Recent Water Damage Posts

Sump Pump Battery Backup Is a No Brainer

6/22/2022 (Permalink)

Picture of sump pump battery backup in basement with SERVPRO logo Take preventative measures to protect you and your home!

As professionals in the restoration business, we have pretty much seen it all. When looking at the jobs that our technicians are tackling lately, we have seen a good portion of water damage due to sump pump malfunctions or failures.


For homes nowadays, sump pumps are a necessary appliance, especially to make sure that you are protected. They are there to guarantee that excess water caused by heavy rain does not flood your basement if the primary pump were to fail. These pumps are often installed under your basement floor, however, if it happens to be a pedestal pump, they may sit about your pump basin.


It is recommended that you replace your sump pump every 10 years to avoid any issues. As with any other appliance, there is always a possibility of malfunctions. One of the most common times for this is during a power outage. Any sump pump that has been installed for 7 years is more likely to experience issues, however, no matter how new or old your pump is, there is always a chance that it could fail. The question is, do you want to chance it?


If this information is making you weary, we have a solution that can help put your mind at ease. A battery backup for your sump pump is a wonderful and relatively cheap way to protect yourself from a flooded basement. If a power outage occurs, the backup will kick on and provide enough energy for your sump pump to continue working. It is much less costly in the long run to have a battery backup installed; this will save you thousands of dollars in water damage if your sump pump were to malfunction!

When will you be installing yours?

Summer Maintence Checklist

5/30/2022 (Permalink)

Summer Checklist graphic with SERVPRO logo Check those boxes!

With our changing seasons, we usually all remember to change the heating and cooling furnace filter but it's the upkeep of other appliances and essential working parts of our home that we need a reminder.

  • GARBAGE DISPOSAL - Turn off the power. To remove sludge, fill the sink with ice cubes then pour in 1/2 cup of coarse salt. Let the ice sit for about 30 minutes, then turn on the garbage disposal and the faucet and leave both on until all the ice and salt are gone. Use a scrub brush to clean the drain and baffle.
  • DISHWASHER FILTER - Wipe off with a paper towel, then rinse with hot water till the water runs quickly through the screen. Use mild soap if needed.
  • BATHROOM EXHAUST FAN - Turn the fan off. Remove the plastic exterior grille. Wipe or vacuum with a bristle brush to thoroughly remove dust. Carefully vacuum the fan housing and around the motor.
  • DRYER LINT SCREEN - Remove lint, then rinse with hot water till the screen runs clear and quickly through. Use mild soap if needed.  The flexible dryer duct should also be cleaned out to make sure the lint is not clogged. Make sure the outside vent is cleared.
  • FLOOR DRAIN - Remove debris and sand while wearing disposable gloves. Annually, have a floor cleaning expert to ‘snake’ or clear buildup from hair, laundry soap & fabric lent, and especially tree roots that block flow.
  • DEHUMIDIFIER FILTER - Wipe off with a paper towel, then rinse with hot water till water runs quickly through the screen.
  • SUMP PUMP - Test the flotation device by pouring enough water into the sump basin to trigger the pump, make sure the float moves freely and the sump pump activates when the water gets high enough. Let the pump remove most of the water and make sure it shuts off when the water is only a few inches deep. Repeat this test one more time. Make sure the intake screen or discharge pipe is not clogged. Purchase a battery-operated pump or have a generator to use if the pump were to stop due to power failure.
  • AC UNIT - Turn off. Use a leafblower to remove large debris. Spray water to clean off loose debris. Spray outside unit with coil cleaner and wait 15 minutes. Rinse the cleaner off with water.

**Every appliance model is different so make sure to research your item for the location and best maintenance practices.**

As always, SERVPRO of Decorah is here to help. 

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.

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!  


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!

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."

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.

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.

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.