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Cold Weather Tips for an Iowa Homeowner

12/8/2022 (Permalink)

As the second week of December in Central Iowa comes to a close, we have, for the most part, avoided long stretches of frigid snow, ice, or cold temperatures up to this point as Iowans. We all know that is something that could potentially change in an instant, without much of a precautionary heads-up from mother nature. It's important to be informed on how to bundle up and conserve heat ahead of time in case of a winter emergency, Iowans have to stay ready so we don't ever have to get ready.

Experts from the National Weather Service and the Des Moines Register have provided excellent advice on how to keep your pets, plants, and pipes safe from the cold weather. When thinking of house pets, it's important to consider your dog's age, weight, and breed in regard to the amount of time your dog is safely able to be outside. Of course, the outside temperature strongly dictates this as well. Pipe freezing is an event that seems like an annual tradition for many midwesterners. 

Here are a few tips to prevent the mess — and cost — of frozen pipes:

  • Leave a faucet slowly dripping to keep water flowing through the pipe. The water can be captured in a bucket and used for other purposes around the home, like watering plants and washing dishes.
  • Open under-sink cabinets to allow warm air to circulate near your pipes.
  • What if there’s no water coming out of your faucets? Check your water meter. If water is leaking or spraying from your meter or the bottom is cracked, your water meter is frozen. Feel for frozen pipes. Pipes located along exterior walls are most susceptible to freezing. To thaw pipes, contact a licensed plumber or use hot towels or a hair dryer. Never use an open flame.

Help Keep Your Car On The Road

If you have to drive on slick roads during an Iowa winter, here are tips on how to travel safely, courtesy of the Iowa Department of Transportation:

  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions before driving.
  • Maintain a reasonable speed and safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. Winter road conditions often result in longer stopping distances and reduced visibility.
  • Drive below the posted speed limit when road conditions are less than ideal.
  • Turn on lights to see and be seen.
  • Keep headlights and tail lights clear of snow.
  • Avoid using cruise control in winter driving conditions.
  • You need to be in control of your car when accelerating based on road conditions. If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, understand how to use them and what to expect when they are used.
  • Be aware that ramps and bridges may freeze before other roadway segments.
  • Winter Water Advice For Inclement Conditions

    12/8/2022 (Permalink)

    When it comes to preventing pipes from freezing in the winter, prevention, rather than treatment, is priority number one. Frozen pipes have the potential to leave you without access to running water during the most extreme winter weather bouts. These steps can help you preserve not only your pipes but your budget and mental health at the same time. 

    Before cold weather sets in, it's good to check your home's sprinkler or irrigation system and identify its location. Check your home for areas in which pipes located there are more likely to experience freezing. These include crawl spaces, basements, garages, exterior walls, or pipes near large windows. Strengthening your home's defenses by providing additional insulation for the inside of your house is crucial in fighting frozen pipes.

    When the temperature outside does begin to freeze, it's a great idea to open cabinets and doors near pipes in order to help warm air continuously circulate throughout the nearby area. In the case of your pipes actually freezing, you will need to shut off the main water valve immediately. Use warm air to thaw out your pipes. Items such as a hair dryer, or space heater are great sources of heat. Never use an open flame, and never leave a space heater operating unattended. We hope this advice can help solve, or more importantly prevent any winter water emergencies.

    If you ever find yourself in a winter water damage emergency, give SERVPRO of Ames a call. We are available 24/7 for immediate service in central Iowa, and we will arrive at a moment's notice. Our expert Emergency Response Crew is prepared to fully treat any size disaster, for both residential and commercial property owners. Call SERVPRO of Ames anytime at 515-233-4544 and we would love to help treat and remediate your water damage circumstances. 

    3 Reasons - Why Bleach Doesn’t Work for Mold

    10/16/2022 (Permalink)

    Chlorine Bleach is often regarded as the answer for stopping mold growth and removing the mold. However, this is a myth. Bleach does not exonerate mold. Here are three reasons why bleach is not the answer to mold, and should never be used to sanitize or clean an area in the name of mold remediation.

    1. Bleach Loses Effectiveness Over Time

    Chlorine bleach can dissipate rapidly, causing the bleach to be less effective. Over time this occurs because chlorine can evaporate and even faster in areas that are above room temperature. When the chlorine disappears, the bleach bottle turns into a bottle of salt water.  

    2. Bleach can actually contribute to mold growth

    Chlorine bleach was made to clean surfaces, therefore can only kill surface bacteria and mold. This is due to bleach’s ion structure, which prevents the chlorine from penetrating porous material such as wood and drywall. When mold grows in porous areas, the enzyme’s roots grow deep within the material, rendering the bleach ineffective of exterminating the mold. The bleach can only remove the green stain from the mold, allowing surface to appear clean. But underneath the surface, the water component of the bleach penetrates and helps the internal roots to continue to grow, causing mold to reappear.

    3. Bleach is Toxic

    Bleach emits harmful fumes that pollute the air we breathe and can become harmful to humans and even pets. Over a period of time, inhaling the gases bleach emits can deteriorate the lungs and esophagus lining in addition to the scarring of the respiratory tract, which occurs in earlier stages. Also research shows that household bleach is one of the leading causes of accidental poisonings in the United States.

    About Us

    SERVPRO of Ames is a proud member of the Ames community and actively serves residents of Story, Boone, Hamilton, and Greene county. For further information about the wide array of mold remediation services offered by SERVPRO of Ames, contact us 24/7 at (515) 233-4544 or you can find us on Facebook at SERVPRO of Ames. SERVPRO of Ames is truly faster to any size disaster!

    Commercial Mold Remediation

    10/11/2022 (Permalink)

    When mold becomes an issue for your business, it becomes an issue in regards to your bottom line. SERVPRO of Ames is here to remediate those mold worries away.

    Mold Cleanup and Restoration for Your Business

    Time is the most important aspect when dealing with mold removal in your business. In a timeframe lasting as little as 48-72 hours, mold can begin to grow and spread throughout your property, causing allergens and other irritants to rapidly reproduce. This can have negative effects on the health of your employees, customers, and your overall business. Mold issues can also potentially cause alarm among employees susceptible to allergens. Some may develop such severe symptoms from workplace mold, the term “sick building syndrome” was coined to describe it.

    SERVPRO of Ames’ certified mold technicians respond quickly to any call in order to accurately and efficiently assess your mold cleanup situation. We use advanced equipment and professional experience in mold mitigation to determine the source of your mold problem. Our goal is to safely complete the mold removal, cleanup and mold remediation process with minimal disruption to your business operations.

    About Us

    For further information, or to find out about our full list of mold remediation services, give us a call anytime at (515) 233-4544 or you can always find us on Facebook at SERVPRO of Ames. Proudly serving the Ames community!

    What is Black Mold?

    9/18/2022 (Permalink)

    Within this blog you will find numerous suggestions and informative facts relating to what we call “Black Mold”. By definition, Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often known as “black mold” or “toxic mold”. Sensational news reports warn about the dangers of black mold and these stories can be alarming and confusing. Any mold in your home should be treated with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.

    How to Know it’s Mold?

    Since many types of mold can produce allergens and irritants, you should contact a qualified mold remediation company regardless of the color or type of mold. In many instances, multiple types of mold can exist in the same house or structure. If you suspect that you have a mold problem, contact SERVPRO of Ames for emergency mold remediation services at the earliest time in order to ensure efficiency in stopping the spread of spores.

    Additional Knowledge About Mold

    When water intrudes into your property, invasive mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Consider the following mold facts:

    • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
    • Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and they also may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
    • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies at a rapid rate when exposed to water. These colonies may produce toxins that are harmful to not only humans, but pets as well.
    • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise the mold may return.
    • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
    • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

    If you or someone you know runs into trouble with mold, and needs emergency services, contact SERVPRO of Ames at (515) 233-4544 for professional inspections and readings. SERVPRO of Ames provides services for both residential and commercial properties, 24/7. 

    What are the leading causes of attic fires?

    5/5/2022 (Permalink)

    The absolute most common cause of attic fires in residential homes is an electrical malfunction. Sometimes circuits get overloaded, and if the breaker fails to trip, the overloaded circuit could cause a fire. Electrical overloads that overheat in attic insulation and other parts of the home are responsible for approximately 43% of all residential attic fires.

    Another common cause of attic fires is heating. Studies show that around 5% of attic fires are started when home heating systems malfunction.

    The third major cause of residential attic fires is those caused by natural sources. Natural sources are a broad category that includes lightning, damage from fallen branches or trees, and rainwater that seeps into electrical systems. Any of these can cause a spark to ignite attic insulation, leading to a fire that can spread quickly through the attic.

    What can I do to protect my attic from a fire?

    While there is very little you can do to protect your home from a fire started by natural causes, the good news is that there is plenty you can do to protect from electrical and heating fires. Have your HVAC serviced regularly by a professional to ensure that it is working correctly and there are no fire hazards in play. Regular duct cleaning removes dust, lint, and other debris, preventing any spark from catching hold.

    An electrician can inspect the wiring present in your attic to ensure it is in good condition. Finally, be aware of the power your electronics and appliances use, making sure to avoid overloads in the first place.

    Have an attic professional inspect your attic insulation to make sure that it meets current fire standards. Attic insulation plays a crucial role in making sure that your attic remains safe from fire. Not only will the proper attic insulation stop the flames from spreading, but ensuring that you have the right attic insulation will make your home safer in other ways as well, by preventing the growth of mold, for example. 

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    Garage fire safety tips

    5/5/2022 (Permalink)

    • Store oil, gasoline, paints, propane and varnishes in a shed away from your home.
    • Keep items that can burn on shelves away from appliances.
    • Plug only one charging appliance into an outlet.
    • Don’t use an extension cord when charging an appliance.
    • Install:
      • A 20-minute fire-rated door that is self-closing and self-latching from the garage into the house.
      • A ceiling made with ?-inch Type X gypsum board (or the equivalent) if you have living space above the garage.
      • A wall with ½-inch gypsum board (or the equivalent) if the wall attaches the garage to your home.
      • An attic hatch cover if you have attic access from the garage.
      • A heat alarm — not a smoke alarm — in your garage. The heat alarm will sound if the temperature rises too high.

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    Steps to take if your bathroom floods

    5/5/2022 (Permalink)

    Here’s what to do as soon as you notice the flood:

    1. Quickly identify where the leak is before you shut off the water
    Determine the exact source of the flood water. Then if it’s a single fixture like a toilet overflowing, shut it off at the isolation valve. To shut off the mains water supply you must know where your stop tap is (It can be under the kitchen sink, under your cold water tank in the attic or even outside. If you’re a new homeowner, read our article on different types of home water systems, so you know where to find yours – different types of home water systems.
    You can try and fix the leak if you can, but we would recommend calling in a professional plumber for most repairs.

    2. Shut off electricity
    Go to your circuit breaker panel to shut off your lighting and sockets circuits, to eliminate the risk of electrocution via your bathroom light or shaver socket. You don’t want to enter a water-soaked environment with outlets and light fixtures still on.
    Your fuse box or consumer unit is likely to be under the stairs in a house, or close to the front door in a flat.

    3. Remove standing water
    Use anything you can – a mop, old towels, newspaper – to absorb the water and get it into buckets or down a drain. If you have a wet/dry vacuum cleaner, use that. If you have severe flooding, you may need to call a water damage clean-up service.

    4. Save your possessions
    Clear your bathroom cabinets and any other storage in contact with the wet floor. Check these areas for damage, and work out what kind of clean-up they need.

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    SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profiles for Your Business

    5/5/2022 (Permalink)

    Making it through any size disaster, whether its a small water leak or a fire that has affected your business.  The best time to plan is to have a plan in place before disaster strikes.

    Let SERVPRO of Ames help your business put together a plan using our SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP).  This plan will help you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action.  Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is key and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

    We love the communities in the area we service.  From Central Iowa to Southern Minnesota SERVPRO of Ames is here to help and would like to help you have a plan in place in case of an emergency with a custom your Emergency Ready Profile that fits your need!

    Call today for more info (515) 233-4544

    Look For the Cause

    5/5/2022 (Permalink)

    Mold needs water or moisture and oxygen to grow. Water does not have to flow into the building for there to be enough moisture to promote the growth of mold. Although one-time leaks or burst water pipes may not be a problem if repaired, even a one-time leak, if not properly addressed, can cause unacceptable mold growth. There are a number of potential causes of moisture or water entry:

    • Lack of building maintenance
    • Poor building design or construction
    • Using wet building materials
    • Leaky pipes, windows, or doors
    • Regular, or even one-time flooding
    • Simple plumbing mistakes
    • Excessive humidity and condensation
    • Improper landscaping design or maintenance outside the building, causing water to flow toward the building
    • Any other serious water related problem
    • Address Moisture or Water Issues Promptly

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