Recent Posts

Droughts: Think Before You Burn

9/19/2022 (Permalink)

Farmland is being affected by high temps which have caused a drought If you experience damage from an accidental fire or damage from an energized storm, call SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell.

Hello Ottumwa! 

It’s Jacob, and I wanted to write a  blog post about where we talk about a cause-and-effect relationship. Right now, Iowa is in a drought due to the lack of rainfall and hotter temperatures. The lack of seasonal storms has essentially dried the ground which raises the risk of accidental fires. Back in March, the sheriff's department placed a burn ban on Wapello County after high temperatures caused a drought. 

I think we all should make a conscious effort to avoid burning trash and to check our cigarettes before throwing them out, read more. Just until we get some precipitation that will rehydrate the ground. Warmer air makes the ground dry, well the amount of evaporation increases with the dryer weather. This in return causes an increase in water vapor in our atmosphere which means rain/snow storms.

Embracing Our Struggles

9/19/2022 (Permalink)

Equipment being set-up at a water damaged property Call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-672-0872 and our team will gladly assist you!

When you are a Family of Franchises that span 2 states you are going to face growing pains. As a digital marketer, which is more brand-focused, I think that embracing the struggle is what separates our company from other restoration companies. We cheer as a team when we accomplish something but we also work to create a stronger team than the day before. Growth doesn’t stop when things are going well, growth means finding easier practices to help alleviate stress on another department.

Something that our Family of Franchises struggled with was communication especially when your furthest location is 662 miles away. As a digital marketer, I wanted to step up and help find better ways to improve our communication. We had previously implemented a chatbot that is connected to our communication software, Podium. I personally created an E-learning platform that included notes on how certain procedures needed to be addressed. 

We have implemented that platform in the training checklist so that they understand our expectations before we get them on the field. I think being authentic is what made our group so successful which stems from “Embracing the struggles.”

The Fall Season is Almost Here: Are you Ready?

8/15/2022 (Permalink)

Exposed Pipes on a home If you have any questions/concerns please reach out to SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell by calling 641-672-0872.

HELLO Ottumwa!

It’s Jacob; you know that Digital Marketing guy, and *Cough* *Cough*  *Starts to sing* 

‘HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: scary movies, leaves changing color, and cooler temperatures!’

I'm talking about Fall! We are nearing the end of the summer season, and there are some things you should prepare your business/home for before the winter weather arrives. Here are some things you should do:

Get an HVAC Inspection

During the fall season, there is less demand for HVAC technicians, so this is the perfect time to get it prepared for the winter season. By getting the system checked, you are keeping the efficiency high and the utility bills low while providing maintenance repairs before it becomes a problem. If you get it checked during the start of fall, you are providing your family with clean air because if it doesn’t get checked, it could circulate polluted air.

Check Your Plumbing

You will want to have someone check your exposed pipes as this will prevent any clogs down the line. As we know that when temperatures drop below 0, it increases the risk of having pipes clog and burst. By getting the pipes checked, you can be ensured that the pipes are well insulated, which will prevent winter water damage disaster.

Flood Warnings Vs. Flood Watches

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

Kid Playing in flooded parking lot Stay safe during flood events, and just know SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell is one call away. Please call our office at 641-672-0872.

Hello Ottumwa! 

I wrote a blog a couple of days ago about creating a Family Emergency Plan, so I wanted to continue this topic of flooding. I’m gonna be honest; I did not know the difference between flash flooding/flooding warnings and watches.

Flood Watches or Flash Flood Watches

When the local governments/news channels issue a watch, it generally means that flooding is a possibility. If a watch has been issued, you should stay alert to changing conditions and be ready to seek higher ground.

Flood Warnings or Flash Flood Warnings

You will want to ensure that you hear the warning closely because they require different actions. When local officials issue a flood warning, they want you to avoid any low-lying areas and evacuate if your home is in the flood zone. Flash Flood Warnings are more of a concern no matter if you're in a low-lying area because water will rise fast. We suggest you follow the Family Emergency Plan you created as action is recommended immediately. 

Sometimes the predictions might be wrong, but it just takes one accurate forecast to cause significant damage. I remember in 2008 when the flooding in Cedar Rapids occurred and how fast the waters rose. Please be safe and act quickly!

Cigarette Fires can Smolder for 18 Hours!

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

CBS Minnesota's Thermal Image of Smolder Cigarette Fire If you experience any fire damage, please call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-672-0872.

It’s Jacob,  Digital Marketing Support Coordinator, and I wanted to talk about a trend I’ve noticed while going to fire-damaged properties. Cigarette fires have become a culprit for a noticeable amount of house fires in our franchise area. This isn’t casting shade on the cigarette smokers, as I once occasionally enjoyed a cigarette here and there.  

The problem we are seeing is with the record temperatures we have faced this summer; planters are drying out faster. When you think the cigarette is extinguished, you will be surprised by the amount of heat still being produced. If the cigarette is ignited, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 18 hours for the soil to reach the perfect temperatures to ignite into flames. 


The CBS Minnesota location took the blog image after they tested how fast a cigarette can cause a planter to ignite into flames. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is by filling the container with water which will fully extinguish the cigarette while eliminating the heat it can produce.

Restoring Properties after Vandalism

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

graffiti wall with cleaning bucket Call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-672-0872 if you need our services.

Having your commercial property vandalized can take a toll on your business and can be a stressful experience. Whether a window gets busted, or graffiti ends up on your property, SERVPRO® of Ottumwa & Grinnell can be there to clean and restore your commercial space. With our strive to be faster to any size disaster, and our 24/7 Emergency Services, you can count on SERVPRO to get your property back to its preloss condition. Cleaning up vandalism should be left to the professionals, so make sure to call SERVPRO if you experience it. Our SERVPRO team uses the following three common methods to remove graffiti from driveways, walkways, walls, stonework and more: 

  • Scrubbing, using solvents and a wire brush 
  • Pressure washing the affected area 
  • Media blasting with sand or dry ice 

How to Minimize Leaking Toilet Damage

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

A view of a standard bathroom Call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-672-0872, and our team of professionals will make the water damage ‘Like it Never Even Happened.’

Hello! It’s Jacob, Digital Marketing Support Coordinator here, and I wanted to talk about water damage. The culprit is leaking toilets, which can affect multiple units in apartment buildings. After sitting down and talking to our Office Assistant, Hannah, we found the supply line. 

The supply line is what brings new water into the tank, which makes the flush mechanism work. What causes the leak to occur is when “the joints in the supply line grow weak or become loose” (Rooter Plumbing). If you find yourself in a leak nightmare, follow these easy steps, and you can prevent more damage. 

  1. TURN OFF THE WATER SUPPLY! This can be found behind the metal supply line with the valve near the wall's connection point. Turn the valve clockwise to turn off the water supply.
  2. Remove the water in the tank; you do this by flushing. With the remaining water, use a material such as a towel to absorb it. 

Flash Flood Family Emergency Planning

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Boy playing in flooded parking lot I hope that you never find yourself in these situations. If you do, please call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-672-0872.

Hello Ottumwa!

It’s Jacob, Digital Marketing Support Coordinator, and I wanted to talk about the flooding events in Kentucky and Missouri. I remember the feeling of watching the Cedar Rapids flood in 2008, which took years to recover from. Flooding can happen just as fast as a tornado, so I wanted to create a blog post to go over some conversations your family should have with itself but also the extended family in case flash flooding forces you out of your home.

  • Establishing Meeting Locations and Emergency Contact

If flooding causes your family to be forced out of your home, you should come up with two locations that can be “the meeting spot” for your family (if you end up getting separated) and your extended family. One location should be closer to your home, preferably higher grounds, and a location further from your home. This is in case you are told to evacuate and cannot return to the area.

  • Planning the Evacuation Plan

This plan should be actively practiced, especially if your home is in a flood zone. This plan should include exits of your home and different routes that could be taken in case flooding causes certain roads to be shut down. NEVER DRIVE YOUR CAR THROUGH FLOODED ROADS. If you cannot leave due to flooded roads, you will need to find a room on the highest floor with few windows and access to television, radio, or a telephone. This area should be stocked with nonperishables so that you have a food source if you are stranded.

Creating and Storing Emergency Water Supply

7/15/2022 (Permalink)

Water Purification Tablets If you find yourself with an unknown water source please follow our suggestions. Call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-682-0782.

Hello! 

It is I, Jacob, the Digital Marketing Coordinator, and I wanted to write a blog that helps you all if you ever find yourself in this situation. Often intense storms are unpredictable, which leaves little to no time to prepare for the worst-case scenario. If you haven’t stocked your storm shelter with blankets, nonperishables, or water, this is your reminder to start building your defense against Mother Nature's wrath. 

During major disasters like the Derecho or the 2008 Floods in Cedar Rapids, people didn’t have access to running water or clean water, which is why I am here to tell you about what to do during a couple of scenarios.

First Things First

You will need to find a container that has never held harmful pathogens such as bleach or industrial cleaners. This container should have a narrow neck to help you control the pour without wasting drinkable water. 

Ways to Purify Water 

  • One of the safest ways to purify your water is by boiling, which survivalists practice because of the ability to kill any virus’, bacteria’ or parasites. You must boil it for the correct amount of time, which changes based on your altitude. For locations below 6,500ft, you will want to boil the water for one minute and 3 minutes for those above 6,500ft. Let the water cool and store it in the clean containers you have washed out.
  • Purification tablets are a common and easy way to get quick clean water when you cannot boil it. These tablets contain chlorine, chlorine dioxide, or iodine which deactivates harmful pathogens. With a shelf life of 3 years, these tablets will come in handy during a disaster or on hiking trips. Please consider purchasing some of these tablets; click here.

Fires caused by Household Appliances

7/14/2022 (Permalink)

stove and oven range SERVPRO of Ottumwa and Grinnell has the expertise to restore properties following fire.

Although convenient, many household appliances can often malfunction and lead to home or apartment fires. Whether it be a washer and dryer, stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, or other cooking appliances, these items are used routinely and help our lives, but can also have detrimental effects if used carelessly, left unattended or malfunctioned. SERVPRO of Ottumwa and Grinnell can be there to restore a commercial or residential property following fire and smoke damage and is always Here to help. To prevent a possible fire due to a household appliance and protect your property, here are three things you can do.   

  1. Never leave heated cookware on overnight such as crockpots. Use of these appliances should be supervised in case of a heating element or wiring malfunction. 
  2. Never leave an appliance running while away. Coming home to clean dishes from the dishwasher may sound nice after being away, but electrical issues may stem from heating elements which can cause fire.  
  3. Do not overload your washer or dryer, and always make sure to clean out the lint trap.