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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Water Issues

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

stained ceiling This stain shows that this house has water damage on the ceiling.

Water damage isn't always caused by floods or burst pipes; it can also result from hidden damage caused by slow leaks. Slow leaks are particularly dangerous because they are difficult to detect. Take a look around your surroundings—can you spot any signs that something isn't quite right?

Here are some indicators that there may be a problem:

  • A significant increase in your water bill
  • Wet patches or previously damp areas on drywall
  • A moldy or musty smell in enclosed spaces
  • Darkened ceiling paint or bubbled ceiling plaster

Water issues can be caused by leaking joints, water line clogs, poor workmanship, failed soldering, worn washers, or simply old age. When a leak goes unrepaired, the resulting damage continues to accumulate.

What are some of the problems caused by water damage? Wood deterioration, weakened framing, and damaged support beams can compromise the structural integrity of your home. Drywall can become brittle, warp, and develop mold, necessitating replacement. Slow leaks can escalate from a simple repair to an uninhabitable situation. Moisture creates a breeding ground for mold spores, which can proliferate, spread through the HVAC system, and contaminate the indoor air.

Extended exposure to water can compromise outlets, wiring, or electrical boxes, making them unsafe and posing a fire hazard due to shorted out wires. If you suspect such issues, it is advisable to have an electrician examine them.

The most apparent effects of water damage are aesthetic, including staining, discoloration, and streaks along the walls. Permanent stains on walls and floors resist paint and diminish the value of your home.

Insects are attracted to moisture and seek out damp areas to lay their eggs. The hatching and dying bugs spread bacteria and attract more pests. In high humidity, mold, fungus, and mildew can develop and spread easily.

A history of water damage reduces the value of your home. When a property inspection reveals previous damage, your bargaining position is compromised, leading to a decrease in the final selling price. Addressing water leaks promptly prevents such damage from occurring and helps maintain the value of your home.

Make an Escape Plan

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

fire plan Reminding everyone to practice a fire escape twice a year.

Creating an effective escape plan is crucial in the event of a home fire, as a fire can spread rapidly, allowing only a short window of time to escape. Follow these guidelines from the NFPA and use the provided steps to develop and practice your home fire escape plan:

  1. Draw a map of your home:

    • Identify all possible escape routes from each room.
    • Ensure that doors and windows leading outside can be easily opened.
    • Consider alternative routes, such as windows onto adjacent roofs or collapsible ladders for upper-story windows.
    • If you live in a multi-story building, plan to use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  2. Designate a meeting place:

    • Choose a safe location outside the house where everyone should gather after escaping.
    • Make sure the meeting place is a sufficient distance away from the house to avoid potential hazards.
  3. Practice your home fire escape plan:

    • It's crucial that everyone in the household, including children, is familiar with the escape plan.
    • The National Fire Protection Association recommends practicing the fire drill at least twice a year, both during the day and at night.

During the practice drills, remember to:

  • Practice escaping with your eyes closed to simulate low visibility, crawling low to the floor, and covering your mouth.
  • Emphasize the importance of closing doors behind you to slow down the spread of fire and smoke.
  • Teach everyone the "stop, drop, and roll" technique in case their clothes catch fire.
  • Practice testing door handles before opening them to determine if they are hot.
  • Educate children to never hide during a fire and teach them how to escape on their own if necessary.

By developing and regularly practicing your home fire escape plan, you can ensure that everyone in your household knows what to do in case of a fire, increasing the chances of a safe and successful escape.

Ensuring your Family's Safety

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

fire alarm Having working fire alarms helps ensure you and your family's safety.

With cooking and heating being the leading causes of home fires and fire injuries, it's essential to prioritize fire safety, especially during the winter months. Review and practice the following fire safety tips to ensure a safe environment:

Cooking Safety:

  • Stay alert and avoid using the oven or stovetop if you're sleepy or under the influence of alcohol.
  • Always remain in the kitchen while frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • When simmering, baking, or roasting, check the food regularly and use a timer. Don't leave the kitchen unattended.
  • Keep flammable items away from the stovetop to prevent fire hazards.

Heating Safety:

  • Keep flammable materials, such as paper, clothing, bedding, drapes, or rugs, at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Ensure that heaters are turned off, and fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room.
  • Place space heaters on a non-flammable surface, like ceramic tile, and keep them away from rugs or carpets.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • When purchasing a space heater, choose models with automatic shut-off features if they tip over.

Additional Fire Prevention Measures:

  • Enforce a "no smoking" policy in your home.
  • Regularly inspect cords and replace any that are frayed or have exposed wires.
  • Consider using flameless candles as a safer alternative.
  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet, out of reach of children.

Smoke Alarm Importance:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Mount them on ceilings or high on walls.
  • Place smoke alarms at least 10 feet away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms.
  • Utilize special alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers for individuals who are hard of hearing or deaf.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries annually. Change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector simultaneously.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years old or older to ensure proper functionality.

By following these fire safety guidelines and making them a part of your routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of fire incidents and enhance the safety of your home and loved ones.

Family Emergency Plan - Fire Escape Plan

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

Having a Family Fire Escape Plan is crucial for every household to ensure the safety of all family members in the event of a fire. It's important to have a plan in place and for everyone to be familiar with it. Here are the key steps to include in your plan:

  • Ensure that all smoke detectors in your home are working properly and regularly tested.
  • Establish a designated meeting spot outside the house where the family will gather in case of a fire.
  • Determine and communicate the escape routes from different areas of the house. Everyone should know the quickest and safest way to exit each room.
  • Teach children how to escape safely, emphasizing the importance of avoiding hot surfaces or touching anything that feels warm during a fire.
  • Keep all passageways clear and unobstructed, allowing for easy access to escape routes.
  • Practice the escape plan with your children at least twice a year. This helps familiarize everyone with the process and ensures a quicker response in an emergency.
  • Remind family members to never go back into the house once they have safely escaped. It's crucial to wait for firefighters to arrive and handle the situation.

At SERVPRO of Dubuque, we sincerely hope that you and your family never experience the tragedy of a fire in your home. However, if such an unfortunate event occurs, we encourage you to rely on our highly-trained fire and water damage specialists. We are here to support you and help restore your home, making it look "Like it never even happened."

Water Damage Cleanup

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

high water Hopefully, you will never have to deal with this much water!

After a water damage incident, there are two primary methods for removing excess water from your property: extraction and evaporation. Extraction is a more efficient and faster process, capable of removing a larger volume of water within a shorter period of time. You can conduct a simple test to observe this by pouring a few ounces of water on your countertop in two different areas. Set up a fan to blow across one area, facilitating evaporation, while using a sponge or dry cloth on the other area. The results will likely support the effectiveness of extraction.

At SERVPRO of Dubuque, we employ both extraction and evaporation methods to expedite the drying process for your property. For extraction, we utilize various equipment such as hard floor wands and carpet extraction machines, including specialized weighted models like the "ride on" equipment pictured. These tools employ strong suction and downward pressure to extract water from carpets and pads, making it particularly effective for surface water.

However, when water has permeated into materials like hardwood floors, drywall, or wood, extraction alone becomes less effective. In such cases, we focus on evaporation, which involves utilizing air movement, dehumidification, and sometimes heat to facilitate the removal of water that has been absorbed or bound within hard-to-dry materials.

It's worth mentioning that we also employ a system called the Injectidry for hardwood floors, but we can delve into that topic in a future blog post.

Whether you're dealing with excessive surface water immediately after a storm or water that has become trapped within building materials, SERVPRO of Dubuque possesses the necessary tools and expertise to restore your property to its pre-damage condition, making it "Like it never even happened."

Is Water Trapped in your Walls?

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

moisture meter Checking for moisture in the walls.

Many homeowners may attempt to extract water using shop vacs and fans, which can give the impression that the water is gone and the area is dry. However, it's important to consider the walls as well.

If water has penetrated deep enough, it can wick up into the drywall or enter through gaps around windows and doors, especially during wind-driven rain events. This trapped water within the walls is challenging to dry effectively using conventional fans alone. That's where a professional restoration company like SERVPRO of Dubuque comes in, equipped with specialized equipment and expertise to detect moisture in the walls and ensure thorough drying.

If walls remain wet for more than 48 hours, the risk of mold growth increases significantly. Once mold starts growing within wall cavities, it becomes difficult to identify and typically requires extensive demolition to properly remove.

If you're dealing with a significant amount of water, it's advisable not to attempt drying it yourself. Instead, reach out to SERVPRO of Dubuque for professional assistance. If you previously experienced water damage and attempted DIY drying but now notice a lingering musty odor, it's crucial to inform us.

In such cases, our sister company MB Mold & Air Quality Testing can conduct tests to check for elevated levels of mold spores and help determine if there is an underlying mold problem.

The technicians at SERVPRO of Dubuque are certified not only for water damage restoration but also for mold remediation. We are well-equipped to restore your home to its pre-damage condition, making it "Like it never even happened."

Mold and Moisture in your Home

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

mold on trim This photo shows mold on trim from a water damage.

Mold is an ever-present element in our daily lives, both indoors and outdoors. Its occurrence is widespread, and it's important to note that not all molds pose a health risk. The potential harm often depends on the type and concentration of mold present. Mold spores effortlessly find their way into our homes through open windows, doors in constant use, and any areas where air can seep through. It's a common and unavoidable phenomenon – no home can truly be devoid of mold. For mold to thrive and grow into visible colonies, it requires two essential ingredients: water and a source of sustenance. By effectively controlling moisture levels, such as humidity and addressing any leaks, we can prevent microscopic mold spores from developing into larger mold colonies. Visualize these spores as seeds drifting in the air, intermingling with everyday household dust. When these "seeds" settle in an environment with the right combination of moisture and nutrients, mold colonies can sprout, thereby releasing even more spores. One prevalent mistake commonly encountered by professionals like SERVPRO involves homes with high humidity and inadequate airflow. Even a brief period of vacancy, like a week-long vacation, can provide ample time for substantial mold growth. This is particularly noteworthy in humid regions like the Midwest during the summer season. Thus, it becomes crucial to maintain proper climate control through dehumidification. While there's no need to set the AC to freezing temperatures, it should run sufficiently to regulate humidity levels within the dwelling. Air conditioners, especially central units, not only provide cooler air but also effectively extract excess moisture from the atmosphere, acting as proficient dehumidifiers.

Additionally, adequate air circulation holds equal importance, especially in basements. Proper airflow facilitates the evaporation of condensation on surfaces and directs moisture-laden air towards air conditioners or other dehumidifying units. Surfaces prone to dampness due to condensation create optimal conditions for mold growth. Consequently, even the use of a small fan, effectively circulating air in a damp basement, aids in evaporation and facilitates the transfer of moisture to any running dehumidifiers. If you notice a damp basement or detect a musty odor, it is advisable to contact professionals like SERVPRO of Dubuque. They possess the expertise to identify potential issues before they escalate into larger problems. In cases where the situation has already intensified, they can offer recommendations regarding the necessity of testing by an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP), ensuring a comprehensive assessment and appropriate remediation measures.

SERVPRO Here in the Community

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Generator, fans, tents, van, swag This photo shows out set up for the Dubuque County Fair "cooling station".

When you spot the unmistakable SERVPRO vans, trailers, or trucks on the road, you can rest assured that help is on its way. Whether it's a minor cleanup or a major disaster, SERVPRO of Dubuque is equipped with highly trained technicians and cutting-edge equipment to ensure the job is completed efficiently and promptly. However, our involvement in the community extends far beyond our restoration services. We take pride in our employees who actively serve on various nonprofit boards, showcasing our dedication to making a positive impact. You might come across one of our dumpsters or dump trailers being utilized by the local volunteer Fire Department during their fun-filled events. Additionally, our Marketing Department loves to participate in parades, where they engage with the community by distributing candy and coloring books, spreading joy along the way. Our cooling stations at local county fairs are always a huge hit, providing a refreshing respite from the summer heat. While you beat the heat, be sure to grab some cool SERVPRO swag like koozies and other exciting items. Plus, there's always an opportunity to win prizes for the kids through various games and activities. And let's not forget about our hole sponsorships at several golf outings. Everyone eagerly anticipates the frozen candy bars and water we distribute, along with popular items like koozies, tees, chapsticks, and other SERVPRO swag. Keep an eye out for familiar faces as they'll be attending fairs, golf outings, and other events throughout the summer. Even our office staff members love to join in on the fun. Watch for SERVPRO of Dubuque as we actively engage with the community, supporting local events, and leaving a positive impact wherever we go.

Information provided by Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

storm photo This photo shows lightening bolt in the sky

When it comes to lightning protection, starting with a whole-house or building surge protector is crucial in minimizing the risk of damage. In some cases, the utility company may offer and install such surge protection systems for the entire building. However, if this service is not available, it is recommended to consult a licensed electrician to have one installed. It is important to understand that a whole-house or building surge protector does not provide protection against a direct lightning strike. For comprehensive lightning protection, specialized lightning protection systems are designed to safeguard structures by providing a designated path to safely harness and ground the powerful current of a lightning bolt. These systems effectively redirect the strike, discharging the hazardous electrical event into the ground. To ensure optimal protection, it is advised to have lightning protection systems installed by a UL listed installer, adhering to the requirements of NFPA 780 and Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) Standards. In addition to whole-building surge protection, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) strongly recommends the following measures:

  • Unplug electronic equipment: This is the most reliable method of safeguarding devices from power surges.
  • Understand the difference between surge suppressors and power strips: While power strips allow you to connect multiple electronic devices, they do not protect against power spikes. Surge protectors, on the other hand, provide both multiple device connections and protection against power surges.
  • Connect telephone, cable/satellite TV, and network lines to surge suppressors.
  • Verify that the surge suppressor has an indicator light to confirm its proper functionality.
  • Ensure that the surge suppressor has been tested and meets the standards of UL 1449.
  • Select a surge suppressor with a Joule rating exceeding 1,000. Higher ratings indicate better protection.
  • Look for a surge suppressor with a clamping voltage rating between 330 V and 400 V, indicating the voltage level at which the protector conducts electricity to the ground.
  • Choose a surge suppressor with a response time of less than 1 nanosecond.
  • Invest appropriately in surge protectors, avoiding the use of low-quality protectors for valuable electronic equipment. You don’t want to protect a $1,000 television or computer system with a $10 surge protector, for $25 and up you can provide much better protection.
  • Have a licensed electrician or home/building inspector review the power, telephone, electrical, and cable/satellite TV connections to ensure adequate grounding and proper bonding. All utilities should enter the structure within 10 feet of the electrical service entrance ground wire and be bonded to that grounding point.

By following these guidelines, you can significantly enhance your protection against power surges and lightning-related risks.

Do you have Water or Storm damage?

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Wet carpet in the door way This photo is from a sewage loss in Dubuque, Iowa.

Don’t hesitate Call SERVPRO of Dubuque NOW!

When you Need Emergency Service,

Call SERVPRO of Dubuque 24/7 – (563) 584-2242

The occurrence of flooding and water damage, as seen in Dubuque, Iowa in recent years, can be incredibly invasive. Acting promptly to mitigate the problem is crucial in minimizing costs. Water spreads rapidly throughout a home, seeping into floors, walls, furniture, and various materials. By contacting SERVPRO of Dubuque promptly, we can initiate the water extraction process almost immediately. This swift response helps to minimize damage and reduce the expenses associated with cleaning and restoration. It's important to note that floodwater can be highly contaminated.

Timeline of Water Damage:

Within Minutes:

  • Water swiftly permeates the property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Absorption occurs in walls, floors, upholstery, and personal belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, leading to permanent carpet stains.
  • Swelling and warping of photographs, books, and paper goods begin.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall starts to swell and deteriorate.
  • Water penetrates hard-to-reach and dry areas.
  • Metal surfaces tarnish.
  • Furniture undergoes swelling and cracking.
  • Dyes and inks from fabrics and paper items spread, causing stains.
  • A musty odor becomes noticeable.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may start growing and spreading.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and displays signs of mold.
  • Paint blisters.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination becomes a possibility.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase significantly, involving extensive replacement of contaminated materials and structural rebuilding.
  • Occupant safety is at risk due to structural integrity, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants.

SERVPRO of Dubuque has the knowledge.

With over 23 years of experience, SERVPRO of Dubuque specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties following fire, smoke, or water damage incidents. Our highly trained staff is equipped with the expertise needed for property damage restoration. Through initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's corporate training facility, as well as regular certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), our team is well-prepared to restore your property effectively and efficiently.

SERVPRO is the only way

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

flooded basement This shows water in a basement.

Imagine returning home from work only to discover that a pipe has burst, flooding your basement. The shock and panic set in as you realize that an unexpected disaster has unfolded right before your eyes. Unprepared for such an event, you turn to Google in search of guidance, hoping to find a solution amidst the overwhelming loss you're facing.

Let me simplify the decision-making process for you. By choosing SERVPRO, you can be assured of a swift response from the moment you make contact, regardless of the time of day, thanks to our round-the-clock emergency service. Our team of dedicated professionals not only excels in their friendliness and respectfulness, but they will also keep you well-informed throughout the entire restoration journey. With their extensive training in property damage restoration and their commitment to continuous learning, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are in capable hands.

Moreover, our services extend beyond water damage restoration. Should you require assistance with fire damage, storm damage repair, mold remediation, biohazard cleanup, or general cleaning for your residential or commercial property in the future, SERVPRO is here to provide comprehensive solutions.

Now that your basement has been thoroughly dried out and restored to its original state, you can finally find solace in the fact that SERVPRO was there every step of the way, ensuring that the incident becomes nothing more than a distant memory. Trust us to make it "Like it never even happened."

Business Interruption

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

standing water This photo shows standing water in a commercial building in Dubuque, IA.

Business interruptions can have far-reaching consequences beyond financial losses. They can result in the loss of valuable customers, decreased employee morale, and even impact the health and well-being of both you and your employees. Whether the interruption is due to water damage, fire incidents, or natural disasters, it is crucial to restore normal operations as quickly as possible. That's where SERVPRO of Dubuque comes in, equipped with highly trained technicians and specialized equipment to expedite the recovery of your facility.

Our dedicated technicians will assess the damage and provide you with a comprehensive plan outlining the necessary steps to be taken. Whether it involves extracting water and cleaning up after damaged pipes or addressing the need for mold testing and potential remediation, we will keep you informed throughout the entire project. To ensure the best possible outcome, SERVPRO of Dubuque partners with trusted external vendors for Mold Testing and Remediation plans.

Fire damage presents unique challenges, often accompanied by water cleanup resulting from firefighting efforts. When you contact SERVPRO of Dubuque, we swiftly secure your structure to prevent further damage. After a thorough assessment, we embark on the journey of restoring your property to its pre-damage condition. This includes debris removal, addressing damaged areas, and preparing for the cleaning and reconstruction process. We work in close coordination with your insurance adjuster to streamline the entire process, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience.

SERVPRO of Dubuque understands the urgency of minimizing business interruptions and mitigating their impact. With our skilled technicians and state-of-the-art equipment, we are committed to getting your facility operational as soon as possible. Our goal is to provide you with a seamless restoration process, allowing you to resume normal operations and alleviate the stress associated with the interruption.


SERVPRO of Dubuque



 Smoke and Water Damage to your Commercial Structure

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Shows fire damage This photo shows fire damage and soot on the walls.

Imagine the dread that sets in when you hear fire sirens blaring and realize they're heading to the neighboring address. The fear intensifies as you realize your building shares a wall with the affected property. However, upon arriving at the scene, a wave of relief washes over you as you see that the fire has been extinguished and your shared wall remains intact. However, the aftermath reveals extensive damage to your own business due to smoke and water from the neighboring fire. As you contact your insurance agent and seek a solution, you know exactly who to call: SERVPRO of Dubuque, the trusted experts in water and smoke remediation.

Our team, equipped with the latest water extraction methods and powerful desiccant dehumidifiers, swiftly gets to work removing the water from your premises. Every surface is diligently cleaned, and our air scrubbers ensure the air quality is restored to optimal levels, allowing your business to resume its operations promptly.

At SERVPRO of Dubuque, we understand that the cause of damage can vary, whether it's fire, water, mold, or the aftermath of a storm. Regardless of the disaster, we have a highly trained staff and specialized equipment to handle any situation effectively and efficiently. Our goal is to restore your property to its pre-damage condition.

Using the most current water extraction methods and our desiccant dehumidifiers we will get the water removed. Our techs will clean all the surfaces and air scrubbers will get your business back up and running. You can trust in our expertise and dedication to deliver top-notch restoration services, providing you with the peace of mind you need during challenging times.

"Like it never even happened."

It doesn’t matter if the cause of the damage is FIRE, WATER, MOLD or from a STORM. For any disaster SERVPRO of Dubuque has the trained staff and the equipment needed.

"Faster to any size Disaster"

SERVPRO of Dubuque



No matter the type of loss SERVPRO is here to help

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

this floor shows clean and dirty This floor is soot from a fire damage in Platteville, WI.

When your commercial building experiences damage that requires swift and efficient cleaning and restoration to minimize income loss, SERVPRO of Dubuque is here to help. Whether the damage is caused by water, fire, or mold, we have the necessary resources and expertise to employ the appropriate cleaning methods and get your business back on track.

We offer a range of effective cleaning methods tailored to address specific types of damage to your business. Here are some of the methods we can utilize:

  • Soda-blasting: This method involves using sodium bicarbonate as an abrasive medium propelled by compressed air. Baking-soda abrasive blasting is highly effective for removing mold while minimizing damage to underlying surfaces such as wood, PVC, modern wiring, ductwork, and more.

  • Dry ice blasting: Ideal for properties with smoke or fire damage, dry ice blasting is a top-notch restoration method. It is particularly suitable for restoring wood, concrete, brick, and other building materials. This method is fast, leaves little to no residue, and ensures quick drying of surfaces.

  • Garnet abrasive: Primarily used as a high-performance blast media, garnet abrasive is excellent for cleaning aluminum and fiberglass structures. It is an inert, non-toxic mineral, making it safe for use in areas where water contamination is a concern, including dry docks, bridges, and harbors.

At SERVPRO of Dubuque, we understand the importance of choosing the right cleaning method for each specific situation. Our team will assess the damage to your commercial property and determine the most effective approach to restore it. We prioritize efficiency and quality to ensure that your business can resume normal operations promptly.

Count on us to provide the expertise, tools, and techniques needed to clean and restore your commercial building to its pre-damage condition. Your satisfaction and the smooth recovery of your business are our utmost priorities.

SERVPRO can clean and restore your business to "Like it never even happened."

When the unthinkable happens, think of SERVPRO of Dubuque to get you back to normal ASAP!

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Rental Units vs Landlords

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

floor with standing water This shows water damage in the kitchen.

Imagine it's 2 o'clock in the morning, and you receive a frantic call from your tenant about water pouring from the ceiling. To add to the chaos, you can't reach your maintenance personnel, and you're unsure where the water shut-off valve is located. Managing multiple buildings can be overwhelming, especially during emergencies when time is of the essence.

But what if there was a solution? What if each of your properties had a comprehensive resource that listed the essential utility locations for you, your tenants, and your maintenance personnel to access easily?

With an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) from SERVPRO of Dubuque, you can have exactly that. We offer the ERP service at no charge to you, providing peace of mind and preparedness for each of your locations.

So, what does an ERP include? It offers detailed facility information, such as the locations of shut-off valves, priority areas, and critical contact information. By having this quick reference guide in advance, you and your team will know exactly what to do, how to do it, and whom to call in case of an emergency. Being "Ready for whatever happens" means having solutions readily available when you need them most.

SERVPRO of Dubuque understands the importance of proactive measures and preparedness for property emergencies. Our ERP service is designed to empower property owners and managers like you with the necessary tools and information to handle unexpected situations swiftly and effectively.

Don't let emergencies catch you off guard. Contact SERVPRO of Dubuque today to take advantage of our Emergency Ready Plan service and ensure that you and your team are well-prepared for any property-related crisis that may arise.

"Ready for whatever happens."

SERVPRO of Dubuque


Winter Storm Damage

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

damage to home from winter Roof damage from winter storm.

Winter storms can wreak havoc on your home, causing extensive damage and posing safety and health hazards. Heavy snowfall and powerful winds can lead to roof damage, fallen trees, and other destructive effects. After the storm passes, it's crucial to take immediate action, and SERVPRO of Dubuque is here to assist you in dealing with the aftermath.

The aftermath of a winter storm may present physical hazards, such as collapsed roofing materials, window damage, compromised walls, or standing water in your basement or home interior. Additionally, the presence of moisture can permeate furniture, carpets, and building materials, creating an ideal environment for mold growth that can be detrimental to your health. It's essential for adults in the household to be aware of the location of all shut-offs, enabling them to promptly shut off the main gas line if a gas odor is detected. It's also crucial to exercise caution and watch out for broken glass, exposed nails, and other sharp objects on your property.

When faced with such storm damage, contact SERVPRO of Dubuque. Our team can assist you in performing essential tasks to secure your property and ensure its safety for use. If necessary, we can also help arrange for alternative living arrangements while we work diligently to restore your home to a safe and livable condition.

Winter storms can leave a trail of destruction, but with the expertise and assistance of SERVPRO of Dubuque, you can navigate through the challenges and restore your home to its pre-storm state. Contact us today for prompt and professional storm damage restoration services.

"Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Pipes are Bursting

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

pipe burst This photo shows a water pipe that frozen then burst.

Dealing with water damage in your home can vary depending on the source of the water. When a pipe bursts and causes damage, it is typically considered a category 1 water loss. The main reason this type of damage is considered less severe is that it involves "clean water," which means the water is free from sewage and toxins. In most cases, items damaged in category 1 incidents can be easily dried without significant long-term consequences for the property owner.

However, when the damage is caused by a sewer backup, there are serious issues to consider. Category 3 water damage, also known as "black water" damage, is the most extreme type of water damage and requires immediate action to mitigate serious health risks. When category 3 water damage occurs, many items and materials will need to be removed from your property, and thorough drying and disinfecting will be necessary to restore your home to a safe and healthy condition.

SERVPRO of Dubuque is equipped with the right tools and trained personnel to handle category 3 water damage. They can efficiently clean and restore your property, ensuring that it is "Like it never even happened." Their expertise and attention to detail will help mitigate the health risks associated with black water damage, providing you with peace of mind.

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Key Elements of a Fire?

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Fire triangle Heat, Fuel, Oxygen

In order for a fire to start and spread, three elements are essential: heat, oxygen, and fuel. To effectively prevent fires, it is crucial to address one or more of these elements. Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment should include detailed considerations of heat, oxygen, and fuel to minimize the risk of fire initiation and spread.

Fire-prevention programs have specific goals, including fire prevention, fire detection, fire notification, fire suppression, and fire control. Fires can disrupt business activities, lead to loss or damage of important documents, result in employee work hour losses, and potentially give rise to liability claims if the fire spreads to neighboring properties.

Fires can have severe consequences, causing injuries, loss of life, and damage to buildings. By proactively establishing a fire prevention plan, you can help protect your employees and visitors, prevent costly damages, and mitigate the risk of fines or legal action against your business.

This is where an Emergency Ready Plan from SERVPRO of Dubuque becomes crucial. The Ready Plan provides easy access to all your emergency contacts and utility shut-off locations, both in hard copy and digital formats. Additionally, by having a Priority Service Agreement with SERVPRO of Dubuque, you can benefit from our quick response in the event of a fire, helping you get your business back up and running promptly. With our expertise, we strive to make the fire's impact "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Water Water Everywhere

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Flir infrared camera showing water This is SERVPRO using our FLIR in the walls.

After being away for just 48 hours, you walk into your home and are greeted by a sweltering heat resembling a sauna. It becomes evident that your new tankless water heater has malfunctioned, causing hot water to flood your basement and turn your entire house into a steamy mess. In this moment of crisis, you quickly remember the large shutoff tag provided by SERVPRO of Dubuque, which helps you locate and turn off the water supply.

Without delay, you contact SERVPRO of Dubuque to initiate the water extraction process. Their expert team promptly arrives and efficiently removes the water from your home. Once the water has been extracted, SERVPRO utilizes commercial-grade desiccant dehumidifiers, tailored to handle disasters of any scale. They strategically position air movers throughout your home to expedite the drying process. Additionally, air scrubbers are deployed to eliminate any lingering odors and ensure fresh air quality.

However, the services of SERVPRO of Dubuque extend beyond water extraction and drying. Their highly trained staff proceeds to initiate the comprehensive cleaning process. Every wall and surface is meticulously wiped down to eradicate stains and prevent the growth of mold. Understanding the value of your important documents and papers, SERVPRO offers additional resources to freeze and restore them, mitigating further damage.

With SERVPRO of Dubuque's comprehensive approach to restoration, you can trust that your home will be returned to its pre-disaster condition, leaving no trace of the water heater mishap. We can make it "Like it never even happened."

Faster to any size disaster

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Commercial ERP's

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

SERVPRO be ready SERVPRO is ready for whatever happens.

Let’s talk about what an ERP is and why it’s beneficial for you to have one for each of your properties.


Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water happens, but well before it happens.

The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile serves as a quick reference of important building and contact information or can be an ideal supplement to any well-designed emergency preparedness or existing contingency program.  Rather than simply reacting to disaster situations, most prefer proactive measures to establish a relationship with a restoration services company.

By working with SERVPRO® of Dubuque to develop your personalized Emergency READY Profile your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster.  SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

Let SERVPRO of Dubuque help you be prepared should disaster strike. You will have a ready reference to all your utility shut off locations and emergency contacts.


SERVPRO of Dubuque



A quick call to SERVPRO

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire Kitchen fire in Platteville, WI.

Having just experienced a fire, you find yourself facing the aftermath once the firetrucks and emergency responders have departed. In this overwhelming situation, a simple call to SERVPRO of Dubuque can provide you with the assistance you need. Their team will swiftly arrive to secure your home and assess the extent of the damage, developing a comprehensive plan to restore your home to its pre-fire condition.

In addition to the visible damage caused by the fire, your home is also saturated from the firefighting efforts. The combination of fire and water damage can be devastating. Furthermore, the presence of smoke and soot poses a potential health hazard as it permeates every corner of your home. Even if the fire was contained to a small area, the smoke and soot can infiltrate throughout the entire property.

With SERVPRO of Dubuque's team of highly-trained professionals, you can trust in their expertise, knowledge, and specialized tools to effectively address fire and smoke damage. They prioritize safety by utilizing appropriate personal protective equipment during the cleaning process and ensuring the complete removal of odors.

SERVPRO of Dubuque's ultimate goal is to restore your home and belongings to their pre-fire state, leaving no trace of the incident. Their dedication to quality and their commitment to delivering exceptional results will help you overcome this challenging situation, making your home "Like it never even happened."

 Faster to any Size Disaster

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Let SERVPRO of Dubuque help protect your facility and staff

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

SERVPRO certified clean Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

Bacteria and viruses are both considered "germs" and can pose health hazards by causing illness and infections. However, they differ in their nature and mode of spread. Understanding the distinction between the two is crucial for maintaining the safety of your facility and staff. Whether you're dealing with a flood or sewage backup, or facing a pandemic like COVID-19, handling these challenges correctly is vital to safeguarding both human health and the physical integrity of your assets.


Bacteria are single-celled living organisms. Interestingly, our bodies are teeming with bacterial cells, outnumbering human cells by a ratio of 10 to 1. While some bacteria are beneficial and aid in nutrient processing and toxin neutralization, others can cause infections and diseases, such as pneumonia, strep throat, and meningitis. It's important to note that bacteria can multiply rapidly, doubling their numbers every fifteen minutes.

To combat bacteria, SERVPRO of Dubuque employs antibacterial agents and various cleaning substances to effectively clean surfaces and inhibit their growth and reproduction.


Viruses, unlike bacteria, are not considered living creatures. They are organic particles containing genetic material. Since they cannot replicate independently, they rely on infecting living cells. Viruses hijack host cells and utilize them to produce more viral particles. This can occur either through the host cell's replication or the rapid replication of the virus itself, leading to the bursting of the host cell and the release of new viral particles that go on to infect other cells within the body.

Viruses can cause a wide range of diseases, including influenza, smallpox, herpes, hepatitis, measles, polio, rabies, SARS, and COVID-19.

While there are numerous broad-spectrum antibiotic drugs available, antiviral drugs are less common. Not all substances that can kill bacteria are effective against viruses. For this reason, SERVPRO of Dubuque utilizes disinfectants registered with the EPA specifically designed to eliminate viruses. These disinfectants are applied to wipe down surfaces and are instrumental in the company's approach to maintaining cleanliness and combating viral contamination.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, SERVPRO offers Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, a proactive viral pathogen cleaning program tailored to businesses and commercial locations. This program goes beyond traditional janitorial or carpet cleaning services, providing a higher cleaning standard to ensure the safety of you, your employees, your customers, and your community. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you can have peace of mind knowing that you have selected a superior cleaning solution.

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Why choose SERVPRO of Dubuque

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Desiccant set SERVPRO's desiccant set in Preston, IA.

Let’s face it there are a lot of choices when it comes to cleaning and restoration company.

Not all have the same capabilities or services, so let’s go over what makes SERVPRO of Dubuque the leader of the industry. But before I go into specifics let me share our SERVPRO Mission and Vision statements.


To develop a team of quality people who focus on excellent service, fairness and mutual respect.


To be the premier cleaning and restoration company in the world

What services does SERVPRO of Dubuque offer?

Water damage, extraction using commercial grade equipment, drying using Desiccant dehumidifiers aid by commercial size air movers. After the drying is complete, we have the crews to remove damaged areas and get it ready for reconstruction.

Fire and smoke damage is especially destructive. In many instances your Dubuque property will also suffer from water damage from firefighting efforts. We specialize in fire and water damage restoration; it’s the cornerstone of our business. We have specialized equipment, specific training, and certifications that allow us restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Mold Remediation, it only takes a small water leak, or even excess humidity, for mold to form in your Dubuque home or business. Active mold colonies which can germinate in as little as 48 hours, release mold spores that can migrate to other areas of the building, causing mold to spread. If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

Our relationship with MB Mold & Air Quality Testing provides another resource to help identify the extent of the mold issue as well as to confirm the success of the remediation with PRV (Post Remediation Verification) Testing to confirm that the property has returned to a state of normal fungal ecology.

Restoring storm- and flood-damaged properties is the cornerstone of our business. Our highly trained professionals use specialized equipment and advanced training to quickly restore your Dubuque property to pre-storm condition. We’re dedicated to responding immediately, which helps to minimize secondary damage.

Commercial Services SERVPRO of Dubuque is ready to respond immediately and work quickly to clean or restore your business. We understand that your property’s appearance is important and that every hour spent restoring is an hour of lost productivity. When you need a restoration or cleaning professional, SERVPRO of Dubuque has the training and expertise to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of Dubuque

Apartment Water Loss

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

water in the basement Standing water in the basement of the building.

Property managers bear the responsibility of managing repairs and addressing water damage issues in apartment buildings. There are various potential causes for water damage, and it is crucial for property managers to know how to handle them effectively. One common cause is forgetful tenants who may inadvertently cause floods due to distractions. In apartments, the close proximity of units means that water damage can quickly spread from one unit to others within minutes.

Bathrooms are particularly susceptible to flooding incidents. It's a familiar scenario where someone leaves water running in the bath or sink, only to become distracted and later discover an overflow. Such incidents can lead to water quickly spreading to adjacent areas. Plumbing-related issues can also contribute to water damage, affecting multiple units. Supply lines for appliances like refrigerators, toilets, sinks, and HVAC systems can develop leaks or burst, with water damage easily traveling through walls, ceilings, support beams, and conduits.

While accidents cannot always be prevented, SERVPRO of Dubuque can assist property managers and landlords in taking proactive measures. Providing an Emergency Response Plan from SERVPRO that includes shut-off locations and emergency contacts can be helpful. Annual plumbing inspections should be conducted to assess structural integrity, and regular maintenance of sewage pipes is necessary to prevent debris buildup and potential clogs. Additionally, appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators should be inspected annually to check for hose condition, connections, and potential leaks.

As the landlord or property manager, it is typically your responsibility to repair the damage to the structure and fixtures. For instance, if the water damage originates from a neighboring unit's ceiling pipe, your commercial insurance policy should cover the repairs. Tenants may need to file claims with their insurance providers to cover damages to their personal belongings, while the cost of repairing the damaged ceiling falls under your responsibility. It is important for tenants to notify you promptly of any damage to ensure timely resolution.

To mitigate water damage, contacting SERVPRO of Dubuque's mitigation experts is the recommended course of action. While it may be tempting to cut corners and save money, hiring an unqualified individual for the job can lead to more significant long-term repercussions. Untreated underlying issues can result in structural damage, deterioration, and mold growth, necessitating extensive reconstruction and potential loss of rental income.

SERVPRO has established itself as the trusted provider known for being "Faster to any size disaster." Our certified technicians are equipped with the latest commercial water damage restoration techniques. They will identify the source of the issue, contain the flooding, extract excess moisture, and remediate/prevent any mold growth in the affected area. SERVPRO of Dubuque works collaboratively with insurance companies, tenants, and property managers to ensure smooth communication and make the process as seamless as possible for all parties involved. When facing apartment water damage, it is best to rely on professional services, so reach out to your local SERVPRO of Dubuque office for assistance.

SERVPRO of Dubuque



You’ve had a fire. What do you do next?

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire This photo shows a kitchen that caught on fire.

In the unfortunate event of a fire, it is crucial to find professionals who can secure the damaged area, remove property, and extract water used for extinguishing the flames. However, this is only the beginning of the journey to restore your home and belongings to their pre-fire condition.

SERVPRO of Dubuque understands the urgency and promptly responds to secure your property once the fire is extinguished. With the aid of high-quality commercial-grade water extraction equipment, desiccant dehumidifiers, and air movers, we swiftly extract the residual water. This step is essential as moisture left behind can lead to mold growth, causing further damage and expensive remediation. Our team also carefully removes damaged property, meticulously documenting each item with photos to be cleaned and restored. Any items beyond restoration are properly disposed of. We go the extra mile by laundering clothes and draperies, shampooing upholstered furniture, and thoroughly wiping down toys to restore your property. Additionally, we offer the service of freezing important documents, which are then shipped to our trusted affiliates for proper drying and preservation.

Once the water extraction and property removal are completed, we proceed to remove the damaged areas of your home to prepare for thorough cleaning. Our team has the capability to utilize techniques like garnet or soda blasting to effectively clean areas stained by smoke or soot. We also seal affected areas to prevent lingering odors, potentially saving on reconstruction costs.

Throughout the entire restoration process, our highly trained technicians will keep you well-informed, ensuring you are aware of each step taken to make your home "Like it never happened."

This is just a brief overview of the comprehensive services provided by SERVPRO of Dubuque in the unfortunate event of a fire.

Faster to any size disaster

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Fire, Fire, Fire

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Fire pit Enjoying a nice warm bon fire.

With fall coming to a close and winter on the way SERVPRO of Dubuque would like to remind everyone that even though it’s outside the traditional “fire season” don’t take fire safety lightly. Because we know you hardy Midwesterners will still be using your fire pits well into winter.

Check the wind conditions! Before you start up a blaze in your fire pit, check the local weather forecast. Don't use your fire pit on unusually windy days, as the wind can make it hard to light the kindling and could blow sparks to surrounding brush or structures, potentially starting a fire. Also, always check the direction of the wind before you start your fire.

Make sure your fire pit is in the open! Never light your fire pit when it's underneath the overhang of a building or beneath trees, and keep the immediate area around the pit clear of yard waste and other flammable materials. Wayward sparks can blow out of the fire and ignite nearby structures, dry wood, leaves, or other debris, and you could end up with a fire emergency.

Never burn construction lumber! Always use aged hardwood, it will give off less smoke and ash.

Be ready to extinguish your fire! Your fire will attract people to its warmth and light giving your outdoor gatherings a little joy and romance. But it can also be an unpredictable, destructive force. If you've set your fire pit in a safe location you probably won't encounter any serious problems. But you should always keep a shovel and water at hand, just in case. In an emergency, you can use the water to quench the fire and the shovel to smother the flames by throwing dirt on them. You may also want to invest in a fire blanket, which can be used to smother a blaze in or outside the fire pit.

Never leave a fire unattended! Even after a fire has died down and only glowing embers remain, do not leave it unattended. Tiny flames and glowing embers may seem innocuous, they're still a potential threat to your safety. Pour water over live embers, and turn logs to make sure all sides of the wood have stopped burning before you call it a night. 

Drink responsibly!  Fire and alcohol don't mix. Not only is alcohol flammable, but overindulgence in alcohol impairs coordination, judgment, and reflexes. Keep your guests a safe distance from the flames, and be ready to douse the fire in case of any alcohol-induced mishaps

Obey no-burn alerts when issued for your area! When drought, weather conditions or when air pollution causes an increase fine particulate pollution to an unhealthy level. No-burn alerts may be issued to protect local air quality. Noncompliance with a no-burn order not only puts your community's health at risk, but could also result in fines. Before you light your fire pit, check to see if there's a no-burn advisory in effect.

Faster to any size Disaster

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Fires, what causes them and what you can do to protect yourself and loved ones

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire This shows a fire in a kitchen in Dubuque, Iowa.

The following data is from the National fire Protection Association

Cooking was the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in 2015-2019 and the second leading cause of home fire deaths. Cooking caused 49 percent of reported home fires, 20 percent of reported home fire deaths, and 42 percent of home fire injuries

Heating Equipment is the second leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and the third leading cause of home fire deaths. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 48,530 fires involving heating equipment per year in 2014-2018, accounting for 14% of all reported home fires during this time. These fires resulted in annual losses of 500 civilian deaths, 1,350 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage. 

Electrical Fires, To help reduce your risk, NFPA and ESFI recommend that you have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including electrical inspections, when buying or remodeling a home. In the video below,

Candles, from 2015-2019 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 7,400 home structure fires that were started by candles per year. These fires caused an annual average of 90 deaths, 670 injuries and $291 million in direct property damage.

 Smoking materials, including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2014. These fires caused 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in direct property damage. Smoking materials caused 5% of reported home fires, 21% of home fire deaths, 10% of home fire injuries, and 6% of the direct property damage.

Some fire safety tips

Unplug items when not in use

Things like computers, TVs, game systems and a whole lot more use electricity even when they’re not on. That means they can always experience a surge or they can just overheat and cause a fire.

Use Surge Protectors

 A surge in power is when you are most likely to experience an electrical fire and by plugging items into a surge protector you don’t have to worry about that excess electricity getting to the item and causing a fire.

Never Leave Flames Unattended

If you’re cooking or lighting candles, you want to make sure that you’re watching it at all times. If you start cooking anything, you never want to walk away from the stove. Keep  dish cloths and anything combustible away from the stove. If you start a fire in your fireplace you want to make sure you keep an eye on that as well. Keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen or near the fireplace is a very good idea. Make sure all of the adults in the home know how to properly use the extinguisher.

Don’t Smoke in the Home

If you do smoke, it’s important to always do so in a well-ventilated area and to completely put out the cigarette before you throw it away. My father when he smoked in the house would always run water over the butt before throwing it away. Cigarettes have a variety of additives and materials inside of them that can continue to burn even if you think that you’ve put them out.

Remove Lint and Change Filters

Your heating system needs a filter in order to run, but how often do you change out that filter? You need to be doing it frequently because if lint fills up that filter the heat from the furnace can actually ignite it.

This is true for your dryer as well. You want to make sure that you remove the lint from your dryer filter every time that you do the laundry. Even a small amount of lint could cause a huge fire.

 Space Heaters

Turn off space heaters when you leave the room including electric fireplaces. Make sure you only use heaters that automatically turn off  if they tip over.

Reduce the Clutter

Cluttered home can enable a fire to spread more quickly.

Store Oils and Gases Away from Flames And Sparks

This would include keeping cooking oils away from the stove and store gas and flammables in approved containers and away from open flames such as pilot lights.

Have your Furnace Tuned up annually

An HVAC professional can make sure that your furnace is going to keep working the right way and that it’s not going to put you in any danger of fire.

Remember should the worst happen and you do have a fire

SERVPRO of Dubuque

Faster to any size Disaster



How to protect your home from water damage

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Ceiling with water staining This shows a house with water staining damage.

Here are some valuable tips from SERVPRO of Dubuque on how to prevent water damage in your home:

  1. Regularly clean your gutters and consider professional installation of leaf gutter guards to prevent clogs in gutters and downspouts.
  2. Ensure that rain runoff is directed away from the foundation by grading your lawn to slope away from the house. If driveways or sidewalks are draining towards the house, consider raising or replacing them to redirect water away from the foundation.
  3. Maintain your sump pump by testing it before the spring thaw and heavy rains. Run a bucket or two of water into the sump to ensure it is working properly. Installing a battery backup for the sump pump is also recommended to ensure it functions even during power outages.
  4. Regularly inspect your home for water leaks. Check for cracks in the foundation and watch for dampness on carpets and walls.
  5. Conduct a thorough examination of your roof to ensure it is in good condition. Look for any missing shingles or signs of damage from previous storms.
  6. Consider obtaining hidden water damage coverage for your home insurance policy.
  7. Install a smart water main shutoff valve with built-in sensors that monitor water usage and detect leaks.
  8. Install smart water sensors throughout your home to detect leaks before they cause significant damage. These sensors can trigger alarms or send alerts via WiFi to your phone or computer. Some systems can even automatically shut off valves to prevent major damage.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of water damage in your home and safeguard your property.

Just Remember that if the unthinkable does happen and water invades your home

SERVPRO of Dubuque  (563-584-2242)

Has the trained technicians, air movers, dehumidifiers and water extraction equipment to

Make it "Like it never even happened."

Fireplace Safety

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Fire place Fire place in a home.

As the chill of winter sets in, it's time to cozy up by the fireplace or wood stove. To ensure your fire stays safely contained, let's review some important guidelines:

  • If possible, keep a window cracked open while the fire is burning.
  • Always ensure the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. Keep it open until the fire is completely extinguished to draw smoke out of the house. Never close the damper until the embers have stopped burning.
  • Avoid using your fireplace as the primary source of heating for your home, and don't let the fire burn for more than five hours at a time.
  • Use dry and well-aged wood for a cleaner burn. Wet or green wood can lead to soot buildup in the chimney and increase the risk of a chimney fire.
  • Burn smaller pieces of wood on a grate for faster burning and less smoke production.
  • Regularly clean out ashes from previous fires, keeping the ash level at the base of the fireplace to 1 inch or less. Excessive ash restricts air supply and results in more smoke.
  • Schedule an annual professional inspection of your chimney to ensure its safety and proper functioning.
  • Install a chimney cap to prevent water damage, blockages caused by debris, and nesting of animals. Consider using a spark arrestor to minimize the risk of sparks igniting fires on the roof or lawn.
  • Take precautions to prevent burns from the hot glass front of some fireplaces, especially for children. Install safety screens to reduce the risk of contact with the hot surface.
  • Keep the area around the fireplace clear of flammable items such as furniture, drapes, newspapers, and books.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is fully extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house. If you leave the room while the fire is burning or the fireplace is still hot, ensure your small child accompanies you.
  • Store fireplace tools, accessories, lighters, and matches out of reach of young children.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.
  • Have a fire extinguisher readily available in case of emergencies.
  • Never allow children to play near or with fire tools, even if adults are present.
  • Educate children early about the dangers of fires and the heat emitted by fireplaces.

By diligently practicing fire safety measures, you can keep your family safe and warm. In the unfortunate event of fire or smoke damage, remember that SERVPRO of Dubuque has the expertise and equipment to restore your home to its pre-damaged state, ensuring it's "Like it never even happened."

Fire Fun

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

wildfire smoke smoke & fire

Allow me to introduce myself, I am The Fabulous Fernando Flame and along with my wife Sensuous Sally Smoke we can cause an amazing amount of grief into your life. Unless of course you call SERVPRO of Dubuque.

One thing you need to know is even after I’ve been put out by the local Fire Department or someone handy with an extinguisher you still have to deal with my aftermath. Ash and charcoal will need to be removed. Lucky for you SEERVPRO of Dubuque has the Garnet blaster to clean up the mess I’ve left behind. On top of that they have the Desiccant Dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the excess water used to put me out. As for my wife Sally Smoke I’m pretty sure SERVPRO of Dubuque has the air scrubbers that will remove my sensuous wife Sally Smoke from the air and make it "Like it never even happened."  Soon I will be posting some tips on how to prevent fires and always remember if you see my wife Sally you should start looking because whenever you see smoke I’m not far behind

When Flood Waters Rise

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Desicannt set SERVPRO of Dubuque set our Desiccant in Preston, IA.

Freida Flood here and unlike those whiney bugs Vern Virus and Bernie Bacteria I’m not here to whine about SERVPRO of Dubuque, but to sing their praises. Let’s face it, unlike those microscopic bugs, I’m a Force of Nature and there is no one better to deal with my aftermath than SERVPRO of Dubuque.

SERVPRO of Dubuque will respond quickly to do an inspection of the damaged area and begin extracting the water. After the water has been extracted then SERVPRO of Dubuque will begin drying the area using state of the art Desiccant Dehumidifiers. Don't worry about the size of area affected because SERVPRO of Dubuque has everything from small Portable Dehumidifiers to large units with their own power source powerful enough to run a variety of air movers to quickly dry the area. It is important to remove the water and dry the area as quickly as possible to keep that annoying pest Mickey Mold from showing up. Once everything is dry then the clean up has to begin but don’t worry SERVPRO of Dubuque has your back. Whether you need partial demolition and rebuild or just a thorough cleaning SERVPRO of Dubuque has the trained personnel and Equipment. From commercial carpet cleaners and air scrubbers to just plain old elbow grease So whether you’re recovering from a force of nature like myself or just an annoyance like Danny Damp and his cousins the Mildew twins Molly and Milly SERVPRO of Dubuque have you covered.

Why would you call SERVPRO of Dubuque for water clean-up and drying? Check out this FB post from one of our detractors.

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

bacteria, fungi, viruses This photo is showing bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Vern Virus here, with Bernie Bacteria in hiding.  With the help of a couple of my computer virus buddies bouncing my IP address all over the world I feel pretty safe posting. Well things may be looking up for Bernie and I with this vaccine to stop my crazy ex Rona; maybe people will go back to old habits not clean, sanitize and not be generally obsessed with cleaning. We are worried about the Mickey Mold and the Twins Milly and Molly Mildew though. We're afraid SERVPRO of Dubuque may have found their hiding place. SERVPRO of Dubuque comes in, explains the needed emergency services for you step-by-step, with their ability to extract the water. Then SERVPRO of Dubuque will set up air movers and dehumidifiers to quickly dry the area. While they monitor the drying process, they communicate updates to you. This doesn’t even give Milly and Molly a chance let alone poor Mickie Mold. Let’s face it: SERVPRO of Dubuque is the bane of our existence. 

Why SERVPRO of Dubuque for Mold Mitigation

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Mold on wall This photo shows mold on the wall of a home.

Once the water has been extracted and the contents are dry, it's important to address any concerns about possible mold or airborne contaminants that may have developed due to the delayed discovery of the water damage. SERVPRO of Dubuque often recommends the services of MB Mold and Air Quality Testing for this purpose. Their team of Certified Indoor Environmentalists (CIE) and Microbial Investigators (CMI) can assess the fungal ecology of your home and, if necessary, develop a remediation plan to restore the affected area to normal.

Mold contamination is categorized into different conditions:

  1. Condition 1 - Normal Fungal Ecology: This refers to an indoor environment that may contain settled spores, fragments, or traces of actual growth.

  2. Condition 2 - Settled (or airborne) Spores: This condition indicates an indoor environment primarily contaminated with settled spores that were dispersed from a Condition 3 area. There may also be traces of actual growth.

  3. Condition 3 - Actual Growth: An indoor environment contaminated by the presence of actual mold growth and associated spores. This includes visible or hidden growth that can cause damage and rot to building materials.

The airborne or settled spores found in Condition 2 and 3 areas are considered the most hazardous. Inhaling these spores can lead to minor allergy symptoms or more serious effects, including pathogenic diseases.

Due to the potential risks associated with mold, it is crucial to have a remediation plan prepared by an expert. MB Mold & Air Quality Testing's consultants hold ACAC and IICRC certifications, signifying their high level of training and professionalism. These certifications, along with ongoing training, keep their consultants up to date in this complex and ever-evolving industry. When combined with SERVPRO of Dubuque's highly trained and certified remediation technicians, you can trust that they have the best knowledge, information, and equipment to successfully complete your project.

Why SERVPRO Restoration Services?

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

1-4-8 policy This shows the 1-4-8 policy of SERVPRO response time and how our system works.

During an Emergency the faster a SERVPRO of Dubuque professional can arrive on-site to preform water and smoke cleanup, the better the results, including lower costs.

Our Service Response Guidelines

1          Within one hour of notice of loss a SERVPRO of Dubuque Professional will contact you.

4          Within four ours of the loss notification SERVPRO of Dubuque professional will be on site to start mitigation services.

8          Within eight business hours of on-site arrival a verbal briefing of the scope will be communicated to the adjuster and client.

We know that when a loss occurs it causes a lot of distress and a common fear may be loss of control. A quick response from a SERVPRO of Dubuque professional will help ease this anxiety.

SERVPRO professionals are trained and equipped to help you to regain control of your life.

Let’s face it the faster you start a mitigation job and finish it results in lower claim costs.

By responding quickly we prevent or reduce extensive or secondary damage from a water loss.


5/22/2023 (Permalink)

mold on drywall and carpet This is an affected house in Platteville, WI.

Water damage to a building can be from Category 1,2 or 3 water.  The type of water is primarily determined by its source.

Category 1 water is water that "does not pose substantial harm to humans"

Category 2 water is water "with a significant level of contamination"

Category 3 water is "grossly contaminated" water.

As a general rule of thumb, Category 1 water that soaks into carped can usually be removed through extraction and evaporation and the carpet can be restored.

On the other had, if Category 1 water has either been contaminated further by flowing over or through debris, or if it remains for a period of time with out being removed.  Once the water has moved beyond category 1 into category 2 or 3. The carpet will need to be removed and replaced.

In this photo, Category 1 water was not addressed in a timely manner and the result was moldy carpet and pad which also contaminated the wood below.

This again reinforces the advice that in the event of a water damage, contact a professional like SERVPRO of Dubuque to make sure that all areas of water damage are identified.

Drip Drip Drip

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

water pictures This shows the different water categories.

Water damage can occur unexpectedly, whether it's due to leaky pipes, overflowing toilets, appliance malfunctions, storms, or floods. It's crucial to address water damage promptly by drying and cleaning the affected areas. While some cases can be handled by homeowners, there are situations where it's necessary to seek the assistance of professionals like SERVPRO of Dubuque. Let's discuss the three categories of water damage defined by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

Category 1: Clean Water Damage

Category 1 water damage is the least severe on the IICRC scale. It involves damage caused by clean water, such as broken pipes, water supply line issues, and overflowing sinks or bathtubs. Since this type of damage involves water that is free from sewage and toxins, most items affected by category 1 incidents can be easily dried without significant long-term consequences for the property owner.

Category 2: Grey Water Damage

Category 2 water damage refers to "greywater" damage. This includes water from appliances like toilets, washing machines, and sump pump backups. While coming into contact with greywater may or may not be harmful to humans, it's important to remove any affected items and thoroughly disinfect the area if your home has experienced category 2 water damage. The waste and chemicals present in greywater can potentially pose health risks over time.

Category 3: Black Water Damage

Category 3 water damage, also known as black water damage, is the most severe and urgent type of water damage. It requires immediate action to mitigate serious health risks. Blackwater includes sewage, rising floodwaters, seawater, as well as river and groundwater. When category 3 water damage occurs, extensive removal of items and materials from your property is necessary. After the drying process, thorough disinfection of your home is essential to ensure a safe environment.

It's important to note that Category 1 damage can escalate to Category 2 if not addressed promptly. If you notice a foul odor or see mold growth, it may indicate that Category 1 damage has progressed to Category 2.

Similarly, Category 2 damage can worsen and become Category 3. Due to the potential hazards associated with these two categories, it is always advisable to contact professionals like SERVPRO of Dubuque. They can assess the damage, identify the source of the water damage, and accurately classify its category. Additionally, SERVPRO of Dubuque can provide estimates for drying and cleaning the affected area. If environmental testing is required, they can assist you in arranging it through a certified Environmental Technician.

Summer Storm Safety

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Stormy sky The photo shows a stormy sky.

Summer storms can arise suddenly and without much warning, making it crucial to prioritize safety. Lightning strikes and fallen trees can cause significant damage to homes and pose risks to people and property. Additionally, heavy rains can lead to further destruction and basement flooding. To ensure your safety during summer storms, consider the following guidelines:

  1. Be aware of lightning and take immediate action when you hear thunder. Seek shelter promptly.
  2. Avoid high ground and utility poles, as lightning tends to strike the highest object in the vicinity.
  3. Do not seek shelter under trees, as they are often targeted by lightning strikes.
  4. If caught outside during a storm, take precautions to stay safe:
    • Disconnect electrical devices and unplug them to avoid potential damage from lightning strikes.
    • Avoid concrete floors and walls, as they can conduct electricity.
    • Do not lie flat on the ground, as it increases the risk of being struck by current in case of nearby lightning.
    • Stay away from wire fences, electrical lines, or any objects that can conduct electricity.
    • Keep moving towards shelter, even if it means finding refuge in your car.
  5. After the storm has passed, wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunderclap before assuming it is safe to go outside.
  6. When leaving your shelter, be cautious of potential hazards caused by the storm:
    • Look out for downed power lines, as they can be deadly if they come into contact with water.
    • Watch for tripping hazards like fallen tree branches, washed-out sidewalks, and flooded streets.
  7. Remain alert to the possibility of a second storm, as some storm systems can occur in waves, with a new round of severe weather following shortly after the initial one.

Remember, lightning can cause extensive damage within seconds, so it is always better to prioritize safety for yourself and your family. By following these precautions, you can minimize the risks associated with summer storms and protect yourself and your property effectively.

When it’s time to assess the damage caused by the storm remember to CALL:




Fire & Water -Cleanup & Restoration

"Like it never even happened."

Summer Storm Preparation

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

Dark sky on dirt road with trees This photo shows that a storm is rolling in.

If you reside in an area prone to severe storms or tornadoes, it is crucial to be prepared with emergency supplies. Ensure you have enough water to last at least three days (one gallon per person per day), non-perishable food for the same duration, a battery-powered radio for weather updates, first aid kits, local maps, portable cell phone chargers, and other necessary items. Visit Ready.gov for a comprehensive list of essential items for your emergency kit.

Stay informed by signing up to receive emergency alerts. Most local communities have alert systems that send messages via email or text to your phone. You can typically sign up for this service on your community's website or follow your town's social media accounts if available. Additionally, follow national weather and emergency information social media accounts such as @NOAA, @NWS, and @FEMA for further updates on impending dangerous weather.

Keep in mind that power outages may occur during severe storms. Prepare accordingly by:

  • Considering purchasing a standby generator if your area frequently experiences severe storms.
  • Ensuring you have an ample supply of batteries for flashlights.
  • Checking the functionality of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and having backup batteries on hand.
  • Using surge protectors and turning off electronics and appliances to safeguard against power surges.
  • Acquiring a solar charger for your phone.
  • Keeping large ziplock bags filled with water in your freezer. These will serve as a source of ice and freshwater if the power goes out.
  • If someone in your household relies on medical devices that require electricity, contact your utility company to potentially be added to a priority service list for faster reconnection.

Before each storm season, take precautionary steps to protect yourself and your neighbors. Move your car to a safe location that is less prone to flooding and secure patio furniture to prevent any damage or accidents.

Conduct a visual inspection of trees on and around your property before the storm season. Identify any hazardous limbs or trees and, if safely possible, trim the threatening branches. Seek professional assistance for sickly trees or precarious branches. Additionally, ensure your downspouts are connected, and water drains away from your house. Testing your sump pump by pouring water into the sump can help verify its functionality. Having a battery backup for your sump pump is also advisable.

Finally, review your homeowner's insurance policy. Summer storms can cause significant damage to your home, so take the time to review your coverage. If you are uncertain about any gaps in coverage, such as flood or disaster insurance, contact your insurance agency. Share your concerns and ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage to protect against severe weather events your home might encounter during the summer.

Water Damage

5/15/2023 (Permalink)

Water Damage? We can help!

Flooding and water harm like Eastern Iowa, NW Illinois and SW Wisconsin have skilled this Summer, is very invasive. Water shortly spreads for the duration of your domestic and receives absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Dubuque arrives rapidly and begins the water extraction system nearly immediately. This instantaneous response helps to reduce the injury to strive and restrict the cleansing and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – (563) 584-2242

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

Water rapidly spreads at some stage in your property, saturating the entirety in its path. • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings. • Furniture finishes may also bleed, inflicting everlasting staining on carpets. • Photographs, books, and different paper items begin to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24: • Drywall starts off evolved to swell and spoil down. • Metal surfaces commence to tarnish. • Furniture starts off evolved to swell and crack. • Dyes and inks from material and paper items unfold and stain. • A musty smell appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week: • Mold and mildew may additionally develop and spread. • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp. • Metal starts off evolved to rust and corrode. • Furniture warps and indicates signs and symptoms of mold. • Paint starts to blister. • Wood ground swells and warps. • Serious biohazard illness is possible.

More Than 1 Week: • Restoration time and price enlarge dramatically; changing contaminated substances and structural rebuilding can also be extensive. • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious dangers to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Dubuque

SERVPRO of Dubuque has greater than 20 years’ experience, specializing in the cleanup and restoration of residential and business property after a fire, smoke or water injury event. Our team of workers is fantastically skilled in property harm restoration. From preliminary and ongoing coaching at SERVPRO’s company coaching facility to ordinary IICRC-industry certification, relaxation certain our team of workers is geared up with the expertise to fix your property.

If you journey any kind of water harm or flood loss, name SERVPRO of Dubuque. We make it like in no way even happened!

Fire Damage

5/15/2023 (Permalink)

There are distinctive training of fires. The instructions inform you a little bit of data on matters that can purpose and begin a fire.

  • Class A - fires involving strong substances such as wood, paper or textiles. Most stable substances take up power from any outer ignition supply both with the aid of conduction, convection or radiation (mostly by using their combination), or are heated up as a end result of the heat-producing techniques taking location internally that begin decomposition on their surfaces.
  • Class B - fires involving flammable beverages such as petrol, diesel or oils. In the case of a flammable liquid fire, a water extinguisher will unfold the liquid round which can probably do greater damage than desirable and exacerbate the fire. Water extinguishers are endorsed for environments that keep giant quantities of flammable substances such as warehouses, paper mills and storage facilities.
  • Class C - fires involving gases, fires begin when a flammable or a flammable material, in aggregate with a ample volume of an oxidizer such as oxygen gasoline or any other oxygen-rich compound (though non-oxygen oxidizers exist), is uncovered to a supply of warmth or ambient temperature above the flash factor for the fuel/oxidizer mix, and is in a position to.
  • Class D - fires involving metals. During a fireplace event, the mechanical houses of metal deteriorate beneath the increased temperature. A discount in yield strength, stiffness, and modulus of elasticity can occur. Even if the structural metal participants are deformed, the metal will regain its pre-fire residences as soon as the furnace is extinguished.
  • Class E - fires involving stay electrical apparatus. (Technically ‘Class E’ doesn’t exist on the other hand this is used for comfort here) Most electrical fires are precipitated through inaccurate electrical retailers and old, out of date appliances. Other fires are begun by means of faults in equipment cords, receptacles and switches.
  • Class F - fires involving grease A grease fireplace takes place when your cooking oil will become too hot. When heating, oils first begin to boil, then they shall begin smoking, and then they will trap on fire. Most vegetable oils have a smoking factor round 450°F, while animal fat like lard or goose fats will begin smoking round 375°F.

If you have a furnace and are in want of emergency offerings, please supply SERVPRO of Dubuque a name and we will be completely satisfied to make it “ like it never even happened”.


5/15/2023 (Permalink)

Why choose SERVPRO

Looking for a company that can respond to your loss, whether its fire, water, mold, carpets cleaned, or just a general clean. We here at SERVPRO do it all!

 Some of the reasons you should choose SERVPRO of Dubuque:

-We follow all protocols and procedures at all jobs. All our crew members are trained by our production manager, and take classes.

-We have the experience. Our production managers have been here for 20 years, he is one person anyone can go to for anything and he always has the answer. 

-We have the equipment. Trucks, and trailers ready to go and back up in the shop if needed.

-We have the man-power. What I mean by that is, we have the crew for any job, Big or small.

-Respond time, we can respond at the earliest convince for the home or business owner. We are 24 hour 7 days a week service, including holidays!!!

Choosing SERVPRO of Dubuque is one of the best choices you would make being we have so much to offer. We always ensure the best and most quality work! We leave the customers home or business “Like it never even happened”.

Spring Storms

3/25/2022 (Permalink)

Storms in the sky This image shows lightening and storms.

It’s been a beautiful spring day. The temperature is warm, the sun is shining and you’re thinking the weather forecast is once again wrong.  That’s when the temperature suddenly drops and the clouds on the horizon turn ominous. It’s time to get in the house and take shelter. These sudden spring storms often have high damaging winds, heavy rainfall and sometimes spawn tornadoes. Having a storm readiness plan and getting yourself and your family to a safe location is the most important thing you can do. An interior room in the basement away from any windows, if there is no basement then a closet or a bathroom away from exterior walls will offer some protection. Having a go bag is very important, follow this link to a list recommended items by Ready.Gov https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2021-02/ready_checklist.pdf  

The storm has passed, you’re all safe but your house has suffered some damage and now they are predicting more storms for tomorrow. Part of your roof has been damaged and is leaking, the 2nd story carpets are soaked. Right now, the water damage is contained on the second floor but for how long? You need to get your roof secured before the next storm and the water extracted from the carpets before any other damage occurs. WHO DO YOU CALL?

SERVPRO of Dubuque

Faster to any size disaster

We have the trained teams to secure your roof to make repairs needed. Extract the water and dry your carpets to prevent further damage. If needed we can test for mold and remediate it if needed.

"Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Storms are a coming.....

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

First aid kit This photo shows a first aid kit.

Santa and the New Year are coming and with them winter storms. Now is the time to prepare for the coming harsh winter weather.  Heavy snow, ice dams, and strong winds can really take a toll on your house                                                                                                                           

Frozen pipes are the number one casualty of cold weather as pipe bursts can lead to thousands of dollars in flood damage. Wrapping basement and crawl space pipes with insulation is an easy solution to help prevent this. If temperatures dip below freezing, help your pipes out by opening cabinet doors to allow warm air to flow around them; let your faucet drip just a bit to keep water moving. Also turning off the water to outside faucets is a good idea.

            Having a generator to keep your fridge, heating system, and lights running in case of power outages. Research to find out what sort of generator would suit your needs. Consult a professional electrician before installing and NEVER run a gas generator inside.       

Protect your family while keeping them warm! Carbon monoxide detectors will alert you of any potential problems and should be installed on each floor of your home.

Make sure your gutters and drains aren’t being clogged with leaves or debris.  A regular cleaning can help to avoid cracking gutters, ice dam buildup, or melting snow leaking into your basement. Also make sure your sump pump is functioning properly.

Take care to trim overhanging branches away from your roof or hire a tree service to remove any threatening branches.

Having an emergency kit will help keep your family safe. Go-to items should be, non-perishable food, bottled water, a car or solar charger for phones, flashlights, batteries, radio, sleeping bags, and extra cash. Make sure any medications or first-aid supplies are included as well. If you don’t have the time for a DIY kit, the Red Cross online store sells pre-made emergency kits.

But if disaster strikes in spite of your preparation’s remember that SERVPRO of Dubuque has the trained professionals to responded quickly and have your home "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Dubuque



Winter Ice Storms

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen pipe outside This image shows a frozen pipe outside a house.

Cold weather poses a distinct challenge to property owners. Ice can play havoc with your roof, siding, driveways, and walkways. Iowa’s frequent freeze and thaw cycles can lead to frozen pipes, leaks, and other property emergencies.  Winter storm damage can be quite severe — and quick action to deal with the damage is essential to protecting your investment in your property.

SERVPRO of Dubuque has helped Dubuque and Tri-State area home owners, commercial business owners and property managers deal with winter storms damage. Years of storm restoration projects have taught us that when property owners plan ahead and with an Emergency Response Plan from SERVPRO of Dubuque know what to do fast, it lessens the effects of the disaster.

 There are actually many potential emergencies caused by winter storms. It’s a good idea to know some common disasters you might be up against before a storm arrives.

  • Flooding— Cold snaps and freezes can damage pipes and cause them to burst, leading to water damage and flooded areas that need emergency restoration. Another consideration is flooding from thaws and refreezing rivers and streams causing Ice dams.
  • Fires— Whether it’s due to unattended fireplaces, improperly cleaned chimneys, or space heaters plugged into overloaded outlets or left too near flammable objects, fires can often happen during a winter storm.
  • Roof leaks— Ice dams that block drainage pipes, heavy snow and ice breaking through shingles. High winds from winter storms can also damage your roof, leaving your property exposed to moisture damage.

What to Do if Your Property Is Damaged

Once a winter storm strikes, your property can be left facing a number of things that need fixing fast.  Here’s a few tips from SERVPRO Dubuque your Storm disaster Restoration professional.

Take a Deep breath.

It’s tempting to freak out when an emergency arises.  It’s important to make good decisions. While you may need to quickly, SERVPRO of Dubuque can give you an assessment of what needs to be done.

 While you await the arrival of SERVPRO of Dubuque make sure everyone is safe.

When your property has suffered damage, it may put people on the premises at risk. So, be sure your family, tenants or employees are safe. Move everyone out of any areas that are affected. Do a headcount to make sure you know where everyone is. If the property is unsafe, you may need to arrange for a temporary place for family or tenants to stay. Also arrange for employees to work while the property is fixed.

Turn off power and water to affected areas

Often, winter storms can lead to leaks or floods from damaged roofs or burst pipes. Keeping the water running may make flooding worse, while leaving electricity flowing could lead to electrical shocks or a fire that compounds damage. With an ERP and /or Shut off tags from SERVPRO OF Dubuque you will know where cutoff valves and breakers are located. Shut off the flow to damaged areas, and call utilities companies if you need their assistance.

Contact your insurance company

 Call your agent to get the process of filing a claim started.  Leave everything in place, except for what must be moved or secured for safety, until the adjuster comes to document what happened.

 Remove property from damaged areas and secure and protect damaged area.

As soon as you have documented the damage, SERVPRO of Dubuque can help you move property out of the danger zone quickly to minimize further damage. Valuables and important papers take first precedence, because they may be impossible or very difficult to replace. Water damaged document can be dried and restored by SERVPRO. After that, move items that you’d like to save but that can be replaced, such as furniture and electronics. Keep in mind that SERVPRO of Dubuque can help restore these items as well as the building itself.

SERVPRO of Dubuque

Faster to any size Disaster


Winter is just around the corner so here is some information to keep you informed. Plus, how SERVPRO of Dubuque can help you if the worst happens and

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

snowmen Fun picture of snowmen

Winter Storm Warning

Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.

Winter Storm Watch

Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm.

Winter Weather Advisory

Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life-threatening situations.

Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Listen for emergency information and alerts. Sign up for your community’s warning system. 

Now that you know what the different alerts mean let’s look at the possible issues the storms can cause and how SERVPRO of Dubuque can make it "Like it never even happened."

  Ice Dams

 An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.

SERVPRO of Dubuque through our highly trained technicians and our contracting specialists can break up the dam, dry the affected area and make the necessary repairs in a timely manner.

Heavy Snow on your roof

According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, it takes 4 feet of fresh snow (or 2 feet of old, compressed snow) to create enough weight to stress a roof, and in areas with heavy snow accumulation, your roof may be designed to handle greater weight.

If your roof suffers collapse, you can be assured that SERVPRO of Dubuque not only has the resources to restore it "Like it never even happened," they have the generators that can supply heat and the power to repair your home.  Whatever your needs, rest assured that SERVPRO of Dubuque has you covered

Holiday water issues

11/24/2021 (Permalink)

Happy Holidays Happy Holidays from your SERVPRO of Dubuque team!!

You’ve just returned home stuffed with turkey and pumpkin pie only to find water running down the wall from the second floor. A leak in an upstairs bathroom has been running all day. Wet walls, water saturated carpets and important papers. You’ve already shut off the water, it’s 10 PM on a holiday who are you going to call?

SERVPRO of Dubuque at 563-584-2242 that’s who.

When your home has water damage from flooding or leaks, we have the expertise and equipment to properly restore your property. The water removal and water cleanup process is completed by our highly-trained technicians who will document the drying process. This validates that your property has been dried properly and thoroughly.

What to do until help arrives

After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!Water damage from upper floors can cause collapse.  Beware of wet materials above.

What To Do After Flooding

Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.

  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil, wood blocks or small plastic cups between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

What NOT To Do After Flooding

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

Call SERVPRO of Dubuque (563) 584-2242


3/15/2021 (Permalink)

Promaster in front of a building This is the promaster that got our crew safely to and from Arkansas.

National Resources 

As a part of a national network of franchises, SERVPRO responds faster and with more resources than most local companies can.  SERVPRO Dubuque has had a crew helping with the recovery efforts in Arkansas after this winter's storms.  Special Disaster Recovery Teams are also available as an additional resource when a major disaster strikes. 

Locally owned

As a locally owned and operated building restoration service, SERVPRO is an integral part of the local community here in Dubuque and the Tri-State Area. They are ready to respond quickly with whatever commercial cleaning or emergency restoration services are required. Their connection to Dubuque and the Tri-State area gives them a unique perspective and appreciation for the needs of local homes and business owners.

Qualified Restoration Technicians

Cleaning and restoring a home or business requires a crew of highly trained technicians to avoid lingering issues such as mold or odors. That’s why SERVPRO team members undergo ongoing training to stay up to date on the latest in emergency restoration technology and techniques. 

Advanced Restoration Equipment and Techniques

SERVPRO utilizes the most advanced equipment in the industry, including moisture detection devices, water extraction, and drying equipment, odor removal, deodorization, sanitizing, and antimicrobial treatments.

Comprehensive Restoration Services

Many types of property damage end up requiring multiple restoration approaches. For example, storm damage may result in the need for both water removal and mold remediation. 

Because SERVPRO offers a full range of restoration services, they can handle all aspects of the restoration process, regardless of the types of damage incurred. There’s no need to hire a second contractor or deal with multiple insurance claims. In fact, SERVPRO will even help manage the insurance paperwork. Call SERVPRO Dubuque at 563-584-2242


1/19/2021 (Permalink)

a white jug with decon 30 Decon 30 is what we use while disinfecting a covid job.

COVID is something we will have around like a virus. So SERVPRO of Dubuque is always prepared to go and tackle the COVID clean. We have Benefect Botanical Decon 30 disinfectant cleaner also known as Decon 30. Decon-30 is a safe product for adults, children, and animals.

Is Decon 30 safe?

Benefect is so natural, you can drink it! It's one of our all-purpose cleaners.

So, what does SERVPRO do when we COVID clean?

If it is a Category 1, we will come and do touch points and fog. When doing touchpoints, we will take a rag with Decon 30 and wipe everything down that could be touched by someone daily. Then we will go around and use an electrostatic sprayer to fog the touchpoints.

If it is a Category 2, we will do touchpoints, walls, and fog of the area of the positive case or the whole building depending on the customer's choice. When doing touchpoints, we will take a rag with Decon 30 and wipe everything down that could be touched by someone daily, along with the walls, we will use a Swiffer, and pad with Decon 30 Then we will go around and use an electrostatic sprayer to fog the touchpoints.

What is the difference between 'cleaning' and 'disinfecting' for COVID-19?

Cleaning with soap and water or a detergent removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It lowers the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting with a household disinfectant on List N: Disinfectants for use against SARs-CoV-2external icon kills germs on the surface. By disinfecting or killing germs on a surface after cleaning the surface, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

What do we wear?

When SERVPRO shows up, we are in full PPE. What is PPE? Protective personal equipment, we wear a full-face respirator, Tyvek suit, and gloves (two pairs). This is for the safety of our employees while disinfecting a positive cased area and while fogging.

According to Benefect.com:

“Typical disinfectants require 10 minutes contact time, which is difficult to achieve on vertical surfaces and materials. New Decon 30 solves this problem by being specially formulated to kill gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria with a more realistic contact time of just 30 seconds!”

Resolve to be Ready in 2021

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

Road and dark clouds Iowa thunderstorm

SERVPRO Urges Dubuque Home and Business Owners to “Resolve to be Ready” in 2021

Local cleanup and restoration specialist shares no-cost emergency planning tools that enable fast and effective disaster response and recovery

 While resolutions typically involve committing to personal changes and reaching goals, SERVPRO says the single most important resolution both business and homeowners can make for 2021 is to “Resolve to be Ready.”

 “Preparing in advance to deal with the unexpected can make a world of difference in how quickly and completely property owners can put the pieces of their lives back together,” says Todd Wiedenman of SERVPRO Dubuque. “Emergency readiness plans are the foundation for effective and timely emergency response.”

 Wiedenman encourages all property owners to take advantage of the no-cost emergency planning tools available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (www.ready.gov/publications), as well as SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile and READY Plan Mobile App (http://ready.SERVPRO.com). 

 For homeowners:

  • FEMA resources include guidelines for creating a Family Emergency Plan and Emergency Supply List, with additional tips for pet owners, seniors, people with disabilities, and even commuters.
  • SERVPRO offers its free SERVPRO READY Plan app, which stores critical contact and property information electronically in advance, where it can be accessed with a mobile device in seconds if disaster strikes.

For business owners:

  • FEMA offers materials on topics ranging from creating a Business Continuity Plan to an Insurance Discussion Coverage Form in addition to guidelines for creating an Emergency Response Plan.
  • For businesses, SERVPRO offers a no-cost facility assessment and assistance in creating a comprehensive Emergency READY Profile®(ERP). The ERP includes information about emergency contact numbers, priority, and high/risk areas, shut-off valve locations, and more that can then be stored in the READY app.

 “The time to gather and store information like emergency contact numbers; insurance contacts; and the location of fuse boxes, fire suppression system controls, and such is before an emergency strikes, not during an emergency,” says Wiedenman. “Having this information at your fingertips can help emergency responders react as quickly and effectively as possible, helping to limit the loss of property and even lives.”

Since 1998 SERVPRO of Dubuque has provided disaster restoration, cleanup, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened,” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Dubuque, please contact us at (563) 584-2242 or marketing@SERVPROdubuque.com. For more information on the SERVPRO mobile app and the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program, please visit www.ready.SERVPRO.com.


Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO® Franchise System is a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO’s professional services network of more than 1,700 individually owned and operated Franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO® System has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.

Helping in our Community

12/21/2020 (Permalink)

Tree on car This shows that the storm damage that it knocked a tree onto a car.

When another SERVPRO is in need of help with assisting customers SERVPRO of Dubuque is always willing to lend a helping hand. When the Cedar Rapids. We got a call stating they have tried calling all companies in Cedar Rapids and all other companies were busy helping other customers in need. SERVPRO of Dubuque hooked up to a generator, packed drying equipment, and took our EVAC truck up to Cedar Rapids to start the drying process.

One thing we learned while taking on the responsibility of helping Cedar Rapids derecho was that almost everyone was affected in some way, shape, or form by this. Whether it was their own home, business and or family, this was a huge hit to Cedar Rapids.

A huge thing was families having to stress overpower, where they would sleep, how long they would have their home like this before someone could help, and how long would this go on for. We talked to all our customers and told them this is now on us and as the homeowner or business owner our job is to ensure it is “Like it never even happened”, every job we went to we ensured to stay with our statement.

When our crew showed up, we had three of our crew members there and we started to EVAC the water out of the carpet. We got as much of the standing water off the carpet as we could before we set up drying equipment. We focused on making sure we got enough drying equipment to get a good drying system started before we could do demolition, so it would not create mold.

Every day, we would head down to monitor, upon making trips down the Cedar Rapids to monitor, we had more and more customers calling and asking if we could help them with their loss. We took on more jobs in neighborhoods from current customers and walking door to door to see if anyone needed any help. Customers were referring us to their family members as well.

2021 New Year’s Resolution: Plan Ahead!!

12/14/2020 (Permalink)

New years Goal. Plan. Action

With each new year, many people resolve to better themselves or some part of their life.  This year, make a resolution to be READY.  No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can prepare for it.  The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure you are “Ready for whatever happens” in 2021.

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 22 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 Sales and Marketing department Callie Waterman, Jenny Dazey or, Ken Shannon at 563-584-2242, and make an appointment to establish your Emergency READY Profile and be “Ready for whatever happens” in 2021.

Water Alarm

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

Water pipe broken Broken water line in resulting water damage

A friend of mine recently moved into a very expensive cabin and found some very interesting things that he brought to my attention.  According to the contract, all cabin owners must install water alarms in their utility rooms, kitchens, and any other area with a water-related appliance.

I decided to do some research on water alarms.  I was previously familiar with water alarms in the past, they are kind of like smoke alarms but for moisture.  When a sensor detects a certain amount of moisture, it sets off an alarm to alert you.  Apparently due to advances in modern technology they are now capable of alerting a homeowner while away from the premises through WiFi connectivity.

Being alerted to water damage when it starts could go a long way to mitigating the amount of damage caused by a broken pipe, water supply line, or even a sump backup.  Addressing water damage quickly is also the best way to avoid a costly mold problem.

A water alarm might be a sound investment if you own a secondary, vacation home or are away from home for extended periods of time.

Of course, if you do experience water damage, please contact your local SERVPRO!  Our experienced technicians can take care of all of your water damage and mold remediation needs. 

Cedar Rapids Derecho 2020

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

Cedar Rapids storm - image of tree crushing car Cedar Rapids Storm Damage

Cedar Rapids...

The storm came and hit Cedar Rapids, SERVPRO of Dubuque was referred by pre-existing customers. We are always prepared to go out of our way to help another SERVPRO in an emergency.

As SERVPRO we responded to the derecho damage to help customers that called us. Our crew here at SERVPRO loaded up and took off to go help those in need. When arriving to help the homeowners they were concerned about their homes and if they were still livable as some homes may have sat because no one was able to get there to help them for days or weeks. So they were then concerned about mold issues. We referred them to our mold testing partner, MB Mold and Air Quality Testing.

Customers were happy that we could get to them and was very surprised by the level of knowledge and maturity from all crew members.  All customers were understanding that Cedar Rapids was not our territory so if an emergency came up in Dubuque we would have to respond to that first. All customers were happy with the work we did for them and how efficient we were.

Helping the community is one of our biggest goals here at SERVPRO and to make sure it’s "Like it never even happened."

Toilet running all day

11/10/2020 (Permalink)

 Water Damage Your problem OUR solution

What to do when you have a WATER issue?

The experts at SERVPRO are here to help! You can call at any time of the day or year and we have crews ready to roll! We have trailers, trucks, and equipment always ready to go. No job is too big or small for our crew at SERVPRO of Dubuque.

When our crew arrives they will get a plan on what we will need to do, we will start the drying process. Once drying equipment is in place it can take 3-5 days for it to be dry. But SERVPRO will not take any equipment from a job until the loss area is dry.

Choosing SERVPRO of Dubuque to assist your needs will make your water loss is taken care of efficiently.  

Example for calling SERVPRO of Dubuque:

You come home from work and go into your basement and you have water to your ankles, you look around and notice it is coming through the walls and ceiling you go and find where else it is leaking from, you notice it is from your top floor toilet and it will not stop running. Not sure what to do next? Call SERVPRO and have us come take a look at what we can do to help get the water out and the drying process started. Once SERVPRO has a look at what needs to be done we can get a plan on what will happen next.

SERVPRO of Dubuque – "Like it never even happened."

We are a team!

11/6/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo above words "Always ready to help." SERVPRO of Dubuque ready to help!

Our crew here at SERVPRO can handle any job big or small and work together to come up with a plan of action to get the job done. 

Whether calling in at 830 am or 830 pm, we are available. We have trailers, trucks, and CREW ready to go for any emergency no matter the size of the loss. SERVPRO will show up and make sure the homeowner is helped out in any way they need. 

We will make sure the job is done to the fullest and offer reconstruction to ensure it is "Like it never even happened."  

Here at SERVPRO, we are here to make the homeowner satisfied while getting the work done efficiently. 

This is why SERVPRO of Dubuque is your go-to for any kind of loss. 

Terry's words about Why SERVPRO

11/5/2020 (Permalink)

Terry's Photo - man in front of green background Terry Lenstra, Project Manager & Claims Coordinator

SERVPRO of Dubuque has several team members that have been a part of the SERVPRO family for many, many years. I would like to introduce Terry Lenstra, Project Manager & Claims Coordinator. Terry joined SERVPRO of Dubuque 15 years ago. I asked Terry if he remembered his very first job and what type of loss it was, he immediately responded, “2 Story, Brick, House Fire” something you never forget in this industry. Terry did have a life before joining the SERVPRO of Dubuque Family which gave him an advantage in this industry. Terry has several years of experience in Construction and Building Maintenance.

Terry was the very first SERVPRO of Dubuque employee to get a company Mini Van.

Terry has been married to his wonderful wife Julie for 35 years. They enjoy being involved in Hope Church where Terry is part of the Music Ministry. They are avid bicyclists and workout daily. Terry also has a passion for playing the guitar.

Terry’s commitment and dedication to SERVPRO of Dubuque has made him a valuable assist. Along with these Certifications and Trainings.   

IICRC Certified - Water Damage Restoration

IICRC Certified - Applied Structural Drying

IICRC Certified – Microbial Remediation Technician

Certified Water Damage Restoration WRT Course

Claim Training Services – Successful Subrogation II

Certified Indoor Environmentalist

Something you will hear Terry say often is “Each Day is Better than the Day Before”…words to live by. A positive and a team like attitude are just some things Terry brings to the table at SERVPRO of Dubuque.

Why choose SERVPRO Terry???? SERVPRO of Dubuque is committed to providing the BEST service for remediation, mitigation, and reconstruction in the Tri-State area.

It looked like it was dry!

9/9/2020 (Permalink)

Mold Growth from trapped water Mold Growth under supfloor from trapped water

Did you have a small leak that you got cleaned up and forgot about?

Do you have a nasty smell now from the area?

Often time’s water can stay trapped behind or under a surface that does not have airflow and that can cause mold to grow quickly. Mold growth can be costly to clean up. 

SERVPRO of Dubuque is here to help you find that unseen water. We can identify what is still wet with our Thermal Imaging Flir Camera and or our Penetrating and Non Penetrating moisture meter. Once we have determined what is effected we then make a plan to disperse heat, air movement, and low grain or desiccant dehumidification to dry the moisture that is trapped.

Calling the experts at SERVPRO of Dubuque when you have a water leak or water intrusion could save you tons of time and money in the end.

When water damage occurs in your home or business and you can see the actual water, don’t freak out call your local SERVPRO of Dubuque, we are Faster to Any Size Disaster. SERVPRO of Dubuque is here to help!

#SERVPROdubuque #mold #waterdamage

#fastertoanysizedisaster #heretohelp #trappedwater 

Help, My Photos and Documents are Wet

9/9/2020 (Permalink)

Drying Chamber Vacumm Freeze Drying Chamber

The water is everywhere and everything is wet, my wedding albums, my parent’s childhood photos, even the birth certificates are wet! HURRY!

Have no Fear SERVPRO of Dubuque is Here to Help! The Faster to any size Disaster Team is on its way!

How can you help our wet photos and document, is often what we are asked? Getting items dry and restored back to the original condition is our goal when we do Document Restoration.

As the industry leader, we have access to the only HIPAA certified document response crew in the area. Response time is critical to stabilize the wet documents before they begin to degrade. All documents are treated using the HIPPA confidentiality safeguards and rules.

SERVPRO of Dubuque has a freeze-drying chamber located here in the Midwest, we also have access to one of the only mobile drying chambers in the country

Document Restoration begins with a method called vacuum freeze-drying.  The documents are brought under extreme vacuum to low temperatures and sublimation will remove the moisture directly into a gas form.

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

  • Books and manuscripts: coated papers, maps, parchment, pulp paper, drafting linens, textbooks, 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, watercolors

 #wetdocuments #SERVPROdubuque #waterdamage #freezedryingchamber #heretohelp 

Your Ultimate Packing List for the Perfect Road Trip

7/13/2020 (Permalink)

Hitting the Road We are on our way

Road Trip Season is Here and Needed More Than Ever This Year 2020. 

All the essentials you will want to make sure you have when you hit the road this summer. 


License & Registration

Copy of Insurance Policy/Card

Car's Manual

Roadside Emergency Kit

Spare Tire, Jack


Notepad, Pen, Pencil

First Aid Kit


Extra Money

Paper Map

Water Bottle

Toilet Paper



USB Chargers

Phone Chargers


Book, Magazine 

Travel Games



Travel Pillow


Reusable Water Bottle

Hand Sanitizer

Anti-Inflammatory Medicine 


Flip Flops

Window Shade

Just For You


Body Wipes

Lip Balm


Toothpaste & Toothbrush

Hair Ties

Last But Not Least



Garbage Bags

Protecting your Home from Water

6/9/2020 (Permalink)

Monitoring Your Foundations Cracks Cracked Foundations can cause problems

Can you prevent a Water Loss from occurring in or to your home?

The answer is YES!

Here a few tips to help eliminate the potential of a water loss.

OUTSIDE DRAINAGE PROPERLY SET UP - Most people never think to check the status of their home’s drainage setup. This is because you assume that it’s already been done right. But this is not always the case. Your outside drainage setup is your home’s first line of protection. It’s vital that it’s constructed properly and fully functional. If it’s not, your foundation is at risk of weakening. This happens when pools of water cause the foundation to crack and settle unevenly. Over time, water finds or creates more pathways to get into the home.

CHECK YOUR DOWNSPOUTS AND GUTTERS REGULARLY - Gutters can get clogged easily, especially if you have trees that hang near or over your home. Heavy rain and wind cause the debris, seeds, and leaves to fall and plug up your drainage gutters. Making a habit of checking your Gutters regularly can save you tons of money in the long run. Don’t forget the downspouts. They are designed to direct the water away from the foundation. Clogged downspouts that are not addressed can create problems.

INSPECT YOUR ROOF - Your roof is one of the most important, maybe the most important part of your home. Protecting your home from water damage begins with your roof.

KNOW WHERE YOUR WATER MAIN IS LOCATED - You need to know this. Many people who own homes don’t know where the water main is. It’s so important to know where it is. The longer it takes for you to shut the water off, the more damage you’ll have.

CHECK YOUR SINKS, FAUCETS, AND HOSES - You need to regularly check all the sinks, faucets, and hoses in your house for leaks. Don’t forget to get on your knees and check underneath and inside cabinets close to the floor.

CHECK YOUR TOILETS, TUBS, AND SHOWERS - The grout and caulking in your bathroom can become damaged and break over time. If caught in their early stages, this is an easy fix. What you don’t want is for water to damage the drywall underneath and permeate the tile.

CHECK YOUR SUMP PUMP - Twice a year and test. The last thing you want is for a rainstorm to cause your sump pump to fail.

SINKS ARE NOT FOR GREASE - Do not pour grease down the sink! And please don’t flush it down the toilet. Throw it away in the trash or dispose of it in another way. Just don’t let it travel through the pipes in your home

CHECK THE SEAL ON DOORS AND WINDOWS - This tends to be a bigger issue in older homes. But even if your home is new, you should still be aware of this potential problem. If doors and windows aren’t fitted properly, snow and rain can get in. Heavy winds can increase the chances of this happening.

CHECK FOR CRACKS IN YOUR CONCRETE - Cracks in your concretewill happen no matter what. But make sure you address them. If ignored they can grow and create a bigger problem. Especially if the area where you live reaches freezing temperatures. You’ll also want to see if the crack is caused by a foundation problem.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR WATER BILL - Monitor your water bill each month and look for irregularities in usage and price. This is a really good way to spot a leak. If You Go On Vacation, Turn The Water Off.

For more information visit our website: https://www.SERVPROdubuque.com/water-damage-restoration


2020 Storm Season is Here

6/8/2020 (Permalink)

Missed water can leave more than a bad smell Damaged wall cavity due to water intrusion that was missed.

The 2020 Storm Season is here, don’t let it take your “Smells Like Home” away!

Do you have an unpleasant smell that has developed after a water loss? If water has entered your home or building, whether you cleaned it up yourself or had it professionally mitigated, an unpleasant odor might be lurking and an indication that unidentified bound water might have been overlooked and microbial growth is occurring.

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

SERVPRO of Dubuque has specialized 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 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.

#2020stormdamage #badsmells #waterdamage  

We are Cleaning Experts

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

Here to Help A helping hand

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 perform 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 Dubuque 563.584.2242]




Going on Vacation, how well do you know your Insurance Policy?

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

Frozen Pipe that has Broke Frozen Pipe that has Broke

At SERVPRO of Dubuque, we occasionally have customers that run into coverage issues when it comes to damage caused by broken water pipes from freezing.  We asked one of our local agency partners to provide our customers with more information on this common issue.

Shirley Snow an Account Executive at Denlinger-Herrig Insurance was kind enough to provide the following information.

It’s that time of year when freezing pipes can wreak havoc on your home!!

Living in the Midwest a lot of people will take extended vacations to warmer climates. It’s important to understand what your insurance may or may not cover if you are gone, and your pipes freeze and cause a leak. Your insurance company may not cover losses related to freezing of pipes if your home is unoccupied or vacant.

Most companies consider a property unoccupied if you are gone for 60 consecutive days prior to the loss (30 days in some cases). This means that if you winter in another state your property may be considered unoccupied and there may not be coverage for freezing pipes. Some companies will allow coverage with an endorsement that states you will maintain heat in the home while you are away; or in the event that you want to have the utilities shut off and you drain all water lines.

Vacant properties are typically properties without any furniture, utilities, or appliances; essentially properties that are empty. These are typically properties that are on the market for sale or dwellings for rent. You should notify your insurance agent, if your property is vacant as there are coverages such as pipe breakage that may not apply once it has been vacant for 30 days.

Each insurance company defines vacant and unoccupied differently. It is best to contact your agent to see how long you can be gone from your home before pipe breakage is no longer covered and if there is an endorsement you can purchase to buy this coverage back while you are gone.

It is imperative that you call your agent to report a claim as soon as you suspect a pipe has broken and caused damage, no matter how minor you think it to be. If water damage is left unattended and not properly mitigated, mold could grow and potentially spread to other parts of your home. Most policies include wording that requires you to submit a claim as soon as you know it has happened. If you do not the company may deny coverage if you delay reporting the damage; which would result in more money out of pocket for you.

If you have additional question about coverage issues, or would like a second opinion on the policies you have currently, please feel free to contact us:

Denlinger-Herrig Insurance

3686 Crescent Ridge

Dubuque, IA 52003


Randi Taylor

Agency Principal

Shirley Snow

Account Executive



No Power.... No Problem!

12/31/2019 (Permalink)

cam lock power outlet on desiccant Photo of power outlets on exterior of desiccant.

One of the biggest hurdles that we encounter in the event of a disaster is the lack of usable onsite power.  Either there is no power available at a job site or the power is not reliable or is potentially unsafe due to damage.

Our Blog about our portable generators explains their capabilities and can be found here: https://www.SERVPROdubuque.com/blog/post/180441/storm/we-got-the-power 

In addition to these portable generators, our Desiccant Dehumidifier is also a power source.  Additional information about the drying capabilities of this cutting edge technology can be found here: https://www.SERVPROdubuque.com/blog/post/85591/storm/residential-desiccant

For the purposes of this blog, the Titan 5000 Desiccant generator's capacity is fully utilized during the startup and heating up of the desiccant wheel.  Once that process is completed, there is a significant amount of additional power available.  The machine is equipped with cam lock outlets to distribute this available power to other equipment. 

In the event of a water damage loss at a commercial building with out usable power, the desiccant functions as a power generator.  In addition to supplying dehumidified air to the entire structure, the power that it distributes can be utilized to run the necessary air movers, HEPA Air Filtration Devices, temporary lighting or other corded tools or equipment.

Another reason why, SERVPRO of Dubuque is the most well equipped and prepared disaster restoration contractor in the NE Iowa, SW Wisconsin and NW Illinois.  If you experience a fire or water damage event at your commercial building, local help is ready and available from SERVPRO of Dubuque.

Prevent winter water damage in your building.

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Frozen Pipes Frozen Pipes can result in winter water damage.

As temperatures drop during the winter months, one of the largest risks of weather related damage facing commercial properties is water damage from frozen/broken water lines.  As extreme cold and winter storms make their way across the Midwest during the coldest months of the year, water supply lines are at risk of freezing.  The freezing of copper supply lines, water lines for heating boilers and other water system components, can result in bursts or other damage to these lines.  When the water in the pipes begins to thaw, water will start leaking out of the damaged pipes.  Those leaks could range from an occasional drip out of a pin hole or hairline crack or they could be geysers from highly pressurize lines.

The amount of water damage can be significant from both, a high volume of water or a small leak, which can result in mold growth from remaining unnoticed for a duration of time.  Either way, the best way to avoid these potentially dangerous and expensive issues it to prepare in advance.

Hose spigots along the exterior perimeter of the building should be properly serviced prior to winter.

Obviously, it is important to maintain heat in the building during winter months, but in the most extreme cold, additional precautions may be necessary.  Be aware of any outlying areas, away from the core of the building, that might have water supplied to them.  Restrooms in shop areas or areas of the building that are maintained at a lower temperature than finished spaces.  Supplementary heating may be necessary during extreme cold snaps. 

In areas where pipes are most likely to freeze, some experts recommend allowing a faucet to drip will prevent freezing.  For more suggestions if you discover that your pipes have frozen, check out additional tips from Consumer Reports.


If you experience a water damage from frozen pipes this winter, give the water damage experts at SERVPRO of Dubuque a call.  We have the knowledge and equipment to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

What might be LURKING in flood water??

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Flood water surrounding a Home Flood water affecting a home.

After being properly trained on how to handle different types of water damage, team members at SERVPRO of Dubuque no longer play in flood water....

Flood water is considered by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) part of the definition of Category 3 – grossly contaminated water.

Flood water shares Cat 3 with other water sources such as: sewage, waste line back-flows, water polluted by toxic materials such as pesticides and toxic organic substances.

(For more information on the other water classifications, see our blog on the subject here: https://www.SERVPROdubuque.com/blog/post/184256/water-damage-restoration/the-3-different-categories-of-a-water-damage)

Flood water can be water that originated from seas, rivers or streams.  It is potentially contaminated with toxic chemicals, dangerous microorganisms and sewage related pathogens.

These are excellent reasons to not splash around in flood water!  Less obviously, it is the reason that any porous materials in your home that have been affected by Category 3 water, including flood water, should be removed and disposed of.

Property owners are often reluctant to remove and dispose of carpet or baseboard and the bottom few inches of drywall that have been affected by flood water.  There is no way to clean these porous materials in a way to completely remove the potential hazards that were deposited there by flood water.  Once they consider that their children or grandchildren will likely be crawling around on carpet that is likely contaminated by pathogenic microbes, they often change their minds.

So, in addition to cringing when you see the neighborhood kids splashing around in flood waters, give additional consideration to just cleaning up flood water in your property without addressing potential hazards.  Better yet, call the water damage experts at SERVPRO of Dubuque, we are always here to help.

This is no Job for Ghostbusters

12/27/2019 (Permalink)

Stocked Trailer Loaded and Ready

It’s 8 o’clock on a Friday Night when you finally arrive home from a long dreadful week of work to find water pouring out your door jams and windows, who do you call?!? This is not a job for Ghostbusters, this is a job for the industry leader SERVPRO of Dubuque 563.584.2242 Check out our website learn more about us  https://www.SERVPROdubuque.com/

SERVPRO of Dubuque is equipped to handle any size loss. SERVPRO of Dubuque has trucks and trailers loaded 24/7/365 days a year.

SERVPRO of Dubuque’s advantage is that we have a very large supply of equipment on hand…

Air Movers – 300

Dehumidifiers – 36

Air Scrubbers – 28

50 KW Generator - 1

35 KW Generator - 1

5000 CFM Hybrid Desiccant Dehumidification - 1

Titan - 2

FireBird – 1

FireBird Compact 20 – 1

Ozone Machines – 2

Vapor Shark – 1

Truck Mounts – 2

Dump Trucks – 2

Dump Trailers – 3

Storage Trailers for hauling contents – 3

This list is just some of the specialized equipment SERVPRO of DUBUQUE has on hand to handle your loss. If this is not enough equipment have no fear, with over 1700 franchises SERVPRO Industries believes in being there for their franchise owners. We just call a neighboring SERVPRO for back-up in a time of need. SERVPRO is one of the few companies that call on each other in a time of need.

So when you finally realize where the water is coming from and have stopped the flow of water call your local SERVPRO of Dubuque 563.584.2242 to make it “Like it never even happened”.

We are SERVPRO Strong!

Planning a Trip? Here are some simple but helpful TIPS to keep your home safe while away

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

Outlet Fire Outlet electrical fire

The trip has been booked, you have researched the top attractions, recharged your phones, laptop and IPad, packed your suitcases. You’re ready to hit the road.

But wait have you checked your home?  Before you depart you should make sure to have your home to-do list completed…

  1. Turn off your main water supply

Pipes break and even leak even though we are on vacation. Returning home to a flooded house is not anything you want. Weather the trip is a couple days or a couple weeks it is always a good idea to turn the water off.   

  1. Unplug all electronics

This tip has a couple benefits. By unplugging our devises we can prevent an electrical fire from starting and save money on our electric bill, who doesn’t like to save money.

Unplug the major appliances that you don’t need to run while you bask in the sun.

  1. Invest in a timer

Having lights turn on at different times and in different rooms can prevent a burglar from robbing you.

  1. Adjust your thermostat

If you live in a place where AC is a must during the summer months, adjust the thermostat a bit to save on your electricity bill. A good rule of thumb is to keep it a few degrees higher than normal. (So if you usually keep it at 70, change it to 75.) By not turning off the AC completely, you’ll keep enough air circulating to control humidity and mold.

If you live where it gets bitterly cold in the winter months you will want to leave the furnace on and lower it to 50-55 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing while away.

  1. Pour baking soda down your drains and toilet

Coming home to a nasty smell can be prevented by combining some vinegar and baking soda add a cup to your drains for a fresh smell.

  1. Check up on your insurance

Checking your car, home or renters insurance should be a must. Knowing what our policies cover could save you time and money in the event that something does happen while away.

Also the belongings that you take with you on vacation are covered by your homeowners or renters insurance…who knew.

Bring back the warm weather with you please and thank you, SERVPRO of Dubuque, until next time…

The 3 Different Categories of a Water Damage

12/12/2019 (Permalink)

Wet Ceiling Wet Ceiling - Category 2

Most of us are not aware that there are 3 Categories of water damage, Category 1, Category 2,     Category 3.  There will be a series of blog posts to follow discussing how different materials in your home are affected by water and how that determines how SERVPRO of Dubuque and your insurance company will deal with the resulting damage.

The IICRC S 500 4th Edition Standards 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 S500 categorizes water damage into 3 different categories. Here is a breakdown of the 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, other than falling rain water and melting ice, the source of this water is usually from the water supply to the home.  That water might be from a broken supply line, toilet tank, and tub or sink overflow (as long as there are no contaminants or additives).

Category 2 - water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.  Examples of Cat 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 grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents.  It can cause significant adverse reaction to humans if contacted or consumed.  Cat 3 water can include, sewage, waste line backflows, flood water from seas, rivers or streams.  Surface water can contain hazardous materials including pesticides or toxic organic substances.

Depending on category of water that causes the event as well as the fact that that water became contaminated by either flowing through a contaminant or from it remaining wet for a duration of time, the Category can change from Cat 1 to Cat 2 or Cat 2 to Cat 3.

No matter the Category 1, 2 or 3 SERVPRO of Dubuque has a crew that is ready to make it       “Like it never even happened.”

Simple reminders are the best

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Christmas Tree Christmas Tree Fire

Simple reminders are the best

Holiday Safety Tips from your local SERVPRO of Dubuque

Lights, trees, candles and decorations are just a few of the fun and festive items that come to mind during the holiday season – however, if not used properly your holidays may go from merry to miserable. 

Although Christmas tree fires are not that common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious fires. The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to greatly reduce the risk of a fire in your home or business.

‘Tis the season to make sure you are following proper safety tips.

  • Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always unplug the tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from the Christmas tree.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire – pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains – away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

What happens if a disaster strikes your home or business during the holidays? Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle; give SERVPRO of Dubuque a call at 563-584-2242. We are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, because we know that disasters cannot wait.

SERVPRO of Dubuque hopes your holidays are safe, merry, and bright! 

Family Emergency Plan - Fire Escape Plan

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Kitchen Fire Here is a photo from a residential fire that started in the kitchen. It quickly spread to the stairway leading to the bedrooms

Do you have a Family Emergency Plan for your home?

One of the most important parts of your family's emergency plan should include a Fire Escape Plan.

A Family Fire Escape Plan is crucial to have in place and for every member of the family to be familiar with, before a residential fire occurs.  According to experts, people have as little as 2 minutes to escape a burning building before it becomes impossible to get out.  Every second counts!  In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place.

In a survey conducted by the American Red Cross, only 26% of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.  Once a plan is developed, it is critical the everyone in the home understands the plan.  The best way to familiarize the family members with the plan is to practice it at least twice per year.

The following steps can assist in developing and implementing a plan:

  • Ensure that all smoke detectors work and have fresh batteries.
  • Draw a map of each level of the home, showing all doors and windows
  • Consider escape ladders for second floor bedrooms
  • Choose an outside meeting place for after you have all escaped
  • Teach children how to escape on their own. Have them do so, until they can do so unaided.
  • Practice the escape plan during both day and night hours.

SERVPRO of Dubuque hopes that you and your family never have to experience the tragedy of a fire in your home.  In the event that it happens, we hope that an escape plan will help to keep your family safe.  If you do experience a fire please call on the highly trained fire and water damage specialists at SERVPRO of Dubuque to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Family Emergency Plan - Winter Storms

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Frozen Pipes Frozen Pipes are only one of the dangers of winter storm weather.

Winter Storms can be very dangerous. According to Geni.com, approximately 400 people die as a result of winter storms every year in the US.

Being prepared for winter weather can lessen the change that you or your family members are in danger this winter.

Ready.gov which can be accessed by this link: https://www.ready.gov/winter-weatherprovides the following as safety guidelines to follow as well as ways to prepare for winter storms. Snowstorms & Extreme Cold

Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. A winter storm can:

  • Last a few hours or several days;
  • Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and
  • Place older adults, young children, and sick individuals at greater risk.


  • Stay off roads.
  • Stay indoors and dress warmly.
  • Prepare for power outages.
  • Use generators outside only and away from windows.
  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Look for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Check on neighbors.


Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time.
  • Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
  • Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.
  • Learn the signs of, and basic treatments for, frostbite and hypothermia.

Survive DURING

  • Stay off roads if at all possible. If trapped in your car, then stay inside.
  • Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
  • Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and begin treatment right away.
  • Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.


  • Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes.
    • Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin
    • Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.
  • Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
    • Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness
    • Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.

In the event that you home becomes damaged by winter storms, you can rely on the restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Dubuque to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Indoor Air Quality - Are you concerned?

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

IAQ Sensing Equipment Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Equipment

Do you have any concerns about the indoor air quality of your office or other business property?

Has the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of your commercial building ever been tested?

There are three main strategies to controlling IAQ.

  1. Managing pollutant sources. This is done by simply eliminating pollutants if possible, by setting physical barriers (containment), by managing air flow with pressure differentials or by timing the necessary release of pollutants to coincide with times when the building is not occupied.
  2. Diluting pollutants and remove them through ventilation.
  3. Using filtration to clean the air of pollutants.

According to the EPA on their website, EPA.gov:

Indoor air quality is a major concern to businesses, building managers, tenants and employees because it can impact the health, comfort, well-being and productivity of building occupants.

Most Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors and many spend most of their working hours in an office environment. Studies conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others show that indoor environments sometimes can have levels of pollutants that are actually higher than levels found outside.

Pollutants in our indoor environment can increase the risk of illness. Several studies by EPA, states, and independent scientific panels have consistently ranked indoor air pollution as an important environmental health problem. While most buildings do not have severe indoor air quality problems, even well-run buildings can sometimes experience episodes of poor indoor air quality.

A 1989 EPA Report to Congress concluded that improved indoor air quality can result in higher productivity and fewer lost work days. EPA estimates that poor indoor air may cost the nation tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care.

SERVPRO of Dubuque uses the three methods above during the mold remediation process.  If there are other IAQ concerns in a building, we often refer to our sister company, MB Mold & Air Quality Testing.  The CIEs (Council Certified Indoor Environmentalists) and CMSIs (Council Certified Microbial Investigators) at MB Mold & Indoor Air Quality Testing can test and monitor for most aspects of indoor air quality.  They specialize in Mold, Toxic Gases, Environmental Gases, Allergens, VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) and Methamphetamine residue.  They can assess IAQ issues and recommend resolutions.

HIPPA Certified Document Response Team

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

Static and portable document drying Here are the two types of document drying chambers we utilize. The first is SERVPRO's large stationary unit and the second is our portable unit.

HIPPA Certified Document Response Team

What does that mean? Well, 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 Teams in the area.  If an event causes documents to get wet, response time is critical to stabilize the documents before they begin to degrade.   All documents are treated using the HIPPA confidentiality safeguards and rules.

HIPPA rules were designed and are required to ensure confidentiality for medical records.  We restore a lot of medical records.  On the other hand, wouldn’t you want your important personal and business financial documents treated with the same level of confidentiality?

Our HIPPA Certified Document Response Team will inventory your documents, manipulate them as little as possible to prevent mechanical breakdown of the paper, transport the documents to secure freezer storage.  Once the documents are frozen to stabilize them, our clients have plenty of time to discuss restoration options and decide on the next course of action.

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

To accomplish this, 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 client’s building and the restoration can take place onsite.  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.  The SERVPRO of Dubuque Document Response Team can be a very valuable resource and can meet one of the needs of your disaster recovery plan.

See the difference

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

Soot covered Figurine Before & After of a Soot Covered Figurine

SERVPRO of Dubuque uses state of the art equipment such as the Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine from Marantz Ultrasonic.

Restoring Smoke, Soot, Water and Mold damaged property is faster, easier and more effective with Ultrasonic than with any other method.

Contents Restoration is an important piece of our business. It not only helps to restore damaged property, it helps restore people’s lives and livelihoods. While property damage can take many forms, what’s important to the owners is that their lives are returned to normal, and that they get their property back, as fast as possible.

Of course, when property can be returned depends on the type and severity of the damage. Certainly not every item, such as those actually burnt or melted in fires, can be restored, but a great number of items that would have traditionally been determined to be unrecoverable can now be quickly restored and returned to the owner with Morantz Ultrasonic.

Benefits of Ultrasonic for Content Restoration 

The benefits of restoring property with Ultrasonic are two-fold:

  1. For Insurance Companies: The cost of restoring an item versus reimbursing the owner for the item’s full value is dramatically diminished. Example: a $1500 television can typically be cleaned and returned to the owner within days. The cost of cleaning that $1500 television for the Insurance could be only $300(or whatever the restoration company decides to charge for their service). This represents a significant savings.
  2. For Property Owners: They get their original property back quickly. Whereas traditional cleaning methods can take weeks and cause additional property damage, with Ultrasonic most items can be cleaned in as little as 30 seconds to 2 minutes). As a result, it’s no surprise that most people are happy simply getting their property back, especially if it means getting their lives back to normal as quickly as possible and even more so if the items have sentimental value.

Types of Contents Restoration

The damage that occurs to property during fires, floods, accidents and other disasters is often much more severe than it first appears. To be sure, fire itself is destructive and an item that is physically burned or melted cannot be restored. However, property that has been engulfed in smoke, covered in soot, stained or discolored by water or contaminated by chemicals or molds can usually be restored to functional (or even good-as-new) condition with Morantz Ultrasonic.

How Common Damage Occurs

Damage to property and personal possessions can occur in many different ways. While damage as described above is common, fires are particularly troublesome as they can often result in multiple forms of damage. For example:

  • During a Fire:Fires can produce vast amounts of smoke that leave soot deposits on property. Depending on what has burned and the temperature of the fire, the soot produced by the fire may not only be mixed with a variety of chemicals and toxins. Additionally, physical properties of the soot can range from a fine powder to a thick sludge. Furthermore, because the particulate matter that makes up soot (and the chemical residue) is microscopic, it can not only penetrate deep into tiny crevices on the surface of an item, but it can also “sink” deep into the item This is especially true of electronics which can actually attract soot and dirt because they can generate magnetic fields or become charged with static electricity.
  • Immediately After a Fire:The water that was used to extinguish the flames can discolor the surfaces of many types of items. Additionally, water can cause severe physical damage since the materials from which many items are made can actually absorb surprising amounts of water.
  • Long After a Fire:Many types of materials and even the items themselves can retain significant levels of moisture. Moisture absorbed by an item that has not been properly dried, or that remains on or near the surface, may quickly become a breeding ground for molds and bacteria or other potentially hazardous residues (again, depending on what has burned).

Be proactive

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

Frozen Water Spigot Frozen Pipes

Being proactive about our property during the cold weather in the Midwest can drastically cut down your chances of a loss. We never know what Mother Nature is going throw at us heavy rain, freezing temperatures, damaging winds, sleet or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter weather.

      Check out these preventive tips to help reduce damage done by the colder weather.

  • Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Weather, such as wind, heavy rain, ice and snow, can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
  • Roofs, water pipes and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper working order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can lead to a damming effect, that can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
  • Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazer potential.
  • Inspect all handrails, stairwells and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
  • Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
  • Ask your SERVPRO of Dubuque Professionals about completing an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your business. The ERP is a no cost assessment to your facility, and provides you with a plan to get back in business fast following a disaster.

When winter weather strikes, call SERVPRO of Dubuque to strike back.  We can provide anything from temporary heat, desiccant dehumidification to water damage cleanup and repair.

Desiccant Dehumidifiers Large and Small!

11/21/2019 (Permalink)

Phoenix D385 SERVPRO of Dubuque's small desiccant dehumidifier

Desiccant dehumidifiers are extremely powerful pieces of specialty drying equipment, I have posted a few blogs here in the past on SERVPRO of Dubuque’s website about our amazing Titan 5000 Hybrid Desiccant dehumidifier (https://www.SERVPROdubuque.com/blog#174138). 

Some jobs have the specialty drying needs of desiccant humidification but either the buildings are simply not large enough or wet enough to warrant the use of our 5000 CFM Titan.

One of our newer additions to our stable of equipment is the Phoenix D385 Portable Desiccant Dehumidifier. This machine which is about the size of our normal commercial LGR (low grain refrigerant) dehumidifiers that we use every day, runs off standard household or building power.  It is a specialized piece of drying equipment that produces extremely dry air and is capable of efficient and effective dehumidification in a much larger range of temperature conditions than a standard LGR.  This machine can be very effective for drying stubborn, low evaporation materials such as ceramic tile & hardwood floors, plaster, brick and concrete.

As powerful as the 5000 CFM Titan is, the new D385 allows for a much more focused drying effort.  We are excited about this new addition and how it will allow SERVPRO of Dubuque to even better service our customers!

Previously, desiccants were only used on commercial and industrial properties due to their large size and excessively loud noise levels. The Titan 5000 is perfect for large residential, habitational or institutional properties because of its low noise levels, plus it is small and maneuverable enough to fit into a driveway or parking stall.  The D385 is perfect for the smaller commercial or residential projects or specific water damaged materials that need targeted drying.

Our desiccant dehumidifiers are just more things that set SERVPRO of Dubuque apart, another reason why we are an industry leader in the restoration industry.

Everyday Fire Hazard

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Charred Cell Phone Charger Photo of cell phone charger that overheated, possibly starting a fire.

As Black Friday approaches, the number of personal electronic devices gracing the coveted Black Friday shopping ads, is astounding.

Almost everyone has multiple electronic devices that they carry on them every day.  One of our SERVPRO employees mentioned the other day that their teenage daughter has an iPhone, and iPad, wireless ear buds, an apple watch that she will simply not leave home without.  In addition, she has a myriad of other electronic devices in the house or car that are always either plugged in to recharge or are awaiting some juice.

The amount of devices that the average home has either plugged in and charging or the plug and cord are plugged in awaiting a device is simply staggering. 

OK, so here comes the scary part.... Each and every one of those plugs and ports is a fire hazard. Most device plugs, especially the really cool ones with LED lights on them, have electricity coursing through them even when a device is not attached.

These are often of inferior or cheap quality and are prone to over heating and shorting out.  Hundreds of house fires every year are caused by these plugs and charging ports.  Even worse, they are usually tucked behind a piece of furniture or other contents with just the charging cord protruding into the open for easy access.  Not to mention the devices that are accidentally left bundled in blankets or under pillows where the heat can build up and increase the chance of a fire.

We are not asking you to skip all the AWESOME Black Friday sales or to pass up the tech device on someone's Christmas list.  Just be cognizant of the risks associated with the abundance of charging devices that are in your home.  Consider unplugging the plug or port when the device is not being charged.

Happy Shopping from all of us at SERVPRO of Dubuque.  We might even put out our Christmas list in an upcoming blog.... 

Keeping your property safe & warm during winter storms

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Space heater Fire caused by a space heater

Winter weather season has arrived earlier than we expected, To keep our homes and workplaces toasty, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters and wood burning stoves.  Did you know, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths?  According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment fires cause and estimated $1 billion in property damage annually.  Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of heating-related fire.

  • 50% of all residential heating-related fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February.
  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or a portable space heater. Also, have a three foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly to ensure that they are working properly and that the batteries don’t need to be replaced. Also, smoke alarms, themselves, should be replaced every ten years.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container.  Keep the container a safe distance away from your home or other combustible items.
  • Remember to always turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Have chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

If your property suffers a fire damage, contact your local Dubuque SERVPRO Professionals to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

*Statistics and tips provided by the National Fire Prevention Association.

We got the POWER!

11/18/2019 (Permalink)

35KW Generator One of our trailer mounted generators, ready for service.

SERVPRO of Dubuque has the POWER!  Generator Power that is.

In the event of storm damage, power outages are one of the issues that hinder mitigation of damages.  The faster that storm related water damage is addressed and the clean up and drying begun, the less extensive the overall damage is likely to be.

The faster that bulk water can be extracted, drying equipment placed and HVAC restored, the more quickly your home or business will be back to normal.

SERVPRO of Dubuque has two trailer mounted diesel generators, a 50KW and a 35KW.  Either of these machines are capable of providing clean safe power to run several of our commercial grade dehumidifiers and dozens of air movers.

Our generators are already setup for distribution and are ready to deploy on a moments notice.  The distribution boxes are important because these are placed inside the building and the equipment plugs directly into the boxes.  This provides power throughout the home with out utilizing the wiring in the home that might be compromised.

So, whether a storm knocks out the power in your neighborhood, or damage done to your home or building raises concern about the safety of onsite power, we have solutions.

Just one more answer to the question….Why SERVPRO?

Has your business planned for disaster?

11/18/2019 (Permalink)

Digital ERP Emergency Ready Plan Technology

If you haven't established an Emergency Plan, SERVPRO of Dubuque is here to help.

According to www.ready.gov, a website of the Department of Homeland Security, when a business suffers from a disaster the likelihood of reopening is only around 60%. When disaster comes, you can either be ruined or you can be ready with the help of technology. Disasters happen. The difference between those who make a comeback and those who don’t is preparedness. Here are some of the best ways to prepare for the worst.

  • Backup online: Various services such as Google and Dropbox offer secure, online document storage. Backup your important computer files and/or images of important documents online where they can be recovered immediately.
  • Stay informed: Follow local news, local government, FEMA and SERVPRO of Dubuque on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Twitter also allows users to alert first responders in the event that rescue is needed.
  • Mark yourself safe: Keep your family and friends up-to-date. Use Facebook’s Safety Check, or The American Red Cross’ Safe & Well site to mark yourself safe after you’ve been caught up in a natural disaster, or crisis situation.
  • Update Contact Info: Maintain current contact information in your e-mail and phone for family and friends you may need to contact in the event of an emergency.
  • Stay charged: Keep a portable charger charged up and ready to go in your home and vehicle. Solar powered chargers are available as an alternative to portable chargers. Solar chargers don’t require recharge and may be more reliable in the event of a natural disaster or crisis situation.
  • Get an Emergency READY Plan profile.

Your local SERVPRO of Dubuque marketing department is specially trained to assist you in preparing an Emergency Plan for your business.  Our READY Plan software is available at no cost and once completed you can manage in online yourself through the READY Plan mobile app.

Give us a call to make an appointment to have an Emergency READY Plan custom configured for your business.

Is my damage covered by my homeowners insurance?

11/14/2019 (Permalink)

Damage to framing Damage to framing caused by a unnoticed leak.

You just found out that you just experienced a disaster!  There is a significant amount of damage to what is probably your largest investment in your life.  Will your insurance company help you with cleanup?  What about repairs?  What if you are forced to relocate for a time while the home is being repaired?  If the damage to the home is covered, what about your contents especially those expensive collectibles or fine arts?  What if you didn't realize that you had water damage and now there is mold growth?

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.

Here is a link to a very interesting article from House Logic, that was shared to us with our partners from Sherrill Mutual Fire Insurance Association.


The article discusses the standard coverages provided in a basic policy 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 and the insured did not fail to address the water damage when it was discovered.

Having a better understanding of what your 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.


Hide and Seek is not a fun game to lose with water!

11/14/2019 (Permalink)

FLIR Image Thermal Image of water damage behind drywall.

Where can water hide?

As the largest water damage mitigation contractor in our area, SERVPRO of Dubuque fields a lot of calls from people looking for help with water damaged homes.  People often want to save money and shop vac up the water and set a couple fans, wondering if that will be adequate.

Surface water can be extracted and dried with some air movement and the use of a residential dehumidifier.  When water has soaked into a material, the situation changes.

Bound or hidden water is one of the causes of hidden mold growth.  If an area has gotten wet and that area is not easily visible or easily accessible for standard drying methods, mold growth can begin within a few days.

SERVPRO's highly trained technicians are equipped with some of the most advanced tools on the market to test and analyze the environment for humidity and moisture. 

Hygrometers are used to measure the atmospheric conditions related to humidity or the amount of water vapor in the air.

Thermal Imaging Cameras are used to scan for differential temperatures across a surface.  These differences in temperature can be an indication of moisture.  As moisture evaporates, it cools the surface of the wet material.  That cooler surface shows up as a different color on the camera.  A properly trained technician will next, always confirm or deny the presence of moisture using either a penetrating or non-penetrating moisture meter.

The thermal camera is an excellent tool to scan a very large area for tell tale signs of moisture and then keying in on those areas for further investigation.

If you have experienced a water damage and that water has affected building materials such as carpet & pad, drywall, paneling or framing, you should consider calling an expert.

If you chose to go it alone and fail to realize the extent of the water damage, your could expose your home to a very costly mold problem. 

Contact SERVPRO of Dubuque, your local fire, water and mold remediation specialists.  Let us make it "Like it never even happened."

Why SERVPRO? Document Restoration Leader

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

Wet Documents Wet documents prior to inventory and pack out.

Why SERVPRO? We are an Industry Leader - in Document Restoration!

We use the same state of the art process that is used by the Library of Congress!

SERVPRO of Dubuque is one of the industry leaders in restoring and salvaging water damaged documents, books, photos, microfilm, microfiche, X-rays, audio/video tapes and other materials by using state-of-the-art vacuum freeze drying technology.

Document Response Team - We have an experienced and trained HIPAA certified team ready to mobilize for on-site pack out, pickup and transportation of your wet or damaged documents.

Water Damaged 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

Mobile Document Restoration

We have access to one of the only portable document restoration vacuum freeze drying machines, in the industry.  In the event that you have a project where the documents are legally required to remain onsite, we can accommodate.

 Additional Document Services Available

  • Secure Document Destruction
  • Gamma Irradiation
  • Document Cleaning
  • Scanning/Digitizing
  • Ozone Treatment (Deodorization)

Businesses of all sizes can have a need for document restoration.  Whether it is a small file cabinet filled with financial records or a warehouse full of important documents and customer files, SERVPRO of Dubuque is the solution.

Time is of the essence in Document Restoration.  Wet documents should be stabilized with in the first 48 hours and with as little manipulation as possible.  Give SERVPRO of Dubuque a call as soon as possible so we can mobilize your Document Response Team to stabilize your documents.

Why SERVPRO? Specialty Equipment

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

Desiccant Set on Job Site Desiccant set at habitational building.

Why SERVPRO? Specialty Equipment!

SERVPRO is an industry leader and the team to rely on for specialty equipment to handle even the most complicated projects.

Our use of cutting edge equipment allows SERVPRO of Dubuque to handle projects of any size and overcome any challenges.

One of our more interesting pieces of specialty equipment is our hybrid 5000 CFM Desiccant Dehumidifier.  This machine allows us to dry a large space using one quiet and very efficient trailer mounted machine.

We were recently contacted by a customer with a large residential building that was hit by lightning.  The lightning strike activated a section of the buildings sprinkler system causing water damage to several units on a total of 3 floors.

We were able to set our Desiccant, which is 70% quieter and 70% more fuel efficient than a standard desiccant.

For more info on this specific piece of equipment please see this blog entitled Desiccant Dehumidifier.

Specialty Drying Equipment, another answer to the question, Why SERVPRO!

Desiccant Dehumidifier

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

Desiccant ducted to building Desiccant being ducted to a building.

Normally a Desiccant Dehumidifier is a very large, very loud and very inefficient machine, only used for large commercial and industrial projects where noise and expense are not primary concerns. Normally it is delivered by semi-truck on a large flat bed trailer accompanied by a large diesel powered generator.

This may be appropriate for a large commercial water loss, but is not something you would want to have set in your residential neighborhood, library parking lot, apartment complex, nursing home or school.

Our hybrid Desiccant, the Titan 5000 is an 8'x8'x8' cube that  rests on a car sized trailer and the generator is included inside the cube, within the sound proofing.

The Titan 5000 is 70% quieter and 70% more fuel efficient than the standard 5000 CFM desiccant.

It is a solution for severe residential water damage losses as well as specialty commercial placements where size and sound levels are a concern.

The unit is parked outside the building and the very dry warm air is supplied to the building by flexible ducting.  That air is then distributed around the building through a plastic tube, which is vented into areas needing dehumidified air for drying.

The machine provides its own power, so it is perfect for locations where building power is either inadequate or otherwise compromised and not available for standard drying equipment.

Only SERVPRO of Dubuque and our partners have access to this amazing machine.  That is another answer to the question, Why SERVPRO!

Why SERVPRO? A Team Effort!

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

Support Team Onsite Truck full of equipment brought by SERVPRO of Iowa City.

Why SERVPRO? A Team Effort!

When disaster strikes, whether it is a widespread natural disaster causing extensive damage in our community, or a water or fire damage to a large property, SERVPRO has the help of a Team Effort!

SERVPRO of Dubuque is a locally owned business, but we are part of a team of over 1,700 franchises throughout the US and Canada.

SERVPRO of Dubuque's team of over a dozen employees has an inventory of over 25 commercial dehumidifiers, over 300 air movers, dozens of HEPA Air Filtration Devices and 2 Desiccant dehumidifiers. Sometimes, that is simply not enough!

When our equipment and highly trained professionals are busy on projects for our residential and business customers, we might need additional staff and equipment.  Thankfully, we are able to rely on our neighboring franchises or special teams from SERVPRO Corporate.  With a phone call, we can have semi-trailers full of equipment and trained personnel on site in a day or two.

Recently, a large commercial customer called, needing our help.  We were "swamped" due to recent heavy rain events.  We reached out to our SERVPRO Large Loss Response Team in Iowa City, Iowa and they had a truck full of equipment and several of their staff onsite in a matter of a few hours.

This allowed us to get help to the customers that needed it, when they needed it.  Another answer to the question, Why SERVPRO! 

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.

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.

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.

Water Damage, Better Call SERVPRO!

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

Our office inundated with storm water.

Water Damage, Better Call SERVPRO!

In the recent heavy rain storms, everyone can be affected.  As a mater of fact, this is our office on Monday.  Needless to say, we know someone in the business and the water was quickly extracted and drying equipment set.

We are responding as quickly to the water damage calls in Eastern Iowa, SW Wisconsin and NW Illinois, as we can.  If you have spoken with someone at our office and have been told that you are on our list, we will get to you as soon as possible.

Mold Exposure and it's effects: CIRS

8/11/2018 (Permalink)

Example of Significant Mold related to water damage

SERVPRO of Dubuque recently received a call from a customer whose daughter was diagnosed with CIRS and was concerned about the air quality in her home and how it might affect her daughter.  She was interested in our knowledge of “Small Particle Cleaning, a new paradigm in cleaning.

As always, neither SERVPRO of Dubuque nor our mold consultant MB Mold & Air Quality Testing, cannot and will not offer any health related advice.  We encourage all of our clients to contact their health care professional for any and all questions about their individual health and wellness.

The level of detail that this customer’s questions contained, it was obvious that she had spent a lot of her time researching this topic that we knew very little about.  After extensive research as well as contacting the expert that handles most of our training needs, Ian Cull, PE, CIH of Indoor Sciences. We found out that a very small percentage of IEPs and remediators even know about CIRS and “Small particle cleaning”.

Although this process is relatively unknown at the current time, it appears that this new cleaning process is gaining traction and attention amongst the health care professionals in this specific field.  We just wanted to share some of the information we have found and expose our customer base to this information.

SERVPRO of Dubuque and MB Mold & Air Quality Testing will continue to expand our knowledge in this emerging field as well an any other new techniques that might help us better service our customers.

The following information was found on www.mold-advisor.com, a resource that we use and recommend to our clients.

Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

Chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) is a serious, multi-symptom illness that negatively impacts more than one system in the body. Most often is it caused by exposure to harmful biotoxins or neurotoxins in our environment. These toxins may be caused by:

  • Mold in the home.
  • Pfiesteria – Microscopic organism that produces toxins known to cause large fish kills.
  • Cyanobacteria – Commonly found in lakes and rivers.
  • Lyme disease – Transmitted by tick bites.
  • Poisonous spider bites.
  • Ciguatera – A toxin affecting reef fish that are often consumed by humans.

The effects of this inflammatory syndrome vary depending on the person and their experience. However, the respiratory, neurological, psychological, and gastrointestinal symptoms can be life-changing, no matter the source, which is why it is essential to know the signs and see your doctor if you think you have it. Remember, mold allergies are not the same as mold illness, so it is critical to determine the reason for your symptoms. If you recently had flooding in your home or the interior of your household has been humid, you will also want to determine if your symptoms of CIRS are being caused by exposure to mold in your home.

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)?

Since this syndrome can develop in our bodies from multiple biological sources, different acute indicators may arise in different people. Whether it results from eating contaminated food, breathing in mold or something else, there are a few general and more common symptoms to watch out for. 

The general symptoms of CIRS may include:

  • Fatigue and/or general malaise 
  • Chills
  • Headache 
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Joint and/or muscle pain
  • Fever 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Nasal and/or sinus problems 
  • Eye irritation
  • Sensitive skin

Characteristics of CIRS From Mold Exposure

It is important to know that the effects of chronic inflammatory response syndrome from mold exposure will present itself differently than if it was caused by something else, such as a spider bite, a burn or lyme disease. In fact, when a person develops this syndrome due to mold exposure specifically, they will usually experience some of these symptoms, in addition to those mentioned above: 

These symptoms are also typical signs of illnesses like influenza, indoor and outdoor allergies, and the common cold, so it is important to see your physician if you have them.

Seeing a Doctor for CIRS 

If you have any of the above symptoms of CIRS, see a doctor right away. It is critical to seek medical advice as soon as possible, because unlike dealing with the flu or a cold, the effects of chronic inflammatory response syndrome may not go away. In fact, ignoring the acute effects of the disease can lead to the development of chronic illness, which can significantly affect your quality of life.

Over time, the chronic effects of CIRS can lead to:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Memory problems 
  • Disorientation and/or confusion
  • Mood dysregulation 
  • Body temperature dysregulation 
  • Night sweating  
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression
  • Frequent urination
  • Static shocks 
  • Increased thirst 
  • Tremor 
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite changes 
  • Metallic taste 

The chronic symptoms of CIRS are alarming and could have a significant impact on your health. Therefore, it is not only important to treat your symptoms, but to also determine their cause as soon as possible. Make an appointment with your doctor to review how you are feeling. At your visit, your doctor will perform a medical exam, as well as discuss your health history for illnesses that cause CIRS and other forms of inflammation. They may also ask you if your immediate family members currently have or have ever had a condition like Lyme disease or cancer. In most cases, they will want a blood test to see if your body is reacting to inflammation. They will look for other reasons for your symptoms, including diabetes mellitus, liver disease, renal disease, and several autoimmune illnesses. They will also talk to you about your diet and home environment to determine if the cause is external. 

Talk to your doctor about the chances that the toxicity is coming from your home or what you eat. Whether you need to eliminate recluse spiders from your attic, treat your lyme disease, or remove mold from your bathroom ceiling, stopping the reason for your CIRS at the source can improve your medical prognosis and ensure no one else in your family develops the illness. It can also help rule out other types of disease.

Checking Your Home for Signs of Mold

No matter the cause, chronic inflammatory response syndrome is a severe illness with lasting consequences. In many cases, it does develop as a result of toxic mold exposure, which is why it is important to have your home checked if you or your doctor think mold may be causing your symptoms. A professional mold inspection completed by an experienced technician will determine if mold is present, and they will let you know what needs to be done to safely remove it. 

Contact SERVPRO of Dubuque and/or our mold consultant MB Mold & Air Quality Testing if you have further questions or would like testing done in your home.

Residential Desiccant

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Desiccant set on residential water job in Galena Illinois

If you are not familiar with desiccant dehumidification, please read the blog Desiccant Dehumidification.

As the season for spring rains and flooding approaches, keep in mind that SERVPRO of Dubuque has one of the most innovative drying tools available.  Our Titan 5000 Desiccant Dehumidifier is like no other piece of drying equipment in the area.  This High Efficiency Desiccant has several advantages over anything else available.

Normally a desiccant is a very large, very loud and very inefficient machine.  Normally it is delivered on a large flat bed trailer behind a semi truck accompanied by a large 240KW generator.

This may be appropriate for a large commercial water loss, but is not something you would want to have set in your residential neighborhood, library parking lot, apartment complex, nursing home or school.

The Titan 5000 is an 8'x8'x8' cube that  rests on a car sized trailer and the generator is included inside the cube, within the sound proofing.

The Titan 5000 is 70% quieter and 70% more fuel efficient than the standard 5000 CFM desiccant.

It is a solution for severe residential water damage losses as well as specialty commercial placements where size and sound levels are a concern.

Only SERVPRO of Dubuque and our partners have access to this amazing machine.

Is Mold Damage covered by insurance?

4/11/2018 (Permalink)

Mold on interior wall

Does your insurance cover mold?

Don’t wait until you have a household mold problem to ask does homeowners insurance cover mold removal. Find out in advance if your insurance will cover a problem if one arises. Mold removal can be extremely costly, so you don’t want to find out too late that you’re not covered.

Coverage varies from policy to policy and state to state, so the only way to know for sure if your policy will cover mold removal is to read your policy carefully or ask your agent. Some insurance policies contain exclusions specifically addressing mold removal. Some will cover mold removal only under certain circumstances. Some will pay for mold removal but not for mold testing, even though you may need to have your home tested for mold in order to find out if there is mold, that needs to be removed. PRV or Post Remediation Verification is also critical to confirm that the mold remediation process was successful.  The policies that do contain mold coverage, usually have a specific limit of insurance that will apply to mold.

Contact your insurance agent if you have any questions about your policy. If your policy doesn’t currently cover mold removal, find out if you can add that coverage to your policy, or if there is another insurance carrier that they can offer that covers mold.  It could save you thousands of dollars down the road.

When Mold Coverage Exists:

In cases where mold coverage exists, coverage needs to be triggered by another covered cause of loss.  Many different things can lead to the growth of mold in the home. If mold is caused from a sudden and accidental issue, like a burst pipe, which is covered, insurance is more likely to cover mold removal than if the mold is a result of an ongoing leak due to lack of maintenance

Here are some examples

Water Damage Following a Fire

Homeowners insurance usually covers fire damage. Unfortunately, sometimes the water used to put out a fire can lead to later mold problems. If mold results from a fire that is covered by your homeowners’ insurance, your insurance policy will probably cover the mold removal, as well.

Water Damage Following a Flood

Mold is a common occurrence after a home has had a water intrusion. Homeowners insurance does not cover flood, it probably will not cover mold that results from flooding. It may, however, cover mold following a covered water back up incident.

Water Damage from a Leaky Roof

Homeowners insurance usually won’t pay for water damage that results from a leaky roof, and most policies won’t cover mold damage that results from a leaky roof, either. However, if damage to the roof is caused by a fallen tree or limb, that damage usually will be covered by homeowners’ insurance. In that case, your insurance policy might also cover any resulting mold damage.

Also, most policies have a requirement that you take reasonable steps to mitigate damage.  Once you are aware of a water loss you have a duty to address the condition to protect from further damage.  If you are aware of otherwise covered water damage and fail to take any action, there could be coverage issue for the water damage as well as any resulting mold damage.

Mold Remediation

If you’ve got a mold problem the first step is finding out how bad the problem is and how much the source has contaminated the other areas in the building.  Be sure to have this inspection and testing done by a certified professional such as an ACAC Certified Indoor Environmentalist.  The initial testing results that the CIE produces will include a scope of remediation.  SERVPRO of Dubuque can take that Scope of Remediation and use it to give you a mold remediation estimate.

If you have trouble finding a certified mold inspector, we can provide a referral.  If a mold issue is identified and a remediation plan is in place, we recommend that you make sure the remediation contractor is properly trained, certified and has the proper environmental liability insurance in place to do this specialized work.  SERVPRO of Dubuque has all of these qualifications!

Tank-less Water Heaters

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

Broken fitting on tank-less water heater

Tank-less water heaters have become more popular every year.  Tankless water heaters are compact in size, taking up less space than conventional tank type water heaters. They can virtually eliminate standby losses - energy wasted when hot water cools down in long pipe runs or while it's sitting in the storage tank.  Here is the disadvantage.... When a hot water line leaving the water heater bursts, it continues to produce hot water, ALOT of hot water.  Since there is no tank to run dry, it will continue to spray hot water until the water is shut off.  When this happens in an unoccupied, secondary home, it can result in a significant amount of damage.  Several thousand gallons of 120-degree water, does an amazing amount of damage to a home.

We recently responded to a water damage in a beautiful, historic secondary home in Illinois.  A water line leaving the tankless water heater burst and hot water escaped the system for several days.

This resulted in extensive water damage to the basement from the water discharged from the system as well as significant damage to the main level and the second floor from secondary humidity.

If you have a secondary home or are prone to basement water intrusion, you may want to consider a water alarm.  Newer models are available that can connect to Wi-Fi and notify you of a water intrusion while you are away.

Steps to Reduce the Risk of Tornado Damage

3/14/2018 (Permalink)

How to minimize tornado damage.

Tornado damage mitigation tips from Disastersafety.org.

About 1,000 tornadoes occur each year in the United States, causing an average of $1.1 billion in property damage and 80 deaths. These storms vary in intensity and the accompanying damage can result in everything from minor repairs to complete destruction with little warning. Most tornadoes are relatively weak, and therefore, primarily damage roofs, windows and trees. While only two percent of tornadoes achieve the most violent and damaging classification, one quarter of tornadoes are powerful enough to cause 90 percent of the damage and two-thirds of the deaths.


In an effort to gain a better understanding of who is most at risk from these destructive forces, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) conducted a regional analysis of tornadoes of F2 or greater strength that were reported during the 50-year period beginning in 1957 through 2006. This analysis, coupled with the construction guidance included below, is intended to better define which areas are most likely to be affected by tornadoes and to suggest methods for mitigating property risks.

The analysis used tornado records from a period of time when the older Fujita Scale classification F0 through F5 was being used. Since 2006, tornadoes have been classified by the Enhanced Fujita Scale using EF0 through EF5. Both scale classifications are based on damage observed after a tornado strikes. The EF scale, which provides a larger number of damage indicators for different types of buildings, attempts to recognize the difference between poorly constructed and well constructed buildings and results in lower estimates of wind speeds for the most intense storms, which are classified using the highest number on the F or EF scales. Efforts to re-classify the older F-Scale tornadoes using the EF-Scale are very labor intensive and subject to judgment because it requires a review of old damage reports, many of which will not have pictures of the damage. The simple approach, which is reasonable and probably slightly conservative, is to simply use the new wind speed estimates with the older classifications.

In creating the map below, IBHS used a grid of 100 square mile cells in the analysis. This is a smaller cell size than used by most other analyses. The advantage is a finer resolution of tornado risks at the expense of greater variability between adjacent cells. The effects of this potential limitation were reduced by employing a process to smooth out differences in tornado frequencies between nearby cells.

Tornadoes have a unique destructive power among wind-related natural disasters because they concentrate a massive amount of energy in a relatively small area. The strongest category of tornadoes can generate maximum wind speeds of greater than 250 mph, which is enough to destroy most buildings and structures in their path. These maximum wind speeds generate forces that are about twice as large as those generated by the strongest hurricanes.

Only a few specialty buildings are designed to withstand the direct impact of a severe tornado. However, well engineered, large and tall commercial structures are not likely to suffer structural collapse. For smaller commercial structures, good construction choices can give added protection and increase the likelihood that at least part of the structure will remain standing to provide shelter. Buildings that have been strengthened in critical areas and particularly at connection points, such as between the roof and walls and walls and foundation, would have a good chance of surviving intact or with minor cosmetic damage if subjected to the outer edges of a tornado.

Despite the annual tornado exposure, many walls and roofs of businesses in inland areas of the United States are typically built to resist gravity loads and have little resistance to uplift and lateral loads. Construction where all parts of the building are well connected is more common in hurricane-prone areas, but should also be considered by anyone who wants to increase their property’s protection from other severe windstorms, according to the building science experts at IBHS.


While there is no way to eliminate all the damage of a direct hit from a violent tornado, businesses in tornado-prone areas can implement a variety of affordable measures which, for the majority of tornadoes, will effectively minimize damages to facilities, injuries to employees and the losses associated with business disruptions.

While the measures below focus specifically on tornado risks, many also will help protect businesses from other types of high wind and thunderstorm-related weather risks outside of tornado-prone regions.


Is the area where you live and work prone to tornadoes? Look at the map in this report to identify areas with the highest risk of tornadoes. Knowing what tornado risks are present is essential for choosing the appropriate mix of measures to protect your business. Businesses located in areas with a heightened tornado risk should take the following steps to minimize their risk of tornado damage:


  • Prepare and disseminate an emergency plan describing what supervisors and employees should to do as a tornado threatens. Practice these procedures through tornado drills.
  • Purchase a weather radio with local discrimination capability. Monitor weather conditions so employees can be moved to secure locations when necessary:
    • Have an adequate source of weather information, such as a tone alert weather radio, to keep abreast of weather conditions.
    • Have someone monitor local radar and warning information during a tornado watch and especially if a tornado warning has been issued for the area.

Watches and Warnings:

  • A tornado watch is a caution indicating a high probability of tornadoes within an area approximately 250 miles long and 120 miles wide.
  • A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted on the ground in your county or moving toward your county, or that weather radar indicates a high probability of a tornado existing.
  • Keep exterior doors and windows closed to minimize rain and flying debris. Closing interior doors will also help to compartmentalize the building and provide more barriers between your employees and the storm.
  • Select the best protective area for employees to seek shelter if there is a tornado:
    • Basements are usually considered a good area, as are corridors and small interior rooms on the first floor of a structure.
    • Never shelter employees in rooms where there is an outside wall, particularly those with glass windows, or where the ceiling or roof has a span between supports of more than 40 feet.
    • If your building does not provide adequate protection and you are located in a tornado prone area, work with a contractor to harden a section of your facility or build a safe room.
    • Safe Rooms: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and International Code Council (ICC) offer shelter guidelines.
      • If you have 10 or fewer employees, a small size room designed according to the requirements and guidance published in FEMA 320 or ICC 500 for residential shelters may be sufficient.
      • For larger safe rooms, use FEMA 361 or ICC 500 guidance for community shelters.

Make provisions to shelter employees working in portable out buildings and those operating trucks and other vehicles.


Wind-resistant construction can be cost effective and minimize the risk of structural damage for the majority of tornadoes, particularly damage from weak to moderate tornadoes, hail and wind associated with thunderstorms, and even to buildings on the edge of strong or violent tornadoes:

For new construction in a tornado prone area:

  • Work with an architect or contractor to incorporate wind mitigation techniques and high wind-rated products when constructing your building, including safe areas for personnel.
  • These techniques provide state-of-the art solutions to minimize structural risks by withstanding pressures created by specified high winds, strengthening roof and wall connections, roof systems, walls and wall covering, windows, doors, and skylights.
  • It is less costly and more effective to harden buildings during design and construction rather than later.

For an existing structure, not built to wind mitigation standards:

  • Consider retrofitting, especially when remodeling or replacing building components.
  • Retrofitting may include:
    • Bracing and strapping the roof.
    • Adding recommended fasteners, ties, reinforcements, roof covering and anchors as building components are modified and maintained.
    • Making entry doors and overhead doors more wind-resistant.
    • Building a safe room to protect against tornadoes.
  • For additional information on protection for existing buildings, see “Protecting Commercial Property” in the Tornado section of our website www.DisasterSafety.org.


  • Identify and remove trees and branches that could fall on the building walls or roof, or on power lines.
  • Inspect and repair loose or damaged building components such as siding, soffit and fascia, shingles and roofing, brickwork, and brick chimneys.
  • Avoid using built -up roofs with aggregate or pavers on the surface.

Visit www.DisasterSafety.org/tornado to find additional details and how-to instruction for many of these projects.

How Water Categories Affect Carpet and Pad

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

CAT 1 water on carpet

How Water Categories affect your Carpet and Pad.

In this Blog I will be referring to Water Categories 1, 2 &3.  Please read the Blog Post about Water Damage Categories first.

We often run into questions at water damaged homes regarding the wet carpet and pad.  Although every situation can be different, there are some general rules of thumb that usually apply.

If the water incident is a true Cat 1 water damage, the carpet and sometimes the pad can be saved.  If enough water can be extracted using the proper weighted extraction tools and the carpet can be dried in place.  Keep in mind that Cat 1 water can become Cat 2 if it flows through contaminants or is not extracted in a timely manner.

In a Category 2 water event, the carpet and pad should be extracted, but the pad will need to be removed and disposed of.  The carpet can normally be restored as long as it is not worn out or has started to delaminate.  The carpet should be professionally cleaned after the remediation is complete.  Again, keep in mind that the water Category can degrade to a Cat 3 if the water becomes contaminated or if mold an bacterial begin go grow if the issue is not addressed promptly.

In a Category 3 water event, as part of the decontamination effort, the carpet and pad will need to be removed and disposed of.  Normally the contaminated water is extracted first to not only make the carpet and pad more manageable but also to keep from contaminating other areas of the property as it is removed.

How Water Classes Affect Drywall

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

Flood cut after water back up from sump pump

How Water Damage Categories Affect Drywall

I previously explained the definition of Cat 1, 2 & 3.  Please read the Blog titled Water Damage Categories first.

Specific building materials are affected differently by Category 1, 2 or 3 water.  The category of water can make the difference between drying and restoring carpet and pad or having to dispose of it as I discussed in the Blog: How Water Categories Affect Carpet and Pad.

What about the walls?  Depending on wall material, the method of water damage remediation will also vary on the Category of Water.

Drywall – Gypsum Board, commonly referred to a drywall has a tendency to soak up water like a sponge, especially from its cut ends.  Water that is sprayed on the wall surface is often repelled by a painted surface or simply runs off before it can be absorbed.  On the other hand, horizontal water that raises to a level above the bottom edge of the drywall will be absorbed, as much as several inches, up the wall board, depending on how long the water remains at that level.

If the water that rose to a level above the base of the wall board was Category 1 water, an attempt can be made to dry the wall.  Air movement is the key to accomplishing this.  First any floor trim or base, will need to be removed.  Standard procedure dictates punching or drilling holes around 2 inches above the floor.  This will be above the sill plate (the framing board that rests on the floor) but still below the upper level of where the base covered.  Air movers are then directed at the holes to provide air movement in the wall cavity to facilitate drying.  This method is usually effective as long as there is no insulation in the wall cavity and the water has not had time to soak up into the wall board a significant distance. 

If the water is Category 2 or 3 water or if the above method is ineffective, the affected drywall will need to be removed and disposed of, a process commonly referred to as Flood Cutting.

Flood cutting, is measuring a line 2’ ½” above the floor and cutting and removing the drywall below that line.  This will open up the wall cavity, allowing wet insulation to be removed and the wall chamber to be decontaminated if Cat 2 or 3 water is to blame.  It will also allow a much larger volume of air to flow into the cavity to facilitate drying.  If the water was very deep or sat for a long time, the flood cut might have to be made at 4’ ½”.

The height of the flood cuts, are intended to make the re-installation of drywall much easier.  In the event of a serious flood where the water was very deep or it sat for an extended duration while wet, the walls may need to be removed completely.

Congratulations Terry Lenstra, CIE and Bob Vohl, CIE

2/16/2018 (Permalink)

Congrats Terry and Bob

Congratulations to Terry Lenstra, CIE! Terry passed his certification test for Council Certified Indoor Environmentalist. We now have two CIEs on staff at SERVPRO of Dubuque. Bob Vohl, CIE received his certification a few months ago. The Council-certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) and the Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) investigate indoor air quality problems. For example, a CIE or CIEC identifies mold and moisture issues during a commercial investigation or a home inspection. These professionals have verified knowledge of disciplines related to indoor air quality, including HVAC, building science, mold and microbial issues, industrial hygiene, lead-based paint and asbestos. CIEs and CIECs posses verified experience conducting field investigations in one or more of the following settings: Offices and commercial buildingss Industrial structures Government facilities Schools and public buildings Healthcare facilities Home inspection To earn the Council-certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) or Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) designations, the candidate must: Demonstrate verifiable field experience in indoor air quality investigation Pass a rigorous examination based on broad industry knowledge rather than a course curriculum Earn the unanimous approval of the CIE or CIEC certification board Re-certify every two years Participate in 20 hours of professional development activities each year Maintain the highest ethical standards Accreditation: The CIE and CIEC certifications are accredited by the Council for Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB), a nationally recognized independent accreditation body. ACAC certifications are the ONLY designations in the indoor air quality field to earn CESB accreditation.

Mold, Don't Let it Grow!

2/9/2018 (Permalink)

Mold growing for floor joists that were not dried in a timely fashion.

Fungi and Mold are naturally occurring microorganisms which occur in over 100,000 varieties. Although some can be hazardous to human health, they often enrich our earthen experience through culinary delicacies. Have you ever enjoyed a homemade loaf of bread, blue cheese atop a delicious spring salad with fresh mushrooms or for ultra-foodies, truffles? Mmmm… fungi and mold at its finest! Now, imagine you leave this delightful picnic and head into your neighbor’s house, through their basement, to wash up. The moment you step inside, something isn’t right. You immediately notice a strong, musty smell. You can’t wait to get outside and breathe in some fresh air… you guessed it. Those same microorganisms at their worst.

You remember that last fall your neighbor’s water heater sprung a leak. You recommended they call SERVPRO of Dubuque, but they decided to handle it on their own with some house fans and a small, store bought dehumidifier. So, what happened? Mold just needs a food source, a little moisture to instigate growth and a warm environment in which to grow and multiply. We commonly keep our homes between 68°-76°F. Without a drying team, to monitor daily progress, or the use of commercial grade air movers and dehumidification, your neighbor’s home was no match for mold! Mold feeds on organic materials… the kind our homes are made of: drywall, insulation, wood, paper etc. It takes only 72 hours for mold growth to begin. Once it starts, it doesn’t stop on its own.

Mold growth in the home is not only unpleasant, it can be dangerous when allowed to flourish. Once airborne, mold can cause the Indoor Air Quality of a home to diminish rapidly. Health concerns such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, asthma, sore throat or inflammation of the sinuses may be caused by exposure to high levels of mold growth. Mold can be especially troublesome for certain at-risk individuals such as infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with respiratory issues and weakened immune systems.

When you, or someone you know experiences water damage inside the home, act quickly to inhibit mold growth. Call SERVPRO of Dubuque, 563.584.2242.

If you suspect that mold has already began growing in your home, give SERVPRO of Dubuque a call.  We can ask a CIE certified Indoor Environmental from MB Mold and Indoor Air Quality run the necessary tests to determine if remediation is necessary.  If remediation is necessary, SERVPRO of Dubuque can handle the remediation and make it “Like it never even happened.”

Bats, Raccoons and other Critters!

11/6/2017 (Permalink)

Bat guano and its health risks

As winter approaches across the Midwest, several different types of animals will be looking for a warm place to spend the cold winter months.  SERVPRO of Dubuque works with local Animal/Pest Control companies to cleanup the mess that these Critters leave behind.

Most people are aware that bats and other animals, including raccoons and foxes are the primary sources of rabies transmission.

The droppings and urine from all of these animals usually leave a very unpleasant odor and is normally concentrated in areas where they have decided to nest.

Histoplasmosis is a disease that affects the lungs and occasionally other organs.  When this happens, it can be fatal if untreated.  Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus that grows in material contaminated by animal droppings, especially bat droppings or guano.

SERVPRO of Dubuque's technicians are specially trained in using the proper protective gear and equipment to clean up animal nesting areas and bat guano.

If you have had a problem in your home with nesting animals or need bat guano cleaned up, give SERVPRO of Dubuque a call.  We can make it, "Like it never even happened."

Don't Let Winter Weather Take a Toll on You | Part 1

1/31/2017 (Permalink)

Soot damage to interior walls and carpet from Puff Back in Dubuque Iowa

The Puff Back Problem - Oil Burning Furnaces

The Problem

A puff back is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout your home or business. It can happen all at once, covering the interior in grimy soot, or a puff back can leak soot particles gradually. The soot caused by the Puff Back can do significant damage to both building structure and contents.

Cost of Damage

Minimal to significant depending on the amount of soot released.  It also depends on the amount of contents affected by the soot discharge.


Consider having your oil burner serviced before you suffer a puff back. If your home or business experiences a puff back, your SERVPRO of Dubuque has the tools, training and experience to help make it “Like it never even happened." We can handle the structural cleaning as well as the contents cleaning.  More information about contents cleaning off soot damaged contents can be found in our blog post about using ultrasonic cleaning. 

Don't Let Winter Weather Take a Toll on You | Part 2

1/31/2017 (Permalink)

The Electrical Problem


Electrical failures are factors in 14 percent of home fires. During a typical year, home electrical problems account for 67,800 fires. Home electrical wiring causes twice as many fires as heating equipment.

Cost of Damage

Electrical failures are responsible for an estimated $868 million per year in property losses.


Faulty wiring and faulty outlets cause most fires. Have your wiring inspected by a licensed electrician to fix these problems before they cause a home or business fire.  Not overloading your outlets is a step you can take to help prevent electrical failures.  The over-use of electrical splitters and power strips are a common cause of electrical failures which can result in a overload of a circuit or possibly a electrical fire.

More Information

The U.S. Fire Administration at www.usfa.dhs.gov.

Don't Let Winter Weather Take a Toll on You | Part 3

1/31/2017 (Permalink)

The Ice Dam Problem

The Problem

Ice Dams can be a major problem during the winter season. They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into water dammed behind still-frozen ice. When the trapped water cannot safely flow or run into the gutter system, it can backflow under the roof's shingles and into the structure’s interior areas.


Keeping your attic well insulated is the first step, as an over-warm winter attic can set ice dams in motion.

Proper ventilation of an attic can also prevent heat from building up in the attic.

In the event that your home experiences an ice dam which results in water damage to the interior of your home or building, call SERVPRO of Dubuque right away.  Unresolved water damage can quickly become far more expensive problems if not addressed promptly.


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