Author Archive for Hansen

Love and Money

Connecting with your spouse on a financial level is critical. Planning ahead can build a strong financial foundation for your relationship. Here are some steps to help create a plan:

Step 1: Define success. Talk to your partner to determine exactly what you both want for your financial future. Once you know your goals, it’s easier to budget and prioritize based on your shared vision.

Step 2: Align your priorities. If one person is concerned with living in-the-now, it might not match with a partner that thinks more long-term and desires to plan for the future. You likely share some ideals like saving for education or retirement. Find those values you both share and work together.

Step 3: Agree on how to accomplish your goals. Be flexible and be committed. You might try a separate bank account to accommodate your savings.

Step 4: Make it fun. Plan some milestones into your financial relationship and when you reach them, have a celebration. Remember to enjoy the process. Success is a journey.

Life Is Sweet

Chocolate is good for you, but not a lot of it at once. It’s hard to believe that what was once considered to be a guilty indulgence has now proved to be good for your heart, your lungs, and your brain.

There’s even more good news. The flavonoids liberally found in dark chocolate appear to produce the greatest health benefits, but researchers now say milk chocolate is also a rich source. It contains about 75 milligrams per 100 grams, or more than found in red wine.

If you love chocolate, remember that it also contains calories. So choose chocolate instead of indulgences like donuts and other treats. It’s still best to choose dark chocolate that’s higher in flavonoids, say researchers at Tufts University.

To maximize flavonoids, Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, of Tufts, recommends dark, bittersweet or baking chocolate. Milk chocolate is processed to make it smoother and less bitter, which also decreases natural flavonoid levels, adds fat and increases sugar.

Love Your Clean Carpet

On the surface, carpet cleaning seems pretty simple. Rent a machine. Fill the tank. Pour in some detergent. Flip a switch and start cleaning. Before long, your carpet is clean and fresh. However, as anyone who has actually cleaned carpet knows, there’s more to it than that. Here are some interesting facts about carpet that affect cleaning results.

Some of the most common questions asked about carpet cleaning are, “Will the spots come back?”, “Will the dents from the furniture come out?”, “Will the traffic areas look better after it’s done?”, and “Will these stains come out?”

The answers depend on several factors that we consider when we clean your carpet.

Carpet can be made with a variety of fibers, each having its own cleaning characteristics. Every fiber responds to traffic differently. Spills that are easy to remove from one fiber may permanently stain another.

Various styles such as loop pile, friezé, shag, Saxony and velvet plush all respond to traffic in different ways. The quality and density of the cushion is another factor that determines how well a carpet performs in traffic areas.

Even the way the pile yarns are twisted and how tightly packed they are in the carpet backing makes a difference in durability and cleanability.

An experienced cleaner will assess the condition of your carpet, asking questions such as, “How old is the carpet?”, “How was it cleaned in the past, and how often?”, “Was protector applied during the last cleaning?”, “How old are the spots, spills and stains, and have you tried anything to clean them?”

With all of these variables, it’s not an exact science. BUT there are some things we know about carpet, fibers, soil and stains that give us a clue as to what we can anticipate from the cleaning process. The most important consideration is the type of fiber.

Wool carpet has excellent resilience, so those crushed traffic areas and furniture indentations have a good chance of coming out. Wool is more easily stained by proteins than other fibers, so some foods, pet urine and other protein sources like blood will be difficult to remove.

Olefin carpets don’t have the resiliency of wool, so high traffic areas tend to pack down and lose that fluffy texture over time. Olefin has excellent stain-resistance and color-fastness.

Stain-resist nylon has excellent resilience and good stain and soil repellency, so carpets made with nylon tend to be the best overall performers. However, depending on how the fiber was dyed, Nylon may be bleached by some household chemicals or sunlight.

Polyester fibers have an affinity for oily soils, so food or petroleum grease spots will be more difficult to remove. But Polyester, like Olefin, is very resistant to stains and bleaching.

The bottom line is that how the carpet looks after cleaning will depend on some factors that are out of our control. But with an experienced cleaner you can be assured of the best results possible for your carpet.

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

Forgive and Remember

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday that marks the contributions of a private American citizen.

Many government agencies and private businesses remain closed on this day in remembrance of Dr. King. His philosophy of nonviolence and use of peaceful demonstrations changed minds, changed laws and changed hearts.

One of the hallmarks of his message is the attitude of forgiveness.

Dr. King said, “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.”

He also said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”

Forgiveness is an act of kindness and wisdom that we can apply every day.

Be Your Own Boss

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.

Understanding Your Carpet and How to Solve Problems

Understanding Your Carpet and How to Solve Problems

When selecting carpet, choosing the right color is often the most difficult part of the process. Most people make relatively neutral choices, picking colors such as beige, taupe, gray and even off white because they blend well with just about any decor. Yet, carpets in bold colors like burgundy, deep, rich browns, regal blues and purples, soothing greens and even multi-colored patterns are not uncommon either. The interesting thing is that the color itself is not what protects a carpet from stains. Rather, it’s how the color is dyed that matters. When you know how your carpet was colored you can make more informed cleaning and spot treatment choices.

Extrusion and Coloration

Many carpets, such as polyester and Olefin, are created through extrusion. This is the process of melting plastic balls of certain colors, then extruding the liquid through small holes to create strands. In this way the color goes all through the thread; it’s called “solution dyeing.” This creates the most colorfast carpets, fibers which are highly resistant to fading and bleaching because the color goes all the way through. These carpets are most often found in commercial applications, but they can be in private homes as well. One such extruded fiber, Olefin, is common in Berber style carpets. Olefin fibers are not very absorbent, so they are highly stain resistant.

Fiber & Yarn Dyeing

Sometimes, the material is extruded or otherwise turned into rough fibers before color is applied. Then, various methods are used to apply dye to these fibers before they are spun into yarn. This type of dyeing provides great color penetration, but it is expensive and rarely used on carpets; it’s more common on wool and other high end fabrics. If the fiber is spun into yarn, then dyed, this is yarn dyeing, a common way that multiple colors of fibers are then woven into the carpet to make a variety of patterns, as is common in hotels and office buildings.

Print Dyeing

In print dyeing the carpet is made without color variety. Then, dyes are sprayed or painted on the carpet using stencils. This is common on novelty carpets such as playrooms, daycare centers and movie theaters.

Continuous Dye

The most common dyeing technique is the continuous dye method. After the yarns have been stitched into the backing material, the carpet passes through jets that spray hot dye into the face yarns. This is the fastest and most cost-effective way to dye carpet. Chances are, if you have a light to medium solid-color carpet, it was dyed in this way.

Keeping Carpet Looking Good

The dyeing process of a carpet determines how it resists color loss, fading and bleaching. An experienced cleaning company will know what chemicals and processes to use in order to get the best cleaning and maintenance results from a particular carpet. Using the wrong cleaning agents or processes could result in fading, loss of luster and other issues, so be sure to have your carpets cleaned at least semi-annually by Hansen Steam Way.

Get More Energy

Forget the energy drinks. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that energy drinks can have serious health effects, particularly in children, teenagers, and young adults.

If you want a steady stream of energy without the ups and downs, dieticians recommend whole foods, grains, fruits and vegetables.

The key to sustaining energy throughout the day is balance. Start the day with a portion of whole grain and fresh fruit.

Throughout the day, eat fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, beans and non-starchy vegetables in small portions.

For a pick-me-up, research dietitian Aubrey Jarman recommends a slice of apple or one whole wheat cracker with peanut butter.

Drink plenty of water. Chronic dehydration is one of the primary causes of tiredness and lack of energy.

Meat and fish are part of a balance diet, when eating in moderation.

11 Cleaning Secrets

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 walk-ways, 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


Holiday Weight Gain? Not as Bad as You Might Think!

Holiday Weight Gain? Not as Bad as You Might Think!

People gain weight during the holidays, but not as much as they think, according to dietitian Cynthia Sass. Sass points to a 2009 study from Texas Tech University that followed 48 men and 100 women for six weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas. On average, the subjects gained one and a half to two pounds each.

While this gain isn’t terrible, it tends to stay on. Sass says weight creep is
responsible for adults gaining 10 to 20 pounds over a 10 year period.

If you want to avoid that extra pound or two, Sass recommends drinking
two cups of water before meals. One study found that adults who followed
this prescription were able to shed 40 percent more weight during a 12-week
diet period. Drinking water also makes us less hungry.

Finally, budget your carbs. Holidays are carb heavy with potatoes, cakes,
pies, breads, and cookies. Try to choose just one carb item each day so you can
indulge, but not at every single meal. If banana bread is on the menu for
lunch, skip the toast and potatoes at breakfast and dinner.

 

Keep Your Water Flowing This Winter

Keep Your Water Flowing This Winter

 

Frozen pipes not only mean the inconvenient lack of water, they can also burst, causing expensive repair problems. Homeowners are often understandably frantic to get water pipes running again. But thawing pipes improperly can lead to more problems.

Use the right method for thawing-

A little heat on the right pipe could get that water flowing. But a flame on the pipe is a very bad idea.

According to fire experts, flames under the house, even when directed at pipes, are a common cause of fire. The open flame from a heater, especially a propane salamander, can ignite insulation or flooring materials under a house.

Excessive heat on metal piping can cause water to boil, causing the pipe to burst. If you know where the pipes are frozen, first open the faucets and then apply heat with a hair dryer or electric heating pad.

Prepare ahead-

If you know your pipes are prone to freezing, take some simple steps ahead of cold weather. First, prepare an emergency water supply. Partially fill a bathtub with water when very cold temperatures are predicted. This can provide water for pets, cleaning, or bathing. It will also give you some breathing room so you can take your
time unfreezing pipes. Next, keep the faucets open to a drip. This will help prevent pipes from freezing. Open your cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom to allow
warm room air to circulate.

Prevent frozen pipes-

One of the best ways to prevent frozen pipes is with heat tape or heat cable. These low-heat products usually can be plugged in at the beginning of the season and left until Spring.

Disconnect outdoor hoses and close valves supplying outdoor faucets.

If the problem with frozen pipes is persistent every winter season, consider
relocating exposed pipes. Although this is a major project, it is worth the
temporary hassle and expense to prevent future problems.

Insulation in attics, basements and crawl spaces will help prevent frozen pipes,
too. Just make sure that pipes are on the warm side of the insulation. If pipes are
on the cold side of the insulation, they are more likely to freeze.

 

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