Recent Storm Damage Posts

Different Kinds of Storms in Winter

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

Ice on gutters This shows an example of an ice dam on a home.

When thinking of heavily damaged property, most people associate it with summer storms. However, it's important to note that different types of winter storms can also cause a wide range of damage.

Blizzards, for example, are dangerous winter storms characterized by blowing snow and strong winds. Along with heavy snowfall and severe cold, blizzards can lead to roof collapse due to the weight of accumulated snow. This can result in structural damage and water damage from melting snow. If not addressed promptly, moisture left behind can also cause mold problems. If you require assistance with damage assessment, cleanup, and repairs, SERVPRO of Dubuque can provide the necessary services.

Snow squalls, on the other hand, are intense snow showers accompanied by gusty winds. They can cause significant snow accumulation and drifting. It's crucial to monitor your furnace exhaust vents during such conditions to ensure they remain clear and the furnace vents safely to the outside.

Ice dams are another winter storm phenomenon caused by melting snow. They can lead to water entering your home through the attic when snow melts and refreezes at the eaves instead of running off through the gutters. Proper attic insulation and ventilation are essential to prevent this issue.

Ice and sleet storms pose unique challenges as well. Ice build-up on power lines can cause service outages lasting for hours or even days. In such cases, depending on the outside temperature, it may be wise to shut off your water and drain the pipes to prevent freezing and subsequent damage.

Additionally, ice build-up on trees can cause branches to break and fall on your home, potentially causing significant damage. To minimize this risk, it's recommended to have your trees professionally pruned, which reduces the likelihood of branches causing harm.

In the event that winter storms damage your home, remember that SERVPRO of Dubuque is available to restore your property to its pre-damaged condition. We strive to make 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."

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.

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


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 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.

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  

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

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) (, as well as SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile and READY Plan Mobile App ( 

 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 For more information on the SERVPRO mobile app and the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program, please visit


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.

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."

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  

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:

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.

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, 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. which can be accessed by this link: 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."

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?

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."

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.

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.

Steps to Reduce the Risk of Tornado Damage

3/14/2018 (Permalink)

How to minimize tornado damage.

Tornado damage mitigation tips from

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


  • 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 to find additional details and how-to instruction for many of these projects.

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

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.