Recent Storm Damage Posts

Iowa Winter Weather Check List

12/15/2020 (Permalink)

The Des Moines area recently experienced the first significant snowfall of the year last weekend. Winter weather is here to stay, at least for the next couple of months in Iowa, whether we want to admit it or not. With winter comes freezing cold temperatures and precipitation that could potentially cause harm to your home or business.

We at SERVPRO of Des Moines NW are here to help you be prepared and stay ready for anything the coming winter months want to throw our way. We've compiled a list to aid you in preparing your home for the cold to come.

• Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so that your water supply will be less likely to freeze
• Caulk and weather strip doors and windows
• Insulate walls and attic
• Install storm or thermal-pane windows/cover windows with plastic from the inside
• Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structures during a storm

Weatherproofing your home or business can potentially save you a lot of stress. This type of maintenance is incredibly important in Iowa and colder states to keep your home or business in good condition and keep you aware of issues that may need attention down the line. Never forget, SERVPRO of Des Moines is always here for your restoration needs. Give us a call today at 515-986-3711.

Des Moines Business Disaster Preparedness Plan - Storm

12/15/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is in the business of helping you with your restoration needs, big or small, but believe it or not, a lot of our work is directly related to the weather.

As you know, the change in seasons bring about different temperatures and weather events, all of which can cause damage to your home. The falling temperatures during winter months can cause pipes to burst. Winter blizzards with snow and ice can cause exterior or interior damage. Melting snow & spring showers can cause basement flooding. Summer severe weather includes severe thunderstorms, tornadoes or new to many a “derecho” with caused damage to homes and business’ across the Midwest. SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is here to promote preparedness for your home or business but how do YOU know when to be ready and what to expect?

Luckily, there are people out there who CAN predict the weather. The National Weather Service is a great resource to find out how to properly prepare for storms and what to expect from each storm event.  The National Weather Service also provides alerts and warnings for all hazards through a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio Receivers (NWR). (For more information on weather receivers visit https://www.weather.gov/media/pah/Skywarn/noaaweatherradiobrochure.pdf)

SERVPRO of Des Moines NW also recommends signing up for emergency alerts and notifications that your community might offer. In the case of an emergency, having the FEMA and American Red Cross app on your android or IOS might also be extremely helpful. They provide information about finding shelter, providing first aid, and seeking assistance for recovery.

Your friends at SERVPRO of Des Moines NW want to help keep you and your family safe in the event of severe weather. When disaster strikes, please know that SERVPRO of Des Moines is here to help make it “like it never happened.” Keep us in your emergency contacts at 515-986-3711.

Snow Storm Damage Potential in Des Moines

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

Here in Iowa we are holding on to what remains of the fall weather, but Des Moines recently just saw its first snow fall of the year and you know what that means. With winter weather comes freezing cold temperatures and the inevitable snowfall.

Winter storms and cold weather can result in a variety of hazards to your home or business beyond an increase to the heating bill.

It's important to take the necessary steps to ensure you're prepared for the coming winter season.

Ice: Because of its weight, accumulations of half an inch or more can cause widespread destruction and power outages. Watch out for falling tree branches and utility poles damaging property when weighed down by a wintry mix.

Wet Snow: Much like ice accumulation, wet snow adds extra weight and stress, increasing the chance of damage to property.

Snow on Roofs: Several feet of snow from either a single storm or the accumulation of many, can add stress to roofs- causing them to collapse or result in ice dams that prevent melting snow from exiting the roof properly. This can lead to water damage inside of homes.

Flooding after snow: A Rapid warm-up or rain following a winter storm with an expansive snowpack can set the stage for major flooding.


SERVPRO of Des Moines NW wants to help you stay safe this winter. In the event that your home or business is damaged by a storm, do not hesitate to call right away! We are always here to answer your call, day or night. Keep us in your emergency contacts at 515-986-3711.

Inspecting Roofs for Storm Damage

8/29/2020 (Permalink)

Homeowners in Des Moines often underestimate the importance of regularly inspecting their roofs, especially following major storms.  Roofs undergo extensive wear and tear during unpredictable and ever-changing weather conditions in Iowa, whether it is harsh sunlight, strong winds, hail, snow or heavy rainfall throughout the year. 

Consider the following:

Rain

Rain is the most common cause of roofing issues.  When a roof suffers from missing shingles or multiple holes, subsequent leaks and water damage is inevitable.  This, in turn, leads to rotting, mold and compromised foundation.  There are clear indicators of water damage from a leaking roof, such as spots on a ceiling, wet walls or areas of the home that feel damp and humid.

Hail

As any Iowa resident knows, hail can be unpredictable, as it varies in severity and can come without warning.  The resulting damage, ranging from minor to extensive, may lead to serious implications later on down the road.  For example, holes caused by hail create immediate problems, but also lead to secondary damage.  When hail damage goes undetected, it worsens with each storm that follows.  Therefore, it is critical to secure a roof inspection following a hailstorm to mitigate any potential damage.

Wind

Heavy winds can lift shingles from a roof or break them off entirely, leaving the rest of the home exposed and unprotected.  Additionally, strong winds can carry large debris that damages a roof’s integrity upon impact.

Roof damage may be obvious, such as in the case of missing or weathered shingles.  More often, however, roof damage goes undetected for an extended period of time when proper inspection and protection measures are not put into place.  Keep in mind that it is important to search beyond the roof’s shingle condition and look for issues such as missing flashing or loose sealant.

Consider putting together an action plan the next time there is a major storm:

  • If you find serious damage, call a repair company.
  • Once the roof has been repaired, call SERVPRO of Des Moines, NW at (515) 986-3711 to assess the interior of your home for water damage caused by a faulty roof.

Roofs on homes and business take a heavy beating throughout the year, especially with the seasonal changes and weather conditions in Iowa.  A homeowner’s proactive approach and timely response can increase the likelihood that damage will require a simple repair versus a complete roof replacement.

Here to Help Our Community Recover in the Wake of a Derecho

8/29/2020 (Permalink)

Several weeks ago, the state of Iowa- as well as several surrounding states- experienced a catastrophic weather event called a derecho. This derecho- a powerful inland storm- brought winds of over 100 mph, and in some areas, 140 mph winds that are typically only seen in hurricanes. The damage was widespread and devastated countless Midwest communities. Many property owners are still recovering and picking up the pieces.

Unlike the storms that we are used to, derechos are much more difficult to predict. This particularly destructive derecho came with little warning. Less than an hour after thunderstorm warnings were issued, the storm hit, providing little to no time for residents to prepare for the force that would unfold. The sum total of the damage caused by the storm is yet to be determined, but it is estimated to be billions of dollars.

Our Response

When unexpected destruction like this occurs to our community, SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is here to help. Our IICRC certified staff has multiple years of combined experience in responding to weather events across the Midwest. In response to this latest event, SERVPRO of Des Moines NW pulled resources and collaborated with local partners to provide critical response and restoration services. This was accomplished despite the fact that several property owners were without power since the storms moved through.

SERVPRO of Des Moines NW has also been able to remedy another aspect of derechos that make them particularly destructive: roofs damaged by the storm are left extremely vulnerable to torrential rains that typically accompany these storms. Homeowners and business owners who are already battling structural damage may have additional flood and water damage to grapple with as a result. Even those who avoid immediate damage are susceptible to flood water damage due to the rising river waters. SERVPRO of Des Moines NW has the resources to provide a full range of preventative and restorative services.

Here to Assist

The SERVPRO of Des Moines NW team has the experience and professionalism required to respond quickly and efficiently to assist homeowners and business owners during difficult times, as evidenced by this most recent event. From your initial call to the date of project completion, we will be where you need us. In addition, the professionals at SERVPRO of Des Moines NW are well versed in working with insurance providers and have the knowledge to assist throughout that process.

In the wake of a devastating weather event such as the recent derecho, we offer perhaps the most important promise to property owners seeking assistance: to make it “Like it never even happened.” The road to recovery can be daunting. When a distressed homeowner or business owner knows that they are in good hands, it can make all the difference. We are available to help 24 hours a day. Reach us at (515) 986-3711.

Importance of Including Storm Damage in Insurance Coverage

8/3/2020 (Permalink)

Reviewing Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Your insurance policy should be copied and properly stored in case of a major storm.  Additionally, it should be thoroughly reviewed until you have an understanding of what events are covered, the amount of coverage, and steps that are required to submit an insurance claim after storm damage.  Be aware that your homeowner’s insurance policy may exclude certain types of storm and water damage. 

Flood Damage

Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not include coverage for flood damage.  It is important to note that flooding can occur almost anywhere, regardless of whether your home is in a high-risk flood zone.  The purchase of additional flood damage coverage is recommended.

Wind and Rain Damage

While most policies cover damage caused by wind, they do not typically coverage water damage resulting from rain (including wind-driven rain).

More Insurance Tips:

  • Ensure that coverage is sufficient for your home’s structure, contents and extra living expenses, if needed.
  • Take photos of your home before and after a storm. This documentation will be key when submitting an insurance claim based on storm damage.
  • Be aware of scam repair companies. Following a major storm, as repair companies offer their services, companies that are not legitimate prey upon homeowners who neglect to do their research.

Be sure to report all claims and damage to your insurance company.  Your insurance agent will assist you in determining coverage and ways to mitigate storm damage, such as contacting a storm damage restoration company in Des Moines. 

Roof Damage Caused by Storms in Des Moines 

Roofs on homes in Des Moines undergo extensive wear and tear during ever-changing weather conditions, whether it is harsh sunlight, strong winds, hail or heavy rainfall throughout the year. 

SERVPRO's Storm Response

12/12/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Storm Response

The team here at SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is ready for whatever happens, no matter the time, night or day. When it comes to fire & water damage, our professionals work endlessly to make sure our customers are happy and that we walk them through each step of the cleaning process.

We're Highly Trained Storm Damage Specialists

As leaders in the storm and water damage industry, we have advanced training and expertise, not to mention a tremendous amount of hands-on experience. We use this training and experience to quickly dry your home and restore it back to pre-storm condition.

We're Quick to Any Size Disaster

When a storm hits your home or business, you need help immediately. Our quick response will help prevent secondary damage and help reduce restoration costs.

We Have the Resources to Handle Storms and Disasters

We can access the resources and personnel of 1,700 Franchises to handle major storms and disasters. We also have access to special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country to respond to catastrophic storms and events.

Locally Owned and Operated

SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is locally owned and operated, so we are part of this community too. When you have a storm event or flooding emergency, we are in the area and ready to help!

Before and After the Storm, What To Do

12/10/2019 (Permalink)

With hurricane season here, it's very smart to prepare your home and yourself and loved ones ahead of time in order to minimize any damage that you might incur. From gathering the correct hurricane supplies, to evaluating your home insurance policies so you know how they cover storm damage, we've got a guide here to help you navigate what to do both before a storm hits…and after the storm has gone and went.

While it's never good to obsessively worry about the absolute worst happening, it's always good to be prepared ahead of time so if your area is hit by a hurricane, you know that you already have a plan in place.

Make Sure You Have The Correct Hurricane Supplies

As you're preparing for a hurricane, keep this list of supplies handy that way you have everything you need before the first weatherman even breaks the bad news that a storm is headed your way. This is especially helpful just in case you need to evacuate. Waiting until the last minute may only have you waiting in long lines with other panicked neighbors…only to find out that the store is sold out of what you need.

  1. Have hurricane kits full of your supplies and make sure they're in a suitcase or even a plastic tub.
  2. These kits should have:
  • First aid kit
  • 3- day supply of non-perishable food
  • Batteries & flashlights
  • Plenty of water gallons for each person
  • Clothing
  • Blankets
  • Maps of your area
  • Whistle
  • Can opener (manual) for food
  • Dust mask
  • Sleeping bags

You may also want additional items, like contact lens solutions, extra contacts, glasses, prescription medications or formula or baby food, as well as sanitary items like tampons, etc.

Being prepared is never foolish or over-the top: it's smart.

Preparing For A Hurricane: Preventative Measures

First things, first: do you live in a hurricane evacuation area?

If you don't know the answer to that question, you need to find out. Your local government will be able to tell you if you are and also, what their evacuation plans are. Knowing this ahead of time will prevent you from panicking when and if you need to actually evacuate.

Bonus tip: if you are in a high rise or mobile home, have a plan to evacuate even if you're not in an area that is defined as an evacuation zone.

The next big one? Check your insurance coverage so you know how they handle hurricane damage to homes.

 What should you look for or have?

  • Whether you're renting or you own, be sure that your home or rental insurance covers for flooding
  • Know your policy inside and out, so you know what to expect in case your home ends up very damaged or destroyed
  • Do a review of your home: is your roof in good shape? What about your home's structure? Do you have anything in your yard that could be a hazard in a storm?

After The Storm: Hurricane Damage To Homes

If your home is damaged by a hurricane, here are some tips to handling this stressful event:

  1. Check your home before entering with caution and wear protective gear from goggles to work gloves and a mask in case there are any issues with mold, asbestos, etc.
  2. If you smell gas or there is a downed powerline near your house, don't enter!
  3. Call your insurance company once your home is safe to enter so an adjuster can evaluate the situation.
  4. Do call a reputable storm damage cleanup company to help you get through this tragedy. Do not try to manage this on your own. The reality is you are not an expert and by trying to take a project on like that by yourself, you will end up frustrated. Research ahead of time to discover a company you can trust.

The bottom line is Mother Nature is not predictable, and while hurricanes and storms are very stressful, with common sense, a plan and the help of a reputable, honest, professional, and patient company, SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is the one you should call!

Storm Damage Prevention Tips

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

Even the smallest cracks in the foundation walls can let water inside your home. So, in order to avoid basement flooding and water damage to your property during a storm, you need to make sure the house foundations are completely waterproof. Inspect the foundation walls for cracks and make any necessary repairs before a major storm hits your area:

Small cracks can be sealed with caulk designed to repair masonry; There is no doubt that keeping your property in excellent condition – well maintained and well protected (against intruders and thieves, as well as against the elements) – is your top priority as a homeowner. But while you may be living in a safe neighborhood or city where crime is not an issue, you cannot escape the weather, no matter where your home is – severe storms can happen anywhere in the country, throughout the year. Whether it’s a violent thunderstorm, hailstorm, snowstorm, hurricane, tornado, or any other natural disaster, your home can be badly damaged by the adverse weather conditions.

There is nothing you can do to stop a storm from hitting your area, of course, but there are many precautions you can take to minimize and even prevent the potential damage to your home. Most of these preventive measures will help you not only avoid storm damage and costly repairs, but also upgrade your property and keep it in good condition.

Secure Your Home

First things first, to have a fighting chance against the elements, you need to fortify your fortress and make it as waterproof, wind-proof, and shutter-proof as possible.

Secure the Roof

A quality new roof should be able to withstand severe weather, but if your roof is 5-10 years old or older, it may need some reinforcement. Older roofs should be inspected at regular intervals so that any problem areas or leaks that could lead to water damage in the event of torrential rain are timely identified and properly taken care of before a storm hits:

  • Check for loose shingles that can be blown off in a storm and secure them tightly in place with a heavy-duty adhesive;
  • Replace any broken or damaged tiles as soon as you find them – consider installing ones rated as class 3 or 4 that have been proven to withstand harsh hail and heavy winds;
  • Check for loose nails and sheathing that can cause chunks of roofing to be dislodged or create openings for water to enter the home;
  • Make sure the chimney flashing is in good condition and the chimney can be tightly closed if necessary;
  • Consider reinforcing the roof by having it retrofitted with brackets, bracing, clips or straps that are specifically designed to make it stronger.

Keep in mind that roofs that are over 20 years old can suddenly fail in a storm even if there were no apparent problems, so they should be replaced at the earliest opportunity.

Secure Doors and Windows

Doors and windows are more susceptible to storm damage than any other parts of the home, so they need special attention:

  • Check doors for missing screws/bolts or loose hinges and fix any problems you find without delay;
  • Fit keyhole covers in front of door locks to keep rainwater and snow outside;
  • Use weather-stripping to seal doors and windows that don’t close tightly;
  • Apply caulk on both sides of windows to prevent water from seeping inside;
  • Consider applying a durable clear plastic film on windows to prevent glass shards from blowing into your home in case the window is broken by strong winds;
  • Install permanent shutters, such as roll-up or accordion shutters, to shield your windows from wind and debris during a storm (there are models for skylights, sliding glass doors, and garage doors as well);
  • Replace the windows if you notice cracked or broken glass, condensation, or drafts in the home. When installing new windows, consider high-impact glass and double-paned models that provide better protection against storms.

These precautionary measures will not only help protect your home from storm damage, but will also considerably improve the thermal efficiency of the building (as they help insulate the home) and reduce your energy costs.

Secure the House Foundation

  • Larger gaps should be fixed with the help of hydraulic cement.
  • Inspect the Siding
  • Any damage to the siding makes your home vulnerable to leaks and water damage, so you’re advised to check the exterior walls for cracks and holes at a regular basis and take quick and adequate measures to fix the problems (if you find any).
  • Also, make sure that all the openings for pipes, wires, and ductwork in the walls, roof, and foundations of your home are well sealed and there are no gaps that could allow water to enter inside.
  • Sewer and Drain Backup Coverage
  • Sometimes a storm can lead to a sewer or drain backup which will result in standing water in your home.  A backup can cause significant indoor flooding and property damage and if the water is contaminated with sewage, it poses a major risk to your health.  Typically, homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the damage caused by a drain or sewage backup.  Make sure you check your insurance policy to see if the damage from a backup is covered.  If not, you must purchase a separate rider to cover the damage.  It may cost a little more to add the rider, but this will better protect your home from flood damage.

Basement floods after storm

6/27/2019 (Permalink)

Basement floods after storm.

When you wake up to or come home to water rushing in your basement or standing water in your basement, your first instinct is to panic. And figure out the quickest most effective way to remove the water and stop mold spores from spreading and growing. Call us at SERVPRO of Des Moines NW.

What to do when there is standing water in your basement.

  • Find out where the water is coming from.
  • If its from a broken pipe or faulty foundation it will need to get fixed.
  • Make sure there is no live electrical items in the water. If so shut the electricity off to the basement until you can get all of your belongings out of the water.
  • Remove your belongings and decide what's savable and what's not. Start drying out the savable items.
  • Pump out the water with a submersible water pump.
  • Clean the walls and floor with anti-mold chemicals to kill any existing mold spores and prevent mold from spreading.
  • Set up a dehumidifier and a few fans to dry your basement out. 

What to do and how to be prepared for a severe storm.

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

The strong winds from a recent knocked a large tree onto the roof of this home, luckily no one was injured from this unfortunate circumstance.

We live in Iowa which means that we get sever weather with hardly any or no notice at all. Which means you need to be prepared at a moments noticed.

Some things you can do to prepare your self are, a survival pack that includes items like clean water, dry or canned foods, battery powered radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, flash lights and extra batteries, sanitary items like toilet paper, important documents like birth certificates social security cards ect in a water proof container, cash, blankets and anything for your kids, bottles, pacifiers etc.

Keep your disaster pack somewhere safe where you will always remember where it is and its easy to just grab while your getting your family to safety. Nothing in this world is more important that you and your families safety so pack only the essentials.

Storm damage and your business

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

Statistics show that of the businesses that close due to storm damage at least 1 in 4 never reopen. 

The business owner or property owner maybe overwhelmed and be at a complete loss with all the damage and not know what to do. 

Well don't worry your local SERVPRO of Des Moines NW knows exactly what to do in these situations. Our highly trained team comes in and cleans up the destruction, checks for any other damages you or someone else may have missed, takes care of the problem for you, relieving you of the stress and headache of the damage.

Give SERVPRO or Des Moines NW a call and we will come ease your mind and take you step by step through our process. Our team will remain in contact with you through the entire process. From start to finish you and your business are our top priority!

Is Your Business Ready for a Disaster?

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

1 out of 2 businesses that suffer a disaster never reopen.

Did you know that 50% of businesses never reopen after suffering a disaster

According to Forbes in 2017 the United States had at least $306 billion in damages due to natural disasters.  Between hurricanes and massive flooding, destructive wildfires and heatwaves, cities were hit hard weather-related disasters and, unfortunately, experts only expect things to get worse.

If your a property owner or a property manager you have the overwhelming task with overseeing not only the people working, but the property also.

Here are the top 4 things you should have in your disaster emergency plan:

  1. Establish Safety Plans.  Top priority should be safety for the employees in a business or tenants such as in a apartment setting.  
  2. Communications.  It is key whether it is thru a newsletter, email, or meeting.
  3. Obtain Insurance.  Having insurance and understanding what it is and what isn't covered.
  4. Stay Compliant With Building Codes.  This includes building design to materials being used.

If your a business owner or property manager and you experience a disaster, call the experts at SERVPRO of Des Moines NW at (515) 986-3711.

Hail Damages to your Home or Business

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Close up photo that shows damages caused by a recent hail storm.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), hailstones fall to earth from 30,000 feet, reaching up to 120 mph before they hit trees, vehicles and structures.  These storms cause $1 billion in damages to crops and property each year, the NWS says.

How large can hail get?  Thankfully...most hail is small - usually less than 2 inches in diameter.

The largest hailstone (nearly the size of a volleyball!) fell on July 23, 2010 in Vivian, South Dakota and had a diameter of  8.0 inches, a circumference of 18.62 inches, and weighed just under 2 lbs (1 lb and 15 ounces). This was after the resident that found the hailstone put it in the freezer but had a 6 hour power outage and some melting likely occurred.

Take Action After a Hail Storm

If you do find any hail damage to your residence, we recommend you take pictures before you make any temporary repairs such as boarding up any broken windows or covering a hole in a roof with a tarp.

Regardless of the level of damage, you’ll also want to promptly report it to your insurance company.  Should your home or business sustain hail damage keep these tips in mind:

  • Be wary of contractors who solicit door-to-door. 
  • Work only with licensed (if applicable), bonded and insured contractors and have them provide documentation. 
  • Require references and check them out.  
  • Don’t feel pressured into signing a contract and never sign a blank contract. 
  • Avoid payment-in-full up front.

If your business or home has hail damages, call the trusted experts of SERVPRO of Des Moines NW 24/7 at (515) 986-3711.

Ways to get your House ready for a Winter Storm Season

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

What a winter storm in Iowa looks like

This year in Des Moines, IA the season has changed from Fall to Winter.  This means you need to get your home ready for winter and be prepared for storms that can create prolonged power outages.

Here are the top things you should do to get your home ready for winter in Iowa:

  1. Get your furnace or (source of heat) inspected if it is over 5 years of age.  If you notice any funny smells or sounds have it looked at immediately.
  2. Make sure your fireplace is working properly.  If you have a gas fireplace, make sure it ignites and the thermal coupler stays on for at least 15 minutes.  If your gas fireplace is propane, double check your propane tank and make sure you have enough for the season.  If you have a wood burning fireplace you need to check the following:
    • The flue on the top is opening and closing properly
    • The chimney is clean and free of any creosote deposits
    • Use seasoned wood only.  Seasoned wood is split and dried for about 6 months prior to use
    • Unseasoned wood is more difficult to get lit and then will burn very inefficiently.  Moisture that the green wood is burning is burning out with so much effort is also a problem.  The moisture creates smoke, creates more creosote as it burns, and sticks to your chimney
    • Best seasoned firewood types to use are oak, maple, ash, and apple
    • Worse firewood types to use are pine, cedar, and poplar
  3. Cut down on heating costs.  Make sure your home is more energy-efficient.  Check windows and doors for air tight closures.
  4. Check that gutters and downspouts are directing water away from the house and not onto pathways or driveways.  If not directed away from the home it could lead water directly into basements or ice on pathways and driveways.