Archive for Uncategorized – Page 2

Time well spent: Fire safety awareness

Time well spent: Fire safety awareness
A lot of things are annoying: Long meetings, traffic jams, tax forms. And fire drills.
The truth is one can’t ignore annoying things because the consequences are usually catastrophic. In the case of fire drills and fire safety, this is exceptionally true.
Because we are safety oriented, fire isn’t an everyday threat. We’ve built our infrastructure and environments so that we can  have some peace of mind. This also becomes the problem. In office buildings and plants, it is essential to have open exits, and essential that people know where they are.
One oft-cited case from 1991 tells a tragic story of locked doors, obstructed exits and no fire plan.
The case involved a food products company. Oil from a hydraulic line leaked out a few feet from a natural- gas fired  cooker. The blaze blew up instantly, trapping workers who couldn’t get out locked or obstructed doors. No fire suppression system was in place and exits were far from workstations. Out of 90 employees, 25 died and an additional 54 were injured, according to OSHA.
While this was an exceptionally tragic case, blocked exits and locked doors are possible to find in any location. Usually, these situations are easy to remedy and all it takes is a fire-safety attitude.
In fact, the threat of fire is highest during working hours. According to FEMA, non-residential building fires occur most frequently from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. An estimated 86,500  nonresidential building fires are reported to United States fire departments each year, according to FEMA. These fires cause an estimated 85 deaths, 1,325 injuries, and $2.6 billion in property losses per year.
In workplace cases where the blaze is not contained, the most common areas for fires to occur is in vehicle storage areas or other storage areas. Electrical malfunctions and cooking areas follow closely as areas of ignition.
Regardless of where a fire starts, the key is knowing how to escape a building.
Don’t ignore the occasional, and annoying, fire drill. The  consequences can be catastrophic.
Ignoring a fire drill can be a life changing decision.

Want to get tough dirt out? Let us CHAT it out…

Want to get tough dirt out? Let us CHAT it out…

In order to be really good at a job, a person must first understand the fundamentals of
that profession. That’s why Hansen Steam Way puts so much emphasis on training.
Did you know that carpet cleaning is a profession based on scientific principles of chemistry and physics? It’s true. The ability to effectively clean anything—not just carpet—requires an understanding of the four basic principles of soil suspension; chemical action, heat, agitation and time. We remember these fundamentals by the acronym CHAT.

The first of the fundamentals is chemical action. Water is used in cleaning because of how it reacts with many soils. In fact, water does the majority of the work in cleaning.
However, water alone is not very effective on oily or greasy soils. We need specialty
cleaning agents to dissolve some of the more difficult soils like food, grease and petroleum oils found in things like makeup, shoe polish and ink. These soils would be difficult or impossible to remove with plain water.

It’s amazing how little of these cleaning agents we need to get great results. When we dilute our products, we are actually using about 99.9% water! If you find this hard to believe, consider how much bubble bath you need to make a whole tub full of suds. It’s not much is it? Similarly, we use just enough cleaning solution to break down soils and no more. This assures that we leave no unwanted residue.

Many uneducated cleaners subscribe to the “more is better” mentality, so they overuse cheap, harsh detergents and leave a residue. This is one reason why carpets get dirty quickly after untrained carpet cleaners do the job.

The second principle of soil suspension is heat. Heat helps cleaning agents work better and faster. Applying a heated cleaning solution makes cleaning more efficient, so we use less detergent. Heat also helps liquefy oily, greasy and sticky soils, suspending them into the cleaning solution for effective removal.

Agitation is the third principle of soil suspension. It makes cleaning more efficient by helping distribute cleaning agents for better penetration. By agitating the cleaning solution into your carpet, we suspend soils and lift matted carpet yarns for better cleaning.

Time is the fourth principle of cleaning and soils suspension. This is one area where many carpet cleaners drop the ball. In order for a cleaning agent to work well, it needs “dwell time” to penetrate into the carpet yarns and break down stubborn soils. When
untrained cleaners rush this process, cleaning results suffer. We make sure we allow the product to work so soils are completely dissolved for removal.

All of this is why after Hansen Steam Way visits, you can expect fluffy, fresh-smelling carpets that stay cleaner longer. Once the carpets are completely cleaned, we can apply a
carpet protector to help prevent stains and maintain that fresh, clean look even longer.

 

Ways to Stay Healthy With a Desk Job

Ways to stay healthy with a desk job

 

Physical inactivity, especially sitting for long periods, has been linked to increased mortality rates second only to smoking, according to research from the American College of Sports Medicine.

For those that reported sitting for more than 23 hours per week combined, there was a 64 percent greater chance of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who said less than 11. The American College of Chest Physicians even found a link between sitting at home during leisure time and suffering poorer sleep and decreased attentiveness during work the next day.

Although it is impossible to negate the effects of long hours of sitting entirely, there are many things that the average worker can do to help, according to Lifehack. First, plan to break up the day into 30-to-60 minute chunks, separated by a short walk,
stretch, or other activity. Finding ways to walk at work could be as simple as having a walking meeting or bringing in a standing desk or even a cutting-edge treadmill desk. There are simple stretching routines that can be performed unobtrusively in an office
that can reduce neck and back pain by 72 percent, according to studies at the Wheeling Jesuit University.

Good practices like parking far away from the office, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or even walking or biking for your commute can add movement to the day. Take care to schedule lunchtime so that you won’t be forced to grab unhealthy food or eat sitting at your desk instead of taking a real break. Drinking plenty of water will not only provide other health benefits,
but it will also give you a reason to stand up and move around more often as you go to the restroom and refill your bottle. After work, several health-minded coworkers could even get together for athletics or group workouts as an alternative to sitting at home.

If you sit at a desk all day, don’t forget that some type of daily exercise is the key to good health.

Be Prepared When Disaster Strikes

Be prepared when disaster strikes

 

No part of the country is immune to natural or man-made disasters.

During September, the Department of Homeland Security joins with national, state, and local agencies to encourage
Americans to prepare their homes for disasters of all kinds.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), engaging citizens in disaster preparedness is a
critical first step in effective response and recovery efforts.

In other words, if you know what to do when a disaster is predicted, what to do when it occurs, and what to do afterward, you will be in a better position to save yourself and your home before help arrives.

While there are obvious differences in preparing for a hurricane and preparing for a forest fire, there are similarities in preparedness for all types of disasters. You should know where you will go to escape, what your mode of transportation will be, and when you should leave. (It’s never a good idea to let your car be almost out of gas.)

Assemble important documents to take with you including copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account numbers. Use a waterproof container and include some cash.

It may not be necessary to leave your home. Do what you can in advance of a storm or earthquake to make it safer. Remember the basics of survival: water, food, clean air, and warmth.

Consider the amount of water and nonperishable food your family will need to stay in place without power for at least three or four days. Always have extra batteries for portable radios. Also have a backup battery for cellphones.

Learn about being prepared for disaster at ready.gov/make-a-plan

How to Enjoy Better Air Quality at Home

How to enjoy better air quality at home

 

Fall is a glorious time of year. The weather is getting a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter. If you are like most Americans, your
family is spending more time indoors as the outdoor activities of summer wind down. That’s why right now is a great time to think about your indoor air quality.

Air pollution is a major concern in the U.S., especially near heavily populated areas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
reports that indoor air is often 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. How can this be? And can you do anything to help?

The amount of air pollution in your home is affected by several factors and there are many sources of pollution. Some of these
sources come from outside your home. Other sources come from inside. Some you can control; others you can’t.

Outdoor pollutants and allergens enter your home by infiltration and ventilation, directly affecting the air in your home.
Pollutants like car exhaust, pollen, smoke, insecticides, fertilizers and mold spores hitch a ride into your home on air currents,
your clothing, shoes, hair and pets.

When these pollutants settle on surfaces outside, wind, rain and sunshine combine to neutralize, sweep and wash them away.
Unfortunately, this is not the case inside your home. These same pollutants tend to accumulate inside your house on floors,
furnishings, surfaces and in the air.

Because we live, eat, sleep, play and often work in our homes, we generate a significant amount of allergens and pollutants from inside our homes too. Did you know that you shed around a million dead skin cells every day? These dead cells are a food source for dust mites as well as other microbial life forms. Dust mite feces and dead dust mites are potent allergens and every home has millions of them. House pets also contribute to indoor air quality issues.

Then there are the sticky and oily residues from cooking gases that eventually settle on surfaces. Certain types of furniture,
plastics and textiles also release gases that can affect indoor air quality. If you have a furnace that burns fuel such as gas, oil, or
wood, by-products of combustion add to the problem.

After all of this, you may wonder if it is safe to stay in your home. Don’t be alarmed. There is a lot you can do to improve indoor air quality. Invest in high quality air filters for your HVAC (heat, ventilation, air-conditioning) system. These filters are rated based on their efficiency at trapping tiny particles. The rating is called MERV. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective the filter.

Professional duct cleaning helps to remove contaminants that accumulate on the inner surfaces of your HVAC system.

Use a vacuum cleaner equipped with HEPA filtration. HEPA filters trap the smallest particles including dust mite feces, dead skin, pollen and mold spores. Other vacuum cleaners simply spew these tiny particles back into the air, making matters worse.

Use bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods to remove excessive humidity and cooking gases that can contribute to indoor air pollution. High humidity encourages bacteria and mold growth.

Cleaning carpets, upholstery, and area rugs returns them to a healthful condition and improves indoor air quality by removing pollutants and allergens that bond to these surfaces.

Cleaning your carpets, rugs and upholstery right now makes perfect sense. You are going to be spending more time indoors. You and your family deserve a clean, healthy home. If you have guests visiting for the holidays, your home will look, smell and feel
fresh and clean.

Call Hansen Steam Way today to schedule your fall cleaning. You and your family will breathe easier.

 

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day!

WHAT IS LABOR DAY?

Always held on the first Monday in September, Labor Day was the idea of Peter J. Maguire (although recent research has shown that it might have been his brother Matthew’s idea), a labor union leader who in 1882 proposed a celebration honoring the American worker.

The date chosen was simply “convenient,” according to Maguire, because it was midway between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving.

Although the day’s focus on organized labor has diminished over the years, the holiday has become a way to mark the end of the summer season—and the start of the school year.

Steam Way Team

Electrical Safety Around Swimming Pools

Electrical safety around swimming pools

Everyone knows water and electricity don’t mix, but pool owners have a particular reason to be concerned.

In North Carolina, a 17-year-old lifeguard drowned in 2016 when a faulty grounding wire electrified a pool. The wiring had not been inspected for years.

Built-in pool lights, pumps and wiring are engineered to guard against electrification of water. But these elements always require inspection and maintenance.

Pool owners routinely have the local pool company replace and service pool lights, but it isn’t enough. Pool technicians might know how to work on electrical equipment but they are rarely certified electricians. Pool owners should hire a certified electrician to
inspect the electrical systems on a routine basis, according to University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Advanced Safety and Engineering Management.

An energized body of water can cause anything from tingling of the skin to paralysis, cardiac arrest and electrocution. The extent of injuries depends on the level of current going through the water.

For grads: Best places to start career

For grads: Best places to start career

Congratulations to this year’s grads who have left academia just when the economy is booming, employers are hiring, and unemployment is historically low.

The question is where to start the new career. A new study by WalletHub ranks 180 cities based on 27 metrics, including number of entry-level jobs, average salary, housing affordability, and friendliness to singles and families.

At the top of the list with the overall best rank was Salt Lake City, Utah, with number one quality of life rank and a number three professional opportunities rank.

Coming in second overall was Orlando, FL, ranking number one in professional opportunities and number six in quality
of life.

Rounding out the top 10, the next top cities in order are Atlanta, GA, Charleston, SC, Tempe, AZ, Austin, TX, Columbia, SC, Denver, CO, Raleigh, NC, and Grand Rapids, MI.

Affordable housing considerations took California locations down on the list, with all but one of the least affordable cities located in California (Oakland, Los Angeles, Glendale and San Francisco.) The lone non-California location ranked as least affordable was New York City.

Meanwhile, Iowa ranked most affordable twice (Cedar Rapids and Des Moines), with other cities including Overland
Park, KS, Sioux Falls, SD, and Garland, TX.

Grads are most likely to be able to get jobs in Charleston, SC, Orlando, FL, Columbia, SC, Salt Lake City, UT, and Atlanta, GA. Cities with the least available entry-level jobs were Bridgeport, CT, Santa Clarita, CA, Garden Grove, CA, North Las Vegas, NV,
and New York City.

To see the full results, visit WalletHub.com.

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.

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