October 2016 Client Newsletter

Here’s our October 2016 Client Newsletter.

Fall and Winter Home Check-Ups:

Inspect Now, Save Thousands Later

As the seasons change so does your home. Seasonal changes in temperature and humidity cause some materials to shift and expand. Other materials may become brittle and shrink, allowing energy-stealing cold and damaging moisture to enter during the coolest months of the year. Knowing what is happening in your home and fixing small issues before they become big is important. Also, when fall and winter approach the air becomes dryer and cooler. Temperatures are more comfortable, making outdoor tasks more bearable. That is the perfect time to get your home ready for the winter months.

Following are some recommendations for preparing your home for cooler weather. These suggestions are relatively simple to do for the active homeowner. Though, you may find it safer and more convenient to hire the services of a qualified home inspector to do some of these checks or to interpret your findings.

Reduce Moisture Entry and Energy Loss through Windows and Doors Look around your doors and windows. How does the caulking look? Caulk should be smooth and tight to the surface being sealed. If it is cracking, brittle and deteriorated, it should be scraped out and replaced. Check the seals. Is the weather stripping intact? Do windows close and seal properly? Are the door seals tight, or can you see daylight or feel air coming in around the door?

Watch Out for Water Intrusion Check the attic. If you have an attic, go up and have a look for any signs of water intrusion. Most roof leaks start small, and the damage is minimal if caught early. However, chronic moisture problems caused by undetected leaks over a long period of months or years can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Check for darkened areas on wood that could be caused by leaks. Protect the Structure While you are in the attic, look for gaps around chimneys, plumbing stacks and other penetrations through the roof.

The rubber seal around plumbing stacks is called a boot. An inexpensive “boot” replacement now may prevent very costly damage later. So look up from below the pipe and make sure daylight is not shining through; daylight might indicate a cracked boot. Also, take a look at the insulation and fill in any gaps where heat can escape. If your insulation is looking a bit thin, now would be a great time to add another layer.

Gutters are designed to capture and control water, directing it away from the structure. However, if gutters become clogged with leaves and other debris, water may overflow the gutters and enter behind fascia boards and even under shingles. This creates an environment for wood rot and mold.

If you have an unfinished basement or crawl space, check there for torn or missing insulation. If the vapor barrier on insulation is damaged, condensation can begin to form on the bottom of wood subfloors. This can result in mold growth and eventual wood rot. Use a flashlight and look for plumbing leaks, dark spots on wood, mold growth or any other indications of possible damage.

Get Help if You Need It.  You can go to the local home improvement store for additional advice, or seek the services of a qualified contractor to make necessary repairs. Doing this once a year can save you tens of thousands in repairs later. If you find substantial water damage or mold, call Professional Carpet Systems for a complete inspection and assessment. We are happy to help.

September 2016 Client Newsletter

Here’s our September 2016 Client Newsletter.

The Carpet Fiber of the Future?

Imagine a carpet that resists staining, fading and wear better than any other you’ve ever experienced. Now picture that carpet being soft and luxurious underfoot. If that wasn’t enough, this synthetic carpet fiber is made from a renewable, natural source. Almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? In the world of carpet, things change all the time. New combinations of styles, colors, textures and patterns are introduced every year.

As tastes change, so do carpets. One thing that rarely changes is the selection of fibers used to make carpet yarns. In fact, since the 1960’s, there have basically been only 3 synthetic carpet fibers available; nylon, polyester and olefin (polypropylene). Things changed in 2009 when a new kind of fiber became available to consumers.

Polytrimethylene terephthalate or PTT is generically known as triexta. The fiber is marketed under the trade name Sorona by DuPont and SmartStrand Carpet by Mohawk Industries. Triexta promised a superior combination of cleanability, colorfastness and durability than any one of the other synthetic carpet fibers could.

Interestingly, the process of making the fiber now known as triexta was invented in 1941 and was considered to be another form of polyester (polyethylene terephthalate or PET). Polyester carpets have been around since the 1960’s. Remember shag? The problem with polyester PET is its lack of resilience, allowing it to crush down and distort in traffic areas.

The fiber producer and carpet manufacturers realized the difficulty of convincing the public that PTT overcame the limitations of polyester and made a petition to the Federal Trade Commission to create a new designation for PTT polyester. After 3 years of careful review and due process, the FTC agreed that the characteristics of triexta were unique enough to grant PTT a new designation as a subclass of polyester. The generic name triexta was applied to this previously underappreciated polymer. So what is so great about triexta? According to carpet manufacturers and the fiber producer, triexta is virtually stain proof. It is also extremely colorfast, resisting color loss from sunlight, UV light and even chlorine bleach.

But the same things can be said of polyester. It is the improved resilience of triexta that makes it superior to polyester. How does triexta compare to nylon? In the category of resilience, nylon is the still the winner. But in the category of colorfastness and stain-resistance, triexta is the clear champion. Olefin is also colorfast and stain resistant, but it lacks resilience, tending to crush in high traffic areas. One additional feature of triexta is the softness of the fiber. Carpets made with triexta feel softer and more luxurious than any other synthetic fiber. This is surprising in a carpet that is expected to last 20 or more years in normal use.

What about cleanability? We have observed that carpets made with triexta clean as well as polyester and generally easier than nylon. However, some oily soils form a bond with the fiber and can be more challenging to remove. Typical soiling and food and beverage spills are removed fairly easily. Products that would stain nylon are no problem for triexta; they clean out readily. So is triexta a miracle fiber? Only time will tell. The jury is still out since these carpets have only been widely available for about 6 years now. It definitely shows promise. No matter what kind of carpet you have,Professional Carpet Systems has the training, equipment and expertise to keep it beautiful for a long time.

Cleaning Upholstery

Introduction

While furniture can be really expensive, the major headache is getting them professionally cleaned. Your sofa may seem to be getting a little worn out or shabby, but buying new furniture should be at the bottom of your priority list. Sometimes all it needs is just some proper maintenance. Like, seriously.

Professional services can cost you a lot. We’re talking about $150 for cleaning a regular 8-foot-long sofa. For the degree of proficiency that you’ll be acquiring, that may be worthy of the extra cash.

Nevertheless, you may consider freshening up your furniture and save money by trying out these Do-It-Yourself (DIY) upholstery cleaning tips. I’ll be your guide for this wonderful cleaning journey!

DIY Tips for Cleaning Upholstery

 

Learning how to cleaning your upholstery (by yourself) can help to keep your home fresh without dipping into your pockets whenever upholstery cleaning is required.

Follow these easy furniture upholstery cleaning tips to get started:

  • Firstly, you need to test to see if the colors of the material on the upholstery can be washed out or become faded out before actually cleaning. Use any suitable cleaning chemical as the testing agent on a small area that cannot be easily discovered.
  • If you decide to steer clear of store-bought cleaners, there’s a simple way of making your own water-based, eco-friendly and non-corrosive upholstery cleaner. Here’s how:
  • Combine ¼ cup of dishwashing soap and 1 cup of warm water in a mixing container.
  • Use an electric mixer to beat until the liquid becomes really foamy.
  • Take off the furniture cushions.
  • Use a vacuum attachment to thoroughly vacuum the surfaces. Vacuuming helps to eliminate any dirt that may be present. Just imagine that the water comes into contact with the dirt. That would be a very displeasing situation.
  • Use a soft brush to push the soap mixture onto the material.
  • Using a spatula, remove the foam.
  • If there are leftover suds, use a damp piece of cloth to wipe those away.
  • Don’t use too much water as this may cause shrinkage. This is where fibers become changed upon washing and/or drying.
  • Leave it there to dry. Depending on the fabric, this may take up to an hour to be dried properly.

 

Verdict

Whether you decide to clean your upholstery by yourself or turn to professional cleaning services, cleaning your upholstery is very important. Professional cleaning may, at times, be expensive but performing your own cleaning routine can save you a lot of money.

August 2016 Client Newsletter

Here’s our August 2016 Client Newsletter.

Mold…The Silent Pest

Say the word “pests” and people think about common household varieties such as ants, roaches, and spiders or even mice and rats. But did you know that molds are also considered pests? That’s right. Pests are generally defined as undesirable organisms that are detrimental to humans or human concerns. Some molds produce gases called mycotoxins that can cause sickness and allergic reactions in humans. Children 2 years and younger are especially susceptible to mold-related illness. Serious complications can result from prolonged exposure. There are molds, such as wood-destroying fungi, that cause property damage. So it is good to know a few things about mold so you can avoid having a problem in your home. What is Mold? Molds are fungi that feed on

What is Mold?

Molds are fungi that feed on nonliving organic matter. In nature, mold and other fungi are responsible for breaking down dead leaves, plant material and wood. Mold derives energy from these materials by secreting enzymes that break them down into simpler compounds that the mold can absorb.

This decomposition is a necessary part of Earth’s ecosystem. Molds are ubiquitous; they are found everywhere. Some species of mold can survive in sub-freezing temperatures, while others will thrive in extremely high temperatures of the desert, gaining what little moisture is available from the air. Some molds can even grow on diesel fuel and other chemicals like anti-freeze.

Common Mold in the Home and Office

The two most common molds found in indoor living environments are Aspergillus and Penicillium. Given a food source, suitable temperature and elevated moisture or humidity, these molds can begin to grow and flourish on many surfaces within buildings. Molds travel from one location to another by releasing microscopic, seed-like spores which can remain dormant for a very long time. When conditions are right, spores begin to grow into an active mold colony. Stachybotrys is another mold, often referred to as “toxic black mold”, which has gotten massive media attention. Stachybotrys is a sticky, slimy mold that grows on surfaces such as drywall, wood, and even paper on insulation. While Aspergillus and Penicillium can begin to grow in only a couple of days, Stachybotrys needs at least 7-12 days of constant moisture, warm temperatures around 70-80 degrees and minimal air movement. Therefore, you are most likely to encounter it in your home if you have an ongoing water intrusion from plumbing, foundation problems, roof or window leaks, etc. Note that you may not see it because it tends to flourish in dark areas where it will not be disturbed.

Since Stachybotrys is a sticky, slimy mold, the spores rarely become airborne. However, it may begin to release spores if it begins to dry out. It can also release mycotoxins into the air as a defense mechanism against other fungi. Spores and mycotoxins can be transported into the breathable air of the home and create symptoms such as cough, headaches, asthma, rhinitis and other allergic reactions. In some cases, infants or others with underdeveloped or compromised immune systems can have serious, even life-threatening, pulmonary or neurological complications. What Should You Do if You Find Mold? If you have any type of mold in your home or business, it must be removed. The visible presence of any mold is an indicator that there may be more unseen hiding elsewhere. Because mold can potentially harm people who live and work in structures, you should call Professional Carpet Systems so that we can identify the cause and develop a strategy to solve the problem and remove the mold.

What Should You Do if You Find Mold?

If you have any type of mold in your home or business, it must be removed. The visible presence of any mold is an indicator that there may be more unseen hiding elsewhere. Because mold can potentially harm people who live and work in structures, you should call Professional Carpet Systems so that we can identify the cause and develop a strategy to solve the problem and remove the mold.

July 2016 Client Newsletter

Here’s our July 2016 Client Newsletter.

Click here to see the Newsletter

Click here to see the Newsletter

 

So What’s the Big Deal

About… Pet Urine?

Our pets don’t understand why we make such a big deal of a little urine on the carpet. To animals, urine is an important social tool that is used as a calling card, mate attractant or a territorial warning. Urine lets other members of the species know important information regarding their gender, age and health. Animal urine is a rather benign substance. When it leaves a healthy animal it is sterile. In small amounts and low concentration, the odor and appearance may be undetectable. Still, any urine deposit on carpet should be treated appropriately. If you are lucky enough to catch the animal in the act, you can pour salt liberally onto the urine while it is still wet.

Use enough salt to completely cover the spot. The salt will absorb and neutralize the urine. Let it dry for 8-12 hours and vacuum it away. But most of the time, the urine is already dry by the time we find it. Applying a neutral carpet cleaning agent, gentle agitation and a thorough rinse may be enough to treat light urine deposits. Finish the job by placing a folded white towel on the area. Set a weight, such as an unwanted book on the towel and leave overnight. The remaining moisture and residue will wick into the towel. Once urine contamination has reached the point that it has penetrated the carpet and the underlying pad, removal of the odor becomes more difficult.

Heavy urine deposits are much more challenging to treat and you will need the help of Professional Carpet Systems. Why? Because urine undergoes a dramatic chemical change as it ages. The water in the urine evaporates and leaves behind organic compounds that become more and more concentrated. Bacteria begin to consume the urine and break down the proteins, sugars and other organics. During this process the bacteria secrete ammonia and a strong, pungent odor becomes apparent. The urine turns from a mild acid to a strong alkali. This strong alkaline deposit attacks the dyes in some carpets. Over time, the dyes can be weakened or removed, causing permanent color-loss.

The adhesives used in the carpet backing can be dissolved, and the carpet can literally fall apart. Permanent damage to wood subfloors will also result from deep penetration of concentrated urine deposits, requiring additional expensive repairs. The most critical action to prevent permanent damage is to act quickly when you notice a urine spot. Professional Carpet Systems has several techniques available to clean and deodorize pet contamination. In addition, there are different cleaning and deodorizing agents in our arsenal. The decision of which methods and agents to use will depend on several factors; the amount of contamination present, the depth of penetration, the construction of the carpet, the fiber content, the installation method, the sub-floor type and the size of the affected area must all be considered. There are times when the damage is too severe and the best option is to replace the carpet. In such situations, we can assist by decontaminating and sealing the sub-floor and adjacent materials with a specialized odorcounteracting sealer so that the new carpet does not inherit the old odor problem. If you have a pet odor problem, the best action is to call Professional Carpet Systems for a professional assessment of the situation. We are experts at handling difficult odor problems and can help you choose the solution that is right for you.

There are times when the damage is too severe and the best option is to replace the carpet. In such situations, we can assist by decontaminating and sealing the sub-floor and adjacent materials with a specialized odorcounteracting sealer so that the new carpet does not inherit the old odor problem. If you have a pet odor problem, the best action is to call Professional Carpet Systems for a professional assessment of the situation. We are experts at handling difficult odor problems and can help you choose the solution that is right for you.

Tiles and Grout Maintenance Tips

Tiles are usually beautiful, long-lasting and easily cleaned, but removing grout? That is a whole different topic. Due to its commonly light colors, and permeable structure, grout is susceptible to causing stains.

In an Entry and Mudroom area that is tiled, grime and dirt usually present a major problem. However, in places such as the kitchen, the culprits are usually spills. Cleaning grout in bathroom tiles is generally a demanding task, due to the mildew, mold, and soap that accumulate from time to time.

Thankfully, in cleaning grout in the most effective way possible, you may utilize traditional household products along with a small amount of elbow grease.

When you opt to conduct a cleaning routine, it’s usually more preferable to start with the gentlest solution. If it happens that you’re doubtful of a certain cleaning agent, try it on a less visible spot (For e.g. Underneath your couch).

 

 

 

Here are some tips:

  • Start off by using a hard brush and fresh water. Just spray the warm water on the grout lines, then scrub in a hoop-like motion. After that, leave it to dry.
  • For situations where you have a larger amount of mild stains and dirt, use vinegar. Create an even mixture of warm water and vinegar and top up a spray bottle. Spray the grout with the mixture and leave it for around 4 minutes. Next, use a hard brush to scrub it.
  • In order to bring about extra cleaning power, make a puree using water and baking soda. Spread across the grout lines with the puree and shower on the vinegar compound. As soon as the foaming stops, rinse with fresh water after using a brush to scrub it.
  • If there exist stains that are not that harsh, you can employ the use of Hydrogen Peroxide. This can be obtained in several drug stores. Beyond that, you may use this product directly on the tiles or create a pulp with Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda.
  • For stains that are extremely hard to remove, and really filthy grout, I recommend employing Oxygen bleach. They come in certain brands like OxiClean and Clorox OxiMagic. Also, make sure to abide by the directions that come with it. Just spread Oxygen bleach across the floor and let it stay for about 10 to 20 minutesbefore you rinse. Never use unclean water to rinse as this may cause dirt to retract into the grout lines.
  • To keep grout free from dirt and stains, I really suggest that you sprinkle some vinegar and use a soft cloth to wipe it at least one time per week.

Tiles and grout need to be cleaned on a regular basis to keep your building looking fresh and clean. There are several ways to do this but you have to be willing to spend the time to do it well. Don’t hesitate to go out and start your cleaning today!

June 2016 Client Newsletter

Here’s our client newsletter for June 2016.

Click Here to See the Newsletter

Click Here to See the Newsletter

GOTCHA!  Beware Unpleasant Insurance Surprises

Property insurance is one of those things that you buy and hope that you’ll never have to use. But what happens when you do need to make a claim? How can you be sure that you are covered? If your home is damaged by fire, flood, storm or wind damage, you expect to be covered for the loss. However, there are a few insurance policy “gotchas” that could leave you holding the bag.

Insurance GOTCHA #1: No Flood Insurance- Freakishly heavy rains hit and a stream near your house overruns its banks. Before you know it, water is rising in your front yard, rushing by like a wide, shallow river. You watch helplessly as murky water seeps under your door and creeps into your living room, bringing with it unknown contaminants and microorganisms. Water seeps around furniture, under walls and into adjacent rooms, wetting hardwood floors, saturating carpet and penetrating into baseboards and drywall.

Hours later the water subsides and you assess the damage. It becomes obvious that you need help. You call Professional Carpet Systems to extract the water, clean, dry and repair your home. When you file a claim with your insurance company, you are shocked to find that this is not a covered loss because you do not have flood insurance. You may have to pay thousands for all of the repairs out of your pocket. Protect yourself from this “gotcha” by keeping an up-to-date flood insurance policy.

Insurance GOTCHA #2: Sudden and unexpected. Most homeowner’s insurance policies only cover you for sudden and unexpected losses or damage. So if you fail to spot ongoing plumbing leaks, missing shingles, or rotting windowsills, the damage may not be covered if it occurred over an extended period. Mold, wood rot and corrosion are types of damage that are not sudden and unexpected. Your insurance company may consider them deferred maintenance or negligence. You should periodically inspect your home and fix those little issues that can become major problems.

Insurance GOTCHA #3: Building code upgrades. If your home suffers fire or storm damage requiring structural repairs, a building permit and inspections may be required in order to have the work completed. When these repairs are done, there is a chance that your home will need to be brought “up to code”. This could include electrical, structural, plumbing, heating and air conditioning upgrades and improvements that could run into tens of thousands of dollars or more. Some policies exclude building code compliance upgrades. Does yours?

Insurance GOTCHA #4: Sewer or septic backflow. It’s nasty. It’s smelly. It’s not covered? When your fresh water plumbing, icemaker line or water heater leaks, it is called a water intrusion and is usually covered by insurance. However, when water backflows into a building from a sewer line or septic tank, it is rarely covered by basic homeowners insurance. You need a separate policy or “rider” to cover damage caused by sewage backflow. Sewage backflows are significantly more costly to mitigate than clean water intrusions. You do not want to pay for this kind of loss out-ofpocket. Remember, the purpose of property insurance is to protect you in the event of a large loss. Don’t skimp on your policy and leave yourself exposed. Talk to your insurance agent about additional insurance to cover these and other “gotchas”. It may increase your insurance premiums a little bit, but it could turn out to be one of the smartest investments you’ll ever make.

May 2016 Client Newsletter

Here’s our client newsletter for May 2016.

Click Here to see the newsletter.

Click Here to see the newsletter.

What Causes “New Carpet Smell” and is it Harmful?

Smell is the most primitive of the five senses. The fragrances of food enhance our sense of taste. Pleasant scents create a feeling of calm and contentment, while unpleasant ones may be a cause for alarm. Unfamiliar odors can create anxiety, especially when the source is unknown. The nose knows, as they say. But what about “new carpet smell?” For many, this odor is welcome as we enter a carpet store or have new carpet installed in our own homes. It smells like a new beginning.

But is this smell hazardous?

Volatile Organic Compounds

The unmistakable odor produced by new carpet is caused by a volatile organic compound or VOC. Volatile simply means it evaporates readily at normal temperatures. This volatility makes it easy for us to smell. VOC’s are present in many new man-made building materials including sheet vinyl floorcovering, wall coverings, floor finishes, adhesives and paint. VOCs are what create “new car smell”, “new carpet smell” and the smell that you probably don’t enjoy so much after you paint a room.

There are many different types of VOCs but the one related to new carpet odor is 4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH), a by-product of the synthetic latex binders used to hold the carpet backing together. Although new carpet does produce this volatile organic compound, emissions from carpet as measured during EPA studies ranked among the lowest overall contributors to indoor air quality issues. Most of the VOCs present in carpet dissipate within 24-48 hours after installation. Ventilation during and after carpet installation helps to reduce that length of time.

EPA Testing

Several years ago, as the EPA was renovating its Washington DC headquarters, some employees complained that odor from the new carpet was making them sick with a variety of symptoms including respiratory irritation, headaches and general malaise. The EPA enlisted help from carpet and latex manufacturers to investigate the complaints. Following laboratory testing and extensive government agency review, no connection between 4-PCH and any kind of adverse human health outcome could be established. As a result, the EPA describes 4-PCH as an “unremarkable chemical.” Many people have the belief that “new carpet odor” is caused by formaldehyde used in the production of carpet. Research conducted by the School of Textile Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology dispelled this widely held myth. Current industry standards are in place so that all new carpet produced is monitored for this chemical. Formaldehyde has not been used in the production of carpet in the United States for decades.

April 2016 Newsletter

Here’s our newsletter for April 2016.

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Asbestos: Understanding the Risks

It isn’t always easy to distinguish fact from fiction these days. We have greater access to information than ever before. The challenge is how to determine what information is reliable and what is not. When it comes to the facts on asbestos, be sure to get your information from professionals and authoritative sources, not hearsay. Let’s start with a basic understanding of what asbestos is and how it has been used in home construction over the years. What Is Asbestos? Where Is It Found? Many people are surprised to learn that asbestos is a natural material, not manmade.

It is a mineral fiber found in the soil or rocks. The fibers are naturally heat resistant and can offer an insulation factor as well. These two benefits are why asbestos began to be used in building materials. Between 1930 and 1950, asbestos became a popular insulating material for homes, replacing the flammable types of insulations used previously. But that was just the beginning. Asbestos also made its way into roofing and siding, pipe insulation, flooring tiles and various patching materials for ceilings and walls. Its fire resistance made it perfect for protecting areas around wood burning stoves.

What Health Risks Are Posed by Asbestos? First of all, having asbestos in your home or workplace is not a cause for alarm. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: “The mere presence of asbestos in a home or a building is not hazardous.” The asbestos in building products only becomes a health issue when the fibers are disturbed and released into the air where they can be inhaled. Factory workers who were exposed to significant amounts of asbestos in their environment have shown an increased risk for lung cancer and mesothelioma.

The risk increases in proportion to the amount of fibers inhaled. HEALTHY, WEALTHY & WISE APRIL 2016 Published exclusively for clients of Professional Carpet Systems 303.403.1900 main 303.548.5946 emergency www.pcssuperior.com

 

March 2016 Client Newsletter

Here’s our client newsletter for March 2016.

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Click to see the full newsletter