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.

May 2017 Client Newsletter

This is our May 2017 client newsletter.

 

Soil Control Saves You Money and Time

All through the year we track various soils into our homes. Not only that, pollutants from car exhaust, pollens, pet and human dander, and just plain old dirt can damage decorative surfaces in your home including carpet, tile, wood, upholstery and fabrics. Soil control is an important part of keeping your home clean and healthy. You can control soil by limiting the entrance and buildup of contaminants in your indoor environment.

Keep Outside Contaminates Outside

The best way to control soil indoors is to prevent its entry. They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; it takes 12 times more effort, time and money to remove soil as it does to prevent it from entering a structure.

Remember that whatever is outside tends to come in, so consider the following:

• Keep walkways, steps and porches clean and free of dirt, mold, moss and algae.

• Maintain garage floors in order to prevent oil, road grime and other contaminants from accumulating and being tracked indoors.

• Place doormats both outside and inside the entrances to your home.

• Outdoor mats should be a water resistant, synthetic, non-absorbent fiber such as olefin or polypropylene, textured to scrape heavier soils off your shoes. Avoid natural fibers which tend to degrade, mold and rot creating a new soil source.

• Inside doormats should be absorbent like nylon, cotton or wool. Vacuum and wash it periodically to remove built-up soils.

• Remove shoes when you come indoors, but don’t make the mistake of going barefoot all the time.

Some Dirt Starts Inside

There are also sources of soiling that originate indoors. Normal daily activities generate a variety of dust and residues that settle on just about every surface. Keep the following in mind to keep your home clean:

• Cooking produces oily deposits that can bond to floors and carpet, attracting dust and soil. Kitchen vent hoods remove odors and filter out oils and moisture too.

• Humans shed millions of skin cells every day. The more people and pets there are in the home, the more dead skin, body oils, perspiration and debris accumulate in carpets, furnishings and air ducts.

• Gas and oil-fired heating systems also produce carbon pollution. Even candles can contribute to soiling of carpets and furnishings.

• Use vent fans when showering. Bathroom vent fans exhaust excess moisture outside and help prevent condensation on surfaces. Dust sticks to moisture and creates a residual film on surfaces. This film can become a breeding ground for bacteria and surface mold.

• Vacuuming is the most effective way to maintain your carpets. 74-79% of soil in carpet is dry, particulate soil that can be removed by vacuuming. You should also vacuum your upholstered furniture, drapery and blinds for the same reasons.

• When you dust your furniture, do so gently, preferably with a duster attachment on your vacuum cleaner. If you use a duster, go slow and allow dust to settle for an hour or so and vacuum the floor last.

Annual professional cleaning is recommended in most homes. Busy homes with children and pets require cleaning twice a year or more depending on lifestyle. Don’t wait until your carpets, rugs and upholstery look dirty to have them cleaned; by the time fibers have reached a visibly soiled state they are already damaged.

Unfortunately, cleaning cannot repair the damage caused by excessive soiling.

Call Professional Carpet Systems to schedule your next cleaning or for more expert advice.

April 2017 Client Newsletter

This is our April 2017 client newsletter.

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Prevention is the Best Cure

How to Avoid Expensive Plumbing Failures

One of the services offered by Professional Carpet Systems is water damage restoration. In the event of a water intrusion in your home or business, time is a key factor in minimizing damage. But there are things that you can do to prevent a water disaster from happening in the first place.

Plumbing system failures are by far the single largest cause of residential water damage insurance claims. Water begins to damage certain materials like drywall, baseboards, hardwood floors and furniture almost immediately. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) urges property owners to inspect interior plumbing components and complete preventive maintenance measures to reduce chances of interior water damage.

IBHS conducted a study of water damage insurance claims, identified five leading causes of damage, and developed the solutions featured below.

1. CAUSE: PLUMBING SUPPLY SYSTEM FAILURE – The average cost of a plumbing supply system failure was more than $5,000 after the insurance deductible was paid, according to the IBHS study.

PREVENTION: • Potential indicators of a plumbing problem include increasing water bills, banging pipes, rust stains, moisture on walls or floors, and signs of wet soil near the foundation. If you see any of these signs, or you suspect something is not right, call a plumber for a system inspection. • Setting the thermostat 60 degrees or higher during winter freezes, letting faucets drip and insulating pipes are all ways to reduce the risk of frozen pipes. • As a backup, install a house leak detection system.

2. CAUSE: TOILET FAILURE – One-third of all toilet failures in the study resulted from an overflowing or clogged toilet.

PREVENTION: • After you flush, wait for the valve to completely finish refilling the tank and bowl. If an overflow looks imminent, turn off the supply valve. • Twice a year, inspect a toilet’s components, such as the fill, supply and flush valves and the supply line. • Consider upgrading the toilet’s supply line to a sturdier braided steel hose.

3. CAUSE: WATER HEATER FAILURE – The most common causes of water heater failures in the IBHS study were a slow leak or a sudden burst in the tank, followed by supply line failures.

PREVENTION: • Check the life expectancy and warranty for the water heater and replace accordingly. • Proper maintenance, such as flushing sediments and inspecting the heater’s anode rod, can increase life expectancy. • Inspect valves to ensure proper operations, and use ball valves in place of gate valves whenever possible.

4. CAUSE: PLUMBING DRAIN SYSTEM FAILURE – The IBHS study found more than half of plumbing system failures were the result of sewer backups.

Prevention: • If the home’s sewer system is connected to the city’s sewer system or if you are located downhill or below street level, contact a plumbing professional to install a backflow prevention assembly into the home’s sewer system. • Plant trees away from lateral drain lines to prevent roots from damaging piping. • Never pour grease down the drain.

5. CAUSE: WASHING MACHINE FAILURE – One burst inlet hose, and your laundry room is flooded in a matter of minutes, with water quickly spreading to adjacent areas.

PREVENTION: • Replace rubber hoses every three years and consider upgrading to sturdier braided steel hoses. • When leaving the house for an extended period of time, turn off the hot and cold water supply valve to reduce failure risks. • Don’t try to cut corners by overloading the machine, and use it only while someone is at home.

Pass this information along to your friends and neighbors and remember to call Professional Carpet Systems immediately if you should ever have a water intrusion. Visit disastersafety.org for more information.

 

March 2017 Client Newsletter

This is our March 2017 Client Newsletter.

Allergy Alert:

What To Do When You Move Into A Home That Previously Had Pets?

People with allergies to pets can suffer from symptoms that range from mildly annoying to unbearable. If you or someone in your family has allergic reactions to pets, you already know that the cause is dander. Dander, made up of particles shed from animals and humans every day, is mainly comprised of dead skin cells. People can be allergic to dander from any kind of animal, but the most common allergies are to cats, followed by dogs and lastly, birds.

Regardless of the animal, dander is microscopic and ends up on just about every surface in the home. This is a problem if you are planning on moving into a home that previously housed pets. Professional Carpet Systems offers the following suggestions as a way to minimize exposure to these allergens.

Step 1. Meticulous Dusting

A very thorough dusting of all surfaces in the house is the first step. If you plan to do this yourself, wear a disposable filter mask designed to remove allergens. The goal of this cleaning is to remove as much dust from surfaces as possible. Prior to dusting install pleated furnace filters designed to remove allergens. Set the central furnace blower to run continuously to capture airborne dust created during the cleaning.

Working from top to bottom in each room, be sure to get all of the dust from above door and window frames, ceiling fans, duct grills and baseboards. It is preferable to do this meticulous dusting with a HEPA vacuum and brush attachment. After you are done, turn off the furnace blower and allow the dust to settle for one to two hours, then vacuum the carpets thoroughly. A HEPA vacuum is preferred as they can capture 99.97% of all allergens.

Step 2. Meticulous Cleaning

Once you are confident that you have removed as much dust as possible, all surfaces should be cleaned. Allergies are caused by various proteins, and some of these are contained in residues adhering to all sorts ofsurface. There is no need to use special anti-allergen cleaners to do this. Any cleaner designed for the surface will do. However, if you are sensitive to fragrances or certain chemicals, there are low VOC products available. VOCs are volatile organic compounds that can cause respiratory irritation in some individuals.

What about the carpet? The best option is to replace the carpet prior to cleaning the home. If the carpet is to be cleaned, the goal is to reduce the allergens to negligible levels. Of course Professional Carpet Systems should handle this for you. Our cleaning system is designed to remove deeply embedded soils, pollutants, allergens and contamination that could otherwise aggravate allergies.

Step 3. Replace Filters

During the cleaning, a significant amount of allergens were likely dispersed into the air. Wait about 24 hours and then replace furnace filters again with high-quality allergen reducing filters.

Ideally, the ventilation system should be professionally cleaned to remove contaminants and potential allergens found in the ductwork, air conditioner coils and air-handler.

For most people, a home with a previous pet can be cleaned well enough to make it a great place to live. If you have severe allergies you should always seek the advice of your doctor. Ask if it is okay to move into a home that was previously occupied by pets.

Our goal at Professional Carpet Systems is to clean not only for appearance, but also for health. Please call us if you have any questions. It’s our pleasure to help.

February 2017 Client Newsletter

This is our February 2017 client newsletter.

Clothes Dryer Safety Tips

You may have fond memories of helping hang laundry on the clothesline in your backyard as a child. There’s nothing like the smell of the clothes fresh off the clothesline, dried on a warm, sunny day. Still, most of us would rather not go back to the days of hauling damp clothes outside to dry them. Today, we rely on automatic clothes dryers to get the job done. Just put the damp clothes in, turn the dial, hit the start button and 30-90 minutes later your clothes are dry, fluffy and ready to wear without a clothespin in sight. The clothes dryer in a typical family of four runs 150 – 200 hours a year without malfunctioning. It can be easy to take them for granted as simple to use, trouble-free appliances needing

It can be easy to take them for granted as simple to use, trouble-free appliances needing little attention. Clothes dryers cause over 16,000 reported house fires in the United States and cause dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries and over $200 million in property damage annually. Sometimes the cause is a mechanical malfunction of the machine. Other times, the electrical supply or appliance cord is the culprit. But the leading cause of these fires is failure to clean. 1 out of 3 dryer fires is caused by overheating due to accumulation of lint inside the dryer filter, around the drum or in the exhaust ductwork. Overheating can cause clothing inside the dryer to ignite, or the lint in the ductwork to catch fire. Unfortunately, many people believe that keeping the lint filter clean is all that is necessary. But the lint filter in most dryers cannot catch the finest particles of flammable lint and fibers. These small lightweight particles travel through the exhaust ductwork and vent outside the structure. Ideally, the ductwork should be smooth galvanized metal and as straight as possible. In most cases, at least one or two bends or elbows are necessary to get the ductwork outside the home. Each bend in the system restricts airflow and creates a potential point for lint to collect. This further restricts airflow, This further restricts airflow, allowing even more lint to collect. This dangerous cycle will continue until the system is completely blocked or the duct system is cleaned.

At the point where the duct exits the home, there should be a damper and a grill of some kind. The damper is a flap that opens when the dryer is running and closes to prevent air from entering the duct when it is not. The grill helps keep birds and rodents out. It is critical to keep the damper and grill clean and working properly. If the damper is stuck closed, the dryer will not vent properly and heat can build up to dangerous levels. Poor airflow will contribute to the buildup of lint. If the flap is stuck open or the grill is broken or missing, birds or rodents may decide that your dryer duct is a great place to build a nest, creating another potential fire hazard. Clean the lint filter before every load.

If the damper is stuck closed, the dryer will not vent properly and heat can build up to dangerous levels. Poor airflow will contribute to the buildup of lint. If the flap is stuck open or the grill is broken or missing, birds or rodents may decide that your dryer duct is a great place to build a nest, creating another potential fire hazard. Clean the lint filter before every load.

Clean the lint filter before every load. Consider installing an auxiliary inline lint trap in the ductwork coming from the dryer to catch more lint. You should have your dryer duct cleaned at least once a year to a avoid buildup of flammable lint. In the event of a dryer fire you must act quickly to minimize the damage and call the fire department. So avoid running your dryer when no one is at home or when everyone is asleep. Chances are you will never experience a dryer fire. But if you do, Professional Carpet Systems is here to help clean up the mess and get your home back to normal again.

January 2017 Client Newsletter

This is our client newsletter for January 2017.

 

Tracking Down the Facts:  Common cleaning methods busted

We make New Years’ resolutions to be better people. You may have a spring time goal to shape up before summer. You have to save money before the holidays. As a group, humans seek to continuously improve, making resolutions and promises to make things better.

While no cleaning company can control your dieting, exercising, shopping or television habits, they can help make your home a cleaner, healthier place to live. Resolutions and goals are usually decisions to make changes. When it comes to keeping your home clean you can make better decisions when you have all the facts.

Of course, we all like to think we make sound decisions based on facts. However, many smart people make poor choices when it comes to their home based on some common myths.

Let’s blow some of these myths away and clarify the others:

Myth: Unless you are expecting company it doesn’t matter what your carpets look like.

Fact: When the holiday parties and graduation celebrations are over is a great time to get rid of the spots, spills and tracked in soil that may have been left behind from entertaining your guests, any time of the year.

Myth: If you clean carpets in winter they will take longer to dry.

Fact: Lower humidity in the air means carpets usually dry faster in the winter. High humidity slows the rate of evaporation. Drier air increases the rate at which water evaporates from materials, including carpets so they dry faster.

Myth: I might as well wait to clean my carpets since spring is right around the corner.

Fact: Spring is almost 3 months away. Since you keep the house closed up tighter in the winter, it makes sense to freshen up your home. Besides, since you are spending more time indoors, shouldn’t your carpets be clean, fresh and fluffy?

Myth: It makes better financial sense to put off carpet cleaning as long as possible.

Fact: Modern carpets rarely wear out. Instead, they “ugly out”. Traffic lanes become dingy. Spots become permanent stains. Fibers become dull from a build-up of abrasive soil and oxidized oils. All of this causes irreversible damage and shortens the usable life of the carpet. Your carpets will last longer and look great all year if you have them professionally cleaned more often.

There are reasons to get your carpets cleaned every time of the year. When the kids are in school you can get the carpets cleaned without worrying about them being underfoot. When the kids are out of school you have more traffic and more dirt to get out. You want to clean for the holidays, but don’t forget spring cleaning. The point is, anytime of year is a good time to kick off a cleaner, healthier, more organized home.

Clean Your Entire House – by Accident

When people prepare for professional carpet cleaning they tend to de-clutter, pick up and reorganize their home. So you can force a little spring cleaning any time of year by scheduling a carpet cleaning today. Remember that clean carpet improves indoor air quality, so your family will breathe easier. Now that you have the facts, you can make an educated decision about your carpet-cleaning schedule.

December 2016 Client Newsletter

This is our client newsletter for December 2016.

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Is Flood Insurance Really Worth the Investment?

Many people are surprised to find out that flood damage, which includes almost any damage due to rising water entering your home from outdoors, is not covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies. Generally speaking, if the damage arises from sudden failure of a portion of your house, such as plumbing or the roof, homeowner’s insurance will usually cover it. But if the water comes in from outside, it may not be covered. Nationwide, floods are caused by storms, melting snow, hurricanes, overloaded storm drain systems, as well as broken water mains. Most of these are excluded from basic homeowner’s insurance. Sadly, water damage can lead to devastating losses, both financial and emotional. Flood water can damage furniture, personal belongings, your treasured heirlooms, photographs, drywall, carpeting, wood floors, building structure and so much more – and without flood insurance you would be

Most of these are excluded from basic homeowner’s insurance. Sadly, water damage can lead to devastating losses, both financial and emotional. Flood water can damage furniture, personal belongings, your treasured heirlooms, photographs, drywall, carpeting, wood floors, building structure and so much more – and without flood insurance you would be left to repair and replace everything on your own. You Need Flood Insurance You should protect your home, business, and belongings with flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) whether your flood risk is high or low. Almost anyone who is in a community that participates in the NFIP can buy building and/or contents coverage, with very few exceptions. It is a good idea to buy even in lower risk areas because 25 to 30 percent of flood insurance claims come from low-

Almost anyone who is in a community that participates in the NFIP can buybuilding and/or contents coverage, with very few exceptions. It is a good idea to buy even in lower risk areas because 25 to 30 percent of flood insurance claims come fromlow-to moderate risk areas. The Cost of Flood Insurance Fortunately, flood insurance is very affordable. The low-cost Preferred Risk Policy is ideal for homes and businesses in low-to-moderate-risk areas. Homeowners can insure buildings and contents sometimes for less than $100 per year, and renters (yes, renters need it too) can do it for less than $50, depending on where you live and how much coverage you choose. Even in higher risk areas, flood insurance is usually about 20% the cost of your full homeowners’ policy.

Purchasing Flood Insurance

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

When you buy flood insurance you can choose building and contents coverage separately, so renters can insure just their belongings. Generally, 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 as it is not necessarily included with the building coverage.

Don’t Rely on Disaster Assistance

You might wonder, doesn’t the federal government help people who have suffered a flood? Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President declares a disaster in a given area, so this is not something you can depend on. And, in many cases, any assistance you are given is a loan that must be paid back with interest. Flood insurance, on the other hand, 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. Hopefully you never have to go through flooding in your home. But if you do it is important to minimize the damage immediately by calling Professional Carpet Systems as soon as possible to get your home back to normal fast. Waiting simply increases the damage and prolongs the restoration process.

November 2016 Client Newsletter

Here’s our November 2016 client newsletter.

 

 

It’s only new once

Remember when your carpet was brand new? You vowed you would take your shoes off when you came into the house and vacuum twice a week. No eating in the living room! If anything spilled, you cleaned it up immediately. While these are great promises to make to yourself, even the best kept carpet needs to be cleaned regularly. And, if you are willing to admit that you have perhaps slacked off on these promises, your carpet might need to be cleaned more than you realize. In addition, there are other things you can do to keep your carpets looking great. Your Carpet can “Look” New Again Many people get their carpets cleaned and suddenly they see their carpet through new eyes, saying, “My carpets look like new!” It’s true, cleaning your carpets can make them look so much better that it almost feels like you have new carpet all over again. But, like everything else, carpet ages. Color is usually the most important factor in how a carpet looks. As long as the color looks vibrant and there are no major spots or stains, most of us are quite happy with the look of our carpet.

 

But why does the color start to look tired after a few years even after our best efforts at cleaning? Why can’t we make it look new again? Isn’t that dull, lifeless appearance in the traffic areas just dirt? No doubt, dirt is a contributing factor, but there are three other factors that cause carpet to look old: abrasion, crushing and pile distortion. Abrasion – Dirt is loose particulate soil tracked in from outside, including mud, pollution, pollen and gritty minerals that scratch and dull the surface of carpet fibers. This abrasion changes the way light reflects off of the scratched fibers so colors are muted. We call this permanent condition loss of luster. This is the primary reason that colors lose their vibrancy. Imagine a car that is scratched with sandpaper. No amount of cleaning can bring back the luster. Pile crush – Areas that are subject to a lot of foot traffic will crush down and lose some pile height. The carpet loses its soft, fluffy appearance and feel. How severely depends on the fiber type, yarn density, pile depth and quality of carpet pad.

Pile distortion – When pile yarns lose their twist or the yarns are aligned in different directions, high traffic areas can appear dull and dingy. Once the carpet pile has become distorted it cannot be corrected. Some carpets are more prone to this type of appearance change than others. Keeping Your Carpets Looking New Longer Here are a few tips you can use to keep your carpet looking newer longer: • Keep soils out of the home as much as possible. Use doormats at all entrances and take off your shoes when coming in from outside. • Regular vacuuming is the best thing you can do to reduce damage caused by gritty dirt.

• In areas where there is a lot of traffic, you can reduce wear by rearranging furnishings to redirect traffic. • Use carpet runners to limit crushing and pile distortion. • Regular cleaning before your carpet looks dirty is an important line of defense. Once soils have built up to the point of being obvious the damage is already done. • Applying a professional carpet protector after every cleaning is another great way to assure your carpet stays beautiful longer. Remember, carpet is only new once but with care you can keep it looking good for years to come.

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.

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.