Recent Posts

Laundry Safety

3/12/2021 (Permalink)

dryer Laundry can easily pile up, but it is essential to practice basic safety techniques to protect your home.

Not clearing your filter after each use can be dangerous. It is reported that there are over 17,000 fires related to home dryers each year.
Here are a few simple tips to follow to help prevent a clothes dryer fire.
-Clean the filter screen after each load to prevent lint buildup.
-An adult should be at home whenever the dryer is in use and the home should have working smoke alarms.
-Clean the vents outside twice a year to clean out any accumulated dust and lint.
-Commercial dryers should be cleaned out regularly because of their frequent use and shared venting system.
-Don't dry mop heads in the dryer. The dryer's heat can ignite the chemical residue on mop heads.
-Keep the surrounding area clean. The dryer's heat may ignite anything left too close to the dryer.
-The safety of your family is important to us and we hope that you don't encounter such a fire. Be sure you follow these steps to avoid a fire in your home.

What to do about frozen pipes

2/18/2021 (Permalink)

frozen pipes graphic If your home or business experiences damage from a burst pipe, then call upon our team of professionals to assist with your water damage.

Frozen pipes can cause a lot of issues and cost a lot of money! One pipe burst in a home at 4-8 gallons of water running per minute. This can cause thousands of dollars worth of water damage. If not taken care of and mitigated properly, then this can then lead to mold issues.


  1. Locate and identify any and all shut off valves in the home and make sure they work properly.  (Everyone should know where their "Main Water Valve" is at and how to operate it)
  2. Identify any potential problems. (Areas where pipes are on an outside wall, ceiling, attics, crawl spaces, etc)
  3. Seal any gaps around the home where cold air has a chance to come in contact with pipes.  In extreme cold temperatures, especially wind driven, even a tiny opening can let enough cold in to cause a pipe to freeze. (Dryer vents, windows, cable penetrations, etc.)
  4. Turn off and drain all standard outside hose bibs.

When the temperature is expected to drop:

  1. Open kitchen sink and any vanity doors of the areas that are at risk for problems.
  2. With pipes that are on outside walls that may be a freeze problem, leave a small trickle of both of the hot and cold water running.
  3. Temporarily seal off any crawl space vents that may be around the foundation.
  4. Keep the house warm.

What to do if you experience a frozen pipe: (The first sign of a "frozen" pipe is reduced or no flow at all)

  1. If you experience a "no flow" situation (First turn off the "Main Water Valve" to the house and leave the faucets "open", Second DO NOT use any open flame to attempt to thaw the pipes, Third DO NOT use any electric heater, hair dryer applied directly to the piping as any leaking water may cause electrocution, and Forth turning the water back on is best handled with (2) people.  One person turning on the water SLOWLY and the other walking about the house to be sure no water is running).
  2. Heat and patience is the best way to get frozen pipes thawed out.  We do recommend that if a frozen pipe happens to find the source and correct it so it will not happen again.  (If you were lucky enough for the frozen pipes not bursting this time, you may not be so lucky the next time.)

**Please be advised if the water to your house is shut off, it may also turn off any fire prevention system you may have hooked up to your water

What to do if you leave your home during the winter months:

  1. Turn the Main Water Valve off to your home**
  2. Leave the heat on to the house and set it NO LOWER than 60 degrees.
  3. Have a neighbor stop by daily, especially when the temperatures are in the 20's or lower.

**If your home has "hot water and/or steam heat", the water must remain on even when you are not there. A neighbor stopping by is critical if this applies to you.

The Principles of Drying

2/10/2021 (Permalink)

The restorative drying process is meant for restoration professionals and is designed to ensure that each component and variable is considered to achieve all drying goals.

Principle 1: Provide for the safety and health workers and occupants

Principle 2: Document and inspect the project

Principle 3: Mitigate further damage

Control the spread of contaminants

Control moisture intrusion

Principle 4: Clean and dry affected areas

Our team uses cleaning procedures whenever soils and debris must be removed to expedite the drying process. Restorative drying for professionals is used to control as many factors as possible to complete the most efficient drying process. Once enough water is extracted, evaporation is enhanced by:

  • Lowering humidity
  • Increasing airflow across wet surfaces
  • Controlling temperature of air and surfaces
  • Using outside air when possible
  • Creating a drying chamber

Principle 5: Complete the restoration and repairs

Mold Remediation on a Roof Ice Dam

1/28/2021 (Permalink)

Ice Dam Graphic If you ever experience an ice dam and it has affected your property, we can be there to help you clean up and do any mold remediation.

In the case of an ice dam, we are able to help with drying water damaged walls and floors and we can remove and clean up affected insulation. This image shows how an ice dam can lead to potential water damage. If the water goes untreated then it can produce mold spores that can continue to spread. We start by properly removing all saturated and affected insulation then the area can be treated and dried out if necessary. When working in older homes, we make sure to test for lead and asbestos per OSHA expectations. The goal of a mold remediation project is to return the indoor environment to a clean, safe, livable condition. With the build up of ice on the roof and gutter, the ice melts and can seep through to the dry wall and insulation. This can then be a source for mold. If you are in need of help, call our office and we will he there to make it "Like it never even happened."

Ew! What's that smell?

1/19/2021 (Permalink)

A woman holding a ipad in front of air movers We are prepared to be there for you, and we can help you with any mess or smelly situation, no matter how bad.

Good news! We are able to deodorize your home whether it's a water job or fire job or it's merely animal smells. We have the equipment to get the job done. Our team of professionals will use Ozone generators to remove any odor after the source is removed. Ozone gas (O3) is very effective in eliminating odors. When the Ozone generator is on, plants, animals and the team member need to get out of the area that is being treated, because ozone can be toxic when inhaled at significant levels. It is meant to make O2 turn to O3 as it is an olfactory desensitizer. Ozone works slowly, but is very effective. Depending the disaster, the ozone generator can do the trick, or it can a necessary deodorization step.

Winter Has Arrived!

12/31/2020 (Permalink)

water on the floor With winter finally here, it is important to know that SERVPRO and our fellow team members are "Here to help."

Winter is upon us! With that comes the cold temps and the freezing pipes. Keep the faucets dripping to keep some water traveling through, making it harder to freeze, but there are other ways to prevent freezing or bursting pipes!

Keeping the pipes insulated is essential! If getting proper insulation is impossible before a storm, then wadding up newspaper and duct tape can provide temporary insulation around pipes. If the water pipes are in the garage, then keep the garage door closed whenever possible, to prevent freezing air from getting in and dropping the temps even further. Maintaining a consistent temperature in the home will also help, as well as, keeping the heat on when leaving the home for any extended period of time.

These are just a few ways to prevent freezing pipes, but if there is ever a surprise pipe burst, SERVPRO is there to help with mitigating the water and getting your home back to the way it was before, "Like it never even happened."

Homemade Cleaners Around The Home

12/3/2020 (Permalink)

A person wearing a glove with a bottle of cleaner If the mess can’t be cleaned then make sure to call the professionals. Our SERVPRO team is here to help!

Home Made Glass Cleaner

*Mix 1 part Vinegar with 2 parts water

*Add ½ teaspoon dish soap for every cup of water

*Shake to mix

ALL-Natural Homemade Floor Cleaner

*1 part water

*1 part white vinegar

*1 part 70% Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol

*A few drops of liquid dish detergent

*1/4 part lemon juice

DIY Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner   (If you have animals this can be a life saver)

*¼ cup of baking soda

*¼ cup of white vinegar

*3/4 cup of warm water

*1/2 tablespoon of dish liquid soap

Homemade Deodorizing Spray

*2 cups fabric softener

*2 cups baking soda

*4 cups of warm water

Homemade Garbage Disposal Cleaner

*3/4 cup baking soda

*1/2 cup salt

*1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap’

*1 lemon

After first 3 ingredients are mixed, grate lemon peel into mixture. Then cut lemon the lemon in half and remove the seeds.  Squeeze both halves into the mixture until lemon is fully incorporated.  Grab a sheet pan, spoon and some parchment paper.  Cover the sheet pan with parchment paper, use the spoon to mold in half rounds, and then tap them out onto the pan.  Allow the tablets to dry overnight.  Place dried mixture into a sealable container.

This information was compiled from various on-line sources. SERVPRO is not responsible for any and all claims made by these sources. 


11/20/2020 (Permalink)

Snow Flake The colder months are quickly approaching and we are ready to help assist if you experience any damages this winter.


Winter weather can wreak havoc on your home if you are not prepared. Here is a list of tips and tricks for the winter months.


*Cover outside faucets with an insulated cover if not frost free.

*Unhook hoses and drain them before putting them away.


*Cover air conditioner with a protective cover.

*Replace air filter in furnace.

*Check duct work in attic and or basement for any leaks. 

*Inspect Chimney flue for cracks, creosote and soot buildup before starting a fire.  Also, check damper to see if it is working properly and not rusted, or warped.  This could help avoid a fire hazard.


*Check for deteriorating flashing around vent pipes, chimney and sky lights.  Seal or replace where water could seep in.

*Check for any roof damage which could create water damage from snow or ice melting on roof.

Structure Cleaning Post Fire Damage

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

A man using a rag to remove soot damage We are here to help when you need us most. If you have had a fire in your home or business give our team of professionals a call.

When fire damage affects your home or business SERVPRO of Ottumwa and Grinnell is here to help. We have IICRC trained professional technicians that specialize in structure and content cleaning. One of the first processes in structure cleaning is to remove soot residue. We use dry sponges to remove the soot from the affected materials. In order to reach the high areas in the home, we will attach the dry sponge to an extendable pole to reach all spots. Then the sponge can be used to wipe down ceilings and walls of any soot that might be on the structure.  Soot residue has to be removed in order for the structure seal coat to stick. You can depend on SERVPRO to have the right training and tools to get the job done.


10/30/2020 (Permalink)

Our Equipment next to a SERVPRO truck We have whatever equipment and vehicles are needed to get the job done. We make sure that the Green SERVPRO vehicles are ready to go.

Green is on the Scene with our many different types of vehicles. During emergency water and fire calls we respond with our trucks all ready to go! Thanks to some of our amazing staff these trucks keep stocked.

We have a water truck that we bring to the job site to extract water right on the premises. This helps to ensure that the drying process can start quickly so your water emergency can get cleaned up. We also have other vehicles that are designated for large loss jobs and removing your affected content for cleaning at our shop. When you see the green SERVPRO vehicles you know we are helping you, your neighbors, and your local businesses get back to everyday life quickly and efficiently.