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!

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. 

Cold Weather Comfort

space heater safety, home safety, precautions

 

It’s coming. You can probably feel it right now. Space heater safety season!

That’s right. Brrr! For some across the country, this means trying to keep warm and snug in the home.

Some find comfort from their fireplaces. Others might use electric blankets. And others rely on space heaters, either gas powered or electric, to boost the comfort level their regular heating system can’t always provide, especially in sub-zero temperatures.

Space heater safety is very important, as many suffer from accidental fires and burns annually from these necessary devices.

The first consideration is which type of space heater you will choose. Electric models are considered safer than those which use fuel, which can be overturned and quickly cause a fire difficult to extinguish. So be smart when shopping and consider how the heater will be used and if there are children or pets (or clumsy adults) that might tip it over.

Space Heater Safety features

  • Consider the size and shape of the heater. Lower-profile heaters are more difficult to tip over. Some space heaters are shaped like a tower, and can easily be tipped. Avoid those.
  • While all space heaters should have an automatic turn-off mechanism if tipped over, still do your research and ensure yours has one.
  • If you have children or pets, an outer grill safety feature should be mandatory. You don’t want accidental contact burns to occur.

General Fire Safety tips

  • Measure the area you wish to heat and make sure the device you purchase is sufficient for the space. An overworked heater can be dangerous. And one that is too large for a room can overheat the room and be uncomfortable.
  • When purchasing a fuel-fired heater, never fill it while the device is on. Open flames are dangerous. Use appropriate, approved containers to carry the fuel.
  • When purchasing an electric heater, make sure it is plugged into a three-prong outlet that is grounded. Any extension cords you use must be able to handle the current your heater will need. Be sure to ask an expert about this.
  • Common sense dictates keeping any flammable materials away from the heater, such as furnishing, draperies, etc.
  • When you turn the heater off, give it plenty of time to cool down before touching or moving it.

But if anything does happen, such as a fire or smoke damage, then it’s time to get some professional help. Call your disaster restoration experts. After all, it pays to call a pro!

Prepping the House for Bad Weather– Part 1

Bad weather, prep your house for storms, carpet cleaning

When the bad weather comes, it’s time to turn against the weather.

Prepping your home for storms that are either predicted or that can occur at any time is the best defense against wind, water and related storm damages.

Without proper winter preparation of your home, you may end up inviting wind, rain and snow inside and then calling a restoration pro to clean it all up.

Tip #1: Inspect the Windows

No, not in the glass itself (you can see that easily and would have already replaced broken windows.) Check the weather stripping, the caulking and edges of the glass. Ensure no air is getting in or out. This is easier to check on a windy day. Hold a tissue paper up to the areas you are inspecting to see if there is any movement. If so, repair that area. Replace the caulking or weather stripping if necessary.

Tip #2: Get Climbing…

… up on the roof, that is. But keep it safe! Hire someone if you aren’t able to physically do this yourself or if there is any danger of falling. You (or someone) needs to inspect your roofing materials, areas around chimneys and vents… anywhere that water can intrude and cause problems. Be sure to repair any damage before the weather turns bad.

Tip #3: Clean the Gutters for Bad Weather

Dirty, cluttered gutters don’t do their job very well. Rain can easily turn into snow and ice, and debris in the gutters means they clog up and can cause all kinds of problems for your home. When the leaves stop falling, get out the ladder or hire a pro to ensure your gutters are ready for winter.

No matter what you do, occasionally water, wind and bad weather can damage your home. Do the right thing: Call your disaster restoration pro when his services are needed.

4 Items You’re Probably Not Cleaning, But Should

cleaning, professional cleaners, upholstery cleaning, office carpet cleaning

We like to think of ourselves as generally clean people, but there are areas for all of us that slip our minds when it comes to cleaning. Keeping a clean home or office is essential to good hygiene and health, but what are the areas you should be deep cleaning that you might be forgetting about?

Office Carpet

You might vacuum your office carpet on a regular basis, even daily. But that’s not enough  deep cleaning for the absorbent carpet surface because it accrues so much dust and dirt from traffic throughout the day. Unlike residential carpet, office carpet can be walked on (and spilled on) by hundreds of different users in a single day. This exposes the carpet to an astonishing volume of dirt, dust, grease, bacteria, and pathogens. Even vacuuming with a commercial strength vacuum is not enough to really cleanse office carpet.

It’s essential that you get deeper cleaning for your commercial carpet about twice a year. A professional commercial carpet cleaner can also inspect your office carpets and evaluate whether more frequent deep cleaning, stain removal, or odor removal is necessary. It’s helpful to enlist a carpet cleaning company for regularly scheduled deep office carpet cleaning. This means you don’t have to remember to arrange for office carpet cleaning, and it still happens on a regular schedule to keep your office carpets hygienic and germ-free.

Area Rugs

Homes and commercial spaces with hard floors have the benefit of being easy to clean and maintain. And hard floors like tile, hardwood, vinyl, and laminate can be tough on the feet and make the atmosphere colder. To add comfort, homeowners often place an area rug over hard floors. Of course, just like wall-to-wall carpeting, these area rugs become a magnet for dust, dirt, and germs.

Area rugs require special care to maintain their freshness and beauty without damaging them. Because area rugs are often made of delicate fibers and have other trims and special construction, many homeowners put off cleaning area rugs out of fear that they’ll damage them. Your professional carpet cleaner can provide expert deep cleaning for your area rugs to ensure they remain intact and beautiful. Otherwise, you can send your area rugs to the manufacturer for cleaning.

Grout And Tiles

Over time, dirt, germs, and mold accumulate in porous grout and can even form a film over or stain tiles. Because this process happens gradually, many business and homeowners don’t notice their tiles and grout becoming full of dirt and mold. While mopping tiles and grout can help to remove surface dirt and residue that’s accumulated over the course of the day, deeper cleaning is needed to really lift stains and ground-in dirt and mold from the grout. Professional tile and grout cleaning provides a deep lift to this long-standing dirt and mold, making your tiles and grout whiter and brighter than ever before.

Couches And Sofas

The couches and sofas in our home and office settings take a lot of wear. But how long has it been since you’ve given your couches, chairs, and sofas a thorough deep clean? Just like carpets and area rugs, soft furnishings like upholstered couches and sofas accumulate dust, dirt, grease, oil, hair, and skin flakes through the course of day-to-day use. And yet we often overlook these upholstered surfaces when it come to deep cleaning.

A good rule of thumb is to have professional upholstery cleaning as frequently as you get your carpets or area rugs professionally cleaned. This helps to remove all the built-up residues and potential pathogens from within the upholstery fibers.

To maintain real hygiene and cleanliness in your home and office, you don’t want to overlook these four items. Get help from your local professional cleaning company to keep your home spotless and healthy from top to bottom.

 

The Move Towards Luxury Vinyl Tiles and What It Means for Flooring

While carpet, area rugs, hardwood floors and ceramic tile flooring have traditionally been some of the favorite flooring choices for homes and businesses, it’s clear that the trend for flooring is moving to a new and different kind of flooring. This move is demonstrated in the announcement from Shaw Industries, one of the largest carpet and rug manufacturers in the world, that they are moving away from area rug production to invest over $100 million in luxury vinyl tile (LVT) floors. Shaw Industries CEO Vance Bell says “The economics of the rug business today simply does not allow for future growth or encourage future investment,” indicating that the money in the flooring business has shifted from soft floor coverings, to cost efficient and appealing luxury vinyl tiles. But what are luxury vinyl floor tiles and what is the importance of these luxury tiles for homeowners and businesses?

What Are Luxury Vinyl Tiles?
Luxury vinyl tiles are resilient, hardworking and truly beautiful, however, they are not a premium product in the way stone, marble or granite flooring would be considered premium. In essence, LVT floors are imitators, designed to impersonate with a high level of accuracy the look and feel of a luxurious stone, marble, granite or wood floor, while actually being composed of vinyl.

Luxury vinyl tiles are the result of advanced computer technology that allows the production of a vinyl flooring that very closely matches not only the look, but the feeling of premium flooring choices like stone, marble and granite. The production of these vinyl tile squares involves a computer “seeing” and copying what real marble or granite luxury floor tiles look like, and then making a photographic replication of that image onto the vinyl floor tiles. This results in an incredibly realistic product, of much higher quality than flooring imitators of the past.

How Are Luxury Vinyl Tiles Used?

The quality of luxury vinyl tiles can vary depending on the compositions and the manufacturing country (manufacturers in Asia, the United States and Europe all have their own manufacturing procedures and technologies). Luxury Vinyl Tiles that are composed of 100% vinyl are often used in commercial flooring, and have an additional protective layer (the mil layer) added to the vinyl to enhance the durability in commercial settings.

Luxury vinyl floor tiles used in residential settings may not be 100% vinyl and may not have an extra mil layer. However, it’s important to ensure your vinyl tile floor has a sufficient mil layer in order to make it more durable and easy to clean.

How To Care for Luxury Vinyl Tile Floors?
LVT floors do not need to be sealed or finished and many manufacturers strongly recommend against this. LVT floors are resistant to spots, stains and moisture, and sealants and finishes will merely end up peeling off the floor with wear.

Luxury vinyl tile floors are prone to soiling over time however, and need targeted care to maintain their finish and beauty. A professional floor cleaner is best able to remove soiling and staining from luxury vinyl floors using a neutral cleaning solution and a wet/vac system to remove all moisture along with the soiling and dirt.
Of course when it comes to cleaning floors, prevention is better than cure, so using a ‘high-performance’ matting system to help keep LVT floors looking great can be very effective. These ‘high-performance’ mats last for many years and are more effective and durable than conventional mats. Having the right matting and seeking professional floor cleaning care for your luxury vinyl floors helps to retain their appearance and functionality.

For more information on luxury vinyl floor tiles and their care, contact Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration.