Recent Storm Damage Posts

Be Prepared for Winter Storm Damage

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

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

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

Before the Storm

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

During the Storm

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

After the Storm

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

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

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

Call SERVPRO of Ames After Damage From Lightning

11/18/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

Information About Lightning

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

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

Three Types of Lightning Damage to Property

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

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

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

10/13/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

24-Hour Mobilization

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

Responsiveness That Can’t Be Beat

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

High-Level Service From Entire Team

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

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

Minimize the Financial Strain of Storm Damage

9/17/2020 (Permalink)

tree fallen on roof of home 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.

When You Sustain Storm Damage, Depend on SERVPRO of Ames

8/28/2020 (Permalink)

Damaged roof from fallen tree caused by a storm 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.

Stay Safe During Summer Storms

7/29/2020 (Permalink)

stormy sky with lightning 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.

Preventing Water Damage From Heavy Rainfall | SERVPRO® of Ames

6/5/2020 (Permalink)

heavy rainfall on a roof 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

5/27/2020 (Permalink)

severe weather sign in front of a stormy sky 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.

Weatherproofing Your Home for Storm Damage Prevention

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

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.

We’re Here to Help When Storms Strike

2/9/2020 (Permalink)

a yellow storm damage sign in front of a large damaged roof 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.

Winter Vortex Record Low Temperatures

1/30/2019 (Permalink)

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