April 2018 Client Newsletter

Here’s our April 2018 Client Newsletter.

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Flood Insurance…Are YOU Covered?

Believe it or not, everyone lives in a potential flood zone. You don’t have to be near a river, lake or ocean to be flooded. Floods can be caused by storms, melting snow, hurricanes, water backup due to inadequate or overloaded storm drains, as well as broken water mains.

For the purposes of insurance, the term “flood” means:

• “A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or of 2 or more properties (at least 1 of which is the policyholder’s property) from: overflow of inland or tidal waters; or unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or mudflow; or

• Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.” (source FEMA National Flood Insurance Program)

You may be surprised to find out that flood damage is not covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies. Sadly, this can lead to devastating losses, both financial and emotional.

You should consider protecting your home, business, and belongings with flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) whether your flood risk is high or low. With very few exceptions, anyone in a community that participates in the NFIP can buy building and/or contents coverage.

It is a good idea to buy even in lower risk areas because 25 to 30 percent of flood insurance claims occur in low and moderate risk areas.

Flood insurance is very affordable. The lowcost Preferred Risk Policy is ideal for homes and businesses in low-to-moderate-risk areas. Homeowners can insure buildings and contents for as little as $119 per year and renters can insure contents for as little as $39 per year.

About 90 private insurance companies nationally offer affordable flood insurance backed by the federal government. Policies are available to homeowners, renters, and Flood insurance is easy to get through private insurance companies and independent insurance agents. You can even purchase flood insurance with a credit card.

Contents coverage is separate, so renters can also insure their belongings. Up to $100,000 contents coverage is available for homeowners and renters. If you own your home or business, make sure to ask your insurance agent about contents coverage. It is not included with the building coverage.

There is usually a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect. Plan ahead so you are not caught without insurance if a flood threatens your home or business.

But doesn’t the federal government help people who have suffered a flood? Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President declares a disaster. And in many cases, the assistance is a loan that must be paid back with interest. Flood insurance pays even if a disaster is not declared. And of course, you never have to pay it back.

Unfortunately, the possibility of flooding is an unpredictable fact of life for property owners. Dealing with the aftermath of even a small flood can be overwhelming.

We hope you never have to go through flooding in your home. But if you do, call Professional Carpet Systems as quickly as possible. We will work directly with your insurance provider to help minimize the damage and restore your home.

March 2018 Client Newsletter

Here’s our March 2018 Client Newsletter!

 

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Bacteria, Fungi Spores, Oh My!

When you are in the business of cleaning, questions often arise regarding disinfecting and sanitizing. Recent Flu epidemics and the MRSA strain of bacteria have raised concerns among people regarding how to protect from possible infection. Fortunately, antimicrobials o er protection from unseen germs and bacteria on many surfaces. There are three levels of antimicrobials that kill or limit microbes and the spores that they use to reproduce.

Sterilizer
A sterilizer kills 100% of microbes and spores. In the spectrum of antimicrobial activity, a sterilizer is the strongest. Sterilization is impractical for everyday use because bacterial and fungal spores are extremely di cult to destroy. Extreme heat is one method of sterilization, but it is not practical outside of a medical environment. Chemical sterilizers are toxic, corrosive irritants that are not safe for use by the general public.

Sanitizers
To sanitize a surface means to reduce levels of harmful microbes to a safe level. Most chemicals sanitizers have little or no effect on certain bacteria like Tuberculosis, and improper use may create resistant strains of harmful bacteria.

Disinfectants
Disinfectant is an EPA regulated term that can only be used on the label of products that have been tested and proven to kill or destroy at least 99.9% of all microorganisms; this doesn’t mean they destroy spores. There are a variety of disinfectants available to consumers, including common household bleach. Caution must be exercised when using bleach or any other EPA registered disinfectant to follow label directions carefully as misuse can lead to damage to materials or health risks.

Disinfectants are named as to what kind of organisms they kill. The suffix cide, meaning “to kill” is added after the type of microorganism it targets. So a bactericide kills bacteria, fungicide kills fungi, and a virucide destroys viruses. Read the label to find out what the product is designed to do.

Making the Choice
What should you use? Since sterilizers are only needed for critical jobs like surgical instruments, we are left with disinfectants and sanitizers. As we have seen, sanitizers do not have the “kill power” that disinfectants do. So why would you choose to use a sanitizer instead of a disinfectant? You make the decision by weighing the risk presented by the microorganisms against the risks involved with the chemical itself. For example, there are chemical sanitizers that are used in commercial kitchens which are designed for treating food preparation surfaces. These products control bacteria on relatively clean surfaces but present almost no risk because of low toxicity.

In a hospital things are different with known health issues at stake. People with a variety of sicknesses create the potential for contamination of many surfaces. Also, there are people with compromised immune systems who could become seriously ill from exposure to common microbes.

When the risk from infection are greater, the necessity for a high- grade disinfectant becomes apparent.

Although these tend to have higher levels of toxicity, the potential risk warrants their use.

Your home is similar. Your kitchen counter is generally clean. Therefore keeping it clean usually means simply maintaining a sanitary condition. If you prepare raw meats on the counter you may consider using a good sanitizer/cleaner. In the bathroom, a stronger disinfectant might be appropriate. You could also use a surface disinfectant in sick rooms to kill infectious microbes.

A clean home is important. But, the most important thing to remember is that all cleaning agents, sanitizers and disinfectants should be stored and used according to the label directions. Failure to do so could cause more harm than good.

February 2018 Client Newsletter

Here’s our February 2018 client newsletter.

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What to do when you have a flood emergency

Floods happen, everywhere in the country. Water can come from a storm surge, broken pipes, poor landscaping and so much more, and you needn’t live near a dam to be in danger. How you handle a water intrusion usually has to do with the rate at which water enters a structure, the amount of water, the source of the water, and what areas are affected. Safety is of Primary Concern In short term water management, slip fall hazards, possible electric shock, biological or toxic contamination and other potential dangers must be considered before you take any action. In cases when there is a large quantity of standing water it is usually safest to turn off the electricity and gas to the structure before you begin any cleanup. Once you have determined it is safe to proceed, identify the source of the water, and stop the water intrusion, if possible. If it is from rainwater or other sources beyond your control, take steps to reduce the rate at which it is spreading. You can do this by placing towels to absorb the water, using a shop vac to extract the water, or even using a push broom or squeegee to push the water outside. If you have them, sandbags can help keep water out as well.

Cleaning Up The services of a professional cleaning and restoration company will usually be needed when the water has saturated building materials or furnishings such as carpet and pad. It is nearly impossible for a homeowner to remove water and dry a structure in a safe and efficient manner. This is because cleaning companies have the fans, heaters, other equipment and experience to dry water quickly. Often homeowner attempts at saving money end up costing thousands of dollars later on in the form of mold contamination and permanent damage to the structure. Many items that could have been saved by the quick response from a professional may have to be discarded, or undergo expensive restoration. A Plan of Action Your best course of action in the event of a substantial water intrusion is to ensure the safety of yourself and other inhabitants of the structure, determine the source of the water, try to stop or slow the entry of water, move sensitive furnishings out of the water as soon as possible, and call a professional restoration contractor to handle the extraction of water and structural drying.

Homeowners’ insurance may or may not cover damages from water intrusion, depending upon your policy and how the water entered. Many policies do not cover “rising water” or water intrusion from flood conditions unless you have specific flood coverage. Yet they will cover damage resulting from rainwater that enters the structure from above, as from a hole in the roof. You can get additional insurance to cover flood and other water hazards. Check your policy or talk to your insurance provider to see what’s covered.

No matter your policy type, most insurance companies require you to act fast and contact a professional restoration company to minimize damage and reduce the cost of the claim. That’s why if you ever have a water intrusion you should call Professional Carpet Systems immediately. Fast response and having the right equipment are both critical in getting your home back to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible.

December 2017 Client Newsletter

Here’s our December 2017 Client Newsletter.

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Water Intrusion! Now What?

For various reasons such as aging or defective plumbing, frozen pipes, faulty appliances or simply leaving the water running, it is estimated that 1 in 4 families will suffer property damage from indoor plumbing failures and accidents in the next 10 years. This means that you or someone you know will likely be affected in the not-too-distant future.

Regardless of where the water originates, a water intrusion can cause significant property damage, so it is important to act fast. Your first step is to call Professional Carpet Systems so that we can minimize the damage.

When we arrive to create a plan of action, there are 3 major factors that we take into account:

• Amount of damage- How much of the structure is affected?

• Level of contamination- What is the amount and type of contamination in the water?

• Depth of penetration- How deep has the water penetrated into structural materials?

Amount of damage is determined during a detailed inspection by a professional restoration technician. You cannot simply rely on looking at the damage. Water migrates to inaccessible areas within the structure, requiring specialized knowledge and equipment to find out where the water is. Failure to locate hidden pockets of moisture can lead to further structural damage and the potential for lingering odors and mold growth.

Level of contamination is based on the source of the water, how long the water sat, and what kind of contaminants it contacted. Here is a breakdown of the 3 main categories:

Category 1- Clean water comes from a source such as a broken water pipe, water heater or a sink overflow.

Category 2- Unsanitary water contains a significant amount of contamination such as soil, household chemicals, or organic material that can provide nourishment for bacteria and fungi. Sources include washing machine or dishwasher overflow, fish tanks, etc. Category 1 water can degrade to Category 2 or 3 over time.

Category 3- Grossly unsanitary water contains contamination that can cause disease or chronic illness. The most common source of Category 3 water is backflow from sewer or septic systems. Any water that passes over the ground falls into this category due to fungi, bacteria, animal waste, pesticides, fertilizers and other potential contaminants.

Depth of penetration depends on the permeance of affected materials and the length of time the water remained in contact with those materials. Permeance is the ability of water to absorb into or pass through a material. Drywall is highly permeable, absorbing water easily, while hardwood floors are low-permeance or minimally absorbent. The permeance factor, exposure time and level of contamination in the water determines what materials we can save.

For example, if drywall is saturated for a short time with clean water, it can usually be saved. However, if drywall is saturated with water from a sewage backflow, it should be removed and replaced.

There are different requirements for various materials and levels of contamination. If you consider all of the materials in your home, hardwoods, plywood, drywall, insulation, carpet, structural wood, vinyl, particle board, tile, concrete as well as your furnishings, it’s easy to see why Professional Carpet Systems should be your first call if you should ever have a water intrusion in your home.

We are experts at assessing the damage and tailoring a restoration program to your unique situation.

Our technicians are trained and certified to minimize the damage and protect the health and safety of your family. We’ll act quickly and efficiently to get your home or business dry and clean, so you can get back to normal quickly.

November 2017 Client Newsletter

Here’s our November 2017 Client Newsletter.

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Spend a little now…Save a lot later

Fall is the perfect time to do some maintenance on your home’s exterior. Warm weather and the higher humidity of summer cause materials to shift and expand, then as the weather cools and the humidity decreases the process reverses. This can leave your home with areas that water, pests and rot can penetrate. Now is the time to act.

As Winter Approaches

Paint, caulk, shingles, wood, rubber, vinyl and siding are all affected by high temperature and UV radiation from the sun. As a result, the exterior envelope of your home may not be as “tight” as it was in the spring. As weather gets cooler, materials tend to shrink and harden. Air is drier, resulting in further shrinkage as materials lose moisture. Rubber seals around doors and windows become brittle. Caulk separates from siding and trim, allowing outdoor air and damaging moisture to enter.

The wood around doors and windows can rot. High moisture levels encourage insects and termites to make your home their home. Hidden mold growth on wood, drywall and other porous surfaces causes millions of dollars in structural damage every year. Moisture is the primary cause.

You can take a few easy steps to ensure your home is in good shape as winter approaches. Following is a list of things that you can check out and another list the ambitious homeowner can do, or which you can hire an inspector to check out for you.

Easy Fall Checkpoints

As fall approaches take a slow walk around your house and check the following:

  • Visually check out all windows and doors. Look at the wood trim to ensure it is not rotted or pulling away. Check the caulk to ensure it is flexible and well-sealed. Pound in loose trim nails and re-caulk if necessary. Remove brittle, deteriorated caulk before resealing.
  • Check weather stripping to ensure pliability and good seal. If you can see daylight around the door or window then you may need to install new weather stripping.
  • Look around windows, doors, soffits and other areas for water intrusion. If you see dark stains or rotted areas you may have a leak and want to call a professional. After the leak is fixed you can replace damaged wood. Or, check out this great product called “Git Rot”, available at marine centers, for repairing rotted wood.
  • If you have a basement check it for leaks by touching the wall, especially where it meets the floor. Sometimes, minor water issues can be corrected with sealing paint. Getting Professional Help If you are a very handy homeowner then do the following checks as well. Otherwise, hire a pro to:
  • Have your gutters cleaned and checked. Ensure all downspouts are directed away from your house. If you don’t have gutters, consider having seamless gutters installed; they are actually quite inexpensive compared to other home improvements.
  • Have the roof inspected. Many roofing companies will do this for free, just be sure to pick a reputable one. Ensure they look for gaps and issues around the chimney, plumbing stacks and any other roof penetrations.
  • If you have a crawl space under your home, hire a professional to crawl under it once a year and check it out for plumbing leaks, structure issues, and animal infestation.

The old saying says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It can save you a ton of money in the long run as well

 

 

 

 

 

October 2017 Client Newsletter

Here’s our October 2017 Client Newsletter.

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Don’t Lose Track of Time

It’s Sunday morning. You’re tidying up the kitchen when your phone rings. It’s a long lost friend from high school. As you catch up on each other’s lives, you realize how fast time flies. You tell her all about your life since you graduated. She tells you how she ended up marrying that guy she couldn’t stand in high school and how happy they have been for all these years. For the next 53 minutes you share memories, laughs and a few tears. Time flies by. Finally, you say your goodbyes, vowing to keep in touch.

Returning to the kitchen, you feel a sudden sense of panic. You completely forgot you were filling up the kitchen sink to wash some dishes. Water is cascading over the countertop, down the cabinets and onto the floor. As you scramble to turn off the water, you wonder, “how long has this been running?”

You slosh your way to the flooded laundry room and grab every towel you can find, dropping them everywhere to soak up the rapidly spreading water. The family room is soaked. The powder room has a half-inch of standing water. The Oriental rug in the dining room is saturated.

You run down to the basement as fast as you can to get the wet/dry vacuum so you can suck up the water. There you feel the unmistakable squish of wet carpet underfoot. Water is pouring out of the ceiling!

As bad as this all may seem, it’s about to get much, much worse… unless you act quickly. Why? Because there are 3 basic stages of water damage with the severity of damage increasing over time.

Stage 1 is primary damage to materials contacted by water. The drywall ceiling in the basement or the area rug in the dining room can suffer immediate and permanent damage. The hardwood floors in the kitchen and dining room will begin to absorb water and swell. Over time, this causes warping and buckling. Drywall and baseboards also absorb water, increasing the damage.

Stage 2 is secondary damage caused by exposure to high humidity. As water evaporates from materials, the humidity or water vapor in the air increases. This water vapor will begin to penetrate into unaffected materials like drywall, wood, paper, hardwood furniture and even leather. Given enough time, high humidity can cause swelling, splitting and warping of cabinets, molding and furnishings.

Stage 3 is microbial growth. Bacteria and mold spores are always present. But if you add water or abnormally high humidity, these microbes begin to flourish. Depending on temperature, bacterial growth can cause a sour odor within just a few hours. The “mildew” odor that many people associate with wet laundry is actually caused by bacteria, not mildew.

Mold requires more time to become active and begin to grow. Under optimal conditions, some species of mold become visible in 48-72 hours. Once mold begins to grow there is risk to your family’s health. Unless the materials are dried and the humidity is controlled, mold spreads and contaminates large areas of the home. Left untreated, mold can grow on the insides of walls, under and behind cabinets and in other hidden portions of the house, causing thousands of dollars in property damage.

Because of the progressive nature of water damage, it is important to act quickly. Every minute that passes only increases the damage. We hope you never have the misfortune of water damage in your home or business. But if you do, don’t waste time. Call Professional Carpet Systems immediately. We will limit the damage and get your home clean and dry quickly.

September 2017 Client Newsletter

Here’s our client newsletter for September 2017.

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 Is it Okay for Me to Use Those Miracle Spot Removers I See on TV?

Whether you watch television during daytime talk shows, in the middle of prime time, or during a fit of insomnia at 2 a.m., you simply can’t avoid them: commercials, and infomercials, trying to convince you that some liquid in the bottle will magically remove any spot or stain you have on your carpet, no matter where it originated, how long it’s been there, or what type of carpet you have.

While it is possible that some of these products have some value, it is not possible that any product can do all of these things. Every fiber is different. Every spill is different. So there is simply no one-stop solution to clean everything. And, unfortunately, using some of these “miracle” stain removers in the wrong place can cause irreversible damage to your carpet.

Miracle Oxygen Cleaners

One popular product that people tend to try, and place great faith in, is the “Oxy” cleaners seen on infomercials. If you choose to use these cleaners, exercise caution. Professional carpet cleaning companies are seeing more and more damage being done to

One popular product that people tend to try, and place great faith in, is the “Oxy” cleaners seen on infomercials. If you choose to use these cleaners, exercise caution. Professional carpet cleaning companies are seeing more and more damage being done to carpet by the oxygen bleaches in these cleaners. The damage can range from minor color loss to large permanent yellow stains caused by the chemical reaction with the carpet fibers.

Theoretically, these products should be safe if used according to the manufacturer’s directions. But there are things that can and do affect the chemical reaction and can make results vary greatly. For instance, the exact nature of the spot you are trying to remove matters. Some stains do not react well to oxygen bleaches, and can even become permanent if you use those products. Another problem is sunlight. Under sunlight, the oxidizer becomes more chemically active and aggressive, resulting in heightened bleaching action. Remember, anything that has the ability to remove food coloring has the potential to destabilize the dyes used to give your carpet its color.

Under sunlight, the oxidizer becomes more chemically active and aggressive, resulting in heightened bleaching action. Remember, anything that has the ability to remove food coloring has the potential to destabilize the dyes used to give your carpet its color.

Other Product Promises

There are other products that use high pH detergents in conjunction with the oxygen bleach to help break down greasy spots and spills. While this can be quite effective in removing the offending spots, it can leave behind a residue that destroys the stain resistant properties of your carpet. This is not visible damage, however it is quite real. The result is an area that is “unprotected” and therefore vulnerable to permanent staining the next time something is spilled there. Also, these highly alkaline residues are often quite sticky, attracting soils. So even though the spot goes away, the area keeps getting dirtier and dirtier. So you apply

So you apply more cleaner and leave more residue, in a never-ending, frustrating cycle of futility. If you had the ability to apply, agitate, rinse and thoroughly extract the chemicals, it wouldn’t be so bad. But removing all of the stuff you pour on the carpet can be quite difficult. So what can you do? Your safest bet when you have a difficult stain is to call Professional Carpet Systems before attempting to remove it yourself. We are an experienced carpet cleaning company, and can give you options as to the best way to handle the situation while avoiding any damage to your carpet. We can also give you tips for removing small spots in the future.

August 2017 Client Newsletter

Here’s our client newsletter for August 2017.

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Understanding the Role of Humidity in Your Home

Water is an important part of our lives. It covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and makes up most of our body weight. Water exists underground, as mountain snow, as glacial ice, as clouds above us and so much more. What we rarely consider is that there is also water in the air all around us. This water, in the form of vapor, is called humidity and while too little is bad for our health too much can be bad as well.

Discovering Water Vapor The most common measure of humidity is relative humidity (RH). Relative humidity measures the amount of water vapor in the air compared to the maximum amount of water that could be suspended in the air at that temperature. RH is always expressed as a percentage. At 100% relative humidity, air can hold no more water vapor at that temperature. At 50% RH, the air is holding half the amount of water vapor that it could suspend at that temperature. You should try to keep humidity levels in your home between 30-50% RH for optimal comfort and health. If humidity is too low, say below 20%, your skin, eyes and hair will feel dry and uncomfortable. Certain materials like leather and wood will also begin to dry out.

You should try to keep humidity levels in your home between 30-50% RH for optimal comfort and health. If humidity is too low, say below 20%, your skin, eyes and hair will feel dry and uncomfortable. Certain materials like leather and wood will also begin to dry out.

High humidity- 60% or above- for extended periods can cause many problems including health issues and damage to structural materials. If relative humidity remains above 60% for very long, there is an increased potential for mold on wood, drywall and other interior surfaces.

Signs of high humidity are: a sticky or clammy feeling; wood floors that are “cupped”; sticking doors; condensation on widows, air conditioning vents or walls; musty odors and mold growth on interior surfaces and furnishings.

The Causes of High Humidity High humidity can be a sign that there is a leak in the structure, or problems with the air conditioning and ventilation system, building envelope or foundation issues. If you have a basement or crawlspace, a damp musty odor is an indication that there may be moisture or humidity problems. Musty odors are more than a nuisance. They are an indicator of wood rot, mold growth or other microbial issues. Microbes can also pose a health risk to occupants of the structure.

Warm air can hold more water vapor than cool air. This is why condensation occurs on cold surfaces. As air comes into contact with the cold surface, the air gets cooler, and the RH increases. If the surface is cold enough, RH reaches 100%. Since the air can no longer hold all of the water vapor condensation forms on the surface of the cooler material. We call this the dewpoint temperature.

If you have a basement, sunroom or unfinished area that is sometimes cooler than the rest of your house, temperature variations can lead to excessive relative humidity, condensation and all of the associated problems. In these areas it may be necessary to use a dehumidifier to control moisture in the air. Remember, if the air is damp so is the structure. Keeping humidity under control is one step toward making your home a healthier place to live.

High humidity is a sign that something is wrong with a structure. If you suspect you have any kind of water damage from a leak, condensation, poor construction or foundation issues, call Professional Carpet Systems today. We can help identify the problem, prevent further damage and assist you in finding the right solution.

July 2017 Client Newsletters

This is our July 2017 client newsletter.

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Is it too Soon to Clean My New Carpet?

If you purchased new carpet within the last year or two you may be wondering when the time is to start having it professionally cleaned. Often times a salesperson at the carpet store will tell you to wait as long as possible before you have your new carpet professionally cleaned; that cleaning your carpet will just make it get dirty faster requiring more frequent cleaning. Is that true?

Old Attitudes for Old Technology

The belief that once you clean your carpet the first time you will then need to clean them all the time goes back to the early days of professional carpet cleaning. Back then lots of chemical and water was used in an attempt to get the carpet clean. These carpet cleaning chemicals worked great at attracting soil away from the carpet fiber and suspending those soils in the cleaning solution to be wet vacuumed away.

The trouble began because the equipment was not able to extract or rinse out all the chemical that was applied. So, the chemicals remained on the carpet as a sticky, soil-attracting residue. It was true, once you cleaned your carpets back “in the day” you began a cycle of needing to clean them more often.

Poor Quality Carpet Cleaning Causes Damage

To some extent, this can happen even today when calling some “discount” carpet cleaners. They use cheap chemicals, inferior equipment, untrained workers and charge low, low prices. The poor guys who work for them are often subcontractors or are paid on commission. What happens is that the technician often has to hurry through the job just to make a decent living. So there can be a lot of these cheap, sticky chemicals left in the carpet because they were not properly rinsed out. Sure it looks okay when he leaves, but the carpets will re-soil quickly, often over the course of a few days or weeks.

The Benefits of High-Quality Cleaning

Things in the carpet cleaning industry have changed dramatically over the last few years. The cleaning agents we use, though more expensive, are designed to rinse freely from the carpet and leave little or no residue. What tiny amount may be left behind is specially formulated to dry completely non-sticky, to be vacuumed away with normal maintenance.

Quality equipment does cost more, but it has the power to thoroughly clean your carpet and rinse away soils and cleaning agents. Finally, the application of a quality protector makes your carpet stay cleaner longer. Not all carpet cleaners are willing to spend the extra time and money to do a high quality job.

A reputable company will pre-treat, agitate and rinse with extremely hot water and a powerful vacuum system. This leaves carpets clean, fluffy and residue-free, the way it should be. As an added bonus, clean carpet improves indoor air quality, so your family will breathe easier.

Most major carpet manufacturers require professional carpet cleaning once every 12-24 months. Failure to do so could void your carpet warranty. So if you want your carpets to stay cleaner, last longer and look beautiful, call Professional Carpet Systems to set up your personalized carpet care program.

June 2017 Client Newsletter

This is our June 2017 client newsletter.

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Kitchen Fire, Now What?

The leading cause of house fires is cooking; grease fires, oven fires or simply leaving a pot unattended on a stove. Most of us can recall leaving something on the stove and being distracted. If you ever find you have a fire in a pan, do not attempt to move it. Cut off the supply of air to the fire by putting a metal lid on top of it if possible, and turn off the burner. If the fire is in an oven, turn off the oven and leave it closed.

Of course, every kitchen needs a fire extinguisher. Be certain it’s the right type. Type A fire extinguishers are for fires involving combustible materials like paper, wood, cloth, rubber and most plastics. Never use a Type A extinguisher on a grease fire! An explosive reaction could result, causing the fire to spread.

Type B extinguishers are for flammable liquids like food grease, oil, solvents and gasoline.

Type C extinguishers are for fires involving electrical equipment and components.

Type ABC multi-purpose fire extinguishers are designed to put out all three types of fire. Since they are the most versatile, it’s probably the best choice for your kitchen. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, douse the fire with dry baking soda. If you are not absolutely certain a fire is out, call 911 immediately. Waiting could have disastrous results. Most of the time, if the fire is contained, damage to the structure is minimal.

During a fire, hot gasses and smoke penetrate into surfaces, making the resulting odors challenging to remove. Often there is a greasy, sooty residue left on surfaces that also causes odors that can range from fairly mild to quite severe.

Once the area has been ventilated, complete odor removal will follow this sequence:

Step 1: Remove the odor sourceRemove as much as possible, all charred material from the house. Step 2: Clean affected surfaces such as cabinets, walls, oven interiors, upholstery, carpets and just about anything else that has the potential to hold smoke, soot or grease residue. It’s best to get professional help with this.

Some residues can be removed dry, others require water-based cleaners, and still others require solvents for best results. Sometimes cleaning is all that is needed, but usually the odors have penetrated into surfaces.

Step 3: Recreate the conditions of odor penetration – The goal is to get the deodorizing agent to penetrate affected surfaces to neutralize the odors. This requires professional equipment and training. Some of the tools create a deodorizing fog that penetrates cracks, crevices and other inaccessible areas. These vapors destroy, neutralize or encapsulate the odor causing molecules in porous materials. In many cases, these three steps are all that is needed. Sometimes odors linger in certain areas like kitchen cabinets. That’s when you need step 4.

Step 4: Seal surfaces that do not respond. In those cases where all else fails, the surface can be sealed, preventing odors from escaping into the air. The type of sealer used will depend on the surface.

We hope this article will help you prevent a cooking fire in your home. But if the unthinkable happens, call Professional Carpet Systems. We can help assess the damage, clean up the mess, eliminate the odors and get your home back to normal as quickly as possible.