Author Archive for Hansen – Page 2

Causes and Cures for Household Dust

Causes and Cures for Household Dust

While you are unlikely to run around your house in an apron happily swiping at dust with a quaint feather duster, you probably do have to worry about dust removal. In fact, Americans spend over $10 billion a year on dust removal products. Add in vacuum cleaners, air filters, furnace filters and so forth and it is easy to see that household dust is big business.

But have you ever wondered what is in household dust? Is it just a nuisance or are there health concerns? When it comes to your home looking good and being clean dust is serious business.

The Dangers of Dust-

Household dust contains all sorts of things from the outside atmosphere including dust from volcanic eruptions, forest fires, disintegrating meteors, silica, mica, clay and other minerals from wind
erosion. Other constituents of dust come from inside the house including human and animal hairs, paper fiber, dead skin, deteriorating paint particles, ash and soot from fireplaces, candles, stoves and
furnaces; sugars, starches, salt, crumbs and other food particles.

Some particles are of concern to humans, especially allergy sufferers: pollen, air pollution, pet dander, mold spores, dead insects, dust mites and their waste. There is growing concern about residues from
pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers used both inside and outside our homes. Even roadway dust from automobile tires, brake linings and exhaust becomes household dust, and may contain carcinogens. There’s also dust from construction, demolition and deterioration of buildings.

The list goes on and on. In fact, you might just say that almost everything you look at is turning to dust. Needless to say, there is no way to make your home completely dust-free. But preventing the buildup of
dust will make your home a healthier place to live. The good news is that dust control doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s just a matter of changing the way you do a few things.

Following these easy tips will improve your air quality significantly:

• While it is nice to let the fresh air in, keep windows and doors closed when pollen is high or it is windy outside.

• Brush pets outdoors away from the house and use a damp pet wipe to remove remaining dander before
allowing them back into the house.

• When cleaning around the house, do your dusting with an electrostatic cloth, duster or damp wipe so you are picking up and removing dust, not just pushing it around.

• When dusting, work from high to low areas and work your way out of the room. Wait about an hour to
allow the particles to settle before vacuuming.

• Vacuuming is a great way to remove dust. However, it is important that you use a vacuum cleaner that has an efficient filter system. A vacuum with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration improves air quality while you vacuum.

• Don’t forget to vacuum your furniture too.

• Install a high efficiency filter on your HVAC system and replace it monthly. For added protection,
there are air purifiers designed to be attached to your duct system. Generally, these units require
professional installation by a licensed contractor but they can be worth the cost if you have allergy
sufferers in the home.

• When dust becomes bonded to carpet and upholstery fibers by sticky or oily residues it’s time for
professional cleaning. Call Hansen Steam Way every 6 to 12 months to keep dust from building up deep in
your carpet fibers or your favorite chair.

 

Causes and Cures for Household Dust

Causes and Cures for Household Dust

While you are unlikely to run around your house in an apron happily swiping at dust with a quaint feather duster, you probably do have to worry about dust removal. In fact, Americans spend over $10 billion a year on dust removal products. Add in vacuum cleaners, air filters, furnace filters and so forth and it is easy to see that household dust is big business. But have you ever wondered what is in household dust? Is it just a nuisance or are there health concerns? When it comes to your home looking good and being clean dust is serious business.

The Dangers of Dust
Household dust contains all sorts of things from the outside atmosphere including dust from volcanic eruptions, forest fires, disintegrating meteors, silica, mica, clay and other minerals from wind erosion. Other constituents of dust come from inside the house including human and animal hairs, paper fiber, dead skin, deteriorating paint particles, ash and soot from fireplaces, candles, stoves and furnaces; sugars, starches, salt, crumbs and other food particles.

Some particles are of concern to humans, especially allergy sufferers: pollen, air pollution, pet dander, mold spores, dead insects, dust mites and their waste. There is growing concern about residues from pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers used both inside and outside our homes. Even roadway dust from automobile tires, brake linings and exhaust becomes household dust, and may contain carcinogens. There’s also dust from construction, demolition and deterioration of buildings.

The list goes on and on. In fact, you might just say that almost everything you look at is turning to dust. Needless to say, there is no way to make your home completely dust-free. But preventing the buildup of dust will make your home a healthier place to live. The good news is that dust control doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s just a matter of changing the way you do a few things.

Following these easy tips will improve your air quality significantly:
• While it is nice to let the fresh air in, keep windows and doors closed when pollen is high or it is windy outside.

• Brush pets outdoors away from the house and use a damp pet wipe to remove remaining dander before allowing them back into the house.

• When cleaning around the house, do your dusting with an electrostatic cloth, duster or damp wipe so you are picking up and removing dust, not just pushing it around.

• When dusting, work from high to low areas and work your way out of the room. Wait about an hour to allow the particles to settle before vacuuming.

• Vacuuming is a great way to remove dust. However, it is important that you use a vacuum cleaner that has an efficient filter system. A vacuum with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration improves air quality while you vacuum.

• Don’t forget to vacuum your furniture too.

• Install a high efficiency filter on your HVAC system and replace it monthly. For added protection, there are air purifiers designed to be attached to your duct system. Generally, these units require professional installation by a licensed contractor but they can be worth the cost if you have allergy sufferers in the home.

• When dust becomes bonded to carpet and upholstery fibers by sticky or oily residues it’s time for professional cleaning. Call Hansen Steam Way every 6 to 12 months to keep dust from building up deep in your carpet fibers or your favorite
chair.

Wellness Retreats

Wellness Retreats

 

A spa and infrared sauna in Bali? Tai- chi, meditation and yoga in Portugal? Whatever takes your fancy, in 2018, there is probably a wellness retreat that suits the way you like to relax and unwind. According to Tom Marchant, the co-founder of a travel company called Black Tomato, in an interview with CNN journalist, Nora Zelevansky, there has been an increase in
retreats focusing on mindfulness and emotional well-being.
Many wellness holiday packages focus on good nutrition, gentle sport and beauty treatments like daily massage and skin rejuvenation. Not just a way to escape the stresses of work and family life, they also support the lifestyles and goals of those for whom health and fitness is always a priority.
-There’s no harm in treating yourself to a relaxing spa day!

Facts to Teach Your New Teen Driver

Facts To Teach Your New Teen Driver

 

Teen drivers are inexperienced, usually distracted, and impulsive, statistics show. That’s every single teenager, from the A student to the wild child.
That won’t come as news to the insurance industry, which charges high rates for teen drivers. But, teens might not know the dangers of their own inexperience. Parents who are teaching their kids to drive might point out some sad truths.
First, teens have a lot of car accidents and car accidents kill. Of all age groups, 16-year-olds have the highest crash rates, and a full third of all deaths among 13 to 19-year-olds are likely to occur in a car crash. In fact, more than 3,000 people die in car
accidents every single day.
Second, teens are unusually distracted behind the wheel. According to dosomething.org, more than half of teen drivers admit they use a phone while driving.
More worrisome is that texting can take eyes off the road for almost five seconds – a lot of time for something to go wrong. Car and Driver Magazine did a study on this and found texting while driving had the same effect as driving drunk.
Teens must learn to leave their phones unanswered while driving. That’s a lesson adults can learn too since 27 percent of adults have read or sent a text message while driving.
Third, driving around teen friends can be deadly. Fatality rates increase with extra passengers in the car. It’s dangerous for the
driver and for the teen rider. Fewer than half of teens say they would speak up if the driver was scaring them.
Teens must also recognize that their inexperience can get them into trouble. Driving in poor conditions such as snow, fog, or
rain can be dangerous and teens must give the task their complete attention.
  • Take the time to talk about safe driving with your teen driver. It could be a life saving conversation!!!

Mortgage Interest Deduction and the New Tax Plan

Mortgage Interest Deduction and the New Tax Plan

A new tax plan passed by Congress in December 2017 allows taxpayers to deduct mortgage interest up to $750,000.

This is lower than the previous limit of $1 million.

The limit only affects new mortgages, not existing mortgages.

Since the median list price of a home is $270,000, most homeowners won’t be affected by the limit decrease.

The new limit is expected to affect about 1.3 percent of new mortgages on very expensive homes, usually in expensive housing markets such as coastal areas.

The new limits on deductions aren’t expected to affect many people nationally, according to realtor.com. That’s because homeowners can only take the deduction if they itemize and
only about one-third of taxpayers do that. Of those that itemize, just over 21 percent use the deduction. However, it will affect high-cost markets in local areas.

Experts are divided as to the impact of the new tax plan on housing. Some see the tax changes as encouraging renting in high-cost areas, causing housing prices to fall.

On the other hand, with a higher standard deduction, taxpayers in lower brackets could find themselves able to buy a home. That could push prices up, according to realtor.com.

Bacteria, Fungi, Spores, Oh My!

Bacteria, Fungi Spores, Oh My!

When you are in the business of cleaning, questions often arise regarding disinfecting and sanitizing. Recent Flu epidemics and the MRSA strain of bacteria have raised concerns among people regarding how to protect from possible infection. Fortunately,antimicrobials offer protection from unseen germs and bacteria on many surfaces. There are three levels of antimicrobials that kill or limit microbes and the spores that they use to reproduce.

Sterilizer

A sterilizer kills 100% of microbes and spores. In the spectrum of antimicrobial activity, a sterilizer is the strongest. Sterilization is impractical for everyday use because bacterial and fungal spores are
extremely difficult to destroy. Extreme heat is one method of sterilization, but it is not practical outside of a medical environment. Chemical sterilizers are toxic, corrosive irritants that are not safe for use by the
general public.

Sanitizers

To sanitize a surface means to reduce levels of harmful microbes to a safe level. Most chemicals sanitizers have little or no effect on certain bacteria like Tuberculosis, and improper use may create resistant strains of harmful bacteria.

Disinfectants

Disinfectant is an EPA regulated term that can only be used on the label of products that have been tested and proven to kill or destroy at least 99.9% of all microorganisms; this doesn’t mean they destroy spores. There are a variety of disinfectants available to consumers, including common household bleach.
Caution must be exercised when using bleach or any other EPA registered disinfectant to follow label directions carefully as misuse can lead to damage to materials or health risks. Disinfectants are named as to what kind of organisms they kill. The suffix cide, meaning “to kill” is added after the type  of
microorganism it targets. So a bactericide kills bacteria, fungicide kills fungi, and a virucide destroys viruses. Read the label to find out what the product is designed to do.

Making the Choice

What should you use? Since sterilizers are only needed for critical jobs like surgical instruments, we are left with disinfectants and sanitizers. As we have seen, sanitizers do not have the “kill power” that
disinfectants do. So why would you choose to use a sanitizer instead of a disinfectant? You make the decision by weighing the risk presented by the microorganisms against the risks involved with the
chemical itself. For example, there are chemical sanitizers that are used in commercial kitchens which are designed for treating food preparation surfaces. These products control bacteria on relatively clean surfaces but present almost no risk because of low toxicity.

In a hospital things are different with known health issues at stake. People with a variety of sicknesses create the potential for contamination of many surfaces. Also, there are people with compromised immune systems who could become seriously ill from exposure to common microbes. When the risk from infection are greater, the necessity for a high grade disinfectant becomes apparent.

Although these tend to have higher levels of toxicity, the potential risk warrants their use.

Your home is similar. Your kitchen counter is generally clean. Therefore keeping it clean usually means simply maintaining a sanitary condition. If you prepare raw meats on the counter you may consider using a good sanitizer/cleaner. In the bathroom a stronger disinfectant might be appropriate. You could also use a surface disinfectant in sick rooms to kill infectious microbes.

A clean home is important. But, the most important thing to remember is that all cleaning agents, sanitizers and disinfectants should be stored and used according to the label directions. Failure to do so could cause more harm than good.

 

Commuting: You don’t Control Traffic

Commuting: You Don’t Control Traffic

How traffic moves is beyond your control. It doesn’t matter if you are in a hurry, uptight, or anticipating
something at the end of your commute.

So why not relax and go with the flow? The laid-back approach will keep your blood pressure in check and your temper down. Here are some ways to do it:

• Forget paybacks. Reckless drivers you encounter will get theirs. You’ve seen it happen. The speeder gets a ticket. The cutoff champ gets wrapped around a tree. They will reap the rewards of their actions.

• See real people. Stay alert by seeing individuals around you rather than just seeing cars. What kind of people are they? What do they do, and where are they going?

• Be considerate. Good drivers are polite on the road. It calms the occasional driver who may be hostile
or violent.

• Perk up your commute. Even a small change in routine, like taking a different road part of the time, will
make the trip a little more interesting.

How to Take Care of Yourself After a Heart Attack

How to Take Care of Yourself After a Heart Attack

The American Heart Association recommends these five steps to give yourself the best chance at recovery from a heart attack.

Take any prescribed medication.
Follow the instructions of your doctor and take all medication as directed. Depending on the severity of heart damage and the underlying causes, you may be prescribed a range of medication. It is important to know what you are taking, what it does, how and when to take it, and any possible side effects.

Continue to see your doctor
Attend any follow-up appointments scheduled with your doctor so they can monitor your progress. Your doctor will continue to assess the effectiveness of your treatment.

Complete cardiac rehabilitation
Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program aimed at making your recovery successful.

Get support
Getting support from loved ones, health professionals and support groups can help reduce the emotional burden.

Change your lifestyle
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are major risk factors of having a heart attack. Quit smoking. Eat a healthy diet. Stay active.

Follow-up appointments after a heart attack are an important part of the recovery process.

The Power of a Campfire

The Power of a Campfire

Consider the power of fire to early humans: It provided heat for food and warmth and protection against
predators.

What is less obvious is that the fire provided a setting where people could talk and socialize.

A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that it is the less-oftencited
social activities that may be responsible for humanity’s dramatic evolution we see today. The study,
quoted in The Wall Street Journal, shows that campfires allowed humans to extend the day past sunset for the first time and gave people an opportunity to perform singing,dancing, religious ceremonies, and
storytelling.

All of these activities played a significant role in how humans learned to consider broader social networks, cooperation, big picture thinking and allowed social behavior, in general, to act as a life-extending activity. Campfires brought people together and created a nexus for cultural development.

Fast-forward to the present day, and people have lost that sense of community and social behavior.

According to Fortune, the amount of people describing themselves as lonely has doubled over the past
several decades. Many factors such as cell phones, the internet, no longer living in the same area for
extended periods of time, and more demanding work hours all contribute to more isolation between people despite living in a world that is more technologically connected than ever.

According to the Huffington Post, unplugging from gadgets and going camping can help improve sleep,
mood, and inspire creativity. It can create connections.

It sounds like the early human ancestors had it right all along.

The Truth About Spots and Stains

The Truth About Spots and Stains

You may have seen some of the commercials on television that show a bottle of spot remover that can quickly and easily remove stains from carpet and upholstery like magic. Red wine, ketchup, coffee, fruit punch, spaghetti sauce, grass stains and more are removed in seconds with no rubbing or scrubbing. Just spray and blot!

If only it were that easy!

The truth is that advertisers are not being completely honest with you. The spots are usually on new carpet that is most likely olefin or polyester–two fibers that are difficult to stain. They choose spots that
are easily removed by the chemistry of their spotter. The same cleaner on dried mustard on a three-year-old nylon carpet would produce less than stellar results.

In reality, the ease or difficulty of spot removal will vary depending on fiber type, age and condition of the carpet, age of the spot, the type of stain, and even the cleaning agents and methods previously used on the carpet.

The first step is to identify the spot. Sometimes you can’t be sure what it is, so with unknown spots, we play “detective.” Using clues like the color, location, texture, odor and shape we figure out what it might be.

The next step is to categorize the spot.
There are four categories of spots:

Category 1: Water-soluble

Water-soluble spots respond to waterbased solutions. There are several spotting agents that fit into this category. Acid spotters work best on alkaline soils. Alkaline spotters work on common acid-based soils.
Enzyme spotters break down protein spots like blood, milk, eggs and grass.

Category 2: Solvent-soluble

Solvent-soluble spots are best treated with solvent-based spotters. This category includes tar, petroleum grease, lipstick, ink, dried paint, gum and adhesives.

Category 3: Insoluble spots

Insoluble spots include substances that cannot be dissolved with water or solvent spotters. Some examples are graphite, carbon, fireplace ash and powdered copier toner.

Category 4: Specialty treatments

Specialty treatments include strong acids, oxidizers, reducing agents and specialized chemical reactions. Rust, food dyes, urine stains and mustard fall into this category.

First things first. Before applying any spotting agent we determine the fiber type. It is important to be sure that the spotting agents and cleaning method will not harm the fiber.

Once we have selected the correct spotter and qualified the fiber content, spot removal will follow 5 basic steps:

1. Remove excess material with scraping or blotting.

2. Apply the appropriate spotter to the spot. Do not oversaturate the carpet.

3. Agitate gently. Never scrub or rub the carpet.

4. Rinse.

5. Blot with a clean white towel.

These are the basic steps. Our techniques, tools and processes will vary depending on your unique situation. Any remaining discoloration after the spot removal is a stain, and will require more expertise and specialized methods.

Hansen Steam Way technicians are experts at identifying, categorizing and treating the spots and stains that other companies can’t. Call us today if you have questions or need help removing spots, odors and stains from your carpet.

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