Recent Posts

I thought I cleaned and dried all the water up!

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

Mold hidden behind drywall Here is an example of a wall cavity that was not dried properly and mold growth occurred behind the drywall.

If you have had water damage and attempted to cleanup the standing water and dry out the area, you might still be at risk for mold growth colonizing and causing a much more expensive problem.

In the event of a water damage, the visible water is not only easy to see but usually pretty easy to get out.  A combination of extraction techniques, air movement and dehumidification, will usually take care of visible water that is on the surface and free (unbound). The water that has soaked into hard to dry structures or bound water is easily overlooked and much more difficult to dry. SERVPRO of Dubuque has several tools that we utilize to find this hidden water including penetrating and non-penetrating moisture meters and thermal imaging (FLIR) cameras.

Once the bound water is identified, we use engineering controls, directed heat, air movement and low grain or desiccant dehumidification to remove this trapped moisture.

We often receive calls to re-mediate mold that appeared well after a water loss was cleaned up by the homeowner or another contractor because they failed to locate and remove bound water.

Rely on SERVPRO of Dubuque if you have a water damage in your home or commercial building.  We will make every effort to locate any hidden moisture during the initial drying phase to avoid costly mold work later.

Can important water damaged documents be restored?

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

Photo of portable document vacuum freeze drying machine Here is our portable unit located at a customers property to process confidential documents.

In the event of a water damage to your home or commercial building, important documents could be damaged and potentially destroyed. 

One of the unique services that we offer at SERVPRO of Dubuque is Document Restoration. 

Other restoration companies also offer this service, so what makes the service from SERVPRO of Dubuque different?

For starters, we have one of the only HIPAA certified document response crews in the area.  If an event causes documents to get wet, response time is critical to stabilize the documents before they begin to degrade.  Once the documents are frozen to stabilize them, we have plenty of time to discuss restoration options with the client.  All documents are treated using the HIPPA confidentiality safeguards and rules.

The most effective method of restoration is vacuum freeze drying.  The documents are brought under extreme vacuum to very low temperatures and sublimation will remove the moisture directly into a gas form.

We have a large freeze drying chamber located here in the Midwest, we also have access to one of the only mobile drying chambers in the country.  If the documents are an extreme security concern, the mobile unit can be delivered to a clients building and the restoration can take place there.  The process can be costly, but we have had projects where the documents are not legally allowed to leave the premises due to contractual agreement.  We are one of the only restoration companies that can accommodate this request.

Here is a list of items that can be salvaged using vacuum freeze drying:

  • Books and manuscripts: coated papers, maps, parchment, pulp paper, drafting linens, text books, reference books, manuals
  • Business/Personal records and documents: legal/bank/company files, patient and medical records, x-rays, engineering and architectural plans and drawings, catalogs, reference materials, certificates, contracts, passports, transcripts, tax records
  • Historical and collectible items: archival documents, rare documents, maps, stamp collections, money collections
  • Keepsakes: photographs, leather and hide items, newspaper articles, recipe books, cards, scrapbooks, baby books, wedding albums, yearbooks, baskets, awards & achievements
  • Textiles: embroidery and needlework, silks, tapestries, flags
  • Artwork: acrylic paintings, linen drawings, water colors

We can handle any size document job.  From a single file cabinet filled with personal financial documents to a warehouse full of sensitive corporate documents.  SERVPRO of Dubuque Document Response Team can be a very valuable resource.

Did recent storm damage leave you with a bad odor?

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growing behind baseboard

Recent storm activity in Eastern Iowa, NW Illinois and SW Wisconsin caused a lot of water intrusion into homes and businesses.

If you had water enter your building, whether you cleaned it up yourself or had it professionally mitigated, an unpleasant odor might be an indication that unidentified bound water might have been overlooked and microbial growth is occurring.

Extraction of bulk water, air movement and dehumidification are usually adequate to remove visible water and water that has soaked into porous items such as drywall.  However, water that has soaked into hard to dry materials (bound water) may have been missed and can result in fungal growth.

SERVPRO of Dubuque has specialty equipment and engineering controls that can direct heat, concentrate air movement and utilize low grain or desiccant dehumidifiers to remove this trapped moisture.

We receive several calls each year to remediate mold that has appeared as a result of a water damage cleanup that either the homeowner or contractor failed to address the bound water.

Rest assured that if you experience a bad odor as a result of a recent water damage, SERVPRO of Dubuque’s team of highly trained technicians have the equipment and expertise to fix the problem and make your house smell like home again.

Category 1, 2 or 3... Which is your Water Damage and what does it matter?

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Toilet Leak - Fungal Growth

Category 1, 2 or 3….Which is your Water Damage and what does it matter?

There are 3 Categories of water damage, as described by the IICRC S 500 4th Edition Standards.  This book is the Approved National Standard for the water damage industry.  Everyone in the water damage restoration business, agrees to abide by these standards and the courts have, in turn, acted in the past per the standards.

The IICRC S500 categorizes water damage into 3 different categories. 

Category 1 water originates from a sanitary water source.  This water does not pose a substantial risk to health from ingestion or inhalation. Basically, the common source of this water is usually from the water supply to the home (exceptions are falling rain and melting snow if they are not otherwise contaminated).  That water might be from a broken supply line, toilet tank, tub or sink overflow (as long as there are no contaminants or additives).

Category 2 water is described as significantly contaminated and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.  Examples of Category 2 water are; discharge from dishwashers, washing machines, toilet water with urine only, ground water seepage (hydrostatic pressure) or punctured waterbeds.

Category 3 water is defined as grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents.  It can cause significant adverse reaction to humans if contacted or consumed.  Category 3 water can include, sewage, waste line back-flows, flood water from seas, rivers or streams.  This surface water can contain hazardous materials including pesticides or toxic organic substances.  Think about that next time you see people playing in flood waters, YUCK!

Also, water category can change depending on what the water has flowed through and been contaminated by during its travels.  In addition, the category can worsen if the water damages a material and that material remains wet to a point that microbial growth begins.  When these things occur, the Category can change from Cat 1 to Cat 2 or Cat 2 to Cat 3.

What does homeowner's insurance cover?

10/26/2018 (Permalink)

What does homeowner's insurance cover?

What does homeowner's insurance cover?

At the bottom of the page, I have provided a link to a very interesting article from House Logic, that was shared to us from Sherrill Mutual Fire Insurance Association.

One of the issues that SERVPRO of Dubuque deals with on nearly service call is the question of "Is there coverage for my damage?"

The question of coverage is always answered by your insurance company's adjuster that is assigned to your claim.  However, the selection of coverage that is the most appropriate should be done with your agent, prior to having a claim.

The article discusses the standard coverages as well as broader coverages that are available either through endorsement or by simply selecting a broader policy form.

I believe that one point in the article needs clarification.  The article states that:

"No matter which basic policy you get, it’s not going to cover everything than can damage or destroy your home. Typical homeowners policies don’t cover:

  • Bad things that happen because you failed to maintain your home (like mold)"

Although it is true that damage caused by poor maintenance of the home is normally not covered, mold could be covered by some policies if it is a result of a covered water damage loss.

Having a better understanding of what you policy covers at the time of a loss can allow you to respond more quickly to damage.

The faster you respond, the faster we can be to any sized disaster!

Call the fire, water and mold damage professionals at SERVPRO of Dubuque.

Emergency Plan for Business

10/21/2018 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of Dubuque's marketing staff to get your no-cost ERP done today!

Almost 70% of businesses that don’t have an emergency plan in place, when are shut down due to a “significant disaster” never reopen?

Most of the numbers identifying the effects of storm damage from 2018 have not been released yet, but they are expected coincide with that data as well.

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure you are prepared for a disaster.

In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility.  The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve location and priority areas.  The ERP also establishes SERVPRO of Dubuque as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to over 45 years of Experience and a System more than 1,700 locations strong.  The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time investment, making it a great value that could save you time and money in the future.  By utilizing the free SERVPRO READY App, this information is stored electronically and can be accessed using your mobile device, putting help at your fingertips.

Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood.  Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time that your business is inactive and helps get you back into your building more quickly following a disaster.  Don’t wait until disaster strikes, resolve to be READY.  Contact our SERVPRO of Dubuque Marketing Representative, Ken Shannon, and make an appointment to establish your Emergency READY Profile.

Remember the only investment you are required to make in the ERP is a bit of your time answering questions now, so we can have solutions ready when you are in need.

Water Damage Cleanup

10/21/2018 (Permalink)

Hopefully you never have to deal with this much water!

Many of us were forced to deal with water, more than usual, this summer and early fall.  We responded to water calls all summer and had to extract bulk water and then dry the structures.

There are two ways that excess water can be removed from your property after a water damage loss, Extraction and Evaporation.  A much larger volume of water can be removed by extraction in a much shorter period of time.  It is a pretty simply process to test, pour a few ounces of water on the counter top in two different areas.  Set up a fan blowing across one area to utilize air movement to speed up evaporation.  Use a sponge or dry cloth on the other area.  Needless to say, this will prove my point.  The same is true during a water damage loss to your home or business.

At SERVPRO of Dubuque we utilize both methods to get your property dried up as quickly as possible.

For extraction, we use several pieces of equipment including hard floor wands and carpet extraction machines, including this "ride on" weighted model pictured.  Strong suction and downward pressure allows us to get water out of carpet and pad. This process is the most effective on free or surface water.

Once the water has been soaked into other materials such as, hardwood floors, drywall or wood, extraction becomes less effective and we concentrate on evaporation.

Evaporation uses a combination of air movement, dehumidification and sometimes heat to remove water that is bound or soaked into hard to dry materials.

We also use a system called the Injectidry on hardwood floors, but I will get to that in a future blog.

Whether you have excessive surface water immediately after a storm or other water event or you have water that has become bound in bulding materials, SERVPRO of Dubuque has the tools and knowledge to make it "Like it never even happened."  

Is water trapped in your walls?

10/19/2018 (Permalink)

Checking for moisture in walls.

Eastern Iowa, Southwest Wisconsin and Northwest Illinois has experienced several storms this late summer and early fall.

Many homeowners attempt to extract the water using shop vacs and setting fans.  The water may appear to be gone and dried up.  What about the walls?

If water gets deep enough, it will wick up drywall or can be forced in around windows and doors as wind driven rain.

This trapped water is very difficult to dry using conventional fans.  A professional restoration company like SERVPRO of Dubuque has special equipment and the knowledge check for moisture in the walls and to dry it.

If walls remain wet for more than 48 hours, the opportunity for mold growth increases.  Once mold has begun growing in wall cavities, it is difficult to identify and normally requires significant demolition to properly remove.

If you have a significant amount of water, don't try and dry it yourself.  Give SERVPRO of Dubuque a call.  If you had water damage this season and dried it yourself and now find that there is a musty odor that remains, let us know.

Our sister company MB Mold & Air Quality Testing can test for the presence of elevated levels of mold spores and help determine if there is a problem.

The technicians at SERVPRO of Dubuque are not only certified for water damage restoration but also for mold remediation.  We can make your home Like it never even happened! 

Mold Alert!

10/10/2018 (Permalink)

Mold on furniture leg in area away from primary water damage.

Due to the recent heavy storm activity in Eastern Iowa, SW Wisconsin and NW Illinois, SERVPRO of Dubuque and our mold testing partner, MB Mold & Air Quality Testing have been inundated with calls about mold.

Mold can begin to grow on building materials after 48 hours of moisture.  So, the most important rule is to dry up water damage promptly.  

The problem this season has been that the water is recurring and the areas in question have not had chance to dry out before becoming saturated again.

We have also seen an unusually high number of issues related to secondary humidity.  When water damage is not dried properly using a combination of air movement and dehumidification, there can be side effects.  Normally a homeowner has access to more fans than the do dehumidification equipment.  The fans will encourage the wet materials to release their moisture to the air (evaporation).  With out the proper dehumidification to remove that moisture from the air, it can build up and cause moisture to affect areas that were not originally affected by the water damage.

We have seen several microbial growth on other unaffected areas such as carpet in another area of the building or walls, doors and trim on levels of the building above the level that was water damaged.  All of these mold issues can be blamed on secondary humidity.

If you have water damage, we recommend having it professionally dried prior to turning into a Mold Alert!  The water damage professionals at SERVPRO of Dubuque are here to help.