Author Archive for Hansen

Celebrate DRY January

The term “Dry January” has been growing in popularity in recent years.
Going “dry” is a trend that encourages it’s participants to abstain from
alcohol for the month of January. Well known in the UK, there are two main benefits for participating.

The first benefit is to save a little extra money after the holidays. Every time you find yourself going to buy a bottle of wine or enjoying a cocktail, save the money instead. If your wallet didn’t feel the holiday pinch, you could donate all of the savings to your favorite charity. If you don’t regularly
partake in alcohol, you could substitute for your favorite coffee.

The second benefit is to detox your system after some holiday over- indulgence. Many people already feel inspired to hit the gym and eat
healthier this time of year. Abstaining from alcohol for the month can
also provide positive returns on your health such as more energy and
better sleep.

Be Your Own Boss

Recent data from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) revealed that about 29% of all business owners in America are women. This figure is up from 26% as recently as 1997.

In the last decade, there has been a growth of 68% in women-owned firms compared to only 47% growth for all businesses on record.

One aspect of women-owned businesses that stands out is the 265% increase in the number of minority women who have stepped up to be their own boss.

According to Fortune Magazine, women interested in starting their own small business should pursue certifications in their field to increase credibility.

Women entrepreneurs should seek out other women to partner with and learn from. They should strive to build their customer base by actively marketing and emphasizing their unique talents and abilities.

Which Vacuum Cleaner is Really BEST?

Hoover, Eureka, Kirby, Dyson, Oreck, Bissel, Electrolux, Rainbow and Miele. Most of these are household
names thanks to relentless marketing on TV, in magazines, and at retail stores. There are many more brands
of vacuum cleaners besides these. Every one of them wants you to believe that they have the best vacuum
cleaner on the market.

There are different styles of vacuum cleaners; upright, canister,
backpack and cordless stick-type machines that use a variety of
methods to capture particulates. Cyclonic filtration, bags, bagless,
HEPA filtration and even filters that utilize water to remove
dust particles from the processed air are available.


And those commercials! You’ll see demonstrations of vacuum
cleaners picking up everything from Cheerios to bowling balls.
But before you buy into the marketing hype, you should know
that there is a far more objective way to choose a vacuum cleaner.
Since 2005, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) in cooperation
with independent testing laboratories has used technology
developed for the NASA space program for testing the effectiveness
of vacuum cleaners. The program is called Carpet and
Rug Institute Seal of Approval (CRI-SoA).


The CRI-SoA measures 3 important performance aspects of a
vacuum cleaner:

Soil Removal Standard — CRI uses
NASA-enhanced x-ray fluorescence
technology to measure the precise
amount of soil removed from carpet. The
vacuum cleaner must remove at least
40% of the test soil to be considered for
CRI-SOA. Higher soil removal efficiency
makes the vacuum cleaner eligible for a
higher rating.
Dust Containment Standard — The
vacuum must not release more than 100
micrograms of dust particles per cubic
meter of air (100 μg/m3), keeping dirt
and dust locked tight in the vacuum —
not escaping back into the air where it
can be inhaled. To achieve Gold rating,
the vacuum cleaner must not release
more than 35 μg/m3.
Texture Protection Standard — The
vacuum must not affect the texture of the
carpet after 900 passes. If the roller brush
or beater bar is too aggressive, permanent
damage can occur. If the vacuum
cleaner fails to pass this test, it will not be
considered for the CRI-SOA program.

What the ratings mean:
Rating – Soil – Dust Particles Released
Bronze 40 – 49% 100 μg/m3 or
less
Silver 50 – 54% 100 μg/m3 or
less
Gold 55%+ 35 μg/m3 or
less
The results of this testing are available
online at the CRI website (carpet-rug.org).


Some of the other considerations are
the style of the vacuum cleaner that best
suits your needs. Dual-motor uprights
with on-board attachments are the most
popular because they offer the most versatility,
but they can be somewhat heavy
to use. Canister vacuums usually have
better suction and can be easier to use,
but they are not as easy to store. Pulling
the canister behind you might be a bit of
a pain in larger homes.


Bagless machines generally do not
retain particles as well as machines with
bags. The quality of the bag is also
important; some bags filter better than
others. Then there is additional filtration
with many models boasting HEPA (High
Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration. HEPA
filters remove 99.97% of all particles at
.3 microns. Air that passes through the
HEPA filter has been effectively cleaned
of particles that can aggravate respiratory
symptoms from allergies and asthma.


In order to get the best performance
out of your vacuum cleaner, replace bags
and filters according to manufacturer’s
recommendations. Replace belts and roller
brushes or beater bars when they become
worn. Every year or two, have your
vacuum cleaner serviced by a qualified
technician so that you can keep getting
the most out of your carpet investment.

Call Hansen Steam Way for more
tips, recommendations or to schedule
your next cleaning.

11 House Cleaning Secrets

Soil control is an important part of keeping your home clean and healthy. The Institute of Cleaning and Restoration Certification defines soil as any undesirable substance that is foreign to a surface. Practicing soil control means limiting the buildup of soil on surfaces. Limiting soil equals a clean and healthy home. Here are 11 tips to help you practice soil control.

1. Keep dirt outside by keeping all entry areas and garage floors swept and clean. Pressure wash walkways, porches and stairs leading to the entrances to your house. It takes 12 times more effort, time and money to remove soil from your home than it does to prevent it entering in the first place.

2. Remove dirt before it enters the house with door mats. Again, the idea is to limit the amount of soil that enters from outside. Use water resistant door mats made of non-absorbent, mold resistant fibers outside every entrance to your home.

3. Stop dirt at the door by adding another doormat just inside your home. This mat should be made of an absorbent material such as nylon, cotton or wool. Washable throw rugs work great, provided they don’t slide around or become a tripping hazard. Vacuum or wash the mat twice a week.

4. Keep outdoor shoes out of the house. Take off your shoes at the door and wear indoor shoes, slippers or socks around the house. Don’t go barefoot all the time; the natural oils on your feet attach to the carpet and attract soil.

5. Brush and groom your pets regularly – preferably outdoors.

6. Change your furnace filter every 30 days when it is in use. Opt for a high efficiency allergen-trapping filter – it will be $15-20 well-spent.

7. Keep your kitchen vent hood clean… and use it. These vents trap moisture, oils and odors that would otherwise end up in your carpet.

8. Use a bathroom vent. Humidity in the bathroom can lead to mold growth. Let the fan run 10 minutes after you shower or bathe.

9. Vacuum regularly.This is the most important step in carpet maintenance. 74-79% of the soil in typical household carpet can be removed by regular vacuuming. If these dry soils are allowed to remain, some of them break down and oxidize, creating a perfect breeding ground for fungi, bacteria and unpleasant odors. Grittier soils adhere to sticky or oily residues on carpet fibers, causing abrasion and permanent damage. Regular vacuuming reduces these effects so carpets last longer.

10. Vacuum furniture. You should vacuum your upholstered furniture, drapery and blinds for the same reasons listed above. When you dust your furniture, do so gently, and slowly. It is best to do this with a duster attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Allow the dust to settle for an hour or so; then vacuum the carpet or floor.

11. Have your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned at least once a year, at a minimum. Homes with more people, pets and especially those with young children, should be cleaned more frequently.

Call Hansen Steam Way to learn more or schedule your next cleaning.

SIMPLE Ways to Begin Mornings

Ready, set, go. Just as you would set off at the starting line of a race, this hectic pace is how mornings begin for many men and women.

Instead of waking with dread to face another hectic morning, consider these tips for a healthier way to ease into your daily rituals. Meditate. A practice that has been around for thousands of years may still be one of the best stress busters for hurried mornings. Stretch. While the most health-conscious person may opt for a morning sweat-a-thon, working in some stretches can also be beneficial. When you awake, think about oft-used muscles and extend each one for 15- 30 seconds.

Activate. Give your brain some fuel in the morning while also doing something nice for your mind. For example, journaling is a gentle way to ease into your morning and get your brain firing. If you can’t think of a topic, simply write down a few affirmations for the day, revisit a pleasant memory from your past or scribble down a goal for the week.

Giving INSPIRED Gifts

The holidays signal a time for family gatherings, traditions and the spirit of giving. Make this holiday season even more meaningful by giving gifts that help children in need around the globe.

According to UNICEF, around 15,000 children die every day from preventable diseases. This holiday season, you can join the charge by choosing gifts that can give back.

With Inspired Gifts, you can provide supplies in the name of a loved one that get delivered directly to children who need it most. Just $19 can provide polio vaccines to protect 100 children from the deadly disease.

If you are looking for stocking stuffers and unique finds, UNICEF Market has a vast collection of handcrafted items made by artisans from around the world. Visit www.unicefusa.org for more information on these life saving gifts.

HEALTHY Holidays for Your Pets

The holidays are full of overindulgence, even for our pets. It may take a little effort on your part to ensure your pet has a healthy and safe holiday season.

Make sure any treats you give your pet are just that—pet treats, not human treats. If you decide to get goodies for your animal, be sure to dole out the treats slowly over time. Take these extras into account at meal times and reduce meal quantities accordingly.

Exercise is always good for you and your pet, so make time for a daily walk, too.

Festivities and decorations can also pose a health threat to your dog or cat. All cords should be well shielded and your tree should be anchored to prevent it from tipping over. All edible decorations should be placed out of reach. By taking these simple precautions, you can ensure that both you and your furry friend will enjoy this holiday season.

Make Cleaning EASY as Pie

The basic principles of cleaning can be easily remembered by the acronym, C.H.A.T. The four letters stand for Chemical, Heat, Agitation and Time. Proper application of these four principles is important for effective cleaning. Chemical-The word chemical doesn’t always mean toxic; technically, even water is a chemical. Everyone uses soap to wash themselves, shampoo to clean their hair and various detergents to clean the dishes they eat on, and the clothes they wear. All of these cleaning agents are chemicals, and properly used, they are harmless.

There are different cleaning agents designed to remove a variety of soils from all kinds of surfaces. A product designed to work on tile and grout floors would likely damage carpet or wood. A wood cleaner would not do an adequate job of cleaning glass. To work well the right chemicals must be matched to surface and suitable for the soil that you are trying to remove.

Heat-Hot water cleans better than cold water. In situations where it is safe to do so, adding heat to your cleaning solution will increase chemical effectiveness, and decrease overall cleaning time. When you are dealing with heavily soiled surfaces, heat is especially helpful. Grease and oil are broken down by heat, so using hot cleaning solution and hot water to rinse will yield excellent results.

Agitation-Scouring pads, brushes, coarse cloths, and even high pressure water are some methods used to achieve agitation. Agitation helps by distributing your cleaning agent, dislodging soils from surfaces and suspending them in the cleaning solution to be rinsed away.

Time-We all know that the longer you scrub and rinse something, the cleaner it gets. While that is true, it’s not the best use of time. When you are cleaning, dwell time of your cleaning agent is important. Dwell time means that you allow the product time to work, breaking down and dissolving soils. The amount of dwell time will depend on the type and quantity of soiling, the surface being cleaned and the strength and concentration of your cleaning solution.

Easy as Pie -Think of all of the four principles (chemical, heat, agitation, time) as four slices of a pie. If you slice the pie evenly, everyone gets the same amount. But, if someone wants a bigger slice, you will have to decrease the size of one or more of the other pieces of the pie.

Here’s how it works in cleaning: If you have to use a very mild cleaning chemical, you’ll need to increase dwell time, agitation and/or temperature. If you can’t use hot water, you will have to use more chemical, dwell time, or scrub more aggressively. If you can’t use agitation, you will need more time, heat and/or chemical action. Increasing temperature by using hot water is usually the best way to improve cleaning efficiency and save time. Hot water reduces the amount of chemical you need to clean, suspends more soil, and rinses better. Temperatures over 130ºF begin to kill microbes on surfaces, providing sanitizing benefits. If you apply The 4 Principles of Cleaning, you can be more successful cleaning just about anything.

Of course, when it comes to cleaning your carpet, upholstery, rugs and tile, Hansen Steam Way technicians are the experts at applying the 4 principles of cleaning. That’s why we produce the best results every time, guaranteed.

ECO-Friendly Fire Pits

A crackling fire is the hallmark of many an autumn night spent outdoors with friends and family. The fire pit is often the highlight of a camping trip or the leisurely nightcap to a crisp fall day.

But there’s also a dilemma for some: how to enjoy the tradition while still keeping things environmentally friendly and keeping the wood smoke to a minimum?

Fortunately, there are a host of alternatives these days. One popular option is to install a natural gas fire pit. Although it needs a gas line and would remain stationary, this one still retains a similar look and feel to the concept we associate with fire pit.

If you already have a wood-burning fire pit or simply can’t imagine giving up the logs, you can also find alternative materials. An article in Forbes suggests logs made from non-petroleum natural wax, recycled sawdust, used coffee beans, soy, and switchgrass. Many of these release up to 80 percent fewer emissions than regular wood when burned, it says.

EASY Ways to Sell Smartphones

Americans are upgrading their smartphones at an average pace of every 32 months according to the NPD Group. Instead of sticking the old phone into a drawer or throwing it away, however, many consumers can recoup some of the original cost by trading it in or selling it outright, according to Consumer Reports.

Those purchasing iPhones directly through Apple can take advantage of their trade-in program but nearly every major retailer and phone company, such as Best Buy, AT&T or Verizon, will often offer an option to trade a phone in to reduce the cost of an upgraded phone. Although these are the most accessible options, consumers can usually squeeze a little more value from their device by selling it themselves on sites like eBay, Swappa, or Gazelle if they are willing to do a bit more research and legwork.

Selling your old smartphones cuts down on clutter and adds a little extra money to your pocket.

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