Archive for September 2015

Problem! What Carpet Fiber Should I Choose? Special Report Continued:

Problem! What Carpet Fiber Should I Choose? Special Report Continued:

The second challenge with olefin is a characteristic that is often overlooked: Olefin fibers are less resilient than others. What that means in plain and simple terms is that when a fiber is crushed, it doesn’t “bounce back” as well as other fibers. It also “scratches” very easily. A very common occurrence with olefin installations is the traffic areas begin to look dingy or worn. In fact what has happened is the fibers have been scratched from foot traffic. Imagine a plastic toy that has a scratch on it: there is nothing you can do to remove that scratch. It’s permanent. The same is true of an olefin fiber—once it is scratched, nothing can be done to correct it. In a high traffic area, the carpet may appear completely different than the edges against the wall.

The third interesting characteristic of olefin is that it is an “oil-loving” fiber. In other words, in the same way that it repels water-based soils, it absorbs and accepts oil-based soils, making it difficult to remove common oil-based soils in a household, such as lamp oil, lotion, body oils, and cooking oils. This can be especially important to keep in mind when choosing covering for floors just outside a kitchen area. Some of the higher-quality carpet mills “scour” the olefin to attempt to reduce the oil-attracting properties. Our company uses special cleaning agents manufactured for effectively cleaning olefin carpets.

Stress Busters for Those Short on Time

Stress Busters for Those Short on Time

In your busy life, it can seem like you don’t have much time to get to everything, much less take time to try to relieve the stress in your life. But there are some simple things you can do in just a few minutes that can make all the difference in your day. If you find yourself  running around in circles everyday, take a few moments to stop and try these stress busting activities.
Stop to complete a routine activity that doesn’t take much brain power.  Mowing the lawn, working in the garden, washing the car, or just taking
a quick walk around the block can help stop the gears in your head from spinning out of control. Use the time to try to relax your thought process. The key is to choose activities that are repetitive and routine, letting your body and mind relax into a familiar and easy activity.
Do something out of the ordinary. If you find that you are overwhelmed with daily life, it may be time to step out of your day-to-day routine. Schedule a massage for your lunch hour, visit a museum, or stop to visit a friend. It may seem like you don’t have time for such activities, but taking the time to do something different can work wonders for your mental state.
If you really feel out of control, take some time to get organized. It is easy to put off clearing up your desk or organizing your closets. But the longer you let these tasks go, the more overwhelming they will seem. There is also a psychological boost once you are done, making you feel more in control and helping to add calm and order to your daily routine.

Problem! What Carpet Fiber Should I Choose? Special Report Continued:

Problem! What Carpet Fiber Should I Choose? Special Report Continued:

Olefin (also called polypropylene) has become extremely popular in recent years. The first attraction to olefin is the price. Olefin is generally—although not always—less expensive than other fibers. The second appeal is that this fiber will not absorb any liquid. If you were to take a yarn from an olefin carpet and place it in a glass of water, the fiber would float on the top of the water. Nylon and wool would not, since each would absorb a certain amount of water. The point is this: when something is spilled on olefin carpet, it will not be absorbed into the fiber. The value is that permanent staining from spillage is reduced. In addition, olefin carpets are solution dyed, which means that the color is introduced to the molten plastic before the fiber is made.

The characteristic of being non-absorbent can present unique cleaning challenges. Sometimes when spillage occurs, it runs down the side of the yarn into the backing of the carpeting. Many times this can cause wicking problems as the spill gets trapped in the backing of the carpet and is not effectively removed. Therefore, it continues to wick up the surface over time. In addition, if an inexperienced carpet cleaner leaves too much liquid in the carpet after cleaning, it simply slides down to the backing of the carpet with the soils, and as the carpet dries, it wicks back to the surface.

Top 5 Financial Planning Tips

Top 5 Financial Planning Tips
October 5-11 is Financial Planning Week. What are the best ways to improve your money and budgeting situation? These top five strategies will help.
Make saving a priority.
Saving on a regular basis can be hard, but if you treat this as an expense, you’ll have better success. As with any bill, you should make it nonnegotiable to pay into your savings account each month. Even a little saved on a regular basis will make a difference. If you struggle with this
strategy, consider an automatic deduction to a savings account to make it a no-brainer.

Plan for the unexpected.
A budget is crucial, but we don’t always know what is in the future.  To prepare for the unexpected, you need an emergency fund. This is different from a long-term savings account because you should expect to use this money at any time. By realistically developing a working budget and having a reasonable emergency fund, you will have the means to pay all your expenses and avoid debt.
Understand your emotions.
It is important to understand your money personality and that of your spouse. If you tend to be a spender, recognizing this and developing strategies to manage your expectations is important.  A person who tends toward saving as much as possible also needs to learn how to properly spend money. If you and your spouse are opposite money personalities, communication about your financial goals will help you develop a plan that works for both of you.
Set your goals.
Without goals, you will be unable to stay on track. Getting input from a good financial planner can help you see how much you need to save for retirement. Paying off debt should always be your first goal in financial planning. You also need to identify what you want to spend your money on. If you love to travel, then your extra money after savings may go toward that. If you have significant expenses coming up, like college for your kids, or the purchase of a new home, then you should be clear about those goals. Whatever your goals are, identifying them, talking about them, and tracking them is crucial.
Don’t bet on what you hope to happen.
Many people plan their financial present based on things they hope happen in their financial future. But if those things don’t materialize, you can be in trouble, especially if you are accumulating debt now in anticipation of a change in your situation. Until you actually get that bonus, move to a cheaper city, inherit that money, or see the stock market move up, don’t spend that money. It is better to have it actually be a bonus and increase in funds than to have to deal with trying to come up with money you’ll never see.

Making Playgrounds Safer

Making Playgrounds Safer
If you have a child who has recently headed back to school, take some time to inspect the school playground and outdoor activity areas. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there are about 20 playground-related fatalities each year, and over 200,000 children suffer  injuries on a playground annually. Eighty-one percent of all playground injuries occur as a result of a fall.
One proven method for reducing these injuries is by installing softer ground coverings. However, it is estimated that as many as 92 percent of American playgrounds do not have adequate ground cover.
One innovative, non-toxic surface is made of shredded and recycled tires. This material outperforms all other surface materials in impact absorption. The material can be produced in a variety of colors and lasts for up to 50 years, saving in maintenance costs for schools.
If your child’s playground has a hard, dangerous surface, take the time to talk to your school official, requesting that a material such as recycled tires be used to replace the ground cover. It is a good idea to educate other parents and teachers on ways the playground can be made as safe as possible, starting from the ground up.

Problem! What Carpet Fiber Should I Choose?

For customers new and established… we offer you this SPECIAL REPORT (revealed in several parts, because we know you love the suspense!).

Problem! What Carpet Fiber Should I Choose?

When purchasing a carpet, the biggest question is “how long will it last?”

In asking that question, one must consider the clean-ability of that particular carpet. Even though the construction of the carpet plays a significant role in the life of the carpet, the fiber type is extremely important.

Before getting into this report, let it be made clear that this advice is NOT to override the recommendations of your carpet retailer. This report simply states some of the characteristics of four fiber types commonly used in carpeting, in order to provide an understanding of how fiber plays a role in soiling and particularly in wear.

There are many fiber types used in carpet manufacturing; however, for the purpose of this article we will focus on the four main players. These will also be the ones you are most familiar with:

• Olefin (polypropylene)
• Nylon
• Wool
• Polyester

Continued next week…..

Do You Breathe Easy at Home?

Do You Breathe Easy at Home?
How to Control Indoor Air Pollution
Pollution. We use the word to describe harmful or poisonous substances introduced into an environment. Water pollution, ground pollution, noise pollution, and air pollution are examples we most commonly relate to the outdoor environment.  So it may surprise you to find that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published reports that indoor air is 2-5 and in some cases up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside.

This article will give you some recommendations to make your indoor air cleaner, healthier and safer. But first, the basics…
What is “Air”?
Air is a mixture of gases that make up Earth’s atmosphere. The part of the atmosphere that contains the right mixture of gases to support life contains nitrogen and oxygen, as well as trace amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, helium, neon and other gases. Air also contains variable amounts of water vapor. We refer to the amount of  suspended water vapor as humidity.
Humidity Plays an Important Role in Indoor Air Quality
The American Society of Heating, refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends maintaining indoor relative humidity levels between 30% and 50% for human health and comfort. Higher humidity can create an
environment where microbes can flourish and create an unsanitary condition.

In addition, higher humidity can result in condensation of water on surfaces.  This can hold soils and organic matter, creating a perfect incubator for mold, which can exacerbate asthma and allergies.
Air Suspends Particles
Most airborne particles are harmless.  However, others can cause problems, particularly for those with asthma, allergies or immune disorders. There are four keys to keeping your indoor air clean and healthy: exclude, capture, clean and control.
Exclude – Keep contaminants out
Keeping contaminants out of the home is challenging because most airborne particles are tiny and can be  everywhere.  Pollen, carbon, mold spores, organic matter, insect matter, car exhaust, and plain old dirt enter the home, transported on air currents, clothing and shoes.

Reduce entry by keeping your doors and windows shut, removing shoes when entering and immediately changing your clothing after dusty activities like yard work.
There are other contaminants that originate from within the home. Pet and human dander, food particles, dust mites
and their feces, cooking gases, sprays, chemicals, cleaning agents and many other particulates combine to reduce overall indoor air quality. Controlling these can be tricky, because they result from every day living activities. Your best defense is to capture, clean and control them.

Capture – filter and contain that which enters
When airborne particles enter your home, they remain suspended for a period of time. Large and dense particles drop out of the air and settle onto surfaces. Smaller, lighter particles remain suspended longer – some nearly indefinitely – and are best removed by air filtration devices and the filter on your home’s HVAC system.
Pay attention to the filters you use.  Use high quality pleated filters. Don’t buy based on price alone. Get filters that are rated MERV 7 or 8. Higher MERV ratings may place excessive restriction on your ventilation system, requiring a change in configuration. Talk to an HVAC professional for more information about how to improve filtration on your ventilation system.
Clean – remove pollutants from surfaces
Eventually, particles settle on surfaces such as floors, furniture, counters, window sills, shelves and walls.  Vacuuming and dusting removes most of the particles, but make sure that your vacuum cleaner has good filtration too.
Hard surfaces can be cleaned with electrostatic dusters or dust cloths that attract and hold particles, or by wiping hard surfaces with a damp cloth and wet mopping floors.  Other surfaces such as carpet, area rugs and upholstery will require periodic professional cleaning to remove accumulated soils and pollutants.
Control – maintain equipment, humidity levels and filters                                                                                                            Proper maintenance is important.  Ensure your vacuum cleaner, AC unit, range hood and other ventilation equipment are working properly.  Clean or replace furnace filters at recommended intervals; usually monthly depending on the type of filter and environmental conditions.

Hansen Steam Way can help you breathe easier indoors with regularly scheduled professional carpet and upholstery cleaning. Call us today to set up your clean and healthy maintenance program.

Problem! Cleaning Raw Plant Material

For customers new and established… we offer you this SPECIAL REPORT.

Problem! Cleaning Raw Plant Material
Jute, sisal, sea grass, coir, and hemp are names associated with floor coverings made from raw plant material. Ranging from mats to wall-to-wall, some with backings, some without, this type of material is in a very raw state. Therefore, an understanding of how the fibers react to every day soiling and how they respond to cleaning is very helpful.
One of the unique characteristics of this type of floor-covering material is the tendency to develop mysterious dark spots when cleaned, regardless of the method used. Generally, efforts to bring a “worn” sisal back to its original state are a lost cause. Also, sisal stains very easily. One of the best things to do is have it protected with a solvent-based fabric protector, providing some resistance against spots that result from any type of spillage. In addition to developing dark spots, sisal may also “lighten” when cleaned. The best way to clean plant material is with a low-moisture approach. The bottom line is that these products are not very spillage, traffic, or cleaning friendly. However, you can’t beat the look.
Place this type of floor covering in non-traffic, non-spillage areas to prevent over use. Have a light, maintenance cleaning done about once a year to remove surface soils, pollen, asphalt, exhaust, and other foreign matter that finds its way into our homes.
A final note about sisal: some wool carpets come in a “sisal style.” These products are made to look like sisal, but are actually an entirely different material.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to the natural characteristics of these types of materials our company requires a written consent before proceeding with cleaning.