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Hiking the Scenic Appalachian Trail

Hiking the Scenic Appalachian Trail

 

Want to take a hike on a trail enjoyed by about four million people a year? Want to explore a footpath that stretches through 14 eastern states from Georgia to Maine? Then consider walking the great A.T., the Appalachian Trail.

It runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
The trail is easily accessible at many points (more than 500 public roads cross
the A.T.) and it may be used for a short walk, a day trip, or a long distance hike.

Some hikers attempt to do the entire Trail, a 2,175-mile trek, in what is referred to as a through-hike. They can through-hike in one continuous journey (usually taking five to seven months) or make their through-hike in segments.

The Trail is marked so it’s fairly easy to follow. The markers are six-inch paint
“blazes” on trees, posts, and rocks. Above the treeline or where the blazes may be hard to see, paint marks, posts, and rock piles called cairns mark the path.

Generally, the A.T. is open all year around but the northern end at Katahdin in Baxter State Park may be closed at times in winter depending on the weather.

Not able to make it to the Trail but still interested in its fascinating stories and
colorful characters? Don’t worry. Many hikers have detailed their adventures
both on the web and in books so you can be an armchair Appalachian Trail
adventurer.

Two examples of books on the Appalachian Trail are There are Mountains to Climb: An Inspirational Journey (Silverwood) by Jean Deeds and Bill Bryson’s funny and informational A Walk in the Woods (Broadway).

For more information, visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at
www.appalachiantrail.org.

 

Deodorization… How the pros do it

Deodorization…How the pros do it

“What’s that smell?” We have all had the experience of walking into a room
or building only to be greeted by an unpleasant odor. They may range from
mildly annoying to downright putrid. Besides being embarrassing, malodors are also a cause real for concern. Unpleasant odors are sometimes an indication of a potentially infectious, hazardous or unsanitary condition. Bad odors can also cause psychological or emotional stress and even physical discomfort.

Spraying deodorants and perfumes simply masks odors temporarily. Odor masking is not effective for long-term deodorizing success. Effectively eliminating odors requires an understanding of the principles of deodorization. The type of odor neutralizer and application process must
be chosen based on the source of the odor, type of materials affected and the degree of odor penetration. To avoid a recurrence of the malodor, we use the following procedures:

Step 1: Find and remove the source. Odor is an effect. Since every effect has a cause, our first challenge is to find and remove the cause. If the odor comes from a dead animal, you must find the carcass and remove it. If the odor is from a pet accident, we must first locate the deposit and remove it from the carpet and other surfaces before we can treat the offending odor. The same
applies to odors from smoke, cooking, mold and mildew, etc.

Step 2: Clean the affected area to remove any remaining odor-causing residue.
Actually, cleaning is just a continuation of source removal. Start cleaning in the source area and work outward until all residues are removed. Residues can be sticky or oily residues, crystallized materials or dust and soot. The type of residue and the material you are cleaning determines the cleaning method. For instance, removing soot from a brick wall requires different cleaning agents, tools and techniques than removing soot from silk drapes. Depending
on the odor, source removal and meticulous cleaning may be all that is required. If not, we move on to the next step.

Step 3: Recreate the conditions of penetration. This is where specialized
equipment is often required. For example,if the odor is from smoke, it may have penetrated into wood, fabrics, drywall and many other porous and semiporous materials. Any deodorizing products we use must penetrate the
materials in the same manner as the smoke odor penetrated in order to
neutralize the odors.

If odors have migrated into areas that are inaccessible, it may be necessary
to bring in specialized fogging equipment, electronic oxidation, or dry vapor equipment. Generally, odors caused by liquids such as urine or spoiled
milk that saturate porous materials must be saturated with a suitable odor
counteractant. In most cases, properly applying steps 1 through 3 will achieve
the desired results. If there is still an odor, we proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Seal the affected material. Sometimes odors penetrate into materials to the degree that it is impossible or impractical to remove them completely. In these situations it is necessary to apply a topical sealant to encapsulate the odor causing molecules and prevent them from evaporating into the air. If the
molecules can’t reach your nose, you won’t be able to smell them. The type
of sealer we choose depends on the type of material, the nature of the odor
source and the degree of penetration into the material.

If you have tough odor problems and need assistance, please call Hansen
Steam Way, and we will be happy to help.

Is it Too Soon to Clean my New Carpet?

Is it Too Soon to Clean my New Carpet?

If you purchased new carpet within the last year or two you may be wondering when the time is to start having it professionally cleaned. Often times a salesperson at the carpet store will tell you to wait as long as possible before you have your new carpet professionally cleaned; that cleaning your carpet will just make it get dirty faster requiring more frequent cleaning. Is that true?

Old Attitudes for Old Technology-

The belief that once you clean your carpet the first time you will then need to clean them all the time goes back to the early days of professional carpet cleaning. Back then lots of chemical and water was used in an attempt to get the carpet clean. These carpet cleaning chemicals worked great at attracting soil away from the carpet fiber and suspending those soils in the cleaning solution to be wet vacuumed away.

The trouble began because the equipment was not able to extract or rinse out all the chemical that was
applied. So, the chemicals remained on the carpet as a sticky, soil-attracting residue. It was true, once you cleaned your carpets back “in the day” you began a cycle of needing to clean them more often.

Poor Quality Carpet Cleaning Causes Damage-

To some extent, this can happen even today when calling some “discount” carpet cleaners. They use cheap
chemicals, inferior equipment, untrained workers and charge low, low prices. The poor guys who work for them are often subcontractors or are paid on commission. What happens is that the technician often has to hurry through the job just to make a decent living. So there can be a lot of these cheap, sticky
chemicals left in the carpet because they were not properly rinsed out. Sure it looks okay when he leaves, but the carpets will re-soil quickly, often over the course of a few days or weeks.

The Benefits of High Quality Cleaning-

Things in the carpet cleaning industry have changed dramatically over the last few years. The cleaning agents we use, though more expensive, are designed to rinse freely from the carpet and leave little or no
residue. What tiny amount may be left behind is specially formulated to dry completely non-sticky, to
be vacuumed away with normal maintenance.

Quality equipment does cost more, but it has the power to thoroughly clean your carpet and rinse away
soils and cleaning agents. Finally, the application of a quality protector makes your carpet stay cleaner longer.

Not all carpet cleaners are willing to spend the extra time and money to do a high quality job. A reputable
company will pretreat, agitate and rinse with extremely hot water and a powerful vacuum system.
This leaves carpets clean, fluffy and residue-free, the way it should be. As an added bonus, clean carpet
improves indoor air quality, so your family will breathe easier.

Most major carpet manufacturers require professional carpet cleaning once every 12-24 months. Failure to do so could void your carpet warranty. So if you want your carpets to stay cleaner, last longer and look beautiful, call Hansen Steam Way to set up your personalized carpet care program.

 

Stay safe using free Wi-Fi

Stay safe using free Wi-Fi

Hackers are lurking on free wi-fi connections because if it is free to you, it is free to them.

They can gather your passwords from any account you log into from social sites to your bank.

Stay safe using these free wi-fi guidelines:

1. Never log in to your bank account or make payment for anything.

2. Check for the https prefix before the web address. The S shows that the connection is secure.

3. Avoid using an app on your smartphone or tablet when on free wi-fi.

4. Log out from websites you use. If you do not, a hacker could use the website in your name.

5. Don’t use the same password for everything. A hacker on a free wi-fi network can get the password you
are using and test it on other sites, even your bank.

6. Change your passwords frequently.

Be careful using free wi-fi. Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s safe.

They save lives, but… know what happens when an airbag deploys

They save lives, but… know what happens when an airbag deploys

In 1969, the new trend in driving safety was air pillows. Those pillows stayed around but their name
changed, and no wonder.

An airbag is no pillow, but while a deployed airbag is not a comfy experience, it remains a landmark of
safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that airbags have saved 44,869 lives from 1987 to 2015.

According to Popular Science, in a head-on collision, a car stops fast, but the bodies inside the car don’t.
The momentum of the bodies inside continues until the windshield, dashboard or steering wheel brings
them to a stop – usually with dire consequences.

The idea of an airbag is not just to pillow the blow, but to lower the impact by spreading it over a larger
area of the body. No single area of the body bears the brunt of deceleration, according to Popular Science.

To accomplish this, airbags deploy within 1/25th of a second of impact, filling the nylon airbag with nitrogen and instantly deflating. Tiny holes in the bag begin releasing gas the moment a driver’s head hits the bag, absorbing the impact. This is why the driver’s head doesn’t hit the bag and then whip backward.

A white puff of cornstarch might also come out of the bag. The cornstarch keeps the bag supple while it is in storage. Newer cars have airbags with silicone coatings that make the cornstarch unnecessary.

Because airbags stop the body, they prevent deadly head injuries and whiplash. But they do sometimes
cause red impact burns on the body and break eyeglasses.

 

Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beetles. What are the facts?

Carpet beetles deserve to rank near the top of your list of uninvited guests. These oval-shaped flying insects can ruin your carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, and clothing as well as cause irritating dermatitis in children and sensitive adults. These are unwelcome guests you really want to “show the door” as quickly as possible.

Life Cycle of a Carpet Beetle

The four life-stages of carpet beetles are egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Female
carpet beetles lay up to a hundred eggs, which hatch into larvae in approximately 35 days. This stage is the most damaging because larvae feed on carpets and clothing. The larval stage lasts 6 to 18 months, during which these voracious insects do the most damage. The final part of the larval stage is metamorphosis, after which the adult beetle emerges. Adult carpet beetles can live up to a year.

Identifying Carpet Beetles

The larvae are very small, so it can be difficult to spot them. Larvae look like tiny, hairy worms and prefer dark, undisturbed areas such as under furniture, rugs and in closets. Adult black carpet beetles are black with brown-colored legs, and their length in inches ranges from 1/8 to 3/16. As larvae, these pests shed skin and fecal-pellets, each of which can cause allergic reactions in some people. Carpet beetles do not bite people or animals. The irritation caused by contact with carpet beetle larvae can be confused with bites from bed bugs
or fleas. Property damage from carpet beetles is very similar to moth damage. Small, irregular-shaped holes in clothes and rugs are a telltale sign of either a carpet beetle or moth problem. If it is a moth problem, you will usually see moths in the area. Adult carpet beetles prefer to live outdoors and graze on pollen.

Fighting back

Maintaining cleanliness may not be enough to avoid an infestation from carpet beetles. Since these pests can enter on food packages, luggage and on shoes, they are difficult to avoid—especially if you have a pet, as larvae feed on animal fur and dander. Along with vacuuming, professional carpet, rug and upholstery cleaning are essential.

Detergent and hot water kill the larvae, so this is an important means of limiting carpet beetle populations indoors. Other recommended measures to reduce the likelihood of a carpet beetle problem are:

• Effective sanitation including routine vacuuming and housekeeping of pantry shelves and pet feeding and sleeping areas helps reduce the breeding sites and food sources

• Storing items like wool clothing, leather and fur coats in sealed garment bags

• Checking flowers, patio plants, and any second-hand items carefully before bringing indoors

• Dry cleaning and using a clothes dryer on high heat to kill carpet beetle larvae in clothing and drapes

• Ensuring that air ducts are clean and attics and crawl spaces are free of
animal nests or carcasses.

Pesticides may be necessary to eliminate an existing infestation. Choose a pesticide designed for carpet beetles and follow label directions. Eliminating a
heavy infestation is best left to a professional pest control specialist.

If you suspect that you have a carpet beetle problem or want to avoid one,
call Hansen Steam Way so that we can clean your carpet, upholstery and drapery. That is a logical first step to eliminating these destructive invaders.

A Celebration of Independence

A Celebration of Independence

As we consider the dramatic words of the Declaration of Independence, we
wonder whether the writers knew the long-range impact of their words.

Did they see a great nation emerge from a vision of independence? We think they did. How many times have you personally marveled at the wisdom of these national founders? They had a rare vision of what our country would turn out to be, and that vision rings true to this very day. Their writings were an achievement of significant proportions.

Since the first July 4th, historians give us some interesting notes about that calendar day. First, they say the Declaration of Independence was signed on August 2, 1776, about a month after being adopted.

President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, and three of our nation’s first five presidents died on that day: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1826,
and James Monroe, our fifth president in 1831.

Congress didn’t actually declare it as legal federal holiday until 1941.

The 4th of July is also a holiday for American business, says Robbie Briggs, a real estate company CEO. He reminds us that it’s a day that celebrates America’s devotion to entrepreneurship and the opportunity to build businesses of our own.

Briggs says it serves as a tribute to each citizen and all they may elect to pursue
in business or any other endeavor.

As we commemorate our independence, we remember that America’s freedom and democracy occurred because of the determination of our forefathers to
establish this place as a free country.

This Independence Day, remember those who made it possible.

A Celebration of independence

A Celebration of independence

As we consider the dramatic words of the Declaration of Independence, we wonder whether the writers knew the long-range impact of their words.

Did they see a great nation emerge from a vision of independence? We think they did. How many times have you personally marveled at the wisdom of these national founders? They had a rare vision of what our country would turn out to be, and that vision rings true to this very day. Their writings were an achievement of significant proportions.

Since the first July 4th, historians give us some interesting notes about that calendar day. First, they say the Declaration of Independence was signed on August 2, 1776, about a month after being adopted.

President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, and three of our nation’s first five presidents died on that day: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1826, and James Monroe, our fifth president in 1831.

Congress didn’t actually declare it as legal federal holiday until 1941.

The 4th of July is also a holiday for American business, says Robbie Briggs, a real estate company CEO. He reminds us that it’s a day that celebrates America’s devotion to entrepreneurship and the opportunity to build businesses of our own.

Briggs says it serves as a tribute to each citizen and all they may elect to pursue in business or any other endeavor.

As we commemorate our independence, we remember that America’s freedom and democracy occurred because of the determination of our forefathers to establish this place as a free country.

Debt and Retirement Equals a Serious Problem

Debt and Retirement Equals a Serious Problem

 

Debt is more acceptable these days, but it is becoming a drag on retirement, especially when the unexpected happens.

According to new research by Employee Benefit Research, more households headed by someone 75 or older are in debt. The number for whom debt is excessive – more than 40 percent of income – has increased 25 percent in the last 10 years. In fact, 50 percent of 75-plus households have debt in housing or credit cards, up from 31 percent in 2007.

Newly retired people or those nearing retirement are more likely to have
debt than retirees in the 1990s,even though debt payments as a percentage of income have declined.

According to Forbes, it is important to get debt paid off when approaching
retirement. Unexpected problems can cause serious financial woes for new retirees. Health problems after retirement or a job loss before retirement can send people burdened with debt into bankruptcy.

Retirement years will be a much happier time if they’re spent debt free.

Marriage Equals More Happiness

Marriage Equals More Happiness

More people are choosing to live together rather than marry, but a recent study found that long-term happiness comes from “I do.”

A recent study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies has found that
getting married has a big impact on a couple’s long-term happiness. Economists John Halliwell and Shawn Grover analyzed the findings of two
longitudinal studies to answer the questions of whether the happiness
after marriage is short-lived; whether it’s marriage itself that causes happiness; or whether happy people were the ones more likely to get and
stay married in the first place.

The pair first looked at data from a British Institute survey of 30,000 people over an 18-year period. People of varying ages were asked the same questions from 1991 to 2009 about their lifestyles and moods, allowing researchers to gather information on their levels of happiness before and after marriage.

Halliwell and Grover then looked at data from a much bigger UK survey of
300,000 people between 2011 and 2013 related to anxieties, social lives,
and happiness.

It turns out, the happiness effect of marriage is far from short-lived. Married people are 10 percent more satisfied than single people. Cohabitating couples are only 75 percent as happy as marrieds. They also found that marriage appears to be of the greatest importance in middle age, when many people
experience diminished well-being.

The quality of the marriage has a big part to play. The foundation of a married couple’s happiness appears to be the bond they share and, say the researchers, those who cited their spouse as their best friend experienced twice as much happiness as those who didn’t.

Say yes to marriage, and say yes to happiness.

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