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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Content Cleaning- Not for the Faint of Heart

4/20/2022 (Permalink)

Cleaners on stainless steel table, and SERVPRO logo We've got the means!

When we get a call to assist someone who has just had a fire in their home or business, we know that our team needs to be prepared for a big project ahead. They help put the space back together, and that is no easy feat when you are dealing with the aftermath of flames. Another BIG piece of the puzzle in getting you back to like it never even happened, is content cleaning.


We have a wonderful team of Cleaning Technicians who work tirelessly to get people's treasures back to their preloss condition. They use a plethora of cleaners, deodorizers, and counteractants, all created by our very own SERVPRO chemist. Additionally, we have equipment like our ozone machine. An ozone generator is a machine that splits apart oxygen to generate OZONE with electrical charges. Ozone is composed of 3 oxygen molecules, where the third molecule detaches itself and reattaches to other substances like tough odors. Read more about the ozone machine here!


We had a recent fire loss, and like many of our fire jobs, the contents got boxed up and brought back to our facilities to get the soot/smell out and make them sparkle again. For precious belongings, this process is more than just a scrub-a-dub-dub and done. Contents are handled with care; our cleaners know that these items hold special places in our customer’s hearts.

In the event that your home or business undergoes fire damage, call SERVPRO of Decorah so we can help put your life back together!


The Importance of an Emergency Plan!

4/19/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo with photo of commercial building and the text "ARE YOU EMERGENCT READY?" Ready, set, get prepared!

Having a plan when things go array is very important when you own a commercial business. Not only does this make you more aware of your property, but could save you some dollars in the long run if you are prepared and can take immediate action!


  • Promotes safety & shows that the organization is committed to keeping its workers safe.
  • You will be more prone to taking immediate action, which could result in a less severe loss.
  • Being prepared can reduce fear, stress, and anxiety.


Yes, you read that right, FREE!

SERVPRO offers a free ERP or Emergency Ready Profile that you can use for your business. There is a mobile application that is used to gather all crucial information and help during and after a disaster occurs.

Recommended information to store in your ERP.

  • Emergency contact information
  • Building information and description
  • Contact information for local emergency services, utilities, municipalities, and vendors
  • Map of your business
  • Collections of images of important rooms and expensive equipment with an area to add notes or instructions
  • Emergency instructions in case of a fire, water, or storm disaster

You can add as many images, instructions, and details to this mobile app as you want! Get started right now!



Whether it's through our ERP program or through means of your own, we hope that you get your emergency-ready plan in place. If something goes wrong, you are going to be in a much better position to get back into your building faster! If everything is smooth sailing, then you still get peace of mind that you are prepared!  

If you have any questions or would like to request a walkthrough of your business to begin the ERP, give us a call! (319) 268-1521.

Be Prepared for Severe Weather

4/12/2022 (Permalink)

"be prepared in case of severe weather" with SERVPRO logo, and cloud with lightning bolt Be alert, be smart, be PREPARED!

As I click the buttons on my keyboard to the sound of soft music, I can hear the sound of the wind howling outside my office window. There have been countless posts on social media warning us Iowans about some severe weather that is about to roll in this evening and throughout the night.  

As a Midwesterner, storms are not a new thing to us, and neither should the art of being prepared. With that, sometimes precautionary steps are not always at the forefront of our minds, due to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Sometimes you just need that extra reminder or resource, so we are happy to provide just that!


  • Fully charge your cell phone
  • Gather flashlight and extra batteries in case of a power outage
  • Have some snacks and water in an easily moveable container
  • Turn your phone on loud for alerts, don't just rely on outdoor sirens
  • Know where your emergency shelter is
  • Stay conscious of your surroundings and get to cover if needed!


We want to remind you that SERVPRO of Decorah is available to assist in post-storm cleanup if necessary! If there is substantial damage to your structure, we will tarp your home to keep the water out while we extract and dry out your space. We know how important it is for you to get back into your warm, cozy house. Give us a call if you are in need after a big storm! We are HERE TO HELP!

Spring Cleaning Tips from Cleaning Experts!

4/11/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO cleaning supplies: bucket, rags, erasers, etc. Clean like a pro!

Iowans understand what a false start to Spring looks like, but we cannot help but let our guards down and celebrate the upcoming warmer weather and the beauty of spring. We even started doing yard work (cleaning up the dog waste from winter). Most of us look forward to spring cleaning to refresh our homes and even our mood.

As cleaning experts, SERVPRO is sharing helpful cleaning tips that we use to clean and restore homes after a fire, water, or mold disaster.


  1. Fold your cleaning rag like an expert. Do you know that we use an 8-fold technique with our microfiber cloth when removing dust or soot? Grab your cloth and fold it in half twice. After this fold, you should have 8 sides of the cloth to use for one single pass in one direction on each side. After each side is used, use a new rag. This will help avoid the spread of dust and cross-contamination.
  2. Clean from top to bottom. Wipe the dust from the fans, exhaust fans, walls, trims, and furniture, and work your way down.
  3. Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum for window blinds, your dryer, and lampshades.
  4. Use clean coffee filters for a streak-free window.
  5. If you are a plant owner, make sure you clean and dry around the plant's space. Moisture and high humidity can promote mold.
  6. Do not use bleach when trying to clean an area that has mold. Use a microbial cleaner instead.
  7. Wash your carpets and rugs with a wet vacuum or have them professionally cleaned.


SERVPRO can aid in areas that are a bit more challenging or questionable; call us for an expert opinion on cleanup.

Should You Use Bleach to Clean Mold?

4/7/2022 (Permalink)

"BLEACH CANNOT KILL MOLD.." with mold photo in background and breaking news headline BREAKING NEWS!

In some households, bleach has become a multi-cleaner agent and a disinfectant and while we can recognize that bleach does have its uses when it comes to remediating mold, SERVPRO of Decorah does not promote it as the best method.

Bleach is ok when it comes to "bleaching" things but, bleach alone is not a sufficient solution to mold issues. While bleach can kill mold on hard surfaces, it is almost impossible to use bleach to kill mold on wood, drywall, or any porous material inside your home. Not to mention the fumes can be hazardous to a person’s lungs. Mold tends to root itself deeper into the material. Bleach may kill some of the molds on the surface but what it’s mainly doing is “bleaching” or removing the color from the mold. This can be very misleading. Due to the bleaching of the mold, it might trick you into thinking the mold issue has been resolved, putting a pause to further removal actions. Even the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not recommend using bleach for mold removal.

While killing mold is important, the removal of the mold and its mold spores are too! This will require agitation of the mold, cleaning up the mold, and airing out the mold spores away from your home. Safety measures such as wearing gloves, safety goggles, and a respirator mask are highly suggested. In some mold cases, a DIY cleanup is perfectly ok but it will require a thorough cleanup job and resolving of the humid or wet environment so the mold doesn’t return.


SERVPRO of Decorah uses mold removal sprays in conjunction with cleaning methods as a way to remove and prevent mold. Two mold removal sprays that we recommend are Concrobium Mold Control and Benefect. The porous material may have to be disposed of and replaced. If you have mold issues inside your home or suspect some water damage, give us a call. We’re here to help!

References: https://moldhelpforyou.com/bleach-kill-mold/


Patience Takes Practice - Help is Coming!

4/4/2022 (Permalink)

Key that says "patience" with SERVPRO logo and website URL Patience is key!

Sometimes it seems as if we live in a world where instant gratification is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. With the way the world is operating currently, getting things at the snap of a finger is even more of a challenge than it used to be. Items are taking longer than they used to in the world of shipping and materials. Many people are short-staffed, making it harder to stay operating for their full business hours.


We are so blessed that we are able to trust in our team during these trying times to get things done, and done right! That doesn’t always mean we can be out on a job site within an instant. In the restoration business, sometimes emergencies come up and we need to send our staff to help those individuals right away. We take pride in our work being done quickly, but also efficiently, and most importantly done RIGHT!


As quickly as we want it to be done, it is important to take each step carefully and not rush drying or demo processes. Our techs and machines are very calculated- serious math involved- to take out any guessing and possible problems down the road. SO- set your expectations longer than you think, and when it turns out shorter, it will feel better! If you are ordering materials (cabinets and such) we know there have been some delays for certain products…that’s today's reality no matter who, what, and where.

Right now, is a great time to exercise your patience. Be patient with others, but also learn to be patient with yourself!

Help is coming, whatever you are waiting on is coming…hang in there!!


Seeing is believing - Sewer Backup Catastrophe!

4/4/2022 (Permalink)

collage of drain being snaked with SERVPRO logo Hire a professional to snake your drain!

Touring SERVPRO work sites is very beneficial in discovering what it takes to clean up and restore.
When I took the field trip to a job that focused on sewer backup cleaning, I never imagined the impact it would leave on me! It is often said, putting yourself into another person’s shoes-situation-can help you understand what they are going through.

At this site, SEEING WAS BELIEVING! The basement I visited looked almost exactly like my own. The washer and dryer, furnace, and water heater were all located near the ‘drain pit’. It is this pit where not only the water from outside tiling flows in, but where my shower, washer, and the furnace drain tube empty into. It is also this drain pit where sewer backs up and enters your home when a clog develops! Weather, like excessive rain, can sometimes trigger the backup.

Running Slow?

If a drain is running slow or clogged, it will ‘show itself’ in a horrible way. Consider a few maintenance steps to put off a catastrophe. I made a call to a plumber and inquired on what I needed to do to prevent sewer backup. Snaking is the act of running an auger-like cable down the drain. It will push through physical clogs that chemicals can not break up. Once you have hit the blockage, it will be loosened to flow out, and the auger is brought back out. Sometimes pieces of the clog will come with it-and often is due to hair, debris, and even tree roots.

ALL the WAY to the Street!

Ask your plumber to snake your drain pipes all the way to the street. Sometimes the blockage is loosened but not mined all the way through to the city sewer line, which runs underground in the street. Snaking the large cleanout pipe will provide more peace of mind. Be sure to run or flush with water for several minutes after the snaking. A bucket of water is helpful in the main drain.

Thankful and Educated

I’m glad I got to see what could have been before it was! If you have experienced a backup by either sewer or water, call a plumber to open your drains. Then, call SERVPRO of Decorah to clean up what’s left behind. 563-277-1615.

We've got Brains, Heart, and Courage!

4/1/2022 (Permalink)

Yellow brick road backround with collage of SERVPRO employees by Wizard of Oz mural Follow the Yellow Brick Road!

Our SERVPRO technicians have ALL the traits the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion were seeking. They come to work every day ready to put their brains, hearts, and courage to the test. A test they pass with flying colors!


SERVPRO of Decorah's technicians are highly trained and certified. They take their work seriously by making sure that they have the knowledge they need to mend people’s homes after a disaster. Their certifications are granted by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, also known as the IIRC, and through SERVPRO’s Employee Training Program (ECTP). Some of these include, but are not limited to:

  • Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT)
  • Applied Microbial Remediation (AMRT)
  • Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT)


Restoring homes and cleaning up mess is not something that the faint of heart choose as their line of work. Everyone on our crew has the heart and caring nature to decide to get up every day and come help put people’s lives back together. As a business that is open 24/7, our techs have the task of working on holidays and around the clock in certain situations. Their hard work does not go unnoticed by us, or our customers. As stated in an online review, “I must commend you on the fine young men who did the cleaning. They were very professional and made sure I knew what they were doing and how they were going to do it. They were very personable and easy to talk with.”. We are always appreciative of the heart they put into their work.


Our team most certainly has the courage to tackle the mess life has become after a fire or water problem in your home or business. Courage is made up of strength from within one’s self, and it is evident that SERVPRO employees have this characteristic as they care for each other.  The clean-up they perform can be physically and emotionally draining. We witness their courage each day to continue the process to make life "Like it never even happened," for our customers.

We’ll help you click your heels and get you back home. Call us for help.

Pay Attention to the Sounds in your Bathroom!

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

Diagram of clogged drain system Here's a visual to help put this into perspective!

Your drain is demanding help

If you hear gurgling noises in sinks, showers, toilets, and floor drains, it is actually a yell for help! These noises signal that there is a possible blockage somewhere. Do not ignore these warning signs.

Vent, drain, and, mainline…How is it all tied together?

Located on the roof and running through your home to the mainline, connected to the city sewer, the vent or stack pipe plays two roles. It removes sewer gases and odors, which keeps your house from smelling. And second, it brings fresh air into your plumbing system to maintain pressure and helps water drain properly. It is the hub of the entire plumbing system.

In this image, the toilet, sink, and bathtub all drain to 1 mainline and all vent through 1 main vent.

If there is a clog somewhere in this line (drain pipe or vent pipe), the air is either pushed out or sucked into one fixture (like the toilet), when another is used (like the shower).
The main sewer drain line, most likely buried and running through your lawn, carries all the wastes to the city sewer line. It can also plug with tree roots and household debris and remains.

While the gurgling noises may seem like a nuisance, they can lead to larger issues, like damaged pipes and possibly sewer backup into your home.

Understanding the draining concept

Try this: Turn a plastic soda bottle filled with water upside down and open the cap. The water will pour out in waves as air is pushing its way past the flowing water. The gurgling sound occurs when this repetitive act of flowing water and air move in and out of the bottle.

Call a professional plumber to assess the situation and possibly clear the blockage.

Don’t wait too long, otherwise, our green SERVPRO trucks will be needed to clean up the yuck backup!  


Fish Fry

3/24/2022 (Permalink)

Burnt up aquarium with fish clip art and SERVPRO logo The burnt remnants of the fish aquarium

There are many unsuspected culprits that cause house fires these days, especially with numerous electronic devices plugged in and advances in technology. One uncommon household item that you might never expect to be a source of disaster is your fish tank or aquarium. What was once home to these little fish, is now the cause of disaster in another.

What is even more surprising is that it's not as rare as you'd think. In an article posted by Fox43, they explain the ins and outs of aquariums and fire safety. Take a look and get up to speed on all things fire safety when it comes to your fish friend's little home, and protecting your own!


SERVPRO of Decorah has worked on jobs that require both fire and water restoration. Sometimes these two messes go hand in hand. What do you often use to put out the flames of a fire (other than an extinguisher of course)? That’s right… Water. Thankfully you can have peace of mind that we have all the tools and training on how to deal with BOTH of these messes, even if that means simultaneously.

If you find yourself in a situation similar to this, fish friends or no fish friends, we are HERE TO HELP!

Call SERVPRO of Decorah and leave the mess to us!


What to Know About Melting Snow!

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

Ice dam with SERVPRO logo and green circle that has text Protect yourself from melting snow!

It’s that time of the year when flower buds, sunshine, and chirping birds are at the forefront of our minds. There is a peaceful feeling that comes with the winter months melting before our eyes. While we know how exciting this change in season can be, there are a few things you should be aware of!


During the cold season, snow and ice will often form around the gutters and lower portion of your roof. When the heat from your roof melts this snow, it begins to pool and gather in your getters. This water then freezes and will create icicles or ice dams.

The problem with this is that when it begins to melt during the blooming of spring when the water has nowhere to go, it will begin to seep in through your roof.


When this happens, there is one other big issue that can occur, the big M word. Mold.

Mold can be a serious health hazard, so you want to avoid ice dams and water damage at any cost.


Here are three tips that can help you prevent damage from an ice dam

  • Ventilation under the roof deck
    • keeps colder outside air moving through the attic and prevents it from warming above the freezing point so it can melt snow on the roof.
  • Insulation in the ceiling
    • prevents warmer air from rising up into the attic space to melt snow on the roof.
  • Blocking any heat sources
    • Try to prevent any heat sources from sending warm air up into the attic.


Now that you are aware of these pesky little dams, it will be a lot easier to be prepared and prevent a disaster.

Ice dams come in many severities, some may way up to hundreds of pounds, which in turn can compromise your home’s structure. Size aside, when these phenomena melt, they can flow down causing serious damage to your roof, gutters, paint, insulation and interior drywall, etc.

If you think that your home or business has been compromised due to an Ice dam or other water damage, call SERVPRO of Decorah!


We are here to help!

Elbow Grease, Heart, and Diligence

3/10/2022 (Permalink)

Before and after of dirty wood table on green background with orange dotted lin A job well done by our wonderful cleaning technicians!

All cleaning and restoration companies have the ability to clean and restore, that is quite obvious. What most don’t have are individuals who go above and beyond and get the job done right, and then some!  


Our cleaning technicians have what I like to call elbow grease. By definition, this means “hard physical work, especially vigorous polishing or cleaning”.  

Our technicians put in a vast amount of hard physical work to assist our customers. Cleaning and restoring is what we do best and in order to make sure that we can provide quality results, elbow grease is a big part of the process.  


Not only is our team great at what they do in regards to their polishing and cleaning, but they have the heart for it. When contents come into our cleaning room, they know it’s not just an item that needs to be cleaned. People’s belongings have a story and our technicians take that seriously and provide extra care because of this.  


Another big piece of the puzzle when it comes to our cleaning technicians' great work ethic, is diligence. Diligence is defined as “determination and careful effort. An example of diligence is a person who does a job efficiently and takes care of little details”. This is exactly what we see in our cleaning room every day. When it comes to putting people's homes and businesses back together, being efficient and putting care and attention into the little details is part of what makes our team so successful.

We are proud of our cleaning team every day! 

Springing into Warmer Weather: Commercial Property Maintenance

3/4/2022 (Permalink)

Grass popping through snow, text saying "Get ready for the thaw" and a SERVPRO logo Protect your commercial property!

As the seasons change, business owners are always looking ahead to what is coming next. The next campaign, the next project, the next meeting, the list is pretty much endless.

What commercial business owners might not think about is how to prepare their buildings for the thaw.

Cold temps, snow, ice, and sometimes even salt, can cause seasonal damage to structures. Due to the way that water expands when it freezes, it can cause cracks and then proceed to melt causing areas of moisture within your structure. The dreaded ice dam can also be a perpetrator of water damage.


After the bitter cold has started to subside, one of the first, most crucial steps to getting your commercial building in tip-top shape, is doing a proper inspection. Make yourself a list of things to check for and bring a camera with you for documentation while thoroughly looking over your property. Some things to look out for are:

  • Cracks in foundation, pathways, parking lots, and patios
  • Lose or damaged pavement
  • Missing shingles
  • Chipped paint
  • Leaking or drafty windows


In addition to doing a damage inspection, It is also wise to do a proper maintenance check. This includes things such as:

  • Getting your air conditioning units looked at
  • Replacing air filters
  • Flushing your water heaters
  • Put fresh batteries in smoke and CO2 detectors


If you are unsure of where to begin when getting your property ready for the thaw, make sure to connect with a local professional who can give you guidance on the next steps.

For your cleanup and restoration needs, SERVPRO is here to help in any way that we can! We are simply a phone call away!

Bike on Fire

3/3/2022 (Permalink)

Electric bike with fire damage and SERVPRO logo over grey striped background Sometimes the cause of the mess is something you never expect!

An electric bike was stored in a basement when the battery pack exploded and caught fire. If exercising was this individual's new year's resolution, it literally went up in flames. Luckily the customer was able to put out the fire with an extinguisher, however, the electrical explosion caused a lot of fire and smoke damage to the home. There are many lessons we can take away from this, and no, it's not to ditch the new year's resolution. Let us leave you with 3 efforts that will help you prepare and prevent! 

1. Never leave electrical equipment plugged into the wall when not in use
2. Know where your fire extinguisher is and how to use it 
3. Put SERVPRO's number in your phone so we can be there right away to help remediate your home or business.

 (563) 277-1615

What's the 'Sitch' on Wet Checks

2/28/2022 (Permalink)

Tech checking the wall for moisture with meter One of our technicians doing a wet check for a commercial building.

In the world of restoration, making sure things are completely dry after a water mess is important to avoid mold or other structural issues. The magic of how we gauge this is done through wet checks. Today we want to give you an inside look into how we do wet checks, so if you ever find yourself in deep water in your home or business, you might have a better understanding of the restoration process.


A wet check is just what it sounds like. When our techs go into a water loss, they are checking to see how wet the affected materials are. The job is not done until everything has been properly dried out, and our team is very thorough in this process.


Typically, wet checks are started on the 2nd day of the job. The first day is reserved for the initial mitigation process and setting of equipment. After the drying process begins, it usually takes about 2-3 days for materials to begin to show any signs of progress.


Our techs use moisture meters to detect moisture. The probe that they use for the affected material, depends on the type of material they are drying out. For wood, they will use the wood probe, for moisture in carpet they use a special carpet probe. As long as they are seeing improvements in the material, they continue to wet check until it is dry.


Here at SERVPRO, we never want to leave behind any hidden water, so we have a “dry standard” by checking an unaffected material. If water was 6 inches up the wall, we get a max reading by putting the meter 6 inches up the wall. Once we have that dry standard, we continue to check the materials until they have reached that “standard” to ensure everything has been properly dried.


We are so fortunate to have a team that provides such great attention to detail, and gets the job done properly! When you are in need of water cleanup, call SERPVRO of Decorah, we will take care of you, and make it "Like it never even happened."

Wicked Warehouse Water Loss

2/25/2022 (Permalink)

Broken pipe with red knob and SERVPRO logo The culprit!

For commercial businesses, keeping your inventory and warehouse safe, clean, and free of mold and mess is essential. Recently that goal became a challenge for a business due to a water main break. That’s where SERVPRO of Decorah swooped in to help!


After the damage from the busted pipe occurred, the warehouse was left with 10,000 square feet of water in their building/warehouse. It spread to back storage areas, hallways, and other neighboring rooms.


Our team got to the job site and did their due diligence in inspecting and documenting important matters, then they got to work extracting the water. They had to dump the extraction truck six times to remove all the standing water.

When this was done, they set up equipment, took daily departure photos, and atmospheric readings. They let the dehumidifiers get to work and later would be back to do wet checks and see how the drying process was going.

After a thorough wet check, our technicians discovered that the drywall was still affected. They pulled baseboard and drilled holes and adjusted equipment to ensure that everything could dry out properly.

After we ensured that our client was happy with everything, the last wet check was performed and equipment was wrapped up! Though the water was all taken care of, this commercial business had us come back to clean their carpets which was the cherry on top!

HERE TO HELP – We mean it!

We know that in situations where water is spreading through your home or business it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. When we say that we are here to help, we mean it! We are thankful that we have such a diligent, and compassionate team that is available 24/7 to help in emergencies. Put our number into your phone so when the disaster strikes, you can get help at the click of a couple of buttons!


We want to help you take the stress out of the mess!

Growth for the SERVPRO Team

2/21/2022 (Permalink)

Wall of certifications We can't wait to see this wall of certifications grow!

We have made it through almost two whole months of the new year but if you know the importance of growth, you know that the work is never done! SERVPRO of Black Hawk County and our employees at an individual level are always striving for growth. We see this in many ways, but one way, in particular, is through certifications.


Since the new year, we’ve already had 5 people add to their list of certifications! This number will only continue to grow. We take pride in the fact that through these certifications we can better serve our community.  In addition to investing in our community, we are seeing our team members flourish in their careers.


For our employees here at SERVPRO, we know that every day is a learning opportunity. With the use of our extensive training in the restoration business, the ongoing education through certifications, and firsthand experience we are able to adapt and always be working towards advancing. We look forward to what we can accomplish if we continue to have a growth mindset.


Life can move at a speed that seems impossible to keep up with at times. Find the time to give yourself grace as you improve upon daily activities or certain areas in your life. Growth can not happen overnight, but if you are willing to put in the time and keep an open mind, it is amazing what you can accomplish!

It's Time for your Water Shutoff Scavenger Hunt!

2/18/2022 (Permalink)

Injecta-dry at work in commercial building Injecta-dry at work to dry out this commercial building!

A lot of times we hear about disasters that occur in a home or business when no one is present. In certain situations, things can go array right in front of your eyes. The ONLY positive spin in that scenario, is that immediate action can be taken to help prevent a bigger mess that usually occurs. That is if you are PREPARED! 


Recently, we have been working on a job where a toilet was flushed and the valve let loose. The toilet immediately started spraying water everywhere, and in the 35 minutes it took to get the water shut off, it had already flooded three floors of this commercial business. The moral of the story is, know where your water shutoff is located!


Everyone should know where their main water shutoff valve is located, so in the case of an emergency, you can stop the flow of water, and save yourself the stress of a much larger mess!

Click Here to find a guide to where your shutoffs are! Have fun and make it a scavenger hunt! 

Balloons, Frogs, Thundersnow, Oh My!

1/27/2022 (Permalink)

Man out in snow and rain holding a weather balloon and frogs falling from the sky You might not believe it until you see it!

Storms can consist of many things. If you have read our blog, “multiple ways to define a storm”  
then you know the vast number of ways that you can explain the term “storm”. What I bet you didn’t know is that storms have some hidden unique attributes. Let me fill you in on all things storm.


Weather balloons are used to predict the weather. Hundreds of large balloons filled with 300 cubic feet of helium are released each day. Meteorologists all around the world use these balloons to help gauge critical measurements. Sensors will shoot data back down to earth while the balloons drift as high as 20 miles above the earth. You can read more about these interesting tools here.


If you are from the Midwest and even if you’re not, you probably are familiar with the term “blizzard” but have you heard of the term “thundersnow”? People tend to think of lighting and thunder as something that only comes with rain and other storms that happen more frequently in the summer. This is true, they do occur frequently in those circumstances, however, it can lightning and thunder in the winter. It is commonly referred to as “thundersnow” and happens when a mass of air becomes so unstable that it turns over violently, usually due to two extremely different temperatures meeting.


While thundersnow is pretty unique, the phenomenon of it “raining frogs” may have it beat. It is something we often hear as a witty remark, and some people probably consider it a myth. The truth is, it is actually possible for it to rain frogs. This does not happen often, in fact, one of the last times it rained frogs was in 2005 in Serbia. If you don’t believe us, this article helps explain how it is indeed possible for it to rain frogs. 

Now you know, weather and storms have a mind of their own. Very much like in our own lives, things are not always black and white. The next time a storm rolls through if the rain creeps into your basement or a tree falls on your roof causing a big mess, call SERVPRO so we can make it "Like it never even happened."

May Your Holidays be Merry and Safe

12/22/2021 (Permalink)

Text over twinkling lights with SERVPRO logo Wishing you a warm holiday!

It’s that time of the year where chestnuts roast on open fires and Christmas trees are lit up providing extra holiday cheer. While the holidays are a great time for lights, warmth, and other festive things, this can sometimes be hazardous.


While we want you to all celebrate this holiday with all the pizzaz, we also want you to be safe. Here are some good guidelines to keep in mind when getting holly and jolly!

  • Keep all decorations at least 3 feet away from heat sources
  • always unplug your Christmas tree before you leave the house or go to bed
  • If you have a real tree, make sure to water it to keep it hydrated and safe
  • Inspect your fireplace and make sure it is working properly before use
  • Check lights and other electrical decorations for shortages or broken wires
  • Only plug in Christmas lights in dry areas


We hope that your holidays are safe and Merry, but if disaster creeps its way into your festivities, call SERVPRO so we can help you get back to your celebration and loved ones.

What’s IN a Name?

4/13/2021 (Permalink)

Aerial view of trees. Image is black and white. Orange house logo in the foreground with the words SERVPRO. Search SERVPRO in your time of need.

One of the most common asked questions is, “What’s your name?” with the next inquiry following, “Where do you work?”. Our personal names and placement of our jobs is often the first way to identify ourselves. So, what’s really in a name, and how does it affect our lives?

Names hold emotional value-nickname vs legal name; they connect us to others (origin of family) and establish the depth of our relationship- “We’re on a first-name basis”. Titles added to our names define who we are in a job position: The Smile Supplier. J And of course, the name of a business is crucial in telling its story.

It might seem picky wanting SERVPRO spelled correctly, but for 2 reasons we desire so.
One, out of respect of our founders, Ted & Doris Isaacson. They took an early painting business in 1967 in Sacramento, California and developed a premier cleaning and restoration company. Twenty years later, seeing the need to help more efficiently, they strategically moved the headquarters to Gallatin, Tenn., which is located within 600 miles of 50 percent of the US population and closer to more SERVPRO franchises. True service professionals with forward-thinking.

The second reason is so you can find us quicker! When searching on the internet, during a catastrophe, time is crucial, every letter counts.
Often asked, we don’t know the reasons for leaving off an ‘e’, in serve or why the ‘p’ isn’t capitalized in pro. What is known is, for 54 years, SERVPRO has spelled out clearly the compassion and help that is provided during a fire or water loss, with exceptional cleanup and restoration services.

When it comes right down to it, we are thankful to be connected to you, no matter how you spell SERVPRO.  Thank you for choosing SERVPRO for your cleanup and restoration work.

Need help identifying what it takes to put life back together again after a water, fire, or mold problem? Call SERVPRO of Decorah.

Our Highly Trained Restoration Specialists can restore your Decorah Home

4/10/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Decorah is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration, and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Decorah

SERVPRO of Decorah specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke, or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

CE CLASSES for Insurance Agents in Calmar, IA.

4/7/2021 (Permalink)

A person speaking to a group of people in a room. A resource to insurance professionals!

SERVPRO of Decorah is proud to host Continuing Education classes for insurance agents and adjusters in Winneshiek County. Naturally, as a clean-up and restoration company, SERVPRO works closely with personal and commercial claims. We do our best to connect, build a wonderful relationship, and be a resource to insurance professionals!


We have two classes coming up on September 21st,2021; Hosted by SERVPRO of Decorah and SERVPRO of Black Hawk County. Classes are presented by Todd Davis, an independent insurance agent with Davis Agency Insurance from Peoria, Illinois, with over 30 years of experience. Through his storytelling and interactive style, you are sure to learn something new!


We have been fortunate to continue hosting in-person continuing education classes during the COVID pandemic. We are thoughtfully and safely holding classes in large room settings to allow social distancing and following the CDC recommendations.

Visit our events page for information on how to register or email us at office@SERVPROdecorah.com.

Floods in Winneshiek County

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

Text that says "Flash Damage Floods" Do you have flood insurance for your home or business?

In August 2016, the Upper Iowa River overflowed after heavy rains and caused flash flooding to many communities in Winneshiek county. At that time, a SERVPRO franchise was not located locally. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County traveled north to help cleanup after this storm disaster. The crew called area hotels, home, for several weeks. They worked around the clock extracting water and drying out homes and businesses. According to FEMA, 1 inch of water can cause $25, 000 of damage to your home!

As we head into Spring and Summer, SERVPRO of Decorah, wants to be a resource and provide some helpful tips to prepare for a storm, and avoid extreme water damage within your control.

5 Tips Before a Flood

  1. Prepare a storm emergency kit.
  2. Get a battery backup for your sump pump.
  3. Find out about your home insurance and what it covers. Get Flood insurance.
  4. Elevate items stored in your basement.
  5. Waterproof important documents.


5 Tips after a Flood

  1. If there is sewer or black water in your home, do not make contact with it.
  2. Avoid electrical devices and sockets if the items or room is wet.
  3. If there is water damage inside your home, call your insurance agent right away.
  4. Take photos or videos to document your damage.
  5. Call a restoration company to help clean and restore your home!

If you decide to clean up on your own, please be careful. Do not use a household vacuum to remove water.

For more tips on what to do until restoration help arrives CLICK HERE.

24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service in Winneshiek County

3/30/2021 (Permalink)

dark basement with 5ft of water in it and stuff floating on the water. SERVPRO of Decorah provides 24-hour fire and water damage restoration service in Winneshiek and surrounding counties.

SERVPRO of Decorah is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help. Call Today - (563) 277-1615

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Decorah has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Decorah

SERVPRO of Decorah specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke, or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Meet Our Crew - CLICK HERE.

Ceiling Vent Leads to Fire and Water Damage

3/20/2021 (Permalink)

A wide hole in the ceiling showing some wood beams and black stains on the outside of the hole. Water damage often happens during a Fire.

A Decorah home received fire and water damage after a ceiling exhaust fan inside the laundry room caught on fire. Some reasons why an exhaust/bathroom fan may catch fire is faulty wiring or it may be clogged with dust or dirt, overheating it. This particular fire was fortunately contained inside the laundry room, although smoke did reach nearby rooms. The fire was put out by water which affected the ceiling and insulation.


This fire occurred on a Saturday. Although SERVPRO is available 24/7 for Emergency Services, the homeowner did decide that they would wait till Monday to call a professional to help with cleaning and smoke removal.  Monday morning, we received the call! She explained the situation and shared what areas probably needed focused cleanings. The garage, laundry room, and nearby hallway had a very strong smoke odor.

By the afternoon, our project manager, Sam Whitehead, met with the homeowner to inspect the damage and come up with a plan of action. After a visual inspection, he briefed the homeowner on a course of action to restore her home. This included:

  • Cleaning debris in the laundry room.
  • Removing affected insulation from the attic.
  • Cleaning and removing soot from the garage, laundry room, and living room.
  • Drying the wet ceiling in the laundry room and dining room.
  • Setting up an air scrubber to help with removing the smoke odor.

The homeowner approves the work!

The next day, our production technicians arrived at the home with the equipment to start cleaning, drying, and restoring. They removed wet insulation from the attic and placed air movers pointed upward at the ceiling so it would dry quicker. They dry sponged the walls and ceilings of the affected rooms to remove the soot. Electricians were scheduled to come in the next day so our team focused on removing all the debris from around the washer and dryer and swept the floor from the laundry room. An air scrubber was set up inside the laundry room to tackle the smoke odor.

The following days consisted of:

  • Washing the walls, trim, and light fixtures.
  • Putting the laundry in a bag for the homeowners.
  • Sweeping and mopping the floors.
  • Wiping soot and dust from every crevice and every item located in the affected rooms.
  • Cleaning the garage floors with power washing equipment.
  • Cleaning the tile grout in the laundry room.

We completed the work within 4 days!

We are proud to be a team of quality people who focus on excellent service, fairness, and mutual respect. If you need help with premier cleaning and restoration, trust SERVPRO! Give us a call at (563) 277-1615.

Remediating Mold inside Church

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

A green air scrubber inside a closet with cement walls. High humidity can promote mold growth.

This small-town church has been empty for a while as in person services were restricted by COVID. Still, the cleaning lady was regularly coming in to keep the place tidy. As she was cleaning, she noticed some mold growth in one of the closets. She reported it to the church leadership team. That’s when SERVPRO of Decorah received a phone call to conduct a mold inspection at the church.

Mold Inspections to determine Plan of Action.

Our project manager, Sam Whitehead, arrived at the church and met with the building manager. He took Sam around the church and showed him the closet of concern. Sam could visually determine that there was growth occurring along the south wall of the closet. Sam recommended SERVPRO services, including the use of the HEPA vacuum and deck brushing to remediate the issue. Detaching the closet panels for thorough inspection was completed.  A few days later the estimate of work was approved by the church and our team got started with Mold Remediation.

Our production technician began by using a HEPA vacuum on the walls in the closet area. This specific tool sucks in mold spores and traps them in a special filter.  Then he sprayed a microbial cleaner on the surface. The base trim and crown trim had to be removed in order to remove the panel. Upon removing one of the panels, the technician was able to determine that almost all of the other panels did have microbial growth on them as well. Some of the panels also seemed to have some wood rot due to water damage. All the paneling was removed and put to the side to dispose of later. Our tech continued with spraying microbial cleaner all over the concrete walls. Then he finished by sweeping up after himself, and setting up an air scrubber. The air scrubber will remove mold spores or pollutants from the surrounding air. It was completed in just a few days.

In order to avoid further mold issues, it is important to determine any water related issues within the environment. High humidity and water leaks can promote mold growth.


Water Leak in Laundry Room

3/1/2021 (Permalink)

Several green air movers and 1 green dehumidifier inside a large open space basement. We are serious about DRYING.

On February 9th, we received a call to help clean and restore after water damage. A washing machine on the main floor malfunctioned and leaked water, affecting two levels of a residential home. The affected areas were the master bedroom, laundry room, and basement.


Our team headed over immediately! The team began by assessing the water damage and marking areas of concern with blue tape. This helps determine where the focus should be. They used a moisture reader and thermal camera to find moisture in the walls, ceilings, floorings, and carpets. Our technicians set up a floor mat drying system on the affected hardwood floors to extract water from underneath them. They also pulled out carpet pads from underneath the bedroom carpets and disposed of them. Generally, carpet pads absorb water making the drying process take longer. We recommended removing it to avoid mold growth. In this home, due to the size of the basement and the type of carpet, the pad was not removed and a technician used a weighted water extraction tool to remove extra water. The basement required additional air movers and dehumidifiers to make sure it all dried quickly.


Now it was time to start drying. Our technicians set up 20 air movers, 1 dehumidifier, and an Injectidry in the basement. The Injectidry is a fan with hose attachments and is used for more concentrated drying. The hoses were placed in holes that were drilled in the ceiling. On the main floor, the technicians removed the affected trim and baseboard in the hallway, laundry room, and bedroom. Five fans were set up to dry the walls. During the next few days, our team did daily moisture checks to make sure everything was drying in a timely manner and removed equipment as needed.

Need Help with Water Damage?

SERVPRO of Decorah is equipped and trained to help after a water-related disaster, big or small. Give us a call at (563) 277-1615.

We can be a resource to Realtors, Landlords & Property Managers.

2/1/2021 (Permalink)

A close up of the front of the house with a really bright green front door and a large window with green trims. There’s also We restore properties after a disaster.

As a realtor, landlord, or property manager, we understand that you have many responsibilities. One of them includes coordinating maintenance and repairs with contractors for the property(s) you are responsible for. SERVPRO of Decorah would love to come alongside you as a resource. We believe our restoration and cleaning services can benefit you.

Our brand has received national recognition and our team is equipped with the latest knowledge and technology to handle any type of property damage, big or small.

Here are a few of the services that may benefit you…

Mold Remediation – There is a $150 Inspection fee. Our project manager will assess the damage and send you an estimate within a few days. If you decide to use our services, the inspection fee is waived.

Vandalism/Graffiti CleanupCrime and vandalism occur. We can provide board ups for broken windows and doors, clean after any structural damage, and pressure wash or sand blast graffiti off walls, buildings, pavement and fences.

Water Restoration & Cleanup - Properties can suffer water damage for several reasons (floods, water pipe break, sump pump failure, backup sewer, refrigerator line leak, etc.) When concerning water, it is super important to address the issue right away. No matter the size of the property, we are confident that we have the sufficient amount of equipment to extract, dry, and remediate the issue. The longer you wait to completely dry a property, the greater the risk of mold growth becomes.

Fire Restoration & Cleanup – A fire in your home and business might not seem like a reality but it happens. Just last year, we’ve completed about 20+ fire losses from people who never expected it. We will pack out content, take inventory of all items, clean and restore salvageable items, remove all debris and trash, remove smoke odor, and more.

Construction Services – We are a one-stop shop! We do not have to hire a third-party to do any structural repair because our services even include Building Services and Reconstruction. This allows us to follow one of our taglines, “Like it never even happened.”


Nicotine/Odor Removal – Did the previous owners or tenants have pets? Were they smokers? We clean that too! We’ve cleaned plenty of cigarette tar and nicotine from older homes and apartments. Animal smells can be hard to get rid of but we have been successful in getting rid of pet stains and odors with the help of our experienced technicians and our specialized cleaner solution.

Carpet/Upholstery Cleanings – Schedule a carpet cleaning weekly, monthly or yearly! After being stepped on so much, your carpets deserve a SPA day.


We have built many healthy relationships with insurance agents and adjusters due to our line of work. We understand the process of an insurance claim and we work closely with your provider to ensure they have all the necessary information they need to process it, such as inventory of content and daily activity notes. We can help a stressful situation seem just a little less stressful.

Let’s get to know each other before a disaster strikes!

We invite you to give us a call and schedule a complimentary Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your property(s). An ERP is a tool that will help you set out a preparedness plan for any type of disaster. This includes an assessment of your property, a report of critical information you would need in the event of an emergency, and provides property details such as the water shut-off valve location. To learn more, give us a call at (563) 277-1615.

If a disaster happens, count on us to help!

Trauma Cleanup Services in Decorah, IA.

1/25/2021 (Permalink)

Text that say "Sensitive Content." in front of a dark solid background. There is strength in asking for help.

*Warning: This is sensitive content.

This blog is not meant to sell you a product and service. This blog is to let you know that there are businesses out there that can help you in the aftermath of something really painful and traumatic. We are a cleaning and restoration business for disasters and unfortunately, a disaster we have cleaned up too often is suicide. One is far too many. Our condolences are for those who had to live through this traumatic experience. We can’t begin to imagine what this feels like but we are willing to listen and help in the ways that we can.

Trauma Cleanup is not something that we advertise. It has come to our attention that we need to inform our first responders and our community about this service. SERVPRO can be a resource for cleaning to those who may need it. Biohazard contaminants are left behind from an accident scene. Sometimes, the necessary cleaning isn't dealt with because people are unsure how to proceed. It is not a simple task, physically or psychologically for anyone. Still, some people have had to eventually push through and clean it up themselves. There is no doubt that these individuals are beyond strong but there is also strength in asking for help.

As we mentioned, this educational piece isn’t meant to sell you a service… it’s meant to give you an option when you need help. SERVPRO of Decorah is certain we can help in trauma cleanup. Whoever you choose, we recommend looking for a local cleaning business to avoid a heavy travel fee.

In closing, know that your home insurance may cover the cost of this type of cleaning. Give your insurance provider a call and find out. You can expect our team to have specialized training for biohazard cleanup, wear proper protective equipment, clean affected area, and content, dispose of any unsalvageable material, and even finish with construction if needed. Our team will continue to be empathetic and professional throughout the whole process. Again, we are sorry for your loss.

Here to help.

*Blog altered and reposted with the permission of SERVPRO of Black Hawk County.

Respirator and Pulmonary Test for Employee’s Safety

1/21/2021 (Permalink)

A woman spraying into a hood that a man is wearing over his head. The man is also wearing a respirator. Respirator Fit Test to determine the best seal and secure fit.

The health and well-being of our employees is extremely important especially because the places they work in aren’t always the safest. We clean up really bad messes that most people aren’t equipped to clean themselves. These messes can include mold, bio waste, back-up sewer, and diseases that can cause health effects if not dealt with safely.

That is why we follow  Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) safety protocols and schedule a pulmonary function test and respirator fit test for our staff.

What is a Pulmonary and Respiratory Function Test?

Pulmonary Tests are series of non-evasive tests performed by a physician that examines the health of our staff’s lungs. Hazardous job sites will require our team to wear a respirator or full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) so we must make sure their lungs can handle that.  A proper fit is essential when wearing a mask that contains the air you’re breathing.

The physician will also perform a respirator fit test on each individual for each of their respirators. Depending on the job situation, our project managers or production technician may select a different facepiece with a different harness, hence the importance of testing with each one. The test continues by putting a hood over our employee’s heads as they wear their respirators and spraying OSHA-approved agents inside. The physician will instruct the worker to do a few breathing exercises and movements. If our worker detects smells, taste, or irritation, their respirator’s fit has failed the test. With the help of the physician, the user will determine the size of the respirator they must use and the level of tightness on each of their respirator’s harnesses that will provide the best seal and most secure fit.

Safe to Protect You!

We will continue to follow safety protocols to protect our employees AND to protect YOU as we continue to clean and restore hazardous homes or businesses. Please call us if you are suspicious of harmful pathogens in the air from bad odor, smoke, or mold.

Warning: Knobs on your Kitchen Stove can cause a fire.

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

White gas Stove with metal plates and burn marks on the front right plate. Don’t get BURNED for not cooking.

What’s on your stove and Inside your oven?

Who loves pizza? No one would imagine that ordering out pizza and NOT COOKING could actually result in a house fire… but it has happened. Have you ever left a cardboard pizza box on the cold stove or inside a cold oven for the next day? I mean, I have. SERVPRO has responded to fire losses that started because something flammable was left in or on appliances used to cook and why not? It was off.

Well, although it was off, some kitchen stove knobs are extremely sensitive and may accidentally be turned on without a homeowner realizing it. Have small children and pets? They could turn it on without you noticing too. Check out this video of a dog who turned on the stove as she reached over it.

A recent loss we responded to was a result of a cereal box catching on fire after the homeowner bumped into the stove’s knob without realizing she turned it on.

Leaving anything in the oven is not a good idea. It becomes “out of sight, out of mind.” In other words, you can forget it’s there! All of sudden, because you had the intention of cooking a Baked Ziti dish, preheated the oven without realizing that there is something in there, and then PUFF, fire!

Stove & Oven Safety Tips

  • Do not put anything flammable on your stove or in your oven.
  • Keep your stove and oven clean from spills, grease, food, or oil residue.
  • Always check inside your oven before preheating it. Do not use for storage.
  • Install a smoke detector in or near the kitchen.
  • Invest in a Stove Knob Covers or Stove Locking Straps.
  • Make sure your stove or oven has not been recalled (https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls ).
  • Keep a fire extinguisher (specifically for grease fires) nearby. Baking Soda can help extinguish a small grease fire. Metal Lids can help suppress a small fire.
  • Turn off burners or ovens immediately after use.
  • If there is a fire, act quickly. Evacuate everyone and call 911 first!

Need Help Cleaning up After a Fire?

Let SERVPRO of Decorah help you by restoring your home or business “Like it never even happened.” Our team is highly trained as Fire Restoration Technicians and content cleaning experts. Give us a call at ((563) 277-1615.

Resource: How to Safely Put Out a Kitchen Fire

Prevent Water Damage in the Winter

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

A house and detached garage with snow on the roof and ground. Protect your home from winter damage.

Brr! It’s cold out there.

I said there must be some frozen

Pipes out somewhere (*singing)

It really is getting cold out here in Iowa. Are you ready for the winter season and the potential water damage that comes with it? Every winter, we experience an increase in calls for winter-related water damage such as frozen pipes or water leaks from melting snow. It’s very common. So here are a few things to look for in order to prevent or avoid further damage.


  • Make sure you know what your home owner’s insurance policy covers related to water damage.
  • Clean your gutters and have a professional inspect your roof.
  • Inspect all your windows for any condensations or leaks. Weatherstrip your windows and doors.
  • Inspect your ceilings for any yellow or water stains.
  • Inspect your ceiling or walls for any loose debris or loose paint, it can be an indication of moisture.
  • Remove your garden hose from the outside spigot.
  • Install a frost-proof outdoor spigot.
  • Turn off the water going to the outside.
  • Know where your main water shut-off valve is.
  • Insulate your water pipes. Especially any exposed pipes in an unfinished attic or basement.
  • Open the cabinet, vanity, or closet doors when temperature is below freezing (32°).
  • Keep your home warm and consider putting a low-temperature detector to notify you about potential freezing temps.
  • Run a trickle of water in your sinks.
  • Test your sump pump and make sure it’s working.
  • Install a water leak sensor near your main floor drain.
  • Remove snow away from your home and from your roof!
  • Remove Ice Dams on your home.
  • If traveling this season, keep your furnace on, shut off the water supply, drain water from pipes and appliances, and make sure you have someone check on your home daily.

Water Damage in your home? Call us at (563) 277-1615.

Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

An image of a plug-in CO alarm near bedroom. Test your Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Don’t ignore the beeping sound of your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.

Yes. We are talking to you, the person who has justified the sound to low batteries. Admittingly, that has been me. It could be low batteries but don't take that risk. Do you know that besides water and fire disasters, we also have cleaned after TRAUMA disasters related to CO poisoning? Death by carbon monoxide is tragic and traumatic for anyone involved. What’s worst is that carbon monoxide is an invisible, tasteless, and odorless gas so there are no alarming indicators to alert you naturally and right away. 

Here are a few tips to make sure you and your family are safe in your home.

  1. Test your Carbon Monoxide Alarm monthly.
  2. Install CO alarms on the outside of bedrooms and on each floor including the basement.
  3. Invest in a Plug-in with Battery Backup CO Alarm.
  4. First Alert recommends replacing CO alarms every 5-7 years.
  5. If the alarm goes off, quickly go outside and call 9-1-1.

Household items that produce CO.

It is important to do a maintenance check-up on heating sources such as the furnace, generators, stove, oven, dryer, and chimneys to ensure everything is working properly. Changing filters on your equipment will help it be more efficient and safer. In addition, do not leave your car running in an enclosed space even if you are just heating up the car before traveling especially if it’s the enclosed space is an attached garage.

P.S. If you visiting a family or friend overnight and they are ignoring a beeping CO alarm, DO NOT STAY THERE.

We are here to help PREVENT disasters. Disaster will always happen and although we are good at restoring homes and content, we can’t restore someone's passing. That’s why it’s important for us to share safety tips and bring awareness to topics such as these. Be safe.

More Resources: 6 Things to Know About Carbon Monoxide Alarms.

“Totes float and flip over.” (Protecting your content in a flood.)

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

I’ll never forget the factual words Valerie spoke when she described her basement contents. The small town in northeast Iowa had recently experienced flooding and SERVPRO of Decorah was there to rescue their homes and possessions. Valerie believed her precious items and packed away seasonal things were protected in totes as they floated in her water-filled basement. Her despair was evident as she shared the truth with me, “These storage totes weren’t made for this!” She had purchased plastic storage containers that are commonly found in almost any store. Her belief in the product is a shared thought by us all. Not only do we purchase the convenience of the storing and stacking capabilities of these, but we have a sense of protection for the items in them. She knew now that was false.


If you can lift up the sides of a storage tote lid when the end handles are clasped down in the closed fashion, then it is not completely airtight. In this case, small amounts of moisture can get in and with the right (or actually wrong) environment, it will lead to dampness and possible mildew. These conditions will damage the contents of the tote. Some of her totes had baby clothing in them. A fine layer of fuzzy growth and earthy smell had covered the clothing in less than 5 days while sitting in the wet basement. She had been addressing other issues like carpet and furniture, trusting the totes were fine. A few of the totes were floating in the deeper end and one had completely flipped over as friends helped remove the items. Water had flowed in around the lid edges and once turned to the proper position, the water seeped in, drenching the papers and books inside.


Some soaked items can be air-dried and then “ozoned” to remove the smell, while paper products and pictures can be salvaged after being frozen. SERVPRO knows the key is quickness-getting to the materials soon after discovering water damage. Using appropriate storage containers for the items put away along with proper placement is the first step in ‘keeping’ items protected in your home.


We suggest reading up on various brands and reviews of specialized storage containers on the internet. After you purchase, do your own research before packing it up and away. I bought a Remington storage container for my kid’s keepsakes, as I was passing them down to them. I choose Remington after making a list of the qualities I wanted: water and airtight, durable & stackable design with no tipping. This container is made for indoor/outdoor use and can be used in the back of an exposed truck bed, for outdoor gear. I sprayed a great deal of water from a hose on it, attempted to left the sides of the lid and tipped it up and around many times. I stacked two of them and attempted to rock and wiggle to see if they toppled over.


If you discover the tote won’t pass your quality test, take it back and keep on searching! You only get one chance to store and save your memories. Take TIME to be sure they will STAND THE TEST OF TIME in the tote you choose. Call SERVPRO to help you dry out, clean up, and restore.
(recommendation of Remington products is not an endorsement by SERVPRO)

Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

An illustration of a fire inside a chimney and a Christmas tree 3 feet apart away from it. Stay safe this season. Image Source: USFA/FEMA

As a restoration specialist, SERVPRO of Decorah wants to encourage you to have a safe holiday season by practicing some caution when dealing with fire.

Did you know that this holiday season is also the season of home fires? Christmas lights, candles, and holiday cooking can all heighten the chances of a fire. We appreciate the beauty and the glow of these light sources but what could have been just home décor could turn into a home disaster.

Here are some statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration on Holiday Fires.

  • The top 3 days for home candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and New Years’ Eve.
  • More than half of the home decoration fires in December are started by candles.
  • A heat source too close to the Christmas tree causes one in every four winter fires.
  • On average, one of every 52 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in death.

Wow! These numbers can be a bit frightening. It’s really important that we be safe by practicing these simple safety tips.

Holiday Fire Safety Tips for you!

  • Only use decorations that are flame-retardant or not flammable.
  • Check holiday lights each year for frayed wires or excessive wear.
  • Don’t link more than three strands of holiday lights.
  • Water your Christmas Tree (REAL TREE).
  • Put any heat source at least 3 feet away from flammable objects.
  • Try using battery-operated candles instead.
  • Do not leave your kitchen if you are cooking.
  • Make sure you’re smoke alarms are working.

“Stay safe’ has become a common expression in the context of public health, but this holiday season, we urge all -area home and business owners to think about ‘staying safe’ in their homes as they prepare for and enjoy the holiday season. If you experience a recent fire loss, we are here to help. Call SERVPRO of Decorah at (563) 387-7333.

2020 Fire Prevention Week is on October 4th – October 10th

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

A cartoon dalmation wearing a fireman outfit cooking in front of a stove. HERE TO HELP PREVENT FIRES AND CLEAN AFTER THEM!

SERVPRO of Decorah wants to encourage our community to be proactive in fire safety for the protection of yourself, family, and home. As a restoration business, we understand that disasters will happen but we see firsthand on the perils, heartache, and stress a house fire truly is so speaking up on fire prevention is important to us. This year’s National Fire Protection Association theme for Fire Prevention Week is “Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” According to NFPA, “Cooking is the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.” Here are just a few quick tips to prevent a fire while in the kitchen.

5 Tips to Prevent Fire While in the Kitchen.

  1. Do not leave your kitchen unattended while you are cooking even if it’s just heating up some toast.
  2. Set reminders and timers for when you are cooking. Cooking may require multitasking from prepping items, baking or cooking so set a timer to remind you if you have something in the oven or stove you need to check on.
  3. Do not leave flammable items near or on your stoves such as paper towels, pizza boxes, or kitchen towels.
  4. Have a fire extinguisher nearby.
  5. Some stove’s knobs turn on easily. Make sure you look into devices to childproof or pet-proof the gas stove. Clear Stove Knob Covers or Silicone Child Safety Knob locks are some items you can purchase for the stove.  


You should test your smoke alarm at least once a month by pushing the test button. It’s really important that your smoke alarm is working properly in order to warn your family about a possible fire. If the smoke alarm does go off while you are safely cooking, avoid taking the battery out of the smoke alarm even if your intention is to put it back in there. Forgetting to return the battery in your smoke alarm can be a costly mistake in the future. If it’s only smoke from hot oil and there is no fire, simply open your windows and doors and wave the smoke away from the alarm. Again, do not leave your kitchen unattended while cooking.

If you have any questions about Fire Cleanup or Smoke Odor Removal, Call SERVPRO of Decorah.

Emergency Preparedness Tips

9/16/2020 (Permalink)

Orange Text on a tan background with the words 'Preparedness Month'. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure

There are a few days every year that make you stop and think, “Today makes all the cold days of winter worthwhile”. For me, those are days look like a morning following an afternoon/evening summer thunderstorm. The ground is still wet, the cloth mat on the back patio step still damp from the rain, and everything is a bright shade of green. You can’t help but take a few moments to watch the birds picking through grass, squirrels bustling up and down trees, and the neighbor’s dog lazily wagging its tail on the front steps. A day like this deserves time set aside to center oneself and appreciate the small things that make it truly special.

For as many beautiful days as we have, Iowa’s uncertain weather keeps us on our toes. On those days, sometimes it is all we can do to keep from thinking about how our homes, families, and other responsibilities will fare through the chaotic stress of the situation. With a little planning, we can remind ourselves that this too, will pass.

The first step of any planning is to set a goal. Why are you making a plan? What will the plan accomplish? Keeping our families safe is the primary goal for most emergency preparedness plans. For me, keeping my wife and our three beautiful cats safe is my priority. Secondary to them, our home is next on the list of importance. Here are some tips for crafting your own plan.

1) Have an emergency kit. It should have a radio (and spare batteries!), basic first aid items, and enough bottled water for your family for a few days. Some basic non-perishable food items are also beneficial, no one thinks or acts well on an empty stomach. Consider adding an extra set of clothes, a flashlight with extra batteries, a deck or two of playing cards to help combat stress.

2) Designate a storm shelter. This is where you keep your emergency kit or at least consider keeping the kit within quick access of this shelter. Good storm shelters will be in a basement, and if not, an interior room with few to zero large exterior windows. During a storm with heavy wind gusts, tree branches or other debris may blow around and could potentially break glass windows. The storm shelter will also ideally be able to accommodate your family in close quarters comfortably.

3) Store outdoor items to prevent loss. If inclement weather is likely, keep as much of your exterior furniture inside and be sure to park your vehicle in your garage or under a roof or shelter, if possible. Hail and strong winds can cause significant damage, so it is best to store items to prevent damage in the first place.

4) Storage for indoor items must be waterproof. Keeping basement or ground level items stored in waterproof containers may help prevent damage if water accumulates inside your home. Some of the best scenarios of flood cleanup SERVPRO has seen have relied heavily upon the preparedness of their homeowners. When your items are secured in waterproof containers, it is much easier to clean the container than try to dry and save potentially sensitive items that have been exposed to water directly.

5) Make sure to keep home landscaping trimmed. If a tree limb is growing over a house, and that limb is torn off during a storm, it is likely to cause damage to the home underneath. By trimming these types of tree limbs ahead of time, you can help control the hazards to your home and property during storms.

6) Consult with your insurance agent regarding coverage. Often times coverage isn’t updated or even inspected after the policy is first signed. Make an annual reminder to at least talk over your policies and make sure that you have the coverage that best suits your needs. Flood coverage & sewer back-up are often separate from what is covered in a generic homeownership policy. Be sure to have a conversation with your agent regarding options for adding more coverage for such events.

7) Pay attention to the weather. Our weather professionals are trained and equipped to predict storms well in advance. Capitalize on their expertise by doing your part and keeping up to date on current and future weather conditions. This can help you determine how best to stay safe during storms.

8) Make THE list! Last, but certainly not least, make a list of emergency service contacts ahead of time and keep that list easily available for your family. We suggest adding SERVPRO of Decorah to your list after 911, emergency, and non-emergency numbers of local police, hospitals, and fire departments. Ask your insurance agent how best to contact them if a loss occurs after hours. Plumbers, contractors, and other essential services would be an asset on such a list. It’s always handy to have a good list of contacts available for easy reference when you’re dealing with a stressful situation!

A little planning can go a long way to preventing stress and fear. SERVPRO will always be there to help on those days when the chaos is too much. Better yet, let us help you prepare. As is the case with so many things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure.

Ask about our Emergency Ready Plans (ERP) for your home or business.

From all of us at SERVPRO of Decorah, we encourage you to enjoy each day and taking a few minutes here and there to help prepare for days that aren’t quite as calm as others.

"DAYcation" Anyone?

7/27/2020 (Permalink)

Most might agree that getting outside and exploring our own backyard has never felt so freeing as it does now during this pandemic. Restrictions are loosening and paired with warmer weather, you might start thinking about venturing further than the backyard and into the scenery of Northeast Iowa. Camping, hiking, and canoeing in this part of Iowa are all activities you can fit into a weekend and not use vacation days. Now, more than ever, taking a drive is a relaxing safe way to escape our homes and enjoy our community. SERVPRO of Decorah is privileged to be located among unique towns like Cresco, Waukon, and Lansing, Iowa.

Research turned up several great websites that can fill a DAYcation for anyone. The best site gave you multiple ways to uncover these options. From a calendar of events to a ‘build a trip’ feature, with topic destination sites; this site will have you experiencing a desire to book the trip ASAP! Be sure to call ahead and ask for current details of the venue you wish to travel to. Changes seem to happen often.

For a few recommendations from SERVPRO of Decorah, located in Winneshiek County, for either an evening bike ride to venturing to all the natural springs in the area, look at Visit Decorah!

SERVPRO of Decorah encourages you to Rediscover Yourself & Surroundings during a DAYcation.

Travel Iowa-Get inspired! 
Iowa PBS-Iowa Outdoors 
Iowa DNR-things to do 

Ways to Prevent Fire from Toasters.

7/27/2020 (Permalink)

A close up image of a white toaster with burnt marks and a burnt rag on the top part of the toaster. Toast your bread, not your home.

Don’t be Toast because of Toast.

A regular morning routine of putting white bread in the toaster might turn into an unexpected fire inside your house. It is possible to accidentally start a fire when using what seems to be a fairly harmless kitchen appliance. Just recently, SERVPRO of Decorah responded to a call about a house fire and the cause of loss was a rag that was near a toaster! Let’s go over a few safety tips to avoid a fire from your toaster.

5 Ways to Prevent Toaster Fires

  1. When choosing a toaster, read up on reviews and check for recalls. Some brands of toaster may have a history of fire-starting issues.
  2. Make sure there is nothing flammable near your toaster such as paper towels, curtains or rags.
  3. Regularly clean your toaster from breads crumbs and any grease or dirt residue.
  4. Keep your toaster unplugged when not in use and inspect the health of its cords. Do not ever plug in an electrical appliance that has frayed wires.
  5. Stay near the toaster when using it. Depending on how brown you want your toast, it will only take about 2-3 minutes of your time that can easily fly by. Just pull out your phone and watch a YouTube video on Toasters catching Fire while waiting.


We restore and clean up after fires. If you experienced an unfortunate fire disaster, we are here to help. Call us at 563-277-1615.

We are here to help so STAY AT HOME.

4/29/2020 (Permalink)

Laptop, eyeglasses and a tin with a plant on a white table. The background is the interior of a home that is out of focus. Thank you for working from home!

Staying at Home is an act of care.

Many of us in our community are doing our part to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 spread and we are thankful for them. As a business who has been deemed essential during this time, our staff isn’t able to stay at home. Part of our usual business has been to take safety measures, protecting our staff, as they clean and disinfect residential and commercial buildings. What has changed during this time is the marketing team working remotely from home. Although this is difficult for our SERVPRO-proud representatives to be away from the team, they are using this opportunity to serve the community, use creative communication, and to focus on self-development through training and webinars. 

Here are some tips from our marketing team on how to stay focused while working at home: 

Tips for Working at Home

  • Set an alarm and get up like usual. No snoozing.  
  • Put on your work clothes & shoes. Being too comfortable can be dangerous.
  • Take a break from sitting & working and stand up, stretch, and shake like a wet dog.
  • Assign a working station around your home, preferably away from TV or temptations.
  • Have a big breakfast to avoid snacking throughout the day.
  • Develop a 90-day plan for goals (weekly, month) with details to meet each goal.
  • Connect with humans through video chat.
  • Send a letter to your coworkers, clients, or center of influence.
  • Over communicate with your superiors on your work activities.
  • Make a difference in the community by donations, availability, and sharing social media posts of local outreach.


We are so honored that our community is recognizing us as a trusted brand for cleaning and damage restoration. As we get closer to going back to our workplaces, SERVPRO is cleaning and disinfecting businesses, making them safer. We are here to be a resource for you with our services. We encourage you to call with questions on the best cleaning practices. We are available to come alongside you to help! 

For questions or to schedule a service please call 563-277-1615.

Do some yard work!

4/29/2020 (Permalink)

Close up of green grass with a green and white blurred background. The grass is greener on your side, you just have to do some yard work. ??

It’s getting hot in here so take off all your…. Leaves from those gutters!

Better weather is headed our way! Spring is sprung! We encourage you to use the social distancing requirement on spring cleaning outside your home. We are custom to live keeping us running and are often too busy to tend to home maintenance projects.

Here is the opportunity to look at (or make) the to-do list for needed repairs. Use this excuse to spruce up the physical space our homes are located on. Soak up the sun, breathe in the fresh air, and care for your home sweet home.

12 Tips to a Healthy Home

  1. Clean out gutters. This can prevent water from overflowing and seeping into your home.
  2. Pick up pet feces and rake the leaves.
  3. Pick up branches and twigs and stack them up, using them for bonfires.
  4. Clean exterior windows and check the window trim for damage.
  5. Inspect your exterior dryer vent for lint buildup. Clean or replace ASAP.
  6. Check for rotting wood on your deck or stairs that may be a hazard and repair.
  7. Seal gaps around your home’s foundation where insects, rodents, and rain could enter.
  8. Clean out basement window wells and make sure there are no drafts or cracked panes.
  9. Clean, repair, or replace window screens, especially if your puppy ate them all. (Personal experience…)
  10. Fill all the holes that your puppy dug up. (But I love her!)
  11. Fill in low areas of your lawn with dirt or rock, particularly alongside the house where water can collect.
  12. Clean your air conditioner unit or arrange for a professional to conduct a checkup.

We believe this will benefit your home, and possibly support your physical and mental health during this time of isolation. We want to inspire you to stay active while we are apart, and life’s activities have slowed down. Netflix is okay from time to time but maybe enjoy some sun and binge on the bright side!

WATER DAMAGE IN YOUR HOME? Call 563-277-1615.

National Accounts Program with Insurance Companies

4/13/2020 (Permalink)

Empty warehouse with water on wood flooring and bold text that reads “HERE TO HELP.” Connecting the dots with insurance professionals.

We understand the importance of upholding standards and following guidelines especially for insurance companies who are receiving a claim. SERVPRO of Decorah is part of a national corporate franchise. Our team at corporate communicates and builds bridges with nationally recognized insurance firms to participate in a mutually agreed upon contract, that becomes a part of our National Account Program (NAPA).

BENEFIT of being a NAPA

NAPA is a guideline and an agreement between SERVPRO and the insurance company. This helps ensure that established standards are being met. Some of these standards can include:

  • Inventory guideline
  • Communication protocols between adjuster and customer
  • Turn around time for certain services
  • Not to exceed pricing
  • Detailed records of completed work (including images)

Large disasters such as a fire or water loss often lead to an insurance claim. Insurance companies in our NAPA program can have confidence that these standards & protocols have been established already. If you are an insurance professional and would like more information on National Accounts, visit the SERVPRO Industries, LLC’s website at SERVPRO.com/national-accounts

Saying Hi to our Insurance Agents

We often pay a visit to insurance agents in the community to introduce ourselves, share about our services and national account information, and to discover more about your work and needs. We want to align with you. We understand that some offices have made arrangements with other cleanup professionals prior to getting to know SERVPRO. We’re OK being an additional resource for you, knowing that there will be times your preferred vendor is unable to assist you. We just want you to know: We are Here to Help!

Obviously, during this unfortunate pandemic and social distancing requirement, we are not able to stop in and make a first acquaintance visit to your office. Through social media (Facebook - @SERVPROdecorah) and emails, we hope to have at least made a quick introduction to our franchise. We look forward to connecting with our local insurance agents and adjusters in the future.

Our team of employees provides essential cleanup services for the safety of others. They have been hard at work with proactive cleaning along with our typical business of fire and water cleanup.

We are open 24/7 for emergency services. Call us at (563-277-1615)


4/8/2020 (Permalink)

Eagle flying with blurred trees in the background. The SERVPRO of Decorah opening date was April 1st, 2020.

There is a NEW, LOCAL, and independently-owned business right in Decorah, Iowa. Franchise owner, Scott and Libby Demuth, are excited for this opportunity to reach out and be of service to the city of Decorah and the surrounding counties.

SERVPRO® is a top leader in Cleanup and Restoration

We are proud to be in the business of restoring lives back together after a disaster. Some of our services include cleaning up after a …

  • Water Damage & Floods
  • Fire & Smoke Damage
  • Sewer Back-up
  • Vandalism
  • Storm damage
  • Commercial Cleaning
  • Carpet Cleaning

You’ll be seeing our green trucks around town as we get to know our new community. Scott Demuth, also the owner of SERVPRO® of Black Hawk County in Waterloo, IA is eager to establish the SERVPRO® of Decorah.  Being more efficient and ‘faster to any size disaster’ in Winneshiek County and the surrounding area is important!

This SERVPRO® NEW location is a natural connection. 

Since the floods of 2016, SERVPRO OF BLACK HAWK COUNTY has continuously traveled to northeast Iowa to provide needed service and care to individuals and businesses. Opening a new location allows us to invest in the city and provide job opportunities while expanding our reach. Time is an important factor when it comes to disasters; the SERVPRO® of Decorah Team will be available.

Our network of franchises allows us to team up for large commercial losses or heavy rain and flood damage in the area. We are trained and certified in the latest restoration certifications and our experience will benefit everyone. We truly believe we are ONE TEAM.

We are looking forward to becoming a trusted business in Winneshiek, Allamakee, Fayette, and Chickasaw counties.

If you need general cleaning or clean up from a fire and water disasters, Call us at (563) 277-1615.

We are Cleaning Experts

4/8/2020 (Permalink)

Professional technician holding a commercial building and handing it to the owner. We are here to help with proactive cleaning and disinfecting.

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff performs on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

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.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Decorah, 563-277-1615





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