since you have been able to enter the house, entering to begin the airing out process and then leaving to let the toxic air escape is advised.
Document the damages. While it can be tempting to start the cleanup process right away, it is recommended to take pictures of the damages and impacted objects before touching anything for flood insurance purposes. While many floods are not covered under general homeowner’s policies, if you do have coverage, having documentation of the damages can help you get the most out of your claim.
Contact your restoration and insurance companies right away. It is always recommended to let your insurance company know about flood damage as soon as possible to see what coverage options are available to you. Next, you should reach out to your preferred restoration company to get the process started right away. The longer flood and water damage sits untreated, the more damage it can do to the structure of your home.
If your home has been damaged in a flood, we are here for you. You can contact us 24⁄7 to receive a quick response and set the restoration process in motion. We service all of Story County and Boone County.
SERVPRO of Ames helping fight
SERVPRO of Ames is here during this tough time to help keep you safe and healthy.
About the Coronavirus:
The CDC is responding to an outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has spread to 60 locations internationally (as of this publication), including cases in the United States. The virus is known as “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Scope of Cleanup Protocol:
SERVPRO professionals can perform a proactive cleanup that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection where the customer states that there is no active known threat of COVID-19 contamination or exposure. The customer will be required to acknowledge that cleaning and disinfecting will only apply to the current state of the structure and contents. The structure would not be protected from future COVID-19 contamination if an infected person was to enter and occupy the building.
Cleanup Scope of Work and Planning:
The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables at a minimum. These same surfaces are mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces as well, including:
• Kitchen/Food Areas
• Offices • Retail Spaces
• Water Fountains
• Shelving and Racks
• Sales Counters
• Carpets and rugs
• Stair Handrails
• Elevator Cars
• Playground Equipment
• Fitness Equipment
Cleanup and Disinfecting Procedures:
Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for the cleanup process, and disposal of waste.
The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.
During this tough time, we just want you to know that SERVPRO of Ames is here to help residents and businesses in Ames, Boone and surrounding areas. Call us with any questions or concerns at (515) 233-4544.
How to Help Yourself and Your Loved Ones During COVID-19
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.
How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include
- Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
- Children and teens
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
- People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use
Wear a facemask if you are sick
- If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
- If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
For any concerns with keeping your areas clean and preventing any spreading of viruses in your own home, give us a call at (515)233-4544. We are here to help you all throughout this tough time.
Weatherproofing Your Home for Storm Damage Prevention
When houses are built, they are designed to stand strong against the weather elements initially, but over time, their built-in protections need updating to stay effective. Considering that around half of homeowners’ insurance claims are related to weather damage, making the effort ahead of time to make sure your home is resilient is worth the time and effort.
Speaking of time and effort, weatherproofing is a fairly simple task that can generally be done in a weekend. By investing a small amount of time and money into the following weatherproofing tactics, you can protect your home and prevent storm damage from seeping in.
Reducing Storm Damage Through Weatherproofing
Keep Your Shingles in Shape
There are many different ways a roof can start leaking on a home, and keeping an eye on your shingles is one of the best ways to tell how at-risk your home is. Peeling, cracked or missing shingles are something that homeowners should pay attention to right away in order to stop leaks before they get out of hand.
Beat the Weather With Weatherstripping
Adding weatherstripping to your windows and doors keeps out both water leaks and air drafts, saving you money in multiple ways. Weatherstripping is simple to install and has multiple benefits, so it is a wise choice for homeowners.
Gut Debris From Your Gutters
It is recommended to clean out gutters both in the spring and fall to prevent a build-up of leaves and debris—and even more frequently if your home is surrounded by many trees. Signs that your gutters may be struggling include water pooling underneath or around your home, as well as visible cracks and sagging in your gutter line.
Pick the Right Paint
Repainting your house can be a nice way to boost your curb appeal, and with the new technology in different exterior paints, it can also help your home be more resilient to the weather. Many paints now have waterproofing abilities and are resilient to fading from sunlight, so repeated exposure will wear your home down much more slowly than before.
If you have issues with storm damage to your home in Madrid, Slater or the surrounding areas, we are always here to help. Contact us 24 hours a day for a rapid response.
A Guide to Workplace Fire Preparedness
Taking note of the risks your business is likely to face is wise—especially when it comes to emergencies such as fires. Workplace fires are a common occurrence that can cause a serious headache for your business, especially if you and your staff are under-prepared.
Handling an emergency scenario such as a fire efficiently is key for lowering your risks and keeping your staff safe. By understanding common fire starters, evacuation practices and equipment requirements, you can increase the safety of your workplace and work toward a quicker recovery in the aftermath.
How to Prepare for Fires at Your Business
Follow code guidelines and inspection schedules. Your business should be up to date on fire codes set forth by the National Fire Protection Association regarding fire equipment and testing. Make sure you know when to perform your monthly tests of alarms, as well as when to work with your local fire department for more in-depth inspections.
Identify your specific risks. There are many fire risks that can be present in any commercial building, and certain industries carry far more dangers than others. As a business owner, it is smart to assess both your office space as well as any warehousing or any special equipment you may have that could contribute to your overall fire risk profile.
Create (and practice) a fire evacuation plan. Being able to get out quickly in case of a fire is key to keeping everyone as safe as possible. Designate at least two exit paths from each area of your building and host fire drills with your staff frequently. By helping everyone be adequately prepared, you can reduce panic in a real-life scenario and ensure no one is injured in the process.
Have regular fire safety seminars with staff. Bringing the staff together for fire safety demonstrations will make sure everyone is practicing fire safety tips in their daily tasks. Go over safety in the staff kitchen, storage locations of fire extinguishers, and when and how to activate the building’s fire alarm in case of an emergency to increase everyone’s safety in the workplace.
If your Nevada, Story City or surrounding area business has experienced a fire, we’re here 24⁄7 to respond and begin restoration. Call us today to learn how we can help you.
We’re Here to Help When Storms Strike
SERVPRO of Ames is your damage restoration expert. If you experience any kind of storm damage, call us right away.
Storms happen on a regular basis, but it's wise to remember that they can still cause major damage. In 2018, storm damage was responsible for an estimated $2 billion in household losses. For homeowners, it is important to have a plan in place in case this type of damage strikes your home.
Deciding on a restoration company to work with is a crucial part of making this plan, and for that, we are here to help. We can handle all the types of damage that comes along with storms and can help you get your home restored as quickly as possible.
Why to Consider Us as Your Restoration Provider
We Are Equipped for All Types of Restoration
Storm damage is quite complex because of all the elements it can include. Not only can the structure of your home be damaged by wind, fallen trees and other debris, but this can also lead to water damage as it continues to rain. SERVPRO of Ames can handle both types of damages will restore every aspect of storm damage that you sustain.
We Keep Our Workforce Up to Date
Every storm is unique, just like the damage it can cause. That's why our technicians are required to study the industry-standard restoration guidelines from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification and to be well-versed in all kinds of damages. Additionally, we ensure everyone in our workforce stays in the loop on current trends by hosting seminars and online learning opportunities.
We Can Handle Any Size Disaster
As a member of the Ames area community, we value our local presence—but we are also able to bring a national response if the situation calls for it. Because there are SERVPRO® locations across the nation, we can quickly and efficiently respond to any size disaster. All you need to do is call our 24-hour emergency hotline and we'll assemble the team needed to handle the disaster.
We Have a Strong Reputation in Restoration
It is not uncommon for households to be contacted by scam restoration companies after a storm disaster strikes. Don't put your trust in any company you don't know well. SERVPRO has earned the trust of millions of people since its beginning in 1969 - that's over 50 years! And we're No. 1 in the restoration industry. We'll deal with you honestly and make sure your property looks "Like it never even happened."
If your residence or business in Story or Boone County has experienced storm damage, call us anytime, day or night, and we'll come right out.
Getting Back to Basics for Household Fire Safety
A house fire can occur when you least expect it. SERVPRO of Ames is on call 24/7 and will guide you through any fire restoration project.
Practicing fire safety is one of the most important things that individuals can do to protect their homes and their families. Not only can property losses be difficult, but house fires can also claim lives and be a devastating occurrence all around.
While there are many resources for fire safety out there, having all of the information in one place is not always possible. To help families stay safe and readily access the information they need to do so, we have put together our guide to the best fire safety tips so you can stay prepared.Best Tips for Fire Safety in the Household
Frequently Check Smoke Detectors. Smoke detectors are one of the top tools required for fire safety. They should be put in every room and in the main area of every floor, and it is recommended to use an interconnected system so they will all be triggered if one goes off. Be sure to test them every 30 days as well.
Have a Fire Escape Plan. A fire escape plan is another extremely important element of fire safety. Be sure you have an escape route mapped for every room of the home and are aware of how to check for fires behind closed doors. Establish a household meeting spot where everyone can reconvene once they have safely escaped, as well.
Know How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher. Picking the right fire extinguisher for your household is important, as is knowing how to use it. Make sure to understand how yours operates and how to spray it to most effectively extinguish flames.
Never Leave Flames Unattended. Flames and cooking appliances that are unattended are some of the most common fire starters across the country. Even candles and ovens can pose a risk that can quickly become out of hand if there is no one in the room. It is best to never leave any flame unattended for any length of time.
Keep a Closed-Door Policy. For nighttime fire safety, sleeping with the door closed is one of the best things you can do, as a door will hinder the spreading of the flames. Nighttime fires are quite common and are some of the most fatal, so practicing safe sleeping habits can help you and everyone else in the household stay protected.
If you’d like to learn more about protecting yourself from a house fire and how our restoration services can help you recover, get in touch today to learn more.
Avoid Water Damage From Appliances
If your home experiences any flooding or another water issue, SERVPRO of Ames is here to dry, clean and repair any damage.
While flooding is often assumed as the main cause of water damage, one of the most common culprits is actually appliances in the household. Fortunately, being aware of this as a homeowner can help with prevention.
By knowing what appliances are known to commonly cause water damage, homeowners can check for the key signs of risk in order to practice prevention and avoid the woes of water damages.Appliances That Are Common Causes of Water Damage
Hot Water Heater
Hot water heaters are one of the leading culprits of water damage from appliances. Typically, they will be designed to last between 10 and 15 years, but leaks can start much earlier due to factors of construction materials, installation and premature corrosion.
The ice maker on the refrigerator typically has water lines made of a bendable plastic, which can develop micro-tears over time. Due to the fact that refrigerators are not moved frequently, this can lead to water damage that can accumulate and cause significant issues. Moving your refrigerator away from the wall to check the hoses can go a long way in preventing this.
Dishwashers typically do not get moved away from their cubby until it is time for replacement, and this often causes homeowners to discover hidden water damage in the process. Soft floors or discoloration can be an indicator, but it is important to do regular checks. It is also important to not exceed the manufacturer’s lifetime estimate for the dishwasher—water damage from older models is often exempt from insurance coverage.
The water used by washing machines is significant, and the hoses connected to them have been known to fail and cause hidden leaks. It is important to check the hoses every 30 days, with a replacement every five years being the recommended time frame.
Air conditioning units create condensation as part of their normal operations, and this moisture will generally be drained away through the mechanisms in place to do so. However, issues with drain lines and leaks can lead to water damage instead. Regular maintenance of your unit and check on it frequently is the best prevention tactics to make sure all is operating well.
If your home has been impacted by water damage or you’d like to put a plan in place in case it happens to you, contact us to learn how we can help.
Tips for Small Business Owners to Manage Risks
Having a disaster plan in place is crucial for any business. SERVPRO of Ames is your full-service commercial restoration company.
When you own a business, a natural disaster puts more than just you at risk. For many small business owners, their commercial property is essential to their livelihood, and thus it is vitally important that they are able to continue operations even during the worst of circumstances.
One of the best ways to do this is by preparing for a disaster in advance, as the frequency of natural disasters continues to increase around the world. Knowing what your unique risks are, having a plan in place for the worst-case scenario and knowing what to do after a disaster are all important aspects of staying safe and recovering quickly.Preparing for a Disaster at Your Small Business
1. Double-Check Your Insurance
While small business owners often believe they have adequate insurance coverage, many are disappointed to find out that this is not necessarily the case as far as natural disasters are concerned. Excessive damages, such as those from a flood, often require the purchase of extra business insurance in order to provide complete coverage for disaster scenarios.
2. Create Your Action Plan
Planning for what you will do when a natural disaster is imminent is a wise choice, as it will help you mitigate risks to your business. Being aware of any machinery shutdown requirements and saving important documents are ways you can help your business stay safe while learning about evacuation routes and local shelters is a great way to keep yourself safe should a disaster occur.
3. Rehearse Drills and Prepare Staff
If you manage employees on the property, it is important that you uphold your duty to care for them by preparing them for a disaster scenario. Be sure they are aware of the company’s official disaster proceedings and practice your building evacuation regularly and with varied scenarios so everyone can feel more at ease.
4. Choose a Restoration Company to Work With
When a disaster hurts your small business, it has also hurt your livelihood—which is why reopening quickly is so important following a disaster. By picking the restoration company you will work within advance of a disaster scenario, you can call them the moment you discover damage so your restoration process can begin right away.
If you need to pick a commercial restoration company that’s right for you, call us today! We can tell you all about what sets our process apart.
Why House Fire Rates Go Up in the Winter
Practicing prevention is the best way to reduce the chance of a fire, however, if you do experience a loss contact SERVPRO of Ames.
As cooler air begins to move into an area, the rate of house fires increases as a result. While there are many reasons behind a house fire occurring, being alert to the winter-specific risks is a smart way to stay safe during the colder days.
Being aware of the reasons home fires are more likely in the winter as well as prevention tips you can implore at any time is key to fire safety.Why House Fires Increase in Cool Weather
An Increase in Cooking
Because most of us cook nearly every day, it is the leading cause of all home fires at any given time. This is especially true for the winter months, as more people are baking, entertaining and cooking holiday meals—increasing the likelihood of this occurring.
The Risk of Heaters
Winter fires are also commonly caused by unsafe heating methods, which amounts to the second most common fire cause in the winter. Portable heaters are a common culprit, as models not equipped with an automatic shutoff can tip over and cause a fire to start on the floor. Additionally, it is important to keep anything flammable away from any type of heat source, especially a fireplace.
Candles and DecorationsCold Weather Fire Prevention Tips
While open flames and candles are quite common, they present the risk of a house fire any time they are lit. Several winter holidays are commonly celebrated with candles, and decorative or scented candles are increasingly common in cold weather. Additionally, decorations can pose hazards, as many are only used once per year and can cause electrical fires to break out.
Though it is the knowledge we all hope to never have to use, focusing on prevention and preparation is the best way to ensure you are ready for a house fire. These safety tips are helpful both in the winter and year-round to help you and those in your household stay safe:
- Check smoke alarms once every 30 days and replace every 10 years.
- Always monitor open flames.
- Select space heaters with automatic shut-offs in case they tip over.
- Utilize a screen every time you use a fireplace.
- Draft and practice an emergency escape plan with your household.
If your home has been impacted by a fire, call us right away. We are leaders in restoration and can help you recover quickly after a fire occurs.
An Overview of Flood Damage
Water damage is always an inconvenience, but flood damages have their own considerations. With the many types of floods and the multiple ways that water can infiltrate the home, the severity of the damage is often surprising.
The impact of floods continues to rise in every part of the world, making it vital that homeowners take the time to understand the issues floods can lead to and how they should react.Ways Flooding Can Damage Homes
Foundational Damage. When a flood saturates the soil the home’s foundation is built on, parts of it can become raised. This can lead to cracks in the foundation, as well as sealing problems with door and window frames throughout the home.
Drywall Damage and Mold. The waterlogged drywall can become weak and begin to fall apart, but that is not the only issue. Drywall can allow mold to grow underneath it, infiltrating the structure of the home and requiring replacement of any ceilings or walls that were affected.
Insulation Saturation. While certain types of insulation do not absorb moisture, most types can easily become soaked through and require replacement due to the high rate of mold growth they can cause.
Temporary Frame Swelling. The good news about a house’s frame is that it is typically constructed of solid lumber, meaning any swelling will be temporary. While mold precautions should certainly be taken to prevent an outbreak, most frames will remain structurally sound after a flood.
Appliance Ruining. Ovens and refrigerators contain insulation and almost always require replacement following a flood. That being said, other types may be able to be salvaged, but they must be inspected by an expert to be certified as safe before using.
Furniture Damage. Upholstered furniture can absorb a surprising amount of water, making it susceptible to water damage and mold growth. Furniture made of wood, glass pieces, and other miscellaneous materials should be cleaned thoroughly but should be OK for use.
If your home has been affected by a flood, we’ll be here to help you! Give us a call 24⁄7 to learn about our certified flood restoration process.
Sound the Alarms
Practicing the prevention of fires, and keeping batteries in your alarm is important, however, if you do experience a loss contact SERVPRO of Ames.
Have you tested your fire alarms lately? According to the Red Cross, you could have as few as only TWO MINUTES to escape safely from your house after a fire begins.
This is why testing your fire alarms should be a part of your home maintenance routine! These alarms in your home make sure that you get alerted as soon as possible that a fire has started.
The next item on the list is having a planned fire escape route. BUT, having it isn't enough- you need to have practiced this route with your family ahead of time. Check out this free worksheet from the Red Cross to help you as you plan for your Phenix City, Eufaula or Tuskegee home!
Two minutes is quick, but disaster strikes in the blink of an eye. Make sure that your family and your home are ready. Once your family is safe, you can call in the professionals to handle your home.
SERVPRO of Ames is locally owned and operated, so we’re already close by and ready to respond immediately when you need us. We make disaster "Like it never even happened." Give us a call today at (515) 233-4544!
Spring Cleaning of the Hoarder
A cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind, handle the mess and avoid a fire. Need help? Contact SERVPRO of Ames at (515) 233 4544!
We may not all know people who are hoarders, but for those who do it can be incredibly frustrating to see someone keeping items that are completely unnecessary and rarely if ever, used. However, hoarders are often very reluctant to get rid of anything, which makes it difficult to help them. We just want the best for the people we care about. Spring cleaning season is an ideal time to talk to the hoarders in your life and see if they would be willing to accept some hoarding clean up help. If so, these tips on how to help a hoarder can guide your interactions as you work together on some spring cleaning.
Recognize the signs of a serious hoarding disorder
While hoarding may look to outsiders like someone just hasn’t gotten around to getting rid of items in their home, it can actually be a psychological disorder. In many cases, people who are extreme hoarders are psychologically diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. This comes out in the form of compulsive hoarding, and it’s not something you can just solve by going in and cleaning up the house.
If the person you would like to help has signs of a hoarding disorder, you should direct them to get psychological counseling to address that side of the problem. You can help by finding a counselor in your area who has experience with compulsive hoarding. Then when the time comes, you can offer your help with the actual hoarding clean up.
Be compassionate and connect with feelings
When providing hoarding help, remember that your main job is to help your friend or family member. Much of that help is going to come emotionally as you support the person to work through the piles of stuff. You need to be ready to listen with compassion, show empathy, and be sensitive to the person’s feelings. If you come in with a task-oriented mentality, you will likely meet with a lot of resistance that will make it difficult to achieve real progress.
Determine the criteria for deciding whether things are worth keeping
While you may be willing to get rid of everything a hoarder has been holding onto, it’s not your stuff, and you don’t have the right to give it away or throw it away. Talk to your friend or family member and work out a method for answering the critical question of whether you can get rid of any given item. Agree on whether you can get rid of items without consulting your friend, or if your friend needs to be present to make each decision.
Some common criteria for determining what to get rid of in hoarding clean up include:
- Items that have not been used at all in a certain amount of time
- Items that do not bring joy to the owner
- Items that are duplicates of other things
- Sentimental items that can be photographed to preserve the sentiment
Make a plan. Experts recommend an organized plan of action, starting with enlisting help from a group of friends, family members, or professionals. Next, schedule a date, and workroom by room, no matter how hard it is not to think of all the other rooms you must clean and clear out. Finally, delegate tasks to your group members and create a system for setting aside keepsakes and valuables, charitable/donations, and trash.
Prevent future clutter creep. Spring cleaning should only come but once a year, provided you maintain the deep clean you completed on that first warm weekend. With a hoarder, that requires extra due diligence, and often on the part of the caregiver.
House Fire Damage Prevention Tips
House fires take the homes of too many people. Your home is where you build your life. That’s why it is so scary to imagine your home ever suffering from a disaster such as a fire. We here at SERVPRO of Ames want to offer some insight on how to protect your home and your family.
There are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of fire and smoke damage. Not sure where to begin, or what items in your home pose a threat?
1. Test Your Smoke Alarms Regularly
There is a little button on it that you can press to test it. If it beeps weakly, then you need to change the batteries ASAP.
If a fire breaks out and it’s not working, no one is alerted to evacuate.
2. Inspect All Your Heating Sources
If your heating sources aren’t working properly they could trigger a fire to happen. You should have them checked out annually by a professional, to reassure your safety and peace of mind.
Make sure your air filters are always cleaned out. A fire can easily start from debris and dust being too close to a heat source so make sure you clean them regularly.
3. Properly Store Flammable Products
Household cleaners and common cosmetic items like hairspray and shaving cream can be hazardous. If they are exposed to a large heat source, they can combust.
4. Keep Your Stove and Oven Clean
The stove won’t randomly start on fire because of your cooking. It most likely happens because of oils or food that was left on the burner and got too hot.
5. Always Check Your Dryer
Your lint traps are a hazard waiting to happen when not cleaned properly.
You also need to check behind the machine to make sure lint or little clothing items don’t manage to get back there.
6. Maintain All Cords
Make sure that the cord hasn’t been frayed or chewed. If you do notice damaged wires, replace them as soon as possible because this is a huge fire hazard.
7. Keep Fire Extinguishers Around
Fire extinguishers are your best defense weapon when a fire breaks out. Get them checked regularly, since they can expire.
There is nothing more devastating than losing everything you own to house fires. While we do love to help out, SERVPRO wants to help prevent this disaster from occurring in your home.
How to Prevent Water Damage
We here at SERVPRO love helping you clean up the aftermath of a flooded basement, but we also want to offer some insight on how to prevent the issue.
Here’s how to prevent water damage using these easy strategies that will give you peace of mind the next time heavy storms hit.
1. Making sure your drainage system is working properly:
-Clean your gutters
-Aim the downspout 6-12' inches from your foundation
2. Check your sump pump
-Test your sump pump once a year
-During storm season test more frequently
3. Fix water leaks
-Repair any leaks (Foundation, Pipes, Windows, etc.)
-Inspect your roof for any needed repairs
-Check for spots that are darker under your pipes
Water damage weakens your home’s foundation to the very core that holds your house together, eventually causing serious structural damage. Damp wood invites termites and carpenter ants; plus, it causes mold and mildew.
Flooding Can Happen Anywhere
According to the National Weather Service, "Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding." When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO can help. We can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back in business as soon as possible.-Restoration Newsline
Be Prepared with an ERP in Ames
The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure you are "Ready for whatever happens." In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. Call us to establish your Emergency READY Profile! - Restoration Newsline. We service Ames, Boone, Huxley, Maxwell, Nevada, Ogden, Story City and the surrounding areas.
Spring Showers Bring Flowers (and Floods)
We are all relieved to see cold weather leave for awhile, but, be careful what you wish for when the potential for heavy rain sneaks in the weather forecast. The timeline below is to provide you with helpful information about what happens when water invades your home or business.
Water Damage Timeline
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.
Winter Vortex Record Low Temperatures
Temperatures reached an all time low this week in the Ames area. An official reading of 30 below zero was recorded shortly after midnight of January 30, 2019. As the local clocks were frozen in time on the night of the vortex, many homes were damaged by the extreme temperatures.
The result of the recent snow fall and record low temperatures is ice forming and working its way into places water naturally could not get into. As temperatures start to rise again the melting ice can lead to mold.
For your mold remediation services call SERVPRO of Ames today: +1 (515) 233-4544
Flooded Basement in Story City Home
This flooded living room was caused by frozen pipes breaking due to cold weather.
Ames Iowa Frozen Pipes Water Damage
The recent cold weather is causing an influx of problems and damage with freezing pipes. The frozen pipes break and cause water damage resulting in mold which causes health effects.
Pictured here is a recent example of this winter's damage. The SERVPRO team of certified technicians were called in to cleanup the aftermath. The living room of house was restored and brought back to life by our crew. The owner was very pleased with our services and referred to our trained team of professionals as "part of the family".
SERVPRO of Ames is the one stop shop for all your home damage needs. Here at SERVPRO we pride ourselves in being first responders to any and all home cleanup and restoration. Our certified technicians provide exceptional unmatched service.