Recent Water Damage Posts

What Is A Desiccant?

2/18/2020 (Permalink)

a desiccant Our team has the necessary equipment for any water damage disaster and the team is "Ready for whatever happens."

Our desiccant helps the process of bringing the affected area back to a state of dryness and is mainly used for commercial losses. More specifically, it helps mitigate water damage. For larger scale losses, it acts as a large dehumidifier utilizes a generator to help with the process. These use an absorbent material to extract water from the air. The material is heated to drip the moisture into a water tank. Desiccant dehumidifiers are designed to work more effectively in lower temperatures. Dehumidifiers are designed to keep a room’s humidity levels in check, so the air is more comfortable and fewer physical signs of damp air are noticed, helping minimize the chance of mold. The desiccant can be utilized if your home has been flooded, especially if the wood is soft to touch in that area. Softwood can indicate rotting and windowsills are particularly vulnerable. If you notice mold or mildew then SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell can use the desiccant to help get the moisture in the air and materials to a more stable level. Desiccants are used on a larger scale water loss to remove moisture from the air.  We used these as a tool in our balanced drying system in place or alongside dehumidifiers on a larger scale project. Desiccants operate differently than dehumidifiers. Desiccants do not collect water through condensation. They vent moisture-laden air from inside the structure to outside the structure using a ventilation system. Desiccants are usually large units and sit outside the structure with venting tubes and air input tubes from and to the structure. They create the greatest vapor pressure and are best used when trying to dry wood flooring, plaster, or concrete. They work on the principle of sorption rather than condensation. Water vapor in this process is adsorbed by a silica gel and then that silica gel is reactivated by energy causing the desiccant to release its moisture to the outside air.

What is a Flood Cut?

2/12/2020 (Permalink)

A man making a flood cut Drywall being removed to make a Flood Cut.

Water issues can come unexpectedly and rapidly damage the property. Water damage, if not treated quickly and efficiently, can damage flooring and personal belongings as well as heightening the chance for mold growth. Our Franchise Professionals here at SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell are here and “Ready for whatever happens.”  In some water scenarios, there needs to be a Flood Cut completed. This term is used in water remediation as well as construction for describing partial removal of drywall, allowing access to framing and salvageable materials to continue the drying process. With water damaged houses and business, this comes in handy for returning the property to preloss conditions. A Flood cut is made from the ground up, removing two feet of drywall all along the base when there is a water loss.  As the water works its way up the drywall, it prevents the water from continuing upwards and makes it easier for reconstruction. Additionally, the insides can be dried and sanitized behind wall cavity. The drywall can easily be fixed, making it look “Like it never even happened.”

Check for Sources Where Rain Water Can Enter - Water Clean Up

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

Inspecting common leak sources routinely and looking at your exterior foundation can help prevent rain and surface runoff intrusions in your home. Rain can cause damage by getting into small cracks in your foundation or flooring, around windows, or even from non functioning sump pump systems which can lead to all sorts of damages if not addressed timely. Here at SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa we understand how frustrating it can be to discover rain related water intrusions which are a leading cause of water damage to a home or business. The sooner mitigation and extraction of the standing water begins the better to prevent further damage.  Identifying the source and repairing it is extremely crucial.

If problems do occur you can give our team a call. We are a 24 hour, 7 day a week company and will work hard to get the issues resolved in a timely manner. We understand the importance of fast response time and mitigation services. With our professionally trained and certified team we are here to help and get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. 

Helpful Tips if Your Contents Are Affected by Water

9/26/2019 (Permalink)

Follow these helpful tips in the event you have experienced any kind of water damage in your home or business. Following these are steps will help you protect your personal belongings.  Follow these steps as soon as possible. The longer your contents sit in water the more likely they are to experience damage.

While you wait for SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa to arrive follow these steps:

  • Move any furniture with wooden feet or legs that you can safely carry out of the affected area.  You can use a non-porous object such as coasters, plastic wrap, Styrofoam, aluminum foil, etc, to block the furniture and lift the legs out of the water. At SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa, we use styrofoam blocks to lift furniture out of wet areas.  However, it is okay to be creative as a homeowner to find other household items that can serve the same purpose. The important thing is preventing water damage to your furniture.
  • Store any belongings in plastic totes. If your belongings are stored in cardboard, move any wet cardboard boxes to a dry area. It’s also a good idea to dry off items that are wet before placing them in storage.
  • Move electronics that have been saturated by water to a dry area and wipe down with a clean, dry rag.
  • Take pictures! Our staff takes pictures for your insurance company when we arrive, but if you do happen to move anything or have something that is really damaged, make sure to take pictures of those items.

The more contents you can move yourself, the less damage you will have to your furniture and personal items. This will also help our SERVPRO team get to work immediately extracting water and setting drying equipment.

Water Damage Clean Up In Vehicles

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

Whooops… you left your windows down and it rained in your vehicle!! Don’t stress: Call SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa! 2nd to your home, your vehicle is the biggest investments you will make in a lifetime. Due to the risk factor of mold, it is very important to leave the drying process up to the pros. When it comes to your vehicles, SERVPRO uses the same drying process as they would your home or business.

  • Identify all affected materials
    1. Decide what materials should be dried and what should be replaced.
  • Measure the restorable materials for moisture content. (How wet is it?)
  • Set appropriate drying equipment
  • Monitor for progress
  • Pulling Equipment when finished.

SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa has the equipment necessary to find the hidden water throughout the vehicle and the knowledge to get it dried out and get you back on the road.

Categories of Water - When Water Damage Happens

6/12/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is here to help when water damage happens.  The first step to make a plan to clean up affected areas after a water loss and make it  “Like it never even happened.” is to determine the cause of the water damage and select the Category type. 

There are three different categories that a water loss is classified in depending on the category of water. 

  • Category 1 Water - Is from a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as "clean water". Examples are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows, or appliance malfunctions that involve water supply lines.
  • Category 2 Water - This source is known as "grey water".Refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to.  This type carries microorganisms and nutrients of micro-organisms. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure, and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.
  •  Category 3 Water - Known as "black water" and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affect the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water, or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water.

You can depend on our team as we have trained technicians, crew chiefs, and project managers to help determine and clean up these different types of water categories safely.  We are here to protect the health and safety of your home, business, and the people that frequent that space.

Checking For Water Damage

2/20/2019 (Permalink)

It is the water that you don't see that can cause damage. SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa uses some of the best meters, detectors, and monitoring devices on the market to protect your home or business when water damage occurs. To make sure that the structure is dry and proper moisture progression is taking place we use these tools when drying a structure. We do daily monitoring while drying a structure as well as will provide moisture checks for residences and commercial locations that have had water infiltration to make sure that the structure is dry and there is not water hiding behind structural materials.   This picture shows a infrared camera, called a, FLIR camera. This camera is showing where there is water still trapped in below the flooring material. When you have water damage you can depend on SERVPRO to have the right tools to make sure your structure is properly dry.

Hard Wood Floor Drying

2/20/2019 (Permalink)

When you have hard wood floor damaged by water you can depend on SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa to have the specialty drying systems needed to be able to help possibly restore your flooring. Hard wood floor drying systems include mats, air movers, and dehumidification equipment to be able to remove the water trapped by the flooring.  The trick to being able to save the flooring is speed.  Quick extraction of standing water and quick setting of the floor system is key. If too much warping of the wood has taken place it is hard to bring the wood back to its original state.  When water damage occurs to any hard wood flooring it is best to call SERVPRO and have them do a moisture check of the floor and make sure the flooring is dry and there is not any unwanted moisture trapped under the floor to prevent further damage days later.  SERVPRO has the equipment for residential losses or even large commercial wood floors like those that are installed in gymnasiums. 

Water Damage Clean Up Requires Air Flow

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

When your business or home are affected by water damage and you don't know what to do you can trust that SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa has the equipment necessary to provide the mitigation services you need. When you find water damage call our office right away and we will be out to provide a plan of action and start providing services to stabilize the structure to minimize any further damage from occurring. A big part of properly mitigating a water damage is air flow and providing the right amount of air flow for the affected square footage.  With our trained technicians taking measurements and assessing the situation this is figured out.  We can then provide the right amount of equipment to properly mitigate the situation.  This picture shows a few different types of air movers we have on the same job and how we affectively space them to provide airflow to affected materials.  The metal silver fan in the front corner is the clients on this job. You can see the difference on this job of what was actually needed for air flow.

Water Removal After Storms in Ottumwa

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Crews Loading The Van

Today in the Ottumwa area we received a very large amount of rain in a short amount of time. Our crews as soon as the rain started falling in central Iowa were making sure the trucks were loaded and ready. This happens every day though. We make sure we are ready to help when the help is needed. We are able to dispatch the teams quickly to your home or business. We can help you extract the water when your sump pump fails, water infiltrates your foundation, or your sewer backs up.  We can dry the structure of the building or even do demo of the affected materials so that the reconstruction can start that much quicker. It is all about getting you back to normalcy as quickly as possibly. Disasters happen but it doesn't have to be that way for long. Let the professionals help.

April Showers bring May flowers and the possibility of flooding to your Ottumwa/Oskaloosa area home.

4/4/2018 (Permalink)

April Showers do bring May flowers but they also bring flooding. Taking precautions can help minimize the damage that occurs at your home. The first thing you need to do is check with your insurance to make sure that you are covered. Coverage options vary depending on the insurance company so it is always a good idea to check and see what is available to you. Second, have your sump pump and chimney checks yearly and make sure your gutters are clean and attached properly. If water does get into your home it needs to be removed quickly and dried out properly so you don’t have mold growth in the future.  SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa will respond to the problem and extract the water and start the remediation process to prevent mold growth at all affected levels.

"We're all mad here."

2/15/2018 (Permalink)

When you have severe water damage at your home you might go MAD trying to coordinate everything with insurance, mitigation, content cleaning, and then you might have to worry about reconstruction. One thing that you might not think about is all of your important documents and pictures that might have been damaged. You wouldn’t want your marriage license or your Great Grandma’s bible to grow mold because you forgot it had gotten wet in all the hustle of the water damage. We can dry your books, pictures, paintings, and important documents for you.

The Mad Hatter said “No wonder you’re lat. Why, this watch is exactly two days slow.” You don’t have to worry about our clocks being slow because we are a 24/7 company.

Let us help keep the romance lit in Ottumwa/Oskaloosa

2/12/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa is working to ensure that your romantic plans don't get interrupted.

You have been planning this day out for weeks. The flowers have been delivered, the table is set, and the wine is poured. You are sitting down with your significant other for a romantic candlelit dinner at home. Right before you put dessert on the table you get a smell of something very unpleasant. You search your home to find where the stench is coming from and it is a sewage backup in your bathroom. Sewage back up can occur for a variety of reasons. Don’t let it ruin your romantic night in. You won’t want to clean up the mess yourself put your trust in SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa and give us a call.  We will come in, extract the water, deodorize, clean your damaged contents, and restore carpets and floors.

Call us today to help make sure your romantic night can resume. We work hard to make it "Like it never even happened."

Water Cleanup in Ottumwa, Oskaloosa and Surrounding Area

7/25/2017 (Permalink)

When water damage happens in Ottumwa and Oskaloosa and the surrounding areas don't hesitate with who to call.  Call SERVPRO of Iowa City/Coralville, Ottumwa/Oskaloosa, Des Moines East & SW.  We are the largest SERVPRO in the state of Iowa but we are here to handle everything from a small water leak to a large flood.  We can clean up fresh water from a water line break from a washing machine, dish washer, sink, refrigerator, or even water from an air conditioner condensate line.  We can clean up water that has backed up from a drain line or from a sump pump that has quit working. 

It is so important to call us right away.  It is the water you don't see that can cause the most damage.  We do free estimates and free moisture checks.  Don't hesitate to call. 

We have equipment loaded and ready to go and crew that works 24 hours a day to help you and respond to your loss right away to start extracting water and we will set dehumidifiers and air movers if needed as soon as we can to keep the water from wicking further into the structure. 

You can trust us. With our three locations to have staff ready to help you 24 hours a day. So when you have water to clean up we are here to help you.  Thank you for trusting us.

Emergency Water Tips

6/22/2017 (Permalink)

Suffering a water loss can be a hectic and stressful time. Emotions run high and often times you don’t even know where to start! The first step should always be to identify the source of incoming water then shutoff or stop the water source if possible. Next make sure to turn off all electrical appliances around the affected area to reduce electrical hazards and turn off the circuit breakers supplying electricity to the wet areas. You will want to remove excess water by mopping or blotting and make sure to never use a regular vacuum to remove water! Keep furniture safe from additional damage by placing aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting/flooring and make sure to call your local SERVPRO to come assess the damage and get the drying process started immediately.

Removing water from Carpet in Ottumwa

6/12/2017 (Permalink)

An employee removing water from carpet and pad

After a water intrusion we will use this type of equipment to remove the water from carpet and pad.  In order to save the carpet and pad it must be a clean water loss. Meaning the leak had to come from a fresh water line.  We use this equipment or something similar to extract the water.  This machine is called a rover but we will also use a machine called a hydroX. They work the same way.  You stand on both types of machines and the weight of the machine and the employee standing on the machine helps to squeeze out and suck up the water. The machine is self propelled using controls on the handle.  The water is then pumped through tubes into a truck mounted holding tank to be disposed of.  Air movers and dehumidifiers are still needed to remove moisture but this will remove the majority of excess water.  We attempt when ever possible to save the carpet and pad but many times if not attended to fast enough delamination occurs. This is why it is so important to know who to call if you ever have water damage and to do it right away. This will minimize cost for the dry out process and minimize property damage.

Dehumidifiers

5/4/2017 (Permalink)

We use dehumidifiers as one piece of equipment during our balanced drying system we use when we are cleaning up after a water loss.  Dehumidification helps to minimize secondary damages.  Dehumidifiers alone are not the only piece of equipment we use. These units are used to capture evaporated moisture in the air. We have to get the moisture out of the material and we use air movers and energy to get the water to evaporate.  Once evaporated the vapor can be removed from the air with a dehumidifier.  "Dehumidifiers are a sealed refrigeration system with defrost mechanism, fan, and water collection system.  The dehumidifier removes energy from the incoming air, then returns this energy as sensible heat to the exiting air.  During this energy removal process, water vapor condenses on the evaporator (cool) coil and is collected." - From Disaster Academy Training Manual

Desiccants

5/4/2017 (Permalink)

Desiccants are used on a larger scale water loss to remove moisture from the air.  We used these as a tool in our balanced drying system in place or along side dehumidifiers on a larger scale project.  Desiccants operate differently then dehumidifiers. Desiccants do not collect water through condensation. They vent moisture-laden air from inside the structure to outside the structure using a ventilation system.  Desiccants are usually large units and sit outside the structure with venting tubes and air input tubes from and to the structure.  They create the greatest vapor pressure and are best used when trying to dry wood flooring, plaster, or concrete. They work on the principle of sorption rather then condensation.  Water vapor in this process is adsorbed by a silica gel and then that silica gel is reactivated by energy causing the desiccant to release its moisture to the outside air.

Can We Save Your Structure

5/4/2017 (Permalink)

In a lot of cases yes we can. A lot of building materials are made to get wet but NOT maintain wetness.  It is very important to have a balanced drying system and start that system very quickly after water damage.  Problems with saving materials occur when the water infiltration is caused by contaminated water.

Drywall can be saved if it is a clean water infiltration.  Drywall is fragile when wet but when dried it is very strong.  If seems are intact and there is no swelling or microbial growth then the drying process can begin. 

Paneling and wallpaper are difficult to dry but cavity drying systems can be attempted if the material can not be replaced and it was a clean water infiltration. 

Lath and Plaster require a very controlled drying process with aggressive evaporation and low humidity air but can sometimes be saved. 

We use many different systems to dry different materials in different spaces.  We have floor drying systems, cavity drying systems, and general drying systems. 

We are here to help you.  Like it never even happened.

Water Damage Do's and Don'ts

2/23/2017 (Permalink)

Water damage from clean water is much different then contaminated, sewer water.  These do's are only for clean water.  It is important to hire a professional to help you dry out your home after water damage.  With the right tools and pieces of equipment we can properly and safely dry out your home or business and the products with in it.

Do's

-Shut off the source of the water. 

-Turn off electricity

-Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and soaking up with towels. 

-Wipe excess water from wood furniture.

-Put aluminum foil in between furniture legs and carpet. 

Don'ts

-Enter a room with standing water. There could be a risk of electrical shock. Disconnect all power first.

-Leave rugs and furniture upholstery wet against and sitting on carpets.  The fabrics could bleed between each other. 

-Turn on your television or any other electronic.

-Do not use your household vacuum to try and suck up any water.  They are not made for this.

Frozen Pipes

1/6/2016 (Permalink)

Please keep an eye out on your pipes with this incoming cold weather!  Leave a few faucets with a very slight drip so there is water moving through the pipes.  This will make it less likely for the pipe to freeze.  If you do happen to have a frozen pipe, please thaw slowly to prevent the pipe from breaking.

What To Do About Frozen Pipes

1/5/2015 (Permalink)

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 can cause thousands of dollars worth of water damage.  If not taken care of and mitigated properly this can then lead to mold issues.

Prevention:

  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 wherer cold air has a chance to come in contact with pipes.  In extreme cold temperatures, ecspecially 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, ecspecially 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.