How Worn Garage Door Seals can Cause Damage to Health and Home

Worn side garage door sealsWith winter weather quickly approaching time is a valuable commodity right now.   While making considerations for your winterization budget, many big ticket items in your home are often overlooked.   The largest item would be the health of you and your family.  A few simple adjustments, preventative measures and small “DIY” repairs can promote healthy living and save on utility bills as well as preventing damage to much larger investments in your home.   These investments include, but are not limited to carpet, laminate flooring and wool area rugs.   Now you might be thinking; what do garage door seals have to do with the condition of my health or my home’s interior and its contents?

The answer is air flow.   By many accounts the air inside your home is three to five times more toxic than outside air.   That’s because air flow carried toxins in from the outside and deposited them into your home where they are now nested deep inside places that a normal Worn seal at bottom of garage doorhousecleaning can’t reach.   Closing up your home for winter traps in these pollutants, germs and bacteria and can trigger allergies and illness.   This same air flow chilled by winter winds brings in harsh abrasives such as ice melt and rodents and also causes structural damage.

Garage door seals, when you think about it, tally up to over twenty five linear feet of potential air infiltration points per door. In plain English, that’s a lot of space for cold dirty air to enter your residence. Checking to see that the rails for the door itself are properly adjusted and positioned could be a Garage door quick fix and making sure the seals are in good repair will save you many future headaches.  Living here in Northeast Pennsylvania, many towns like Hazleton, Mountain Top and White Haven, experience harsh winters, where busted and frozen water pipes cause an unfortunate amount of damage.   Heating bills can easily skyrocket if insulation and air flow are not carefully considered.

Most seals for garage doors are standard and can be readily purchased at your local hardware store.   I purchased mine at Lowes HomeNew garage door seals ready for painting Improvement.   Remove the existing seals and clean off any dirt and caulking from the previous installation.   The side and top seals can be painted to match or meet any color scheme and easily tack onto the exterior of the door frame.   Running a bead of silicone sealer along the edge will keep out any moisture.   Foam and rubber molding for the bottom dust seal come in standard sizes too and are usually packed in rolls of various lengths.   You may need to loosen a bolt or two, but the old seal slides out of its grooves, the new seal folds into a “U” shape and the seal then slides back into the grooves of the bottom track.Side garage door deals being installed

There are many more quick, easy and cost effective tasks you can do to minimize the impact of winter on your house, in a short amount of time. Take simple walk around the exterior of your and home and look for other air entry points.  Look around pipes, windows, dryer vents and other hardware entering the structure and pack the gaps with putty, insulation, caulking or silicone.

Placing the proper entry matting at entry points is another quick and inexpensive preventative measure.   Tracked in soils will quickly deteriorate the condition of carpet, laminates and other flooring materials.   For the interior, try to use rubber backed matting; avoid using vinyl backed mats as they may discolor the floor.   Even the cheapest mat will remove some of the harsh elements that will dirty up your home.  Scrapper or bristle type mats are ideal for the exterior and fully effective interior floor mat should be long enough to accommodate 5-6 steps.Fine area rug

Closing up your home for the winter months will trap in many types of soils, germs, pollutants and other toxins. Air flow will bring in more while increasing heating bills so seal up those gaps. Rotate wool area rugs to avoid sun fading and traffic patterns.   Having your carpets and fabric upholstery professionally cleaned and applying protector will give you a fresh start and prevent early replacement of these big ticket items.

 

 

Why Carpet Cleaning needs to be part of Spring Cleaning Routine

Children playing on clean carpetSpring is known throughout history and in most cultures as a time for purification, renewal and rejuvenation.   Aside from all the religious and pagan rituals citing spring as a time for purification, health should be a main reason for having your carpet and upholstery professionally cleaned.

After being cooped up with winters accumulating soil and germs it’s finally time to open the windows and let in some fresh air.   Carpeted floors and upholstered furniture all act like large air filters collecting any particulate soil that comes floating by.    Rugs, carpets and entry mats are considered the lungs of the house as most nasty allergy causing agents and other contaminants fall to the lowest point.   Studies have shown that inside air can be 5 times more toxic than outside air.

In addition to making your expensive home interior investments just look clean remember this; hair sprays, perfumes, common dirt, germs, spills, winter slush and other nasty substances have gathered and nested in your textiles for the last few months.   It’s time to remove these potentially harmful materials for an effective and healthy “spring cleaning”.

Choosing a true and trained cleaning professional can ensure a deeper cleaning and properly filtered equipment to eliminate soils from becoming airborne again while using safer and more effective cleaning solutions.   Just think of the cost of renting or purchasing a DIY carpet cleaner, the gas to get there, purchasing the detergents and selecting the proper carpet and fabric protectors and other specialty agents.   Then you still need to move the furniture and do the cleaning.  Hiring a reputable carpet cleaning company will actually save you time, money and aggravation in the long run while getting better results.  

On the subject of fabric upholstery, a thorough dry vacuuming is your first line of defense.   But it is important to make sure your vacuum cleaner is not blowing the soil back into the air.   Truck mounted cleaning systems have their vacuums located externally and therefore all soils are safely removed and collected outside the home.   If you decide to shampoo the furniture yourself make yourself aware of the manufacturer’s recommended instructions for cleaning.   Always check for the following codes as they each represent a recommended cleaning method;

  • “X” – Vacuum Only
  • “W” –  Wet Clean
  • “S” – Dry Clean
  • “W/S” – Wet or Dry Clean

Make carpet and upholstery cleaning an important part of your spring program.   Clean for health as well as aesthetics.    Above all read your manufacturer’s warranty and always follow their recommendations.

Pardon the Interruption while we pause for Station Identification

TV sign off screenYou might be wondering what a “professional carpet cleaning company” and TV and radio stations both have in common?   Aside from Broadloom and Broadcasting each containing a common word, both know there is a proper time and place to take a short pause for letting your audience know just who you are.   To the customer this establishes a sense of legitimacy and also displays a concern for their trust and time.

Taking it a step further, broadcasters usually identify the different channels they operate, coverage areas and sometimes the network programs they carry.   “Carpet cleaners” and other service businesses for that matter aren’t much different as they mention their name, credentials, serving area and the additional services they offer.   In either case the pause or plug must be done at the proper time, without major inconvenience and provide useful and pertinent information.   It’s a necessary evil that does serve a legitimate purpose.

According to “Wikipedia” the FCC, U.S. radio and television stations are required to identify themselves at the beginning and ending of each time of operation.   Radio stations are required to verbally identify themselves each hour; they must announce their legal call sign followed immediately by the station’s community of license.   I’m not aware of any regulation requiring cleaning companies to identify themselves at any certain time and frequency however we know that failure to do so will result in a short lived business venture.    

For the residential carpet cleaning audience, our station identification should definitely occur at the beginning and end of each operation.   Hello, my name is Bob from Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, I’m an IICRC certified cleaning technician and I’m here to clean your carpets today.   Our home office is located in Hazle Township and we also offer additional services like furniture cleaning, fine area rug cleaning, odor control and pet accident cleanup.   If there is anything else I can asses for you today please let me know.   A simple 30 second statement at the proper time no longer seems like an interruption but more like a courtesy.

Even neglecting to periodically broadcast our company name frequently and regularly to customers who have used our service will leave them saying; “that carpet cleaning company I used the last time did a fantastic job but it’s been a while and I can’t seem to remember their name”.   Just like when I’m driving down the road and can’t seem to tune in a favorite radio station, I hit the “seek button”.   The last thing a carpet cleaning business needs is a satisfied customer hitting the seek button and finding the competition.   Done properly, regular mailings, emails and or courtesy calls keep your name fresh in the mind of your audience.

According to WNEP Channel 16, Mahanoy City is known as the birthplace of cable TV with their new headquarters just down the road in Hazleton, PA.    Having been raised in this area I’ve witnessed firsthand how many broadcasters have experienced increased competition.   Regardless of the amount of competition I can very easily tell you the names of the successful ones.   That’s due in part to the Pause for Station Identification!

My Upholstered Furniture has Fuzzy Balls known as “Pilling”, can this be Cleaned?

Pilling on fabric upholsteryFuzzy looking balls that appear on the surface of fabric upholstery are a condition known as “pilling”.   Pilling can happen to the most expensive fabric as well as the cheapest.   Usually pilling cannot be cleaned away but may be the result of improper cleaning along with other factors.   Have no fear though, there is a way to fix the problem and spruce up the appearance of your furniture.

Most mass produced fabrics and textiles are woven on mechanical looms where individual yarns are intertwined horizontally and vertically.  One set of yarns are called the “Weft” and one set are called the “Warp”.   Normally the weft yarns are a set of threads running a pattern through the warp yarns.   Pilling usually occurs when tightly strung warp yarns snap and twist into knots.    Breakage of these yarns may not be noticeable except for the pilling but certain weaves may reveal inconsistencies.  

Barber's electric shearsAlthough carpet and upholstery cleaners may not be able to clean these little “pills” away, a true professional can easily remove them using an electric barber’s shears.   When attempting this procedure it is important to always first pre-test in an inconspicuous location.   Simply shave across the surface of the problem area moving slowly and checking that more damage is not being created.   There are some “DIY” pill removers for clothing and furniture on the market; however they may not be readily available or aggressive enough to tackle the job.   A fresh and clean set of electric trimmers can efficiently and effectively be used while reducing damage from pulling and snagging.

Again, pilling is usually not correct by cleaning or washing.   I highly advise that you DO NOT remove cushion covers and place them in a washing machine as some other methods suggest.   Seat cushions may shrink and distort.   When washed separate the cushions might not match or may look cleaner than the other components of the furniture.

When deciding which fabric is the best choice for your home or office in Northeast Pennsylvania, consult the experts at Fierros Fine Furniture of Hazleton, www.http://fierrofurniturestore.com.      When considering hiring a “Certified IICRC Upholstery Cleaner”, request a free estimate by email from Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning.

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Carpet cleaning pre spray being mixed for commercial applicationWhen your pet has an accident on the carpet or someone has a spill it can be stressful enough, but choosing a “professional carpet cleaner” that best fits your needs can be more taxing.   There are a few factors that should be considered when making your final decision.   Having cleaned carpets in the Mountaintop PA, Berwick PA and Hazleton PA areas for 24 years, I highly recommend the following 5 steps for choosing a Professional Carpet Cleaning Company should be taken into consideration.     

  1. Narrowing Down the Field – first consult your warranty documents whether it’s upholstery or carpets.   The information provided by the manufacturer not only includes specific instructions for approved cleaning methods but most warranties now specify the certifications your cleaning company should possess.   Not following these guidelines may void your warranty.
  2. Look for an “IICRC” or “The Clean Trust” certified firm – when doing your research.   Companies like Services Etcetera Professional Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning and bearing these certifications are required to update their training regularly, adhere to a code of ethics and are usually the carpet mill’s preferred choice to handle warranty claims.
  3. Ask your Prospects – where they are located and if they are a franchise or chain operation.   Shopping locally, within 20-30 miles, will provide you more accurate references and better your chances at finding someone who wants a relationship rather than just another sale.   Remember, the handsome and knowledgeable serviceman in the TV commercial is not the person showing up at your door.
  4. Ask about a Guarantee – a reputable business either offers one with conditions or they won’t offer one at all.   Beware of the guy who promises the world because there is no magic wand and a true professional will usually under promise and try exceed your expectations.
  5. Word of Mouth Referrals – are an excellent source of information, ask a relative, friend or colleague.   Ask the company you call to provide the references; maybe they have a customer who had a situation similar to yours.   Having worked in the cleaning industry for over 23 years I maintain a file of report cards, pictures and other testimonials from my customers.

   After making your choice it’s a good idea to address your expectation up front to avoid any misunderstandings.   But the five questions you should be asking before you hire a carpet and upholstery cleaner are what does my warranty say, what certifications do they have, are they local, is there a guarantee and do they have references?

A Properly Maintained Vacuum is an Essential part of Carpet Cleaning

upright vacuumThere’s more to vacuuming your carpet than turning on the power switch and making a few simple passes.   Performing a regular inspection of your vacuum’s belts, filters, brush roller and bag or canister is very important part of proper carpet cleaning procedures.   All components of a vacuum cleaner must work in harmony in order to achieve optimal results.

  • Did you know a vacuum bag that is just 10% full may result in upwards of a 50% reduction in your vacuum’s efficiency?   A vacuum working harder to remove less soil causes a diminished life span of the vacuum itself.   Dry soil and grit left behind translates into more than just dirty carpet.   Particulate soil trapped down in your carpet yarns act like sandpaper, abrading and grinding away, reducing the life of the carpet and giving them that dingy trafficked appearance.   Consult your manufacturer’s manual or user guide for information on when to change the bag or empty the canister.
  • Bristles, brush rolls, agitators or beat bars on your vacuum do a large amount of the cleaning work and require periodic cleaning.   They gently lift the pile and kick up the stubborn particles of soil and other contaminants, allowing them to enter the vacuum’s air stream.  Worn bristles or brushes reduce the amount of debris removed causing soils to remain in the carpet.   Over time rollers and bristles become embedded with soil, hair lint, fuzz, carpet fibers and other nasty foreign materials.   If not cleaned regularly they can create a drag on the vacuum’s motor causing an early demise.   Dirty bristles can also cause built up soils to leave dirty streaks or black marks on the face of a carpet.
  • Vacuum belts are an important part of a vacuum cleaner because they help rotate the brush roller or beater bar.   With every use vacuum belts stretch from normal heat generated by the motor and can easily break.    Jammed or frozen rotating parts will also cause belts to melt, stretch and snap.   The heat created by friction can damage carpet fibers and also cause permanent unsightly black marks on the carpet face.   Ultimately a broken vacuum belt will result in very little soil from being sucked up.
  • Proper maintenance and replacement of  vacuum cleaners’ filters is essential to proper suction and airflow.    Filters trap and prevent the very fine dust particles not collected in the bag or canister from being blown back out into the air.   Some filters also protect the vacuum’s motor.   Blocked filters need to be washed or cleaned in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.   Blocked filters will cause reduced suction and a strain on the motor resulting in early replacement.

A quick check of these basic components before each vacuuming takes just a minute or two.   Residents in the Hazleton PA area can visit Johns Sweeper and Appliance for vacuum replacement parts and accessories.   Customers of Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning can request a free vacuum inspection with every carpet cleaning.   Visit www.procleaner.biz or call (570)459-0429 for a free carpet cleaning estimate or to schedule an appointment.

Removing Mud from Carpets and Rugs Easily

Kids playing footballFootball season is in full swing and sometimes your little MVPs forget to take off their cleats before coming in the house.   Mud is a soil best cleaned when dry.   Prior to starting it’s always a good idea to consult you manufacturer’s warranty and test carpet spot cleaners in an inconspicuous area for color damage.

  • Gently use a spoon to scoop up the fresh wet clumps to avoid spreading or pushing the soil further down into the carpet pile.
  • After the remaining dirt completely dries the dry soil is easily vacuumed away.
  • If a dirty spot remains mix about 1 half teaspoon of mild laundry soap or liquid dish detergent to 8 ounces of hot water.   Use a spray bottle and apply the mixture to the affected area.   Don’t over wet but spray enough spot cleaning solution to moisten the area leaving it sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Use a white towel to blot the area and never rub.   Check your      towel for transfer of the dirt and repeat until there is no more visible transfer of soil.   Also check the towel for carpet dye transfer.   If dye transfer is present stop immediately and carefully dry the carpet using a hair dryer.
  • Rinse the area with clean water, blot again and let the area dry.       

Some stubborn soils may require calling a professional carpet cleaning company.   Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning is anIICRCcertified cleaning firm.   Check for other spot cleaning tips, tools and procedures at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyZR8fhipK8.

Fleas – How to Safely and Effectively Remove them from your Home and Carpet

Picture of a fleaBefore calling an exterminator and paying extreme bills, there are some simple yet effective ways to remove fleas from your pets, home and carpet.   It is important to note that while chemical use and “Green Cleaning” may be a concern, “Natural” remedies can be HAZARDOUS to your pets or small children too.   Whatever methods you choose be conscious of any changes in your family’s behavior and always read labeling information thoroughly.

With the winter months approaching, many Northeast Pennsylvania residents like me will be trying to squeeze in the last few days of nice weather.   Walking the dog, jumping in the leaves, cleaning up yard debris around the home and other outdoor activities may potentially expose you to fleas and other insects.   It is important to have a 3 step action plan:

    1. Treatment and care of pets
    2. Daily vacuuming and housekeeping
    3. A long term plan for treating carpets, rugs and fabrics
  • Ensuring that your pet is not acting as a carrier is the first step in achieving a flea free environment.   Eliminate the source by treating pets for existing fleas and from further contamination.   Purchase a flea comb from your local pet store and groom your pets regularly, especially before they come inside.   Make sure your pet has a flea dip, flea collar, topical treatment or other long term deterrent.   Ask your veterinarian about adding brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food, it causes an unpleasant odor causing fleas to migrate.   Be careful of home remedies made from Eucalyptus, tea tree oils and lemon as they can have serious health effects on your cat or dog.   Nausea, vomiting, lethargy, general weakness and digestive problems may all be indicative of a bad reaction.
  • Removing and killing live fleas, larva and eggs in carpets and fabrics is a daily essential.   Wash any blankets, bedding or linens that may have contacted your pet in hot water and detergent.   Thoroughly vacuum all carpeting, area rugs and upholstered furniture in your home.   Use a strong, bag type vacuum without a worn beater bar.   After vacuuming promptly remove and seal the vacuum bag inside a plastic bag and then discard outside.   Take care to vacuum hard to reach areas as fleas prefer cooler areas not in direct sunlight.   Consider hiring a professional carpet cleaning company that offers hot water extraction also known as steam cleaning.   An IICRC certified carpet cleaner can effectively reach deep down into the base of the carpet yarns removing much more than a typical vacuum.    Remaining vigilant about daily vacuuming of carpet and fabrics is important.  
  • You will not be able to get every last flea the first time around, so besides daily vacuuming you need to have a long term plan.   Even if you manage to kill or remove every remaining flea you still need to combat the eggs and larva waiting to mature.   Products known as insect growth regulators (IGR) disrupt the reproductive cycle of insects and are usually harmless to mammals.    Products containing Nylar such as Bio Spot from “PETCO” or other products found by visiting http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com are effective long term treatments.   Some alternative remedies involve sprinkling diatomaceous earth (DE) or salt directly onto your carpets.   Keep in mind you should wear a respirator when using (DE).   A mixture of borax and water in your home carpet cleaning machine will drown fleas while the borax attaches to the carpet and prevents others from maturing.

In closing it is important to remember that removing fleas from you home will take time and some effort.   Regardless of using a home concoction or a store bought product, always keep an eye out for adverse reactions and follow all packaging and labeling information.   Pest control products only go so far.   Good housekeeping practices and keeping your pet free from fleas should also be a part of any flea control program.

Prevention, Protection and Presentation, 3 Great Reasons for having your Carpets Cleaned as Autumn Approaches

Carpeted classroom at the HASD 9th grade centerThere are many reasons for having carpet and upholstery cleaned but the transition from summer to fall brings several factors into consideration.   As in most areas of Pennsylvania, students in the Hazleton and Berwick Area School Districts will be returning to school this week.     While recently cleaning carpets at the 9th Grade Center of the Hazleton Area High School, I realized that I was doing more than just cleaning rugs.   I was actually performing 3 different jobs; presenting, protecting and preventing.

  • Presentation the manner in which something is shown, expressed, or laid out for other people to see.   

This time of year marks more than the start of school.   Very soon the “Holiday Season” will be upon us.   Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and other traditional holidays will soon find us inviting guests into our homes and businesses.    The appearance of these areas presents an image of your habits, your attitude and your professionalism.

Using the start of school as an example, imagine being a parent bringing your son or daughter to orientation and finding the commercial carpeting filthy, stained and terribly worn.   Now imagine having some guests come over to your facilities and witness the same conditions.   Presentation sets the tone of how others see us.   With increased traffic in our dwellings and places of business this time of year, “what image are you presenting”?

  • Protection – something that prevents somebody or something from being harmed or damaged.

The hustle and bustle of the coming holidays and colder weather will no doubt bring increased traffic to interior areas.   As guests, patrons and neighbors come to visit or shop, floor coverings need to be properly cleaned and protected or they face a premature demise.

Having cleaned the same school’s carpets for over 7 years proves that professional cleaning and maintenance of carpets can extend the life of your investment.   Subjected to heavy use, over the years we have removed gum, tar, food and other unknown substances.   The commercial grade nylon carpet is still in “very good condition and is far from replacement”!

Particles of soil embedded in the face yarns of carpet act like tiny pieces of sandpaper.      Motion and pressure from foot traffic cause these particulates to start grinding away at carpet fibers.   Failure to remove these soils on a regular basis will contribute to early replacement.    Cleaning your carpets and other types of floor coverings now will pay dividends in the future.   An application of carpet protector like Scothgard or Dupont Teflon can also aide in the protection process and extend the useful life of textiles.

  • Prevention   an action or actions taken to stop somebody from doing something or to stop something from happening

The cold and flu season is on its way and nasty, uncomfortable symptoms will soon descend upon some of us.   Cleaning carpets for health reasons versus for aesthetics is very important.   Your carpets, rugs and upholstery can harbor soils and other foreign substances that cause respiratory issues and infectious diseases.

“According to many IAQ experts”, the biggest problem with carpets may not be new carpet emissions at all. Once installed, a carpet acts like a filter for anything in the air, trapping particulates and pollutants. Anything carried onto a carpet on shoes or wheels can also become lodged in it.   View the full article.

Statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that 40% of children aged 5–17 years missed 3 or more school days in the past year because of illness or injury.    Visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/infectious/index.htm for useful tips on disease prevention, statistics and data.

Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning is an IICRC/Clean Trust certified carpet cleaning firm that has been serving Northeastern PA for over 23 years.   The friendly and well trained staff can address all of your cleaning needs with a free, no obligation estimate.

How to Properly Remove Grease and Tar from your Carpet

tar spots on the carpetNice weather brings pothole patching, driveway paving and crack sealing to a peak here in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern PA.   Once again residents have to deal with fresh tar being tracked into their homes and onto the carpet.   A few simple household items can help clean up the mess.

Tar is a sticky subject and can be very tricky to remove.   Usually a dry cleaning solvent such as mineral spirits or denatured alcohol can be used to break down the mess.  There are also some citrus based spotting agents available that can do the job too.

Always pre test any cleaning solution in an inconspicuous place and consult your manufacturer’s warranty first.    Never pour cleaning agents directly onto your rug and follow the directions.

  • Apply some of the spot cleaner onto a white towel.
  • Start from the outside edge and work the spot inward, don’t rub, blot the spot.
  • Continue blotting until you no longer have any transfer of the spot into your towel.
  • Rinse the area clean of any residues with clean water and blot dry.

Watch a short helpful video entitled How to Remove Tar, Grease and Oil Based Spots from Carpet” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ianN1VKReUc.

Your IICRC/Clean Trust certified carpet cleaner carries a professional line of dry spotting and other effective carpet cleaning solutions. Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Hazleton PA’s first IICRC certified firm, can be contacted at http://www.procleaner.biz or info@procleaner.biz.