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November 2016 Client Newsletter

Here’s our November 2016 client newsletter.

 

 

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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.

Click to see the full newsletter.
Click to see the full 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.

Click to see the Newsletter
Click to see the 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.

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.

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