Cleaning Air Conditioners

Mother and daughter enjoying air conditioning, cleaning air conditioners

It’s summertime. And if it isn’t that hot yet, it will be really soon. If hot weather isn’t in the forecast right now, give it time… it will warm up.

When hot weather strikes, most people work hard to be comfortable, and that means turning down the air in the home, using their trusty air conditioning system. For some, that means 80 degrees Fahrenheit. For others, 70. Others… like it even colder. It’s all about personal preference.

But when your air conditioner doesn’t perform adequately, or even worse, stops completely, panic strikes as the heat and humidity increases.

How can you avoid a sluggish or broken air conditioner? A few preventative maintenance steps can help tremendously. What do you know about cleaning air conditioners?

Keep it simple — and clean!

Any part of your air conditioning unit, whether it is a portable window variety, mini-split, or central air, it’s important to keep all working parts, filters, everything clean of dust and debris.

Cleaning air conditioners mostly means regular inspections, perhaps twice a month, and taking steps to clean dirty areas. If your air conditioner is portable and has a water collection tank, empty it regularly.

What comes in handy for removing dust and debris, especially from filters you can’t remove and aren’t washable, is a can of compressed air, such as you might use for your computer. But remember that when you blow dust off one surface, it will land on another.

And, if you aren’t sure about filter location or any aspect of your AC unit, ask a professional and take notes so you can refer to them in the future.

Call the pros for cleaning air conditioners

As with any electronic and complex piece of equipment, there are limits to what you can do yourself. Consider calling a professional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company come in annually and perform an inspection. These are usually very inexpensive and, if you ever need repair service, they will respond faster if you are a regular customer (usually).

Once in a while, an air conditioning unit malfunctions or spills over, making a big mess. If that ever happens, it’s time to call your favorite cleaning company to take care of the issue. After all, it pays to call a pro!

How to Wash Dishes Right for Maximum Health

wash dishes, washing dishes, glasses in dish washer

To wash dishes may seem like a pretty easy chore. But many skip a few steps, thinking they can just get it done quickly. Washing dishes is a task that no one really enjoys.

Here are tips to make it easier & more effective when you wash dishes.

Scrape it:  

When getting ready to wash dishes, you do the obvious. You scrape off the excess. Get rid of all the extra “gunk.” The more you put into the garbage can before going to the sink, the better! This is especially true if you are using a dishwasher.

Soak it: 

Don’t think that cold or even warm water will do the trick. You need hot water. Depending on the dishes, perhaps hotter than your hands can handle. So fill that sink with super-hot water but be sure not to burn yourself. You can protect yourself with high-quality gloves.

Soap it: 

Be sure to add the appropriate amount of dish detergent. Usually known as a “squirt”. This helps the hot water to penetrate and remove soils. Without getting too technical, what you are doing is reducing surface energy of the dish water, allowing it to get to work better. You are allowing the water to flow, doing its job.

Splash it: 

When you pull that now-clean dish out of the dishwater, rinse it off and set it aside to dry. When rinsing, if you use soft water, all the better. But if not, consider a special rinse additive to use when you are finishing up the dishes. This helps remove more residue, more hard water minerals and generally ensures a better looking (clean) dish.

Now it’s time to give the dishes some time to recover from the bath you just gave them, and then inspect them to ensure they are really clean. If they are, put them in the cabinet. If not… wash them again!

Breathe Easy with Better Indoor Air Quality

protecting kids and adults from allergies through improved indoor air quality

Can you tell what the indoor air quality is like? In the Tri-Valley, allergies are running really high. Do you want to spread that into your home.

As you start reading this, do a quick exercise. Breathe in, really deep… go ahead, fill your lungs. Feels good, right?

Taking a deep breath of air, especially outdoors after a thunderstorm or when the air is crisp and clean, smells and feels good. It’s refreshing.

But taking a deep breath of air inside, such as in a home or commercial building, can be a different matter altogether. Indoor air quality in building can differ dramatically.

The air you breathe, you innocently assume, is clean and healthy. That may not always be the case, as reports of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) prove that not every indoor environment can be considered healthy.

When indoor air quality is poor, there can be issues for many people. Especially those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and respiratory illnesses, among others. The list can be quite extensive.

Poor indoor air quality doesn’t just mean “stuffy” air, like can build up in a home that doesn’t have sufficient air exchanges. Although that can contribute to poor health, what really causes health concerns is excessive dust, pet dander, pollen, mold, and other pollutants. While these pollutants are often indoors, they can also be outdoors, and you must recognize the effect they have on your health. You may decide to stay indoors after a poor outdoor air quality report on the news.

What you can control, though, at least to some degree, is the indoor air quality in your home.

What can you do? It’s simple. Keep things clean. Change your furnace and air conditioning filter on a regular basis, according to the manufacturer. Use a quality vacuum for your carpet and furniture and use it weekly, and more often if you have a busy household. Those hard floors? They need cleaned as well, as dust can easily build up and become airborne from those surfaces. When you dust surfaces, use a soft cloth that will hold the dust instead of pushing it off onto the floor.

And, of course, have your carpet and furniture cleaned based on the recommendation of your favorite cleaning company. In fact, isn’t it time you had your carpet and furniture cleaned… right now? For a healthier, cleaner home free of allergies, have your flooring and furniture regularly cleaned by a professional.

How to Remove Deodorant Stain and Scent

remove deodorant stain

It can be so embarrassing, especially at a business meeting or social event. When it does happen, you may wish you could crawl into a hole.

What are we talking about? When you raise your arm for something and show off an unsightly deodorant stain on your shirt. You know people notice because their eyes are drawn right to your armpit, and there’s never a hole close enough to crawl in to.

This type of stain builds up over time. When you perspire, some of the deodorant transfers to your clothing and each time you do the laundry, some of it sticks. However, to remove deodorant stain & odor can be accomplished with a few simple steps.

Plan ahead to remove deodorant stains

Before putting your clothes in the laundry basket, spray or rub areas of concern liberally with a product designed for treating laundry spots and stains. This way, your regular laundering will be much more effective.

Pre-treatments

Before laundering the offending garments, fill a sink, or if you have a lot of clothes, a bathtub with hot water and add a small scoop of laundry detergent. Mix it up until completely dissolved. Put the clothes in and let them soak for 30 minutes, and then launder them right away.

Color-safe bleaches

As you would do with pre-treating in a sink or tub, instead of using laundry detergent, add a scoop or two of a color-safe bleach, like OxyClean. Follow the directions on the package and allow plenty of dwell time for the oxidizing bleach to work.

Chlorine bleach

This is a last-resort attempt to remove a deodorant stain. Chlorine bleach, found under the name “Clorox” at your grocery store, is an oxidizer but very aggressive. Use with care. Follow directions on the bottle when you use this type of product either as a pre-treatment or in the washing machine.

And when you need something cleaned you can’t do yourself, such as your carpet, tile and grout, furniture or other surfaces, don’t forget to call Diablo Carpet Cleaning & Restoration. We know how to do it right!

3 Best Ways to Kick Off Spring Cleaning Tasks

spring cleaning tasks, carpet cleaning, stain remove, allergy relief

As winter rolls into spring, you may want to concentrate on fixing, organizing, and cleaning what’s outside — after all, most say that working in the sun is better than working under a light bulb — but there are some tasks inside that just shouldn’t be ignored as part of the annual ritual we call spring cleaning.

Here are a few that will help your indoor air quality the minute you handle them through the course of your spring cleaning.

Spring Cleaning Tasks Worth Doing

Dusty Decisions

A cold, hard winter means the house has been closed up and not aired out. The natural tendency is to think there is no dust coming in. That’s not true. Spring cleaning is a good time to thoroughly dust your entire home, picking up small items off table and desktops, cleaning off the tops of window frames, and don’t forget the baseboards.

Dust the entire home. Be sure to use rags or towels that will collect the dust, instead of spreading it around or pushing it off surfaces onto the floor, where you will just walk on it and kick it around.

All this work means you will be rewarded with less exposure to indoor airborne allergens.

Ducts and Vents

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system works hard to keep you comfortable, and while it does that, the ductwork gets dusty and dirty. You don’t see it, so the tendency is you don’t worry about it.

Take off a vent or two and inspect. Get out the flashlight. Take a white towel and push it into the ductwork. Does it come out brown? While you can clean the vents, it’s virtually impossible to clean the ductwork yourself. You need to call a professional for the duct cleaning work.

Vacuum and Sweep

This is a good time to get out your vacuum, inspect it thoroughly and clean it up, and start vacuuming everything. Every square inch of carpet you can get to and move as much furniture as you can. You would be amazed how much dust can build up under furniture over the winter.

Besides vacuuming the carpet, get a vacuum tool that can handle the hard floors as well. If you use a regular broom, you may stir up the dust and put it up in your breathing space. If you must sweep, find a tool that doesn’t “whisk” the dust up.

A Real Clean

When you realize the job is tough and need a professional cleaning company for your spring cleaning needs, look towards an experienced, knowledgeable crew. It ensures your house is not only clean but healthy especially with all the spring allergens.

A Weekend Lost: No Professional Carpet Cleaner

Professional carpet cleaner, The article goes over the limitations of do it yourself carpet cleaners and how many stains including pet stains will often return without proper care.

You work hard all week and look forward to the weekend, a time to relax and enjoy family and friends (but you still have to mow the grass and avoid a professional carpet cleaner!)  

But, sometime during the week, you look down. You aren’t happy with the condition of the carpet. So you make a decision to rent a do-it-yourself carpet cleaning machine from your local grocery store in the Tri-Valley. That’s right… you are going to clean your own carpet and remove all those carpet stains even the pet stains your dog left behind. Your goal this weekend is to create a nice, fresh and clean carpet and enjoy a healthier home without the cost of a professional carpet cleaner.

Friday

Friday evening arrives. Off you go to your grocery store and you find yourself in front of a bunch of do-it-yourself cleaning machines and the various cleaning solutions available. There are products to put on the carpet before you clean it. You can use products to put in the machine with the water. Or there are other types of products for all kinds of spots and stains. Still others for pet odors. You aren’t sure which ones you will need. It is all very confusing. You grab a selection of them and take them to the front of the store to pay.

At the register, while paying for the daily rental of the carpet cleaning machine, you discover the cost of all those carpet cleaning products is about what you spend on food for the family for an entire week. But you aren’t deterred!  You are going to clean your carpet and remove the pet stains. Nothing will stop you.

So you go home with all your cleaning stuff and get started. It takes all your Saturday and, sad to say, part of your Sunday as well. It’s backbreaking work. You had no idea what sweating was really like. Yet… it looks pretty good when you are done. The bad part is it takes a few days to dry and you yell at the kids to not walk on the carpet. Maybe you thought they could float over it?

Two Weeks Later

Within two weeks, though, the carpet starts to look worse than before it was cleaned. The dog odor is back and so are the pet stains. Uh oh… what happened?

You didn’t call your carpet cleaning pro! You know, those who have the training and the very best equipment and cleaning solutions to get the job done right.

The Professional Carpet Cleaner Solution

Don’t ruin another weekend. Have a professional carpet cleaner tackle the carpet stains and bring you healthier, cleaner home.

The Dreaded Litter Box

Cute tabby cat using a red, closed litter box.

It’s part of the home that you try to hide. It’s one that you hope no one stumbles across and, of course, hope no one sniffs and notices it is there.

If you have cats, you know exactly what we are talking about. If you have cats, you either train them to go outside (unlikely) or use the toilet (as seen on YouTube) — but most resort to the standard litter box for their feline friends to do their “business.”

As much as you would like anyone else but you to take care of cleaning and maintaining the litter box, if you are the owner of the cat, it’s probably your job to do.

Here are some simple tips to do it faster — and better — and keep things a little more sanitary as well.

Keep it contained

One thing most hate is when the cat (or cats) leave the litter box and bring those tiny litter particles with them, tracking them all over the home.

Placing a cat litter mat under the cat box and some type of carpet remnant where the cats step out on helps reduce the amount of litter tracked through the home.

Protect yourself

Litter boxes are festering tubs of bacteria and other contaminants that need to stay right there in the box. But a cleaning must happen, usually every day, to keep the clumps from taking over and becoming difficult to scoop.

Wear a proper pair of gloves, and even a dust mask, to keep yourself healthy and safe when doing the scoopin’.

Fresh is best

Besides daily scooping, adding some litter every few days is smart. When the litter gets low, add a little more to keep the litter box sufficiently full so your cats can easily cover over their “deposits”. You don’t want to give them any excuse to skip the litter box for a more convenient area to use, if you know what we mean. And each month, empty and completely wash the pan, and add fresh litter.

The inevitable

One thing that cats may do from time to time is “miss” the litter box, creating nasty odors, especially in carpet. That’s when you need some real help, from your favorite cleaning service. Do the right thing. Give them a call today. After all, it pays to call a pro!

Has Your Microwave Gotten Gross?

clean a microwave, how to clean a microwave oven

It’s fast. It’s easy. And super convenient. Without it, some of us couldn’t survive in the kitchen. No way.

Yes, the microwave oven is an indispensable appliance.

The microwave oven is a modern invention. The first microwaves were around in the mid 1940s, but were mainly for restaurants and reheating food on airplanes. They were massive devices that had to be cooled continuously by water flow. By the 1950s they were introduced to homeowners and some did indeed purchase them, but they were approximately $12,000 in today’s dollars. The popularity along with more affordability began in the 1980s and microwaves as a common fixture in the kitchen is now here.

Virtually everyone has one. If you don’t, you are in the minority. What all microwave users have in common is cleaning up the mess that inherently comes with using these handy ovens that can cook snacks or complete meals in seconds or minutes instead of hours.

To ensure your microwave oven not only looks good but also operates efficiently, you must keep it clean.

Here’s how to clean a microwave.

Scrape it 

As with any cleaning task, scraping up as much as you can before applying cleaning agents is smart. Food particles and residue that resulted from an “explosion” of food can easily be scraped away from the walls and ceiling of the inside of the oven.

Spray it

When you have scraped up as much as possible, use an appropriate cleaning solution and liberally spray the interior of the microwave. Give it some time for the solution to work, perhaps five minutes, and then wipe away the grime. But if there is a lot of grime, continue reading and do this…

Steam it

Fill a microwave-safe bowl about two-thirds full of water. Put it inside the microwave and heat it up on high for about three to five minutes, or until it is boiling. Don’t open the door! Let the bowl sit in there for approximately 10 minutes, allowing the steam to loosen up the grime.

Then…

Wipe it

Spray the moist interior of the oven with more cleaning solution, and use paper towels to wipe all interior surfaces. Even the toughest grime should come off after all your prep work.

Other dirty surfaces

Microwave ovens aren’t the only grimy things that can be part of the modern household. When you need any of your surfaces cleaned, such as carpet, furniture, hard floors and more, call your favorite cleaning company. It pays to call a pro!

Electricity & Appliance Safety

Electric Power Cable on Pink Background in a studio

Electricity. It’s an amazing force of nature and used by virtually everyone in the world, in some form or other.

For most homeowners, and even those working in commercial buildings, the number of appliances that use electricity is mind-boggling. With that comes the issue of safety. After all, if you have a dozen (or more!) items all humming with power in your home, odds are that eventually there could be an issue with electrical safety.

Don’t let that happen to you. Give these practical, household appliance tips some consideration to keep your family and loved ones safe while enjoying the benefits of anything powered by electricity. Although electricity can become exposed, you don’t want that! Smoke, fire, and other damage can occur.

Appliance safety

An “appliance” doesn’t have to be a stove or refrigerator. The term can refer to smaller items, such as space heaters. All appliances that use electricity generate some type of heat and can become unsafe if electrical connections become loose or damaged. That can happen with normal wear and tear and age of the appliance. Even gas appliances, such as an oven or stove, most likely use electricity to ignite the flame, or even keep track of the time of day.

The job of certain types of appliances is to generate heat, and lots of it, which is a safety hazard . These can be toasters, toaster ovens, regular ovens and stovetops, space heaters, clothes and hair curling irons, hair dryers and more. The list can be extensive. Make sure, when applicable, there is plenty of space from anything that generates heat and anything that can ignite. Many homes have suffered fire and smoke damage because someone set down a clothes iron on something ignitable. Or the toaster was too close to the side of the refrigerator and papers attached to it caught on fire.

We all know this, as well. When there is electricity and water, shock hazards can occur, along with possible fire ignition. Analyze each appliance and make sure they aren’t too close to any water source.

Next month, we’ll discuss another appliance safety feature that you might be wondering about… power cords!

And remember, if anything does happen in your home, whether it is a fire and smoke damage situation or flooded basement, do the best thing to bring conditions back to normal. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!

Solar Bottom – Is It Here Yet?

ideal solar, lighting & electric solar panels

Jeff Nichols of Ideal Solar, Lighting & Electric tells us about the present or future of solar power:

There are 3 factors that determine the cost of solar – material cost, labor cost and incentives.

The future cost of solar panels is open to interpretation because of tariffs and other factors. But we do not foresee any major changes in the cost of panels from where they are now.  

From our own experience labor costs are on the rise. 

The Federal Tax Credit is currently at 30% but it is due to start phasing out at the end of this year. By the end of 2021, the tax credit will be zero. 

Because of these factors we see a slight upward trend in solar installation costs.

Arguably, the bottom is here, within a few solar percentage points. 

Our recommendation to homeowners is to install solar this year while tax incentives are still at their highest point.